Sunday, June 29, 2014

  • Sunday, June 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Michael Lumish, of the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under, continues his weekly column here at EoZ.

hat1I have tended to be rather tough on my progressive-left Jewish friends and colleagues.

I have criticisms and often they do not appreciate those criticisms.

I complain that there is a tendency within the diaspora Jewish left to whip up hatred toward those bad Jews who live where Obama and Abbas do not want them to live.  I fret over the fact that we almost always play defense, with this venue as one significant exception.  Out of an overblown sense of moral superiority, perhaps, we tend to fall for the moral equivalency canard.  We are almost entirely ignoring Jewish history prior to 1948 in our consideration of the conflict.  And we have tendency to befriend our enemies and spit malice at our friends.

{In fact, there might be one or two people who think that I do precisely that, myself.}

However, my main criticism of progressive-left Zionism is in the disinclination to speak out against political Islam.  There is the desire to be fair to a fellow religion from the Levant despite the fact that this fellow religion embedded genocidal Jew Hatred directly into its primary sources, such as the Koran and the Hadiths.

But every now and again I am surprised when people who I think are in ideological ruts jump their vehicle out of those ruts.

There is was a small blog out there in the world, originally published by Jon Segall called the Progressive Zionist which,I suppose, was a rival blog to Israel Thrives.  Certainly I knew Jon from Daily Kos and we had mutual partners for discussion, once upon a time.  We both stood in favor of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people and, in fact, I organized a panel discussion with Segall and Michael Harris of Stand With Us at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco a few years ago.

Just as I was intending to praise the new editorship, because the Progressive Zionist awakened from its vegetable torpor by finally speaking out against the foremost enemies of the Jewish people, which is political Islam... Segall shut the blog shut down!

The former new editor - who I suppose edited the Progressive Zionist for a grand total of two weeks, if that - went by the moniker "fizziks" and is someone who would not be entirely unfamiliar to the regulars here.   He wrote a piece which I was intending to quote in order to show how sometimes people can emerge from what I call ideological blinkertude, when just now I discover they shut the joint down.


This being the case, I have to say that a rivalry is not necessarily a bad thing. Certainly rivalries can turn ugly, and I very much enjoyed the History Channel mini-series Hatfields & McCoys... so long as you guys associate me with the Hatfields!

But rivalries can also incline people to think in fresh ways.

I wanted to give "fizziks" credit for being smart enough and open-minded enough to think independently and to, therefore, expand the ideological boundaries of his little magazine even if Segall did shut it down.

In a certain kind of way fresh thinking is its own reward.

And make no mistake, what we are doing on these blogs, when it is done well, comes out of the twentieth century New York City tradition of the "little magazine." Some of them still survive, such as Commentary and the New Republic, although since the departure of Marty Peretz from the New Republic the New Republic is no longer the New Republic... if it ever really was.

So, I guess that I feel like I am writing an obituary.

Jon Segall meant well, much of the time - I suppose - but he loathed "conservatives" which he apparently defined as those nefarious creatures who sometimes disagreed with him.  "Fizziks" is more open-minded and I hoped could steer the Progressive Zionist into a direction that actually addresses the significant questions and problems facing the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel today.

But ultimately it does not much matter where the ideas come from, so long as helpful ideas get out.

I cannot speak for the Jewish community as a whole - I cannot, right? - but I think that it is reasonable to say that we have every right to be concerned about the rise of political Islam and we should not demonize those of us within the Jewish community, diaspora or Middle Eastern, who express that concern.

We do not need to spit flames and fire - we do not need to send out the Third Fleet for Chrissake - but we should be able to have an honest conversation on what is, to my mind, the foremost problem facing the Jewish people today.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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