Gil Troy: An Ahistorical Tantrum In The TimesRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, The Daily Beast
Gil Troy is Professor of History at McGill University and a Shalom Hartman Intstitute Engaging Israel Research Fellow in Jerusalem. His next book, “Moynihan’s Moment: America's Fight against Zionism as Racism,” will be published by Oxford University Press this fall.
Yes, Israel can be a Jewish, democratic and legitimate state.
Something about Israel’s place in the international community makes it like Charlie Brown’s friend Pig Pen. If anyone is slinging any mud intellectually, ideologically, politically, diplomatically, it usually ends up on Israel. If one form of nationalism in the U.N., a forum of nationalisms, is going to be singled out as supposedly “racist,” it will be Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement that established Israel. And if intellectuals are going to disdain one ethno-nationalist state, of all the world’s ethno-national states, it ends up being Israel, too.
I can dodge the intellectual trap Joseph Levine tries setting in his recent New York Times blogpost, “On Questioning the Jewish State,” and avoid calling him anti-Semitic for questioning Israel’s legitimacy. But just because he is a philosopher, and just because the Times published his screed, I need not accept his facile, distorted, slanted arguments, which single out the Jewish State for special contempt. Levine targets Israel with a shocking disregard for the complexity of most countries’ characters—and total ignorance of the history of nineteenth-century European romantic nationalism. His caricature of Israel as a state that necessarily oppresses non-Jews because it is a Jewish State overlooks Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the complex status of Israel’s Arab minority, and Israel’s noble track record compared to most of its neighbors and most other countries...