A couple of days ago Jon Segall wrote an interesting piece in The Times of Israel about why, as a left wing Zionist, he’d finally given up on supporting J-Street: “Goodbye J-Street, you lost me“. I felt J-Street were bad from the start, right back to their covering up initial and large funding from George Soros. I’ve also recently watched a damning 1 hour of a new film that really explores J-Street: The J-Street Challenge. I saw a special private preview.
I left the following comment on the post and then had an interesting and civil discussion with Jon:
Nice to see that J-Street is publicly loosing support. They’ve tried to deceive people into thinking they know what is best for us upity Israeli Jews who just refuse to roll over but the reality is they’re an evil bunch of self haters. Always were, always will be and it’s good that their insincere concern for Jewish Israel is being seen for what it really is now.
Brian. Honestly I cannot agree with your comment.. I don’t believe that J Street are self haters. For the most part, everyone I have met at J Street are concerned for Israel and approach Israel from a Left-centric perspective. That does not make them “self haters”.
That said, their choices in giving platforms to anti-Zionists and those who repeat borderline anti-Semitic memes in the name of “discussing all points of view” is disturbing. Those people have plenty of platforms already. What J Street should be asking is “Why do we have to give them a platform when they already have a number of them”.
THAT is why I am disassociating. I don’t see just WHY and organization that claims to be Pro-Zionist needs to present anti-Zionist viewpoints. Dissent and differences (left vs. right / Progressive vs. Conservative) absolutely. Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism… No. No way.
I use the designation self hater here because, when carried to a logical extension – J Streets wishes don’t result in the kind of Israel that is strong enough in it’s Jewishness to protect Jews world wide. And that is the end of world Jewry and Jewish pride.
And the self hate is an insidious desire to believe that Jews and Jewishness are to blame for the Arab desire to hate us. They internalise the hatred of the Arabs, believe it and then, instead of perhaps studying the Koran or the life of Muhammad, they ask themselves why does everyone hate Jews?
Well I’m over it. I don’t think we did anything wrong. Seriously. We are the best we can be. Other people’s hatred of us is their own internal self hate (for they really hate themselves so much they want their children to kill themselves) projected onto us. And I reject that. I will not apologise for settlements, or necessary security or even the odd bad egg on our side. No apology necessary, no concessions necessary and they can piss off.
Brian John Thomas I see where are you going with that, but remember the term “self hate” is an individually determined thing. Many of the people think they are supporting a strong Israel, one that is exactly what it was supposed to be, the National Homeland and State of the Jewish People.
I don’t know of anyone on the Zionist Left that thinks we are to blame for the Arabs hating us. I know people on the Jewish Hard anti-Zionist Left (like Gershom Harris) that do believe that, but, of people that support Israel I have not yet met one person who says we are to blame for others hating us. That is a false meme spread by the right.
You and I have very different perspectives – which is fine. That is part of America as well as part of the Jewish experience. My point though is that I would not be so fast with the term “self hate” unless it can be easily demonstrated ala Harris Gershon, Phil Weiss, Ilan Pappe, etc….
Jon Segall we clearly agree much more than we disagree. Some degree of self introspection is valid: can we be better; do we treat others well etc.
I’ve done that and come to the conclusion that Israel, the Jews in Israel and Zionism as a movement, has behaved better than any other group in similar circumstances (nobody has really faced what we have though). I’ll admit mistakes along the way, but they are not the reason we face a belligerent enemy.
I do feel that a lot of the language of the Zionist Left is self deprecating: if it weren’t for the settlers or if we just treated the Palestinians better and took away check points everything would be fine. That is the language and the thought process that I will always counter and argue against.
Brian John Thomas I agree with this… we probably do agree more than we disagree, It’s where we disagree that I would like to come to understanding.
What I see the left ZIONIST camp saying is that things would be BETTER if we treated the Palestinians better, were more at humane at checkpoints and would listen to their concerns more. But note that while I said things WOULD BE better they would NOT be fine. I don’t see many on the ZIONIST left saying that this is “all our fault”.
NOW, when you talk about the anti-Zionist Left – Ok fair point. People like Harris-Gershon, JVP, the people that run Mondofront (Mondoweiss) sure. But they are a minority of Jews on the Left.
We face a belligerent enemy around the world because we always have throughout our history. Yet we persevere and keep on going. Israel is a great example of that. I am just saying that if we are more circumspect and understanding within our own polity (the Zionist community) rather than using the language of hyperbole, I think we will do better working together.
Jon Segall We’re pretty close. I just don’t believe it’s our turn to make any more unmatched concessions. I deal with Arabs and trade back and forth between their authority areas and ours. It is possible and not all that difficult. They visit me from Ramallah and Nablus quite frequently: I don’t go the other way as it’s not so safe.
I guess this is the line between us: you still have optimism that we can make things better with another concession. I’ve given up on that. I think strength and resolution will be respected more and lead the other side to back down and be less belligerent or at least give us quiet.
Brian John Thomas Well Brian – if you look at my article here this is where I stand on things. I don’t think I am for making “concessions”. I think I am for reasonable policies that I would want were I on the other side. I think they would make things better but in the end they would not solve the problems that we face.
I agree that strength and resolution at the end of the day will lead to quiet (I don’t think they will ever back down), but that said I think we define “strength and resolution” differently.
Honestly, nothing will make things ideal, and really until the Palestinians understand that Israel is here to stay as the National Homeland and State of the Jewish people this conflict will never end. I and others are not deluding ourselves into thinking that. But there is no reason to compromise oh our principles for us to achieve our goals.
And there I’ll end it, let me know in the comments if you have any further thoughts.