Like my friend Byron Roth, I am tired of the Israel-bashing that has become characteristic of some of my fellow right-wingers. These critics gush over the Palestinians in a way that is seldom evident when they speak about other Third World populations and certainly not about American minorities. Those who cheered for the Afrikaner hardliners against Nelson Mandela are grief-stricken over the failure of the Israelis to hand over their country to their enemies. As for the comparisons between the Israelis and racially restrictive societies, let me make another point that will offend those whom I’m criticizing: I’ve been in Israel numerous times, and I traveled through the American South during the days of Jim Crow. Let me assure Kevin MacDonald and other practitioners of selective indignation that Israeli Palestinians are treated far better than American blacks were when segregation was in force. (Since I’m not exactly a favorite of the neocon-liberal establishment, no one could mistake this observation for an attempt to accommodate the Left.)
During my visits to Israel I saw Palestinians eating in the same restaurants with Jews, and in Jerusalem many of the hotel managers I encountered were trilingual Palestinians, who spoke Hebrew and English as well as Arabic. Palestinians also attend the same universities with Jews and Christians and have access to the same courts, which often to the disgust of the Jewish majority, find in favor of Palestinian claimants.
Note that I am not depicting Israel as a country that does not discriminate in any manner against non-Jewish minorities. There is certainly evidence that Israeli Jews practice discrimination, especially in economic relations; and the Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza represent a territorial problem that sooner or later will have to be addressed. Moreover, negotiating with the other side while dividing up Palestinian land among ultra-Orthodox settlers and nationalist constituencies has not worked well for Israeli governments.
Having conceded the obvious, it bothers me, when all is said and done, that my fellow-warriors on the right rage over the transgressions of Israel’s “racist,” “tribal” society. These right-wingers are not inclined to display the slightest diversitarian concern when the topic is Euro-American countries; indeed tribalism is something the Right is justly accused of promoting, when it defends the cultural and ethnic integrity of Western nations. But unlike my comrades-in-arm, I am just as well-disposed toward a Jewish nation as I am toward Euro-American nations. In fact I wish European countries would imitate the Israelis and treasure their historic nationalities. I am delighted to see nations basking in historic pride, and this includes (notare bene) the Israelis, despite the complicating fact that they are related ethnically to a group that in America has produced a large share of liberal journalists and nutty leftist academics.
And that academic-journalistic establishment riles my comrades. Going after the Israelis typifies what psychologists call an abreaction. A secondary target will have to do if the angered person can’t get the real target of his anger. The Israelis substitute for the journalists whom the anti-Israel Right would really like to pummel. But they cite special reasons for their anti-Israeli fixation: We give the Israelis lots of foreign aid and therefore have the right to criticize what they do. But treating the Israelis as a special pariah nation goes beyond being merely critical of those who take our foreign aid. One can oppose foreign aid (like Ron Paul) without feeling an urgent need to dump on a particular recipient night and day. And in this case to single out that recipient for special opprobrium in a way that exceeds its relative evil-doing in today’s very nasty world.
A second reason that anti-Israeli right-wingers vent so much against the Israelis is that it’s relatively safe for those who want to deflate the bubble of Jewish moral pretension to go after Israel. Listening to Jewish journalists and advocacy-groups talk about Jews, one would think that they, and not the Poles, are the true “Christ of nations.” No matter how successful and influential Jews become in this country, my fellow right-wingers observe, they always play the victim card and thereby get gullible Christians or post-Christian Westerners to treat them with undue deference. For those right-wingers who want to call critical attention to Jews and their social effects, it might seem expedient to start by focusing on Israeli sins.
There are of course some truly nasty things one could lay at the door of different Jews in different places. One could mention the role of Jewish Communists and Jewish Communist agents in the forced Ukrainian famine created by Stalin’s regime. The numerically disproportionate role of Russian and Ukrainian Jews in this horror becomes obvious if one looks at the leadership of the NKVD. But one would do well to avoid this sticky wicket, lest the press comes after you. An obscure Christian Democratic deputy in Germany Martin Hohnmann was professionally and socially ruined after he alluded to the Jewish role in the mass-killing in Stalin’s Russia. Hohnmann, by the way, did not condemn Jews in general because of the involvement of some Jews in Stalin’s crimes. Instead he made the moral point that “one should not declare entire peoples to be criminal because of the deeds of minorities.” Although clearly a noble attempt to explain that not all Germans should be viewed as murderous Nazis, Hohnmann was thereafter denounced as a “right-wing extremist” in every major newspaper in the Western world. He was expelled from his own bogus conservative party, a fate the New York Post explained was justified because of his “Nazi views.”
In short there are things in recent Jewish history that are reprehensible but which one is not free to mention, if one wishes to survive as a journalist, politician, or academic celebrity. Although Tom Snyder in Bloodlands does bring up the Jewish participation in Soviet crimes, he might have survived as a professional historian because he devotes more space to Jews as victims than to Jews as persecutors.
But those are serious things to get upset about. They seem to me of an entirely different order of evil than the behavior of the Jewish population of Israel. That population even in the face of Palestinian violence treats Israeli Palestinians with a generosity that is unimaginable in most countries in the world. Even during their war for independence, the Israelis did not behave worse toward Palestinians, many of whom took up arms against them, than did American settlers dealing with Amerindian resistance. When was the last time, by the way, that my anti-Israeli friends on the right went ballistic over what white Americans did to the Cherokees? Yes, I know: beating up on Israel is another matter. Unlike making reference to the hideous crimes of Jewish Communists and the nuisance of the Jewish Left, it’s safe to take sides with the Palestinians against the Jews in Israel. That’s something the leftist press does everyday, when it defends the Palestinians as victims of fascist imperialism. Our right-wingers have found that they can achieve their goal (which is pissing off their enemies at home) by taking swipes at Israeli “fascists.” By now it’s so predictable that I tune out when I hear it.