The electoral defeat of Bibi Netanyahu has done a lot to expose the ethical vacuum in much of the leftist Jewish Diaspora that both obsessed about and despised him. From the day he was no longer Prime Minister, the ground on which this modern ‘pseudo-Zionist’ left stood, simply melted way.
Three recent examples spring to mind – the first was when some Jews who call themselves Zionists – came out in defense of the Ben and Jerry’s pro-BDS boycott. The next was an awful article on a ‘community split’ in the Jewish News – and the third was the unwarranted attack by toxic groups such as Na’amod – on community heroes such as UKLFI and North West Friends of Israel.
Who are the ‘pseudo-Zionist’ left?
Let me clarify. I know many decent left-wing Zionists. I was one myself three decades ago. Like me, these people watched as Oslo burned in the exploding buses of the Second Intifada. Most of the left absorbed the necessary lessons – even more so if they lived in Israel where the entire ‘peace camp’ sank. Many of these people still identify as left-wing today, but do so from a rational standpoint and an understanding of the nature of the enemies we face.
Then there are the pseudo-Zionist left. The comatose (rather than ‘woke’) Jews. Self described Zionists who are more likely to discuss ‘Black Lives Mattter’, or pronouns, than terrorist attacks against Israelis. These people possess a post-Oslo, left wing Zionist ideology that matured in an era when Bibi was the undisputed king of Israel. In fact, Bibi was such a strong factor in their Zionist make-up – that they are at a loss as to what to do, or think, without him as their go-to ‘demon’ upon which everything can be blamed.
Before the fall of Bibi – everything was simple for them. It was always all Netanyahu’s fault. There was no need for any nuance. Bibi was a fascist – the Likud were fascists – together with the orthodox and settlers (more fascists) these ‘extremists’ were all busy ruining Israel for the ‘good and enlightened’ Jews. All that we needed for sanity to return, was for Israelis to vote Bibi and his clan out of power.
Unfortunately for these hard-left elements, the Israelis (with the help of a twisted electoral system) went and did just that.
A delusional generation
I am discussing a generation that has consistently lied to itself. For example – it believes that Rabin was further left than he was – almost to the point of the former Israeli PM being some type of messianic vision – and that had it not been for Yigal Amir – the Oslo Peace Process would have reached a fruitful conclusion. The doubts about Oslo that Rabin himself was having – and the distinct possibility that he was facing electoral defeat- have been lost to a non factual fairy-tale.
But upon this falsehood the anti-Bibi camp was built. If not for the extremists – and in their minds every Bibi supporter has a picture of Yigal Amir and Baruch Goldstein under their pillow – Israel would already be a socialist, secular and progressive country living in peace next to a prosperous, democratic, and wondrous Palestinian state. It is also important to remind everyone, that in these two utopian states – everyone would be busy making sure that people all used the correct pronouns. This would be especially important to Hamas – who have always been big on progressive self-identity.
So Bibi was the ‘big-bad’ and groups like Yachad, Na’amod and IfNotNow – built themselves upon these lies. These organisations even forged alliances with hard-core anti-Israel NGOs – and introduced them to our Jewish children – because Bibi was the settlements – Bibi was the occupation – Bibi was the settlers.
None of their actions were – or are – ever positive towards Israel. Beyond insincere lip service, they never defended the Jewish state. Theirs was a platform that was entirely Israel-critical in content and deed.
And then Netanyahu wasn’t Prime Minister anymore. And guess what? Very little changed. Suddenly these groups were exposed – and their ‘anti-Bibi’ messaging was made redundant. If they simply carried on attacking Israel – now that Meretz and Labour form part of the government – people would see them for the extremists that they are. So searching for new targets to attack – they have begun to turn on anything Zionist within reach.
It is fair to say that the best outcome for groups like Yachad would be the collapse of the new Government, a swift election – and the return of Bibi and the Likud.
The damage in the Diaspora
The rise of these ‘pseudo’ or ‘plastic’ Zionist groups created havoc in the Diaspora. The traditional left still held sway in many institutions – and for a while it became difficult for some to differentiate between the pragmatic moderate and the hostile extremist. The messaging of the new groups was clever and designed to blur lines. Many on the pragmatic left could not even appreciate the dangers of allowing these new groups into the fold. After all – everyone on the left is against the ‘occupation’ – no – so what does another ‘anti-occupation’ group matter? These people were young, dynamic and brought new blood – at the very time that wider society was playing up the importance of the ‘voice of the youth’ (and downplaying the value of experience). So organisations like Yachad applied to join community bodies like the British Board of Deputies – and were soon part of the ‘establishment’.
But those like Yachad are not pragmatists – their ideology is not even based on history or experience. These groups are disruptors. The existence of Yachad and IfNotNow is more related to the rise of hard-left identity politics in the west – and the cancel culture that surrounds it – than it has anything to do with Israel or Zionism. It is why so many of the divisive actions of their activists are about smearing, no-platforming or silencing those they disagree with. They are the Jewish version of the Corbynistas.
There were warning signs. The disgraceful Kaddish for Hamas performed by groups on both sides of the Atlantic was a dead giveaway. But instead of ensuring these people – who clearly have a broken moral compass – were no longer provided the legitimacy to spread their mistaken values to others – they were allowed to play the victim – were protected by other leftist elements – and there they all are – still taking our children off to youth camps and ‘teaching’ them about true Jewish values. Some appear in lists in our Jewish press – where they are championed as future leaders. Simply put – if these are our future leaders – then we have no future. Unbelievably, one of those that advertised the Kaddish event in the UK is even a Deputy himself.
Just as non Jewish society is ripped apart by extremist elements that set out to divide people through hard-left identity politics and critical race theory – so too, through the acceptance of groups such as Yachad, Na’amod and IfNotNow – this poison has entered the Diaspora mainstream too.
Which is why Hannah Weisfeld’s foul and unforgivable claim in the Jewish News article that Israel is responsible for the destruction of the Jewish community needs to be firmly rejected:
As UK society splits into ever more polarised segments – Weisfeld actually blamed the Jewish state for what is happening in the Diaspora! Is it not more likely – that the fragmentation of western society – is also effecting the Jewish community here? Why on earth was there a need to blame Israel? But that is the way with these groups. Just as Jews were always blamed by the antisemites – these people consistently point the finger at Israel. Furthermore – given Yachad’s disruptive record since it was founded – has it not played a substantial part in this very destruction that Weisfeld is referencing?
I have said it before and I will say it again now. If we have a mainstream Jewish group misrepresenting Zionism, excusing Israel’s enemies and persuading our children that Israel in its current form is unacceptable – the end will always be the internal implosion of our own community. None of this will even touch Israel’s sides. It is becoming clear that it was a catastrophic mistake for these groups to be allowed into the fold. If the Board of Deputies and Zionist Federation are already experiencing discomfort from the leftist disruptors in their camps – I can say with near certainty that ‘they aint seen nothing yet’.
The ethical collapse and the Ben and Jerry’s boycott
Think about it. For the last few years Yachad activists and their ideological offspring were happily labeling me a right-wing extremist because I supported Israel and Netanyahu was PM. I still support Israel – but today I support a coalition government that includes parties across the spectrum. So what would they call me now? And what of them. If they don’t support Israel when Meretz and Labour and even the Islamist party Ra’am sit in the Government – then just what will they accept?
Which brings us to their support for the Ben and Jerry’s boycott.
Unless you have been living in a remote cave devoid of ice cream vendors, then you will be aware that Ben and Jerry’s have recently announced that they are cutting ties with their Israeli licensee- over sales in what they refer to as ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory.’
Almost immediately there was an outcry from Israel and its supporters. Key members of the Israeli government which includes parties from across the political spectrum called it an antisemitic act. Yet some groups of left wing Diaspora Jews actually came out to defend the boycott. It is probably one of the most disturbing capitulations by the Zionist left that I can recall. The recent article in the Jewish Chronicle written by Jonathan Freedland is a good example.
Consequences and hypocrisy
I tend to steer clear of Israeli politics. The decisions facing Israel are to be made by Israelis. They live there – they pay taxes there – vote – and they send their children to the army. They profit or lose through the consequences of their own choices. We Brits and Americans do not. We often act like teenagers who overplay Football Manager, and then think they know best about how to make a successful football team. What on earth possesses a diaspora Jew to believe he knows better than Israelis – what is going to work for Israel?
The Diaspora left might want there to be a peace process – but there isn’t one. There is simply nobody to make a deal with. So using boycotts to try to pressure Israel into a corner – is something no friend of Israel should do.
Whilst Israelis paid with their blood for their attempts to make peace with the Palestinians, most of the Jews who live in London and New York paid no such price. Even worse, Jews in the Diaspora are protected by the British and American armies operating 1000s of miles from their shores. They enjoy their freedoms under the umbrella of decades of military activity and the suppression of enemies in numerous fields of conflict. What hypocrisy that they do not afford Israel the ability to defend itself the way they themselves are defended.
Just what is a ‘settlement’ anyway?
The justification for supporting Ben and Jerry’s is based on a dysfunctional belief and ideas totally removed from the reality of the conflict. Even if I were to accept the idea that the ‘two states’ option is the only legitimate solution – this has nothing to do with 90% of the settlements or the people living in them.
How can anyone justify boycotting the residents of towns such as Ariel – which will forever be in Israel regardless of any agreement with the Palestinians? The reality is that left wing Jews have bought into the narrative of our enemies. ‘Settlers’ are bad – ‘settlements’ are bad – and each of the 600,000+ Israelis who live beyond the 1949 armistice line – is a racist, religious extremist who is violent towards Palestinians. This is a totally false paradigm and a vile smear on the Israelis living in these towns.
Everyone knows – including the Palestinian leadership, that whatever the outcome, the main settlement blocks will remain in Israel – and these towns need to grow to survive. On what grounds can you boycott them or treat the people inside them like lepers?
It is unethical and immoral
Simply put – the support (or acceptance) of any boycott of Israel is unethical, immoral and indefensible from any Zionist position. And the way these people bend over backwards to try to convince others that their boycott – isn’t actually anything to do with BDS, is a total denial of reality.
Even if we believe that BDS was created by Palestinians (it wasn’t) – there is just one call ‘from within’ and that is the antisemitic, terrorist led BDS. A movement that seeks Israel’s destruction. There is no call by Palestinians for a ‘settlements only’ boycott.
And that is the ethical crunch. BDS is wrong for a million reasons (including that it is antisemitic)- but if you boycott Israel – you also harm Palestinians. You deprive them of both jobs and products. The only way it becomes *arguably* ethical for a privileged person in the west to create hardship for Palestinians in Ramallah – is if they tell you that this is what they want you to do. So unless Ben and Jerry’s are answering the BDS call – they are out on a limb, harming Palestinian livelihoods without any ethical justification whatsoever.
Fools and denial
This makes their denial that this is BDS more than delusional – it makes it an elitist, virtue signalling, antisemitic and supremacist move by people who do not give a damn about the real world consequences.
We all know that the key person driving the Ben and Jerry’s boycott was the B&J Chair Anuradha Mittal – the anti-Israel extremist with her own ‘pro-Palestinian’ agenda. There is nothing in her Israel related politics for any Zionist to support. And the local group in Vermont – the location of the Ben and Jerry’s HQ – that forced the hand of the company was ‘Vermonters for Justice in Palestine‘ (VTJP). The group are BDS supporting anti-Zionists. Their website promotes hardcore haters like Codepink, and provides full BDS lists for supporters to use when deciding which products to boycott. For them the ‘settlement boycott’ is a BDS tactic, watered down for public consumption – not a principled stand.
These anti-Zionist actors are the only reason Ben and Jerry’s eventually caved to the boycott. When you defend the boycott – you defend these anti-Zionists.
So who are all these plastic Zionists trying to kid by pretending this is not about them supporting those who seek the destruction of Israel? They are not fooling anyone – except perhaps themselves.
In the meantime – these foolish people are in our mainstream institutions – trying to ‘de-zionise’ them. They think they are ‘morally superior’ – even as they display their broken moral compass with pride. They want Jews to reject Israel – they attack any Jew that stands up for Israel – and they are constantly disrupting our organisations from within. These days they even align with our BDS enemies. Without their anti-Bibi cause to guide them – they have all fallen off the ethical cliff.
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