Monday, December 5, 2011

Bradley Burston: Kind of Lazy?

Bradley Burston has written a new article about the recent American Jews vs Israeli Jews scuffle and it's pretty much a paint by numbers left-wing piece. I call it lazy because of his following attempt to label these two groups:
"This may go to explain why members of two groups that would seem to have no common ground -- the pro-settlement, pro-occupation Jewish hard right in America on one hand, and, on the other, the loose community of hard left American Jews who loathe Israel and all it does -- could come together to heap scorn and bile on a common enemy: The Two-State Jews."
I'm pretty sure I've already said this but if not I'll say it again: I haven't met one single person who is "pro-occupation." The further right wing American Jews probably aren't pro-occupation either, they would rather ethnically cleanse the Palestinians than just occupy them forever. I understand that Burston is going for even handedness here, however neither of his names for these groups really apply. I'm not sure that truly "hard left" Jews who really hate Israel so much that they want it destroyed can really be called Jews at all. Not because of their political beliefs but just because they don't behave much like Jews at all. Except when you ask them if they are Jews of course.

The rest of the article you might want to take a look at, as Burston cites people like Gershom Gorenberg and exterme leftist bloggers to back up his points about those who believe Israel is always right and those who believe Israel is always wrong. And then we have this series of paragraphs:
"What is needed, clearly, is a conversation within the American Jewish community, which allows all points of view -- no exceptions -- to be aired and discussed with seriousness. There are signs of this beginning, but intimidating shouts of reaction as well....The American Jewish community needs to be more of a family and less of a lobby. More a family and less a place of censure and censorship. More a family and less a war zone of barricaded feuding clans....In synagogues, campus Hillels, community centers, the rules need to be clear and ironclad. All are welcome, from boycott advocate to settler advocate. No incitement. No bigotry. None. Respect."
Now this all sounds good. But do you remember what caused this discussion  in the first place? Israeli Jews telling American Jews what to do. And what is happening in this paragraph? An Israeli Jew telling American Jews what to do. Ironic, right? But I'm guessing because the advice isn't coming from a "hard right" Netanyahu government, it won't provoke nearly as informative a response.

Burston concludes with reiterating his earlier point:
"If Israel fails to heed warnings...First, the two-state solution will be rendered impossible, pleasing the Occupation Zionist right. The second consequence will not be long in coming: the end of what is left of democracy in Israel, and then the end, through demographics, despair, and desertion, of Zionism itself."
 Really? Occupation Zionist right? Although Burston does stand against the hard left as well in the body of this article, this conclusion still betrays his left-wing manner of thinking: That if American Jews and then Israeli Jews don't wise up and do exactly what he says, everything is lost. But what is left unsaid is even the possibility that what will happen in Israel's future can't always be controlled by Jews and Jewish actions. Or is that too much of a right-wing thing to say?

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