A Sanders supporter makes the progressive’s case for Israel
Surfers retreat to a sandy cove as the sun blurs into the horizon. I’m on vacation in an artsy city with beaches for miles and tattooed locals. Could be Austin-by-the-Sea. The are no historic gay neighborhoods here because the whole town is LGBTQ friendly. Solar-powered signs count the minutes until the next bus arrives. Giant public recycling bins collect water bottles. There’s widespread, bipartisan passion for farm-to-table cuisine. So why would Lana Del Rey and Lorde refuse to play here?
I’m in Tel Aviv in the Middle East’s only functional democracy. Even with the region’s low bar of dictatorships and violent theocracies, Tel Aviv is an extraordinarily liberal oasis in this nation founded by socialists and social democrats. As a Bernie Sanders progressive who’s counting on a Blue Wave this fall, I feel right at home here, and so should you. This country is a progressive exemplar worth singing about.
Later, while drinking a hoppy local ale, I wished more people would see this country for what it is, and less for how it appears to be. Like, for example, a rehashing of the American Civil Rights Movement, where Arabs are black and brown victims and multiethnic Israelis are … white Dixiecrat oppressors?
The truth isn’t so neat. Most Israelis are Middle Eastern and African; Americans would call them people of color. Palestinian nationalism is not the story of a minority once bound in slavery now advocating for equality. It’s a zero sum fight for sovereignty. Jews will not be granted citizenship in a future state of Palestine, even in biblical towns like Hebron or Jericho. Yet 20% of Israelis are Arabs and their citizenship is not up for debate. Making things more inverted, Israel has roughly 6 million Jews, most of whom fled here and are unwelcome in former homes in Baghdad, Cairo, Tunis and beyond. The surrounding Arab world has over 400 million souls. To this day, Israelis are barred from most Arab states. Who is the disenfranchised minority?
Current Palestinian politics bear no resemblance to a nonviolent integration movement. Hamas embraces a radical Islamism linked to Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. They are intolerant fundamentalists with social policies that make The Handmaid’s Tale look like a rom-com. And Hamas controls fully half of Palestine so when they say they’re resisting the occupation, they mean all of Israel. Their struggle ends with the annihilation of the Jews. Not exactly a civil rights dynamic.
Across the divide, the Palestinian Authority rejects peace when it isn’t stealing from its own people. It supports terror groups that compete with Hamas for brutality and it’s far from democratic—the last time there was an election was in 2005, when Facebook was limited to college students.
Israel is not blameless. It created the occupation in the first place, builds far flung settlements to frustrate future Palestinian sovereignty, deploys harsh security tactics and perpetuates internal racism against citizen Arabs.
It’s tempting to equate photos of racist police beating nonviolent black protesters with teenagers throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at well-armed Israelis, but Ramallah is no Selma. Goals and context matter. Confusing America’s brutal legacy of slavery and white supremacy with Israeli security policy is about as as insightful as conflating Northern Irish politics with the Boston Celtics.
Beyond bus loads of super friendly Holy Land tourists, I wish more Americans would visit here for fun, but Israel suffers from polarized reviews in the TripAdvisor of our minds. The country is seen as either too dangerous or too controversial to risk discovering 15th-century Mamluk architecture, or the joys of a Yemenite breakfast with its slow-bake pastries and chili tapenades.
I find myself going back to what people here call “The Land” once or twice a year. I like playing my bit part in the epic saga of Jewish survival. When I think about my grandparents escaping conscription and murder in Odessa, I’m amazed by my luck: There’s a Jewish homeland, right now, in my lifetime. American Jews shouldn’t need an exit strategy, it should be paranoid to consider a retreat after all these years, but then came Charlottesville chants of “Jews will not replace us” and Holocaust deniers winning Republican primaries. If America falls further to the right, where do we go? France with its unrelenting anti-Semitism? The U.K. where the head of Labour supports Hamas? Canada is an option, until it isn’t. Rich fields of plenty suddenly seem arid compared to the land of milk and honey.
Beyond the literally biblical significance of a long-sought refuge, with citizens of every shade of human from every corner of the world, this country is a plucky example of democratic socialism. Yes, there’s now a right-wing administration that cozies up to an ultra-religious swing vote, but whichever party is in charge, universal health care, free tuition, muscular labor unions, public arts funding and a strong safety net are secure. Israel boasts medical, cultural, academic, and technical innovations of a far larger and less vilified country. These are the very achievements progressives like me strive for back home, vote after vote, rally after rally.
Published in Tablet magazine
Zachary Thacher runs a boutique digital marketing, Thacher Interactive. He is a frequent visitor to Israel and leads the Friday night minyan, Kol haKfar. He’s published in the HuffPo, the NY Post and Tablet. Zachary graduated with an MA in Communication from Stanford in 1996.
Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, co-director of the Chabad House in Rosario, Argentina. Photo: Facebook.
JNS.org – Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, director of Chabad-Lubavitch in Rosario, Argentina, was recovering at home after being assaulted by three youths on Sunday night during the holiday of Shavuot.
According to neighbors who came to the rabbi’s aid, the attackers shouted antisemitic insults at the rabbi, and began hitting him in the head and abdomen, reported Chabad.org.They then threw him to the floor, kicked him and trampled his hat before fleeing.
A Palestinian man inspects the site of an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip, June 14, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.
Thousands of Palestinians rioted on the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Friday, hurling rocks, firebombs and explosive devices at IDF troops.
Also on Friday, numerous blazes were ignited in southern Israel by incendiary balloons sent over the border from Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Early Friday morning, the Israeli Air Force struck several Hamas targets in Gaza, in response to a rocket attack the previous night in which a religious school in Sderot was damaged.
On May 31, the cry went out from Times Square, New York City, to annihilate Israel and extend the terror war against the Jewish state to America.
As they did in Beirut, Berlin, London, Tehran, and Dearborn, Michigan, Israel-haters gathered at Times Square to call for Israel’s dissolution on the day the Iranian regime has determined to be “Al Quds Day,” that is, Jerusalem Day.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted a video of the event. In it, a series of speakers called over and over again for Israel’s annihilation, voiced support for terrorists and terrorism and called for the war against Israel to come to New York.
Nate Chase from the World Workers’ Party led the crowd in chanting, “We don’t want not two state! We want ’48!”
Leftists have never been as humorless, unfunny and touchy as they are now. And they’ve never poured as much time and money into late night comedy, Netflix comedy specials and assorted people angrily shouting things about Trump and their confused sexual identities into a microphone, as they are now.
Comedy, as supported by billion-dollar media corporations based in blue states that would legalize killing babies and heroin before they would permit gun ownership, has returned to its roots in Greek political life. Except the ancient Greeks thought that people insulting each other’s politics was funny and the modern Proggies think that the insults should be one-sided and delivered in an echo chamber.
The UCLA Daily Bruin and its editorial staff have made a mockery of the concept of a free press, opening their pages to terrorist political organizations and closing them to the opponents of terrorist propaganda and Jew hatred. The Bruin’s allegiance to the destroy-Israel left and failure to observe the core principles of journalism in a democracy was glaringly obvious in its coverage of a recent student government ruling.
The resolution passed on Tuesday, May 21, by the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association asserted that—contrary to all evidence and a long history of spreading the genocidal lies of Hamas terrorists, and harassing Jewish students and their invited speakers— the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is not anti-Semitic.
The long-running dispute revolves — most recently — around an effort by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, a cross-party formation of around two-dozen MPs in the British Parliament, to institutionalize the definition of Islamophobia in racial rather than religious terms.
The proposed definition has been opposed by many Britons, including British Muslims, who warn that it would effectively shield Islam from scrutiny and valid criticism.
The New York Times claimed that President Donald Trump does not care about his re-election campaign or about the policies he would seek to enact during a second term.
“In a recent overarching state-of-the-race briefing in Florida with Brad Parscale, his campaign manager, Mr. Trump was consistently distracted and wanted to discuss other things,
The New York Times got quite a scoop when, in an interview with its Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that he favored Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. That was the lede of Halbfinger’s article, as well as in the headline. And that was also the way the story was played in virtually every one of the many publications that picked up on the story.
Every movement has a mission statement. “Make America Great Again” is the conservative one. (It’s the “Again” part that makes it conservative.) The enemies of making America great have one too.
If the radicals had red hats, they would say, “They’re Out To Get You.”
TOTGY has been the leftist motto since before Marx learned to shave and then decided to stop doing it. The arc of history may bend toward many places, but the black rainbow serviced by a snarling leprechaun with a PhD and a cocaine problem always begins and ends in the same paranoid place.
In certain circumstances, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last week, Washington would recognize the annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.
As expected, Friedman’s comments led to fierce criticism. The Palestinians already call him the “settler spokesman.”
But in fact, instead of blaming the settlers, the Palestinians can only blame themselves. And given that we are in the era of “narratives,” namely, lies that pretend to be history, we should pay attention to the facts.