Sunday, July 15, 2007
The Realistic Dove, Mondoweiss, and the Amhaaretz Zionist
Here I am, thinking that I am hot stuff for starting a blog that is neither anti-Zionist nor political Zionist, but represents a line of thought of somebody (Magnes) who was universally dismissed (except by folks like Hannah Arendt), and then it turns out that I have a place in the blogosphere. Place me between Phil Weiss's mondoweiss and Dan Fleshler's realisticdove. That may not be fair to them. They have professional blogs, and I don't know how to type. Also, they're going to hell because they shave during the Three Weeks (wait a minute, I shave during the Three Weeks...ok, so they shave during the Nine Days.) Anyway, thank you Mobius for making the shiddukh between me and the Realistic Dove....I really hope that my readers from Efrat (you know who you are) check out the Realistic Dove. Pick on him for a while... It's Rosh Hodesh Av, and I would like to put in my own two cents about bringing together the Jewish anti-zionists and the so-called Zionist left that Dan F. has been talking about I think I have some credentials here because I am a) a religious fanatic who blesses the moon once a month; b) a wimpy liberal democrat who thinks Chomsky is a moderate and c) an opponent of the one-state solution because it shafts the Palestinian people. What I am about to say seems to me trivially obvious. There is an overriding moral imperative to end the Occupation. That is the platform on which all decent people should agree. There may be moral considerations in favor of slavery, child-sacrifice, wife-beating, and apartheid. I don't recognize any. Ditto for the Occupation. It will be said that ending the Occupation may endanger the Jewish State. But I say that if the price to pay for the State of Israel is the ongoing occupation of three and a half-million Palestinians, then that price is too high -- and that no decent human being -- and I include all the political Zionist ideologues from Herzl and Weizmann to Jabotinsky and Ben-Gurion -- would agree to that price. Liberal zionists, it is about time that you say the same thing, loudly and clearly. Who belongs in that coalition? I, for one, would find it difficult to sit on the same platform with folks who think that 9/11 was a Zionist plot. But I would sit on that platform. Because even though the thought offends me, as a Jew and as a rational animal, I understand where it is coming from. And as long as the person who thinks so doesn't want to gas Jews, then she should be part of the coalition. Phil Weiss is right -- this is not just a Jewish issue, this is an American issue, and, of course, a human rights issue. But we all wear different headcoverings, even those of us who go bareheaded. That is the first coalition. There are two more. The second coalition is the coalition that I believe in deeply -- and that is the Palestinian-Jewish coalition. The history of Zionism has been the history of Jews talking to Jews about how much land we can morally take from the Palestinians. That debate is over for me. Jews should be joining together with Palestinians -- and the place for that is not only in Israel, but davka in the diaspora communities, where American Jews and Palestinian Americans already have so much in common. I am not talking dialogue here...I am talking coalition. See where you agree and see where you don't agree, and work together on what you agree. And remember -- the balance of power is unequal -- so on matters to be negotiated, one should tilt toward the Palestinian side. (A subject for another post -- what we Jews owe to the Palestinian people.) The third coalition is the coalition of Jews against the Occupation. OK, I am a tribalist here -- Jews mean a lot to me. Norman Finkelstein, Daniel Boyarin, Noam Chomsky -- all moderates in my book, by the way -- mean a lot to me also BECAUSE they are Jewish. Here, I have gripes on both sides. When Tony Judt and Norman Finkelstein snipe at each other, it bothers me, but both are smart enough to know that they stand together against the kohot ha-tumah (better left untranslated) in the world. And they do...Judt was supportive of Finkelstein's tenure bid after Dershowitz stepped in, even though Finkelstein and he have their "issues". But both are adults. My request from the Zionist liberals is that they NEVER join the chorus of rightwingers who bash the anti-Zionist or non-Zionist left. Disagree with Finkelstein but don't bash him. In another post I will take Gershom Gorenberg, a guy to whom we owe a great deal for his book on the settlements, to task for this. Have your disagreements, but resist the temptation to look over your right shoulder and say to Alvin Rosenfeld, "Hey, I am your side...these guys are heretics." I have to go to work. Have a good month, even though everything is the pits here in Jerusalem.