Thursday, August 11, 2005

Well, I've just had the unusual experience of having this blog be be counted among the "more conservative Jewish blogs" in a discussion on about the Jewish terrorist attack on Arabs in Shefaram last week. Andrew Schamess writes a very interesting post, giving a somewhat more leftwing position than I would, but still not out of my range, about the terrorist attack, religious fundamentalism, and Zionism. I agree with him that "Islam is not the only religion to generate a radical fundamentalist philosophy that can be used to justify terrorism. Kahanism is an outgrowth of religious Zionism just as militant Islam is an outgrowth of Islamic fundamentalism."

I also agree, but less comfortably, with his statement that:
Religious Zionism has generated less violence than the Islamic movements because, until recently, Israel's actions were more or less in synch with its philosophy. There was little reason for Jewish extremists to engage in terrorism because they had the apparatus of the state at their disposal. As long as the settlements were expanding and the Palestinians being driven gradually out of Eretz Israel, there was no reason for violent opposition.

He is right that the settler movement has been able to use the power of the state to gain their ends, and that this has often (and perhaps normally) resulted in violence against Palestinians - whether direct violence by soldiers, or the more indirect violence of having their land expropriated for settlements, olive groves uprooted, people being forbidden access to their own farmland, etc.

What I find uncomfortable is that even though there has never been a religious Zionist majority in the Kenesset, they have been able to have their way for so many years with largely secular governments, because secular and religious non-Zionist parties have gone along with their messianic version of Zionism in order to make viable governmental coalitions.


  1. Oh, goodness. Maybe not conservative. You definitely have an interesting, informative and well-written blog, in any case.

    You're very kind to affirm some of my ideas, which makes me feel that I'm not too far off in left field myself.

    There seems to be a growing notion that after the Disengagement, the parties will re-align, with Sharon and some other Disengagement supporters perhaps leaving the Likud and forming a centrist party with Labor. If they managed to form a party that represented a clear majority, the NRP etc. would lose a good deal of leverage.

    I'm curious if you've heard this, and what you think - if you get a chance.

  2. Thank you for your kind words about the blog. It just felt odd to be called conservative....

    I think it would be a good thing if the parties realigned, although the prospect of Sharon and Peres as members of the same party does strike me strangely. I think we'll just have to wait until the disengagement is finished and some of the consequences begin to be clear (for example, will Hamas in fact use Gaza as a staging area for terrorist attacks on Israel, or will the situation be more like what happened with southern Lebanon after the Israeli withdrawal - an almost complete cessation of Hizbullah attacks).

  3. Yes, that's a good point. If Gaza does become a base for attacks, the Disengagement will be seen as a failure - and Sharon will get the blame. Even if it's a success, though, can he recapture Likud? He's alienated a lot of core Likud supporters just by withdrawing from captured land.

    My guess with Hamas is that it will concentrate on the West Bank. I can't see what purpose it would serve them to attack Israel from Gaza. Hamas leaders may want to claim to have driven Israel out, but I don't think they want to risk inviting the IDF back in...

    Anyhow this is an old thread by now. I'll catch up on your more recent posts.

    Take care,

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