5 of the Latest, Dumbest Statements About Israel by Jewish Liberals

Jewish leftists—or “liberals” as they tend to call themselves—have been freaking out since conservative coalitions started winning elections in Israel in 1977. In countless books, articles, interviews, and speeches, they tell—with clockwork regularity—the same story of an Israel that was once enlightened but has descended into belligerent nationalism, become the bad guy of its neighborhood, and consistently spurned the olive branch of peace that its neighbors are always offering it.

The latest Gaza war in July and August provided, of course, yet another occasion for Jewish liberals to sound these themes. They apply the same template they’ve been applying for decades and don’t let themselves get confused by the facts. Here I’ve assembled five particularly dazzling pearls of their wisdom.

To the New York Times’s Roger Cohen I’ve had to give a double honor: two of the five statements I’ve chosen are his.

On August 9, Cohen quoted an Israeli woman who wrote to him that Israelis and Palestinians “have to sit and talk. We have to live with one another.”

Cohen then asked:

What do such words amount to? No more than confetti in a gale, perhaps, scattered by the force of Hamas, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and the unblushing Jewish advocates of forcible removal of Palestinians from Gaza, the West Bank and even Israel itself.

There you have it. Yes, there are bad forces in the Middle East like Hamas and Islamic State—but they have their equivalents in Israel. It’s a liberal twitch; if one were to acknowledge that there are elements in the region that are actually worse than Israel, then the Israel-as-bully house of cards might teeter.

Problem is, who are these “unblushing Jewish advocates of forced removal…”? I live in Israel, follow the news, and don’t know who Cohen’s talking about. The most right-wing member of Israel’s current 120-member Knesset, Moshe Feiglin, proposed—and his is a lone voice—offering each Gazan family $100,000 to leave, without forcing anyone. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has often suggested that, in a final Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, some heavily Arab-populated parts of Israel should become part of the Palestinian state—without being “removed” or having to go anywhere at all.

But why bother with facts when Cohen can invent these “unblushing advocates”? Perhaps he doesn’t have the spine to present Israel as it is—a democracy under attack; he might then have to defend Israel and sound too “tribal.”