web analytics
October 23, 2016 / 21 Tishri, 5777
Sponsored Post
The Migdal Ohr Mishpachton MISHPACHTONIM – Israel’s Children are Your Children.

Support Migdal Ohr by purchasing letters in the Torah Scroll that will be written in honor of Rabbi Grossman’s 70th Birthday.

Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Left’s Critique Of Jewish Settlement Doesn’t Stop At Green Line

The standard critique of Israel’s settlement movement from the Zionist left has been to point out that attempting to assert sovereignty over the West Bank could lead to an Arab majority. The argument is that this would enable the Palestinians to succeed in wiping out the Jewish state using demography rather than invasion or terror. It’s a point of view many Israelis share, but the Palestinian refusal to make peace has continued to frustrate the wishes of most Jews for a two-state solution.

But the dislike of the settlers goes a lot deeper than mere demographic arguments. As Gershom Gorenberg’s piece in The New York Times’s Sunday Review section this week illustrates, the passion to buttress the Jewish presence in any part of the country, whether on the wrong side of the Green Line or not, is what is really bugging the left.

Gorenberg, a veteran Israeli journalist whose animus for the settlers and Israel’s government have made him a regular presence in liberal American publications, takes his familiar attacks on the right to new levels in a piece in which he claims efforts to ensure a Jewish majority in the Israeli city of Acre as well as the Galilee are no more defensible than the settlers’ attempts to establish Israeli beachheads in the West Bank.

For Gorenberg, the push to ensure that parts of pre-June 1967 Israel will not be lost to the Arabs is also “racist.” Indeed, he worries that even if a two-state solution forces some of the Jews currently living in the West Bank to relocate inside the Green Line, they will take their Zionist fervor with them – leading to conflicts that will replicate the “price tag” attacks on Arabs that leftists see as the inevitable product of settler ideology.

This distorted argument not only turns liberal Israeli arguments upside down, it also betrays the mixed feelings some on the left seem to have for Zionism.

As with many accounts of events on the West Bank that treat the rare outbreaks of Jewish violence against Arabs as the only story worth reporting, Gorenberg’s attempt to paint all settlers with the brush of the “price tag” crimes is both factually incorrect as well as unfair.

Anti-Jewish violence in the West Bank is a daily occurrence that liberal journalists either choose to ignore or rationalize as justified, because they see the presence of Israelis in the territories as inherently illegitimate. The same mindset has led the press to treat a regrettable case of arson against a mosque inside Israel as a harbinger of pogroms against Arab citizens.

As with the West Bank, far more numerous incidents – especially in the Galilee – in which Israeli Arabs have targeted Jews are treated as either unimportant or just ignored.

Rather than the malevolent attitudes of West Bank settlers infecting ordinary Israelis, as Gorenberg fears, what has actually happened in the last 18 years since the Oslo Accords empowered Fatah terrorists in the territories is that Israeli Arabs have become radicalized. The political culture of the people who now dub themselves Palestinians with Israeli citizenship has become a reflection of the hatred and rejectionism that characterizes the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

Gorenberg’s disgust for attempts to reinforce Jewish numbers in the Galilee also contradicts a basic tenant of the Israeli left. For decades, even those who agreed Jews ought to have the right to live in the West Bank because it is the heart of the historic Jewish homeland argued that it made more sense to put more Jewish resources into the battle to maintain a Jewish majority in the Galilee and the Negev.

If such efforts are now to be treated as being as illegitimate as the campaign to restore Jewish life to Judea and Samaria, it is difficult to see how Gorenberg imagines Israel can retain a Jewish majority.

This reflects the cognitive dissonance on the left. Though writers like Gorenberg claim to support the idea of a democratic Israel with a Jewish majority, the anti-Zionist logic that brands the Jewish presence in the West Bank as racist colonialism can just as easily be applied to any spot inside the Green Line.

Israel’s enemies view Tel Aviv as being as much an illegal settlement as the most remote hilltop encampment of right-wing Jewish extremists. The fact that Gorenberg views Jewish community-building in Acre and the Galilee with the same disgust as West Bank settlements illustrates all too clearly just how out of touch he is with both reality and the views of Israel’s moderate Zionist majority.

Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine with responsibility for managing the editorial content of its Contentions website – where this originally appeared –  as well as serving as chief politics blogger.

Jonathan S. Tobin

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.

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.

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Imported and Older Comments:

  1. Ben II says:

    the left is filled w worthless communists & democrats — their opinion means nothing.

Current Top Story
Lockheed M-21 Blackbird and D-21 Drone
Israel Will Not Sign On to US Regulation of Israeli Drone Exports
Latest Indepth Stories
The Holocaust Memorial Center

Too many Holocaust memorials have lost their original identity and transitioned to an institution which devotes itself to both Holocaust and genocide, or simply to global genocide

B'Tselem exective director Hagai El-Ad

There is nothing B’Tselem would like more than a binding Security Council resolution that imposes unfavorable terms on Israel, satisfying B’Tselem’s political vision.

Martin Sherman

B’tselem is not a human rights organization but a politically partisan group for which “human rights” are a pretext for advancing its radical political agenda—Israeli withdrawal


To even contemplate a factual demonstration proving otherwise would bespeak a profound level of Jewish national insecurity. But the issue must be addressed.

What is missing from this and most other analyses of the failure to negotiate a settlement is a full appreciation of Palestinian recalcitrance as the primary cause of that failure.

So we dance, and do hakafot with the Torah in appreciation and gratitude for the divine gift to the Jewish people.

Trump has flaws, no doubt, but the vicious campaign against him is so disgusting that I can’t stand it, and the mainstream Jewish community is as stupid as ever.

By rejecting Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, UNESCO, as a world body, opened the first shot in the world’s war against Jerusalem, as prophesized ago millennia ago

Trump may be losing America’s support, but some of his more ardent followers are already blaming the Jews.

When it comes to Israel, we know the majority of American Jews are not one-issue voters. But the assumption is that Israelis view American elections solely through the prism of their own security

“The PLO was dreamt up by the KGB, which had a penchant for ‘liberation’ organizations.” — Ion Mihai Pacepa, former chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Romania.

In 2015, Israelis suffered about 10 terrorist attacks every day. Adjusted for population size, the violence would equate to a staggering 150,160 attacks in a year in the US (roughly 411 per day)

“Interesting” in my book means profound, provocative and positive. Here’s my top 20 list of this year’s “Interesting Jews”

Israel largely has Morocco to thank for its victory over its Arab enemies in the 1967 Six Day War, according to revelations by a former Israeli military intelligence chief.

It is well past time to boycott Al Jazeera and its social media site AJ+. Distorting history is just part of the problem. Incitement must have consequences.

More Articles from Jonathan S. Tobin
Marc Zell (second from right), head of the Israeli branch of Republicans Overseas, at the opening of Trump’s outreach campaign to American voters in Israel.

When it comes to Israel, we know the majority of American Jews are not one-issue voters. But the assumption is that Israelis view American elections solely through the prism of their own security


The debate will be remembered for discussing both Trump and Bill Clinton’s sexual history as well as for the GOP candidate’s unprecedented threat to jail his opponent if he wins.

That many who condemned the impact of the death of outrage regarding Clinton are now willing to rationalize Trump’s egregious behavior makes their hypocrisy even worse than their liberal counterparts.

Not every moment was bad for Trump. But while Trump has prided himself on being a strong counter-puncher in debates this time the familiar routine fell flat.

Greenblatt re-positioning the ADL from a centrist position for pro-Israel activism to one openly opposing the democratically-elected government of Israel is a sea change of enormous importance.

With so much power residing in one individual, a president’s health, let alone illness, is no small matter.

Since 1967, Arab reconciliation with Israel has been frustrated by Palestinian rejectionism, a luxury Cairo and Riyadh can no longer afford because of the nuclear deal and rise of Islamist terrorism

Lawfare at its most litigious: Abbas and the Palestinian Authority have determined the best way to aid their people is to sue Britain over the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/left%e2%80%99s-critique-of-jewish-settlement-doesn%e2%80%99t-stop-at-green-line/2011/11/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: