Friday, February 13, 2009

The liberal refusal to face implacable evil

On What's Wrong with the World I have a very brief post connecting part of the quotation below to Britain's refusal to admit Geert Wilders to the UK. The quotation fits very well in that context, but here I am giving it in full. It is a short capsule review by Lawrence Auster of a book by Ruth Wisse called If I am Not for Myself: The Liberal Betrayal of the Jews. Here is Auster's summary:

In this lucidly written, devastating anatomy of the liberal mind, Ruth Wisse shows how Jewish liberalism has weakened Jewish resolve in the face of Arab rejectionism and has unwittingly given anti-Semitism a new lease on life. Liberals cannot admit the existence of real evil, of an enemy beyond the reach of reason, of an unappeasable Other. The result is a fatal collusion "between the aggressor, who wants to conceal his intention in order to execute it effectively, and the liberal fundamentalist, who has to deny aggression so that he can continue to believe that humans were created in his image." Thus liberals, grown weary of opposing an unrelenting and unreasoning Arab rejectionism, have concluded that the cause of anti-Semitism must be Israel's own behavior. Beyond its immediate focus on the Jews, the larger interest of this book lies in what it has to say about liberalism--namely about the inability of liberals to oppose the forces of evil that would destroy the nations of the West.

I've not read the Wisse book, but it makes me want to go right out and do so. What I do not say in the W4 post (because I was making a different connection) is that this same problem bedevils Israel itself. The reason Israel is so infuriating for her hawkish supporters, like me, is because there are all too many Israelis who have this very problem: Despite the overwhelming evidence of the existence of an "unappeasable Other" in the form of the "Palestinians," not enough Israelis are willing to give up the sham of the "peace process." Partly this is America's fault, as President after President, including (shamefully) President Bush, insists on the continued pretense that there is some point to "negotiations" and that the former PLO (of all things) is a "peace partner" for Israel. This dangerous and suicidal rubbish never ends, and because Israel is too dependent on the good will of the U.S., they never tell us to go jump in the lake. But make no mistake: They have their own internal liberals who meet the above description to a T and who hate the truth-speaking Right in their own country.

And Western nations do something similar with respect to their immigrant Muslim population.

11 comments:

Scott W. said...

I don't know if you caught my link to James Bowman's review of a revival of A Man for all Seasons (here, but that except reminded me of his comment that in the liberal mind, the only goodness in the world is in helpless victimhood and Micheal O'Brien's alarm that everyone around him treated evil as if it were merely a big misunderstanding.

Lydia McGrew said...

Quite right. Liberals feel an enormous guilt about _not_ being victims--about being strong, rich, or whatever.

On the other hand, only certain victim groups "count." Anyone who can be characterized as a "Christian fundamentalist" is not a "good" victim group, and belonging to it doesn't get you liberal brownie points (or mercy), even if you are getting tromped on. The FLDS mothers, for example, were close enough to being "Christian fundamentalists" that the presumably very liberal CPS workers in Texas felt no qualms about taking their children en masse. It's an odd fact, and one I've been musing on lately, that the only evil enemies the Left seems to recognize are those who really do not pose any threat. I haven't figured out yet if this is a bug or a feature of their belief system.

The Social Pathologist said...

The reason Israel is so infuriating for her hawkish supporters, like me, is because there are all too many Israelis who have this very problem.

No, not every person who wants to make peace with Palestinians is a liberal nut-job. there are lots of sensible Israeli's who realise that the Palestinians are not just going to go away; they are going to have to live with them some way or another. I think that many of these same Israeli's don't fancy the idea of living in a permanently armed camp. I imagine that many Israelis are sick of the bombings, constant treats and the general insecurity that their geostrategic situation entails: they want to live normal lives and they realise that the only way to realise this dream is to make peace with the Arabs.

And yes, you are correct in that this view is incompatible against the reality of a Palestinian leadership which has as its avowed aim the eventual destruction of Israel. The idea of "peace" with such enemies is a pipe dream.



Jewish liberalism has weakened Jewish resolve in the face of Arab rejectionism and has unwittingly given anti-Semitism a new lease on life

No Neo anti-Semitism probably has its roots the sympathy people share innocent Palestinians who have been mistreated. Just like the Southern States of the U.S attract a certain opprobrium due to systemic mistreatment of the blacks, the roots of modern anti-semitism have their origin in Israeli abuse of the legitimate claims of the Palestinians.
I've got no problems in the Israelis shooting terrorists and doing what needs to be done. However I-(and most of the normal world)- have a problem with them then proceeding to destroy his mothers house, the house of his friends, and then locking up his brothers and sisters and torturing them by the way. Then under the pretext of defence, kicking his family of the land and setting up an illegal settlement.It sort of offends natural justice.

Lydia you usually write a lot of sense. But really when it comes to Israel, you're a bit like Maximos, blind to the defects of your pet causes.

Lydia McGrew said...

"The idea of 'peace' with such enemies is a pipe dream."

Then we agree on one thing.

"No Neo anti-Semitism probably has its roots the sympathy people share innocent Palestinians who have been mistreated."

That's interesting. So contemporary anti-semitism is excusable because of the supposedly poor, mistreated, Palestinians? By the way, I don't know of anybody who advocates exterminating southerners, with or without the remembrance of slavery and racism. Nobody, however deranged, thinks the southerners control the world banks. Anti-semitism is a much nastier beast than anti-southern-ism. By a long shot. And let's please remember that Muslim anti-semitism has deep roots going back to the Koran and the hadiths. The mufti of Jerusalem was a Hitler fan. Long before any "poor, little, Palestinians" had surfaced. A little information and research on that subject might be helpful to you, SP. The Muslim anti-semites now are opportunists.

"Then under the pretext of defence, kicking his family of the land and setting up an illegal settlement.It sort of offends natural justice."

Please. If I believed this were anything more than a worse-than-cartoon version of reality, it might have some ethical importance in my evaluations. Honestly, SP, I've looked at some of your sources in the past and don't find them credible. You seem to think that if the credulous leftists who run a "human rights organization" and who have evidently never heard of Pallywood, etc., are Israelis, we have to trust them. Sorry, but no.

The Social Pathologist said...

Ok here goes.

If I believed this were anything more than a worse-than-cartoon version of reality, it might have some ethical importance in my evaluations.

Please note the Israeli Army's defence of collective punishment Here The New York times has never been criticised for its ambivalent support of Israel.

From The Telegraph of the UK.
Court backs Gaza Strip exile for terrorist's family or how about
Israeli bulldozers crush woman, 65, in her house
.

The Sasson Report, the product of an official Israeli government investigation, pretty much acknowledges that many of the settlements in the occupied territories are illegal.

To the impartial observer, the facts are plain to see. Once again, I have no problems with the Israelis defending themselves justly, the problem is with de- facto sanctioned unjust actions.

Could we be a bit more specific as to what constitutes anti-Semitism? Since it seems a pretty broad brush to paint anyone who disagrees with anything Jewish or Israeli. Hell, a man can criticise Italy without being called anti-Catholic but as soon as someone non-Jewish criticises Israel he is automatically a Hezbollah supporter or a crypto-Nazi. The opprobrium with which Israel is held by most of the non-Arab world is not directed towards its existence but rather toward its unjust treatment of the Palestinians. Disapproval of Israel does not mean approval of Nazism or fanatic Islam. I can pretty much safely bet that even your most idiotic left wing Israeli hater is not keen on setting up the concentration camps again. There are tinfoil hat wearers in every group of people, I mean amongst the more extreme Protestants, isn't the Pope the anti-Christ? Are we to take this view as representative of all Protestants? Sheesh! Once again, generally you reason well, except when it comes to this subject.

By a long shot. And let's please remember that Muslim anti-semitism has deep roots going back to the Koran and the hadiths. The mufti of Jerusalem was a Hitler fan

Rather selective in picking your Muftis! Prior to modern times, 1880's onwards, the Jews had more to fear from Christians than from the Muslims, the pogroms in Eastern Europe were more vicious than any Muslim persecution. The Medieval Church did their bit to make their life miserable. Part of the bitterness of the modern Israeli Palestinian conflict lays in the fact the Muslims who had lived as peaceful neighbors with Jews for centuries in Palestine, were dispossessed of their land as a result of the creation of Israel. Until modern times, the Jews were probably the most safe in the Ottoman empire.
I suggest that you read up on the history of their relationship with each other. Yes, they were subjected to the dhimmi laws, but so were all other non-Muslims.

Lydia McGrew said...

SP, there's work out there on the history of Muslim anti-semitism. You just don't know what you're talking about. At all. You don't even seem to know the "apes and pigs" stuff in the Muslim writings that I'm talking about.

I don't, actually, oppose sometimes knocking down terrorist's houses so long as non-combatants are not in them. I doubt very much that crushing the 65-year-old woman was intentional. The entire culture supports what the person did. He has been raised to do it from earliest infancy. Houses are not people, and knocking one down isn't always wrong.

The whole "legality" of the so-called "settlements" (aka suburbs of Jerusalem) is something on which I believe you are being naive. It simply is not true that we're talking about going in there, driving people off, and greedily grabbing their land. That is a caricature. Much of that land was bought, much of it was long-term abandoned. I have yet to be convinced that a single, specific, nameable person simply had his land grabbed personally, himself driven away by cruel soldiers, and a "settlement" built thereupon. As for knocking down houses and "illegal" settlements, the Israelis knock down their own so-called "illegal settlers" houses all the time. You should find out about that sometime.

Finally, this is all so irrelevant, because if "unilateral disengagement" were carried over to Judea and Samaria, we would simply have more rocket launching pads. We tried that in Gaza. That people like yourself cannot see the folly of such a policy of "dismantling the settlements"--driving Jews from their homes and turning the "land" over to the "Palestinians" *even now* after its colossal, catastrophic failure in Gaza, turning the whole place into a giant cesspool of misery and rocket launching pad, shows that you just aren't paying attention, or aren't thinking, or are listening to the wrong people, or _something_. And I would note that the "Palestinians" themselves are far worse off in such a situation as well. The Gaza disengagement was horribly wasteful folly for everyone concerned, so much so that I do not hesitate to call it "wicked."

The Social Pathologist said...

So lets get this right, collective punishment is OK? So if the British burnt down the house of an American Revolutionary's parents, that would be fine because its morally acceptable to punish them simply because they were sympathetic to their son's cause. Do you see where you are going here?

I have yet to be convinced that a single, specific, nameable person simply had his land grabbed personally, himself driven away by cruel soldiers, and a "settlement" built thereupon.

Oh, the Sasson report--official Israeli government report--proves that they have. The Haaretz newspaper-Israels oldest-reveals that the Israleli Government has a database of of illegal settlements These are not left wing sources but mainstream Israeli sources of data.

The Palestinians are a contemptible bunch, but they are human--just like the Israelis--and have human rights, something that conservatives should insist on. Lydia, your stance on this issue is no different to Maximos's stance on Russian ones.

Lydia McGrew said...

SP, there are so many things there to answer that I'm just going to do it once more and then stop.

First, "collective punishment" is confusing. I'm not just talking about vague "sympathizing." Outright collaborators and colluders deserve to be punished as real people and also deterred from further actions of the sort. Knocking down a house is probably a pretty mild punishment for what some of these women (yes, women) have done and intend to continue to do. I doubt very much that there was anything of the level of evil that I have in mind among people whose houses even _might_ have been knocked down in the American Revolution, but in principle, specific people who did such specific things could deserve that specific punishment even if they were American colonists.

Second, you are assuming, naively, that anything built on "registered private land" connotes something like the caricatured scenario I gave--cruel soldiers drive named, present, people off their land (without compensation) in order to have "settlements" build thereon. That is not true. Much of this land is abandoned, long-term, whatever the registries say. It's also punishable by death (really) by their fellow "Palestinians" for "Palestinians" to sell land to Jews. So under-the-table deals take place which then won't be reflected in the official records and sometimes will later be denied by the "Palestinian" who sold his land. The courts are also very willing to support specific "Palestinian" claimants, even in dubious cases. There was one case where there was literally a _videotape_ of Jews handing over a case full of cash to the "Palestinian" owner, who counted it, for his land, and yet the courts upheld his later claim and had the Jews driven back off. This puts a lot of question on what's actually going on in all of these cases where _no one_ is making a claim in the courts and there's just some report that says that something is "built on private land." If there were real, physical owners who had been driven off like that, summarily, with no compensation, they'd have a claim in court, and the evidence is that they would be supported. Guess who has really been driven out of their homes by Israeli soldiers in the past five years? The Jews of Gaza. Openly.

The analogy to Russia will not hold water for a moment. In case you haven't noticed, the Ukraine is not sending rockets daily into Russian border towns! There is just nothing like the entanglement there, and the reason is obvious: Russia's neighbors are actual states who are not laying claim to rule all of Russia.

The reason that all of this stuff about the "illegal settlements" is so stupid and pointless is that the "Palestinians" refused a state of their own in 2001, a reckless offer that would have involved the expulsion of the Jews in Judea and Samaria from their homes. But the "Palestinians" didn't want that. They wanted the "right of return," aka, the end of the Jewish State of Israel. Nothing less would do. So instead of having a state of their own, having a country of their own, getting rid of the so-called unjust oppressors, and getting on with their lives, which is supposedly what they want, they started the Second Intifada. That's what they wanted.

Oh, and by the way, I do not call just anyone who criticizes Israel an anti-semite. I don't call you one. I call anti-semites, anti-semites. You were the one who said that anti-semitism is on the rise because of legitimate sympathy with the poor "Palestinians." I took you to mean this literally. And I say that that statement is pernicious balderdash if meant literally. And you continue to appear entirely ignorant of what real Muslim anti-semitism is and where it is rooted. Andrew Bostom's book might be a good place to start on this subject:

http://tinyurl.com/azp6ls

The Social Pathologist said...

I'll have a look at Andrew Bostoms book if you'll have a look at this link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW1-_JmXQt0&feature=related

It was shown a few years ago here in Australia, and I understand from the you tube clip it was shown in the U.S as well. There was a bit of an outrage here when it was shown. However--to my surprise--even the Australian variant differed from the U.S one in several respects.

In the Australian variant.

1) The Israeli army actually refused to call an ambulance for the lady for about 40 minutes as she laid bleeding on the floor. The thing that I can't covey, since the American version is edited compared to the Australian, is the utter indifference the Israeli sergeant had toward the woman's plight.

2)The children were seen pleading with the soldiers to try and save their mother.

3)The Israeli sergeant who led the team, gave his soldiers instructions to make a total mess of the house under the "pretext of a search"

4)The Hebrew speaking soldier (actually spoke American English)who made a comment about what he doing there, was actually a Jewish boy from Brooklyn who seemed pretty disgusted as to what was going on.

Its possible that the Australian Media "dressed up the story" for local consumption, but I doubt it as our media is sensitive to Israeli sensitivities. But its possible that the American version was edited to make it less offensive to American viewers, hence the discrepancies.

Once again, the original clip was posted on Israeli mainstream television first, not on some Left wing organisations site. I imagine the Palestinians in Israel are treated like the blacks were in the South. No that does not give them the right to kill innocent Israeli women and children, but marginalised people do stupid things. Likewise Hamas is a modern political force, prior to this the PLO was the official Palestinian organization and it was officially secular and left wing.

A little bit of Balkan history for you. When Yugoslavia was formed--with the blessing of Woodrow Wilson, so you know it's a bad idea--the Serbs, who were the most dominant ethnic group, started to immediately discriminate against non-Serbs. Land was arbitrarily taken of individuals, justice was denied to non Serbs, non-Serbian politicians and parties were executed. The Croatians at that time tried through the League of Nations to force world pressure against the Serbs to no avail. Even Albert Einstein and GKC put a good word in for us. Now when a desperate people can't get remedy from legitimate processes they will become radicalised, and so the Croatian people took aid from the Nazi's, much to their shame. It also set the cultural undertones for the war in the break up of Yugoslavia. None of this would have happened if legitimate rights were honored and protected.

The bottom line. A man does the Devils work when he denies his enemy justice, or turns a blind eye to his enemies unjust suffering. As we say here in Australia, it comes back to bite him on the arse.

Lydia McGrew said...

I watched the youtube video. All it says about the ambulance is that "there were delays." You are saying that they deliberately delayed it, wouldn't allow the ambulance through, for no justifiable reason. That is possible, but I'd have to know more to be convinced that it happened just that way. I suppose we are supposed to assume some sort of petty or sadistic motive for not allowing the ambulance through, and also (of course) a complete lack of justification for the initial attack on the house. None of this is actually supported by the video directly. It is assumed.

_If_ the attack which accidentally caused the woman's death was unjustified, that was of course (by definition) wrong. _If_ the army delayed the ambulance deliberately for no good reason, that was of course (by definition) wrong.
_If_ the search of the house was capricious, unjustified by good reason to expect to find weapons there, merely done out of spite and a desire to be destructive, that was of course (by definition) wrong.

That's several "ifs." But suppose we grant all of them. Then those Israeli soldiers in that instance did several exceedingly wicked things.

You assume that a) this is absolutely typical and b) that this is the reason for the continual shower of rockets into Sderot, for the suicide bombs, and for the "Palestinians" unremitting and single-minded quest for the destruction of Israel. I seriously doubt a, and I know you are wrong on b. The idea that "all of Palestine" must belong to non-Jewish Arabs and that the state of Israel must be destroyed goes back far before there were any "occupied territories" nor the opportunity for the sorts of actions putatively described in the video. The idea that the "Palestinians" have become "radicalized" since the putatively more moderate and secular days of the PLO is nonsense. The PLO was and always has been a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel. It was under that "secular" organization that the madness of the Second Intifada occurred. It is one of the many follies of the Israeli govt. that it has allowed itself to be chivvied into treating the PLO as a quasi-state entity. A very great folly indeed.

That's all.

The Social Pathologist said...

I haven't read Bostom yet but I've had a look at his site-(some of the links appear broken), but I'll get to it.

I never said that the PLO was not a terrorist organisation, rather it was a secular terrorist organisation. The Islamic flavour of terrorism only gained force in the 80's with the failure of the PLO and the "success"-in the eyes of the Arab world--of Khomeini's revolution. Fatah was a secular organisation, strongly supported by the Soviets.

You assume that a) this is absolutely typical and b) that this is the reason for the continual shower of rockets into Sderot, for the suicide bombs, and for the "Palestinians" unremitting and single-minded quest for the destruction of Israel

a)Occupying powers tend to do that sort of thing. And there is a deliberate policy by the Israelis of making life unlivable in the West Bank for the Arabs. One only needs to spend a few minutes on You tube to find plenty enough evidence of abuse of ordinary Palestinians. The blacks weren't held in high regard in the South and life was made difficult and degrading for them in countless small ways. No one could ever prove that discrimination was systemic and yet it was. The Israelis are doing the same to Palestinians.

b)Too much injury has been inflicted by both sides. The Arabs hate the Israelis and Israelis hate the Arabs. The Arabs, especially with radical Islamic teaching regard everyone as a fair military target; man, woman, child.
Yes their method of fighting is barbarous and wrong, but the line of argument put out by the Israeli spin machine of "gee we're just poor Israelis and these people just hate us for no reason" is just rubbish. When being bitten after kicking a vicious dog, the victim can't argue that the attack was unprovoked.

Peace will come in that region,but it will be the peace of the desert. The result of either genocide or ethnic cleansing. The usual suspects may not turn out to be the culprits after all. I hope I'm wrong.