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Left-wing Israeli writer paints bleak future for anti-Trump Resistance

Left-wing Israeli writer paints bleak future for anti-Trump Resistance

“Like Israeli leftists, American liberals might also have to learn how to live with the rage”

It’s hard to find an apt comparison in U.S. media for the role that Haaretz plays in Israeli media.

Haaretz is “far-left” in its opinion content, but also has some excellent straight news reporting, particularly on security issues. And when I say “far-left,” I emphasize “far” in that equation. Reading some of Haaretz’s opinion columnists makes it hard to distinguish the paper from anti-Israel Islamist polemicists.

Haaretz has little readership in Israel precisely because it has tied its fortunes to the marginalized Israeli left. But Haaretz’s English language website has outsized influence in the West, particularly among left-wing Jews in the U.S., who must imagine Haaretz represents a sustantial portion of the Israeli electorate.

If you thought “Trump Derangement Syndrome” was bad, Haaretz has been suffering from Bibi [Netanyahu] Derangement Syndrome for much longer.

Chemi Shalev is a Haaretz correspondent who frequently covers U.S. politics.[*] He’s not on the extreme end of Haaretz opinion writers, but his anti-Bibi sentiment shows through in most of his columns. Shalev has a column today that explores a possibly bleak and frustrating future for the anti-Trump Resistance, one in which they suffer the same fate as the anti-Bibi movement in Israel.

If you can put aside some of the anti-Trump and anti-Bibi commentary, or at least put it in the context of Israeli left frustrations, the column is quite perceptive, Like Israeli Leftists, Trump-tortured American Liberals Will Learn to Live With Rage.

Of course, read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts I found of interest for discussion purposes:

I have American friends who are beside themselves on a daily basis. They haven’t had a day of tranquility since November 8, when the election results came in. They are furious non-stop, 24/7. Even on those rare days when Donald Trump hasn’t done something particularly contemptible, they are nonetheless outraged by the fact that he’s still their President….

The most significant consolation for my Trump-tortured acquaintances comes from their conviction that this can’t go on much longer. Even if Trump was elected fair and square, which is still in doubt, surely America isn’t irrational enough to allow him to continue governing for much longer. Trump has been at the White House for about 265 days, each of which, my friends assert, has provided ample evidence that he is unfit to serve in office. Surely, the end is nigh and their long national nightmare, to quote Gerald Ford after he pardoned Richard Nixon, will soon be over.

Israeli leftists are also deluded every once in a while into thinking that their suffering will soon end, but for the most part they’ve learned to live with the rage….

Let’s stop right there. This pretty much sums up the reaction to the 2016 election. Complete disbelief, an “I didn’t see it coming” moment that has manifested itself in obsession. A sense of betrayal by the electorate.

After surveying the frustrations of the Israeli left, particularly when it comes to “the occupation” and Netanyahu’s political endurance, Shalev concludes:

Trump might very well be impeached soon. If not, he might be voted out of office in three years. Failing that, the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – which hopefully won’t be changed – guarantees that he’ll be gone on January 20, 2025 at the latest, which is only 2660 days away. But even such a dim light at the end of the tunnel could actually be an approaching train. America will be a changed country after four years of Trump rule and it will be a different entity altogether after eight. Rather than things getting back to normal eventually, they may deteriorate beyond repair, as most Israeli leftists will tell you.

Like Israeli leftists, American liberals might also have to learn how to live with the rage. They will find ways to escape, to preoccupy themselves and to make peace with the direction their country is taking. They will then be able to live a full and enjoyable life, just like the frog who doesn’t mind the water heating around him until he’s actually boiled to death, or the guy who jumps from the 35th floor of a building and shouts, as he passes the seventh floor, “So far, so good.”

What I think this analysis misses, among other things, is how much of the Israeli left’s problem was self-fulfilling.

Israel’s enemies refused to fulfill the role they were supposed to fulfill in the leftist agenda. Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and much of the population under the control of the Palestinian Authority really do want to destroy Israel and drive out the Jews. It’s a religious war, not about a few miles of territory here or there. No amount of wishful thinking from the left has managed to change that. The point was driven home during the Second Intifada, with the prolonged gruesome string of suicide bombings and the Arab media glorification of the martyrdom operations. As if that wasn’t enough, Gaza turning into a Hamas-run Iranian and Hezbollah missile base after Israel left in 2005 rendered the wishful thinking of the Israeli left marginalized.

Yet rather than adapting to a changing reality-based electorate, the Israeli left held to its fantasies and increasingly turned against Israeli voters, who were deemed too stupid, bigoted, nationalistic, and unwashed to appreciate the wisdom of Haaretz opinion writers. The Israeli left never was able to present a viable alternative that was not worse than the current stalemate.

This has lessons for the anti-Trump Resistance, which is mostly from the left but also includes some #NeverTrump Republicans.

The anti-Trump Resistance is repeating the ways of the Israeli left, insisting that the people who elected Trump are too stupid, bigoted, nationalistic, and unwashed to appreciate their wisdom.

Every time an awards show devolves into Trump bashing, Trump gets closer to reelection. Every time a late night host, football player, NY Times columnist, or movie star engages in deranged anti-Trump antics, Trump gets closer to reelection. Every time a Trump voters’ concerns about illegal immigration are dismissed as bigoted, Trump gets closer to reelection. Every time the mainstream media throws aside even the pretense of neutrality and engages in a feeding frenzy, Trump gets closer to reelection. Every time a judge imbues a judicial injunction with anti-Trump politics, Trump gets closer to reelection.

So far, like the Israeli left, the arrogance of the anti-Trump Resistance is its most obvious feature. And like the Israeli left, it presents voters with no viable alternative.

It’s way to early to predict a Trump reelection, but if it happens, Trump will have Trump Derangement Syndrome partially to thank, much as Bibi has Bibi Derangement Syndrome to thank.

But the American anti-Trump movement shouldn’t totally despair. As Shalev points out, no matter what happens, Trump will be out of office for sure in 2660 days.

[*The description of Shalev’s role at Haaretz was updated after initial publication.]


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notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | October 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm

All due respect Professor,
but I found the exerts you posted absolutely hilarious!

Does Haaretz write comedy material for Pee Wee Herman and the like?

Maybe you should thank Haaretz for giving us “ideas.”

After all isn’t it time we repealed the 22nd Amendment? LOL

Trump might be impeached soon HAHAHAHAHA

He might be voted out of office in 3 years HAHAHAHAHHAA

or he might retire in 7 years ONLY IF the constitution isn’t changed HAHAHAHAHAHA

I think you are right Nota, this guy must be a comedy writer hahahahaha

I’m not sure I agree about all those things moving Trump closer to re-election. I think he will be re-elected but not for those reasons. More likely it will be because the Dems run another complete idiot against him. Maybe Elizabeth Warren or Al Franken. Someone who, in a sane world, would never be taken seriously for ANY political office.

    Tom Servo in reply to irv. | October 9, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    The 1972 election is coming back around again, roaring down the tracks like a runaway freight train.

    And this time there won’t be a Watergate since the Dems shot their wads way too early.

Oh very well done Professor!
The beauty (& horror) of it is that the American Left is more angry & delusional, will completely ignore your truth & will still be surprised at the inevitable end of their effort to emulate Thelma & Louise.

” … American liberals might also have to learn how to live with the rage.”

Or, maybe not. The day after the election, the San Diego Union-Tribune printed the reason why Trump won: he had secured the vote of a lot of nominal Democrats. If the commentary where the Trump supporters hang out is any indicator, there are a LOT of Liberals (they tend to call themselves “Classical Liberals” who support DJT.

Why would that be?

Well, it could be because DJT has been in public life, and taken the same centrist to Liberal positions that most Americans love, for about the past 30 years, or so. It could also be that, in light of the demonstrated propaganda in our news and social media forms, many people have learned to go to the original documents and videos to find out what new outrage DJT has committed, only to find the outrage misplaced.

It is true that a lot of our media talkers and writers are upset. That is because they are in bed with one the Democratic party. This is even literally true — a disconcerting number of them are married to government officials, and they are nearly all Democrats. Those people will either have to learn to live with their rage, or reconcile themselves to being at the mercy of the voters.

    Valerie in reply to Valerie. | October 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    ick. Would like an edit button.

    Milhouse in reply to Valerie. | October 10, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Um, “classical liberals” are what is now known as conservatives. We simply like to remind people once in a while that we are the true liberals, and the socialists stole our name just as they steal everything else.

I’m telling ya: that is a picture of actor Rick Moranis taking communion.

What does Haartez translate to? “Schmuck?”

Trump will be impeached when rino hack Bob Corker appointed by the Queen of England as the Duke of Earl.

The primary victory of Judge Roy Moore said everything. The GOPe threw away $30M and didn’t move the needle an inch in the polls. The people have had enough and the 2008 primary season is going to be a bloodbath for any Republican who has done nothing but undermine PDT’s agenda. Corker figured out that the light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming train and pulled chocks.

I often wonder if liberals have any idea the rage I felt for eight years when clinton was elected and then eight more years of almost uncontrollable rage when obama was elected. Both represented the bottom of the human barrel and the damage they both did to our national unity is documented. They both were purveyors of low morality and the march away from personal accountability. Neither were living examples of integrity or even basic honesty. I controlled my rage however, and never screamed in public!

It’s hard to find an apt comparison in U.S. media for the role that Haaretz plays in Israeli media.On the contrary. Al Ard is Israel’s equivalent of the New York Times. Coasting on a history of respectability, arrogant, hugely influential on the rest of the MSM but nowhere else, displaying extreme oikophobia, bleeding money, etc.

    Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | October 10, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Oops, the first sentence should have been a blockquote. It’s the Prof’s words, with which I’m disagreeing.

    (Ha’aretz is Hebrew for “the Land”; given the paper’s position, I prefer to render its name in Arabic.)

Electoral politics is written on water, and has no greater permanence. Pres. Trump’s largest effect so far has been on the judiciary; it’s not yet clear if his presidency will produce any other sort of lasting change. (Not that the judiciary isn’t sufficient in itself; it is.)

As for that boiled-frog, what best fits this overused analogy is the Left’s ceaseless culture war. The rest of us wake up one morning to discover that Columbus Day is gone, the traditional response to the national anthem is challenged, and that there may be penalties for failing to acknowledge that boys who say they are girls really are girls.

And so the culture war rolls on an on, and what seemed self-evident yesterday must be denounced as false today (and not just today; it’s always been false, just as Oceana has always been at war with Eastasia).

The left including the late night talk shows are doing a wonderful job of campaigning already for a GOP victory in 2020. To complete the victory all they have to do is continuing whining, laughing and complaining about the nazi/silly/madman/fool/cheater/russianspy… that stole the election. Instead of actually fielding some serious left thinking candidates, and putting together a serious left thinking plan, and starting to convince people that they are serious, ready and capable. I wait.