April 24, 2012

Progressive Zionists and the Chilling of Intellectual Expression

Another excellent post over at Israel Thrives about Progressive Zionists, asking what do they stand for? Where I sadly concur is with the following:
But perhaps the worst disservice that progressive-left Jews do to their fellow Jews is in the stifling of discussion and debate. Because progressive Jews have absorbed much of the Palestinian narrative, they find all sorts of topics verboten.
They won't discuss the centuries of Jewish dhimmitude under the boot of Islamic imperialism. They won't discuss the recent construction of Palestinian identity, its connection to Soviet Cold War politics, and how this is an Arab people with a Roman name that refers to Greeks. They won't discuss Arab and Palestinian Koranically-based racism as the fundamental source of the conflict. They won't discuss the Palestinian theft and appropriation of Jewish history. They won't discuss "Pallywood." They won't discuss the historical connections between the Nazis, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Palestinian national movement. They won't discuss the perpetual refusal of the Palestinian-Arabs to accept a state for themselves in peace next to the Jewish one. They won't discuss the Arab-Palestinian indoctrination of children with Jew hatred. And they won't discuss Human rights violations against women, children, and Gay people in the Muslim Middle East. And they would much rather discuss the virtually non-existent white supremacist threat over the real threat of the rise of radical Islam throughout the Muslim world under the false banner of "Arab Spring."
I have been planning to write about a recent study, The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California, by the California Association of Scholars, that illustrates, among other things, how one sided intolerance results from what is an activist approach, rather than a scholarly approach, to learning about controversial issues.

This helps explain why the narrative of the anti-Israeli proponents and many Progressive Zionists is disproportionately Palestinian to the exclusion of others. The activist desires social "justice" for the oppressed and includes an expectation that disadvantaged groups have the right not to be offended (except for Jews) in the educational and political landscape. It allows for reaction to ordinary insults and disagreeable opinions to be classified as intolerable acts of bigotry.

But it gets worse. According to the report, activist politics, "sharply lowers the quality of academic teaching, analysis, and research," and results in "troubling deficiencies" in student knowledge and achievement, "an inevitable consequence of any substantial influence of radical politics in academia, because its characteristic interests and modes of thought are the very antithesis of those that should prevail in academic life."

The report maintains that colleges are the primary breeding ground in the USA for anti-Western and anti-Zionist values to take hold, as compared to other institutions where a different orientation prevails. Not to mention, when one half of the spectrum of political thought is virtually missing in action, how can the education itself be considered competent?

John Stuart Mill famously said: "He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that." Can we really understand the case for one side without thoroughly grasping the case for the other side? Each answers and helps define the other.

Here, the result is that many students are woefully uniformed in terms of issues like the Arab-Israeli conflict, US and Western civilization, and matters of domestic and international affairs. Instead, there is reliance on a singular ideological narrative, full of holes, where true believers attempt to outdo one another to prove bona fides, as those that dare to scrutinize the dogma are stigmatized.

My view is that Progressive-Zionists will have to resolve the competition between the two competing interests. It seems they are so afraid of doing something wrong that they cannot act in furtherance of what is right.


  1. I am going to chew on this one a bit, School, before responding.

    The main reason for that is because it is a beautiful Friday afternoon and I see beer and beisbol in my near future.

    Have a terrific weekend!


  2. "Analyzing the dogma."

    That's a good way of putting it.

    Pointing out unspoken assumptions and pointing out what "Progressive Zionists" simply will not discuss.

    The bottom line as far as I am concerned is that these "Progressive Zionists" simply have nothing to say. The reason for this is that they are more interested in maintaining their "progressive" bona fides than they are in addressing real issues.

    In this way, they make an enemy of "conservatives," which they define as anyone who disagrees with them, while they turn a blind eye to radical Islam.

    Sad. Sad. Sad.

  3. Of course I do not like that they would rather impugn character than address the issues, but this tactic is one that is adopted by many on each side.

    Lately, as I observe, I notice how little each side is able to acknowledge the validity of any points that come from outside the narrative.

    I do not envy Progressive Zionists, however. They have the dubious task to reconcile the very conflict in their name between progressivism and Zionism, of which the former has far greater numbers and members that are anti-Israel and anti-Jew.

    One way to show they are legit to the larger group is to be zealous about Obama and demean any criticism. Another is hyper-sensitivity to "Islamophobia" that is over the top. A phobia is an irrational fear and the phenomenon of aggressive Islam is no figment of the imagination.

    Like many of the people they oppose, they overgeneralize no less about responsibility for wrongs, and are no less prone to use the weapon of demonization. All advocate for an ideology, which makes them uninterested in truth except that which furthers the prescribed narrative.

    That's my impression of the matter this day.

  4. Part of the problem is that in their hyper-sensitivity to "Islamophobia" they end up ceding the liberal position to the conservative-right.

    It is the conservative-right that is standing up for liberal values in the Middle East, in its opposition to radical Islam, while the progressive-left makes excuses for that movement, the very political movement that opposes everything that liberalism stands for.

    It is truly a world turned upside down.

  5. Jewish dhimmitude" is the moral and intellectual yoke of the millenium of the Christan-Muslim oppression that in the combination of the Jewish scribe tradition created the educated slave ready to humour the ruler or the revolution masses(to the situation).Today the revolution masses demand the anti-Israel(anti-semitic as always) serving and Jewish dhimmies become anti-semites.Let this Diasphora scum rot, but they swarm in Israel,that is the menace to the Jewish future!