Friday, June 4, 2010

Tribalism

Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent post explaining why so many American Jews from different political beliefs are united when it comes to Israel:
I can't express how many emails I've received over the last week, from self-identified Jewish readers (almost exclusively), along the lines of: I'm a true progressive, agree with you on virtually every issue, but hate your views on Israel. When it comes to Israel, we see the same mindset from otherwise admirable Jewish progressives such as Anthony Weiner, Jerry Nadler, Eliot Spitzer, Alan Grayson, and (after a brief stint of deviation) Barney Frank. On this one issue, they magically abandon their opposition to military attacks on civilians, their defense of weaker groups being bullied and occupied by far stronger factions, their belief that unilateral military attacks are unjustified, and suddenly find common cause with Charles Krauthammer, The Weekly Standard, and the Bush administration in justifying even the most heinous Israeli crimes of aggression.

It will never cease to be mystifying (at least to me) that they never question why they suddenly view the world so differently when it comes to Israel. They never wonder to themselves:
I had it continuously drummed into my head from the time I was a small child, from every direction, that Israel was special and was to be cherished, that it's fundamentally good but persecuted and victimized by Evil Arab forces surrounding it, that I am a part of that group and should see the world accordingly. Is this tribal identity which was pummeled into me from childhood -- rather than some independent, dispassionate analysis -- the reason I find myself perpetually sympathizing with and defending Israel?

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