Thursday, January 23, 2014

J Street Not Radical Enough for HuffPost (Again)

Veteran Huffington Post blogger Norman Solomon has gone back to the Israel well yet again in a marathon length article about the "folly of liberal Zionism" as epitomized by J Street. Yep, the Huffington Post is one of the last places left on the Internet that actually cares (or pretends to care) about J Street. I repeat for emphasis that Solomon's article is extremely long, and most of it is about the AJC's relationship toward Israel, but basically his point is that J Street isn't good enough because it's political positions still allow Israel to continue to exist as a fulfillment of the rights of the Jewish people:
"Yet J Street's leaders are far from the first prominent American Jews who have struggled to square the circles of the moral contradictions of a "Jewish state" in Palestine...Generally flourishing in a country founded on the separation of religion and state, American Zionists dedicated themselves to an Israeli state based on the prerogatives of Jews. That Mobius strip could only be navigated by twisting logic into special endless dispensations for Jewish people. Narratives of historic Jewish vulnerability and horrific realities of the Holocaust became all-purpose justifications."
See what I mean? The Huffington Post should hold a contest asking their readers and employees to come up with as many different ways to say "destroy Israel" as they can without actually saying it in so many words. I like how everything bad that had happened to Jews before the Holocaust is a "narrative" though. Wonder if in 200 years people like Solomon will say the same about that one.

So anyway, we'll skip past the history and the recent "Hillel issue" to discover that, not at all surprisingly, Solomon has a problem with a state for Jewish people. Just like everyone else at the Huffington Post. At least he makes it clear that he isn't merely "anti-occupation" though:
"Every conceptual lane of J Street equates being "pro-Israel" with maintaining the doctrine of a state where Jews are more equal than others. Looking to the past, that approach requires treating the historic Zionist conquest as somewhere between necessary and immaculate. Looking at the present and the future, that approach sees forthright opposition to the preeminence of Jewish rights as extreme or otherwise beyond the pale. And not "pro-Israel.""
Apparently Solomon is like MJ Rosenberg taken to the next level. J Street wasn't pro-Israel enough before because it didn't completely march to his tune, but J-Street wasn't pro-Israel now because it's...actually pro-Israel. Like I said about J Street before, playing both sides doesn't work. People like Solomon won't be satisfied by your love of the two state solution or President Obama if it means you agree that Jews also have rights.

Just in case you thought this might have been a mistaken, Solomon repeats himself many times, insisting that Israel's existence means Jewish supremacism and therefore it is terrible and must be removed:
"J Street joins in decrying the danger of the "delegitimization" of Israel -- a word often deployed against questioning of Jewish privileges in Palestine maintained by armed force."
Yeah! How dare those Jews want for themselves what everyone else takes for granted? Who do they think they are? Human beings? It's a good thing Norman Solomon is here to tell them differently!

Solomon then goes after J Street and its founder Jeremy Ben-Ami, for daring to think that Jews have a right to a national homeland. In a classic example of taking an inch and giving a mile, Solomon says that J Street isn't left-wing enough to satisfy him. Just to take one chilling example:
"While far more Palestinians than Israelis were dying (87 Palestinian and four Israeli noncombatants lost their lives, according to a report from the human-rights group B'Tselem), J Street condemned the killing by Palestinians but merely questioned the ultimate efficacy of the killing by Israelis. While J Street was appropriately repulsed by the bloodshed, it could not plead for reversal of the underlying, continuing injustice beyond its advocacy of a two-state solution."
WTF. I'm not sure what exactly a "reversal of injustice" is supposed to mean, and how J Street might call for it. Does Solomon want J Street to call for 87 dead Israelis to "balance it out" a little bit? What could be more just than an end to killing and an end to violence? Oh I'm sorry, I thought I was talking to a moral person for a second and not a radical leftist. My mistake. The attacks on J Street continue:
"And sadly, the group's political vision of "Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace" is as much a phantom as the nonexistent lettered street between I and K in the Nation's Capital; unless "peace" is to be understood along the lines of the observation by Carl von Clausewitz that "a conqueror is always a lover of peace."
There you go. Just another anti-peace Huffington Post blogger. The only good news is that hardly anyone read Solomon's article as there are all of two comments under it. That's two more than it deserves.

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