Cancel Culture, Anti-Semitism, and the Great Awokening

March 9 2021

For those who follow the endless cycle of media and social-media outrage, last week’s outburst was over the anathematization—in today’s lingo, “cancelling”—of certain works by the children’s author Dr. Seuss, which are no longer sold on Amazon and which are being dutifully removed from public libraries. This is but one example of the workings of a new breed of radicalism, which, to Peter Savodnik, is built on three pillars: “antiracism” (not to be confused with mere objections to racism), and an “opposition to any debate” about its own principles:

The anti-Semitism is the apotheosis of the antiracism. It cloaks itself, as it must these days, in anti-Zionism, and it was remarkable because, at first blush, it struck one as so off-topic. What did Israel have to do with [the killing of] George Floyd or equity or “white supremacy”? But it wasn’t off-topic. It was the logical outgrowth of a long and inextinguishable hate.

For a couple of years [after the Holocaust], the non-Jewish world (sort of) admired the Jews—when they were wandering and emaciated. But then [came] Israel, which was founded in 1949 and has morphed into the rationalization for the new anti-Semitism. Today, a good progressive doesn’t hate Jews qua Jews, or as racial inferiors, but as “colonizers” of “black people.” Exponents of a latter-day apartheid.

This [vision of the] Jew is just a version of the white-nationalist vision of the Jew: instead of imposing his will clandestinely, in the fashion of the Elders of Zion, he oppresses openly, in an IDF uniform, with his automatic rifle pointed at the head of a Palestinian. He is all-powerful, but instead of his power standing in opposition to “whiteness,” as the white nationalist understands things, it embodies whiteness. Viewed through the lens of the new radicalism, anti-Semitism is really anti-colonialism, and anti-colonialism is really antiracism in its most distilled form. Which means [that woke anti-Semitism] cannot be anti-Semitic, and if you say it is, you’re anti-antiracist. Which is the worst thing anyone can be.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Progressivism, Racism

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform