Elie Wiesel is dead. Max Blumenthal is not unhappy. As a goy from Alabama (ok, technically Mississippi, but I grew up in Alabama), I dont know all the details of who hates who and why. I see some folks call Max an Israeli hating Jew, and maybe he is. He says Wiesel supported fascism and murder and oppression.
I grew up reading about the Nazis and their reign of terror. I always saw it in the light of my own south’s terrorism against Black folks. I love the south. I believe I love the south, and the USA a much s any man alive. I cant live in the deep south anymore because it breaks my heart, but my soul dreams of dirt roads and kudzu covered hills and creeks you can swim in and cold gray wet mornings of dead corn fields full of crows. This is my land, These are my people. I love them all, even the evil assholes with the rebel flags and the hate. I KNOW them.
Because I love the South, and my country, I CANNOT look the other way, wave a flag and pretend everything they do in the south or everything my country does is great and right and true and honorable. I have the soul that believes one must stand FOR what one loves, even if sometimes one must stand AGAINST the ones he loves. I have to call out America about race, about how Black Lives DONT Matter, to too many white folks. How we have an immigration policy that is stood on its head. How we have a military intervention foreign policy that is truly evil. How we, as a society, still practice too much hatred against LGBTQ, against Muslims, against, against, against….
We have to stop. We are so close to building a Great America, not Trump’s Great America, but the real one.
But as Arlo says after fifteen minutes into Alice’s Restaurant, “That’s not what I came here to talk to you about.” Is Max Right about Elie? Does Max HAVE TO BE an Israeli hater because he stands against the current policies of her government?
As I said, I am an outsider. I was born too late to have served in the second “World War.” I am not Jewish, though I was raised to love Israel by my very conservative Christian family and community (They mostly hated Jews, but loved Israel). I came to appreciate that America and ALL of Europe played a role in the destruction of the European Jews, and that we owed them some level of support as a state of Israel as reparations.
What I did not realize until many years later was that we conveniently “gave” (actually we gave them nothing, like India, the Palestinians and the Jews of Zion fought the British until they fled). But, in any case, the USA supported Israel pretty quickly. Whether it was due to Christian guilt, American Jews out-sized influence, or a perceived strategic advantage for American national (business) interests, or some combination of the above, America was happy to support creating and maintaining a Jewish state largely on the lands of displaced Arabs.
Pretty much ever since the Camp David Peace Accords, and the following assassinations of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, Israel has been behaving badly. I cant say they have behaved a lot worse than we have, but still, no reasonable moral person can say the IDF has been used as a peacekeeping non aggressive force, nor can one say that Israel doesnt have the blood of hundreds, or thousands of innocent non combatants on its collective hands. If Max has called Israel out for its state sponsored terrorism, if Elie refused to do so, This doesnt make Max anti Israel, and it does mean Elie supported fascism.
Maybe Max hates Jews, like Republicans hate gays, maybe he doesnt hate all Jews, but does hate Israel. I dont know. But if you call out the evil those you love are doing, it doesnt mean you love them less, it might mean you love them more. I know, in my case, with America, and my fellow white southerners. I call you out BECAUSE I love you so much you break my heart. I will not go quietly and pretend your evil is not my evil, because i am you, and I love you. I am betting Max feels much the same. It is easier for those who feel the sting to write us off as “self-hating X,” because to admit our love and yet or truth would require the guilty parties to re-examine their actions. There is hardly a day that passes that i do not weep in my heart for the glorious south that could be, and i will fight for it, i will fight for the America i believe we can become. Elie, if you let your justifiable rage against the sins of the Nazis make you blind against the sins of Israel, shame on you.