839 Comments

I think there's a little bit more to untangle here.

- Absolutely the Israeli government deserves massive criticism for its shortsighted and frankly inhuman handling of the Palestine situation since the Israeli center left collapsed. It's a disgrace, and as an American I am humiliated by how the Israeli government took advantage of our support while totally ignoring our request that they stop fucking around with West Bank settlements and their totally cynical support of Hamas in Gaza. I had fantasies of POTUS pulling Bibi into a room and reminding him of who the superpower is in this relationship. We absolutely should have slapped Bibi around a bit and called his bluff about cozying up to Russia/China, who, by the way, totally betrayed him when shit got real again. Major FAFO for the Israeli right and I hope this crisis results in major changes in Israeli politics

- The broad point about young progressives not being any more antisemitic than other groups in American life is absolutely correct. Beyond that, David Frum has been doing a good job deconstructing the "young people no longer support Israel" polling narrative by showing that more than half of younger Americans are either unaware or disinterested in the Gaza conflict, and those that do care support Israel 2-1 over those who do not.

- I'm going to grab a third rail here so buckle up. Going back to the Iraq War, campus leftists and Arab/Muslim student groups have been very friendly, and that alliance deepened during the Trump years. Also during the Trump years, there emerged a zero criticism mindset among campus leftists towards those from any marginalized groups, and this includes Arab/Muslim communities. Here's the third rail: in addition to legitimate criticism of Israeli policy, there is absolutely toxic real honest to God antisemitism among the more radical members of Arab/Muslim student groups, and because campus leftists forbid themselves from criticizing members of marginalized groups, they have basically stood by or even supported (in a "Go off King" kind of way) the harassment of Jewish students and student groups whenever the Israel situation gets hot. The Gaza crisis is the hottest situation since 2006, and I think it is forcing Jewish students as well as non-Jews who are allies and friends of the Jewish community to reconsider their place in campus leftist activity as well as how more radical Arab/Muslim groups fit in campus leftism more generally. The tension has been there for a while, but the realignment is happening now.

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"White is bad; jews are white; jews are bad" is the general campus idiocy. I'm gonna push back on the 'anecdote is not data' — personal experience is personal data.

Good point re campus groups.

The amount of kids on my son's university campus, an extremely liberal north east public school, espousing this - are the majority of the marchers; and they are singling out Jewish kids and organizations with intimidation, and actual at this point, low stakes physical violence. There is very definite and active - not 'anti-semitism' - let's call it what it is - Jew hatred. So far some arrests re what i would characterize as low grade assault. But assault nonetheless [another ‘hit him with his own flagpole; like the guy who died; fortunately, didn’t happen to the students who were likewise clobbered]

I live in a liberal north east town. There is an active self-described communist advocacy group here, whose founder is an heir to a media fortune. They have been marching in our town, and harrassing Jewish owned businesses, by ‘flooding’ them (their description) with marchers, from the local college. As they’re marching they’re also yelling death threats to Jews on the streets. And they're training in MMA and have an active gun range on their ‘compound’ in a nearby town. So…is this just anecdote and not to be concerned about? Let’s ask the Jews on my son’s campus; and ask the people in my town.

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Several people I hung out with in high school have become full-fledged tankies. As in the Soviets were the good guys in the Cold War and capitalism is inherently racist, all evils stem from capitalism etc. They are making outright antisemitic arguments on social media. People like that are a small minority on the left but they’re often the noisiest and they show up for everything.

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They don’t show up to work though.

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A magnificent hippy-punch, Mr. Vice President.

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Sir, I am a quail.

Bloop bloop.

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Do people not get how this hatred and violence in places outside of the Middle East really doesn’t help the Palestinians at all? The goal, as I understand it, is to get the Jews to depart and leave “Greater Palestine” to the Arabs. Not my goal, but whatever. But if the Jews think they are going to be just as hated in America or Europe or wherever they won’t be eager to start packing their bags. What’s the point?

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Jews in America - and everywhere else - dont have to spend any time wondering if our neighbors would kill us. What we DO with that ‘free time’, well that’s up to us. Me, I am helpful to my neighbors. And I’d never pack my bags and relocate to Israel or anywhere else, even though! i have the financial wherewithal (from running the media) to do so.

Jews were in “Palestine” continuously; so they’re not going anywhere. Even though ‘history’ is debatable and subjective; it’s worth knowing what the parameters of all sides are and were. Not just the Nakba, but the contemporaneous expulsion of Jews from all the other middle east countries; and to be aware of the carving up of the middle east post Ottomans; and post WW1; Sykes Picot, etc etc.

Jews are going to stay in Israel; there’s no bag packing that’s going to happen. And regardless, they’re there; are we going to ask all the immigrants and their descendants in the US to leave, because of xenophobia? Everyone all over is a colonizer and settler. It’s evolutionary, it’s been ‘human development’ since way before there was writing. We’re here; we’re aggravating; get used to it. Figure out the finances more equitably and then all the bullshit diminishes. [As a side note, why did Arafat die so wealthy? why are the leaders of Hamas & the PA likewise so wealthy? (and how about them US Senators and their excellent stock picking?)]

One of the best takes on this whole pile of bullshitery, is Matt’s Slow Boring from mid October, just after the marauding murder rape raid, referencing the Mexican American War. Same thing, only different.

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Don’t disagree with anything you say here. My only point was that it is internally inconsistent to want a bunch of people to leave place X but then also make them feel unwelcome everywhere else. Not likely to work.

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Partitioning isn't a great answer (cf Ireland, India/Pakistan, Cyprus, Kosovo, Serbia/Montengergo, etc). But given the alternative?

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Isn't the argument about partitioning ALWAYS about the alternative? if you work backwards mentally from "world government" to "sovereign states" because there are groups of people with incompatible politics and just work in that direction forever until you find a somewhat stable equilibrium you probably end up with ethnically partitioned states most of the time. It's not necessarily horrible to not be on the majority side of that, like the Ainu in Japan, but where there's a clear path to having your own geographically contiguous majority it feels like it happens more often than not.

Ultimately the enormous, stable, multiethnic states like the US are both an historical and, to a lesser degree, contemporary oddity. Ethnonational politics remain alive and well almost everywhere, and they're potent politically because a lot of people buy into them. I imagine it's pretty scary to live as an ethnic minority in a lot of places that are still semi-amalgamated - think Kurds in Iraq, for example. Cross-border wars are harder to effectively execute than internal oppression in most cases, and raising the marginal cost of ethnic tensions by establishing separate countries feels like the smart move in many cases - including in some of the ones you list, and especially the Balkans.

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The point you’re missing is that none of these haters care about the Palestinian one bit. It’s just a cudgel against Jews.

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I was attempting to be charitable about people’s motivations.

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In my personal experience; it's not exaggerated. Nor are peoples dislike for any other group other than their own. BUT! because it's an accepted cultural norm to hate/blame/scapegoat jews - a norm which has existed for literally millennia - it's an easy default, it's an easy angerly grumble. Like complaining about the weather, reflexive; and then of course synagogue shootings....well, they got what was coming to them, because. Just because. Just desserts. Etc.

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There's no need to exaggerate anything. The very fact that Jews are attacked around the world by Arabs and leftists shows that those pro Hamas (sorry "pro Palestinian") movements are deeply antisemitic, because honestly WTF does attacking a Jewish person living in the UK or the US do for the cause of Palestinian liberation, unless the person who is pro Palestinian agrees with Hamas that it means a genocide and ethnic cleansing of Jews. Sorry, but these incidents are real, especially on campuses, and this hate shows what this conflict is about.

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"There is an active self-described communist advocacy group here, whose founder is an heir to a media fortune."

What is it with these people?? Patty Hearst lives!

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Patty Hearst could at least claim Stockholm syndrome / brainwashing. This guy....not.

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I have seen things like this happen, although much less extreme/scary. Oddly, not in my own neighborhood, which has a lot of very visibly Jewish people and six synagogues within walking distance, but in more upscale suburban area that has a fair number of Jews, but they are more secular. This suburb is one of the most highly educated in our region, and it is filled with families. There is no college and few young adults living on their own. I feel naive, but I don't understand it at all. Why can't people understand that a mere fact of your identity that you can't help or change has nothing to do with what is happening in Israel?

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"Why can't people understand that a mere fact of your identity that you can't help or change..." - well, since we've replaced learning about history and actual events, with identity is everything, and the hierarchy of trauma....everything became identity before all. And since the highest prestige identities are now the ones with the most 'trauma', and also there's a hierarchy of 'righting historic wrongs' and the whole 'antiracist idea that if you are not doing X then you are Y...well then, any connection you can have with the top of the hierarchy makes you look good. Their enemy is your enemy. If their enemy is 'the jews', well then.

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Kingston, NY?

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Umass Amherst and Berkshires Mass.

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Ah yeah I forgot about the Berkshires communist guy. That's my alma mater, so let me know how I can help beat these guys down!

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Strong agree, especially on the last point. I was an undergraduate back when anything other than strong support for all Israeli policies was labelled as antisemitic by most campus leftists. Even back then, I attended a SJP event where an external Palestinian speaker basically called for the genocide of Israelis. They shut the event down immediately, but the SJP leadership was really flippant about the whole thing and was unwilling to truly criticize the speaker they invited. It was really shocking, especially in contrast to how aggressive SJP members were about messaging normally.

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Re: the "zero criticism" mindset, I find it especially jarring to see the double-standard that exists for social conservatism if it's coming from Christians/Jews or Muslims.

A lot of these folks (IMO, rightly!) care a lot about women's rights, gay rights, etc. and also don't want a society where religion is shoved in your face all the time. They actively fight for these things in the U.S., often against very conservative Evangelical Christians. But... if the people responsible are Muslim, they say you're not allowed to criticize because that is by default Islamophobic.

So when you get something like what happened with the all-Muslim council banning pride flags on city property in Hamtramck, a lot of these folks seem to have no clue what to do, because the homophobic religious social conservatives are Muslim and not Christian. (https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/wayne/2023/06/14/hamtramck-city-council-ban-lgbtq-pride-flags-property/70318779007/)

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There was a reddit post about this the other with a lot of comments, and the overwhelming answer leftists gave is "it's right and good to be supportive of people who hate you".

I said "that's very Christian of you, but I promise you most people do not actually do this when the rubber hits the road".

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Link to that loony reddit thread?

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Yeah, I think you're right about this, but the important distinction is that leftists in the west are not being actively persecuted by groups they support in the Middle East because they're physically separated and not subject to socially conservative rule emanating from that particular ideology.

If they were actively living in a place where the animating energy behind (as one example) anti-LGBT politics was Islamic and not Christian, they'd have a totally different tune.

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Anti Zionist Jews like Matt don't live in Israel, so it's pretty easy to be critical of Israel from afar and dismissive of how genocidal some Palestinians actually are. The irony of the October 7th massacre is that the huge majority of people murdered, tortured, raped and kidnapped were on the far left end of Israeli politics - pro peace, pro negotiated solution, working to help Palestinians (such as drive them to hospitals in Israel from the border). I want to see the good progressive folk hold on to their strongly held opinions if their families were massacred.

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I think Matt is a Zionist. He believes Israel should exist as a Jewish state. Are you using a different definition?

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I think they’d throw LGBTQ people under the bus. White gay men are already getting squeezed out of the coalition because a lot of them are financially successful.

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Of course you're right, I just couldn't leave the irony unstated

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

In re Hamtramck, the main explanation I see from progressives on that is to claim the local Muslims have been agitated into anti-LGBTQism by evil Republicans/conservatives/Christians. (See also the standard claim that, if Hispanic voters are trending Republican at all, it's mostly because of "misinformation" on Spanish-language radio.)

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Rather like how they claim American Jews are agitated into liberal Zionism by Republican, conservative, Christian Zionists. "Republicans did it" is the standard explanation for any failure of a group in the Democratic tent to agree with the progressive party line.

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I mean, certainly a part of why I hate US’ unconditional support of Israel is that the Christianists are trying to make Revelation happen.

Islamists and Christianists and the neo-Nazis and the Jewish fundamentalists and the Hindu nationalists…they’re all the same, they’re all bad, and they should all be locked in the same cage with a tenth of the food and water they need and lots of weapons with it televised. The cable networks could sell it with the sports package, it would beat most sports and most other reality tv

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At some point, however, they'll all turn their ire against the atheists chomping at the bit to watch them fight.

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Hence the cage

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Who's gonna lock them all in a cage? For that, you'll need secret police -- but, of course, it's to protect "our" democracy. ;-)

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Yes utter and complete imbeciles are part of the problem. But I think it goes beyond that.

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Feb 15·edited Feb 15

I've long been surprised that my fellow progressive friends are so intolerant of criticism of Islamist extremism. Years ago I posted this brilliant Onion cartoon and article https://www.theonion.com/no-one-murdered-because-of-this-image-1819573893 and several friends said they were offended because they saw it as Islamophobic, which is mystifying to me. There have been Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus who kill people for perceived religious blasphemy -- those religions are not inherently any better than Islam. But today, for whatever reason, the state of Islamic extremism worldwide is such that an image like this could get you killed, if it included a certain person who I'm literally afraid to even name right now. That's not a criticism of Islam at all, and certainly not an indication of irrational phobia. It seems overwhelmingly likely to me that if Christian extremists were killing people for running insulting images of Jesus, all of my progressive friends would be outraged about this -- about the killing, that is, not the images.

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This actually fits Matt's thesis pretty well, because a lot of those Arab/Muslim student groups simply aren't very liberal, progressive, or left-wing outside issues affecting them specifically. An important step to fight antisemitism in the United States, then, would be to stop treating "conservatives of color" (which would encompass Black Hebrew Israelites and the Nation of Islam as well as CAIR or your average Arab Student Association) as a left-wing vanguard when they actually have thoroughly center-right policy views.

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Never said Matt's thesis was wrong! Super agree on there being valid criticism of Israel and that criticism of Israel does not equal antisemitism. I think his third point arguing that young progressives not being any more antisemitic than other groups of Americans is broadly true but not true in specific, high salience ways.

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Yeah I agree with you there. The Left constantly tries to "outflank" normie libs in ways that tend to amplify whatever stupid coalitional decisions the normie libs have made. Urban Democrats let the Nation of Islam inside the tent *at all*, and the Left brings the Nation of Islam into leadership of the Women's March. Progressives and Leftists willfully ignore their own amplification of otherwise objectively right-wing views, how this weakens their coalitions, and how it means they end up tailing the most milquetoast of Democrats that they otherwise despise.

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The only problem is that "social justice" (as if supporting genocide of Jews is 'justice') leftists are completely in the pocket of pro Hamas propaganda. Something is wrong with the brains of those on the left engaged in "progressive causes" when it's a litmus test to talk about "Palestine" under the guise of any movement - climate change, social justice, prison reform, etc, etc. How has the left been captured to such an extent by a single conflict, if it isn't due to oil-money astroturfed antisemitism? Even if you believe the numbers from the Hamas-run "ministry of health", 11K dead (with magically no Hamas members, sure) compared to the Syrian civil war? Did you see anyone on the climate change left say a single thing about that far more bloody conflict?

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Source for that claim about pro-Palestinian student groups? My experience (limited, but at three college campuses) is that they’re left-wing on all the issues you’d expect.

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But he didn't say pro-Palestinian student groups. He said Arab and Muslim student groups. Those are typically not explicitly political and consist largely of cross-pressured "conservatives of color", same as a lot of the Black student groups or Orthodox Jewish student groups.

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You seem to contradict Matt and be aware of rising antisemitsm, but you seem to find it necessary to say so after such a long anti Israeli apologia (far more viscerally expressed than your abhorrence of antisemitsm in the us) that one doubts how many people would notice it?

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Insightful. Nothing has made me more angry than politicians antid the media lumping all 'pro-Palestinian' demos anti-Israel or pro-Hamas even if they were organized an dominated by those who support a two--state solution or Palestinian civil rights. They don't differentiate the make-up of protesters as American-born or International Students. Pro-Palestine is general enough to covers many shades of ideology and politics.

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How insightful. This is exactly why I was questioning the media's lumping together every "pro-Palestinian" demo as anti-Israeli or pro-Hamas. There was, and still is, little distinction between those who are for a two-state solution as a solution to the decades of conflict and those who actually support Hamas s traight up. And how does the latter group break down as American-born or International Students on campus? There also seems to be a lot of 'leftists' who equate Ismail Haniyeh with Nelson Mandela or Patricoops,e Lumumba, leaders of national movements who had the active backing of the vast majority of the people who they pain-stakingly organized on the road. They may have attacked enemy installations and troops but resisted Hamas is a terrorist, false revolutionary group that believes individual or a series of terror attacks will somehow trigger a revolution for independence.

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Yes, it souinds like your last point is definitely happening at my alma mater and alums of different ethnic and religious backgrounds are very upset about it ("school is too soft on those making antisemitic comments" AND "school always forefronts Jewish interests and ignores the Arabs/Muslims on campus") . So much so that many are saying they are cutting off donations. I do have concerns about academic freedom, but I am also glad I am not in charge because I have no idea how the administration should deal with this.

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easy. don't tolerate any kind of racism, antisemitism very much included. it's a no brainer.

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See, I don't think it's easy at all because some people think showing any support for the Palestinians as antisemitic and others see any pro-Israel message as anti-Arab. And students ages 18-22 aren't always known for their nuanced thinking, so any move the administration has made to calm tensions is being seen as support for one side or another.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

It is easy. Don’t celebrate massacre, don’t target you colleagues or classmates based on identity (that’s illegal btw) don’t vandalize places of worship (or any place actually) don’t exercise hecklers veto, don’t be a jerk. Capiche?

P.S.

As a university - condemning an atrocity of epic proportions is a good idea, esp of your previous policy has been to forcefully condemn trivialities, otherwise you silenced is telling. Staying silent on only one kind of hate speech and actions of campus is likewise telling. By contrast if you were wiser and adopted (and adhered to!) the Chicago principles long ago then it’s a different story. Double standards are bad, if your standard is too murky to make a call it’s a bad standard.

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RemovedNov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023
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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

Not a bad analysis. I’d say your no. 2 and possibly no. 3 are also antisemites. Willful blindness towards the persecution of one also of group suggests animus towards it.

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I don't agree with this.

Most people are just largely apathetic towards most other 'distant' groups, but may support or oppose them based on purely selfish motives.

For instance, I dont think that most Chinese people care much about Jews or Palestinians one way or the other...but based on 'enemy of an enemy is a friend' or 'friend of an enemy is an enemy'...their government seems to be indirectly supporting the Palestinians.

(Caveat that what the CCP does w.r.t. geopolitics doesn't necessarily reflect the populace's views.)

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my point however was wilfull blindness to what's happening to jews on campus. If you partner up with and support haters, systemically ignoring their hate and their actions it's far to ask if you share their hate. All the more so if it's hard to fathom why you'd partner up with these people in the first place. There is zero in common ideologically between the far left and islamists, excepting anti americanism and anti semitism. Yes, in theory you can be only anti american, not antisemitic, and in bed with islamists. BUT at some point when you partiicipate in theiir antisemtiic chants, support their antisemitic aactivities, go out of your way to shield them in their hate, spreaad their lies, participate in their gaslighting etc. you basically have turned antisemite in acitons and frankly the most reasonable conclusion is that it's also in intent. however your intent doesn't really matter at this point. If you are fine with enabling and promoting aantisemitism you're part of the problem.

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The PLO and PFLP were explicitly Marxist until not too long ago.

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Nov 16, 2023·edited Nov 16, 2023

Sure, they were part of the soviet coalition and made some superficial verbal gestures, with zero actual policy or practice to back it up (By contrast to the zionist left, which actually took socialism more seriously than most) - hence why the far left was always pro palestinian and anti israel antisemtiic (British Jeremy Corbyn is a leftover piece of scum from that era). However now they don't even pretend to be left wing, so the support for them is more baffling, esp seeing that it's far more prevalent, in the us, than the support for the "socialist" palestinian terrorist ever was.

P.S.

It is a further irony that the Kibbutzim who were the chief victims of the Hamas attack were real socialists (by contrast to ivy league campus blabbers who have not the slightest sense of what the term means), and did more to advance human rights and justice for Palestinians and Jews alike than all of the so-called "pro Palestinian" westerners put together.

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Governemnts can be cynical. At the same time China is now spreaading antisemitism to its populace and abroad. They may be doing it cyncially and not becaause they "really" believe it, but i doubt the authors of the protocls of the elders of zion "Really" believed it. Enough people exposed to it will believe it, and act upon it.

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deletedNov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023
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"And as I've pointed out before, young Gentiles outside of cities like LA and New York are pretty unaware of who Jews even are, and if you try to explain to them that they're historically oppressed, you'll be met with confusion because Jews are White in their minds."

This was kinda/sorta me when I was younger. I lived both just outside New York and in California (briefly, in both cases) as a kid, and my family is originally from New England. Obviously, I knew what Judaism was and that there were Jewish people, but I didn't really know any (that I know of). That said, I grew up in neighborhoods that were predominantly black/hispanic, so I had encountered racism IRL and obviously through media, but when I discovered that anti-semitism was a thing it blew my little noggin off. Racism was always bizarre to me, even as a kid, but then once you find out some people are so racist that they start weeding out *other white people* it's a banananpants crazy concept to take in as a 9 or 10 year old.

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Hey, I had some college kid out of the blue tell me in line for snacks at the movie theater that "my rabbi probably wouldn't approve of that hot dog". I'm gonna guess it had to do with my nose. And he wasn't my people.

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"Spicy white" as the infamous Clubhouse expression went!

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What I'm seeing a lot of is what I've been calling "asemitism": a complete lack of interest in what happens to Israeli Jews, paired with a passionate, impressionistic concern for Palestinian freedom. "Yeah, it'll be tough, but in the end it'll work out somehow. But Palestine must be free, at all costs, whatever those costs happen to be, and I can't be bothered to give the slightest thought to such mysterious matters."

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Israeli Jews have plenty of advocates in the halls of Congress. No other group of ~7 million foreigners gets so much tlc from Congress. Not the Uighurs or the Rohingya nor the Kurds nor Turkish Armenians nor any of the other minority groups that are objectively far worse off.

We sent aircraft carriers to the Levant out of concern for Israeli Jews while they were decimating Gaza, and are sending them money even while they are plenty rich enough to retaliate on their own. If Israel were at a actual risk of being driven into the sea, the response would be massive.

Leftists are correct that we should care about Israel much less.

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We sent carrier groups because they tend to have a calming influence on other nations. Iran getting active is bad for a lot of people who aren't Israeli Jews.

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Therapeutic carrier deployments? Maybe emotional support carriers?

There’s definitely something hilarious in here.

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"The US has deployed the CVN-13 'USS Weighted Blanket' battle group to a position off of the cost of Israel..."

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It's like a ship name from the Iain M Banks "Culture" universe

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I wouldn't know anything about that. Neither would Ethics Gradient.

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I don't know if this is actually responsive to what you're saying, but I feel like I'm seeing a common conceptual error here. US aid does not protect Israel from the middle east, hardly so much as it protects the middle east from Israel. It hasn't for decades. The IDF is easily the premiere power in the region, but it's not so powerful as to maintain the existing borders without international intervention. The war Israel would be forced into fighting, a war it would win, if it actually had to maintain a sort of defensible contiguous geography without US guarantied borders would be vast orders of magnitude more horrific than anything that's happened in the region to date. We're basically talking about turning all of Israel/Jordan/Lebanon/Egypt, maybe Iran too, into Aleppo. Cutting Israel lose would be legitimately catastrophic.

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I don't think the nearby Arab states have any interest in fighting Israel. They turned their backs on the Palestinians long ago. This could radically change and push Israel to a region-wide war, but things can always change anywhere. I think we're closer to the US invading Mexico than Israel is to invading Jordan.

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What exactly keeps Lebanon/Syria from dancing to Iran's tune without a US presence? When Israel starts doing to Hezbollah what it's currently doing to Hamas how long can the others stay in the sidelines?

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What is the US's vital interest in Lebanon/Syria?

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Not that much. There's some medium/long term downside to just washing our hands and letting things really deteriorate over there, but it's probably not a huge deal for US based individuals. It would really suck a whole hell of a lot for people over there though, and the odds we'd actually sit on the sidelines as things went real bad seem pretty small.

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Is Israel quite that dominant? They seem reluctant to engage with Hezbollah, beyond any restraint the US may be imposing.

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I'm not gonna pretend to be some in the weeds military expert, but it really just comes down to the rules of engagement. Can Israel occupy and police southern Lebanon? No, not really. Can they absolutely flatten anywhere Hezbollah might want to launch attacks into Israel from? Yes, absolutely.

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But would such military action make Israel safer as you said in your comment? Hezbollah has 150,000 missiles, so they can do a great deal of flattening themselves. The U.S. is not opposing Israel vigorously striking areas from which they are attacked; the Israelis themselves are cautious about escalation.

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Nov 16, 2023·edited Nov 16, 2023

Because as opposed to messianic Shi'a kooks we don't think that "all the Jews dying will bring the 12th Mahadi out of occultation". Israelis actually want to live normal lives, not take incoming fire from religious maniacs on the border. But if we think we're facing genocide? Well check out how well those tunnels are working out for Hamas terrorists at the moment. It's amazing how much you're willing to fight when your family is under threat of torture, rape, murder and kidnapping.

It's also pretty funny how scared the "we love death" martyrs of Hezbollah are when they're facing even a partial military deployment from Israel, rather than Israeli civilians they can terrorize.

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Compared to the current situation? Obviously not. Compared to the alternatives in a world where the international backers of Palestinian nationalism are not being checked by US commitments? It's probably an inevitability.

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Yeah, like lots of wars we don’t get involved in…

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I get y'all's point, but I think you are actually wrong about the strategic viability of it. The existing occupations Israel is trying to maintain are already a bit of a disaster, as we are seeing, and attempting to expand that would pretty quickly push the Israelis into a set of lose-lose strategic propositions.

To be clear, I don't think they would lose a war. But at some point an expansion really would force them to choose between trying to maintain an occupation, trying to slow roll an even bigger ethnic cleansing project a la the West Bank (they literally had to redeploy the army to deal with rising violence, which left the Gaza border weaker, so I'm going to say that one isn't going totally great), and just doing a straight up expulsion that would turn them into an at least partial pariah state. And although the third one is the worst, the truth is that any of those three options is going to accelerate the already in-progress depletion of their political capital abroad.

To be clear, I think Israel could survive that, in a the-state-is-viable sense. But I think Israeli voters don't want to be the next Myanmar or whatever, leading at some point to a pretty massive political crisis.

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But this is precisely why it wouldn’t happen. Unless there was a massive change in the military capacity of the surrounding nations, Israel could and would carve out those spaces if threatened. No surrounding nation is going to make that threat because they know they would lose, and if they might win, Israel would resort to nuclear weapons. There’s no scenario where Israel isn’t the completely dominant military power for the foreseeable future.

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It's mostly domestic politics, yes, undoubtedly. It might have made sense for the American Empire to have a militarily potent client state in that region when Soviet tanks surging south were a possibility, and when oil was the coin of the realm. Those days have long gone. America's policies wrt Israel have a very similar dynamic to our policies regarding Northern Ireland.

In fairness, the US is hardly the only country whose foreign policy is substantially driven by domestic politics. Still, Americans would be better off in 2023 if their government's relationship to Israel resembled its relationship to Madagascar or Uruguay. Cordial relations? Sure. Obsession and three billion a year? Not in the national interest.

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The aircraft carrier was to deter a broader war.

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No other conflict in the world, including mass murder of muslims, has drawn anyone from the left to protest, let alone assault Jewish students in their 'passion'. 500K dead civilians in the Syrian civil war, or a million Uyghurs in prison camps has a single protest by leftists, especially on campus.

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Should we care more about the underlying ideology that makes all of this impossible?

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Disregard for implementation challenges or unintended consequences is a common feature of certain people’s political positions. I’d guess many of these people are the ones who think you help Palestinians by putting Trump back in the White House, to teach Democrats a lesson.

So it doesn’t prove any particular anti-Jewish bias.

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Are you serious? It might not be proof, but it is certainly very strong evidence of bias when advocates of a policy are obsessed with the welfare of one group and completely unconcerned about likely unintended consequences to another group.

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But that is kind of the entire thing of all advocacy groups now. A sneering dismissiveness of anyone objecting to or made worse off by a policy objective is to be expected. If you are BLM, you are dismissive of safety concerns of officers. If you are thin blue line, you are dismissive of the concerns of people subjected to police misconduct. The same is true across the board. It is unfortunately how advocacy is done.

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This one-sidedness might be how advocacy is done most of the time, but perhaps we'd arrive at saner solutions if we made good-faith attempts to arrive at solutions at least somewhat acceptable to most people. This kind of good faith thinking is what I love about Slow Boring.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

I agree is isn’t helpful, but it does suggest that it’s unwise to impute antisemitism from a failure to recognize Israel’s legitimate safety concerns. It’s much more plausible that young progressives have chosen to advocate for a less powerful, marginalized group and put on blinders to everything else as they are generally prone to doing. None of this is good reasoning or productive, but it isn’t what I think is antisemitism. Certainly there are also antisemitics in the mix, especially among the Palestinians in the student groups, but it isn’t the general motivator among most of the pro-Palestinian protesters.

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I think a more concerning issue is does this lead to actual antisemitism. I think it’s a risk over time.

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The latter is a very a bold and totally unsubstantiated claim, as I have come to expect from you.

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They couldn't really say that with a straight face, because the Hamas terrorists bragged by splashing video of their atrocities all over the internet.

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Completely, *completely* fucking different from what you previously said. Nobody in this comment section is an idiot or a child. Please do not piss on my boots and tell me that it's raining.

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Okay, so there are more. Does that suggest that Stephen is wrong about the people he’s talking about?

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Are they spending a lot of time worrying about what happens in the DRC or Somalia? Must be racists. Most people don't pay attention to the nuances of a conflict thousands of miles away and leftists have spent a long time developing the idea that the underdog is always right. They aren't antisemitic because if they got their wish and Palestinians won, and immediately started unleashing genocide against the Jewish population, young leftists would immediately find themselves rooting for Israelis again. Their ideas are stupid, that doesn't make them antisemitic.

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I think your second-to-last sentence assumes facts not in evidence. The anti-imperialist left was not particularly sympathetic about genocide against Bosnians or Kosovars, for instance, nor atrocities committed against Syrian civilians by their government.

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Have they ever protested for those other causes? Have they assaulted other students over those causes?

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Yes! I was trying to think what that word should be today, and you nailed it. It’s the willingness to discount Jewish historical attachment to and presence in the Land of Israel, perhaps because to many progressives, they just don’t understand Jewish history, or think that because it started in the Bible that it’s all just a religious fantasy for zealots, or the Jews they see in America pass as White, so they construct a framing that is not at all grounded in the reality of the region itself.

But asemitism is much more accurate way to describe that belief-set than antisemitism

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"Let me paraphrase a strawman position of the opposition, without even staking out my own position, and hope nothing is misconstrued and everyone takes me seriously."

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Love this.

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I agree with this article in a literal sense, but I think it missed something important. I don’t think the problem is a “mysterious, exogenous” rise in progressive antisemitism. The problem has been a more or less plausibly exogenous rise in mindless progressive *allyship*. And some of progressives’ allies are quite antisemitic.

1. Yes, there may be more people with consciously antisemitic attitudes on the right. But it’s leftists dancing in the street when Jews are massacred. This is because pro-Hamas activists (with the appropriate BIPOC credentials) tell them they should celebrate.

2. This is most obvious when you look at progressives’ attitudes towards Hamas and their slogans. Someone tells them “Hamas is anticolonial and from the river to the sea is about equality” and they just go along with it.

3. This also explains why, as Matt notes, “what Israel does matters.” Under Matt’s theory, it’s mysterious why what Palestinians do seems not to matter at all. The allyship hypothesis explains this: progressives are simply supposed to listen only to Palestinians, and questioning what they say is forbidden.

You can just look at Ezra Klein’s recent interviews. Ezra is obviously not an antisemite. But when a pro-Palestine person makes a claim, he’ll accept it without question. (E.g. he had multiple guests claim “Hamas was never given a chance!”)

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Letting people talk is Ezra's whole deal though, he also let an ex-Israeli solider say that Israel's neighbors pose an existential threat to it without bothering to note that they could drop a nuke on Cairo or Tehran at the push of a button.

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Those nukes are only good if the adversary can be deterred. Turning Middle Eastern cities into smoking ruins would not be a win for Israel.

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Israel can't nuke Gaza nor the West Bank, nor south Lebanon. That means that Hamas and Hezbollah remain existential threats. Maybe you didn't notice how 1200 Israeli civilians, tourists, Thai, Nepalese and Palestinian foreign workers were massacred on October 7th in savage ways? Did nukes help much with that?

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Irregulars with machine guns are not an *existential* threat to a country with millions of people, a modern military, and a western economy. Israel could kill every man woman and child in a Gaza in a matter of days with drones and artillery, no nukes required. That’s not an existential threat, horrifying though the loss of a thousand plus people was. 50 years ago there was at least an argument that the other states, with their own militaries, in the region were an existential threat, that’s what a nuclear deterrent has taken off the table.

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Israel hasn't killed every man, woman and child in Gaza, despite progressive hand wringing and leftists echoing Hamas propaganda. But progressives are in a hurry to safeguard Hamas from being eliminated through 'ceasefire now' calls, and leftists, well they're openly in support of the Hamas goal of a genocide and ethnic cleansing of 7 million Israeli Jews.

When people like you are willing to live next to an ISIS controlled ex-territory you'll get to lecture about existential threats. No person is "the country". Real people were murdered, watched their wife, husband, children raped, tortured and murdered, so your argument is absolutely spurious. The 200K internally displaced Israelis lived within single-digit miles from Palestinian and Lebanese Shia death squad members. The massacre on October 7th is quite real, and that is a real existential threat to hundreds of thousands of Israelis on the borders. Had Israel given all of the West Bank to the PA, and like Gaza the PA lost it in a coup to Hamas less than two years later, nearly all of Israel would be within reach of such atrocities.

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Of course they haven’t, because killing two million people in retaliation for killing 1,400 would be wildly disproportionate and immoral. The point is that if Israel were actually facing an existential threat--as that word actually is defined, not simply “something bad might happen and .03% of the population might die” or however you’re defining it down--they could eliminate it.

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Again, does a family surrounded by sadistic murderers on meth care about the fraction of people from the country they and their entire community are as they and their children are being tortured and murdered? How absurd your entire claims are. You have the biggest single-day massacre of civilians since 9/11 and the biggest single-day massacre of Jews since WW2, and you're whipping out your calculator to assure hundreds of thousands within range of a repeat attack about how their deaths don't matter. That's your excuse for why Israel shouldn't go into Gaza to close contact with Hamas, kill the terrorists who carried out that massacre and blow up their tunnels and rockets?

I sure hope when someone murders you that you're comforted by the low statistical chance of that happening.

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if the only way to fend off an existential threat would be "disproportionate and immoral," one is already facing an existential threat.

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Ezra's interview with Amjad Iraqi was an absolute, embarrassing train wreck; best illustrated when Ezra tried to push Amjad on why he's against a two state solution and he said this galaxy-brain nonsense:

"I don’t think the answer to imagining something outside of Zionism, as manifested today, needs to be another kind of nationalism. It could be a state that could be broken down more. What is Jewish existence outside of the state of Israel? Outside in terms of the land, but away from those constructs. And to reorganize ourselves and rethink our identities in different ways. So how do you reflect the people on the ground?"

"How do we envision a more decentralized model of existence? How do we think about regions? How do we think about cities as leading our political and economic ways of life?"

"So I think trying to provide the legitimate spaces for Palestinians to think about that, and to say why Zionism is a problem, and to say that we can imagine something outside of nationalism and statehood, I think is much more realistic to who we are, much more realistic to the future that we want and to create something much better."

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Nov 16, 2023·edited Nov 16, 2023

I think sometimes hearing people say such ridiculous things without pushback is good, because then we can dismiss it as nonsense. This man was given a chance to make his case as vigorously as he could, and he made excuses for Hamas and vaguely argued for a world without borders.

I found the interview with the pollster much more frustrating because that involved actual data being misrepresented, not just some dude popping off.

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I found that interview very useful, because it reinforced for me how impossible it is to find any common ground between some-not-all Palestinians and anyone supporting a two-state solution.

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And well ... maybe that was the point Ezra is trying to make. Maybe Ezra didn't challenge because he felt the statements themselves were so damning. IDK. I need to think about this. Regardless this is the risk when you leave too much of the interpretation up to the reader / listener.

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I have no idea what the quoted sentences actually mean. I'll listen to the interview to try to figure them out.

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Good luck. I listened to a couple of the answers 2-3 times and then even went back to the transcript because it was such stunning nonsense.

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As a diaspora Jew who is generally sympathetic to plight of Palestinians I found his answers about a solution and Jewish security to be wholly unsatisfying. You aren't going to win the hearts and minds of people if you can't articulate a solution that doesn't sound like it came from Balaji Srinivasan talking about the utopia of network states.

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Nov 19, 2023·edited Nov 19, 2023

Sure you are. Look at the rise in pro Palestinian sentiment. It’s not about rational discourse. It’s about control of communications (social media algorithms) and coercion and intimidation to shut out all debate (hecklers veto on campuses). You’ve taken over an entire generation in the us in this manner.

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I’m afraid listening won’t help you. It makes exactly as much sense in the interview.

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Sounded to me like he is longing for a Pre-WW1 Palestine ruled by the Ottomans.

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Diaspora is a decentralized model of existence

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Wait. So he was saying his vision for Israel is a secular state, and if Jews are subject to violence, then they can leave?

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It’s just a mechanism

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I don’t understand.

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It’s just another way to attain his actual goal which is Palestine with no Jews in it

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From the perspective of someone hopelessly unqualified--yet not unhopeful--I long to hear something new said about the situation. Or at least new to me. This got my attention.

Of course you can’t pin anything real to such musing, or even define it--thus rendering it as anodyne as it is ethereal. Maybe what he’s saying is just complete BS. but it occurs to me that one way through this involves utter destruction; another way might combine new perspectives with the kind of inexorable pressure you use to get through, say, sturdy lumber.

There’s a term for that...

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I’ll agree with you that at least during the first interview in EK’s latest series lacked a certain (insert French phrase); basically, a number of missed opportunities to challenge. But though it may well be, this is not necessarily a reflection of poor journalistic instinct, or the weight of institutional pressures. To wit, his pre-interview intros have been heavy on the disclaimer that “I don’t agree with everything they’re saying, but I want you to hear these perspectives.” This stayed (somewhat) consistent with the aforementioned Israeli guest.

It’s a tough balance, allowing your guest to voice their stance versus pushing back, without devolving into zero-sum argument. After all, there’s plenty of that in other outlets. If you want your guests to answer the questions, you have to give them questions they feel they can answer. For what it’s worth, I suggest trying out Mike Pesca’s podcast. I think he finds that balance better than most.

Those of us with the privilege of relative detachment from the horror going on right now I guess have a choice: when our favorite pundits fail to push back on behalf of our understandings or sentiments, we can pick up that brick and throw it at the TV* or take a breath and absorb the words for a bit.

*Neither EK (or Matt, for that matter) is often on TV, to my knowledge. But I listen to podcasts via earbuds. So executing that brick maneuver would, in my case, cause some serious head trauma.

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Yeah, one of my extremely pro-Palestinian friends listened to the last interview with the Palestinian who lives in Israel proper, and that made him more sympathetic to Israel than anything I’ve said. He was really disturbed to hear the guy shrug off Hamas. I wasn’t disturbed because I’ve heard much worse.

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Nov 19, 2023·edited Nov 19, 2023

Not sure who was the interviewed, but by and large Palestinians in Israel proper, who are also Israeli citizens, are very hostile to Hamas, and their feeling of “Israeliness” rose dramatically in the aftermath of the attacks[1]. It’s worth noting that the terrorists killed and kidnapped some of them too (Hamas spared none who were in their path!). In fact I have heard an account (cannot confirm for certain)- warning description of murder ahead- that a hijab clad Muslim Palestinian (Israeli) woman begged for her life in Arabic to no avail- she was shot by a Hamas terrorist at close quarters. Israeli Arabs are very aware of all of this. They are in a uniquely complicated position being both Israeli annd Palestinian at the same time (and often targeted by extremists on both sides) and tend to hold more nuanced views as a result.

[1] https://www.timesofisrael.com/amid-war-poll-finds-arab-israelis-sense-of-kinship-with-state-at-a-20-year-high/amp/

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One thing I’m wondering given the West Bank settler violence is if there’s been violence between Jewish and Arab Israelis. If not, this should be highlighted as a disparate population that’s been able to hold together.

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Almost nothing so far, by stark contrast to the major riots in 2021. Reportedly local Arab and Jewish community leaders are working very hard to prevent that from happening again. At the same time the Hamas Iran etc would love more than anything to foster such internal violence within Israel proper and work hard to try to encourage this by any means available to them. Extremist right wing Jews (including within the Israeli government) unfortunately share this nihilistic worldview.

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This sounds like what people say in defense of Joe Rogan interviews. Not saying it's incorrect, just it seems like both Klein and Rogan are doing the same thing here.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023

My big problem with Rogan is that he platforms conspiracy theorists, and eggs them on. Nobody is well served by hearing that the moon landing was faked.

I think it’s useful to hear the perspective of an anti-Israel Palestinian who lives in Israel. There’s more than one truth in the world. Even if you think it’s nonsense, it’s good from a Sun-Tsu “know thy enemy” way.

In retrospect, I wish Ezra Klein had pushed harder for clarification on what the guy meant when he launched into his incoherent soliloquy on “different ways of living.” Because whatever he was saying, he was talking around it, and he had been quite direct that he didn’t care about 10/7. If you’re willing to be direct about that, what exactly are you unwilling to be direct about?

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

Based on the first few podcasts (totally unrelated to Israel or Jews) I concluded long ago that Ezra’s brain turned useless mush when he moved to NYT and that his podcasts there are a waste of time. Turns out I was more right than I knew !

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Wow, that’s an uncharitable take. I find Klein’s podcast to be the best one out there when it comes to these kind of controversial issues, and the best political show in general for anything outside of economic policy.

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What else are you listening to?

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I’ve tried The Daily, 538, Lex Fridman, all of Matt’s shows (RIP), Joe Rogan, Pod Save America, NPR’s Up First, Tim Ferris, Freakonomics, The Intelligence (Economist), Odd Lots, Econ 102, Breton Goods, Money Talks, Huberman Lab, The Indicator, Hexapodia, The Studies Show, EconTalk, several other NYT/Bloomberg/Economist podcasts, and a variety of other shows I’m sure I’m forgetting (not counting some domain-specific podcasts that wouldn’t really apply here).

The ones I come back to are Odd Lots, The Studies Show, Ezra Klein, and all of the Economist’s shows.

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That's an impressive list! Interestingly my favorites aren't on it! I strongly recommend "the dispatch podcast". "talkig politics" was top notch but sadly ended, however there is now "these Times" also featuring Prof. Helen Thompson so it should be good!

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I forgot to mention the Dispatch! I’ve tried them a couple of times, and I’ll queue up one of theirs occasionally. I enjoyed their recent episode on Romney quite a bit. I’ll try out “These Times.”

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"The problem has been a more or less plausibly exogenous rise in mindless progressive *allyship*. And some of progressives’ allies are quite antisemitic."

Very much this. It's why I ultimately don't find the question of whether anti-Israel progressives are antisemitic in some deep subjective motivational sense all that important.

Not to go all Godwin's Law on this, but to me it's a bit like asking whether Petain was antisemitic. Maybe interesting from a biographical perspective. But all that really mattered was his first-order commitment to "allyship" with a nakedly and ferociously antisemitic regime, to the total exclusion of any will to criticize or resist its malicious acts toward Jews.

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This is a good point, but I think in Matt’s framework of practical policy, the distinction is important. Matt often says that racism is a huge driver behind Trump’s popularity, but simply stating that isn’t an electoral strategy. You may have won the moral argument, but you also need to win elections.

I think that leads to two conclusions. First, helping people who haven’t thought through what anti-Zionism really means learn that a SS is a toxic fantasy. Second, as much as this bothers me personally, recognizing that you don’t have to agree with everything a potential political ally says. I already hated the DSA, so writing them off isn’t hard for me. But if we come together on, say, climate change, we shouldn’t demand they share our views on Israel.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

The problem with your analysis is why Palestinians are seen as deserving of “allyship” in the first place and not the Jews?

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Interesting point. But what explains the disturbing number of Jews among this rabid genocidal anti-Israel crowd?

I see this choice of “allies” as a direct consequence of progressive dogma.

1. “White bad, Jews white, Jews bad” (as someone said above)

2. “Colonialism bad, Jews colonizers”

It follows that Israel is the Great Satan, of course.

Now, why did Jews get lumped in with white people and colonizers? Some of the high priests who dictate progressive dogma may well be antisemites (I don’t know who popularized these ideas). But are their Jewish foot soldiers antisemites themselves, or just sheep following the herd?

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I think Jews are also viewed with suspicion on the left because we tend to be be higher on the class hierarchy. The richer you are, the more evil you are.

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I really should atone for arriving in the US with nothing and now having something. What a class traitor I and other Jews are.

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You're guilty of willfully fulfilling the American Dream, which discredits a lot of what these people believe.

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It’s about the fking settlements and the Netanyahu government

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Are Hamas terrorists?

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Yeah, but so are the settlers that are like “my house now, piss off,” and so is Mike fucking Johnson

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Have settlers ever massacred, raped, tortured and kidnapped 1200 Palestinians?

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Why do the rich, educated, successful, established and powerful ethnic group over represented in the highest halls of American society get more underdog points the post-9/11 brown folks the median America is afraid of, represented by a huge today-present diaspora in the Palestinians? That’s the question?

That’s not a good way to actually pick political allies but this should not be surprising to you.

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So, I'm going to take the opposite tack from Grouchy here and concede for purposes of argument all your factual claims about American Jews' present level of comfort and security. As well as the rather more unhinged assertions about "post-9/11 brown folks the median America is afraid of."

The counterargument, even if all of that is true, is that insofar as "underdog points" are a thing, it's not clear why you should lose them simply by being successful notwithstanding your underdog status. Jews are manifestly a historically oppressed group. People were throwing them into fucking ovens within living memory. If you have a category of "historically oppressed groups" entitled to some solicitude, then if the "historically" is doing any work at all, then Ashkenazi Jews have to be on the list.

I'll go even further than that. Ashkenazi Jews are the paradigmatic "historically oppressed group" within any sensible meaning of the phrase. Such that if you generate a list labeled "historically oppressed groups" and Ashkenazi Jews somehow aren't on it, you need to go back and either change the label or scrap the list.

If what you really mean is just that whoever happens to be on the bottom at the moment is entitled to reparations from whomever happens to be on top, fine, that's an intelligible position. Just not one that very many people are likely to share.

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Because we are still the biggest target of hate crimes, and not by a small amount. You’ve described the paradox of antisemitism. A highly successful and prominent minority still managed to be despised and disenfranchised enough to lose 30% of its entire population to systematic murder. In the past century, we’ve been expelled from Russia, Europe, all of the Middle East, and North Africa.

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Nov 16, 2023·edited Nov 16, 2023

This is actually clarifying. I in fact meant why Israel isn't considered the underdog, but i think the entanglement with US identities is important. If you actually look at hate crime data you realize that American jews are far more persecuted than American muslims or arabs (the latter being majority christian btw). It's also the case that some ethnic groups "of color" are better educated and more successful than American jews (e.g. hindus, i believe),* and of course, that jews have a far far more difficult and traumatizing history, in living memory , than any other american minorities (though admittedly not in the American context). However, if you ignore the whole world, where muslims are over 1b and in almost every country (with multiple country of muslim majority), look solely at the American context, are reacting to the superficial, but vocal islamophobic discourse of the aemrican right in the past 20 years, have never met an Arab so can believe they are meaningfully "brown", are not aware of the prevalence of antisemitism in the us due to media bias which almost always ignores it, and have no sense of history (as most americans do not), then yes, at a squint i can kind of see how you get to the lopsided view according to which somehow they are the underdog in this conflict.

[*incidentally, if memory serves Muslim Americans, while not yet quite as successful as Jews, are better off than the median american. In terms of wealath and education, in other words, they are far closer to jews and hindus than blacks or hispanics.]

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Nov 16, 2023·edited Nov 16, 2023

I think you are stacking the deck more than necessary in making the view seem crazy, but yes if you want to understand the perspective of American progressives on who to root for in an America context those are important factors to consider.

Remember many of them are quite young, and “the Muslim ban” and “refugees” are way more salient to them than Tsarist pogroms or even the Holocaust or other historical atrocities, as is the experience of Jews in large liberal cities as their mental models of the respective groups. In my experience, they tend to be later focused on the American experience (overstating American or British influence in the process) mixed with an idealized view of Europe and true communism etc. Also, it is more a vibe check then some historical analysis to begin with.

They are definitely not making an apples to apples of Iran or Jordan as compared to Israel qua Middle Eastern nation.

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Nov 16, 2023·edited Nov 16, 2023

And I think you are right about relative Arab wealth vs Caucasian wealth in USA. But remember that South Asians still make the underdog list despite being the most succeeding ethnic group in America. Poor rural whites, despite being quite bad off, definitely do not.

I do not find the above surprising and if you do you may not be modeling the views of progressives accurately.

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Nov 16, 2023·edited Nov 16, 2023

I think the whole identitarian hierarchy thing is morally corrupt and disgusting and have a as much contempt for young pseudo progressives as for their senile pseudo patriotic trump supporters l. I have no more patience for morons.

P.S

The idiots’ parents have a bit to answer for too, having allowed their children obviously sub par educations. However they get more sympathy than the rest- there are very few good school options left, and it’s very hard to know. Plus social media is far more influential than schools anyway and it’s dominated by evil actors due to America’s abysmal failure at regulation. Still, I hope that moderate parents start paying more attention to what their kids are taught at school and esp what they see online.

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Just going to plug for Ezra Klein here — I don’t think he’s yet kept his promise of hosting guests to his right on the I/P conflict, but his last interview with the former Israeli soldier was excellent. He definitely has a viewpoint, but I think overall he’s done a good job.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

It was originally "Black and Indigenous People of Color" as in "People of Color who are Black and Indigenous" but about a week after it became mainstream it turned into "Black, Indigenous, and People of Color" as though Black and Indigenous People weren't considered PoC when that was the popular phrase.

So it went from being a limiting phrase to a longer version of the same phrase

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Why are Arabs considered "people of color?" I'm not saying they should or shouldn't be; the whole concept is inscrutable to me. But maybe I'm just ignorant and there's actually some sort of principled basis for determining who falls within the category. If so, I'd be quite curious to hear it.

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They’re in that quasi-region of being not-quite-white. In the seventies with prominent terrorism attacks, hostage taking, etc, they were considered in America as bad, foreign, and therefore Not White. The original Star Trek has some hilariously racist aliens based on Arab stereotypes.

My sense is that they were on their way to whiteness prior to 9/11, and that made them extremely un-white.

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Because they're skin tone reflects more melanin than the average European's.

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I can't tell if you're seriously saying that's the principled basis, or if you're putting it forward as such a facially arbitrary criterion as to expose the absurdity of the concept.

I actually have no idea what the average European melanin level is or whether my own skin tone falls above or below that line. I can't see how anyone honestly thinks the answers to those questions have any relation to any variable of interest.

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Can you tell apart an average Israeli Jew from an Israeli Arab? Melanin claims are beyond idiotic, especially in that conflict.

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Yeah? Look at a picture of Bibi Netanyahu and look at a picture of Mahmoud Abbas and I think you'll be able to tell the difference.

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"Why are Arabs considered 'people of color?'"

Because for some bizarre reason (as I have ranted elsewhere before), the term "white" has become practically coterminous with "WASP" in US political discussions in the past 25 years or so, which is how you get, for example, Ashkenazic Jewish people referring to themselves as being "non-white," or the closely related, "iTaLIaNs HiStORiCalLy wEReN't CoNsidEreD whItE," discourse.

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… but they weren’t considered white. Why does that discourse frustrate you?

I am mostly Jewish, and always considered myself white. After Trump was elected, I realized there was less consensus on that than I thought. Basically all Jews are Mediterranean, except to the extent they intermarried, and that’s generally reflected in our looks.

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Basically it's Mike Tirico.

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The forbidden Meadow-Noah coupling from Sopranos season 3.

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deletedNov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023
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I still read it as bisexuals and people of color. It’s an asinine word

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I always read it as “BIOPIC.” I think, oh, there’s an interesting documentary, who is the subject, wait.

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You can always add AAPI. BIPOCAAPI.

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The idea was to be specific about American race relations and point out that Black people and American Indians have had an especially hard time becoming part of the national project. It's the other side of the coin of the "Italians weren't white" idea: who can be a "real American" has gotten more inclusive but has still managed to largely exclude the minorities who have been here since the beginning.

Of course, concept creep, pop-bastardization, blah blah, and whatever utility that framing had was lost pretty quickly once people knew what it was.

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I think Matt might be engaging in a bit of projection, attributing anti-Israel sentiment to the settlements because that’s what bothers him the most (and rightly so – the settlements are abhorrent). But I continually hear complaints about Israel that aren’t framed in those terms, but rather against Israel’s very existence for being “settler colonial“ and “an ethnic religious state,” as if the latter aren’t common the world over. I’ve never heard progressives argue against the existence of any other state, and certainly not against the self-determination and sovereignty of a historically persecuted people.

When progressives are accused of unfairly, singling Israel out, they argue that their tax dollars, support Israel, distinguishing it from other conflict in the world. First, that would not explain the anti-Israel, progressive fervor in Europe, which doesn’t give Israel aid. And second, American tax dollars spent the last 20 years funding wars in the Middle East, and nobody’s bothered protesting them since 2003.

There are simply a lot of young progressives, who would never openly profess anti-Jewish bigotry, but fundamentally don’t think Jews have the right to self determination.

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>And second, American tax dollars spent the last 20 years funding wars in the Middle East, and nobody’s bothered protesting them since 2003.

Sorry, but did we live through two entirely distinct twenty-first centuries? Because in my recollection the issue of wars in the Middle East spent two decades as one of the most central issues in American politics.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

We are talking about the progressive movement, not what’s being debated in Congress and Iraq blame games in electoral politics. When, since 2003, did progressives take to the streets en masse to demand a US withdrawal from Iraq or Afghanistan? Demand an end to air strikes and drone strikes? The way they’re protesting Israel now?

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The aftermath of the killing of Qasem Soleimani in January 2020 is the first thing that comes to mind. Big protests that might well have continued (there were actions planned for the 17th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq) if not for COVID making everyone stay home for a few months shortly afterwards.

But it simply isn't true that the actual anti-Iraq War groups haven't protested other wars. Groups like Code Pink, etc. have protested almost every US military action since then, even (at least in the particular case of Code Pink, and presumably some other groups) US military aid to Ukraine. It's just that in Afghanistan the US was attacked first, so it got less opposition from the general public, and other Middle Eastern conflicts like Syria and Yemen were across sectarian lines that also divide Western Arab+Muslim communities, which are a huge contributor to protests against Israeli actions. Syria had the additional complication that, like in Ukraine, the side doing most of the bombing was a US enemy under sanctions.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

I wouldn’t characterize any of those as mass protests. The DC march after Soleimani’s killing had a couple hundred people. I’ve seen Code Pink (which ARE consistent, I’ll grant them that) disrupt congressional hearings and stage sit ins, but they usually have like 40 people. Where were the thousands of students? The busloads headed to DC?

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Protests on that scale take time to organize. The "emergency protests" held in the days after Soleimani's killing were motivated largely by the fear that the situation would escalate to an all-out war between the US and Iran. Within a week it became clear that that wasn't going to happen right that moment, and with the immediate crisis resolved, the logical thing to do was hold a coordinated day of protest on the anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which was conveniently only ~2 months away at the time.

Which was exactly what the various groups involved were planning to do, but COVID cancelled those plans.

Considering the short prep time available for the protests that did happen shortly after Soleimani's killing, I'd say that their scale was pretty impressive.

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I’m not trying to impugn that protest. My point is that the US airstrikes and occupations went on for 18 years without any mass protest from progressives. It’s not like civilians stopped dying right after the invasion. The airstrikes went on for two decades and there was more than enough time to organize. But there was no “Free Iraq” movement. It just wasn’t a priority.

But now that Israel is attacking Hamas (in response to an actual attack, which is more than we can say about Iraq), airstrikes are genocide and progressives organize. After 18 years of not bothering when it was our own military. THAT’S why they seem to be operating hypocritically and with a special animus for Israel.

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Yeah, I was there. My comment specifically said “since 2003.” We waged war for 20 years, and the latter 18 years brought no mass protests.

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Re: settlements - In an confusing and intractable moral dilemma like Israel/Palestine, the aspects that are more obviously "right vs. wrong" will the drive a lot of the sentiment.

I'm not sure what, exactly Palestinians should do, but Hamas killing babies is obviously wrong and bad.

The Israel version of this is the settlements. I'm not sure what Israel should do, but f them for expanding settlements. That's the issue that makes it impossible for me to just say "Israel's in an impossible situation, how can I judge them?"

There would definitely be Americans against Israel even w/o settlements, but for me, it's the aspect of the conflict that demonstrates that the Israeli government is a bad actor.

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And yet, even here there is Palestinian agency involved. The ongoing threat of terrorism has tilted Israeli politics in such a way that, politically, no Israeli government can take on the settlers and stay a government, no matter how counterproductive the settlers are. Just one of the many unintended consequences in this long, long war.

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Yours is a reasonable response re:the conflict, but that’s not the topic of this piece . The topic is American antisemitism on the left. It’s *their* attitudes were judging and they are very bad and have nothing in common with your analysis.

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Israel is “settler colonial” much like the US was in, say 1920. The bulk of the ethnic cleansing occurred in 1947 and 1948, on the verge of living memory

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And in the context, let us remember, of a war that the Arab Leadership started, and that didn’t go the way they planned.

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otoh, nothing like present day israel could have existed without that war.

in the mid 40s, the arabs were not going to let the jews muscle their way in without a fight. few give up their homeland lightly. how could the balfour declaration have had any authority in the eyes of arabs?

israel has roughly as much right to exist as did any of the minor nations that popped up after the fall of the roman empire. its postimperial origins are broadly similar.

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In the end it exists because it survived. There are now nearly 7 million Jews living there. They have the right to live in their home. That to me is the first and only important fact. The rest of the argument is just wind.

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Have you ever watched The West? Really brings it home…

https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-west

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

Palestinians who live in Israel proper (20% of the population) ARE full citizens, with more rights than anywhere in the Arab world. That didn’t stop Arab armies from invading to eradicate Israel, and it doesn’t stop leftists from claiming that ALL of Israel is illegitimate.

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No one is disagreeing about that, the problem is the West Bank, which apparently is (1) Israel for purposes of deciding if Israelis can move there but (2) definitely not Israel for purposes of deciding if people born there can vote in Israeli elections. (Also on the reservations point, does anyone think that if a bunch of fundamentalist Mormons tried to start building towns on reservation land in Utah we would do anything other than simply through them in prison?)

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well put. the difference is smallpox and warfare killed enough indigenous inhabitants to politically neuter them in basically every state other than alaska and hawaii. if native americans were a big and powerful voting block, whites would have enforced apartheid much longer

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I don’t see how this can even be logical.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023

The idea that Palestinian citizens of Israel are "full citizens" needs some pretty giant asterisks. Large segments of Israeli society see them as disloyal. There is widespread discrimination, particularly in housing and land use. Arab parties have participated in government exactly once in 75 years and and the current Prime Minister demagogued relentlessly about it when his opponents did that to keep him out. The Jewish ethnoreligious character of the state is not a little symbolic thing; it pervades policy, and protecting this is why the Israeli right constitutionalized it with the nation-state law (and part of why they want to defang the judiciary).

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There have been Arab parties in the Knesset the whole time, and they have had the right to vote the entire life of the state, which is not something you can say about black people in the US. I agree that Netanyahu and Likud have been trying to reduce that, but it looks very likely that their epic screw-up on October 7th has shot their chances at power for a long, long time.

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This is great - Israel is the most diverse country in the middle east, with 21% of the population being Arab Israeli, and 4% neither Jewish nor Arab Muslim or Christian, and Arab Israelis have equal rights as citizens, sit on the Israeli supreme court, were ministers, sat in government, lead military units. At the same time Hamastan Gaza is 99% Sunni Muslims, and the goal of their Hamas rulers is a complete genocide and ethnic cleansing of Jews (and likely other non-Sunni Muslims) and the establishment of a caliphate.

What a gotcha you found there, buddy.

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But when people are criticizing Israel for being an "ethnostate" do they mean what you are talking about (plus the occupations) or do they mean the fundamental existence of Israel?

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Fundamental existence of Israel. I have no problem with any aspersions people might hurl a the occupation of the West Bank.

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Who is "people"--it depends. Israel is, de jure, an ethnostate, which is reflected both in its national symbols and in its concrete policy. I think it should be a state of all its citizens (which won't stop it from being a "Jewish state" in the sense of the only state in the world with a large majority of Jews). Obviously (I hope!), Israel having some unjust policies doesn't mean that Israel should be destroyed or that it loses the right to defend its citizens against terrorist murderers.

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