Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wise Wisse

Forget Peter Beinart. Forget Tony Judt. Forget all the leftist bilge you've ever read about "colonialism" and "Western imperialism" and "all we are sayin' is give peace a chance." If you really want to know what's going on re Arabs/Muslims and Zionhass, the Judenhass of our time, read Ruth Wisse's brilliant analysis in this month's Commentary, for she puts into words that which, until now, has been inchoate and unarticulated:
...A good place to begin probing the resiliency of anti-Semitic deception is with the origin of Zionism. Zionism arose, in part, as a response to modern political anti-Semitism, but the movement’s history reveals an early and profound misdiagnosis of the problem.

It was first and foremost a movement of national self-determination, a familiar force in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But unlike othernational movements, whose efforts to liberate subjugated peoples was opposed by existing polities—-nations and empires—Jews confronted a transnationalpolitical force that would come to be known as “anti-Semitism.” Zionists believed that the way to address the problem was by normalizing the political condition of the Jews themselves. Jews had been for too long a dependent minority in other people’s lands. Since anti-Semitism attacked Jews as usurping aliens, the provocation would presumably be removed once the Jews packed up and went home. It seemed to make independent sense, at a time of proliferating nation-states, for Jews to re-establish their homeland: once they did so, logic suggested, they would at last become a politically unexceptional people.

Zionism achieved its primary goal. I will not dwell here on the marvels of Israel, except to emphasize that Zionism succeeded in accomplishing whatever depended on Jewish effort, energy, and will alone. But what about the expectations of political normalization its founders and builders possessed so fervently? Those who settled the land and attained sovereignty were entitled to expect that they, like the populaces of other new nations, would be accorded “normal” treatment commensurate with international custom.

In this, Zionism proved mistaken...
Quite the understatement. I urge you read the entire piece. When I did so the other day in my copy of Commentary, I underlined it furiously and read it three times in a row--that's how good it is.

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