Monday, September 15, 2008

A broad spectrum of Jewish views

From time to time, I'm dismissed as one among many Jews. Of course, I am merely one among many, but the implication is that my view is hardly representative. The person implying this almost always means that someone like Norman Finkelstein should be included in debate, even though most Jews find him deplorable. There are a lot of problems with this, including that this "wide spectrum" of Jewish views is expected to speak out against the supposed abuses of the Jewish establishment - suggesting that there must be a silent majority of Jews who disagree with the vocal majority Jews. If the vocal majority were actually an insignificant minority, why would there be a need for anyone to speak out? If the silent majority aren't actually a tiny minority, why the need to include them as representative of anything? I thought I'd present a more honest spectrum of Jewish thought. I'm maybe one standard deviation to the left of center. I think I'm probably a fair bit more radical on anti-antisemitism than most Jews, and because of a specific focus on that I don't always speak out against Israeli abuses as often as some others (it's simply a matter of focus), but when it comes to Israel I'm pretty solidly among the Jewish left. Yaacov Lozowick is maybe one standard deviation to the right:
There are a small number of well-known Jewish settlements on the West Bank - Yitzhar, Tapuach and the Jewish Quarter of Hebron spring to mind as the most obvious, but there are a few more, only slightly less malicious places - which are dominated by violent evil men, thugs of the worst degree. These thugs terrorize their Palestinian neighbors, and do so mostly unrestrained by the Israeli security forces who are in charge of those areas. The thugs are a blemish on our face and defilers of our honor, but the long-standing inability or unwillingness of our security forces to stop them is even worse, as they have the power to do so, but don't use it.
So, the vast majority of Jews lie - this should be unsurprising to any serious anti-racist activist - within a fairly reasonable spectrum of reasonableness. Instead of trying to pit me against other Jews as the representative of collective Jewish thought, which is how the demand for additional Jewish voices functions, someone who doesn't know if my views are representative of other Jews should probably settle for dealing with me as an individual.

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