Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Earlier this year, we took a look at the controversy surrounding one aspect of Netanyahu’s string of diplomatic success stories: the bonds he has been building between Israel and Eastern Europe. The answer to the question, Why Are Jews Being Drawn To Europe's Right Wing Parties? turned out to be pretty pragmatic. Last December, Hungary abstained when the UN General Assembly rejected US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Then, Hungary was joined by the Czech Republic and Romania to block an EU statement criticizing the US for moving its embassy to Jerusalem. In return, East European countries -- by virtue of their friendship with Israel -- acquire a certain protectia, a shield against accusations of antisemitism and ethnic supremacy.

But another aspect of these alliances may touch upon the issue of Israel’s developing sense of identity.

Ivan Krastev, chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies, wrote an opinion piece recently for The New York Times, on Why Do Central European Nationalists Love Israel So Much? He writes that there is a bond between Eastern Europe and Israel that goes beyond the politics of convenience.

They share a history.

Many of the original founders of the Jewish state originally came from Central and Eastern Europe and were influenced by them and by the politics surrounding the newly independent states that arose after WWI. For their part, Eastern Europe has watched Israel develope, and admires what it has seen.

And we are not talking about kibbutzim:
What attracts Eastern European populists to Israel today is their old dream realized: Israel is a democracy, but an ethnic democracy; it defines itself as the state for Jews in the same way East Europeans imagine their countries as a state for Poles, Hungarians or Slovaks. It has preserved the heroic ethos of sacrifice in the name of the nation that nationalist politicians covet for their own societies.
But Eastern Europe may be getting ahead of itself--the feeling may not be mutual.

For all the similarities, those countries overlook the unique position of Israel as the Jewish state. As the Jewish homeland, Israel offers itself as the home to foreign immigrants from very different countries around the world -- something those very same admiring countries in Eastern Europe would be loathe to do.

Krastev writes that the fascination Eastern European countries have for Israel is also due to the fact that despite its small size, Israel has the economic and military power to play in the big leagues.

But even there, Israel has an identity more in common with countries like India, who also deal with regional, existential threats, than with the Eastern European countries who enjoy peace and security in the EU.

And then there is the natural wariness Israelis have when they encounter the kind of chauvinistic nationalism that is reminiscent of the Holocaust.

Matti Friedman wrote about this wariness last year in an article on What Happens When a Holocaust Memorial Plays Host to Autocrats, where he addresses the mixed feelings at Yad Vashem for Netanyahu’s new friends.

Friedman too notes that these Eastern European leaders do not see Israel in quite the same way that she is used to seeing herself:
The Israel they see is not a liberal or cosmopolitan enclave created by socialists, but the nation-state of a coherent ethnic group suspicious of super-national fantasies, a tough military power and a bulwark against the Islamic world.
While Israel has evolved from its socialist kibbutz beginnings to being recognized as the Startup Nation -- these countries see in Israel an evolving nationalist state, and that conflicts with progressives, especially in the US, who also perceive Israel differently.

So on the one hand, Yad Vashem is confronting the overtures made by right-wing countries like Hungary and Poland:
how should a memorial to the devastation wrought in part by ethnic supremacism, a cult of personality and a disregard for law handle governments flirting with the same ideas?
Meanwhile, left-wing progressives seem to have a different value system as well, as expressed in how to understand the lessons of the Holocaust and the goal of Zionism.

As Friedman puts it:
An American liberal, for example, might say the lesson is universal humanist values — the kind of values that many of us assumed, mistakenly, were permanently ascendant in the world after the war. The Zionist approach has traditionally been that while those values are desirable, they won’t protect Jews after the Holocaust any more than they did when it was going on, and there must be a state with enough power to protect Jews in a brutal world.
Needless to say, that is not necessarily the Zionist goal that progressive Jews feel comfortable with.

But progressive Jews have not always argued with the results achieved by a nationalist Zionism. After all, it was that same nationalist Zionism with its willingness to form alliances with other countries with common interests that led Israel -- under the leadership of Menachem Begin, no less -- to sign a peace agreement with Sadat, the same Sadat who had once been a supporter of Nazi Germany.

Israel, like Zionism, is not so simple.

Some of the most right-wing of Israel’s leaders have been at the forefront of taking daring measures and making compromises in the interests of peace.

Meanwhile, a very different irony that Friedman points out is that it is those liberal democracies that progressives would prefer Israel to associate with who are the ones who pose the more serious threat to the Jewish state. After all, the biggest threat to Israel comes not from the right wing countries in the West but rather from Muslim countries -- where the biggest threat is from Iran. And it is the liberal leaders in the West who seem very willing to do business with Iran while at the same time joining dictatorships in isolating Israel at the UN.

And that brings Israel back to associating with some of the more right-wing leaders, like Orban and Trump.




We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

Support EoZ by shopping!

search eoz

comments

Speaking

follow me

Follow by Email

translate

Share on Whatsapp


E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options


One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Tweets

Compliments

The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs

Categories

Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive