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Kay vs. Kay

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Walrus editor Jonathan Kay, left, debates National Post columnist Barbara Kay, right
Jonathan Kay, left, debates Barbara Kay.

Ahead of their April 12 talk at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, National Post columnist Barbara Kay and Walrus editor Jonathan Kay consider whether liberal Jews are trapped by their own ideology.


Barbara Kay: One of the most popular books in Israel right now is Catch the Jew! by gonzo journalist Tuvia Tenenbom. Tenenbom is a German-Israeli Jew who lives in New York. His advantage as a reporter is that his German – his mother tongue – is so perfect he can pass as ethnically German and often does (at such times he goes by “Tobias”).

'Catch the Jew' cover
‘Catch the Jew’ cover

For seven months, Tenenbom rambled around Israel and the Palestinian Authority, talking to anyone and everyone, in search of objective truth. The book is very entertaining, even when uncovering the brazen and ferocious anti-Semitism of the innumerable NGO types from Europe, who think he is German and bare their Judeophobic souls.

One of the book’s more sobering revelations is the depth of self-loathing Tenebom found among Israeli intellectuals. They condemned Israel unreservedly, but the Palestinians could do no wrong. Tenenbom writes:

“It’s a mental problem… for 2,000 years the Jews have been persecuted, for 2,000 years they have been taught they are the worst… Some people cannot handle it… and they say: ‘If everyone in the world says I’m bad, that I am ugly, a thief, a murderer, horrible shrewd person, a money grubber, I am. What can I do to cleanse myself of it’ And what do they do? Catch another Jew doing wrong… that makes them feel better, makes their ugly skin feel better.”

The internalization of the world’s anti-Semitism has produced a collective monster in our midst. The “as-a-Jew-catch-a-Jew” syndrome has become performance theatre with enthusiastic audiences flocking to enjoy Jews behaving badly. Some call these Jews “Theobold Jews” (Theobold was a Jewish convert to Christianity who made up the first blood libel in the 12th century), and some call them “alter-juifs,” those who have led anonymous, secular lives, but who suddenly decide they must “break the silence” and “as a Jew” denounce Israel for its sins.

READ: FINDING A SPEAKER CAN BE A DELICATE TASK

The problem has also been called “the tyranny of penitence” and “masochistic omnipotence syndrome.” But whatever it is called, it is a contemporary version of the “sinat achim” (fraternal hatred) that has always plagued Jewish life. Today, it is a hatred of a particularly virulent, organized and dangerous strain, allied with global Islamofascism and eager to play with a fire that is meant to consume Israel.

Jonathan Kay: Insofar as Tenenbom’s book title goes, Catch the Jew sounds like a game-show idea made up by Borat. And I mean that as a compliment. I also like the idea of going around and seeing what people “really think” about this or that group. Hilarity is always bound to ensue.

But let’s face it: when people think they’re speaking to a sympathetic soul, they say stupid things about all sorts of folks. Or sometimes they just blurt out their negative generalizations in public. Mark Steyn on Muslims; Donald Trump on Mexicans; me on millennials – these are all examples that come readily to mind. As the late George Jonas aptly put it, we’re all bigots at heart.

You’re not going to have to convince me that anti-Semitism is, as Ruth Wisse memorably called it, “The 20th century’s most successful ideology.” And you’re also not going to have to convince me that some left-wing Jews do join joyously in their own denunciation. Where you lose me is in word salad like “the tyranny of penitence” and “masochistic omnipotence syndrome.” What we have here is the left-wing academic fashion for pretentious neologisms flipped on its head. We don’t need fancy new phrases to describe what we have here, which is essentially just a Jewish variation on the well-established western penchant for civilizational guilt and self-flagellation.

‘The End of Racism’

This is a general phenomenon that Dinesh D’Souza wrote about lucidly before he got behind the camera and started producing whacked-out hit jobs on Barack Obama. In his book The End of Racism, he noted that western civilization is the only civilization known to mankind whose most refined minds regularly do nothing except excoriate the injustices and evils of their own society, while often sentimentally fetishizing the supposed wonders of more technologically primitive and socially regressive civilizations.

We’ve been doing this since – what? – the 1960s? Send a kid to a $50,000-a-year liberal arts college in New England these days, and the teenager who comes back to you at Christmas will be telling you all about how the patriarchal phallocracy is responsible for suppressing authentic aboriginal ways of feminist knowing. Or something. Having waded into these theories a little bit in law school, I can tell you that a lot of it is just socio-babble joined together by one very strong ideological filament, which is the idea that our society is corrupt, cruel and unjust. That’s what kids learn today.

Like you, I have been to Israel many times. In the cafés of Tel Aviv and on the country’s university campuses, it is basically a western-style country — with a western-style intelligentsia. And as with any western-style intelligentsia, it is consumed by liberal self-loathing and guilt. I agree with you (and, presumably, Tenenbom) that this is an unfortunate spectacle. But how is it any more unfortunate than the Canadian intellectuals who proclaim Canada to be nothing more than a morally contaminated colonial enterprise built atop the mass graves of First Nations? Or the American intellectuals who still cite Chomsky chapter and verse in describing U.S. influence anywhere on the planet? How is Israel special here? How are Jews special?

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Look at you. Get over yourself.

Barbara Kay: I am surprised that you cannot see the obvious differences between the self-loathing of Israeli intellectuals and the generalized self-loathing of western intellectuals.

Canada, for example, is not in the crosshairs of the United Nations night and day, nor are Canadian students in general running a gauntlet of hatred on their campuses. The most populace and triumphalist religion on Earth does not have hatred of Canadianism built into its sacred texts. There is no long-term hatred called “anti-Canadianism.” There is no great mass of people whose common bond is a hysterical hatred of Canadians and who have declared their chief purpose in life to see all Canadians wiped from the Earth as the eradication of a cancer. Canadian youth do not brood over the massacre of half their numbers in the not-so-distant past. Need I go on?

It is immaterial to Canada – or Sweden, or France (or fill in western nation here) if a clutch of academics hate the West. It will roll on like a big, lazy river with pebbles being thrown into it from time to time. But it is quite material to Jews that – a tiny majority of the population – their own intellectuals happen to constitute a shameful disproportion of the anti-Zionist activism on campuses with large numbers of Jews. That is confusing and demoralizing to Jews who want to feel – and legitimately should feel – proud of their heritage and proud of their attachment to their homeland.

“IF YOU SUPPORT THE BDS MOVEMENT, YOU ARE SUPPORTING THE DEMISE OF ISRAEL AS A JEWISH HOMELAND” – Barbara Kay

Israel has all the appearances of a western-style country on the surface. And many Israelis live ordinary lives much like we do. But dig an inch down, and you cannot compare our experience of life. Israelis contrive to maintain normal lives, even though they know that every day, someone somewhere in Israel is being stabbed or blown up because he is Jewish. Canadians do not experience their lives that way.

So yes, some Jews do participate joyously in the general world pogrom against Jews. But the “some” Jews are probably equal in number to the “some” non-Jews on many campuses. Proportionately that is a crazy percentage of Jews against a minuscule number of non-Jews. You would not find this phenomenon of exterminationist denunciation of its spiritual centre among any other religious or ethnic groups. I say exterminationist in its real sense, not to be dramatic. If you support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, you are supporting the demise of Israel as a Jewish homeland.

There are two groups of BDS Jews: the naive kind who think they are helping Israel become a just and moral country, and the hardcore, Hamas-embracing Israel-as-Nazis militants (Max Blumenthal is a good example) who know exactly what they want: Israel erased (catch that Jew!), and their own lives eased.

I’m not saying every Jew has to love being Jewish or love Israel. In the past, Jews with no interest or great love for Judaism dropped out of Judaism, called themselves atheists or secular or ex-Jews or “of Jewish provenance,” but they went their own way. The Communist Jews wanted to dissolve their Judaism in the great utopian flow of internationalism. It didn’t work out so well, but they at least did not go around bellowing “not in my name” when Orthodox Jews did their thing. In the past you could convert to Christianity or Islam and rid yourself of your Jewness that way.

But Israel is just this gigantic elephant in the room. It won’t go away, and it has influence over them, whether they want it to or not. So Jews who want to be secular, who want to be ex-Jews, find they can’t, because the anti-Semites (who won’t admit they’re anti-Semites) keep judging them against Israel. And it’s settled in progressive minds that Israel is apartheid, Nazi, the great oppressor occupier, the source of all evil. So they have to choose. They have to pick a side. And they choose progressivism because it’s tough to beat against that current in university, and progressivism is now as synonymous with hatred for Israel as feminism is synonymous with “a woman’s right to choose.”

You can’t be a progressive and a Zionist any more than you can be a feminist and pro-life. It has come to be understood that when a person finds herself unable to identify with Judaism or with Jewish peoplehood, then she must automatically become an anti-Zionist. This is a choice no other ethnic or religious group is forced to make.

Jonathan Kay: Look, guilty left-wing western intellectuals are guilty left-wing intellectuals — whether they are Jewish or gentile. It’s a fundamentally Marxist reflex, rooted in the idea that people who are poor and oppressed (Palestinians) have the moral upper hand over those who are rich and powerful (Israel). And these same intellectuals don’t care a whit for your colourful denunciations of the Islamic threat. Just the opposite: they view terrorism and Islamic militancy as a form of blowback from generations of western colonialism and occupation and such.

We all know these arguments, and I will not recite them here. The point is that these left-wing, Israel-hating Jews you speak of are not suffering some sort of unique psychological pathology that requires an esoteric new label. It is, as I say, just the standard application of a Marxist oppressed-oppressor paradigm to the Jewish state. It’s Naomi Klein redux. And it’s not new. Or even particularly interesting.

But as I read this last response from you, it occurred to me that the tenor of what you write explains why so many younger Jews are turned off by dogmatic Zionism. I recognize all of the talking points you have listed here, as I once used them all in my own editorials at the National Post. And they are all true in some way. But it is dispiriting to see that much of the writing about Israel that appears in, say, Commentary magazine, or the columns of Charles Krauthammer, still largely consists of a mechanical repetition of this same catalog of arguments, without much variation. In this way, the Zionist right has created a dogma that is just as tiresome (though not quite as other-worldly) as the anti-Zionist dogmas that exist among doctrinaire anti-Zionist liberals.

“THERE IS NO ADMISSION OF THE INCREASINGLY SHRILL CHARACTER OF RELIGIOUS ZIONISM IN ISRAEL”Jonathan Kay

In these colour-by-number fusillades, the Arabs are always cast as unremittingly bellicose and anti-Semitic, the Israelis always patient and civilized. There is no hint of any real curiosity about the range of opinions that now exist among Palestinians, or Arabs more generally. Nor is there any admission of the increasingly shrill character of religious Zionism in Israel, nor the many completely gratuitous humiliations and inconveniences that Israel imposes on ordinary Palestinians. Where Iran is concerned, it’s always Munich 1938. And Obama is always Chamberlain. Let’s not pretend that left-wing Jews are the only blinkered dogmatists here.

I am on your side when it comes to those Jews who support BDS. But BDS types actually comprise a very tiny part of left-wing Jewry. Globally, the BDS movement has been a complete failure when it comes to hurting Israel’s economy. But it has been a massive success in driving North American Zionists bug-eyed with unhinged hostility against this tiny fragment of extreme leftists who waste their time trying to set sail “boats for Gaza” and such.

A few months ago, I started participating in events organized by the New Israel Fund (NIF) here in Canada. And my old National Post friends warned me that NIF was a hive of strident Jewish anti-Zionists. But that turned out to be completely false. Not only do NIF types generally reject the BDS movement, they also entertain a wide range of opinions about Israel, good and bad. It was actually refreshing to be in a room full of people who actually seemed curious to learn more – even from people who didn’t share their views.

All of which to say: if hardline North American Zionist Jews (such as yourself) wonder why some of their Jewish friends have become radically alienated from the Zionist project, they might want to examine the brittle, tribalizing sloganeering – not to mention casual denunciation of the entirety of Arab and Islamic civilization – that now has become a casually recited component of pro-Israel advocacy.

Barbara Kay: I reject your all-the-same lumping of Jews against Jews with the general anti-westernism of the intelligentsia, which is, as you say, grounded in the Marxist paradigm of oppressed-oppressor. A true parallel would be an organized movement consisting of Christians-against-Christians in league with ISIS. That never happens in any organized way with other religions.

Paroxysmal hatred of Israel by Jews expressed in an organized and proud alliance with those sworn to the extermination of Jews is an entirely new thing. It arose in 1967 when the left turned against Israel and demanded that Jews choose between progressivism and Zionism. Those who chose the left have been put through their paces to prove their allegiance. I consider their desperate ingratiation with Israel’s enemies with the same mixture of revulsion and pity I reserve for adolescents who “cut” themselves. This is, I insist, a new phenomenon. There was no Nazi-Jewish alliance. There was no organized Jewish support to convict Dreyfus.

“HATRED OF JEWS IN THE MIDDLE EAST HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SETTLEMENTS OR CHECKPOINTS OR ‘OPPRESSION'”Barbara Kay

Your use of the words “dogmatic” and “hardline” to describe Zionists like me is off-putting and patronizing. I suppose that you would have called me a “hardline” capitalist in the 1950s because I felt Communism was an existential threat to the democratic way of life. I was right then, and I believe I am right today. I think there are all kinds of things wrong with capitalism. But one had to take a side in that conflict, and I chose the side of freedom. One must take a side today and for the same reason: democracy against totalitarianism.

Hatred of Jews in the Middle East has nothing to do with settlements or checkpoints or “oppression.” It is a question of honour and shame. Muslims are shamed by having Jews in their midst as a sovereign nation. Period. Nothing will satisfy them but a Judenrein Middle East. Anyone who has the effrontery to call himself a Jew and yet align himself with Hamas and Hezbollah has not come to that position through reason; he is culturally disordered.

I also take issue with your stereotyping me as a reader of Commentary and Charles Krauthammer and nobody else, implying that only you and your thoughtful friends at the New Israel Fund read everyone. If by “dogmatic” you mean that I prefer Israel to be in the right in conflicts, but will still stand by Israel as a homeland to take pride in even when she is not always right, then colour me dogmatist. I would prefer to describe myself as someone who has taken a side at a historical junction. You cannot be neutral any more than Switzerland was in World War II, when neutrality meant a refusal to choose between outright evil and imperfect good. I hope that is not your position.

The BDS movement does not really care if they have quantifiable success. They are playing the long game of relentless indoctrination, convincing the leaders of tomorrow that there is something inherently illegitimate about Israel’s existence. It is working, and thanks in large part to the Naomi Kleins of our people. I despise them and so do their Palestinian friends in the BDS movement. They are to the Palestinians what the “Useful Idiots” of the intelligentsia were to the Communists (I call our Jewish version “Useful Jewdiots”). With the added feature that to militant Muslims, Jews who turn on their brothers are people without honour. It’s the one point in this discussion on which Hamas and I would agree.

Jonathan Kay: I love how you refuse the labels “dogmatic” and “hardline,” and then in the same breath compare Palestinians to Nazis and suggest BDS types are akin to mentally ill adolescents who slice themselves with knives. I really couldn’t have made the point any better myself.

Hardline Zionists are so used to talking to one another in echo chambers that they no longer consider how off-putting their slogans are for people expecting fair-minded debate. Re-read what you’ve written here. Do you think this sort of language makes your side attractive to open-minded liberal Jews? Or do you think it confirms the caricatures of op-ed-page Zionists they heard from their friends over orange slices at the Bard College Feminist Seder?

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One more thing. You say you “despise” the Jews who disagree with you on this, and suggest they are also despised pariahs among all the world’s peoples – completely Medieval imagery. Aside from being a Jew, you are also an intellectual. And it is an intellectual’s mandate not to “despise” anyone. Not bigots, not hatemongers, not conspiracy theorists. They all have things to teach us, even if it is not the lesson they intend, and even if we find their views self-evidently wrong and even dangerous. You blind yourself to learning if you are full of hate. You become an activist instead of an intellectual – an especially dangerous position for an intellectual who is also a journalist.

Last week, on the National Public Radio podcast Hidden Brain, the host profiled two amazing people: a Palestinian academic who brought his West Bank students to Auschwitz so they could understand the Holocaust, and a religious Jewish soldier who became alienated from the IDF after witnessing the inhumane treatment of an elderly Palestinian woman in her own home. That soldier now articulates views very much in harmony with the left-wing types you dismiss as self-cutting pariahs. Do you “despise” him? Because, frankly, I’d be more interested in talking to these two men than the whole parade of party-line Netanyahu boosters who tend to dominate the speaking roster at many North American big-budget public affairs events.

I will end this exchange on a personal note, since all of my intellectual learning began with the bookshelf in our family home. On that bookshelf, I found both the Jewish tradition of Talmud and scholarly debate, but also the plain-spoken literary tradition of the modern West – my favourite specimen, of course, being George Orwell. Both influences teach us that you learn through observation and humility. Simply telling your debating opponents that they are pathological nutcases who deserve the world’s hatred may allow one to feel like a successful Zionist. But it marks failure for an intellectual – and perhaps also for a Jew.


See Barbara and Jonathan Kay in conversation at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto on April 12. For more information, click here.

  • AndrewMelville

    The Kays continue inform and entertain. I admire you both. More please.

  • JeffwithaJ

    Listen to your mother.

  • Jonathan Kay is a typical boring leftist. As part of that indoctrination which seems to captivate some of the Jewish liberal ‘intelligencia’ they constantly and arrogantly think that only they have the right to an opinion and their opinion counts. We are such a small population. We don’t need friends like him. Barbara you are awesome. I wish I had your patience to take on the self haters like Jonathan.

    • Rosen

      Kay’s not a leftist. He’s a conservative who’s been mugged by reality.

      • agnostic13

        By the reality that for a professionally and socially ambitious young man not endowed with superior talent of the likes of Jonas, Steyn or Amiel, life is much easier and more pleasurable by joining the headless crowd, than by standing on facts and defending reason and priciples?

        • Rosen

          Oh please, Steyn is a high school drop out (or rather the UK equivalent of high school), who was a theatre critic until Conrad Black appointed him a political columnist. He is an uneducated ignoramus and it shows.

          • Groucho Marx

            Apparently being a high school graduate does not necessarily lead
            to being an intelligent adult as you have been able to demonstrate with your inane comments.

          • agnostic13

            I love the snobbish condescension of the people who believe, or would want others to believe, that the extent of one’s education, not to mention intellectual capacity, can be measured by the amount of time they have spent sitting on their butts in a classroom.
            By such criteria, Salieri was the great musician and Mozart a scraper.
            What amount of formal education did Mark Twain have?
            And can you recall from the top of your head the name of one single head of the English Department at Oxford or Harvard during his lifetime, or a one single book written by any of those?
            How many other political columnists do you know who have written international bestsellers on both political and non-political topics?
            How many do you know who pioneered public recognition of phenomena 10 years ahead of the time by which they had been acknowledged by public authorities?
            How many do you know who managed to get repelled an anti-democratic section of a major piece of legislation?
            Have you ever read anything written by Steyn? For an uneducated ignoramus, he delves fairly deep into subjects as diverse as ethnography, history or musicology.
            The term used in the past for the likes of his was Renaissance Men.
            But I understand. His “undeserved” brilliance his hard to swallow for those who spent many years, and possibly a lot of money, in pursuit of education, and all they have to show for it is embarrassing mediocrity.

          • Rosen

            There are plenty of highly intelligent people who never finished high school. Steyn just isn’t one of them.

          • agnostic13

            Funny how that lowly educated and lowly intelligent person can quite consistently correctly diagnose problems ahead of highly educated and highly intelligent experts, at times about a decade ahead.
            Apparently, for some people, it takes exceptionally high IQ and many years of formal education to acquire the unerring ability to get everything wrong.

          • Rosen

            Yet Styenmanages it without the benefit of either.

          • agnostic13

            Don’t you think you’ve demonstrated the level of your own IQ clearly and persuasively enough already?

          • Rosen

            Derideo te.

          • agnostic13

            I wouldn’t worry too much about it. It is pretty common reaction in people who perceive themselves as high IQ, high info, to laugh at things they don’t understand.
            They laughed at Columbus, Darwin, bros Wright, Mendel, and many others.
            As for the desperate attempt to hide the banality of what in you passes for a thought, and the belief that by expressing your pitiful intellectual output in a foreign language, especially Latin or Greek, would make it witty and/or original, that’s is fairly common too.
            It doesn’t require professional treatment, just preferably very tolerant and patient family and friends.

          • Rosen

            If you are comparing youself to Darwin or Fr. Mendel, let alone the Wright Brothers or Columbus, you’re truly delusional.

          • agnostic13

            I am not comparing myself to Darwin or Fr. Mendel, let alone the Wright Brothers or Columbus. I am comparing you to those who mocked them.

          • agnostic13

            No, I am not comparing myself to Darwin or Fr. Mendel, let alone the Wright Brothers or Columbus. I am comparing you to those who mocked them.

          • Rosen

            I mocked you, not them.

          • agnostic13

            I know.
            The point is not whom you mock – me, Steyn, or anybody else.
            The point is what you mock and why:
            Ideas or arguments you’re either intellectually too lazy, or mentally inadequately equipped, to understand.
            It’s one thing to understand and reject an idea or an argument, it’s something quite different when mocking anything that doesn’t fit your pre-conceived notions becomes effectively a Pavlovian reflex.

          • Rosen

            Nah, I’m just mocking you because your self-importance is too ridiculous not to mock.

          • agnostic13

            Thank you for keeping to prove my point.

          • Rosen

            And thank you for proving mine.

          • Socratist

            What a comeback!

          • Rosen

            You should choose a different nickname rather than embarassing Socrates.

          • agnostic13

            You win.
            I find myself unable to match your level of sophistication.
            Thankfully.

          • Socratist

            And there are plenty of not all that highly intelligent people who did finish high school, and some even graduated from a university.
            You did finish high school, right?

          • Rosen

            “And can you recall from the top of your head the name of one single head of the English Department at Oxford or Harvard during his lifetime, or a one single book written by any of those?” C.S. Lewis was chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Robertson Davies was Master of Massey College at U of T. J.R.R. Tolkein was Merton Professor of English Language and Literature at Merton College, Oxford.

          • agnostic13

            Leaving aside whether you were able to provide the information from the top of your head, rather than to google it:
            Are you seriously trying to make me believe that Tolkien became a professor of English at the age of 18, C.S. Lewis at 12 and Davies 3 years before he was born?

          • Rosen

            I don’t see how Steyn’s lifetime is of releance here. You may worship him as the second coming but he’s just a hack. But to answer the broader point, there have been numerous successful writers who are also academics.

          • agnostic13

            I don’t see how Steyn’s lifetime is of relevance here either, and I am not sure why are you bringing the topic in. Unless your high IQ and high info nature got in the way of your reading comprehension and you mistook Steyn’s lifetime for Twain’s lifetime.
            There, the relevance, as I mention elsewhere, is the passage of time that allows for comparison how academic credentials age in comparison to talent.
            As for the broader point of successful writers who are also academics, you are not answering it, you’re for some reason bringing it in. I have no way of knowing whether it’s because your high IQ, high info robs you of the mental capacity to understand a topic and stay on it, or because you know all too well that your snobbish condescending proposition that being an academics is a prerequisite for producing any writings of value, is simply insupportable, and you just try to change the topic by stating something obvious, and then claim to have won the argument by pretending that I objected to the newly introduced statement.

          • Rosen

            I overlooked your arbitrary requirement that authors must have been alive during Steyn’s lifetime as irrelevant but if you want a list of current popular authors who are also academics you can start here. http://www.bustle.com/articles/23246-15-famous-authors-who-could-be-your-next-college-professor

          • agnostic13

            You’ve overlooked my non-arbitrary requirement that the authors had to be occupying their chairs during TWAIN’s, not Steyn’s lifetime. It had to do with how well the formal qualifications age in comparison to talent.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            I have been to rallies where left wing goons did not even know why they were there…or they just understood where their bread was buttered and so when their union bosses told them to be at an anti-Israel event they would snap to attention. Are you, Rosen, one of the leaders of the left wing goons and/or their Jewish equivalents?

          • Rosen

            Interestingly, I was at a rally where a bunch of Jewish day school students were so clueless as to why there were there a few university youth had them chanting anti-war slogans within minutes.

          • TerrorIsEvil

            Rosen, or should I call you “Mr. IJV,” you just go ahead and support the leftists who hate Jews and I will support those who are for Western values, Jewish values that defend us against terrorists. Let’s see who comes out on top. Were things to go in your direction you will end up on the top of a pile of dead bodies like we witnessed in German concentration camps and now in Syria-Iraq but this time it will be dead bodies in the pits of Hamas, the PA, ISIS, Hezbollah, Iran, the Taliban, Boko Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood, the UN, etc.

        • Rosen

          You’re joking There are far more media outlets available to an uneduated rightwing scribe like Steyn than to left of centre writers.

          • agnostic13

            By now, it wouldn’t surprise me, if you actually believed it.
            Although admittedly, there may be not enough of left of centre gigs to provide with a paying job somebody of your intellectual and literary brilliance.

          • Rosen

            You are aware that most of the print media in this country is owned by PostMedia which is right of centre?

          • agnostic13

            Is it?
            How do you define right of centre?

          • Rosen

            The fact that all PostMedia papers endorsed the Conservative Party in the last election is a pretty good indication.

          • Socratist

            In terms of what kind of writers they would print on anything but fiscal sanity issues, it’s not.
            I note that you chose not to define what you consider right of centre.

          • agnostic13

            I see that your obsession with name calling is seriously hampering your ability to keep track of the topic being discussed.
            It’s not about opportunities for Steyn, it’s about opportunities for Jon Kay.

          • Rosen

            Had Jon Kay been a left winger he never would have been tapped to become the National Post’s Comments editor despite having no prior journalistic experience.

          • agnostic13

            What makes you think so?

          • Rosen

            The National Post is a right wing paper and PostMedia owns almost every major newspaper in English Canada.

      • workingbrain

        Conservatives are Liberals that have grown-up and stopped seeing the world through a wishful, distorted, prism.

        • Rosen

          And instead see it in a nasty, self-centred, distorted prism.

          • workingbrain

            By that you mean, reality. That “nasty, self-centred” understanding of the world may enrage “Progressives”, but it’s a FAR more accurate assessment than the dangerous, delusional one of “Hope” and “If” that Jewish Jew-haters live in.

            One of us seems to believe that a truly fair world is possible; I’m a lot more realistic. I’m not saying that I don’t believe in fairness or strive to act as fairly as possible, I do. I also know that the lofty ideals of fairness always lose out to human nature’s self-interest drives. Sadly. Which means I’m a political Conservative, with liberal social values. You?

          • Rosen

            A truly fair world where Palestinians are second class citizens within Israel (receiving less government spending per capita, being excluded from owning certain property, de facto exclduded from various job) and are subjected to foreign occupation in the West Bank?

          • Socratist

            You really need to work on your reading comprehension.
            workingbrain DOES NOT say that we live in a truly fair world (in which all Utopian fantasies are fulfilled)
            What he DOES say is that the world IS NOT like that.

          • Rosen

            And he prefers to keep it that way.

          • Socratist

            How do you know that?

          • workingbrain

            Rosen; Not that I’m uncaring of certain inequities that may exist within Israel, I am and would like the situation to be better for all who live there!

            Where the self-acclaimed “Progressive”, “liberal” Jews go wrong, is perceiving that the conflict over Israel’s existence can be solved before and/or without addressing the core problem; that being the Arab and Muslim attitudes and efforts of erasing Israel. Do you believe that not to be the case?

            (Note; I, as virtually all of my many pro-Israel friends believe and support the liberal social rights Israel affords its citizens. I/we reserve the quotation marks for those whose actions betray fully-informed and commonsensical facts, while proclaiming to act “in Israel’s best interests”, while demanding or saying nothing about the fascist, undemocratic, kleptocratic leaders of the “Palestinians”).

            Your assumption that the ENTIRETY of what’s left of the area generally known as “Palestine”, ISN’T CONTESTED, ESPECIALLY by Israel’s alleged “PEACE PARTNERS”, and not to take that into consideration with one’s political suggestions, goes so far beyond naive and well into the realm of genocidal, for Jews and Arabs alike!

            Further, your assertion that Israeli control over Judea and Samaria is a “foreign occupation”, shows an ignorance of legal facts. Is your assumption born out of ignorance of that or a politically motivated design? Regardless of how many times that lie is repeated, it infact remains legally. A DISPUTED territory. Most Arabs refuse to recognize Israel’s legitimacy and are aided in their delegitimation of Israel by the likes of those that hold views such as yourself.

            Allow me to ask, is it that it’s easier to demand concessions of Jews than Arabs that motivates those on the the New Israel Fund side?
            If truly caring, “Progressive” people really wanted to help the suffering Arabs, why are they silent when Mahmoud Abbas said he’d rather “them die in Yarmouk”, when referring to the besieged, bombed, starved and dying “Palestinians” he leads? Why do “Progressives” believe that Arab people are better living under the control of people like him & Hamas? Or is it that they believe the Arabs would simply prefer to? Not unlike the Iranians that preferred not being ruled by Reza Pahlavi, or the idealistic Russians hoping for their socialist utopia. Is it conscionable and responsible to advocate that which condemns the impoverished to be ruled-over by the billionaire fascists? If so, that must be the new definition for “Progressive”; added to the hypocrisy of placing DEMANDS on Israel that they wouldn’t even think of asking from ANYONE else.

          • Rosen

            Great, so what are you doing about it? Are you asking CIJA to lobby the Isreali government to pull out of the West Bank and improve conditions for “Israeli Arabs”? Are you doing anything to pressure the Canadian government to do the same? Or are you like many people in the Jewish community too scared to speak up lest you be denounced as a “self-hating Jew”?

          • agnostic13

            Do you hate Arabs or you’re just too scared to speak out for improving conditions for all the non-“Israeli Arabs” who in their overwhelming majority can only envy the conditions, both material and in terms of freedom and opportunities, of their brethren lucky enough to be Israeli citizens?
            Why should Israel unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank in absence of the Palestinians showing any inclinations to even consider complying with the conditions under which the withdrawal was to take place?

          • workingbrain

            Rosen, Rosen, Rosen, Did you stop reading after the 1st “Rosen”? Clearly yout stopped reading my last reply after the 1st paragraph, ignoring the following 6, that briefly, rather well details some of the complex and fundamentally important issues of the conflict.

            You chose not to answer any of the questions I posed, nor address any of the realities detailed therein.

            Without any indication whatsoever, you proclaim that I prefer an unfair world.

            Your overly defensive responses, in addition to the above-mentioned actions, indicate the absence of a level of maturity needed to address even the simplest of issues. When it comes to improving the lives of Arabs and Israelis, perspectives such as yours, are as helpful to the region as the Russian-Nazi Pact was helpful to the Poles.

            BTW, I don’t refer to Jews who hold beliefs that only Israel must concede while not addressing any of the aforementioned issues raised as “self-hating Jews”; I don’t believe they are. I believe them to be Jew-hating Jews, but with an inflated sense of self-righteousness and an abject lack of perspective.

          • agnostic13

            “Self-centered’?
            Is there anything more self-centered than a person pursuing his or her own idea about how the world should function to meet his or her approval, in utter disregard of facts, rules of logic and discernible patterns of natural laws?

          • Rosen

            Hey, keep Donald Trump out of this!

          • agnostic13

            I am.
            But thank you for proving my point.

          • Rosen

            That’s a pretty good description of Nethanyahu.

          • Socratist

            Typical leftist rubbish: Name calling or personal attack without even an attempt at supporting the statement with some factually based, logical reasoning based argument.
            If finishing high school, maybe even graduating from university, doesn’t provide an individual with the ability to participate in a more elevated discussion than a playground level back and forth argument along the lines “I am right – no, I am right – no, I am right – no, I am right”, it may make one start to wonder about how well the time and money were spent.

          • Rosen

            Socartist, you’re the one who engaged in namecalling. I only said that your namecalling actually works better when applied against King Bibi.

          • Socratist

            Could you provide some examples of the names you claim I have called?

    • workingbrain

      I agree that Barbara is awesome! As for Jonathan, I wouldn’t ascribe to him the title of “typical leftist”. A) He does make some very interesting points and B) he’s not supportive of a “bi-national” state or BDS. As someone who believes that Israel must remain the Jewish state it is, (albeit, it can and should strive to improve the conditions of its people, as should all others).
      What the “Progressive” “Liberals” fail to grasp, is the need for the Arabs to take responsibility for their actions; the billions of dollars spent on Jew-hatred, incitement, weapons and lavish lifestyles for the ones at the top, while they maintain and exploit the squalor in the UNRWA refugee camps and use them to indoctrinate hate, store weapons and base their operatives.
      Real “Progressive” anti-“Zionist” Jews and nothing more than Jewish Jew-haters and moral supremacists. They’re the opposite of “self-hating”, they of think themselves as superior beings with a duty to impose their “superior moral wisdom” on others; targeting only Jews, as for them having to distinguish and admit that (generally), one side celebrates the deaths of their foes and is unwilling to accept them, the other does not.
      “Progressives” are a species that in the same breath claim to champion “everyone’s human rights” and forcing (Israeli) Jews to accept the genocidal terms of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

  • Benwalid

    Interesting
    points made by Jonathan. By conflating Israel with Judaism Barbara
    parrots the views of anti-Semites who preach that all Jews are
    responsible for the crimes committed by Israel.

    • workingbrain

      No, what’s “interesting” though is your interpretation of the article. A quantum leap from logic.

    • agnostic13

      Crimes?
      Whatever the twisted, incoherent and illogical laws on the book, in nations or internationally, may allow biased lawyers to claim, morally, no action undertaken in defense of one’s life against murderous aggressor is a crime.

  • workingbrain

    Jonathan’s writing exhibits a defensive trait that betrays claims of open-mindedness. Barbara said; “There was no Nazi-Jewish alliance.”, Jonathan hears and writes that she; “compare(s) Palestinians to Nazis…”. Her statement is that of fact. Conversely though, there are alliances between the self-professed moral-crusaders who claim they stand for “peace”, “justice”, (whatever that means, and in the context that history proves we are an inherently species), and “equality for all”, while they either champion groups like Hamas or conveniently omit their brutality and fundamental commitment to the eradication of Jews. Only Jews, with Israel being the prime target, are faced with alliances of “Progressive Humanists” and supremacist, theocratic, fascists that openly call and pray for the obliteration of Jewry. Ascribing meaning to statements of fact suggests a less than open-mindedness.

    As to why some Jews become Jew-haters, that’s an easy one to explain; it’s a reaction to our basic evolutionary needs, survival. As emotionally based beings the feelings of threats, being targeted directly or through association are real. Being born Jewish means being the target of hate. Always has, sadly, always will. The many contributions Jews have made to humanity or displaying how fair they act towards any, and/or all others is completely irrelevant. Death, taxes and the persecution of Jews are life’s constants. Trying to survive, one naturally avoids conflicts and threats. But understanding why you’re targeted for no rational reason, creates a tremendous disconnect between basic needs and the unfair reality of life. As a natural need to escape the perceived targeting, and especially for those who need to hold a belief in a just and humane world where the “basic good” of people will triumph over people’s self-serving desires, they default into a process of mental-gymnastics that support those needs. Denial of facts and evidence, using fragments of any perceived Jewish misdeeds are used to justify their needed beliefs, when in-fact, regarding the national Jew, Israel, nothing short of the enslavement and expulsion will satisfy Israel’s “moderate” detractors and only annihilation will satisfy the less moderate. And as for “those” “good Jews”, that fought against the “injustices” of Israel? History proves that they’ll be the last ones on the train, even for most of the Jew-hating Jews. Or as Ayn Rand said; “We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality”.

    • Socratist

      Aslo note:
      Barbara said Nazi-Jewish alliance, she didn’t say German-Jewish alliance.
      So the equivalent for the Middle East situation would be Fatah-Jewish, or Hamas-Jewish, not Palestinian-Jewish alliance.
      (Now, it may be possible to argue that so called “pro-Palestinian” Jews, to the extent that they are actively involved in some kind of alliances, are not directly collaborating with Hamas of Fatah. But they’re not dealing with ordinary people on the street either, but rather with some groups and organizations – and to assume that those are fully independent, organizationally and ideologically, is at the very least questionable.)

      • workingbrain

        No question, there’s a lot of very well-meaning Jews who are motivated by the best of intentions, peace, human rights, etc. I think though that far too many people act based on needed perspectives, skewing their ability to rationally and objectively judge. I think if people were to truly appreciate our human needs for survival/acceptance, they’d better be able to control their needs that often have people justifying desired perspectives that contradict evidence.

        • agnostic13

          What fascinates me about Jews is that having survived more than two millennia of extreme adversity, it took just two or three generations living in relative safety (in the West, that is), to lose elementary survival instinct. They overwhelmingly support any left, leftist, and leftish, cause, with not just no understanding what an empowered leftist State would most likely do to them some day down the road, but without any concern about it and any attempt at acquiring some understanding of the inescapable conclusions.

          • workingbrain

            Survival is an imperative and denial is the coping mechanism for those who can’t deal with ostracization, that irrationality and hate are part of human nature and that Jew-hate is and always has been part-and-parcel of that, and that no matter what they do or try to win universal favour and acceptance.

            Because they can’t or refuse to accept those realities, they perform mental gymnastics justifying their positions that collides with facts and evidence.

        • agnostic13

          The well-meaning collaborators with evil are the worst.
          Somebody collaborating for profit can be swayed by other opportunities for profit.
          The true believers are implacable.

  • workingbrain

    Should have read; …in the context that history proves we are an inherently unjust species