How Jews can end the fatal contradiction between supporting Israel and supporting Muslim immigration into the West
Tom Trento’s video of a Palestinian anti-Israel demonstration in Fort Lauderdale must be seen to appreciate the hatred and malevolent fury of these Palestinian supporters. Listen to the chants of “Nuke Israel” and calls to go back to the oven. Where did these people come from in the United States? Why are they here if they love Palestine so much? Why do we keep admitting them into this country? How can a tolerant diverse Western civilized society cope with such vengeful expressions of desired violence and destruction which are so contrary to our principles? And all of this in the name of Islam, which the imam says we will have “no choice” but to choose once we understand its beauty, which beauty was on display in all its supposed glory. How have we got to this point in our society, and can it only get worse?
If you address your questions to pro-Israel Jewish neocons and liberals, you will not get an answer. They will go into a fog-like state or change the subject. They cannot acknowledge that through the non-discriminatory immigration policy that they support like a religion, indeed, that they support as the very definition of Jewishness, America has brought the Jews’ mortal enemies into this country.
If you then ask the pro-Israel Jews if it was a good idea to allow the mass immigration of the mortal enemies of the Jews and Israel into America, and they continue to be blatantly evasive, you could say something like this:
The fact that you are avoiding an answer shows that there is a contradiction between your support for Israel and your support for an open U.S. immigration policy. An intellectually honest person would acknowledge the existence of the contradiction in his thinking and try to resolve it.
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As I see it, there are only two intellectually honest ways of resolving it. Either to say that you support the importation of Israel-haters into America, which means that you have no grounds for complaint when these Israel haters act like Israel-haters; or to say that you oppose the importation of Israel-haters into America, which means that you must re-evaluate your support for America’s current non-discriminatory immigration policy, especially the immigration of Muslims.
Or you could continue as you are now, refusing to engage in an honest consideration of this issue because you are unwilling to face the contradiction between your support for Israel’s existence and your support for the immigration of Muslims into America and the West generally.
Looking over what I’ve written, I realize that, given the terms in which I’ve posed this question to American Jews, as a choice between support for Israel and support for Muslim immigration which endangers Israel, they will not be able to resolve the contradiction; indeed, my challenge to them may only serve to increase their mental paralysis. This is because their support for Israel and their support for Muslim immigration are based on the same principle, namely, the liberal, Jewish identification with the outsider, whoever the outsider may be. They believe that Israel must be supported because the Jews are discriminated-against (indeed, hated, despised, and threatened) outsiders, and that Third-World immigrants including Muslims must be admitted into America because they are discriminated-against outsiders.
In brief, the Jews’ support for Israel is based on liberalism, and their support for Muslim immigration is based on liberalism, and they cannot resolve the contradiction between these two liberal positions.
How, then, can they resolve the contradiction? By renouncing liberalism and its principle of indiscriminate sympathy with and openness to the outsider. Which means, supporting America as a distinctive nation that has the right to preserve its existence; and supporting Israel as a distinctive nation that has the right to preserve its existence. On that basis, American Jews could say that Muslims should not be permitted to immigrate into America, not because Muslims are hostile to Israel, but because they are hostile to America along with the entire West (including Israel). On the same basis, the Jews could say that Israel’s existence and its right to defend itself should be supported, not because Jews are uniquely hated outsiders, but because all nations including Israel have the right to exist and preserve themselves.
Once American Jews ground themselves on traditionalist principles of particularity and nationhood, rather than on liberal principles of non-discrimination and universalism, then, without contradiction, they could argue that Muslims do not belong in America and the West, because Muslims are hostile to America and the West (including Israel), and that Israel has the same right to exist and to defend itself that other countries have, and thus other countries ought to support Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself.
But as long as American Jews are basing themselves on the liberal cult of the outsider rather than on the traditionalist belief in nationhood, they will be caught in the absurd contradiction of demanding that America support Israel’s existence, and that America welcome and empower within itself the Muslim umma that undermines not only America’s identity and existence, but America’s identity and existence as a country that supports Israel’s identity and existence.
James N. writes:
The decision by Israel to attack Hamas has certainly, again, illuminated certain curious aspects of American Jews’ intellectual life and their support for Israel.
It has seemed to me for many years that most American Jews support a wholly imaginary Israel—one which has a “right to exist” based on “UN resolutions” and fictitious “international laws” created by a nonexistent “international community.” All of these things—rights independent of the nation-state, a UN with authority over nation- states, lawmaking power (other than God’s) independent of and superior to, nation-states, and a planetary political entity which dissolves nation-states—are long-standing dreams of the Jewish left.
If any of these things in fact existed, of course, they would also dissolve the Jewish nation-state. It is a contradiction to suppose that a planetary governing regime capable of creating or protecting a Jewish nation-state while dissolving or rendering superfluous all other nation-states would do so.
So the support of American Jews for “Israel,” the Israel of their imagination, is contingent on the actually-existing government and actually-existing people of the actually-existing Israel playing along with this fantasy—giving press conferences explaining why the military actions in Gaza are “legal” (what if the UN made them “illegal”?), why the armed forces of Israel are acting “fairly,” how much they want peace with those who kill Jewish babies because they are Jewish, all the while chanting “Resolution 181, Resolution 242” as if those entirely meaningless acts of pretended legislation by a nonexistent legislature could do what the Jews of Israel cannot or will not do for themselves.
It appears that the polity of Israel is split over these matters, as well. If Israel survives, it will do so because there are enough Jews there who support—and who are willing to die for—the defeat of her enemies. Right now, it’s not clear that there are.
I would agree with you entirely, except that in Israel’s case the original act that created and legitimized the Jewish state was the UN’s November 1947 vote to partition Palestine. Though that partition created a Jewish state that was an unsustainable, spaghetti-like entity, Israel accepted the partition while all the Arab states opposed it, immediately launching a war to destroy the new Jewish state even before it had declared itself as a state. In the course of defending itself, Israel won territory that made it a more sustainable entity.
Having been brought into being by an act of the UN, Israel naturally appeals to UN resolutions as the basis of its legitimacy. At the same time, I would argue, along the lines of James’ point, that Israel, since it now exists as an actual nation-state and society, should base its right to exist not on the UN but on its own actual existence, just as every other country does.
It’s similar to the debate leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Bush decided in summer 2002 to get UN approval of the planned war, by making Iraq’s failure to comply with UN resolutions a principal justification for war. This in effect made the U.S. an enforcer of the “will of the international community.” I always thought that was a mistake. The U.S. should have based its planned pre-emptive war on Iraq on its own self-defense. Once the U.S. sought UN approval for the invasion, the picture became hopelessly muddled. There was even disagreement over whether the UN resolution passed in fall 2002, saying that Iraq must immediately reveal its WMDs or face “serious consequences,” authorized U.S. invasion or not. So most of the “international community” on whose authorization the U.S. based the legitimacy of the invasion ended up calling the invasion illegal despite that authorization. For the same price, the U.S. could have bypassed the UN altogether.
I’m not saying that a country in a war should not seek to justify its action before international opinion. What I’m saying is that a country that bases its right to defend itself on the will of an international body has placed its right to exist in the hands of others, which contradicts the very idea of national defense. The problem applies with particular relevance to Israel. Very simply, a nation exists and has the right to exist because it has the will and ability to exist. Without that will and ability, no nation comes into being or sustains itself in being. For a country to base its legitimacy on resolutions passed by some international organization—an organization, moreover, that includes in its membership scores of that country’s mortal enemies—is an absurdity that conceals and distorts the very nature of national existence.
Carl P. writes:
I have followed this debate on moderate Muslims vs. the extremists for many years now. I always hoped that my gut reaction was wrong and that Islam could be made compatible with Western civilization. I have now come to see that the so-called moderates have little or no influence on their co-religionists, and that many moderates are secularists to boot, and thus not at all representative of Muslims. While Indonesia shows that Islam can be democratic and tolerant in that particular society, it does not show that Islam fits in the West.
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Those rabid people in Ft. Lauderdale calling for the death of Jews were not just expressing a political viewpoint. This is not a matter of accommodating various points of view on how best to solve social problems and compromising on solutions, as is the norm in democratic societies, but of imposing a pre-cut, violent solution from the Koran. The more I look at it, the more I realize my gut reaction was right; Islam just does not fit into Western society.
I sent this entry to a correspondent and asked:
What do you think of this? Do you think that this is an argument that will ever “sell” in our lifetime?
The correspondent replied:
For as long as I have been aware of Jews, and especially concerning their conduct after the settlement of Israel, I have wondered why the Jews keep promoting policies that will eventually destroy them, all the way back to the socialists walking from Poland and Russia to form the early kibbutzi—socialists all. The belief that society can be re-arranged and a “new man” created through social engineering (ref the participation of the Jews in the Russian Communist party) will continue to disarm people when they confront the next evil empire, be it socialist or the ummah. Yet even as they congregated in their own country to avoid the local pogroms, they managed to build a functioning economy in Israel and turn the swamps and desert swaths into productive lands. I wonder though, if fifty years of socialist policies are now are sapping their national will to fight.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 01, 2009 10:19 PM | Send
Following the Holocaust they tried a different tack for the Diaspora Jews—and succeeded in helping to construct another behemoth—hate speech laws, this time using social engineering to try to protect themselves from more anti-Semitism. In Canada and I suspect in many European countries, the “Holocaust Denial” laws were both initiated and supported by Jewish groups, in attempts to stifle free speech and suppress bad thinking through legislation. At least the honest ones are now complaining that “this is not how we intended these laws to be used.” However, few of them are calling for a complete repeal of these laws.
Read Dmitry Radyshevsky’s “Universal Zionism” for an interesting view of how the Jews should view themselves and begin to behave.
With regards to your specific question, I suspect this will take a substantial moral awakening in most of us, to the extent that we stand and, like the Muslims, state aloud—and believe—that WE ARE BETTER THAN YOU and OUR SYSTEM IS SUPERIOR TO YOURS. Until this cultural revolution occurs we will have insufficient self-confidence to engage the fight for a long-lasting solution. In the meantime all we can do is (1) protect ourselves and our children through immigration halts and controls, legalized rejection of Shariah, and removal of radical elements; and (2) implement tough reciprocity in all external dealings with Islamic states (labor, trade, religious affairs, financial transactions, etc.).