Friday, November 23, 2012

How I Went From Mostly Disengaged To Ardent Zionist

One thing about me is that I constantly seek out opposing viewpoints and new sources of information, and reevaluate my opinions if warranted.

Profound issues that I have changed my mind on over the course of my life include gun control, affirmative action, the death penalty, and vegetarianism.  Of those, I have moved in what would be considered the more stereotypically "conservative" direction on three, and the more stereotypically "liberal" direction on one of them.  My point here is that I am very open minded about issues.


Before around 2005 Israel did not occupy a large part of my thought space.  When it did, I was a firm believer in a two state solution based on the 1967 borders, and would have probably, if asked, said that I thought there was plenty of blame to go around on both sides.

Around that time, Israel began to loom much larger in my life because I began to be exposed to virulently anti-Israel rhetoric at the blog Daily Kos.  As I've discussed here many times, this rhetoric was often explicitly antisemitic.

As the Israeli-Arab conflict started to loom larger, I started exploring many of the common anti-Israel resources.  This included popular websites, lectures, and videos.


What I found back then, and what I have continued to find since then, has been profoundly disappointing.  The anti-Israel side just simply doesn't have much of a worthy case, or if they do, they are certainly not making it.

The main problem is that a huge portion of anti-Israel rhetoric is based on pseudo anthropological nonsense.  Rather than new and interesting perspectives on, say, the Six Day War or the Oslo Accords or somesuch, what I have encountered is mostly ill-informed babble and transparently ridiculous analogies.  If this is what the anti-Israel side has to make their case, then their case is simply not worth making.

The most common of these are appeals to Arabs being "indigenous" and Jews being otherwise, like they are Amish in Bolivia, which completely misunderstands the millennia of Jewish connection and presence in The Land, not to mention the complex patterns of migrations in the Levant with the ebb and flow of empires over the past 200 years.  There is also incessant simplistic and incorrect application of very particular mid 20th century American racial paradigms to places where it doesn't belong.  There are constant - apparently straight faced, self confident, and seriously intended - references to "brown" and "white" people, revealing that those who peddle these notions have never been to Israel or the territories and have no idea who lives there.

I have been shocked at how many times I have seen anti-Israel discussions refer to Arabs as being "the real Semites" or somesuch.  This is conjuring a ridiculous and self-parodying pseudo-anthropological notion out of thin air.  There is no such thing as a "Semite" - Semitic is simply a language family that includes the highland Ethiopian languages, Hebrew, Arabic, and Maltese.  Nobody creates such false categories out of other language families, such as claiming that Hungarians are the "most Ural-Altaic" people, since such things are transparently absurd.  Languages are simply languages, and mean nothing more.

Then there is the constant embrace of anti-scientific garbage such as the Khazar hoax, which continues to stump me.  It is like debating with creationists or climate deniers, no amount of evidence will sway people from their factually indefensible position.  It is a profound truism that if your position depends on disproven nonsense, or even if you perceive that your position is dependent on disproven nonsense, then your position is not valid.

When actual historical events are discussed, they are almost always done so with apparently no understanding of important context.   What I have seen makes me doubt that most anti-Israel people are aware of very important and basic facts such as the UN Partition plan and the Jewish acceptance thereof, or the Peel Commission report, or other important events in the history of the region.

This is all not even mentioning the explicitly and unambiguously antisemitic content, such as the USS Liberty Hoax that is an unavoidable staple of anti-Israel advocacy, and the constant Holocaust revisionism, recently laid bare by the Greta Berlin episode.   


The bottom line is that while I began my search for opposing viewpoints several years ago with a largely open mind, what I found has shown to me that apparently the anti-Israel position has little of serious value to offer.  If there is a valid case to be made there, they are not making it. 

What began as an exploration of an issue that previously had little sway for me has moved me toward being a very committed pro-Israel partisan.  The case for Israel that I have seen is based on the decades-long quest on the part of the Jewish side to reach a mutually acceptable solution, going back to the Peel Commission report, and the constant moves by the Arab side not to accept anything but complete victory and even genocide.  Nothing I have encountered among anti-Israel viewpoints, in now several years of searching, has made a worthwhile case.  Instead, I have mostly seen transparently silly pseudo-anthropological nonsense and Farrakhan-esque ranting devoid of any relevancy to the actual situation.

In spite of my considerable efforts to find it, there really seems to be no serious there there on the anti-Israel side.  Therefore, I have become a committed pro-Israel partisan.  So much so that I now seek out wine from the Golan Heights, and buy my chick peas from halfway around the world.  And of course I had to finally go there.  It is an irony that this whole path began with my initial online encounters with the anti-Israel side, half a decade ago.


  1. See you made Lemons from Lemonade.

    DKos is a rathole on I.P. They just had a Paulbot poster who cited a false quote and list often used at StormFront and other anti-Semitic sites. That user, despite being reported for such remains a T.U.

    They have a bunch of idiots running pissing in their pants about Israel but you know interestingly enough, in the time that Operation Cloud Pillar was happening, Syrian troops killed 817 people. Amazingly that got ZERO play. Why... Because Syria is an Arab nation and Israel has TEH JOOOOOOZ!

    SO, have they driven me Right? Only to Avodah from Meretz (which is not that big of a move). I still have a lot of issues with Likud-Betainu that I cannot support them, but, I will support Israel because the hate that I see on the net and other places just sickens me.

    So I say this... AM YISRAEL CHAI!

    1. I guess it is fair to say that these things I've seen have moved me "right" on I/P. But if I were voting in Israel I would stay away from Likud and YB for other reasons unrelated to their position on the conflict. They are right wing parties when it comes to economic issues and coddling the religious parties. Bleh.

    2. And don't forget the ever popular "Israel controls the US government." That's been a standard antisemitic trope since Israel came into existence, and it was preceded by the similar "the Jews control the government."

      Frankly, I marvel at the willingness of otherwise seemingly intelligent people to buy into such nonsense -- talk about ridiculous conspiracy theories! So what am I to conclude if not that someone who espouses such nonsense is either an idiot or an antisemite?