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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Left: It's the new 'Right'

I had wanted to write about this during and immediately after the disengagement, but things were still too raw (and emotions too high) to be approached (by me, anyway) with anything resembling objectivity.

Now that a little time has passed, I'm hoping that the broad range of political positions represented by treppenwitz readers will feel comfortable contributing to a discussion of a confusing issue.

I have always labeled myself a 'centrist'... not because I'm foolish enough to believe that such a thing actually exists... but because I subscribe to positions that have traditionally been associated with both the right and left.  The idea being that if the two arms of the scale bear similar loads, the balance moves to the center.

For instance, on domestic issues such as social welfare, civil liberties, universal health care, and government regulation/oversight of certain key industries and agencies, I lean strongly to the left. 

At the same time, on some issues related to homeland security, foreign policy, and even such taboo subjects as extra-judicial targeting of self-defined terrorists, I am well to the right.

In other words, I have conveniently cherry-picked issues and policies from each side of the political spectrum without regard to whether they are part of a 'matched set'.  I try to look at things to see if they make sense individually... not whether they match the other policies in my 'closet'.

The problem with this approach is that most of the people with whom I would like to have an honest discussion have already invested heavily in the matched set of political baggage.  As often as not they bolster their own positions by pointing out the flaws in the opposition's policies instead of telling me what's correct about their own!

This is where I get confused.

You see, here in Israel, not only are the two sides of the political spectrum no longer on speaking terms... but they seem to have shamelessly stolen more than a few of each other's central platforms.

Let's take civil liberties for instance. 

Civil Liberties has traditionally been the bailiwick of the left.  Let the government trod upon the civil rights of an individual in the pursuit of its agenda and the lefties are sure to scream bloody murder... and rightly so (pun intended)! 

Yet during the disengagement the government (aided heavily by a traditionally lefty bastion; the media) systematically deprived supporters of the anti-disengagement movement of their right to assemble, demonstrate, travel freely, disseminate lawful communications, etc.  Administrative detentions were employed without any meaningful judicial oversight, and minors were held without remand for weeks without anything approaching due process.  Yet throughout these abuses the left (and the media) remained silent.

Buses and cars that were on their way to demonstrations were detained or turned around by army patrols and police cars simply because the occupants were visibly religious and/or on their way to protest against a government policy they found objectionable.  These were tax-paying citizens that were singled out by the government and denied their ability to legally move about the country simply because of their thoughts... not because of any illegal action. 

Throughout the disengagement process, the leaders of the settler movement worked heroically to keep their followers from inciting / participating in destructive or violent confrontations.  Given the huge number of people actively involved in the protest movement, the paucity of vandalism, assault and criminal acts bears out the efforts of the leadership to avoid such counter-productive behavior.  And those that did act criminally were loudly denounced by both the leadership and the rank & file of the right.

So why was the Israeli political left (and the media) so stridently vocal about what were obviously anomalies in the right-wing camp's behavior, and completely silent on systemic abuses of civil liberties by the government?

One can't easily argue that it was simply a matter of convenience.  To suggest that the left remained mute throughout this period of glaring abuses simply because the abuses were against the 'enemy' flies in the face of a healthy Israeli left wing that has repeatedly championed Palestinian causes against both the government and the right wing when issues of civil rights violations have arisen.

The leftist part of me doesn't understand how Machsom Watch (a group of lefty activists who show up at roadblock) can stand out in the hot sun to ensure that Palestinians are treated fairly / not denied reasonable freedom of movement, yet utter not a peep when anyone with an orange ribbon or a kippah was arbitrarily pulled over and detained by soldiers and police.

I honestly have no (legal) problem with a right wing Prime Minister who steals a plank from the left-wing's platform to create a policy of unilateral disengagement, so long as he does so by legal means and with the support of his party.  That the Likud hasn't brought down the government is proof enough to me that Sharon has been able to win (or coerce) the support of his party.  But it is far from clear that he acted legally in the actual execution of the disengagement plan.

I am genuinely interested in an intellectually-honest discussion of how/why the left and right have reversed positions so completely on such a litmus-test issue as civil liberties? 

Is it simply a case of expedience? 

Is it because the means were ultimately justified by the outcome?

If so, I'm really confused... because I had always considered Niccolo Machiavelli to be a champion of the right wing, not the left!

221_16_5_77

Posted by David Bogner on October 26, 2005 | Permalink

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Not all that unusual in our country, where the labor party is run by white ashkenazi elitists, and the right-wing party (likud) is more popular among the real working class.

Posted by: Mike Miller | Oct 26, 2005 2:57:25 PM

I'm not sure why it's happening in Israel, but I can tell you, that when it comes to the protection of civil liberties, it appears that here in the United States, the "right" and the "left" have switched. That primarily can be observed on campus, which is dominated by the left, and where intimidation of students, groupthink, and pressure for professors to conform to a certain type of political views has crossed all boundaries of decency. Much has been written on that subject but mostly by the right. Why is that? I bear no illusions about political leaders and activists. Truthfully, they will do the exact opposite of whatever the other party is doing just to appear different (even if reality it doesn't give a hoot about the issue). However, I must say that the base - the voters, who really do care about these issues - have likewise appear to have "switched' views as well. In reality, they haven't. They don't always realize they "cherry-pick" the causes they support. For example, if the left isn't vocal about what's happening on campus, it sure is very vocal in what *it* interprets as violation of civil liberties - bans on gay marriage, etc. The base, in other words, isn't really that hypocritical. It simply interprets what civil liberties are depending on what appeals to it. That's not very wise, but I think, many humans are subject to that fallacy. That would explain the Israeli paradox as well.

Posted by: Irina | Oct 26, 2005 3:32:08 PM

Mike Miller... Um, while your comment may be mostly correct in that one can safely say there are more Ashkanizis on the left and more working class on the right... I would like to discourage this sort of comment for a few reasons:

1. Right and wrong are not issues that can (or should) be divided along political, religious or certainly ethnic lines.
2. I would hope we are beginning to move past the era where one can automatically use Sephardi interchangeably with 'working class' as you have done. Moreover, juxtaposing 'white Ashkenazi' with [dark skinned Sephardic] 'working class' is a throw back to a form of not-so-subtle internecine racism that I would like to think no longer drives political considerations in Israel.
3. Elitism may be a cogent issue to the subject I mentioned, but it doesn't speak to the left wing's abandonment of such central issues as civil rights. I maintain that if they can champion Palestinian civil rights, there is no reasonable reason that they should abandon interest in civil rights for nearly half the Israel population.

Irina... I see your point about college campuses, but few people would suggest that college campuses are microcosms of society at large. I would say that quite the opposite is true... The college experience is divorced in almost every way from the way the 'real world' operates. This is the reason for so many 'bleeding ponytails' (post sell-out hippies pining for their pre-sell-out days*) in the world.
*Definition paraphrased from my recollection of a conversation with my Brother-in Law the big-shot lexicographer.

Posted by: David | Oct 26, 2005 3:33:42 PM

I'm not sure whether I'm being cynical or naive, but I don't think that the left and right ever switched positions.

First of all, I don't think that the left ever cared all that much about the civil rights of those on the right. Ben Gurion was no less "dictatorial" in that way than Sharon. The left's condemnation of one kind of transfer and support of the other is another example. The list goes on and on.

But on the other hand, I can't help thinking that if Sharon had done (or will do?) to a similar Arab population, the right will remain completely silent about civil right abuses.

Bottom line - everyone seems to be looking out for their own cause. And that's not so unusual - we elect people who support our cause.

The real question is whether the judiciary branch which needs to remain neutral on these issues does so. They're not allowed to be politicians or even partisan. That's where the failure seems strongest. Most members of the court hold openly left wing stands.

Posted by: Dave | Oct 26, 2005 4:53:57 PM

Actually, I think there is a term for that kind of inconsistency: "situational ethics." That seems to be a frequent phenomenon in politics. The definition of a right or wrong action is based on what's more advantageous for one's own side in a given situation. It's plain intellectual dishonesty, really. Another term I heard of, from the left, is "useful fiction."

As far as taking bits from the left and right, that should be only natural, rather than taking one's views ready-to-wear off the racks. There seem to be a lot of people who decide, based on some kind of affinity, whether they're on the left or right. Once the decision is made, they accept ready-prepared opinions on dozens of issues they know little about.

Posted by: Joanne | Oct 26, 2005 5:28:49 PM

Mike: I was kind of shocked to see you blogging here...get back to work! :-)

David: The "Left" in Israel is not classicial liberal Left as we know from the USA. In fact, the "Shinui" component of Meretz used to be politically centrist (dare I write slightly right-wing) on many issues, including the economy and security. Unfortuntely, since the 1992 Labor/Meretz/Arab alignment under Rabin, the Labor party (which was definitly considerd politically centrist) veered sharply to the "security" left, under the influence of the "Kfar HaYarok" group within the Labor membership (Chaim Ramon, Yossi Beilin, Yael Dayan, and a few others).

The "ends justify the means" became the mantra of the new Israeli Left, which explains very clearly how civil rights were trampled on in order to achieve the goal of the disengagment. This explains how the media treated Sharon as the "Etrog" -- and instead of being a responsible watchdog media, they protected his corruption to further the Disengagement.

The most telling (and scary) proof is in the odious behaviour of Israel's Supreme Court, Police and Criminal Prosecution this past summer. The Public Defender's office leaked a report last week, which contains highly damning evidence against the entire system, which [illegally] criminalized the entire right-wing for the exclusive purpose of allowing the Disengagment to occur.

See the following Supreme Judiciary Activist Barak case ruling, which clearly shows the cruel double standard (read: evil) which will always go against the civil rights of the right wing, yet bend over backwards for arab terrorists.

http://muqata.blogspot.com/2005/09/muqata-quiz-2.html

Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Oct 26, 2005 6:05:36 PM

I think both right and left are fairly cemented in their own world views and rarely see outside the blinders. A left-wing person can see a Palestinian as unfairly treated and a victim of discrimination, but cannot make the same statement with regard to religious Jews, even if they are treated in injurious ways. It simply isn't part of the leftist world view. Once you lift the blinders, you become pretty disenchanted with both sides and find yourself in the middle, or on the edge.

Posted by: mirty | Oct 26, 2005 8:11:33 PM

Dave... I had to check the name twice to make sure it wasn't Ben Chorin writing. Isn't judicial reform the bee in his bonnet? :-) I want very much to disagree with most of your points (that's the idealist in me talking), but I fear you're probably right. The part about the Judiciary I'll freely admit though.

Joanne... I can almost forgive people for the 'situational ethics' and 'useful fiction' that you so aptly described. But when the watchdog (the media) and the arbiter (the judiciary)of a society both decide to give one side a pass, that scares the crap out of me. This institutional bias in both areas has become so acceptable that nobody even bothers to be embarrassed about it.

Jameel Rashid... I accept that the Israeli left is not the left I grew up with in the US. But so much of their mindset seems to be fixated on human rights... are you saying that they don't consider people on the right to be human?

Mirty... There are plenty of right wingers that are not religious. One of the very difficult things to deal with during the disengagement was how easy it was for the media and the left to pretend it was a conflict between rational humanism and fanatic messianism. The fact that most of the settlers in Gaza were religious allowed the left (which is largely, secular) to play on the growing rift between secular and religious Israelis in the name of Zionism. Judea and Samaria, while heavily religious, has plenty of secular Jews. I am hoping that when the next phase of unilateral givebacks takes place that this group will take the religion card away from the left and force a real debate of the issues.

Posted by: David | Oct 26, 2005 9:43:44 PM

David: How can you even pretened to act surprised that the Israeli left doesn't consider the rightwing to be human? (Add to rightwing, religious and chareid for extra character assasination). Well, maybe not "human" -- but definitly less deserving of basic civil rights. You want a prime example? Gush Katif. Can you picture in your head what would happen if 6000 rockets rained down on Kfar Shmaryahu? How long would it take the IDF to effectively retaliate?
The IDF and political establishment have a much higher retaliation payback score for Sederot than they ever did for Gush Katif. Why?

On a social level: An Israeli artist wins the Tel-Aviv prize for a sculpted statue of a pig wearing tefillin. Yet, when Tatiana Suskind puts up a hand drawn picture of a pig wearing a kefiya, she is imprisoned for 2 years. Why?

Kibbutz movement newspapers have been full of articles with comments such as, "I can't wait for rivers of blood of settlers to run through the streets"..."We should attack Ofra with tanks"...etc. etc. etc.

Why is this tolerated from the Israeli left, yet villified for anything with a fraction of this rabid writing from the right? Don't forget Rav Ido Elba's article on "Din Harigat Goy B'Sheat Milchama" -- a totally halachik article (not-halacha lima'aseh) based on the Rambam. He was imprisoned for 2.5 years.

You can write a sign (or used to be able to write a sign in the 80's) -- Sharon Rotzeach. Want a Go Directly to Jail card? Just write Rabin B-ged.

The Leftist Elite that run the country do not consider you an equal. At best, you'll contribute money to the economy and vote for them (well, that's their best case scenario). Yet, you'll never be worthy in their eyes of the same defensive protection that Ramat Aviv Gimmel receives, nor will you ever receive the same proteczia of their oligarchies.


Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Oct 26, 2005 10:19:27 PM

Meanwhile, homicidal Jew-hatred persists.

At Least Five Killed, 21 Hurt in Israel Explosion.

Sorry to veer off toppic, but it's hard to focus when the news keeps reminding me that we (meaning both Israel and U.S.) should be at war with the Palestinian terror groups (including the PA), and we're not.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Oct 26, 2005 10:53:57 PM

David,

You are suffering from cognitive disonance. Not surprising since you are also suffering from a severe case of propaganditis. This is also why you see yourself as a moderate. You actually believe at least a portion of the bullsh#t the Left has been feeding you all these years.

That anyone smart enough to see the truth of Arab terrorism and that it cannot be dealt with through appeasment ... and then actually subscribe to the fabulous fiction that the Left (OF ALL PEOPLE) give a rat's patoot about human rights .... well, if it wasn't so tragic it would be funny.

The Left cares about one thing. Power. The controllers of this insideous propagandistic lie of a 'philosophy' will say anything, do anything, and perpetrate any obscenity to bend people to their will and thus gain power.

It is a small thing indeed for them to sit by and watch the flagrant rape of every standard they claim as their own in the disposession of the settlers from their land and the jack booted treatment given their supporters.

Why? Because they have a higher and more important goal. The destruction of Israel. Oh I know, your lefty-touchy-feely friend down the block does not wish the destruction of Israel. Of course not. He's a dupe of the Left. As are you. Just not to the same degree.

Posted by: Scott | Oct 27, 2005 3:24:44 AM

David,

You are suffering from cognitive disonance. Not surprising since you are also suffering from a severe case of propaganditis. This is also why you see yourself as a moderate. You actually believe at least a portion of the bullsh#t the Left has been feeding you all these years.

That anyone smart enough to see the truth of Arab terrorism and that it cannot be dealt with through appeasment ... and then actually subscribe to the fabulous fiction that the Left (OF ALL PEOPLE) give a rat's patoot about human rights .... well, if it wasn't so tragic it would be funny.

The Left cares about one thing. Power. The controllers of this insideous propagandistic lie of a 'philosophy' will say anything, do anything, and perpetrate any obscenity to bend people to their will and thus gain power.

It is a small thing indeed for them to sit by and watch the flagrant rape of every standard they claim as their own in the disposession of the settlers from their land and the jack booted treatment given their supporters.

Why? Because they have a higher and more important goal. The destruction of Israel. Oh I know, your lefty-touchy-feely friend down the block does not wish the destruction of Israel. Of course not. He's a dupe of the Left. As are you. Just not to the same degree.

Posted by: Scott | Oct 27, 2005 3:42:21 AM

cont.

"Now scott, you are confusing the Israeli Left with your own left or Europe's Left."

No. You are entertaining the fiction that your 'Israeli Left' are the same bunch we see in those wonderful old movies they show the American Jews when they come on 'mission' from the States.

Those poor deluded souls are long gone. Too bad they hung on long enough to surrender the Temple Mount AFTER SO MANY OF THEM DIED TO OBTAIN IT! Poor stupid bastards. The same guys (heavily influenced by the recently liberated women of israel) who had the insane idea of living in peace with the Arabs of the land.

No your left these days is not those champions ... fantasy addicts that they regrettably were. They are the International Left. You need to get to know them ... and find out what their plans are. They aim to succeed where Stalin and Mao failed.

Posted by: Scott | Oct 27, 2005 3:53:48 AM

David, your self description as a centrist is not accurate. Being a centrist implies taking a moderate view on issues. (IMHO) You are more of what would have been called a Humphrey or Jackson Liberal back in the good old days. The Kfar Yarok crew are more analagous to the McGovern wing of the old Dems, and like them espouse an unrealistic set of policies that are neither supported by the mainstream of society nor have any way to be applied on a practical level.
But our definition of left and right is skewed anyway. In the US, for example, Howard Dean was considered a far leftist by many, when in fact, he has always been a moderately conservative Democrat whose opposition to the war in Iraq is an expression of classic American Conservatism. (Doesn't mean he wasn't something of a nut anyway)
As to the failure of the left to decry the state abuses of political and civil rights, there is no easy answer. Israel has always had a paradoxical view of open democracy; a rabidly free press, but strong anti dissent measures bordering on a police state. I think this has been a characteristic of all Israeli governments to a greater or lesser extent. When the abuses have gone too far, it has been a consequence of fear. In the case of the disengagement, the state feared that the rhetoric of the protesters was a portent of violence. Does that mean those measures were justified? Coming from the point of view of someone pro-disengagement, I have to agree with you that the answer is no. Do I think there is some greater socio-political factor at work, as some of your previous posters feel? Maybe, but I think the main thing going through the minds of the security establishment was that they were scared shitless that some kid in a "chabbakook" get-up was going to cross the line and start a real civil war. Think back to the calls of some Rabbis for soldiers to disobey orders. Think back to some of the more outrageous statements made by opponents of the withdrawal. The saddest comment I can make is that in the face of the restrained behavior of the evacuees, (who are getting royally screwed by the government), and the professional conduct of the IDF, not only were the civil rights abuses overdone, but proven clearly to have been unecessary.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch | Oct 27, 2005 5:03:43 AM

WoW!... This issue must be the true fascia of internal Israeli wrangles!

Posted by: kakarizz | Oct 27, 2005 7:45:54 AM

There is not, unfortunately, anything surprising about this. In general, political actors (individuals or parties) - on all parts of the political spectrum - tend to fall silent when their opponents' civil liberties are restricted; the only difference between the right and the left is that the latter tend to be more self-rightous about it.

Posted by: Eyal | Oct 27, 2005 10:33:13 AM

Jameel Rashid... I have a friend who insists that the left not only doesn't particularly care when religious settlers are killed in terrorist attacks, but that they privately take a certain amount of pleasure in seeing these 'obstacles to peace' get what they deserve'. I have a lot of trouble believing that the secular left would actually wage a proxy war against their political adversaries by enabling terrorism in the territories. But to hear your take on things he might not be that far off. I haven't gotten a bead on how much of your comments are your sincere beliefs and how much are meant to shock, so perhaps you could help me out in that respect.

Doctor Bean... It's not that I didn't note the attack obviously it was big news here), but I fear that we are now well into the beginning of the third intifada and I really don't want to turn what is essentially a non-political journal into an all-terror-all-the-time blog. Mind you, I have no problem if that's what people want to discuss here... but I am obviously ill equipped to be either rational or objective about the topic.

Scott... To suggest that I have been 'fed' anything for a period of years by anyone assumes that I didn't have a choice. Obviously I like to think that every opinion I have ever held popped fully formed into my head based on my personal observations and experience. But you are correct to the extent that many of our opinions are at least partial regurgitation's of 'motifs' that come from one side or the other of the political spectrum. Also, I don't think that calling me anyone's 'dupe' is at all helpful. Perhaps you could explain the 'what next' part of your theory for what the left has planned once Israel has been destroyed.

Jordan... For the record, I can clearly remember going with my parents to stuff envelopes at the McGovern for President office in New Paltz New York when I was a kid. Any liberal tendencies I have come quite naturally from my upbringing. Also, I wouldn't call the press here rabidly free. It is rabid, to be sure... but not in the sense that it is the people's watchdog (to exhaust the canine metaphor). I'm still learning about the history of the media here, but it seems there has been a long history of 'allignment' between particular political parties and news media. I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed that my other lefty readers seem to have gone silent on so important an issue. I hope it isn't for fear of being attacked, because treppenwitz has a long tradition of being a flame-free zone where ideas can be exchanged.

Kakarizz... I wouldn't call this the 'third rail' of Israeli politics... but it's close.

Eyal... How exactly does one remain silent self-rightously? ;-)

Posted by: David | Oct 27, 2005 10:50:59 AM

David:

My comments are not meant to shock at all, but IMHO the basis of whats going on in Israel today. Granted, I honestly do not believe the IDF wants a proxy war on the settlers, yet their hands are tied by the political establishment to prevent defending settlers with the same determination and methods as the IDF would use to protect first class Israelies. Do you have a real explanation for any of the questions I posed concerning the IDF's weakened attempt to protect the Jews of Gaza?

Jordan:

The Kfar Yarok crew ... espouse an unrealistic set of policies that are neither supported by the mainstream of society nor have any way to be applied on a practical level. The Kfar Yarok faction sired the Oslo accords, and with the help of Israel's media turned them into a fait accompli. They took impractical and unworkable policies and forced them onto Israeli society to the point of the "Disengagement" and the "Security Fence" being implemented by the Likud! Chaim Ramon introduced the "Security Fence" idea, and the media ran with it -- to the point that its now acceptable conventional wisdom in Israel that the Fence is one of the ultimate security solutions...despite the right-wing's initial (justified) abhorrence to it.

Israel is not a paradoxical democracy by any means. There is no free press/radio (Arutz Sheva was shut down, The Kahana newspaper editors are routinely arrested and their paper is shut down). I assume you meant we have a rabidly free leftwing press in Israel. I'm well aware of your pro-disengagement stance, yet Sharon's heavy handed implementation to the point of ignoring the Likud membership referendum vote against the disengagment (the vote was called for by Sharon himself!!) and the media's refusal to watchdog the corruption within Sharon's government is what you come to expect in a 3rd world banana republic.

Are you aware of Austria's investigation into corruption and bribery accusations against Sharon, and how the Israeli State Prosecutor's office has been ignoring Austria's request for investigative assistance? The Disengagment only took place because the media, courts, and prosecution refused to allow anything to touch Sharon. It is corrupt and unethical when such power is wielded to further any political adgenda, left OR right.

Lastly - I must disagree with you again; the IDF's behaviour was far from "professional." If they were professional, the Chief of Staff would have refused for the army to have gotten involved in the first place. Instead of letting the army get dragged into a political mud swamp, it would have been far better to stay far away from such orders. See the following for more details on actual numbers of soldiers who refused to take part: http://muqata.blogspot.com/2005/10/refusing-disengagment-orders-untold.html


.

Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Oct 27, 2005 1:16:24 PM

Jameel -- do I know you? ;)

David -- I didn't mean my comments to be racist; they are, however, a (satirically steoretypical) representation of the actual situation we have.

You are correct that this is a stereotype that I hope we're getting past, but at the moment, it's still true. I disagree, however, with saying that this might be a bad thing. I'm from a blue collar background, and am one of the first to work in a "professional" environment. I hope that doesn't sound like the "some of my best friends are Jews/Blacks/whatever" defense, but I'm trying to suggest that my natural inclination is to support the honest hard-working men and women in this (and any) society, notwithstanding the fact that my ethnic background is a lily white galicianer (Polish).

Elitism does not affect civil rights directly, but I think indirectly it does. Both elitism and supporting a minority at the cost of neglecting a majority (let alone attacking it) are about power -- and power over a large group of people (which I suppose takes more guts than being a populist dictator who opposes minorities -- that's more of a cowardly bullying attitude). Both are about exerting power and trying to spread one's sphere of influence. That may be a little trite, but I think it's true.

Posted by: Mike Miller | Oct 27, 2005 1:37:51 PM

Mike - Of course you know me. I dropped by your lab this morning to say hi.

Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Oct 27, 2005 2:49:33 PM

Oh, ok. I'm working...

Posted by: Mike Miller | Oct 27, 2005 2:51:34 PM

David,

Sorry about being blatant but duped is what duped is. How else to describe that state of believing any shred of what the Left spews. Sympathy for the devil indeed.

Who on this planet dispenses 80% of all charity? Conservatives. Who whines about welfare incessantly? The Left. While decent God fearing conservatives help true widows, orphans and the dispossesed ... the Left wants to dole out crippling family destroying welfare. One small but imminently revealing example.

As to the 'next'. Well I think Orwell or C.S. Lewis have drawn the most realistic scenarios. If the Islamists succeed in destroying Israel witht the complicity of the Left I suppose thier next move would be to survive the Islamists, who would undoubtedly turn to eat them next ... if not America's Christians. It's a toss up.

IF, and it's a big if, the Left survived the Islamist wars and after they had exterminated Christianity I suppose they would do whatever it took to gain total control of every aspect of humanity. There would be no end to it. As long as any little bunch anywhere on the planet were unslaved .... the Left would busilly be about chaining them.

The Left, as to the human view, is a nameless mindless monster somehow rolling on throughout the eons of human experience and history. It's ever morphing shape is invisible to us because it is a spiritutal entity. It is anti-creation. Death giving. Darkness flowing ore the land. It is the Father of Lies.

Why so many who claim to follow Moses are charmed by the shape shifter is truly a great mystery.

Posted by: Scott | Oct 27, 2005 4:57:46 PM

David - check this out...see how much Maariv (and their website) love us.

http://rotter.net/forum/scoops1/6418.shtml

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Oct 27, 2005 6:12:55 PM

I am getting nausea just reading all this anger that is being thrown around. I am just shaking my head in amazement. David your points are very valid but I see that instead of it inviting those who are willing to give a fair and objective opinions, it's having the opposite effect. To those who hate the "left" so much, what are their opinions on domestic issues? Should we go back to a time prior to FDR, that unless you had money, you were basically stuck without labor and health protection, without guarantee of food or subsidies to help you, without basic civil rights? These are all issues that we take for granted now and it's because the "left" fought hard for them. Was and is there corruption? Of course. I know the left comes across as self righteous and when corruption or hyprocrisy is exposed, it seems even worse. But they are all human. I know this sounds like a bunch kumbaya nonsense...sorry...it's just my opinion.

Posted by: j | Oct 27, 2005 8:19:31 PM

J:

Please don't get me wrong; I don't despise the Left as a movement at all. I just can't stand the special brand of "Leftists" in Israel who couldn't give a damn about equality and civil rights -- their only agenda is to destroy everything Jewish in Israel. Meretz has said it very clearly in the past; When they have succeeded (G-d forbid) in "ridding" Israel of the West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza -- their next target is the total secularization of Israel and removal of all its Jewish character.

Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Oct 27, 2005 8:44:24 PM

Hey JR, I know your twin. Trep...you should do the honors and introduced them.

I understand the pain, anger and frustration with the situation in Israel especially toward non-secular Jews. I totally agree and I cherry pick my agenda when it comes to Israeli affairs too. The environment/consumer/social issues in Israel...I will stick to my leftist ideology, but when it comes to security, religion, etc...I am on the right. Totally hyprocritical, I agree...but it's definitely emotions and attachment that drives me. If the same situation as in Israel was in Africa, S.America or anyplace else where indigineous peoples are involved, I would definitely be right there supporting the underdog...but again, Israel is different. I don't see the Palestinians as the only people from that land. And I just can sway in that direction. This irrational and convenient ideology may be exactly what all the finger pointing is all about...how easy I can sway from one side to the other, but at least I admit it that's where I stand and so do most of my "leftist Jewish" friends.

Posted by: j | Oct 27, 2005 9:47:01 PM

Jameel... Since you directed most of your comment to Jordan I will only say that I have seen a lot of army presence here since the attack at Tzomet haGush. Whether it remains for long remains to be seen. Also, to make such a sweeping statement as the left's "only agenda is to destroy everything Jewish in Israel" is way out of bounds. Not only is that not the agenda of the entire left side of the spectrum... but it implies that there are no other issues that are important to anyone on the left. Just as the right is very diverse and full of often-conflicting ideologies and goals... the left is not some monolithic, one-dimensional political monster.

Mike... One can also point to violent crime in America and state with statistical accuracy that the majority of it is perpetrated by blacks and Hispanics. While that may be technically an accurate statement, it is not a helpful one because it simply points a finger without looking for socio-economic causes that might push the statistics in the direction that they do. It would also ignore the fact that the majority of victims of violent crime in the US are black and Hispanic. My point is that while your statement/generalization may be accurate, it is not helpful or particularly instructive in terms of root causes and what might be done to change the status quo.

Scott... At the risk of taking a heavy hand here, I'm going to respectfully ask that you dial back the rhetoric a bit. Words like 'dupe', 'spew', 'devil', 'monster' and 'shape shifter' can't really be considered the language of higher discourse. I would also ask that if you use statistics (like the 80% one) that you provide some kind of source... and that if you suggest an end-game scenario as dire as the one you've laid out, that you provide something besides anger to support your thesis. I'm not saying you're wrong... I'm just saying that you seem to have gone out of your way to attack the left without providing anything substantial to support your ideas.

J... I agree that, unfortunately, there has been a surplus of name calling and finger pointing without a very helpful exchange of ideas. I'm starting to regret raising the subject. There used to be a fairly nice balance here between right and left wingers and it made for a lively but respectful discussion. But either this issue is too hot to handle... or the demographics on treppenwitz have shifted somewhat. People... If you are angry about something, that's legitimate. But tell me about the ideas and actions you are angry about... as well as what you think should be done to counter them. Please don't talk about 'those people' and how they are evil. The very essence of intellectual dishonesty is attacking your opponent and not his/her platform and ideas.

Posted by: David | Oct 27, 2005 10:43:07 PM

" it is not a helpful one because it simply points a finger without looking for socio-economic causes that might push the statistics "

Don't bother blocking me from your site. I give up on you.

Your statement above is a parroting of one of the Lefts fave lies.

Crime is not caused by socio-economic conditions. It is a well known statistic that black ownership of homes was higher in the sixties than it is today. Do you think that it's all that much easier for a white or brown person to get a job today in the US than it is for a black? Well it is not. Employers go out of their way to hire blacks because they have to.

Blacks are slipping down the socio-economic ladder because they have a high illigitimate birth rate. They have a high rate of illigitimate births because black men run around fathering bunches of kids and run out on the mothers. Why? Because their culture is colapsing. Why? Because the Left and their poverty pimps debauched them wholesale. Lock stock and barrel.

Yes I hate the Left. They are not a political alternative any more than robbing a bank is an economic alternative. You are using 'newspeak' ... the language of the Left. Read George Orwell. He did not write fantasies.

Regarding my statement regarding charities. This is a known fact. A brief perusal of the sites listed below will confim it.

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2004/11/23/04charityland.html

Check out The Generosity Index here:
http://www.catalogueforphilanthropy.org/cfp/generosity_index/

The red states are pretty much the top half of the list with the blue states the bottom half.

I think you are not a moderate at all. It's pretty clear you are a liberal.

Buh by.

Posted by: Scott | Oct 28, 2005 2:58:05 AM

Scott... I don't know why you think I would block you. In almost two years I have only done that to one person. I can't help thinking that you are acting a tad childishly with your name calling and threats of 'giving up' on me. You are free to read and contribute here... but please don't suggest you are doing me any favors by doing so. Long before you arrived I was more than willing to appear uninformed by publicly asking people for their opinions and advice on a broad range of topics about which I had personal doubts. This is one of the ways I air out my own ideas and test them against others to see if they make sense. quite often they don't. My replies to you were meant to gently remind you that you were not offering information that was likely to sway anyone... you were simply being angry and pointing fingers. I don't know where you go for information when you are unsure about something. I consider myself extremely lucky that I have treppenwitz. Readers from a very broad range of political, religious and ethnic backgrounds are willing to come here and occasionally discuss (and politely argue) current issues with one another. I'm sorry you have opted out because I have always felt you had valuable things to add to the discussion.

Posted by: David | Oct 28, 2005 7:21:22 AM

David -

As I wrote above previously, I don't think its the policy of the IDF to cause proxy war, yet it's the default from the government. Why did the IDF refuse to act with the same "nechishut" whenever rockets rained down on Gush Katif, as they did when one hit Sderot?

Ran Cohen of Meretz clearly said that after Israel's "rids itself" of all occupied territory, then the next major battle will be making Israel, "Midinat Kol Ezracheha".

The Left is Israel can have other social agendas which are worthwhile, but they clearly say that the "Disengagement" justifies their tolerating everything else (read: trampling of civil rights of others, lower social services, capitalism over socialism, overlooking Sharon's corruption).

Sane and intellectually honest Leftists in Israel are not easy to find. (I know a bunch, but they are a very small group).

Its easy to bunch the "Left" into one group, since its an entire population range that is never criticized by the media. For example, have you ever seen any criticism in HaAretz about the wall anarchists (Leftists) who violently appose the police/IDF and throw rocks at them (usually wounding one or 2 every time)? When a magvnik loses his eye to a leftist's rock at a wall demonstration, do you hear any condemnation of the leftists or arabs who threw the rock? Have you ever heard a condemnation from Meretz/Gush Shalom/Women in Black/Machsom Watch/Labor Party/IBA radio/Any Israeli newspaper of this violence?

See the flipside: Yesterday near Eilon Moreh, some rightwing youths allegedly threw rocks at the IDF. The entire Israeli media reported it, and keeps reporting it. Moetzet Yesha came out with an official condemnation.

Why do you think that is? Could it be that the Left in Israel feels its morally superior, and it can do no wrong?

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted by: Jameel Rashid | Oct 28, 2005 8:30:39 AM

Jameel... You make some excellent points. I can't understand or explain the silence from the left for the sort of behavior that would draw sharp condemnation if it had been done by someone on the right. That question was the gist of my post. I was hoping someone might be able to come up with some reasonable explanation for at least some of the perceived imbalance. I appreciate the fact that you presented acts and facts without calling names.

Posted by: David | Oct 28, 2005 9:05:47 AM

Jameel...I can't answer why there is a prejudice against the orthodox in Israel (and in the Diaspora too), except that maybe it's a comfort issue. I think that many secular people look at folks who are religious, whether they are Christian, Jewish or Moslem as ones with high morals and ethics and when it is realized that their morals and ethics aren't any greater or better than their own, it not only seems hyprocritical but it's a big disappointment. You would never expect a Born Again Christian to be violent or do drugs or cheat but of course it happens and the same with orthodox Jews, Moslems, Buddahists, etc. So there is this mix of respect and repulsion, probably more to do with, one's own confusion.

Perhaps the reason why the Left are perceived as being self righteous, is that people have higher expectation for them and their actions. Sorta the same way the world seems to hold Israel accountable.

Posted by: Jaime | Oct 28, 2005 7:25:31 PM

Well I'll be!

I take it back. You are not a liberal. I apologise for saying you are duped. I should be more tactful.

I AM angry. I shout because folks have their fingers in their ears. I'm angry because the Left stole several years of my life back in my twenties, filled me full of lies, sent me down a self destructive path in life and debauched my nation.

My spiritual advisors tell me I need to work through my anger. Been telling me this since I was six or so. It is so much a part of my makeup that it is a constant struggle.

You have indeed been very gracious and if you don't mind me being around I would like to contribute.

If you can look past my anger you will see that I have indeed answered your questions. Israelis are always standing around with a nonplussed look on their faces, hands in the air, with the eternal WHY? HOW? It should be clear to you by now that there is a conspiracy on this planet to wipe you off the face of it.

I spent three weeks in Israel in '03. Everywhere I went I kept telling Israelis that I would talk with to stop watching CNN. It is nothing more than a propaganda org. BBC is worse. There IS a conspiricy. It is exemplfied by the Left but that is just it's public face. I don't know who these guys are and perhaps really they are just the tools of the Devil and don't know themselves who's running things.

The confusion of Secular Israelis is understandable but when Jews who actually believe in Hashem express wonderment at the never ending array of death and hate constantly poured upon them .... well I can only shake my head. Perhaps there is just some form of collective blindess in the genes.

The Left wishes to remake the world. They see it as a failed system and believe they have a better idea. They actually think the world will be a better place when all nations are destroyed and they hold in thier minds a sort of Star Treck idea of a Great Federation. Do you think Rodenberry was just writing stories? He was programming a generation.

This new world the Left invisions will be godless, genderless, nationless and rigidly controlled. This has all been tried before. It was called the French Revolution. Liberty Equality Fraternity. Right. What they got was anarchy and Napoleon. It is just plain foolishness to believe in what the Left believes in and the most powerful directors of this conspiracy don't believe it. Any more than Lenin believed Marks. It was simply a path to power.

The US had a revolution much the same as France. It did not devolve into anarchy and dictatorship. It instead bloomed into a great and good nation because it's people had a strong religious foundation to their psyches and they understood freedom and responsibility. It was not socialism that worked this miracle. It was good religion and freedom.

Israelis should take note. Your little nation is so devided surely it cannot stand much longer. The model is there and it works.

Not that I mean the present state of my nation as any sort of example. Our glory days are gone as we too have lost the idea. The Left has succeeded in deviding us through it's lie of Cultural Diversity first and nationalism not at all. It has slain the spirit of many of our citizens through wellfare and debauchery. It had taught us to love ourselves first and above all else and thus we indulge ourselves to the point of self destruction. It has misused the Constitution to exclude religion from public life. It has put judges in office who legislate from the bench rather than hold to thier constitutional mandate.

ANYWAY ... please look hard at how the Left has infiltrated your thought processes with irrational and false ideas.

Posted by: Scott | Oct 28, 2005 8:50:39 PM

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