Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Monsters of Virtue

Its rare that one gets to witness such displays of left wing anti-semitism as this extraordinary recent atrocity at UC Berkeley (to say where else? is too tempting a cliche) involving none other than erstwhile faux-indian and professional slanderer of mass murder victims Ward Churchill. There's really nothing new here except for the fact that white-guy-desperate-for-an-oppressed-past Churchill gives his opinion regarding my own people and our oppressed past. Perhaps Churchill's idiocy is motivated by envy (although I could tell him personally that living with the blood of history isn't all its cracked up to be; and suffering real racism isn't nearly as edifying as he imagines it), but judging from this, its based more on total ignorance and a toweringly fanatical belief in his own virtue.
This leads us to the situation in a certain sense of settler colonialism and the cruel order of a particular type in the area of Palestine, which results not from something Jewish but from something particularly anti-Jewish, which is Zionism. [Audience applause.] Zionists return that [with the significance] of Judaism they have not even the sanction of their own rabbinical councils at the time they undertook the project of conquest and colonization in the area they now call Israel. Never did and ultimately they never will.
Like his admirer Chomsky, Churchill has an unfortunate tendency to pontificate on subjects about which he knows nothing. If Churchill knew something about Judaism or Zionism, he would know that the desire to return to the Land of Israel and reestablish the Jewish state is not only less than anti-Jewish but one of the essential tenants of the Jewish faith. He should read 12th century poet and philosopher Judah Halevi, whose work cannot be described as anything other than proto-Zionism. Nor, apparently, is he aware of the involvement of many religious Jews in the Zionist movement, including several Zionists such as Kalishcher who predate even Theodore Herzl and the Zionist Congress, and such eminent religious Zionists as Rabbi Avraham Kook, who believed Zionism essential to Judaism in the modern world. I will not try to decipher Churchill's mangling of the past and present tense, but his claim that Zionism did not have or does not have sanction from "rabbinical councils" is transparently ludicrous. Judaism is not Catholicism, we have no Pope and no central authority. Yes, there are "rabbinical councils" who reject Zionism (though as early as the 1930s they were already a minority), and there are those who embrace it; the notion, however, that this proves anything in regards to the relationship between Zionism and the Jewish religion, which is a complex and long one, if it is even possible to completely separate the two; is simply the ranting of a man who has directed his inchoate resentments upon things he neither understands nor wants to understand, since to do so would render his murderous fanaticism impossible.

But there is something even more important at work here. It is simply this: Zionism is the Jewish national liberation movement; as such, Churchill, were he consistent with his expressed principles, would be forced to acknowledge its essential legitimacy. The fact that this man and his fellow travelers, who base their entire sense of their own overweening virtue on their support of the right of oppressed peoples to rise up against their oppression, can see nothing in Zionism but "settler colonialism", a process of "conquest and colonization", a "cruel order" which is "particularly anti-Jewish", speaks of nothing more than a double standard with is fundamentally and self-evidently racist. What we are looking at here is nothing less than a pure and unvarnished expression of left wing anti-semitism. And this is from the man who invokes Eichmann with alacrity and vomits the words Nazi and racist upon any and everyone who dares to threaten his hermetic Manicheanism.

There can be no mistaking what we are dealing with here, and it is no less horrifying than this: Churchill and those who stand with him are the little Eichmanns of our time; it is they who espouse a totalitarian ideology of hate and slaughter, it is they who believe the devil bears the face of the Jew, it is they who desire to spill oceans of blood in the name of justice, it is they who have made virtue into an ideology of murder. In looking at them, I can only think of Nietzsche's words on the virtuous:
Alas, how ill the word "virtue" sounds in their mouths! And when they say: "I am just", it sounds always like "I am revenged!"

They want to scratch out the eyes of their enemies with their virtue; and they raise themselves only in order to lower others.
If this be virtue, I want no part of it.