March 28, 2010

We are all Israel now...

William A. Jacobson, We Are All Bibi Netanyahu Now:

The reaction to Obama's treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ("Bibi") Netanyahu was as strong if not stronger than I have seen in the comments here and elsewhere in the blogosphere on any other issue. (I didn't let through a number of over-the-top comments.)

Why this reaction? I bet a lot of the people having this reaction only had heard of Bibi Netanyahu in passing on the news.

Who would care if our President left a foreign leader to wait in the White House while the President supposedly went to have dinner with his family? Who would care if our President broke protocol by refusing to be photographed and hold a press conference with a foreign leader? Who would care if that foreign leader left tail tucked between his legs, humiliated at home at the treatment by the leader of the free world?

Part of it certainly is that the foreign leader in question was the leader of Israel, which is tremendously popular with Americans. In Israel the clear majority of Americans see a democratic nation surrounded by implacable enemies who also are our enemies, doing what it takes to survive and thrive. In so many historical, religious and political ways Israel is our kindred spirit, more than just one among many nations....

It's more than just being a "kindred spirit." Israel is us. Israel and the United States are the only two countries that are ideas. Anyone who "gets" America's idea as expressed in the founding documents, is an American. As much so as someone whose ancestors arrived on the Mayflower. If I say someone is "un-American," you would not imagine that I'm criticizing their skin color, or accent, or lack of long residence in our country.

It's much the same with Israel. Jews from obscure corners of the world, with all sorts of languages and skin colors can make Aliyah and become Israelis.

Both countries have been refuges for the oppressed. And both have been founded by those who fled the control of their "betters" in the European elites. Fled and used only their own strength and courage to build a country from nothing. Both countries were toughened by fighting against savages, and by taming a harsh landscape.

Both countries are hated by Leftists, because Leftism is about taming people, and putting them under control of self-styled elites.

But there is a deeper similarity. It is my suspicion that much of what people believe and do is not because of rational thought, but is a reflection of spiritual struggles fought on a mostly unconscious level of symbols. We are all on a sort of path that can only be travelled in two directions: Towards God, or away from God and towards self-worship. And both America and Israel symbolically represent movement towards God. Not only in the religious elements of both country's formation, but symbolically in their demand that we consider an idea to be something bigger than ourselves; something for which we might even have to sacrifice our lives.

As I've bored you by mentioning before, I think that most "Leftism" today is not really Leftism at all, that the quasi-religious beliefs such as socialism or liberalism that were the old core of Leftist thinking have drained away, leaving nothing. Leftism today is mostly nihilism. The old-time Left didn't automatically hate America or Israel, because they considered it normal to believe in an idea—they just had a different idea. To the nihilist, belief is an affront!

And more than an affront. Almost an assault. They know somewhere deep in their hearts that they were made for something bigger, and the knowledge angers them.

Posted by John Weidner at March 28, 2010 8:39 AM
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