‘Haaretz’ vs the Jews


    The success of the post-Zionist strategy hinges on breaking the sense of kinship between the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
    Sixtyfour years ago, they lost their land and their national honor… [their aversion to] the national anthem “Hatikva” – which talks of “a Jewish soul yearning” – should serve as an incentive for devising symbols and events with which all Israeli citizens can identify without being false to themselves.
    – Haaretz editorial, April 27
    And the two words that are the most important are “Nefesh Yehudi” [A Jewish soul]”. When I hear those two words I know why I am here. I know what I am doing here. – An oleh in an Independence Day interview on the significance of “Hatikva” – April 26

It is not often that I find myself disagreeing with The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline B. Glick. Indeed, for many years I have had nothing but the highest regard for her intrepid and articulate defense of Israel and Zionist ideals.

However, I am compelled to dispute the views articulated in her last column, “Post-Zionism is so 1990s,” in which she appears to convey the view that the threat of post-Zionism has waned into insignificance, or at least receded into obsolescence.

Regrettably, this claim is misplaced and misleading, and although I sincerely wish she were right, I fear that her analysis is unrealistically optimistic and gravely underestimates the true danger.

Post-Zionism more pervasive than ever

The advance of post-Zionism is arguably the greatest menace confronting the Zionist endeavor today, everything it stands for, everything it has accomplished and everything it strives to accomplish. It is imperative not to be lulled into a false sense of security.

I would, therefore, counsel caution before assigning any real significance to the fact that public events in Israel are conducted with greater decorum today relative to the 1990s when, as Glick points out, they tended to be more frivolous, irreligious and disrespectful of Jewish history, culture and heritage.

Despite deceptive appearances, post-Zionism is more pervasive and pernicious than ever.

Seemingly impervious to reality that has repeatedly refuted its doctrine, post-Zionism is hammering on the doors of the mainstream Israeli establishment – and gaining increasingly frequent access. What was unthinkably seditious – indeed legally punishable – barely a generation ago is now fashionably avant garde.

Post-Zionism and the Left

Glick writes: “Despite their best efforts, Netanyahu remains in power and the Left can’t get any traction with the public….”

While this is accurate, the crucial question is how has this affected the party platforms and the conduct of policy?

Two things are worth noting. First, Glick appears to equate the Left and “those who are interested in forcing Israel to make more concessions to the Palestinians” with the phenomenon of post-Zionism.

Clearly, such a “one-size-fits-all” categorization would raise howls of protest from many who would object to branding as “post-Zionists” an array of prominent figures who played central roles in forging the history of Zionism, yet advocated territorial compromise.

However, while lumping all “left-wing” elements into a monolithic ideo-political post-Zionist grouping may be going a little too far, it must be recognized that there is a seamless symbiosis between the self-professed Zionist- Left and the self-confessed post-Zionist radicals.

This facilitates an almost “frictionless” migration and cross-fertilization of political philosophies and policy proposals between these groups.

In turn, this has generated a deceptive ambivalence that often blurs the ideological distinction between the two, making the transition from the one to the other almost imperceptible.

Ideological obliteration of the ‘Right’

The repercussions of this “quasi-equivalence” have been profound and pernicious, resulting in an overwhelming leftward deformation of the Israeli polity and the ideological obliteration of the “Right” – which leads me to the second thing I wish to note.

Glick’s observation regarding Binyamin Netanyahu’s ability to stay prime minister, and the Left’s inability to gain electoral traction – while seemingly true – obscures a far more ominous reality.

For although Netanyahu has indeed managed to retain power, he has adopted policies that are far more concessionary (i.e. leftish) than even Oslo peace laureate Yitzhak Rabin, who was excoriated by the Right for betraying the Zionist ethos, ever dreamed of offering the Palestinians.

Moreover, while it is correct that in terms of parliamentary representation, parties labeled “left-wing” may have been diminished, the parties labeled “right-wing” have largely adopted their “left-wing” agenda.

An astonishing spectacle is unfolding before us, with the ostensibly “right-wing” Likud exhorting the Palestinians to enter into negotiations over a proposed settlement which it itself vehemently rejected not long ago as excessively concessionary – this at a time when all the Likud’s previous reservations are being proved correct.

If that were not enough, the head of Kadima, the main opposition party (established by once super-hawk Arik Sharon, together with once super-hawk Tzachi Hanegbi), ex-Likud defense minister Shaul Mofaz, has declared, a priori, that he would accede to 100% of the Palestinian territorial demands – all this before engaging in negotiations with them.

So while the formal party-affiliated representation of the Left in the Knesset has been reduced, the substantive ideological representation of its dovish political doctrine has acquired overwhelming dominance.

Apart from the marginal fringes of the Right, almost all the parliamentary factions have platforms not only far more dovish than the anti-Oslo Likud platform of the 1990s, but even more dovish than the pro-Oslo Labor vision as laid out by Rabin in his last Knesset address in 1995.

Since the 1990s, the political system has, for all intents and purposes, been gutted of any assertive Zionist party platforms that reject the bogus Palestinian narrative – which is, in large measure, the sine non qua of the post- Zionist credo.

Size doesn’t matter

A deeply disturbing trend is emerging before our eyes: Almost the entire gamut of mainstream political parties has – with varying degrees of reluctance/enthusiasm – accepted the basic tenets of the Palestinian narrative, which negate the Zionist narrative. In doing so, they have opened the door of respectability to post-Zionism, and laid down a red carpet for its access to all the vestiges of the Israeli establishment.

So while Glick is correct in asserting that “the Left” and its post-Zionist affiliates have garnered only marginal public support, this is one instance in which “size doesn’t matter.” For they do not need to win elections to effectively impose their rule on the country – or at least to prevent their ideological rivals from implementing theirs.

No matter what the results at the polls, the Left and its more radical ideological co-travelers can promote their agenda and impede that of their pro-Zionist adversaries through their dominance of the legal establishment, the media and much of academia.

Recent decades are replete with infuriating examples of how an insignificant minority view has been imposed on the nation by means of an ideologically biased judiciary, ruling in favor of PC (Palestinian-compliant) petitions, brought before it by radical left-wing NGOs, generously funded by foreign sovereign sources, and accompanied by massive media hype.

Attempts by the parliamentary majority to redress this deformation of the democratic process have been met with furious – and largely successful – resistance.

Legislative initiatives designed to enhance financial transparency of tax-exempt NGOs, and to address accelerating erosion of the credibility of the judiciary were foiled – almost incredibly with Likud-led government complicity – because they would – wait for it… undermine democratic governance.

The voice of post-Zionism

Having eviscerated the Zionist political parties of any resolve and self-confidence, and emboldened by the reticent response of their adversaries, the post-Zionists have set their sights on the symbols of Jewish sovereignty. They have turned the focus of their assault away from the political front lines to the conceptual hinterland and to the spiritual roots of the Zionist movement.

In this sinister enterprise, their lack of electoral support should not be taken as a measure of their reach. They have other means to amplify the volume of their voice and the efficacy of their message.

A major element of this assault is being conducted via Haaretz. In a string of recent editorials and a barrage of opinion columns, it has sallied forth with an overt drive to eradicate references to the Jewish character of the foundational ethos of Israel.

Consider the following editorial headlines:

    • “Israel should consider altering its anthem to include non-Jews” (March 2)
    • “Israel needs an anthem that represents Arabs and Jews” (March 12)
    • “Israel needs national symbols all citizens can identify with” (April 27)

Ostensibly, the objective is to redraft the trappings of public life to allow the Arab minority to identify with, and participate in, state-related activities, ceremonies and celebrations. However, it takes little analytical effort to discover that this is but a flimsy veneer concealing a unambiguous campaign for the conversion of Israel from the “nation-state of the Jews” to “a-state-of-all-its-citizens.”

Assuaging Arab regret

The current focus of attack is the wording of the national anthem, “Hatikva,” which Haaretz tells us, “ignore[s] the existence of an Arab minority in the State of Israel – a minority for whom this land is also their land.”

According to the paper, “No Arab citizen who had any self-respect, political awareness or national consciousness could sing these words without committing the sins of hypocrisy and falsehood.”

Elsewhere, we are told why this is so: “Independence Day is not a holiday for Israeli Arabs. Sixty-four years ago, they lost their land and their national honor.”

I am trying to get my head around this. Is one of the nation’s major newspapers really calling on the public not only to understand the sorrow the Arab minority feels that the genocidal attempt of its ethnic-kinfolk to obliterate the Jewish population failed, but to take far-reaching steps to accommodate this sadness?


How are we to assuage their melancholy at having “lost their land and national honor” in their failed Judeocidal effort? Are Jews really expected to forgo the victory and to suppress the expression of their national identity to alleviate the discomfort of the defeated? One cannot but wonder what the consequences would have been had the fortunes of war been reversed? And how are we to restore their “national honor” (much less their ‘land”) – or to compensate them for their loss – without de-Judaizing Israel and deconstructing the Zionist ethos.

But that is what the post-Zionists are really aiming at. However, to achieve this goal of dismantling the status of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews, they first have to achieve an intermediate goal: to decouple Israel from its Jewishness, to denude, and then break, the bond of kinship between the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Hence the assault on the Jewish emblems – first the anthem, next the flag, then the Law of Return. After all, why should the Jewish Diaspora have unfettered access to the country and not the Palestinian diaspora?

This is a question the post-Zionists – and Haaretz – will doubtless be raising soon in editorials.

The nature of nations

Nations are not a mere amalgam of people who happen to inhabit a piece of real estate. As the liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill observes, to function as a nation populations need to feel “united among themselves by common sympathies which do not exist between them and any others…. The strongest of all [these common sympathies] is identity of political antecedents; the possession of a national history, and consequent community of recollections; collective pride and humiliation, pleasure and regret, connected with the same incidents in the past.”

So how do post-Zionists propose to generate a new sense of “pan-Israeli” nationality when one segment of the population sees in the 1948 Jewish victory a reason for pride and pleasure while another segment sees it as a source of regret and humiliation?

The members of the Arab community in Israel made a call in 1948. They elected to throw their lot in with a Jewish – repeat Jewish – state. They could have left, as did many of their kin. They can leave today if they feel they cannot identify with the fabric of national life here.

They can follow the example of many Israeli citizens who came here from economically developed nations, precisely because they felt their national affiliation was not with their country of birth, but with the Jewish homeland.

Arabs in Israel who feel their national identity is incompatible with political realities and the conduct of public life have many options. Demanding that the victors relinquish their ethos to accommodate the defeated is not one.

This must be made clear – for any ambiguity will herald great tragedy.

May 5, 2012 | 23 Comments »

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23 Comments / 23 Comments

  1. @ bernard ross: Mr. Ross, when I was a practicing attorney I specialized in regulatory law and antitrust law as applied to public utilities, particularly electric power systems. If you want a legal opinion from perhaps a better source that will be familiar with your basic law and is willing to spend a lot of time on research, you might consider contacting Shurat HaDin at info@israellawcenter.org I understand that they have been very successful in a number of actions. There are also other Israeli lawyers, some on Israpundit that can provide you with a better opinion than I can.

  2. @ bernard ross: This will serve to further illuminate, I hope, my earlier discussion of what is due process and when due process requires Judicial process, and when it requires military process.
    There is great public debate in the US on whether the President had the right to order the military to kill Awlaki, an enemy combatant in Yemen who was a citizen of the United states. Many claim the decision was made without “due” process. If this were a matter of criminal justice, he would have been entitled to judicial process and there was no judicial process. However instead of criminal justice, the government was applying the “law of war”. In the US we are under the law of war ever since the US Congress, after 9/11 enacted the AUMF, the “Authorization to Use Military Force”. I do not often agree with the legal decisions of the current Attorney General, however I do agree with his conclusion that Consitutional “due” process does not require “judicial” process under the law of war and we are under the law of war because of the AUMF. MIlitary process is enough. The US President, that the Constitution appoints as the Commander in Chief, is entitled to make the decision. He did. Awlawki is dead. The apologists for the terrorists are all squawking that the requirements of Constitutional due process have not been satisfied. Holder and I both are of the opinion that it has been by the application of military process. .

  3. @ bernard ross: Most opinion is that even though the Treaty of Sevres was never ratified, the Tr eaty of Lausanne, by not changing anything regarding the Middle East, did ratify the cession to the Mandatory Power under the terms of Article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres. I do not know of anything that serves to deny, discontinue or abrogate the right of Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, except that Jews have no right to take private property owned by non Jews. Property ownership is one of the civil rights and in the Balfour Declaration, the British Mandate for Palestine and the Ottoman cession in Article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres, the grant of sovereignty is subject to a condition subsequent. That condition is that the Jews, when they do attain sovereignty ( when they had a population majority) may not impair the civil rights of the Non Jews. . But it is quite shocking for a US lawyer to learn of the Israeli Supreme Court order that any land that is private property is assumed to be under Arab ownership. The Jews have civil rights too. Their ownership of private property is their civil right. Due process should give them the right have their claim that they own the contested property heard by the court. Instead of remanding that issue of fact for trial by a trial court, the Israeli Supreme Court that is an appellate court and not a trial court, has determined that it is justifiable to ASSUME that all private land is Arab land. That, in my opinion, is outrageous and deprives the Jews in Migron and Ulpana and elsewhere of their civil rights.
    Now I know Israel has no written constitution. I see references to a “Basic Law”. If the basic law requires that no person be deprived of his private property without due process, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Minister of Defense in combination, is surely not giving them any. Depending on what the Basic Law says, that might be a good cause of action but to a very unfriendly court. The Basic Law, may say, for example, that citizens are entitled to judicial process only within the boundaries of Israel and in the alleged “occupied areas” that due process is satisfied by a military decision, with the MInister of Defense as the final authority. If that is the case, then they get “due process” from a decision by Barak and the only answer is to get rid of him. I understand his political following is fast diminishing and labor may not have very many seats after the next election — maybe because of Migron and Ulpana. I hope this helps you.

  4. @ Wallace Brand: Dear Mr. Brand, thank you for your reply. Perhaps you can clarify some of my misunderstandings. Is there any internationally binding legal document which denies, discontinues or abrogates the right of Jews to settle in the west bank, which have greater legal standing than the prior legally binding agreements of San Remo, the league mandate and the UN charter? (I am not familiar with Sevre and thought it was never ratified and do not know if it is in conflict with the right of settlement) What is the legal basis for the govt of Israel or anyone else to deny settlement of the west bank by Jews, whether annexed or not,which was previously allowed legally. Wasn’t this right, and obligation, incorporated into the UN Charter (as the successor to the League)? As the UN partition was a GA recomendation and not legally binding isn’t the UN still legally bound to facilitate the settlement?

  5. I agree that the left is not dead (yet). What the Likud under Netanyahu is doing the left (who admit it) would never dare to do and if they did the Likud would scream bloody murder. Unfortunately the Likud has been persecuting Jews in Yehuda and Shomron and using gestapo tactics against mothers and teenagers by their black uniformed YaSSam Nazi thugs. They come in the middle of the night and throw Jewish families out of their homes into the cold rain. Arabs build illegal homes and Netanyahu does nothing. Rockets rain on the Negev from Gaza and Netanyahu does nothing. The only thing that bothers him are Jewish outposts, not Iran’s nuclear threat not terrorism on the rise just the nationalist religious Jews bother him and his henchman Ehud Eichmann Barak who would give all the territories liberated in 1967 to our enemies.

  6. Mr. Ross: The obligations in the mandate were obligations of England as trustee. In my off-the-top-of-my-head opinion (that means a not well considered opinion), Israel inherited the limitations in the grant of its sovereignty that are in the mandate and the Treaty of Sevres, that they may not require the Arabs to surrender any of their existing civil and religious rights, but the obligations imposed in the mandate to facilitate settlement were obligations of the trustee. Israel was appointed by World Jewry to represent them. In that appointment, they did not impose any limitations on the government of Israel. The Government of Israel has a law of return that carries out the intent of the Mandate to facilitate close settlement in Israel.. Perhaps a lawyer, after considering this at length, could find a reason that could persuade a court that it should also enforce the close settlement on the land obligation in occupied territory. . Perhaps first getting the Knesset to rule that the San Remo grant is valid would justify the annexation of Judea and Samaria and to effect such an annexation. That would take the disposition of the land away from Barak, the Minister of Defense. That might be all you need.
    One of the problems is that according to Professor Steven Plaut, the Israel Supreme Court is composed largely of hard leftists. So it might be difficult to persuade them to agree to any Pro-settler argument and therefore you might want a legislative solution, not a judicial solution. That is the best I can do on short notice.

  7. @ Wallace Brand:Dear Mr. Brand, I know you have been involved inthe legal aspects of Jews right to settle in the west bank. It is my understanding that San Remo Treaty, the league of nations mandate and the successor UN charter contain this right and encourage its facilitation when a trust as an obligation. If this is true wouldn’t successive Israeli govts also have an obligation, under those treaties and charters,to facilitate and encourage settlement on the west bank by jews. as successive Israeli govts have restricted these rights would there be legal recourse in Israeli and/or international courts to seek injunctions against prevention of settlement and writs of mandamus to facilitate it or any civil or legal recourse? I always wonder why those with vested interests(settlers,nationalist parties,etc) never pursue these rights in court. I seek your learned opinion.

  8. @ rongrand:

    Seems like you have been using the expression “kool-aid” on more than one occasion. Say what you mean and mean what you say and stop jerking off.

  9. The Arabs won in 1918 when they were freed from 400 years of occupation and domination from colonial Turkey. They were freed again in 1967 from occupation and domination by colonial Jordan and colonial Egypt. It was a win-win situation. And if there was occupation by an alleged “Colonial Israel” of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, a factual account of that alleged “occupation” shows it was a “Mitzva”, not a “Nabka”. That is what Israel’s public diplomacy ought to be calling it. See: Karsh, “What Occupation” http://www.aish.com/jw/me/48898917.html But that wasn’t an “occupation” as alleged, because it was Israel’s own territory that was “liberated” from the occupation by colonial Jordan and colonial Egypt and not “occupied”. Four hundred years of occupation by colonial Turkey had transformed Palestine, according to David Lloyd-George, British Prime Minister at the time of the drafting and publication of the Balfour Declaration, from a Land of Milk and Honey, to a malarial wasteland that only rule of the Jews could restore. See: ” The Jews and Palestine”, (1923) http://einshalom.com/archives/210 And that is exactly what happened according to a US Government soil conservationist. See: Gilder, “The Economics of Settlement” http://spectator.org/archives/2011/06/08/the-economics-of-settlement

  10. That little girl sally and her obscene comments about a woman like Caroline Glick don’t belong on Israpundit. I’ll bet sally is one of those ows spoiled children who thinks she should be given things for free.

  11. Israel, and the Jews, are linked. Whether secular or religious it is the land of the Jews and its recent rebirth was to be a safe place for Jews to survive. One of the reasons that there are many who want to cede land is that nothing has been got for all the wars fought. Had the lands been kept, developed and the resources accrued to the victor there would be more identification with the land. However, jewish leadership does everything it can to keep captured resources benefits out of the hands of Israel. Another problem is that those who believe in the Israels rights in international law to, at least all the west bank, have not embarked on any prosecution in courts, local and international. Israeli govts have broken international, and by extension Israeli, law by restricting rights of Jews in settling the west bank in contravention of league of nations mandates, san remo treaties and UN charter. Why arent these Israeli govts and leaders sued for damages and to obtain injunctions and mandamus writs to enforce the right to settle anywhere in the west bank? Where did the Israeli govt get the right to ignore or rescind these settlement rights enshrined in interational treaties? The jews are so used to the system of electing kings that the settlers and right wing cant imagine the use of law in their own courts. It is the responsibility of right wing parties to use their tools and pursue law in court against Israeli govts and not just to talk.

  12. @ BlandOatmeal:
    Land must be returned when you are beholden to a “HIGHER POWER”. That “HIGHER POWER” is Uncle Sam or as He is better known, the good old U.S. of A.

  13. @ Laura:

    Such ideas cannot even be described as liberal, but are rather manifestations of deep psychological problems.

    I agree. There can’t be many things more asinine, than fighting hard to win battles, only to regret winning and give back the land.

  14. @ Laura:

    Oh how true!!!!Most of the world’s ills are attributable to the excessives of the “”Leftists””, From STDs to juvenile crime to single motherhood and on and on and on.

  15. @ Laura:

    Jews did not come to Israel and fight and die in order for the country to be a state of all its citizens, but in order to live freely AS JEWS,

    Laura, precisely and it’s important the rest of the world understands it.

  16. Sherman is again on the mark. I can’t help but project an analogy into the future for contemplation in the US where a growing Muslim majority discovers and asserts its political power- Does anybody think they are going to take the “sensitivities” of other citizens into consideration. The Jews in America who cast their vote for Obama or even ANY Democrat will eventually feel the brunt of that decision. They are fools. I’m glad I’m in Israel!
    The following is the response I wrote to an email a friend sent me with Neshama Carlbache singing the “new” Hatikvah. After reading this article I couldn’t help but post what I wrote back to him two days ago. I think it is important to know that this is going on and to make a statement to stop it.People should go to the streets and sing the real “Hatikvah” and PROUDLY.
    “Since I’m on your email list and I got this I just thought I’d say that I don’t agree with this as well-intended as it may be meant to be. It is post-Zionistism revisited and from a Jewish perspective I would suggest people read last week’s Torah Tidbit’s Lead Tidbit and then consider what’s being proposed here. Hativah is a “Jewsih” song about Jewish souls with “Hope” not an Israeli one. Those calling for a change of lyrics to be “sensitive” to non-Jewish or even non-religious Israelis who don’t care about Israel as a “Jewish” state for “Jews” first are simply trying to be too “politically correct” and would subvert the Jewish identity of the state to do so. I would have to question their own. Not being a native Israeli it might be hard for me to tell native Israelis with any authority somehting like this but frankly I think they should be ashamed of themselves- but I’m sure they probably feel rather proud. Why do Jews have to subvert their identify in order to “get along”- “to be nice” to the other guy- because that’s what this is all about.”

  17. The Jewish liberal feels guilty that Israel defeated enemies who tried to destroy the Jewish state at its birth. They want the rest of Israeli Jews to feel guilty for fighting and winning instead of being willing victims of genocide. They wish the rest of Israeli Jews would feel the same shame over defeating its enemies and expressions of Jewish pride as the editors of Haaretz do. That is not going to happen. Such ideas cannot even be described as liberal, but are rather manifestations of deep psychological problems. Jews did not come to Israel and fight and die in order for the country to be a state of all its citizens, but in order to live freely AS JEWS, which in many cases they were not allowed to do in the nations they were born in. Israel should not relinquish its Jewish identity in order to make its minority citizens feel good about themselves.

  18. I think Sherman has pretty much hit the nail on the head — especially the part about Likud and nearly all the “Right-Wing” MKs belong to parties having more post-Zionist platforms than that of Yitzchaq Rabin. As for the “anthem” business, namely,

    The members of the Arab community in Israel made a call in 1948. They elected to throw their lot in with a Jewish – repeat Jewish – state. They could have left, as did many of their kin. They can leave today if they feel they cannot identify with the fabric of national life here.

    I am reminded of the formative years of the United States, in 1675 (55 years after the Plymouth landing), when the Wampanoag sachem Menahem (“King Philip”) attempted a genocide of the white settlers of New England. He failed; and he and his allies retreated to the northern wilderness of Maine, Vermont and Canada. This was an American analogy of the Oslo War.

    America is known as a “melting pot”, which welcomes peoples from all over the world to come and assimilate into American society. In the early days of settlement, though, we were not a “melting pot”. Instead, we had a distinct identity, based on our language and religion, which we had brought with us from England. In those formative years, it was imperative that we preserve that identity, and that we attract like-minded Englishmen to settle in our colonies and join in our cause. We did not attempt to make America a “land of its peoples” and sacrifice our own identity for the sake of the natives. Some 200 years later, after we were firmly planted here, we could become a “melting pot”.

    Israel is in the early stages of nation-building, as America was in 1675. They need to look at the Arabs in a light similar to how we looked at the Wampanoags in those days — as enemies, and as competitors for the same piece of land.