Friday, April 3, 2015

Is the attitude toward Israel another left/right axis shift?

I've been thinking for a long time about the different components of the liberal conservative spectrum and the ways they move and interact (this comes up a lot when you dig into the education reform debate). One point of particular interest is the catastrophic shift, cases where the "liberal" and "conservative" positions on an issue suddenly switch places. We've already discussed pacifism. Now this post by Corey Robin (followed by some excellent comments) has me wondering if attitudes about Israel have undergone a comparable shift.

The piece also made me think, though, about the initial reaction to Israel’s decision to try Adolf Eichmann.

The response to that decision, as historians like Peter Novick and Deborah Lipstadt have shown, was rife with anti-Semitism. The Wall Street Journal warned darkly of “an atmosphere of Old Testament retribution.” A Unitarian minister, according to Novick, claimed “he could see little ethical difference between ‘the Jew-pursuing Nazi and the Nazi-pursuing Jew.’” Those unitarian universalists.

The worst offender, though, was National Review. Combining all the elements of anticommunism, Christian homiletics, and ancient Jew-hatred, William F. Buckley’s magazine castigated the Israelis—really, the Jews, those Shylocks of vengeance and memory—for their inability to let bygones be bygones.
I assume support for Israel is now stronger on the right than on the left. Is that true?

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