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The Battle for the Jewish Community - "Now that we've got ours"

This entry is cross posted at Dialy Kos.

Please Note: This is an opinion diary not a definite statement of fact, it is the diarists interpretation of the facts as he sees them

As we head into the second decade of the 21st century the Jewish community finds itself in the beginnings of a cultural battle with regards to it's traditional support for progressive politics, the Zionist Movement and International Neo-Conservative ideologies.

For centuries Jews have played the role of "Outsider" in almost every country on the face of the Earth. Even in countries that had Jewish leaders or highly placed Ministers Jews have always been considered a people apart from the mainstream and in most cases despite their seeming assimilation those Jews were reminded of this fact by a local population who in many ways used Jews as scapegoats for other issues and either slaughtered them or drove them from their homelands.

As a result we (Jews - as I am one) developed a humanitarian outlook on social and political issues. It is not a surprise that Jews where involved in progressive movements throughout Europe and in cases the Levant (such as in Iraq's Communist Party).

With the coming of Israel and the Zionist Movement (of which I am proud to be part of) however, things are changing to a degree in this regard. There is now a battle between what has become an "establishment" and a community that has always agitated for progressive ideas within itself.

The difference from the past is now instead of being the "Others", Jews are the "establishment" in Israel and this is where an international and internal battle centers itself.

Personally, I am proud of our progressive heritage and think it needs to be maintained.

Poisoning the well are those in the Jewish community are those who talk in terms of other Jews as being "traitors" simply because they are not lockstep with the establishment. Now this is not unusual in any community - we see it every day in the U.S. culminating in the 2008 election where the Vice Presidential candidate of one party divided the country into "Real America" and other places.

The neo-conservative element of the Jewish population has decided to take this battle to itself to "purify" (my words) the ranks. Once the battle was: "Do you support Israel or not"? That simple. 99% of the Jewish community (give or take a few points) has consistantly supported the Zionist dream of a Jewish homeland (NOT THE CURRENT RIGHT WING VISION of "Eretz Yisrael" - but in general the idea of a Jewish Homeland).

With the ascension of the Right Wing coalition in Israel and the elevation of Yisrael Beitanu and it's leader Avigdor Leiberman the internal poison fo the Neo-Cons is spreading. Nowhere is this more evident than: Alan Dershowitz determines who is a "Good" Jew

In this article Professor Dershowitz calls out Judge Richard Goldstone for his report on the Gaza War:

Prominent political commentator Professor Alan Dershowitz slammed jurist Richard Goldstone, the architect of a UN report which accuses Israel of Gaza war crimes, saying he is a traitor to the Jewish people, Army Radio reported Sunday.

Dershowitz and Goldstone have been colleagues and close friends for many years before the UN Gaza probe, but once Goldstone published his report the ties between the two were severed. "The Goldstone report is a defamation written by an evil, evil man," Dershowitz said.


Now, as many here know I am no fan of the Goldstone report as I consider it biased in it's writing (and please do not focus on this statement as the main factor in this diary - BECAUSE IT IS NOT). To call Judge Goldstone a lifelong active Zionist a "traitor" and an "evil, evil man" is a travesty and wrong. Shulamit Aloni below (same article as above) takes this on an in a commentary regarding the left and it's battle says:

Former minister and Meretz chairwoman Shulamit Aloni responded to Dershowitz's comments, saying that Goldstone is far from a traitor. "Dershowitz's statements border on hate. Goldstone is a Zionist Jew who was simply doing his job," Aloni told Army Radio.

Aloni further went on to say that Dershowitz is a despicable man who opposes the left and supports the settlers. "His opinion doesn't count in my eyes, and the way he speaks of Goldstone is disgraceful," Aloni said.

"The Goldstone report isn't entirely accurate, though we cannot ignore the fact that we did violate international law - the IDF used phosphorus and bombed schools and hospitals," said Aloni.

Now it seems that the "Goalposts" are being moved by the Right Wing to where one either accepts whatever the Israeli Government does or they can be branded a "traitor". Never mind years of work helping the Zionist movement or Israel (as Judge Goldstone did) - that is all irrelevant according to what I call the "new purists".

This has gone so far that within the Jewish community there is a fight over maintaining our progressive values or that "Now that we have ours" should we abandon them.

This is not helped by the non-Zionist left wing which seems to have allied itself with either outright anti-semites or covert anti-Semites preaching hate under the guise of Anti-Zionism. To deny this anti-Semitism in the Grassroots Movement with regards to Anti-Zionism is to be blind to one's own fault. This is not to say that "Anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism" - in my mind it does not (although honestly from my perspective I don't see how one can deny Jewish people a Homeland while supporting other national movements). But to say that Anti-Semitism does not exist on the left is simply ridiculous.

However it is still my opinion that there is far more Anti-Semitism on the Right Wing side of the political spectrum then there is on the Left. The Pastor Hagee's and end-time Christian "Zionists" to me are far worse than the Richard Goldstones of the world. They are far more destructive. Just take this for example WInguts call out Rahm Emanuel as a "traitor"

Prominent far-right activists Itamar Ben Gvir and Baruch Marzel wrote a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel over the weekend, threatening to protest his upcoming visit to Israel, Army Radio reported on Sunday. Gvir and Marzel attacked Emanuel's allegiance to Israel and the Jewish nation. "You are like the Hellenists who acted against the Israeli nation. You advise President Obama against Israel, and incite and instigate against us. You are a traitor against the entire Jewish people," Army Radio reported, quoting the letter.

Emanuel is due to visit Israel in the coming months to celebrate his son's bar mitzvah.

Really guys...... Now you get to call a man going to Israel to celebrate the Bar-Mitzvah of one of his children a "traitor" - does the irony of this event tell you anything?

In my mind it is the Rightists and their supporters that are doing the damage to Israel and to the American Jewish community. By determining who is a "traitor" and who is not the Jewish community is undergoing it's own "McCarthyism". Our community is already small and getting smaller. We do not need those "purists" to further alienate our own people. All they do in my mind is weaken us from the inside. We have always been open to new ideas and forward thinking. It is how, despite many attempts we have survived.

Why would we turn our backs on this now?