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THE ANTI-ISRAEL ANIMUS OF THE EXTREME LEFT

Volume X1, No. 4,049 • May 16, 2017 • May 16, 2017

Leftists

The People vs. Haaretz: Shmuel Rosner, New York Times, May 11, 2017— The story of the people vs. Haaretz — that is, of a great number of Israelis’ growing dislike for the paper — is worth telling only because it tells us something about Israel itself: that the country’s far left is evolving from a political position into a mental state and that the right-wing majority has not yet evolved into being a mature, self-confident public.

The Left's Assault On Civil Discourse: Matthew M. Hausman, Israel National News, May 9, 2017 — In aping European-style social democracies that are imploding under the weight of unsustainable economic programs and collectivist mediocrity, foot soldiers of the left are hawking an agenda that leaves no room for debate. They claim diversity as a virtue but reject diversity of opinion, and seek to impose oppressive homogeneity on popular culture through stultifying political correctness.

Jews, Conservatives, and Canada: Michael Medved, ISRAPUNDIT, May. 6, 2017— For forty years, Republican operatives have been consistently frustrated in their energetic and well-funded efforts to win the support of Jewish voters for their presidential candidates. Looking toward the first battle of the post-Obama era in 2016, battered conservative activists might take encouragement and inspiration from the surprising success of their Jewish counterparts north of the border.

The Jewish Left’s Anti-Semitism Problem: Bruce Abramson & Jeff Ballabon, Jewish Press, May. 7, 2017 — Jewish progressives have a serious problem with anti-Semitism. They deny it where it’s obvious, and fight passionately against it where it doesn’t exist. In 2017 alone, the Jewish left has embraced Keith Ellison, Linda Sarsour, and Rasmeah Odeh.

 

On Topic Links

 

J-Street Speaker Says Israel Should Be Destroyed - To Applause [WATCH]: Washington Free Beacon, May 30, 2015

Report: Civil Rights Group Instructed Arabs on Entrapping Security Forces: David Israel, Jewish Press, May. 12, 2017

South Carolina Democrat Stalls Anti-Semitism Bill:  Paul Miller, JNS.org, May. 11, 2017

Intersectionality’s Demonization of Jews: Joshua Sharf, Algemeiner, Apr. 30, 2017

 

 

THE PEOPLE VS. HAARETZ

Shmuel Rosner

New York Times, May 11, 2017

 

Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper. Admired by many foreigners and few Israelis, loathed by many, mostly Israelis. Read by few, denounced by many, it is a highly ideological, high-quality paper. It has a history of excellence. It has a history of independence. It has a history of counting Israel’s mistakes and misbehavior. It has a history of getting on Israel’s nerves. Still, it is just a newspaper. The story of the people vs. Haaretz — that is, of a great number of Israelis’ growing dislike for the paper — is worth telling only because it tells us something about Israel itself: that the country’s far left is evolving from a political position into a mental state and that the right-wing majority has not yet evolved into being a mature, self-confident public.

 

Consider an incident from mid-April. Haaretz published an op-ed by one of its columnists. It made a less-than-convincing argument that religious Zionist Israelis are more dangerous to Israel than Hezbollah terrorists. And yet, the response was overwhelming. The prime minister, defense minister, education minister and justice minister all denounced the article and the newspaper. The president condemned the article, too. The leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid called the op-ed “anti-Semitic.” Leaders of the left-of-center Labor Party called it hateful. The country was almost unified in condemnation.

 

Of course, not completely unified. On the far left, a few voices supported the article and the newspaper. Some argued that the article was substantively valid. Others argued that whether the article was substantive or not, the onslaught on Haaretz is a cynical ploy to shake another pillar of the left — maybe its most visible remaining pillar. If there is such ploy, it doesn’t seem to be working. Last week, on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day, a day of somber reflection, Haaretz was at it again. One article by a leading columnist explained that he could no longer fly the Israeli flag. Another seemed to be calling for a civil war. These are not exceptions; they are the rule for a newspaper that in recent years has come to rely on provocation. Its provocations aim to serve its ideology. Haaretz and its core readership are fiercely opposed to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, to the government’s support for settlers there, to the government’s recalibration of the High Court, to Israel’s state-religion status quo and to other conservative trends.

 

Four factors have converged to make Haaretz more annoying to Israelis today than ever before. First, the country is less receptive to a left-wing agenda as most of its citizens tilt rightward. Second, the country feels it is under an unjustified and hypocritical international siege and so is less forgiving when Israelis are perceived to be providing Israel’s critics with ammunition. Just recently, Jewish Israelis ranked “left wingers” as one of the groups contributing least to Israel’s success. Third, Israel’s left is very small, and also feeling under siege. Fourth, the left’s frustration with Israel makes it bitter and antagonistic. It makes it more prone to test the patience of other Israelis by upping the rhetorical ante in its criticism of country, leaders and groups.

 

The result of this increasingly provocative discourse is often pathetic, at times comical and occasionally worrying. Haaretz irks the majority of Israelis by giving voice to preposterous descriptions of what Israel is or does (“fascism,” “apartheid”), and the majority and its leaders never fail to take the bait and fly into a rage. It is a childish game and, in the long run, Israel loses. Its quality newspaper of coherent dissent, necessary in a pluralistic society, has become a platform for juvenile contrarianism. Its left-wing opposition, to which Haaretz gives voice, has become synonymous with needless antagonism; public debate has been made blunter and less constructive; the public is angrier and less tolerant of dissent.

 

Tempting as it is, the story of the people vs. Haaretz is not a story of a country whose public is no longer willing to tolerate debate. It is a story about a group within Israel that is losing its ability to communicate with the rest of society and have any chance of influencing its future. It is a story about a group within Israel that finds its relief in provoking the rest of us until we snap.

 

I worked at Haaretz for more than a decade, as features editor, head of the news division and, for three years, chief United States correspondent. My stint in Washington ended in 2008 when my employment was terminated. But I always valued Haaretz’s independence from dogma and its professional excellence, even though I wasn’t always comfortable with its ideological bent. The fact that I no longer consider it a must-read paper is probably for the same reason most Israelis are uncomfortable with it: Haaretz still employs good journalists, and on some of the issues these writers make strong cases, supported by evidence. But all in all, reading Haaretz in the last couple of decades is increasingly an exercise in anticipating a nearing demise.

 

The paper gets many specific stories right, but it gets the larger arc of Israel’s story wrong. It tends to paint a bleak picture of Israel’s actions, and it goes overboard in predicting grave consequences for Israel that rarely materialize. It tends not to notice that Israel today is a country more powerful militarily, economically and culturally than it was when the newspaper and its circle of loyal readers began explaining how almost every choice that the country is making is wrong. And maybe that’s the source of Haaretz’s frustration: It is not that Israel does not listen. It is that Israel does not listen and still succeeds.

 

Contents   

                       

THE LEFT'S ASSAULT ON CIVIL DISCOURSE

Matthew M. Hausman

Israel National News, May 9, 2017

 

Donald Trump’s presidency has exposed deep divisions in American society which are being exploited by zealots seeking to suppress speech and quell dissent.  In aping European-style social democracies that are imploding under the weight of unsustainable economic programs and collectivist mediocrity, foot soldiers of the left are hawking an agenda that leaves no room for debate.  They claim diversity as a virtue but reject diversity of opinion, and seek to impose oppressive homogeneity on popular culture through stultifying political correctness.  They also display contempt for western values – often expressed as kneejerk affinity for anti-western radicalism – in much the same way their intellectual forebears shilled for Communist dictatorships during the last century. It seems useful idiocy never goes out of style.

 

It’s not opposition to Trump that’s the problem.  Indeed, American citizens are free to support or oppose him as they will.  Rather, it’s the demonization of all who disagree with the progressive establishment and mainstream media – and the absence of civility in political discourse.  Conservatives may have disagreed with Barack Obama’s policies, but they never took to the streets in violent protest or delegitimized the institutions of government.  And they never took direction from a partisan press or academic elites who use the classroom to indoctrinate, intimidate, and stifle originality. 

 

The left has a penchant for labeling opponents as fascists, but seems itself possessed of the worst totalitarian impulses.  Progressive intolerance for dissent has evolved pursuant to a dictatorial philosophy which demands that individualism yield to the collective will and seeks to enforce ideological conformity through suppression and shaming.  Though progressives claim to champion the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution, their attempts to squelch opposing viewpoints are antithetical to the ideals for which it stands.

 

Regulation of speech often starts surreptitiously with seemingly principled initiatives like hate-crime legislation.  Such efforts may be well-intended, but they open the door to censorship while doing little to reduce crime and lawlessness.  There is no inherent logic, for example, in viewing homicide instigated by bigotry as somehow worse than that motivated by personal animus, hatred, or greed.  Murder is socially abhorrent regardless of impetus.  When statutes base gradation of offense on the presence of hateful intent, however, it becomes unclear whether their goal is to curb objective conduct or control abstract thought.  Or whether the definition of hateful intent could be manipulated by partisan hacks to criminalize speech with which they disagree. The interdiction of even odious language can pave the way for repression of political speech and the free exchange of ideas.

 

Those who don’t believe government would ever seek to curtail speech should consider the constraints imposed by the Federal Communications Commission, whose regulatory enforcements have often been criticized as discretionary and capricious. Or the now defunct “Fairness Doctrine,” which required media networks to run opposing viewpoints to counterbalance their own editorial opinions (particularly conservative ones), and effectively constituted regulation of content. 

 

Though hate-crime statutes are at least subject to legislative debate and judicial review, street censorship through progressive intimidation, disapprobation, and bullying is not.  The latter is far more insidious because there is no oversight for political correctness, which elevates favored interests over groups and ideas that progressive society deems unworthy of protection or respect.

 

Rejecting the sacred cows of liberalism invites slander and abuse.  Those who criticize Black Lives Matter, defend the State of Israel, or question the revisionist Palestinian narrative, for example, are condemned as racists and bigots by a left-of-center establishment that increasingly excuses – and often endorses – intellectual and physical thuggery.  Moreover, mainstream liberals are often reluctant to condemn a leftist flank that rationalizes progressive anti-Semitism as political expression, defends Islamism as the voice of indigeneity, sanctions violence against police as legitimate protest, and denies the right to express opposing views.  The recent violent protests on American college campuses highlight the dangers of progressive indulgence and suggest the fascist threat comes from the left, not the right.

 

When students rioted at the University of California Berkeley and Middlebury College to protest appearances by conservative speakers, they engaged in vandalism, caused property damage, threatened or perpetrated physical assaults, and generally behaved like Nazi Brownshirts.  Rather than being condemned for anarchic excess, they have been defended by many as exemplifying the spirit of American protest – just as they are lauded for engaging in political anti-Semitism, including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (“BDS”) and Israel Apartheid Week activities.  But what they really represent is a tyrannical millenarianism bent on eradicating individuality and original thought in favor of collectivist similitude.  Their mob mentality does not evoke visions of the Founding Fathers as media advocates and Democratic operatives claim, but rather the “Reign of Terror” unleashed by Robespierre and the Jacobins in eighteenth century France. …

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents   

                       

JEWS, CONSERVATIVES, AND CANADA

Michael Medved

ISRAPUNDIT, May 6, 2017

 

For forty years, Republican operatives have been consistently frustrated in their energetic and well-funded efforts to win the support of Jewish voters for their presidential candidates. Looking toward the first battle of the post-Obama era in 2016, battered conservative activists might take encouragement and inspiration from the surprising success of their Jewish counterparts north of the border.

 

In the Canadian elections of May 2011, the most recent national balloting, Jewish Canadians decisively deserted their traditional home in the center-left Liberal Party and migrated en masse to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s resurgent Conservative Party. For the first time, a majority of Jews (52 percent, according to an Ipsos-Reid exit poll) cast their ballots for the Tories, while less than half that figure (24 percent) remained loyal to the Liberals. The rest of the Jewish votes went to the far left, labor-dominated New Democratic Party (16 percent) or split among a number of minor or regional parties. Harper won a clear majority of the Canadian Parliament and a decisive plurality of the popular vote, beating the runner-up NDP by nearly 10 percentage points. Remarkably, the Conservatives proved far more popular among Canadian Jews than they did with the population in general. Harper’s party won the Jewish vote with a majority virtually identical to its performance among Protestants, while the Tories lost decisively among Catholics and the 17 percent with “no religious identity.” Harper’s unprecedented success proved so striking that it led Toronto’s right-leaning National Post to think the unthinkable with a headlined commentary at the height of the U.S. presidential campaign of 2012: “Will American Jews Follow the Example of Their Neighbors to the North?”

 

As it happened, the election returns in the United States brought only a minor shift to the right in the Jewish community. Barack Obama still drew a commanding 69 percent of Jewish voters, despite a record on Israel that looked shaky and ambivalent at best. Mitt Romney proudly cited 40 years of personal friendship with Bibi Netanyahu and a history of support for Israel every bit as fervent and unequivocal as Stephen Harper’s, but he could attract no more than 30 percent of the Jewish electorate.

 

In fact, the record in both countries suggests that the decisions of Jewish voters involve complex factors well beyond the simple question of which candidate offers the firmest friendship to the Jewish state. In Canada, for instance, Harper’s predecessor as Tory Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney (1984–1993), earned a reputation as one of Israel’s most outspoken and unwavering defenders on the world stage, but Reagan never made a dent in the Liberal domination of the Jewish vote. In the same era, Mulroney’s American friend and colleague Ronald Reagan emerged as the most ardently Zionist president to that point in history, but still lost 67 percent of Jewish voters to the tepid nonentity Walter Mondale in 1984.

 

The essence of Reagan’s Jewish problem, as with another passionately pro-Israel Republican, George W. Bush, involved his identification as a friend of the Evangelical right more than it reflected any substantive concerns over his Middle East policy. Fear of Christian power and influence helped to guarantee that leaders like Reagan and the second President Bush would find their love for the Jewish people unrequited, at least in their own country. From the era of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority in the 1980s to the powerful present-day activism of John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel, many (if not most) American Jews remain stubbornly suspicious of any alliance with Evangelicals. In no small part because of media caricatures, secular Jews in particular retain a sincere if irrational fear of Christian conservatism as a toxic source of anti-Semitism, intolerance, apocalyptic delusions, and theocratic conspiracies.

 

Frank Dimant, the CEO of B’nai Brith Canada, reports that the Canadian Liberal Party traditionally relied on similar strategies to scare wavering Jewish voters back into line, but during the premiership of Jean Chretien (1993–2003) such scare-mongering began to lose its potency. “The community no longer accepted the wild assertions that the Alliance or Conservative parties were riddled with anti-Semites,” he wrote in the Huffington Post. “On the contrary, in the historic battle conducted by [one-time Canadian Public Safety Minister] Stockwell Day in the House of Commons…to ensure that the entire entity of Hezbollah be listed for what it was—a terrorist organization—it became evident to grassroots Jewry that the tide had to change.”

 

Evangelical Christians look vastly less threatening to Canadian Jews in part because the born-again population remains far less formidable north of the border. According to the most recent estimates, Protestant Evangelicals make up 7 percent or less of the overall Canadian population (Prime Minister Harper is one of their number), and 26 percent of Americans, queried in exit polls after the 2012 presidential election, identified themselves as “white Evangelical or born-again Christians.” In the United States, liberal nightmares of a theocratic takeover by fanatical Bible-thumpers may look less plausible in the five years since George W. Bush left the White House, but in Canada such concerns never gained traction in the first place.

 

Moreover, the Canadian Jewish community (nearing 400,000, it now ranks as the fourth largest in the world, after Israel, the United States, and France) provides a far more promising target for conservative conversion than the predominantly secular and unaffiliated Jewish population in America. Morton Weinfeld, professor of sociology at Montreal’s McGill University, told the Daily Beast that Canadian Jews “by many common metrics—ritual observance, visits to Israel, Jewish education, marrying other Jews, etc.—are more ‘Jewish’ than American Jews.” For one thing, most Canadian Jewish families came to their country some 30 or 40 years later than typical American clans, in part because Canada remained more open to Jewish refugees in the dark years before the Holocaust. This means that in Canada the Jewish community as a whole has had less time to assimilate than its American counterpart. …

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents                                                                                     

THE JEWISH LEFT’S ANTI-SEMITISM PROBLEM

Bruce Abramson & Jeff Ballabon

Jewish Press, May 7, 2017

 

Jewish progressives have a serious problem with anti-Semitism. They deny it where it’s obvious, and fight passionately against it where it doesn’t exist. In 2017 alone, the Jewish left has embraced Keith Ellison, Linda Sarsour, and Rasmeah Odeh. It has savaged President Trump, Steve Bannon, and Sebastian Gorka. Who are these people? Ellison is a former spokesman for Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Sarsour is a Hamas supporter and BDS advocate. Odeh is a terrorist, convicted of murdering Jews because they were Jews.

 

President Trump has embraced visibly observant Jews, and the State of Israel, with a warmth virtually unprecedented among world leaders. Steve Bannon is a staunch American nationalist who surrounded himself with Jews at Breitbart and in the White House, and who sees Israel as America’s primary ally in a civilizational death-struggle against radical Islam. Sebastian Gorka destroyed his own promising political career in Hungary when he publicly repudiated the anti-democratic and anti-Semitic attitudes animating other members of the Hungarian right.

 

When the broader progressive movement—which now controls the Democratic Party—selected Ellison, Sarsour, and Odeh as champions of their future, the Jewish progressives plunged right in. Endorsements and expressions of support gushed forward—evidence of their heroes’ obscene Jew hatred be damned.

 

Meanwhile, Haaretz and the Forward—two leading publications of the Jewish left that have never shied away from attributing vile motives to Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria—determined that lifelong pillar of the Jewish community, observant Jew, philanthropist, Zionist and staunch Israel advocate Ambassador David Friedman, was anti-Semitic because of contempt he expressed for the anti-Israel libels and political machinations of J Street.

 

Increasingly, Haaretz and the Forward are coming to resemble proudly anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propagandists such as Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada. Last month, Haaretz published a piece arguing graphically that Israel’s religious Zionist sector was worse than rampaging Arab terrorists. The article drew widespread outrage and condemnation, from the Prime Minister on down. Haaretz stands resolutely behind the piece. Eli Clifton, whose rhetoric of overt Jew-hatred was condemned across the political spectrum just five years ago, (including by the ADL, the Obama White House, and the National Jewish Democratic Council), has now been given a platform at the Forward, where he serves as the bridge between that progressive Jewish flagship and the anti-Semitic fulminations of his other publisher, Electronic Intifada.

 

Of course, Jewish leftists did express outrage against two genuinely concerning outbreaks of anti-Semitism. The first involved anti-Semitic e-mail and Internet attacks against Jewish journalists critical of the Trump campaign. The second was a series of bomb threats called into JCCs around the country. But the outrage on the left persisted only as long as it could blame Trump and his allies for the hatred. Upon investigation, the Internet attacks originated from fewer than 2000 sources, half of them in Ukraine or Russia. The JCC threats were the work of a Jewish Israeli/American teenager. Concern on the Jewish left evaporated overnight.

 

Jewish progressives are deeply concerned about white supremacists, personified by old-school David Duke, Alt-right Richard Spencer, and occasional parades of Nazis or Klansmen. But despite the tremendous burst of free publicity the media has showered upon these odious groups in an attempt to magnify the threat, their membership is negligible …

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

J-Street Speaker Says Israel Should Be Destroyed - To Applause [WATCH]: Washington Free Beacon, May 30, 2015— Marcia Freedman called for the end of Israel's status as a Jewish state during a speech at a J-Street conference, arguing that the Jewish people should accept being a "protected minority" in an Arab Palestine. The notion was cheered by the J-Street crowd and was met with no argument from the panel

Report: Civil Rights Group Instructed Arabs on Entrapping Security Forces: David Israel, Jewish Press, May. 12, 2017— The Ben Gurion University Student Association in April issued an invitation in Arabic for BGU students to participate in a special workshop titled, “Influence is not a bad word.” The ad explained how participating students would learn effective ways of covering demonstrations and protests. The ad can be seen on the website of Shatil, an NGO funded by the New Israel Fund.

South Carolina Democrat Stalls Anti-Semitism Bill:  Paul Miller, JNS.org, May. 11, 2017— South Carolina House Bill 3643, which would have the southern state adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, was on the cusp of passage, but was stalled by a Democratic lawmaker on the final day of the state legislature’s session. Sources working closely with a bipartisan group of South Carolina legislator said that State Sen. Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg) was “targeted and influenced by anti-Israel professors and Students for Justice in Palestine.”

Intersectionality’s Demonization of Jews: Joshua Sharf, Algemeiner, Apr. 30, 2017— “Intersectionality” is the left-wing word of the day. Academically, it means that various identity-based “oppressions” overlap and interact to reinforce each other. Practically, it means various “oppressed” groups must stick together. So far, though, it’s mostly Jews who are getting shut out by progressives and their anti-Israel supporters who post fake eviction notices and decry “Jewish privilege.”

EDITORIAL BOARD

Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director Prof. Frederick Krantz, Director (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

Prof. Harold Waller Prof. Harold Waller (McGill University)

Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman Prof. Ira Robinson, Associate Chairman (Department of Religion, Concordia University)

Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman Baruch Cohen, Research Chairman (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research) Rob Coles (Canadian Institute for Jewish Research)

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