A new book details how the Left chose to surrender to the Arab enemy.
In recent weeks the mostly left-leaning news media have published articles about the turbulence of this year’s elections in Israel with such handwringing titles as “Is the Israeli left doomed to marginalisation?,” “The Decline of the Israeli Left,” and “Whatever Happened to the Israeli Left?” But if one really wants to educate oneself deeply and broadly about this shift in the tiny democracy’s political landscape, one can hardly do better than to read Mordechai Nisan’s new book, The Crack-Up of the Israeli Left, published by Mantua Books. In it, Dr. Nisan brilliantly dissects the rise of the Right and the decline of the Left in the Jewish state. To quote from the book cover’s description, it details how “the Left detached its moorings from reality and principle, raised its voice against the Zionist enterprise, and chose surrender to the Arab enemy.”
If anyone is qualified to expound upon Israel’s political and cultural battlegrounds, it’s Mordechai Nisan. Dr. Nisan (with a doctorate in Political Studies from McGill University) has been a teacher and consultant for a number of academic and public institutions in Israel, including Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he taught Middle East Studies for 35 years. Among his many books are Toward a New Israel: The Jewish State and the Arab Question(1992), Only Israel West of the River: The Jewish State and the Palestinian Question (2011), and Politics and War in Lebanon (2015). He has written articles for The Jerusalem Post, Israel National News, Global Affairs, Middle East Journal, and many other publications. He has also been an activist for Jewish settlement in the territories of Judea and Samaria.
Dr. Nisan was kind enough to take time to answer some questions for FrontPage Mag.
Mark Tapson: You begin your book by describing Israel as “a fable and a myth, but also a Great Truth.” What do you mean by that?
Mordechai Nisan: Myth as an expression of inner thoughts and memories mobilizes people to action. Fables arouse children’s imagination, as myths do for adults. Israel was born from a great myth rooted in the Biblical story of liberation and conquest, awakening the Jewish people to relive their past through the medium of Zionism and reconstituting their freedom and sovereignty in modern times. This is a revitalized myth actualizing an ancient truthof God and Jewish peoplehood in history.
Thus, the distinction between reality and imagination, truth and fable, collapses in the dynamic Jewish Return to the Land of Israel. This is the secret of the founding or re-founding of the state of Israel in 1948. A culture that has lost myth, wrote Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy, “has lost its natural healthy creativity.” Israel’s myth lives on, and so does Israel.
MT: What IS “the crackup of the Israeli left”?
MN: The Israeli Left is stuck in a deep moral and political crisis. Its cyclical downturn has degenerated into ideological rigidity (against the Land of Israel) and political arrogance (against the citizens of Israel). Rootless leftist elites, who are entrenched in the media, academia, the arts, and the judiciary, parade secularism against tradition, vaunting a pro-Palestinian political narrative and having abandoned a pro-Israel one. The more radical elements in the Labor and Meretz parties severed their spiritual ties to the vision of a proud Jewish state, as when they opposed the 2018 Basic Law recognizing “Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
This Leftist “crack-up” includes a long list of political pathologies: siding with the BDS travesty, charging Israel with fascism and Nazi-like policies, refusing to sing the national anthem, employing blood libel terminology to denigrate Jewish settlers, praising Palestinian enemies as peace-loving, and trivializing the dangerous consequences of territorial withdrawal. Leftist incoherence and despair have cost them votes, with the nationalist-rightist Likud Party dominating Israeli politics for decades, since 1977.
MT: To confront the Palestinian “war is peace” mindset toward Israel, you state that “Israel is in need of a culture of war to secure its future.” Can you elaborate on that?
MN: The Israel Defense Forces, with an array of intelligence and cyber capacities, are on 24/7 alert since the day Israel arose in 1948; and poised to defend the country from threat, attack, and terrorism by Iran and Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah. For its part, Islam is a religion of war – as Ayatollah Khomeini said; but this does not prevent the Palestinian war donning the mask of peace as a strategy of deception.
Israel enlists and trains its youth for military service and instills love for the homeland, to fight and sacrifice to protect its citizens. This is not a sign of militarism, rather a call for realism and vigilance. When I say that Israel must cultivate a culture of war, despite Judaism in its biblical, prophetic, and rabbinic sources teaching that the highest human value is peace, I am speaking about a patriotic spirit for the defense and survival of Israel.
The US Treasury added three top Hezbollah figures to its list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday, including two members of the Lebanese Parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s security agencies.
It was the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s Parliament under a sanctions list that targets those accused by Washington of providing support to terrorist organizations. Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
South African fans in Cairo celebrating their team’s win over Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. Photo: Reuters / Sumaya Hisham.
Three days after South Africa stunned the world of international soccer by knocking hosts Egypt out of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, the sound of elation remains clearly detectable in the voice of the team’s Jewish midfielder, Dean Furman.
“It was a fantastic victory, just fantastic,” Furman told The Algemeiner during a break in training on Tuesday, as South Africa prepared for its crucial quarterfinal game against Nigeria, another of the continent’s toughest sides, tomorrow.
Pieter van Oordt, left, with his brother, Roger, at the Israel
For the second time in recent history, a Dutch Christian organization dedicated to supporting Israel has gone head-to-head with the government. With their family tradition of belief in Israel that preceded the state of Israel by almost one hundred years, it seems unlikely that the van Oordts are about to back down, no matter what the odds.
Last month, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy made a request from the management of the Israel Products Center (IPC) to ensure they were in compliance with regulations adopted in 2015 by the European Commission requiring products made by Jewish owned companies in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and sections of Jerusalem to be labeled in a manner indicating their origins.
Studies have shown that dairy cows contribute large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the organisms living in their microbiomes.
Genetically modifying cows may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and feed world populations, a new study led by Prof. Itzhak Mizrahi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev suggests.
“Our findings are both a major breakthrough for basic science and will have a positive impact on two major challenges facing the international community for the foreseeable future: climate change and food security,” Mizrahi said.
The decision by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to promote Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter reflects his future political aspirations.
Incoming Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi walks out at the end of a handover ceremony where he replaces Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 15, 2019.
Israel has its own version of Napoleon’s famous saying, “Every soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his pack.” In these parts, every general carries a prime minister’s baton — or at least that of a defense minister — in his pack
As Islamist Watch has pointed out many times before, Islam is enormously diverse – containing many competing schools of theology, schools of jurisprudence, sects, ethnicities, cultures and mysticisms. Islamism is also not a single force; it comprises dozens of (both) competing and collaborating radical ideologies.
One of the most intriguing divisions, then, within both American Islam and Islamism of late has been growing dissent over the question of liberalism.
Right after Trump’s inauguration, I ran an article about how incredibly fake the news coverage was about his inauguration. (Those reading my site know I’m not a big Trump fan, but credit where credit is due and calling fake where calling fake is due.) The media was nothing short of spectacularly fake in the news it contrived that week on CNN, the New York Times and the other major fake media, and they mostly got away with it.
It wasn’t condescension or contempt. Recent remarks by former Mossad head Shabtai Shavit reek of racism. That is the proper way to frame them, calling them anything else is letting him off easy. In its classic, formal sense, racism is when a certain social sector perceives itself as superior because of clear racial criteria. Shavit represents an updated version of racism that doesn’t require ethnicity or religion as proof of a defect – you can call it “essential racism.”
Little Napoleon Barak is going to save Israeli Democracy? What a bunch of claptrap Orwellian doublespeak.
Well let’s check out history. How well did the original Napoleon save France’s democratic revolution against the monarchy?
Hmm, if I recall he crowned himself emperor!
For years, the pundits have been telling us that Israeli democracy is in danger because of the Arab birthrate, or because of the Jewish nation-state law, or because of the debates over the powers of Israel’s High Court.
I wonder if they will recognize the danger posed by the 10 left-wing American Jewish organizations that have formed a new umbrella organization, the essential purpose of which is to undermine Israeli democracy.