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Tuesday, October 07, 2003

"Israel: The Alternative" by Tony Judt

published in the New York Review of Books
Todah, thank you, to my friend Alan, who pointed this out, saying "This depressing article is likely to be quite influential. I think its weakest points are the dismissal of Jabotinsky and his followers as 'fascist' and its assumption that the Arab/Muslim world is any way predisposed to 'multiculturalism.' "

Ugh, this couldn't be worse, and in such an influential mainstream publication.

Tony Judt holds that Israel is running -and or ruining- American foreign policy, yet is itself an anachronism ("and not just an anachronism, but a dysfunctional one"). Jabotinsky was a fascist, and so is Ehud Olmert, Israel's deputy prime minister. On the other hand, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are "hardly a significant international threat." It is Israel's "increasingly wild pronouncements" that are "a major impediment to peace," while the 133-4 UN vote in support of Arafat was "reasonable and prudent."

And don't accuse Judt of anti-semitism; he's got that covered: ". . . all criticism of Israel is drawn ineluctably back to the memory of that project [the Holocaust], something that Israel's American apologists are shamefully quick to exploit." Thus, to say "Never Again" is to exploit the Holocaust.
"Today, non-Israeli Jews feel themselves once again exposed to criticism and vulnerable to attack for things they didn't do. But this time it is a Jewish state, not a Christian one, which is holding them hostage for its own actions. Diaspora Jews cannot influence Israeli policies, but they are implicitly identified with them, not least by Israel's own insistent claims upon their allegiance. The behavior of a self-described Jewish state affects the way everyone else looks at Jews. The increased incidence of attacks on Jews in Europe and elsewhere is primarily attributable to misdirected efforts, often by young Muslims, to get back at Israel. The depressing truth is that Israel's current behavior is not just bad for America, though it surely is. It is not even just bad for Israel itself, as many Israelis silently acknowledge. The depressing truth is that Israel today is bad for the Jews."
We Jews just can't win for losing. Sixty years ago we were slaughtered because we had no nation, and now we are slaughtered because we do. In Judt's modern multicultural world, there is simply no room for Jewish identity.

Read it all.

Tony Judt is director of the Remarque Institute, the Enrich Maria Remarque Professor of European Studies, and professor of History -- at New York University.

Cross-posted at ISRAPUNDIT.