Monday, May 4, 2009

Progressive except Palestine

Progressive Except on Palestine (PEP) is a phrase and acronym coined by blogger Philip Weiss. People of Weiss' crowd use this term or acronym to refer to liberals, especially Jewish American liberals, who hold "progressive" positions on every issue except on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It stands for people who usually raise their voices, something that Jews do best, for causes for freedom and justice, but are unwilling to criticize Israel when it becomes aggressive towards Palestinians and its neighbors. I'm bringing this up because I think this expression is narrow minded.

PEP is what they would call me. I am a liberal Jewish American (though I lived much of my youth in Israel) who doesn't confrom to their "assimilationist" hard left. Over the last two years, I have become aware of certain faults of the Left of which I still identify as. But I still disagree with many of right-wing people on Israel and other issues. I am very much against the settler movement.

Foreign critics of Israel complain about the most insignificant things. I accept criticism of the settlements, but when they start talking about Israeli immigration policy and marriage laws, it starts to become hate. People who use the term PEP become PEP. They don't think Arabs can, or at least don't have to, become progressive.

Double-standard, everybody uses that term in regards to Israel. Israel activists say that critics of Israel hold Israel to a standard that they themselves don't follow and definetly don't hold that standard to Israel's enemies. Palestinian activists say that the West lets Israel regress punishing the Arabs while holding them to a harder standard. But if the UN is any guide, the latter faults.

Bret Stephens in the WSJ shows how bad the Left's coverage and perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become. It's selective moral outrage. Instead of loving Israel for being progressive and for its potential, people hate her for being old fashioned, using Western models such as nationalism and nation-state. Perhaps that is why liberals gravitate to this conflict. In the West, that's what liberals do, change, fix, destory, remold, and reform the state. They view Israel as a Western expression. Unfortunately, the West doesn't have a very good history with those of the Jewish character.

Zionism isn't like the 1960's civil rights movement in the US. That movement encompassed all of America. Zionism on the other hand is exclusive. It is specific for the Jewish people. But in its own rights it has given Israel's Arab citizens rights and freedoms like none other in the Middle East. But by not striving to help Arabs seek their own freedom and security, it has failed to show the Arabs the attributes of the movement. There were other forces at play. Pan-Arab nationalism was headed by dictators, and Islamist movements followed. The political freedom activist just hasn't been able to operate in the region.

Many lefties are now calling for a one-state, to encompass all Jews and Arabs from the river to the sea. But why only there? They say it is the only way to ensure freedom for all. If the Lebanon, Yugoslavia, and India-Pakistan is any guide, it is doomed to fail. I know that they advocate for this because it would mean Israel's destruction. These people hate exceptionalism. If one person loses, everybody loses. That's basic liberal ideology. Welfare, that's one issue I moved more to the center. We have to show everybody the path to succeed, but artificially lifting those that can't at the expense of others is wrong. Like I mentioned earlier, Zionism didn't show Arabs the path to gain their own freedom and security. And a one-state solution won't either. The West would have to be exteremely hostile towards Israel and the Jews to implement this, and with the already hostile environment, it is a receipy for disaster.

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