Quite some time ago a comment showed up for moderation, which I did not moderate. It was creepy in a variety of ways. But one thing that it contained was the question, "Why do you blog so much about Israel?" Well, I had to wonder if that particular reader had a problem with his vision, since all of my posts under the "Israel" label were even by that time rather old. Yes, there are quite a few of them, but my blogging interests had already moved to other topics by that time, as blogging interests have a way of doing, sometimes randomly. But it nonetheless really bugged this commentator that I would have so many pro-Israel posts. No doubt he wanted to do some kind of psychoanalysis on me. Both the creepy left and the creepy right tend towards psychoanalysis of their opponents. It's one way of avoiding replying to content.
I get a lot of my news about Israel from this interesting (yes, far-right) blog by Carl in Jerusalem. I find the news so often so depressing that I don't read Carl as much as I used to. Plus, he does more on Twitter now, and I don't follow Twitter. But it's still useful to keep up.
Here's the thing: What both the anti-Israel left and the anti-Israel right don't realize is that it's possible to be pro-Israel, or even to the right of pro-Israel (that is to say, annoyed with Israel's leaders when they don't defend their people enough or when they enter into the zombie-like fake "peace process") without romanticizing. I am not under the illusion, for example, that I would "fit in" in Israel or that the bulk of Israelis are "my kind of people." For example, I am well aware of the fact that the country has a socialist economy and that its government contains many anti-religious, left-wing secularists. That creates an internal dynamic to Israeli politics that is all too familiar to me as an American conservative. Just as many people in power in America would hate me as a scary "religious conservative," so would many people in power in Israel. But that doesn't mean that the Haredi or "ultra-conservatives" would be my dear buddies, either, even though I often agree with their perspective on their internal politics and on the realities of "Palestinian" terrorism and other topics. See, I believe that Christians should be free to evangelize, yes, even in Israel where doing so is "insensitive," not to mention illegal. The nicer ultra-orthodox would use the power of law to suppress such evangelism. The less nice would try to stone Christian missionaries if they carried out, e.g., street preaching.
I also realize that Israel has very liberal abortion laws and an out-of-control Supreme Court. And they foolishly have no death penalty (again, the result of being founded by a bunch of earnest, secular socialists), which means that they have all these warehoused terrorists sitting around in prison who should have been fertilizing the ground long ago. When misguided leaders later want to trade scores of evil terrorists for a kidnapped soldier, why, there the evil terrorists are, waiting to be traded! Which provides a perverse incentive for more evil terrorists to kidnap more Israeli soldiers. It's enough to make any sensible conservative want to tear out his hair.
But the reader who follows such matters will have noticed by now that even these complaints are not the usual complaints against Israel, whether from the anti-Israel American right or the anti-Israel American left. I didn't say that they love to kill "Palestinian" children. I didn't say that they are wicked colonial occupiers. I didn't say that the so-called "settlements" are an offense against justice and right. I didn't say that Israel "stole" the land.
That's because I think that all of those things are false. So I have ended up being hard-line pro-Israel not because I have no criticisms. Nor is my reasoning that "God gave them the land, so we have to support them." I never make such religious, premillenial Christian arguments myself. Nor do I look at Israel through a romantic haze. Rather, I think that for all its faults Israel is a good regional ally for the U.S. (though it has often been badly treated by the U.S.), shares important political perspectives and goals, and that it is madness to try to turn any more of that sliver of the Middle East back over to murderous Arabs. Indeed, if anything could have shown that, the disastrous case study of the Gaza strip should have done so for all the world to see. That the world doesn't see means that the world is deaf and blind and would, in fact, prefer that the entire nation of Israel commit hari kari in the name of crazily abstract principles combined with a false historical narrative. And again and again the lies and falsehoods come up, combined with suppression of facts. For example, how much do most Americans know about rock attacks by "Palestinians," sometimes "teens," that kill ordinary Israeli Jews just trying to drive down the road and go about their business? Not much, I'll warrant. So my fundamental sense of fair play is moved to note these things and take the side that I think is most aligned with truth and accuracy. I have realized which group wants to get on with the business of living normal lives and taking care of themselves and which group(s) want nothing but destruction, not even desiring to rule themselves in a constructive, peaceful fashion. Once one has really noticed that, it's difficult to have any sympathy anymore for the "Palestinian" cause.
At the same time, I am often weary. Who wouldn't be, even looking at the situation from a distance? It's hard to deal with what is in essence an intractable socio-political situation. The "Palestinians" have no reasonable plan. They want Israel destroyed "from the river to the sea." Most Israelis would love to work out some form of peaceful coexistence with their neighbors, but that isn't what their neighbors want. So the situation has to go on indefinitely. Our American rulers consistently pressure Israel to harm its own people, overlook even rocket attacks on its borders, and engage in foolish negotiations. Indeed, Republican Presidents have been some of the worst offenders. George W. Bush arguably did more harm to his Israeli ally than Barack Obama, because he was allegedly Israel's friend, so there was a motive to let Condoleeza Rice micromanage such internal matters as how many building permits were written for East Jerusalem. Which is crazy. At least with Obama they know they are dealing with an enemy. But the spectacle of the Middle East is rarely an edifying one, and after a while I feel as though (as with many topics) I have said all that there is to be said, which is why I rarely blog about Israel nowadays.
My attention was partly drawn to the subject again by the recent flareups of rocket attacks and terrorist attacks and also by someone's posting (apparently with approval) this silly story on Facebook about a babyish, potty-mouthed "Palestinian American" academic, specializing in victimology, who is trying to make a killing in the grievance market because he wasn't given an enviable job. His hiring was shot down when his virulent, f-bomb-filled rants against Israel on Twitter were brought to light. Poor baby. The sympathetic post is notably coy about his "controversial" tweets. The AAUP, which is of course completely on his side, nonetheless does include some of them in an appendix here. Needless to say, they make it clear why he wasn't considered a good candidate for a full-time job teaching the young in the world of higher education. Not that his "work" is any better.
Oh, in happier news, oil has been discovered on the Golan Heights on the Israeli side. Good thing it wasn't given back to Syria in an act of mindless, unilateral niceness. As Carl in Jerusalem muses, one wonders if there is also oil on the Syrian side. But they'd have to stop shooting to find out.
So that's what it means for me to blog about Israel. And now I'll probably go back to not doing so for awhile, because the subject depresses me. But when I do, that's where I will be coming from.