Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mira Sucharov Really Doesn't Get It

Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University in Ottawa (in Canada) Mira Sucharov has arrived on the Huffington Post to take aim at that terrible, terrible Zionist institution, the March of the Living. Yes, the trip in which young Jewish teenagers visit Holocaust sites in Germany and Poland, and then travel to Israel to celebrate Israel's Independence Day. Who could have a problem with such a trip? Only a Huffington Post blogger.
"Those who take part in the trip come away with the ability to visualize Jewish collective history in a most powerful way. But in pairing the Holocaust with contemporary Israel, the program potentially sets up a problematic linkage between Israeli policies and Jewish existential security. Parents would do well to discuss with their kids the lessons they are taking away about the Middle East....[Sucharov then discusses Israeli security issues like the West Bank and Iran]...It is a conceptual stretch to say that Israel's recent announcement of 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem, or its continuing blockade over Gaza, or its snaking of the security barrier throughout the West Bank to protect existing settlements while Palestinians experience daily humiliation and collective punishment are necessary to maintaining the health and welfare of Israelis, and by extension, all Jews. But these are the kinds of implicit messages our youth might well take away from the trip, even if it is not the intention of the organizers."
Something that Zach and I haven't discussed often enough in this blog, in my opinion, is the inability of Israel's critics on the HP and elsewhere to distinguish between Israel's existence and what it means to Jews and Israel's policies. It is not an unsurprising thing to read someone's post on the HP about the beautiful experience they had visiting the Western Wall and then a response demanding why that someone didn't also visit the West Bank and help the suffering Palestinians. The HPers consistently refuse to look at Israel outside of the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and so does Ms. Sucharov.

The March of the Living is by Jews and for Jews. When the Holocaust was taking place, there was real concern among Jews that this would be it, that the Jewish religion was go out of the world. The Nazis even allowed the Warsaw synagogue to remain intact so it would one day be a museum of the extinct Jews. Going to Germany and Poland shows young Jews how close their heritage was to being wiped out of existence forever, and going to Israel shows them that today their heritage is more alive and thriving than ever. To go from a place where Jews were killed in the millions to a place where Jews live in the millions is the point of the experience. Do you notice how that description of the March of the Living has nothing to do with the Palestinians? Just as visitors to the United States go to see the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall without going to Iraq and Afghanistan, Jewish teenagers going to Israel are not required to have anything to do with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Look at Ms. Sucharov's last paragraph and you'll see my point in action.
"But we shouldn't be stacking the deck for our kids by presenting an uncritical link between the Holocaust and contemporary Israeli approaches to peace and conflict. The volatile mix of emotion, morality and rationality so pronounced during adolescence can create especially binary thinking of "right versus wrong" and "us versus them." While trips like March of the Living provide an enormously powerful learning experience about the dangers of racism and prejudice, we would do well to ensure that our youth take away the most complex lessons they can about the sadly enduring Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
 Again, what are the facts of the March of the Living? The teens go to Europe and then they go to Israel. There is no indoctrination of right-wing policies as part of the trip, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with the March of the Living.

Isn't it sad that Jews cannot celebrate the existence of their state in any way, shape or form without being required to pay penance to the poor suffering Palestinians first?

7 comments:

  1. To Jewish anti-Semites like Mira Sucharov, the problem is Jewish identity. You can't have impressionable kids having their identity reinforced. What's ironic about this view is Sucharov and her ilk would never ridicule another people's celebration of their history and culture.

    But that is viewed as threatening when Jews do it so it must be discouraged and marginalized. As usual, the Jews are the singular exception to the Leftist doctrine of respecting cultural diversity and tolerance. That goes out of the window if it leads the Jews to think and behave in terms disapproved of by the Left.

    And in Sucharov's world, the real problem is Jewish independence.

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  2. Shame on you two. You know nothing about Mira Sucharov, other than having read an article she wrote in a newspaper which you feel strongly enough about to occupy a blog in your spare time. I've known Mira for over 20 years, since we were undergrads in college. There is no other person on earth I know of who could be less of a Jewish antisemite. Mira has been devoted to Ahavat Israel, including Zionism, forever. During college she belonged Zionist groups on campus, went Israeli folk dancing, spent a year at Hebrew U, made Seders and Shabbat dinners, and, obviously, devoted her entire professional life to subject-matters affecting Israel. You should not pre-judge people and slot them into convenient categories just because it makes you feel better about what they've written. Instead, try to think about the point Professor Sucharov was making in her article. In case you didn't get it, she is saying let's teach our children to put themselves in other people's shoes from time to time. It's a very Jewish trait. I'm sorry if you didn't get that lesson from your parents. All you need is this: http://youtu.be/llrAemrsKG0

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  3. Ari,

    I am sorry, but you really do need to get your head around the fact that this site, its originators and promoters, have not the slightest interest in truth.

    Take a look through their threads, the comments from their supporters, the whole tenor of the site.

    The entire enterprise is dependent on bigotry of the most extreme kind, despite its occasional protestations.

    By the way. It hates criticism.

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  4. Ari,
    Thank you very much for your comment. You are right, I know nothing about Mira Sucharov as a person. It is precisely for that reason that I did not write anything about her as a person, I responded only to the content of her article. Read my article again, I did not call Ms. Sucharov an anti-Semite, I did not prejudge her, nor did I put her in any category. I responded only to the words and ideas she wrote, as is my right. NormanF expressed his opinion about her as a person, and you are welcome to disagree with him and express your opinion in return.

    I suggest in the future before you come onto my blog and start expressing your unfounded opinions about me, my brother, my views and my upbringing, you actually read the blog post in question so you have at least some idea what you are talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This site does a great job at exposing and analyzing HP op-ed articles/blogs heavily weighted with; dble standards, hypocrisy, misrepresentations, misinformation, omissions, half truths, and rancorous sentiments. I also like how you guys point out the HP bias in the pictures and headlines they use, and exposing the so called "anti-Zionist" posters who' comments cross over into anti-Semitic trope.

    Thank you Matt and Zach keep up the great work, it is well appreciated. A loyal reader.

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  6. Professor Sucharov is the definition of a hypocrite raising the March of the Living for the express purpose of conflating Israeli policies with Nazis (see the EU A/S defn). You don’t need to be a “joiner” at college or even Jewish to understand that. Her article reads like a “Mad Lib” of ISM talking points. Sucharov needs to read wider than Orientalism and Norm Finkelstein if she wants to contribute anything original to the world.

    Ian

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  7. To the friend of M. Sucharov's who wrote in earlier: first off, I'm sorry that your comment, while not really relevant to the review of the post in question, or accurate, is linked to the much stupider and whinier defense that followed. I don't agree with you but you're not the bankrupt coward who tried to throw his arm around your shoulder. Having said that, criticism is fine, lying isn't. And no one was lying about your friend, so if you don't agree with the perspective, please keep that in mind.

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Hey guys we've started to employ a slight comment policy. We used to have completely open comments but then people abused it. So our comment policy is such: No obvious trolling or spamming. And be warned: unlike the Huffington Post we actually enforce our comment policy.