The Progressive attack on Israel
The Progressive attack on Israel

The scourge of Progressivism is sweeping through the United States, bringing with it a form of authoritarianism that is threatening the social fabric of the nation.

Progressivism is a mutation from Liberalism, which it actually does not resemble at all. Liberalism is focused on empowering the individual - enshrining rights of speech, thought and assembly, regardless of their content. Progressivism however wants to protect particular groups, making sure that they are shielded from the unbridled speech, thought and acts accorded to individuals.

Liberalism is about the equality of opportunity, while Progressivism is about the equality of results.

Whereas Liberalism gave the world “I may disagree completely with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” Progressivism gave us hate speech, safe spaces, white privilege and Intersectionality.

It is through Intersectionality, in which groups thought to be oppressed or vulnerable are all related in their grievance, and the cause of one is the cause of all, that Israel has become a pariah. The cause of the Palestinians is part and parcel of the Intersectionality line up, and this of course has put Israel into the camp of the imperialist oppressor.

Wholly apart though from Intersectionality, Progressivism has other major problems with Israel. In a world where the goal is to have equal results, there is a one size fits all universalism that is the Progressive goal. Here, the particularity of a Jewish State, rather than an undifferentiated State of its citizens, is anathema.

A Jewish State is chauvinistic, racist, and definitionally oppressive, since Progressivism cannot envision that non-Jewish citizens might actually enjoy the same rights and privileges as their Jewish countrymen.

Just as individual rights have become counterproductive relics of societies that were oppressing the groups that now need our protection, the concept of Democracy itself is increasingly suspect.

Democracy is problematic to Progressives, because, simply stated, the majority cannot be trusted, or, better yet, can be trusted to oppress the downtrodden. The elected representatives of such a majority are therefore highly suspect, if not illegitimate.

Israel’s democracy has been under a full scale attack from Jewish Progressive elements from the US, who accord no respect nor deference to the elected government of the People and its policies. Instead, Jewish Progressives, such as the New Israel Fund and J Street, feel no compunction about doing whatever they can to reverse governmental policies they don’t like.

The great irony of all of this is that these Progressive groups claim to be acting in the name of Democracy. Democracy for Israel is their mantra, but it is really “Democracy for me, but not Democracy for thee.”

In other words, Democracy is a fine idea when the results are the ones Progressives support, but when Democratic institutions produce policies that are unacceptable, Democracy itself is not worthy of respect.

This selective, some might say hypocritical, relationship to Democracy is particularly evident in the positions of the NIF and J Street, which regularly lobby for weakening the Jewish character of the State in the name of Democracy. However, when that same Democracy results in a policy of sending illegal migrants back to unthreatening African countries, there can be no legitimacy attached to the effort.

Progressive American Jews see Israel as needing to be straightened out, purged of its 'racism', and in dire need of the 'enlightened direction' that only Progressives can provide.
One other major irritant to the Progressive mindset is that of national sovereignty. With their quasi-Marxist mentality, Progressives support the opening of borders, with the goal of eliminating national particularities in which citizens are accorded rights not granted to aliens.

In the case of Israel, this has animated the NIF to take an unprecedentedly direct, out in front role in seeking to overturn government policy, seeking to allow all illegals to stay and become citizens of Israel. That this inferentially chips away at the Jewish character of Israel is also of course a big plus.

The outrage as to the possible foreign meddling in the 2016 US election would seem to be a strong indication that people do not like foreigners, governmental or otherwise, meddling with their internal affairs.

This is a message completely lost on Progressive American Jews, who see Israel as needing to be straightened out, purged of its 'racism', and in dire need of the enlightened direction that only Progressives can provide.

Forget the fact the American Progressives are not Israeli citizens, not part of the warp and woof of life here, not putting their youth into possible harm’s way through compulsory military service. It is the outcomes that matter.

Or, as used to be said of earlier dictatorial regimes, the ends justify the means.

Progressivism is a threat wherever it rears its head, but it is a particularly pernicious force here in Israel, which takes seriously the idea of Israel as both a Jewish and democratic State, and which, above all, cherishes the sovereignty achieved after millenia of struggle.

Mr. Altabef is the Chairman of the Board of Im Tirtzu, and a Board member of the Israel Independence Fund. He can be reached at [email protected].