Looking back over the last few years, I suppose what disappoints me most is the extreme pussitude of progressive-left Jewry. Western-left Jews, who make up the majority of diaspora Jewry, are fairly worthless when it comes to standing up for the Jewish people in the Middle East.
This is a huge disappointment because the Jews of the Middle East represent a tiny historically persecuted minority and because their country, the State of Israel, is at once the most democratic and the most liberal throughout that part of the world, and yet it is also the most reviled. The hatred pointed at Israel throughout the oppressive and brutal Arab-Muslim world is genocidal to the extreme and, yet, in Europe and the United States progressive-left Jews are generally weak, worthless, and equivocating in their defense of Israel or heap scorn upon it, as does, for example, David Harris Gershon of Daily Kos and Tikkun Magazine
The truth of the matter is that progressive-left diaspora Jewry is selling Israel “down the river” because they have neither the guts nor the intelligence to stand up for either themselves or the Jewish people. Our friend Dan Bielak is absolutely correct about this. Dan constantly points out that diaspora Jews need to speak the truth. They absolutely refuse to do so, however, because the entire notion of “truth” has become delegitimized within the creeping post-modern / post-structuralist sensibility as it came out of the New Left’s influence within the academe. Thus, “sophisticated” progressive-left Jewry does not care about the history of the Jewish people, because if they did they might make that history central to the discussion of the Arab-Israel conflict, but they do not.
Instead, progressive-left Jews takes a page from Yassir Arafat’s book and blame their fellow Jews in Israel for being mean to the Arabs. There are sixty to seventy Arabs for every Jew in the Middle East and, yet, progressive-left diaspora Jewry mainly blames the conflict on the persecuted Jewish minority, rather than on the hostile Arab-Muslim majority.
I find it disgraceful, disgusting, unjust, and exceedingly dangerous.
The so-called “Palestinian narrative” is grounded in a false history of Arab oppression by Jews. The truth, of course, is the exact opposite. For fourteen centuries the Palestinian Jews of the Middle East were among the most oppressed indigenous populations on the entire planet, which is why our numbers there remain so small. The difference between, say, the Jews and the indigenous American population is that we developed the means to protect ourselves and they did not. But the fact that the Jews of the Middle East have developed the political and technological and military means to defend themselves does not change the fact that the surrounding hostile Arab majority did everything that they could possibly do to wipe us out and are still planning to do so.
Diaspora Jewry needs to discover its gonads.
Diaspora Jewry needs to learn a thing or two about the history of the Jews under the boot of Arab-Muslim Imperialism within the millennia-long system of Jewish persecution and dhimmitude. We need to learn about the long experience of Mizrahi Jews under Arab rule because we can only make sense of Israel, and the Arab-Muslim hostility toward her, if we know that history.
We need to read Islamic Imperialism: A History (Yale University Press, 2007), by Efraim Karsh.
We need to read In Ishmael’s House: A History of Jews in Muslim Lands (Yale University Press, 2010), by Martin Gilbert.
We need to read The Farhud: Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust (Dialog Press, 2010), by Edwin Black.
Western Jewish consideration of the Arab-Jewish conflict in the Middle East without reference to the history is like considering the system of Jim Crow in the United States without any reference to African slavery in the Americas.
It is thus incoherent, counterproductive, and worthless and thereby entirely incapable of standing up to the enemies of the Jewish people.
Mike Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.