Here's another example of the hard left's willingness to play with facts in the service of ideology. The Geneva Initiative group have been running spots implying that Palestinians are eager to make peace with us, while it's the Israelis who've been interfering. There's nothing remarkable about this - it's the consensus in most Western media, with some notable exceptions - but these are Israelis trying to convince the majority of Israelis who know better because we've been closely watching the conflict all our lives, and we know people will die if we make the wrong decisions. Well, according to this story, the authors of the campaign haven't been careful with their facts, and the top Palestinian leaders they've been quoting object to being quoted.
Neither of these stories is particularly important on its own, though they fit a pattern. The hard left assumes the worst about us and sees themselves as the last bulwark of sanity, the lone campaigners who bear the burden of saving us from ourselves.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the NIF and the organizations it supports. If you follow their newsletters, fund-raising pitches and publications, you'll easily be convinced that Israeli democracy is in dire straights, seriously threatened by forces that would do away with it were it not for them who are battling for our soul. The possibility that Israeli society is merely being its usual raucous democratic self seems not to occur to them, just as in previous years it was obvious to them that they alone understand and cherish human rights, or peace, or social well-being, or whatever value they choose to be the defenders of. In spite of their being highly educated people, they can't seem to appreciate that the rest of us may understand and indeed share the same values, while wishing to organize our communal life along different priorities
Yesterday there was a news item about how the ministry of education intends to move funds from civic studies to Jewish studies - a classic case of prioritizing. The item was sparse on data, so I have no idea what the ministry's intention really is. The NIF responded via Twitter:
Oh that's not good: Education Ministry cuts high school funding for civics courses in favor of Jewish studiesI twittered back:
@NewIsraelFund says this is a bad thing. Israelis know so much about their heritage, you see. If only...To which the NIF responded:
Israelis have many heritages, but that won't help them get along. But this will. (the link leads to a Hebrew/Arabic site about an NIF "Project Democracy").The self confidence is breath-taking.
Here's a nutshell history of the Jews, for the benefit of my friends at the NIF.
Jews have been around for thousands of years, longer than almost any other group, and not for lack of adversity. This can be explained in three ways. First, divine intervention. This blog doesn't pretend to understand divine intentions. Second, pure coincidence. If so, there isn't much reason for activism one way or the other. Random fate will do its thing irrespective of our efforts. Third, the Jews are still around because it's important to them to stay around.
I'm a fan of the third explanation. Jews remain Jews because they decide to remain Jews, because being Jewish is a matter they hold in highest esteem and reverence. Democracy is of course a wonderful thing, but it appeared very recently, long after the Jews already had thousands of years of practice surviving as Jews. Since many Israelis know embarrassingly little about their own culture, teaching them about it can't be a bad thing. Prioritizing civil studies over Jewish studies says something profound about you.