Saturday, October 03, 2009

M.J. Rosenberg seconds Ali Abunimah [previous post] but in doing so links not to Abunimah or As'ad AbuKhalil but to the Jerry Haber [The Magnes Zionist.] Again and again now you see Zionist liberals forced to choose between Zionism and liberalism, between dehumanizing the Palestinians absolutely and understanding them not as problem or idea but as fully human. Liberal Zionists never wanted to see themselves as racist, though objectively they were, but now they're being forced to face the contradictions. All sadly, happily or indifferently predictable.

update: Helena Cobban runs down the response: Palestinian society supports Goldstone, criticizes Abbas. The U.S. pressure was a big mistake.


  1. "Liberal Zionism" (modern meaning of "Zionism") is just as much an oxymoron as "liberal Nazism" or any "liberal ethnic chauvinism" in general.

    And it has nothing to do with the Palestinians. Do you believe that race/ethnicity has a place in politics? If you do, I don't see how you can be a liberal.

  2. Abb you're a dolt. It's not illiberalism that's the problem it's hypocrisy. Hamas is not a liberal organization and would not claim to be, but they can be negotiated with because their ideology is not founded on hypocrisy and delusion. You can make the liberal case to a conservative who knows what and why he's made that choice. Jewish illiberalism, like Arab illiberalism like many other forms have often been well earned through hard experience. And all need to be argued with and opposed while being also understood and respected. But you can't argue with conservatives who insist on calling themselves liberals; you can't argue with irrationalism.

    If the survivors of the Holocaust had demanded the Rhineland for their new home I would have had less sympathy for their opponents than I do the Palestinians. Some days I think I'd have had none at all. But some days I'm not a liberal.

  3. Well, what can I say: if I'm a dolt, then you're a dolt too, because I agree completely. Like I said, one can be a Zionist or one can be a liberal. But not both. I agree that illiberalism is not a problem by itself, there's nothing wrong with being illiberal.

    I too wish that they would drop their liberal and pwoggie pretences, and stick, plainly, with Zionism and chauvinism in general, like Norman Podhoretz and company.

  4. No Abb, there is something wrong with being illiberal. In most contexts illiberalism is flawed logic, but that comes down to principles and cases. Its an argument that requires and deserves long term engagement not glib moralizing one liners on one side or the other.

  5. I think I agree with that too. The way I see it, liberalism is one part of the equation. When things go generally well - then yes, there is probably no excuse for being illiberal; but there are also situations, crisis situations (however defined) when illiberalism is understandable and necessary.


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