Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Book of Essays Rebuts Academe's Toxic Embrace of BDS and Zionhass

We need to get this message out--pronto:
The third and longest section concerns the place of the BDS movement on the left. In a political atmosphere in which Zionism is routinely treated a a right wing phenomenon, it is refreshing to see people like Alan Johnson, a member of the editorial board of Dissent, turn the tables on anti-Zionism, a species of what he calls “reactionary anti-imperialism.” Anti-Zionist ideology reduces “the complexity of the post cold-war world to a single great contest—“Imperialism” against “the resistance.”” According to this Manichean view, adopted by “many on the left,” Israel, whatever its virtues, cannot be forgiven for being allied with the West. More strikingly, Islamist movements, whatever their vices, can be embraced by the left so long as they oppose Israel and the West. That is how Judith Butler came to describe the “eliminationist antisemites of Hamas and Hezbollah” as “social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left.” To manage this almost unbelievable feat, Butler and others on her side are compelled resolutely to avoid any recognition that Israel has legitimate security concerns, that it is anything other than a settler state akin in motivation and power to the British Empire, that anyone other than Israel is responsible for ongoing violence in the Middle East, and that there is such a thing as Arab and Palestinian antisemitism that cannot be understood as an understandable reaction to Israeli aggression. Johnson is one of several essayists prepared to risk the charge of right-wingism and Islamophobia to save the left from doing on a large scale what the ASA has done on a small scale, namely embracing an illiberal, perhaps anti-Semitic, doctrine that can thrive only by trading the pursuit of the truth for the repetition of slogans. 
I'd go even further and say that Zionhass represents a wholesale rejection of the truth, and, terrifyingly, a detour/descent into the hellish cul de sac that gave rise to the Holocaust.

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