This is an essay that first appeared in the New York Review of Books. It’s generating a lot of passionate debate around the journals, mostly among Jews. It looks like it’s going to become a pretty important work. Anyone passionately interested in the Jewish Question as it relates to the US and Israel and the symbiotic relationship between the two might want to read it and think about it.
I agree with Beinart’s essay.
I’ve been thinking a lot along these lines myself for some time now. This setup has never really made sense. Zionism is nothing but Jewish fascism, hence we on the Left oppose it. Nevertheless, the super-liberal US Jews, committed and impassioned liberals all, support this fascist state that in so many ways opposes everything they stand for.
Well, it’s tribal thinking. They’re supporting their people. But US Jews won’t let Whites do the same thing: support our people.
This was always a foundation made of clay, and it’s starting to crumble. Young Jews are increasingly estranged from and apathetic about Israel. They act like the less they hear about it, the better. And it makes sense, since Israel represents the polar opposite of the liberal values that young American Jews uphold.
Jewish liberalism in Israel is also dying, as it never made sense anyway. Liberalism in a fascist state? Come on. What’s happening now is that Zionism’s logic is finally starting to manifest itself. Zionism has always been fascist, but at the same time Israel has always prided itself on being some kind of liberal democratic state. The two views of course are incompatible.
Hence, in recent years, Israel has been moving further and further to the Right and towards a fascist politics more in line with the founding logic of the state. Sure this makes sense. A society founded on fascist ideology would seem to logically support a fascist politics. So lately the Orthodox, the settlers, and out and out fascists like Avignor Lieberman and Benjamin Netanyahu have become increasingly powerful in the Jewish state.
Orthodox Jewry is profoundly illiberal, and Jewish fascism would seem to go over well with the Orthodox. So the Orthodox play an increasing role in Israeli society. In the US, the strong supporters of Israel are increasingly the Orthodox as the secular liberals sit on their hands, close their eyes or put fingers in their ears. A recent pro-Israel rally in Washington DC attended by Paul Wolfowitz drew 10,000’s, 70% of them Orthodox.
The Jewish Establishment, including punks like Abe Foxman of the ADL, still cheers for Israel nonstop, even as it moves increasingly towards a fascism repellent to most liberal Jews. The Establishment deals with this conundrum by denying Israel’s move towards fascism, cheering on the fascists, or redrawing the fascists as democrats.
It isn’t working, and young liberal Jews can see through it.