How Israel’s defenders leave Israel defenseless

The Israel-firster grumble rumbles on. I have no idea what round we’re in but here’s a snippet from Jeffrey Goldberg’s latest attack on Glenn Greenwald. Some of Goldberg’s readers are apparently upset with him for not attacking Greenwald with enough vigor and for that reason suggest that Goldberg himself is at risk of defining himself as a self-hating Jew. His response to one such challenge:

Self-hatred is a deeply-inexact description of the people this reader is trying to describe. In my experience, those Jews who consciously set themselves apart from the Jewish majority in the disgust they display for Israel, or for the principles of their faith, are often narcissists, and therefore seem to suffer from an excess of self-regard, rather than self-loathing.

Which is to say, if someone is Jewish and lacks the fondness for Israel that Goldberg and others would expect from a Jew, then this person must suffer from a character flaw.

The smear always conforms to the same structure: attack the person instead of the idea.

There is a transparent intellectual cowardice in this approach. If Israel’s defenders can only mount a defense by suggesting that Israel’s critics are all flawed human beings, what does this say about Israel?

It should be possible, for instance, to have an argument about Israeli democracy — for one person to say why they believe that Israel fails to uphold democratic values and another to say why they believe it succeeds in doing so. But what is much more likely to happen is that the defender of Israeli democracy will start demonizing, marginalizing, and belittling Israel’s critics.

Is this simply a sad commentary on Zionism, or does it reflect a form of realism — an implicit acknowledgment that the best the Zionists can do at this point is to close their ranks since long ago they gave up on the idea of winning anyone over to their side?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “How Israel’s defenders leave Israel defenseless

  1. Norman

    Denial. As each day goes by, the backers of the Israeli leadership, continue losing credibility, as well as from those other countries who would sacrifice their citizens in defending same. Perhaps all those who would commit their fellow citizens to defend Israel, should instead don the uniform and go there instead. Then we would see just how many of these so called righteous hawks put their ass where their mouth is.

  2. delia ruhe

    You’ve hit on exactly the problem, Norman. There are so many American Jews who salve their consciences by becoming chequebook Zionists, trying to convince themselves that they can serve Israel better by offering money instead of themselves, feeling guilty because they know that Israel is desperate for more Jews. The USA is their promised land, not Israel, and that must be hard to live with.

  3. D E Teodoru

    That quote is a wonderful exposure of Goldberg’s seeming psychosis. He’s here, in the US, earning a living here, writing in English for us, not in Hebrew for Israel, but– being a professional Zionist– plays to the Zionist billionaires who’d rather NOT live in Israel but will throw some cash its way as penance. It’s all so sick and stupid that unless being “Israeli” becomes something real that can stand alone without kidnapping Jews, it will die as a party to which no one showed up, or at least not enough people to make it go. American politicians must stop funding Israel’s demise for mere campaign contributions from rich Zionists.

    Peace and integration in Mideast is Israel’s only solution. Yet, unless it ceases its nutty Zionist madness and becomes a nation with a fuzzy past but one that is there NOW, developing normal ties with its neighbors it will die of exhaustion.

    Leave Jews alone, Israel doesn’t need the mass majority of those who deem it a nice place to visit but not to live. Zionism has been a fraud surviving as a shyster; let it die, let Israel be Israel and Jews be Jews. The Holocaust Psychosis can only bring another Holocaust, possibly in the very country from whose placenta the STILL embryo of a state of Israel draws sustenance. ISRAEL CANNOT LIVE FOREVER OFF THE ASHES OF THE HOLOCAUST’s VICTIMS as a racist state like Apartheid South Africa couldn’t. Let Israel be a normal, healthy Israel…let it grow up and be its own nation, please!

  4. Bruce

    Classic case of projection.

    Having seen Jeffrey Goldberg in action up close, “narcissism” is quite an apt description for his own behavior.

Comments are closed.