Ensuring Israeli Security and Palestinian Liberation to Avert World War

The post-October 7 Israel-Hamas war highlights perhaps the sheerest contemporary example of what thinkers like Edward Said and Samuel P. Huntington would have considered the clash of civilizations – namely, the West versus the rest. Often viewed – for better or worse – as an outpost of democracy in the Middle East, Israel has endured relentless criticism since the war began, with even their closest ally the United States demanding a ceasefire.

As arguably the only people to have re-claimed a historical homeland with any kind of Western – ergo, to many, powerful – support, virtually any Israeli retaliation against terrorism viewed as resistance tends to be widely cast as unjust. Given how this war has been both rendering immense destruction in Gaza and increasing global antisemitism, a ceasefire and reckoning of Jews everywhere has become the only option for security both in Israel and beyond.

While many view this war as collective punishment for the October 7 atrocities, the rocket barrages on Israeli civilian areas and use of human shields for the victimhood ploy haven’t stopped either, with Hamas’s promise to carry out the same 10/7-level attacks until no Jews remain.

That said, should the US withdraw support, Israel will find itself more out in the cold than if they were to cease fire and instead conduct all resources to robust defense and – with the supervision of the US and perhaps the UN – conduct a ground, precision-focused hostage rescue mission. As an at-risk minority group whose security depends on the actions of its homeland, Jews serve as a model for how reclaiming autonomy can hit a roadblock when such a venture steps on the feet of those seen as lower on the power totem pole.

With diaspora Jews themselves across both academia and social opinion now discussing questions of antisemitism and Jewish thought within a framework of power differentials and racial justice, the below study delved into the recent major points of rationale found to justify opposition to Jews at large in progressive spaces in the West.  

To examine this reality of progressive Jews in the West experiencing anti-Jewish sentiment, a pool of 120 self-identified politically left-of-center Jews aged 18-50 were drawn from across five different Jewish Facebook groups to participate in the following anonymous survey:

Of the following, which have you seen as the most common rationale for antisemitism in progressive spaces?

  • Israel’s association with the West
  • The view of Jews as being “powerful and white supremacist”
  • Other (please specify)

Particularly given the current war, the study sought to assess how Jews living in the West understand the latest logic used by many self-identified progressives to justify antagonism toward both diaspora and Israeli Jews.

In addition to the first two options, a third option allowed respondents to write in their own explanations.

Provided existing discourse across both academia and social media highlighting alleged Jewish power across the diaspora as well as in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the hypothesis predicted that most respondents would attribute the current wave of antisemitism to the perception of Jews (as a collective) as oppressors.

As predicted, the majority of respondents reported observing the view that Jews are oppressors, followed by Israel’s perceived association with the (powerful) West. 

Perhaps most interestingly, the 1% of write-in responses tended to focus on antisemitism as pervasive across time and space, with one response professing:

The problem is that antisemitism functions by turning us into whatever people most want to hate. Right now that’s rightfully white supremacy and colonialism but somehow it’s become an accusation that we are the very worst offenders, even though we are actually perpetual victims of both white supremacy and colonialism.

The other responses were briefer, noting claims of “Jews being a secret cabal that control the world”, and with the final response stating that “This is the way it’s always been”.

However, none of these prejudices mean Jews need to play into the stereotype. Indeed, now that many are catching onto the burgeoning image of Israel as the headquarters of “powerful” Jews today, the best move the Jewish state could make is to distance themselves from Eurocentricity and American capitalism. By halting their mass offensive in Gaza, they can refocus on defense to both maintain the baseline US weapons trade and re-embrace their Middle Eastern roots toward an eventual two-state or multi-state solution with Palestine as well as strengthened ties with the Gulf States, Egypt, and Jordan rather than fuel the fire of Iran’s proxy war

Likewise, diaspora Jews can distance themselves from the orientalist idea of Israel as some kind of civilized beacon and value it as simply one of many Middle Eastern states with an ancient history to which even the most far-flung trace their ethnic roots. Diaspora need not re-define the Jewish spirit in the form of an erstwhile Western oppressor that now only serves to taint their revived homeland.

Ultimately, establishing such a middle ground could set an example for other states looking to normalize relations amidst ideological clashes, whether stemming from forced assimilation as with the Jews or from common migration and trade activity. In the case of Israel and the Hamas war, falling into Iran’s trap could pave the way for its fellow anti-West allies Russia and China to home in on both the Jewish state and the United States in an all-out ambush with international support nowhere in sight.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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