Sunday, May 01, 2016

01-May-16: Hatred of the Jews - and the Leftist Problem

A thinking person is likely to learn a great deal from understanding
the impact made on various populations, some of them Arab (as in this 2001
news image of celebrations in Lebanon) and others Americana or British,
by the massacre at the Sbarro pizzeria
National Review currently features a useful and well-framed short essay ["Israel and the Jewish diaspora make progressive pieties look silly", April 29, 2016] by Kevin D. Williamson. The journal's roving correspondent, he covers "the intersection of economics, culture, and politics". His bio says he also serves as director of the William F. Buckley Jr. Fellowship in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.

The subtitle of this highly recommended piece gets right down to the question Williamson addresses: "Why does the Left hate the Jews?"

Hatred of that sort is, of course, hardly news. But we seem to be at one of those moments (again) where, as it periodically does, it's making waves. 

Williamson is writing against a background in which a recent Lord Mayor of London, a man with his own pungent record of public antisemitic statements, has been suspended by his party for things he said (that involved bracketing Zionism and Hitler) while speaking up for a British Labor MP who had suggested the conflict in the Middle East could be solved by liquidating Israel and getting the Jews to re-settle, voluntarily or not, in the United States. The party leader, playing the role of disciplinarian, is himself a controversial figure who has famously called the blood-lusting Jew-hating jihadists of Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends". There's not much sign he especially wants to call these Israel-bashers to order.

The Williamson piece is short and well-crafted. We hope it gets plenty of pass-along attention. Here are two brief extracts:
The Israeli Jews commit the double crime of insisting upon being Jews and refusing to be sacrificial victims. They were okay, in the Left’s estimate, for about five minutes, back when Israel’s future was assumed to be one of low-impact kibbutz socialism. History went in a different direction, and today Israel has one of the world’s most sophisticated economies. For the Jew-hater, this is maddening: Throw the Jews out of Spain, and they thrive abroad. Send them to the poorest slums in New York, and those slums stop being slums. Keep them out of the Ivy League and watch NYU become a world-class institution inspired by men such as Jonas Salk, son of largely uneducated Polish immigrants. Put the Jewish state in a desert wasteland and watch it bloom, first with produce and then with technology. Israel today has more companies listed on NASDAQ than any other country except the United States and China. The economy under Palestinian management? Olives and handicrafts, and a GDP per capita that barely exceeds that of Sudan.
Mangled baby carriages removed from the scene of the Sbarro
human-bomb attack, August 9, 2001
And this, which touches on an aspect where we have an uncommon degree of familiarity: 
The Arab–Israeli conflict is a bitter and ugly one. My own view of it is that the Palestinian Arabs have some legitimate grievances, and that I stopped caring about them when they started blowing up children in pizza shops. You can thank the courageous heroes of the Battle of Sbarro for that. Israel isn’t my country, but it is my country’s ally, and it is impossible for a liberty-loving American to fail to admire what the Jewish state has done. And that, of course, is why the Left wants to see the Jewish state exterminated.
It's an uncomfortably toxic image he conjures up, of courageous Islamist resistance fighters launching a middle-of-the-day school-holidays armed attack on a pizzeria filled with Zionistic children and young mothers with Jewish babies. 

But while invoking the Battle of Sbarro will sound to some like a cynical, perhaps over the top, slap at the murderous bigotry of Hamas and its friends (who, by his own admission, include Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK's second-largest political party), there are prominent individuals who actually believe in it with genteel sincerity and religious conviction, and they don't all live in the Islamic world.

An example, from among numerous candidates, and one that especially sticks in our craw, is a man counted among the most influential figures in the world of American Christian public affairs, James M. Wall. An ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and a laureate of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, he served for decades as editor, president and a senior contributor to Christian Century magazine, "the flagship magazine of U.S. mainline Protestantism" [source]. He's evidently still contributing there. The reverend Mr Wall got our attention ["23-Aug-12: Theology and sociopaths" and "16-Dec-14: Anti-semites, lone-wolves, killers of school-children, and the people who appreciate and understand them"] with an essay romanticizing the principal engineer of the Sbarro massacre, the killer of our daughter Malki

In focusing his Christian charity on the notorious 2011 Shalit Deal in which 1,027 terrorists, most of them convicted of homicide, were released in a massive Israeli capitulation to Hamas extortion, Mr Wall was moved to address the sad way in which
The Western public saw and read virtually nothing about the 477 Palestinians who were released from Israeli prisons [in phase 1 of the deal], except for those stories that reminded the public that many of the prisoners, to use the term so popular among Israeli politicians, had “blood on their hands”. This bias against Palestinians was so blatant that Jewish activist Noam Chomsky was moved to accuse the media of treating the released Palestinian prisoners as “unpeople”. It is time to tell their stories, and to do so without apology. [The Rev. Mr. Wall's blog, October 29, 2011]
To understand why people with James M. Wall's mindset, or for that matter the political views of certain British public figures now in the news, find apologies superfluous, we suggest to go back and read once again the subtitle of Kevin D. Williamson's short National Review essay.

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