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Ron Radosh

Michelle Goldberg’s Jewish Problem, and Ours

July 29th, 2011 - 10:04 am

Indeed, that ideology thrives today in Husseini’s descendants, who continue to adhere to the tradition and the Islamic and Nazi ideas he developed in the war years. It includes demonization of Jews, denial of the Holocaust, hatred of any Jewish state in supposedly Arab land, and a desire to cleanse the world of Jews based on both reiteration of classic German anti-Semitism combined with Islamic theology. While this strain of anti-Semitism lives on and is extremely dangerous and even ignored, Goldberg warns instead of what she calls an actual alliance between fascists and Zionists.

As she argues: “But alliances are necessarily two-way. If the European far right is increasingly cozy with Israel, it’s in part because Israel itself has lurched to the right and now shows increasing tolerance for fascism.” Here is a country with gay rights, Arabs in the Knesset, a thriving democratic debate, scores of small factions of all kind, confronted with an Islamic theocracy-Hamas-threatening to destroy it from its very borders. And yet, Goldberg points not to the very real threat posed by radical Islam to Israel, but to the invitation to Israel of the Dutch anti-Islamist Geert Wilders.

She even quotes an editorial in the Jerusalem Post which she calls “shocking,” because its editors made the obviously sound judgment that “while there is absolutely no justification for the sort of heinous act perpetrated this weekend in Norway, discontent with multiculturalism’s failure must not be delegitimized or mistakenly portrayed as an opinion held by only the most extremist elements of the Right.” Evidently Goldberg cannot read clearly, since the editorial says the view is valid, and is not one limited to extremists of the far Right.

Goldberg might well have looked at the column appearing in the leftist Israeli daily Haaretz by Alexander Yakobson. As he points out, Russian Jews who migrated to Israel are now playing a retrogressive role in Israeli society, one that stems from the baggage of their life in the Soviet years. Hence, they are trying to prohibit freedom of expression. Nevertheless, Yakobson points out,

For decades now, we’ve been hearing ad nauseam that democracy is in danger and fascism is at the door. And throughout this time, there were more than a few negative, worrying omens and developments that justified those warnings. But there is no doubt that Israel today is a much freer and more democratic state than it was in the 1970s, when the fad of foreseeing the imminent end of Israeli democracy first appeared.

Again, Goldberg obviously has little acquaintance with what fascism is. Like others on the Left, she tosses the term out to use in opposition to Israeli policy of which she disapproves.

In her second column yesterday, this one at Tablet, Goldberg reassures leftist Jews that they have no cause to worry; Jews will never desert the Democratic Party and vote Republican. She is probably right about that. As Dennis Prager wrote in a column arguing why they should do just that, since, in all things that Jews should be concerned about as Jews—such as the ritual religious observance of male circumcision, there is a “threat to Jews posed by the Left.” As Prager writes:

Of course, not everyone who is on the left- and certainly not the traditional liberal- is an enemy of Jews. But aside from Islamists, virtually all the enemies of the Jews are on the left.

Indeed, the campaign to delegitimize Israel, one in which Goldberg is involved although she probably does not realize it, comes entirely from the ranks of the Left. The news media, the universities and the magazines “drum into the minds of their students, readers, listeners and viewers that Israel is one of the worse societies on earth.” And this anti-Israel propaganda is what Goldberg carries on, in the name of sanity. As Prager writes:

Yet, most American Jews still walk around thinking that Christians and conservatives are their enemies when, in fact, they are the best friends Jews have in the world today. From the present conservative Canadian government, which is probably the most vocal pro-Israel country at present, to every major conservative talk-show host in America (including the fiercely pro-Jewish and pro-Israel Glenn Beck, who has been libeled as an anti-Semite), to the leader of Holland’s Party for Freedom and member of the Dutch parliament, Geert Wilders (one of the most eloquent pro-Israel voices in Europe today), to the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page — the Right is where the Jews’ friends are.

Of course, to Goldberg Beck is an anti-Semite and fascist, as of course, is Geert Wilders. To prove his point, in her Tablet article, Goldberg seeks to deny that as various polls show- not just conservative ones- enough of a Jewish constituency is drifting away from Obama that although most Jews will probably vote for him in 2012, in key areas like Florida, enough Jews have outspokenly noted their grave disappointment about Obama’s Middle Eastern policy. In key contested areas in which a large Jewish constituency votes, even a small number of Jewish defectors from the Democratic ticket could result in a Republican presidential candidate winning the state in question.

And, a few days ago, former Mayor Ed Koch of New York City endorsed the Republican candidate for election to the Congressional seat formerly held by Anthony Weiner. Koch argues on the grounds that Obama and the Democrats must be taught a lesson by Jews, who should put into the House a pro-Israeli Republican rather than a Democrat who stands by Obama’s anti-Israeli policies.

Goldberg instead uses the shibboleth that Evangelicals only support Israel because they want to convert Jews to Christianity before the end times, and liberal Jews “don’t trust people who want to turn their country into a Christian nation, even if these people swear to protect the Jewish state.” Goldberg seems unawares that not all evangelicals are motivated by the desire to convert Jews. Reverend Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, for example, makes it quite clear that their dedication to Israel is not motivated by the dream of conversion.

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