The American Left’s Abandonment of Both Israel and the Jews

March 12 2019

While anti-Semitism exists everywhere, and the U.S. has never been an exception, writes Ross Douthat, what has made America stand out is its persistent strain of philo-Semitism. He sees in the left’s response to the Ilhan Omar controversy an abandonment of this attitude:

This is what the left seems to want, . . . and what I suspect it will eventually get: a left-of-center politics that remembers the Holocaust as one great historical tragedy among many, that judges Israel primarily on its [supposedly] conservative and nationalist political orientation, rather than on its status as a Jewish sanctuary, and that regards the success of American Jews as a reason for them to join white Gentiles in check-your-privilege self-criticism, ceding moral authority to minority groups who are more immediately oppressed. (This last shift was helpfully distilled by James Clyburn, the Democratic House whip, who defended [Ilhan] Omar last week by basically saying that the Holocaust was a long time ago and her personal experience as a refugee and Muslim immigrant was more immediate and relevant.)

The shifts here would not just be, as is sometimes suggested, a reaction to Israeli politics [or] to the right-wing Netanyahu government. . . . If the occupation [of the West Bank] ended tomorrow, Israel would still have a nationalist and religious identity at odds with the left’s broadly post-nationalist and post-religious vision. Secularization would still be separating the left from any specifically Christian sense of guilt over the Holocaust—which was an important spur to postwar philo-Semitism. Many American Jews would still enjoy advantages that expose them to the left’s intersectional critiques, and the Orthodox Jewish population (growing apace relative to more secular and liberal forms of Judaism) would still have religious beliefs and practices that are the very opposite of “woke.”

Finally, a great deal of the new anti-Semitism—from the recent wave of hate crimes in New York City to the anti-Jewish violence befouling Europe—would still be coming from minority and immigrant communities that are seen as essential to left-of-center and especially radical-left politics going forward, making them more difficult than right-wing anti-Semitism for the left to full-throatedly condemn.

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Read more at New York Times

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Ilhan Omar, Philo-Semitism, Politics & Current Affairs, US-Israel relations

Maintaining Security Cooperation with the PA Shouldn’t Require Ignoring Its Support for Terror

In accordance with legislation passed last year, the Israeli government has begun to deduct from the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) an amount proportional to what the PA pays to terrorists and their families. Last year, a similar law went into effect in the U.S., suspending all payments to the PA so long as it continues its “pay-for-slay” policy. The PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, has retaliated by refusing to accept any tax revenue collected by Israel—raising concerns that the PA will become insolvent and collapse—while insisting that payments to terrorists and their families are sacrosanct. To Yossi Kuperwasser, Abbas’s behavior amounts to mere extortion—which has already worked on the Europeans to the tune of 35 million euros. He urges Israel and the U.S. not to submit:

Abbas [believes] that influential Israeli and European circles, including the security establishment, view strengthening the Palestinian Authority, and certainly preventing its collapse, as being in Israel and Europe’s best interests. They will therefore give in to the pressure he exerts through the creation of an artificial economic crisis. . . .

[T]he PA leadership’s insistence on continuing wage payments to terrorists and their families, even at the price of an artificial economic crisis, shows once again that . . . the Oslo Accords did not reflect a substantive change in Palestinian national aspirations or in the methods employed to achieve them. . . . If paying wages to terrorists (including the many terrorists whose attacks took place after the Oslo Accords were in force) is the raison d’être for the PA’s establishment, as Abbas seems to be saying, . . . one cannot help asking whether Israel has to insist on maintaining the PA’s existence at any price.

True, Israel cooperates on security issues with the PA, but that serves the interests of both sides. . . . The short-term benefits Israel gains from this security cooperation, [however], are of less value than the benefits enjoyed by the Palestinians, and worth even less when measured against the long-term strategic damage resulting from Israel’s resigning itself to the constant incitement, the promotion of terror, and the political struggle against Israel carried out by the PA. Israel should not do anything to hasten the PA’s breakdown, because it has no desire to rule over the Palestinians and run their day to day lives, but it also should not feel more obligated to the PA’s continued existence than do the Palestinians themselves, thereby leaving itself open to continuous extortion.

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Read more at Israel Institute for Strategic Studies

More about: Israeli Security, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror