This week, the Foreign Ministry’s Global Forum against anti-Semitism convenes in Jerusalem. In an age of Hypermarche massacres and rank hatred, it is easy to concentrate on traditional anti-Semitism, the crude Jew hatred surging on the Web, from Islamists, in European streets. But a subtler, equally repulsive, anti-Semitism is spreading, masquerading as “only” anti-Zionism, garbed in human rights rhetoric, championed by the totalitarian Left, validated by intellectuals. Traditionally, aristocrats’ genteel anti-Semitism legitimized the peasants’ cruder, more violent, hatred. Today, radical leftists’ genteel anti-Semitism validates and perpetuates Islamists’ cruder, more violent, hatred. Don’t be lulled by the idealistic words, intimidated by the professional titles, and made defensive by the criticisms of Israel, some of which are valid. To combat the violent form of hatred you must fight its partner.
As we gather for Seder, the Jewish people are reeling: from the three killed boys, the Gaza war, the divisive Israeli election and rising anti-Semitism. With emotions rubbed raw by the hijinks of Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, John Boehner and Barack Obama – how’s that for non-partisanship – many American Jews in particular will come to Seder ready to fight. These issues can become crowbars dividing Americans and Israelis, polarizing Left and Right, estranging family members. The mistake is only seeing Israel through a politicized lens – as a controversial “issue” rather than the Jewish homeland. This year, let’s ban the killer Bs – Bibi, Barack and Boehner – from the table.
Two anniversaries this spring show how well-meaning but self-indulgent celebrities helped water down a great American tradition.
This month, two anniversaries seem to harmonize with one another. Fifty years ago, civil-rights protestors marching from Selma to Montgomery were rallying and singing and sometimes bleeding and dying for freedom. And 30 years ago, a feel-good anthem sung by rock stars to fight African hunger was climbing the charts. Moving from “We Shall Overcome” in 1965 to “We Are the World” in 1985 highlights African-Americans’ miraculous leap forward in those two decades.
Dear Mr. President, I write having urged voters to retire Benjamin Netanyahu and having condemned his election demagoguery.
Still, I fear your overreaction to Netanyahu’s legitimate reelection is blinding you to the Middle East’s unpleasant realities. Rumors of revenge and reprimand are unworthy of you, your high office and our magnificent country. Dictators punish out of pique; democratic statesmen lead rationally, strategically, constructively.
Since 1791, Georgetown, Delaware, population 6422, has celebrated “Return Day” two days after Election Day. The delay reflects the time it used to take to tabulate the election returns, hence the name. Today, winners and losers still patriotically parade together in horse-drawn carriages and antique cars, honoring America’s democratic unity, as local party leaders literally bury a hatchet in sand. Unfortunately, in Israel’s famously-fragmented democracy, as Election Day ends, Coalition Demolition Derby begins. Winners and losers haggle for political payoffs and plum jobs. Rather than burying the hatchet, party leaders sharpen their knives.
Beyond the question of who will form the next government, and whether a National Unity government that is not a Push-me-Pull-you government can emerge, there is an equally compelling mystery from today’s stunning Netanyahu comeback. Can Bibi learn from his near-death experience? One likes to think his confrontation with the very real phenomenon of Bibi-fatigue – which is not going away – may have humbled him, and will lead him to reorient his approach. One fears, however, that his last-minute demagogic pandering to the worst Likud yahoo impulses, the yetzer-hara, evil inclination, in the darkest recesses of Israel’s anti-Semitism-scarred soul, will leave him more arrogant and hard-headed than ever.
Last week before the US Congress, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed comparisons with Winston Churchill; next week on Election Day he may want to dodge them. The witty Winston said that, “After a time, civil servants tend to become no longer servants and no longer civil.” More ominously, while confidently expecting re-election in 1945, Churchill lost.
Daniel Moynihan predicted the breakdown of everyday American values in black families 50 years ago. Why are so many of us still unwilling to admit that what he said applies to all families?
The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan is being vindicated—fifty years too late. His once-infamous March 1965 “Moynihan Report,” is now considered prophetic, anticipating the dissolution of the American family, and not just in African-American communities. But for all the New York Times talk about “When Liberals Blew It,” as Nicholas Kristof boldly put it, liberals—and most Americans—are still blowing it. Until we confront the modern confusion between liberalism and libertinism, Moynihan’s true warnings will go unheeded, and American society will continue degenerating.
Much of Tuesday’s Israeli election result may be up in the air, but one thing seems clear: Benjamin Netanyahu’s shrill warnings about ‘the left’ and ‘Arabs’ won him a big comeback
TEL AVIV — (6:37 p.m. ET) And the winner in Israel’s election is….impossible to call. Mix a fragmented political system, a flawed and unpopular incumbent, an earnest but charismatically challenged opponent, and a deeply polarized electorate, and you get the kind of mess we are seeing in the Promised Land on Tuesday evening.
The two men battling to be Israel’s next prime minister represent the two histories of the Jewish State.
Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu and Isaac Herzog, the two frontrunners in Israel’s election this Tuesday, are dueling Zionist aristocrats representing conflicting traditions. Netanyahu, Israel’s Prince of Darkness, plays a politics of fear with no illusions, while Herzog is auditioning to be Israel’s Prince of Light, peddling a politics of hope without delusions. More than most politicians, their opposing worldviews stem from their contrasting family histories.