Bad Times for Liberal Zionism?

Haim Watzman

A recommendation: Leonard Fein’s article in the current issue of Dissent. Fein offers a good summary of the current travails of left Zionism. It’s hardly new that Zionist liberals and social democrats often feel as if they are not only out of synch, but positively rejected, by both the left at large and by the larger Zionist movement.

Phoebe Malz, over at What Would Phoebe Do, comments that “If you think Israel as a Jewish state is a good thing, even if your ideal Jewish state would be downright communist, you have no place on the left.” Is she being descriptive or prescriptive?

I’m not out to convince the Left-at-Large that I’m one of them. My goal in this blog, and in my articles and books, is to show that you can be concerned about social justice, skeptical about the common wisdom, and critical of the status quo and still be a Zionist. More than that, I argue that you ought to be a Zionist. If Gershom and I can get you to consider that premise, we’re doing our job well.

10 thoughts on “Bad Times for Liberal Zionism?”

  1. I have no doubt that you and Gershom are “concerned about social justice, skeptical about the common wisdom, and critical of the status quo” and yet Zionists. You guys are the living evidence of that.

  2. This is part of the current debate going on within Social Democratic circles in moving forward. It has caused a divide not among the politico but those of faith and those with a lack of faith.

  3. I’m not out to convince the Left-at-Large that I’m one of them. My goal in this blog, and in my articles and books, is to show that you can be concerned about social justice, skeptical about the common wisdom, and critical of the status quo and still be a Zionist.

    But if you are concerned about social justice & critical of the status quo aren’t you ipso facto on the left? Do you feel that because you are a Zionist that means you cannot be on the left?

    The reason I ask is that I too consider myself a progressive Zionist AND a member of the left. I don’t see a contradiction though I may be in the minority in both movements.

    I also don’t see what there is to admire about Jewlicious. David Abitbol is one of the most annoying, swaggering, self-important, testosterone-infused Jews in the blogosphere & a political hypocrite to boot.

  4. Richard Silverstein is often wrong. There’s little doubt, however, that he’s right about David Abitbol.

    David is annoying to idiots on the far left like, um, Silverstein, because Jewlicious doesn’t indulge their fantasies (Richard, please don’t go running to some national magazine to cry that you were called an idiot on some blog because it hurts when we laugh so hard). Abitbol swaggers because sometimes he’s been known to have a single beer at the store down from his apartment in Jerusalem. Abitbol is most certainly self-important. He’s been known to say, “Jewlicious, c’est moi” and “Moi, c’est Jewlicious.” He’s also darned proud of his chakchouka-making abilities. Abitbol is definitely testosterone-infused. Well, actually, I wouldn’t know. It seems to me that it’s Silverstein who came here and exhibited some unprovoked nastiness, so maybe he’s projecting about the testosterone. It’s not the first time some extremist blamed somebody else for his own failings.

    And finally, there is no doubt that David Abitbol is a political hypocrite. This is why the blog he founded,, has posters from different age, political, religious and national backgrounds and groups. That way, these posters are able to contradict and challenge each other all the time. The same goes for most commenters at Jewlicious who are given free rein to express their positions and argue to their hearts’ delight (no, this courtesy does not always extend to antisemites – the real kind).

    Silverstein wouldn’t be familiar with this type of political hypocrisy because those who contradict him on his blog often find themselves attacked viciously or simply unable to return. This is especially true for those who make salient points contradicting Silverstein’s anti-Israel rantings.

    In conclusion, I’ll add that David Abitbol is one of the most annoying, swaggering, self-important, testosterone-infused Jews in the blogosphere & a political hypocrite to boot but Richard Silverstein is a myopic, self-important, pugilistic political extremist who happens to be the Jewish blogosphere’s biggest and loudest hypocrite when it comes to complaining about attacks on his character. He’s also wrong about Israel most of the time.

  5. The opinion of the author of this post is that all people who make ad hominem attacks should have their gonads checked.

  6. Gosh, I hope you don’t mean me. I was trying to be fair to both Abitbol and Silverstein. 🙂

    By the way, this is an excellent blog. I’ve enjoyed reading your and Gorenberg’s posts.

  7. Good golly! I’d say something but I seem to have misplaced my sippy cup full of testosterone.

    This is me chuckling —> 😀

  8. It’s nice for Abitbol that he can farm out assignments to his flunkies (who don’t have the balls to even attach their real name to their bile) to defend himself & doesn’t have to do any of the dirty work himself.

    Abitbol himself admitted that he abuses testosterone in political debate in an unflattering interview published in The Forward. I didn’t make that one up.

    Calling me an idiot is a perfect example of what passes for political discourse at Jewlicious & yet another reason why people like Haim should consider whether these people should be your, or anyone’s friends or allies.

    David Abitbol is a hypocrite not because of the website he founded or its content or who writes for it. He is a hypocrite because he claims to be a political liberal yet he supports targeted assassinations of Palestinians. He claims to be opposed to the Occupation but just can’t manage to figure out how to end it since those Palestinians are all such bad fellas that Israel can’t possibly make peace w. any of them.

    Abitbol also maintains atrocious blogging standards because he allowed The Middle to publish an insulting “quote” at Jewlicious in my name which was entirely made up.

    There are 10,000 comments on my blog. Thousands of them by people who disagree with me. Only those who’ve never heard of the term derech eretz and enjoy flinging mud get rough treatment, Abitbol & his lackies among them.

    As for being wrong about Israel, no one here will ever know here because as usual Abitbol and his friends simply present shallow opinions as fact and provide no proof for any of their claims.

    The editors of The Guardian and Huffington Post seem to disagree w this person’s views on whether I have anything useful to say about Israel. Why doesn’t your best friend see whether they’d feel the same about his writing since he has self-proclaimed “liberal” views on the subject that should put him right at home there?

  9. Oh & since my views on the I-P conflict are almost completely in synch with Gershom’s do please do both of us a favor and call Gershom’s views “on the far left” as well. That will give both of us a chuckle.

  10. Well, you’ve given me a chuckle. I like how you try to equate yourself with a far more intelligent and knowledgeable analyst of the Arab-Israeli conflict. I have to report that you’re not anywhere near the analyst or writer that Gorenberg is.

    In fact, never mind the Mid-East, you can’t even figure out that Abitbol is not some Mafia don with “flunkies” and that I’m not here by anybody’s order or even request. Don’t be paranoid just because you attack people viciously without having been provoked and somebody who is familiar with both parties decides to reply to your rudeness.

    As for the rest of it, I suggest you compare Abitbol’s light reaction to your original foul comments and your foul reaction to my comments. That’s the whole story in a nutshell. I do hope you get over your insecurities soon.

    Speaking of insecurities, I’m not using my real name with you because I don’t want to find myself the victim of your random, unprovoked attacks on the Internet. I even suspect that one day I’d read about myself in some newspaper as the aggressor who attacked you.

    Now I’ll say goodbye and move on. I think I’ll go to read that shallow site I haven’t decided yet whether I should read the posts by the professor, the doctoral student, the post-secondary lecturer, the lawyer, the book critic, the rabbi, the Hasidic musician, the anonymous writers or the broad variety of people who participate in discussions. At they’re all so shallow and conservative when compared to you. Even with all those degrees and interesting, varied backgrounds they can’t boast, like a gorilla hollowly thumping his chest, that The Guardian and Huffington Post have quoted them.

    The Huffington Post! Wow!! That’s like even better than Daily kos and Mad magazine. So…deep, man, and humble. You are the epitome of deep and humble. And liberal! Yeah. You’re nothing like those shallow, swaggering, fact-deficient people over at who think “liberals” are members of a large political party in Canada.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.