It’s always been amusingly ironic, for me, that a far wider range of opinions about Zionism and Likudism is debated within Israel itself than is permitted in US media and political discourse. Open challenges to the Zionist mythos and its realworld praxis are not uncommon in the more progressive Israeli newspapers, thus (again ironically!) lending some credence to the claim that Israel really is a functioning democracy, maybe higher-functioning than the US at present. Ha’aretz seems more willing to critique the Likud bloc than the NYT is, at any rate.

Years back I read (sorry can’t remember the attribution off top of head), and at the time found it persuasive, that emigré subcultures (like exiled White Russians in Paris after the Bolshevik Revolution, to take just one famous example, or exiled Cubans in Miami after that revolution) tend to be far more doctrinaire, intolerant, and purist in their politics than their cousins who stayed home. Various theories have been suggested to explain this: that it’s overcompensation for having lost ground in the home country, or that it’s a way to assert and preserve one’s nationalist or ethnic purity and fight off the temptation to assimilate into the new culture. But could a case be made that in N America, Likudite Diasporic Jews on average tend to be more fierce and intolerant of dissent than the cousins who stayed (or returned) home? and that this in turn contributes to the narrowness of discourse within the US on issues of Israeli domestic and foreign policy?

Geopolitics and US policy obviously play a part also — one reason for that narrowness of discourse may be the realpolitisch importance of Israel as “a US aircraft carrier” from which American force can be projected into the Middle East region. An asset like that would of course be protected as much as possible from any public discredit, sheltered from debate or critique: one of the State Department’s sacred cows (or bulls, perhaps).

But time marches on… and I have a feeling that, for better or worse, a generation is coming up for whom WWII is outside living memory. My parents’ generation experienced the war directly, and I indirectly through their anecdotes and memories. But for people of the next generation after mine, WWII probably seems almost as quaint and distant as the Crimean conflict or the Boer War. The “for worse” aspect of this is that totalitarianism and neo-Nazism may have regained some of their appeal as the memory of their reality fades; white nationalist Trump rallies and far-right resurgence in Europe seem like evidence of this. The “for better” might be that the kneejerk triumphalist narrative of US exceptionalism that was cemented into place after WWII may be weaker for this new generation, whose memory of US military activity is primarily of recent, ambiguous, dubiously successful imperial “cabinet wars.” If we live long enough, we’ll find out :-)

Retired; ex-software engineer. Paleo-feminist. Sailor. Arduino tinkerer. Enviro. Libertarian Socialist (Anarcho-Syndicalist, kinda). Writer. Altermondialiste.

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