Friday, August 06, 2004

Column: Post-Zionism and Multilateralism

When I was a young boy I received a very special ring. It was a reward for participating in certain extracurricular activities in Hebrew school. It represented for me all the pride I felt in being Jewish. It was silver and had a blue stone overlaid with a silver Star of David. I felt that with this ring I was now connected with something ancient and yet very much alive in the young State of Israel -- Jewish strength, pride, mutual defense, brotherhood, and faith.

Mostly, as I grew older, I had only a marginal interest in what was happening in Israel with the exception of the wars and to a lesser extent Sadat’s visit to Yerushalayim and the withdrawal from the Sinai. However, later, my interest began to slowly grow and with the war in Lebanon I began to see a shift in the way the media in America was treating Israel that disturbed me. I felt the criticisms were biased unfairly against Israel which had been forced into yet another defensive war.

When I came to Israel I knew very little about Israeli society, politics, history, and religion. I had assumed like many that if everyone wasn’t religious they were at least respectful if not traditional. I knew about the kibbutzim and had a vague sense of socialist ideology but didn’t understand that there could be people in Israel who felt more allegiance to that utopian ideal than to the Jewish faith, much less that they could be openly antagonistic. The fact that this ideology was not limited to the kibbutzim but firmly embedded in the ruling elite was even more of an eye opener.

I had always imagined Ben Gurion as a kind grandfather in the mold of my own -- a man of faith -- a yid. That image was intentionally nurtured amongst American Jews who might take issue with the real Ben Gurion -- the one who openly sought and promised to bring about the demise of religion in Israel in the pursuit of his socialist ideals.

By the time I arrived Ben Gurion was long gone and with the collapse of the Soviet Union not far off, the end of socialist ideology in Israel was on the horizon. It was the Soviet Union that represented the power and hope of the realization of the utopian dream and with its fall the writing was on the wall. One might think that with this fall there would be little appetite for new utopian ideologies. One might think that those who had aligned against the faithful might feel a bit of remorse and humility. That unfortunately did not happen.

Socialist ideology has morphed into post-Zionism and is now firmly entrenched in the same ruling leftist elite of the past and particularly in the all-powerful Supreme Court. I mentioned post-Zionism in my last article about the Supreme Court but did not explain it at all sufficiently.

The following is from an article explaining post-Zionism by the World Zionist Organization:

"The central contention of post-Zionism is that the idea of a Jewish state with its unique calendar, flag, anthems, rhythms, ethos, and history is atavistic, a throwback to the romantic nationalism of the nineteenth century that begat, among other things, fascism and Nazism. In the modern world of the Internet, the global economy, European integration, and growing transnational interdependence, this ethnic particularism is hopelessly retrograde. The advanced peoples of the West are surrendering sovereignty. Israel should, too."

The "advanced peoples of the West" is a reference to the nations of the EU who have given much of their sovereign power over to an unelected bureaucracy. That bureaucracy now has the say in economic and foreign policy matters. An International Court looks to gain power and jurisdiction.

One of the identified reasons for the growing anti-Americanism in Europe is that America stubbornly remains sovereign in all matters. Multilateralists look to bridge gaps with the EU and conservatives warn of any loss of sovereignty or dilution of democracy.

I bring the issue of multilateralism in America up for the purpose of perspective. Imagine a radical American multilateralism that sought to have America swallowed up in full within an EU styled utopia. What would you call that ideology?

Seeing things from here I would call it "post-Americanism."


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