Anti-Zionism Isn’t Anti-Semitism

Many young, progressive Jews are feeling unwelcome in young, progressive circles.

Via memeorandum, I came across an essay on Bari Weiss’ newsletter by Blake Flayton titled “My Post-Graduation Plan? I’m Immigrating to Israel.” and with the subhed “For me and other young Jews, the future is no longer in America. What we experienced on campus has a lot to do with it.”

His opener:

I had always felt at home in America. It was my home and my parents’ home and my grandparents’, and it never seemed like it could be any way else. But three weeks from now, I am leaving the place where I was born and making a new life in Israel. The story of why is the story of a growing cohort of Gen Z Jews who see what the older generations cannot yet see: That the future doesn’t feel like it’s here as much as there.

He writes, “When people ask me what the origin point is—when I knew I would leave—it’s not one particular moment, but a collection. Among them:”

  • The drunk girl at my alma mater, George Washington, caught on video in November 2019, saying, “We’re going to bomb Israel, you Jewish pieces of shit.” 
  • The Hillel that was spray-painted with “Free Palestine” in July 2020, at the University of Wisconsin.
  • The Chabad House set on fire in August 2020, at the University of Delaware
  • The Jewish vice president of student government at USC who resigned in August 2020, after getting barraged with antisemitic hate.
  • The University of Chicago students who, in January 2022, called on their fellow students not to take “sh*tty Zionist classes” taught by Israelis or Jews. 
  • The Jewish fraternity at Rutgers that got egged in April 2022—during a Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration.
  • The Chabad menorah that was vandalized for the fourth time in two years, in May 2022, at the University of Cincinnati.
  • The protester who hurled rocks at Jewish students in June 2022, at the University of Illinois.
  • The swastikas that turned up in July and August 2022, at Brown.
  • The Hillel that was vandalized in August 2022, at USC
  • The innumerable, antisemitic incidents at San Francisco State University, which the Lawfare Project, a Jewish nonprofit, has called “the most anti-Semitic college campus in the country.”
  • The two girls recently kicked out of a group that combats sexual assault, at SUNY New Paltz, because they had the temerity to post something positive about Israel.
  • The universities, which bend over backward to create safe spaces for most students, increasingly making room for antisemites in lecture halls and at graduation ceremonies (see, for example, DukeIndiana Universitythe University of DenverArizona State University and CUNY). 
  • The proliferation of statements and articles and open letters proclaiming support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement—a political movement that has as its stated goal the dismantling of the Jewish state—from Harvard to Pomona to Berkeley to the University of Illinois, along with the conviction, widespread on many campuses, that Jewish students should be barred from conversations about BDS, because, well, they’re Jewish.

I don’t have time to research each of these incidents but we’re a country of 330 million with hundreds of colleges and universities; a handful of incidents over the course of several years isn’t shocking. Further, the vast majority of the cases seem to be of people protesting the Israeli occupation and the brutal tactics used to sustain it. While saying that Jewish students are disqualified from having an opinion on the matter is anti-Semitic, believing that the Israeli government is acting shamefully is not.

Flayton continues,

There are many other twenty-something Jews who, like me, had never felt this kind of isolation—until suddenly we did.

“I don’t know a single Jewish college student who hasn’t experienced antisemitism,” one student from Arizona State told me. 

“Jewish students on campus are forced to leave an integral and fundamental part of our identity at the door in order to be accepted by the community,” another wrote to me from the University of Oregon. (Both students refused to speak openly for fear of social backlash.)

“It was at Florida International University in Miami where I witnessed antisemitism firsthand in the form of anti-Zionism,” Meyer Grunberg told me. Grunberg was shocked by the leaflets distributed by the on-campus group Students for Justice in Palestine, which, he said, accused Israel of committing genocide, including the murder of Palestinian children—harkening back to the medieval blood libel.

Rob Greenberg had heard stories from his grandparents about occasional instances of antisemitism they’d experienced—his grandmother’s employer didn’t want to let her leave work in time for Shabbat, and so on. But growing up in Scarsdale, New York, in the early 21st century, he had never encountered any antisemitism himself.

Until he arrived at NYU.

“So many times,” he emailed me, “I would see gatherings outside the library with ‘progressives’ holding up signs and chanting anti-Israel slogans. I will never forget one time going up to one of those students and challenging him on his positions. Within 20 seconds, when he realized I was not on his side, he called over other members of his group, and I found myself surrounded and was told to leave before anything violent breaks out. I realized then that dialogue was not what they were looking for.”

Again, none of these examples are of anti-Semitism. It’s certainly possible that members of Students for Justice in Palestine hate Jews. But wanting justice for Palestinians isn’t per se anti-Semitic. Nor, for that matter, is failing to adjust office hours for religious activities (unless, of course, it’s routinely done for non-Jewish observances). Accusations of blood libel, on the other hand, is anti-Semitic.

Bridget Gottdank’s mom is Christian, and her dad is Jewish. Growing up in New York, she, too, never faced any overt antisemitism. Until she arrived at college at Coastal Carolina University. She was at a social gathering with a group of classmates near campus when Israel came up. Gottdank said something positive, and then someone she considered a friend became furious and called her a “stupid Jew.”

That’s almost certainly an instance of anti-Semitism.

I met Noah Shufutinsky at G.W., where he majored in Judaic Studies. “Academically, I had a positive experience,” Shufutinsky told me. But campus progressives became increasingly strident in their denunciations of Israel, to the point that he felt they were “encouraging antisemitic activity.” 

There’s certainly a fine line there. The description is inadequate to know whether it was crossed.

G.W. was the kind of place where it was considered normal for protests about raising cafeteria workers’ wages to involve the Jewish state. In May 2019, for example, students rallying on the quad for a $15 minimum wage for school janitors incorporated strong condemnations of Israel into their speeches—as if janitors in Washington, D.C., not getting paid adequately was somehow the fault of Jews thousands of miles away. To Jewish students, the tethering of Israel to workers not getting their fair share felt insulting and familiar. 

If this is being described accurately—and, given the tone of the rest of the piece, I have my doubts—this is, indeed, odd. It could be anti-Semitic. Or it could just be young, inexperienced protesters trying to kill two birds with one stone and thus muddling their message.

Elijah Farkash grew up in a mostly non-Jewish community on Long Island. He spent nine summers at a Jewish sleep-away camp in Pennsylvania. His family was “very Zionist,” he said, and “proudly Jewish.”

Then, like Shufutinsky, Farkash went to G.W., where he’s now a senior and where Jews, he said, were widely viewed as “a core component of white elitism in this country.”

While there are ways this could, indeed, be anti-Semitic, it’s more likely the opposite: most Americans see Jews as “white people.” There’s an aspect of cultural erasure to that, to be sure, but it’s gradually happened to other white ethnic groups throughout our history. (And it’s why anti-Black racism is so persistent: they’re unmeltable.)

Farkash said that students were mostly ignorant of Israel, its history, and its politics—why anyone had thought to found a Jewish state in the first place. “What they think are innocent Instagram stories can actually be very dangerous and unsettling,” he told me, referring to, among other things, posts that routinely compare Israel to South Africa or the Third Reich. “Generally, I avoid discussing Israel with progressive students. It brings me too much angst.”

That American college students are ignorant about history, particularly that of other countries, is neither surprising nor evidence of anti-Semitism. Comparing current Israeli policies towards Palestinians to Apartheid is hardly unreasonable. Comparing it to Nazism is fraught, indeed, but hardly evidence of anti-Semitism—non-murderous American political groups get compared to the Nazis all the time.

Then there was my own experience at G.W., in March 2020. I had been at a Shabbat dinner on campus, and I was wearing a kippah. As I was coming out, some kids started shouting, “Yahud! Yahud!”—or Jew! Jew! in Arabic—and then, for good measure, added, “You started it!”, which I could only assume meant Covid. I had never experienced anything like that growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona.

I would imagine that the antecedent to “it” was something related to the mess in the Middle East, not a pandemic, but who knows? Regardless, the fact that the slur was in Arabic and took place at GW leads me to guess the students were Arab nationals. Which brings up an important point: a lot of the vitriol in the BDS movement is almost certainly a function of there being a lot of Arab students on campuses for whom this is deeply personal. Regardless, the incident was almost certainly an encounter with anti-Semitism but, ironically, of a variety likely to be quite a bit more common in Israel than the United States.

I wouldn’t have bothered writing about this essay at all, though, until I got to this part:

When we talk to our parents about all this, they’re baffled. They lack the vocabulary to make sense of what’s going on. They don’t get that the language they devised in the 1960s and 1970s—the language of inclusion and tolerance and everyone being free to be yourself—is now being weaponized against their own children and grandchildren.

What they know is the old-fashioned antisemitism of the right. This can be deadly and horrific: The Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, in which 11 Jews were murdered as they prayed. The attack by another white supremacist six months later, at a synagogue in Poway, California.

But for the time being, that violence is on the margins. And the vast majority of Americans abhor it and support prosecuting it. In 2022, no Jew is worried about being attacked by the Klan on a country road. 

No, what Jews in 2022 fear is being visible as Jews on the streets of Brooklyn. What Jews in 2022 fear, especially if they’re in their twenties, is outing themselves as a supporter of Israel and losing all their friends. What we fear is being called apartheid lovers and colonizers and white supremacists—and how those powerful smears might affect our futures.

So, again, I think “anti-Semitism” is the wrong description of what he’s experiencing. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel like an outsider on college campuses and other concentrations of American progressives, who are much more likely to be anti-Israel than American conservatives. (Indeed, mild-mannered Jimmy Carter is the first prominent American I heard apply the “apartheid” label to Likudist policies.)

If you’re under 30 and living on a college campus or in the heart of a big city, I’m not sure it’s any worse to be an Israel-supporting Jew than a Baptist who publicly opposes same-sex marriage or argues that sex is an immutable characteristic assigned at birth. You’re either going to be vilified and shunned or forced to remain silent about your beliefs. It goes with the territory of being young and different.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Gavin says:

    What we fear is being called apartheid lovers and colonizers and white supremacists

    Because, see, he is an apartheid lover, a colonizer, and a white supremacist. I can’t imagine why he doesn’t lead with that in every conversation! After all, he’s Objectively Correct, right? Why would he possibly keep his ideas to himself?
    The entire linked article is conservatism in a nutshell — “We’re the party of ideas! Free market of ideas! We have a mandate because we said so! Unless and until those ideas get implemented, then we shan’t be held accountable for or respond to the market signal showing the market’s lack of acceptance of those ideas because obviously our ideas are correct when evaluated using only the merits that I’ve decided are pertinent, peon.
    Unrelated note: Nobody wants to date me and I am lonely.”

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    I’m a US Citizen, but I recognize that even outsiders have a legitimate right to call us out on things like the Iraq war, drone strikes in Afghanistan, and – going farther back – CIA activities against democratically elected governments around the role. In my travels I’ve certainly experienced this transitioning to bigotry against Americans in general. People are people and are inherently bigoted and many never rise above it, so that’s no surprise. But that doesn’t make the criticisms illegitimate. Flayton, now an Israeli, seems to want to call all criticism of Israel “anti-Semitism” and therefore not have to acknowledge it.

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    Weird. Kevin Drum had a post Sunday about Djokovic not playing in the U. S. Open because we won’t let foreigners enter without vaccination. I followed his link to the source and was surprised by the unrelieved anti vax in the article and comments. Or at least surprised until I went to the home page and discovered it was Barri Weiss’ newsletter. I can’t believe I’ve been exposed to Barri Wise twice already this week by bloggers I trust. Is there a vaccine?

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  4. James Joyner says:

    @Gavin: I’d never heard of this kid until this morning but I gather that he’s gay and progressive, not a conservative.

    @gVOR08: My strong guess is that, like me, Kevin doesn’t read Weiss’ newsletter but found the article in question via an aggregator.

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  5. Modulo Myself says:

    No, what Jews in 2022 fear is being visible as Jews on the streets of Brooklyn. What Jews in 2022 fear, especially if they’re in their twenties, is outing themselves as a supporter of Israel and losing all their friends. What we fear is being called apartheid lovers and colonizers and white supremacists—and how those powerful smears might affect our futures.

    There’s real anti-Semitism out there, but this guy is just talking about other progressive Jews disliking him. If you’re Hasidic, you have a damn good reason to worry about being attacked. I have heard so many bad things about Hasidic Jews, who are dirt poor but are assumed to own half of Brooklyn. Same goes with wearing a yarmulke or a kippah. But no one is going to attack because you think that Israel is not a settler state.

    I would just add that most Americans don’t know that religious Jews exist, except on television (once played by Joe Lieberman). The assimilation of Jewishness has been so according to the most banal plan. Your average Baptist who loves Israel because of the Final Days and apartheid against Palestinians would be the freaked the hell out by the average Israeli.

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  6. KM says:

    It goes with the territory of being young and different.

    Actually, it goes with the territory of having your identities blended as a matter of course – when faith, politics and ethnicity/race all get treated as the same thing to the point if you know 2 of the 3, you can reliable assume the third. For example, white/Southern/evangelical is an standard combo so if you are white and Southern, it’s a pretty solid guess you’ll be Baptist instead of B’hai; conversely, if one is Baptist and white, guessing Southern heritage is likely going to be correct. To be white/Southern/Satanic can confuse people since it breaks the mold society has established. Thus to be ethnically Jewish and religiously Jewish can lead to people assume one is pro-Israel as the three tend to be intertwined so often.

    It genuinely surprises some folks to learn not all Jewish individuals are on-board with the actions of that nation or even think it should exist. Conversely, not everyone who gets crap for things associated with “Jewishness” stops to figure out what the source of the issue it’s about and files it under general anti-Semitism. Since the identities are so intertwined, it can be hard to not take it personally when they kinda are talking about you but also not talking about you. All you feel is the negativity and the sense of reflected blame.

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  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    There are a hundred nations with a worse human rights story than Israel. But Israel is the ‘foreign policy’ obsession of progressives. Not brutal Egypt which also gets our support in the form of weapons and loan support. Not Ethiopia, ditto. Not India. Not Pakistan. Not the Taliban. Not MBS and the Arabs who have quite clearly decided to ignore the Palestinians. Not even the real monsters like Kim Jong Un. Nope. It’s always the Israelis.

    Who just happen to be Jews.

    Funny how often it ‘just happens’ to be Jews.

    The solution most often suggested by progressive critics? The elimination of the State of Israel. Now, let’s take a look at all the other nation-states progressives would like to see eliminated.

    1) The Jewish state.
    2). . .

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  8. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    There are a hundred nations with a worse human rights story than Israel. But Israel is the ‘foreign policy’ obsession of progressives.

    That’s totally fair.

    My sense is that it’s the same reason apartheid South Africa, which had a far better human rights record than just about any other country on the continent, was the target in the 1980s: we hold advanced nations to a higher standard. It’s also why groups like Human Rights Watch routinely condemn the United States, despite our human rights record being pretty damned good all things considered.

    But, yes, I simultaneously think Zionism and democracy are mutually incompatible, in that it requires treating non-Jews as second class citizens and that there’s likely no better country in the Middle East to live if you’re a poor Arab than Israel.

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  9. Slugger says:

    I am opposed to many policies of the state of Israel, and so are many of my relatives who live in Haifa for the most part (they like beaches). Yes, there is a difference between antisemitism and antizionism. But categorical abstract ideas tend to blur during actual person to person interactions especially when the actors are 18 to 30 years old. “In 2020, no Jew is worried about being attacked by the Klan on a country road.” I don’t know about that. Sure, Tree of Life attacks are rare, swastika painting at Brown is unusual, and only one Chabad House was set on fire in Delaware. There might be an undercurrent of animus in some on campus discourses. I don’t feel that in my personal life, but campus emotions are far behind me. I do feel, and I certainly could be wrong, that the current toleration of Jews by the larger society is tactical; when an opportunity to get some advantage is seen overt antisemitism will re-emerge.
    We should support open, honest, and respectful discussions between all sides in Israel. My relatives feel that Hezbollah is unlikely to come to a conference table. This opinion is shared by an acquaintance of Armenian ancestry raised in Beirut.

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  10. charon says:

    I actually care more about the reverse phenomenum – Christians who think supporting Israel absolves them of antisemitism.

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  11. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    There are a hundred nations with a worse human rights story than Israel.

    Currently? Very doubtful.

    A couple of dozen? Sure.

    In any case, Israel is the worst – by far – if you are looking at countries that are considered close allies of the US (such as Canada, most of Europe, South Korea, Japan) in more than a purely functional sense (such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan).

    If Israel wants to be treated as a civilized country, it better act like one. But it doesn’t, because it wants to be a colonizer.

    And thus, to compensate for these unwelcome facts, it was the Israeli government (and various US-based lobbying organizations) which deliberately sought to make Israel part of the culture wars following 9/11. They picked the pro-Iraq invasion, anti-Muslim party to side with.

    They made their bed – both regarding their treatment of the Palestinians and their political positioning in the US – and now they must lie in it.

    Who just happen to be Jews unrepentent colonizers who nonetheless demand to be part of the global West.

    FTFY

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  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:

    But, yes, I simultaneously think Zionism and democracy are mutually incompatible, in that it requires treating non-Jews as second class citizens and that there’s likely no better country in the Middle East to live if you’re a poor Arab than Israel.

    We insist on treating Israel like Denmark. They are not in the same neighborhood.

    If a shop on a street in, say, the Larchmont neighborhood of Los Angeles, had barred windows and security cameras and limits on how many people can be in the store at one time, and the cashier was behind bullet-proof glass, that would be bizarre. In Compton? Perfectly normal. Israel does not live in Larchmont, Israel lives in Compton.

    I agree Zionism and democracy are incompatible. And? Shall we clarify the situation by ending Israeli democracy? Autocracy is also incompatible with democracy. In fact, when you take a look around the world, you know what democracy is actually compatible with? Being rich and safe. Democracies do not tend to thrive in conflict zones and thanks to generations of Arab leaders, the ME is a perpetual conflict zone.

    The anti-semitism reveals itself in the singular nature of the focus. If someone were writing about crime and 100% of the examples offered were crimes committed by Blacks, you’d have no difficulty seeing the racism. The whole world is full of horrors, about which the progressive world is indifferent. Cuba, anyone? Nicaragua? Mexico even? Human rights horror shows on our doorstep? Nope. Just those darn Jews 6000 miles away.

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  13. Matt Bernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    My sense is that it’s the same reason apartheid South Africa, which had a far better human rights record than just about any other country on the continent, was the target in the 1980s: we hold advanced nations to a higher standard. It’s also why groups like Human Rights Watch routinely condemn the United States, despite our human rights record being pretty damned good all things considered.

    100% this.

    It’s also important to note how much funding and support we provide to Israel. Not to mention the outsized impact Israel has on our politics.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If this is being described accurately—and, given the tone of the rest of the piece, I have my doubts—this is, indeed, odd. I could be anti-Semitic. Or it could just be young, inexperienced protesters trying to kill two birds with one stone and thus muddling their message.

    I think you left out a “t”?

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  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @drj:

    close allies of the US (such as Canada, most of Europe, South Korea, Japan)

    You mean our rich, secure friends in Beverly Hills don’t have bars on their windows? Huh.

    If Israel wants to be treated as a civilized country, it better act like one. But it doesn’t, because it wants to be a colonizer.

    I do love this. Yeah, those Israelis better not try to be colonizers! Say the people currently living on the biggest plot of stolen land since Genghis. The big difference being that we stole our country by exterminating the native population. What we didn’t take from dead Indians we took from the Mexicans. And how much are we going to give back? Would it be, zero percent?

    Make the argument for why tiny Israel should give back the Sinai, but we should not give back the Rio Grande Valley.

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  16. SKI says:

    James, while it is true that opposing Israel’s actions is not always antisemitism, virtually all the examples cited absolutely are. And, in fact, you yourself are engaging in it in this post.

    BLAMING INDIVIDUAL JEWS FOR ISRAEL IS ANTISEMTIC.

    Not a single day goes by that I don’t see an example of this when interacting with Jewish Twitter (JTwitter). We even have a lovely image/meme with the caption of “No one mentioned Israel until you came along”.

    I am a loud critic of Israeli Government action.

    I am also a loud critic of those who think Israel shouldn’t exist/be wiped off the map. Most descend into (a) attacking random Jews and (b) antisemitic tropes in short order (if they don’t start there).

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  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    You have no issue with differentiating between ‘advanced nations’ like Israel and. . . what? Backward nations? Such as? So failed governments are less culpable for say, starving their own people, than Israel is for slowly stealing bits of Jerusalem? Because why, exactly?

    ‘Splain that moral structure to me. Tell me why presumably backward Cuba is exempt from progressive criticism.

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  18. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    To add to that is the irony of the “apartheid state” charge, which also applies to the countries you listed. Only Israel is an apartheid state, it seems. I guess the countries that murdered and drove Jews out aren’t apartheid states because they’ve largely been cleansed of the Jewish menace (/s).

    And Gaza and the West Bank are not exactly paragons of cosmopolitan multiculturalism and tolerance. There aren’t any Jews living in either Gaza or the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and both have made clear that Jews will never be welcomed. It’s weird to claim that Israel has a special status as an “apartheid state” when most any Jew going to Gaza would have a very short lifespan.

    The Palestinian movement also used to have an inclusive Christian presence, but that is now almost gone as well as Palestinian Christians have been discriminated against and forced out.

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  19. Matt Bernius says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    First, remind me how much political, financial, and military support are we providing Cuba…

    And let’s not forget, despite all that support, Isreal’s long history of spying on the US.

    BTW, last I checked, progressives are not exactly fans of some of the other States we support in the region, in particular, KSA. And if I remember you’re pretty critical of them too.

    Beyond that, it’s remarkable again how black and white a view you take of most things. I guess any critique of Isreal (even a mild one of pointing out we have a different relationship with them than Cuba and that might invite some additional criticism is apparently akin to… what? supporting discrimination against Jews)?

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  20. SKI says:

    Calling Israel an Apartheid State when it has Arab citizens who have full rights and are members of the Government is just idiocy.

    The principal issue is the occupied territories where the inhabitants don’t have full rights because they aren’t citizens. And it is absolutely a problem – one for which no one has a good solution.

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  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    While we’re at it:

    It’s also important to note how much funding and support we provide to Israel. Not to mention the outsized impact Israel has on our politics.

    Our aid to Israel first of all, isn’t so much charity as a subsidy for American arms manufacturers. Second, our aid to Israel is in the 4 to 5 billion range. Israel’s GDP is 400 billion. So, maybe 1%.

    As for the ‘outsized impact’: according to whom? What metric applies? Are there any other religious or ethnic groups that have similar impact? Black voters? Hispanic voters? Italian-American or Irish-American voters? Southern Baptists? Catholics? Bueller?

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  22. Matt Bernius says:

    @SKI:
    I completely agree that this entire conversation would be more productive if it focused on the specifics of what is happening within the occupied territories. And it would also be helpful if both sides were willing to acknowledge their respective issues because neither side is clean when it comes to their behaviors.

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  23. SKI says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Not to mention the outsized impact Israel has on our politics.

    May I suggest you read Yair Rosenberg’s interview of Walter Russell Mead (or Professor Mead’s new book, The Arc of a Covenant: the United States, Israel and the fate of the Jewish People) ? Or even Yair’s tweet threads about it?

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  24. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Well, of course this is a reductio ad absurdum argument, in keeping with the tediously predictable hobby horse of shoehorning every issue into an opportunity to blindly blash progressives, day in and day out no matter what.

    And of course the point of that, and of “But whatabout Nicaragua?” (similar to the right’s old standbys “But Obama” and “But Hillary”) is to change the subject, to deflect, and to prevent any nuanced examination of the actual policy question. Because as long as we can focus on how critics of Israel are just Jew haters, then we can ignore what’s happening to Palestinian children, and avoid discussion of whether Israeli policy is moral or amoral.

    Some of the harshest American critics of Israeli policy in Palestine include liberal American Jews. Are we to believe it’s just because they’re a bunch of progressive, Jew hating anti-Semites? Come on.

    The reason American critics of Israel (which include a not insignificant number of Jews, who have to be erased because they don’t fit the lazy “they’re just a bunch of anti-Semites” deflection narrative) are more prominent than American critics of Nicaragua (lol), is the same reason American critics of Boris Johnson were more prominent than American critics of Viktor Orhan, a far worse leader. Betrayal of values by your close friends grabs your attention more than that by strangers.

    When Nicaragua becomes a close ally receiving the same amount of yearly billions in American goverment aid, weapons, and loan guarantees, then Nicaragua will become a more prominent target of American scrutiny, rightly so. Till then, the comparison is tantamount to Dubya’s “You forgot Poland!” Desperate and silly.

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  25. SKI says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    I completely agree that this entire conversation would be more productive if it focused on the specifics of what is happening within the occupied territories. And it would also be helpful if both sides were willing to acknowledge their respective issues because neither side is clean when it comes to their behaviors.

    Insisting or presuming, that American Jews are “one side” of a debate in a separate country is antisemitic. And leads to violence.

    Painting “Free Palestine” across a synagogue or Hillel or defacing a Jewish cemetery just because they are Jews is antisemitic.

    Interjecting “What about Israel?” in a unrelated conversation is antisemitic.

    Insisting that a Jew give their opinion on the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians is antisemitic.

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  26. Modulo Myself says:

    Many progressives who are anti-Israel are Jewish, were raised in homes where Israel was idealized, and were subject to the braindead Marty Peretz-era New Republic propaganda which Bari Weiss has bought into 24/7, so you can’t really say they are anti-Semitic. I get the sense that Weiss is more comfortable with guys ranting about Soros than she is with Jews who are aghast about what’s happening in Gaza, but that’s her issue.

    Also, it’s been clear since the 90s that Israel has zero intention of giving up the settlements in the West Bank and there is nothing the Palestinians could do to change that. Does this make them North Korea? No, but it makes the entire pro-peace argument bullshit. Even Gaza was a clusterfuck made by American and Israeli policy. Why would the Palestinians vote for Fatah when Fatah compromises with the Israeli government in the West Bank and in return gets nothing?

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  27. Matt Bernius says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    As for the ‘outsized impact’: according to whom? What metric applies? Are there any other religious or ethnic groups that have similar impact? Black voters? Hispanic voters? Italian-American or Irish-American voters? Southern Baptists? Catholics? Bueller?

    Leaving aside the role that pro-Isreal Jewish megadonors like Sheldon Adelson have had on the Republican party, @MR it’s a little weird to see this response from you given how historically critical you have been about former Isreali Prime Ministers like Netanyahu have had on US politics and in particular in support of bolstering the Republican party:

    American support for Israel is a mile wide but an inch deep and Netanyahu has already done serious damage to the one relationship that keeps Israel alive. Once it becomes clear to the largely distracted American public that Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Boehner are essentially conspiring to push us into yet another war, support for Israel could drop like a rock. AIPAC can’t stop that. Damage is being done and it is serious and could be long-lasting.

    Israel just climbed on-board to kiss Trump’s ass since Netanyahu has decided to politicize the American-Israeli relationship. Obviously this bad for Israel, but Netanyahu only cares about Netanyahu and Trump only cares about Trump. The two malignant narcissists have conspired to make the US look ridiculous and Israel look like a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republicans.

    Bibi Netanyahu is trading the support of large parts of the US Jewish community for the support of Evangelicals whose main interest in Israel is as a precipitating cause of Armageddon. He’s alienating people who really care about Jews for people that hope to be raptured early enough to get a good seat to watch Jews being roasted in hell.

    Given you dislike for Netanyahu, perhaps we could find common ground on all the ways his quest to stay in power made Israeli Palisitinan relationships far worse (increasing illegal settlements and land grabs, limiting the flow of goods into the territories, etc).

    Also, it might be worth considering how some of what we are seeing with progressives is also a direct result of Netanyahu deciding to tie himself so closely to Trump (which I see the above questions and others I found of yours seems to be predicting).

    I don’t have time to link to each exact citation, but I was pulling from these threads:
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/white-house-denies-netanyahu-request-for-meeting-amid-signs-of-increased-u-s-israeli-tension/#comments
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/alliance-between-netanyahu-and-trump-making-support-for-israel-a-partisan-issue/
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/at-trumps-urging-netanyahu-bars-two-members-of-congress-from-entering-israel/
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/most-americans-oppose-gops-decision-to-invite-netanyahu-to-speak-before-congress/

    12
  28. DK says:

    @SKI:

    Calling Israel an Apartheid State when it has Arab citizens who have full rights and are members of the Government is just idiocy.

    True. Semi-apartheid would be better, hat tip to Dark Brandon’s brilliant “semi-fascism” moniker for the ideology of the current Republican Party.

    @Matt Bernius:

    I completely agree that this entire conversation would be more productive if it focused on the specifics of what is happening within the occupied territories.

    But screaming “You hate Jews!!!11!!!” is better when you want what is happening to keep happening.

    9
  29. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    we hold advanced nations to a higher standard.

    I used to have a Republican acquaintance who complained I held him to higher standards than poor Black people. I told him he had every advantage of family, education, and money, and yes, I did hold him to higher standards. Also, there’s an issue of influence. Israel depends heavily on U. S. support and spends big money and effort to influence our support. Lobbying that has often represented the interests of the Likud Party over the interests of Israel, for which see J Street v AIPAC.

    Chinese actions in Mongolia and against the Uyghurs are morally far worse than Israel’s actions with the Palestinians, But there really isn’t much we can do about it, at least not without pissing off giant corporations. But we can influence Israel. It makes sense to pay more attention to what we can do than to what we can’t.

    10
  30. Matt Bernius says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Many progressives who are anti-Israel are Jewish, were raised in homes where Israel was idealized, and were subject to the braindead Marty Peretz-era New Republic propaganda which Bari Weiss has bought into 24/7, so you can’t really say they are anti-Semitic.

    I work with at least two folks who fit this category. Though I wouldn’t even say they are “anti-Isreal” as much as “anti-what-is-happening-with-the-occupied-territories.”

    They are also pretty critical of the Israeli/US “Birthright trips” (funded heavily by Republican donors like the late Sheldon Adelson) which are essentially free propaganda trips for Jewish youth.

    6
  31. DK says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    @MR it’s a little weird to see this response from you given how historically critical you have been about former Isreali Prime Ministers like Netanyahu have had on US politics and in particular in support of bolstering the Republican party

    Is it so weird? Once you realize the center of every analysis must be “How can I use this to attack progressives?” it makes perfect sense.

    Bibi’s racism, narcissism, and radical right extremism is waaaaaaay down the list of considerations.

    6
  32. Matt Bernius says:

    @SKI:
    Thanks for the reference. I like Mead’s work a lot and I’m excited to read that book and expand my views on the topic.

    I definitely agree with this comment from the Twitter thread:

    The hard historical reality is this: The reason that half the world’s Jews ended up in a tiny contested speck of the Middle East is not because the 1% of the world’s population that was Jewish wanted it that way, but because the 99% that wasn’t Jewish did.

    That was my understanding of the history as well. BTW, I really liked the alternative history exploration of this that Michael Charbon did in “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.”

    Also, I agree that probably everything I’ve written here is flattening opinions or facts way too much. So for example, when I mentioned the outsized role that Isreal and it’s supporters have on our government, I was (1) thinking about the combined influence of American Jewish donors, past Israeli Government Leaders, and the organized lobbying efforts and (2) that power in relation to the power that other nations MR was thinking of have on our government.

    I’d say that the only one that I think is probably comparable in that respect is KSA. Since Cuba was brought up, it’s clear that Cuban’s in exile have far more power in US policy than Cuba the country (which has far less power than either KSA or Israel).

    I honestly wasn’t expecting to get into this debate today.

    2
  33. drj says:

    @SKI:

    Calling Israel an Apartheid State when it has Arab citizens who have full rights and are members of the Government is just idiocy.

    There is full-fledged apartheid in the occupied territories.

    I’m pretty sure Desmond Tutu knew what he was talking about.

    6
  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yes, anti-Semitism exists on the left, no doubt about it. But the rest of your post strikes me as deflection. A significant portion of our foreign policy each year goes in support of Israeli, whether it is in direct military or social aid, or the support given to the surrounding countries in order to not cause Israel trouble, not to mention the benefits of most favored nation status and other favorable trade deals. And of course we expend massive amounts of diplomatic capital each and every year on their behalf. People like me expect more from Israel because we support them so heavily. While we give significant but much smaller amounts to Egypt it is worth noting that it is predominantly for two reasons: protecting access to oil (which Israeli cannot help us with) and maintaining a peace deal with Israel.

    And the idea that “it’s always the Israelis” is just absurd. No one has written an article critical of the Taliban? No one has spoken out against them? The US government has not sanctioned them or acted against them in any way? C’mon Michael, that whole paragraph was beneath you.

    8
  35. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI:

    Calling Israel an Apartheid State when it has Arab citizens who have full rights and are members of the Government is just idiocy.

    And pretending that All the Palestinians whose lives are defined and controlled by he Israelis are citizens is just?

    4
  36. DK says:

    @James Joyner:

    Regardless, the incident was almost certainly an encounter with anti-Semitism but, ironically, of a variety likely to be quite a bit more common in Israel than the United States.

    Yeah, this confused me about young Mr. Flayton. In Israel, he may hear of even more anti-Semitic incidents based on the numbers game. He’ll surely encounter angry, deeply invested Jewish (and Arab) critics of Israeli policy. He must know how sharply divided Israeli is sociopolitically, right?

    If black Americans moved to other states because of racist incidents across our home states, we’d never stop moving. Yes, there’d be comfort moving to Atlanta to be surrounded by other blacks, but then…you’re in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s a Black Mecca, not necessarily a black safe space. Source: I grew up in its exurbs.

    I have a Star of David tattoo on my back, gotten with and for our family’s Russian-Israeli exchange student turned Israeli army officer. My Jewish high school bestie was related to historic lynching victim Leo Frank, my college besties were Westchester-Brooklyn Jews. My first post-college boss was a successful (conservative) Jewish Hollywood producer, my second a Zionist Beverly Hills lawyer and Holocaust survivor. And I dated a Tel Aviv based police officer till the distance proved too taxing. So I’ve spent a lot of intimate time with Jews, and heard it all. I thought.

    Not til spending time with the family of the dual-citizened, Israeli-American doctor my adult bestie married did I encounter the shockingly intense, intra-ethnic vitriol between secular and left-wing Israelis vs religious, right-wing Israelis.

    Moderate blacks who keep saving Democrats (and the country) mostly critique BLM-Defund blacks privately, to not give fodder to white racists. And liberal whites speak exasperatedly of “white people” with a comic eye roll, and while empathizing about “economic anxiety.”

    But what I heard between warring Israeli Jews was visceral, unapologetic antipathy. It was uncomfortable, like, “Am I supposed to be privy to this family fued?” I wonder if Flayton will leave Israel when he encounters this.

    8
  37. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Make the argument for why tiny Israel should give back the Sinai, but we should not give back the Rio Grande Valley.

    Well, you could ask the people who actually live in the RGV. And now ask the Palestianians.

    (And the Sinai already went back to Egypt, actually)

    You mean our rich, secure friends in Beverly Hills don’t have bars on their windows? Huh.

    “Our rich, secure friends in Beverly Hills” live pretty securely because most of them – by now, at least – learned not to piss off their neighbors by stealing their land.

    Pretty strong blaming-the-victim vibes here….

    6
  38. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Make the argument for why tiny Israel should give back the Sinai, but we should not give back the Rio Grande Valley.”

    So I guess you approve of Putin trying to take Ukraine and any other Baltic state he wants. I mean, our our genocide of Native Americans excuses Israel’s colonization, how can it not excuse Putin’s? And while we’re at it, why shouldn’t Belgium take the Congo back?

    8
  39. wr says:

    The quoted article would have made more sense if Bari Weiss hadn’t cut off the first couple of lines: “Dear Penthouse, I never thought this would happen to me…”

    4
  40. SKI says:

    @drj:

    There is full-fledged apartheid in the occupied territories.

    And the Occupied Territories aren’t Israel.

    I’m pretty sure Desmond Tutu knew what he was talking about.

    If you notice with Bishop Tutu said, he was talking about the treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories being horrible and reminiscent of how blacks in S.A. under apartheid were treated. And by and large, he is correct. The treatment *is* horrible.

    That doesn’t make Israel itself an apartheid state unless you are conceding the Likudnik position that Judea and Samaria are in fact part of Israel. @MarkedMan:

    And pretending that All the Palestinians whose lives are defined and controlled by he Israelis are citizens is just?

    Say what? I’m not in any way defending the treatment of the Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza. I’m pretty vocal about criticizing it. But the reality is that Israel has Arab citizens who have full rights and vote and serve in the Knesset and even holding ministry positions in the current government. something none of its neighbors can say about the Jews in their lands – who they mostly forcibly expelled.

    Collapsing it down to Israel = uniquely bad or solely responsible is stupid and wrong. Israel is far from perfect and their actions in the Occupied Territories are shameful but they aren’t uniquely bad and the issues can’t be boiled down to simple racism or religious bigotry given the actual facts on the ground. The reality is that both the Israelis and Palestinians own responsibility for the past 50 years.

    @Modulo Myself:

    Even Gaza was a clusterfuck made by American and Israeli policy.

    No, Gaza was “made” by Egypt in the 20 years from ’48 to ’67
    (and sorta again when they refused to take Gaza back with the Sinai in 1980).

    They, like Jordan in the West Bank and the other Arab states, deliberately kept the displaced refugees in camps and prevented them from establishing normal lives. In sharp and stark contrast with the Jewish refugees who went in the other direction having been expelled from their homes in Arab countries. They used them like political pawns and we are still paying for it.

    1
  41. DK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    … that whole paragraph was beneath you.

    Or typical, predictable, and par the course lol

    2
  42. SKI says:

    @DK:

    The reason American critics of Israel (which include a not insignificant number of Jews, who have to be erased because they don’t fit the lazy “they’re just a bunch of anti-Semites” deflection narrative) are more prominent than American critics of Nicaragua (lol), is the same reason American critics of Boris Johnson were more prominent than American critics of Viktor Orhan, a far worse leader. Betrayal of values by your close friends grabs your attention more than that by strangers.

    Well, as one of those progressive Jews who is quite willing to criticize Israel, let me correct you here. Antisemitism absolutely is the major reason Israel gets singled out for the attention it currently does. I can tell because the negative attention isn’t launched at the Israeli embassy in DC but at local Jewish people and organizations.

    And the comments made are very often the classic antisemitic tropes only lightly modified by having “Zionist” replacing “Jew”.

    5
  43. SKI says:

    Since I’m on a roll…

    From the OP:

    I don’t have time to research each of these incidents but we’re a country of 330 million with hundreds of colleges and universities; a handful of incidents over the course of several years isn’t shocking.

    Jews make up 1.3% of the population. That there are 14 bullets, some documenting multiple incidents, over just the last few years all attacking such a small minority damn well better be shocking.

    5
  44. SKI says:

    @DK:

    But screaming “You hate Jews!!!11!!!” is better when you want what is happening to keep happening.

    Strawman much?

    Pointing out that much criticism of Israel is (a) often couched in classic antisemitic language and (b) that aiming it at random Jews, not Israel, is itself antisemitic isn’t screaming that anyone hates anyone.

    I don’t think James hates Jews. I do think he blithely engaged in antisemitic behavior by considering Jews in America as appropriate targets of anti-Israel or pro-Palestine activity.

    How about you deal with that, not some strawman?

  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    You missed the point. I don’t approve of giving back the RGV and I don’t obsess over the West Bank. See? That’s a consistent POV. Unlike progressives who have no problem with keeping a billion square miles of stolen land – because it was stole by good ol’ Christian white folk – but lie awake nights worrying about the sliver that Israel took.

    @drj:

    Well, you could ask the people who actually live in the RGV. And now ask the Palestinians.

    Right. Let’s poll the conquerors – that’d be Americans in the RGV – on the fate of the land we stole. And that is the same as polling the Palestinians? Chad? Becky? Should we let the Mexicans take back the river? Seems fair.

    @MarkedMan:

    While we give significant but much smaller amounts to Egypt it is worth noting that it is predominantly for two reasons: protecting access to oil (which Israeli cannot help us with) and maintaining a peace deal with Israel.

    Our largest foreign aid recipients:
    Afghanistan ($4.89 billion) (Needs updating)
    Israel ($3.3 billion)
    Jordan ($1.72 billion)
    Egypt ($1.46 billion)
    Iraq ($960 million)
    Ethiopia ($922 million)
    Yemen ($809 million)
    Colombia ($800 million)

    Tell me, which of those countries has a better human rights record than Israel?

    Also, it is simplistic to say that we buy off Egypt and Jordan to stop them attacking Israel, we buy them off so they don’t provoke a war with a nuclear-armed Israel. Because that could go south very quickly. We buy them off to stop them committing suicide.

    If you were here, reading a commentator with a strong concern for crime, and they insisted on focusing only on Black crime, you’d see more clearly. The progressive obsession with Israel – not Egypt, not Ethiopia, not Congo or Cuba, not the KSA, not any number of human rights horror shows – is not accidental or coincidental. If human rights were the concern there are more pressing examples. If human rights in countries we support were the concern, we’d see much more concern about Egypt or Ethiopia.

    But those countries don’t have Jews. And as European chauvinists we expect ‘those people’ to be bad because they’re, well, you know. The soft bigotry of low expectations. No, we are a tiny bit concerned about the horrific human rights situation in Egypt but WAY MORE concerned about the Jewish state. Would it be fair to say that progressives are a hundred times more concerned about human rights in Israel than in Egypt? A thousand times more? But by your reasoning Egypt gets a pass because somehow that, too, is Israel’s fault. One standard for the world, another standard for Israel.

    5
  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    @DK:
    Were you capable of making reasoned arguments you wouldn’t have to descend to ad hominem attacks on me.

    But to be fair, it’s not just you. Frankly the ease with which @SKI and I are blowing up the usual justifications for singling Israel out, is surprising. It reveals people acting on untested assumptions, not really able to engage on the facts because they’ve never had to face questions.

    4
  47. DK says:

    @SKI:

    Antisemitism absolutely is the major reason Israel gets singled out for the attention it currently does.

    A reason? Yes? The major reason? Not for all. For many, our criticisms of Israel would evaporate along with Israel’s hard right turn and resultant human rights brutality.

    Are your criticisms of Israel rooted in anti-Semitism? No? Well, you are not the only person operating in good faith. It would be nice if Israel would give us the opportunity to find out who the reflexive anti-Semites are by improving its policies.

    As to Israel being “singled out,” China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, and the United States of America would like a word.

    Just did a gay cruise in the Mediterranean — met Russians, Ukranians, Israelis, Arabs, Americans, Iranians, Iraqis etc among the passengers (no North Koreans tho).

    Everyone got along. Touching to see Russians draped in their flag dancing with Ukranians in yellow and blue speedos at the “Where Are You From?” tea dance.

    Except one night my friends from San Francisco returned from a dining room, upset the Spaniards they’d been randomly seated with refused to speak. My friends wondered about “anti-American hate.”

    I responded, “Strong possibility. But given the last six years, would you want to speak to us? I also came here to escape Americans and our bulls**t.” Haters gonna hate, but we need to clean up our semi-fascism.

    Putin and a majority of his countrymen are also insisting they’re being singled out, and mostly because of “Russophobia.”

    Yes, Mr. Putin, Red Scare bigots have been around awhile. So have assholes. And did you know victims of bigotry can also be indefensible assholes?

    6
  48. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Oh yes, we know how you eschew ad hominem attacks lol. Which, by the way, is not defined as “someone who isn’t intimidated by me saying things I don’t like to hear.”

    But, no worries, you’re winning the argument with ease, like you always are, according to you, the Resident Legend In His Own Mind. Only you (and, conveniently, those who agree with you, go figure) are making fact-based points. Everybody else is just making it all up.

    Go with that, Daddy.

    9
  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner:

    But, yes, I simultaneously think Zionism and democracy are mutually incompatible…

    I used to think things like this but have become more wary of being willing to put “democracy” in the “less worse” column because it is more moral than other systems. It’s possible for a society to agree democratically that, for example, individuals from some group or another will be counted as 3/5 of a citizen for census purposes while not actually being citizens at all. And while South Africa may well have been better than average on human right (which may only indicate how pitifully low the bar is, I dunno), apartheid was still what it was. And still agreed to among the people who voted (which is a whole nutha question that can still be “democratic” as long as the majority agrees, with the proviso that political power counts more heavily than numbers is some questions of majority).

    I still believe that democracy is the most least bad of the systems, though; I’m just also aware of how fine a line between exists between least worst and just the same as everybody else.

    4
  50. DK says:

    @SKI:

    How about you deal with that, not some strawman?

    Except it’s not a strawman. The person I responded to skipped right over addressing whether or not Israeli policy towards Palestine is right, to ‘progressives hate Jews.’ He can backtrack, and you can obsfucate, but unfortunately for you both, we can read.

    And for the record, you still are not addressing Israeli human rights policy. Just like I said.

    As to me being obligated to “deal with” your own strawman argument? Lol nope.

    I don’t see Dr. Joyner saying anywhere that any of the cited incidents were appropriate. I think that is itself a strawman argument.

    So if you want to charge Dr. Joyner with anti-Semitism, how about you serve that accusation to him directly, with education and counterargument, like an adult and like I do when I take issue with what he posts? Rather than trying to get me to make the charge for you, like a coward.

    6
  51. SKI says:

    @DK:

    A reason? Yes? The major reason? Not for all. For many, our criticisms of Israel would evaporate when Israeli human rights brutality.

    Really? I don’t believe you. Because you don’t criticize other countries with far worse human rights records.

    China is literally committing genocide against the Uyghurs. Rounding them up in camps. Where is the BDS movement for China?

    Dozens of countries prohibit rights to women.

    Same with prohibiting religious freedom.

    How many imprison or execute LGTBQ?

    None of that exists in Israel.

    The problem with Israel, and it is a real problem, is that Israel occupied the West Bank & Gaza in ’67 and doesn’t know what to do with them. Particularly when there are organized groups, in Gaza in particular, that keep on launching terror attacks into Israel. And 50 years of conflict has created true hate on both sides. It is a complete mess. And no one has a good solution. Anyone who claims that there is an easy fix is ignorant or deceitful.

    I don’t care that you and your peers had a lovely cruise and all got along.

    I care that my family and community are being attacked for being Jews. That we have to discuss whether we, in a blue state, can afford to keep employing off duty cops or whether we can get away with volunteer parents during Hebrew school on Sunday mornings. That we have to keep the doors locks during services and have someone not able to fully join the service because they have to be watching the cameras to buzz people in, or not.

    That hate crimes against Jews in this country are both increasing in frequency and mostly ignore

    That antisemitism is the hate crime that social media tolerates.

    4
  52. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Right. Let’s poll the conquerors – that’d be Americans in the RGV

    My apologies. I assumed you were aware of the demographics in the RGV – it’s about 90% Hispanic.

    So no, you wouldn’t be polling the conquerors.

    3
  53. Hal_10000 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I would add to this that if you’re concerned about the rights of Palestinians, you should be just as mad at Egypt and Jordan as you are against Israel. Egypt also enforces the embargo on Gaza. Jordan denied the Palestinians any territory and engaged in brutal suppression for decades. Both have supported destructive elements in Palestine. Yet we only hear Israel criticized on that front. Funny that.

    9
  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “‘Splain that moral structure to me. Tell me why presumably backward Cuba is exempt from progressive criticism.”

    Could be that it’s wiser to save one’s fire for targets that can be hit. It may be possible to leverage Begin over becoming a pariah whereas Castro was a pariah for 3 generations and didn’t care anymore.

    Could be that focusing on Cuba, already a pariah state impoverished by global isolation and trade embargoes represents “punching down.”

    Could be that progressives have sentimental attachments for Cuba and believe that if the rest of the world stopped treating it like a pariah nation, it would stop being one. A point on which they may not be wrong, I dunno.

    Could be that objections to Israel’s behavior are performance signaling hypocrisy.

    Pick the one you want or make up your own.

    2
  55. SKI says:

    @DK:

    So if you want to charge Dr. Joyner with anti-Semitism, how about you serve that accusation to him directly, with education and counterargument, like an adult and like I do when I take issue with what he posts? Rather than trying to get me to make the charge for you, like a coward.

    I did address him directly.

    You are still not addressing anything of substance and continue to use ad hominem attacks. Are you a coward? Or just a prick?

    3
  56. SKI says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Could be that it’s wiser to save one’s fire for targets that can be hit. It may be possible to leverage Begin over becoming a pariah whereas Castro was a pariah for 3 generations and didn’t care anymore.

    Could be that focusing on Cuba, already a pariah state impoverished by global isolation and trade embargoes represents “punching down.”

    Could be that progressives have sentimental attachments for Cuba and believe that if the rest of the world stopped treating it like a pariah nation, it would stop being one. A point on which they may not be wrong, I dunno.

    Could be that objections to Israel’s behavior are performance signaling hypocrisy.

    Or, most consistent with facts and evidence, it could be the antisemitism.

    2
  57. dazedandconfused says:

    @Andy:

    And there were Jewish communities in most of the ME and MENA. Have been for a great many centuries. What ended most of them, with the interesting exception of Iran, was the foundation of Israel after WW2. Particularly the ancient communities of Yemen.

    By all rights, they should’ve been given a big chunk of Germany, not the ME. Yet today we all “know” that any opposition to Israel is anti-Semitism.

    1
  58. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Frankly the ease with which @SKI and I are blowing up the usual justifications for singling Israel out, is surprising

    I don’t think you are being nearly as effective as you think .

    You are conflating three issues:
    1) Anti-semitism in general and within the progressive and liberal community specifically. You are absolutely right. There is a huge problem with direct anti-Semitism. It is dangerous. And there is an equally huge problem with tolerating anti-Semitism by people because they are part of oppressed groups, such as the blatant and horrible anti-Semitism by people in the Nation of Islam.

    2) Whether the US should expect more from Israel because of how much more we invest in their safety. I don’t know what you think you proved with your chart, but it shows that the top three foreign aid recipients all concern Israel (and to be fair, in Egypts case, oil as well), and Israel is usually the top US military assistance as well, with Jordan and Egypt moving around within the top five. And the US State Department and virtually every President since Carter has spent astounding amounts of political capital and time on Israel. Given all this, comparing expectations from Ethiopia to our expectations from Israel is just completely absurd.

    3) The right of Israel to exist vs the right of Israel not to have to fight against the Palestinians. Israel exists by the Right of Conquest as does the US, Australia, and virtually every other country formed before 1945. Israel falls just at the borderline of what is considered the accepted end of that right (Nuremburg), but the formal end didn’t happen until the 1970’s, with the passage of a UN resolution. So however we view the Right of Conquest today, Israel has just as much (or as little, depending on which end of the stick you got) right to exist as the US or any other RoC nation. More importantly, Israel has existed on much of that land for multiple generations and, in my opinion, once someone is born in a place they have a right to be there and if there are conflicts there is an obligation to work that out. All that said, though, Israel isn’t centuries old with those whose land was taken passed from memory, and Israel continues to add to their land by conquest. They rule over millions of Palestinians with the barrel of a gun and those people have no rights, no citizenship, and can have their homes and farms stolen from them at the whim of some tiny Israeli political party needed to reach a majority. This is an extremely difficult problem and I have to admit that the Israeli government’s recent position of aligning itself with the Republican Party and interfering with US elections has led me to cavalierly say – “Hey, they want to support enemies of the country? Let’s take our aid and our State Department and our Presidential delegations and let these intractable enemies fight it out. Neither of them offer any strategic benefit and both of them come with nothing but trouble.” I know we can’t do that because it would end in disaster, but slogging it out for another two or three generations just seems less and less worth the effort.

    8
  59. DK says:

    @SKI:

    I don’t believe you. Because you don’t criticize other countries with far worse human rights records.

    You may have delusions of omniscience, but sorry, you don’t get to blatantly lie about me. The notion that I only criticize Israel’s human rights record — let alone more than those of Russia, China and United States — is just a flat out, bold faced, Trump-level lie. Laughably wrong.

    Based on that, I can confidently say couldn’t care less what you believe, since you believe crap you just make up.

    I don’t care that you and your peers had a lovely cruise and all got along.

    Of course you don’t. You’re clearly self-absorbed, so why would you? I don’t care that you don’t care. I care, as did the thousands of people there. And your anger and self-important bitterness cannot take away the beauty of that moment.

    I care that my family and community are being attacked for being Jews.

    Yes, it’s a scary time in America, and I fear for my Jewish chosen family, as well as my Asian and trans friends. Even while we blacks and gays are facing white supremacist and antigay terror, white supremacist mass shootings, white supremacist bomb threats to HBCUs, black church bombings, and increasing anti-LGBT hate crime, I still manage to care about what’s happening to groups other than my own.

    How sad for you, that you are incapable of the same. But how happy I am the many Jews I know lack your selfish myopia.

    8
  60. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I may be the only person here who’s had direct dealing with Students for Justice in Palestine. While I’m sure most of them aren’t anti-Semitic, some of them are rabidly so, to the point of emailing death threats to Jewish students who are known to be pro-Israel.

    3
  61. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, I see a lot of parallels in this conversation with Michael and with previous conversations involving Beth and Stormy. A discussion that is largely theoretical for many involved, an intellectual exercise if you will, with people who are deeply and personally affected by the things under discussion. “Why can’t they just be reasonable and see my point?” “Why do they have to get so emotional about it?”

    Even when I don’t agree, I understand that the stakes are different for me then for them.

    4
  62. SKI says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    By all rights, they should’ve been given a big chunk of Germany, not the ME. Yet today we all “know” that any opposition to Israel is anti-Semitism.

    ???
    The majority of Jewish Israelis trace their heritage to, as you allude to the ME and MENA. Why should they be given a big chunk of Germany?

    And how does that preceding bit lead to either the last sentence of its scare quotes?

    2
  63. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Look, you don’t have to convince me that a lot of Palestinians and Palestinian sympathizers are bigots. But “whataboutism” isn’t the end of any argument.

    4
  64. SKI says:

    @DK: I’ll be glad to acknowledge I don’t know you personally and that the “you” in that context may be read to be meant generally, not you personally.

    Despite how you have posted in this thread, perhaps you are the rare unicorn that criticizes countries in actual relevance to their misdeeds. Of course, given how you describe folks in this thread, myself included, I’m skeptical.

    2
  65. DK says:

    @SKI:

    You are still not addressing anything of substance and continue to use ad hominem attacks. Are you a coward? Or just a prick?

    No ad hominem attack here, right? Were you born a raging hyuocrite, or did you work at it?

    Of course, my argument of “not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, and here’s why” is substantive. The substance is why my comments triggered you, though they weren’t even originally addressed to you.

    You’re just a hypocrite, a hysteric, and a liar who can’t handle opposing opinions. But a blank check to lie about me, that you don’t get.

    3
  66. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Oh, I’m not. I was describing the personal experience I had with SJP.

    1
  67. SKI says:

    @CSK:

    I may be the only person here who’s had direct dealing with Students for Justice in Palestine. While I’m sure most of them aren’t anti-Semitic, some of them are rabidly so, to the point of emailing death threats to Jewish students who are known to be pro-Israel.

    Couple of thoughts:
    1. Please don’t hyphenate antisemitism.

    2. I can agree that most of them don’t hate Jews. But that doesn’t mean that they all don’t engage in antisemitism when they protest directly to American Jews and demand they answer for Israel.

    Doing something bad or wrong doesn’t require intent and doesn’t mean people are “bad”. I think James did conflate Jews with Israel in his OP. I don’t think he hates Jews or is a bad person. By the same token that doesn’t mean that a lack of bad intention means that the harm didn’t happen.

    2
  68. SKI says:

    @DK:

    Of course, my argument of “not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, and here’s why” is substantive. The substance is why my comments triggered you, though they weren’t even originally addressed to you.

    You didn’t make an argument. You made an assertion. An assertion that is contradicted by facts.

    You’re just a hypocrite, a hysteric, and a liar who can’t handle opposing opinions. But a blank check to lie about me, that you don’t get.

    I’m not lying. I’m reacting to your posting style in a negative way and reciprocating, as I shouldn’t, to your name calling with name calling of my own . I have years (and years) on this blog to establish my credibility. I may get things wrong but I don’t lie. I deal in facts ( often with way too many cites).

    You called people names and made unsupported assertions that things weren’t antisemitic because… well, you never actually got around to saying why.

    You claim Israel isn’t singled out but there were 19 UN Resolutions relating to human rights in 2021. 14 were aimed at Israel. Only 5 addressed other countries and no other country got more than 1. I hope we can all agree that while Israel is far from perfect, it isn’t the most egregious human rights offender on the planet today, let alone 14 times worse than any other country. So explain the discrepancy without the impact of centuries of antisemitism.

    3
  69. Andy says:

    I have a lot of criticisms of Israel, its policies, and particularly the nature of its relationship with the United States. But MR and SKI are exactly right that there is a double standard, not only when it comes to Israel itself but also in terms of what does and doesn’t count as racism.

    Michael and Ski have already noted the hypocrisy in terms of policy and how Israel is singled out for “apartheid” policies while no other country, particularly those that are worse – including what passes for Palestinian governance – gets that label.

    But that isn’t the only hypocrisy here because charges of racism when it comes to BDS also have a different standard.

    As one example, if we set the Wayback machine just a couple of years ago when Covid got going, there was a huge concern among progressives that we shouldn’t talk about anything that could remotely cause any bad feelings toward the Chinese people or government because that might cause racist attacks against Americans of Chinese descent or Asians generally. This was taken to an absurd level by suppressing the lab-leak theory and calling it a blatantly racist idea that would result in racist attacks here in the US.

    But there is no such caution when it comes to criticizing Israel or Zionism. The hairs are split in a substantially different manner, and the argument is in the opposite direction – that criticizing Israel, its policies, and Zionism can and never should be construed as anti-Semitic. And there is zero concern that attacking Zionism and Israel could ever result in more attacks on Jews here in the US. And this is without even considering how often the BDS arguments trip over in incontrovertible racism. Indeed, the BDS movement does very little to separate issues of policy and does little to quell actual racist anti-Semites in its ranks.

    4
  70. CSK says:

    @SKI:
    Thanks for the note about antisemitism.

    What I can tell you about SJP is that some of them were the most vocal antisemites I’ve ever heard, to the point that they made a lot of my colleagues, Jewish or not, extremely uneasy, not to speak of the students who received death threats.

    3
  71. Andy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    By all rights, they should’ve been given a big chunk of Germany, not the ME. Yet today we all “know” that any opposition to Israel is anti-Semitism.

    Depends on what you mean by “opposition to Israel.” Considering your statement right before that, one might interpret that as suggesting the Israeli state should cease to exist.

    2
  72. Andy says:

    @SKI:

    1. Please don’t hyphenate antisemitism.

    I learned something new today, thanks!

    2
  73. dazedandconfused says:

    @Andy:

    All but certainly it will be, but I said it should exist on the land acquired from the people who slaughtered them, which is nowhere close to saying a state of Israel should not exist.

  74. SKI says:

    @dazedandconfused: So… we get everyone’s land?

    4
  75. Gustopher says:

    There are a hell of a lot of antisemites on the left, hiding out under cover of BDS. The Israeli government going so right wing with the waves of Russian immigrants, and then aligning with the Republican Party in the US doesn’t help with that.

    When you’re against occupation, right wing assholes and Republicans, it’s pretty easy to find common ground with those who add in a dash of antisemitism. It’s the Internet meme of “worst person in the world has a really good point.”

    Israel also punches way above its weight in American politics, and as an ally. Egypt and similar countries listed by Mr. Reynolds aren’t really part of our national discourse except when things go wrong. No one of either party is saying that there will be no daylight between their Middle East policies and Jordan.

    That’s a big difference that the folks who say “the only reason we care about Israel’s human rights abuses over Saudi Arabia’s is antisemitism” gloss over. Israel put themselves in that spotlight.

    (Plus, Saudi Arabia has oil, China is huge, Russia is a major nuclear power… and Israel is small and ostensibly an ally. We should be able to exercise more influence over a small ally)

    Meanwhile, what do we get for all our support of Israel? Just on a purely transactional basis, are we getting a good return on our investment of money and political capital?

    Netanyahu screwed over his country when he embraced Republicans. He made support for Israel a partisan issue.

    6
  76. dazedandconfused says:

    @SKI:

    The Jewish people of Europe have been there for well over a thousand years. Claiming land rights from such a stretch of time, across that many generations, seems a bit ridiculous, does it not?

    2
  77. dazedandconfused says:

    @SKI:

    Germany isn’t everyone. I don’t understand your meaning.

    1
  78. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan:

    FWIW, I see a lot of parallels in this conversation with Michael and with previous conversations involving Beth and Stormy. A discussion that is largely theoretical for many involved, an intellectual exercise if you will, with people who are deeply and personally affected by the things under discussion. “Why can’t they just be reasonable and see my point?” “Why do they have to get so emotional about it?”

    An apt observation. I would also note that the difference in knowledge of the realities between those to whom this isn’t merely an intellectual exercise and those who it is is worlds apart. The rest off us cannot begin to comprehend the true realities of transgender life in this country like someone who has done through it like Beth. Similarly, those to whom antisemitism or Israel is something they read about in the news occasionally won’t have the depth of knowledge of those of us who have spent decades having to defend ourselves when attacked (plus, in my case, from writing a year-long honors thesis on the Arab-Israeli peace process from ’48 to ’80 as seen through the theories of Robert Gilpin – an experience that convinced me that I did not want to go on to get my PhD and go into academia).

    2
  79. SKI says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    The Jewish people of Europe have been there for well over a thousand years. Claiming land rights from such a stretch of time, across that many generations, seems a bit ridiculous, does it not?

    A majority of Jews in Israel, about 61%, are Mizrahi. That is they come from the Middle East. They don’t come from Europe. They’ve been there.

    @dazedandconfused:

    Germany isn’t everyone. I don’t understand your meaning.

    I was being flip but also bitter as we Jews have seen persecution and death across the globe. The Nazis used technology better but the Shoah wasn’t something new.

    4
  80. Gustopher says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    By all rights, they should’ve been given a big chunk of Germany, not the ME. Yet today we all “know” that any opposition to Israel is anti-Semitism.

    Do you think there weren’t a lot of Jews in Israel before 1946?

    Personally, I would like to solve the Jewish homeland problem by using one of our spare Dakotas and a lot of eminent domain.

    Chop off a section for the Native Americans, as we have seen that Israel doesn’t play well with other ethnicities, plus we want to ensure that there is a Jewish state after N generations of differing birth rates (a problem Israel is currently facing with Arab Israelis, if I am not mistaken). But then shove the Spare Dakotans into Other Dakota, and then airlift over the Israelis, the temples, and that wall they’re so fond of. If they want to say God gave them the land, we can bring over some dirt.

    What’s the point of having two Dakotas? Why are we hoarding all the Dakotas, when we could share?

    If the Israeli Jews would prefer a desert climate, there might be parts of Arizona that make sense, but I suggest just waiting for global warming to take care of that climate issue…

    I call this Dakota-Zionism.

    2
  81. SKI says:

    Quick point because I’ve seen a number of folks reference Bibi Netanyahu at various points. Bibi is a complete asshole but he isn’t in power anymore (and may it stay that way). Citing him for reasons to hate Israel is like citing Trump for the US or Boris for the UK.

    ____________
    @Gustopher:

    Israel also punches way above its weight in American politics, and as an ally.

    Israel put themselves in that spotlight

    Take a look at the cites to I linked in this comment. It is more American Christians that are to “blame” than Jews or Israel.

    (And it also addresses your Dakota theory)

    1
  82. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI:

    Please don’t hyphenate antisemitism

    Take it up with my autocorrect! (Hmm. Autocorrects to a hyphen on my PC in Chrome but not on my iPhone on Safari)

  83. Lounsbury says:

    @Andy:

    The Palestinian movement also used to have an inclusive Christian presence, but that is now almost gone as well as Palestinian Christians have been discriminated against and forced out.

    Being in the position to know actual Palestinian Xians and leadership, in place and in Gulf and in UK, Canada etc, I always find such statements quite sourly amusing.

    @James Joyner:

    there’s likely no better country in the Middle East to live if you’re a poor Arab than Israel.

    equally this kind of statement.

    Rather reminds one of the 1950s/60s observations that the American negro was so much better off economically in American than in West or Central Africa.

    1
  84. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Unlike progressives who have no problem with keeping a billion square miles of stolen land – because it was stole by good ol’ Christian white folk – but lie awake nights worrying about the sliver that Israel took.”

    You’re better and smarter than to resort to such silly straw men.

    And I think you’re also better and smarter than to reduce the truly tragic situation in Israel — no matter which side you feel is justified — to just another opportunity to attack progressives. You’re beginning to argue like a Trumpie — you don’t care what side you take of any issue as long as you can use it to make your perceived enemies squirm. It’s beneath you.

    4
  85. steve says:

    Because some other countries are worse, we cant criticize Israel? Got it. Its why I generally avoid talking about Israel. Any criticism is automatically called antisemitism. Which seems like a double standard of sorts to me. You can criticize other countries and people are (sometimes) willing to discuss the criticism based upon its merits. Not with Israel. Maybe it would help if the pro-Israel people would make a list of things that can be discussed without being antisemitic.

    Steve

    9
  86. wr says:

    @SKI: “The majority of Jewish Israelis trace their heritage to, as you allude to the ME and MENA. Why should they be given a big chunk of Germany?”

    Pretty sure it has something to do with the way the German government treated the Jews of Europe during the 30s and 40s — that would be taking the land of the people who stole their lands and property and giving it to them as recompense.

    Not expressing an opinion on whether this would have been a good idea, but it seems pretty self-explanatory…

    3
  87. DK says:

    @SKI:

    You didn’t make an argument. You made an assertion. An assertion that is contradicted by facts.

    Well, at least you graduated from the lie I was only offering ad hominem attacks to playing silly, distinction-without-difference sementical games parsing “assertion” and “argument.” I mean, really.

    I’m not lying… I have years (and years) on this blog to establish my credibility.

    Whether this is your first time, or whether this comment section’s penchant for wagon circling and circle jerk has not noticed, I can’t speak to. (Except to say maybe the closed loop here was overdue for fresh outlooks.) But yes, you’ve repeatedly lied about me and you still are. To wit:

    You called people names and made unsupported assertions that things weren’t antisemitic because… well, you never actually got around to saying why.

    Hypocrisy and lies. You called me a “prick.” I didn’t whine about it because big whoop, but please cut the phony holier-than-thou act.

    And no, I died not say amorphous, undefined “things” weren’t antisemitic, please stop lying about me sir. I absolutely did explain why not all critique of Israeli policy is bad faith or antisemitic. Yes, I did. You cannot gaslight me. It’s all written right up there.

    You claim Israel isn’t singled out but there were 19 UN Resolutions relating to human rights in 2021. 14 were aimed at Israel. Only 5 addressed other countries and no other country got more than 1. I hope we can all agree that while Israel is far from perfect, it isn’t the most egregious human rights offender on the planet today, let alone 14 times worse than any other country. So explain the discrepancy without the impact of centuries of antisemitism.

    I don’t have to explain the UN discrepancy, because I didn’t bring the UN into the discussion. You did. I’m not moving the goalposts to make the UN the be all, end all. You are.

    Russia, the US, China, Saudi Arabia (especially these) but also North Korea, Iran, and India are among states that are routinely and roundly criticized in American life, politics, and media for their human rights records.

    If you want to now say, “Israel is unfairly targeted for UN criticism,” cool. But nobody here is part of BDS (as far as I know) and certainly no one here wrote that Israel is the world’s worst on human rights.

    So to play super special victim by pretending Israel is the only country facing major human rights blowback here, or on the political left or right, or in everyday American/Western life, is just deeply dishonest.

    5
  88. wr says:

    @Andy: ” This was taken to an absurd level by suppressing the lab-leak theory and calling it a blatantly racist idea that would result in racist attacks here in the US.”

    You cleverly omit the fact that the “lab-leak theory” was a lie spread by Trump’s minions to try to absolve him of the blame for his mishandling of the pandemic.

    9
  89. SKI says:

    @steve:

    Because some other countries are worse, we cant criticize Israel? Got it. Its why I generally avoid talking about Israel. Any criticism is automatically called antisemitism. Which seems like a double standard of sorts to me. You can criticize other countries and people are (sometimes) willing to discuss the criticism based upon its merits. Not with Israel. Maybe it would help if the pro-Israel people would make a list of things that can be discussed without being antisemitic.

    1.

    1. You need reading comprehension. I’ve probably been the most prolific poster today and I have repeatedly said that Israel absolutely does wrong in the Occupied Territories. But the reality is that Israel is treated differently than other countries in ways that are not explained by its behavior.

    2. If you are serious in not understanding and actually want to, try to think of it this way.

    There is a class with 20 children in it. Every day they have a variety of behaviors. Some good, some bad. No one is ever perfect and no one is always the worst.

    Every day, there are 3 children who are praised and three that are criticized. The children praised are evenly distributed, just like their behavior. The children criticized, however, always include one boy. Objectively, he isn’t the worst but, somehow, he is always included in the criticism group. He also is noticeably different from the rest of the class in some non-behavior way (pick your characteristic of choice, skin color, name, dress, diet, etc). And there is a long history of people with that characteristic being discriminated against.

    If you were an observer, or a relative, would you think that it is improper to point out that that boy is being unfairly treated. On the days he is criticized, there definitely was something he did wrong because each child did something wrong every day. So is the pattern fair? Or would you believe that it couldn’t be chance that the boy was criticized each and every day for the same behaviors as the rest of his class? That it was his differences, not his behavior, that resulted in the criticism each and every day.

    Now add in that other people with his same distinguishing characteristic are approached in the street and asked to defend the boy’s behavior.

    Remind me who is using a double standard?

    2
  90. Gustopher says:

    @SKI:

    a number of folks reference Bibi Netanyahu at various points. Bibi is a complete asshole but he isn’t in power anymore (and may it stay that way). Citing him for reasons to hate Israel is like citing Trump for the US or Boris for the UK.

    The policies changed under Netanyahu and there has been no effort to dial them back, so he seems like the relevant figure to cite, even now.

    And I would absolutely cite Trump for US politics, given his continued dominance over half the country, and the clear fact that there’s a very strong change that within 8 years we will have another Trumpist administration. The US hasn’t reigned in what Trump unleashed — we’re barely holding it back for the moment.

    (And as far as Britain goes, I have no idea whether there are Boris lovers missing up their hair, or whether they have gotten to the point where cruelty is a virtue — I suspect not)

    Your link assumes the early 1900s matter more than the present. Zionism is very much Jewish mainstream now, even if it wasn’t back then. Was a Jewish state a possibility back then? Not really. Was there a reason to believe that there was an existential threat to Jews if there wasn’t? In hindsight, yes, but I doubt most thought it was likely at the time.

    And I have no problem with Zionism, as peoples should have the right to self-determination, and if they want their own country where they are the majority, sure, why not?

    I do have a problem with the current policies of Israel. Their only ways forward right now are: a two state solution (which Netanyahu did his utmost to destroy any possibility of), a minority rule Jewish state, and no Jewish state.

    (Or genocide, I suppose — wipe out the Arabs in Israel and you have a majority Jewish state. Or a breeding program)

    My Dakota-Zionism is mostly a joke, but I have yet to see a more realistic alternative that results in a majority Jewish state that respects human rights.

    5
  91. SKI says:

    @Gustopher:

    I do have a problem with the current policies of Israel. Their only ways forward right now are: a two state solution (which Netanyahu did his utmost to destroy any possibility of), a minority rule Jewish state, and no Jewish state.

    Again, that is not the policy of the current government. Lapid is very much in favor of a two state solution. That said, it takes two sides. While Israel under Bibi wasn’t a credible partner, the Palestinians have not been either. Bibi wasn’t the only one trying to destroy a 2 state solution. Anytime there is a hint of peaceful progress, attacks from Gaza start again.

    (Or genocide, I suppose — wipe out the Arabs in Israel and you have a majority Jewish state. Or a breeding program)

    Why are you suggesting genocide will go in that direction. Only 40% of Palestinians would support a two state solution. Their stated preference is to wipe Israel off the map – and the resulting Palestinian state would not accord equal rights.

    These numbers are not the same as popular support for a single state “from the river to the sea” with equal rights accorded to Arab and Jewish citizens, as in recent international proposals. In 2020 polls, only about 10 percent of West Bank and Gazan respondents favored this option over either a Palestinian state or two states.

    3
  92. dazedandconfused says:

    @Gustopher:

    I am quite aware of the Jewish communities in the Levant, did you not read my comment about Jewish communities broadly scattered about the ME and MENA?

  93. Matt Bernius says:

    @SKI:

    Well, as one of those progressive Jews who is quite willing to criticize Israel, let me correct you here. Antisemitism absolutely is the major reason Israel gets singled out for the attention it currently does. I can tell because the negative attention isn’t launched at the Israeli embassy in DC but at local Jewish people and organizations.

    You are definitely identifying a real issue.

    It definitely speaks to the complexity and meaning of Israel as a Jewish state (something that Netanyahu’s government further codified in 2018 with the “Jewish Nation-State” law). Without a doubt, antisemitism plays a major role in attacks on Israel. And at the same time, I think it also possible to see how ignorant people also blur the line between Israel as a nation and the Jewish people as a whole (especially when in Israel’s position, many if not all outside of Israel are living in diaspora).

    And your point above about the desecration of graveyards and Synygouges in “political protest” all stand (as is asking every Jewish person to declare their stance on this topic).

  94. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI:

    Lapid is very much in favor of a two state solution.

    Unless I missed some very brief one, every government of Israel for the past three decades, including this one, has continued to take seize the homes and farms of Palestinians, evict them at gunpoint, give the land to Israeli citizens, subsidize them to build on it, and send soldiers to guard them against the evicted Palestinians. Some of them gave lip service to the idea of a two state solution but as demonstrated by their actions, that was just talk.

    5
  95. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI:

    Why are you suggesting genocide will go in that direction. Only 40% of Palestinians would support a two state solution. Their stated preference is to wipe Israel off the map – and the resulting Palestinian state would not accord equal rights.

    Yep. I don’t see much peace or justice coming from the Palestinians either. That’s why it’s so tempting to say “a pox on both their houses” and walk away.

    2
  96. Dawn says:

    I could write fervently and at great length on this subject since I’ve been studying the IP problem for some 30 years, but I’d just like to provide some links that might help to illuminate some of the comments above.

    These are two sites that note Israeli actions on a regular basis over the last decades against the Palestinians:

    B’Tselem and The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

    And a music video about the checkpoints.

    (I’m new at this linky thing, so I hope they come out okay)

    2
  97. Andy says:

    @wr:

    You cleverly omit the fact that the “lab-leak theory” was a lie spread by Trump’s minions to try to absolve him of the blame for his mishandling of the pandemic.

    Your assertion is the actual lie – the potential that Covid came from the Wuhan lab is still a potential since we never discovered the actual source of the virus.

  98. dazedandconfused says:

    @Gustopher:

    The Dakotas are too cold. I would give them Utah. Happily.

    1
  99. Michael Reynolds says:

    @drj:
    Hispanic Americans. We didn’t steal the land from Hispanic Americans, we stole it from Mexicans. The inquiry, were we to make it, would rightfully be to the government of Mexico. Let’s ask them.

    2
  100. Dawn says:

    Okay, just two more:

    Anti-Semitism (sic) vs anti-colonialism

    Why is the Western left so obsessed with Israel?

    BTW, I detest the word “antisemitism;” it was coined as a euphemism for Judenhass, or Jew-hatred, to promote its pseudo-scientific argument of a “Jewish race,” and we’ve seen where that takes us. Its common usage obfuscates the real issues and arguments about Israel and the Jewish people living both in Israel and around the world.

    1
  101. Michael Reynolds says:

    This is a fascinating thread.

    Had we been talking about a Black kid, a gay kid, a trans kid, a Hispanic kid, a Native American kid, a woman, using similar incidents as a basis for concern, everyone upstream would have 1) Assumed the complaint was valid and 2) Savaged anyone who had the effrontery to challenge it.

    This is as much a tribal, defensive, our-side-is-always-right attitude as your average MAGAt.

    The only reason the writer of this piece was dismissed is. . .? Can we guess? Not Black. Not gay. Not trans. Not Hispanic. Not a liberal woman. Those are all groups we must believe in order to keep our Prog Cards. But a Jew? Nah. Fuck the Jew, he’s overreacting. He must be wrong because he’s criticizing progressives and we are incapable of error or bigotry.

    Let’s be clear here: it is perfectly OK to buy phones made by slave labor in China because ‘we don’t have influence over them,’ but evil to buy a bottle of Israeli orange juice. We don’t have influence over China? As we send them trillions of dollars? No influence? But it’s imperative that we chastise tiny Israel because we ‘give’ them 1% of their GDP? That’s your collective moral judgment?

    Got it.

    Hypocrites. Hypocrites pushing some paper thin bullshit rationalizations you’d never apply to any other minority. This comment section is proof all by itself of progressive anti-semitism. One standard for the Jews, a standard applied nowhere else. Disappointing.

    6
  102. steve says:

    SKJ- But that only kid is not just randomly different or different because off some physical trait or belief. If that were the case then your point stands. But, the people criticizing him are also paying his tuition, unlike the other students. Half the students in the class believe that everything he does is directed and done with the blessing of God so they support him in whatever he does (GOP supporting Israel). Then, the kid sent his dad to go yell at the principal very publicly. We would like to ban that father from coming back to school but the parents of the kids who think he is blessed by God also think that so they wont let it happen. (Netanyahu coming tot he US to publicly dress down Obama at the request of the GOP.) Oh, and that dad likes to play havoc with class lessons. (Netanyahu, meaning Israel, very publicly decided to support just one political party in the US.

    As I said, I have generally avoided criticizing Israel since it gets you nowhere, you only end up being called an antisemite, but OTOH I didnt feel that much need to criticize them. Yes, I think some of their recent military decisions were stupid and I think have left themselves with nowhere to go in solving the Palestinian issue, but no country is perfect. Once Israel decided to play such an active role in our internal politics and to actively support just one political party instead of staying neutral when it comes to our political parties I decided they deserved more criticism, though to be honest I am still breaking my own policy and doing it now. Probably be another year before I do it again.

    Steve

    1
  103. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Had we been talking about a …

    Black follower of Louis Farrakhan declaring that “Jews are of the devil”? Feminist author who doesn’t accept the notion that “Trans women are women, full stop”? Gay civil rights activists who thinks a Yale House Master should be driven from her job because she doesn’t think a University should be in the practice of banning Halloween costumes?

    Isn’t it possible that people on this blog are capable of dealing with complex issues in good faith, even when there is emotional disagreement?

    6
  104. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Oh, what a shock. Michael sees that people aren’t genuflecting to his assertions, so he goes nuclear. Now he’s the only Jew here and he’s surrounded by Nazis.

    Speaking as — yes — a Jew, Michael, I can tell you why I dismissed this “essay.” Not because I hate Jews and believe they should be killed in camps, but because it’s masturbation fantasy from Bari Weiss’s House of Martyrdom. Yes, Bari Weiss, the eternal victim, the brave writer who couldn’t get herself fired from the Times so she quit and acted like she was fired so she could milk the gullible on Substack. The fearless warrior against Cancel Culture who had come to prominence by campaigning to have professors fired for expressing pro-Palenstinian views.

    I might be offended by the crap you’ve written here if I actually thought you believed a word of it. But you don’t. You saw yourself losing, so you attacked twice as hard.

    There’s a concept out there called arguing in good faith. I suppose you think that’s for suckers, but still you might want to try it sometime and see what happens. Maybe you’ll get more interesting conversations. Unless you’re just interested in being the center of conversation. Then nevermind.

    10
  105. SKI says:

    @steve:

    But that only kid is not just randomly different or different because off some physical trait or belief. If that were the case then your point stands.

    Then my point does stand.

    It is absolutely is because of the boys’ beliefs. And you are justifying the mistreatment because you are projecting actions that simply don’t exist. Makes me wonder why.

    Why do you want to ban the kid. If you do, why? His behavior isn’t different from anyone else’s. What exactly do you think his father is doing that is different from anyone else’s father?

    People criticize Israel all the time. I do it quite frequently. There are lots of things that are fair game, particularly actions in the Occupied Territories. Other things, and certain ways of criticizing Israel reek of bias and antisemitism.

    When people use antisemitic tropes and talk about Jews, or Zionists, “controlling the Media” or “buying Congress”, that is pretty clearly trading on antisemitic canards. If you aren’t doing that, what exactly is causing you problems?

    You say you refrain from criticizing Israel (which I don’t advocate for or refrain from myself) but you seem to be blaming the Jews for your decision?

    Bibi is a shmuck and shouldn’t have aligned with the GOP. Israel voted him out. Does the fact that Bibi did that mean that Jewish Americans should be attacked?

    I don’t care if you like Israel or not. I certainly don’t care if you criticize it (though I often respond if the criticism is, IMO, unfair or based on inaccurate facts). I very much care that Jewish Americans get hounded, attacked and discriminated against because of antisemitism.

    1
  106. steve says:

    BS. I told you. It is the boy’s actions. If Israel only believed that the GOP was better and didnt act on that belief I wouldn’t care. Instead, Israel decided to side with the GOP. We give Israel more foreign aid than any other country for years and this is what we get for that money? Netanyahu came here and publicly upbraided our president, in public. The behavior is extremely different than other countries. What other PM does that? When it is similar then we criticize. For example its pretty clear that Russia supported Trump’s election, just like Israel supported the GOP. For that we criticized Russia. Criticize Israel for doing the same it must mean you are antisemitic.

    BS I did not say they are controlling Congress. (Feel free to point out where I said that.) I said just like I said above that they publicly supported the GOP, taking sides in our internal politics. Bibi is a schmuck? He was prime minister for 16 years (15?). You dont get to claim he was a one time mistake like Trump. He represented Israel, or if he didnt they should have voted him out.

    So I am done. The not so subtle “I wonder why” shit was nonsense. I gave you very specific reasons why I thought Israel deserved criticism. Back to my old rule. Never publicly criticize Israel. Someone will “wonder why”.

    Steve

    5
  107. SKI says:

    @steve:

    What other PM does that? When it is similar then we criticize. For example its pretty clear that Russia supported Trump’s election, just like Israel supported the GOP. For that we criticized Russia. Criticize Israel for doing the same it must mean you are antisemitic.

    1. Trump did that, repeatedly.
    2. I have no problem with criticizing Bibi for that. He shouldn’t have. Go for it. Who is saying you are antisemitic for that criticism? They are wrong.
    3. You are a very small minority in terms of that being the basis for criticizing Israel.

    1
  108. SKI says:

    @Dawn:

    BTW, I detest the word “antisemitism;” it was coined as a euphemism for Judenhass, or Jew-hatred, to promote its pseudo-scientific argument of a “Jewish race,” and we’ve seen where that takes us.

    Yup, and that is why it is valuable. It accurately describes what is going on – hatred of Jews.
    @Dawn:

    These are two sites that note Israeli actions on a regular basis over the last decades against the Palestinians:

    B’Tselem and The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

    While I don’t love some of B’Tselem’s rhetoric, I greatly admire their long term focus on the issues and their internal pressure from within Israel.

    In fact, IMO, it is the reality that Israel has such a functioning and vibrant internal debate that puts the lie to the characterization of Israel as an outlier humans rights violator. Same as with the US and civil rights in the 60’s. In both cases, the internal groups are/were absolutely correct to point out the truly shameful behavior and problems that exist but the very existence of those groups is also a clear sign that the countries are capable of changing for the better. That they aren’t inherently evil societies.

    2
  109. MarkedMan says:

    Life is complex. My father, an Irish immigrant, could never stand criticism of the IRA. I’m pretty sure he knew they were infested with thugs and criminals and likely did more harm than good, but anyone speaking against them were de facto against the Irish cause. He got in a lot of fights and lost a lot of friends because his anger and pride got in the way of seeing a difference between people who had no ill feelings of the Irish but felt that murdering innocent people was beyond the pale and people who held the Irish in contempt. And there were lots of people who held the Irish in contempt. In his time, the Klan thugs would beat an Irishman traveling through Mississippi as quick as they would a Jew or an uppity Black.

    1
  110. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Let’s be clear here: it is perfectly OK to buy phones made by slave labor in China because ‘we don’t have influence over them,’ but evil to buy a bottle of Israeli orange juice.

    I need the iPhone more than I need that particular bottle of orange juice. We are tied into China’s economy far more than Israel’s, so it’s a lot easier to not support their brutality.

    (Find me an ethically pure Android, and I might consider switching, but I don’t think there are any)

    Is that hypocritical? I think of it more as “don’t support evil when you have a convenient opportunity not to.”

    Is it unfair that Israel gets a closer look than other countries? Maybe.

    Should we excuse their human rights violations just because they’re Jewish? Nah.

    3
  111. Modulo Myself says:

    I’m not Jewish. I grew up and have lived since very close to people who are Jewish, and even the term Jews when uttered by non-Jews makes me think of my grandparents who used the word (like Kingsley Amis) in the form of there goes another one. So I’ll just speculate and say that the point of what comes from Bari Weiss’ idiot content mine is that younger Jewish people in America do not have the same connection to Israel as their parents. And instead of blaming the obvious sources–American foreign policy and Israel and its good and terrible defenders in America–they’re striving to figure out a way to blame progressives, who are definitely not partly Jewish, I guess. More importantly, they’re terrified that it might be a good thing and that Zionism may not be the end all and be all of Jewish identity on this earth.

    4
  112. Gustopher says:

    @Dawn:

    Judenhass, or Jew-hatred

    Wow, the Germans have a word for everything, don’t they?

    2
  113. Gustopher says:

    @SKI:

    Why are you suggesting genocide will go in that direction. Only 40% of Palestinians would support a two state solution. Their stated preference is to wipe Israel off the map

    Because Israel has tanks, planes, and control of the borders and water supply. They’re in a much better position. Not that I think genocide is on the table, but it’s one of the edge cases for getting to a stable Jewish majority Israel.

    I think Israel is perfectly content with the status quo where they are periodically “mowing the grass” and keeping the Palestinians weakened enough to just be a nuisance. Until something upsets that balance.

    But that’s just the Palestinian territories. Within Israel proper, the birth rate of Arabs is 2.2%, while for Jews it is 1.8% (per Wikipedia). And the Jewish numbers are way up because of the conservative immigrant communities. There’s a demographic time bomb that will destabilize things.

    For Israel to remain majority Jewish long term, they need a functioning Palestinian state, and to gently encourage their Arabs to join their brethren.

    Also, I don’t trust that 40% number. That’s polling of a broken and angry people who don’t see a path to a two state solution at this point. If you were to look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for Palestinians, Death To Israel falls below food, housing and prosperity. Fix the economy and lives of Palestinians, and that will plummet.

    4
  114. @Michael Reynolds:

    Who just happen to be Jews.

    The problem of Israel for much of the left is not being Jews, is being (at least perceived) Whites

    3
  115. @Michael Reynolds:
    Make the argument for why tiny Israel should give back the Sinai, but we should not give back the Rio Grande Valley.

    A difference could be that USA annexed the RGV (meaning that its inhabitants as US citizens with full rights) while Israel did not annex the territories conquered in 67 (with the exception of East Jerusalen and Golan), meaning that its Arab inhabitants don’t have the same rights than Israelis (attention, I am not talking about the Arabs within the green line, I am talking about the Arabs of West Bank)

    3
  116. Mister Bluster says:

    About 30 years ago Linda Ellerbee invited several Palestinian teenagers and several teenagers from Israel to appear on a TV program where they would talk about life in the Middle East.
    They were kids, children, High School age. To see them they could have been from Ohio.
    All I remember about the production were remarks by two of them. One girl-child said: “It says in our Holy Book that God gave us this land thousands of years ago! It is ours and we must fight to keep it!”
    A boy-child of a different religious persuasion said: “Our Holy Book says that God gave us this land thousands of years ago! It is our land and we must fight to keep it!”
    It is pretty obvious that the ancient scriptures are the source of these conflicts.
    Ever since then my mantra has been “burn the Holy Books!”

    4
  117. Dawn says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I think you’ll like this video (and read on below the video itself for a list of characters.

  118. wr says:

    @Mister Bluster: “It is pretty obvious that the ancient scriptures are the source of these conflicts”

    British playwright David Hare wrote and performed a powerful, moving monolog on this subject after his visit there. You can find an audio version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb8eo1pgckk

  119. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    BLAMING INDIVIDUAL JEWS FOR ISRAEL IS ANTISEMTIC.

    Nowhere in the post do I blame individual Jews for Israel. Hell, because of the divided nature of Israeli party politics, I don’t even blame average Israelis for some of the more draconian policies.

    Flayton conflates condemnation of Israeli policy in the occupied territories with anti-Semitism when, again, there are whole political parties in Israel itself that condemn Israeli policy in the territories.

  120. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Make the argument for why tiny Israel should give back the Sinai, but we should not give back the Rio Grande Valley.

    Norms change. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848, when colonialism and conquest was still accepted. The Israeli conquests of the Six Day War took place in 1967, well after the Treaty of Versailles, the UN Charter, etc. had made that verboten.

    It’s why we condemned Slobodan Milošević and company for ethnic cleansing in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s even though that’s how we got much of this country. The 1990s aren’t the 1790s.

    2
  121. SKI says:

    @James Joyner: I read what you wrote as accepting that it was appropriate to lodge political protests about Israel issues against American Jews and Jewish institutions. For example, after the initial list, you wrote:

    Further, the vast majority of the cases seem to be of people protesting the Israeli occupation and the brutal tactics used to sustain it.

    That certainly reads, to me at least, as indicating that the actions weren’t antisemitism because they were political protests – ignoring that the targets aren’t Israel or Israelis.

  122. wr says:

    @Andy: “Your assertion is the actual lie – the potential that Covid came from the Wuhan lab is still a potential since we never discovered the actual source of the virus.”

    By your reasoning, it wouldn’t be a lie for Trumpies to say that Joe Biden cooked up the virus in his basement and deliberately spread it across the country.

    2
  123. SKI says:

    @James Joyner & Michael Reynolds:
    Historical reality: Israel *tried* to give back the Gaza strip as part of the Camp David Accords. They didn’t want to keep it. Egypt refused to take it back.

    Instead they agreed on a framework for Palestinian elections and a 5 year phased Israeli withdrawal from Gaza (and the West Bank) following negotiations with Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Palestinians. Jordan, the Palestinians (and the UN) rejected that aspect of the deal. Egypt, the putative leader of the Arab world at the time, was expelled form the Arab League for the next decade.

    3
  124. Andy says:

    @wr:

    By your reasoning, it wouldn’t be a lie for Trumpies to say that Joe Biden cooked up the virus in his basement and deliberately spread it across the country.

    The two leading theories shared by experts on the topic include a lab leak or some kind of natural jump from another species. You declared one of those to be a categorical lie, and I called you on it. Now, instead of defending your first categorical statement, you’re deflecting again. So no, pointing out that the lab leak theory is a completely legitimate possibility is not the same “reasoning” as the suggestion that Biden cooked it in his basement.

    @James Joyner:

    Norms change. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848, when colonialism and conquest was still accepted. The Israeli conquests of the Six Day War took place in 1967, well after the Treaty of Versailles, the UN Charter, etc. had made that verboten.

    It’s why we condemned Slobodan Milošević and company for ethnic cleansing in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s even though that’s how we got much of this country. The 1990s aren’t the 1790s.

    Comparing a defensive war that Israel almost lost to Milošević’s aggressive war of ethnic cleansing and conquest is, to put it charitably, a stretch.

  125. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: I’m using an example—comparing early 19th Century USA to late 20th Century Yugoslavia—to show changing norms.