web analytics
July 30, 2014 / 3 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Blogs
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



In Praise of Nationalism

If we compare Western and Islamic cultures, we find that universalist attitudes are common in the former and rare in the latter.
patriotism

Recently, I wrote about universalizing the Holocaust and how it obscures an important lesson for the Jewish people: that we cannot place the responsibility for our defense in other hands.

A reader has pointed me to another piece which made a similar point, but expressed in in more general terms. Daniel Greenfield (‘Sultan Knish’) wrote this (but read the whole article):

The Jewish response to the Holocaust fell into these two categories. Never Again and Teach Tolerance. And the two responses were segmented by population. Never Again became the credo of Israel and Teach Tolerance became the credo of the Western Diaspora.

There were many Israelis who believed in teaching tolerance and many Western Jews who believed in self-defense, but for the most part the responses were structural because the divide between Nationalists and Universalists predated the Holocaust. …

Never Again made the Holocaust a teachable moment for Jews. Teach Tolerance made it a teachable moment for all mankind. The Nationalist and the Universalist draw two opposite lessons from the Holocaust. The Nationalists focus on resistance while the Universalists focus on persecution. The Nationalist aspires to be a ghetto fighter while the Universalist aspires to be a good German. …

The Holocaust did not heal the divide between the Universalists and the Nationalists; it deepened it. The Universalists still insisted that a better world was coming and that the Holocaust made it more urgent for us to work toward it, while the Nationalists saw the world as a cycle of civilizations that had to be survived, with no respite, except for the religious who awaited a final transformation of the world and everything in it.

The nationalist/universalist distinction is a good one, much more illuminating of today’s war between the Jews than the more usual ones of Right vs. Left or Conservative vs. Liberal.

As Greenfield notes, the universalist believes in progress — he sees human society as perfectible, and indeed, moving in the direction of a better, more humane world. He often believes that the main obstacles to progress are barriers to communication; all humans are at bottom similar with similar wants and needs (mostly economic), and if we only understood each other we could work together for the common good. He prefers to avoid making moral judgments on other cultures.

The nationalist understands several things that the universalist does not:

  1. Cultures may have very different ideas of what a desirable world looks like — it isn’t just a communications problem.
  2. It’s irrational to make unilateral concessions to an adversary with opposing objectives (the universalist doesn’t believe that others really have opposing objectives)
  3. History tends to be cyclical. The idea of continuous progress is a myth.
  4. It’s hard enough to perfect one’s own society; it’s foolhardy to try to do it for the rest of the world.

If we compare Western and Islamic cultures, we find that universalist attitudes are common in the former and rare in the latter. But of course there are plenty of nationalists among westerners. Compare the nationalist Benjamin Netanyahu with the universalist Shimon Peres.

I think this distinction is more fundamental than the right/left divide. It is also very firmly ensconced in our psyches, and it is not easy to change. How else can you explain the so-called “architects of Oslo” who — after several wars and thousands of lives lost to terrorism — continue to think that a two-state agreement with the PLO will bring peace? Or the 100 American Jewish “leaders” who signed a recent letter calling for Israel to make ‘painful’ concessions?

Other things being equal, a struggle between universalists and nationalists will favor the nationalists, because they understand that their goals are different from those of their adversaries. Israel’s enemies are ‘nationalists’ in this sense, even if they are Islamists. They are happy to pocket concessions, give back nothing, and make further demands.

The universalist is easy prey to doubts. After all, he thinks, if the other side believes in its position so strongly, maybe there’s something to it? So Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf comments on Amira Hass’ controversial article which applauds Arab stone-throwers with one of the most craven statements I’ve heard in a long time:

…it’s not for Israelis to set the rules for the ways Palestinians should challenge our oppression, especially at times when Israeli society clearly lacks any interest in changing the status quo. Our role is to end the occupation.[my emphasis]

A perfect example of a universalist trying so hard to ‘understand’ that he more or less accepts his enemies’ ‘right’ to bash his brains out!

Visit Fresno Zionism.

About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “In Praise of Nationalism”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
U.S. President Barack Obama escorts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out of the Oval Office
Pirated Phone Conversation of Obama Slamming Bibi from Unverified Source
Latest Blogs Stories
Douglas Goldstein

This week Doug speaks with David S. Rose, entrepreneur, former angel investor, and founder of Gust.

WW making licht

Israeli’s are a religious people; even secular Jews believe that God is active in this world.

Israeli-flag

The beauty of a Jew is his relationship to other Jews and his involvement with Medinat Yisrael.


A ceasefire not only gives Hamas a victory, it will destroy the morale of the IDF and the country.

So-called US military aid props up US military industries while disposing of surplus supplies.

If Hamas would simply stop firing rockets into Israel, all the carnage would stop instantly.

Doug’s interview with engineer and personal finance blogger Len Penzo.

In Islam, there is no such thing as peace with accursed dhimmis as the Muslims refer to us infidels.

A reader claimed the Disengagement from Gaza was good, because it reduced the number of murdered Israelis. Examining the numbers tells a different story…

JoeSettler points out that most Gazans want to leave, and most Jews want to go back home to Gush Katif. How about a solution that actually resolves the conflict?

These are the photos of our soldiers (and a citizen) killed in action during the current IDF ground operation in Gaza.

Jameel went on a pizza run down south, and translated a letter from a soldier on the border, along with some of his own personal observations…

Rabbi Kahane spoke of transfer, because it was what the Torah spoke of.

Her message to her soldier son on the battlefield: “Complete the Mission! Sayyem et HaMissimah!”

JoeSettler contemplated some new El Al slogans like: “El Al – Our pilots are trained in evasive maneuvers”…. Let’s hear your new El Al Slogans…

More Articles from Vic Rosenthal
A map of Israel showing Gaza, Gedera and Tel-Aviv

Expecting the IDF to mount a ground attack against Hamas in Gaza? There may be a better approach…

It looks from here like a really bad weekend in Israel. Some 40-odd rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel within 48 hours, as far as Beersheva. Arabs rioted throughout the country, throwing rocks and firebombs at any available Jewish target. They systematically destroyed the light rail tracks, stations and equipment in Arab neighborhoods […]

The problem is a culture whose essence is to negate ours.

The teenagers in the video, then, were either injured non-seriously by rubber bullets, or faking for the camera.

The liberal wing of the Jewish establishment in the US is following the same path as it did in the 1940s.

When will the State of Israel decide the Palestinian Arabs are a hostile enemy and treat them as such?

The fact that she chooses a boycott of Israeli universities as an example of a just limitation of academic freedom is a perfect example of the defect in her approach.

Israel is an independent sovereign state, and it should not be treated as a banana republic.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/in-praise-of-nationalism/2013/04/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: