What “we” stands for
In “What we stand for,” an op-ed ostensibly in response to the recent op-ed by Anat Talmy and Abby Schachter, Ivan Frank purports to explain the position that he, like many other American Jews, has taken toward Israel. As such, Frank’s piece uses that Talmy and Schachter op-ed as a pretext only: American Jews were mentioned in it only in the last short paragraph.
The Talmy and Schachter op-ed was about the dramatic shift in the position of the Israeli “left”— as a consequence of being “mugged by reality.” Frank’s op-ed has nothing to do with that reality, let alone with being mugged by it. Whatever the Israeli “left” may have seen to change their minds — and they have seen a lot since the disastrous Oslo Accords — he, Mr. Frank, or rather “we” that he uses interchangeably with “I,” knows better. Why? Because whatever those reality-bound Israelis may have to say, “[i]t is unlikely that their points will convince us to change our philosophy or our social and political positions.”
In contrast to those readers who are unfamiliar with philosophies that cannot be swayed by facts, I have had a long experience with one — back in the USSR. Once you are in possession of (or possessed by) that only true philosophy, no reality can deviate from it. It does not matter that your judgments from the comfort of your Squirrel Hill home conflict with the reality-born opinion of the overwhelming majority of Israelis. Neither does it matter that your Democratic bonafides, checking off all the right points of “gun control” and “minimum wage” in the US, are irrelevant to the mortal dangers experienced by Israelis daily.
The progressives of Frank’s persuasion are not merely “stuck in the past,” as benignly characterized by Talmy and Schachter. They have done tremendous harm to Israel, the U.S. and the entire world — not the least by approving the horrific Iran deal that gave the terror state untold billions to spread among its murderous branches in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Gaza, and guaranteed Iran’s getting nuclear arms unmolested. Frank assures Israel of how “the majority of Jews who live in America continue to love the people and the land of Israel” — neglecting to mention that this love does not include accepting Israelis’ own choice of their future, but does include readiness to hand the land of Israel to Israel’s sworn enemies. Frank’s “we,” who indeed regrettably constitute the majority of the U.S. Jews, “75% liberal and progressive,” cannot be bothered with Israel’s reality over their “social justice positions.”
In “Anthem,” a short novel by Ayn Rand depicting a logical outcome of collectivism, a totalitarian “social justice” state, the singular first-person pronoun is abolished. Everyone is a “we.” Not a royal We, making a person grander than himself, but the “we” that erased the individuals, “one in all and all in one.” Frank’s “we” is possessed by the progressive philosophy that has always dictated grandiloquent slogans while trampling on the actual needs of those whom they targeted. The willing “we” of Mr. Frank’s collective are ready to sacrifice their object of continued love to their immutable “social and political positions.”
Michael Vanyukov Ph.D.