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I thought that was an interesting discussion, although I think the guest's personal politics really colored his perspective. For example, bringing up David Duke and Pat Buchanan as major anti-Semitic figures (and I would disagree with Buchanan's labeling, but that aside) while not mentioning the vastly more influential anti-Semites on the left, like Louis Farrakan or Rashida Talib, was kind of weird.
It is also I don't think quite a fair comparison to say that the attempts to target anti-Semites fit into the cancel culture discussion. The various attacks on Jews recently, the fact that the large New York protest was named after the 10/7 terrorist attacks, the number of people just openly praising Hamas; none of these had any similar event during previous cancellings.
The guest's idea that because Israel has only had right wing governments lately is leading to youths being pro-Palestinian also seems just facially wrong. Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Ehud Olmert were all left or center left (at least by the end of his term, in Sharon's case) and Naftali Bennet (who might be on the right, but his coalition government was on the left) and Yair Lapid (who is on the Israeli left) were literally both prime minister last year. This is just another current thing, where people with no idea of a situation's history or details, are having Selma envy and want to save the world.
Finally, TikTok should definitely be banned. There is a reason why no American social media companies are allowed in China, and there have been multiple studies showing the immense amount of data scraping that TikTok is doing in the background of your phone. Even outside of algorithim manipulations, it is too much of a risk.
Ross mentioned the generation divide was younger than 35 had only seen a conservative government. Maybe that’s part of it but I think the real difference is that older people have seen more history. Older people saw many infamous moments from plane hijackings to the Olympics to blown up buses.
This plus universities have hired a lot of pro-Palestinian people in the humanities.
These all lead young people to see a current situation that is uneven. Though if you saw how it got this way, you maybe understand (maybe not fully condone though) the outcome that we have now.
I think the reason Americans care so much about this conflict, at least on the Pro-Israeli side, is that we saw what happened on October 7. We saw the barbarity and the brutality as it was being live-streamed by Hamas. It’s hard to see those videos and not have a strong emotional response. Couple that with the US’s relationship with Israel, it becomes a bit easier to see why so many Americans have a strong view on this war. If the atrocities in Sudan were being live streamed daily, I feel like more Americans would have stronger opinions on that war.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is releasing a book about NBA players. You should have him on the podcast!
For the record, I find this issue very tricky, as people appear to collapse Hamas with Palestine. That's not fair to the overwhelming majority of Palestinian people. It's like someone outside of America calling out every American for Trump and his MAGA following's actions. The blood-shed in Gaza is of epic proportions, where for every Israeli citizen killed on October 7th, 10 Palestinians have been killed since then. There are human war crimes being performed daily over there, and I'm sickened by how pro-actively some and how tacitly many people, condone it.
I have not read the comments here, yet. But, I will. And I'll more than likely have another comment based on the comments I read, but I don't want it to influence my (initial) overall perception of this conversation.
For the record, I liked that it was light-hearted, yet still didn’t diminish the seriousness of what’s going on. This is a heavy topic, one that I honestly can only consume in bits and pieces.
And as a fellow Jewish American, I found it too sympathetic to Israel. I'm sure my take will upset some people, I doubt either of you are offended by my take, as you both represent moderate and open minded voices in this conflict. (But, I certainly already have relatives that disagree with me).
Ethan, I appreciate you laying out a blue-print for your take on Israel, and how you said it's still open to evolution. That's good, because I'm not so sure Israel would be able to exist as a country without all the foreign aid it receives from America and other allies.
I find myself struggling more with this topic, than I wish. I have done more research on this topic, than I ever did in my whole life, (even having gone to Hebrew School). But, I also am left surprised and dismayed by how intertwined this conflict is with the former British Empire, the Holocaust, as well as the whole idea of national supremacy.
I saw news last night about a temporary (5 day) cease fire. Looks like that went out the window, already. It's a heart-breaking issue. I still very much appreciate this conversation.
About the cancel culture and safety-ism discussion:
though I am a Jew, I can acknowledge without reservation that "kill the Jews" is protected speech, but while I am in favor of a culture of free speech beyond government, societal embrace of speech need not encourage or tolerate calls for genocide of any group. Free association is a thing. Just like a business owner ought to be allowed to say "I don't want to serve or hire Jews", businesses ought to be allowed to not hire people calling for the death of their brothers and sisters.
If our culture (not talking about government) does not tolerate overt racism and violent denigration of minorities, Jews should be included. People celebrating massacres are no less odious than the KKK.
As far as safety-ism, groups of people calling for death to Jews and celebrating brutal massacres, while surrounding smaller groups or individuals (not to mention violence) can certainly move from speech to harassment, which when pervasive, does run afoul of legal limits and university codes of conduct.
There ought to be some distinctions when it comes to cancel culture at a societal level. I realize this is somewhat arbitrary, but isolated tweets, posts, or statements from more than 5 years ago or before the expresser turns 18, leaving aside moral judgement about the content of that expression, ought to be tolerated much more than current speech by adults. Additionally, and I realize this is arbitrary, poor attempts at humor, or policy prescriptions do not deserve the same opprobrium, if any, that calls for violence against civilians or personal attacks against groups does.
While I still believe us liberals should not use the power of the state to push back against illiberal progressives, using some of their own societal tactics, in the system they have created, seems more and more necessary.
Thought the discussion about how demographics drive this situation was interesting. I was listening to Walter Russell Mead interviewed on a fantastic pod called Hidden Forces and he brought the issue of the ethnic makeup of Israel. Apparently the majority of the Israeli population is now mix of Jews from the former Soviet Union or other middle eastern countries who are not liberals and have no tradition of democracy. They are completely unsympathetic to the Palestinians, particularly Middle Eastern Jews who were persecuted to the point of having to flee their countries of origin. It really goes to show the complexities of a situation like this
I'm an Israeli American HOS member, so I was very curious to see the comments section after listening to this pod. It was an interesting discussion, but it's clear Barkan's relative youth perhaps colors his opinions more than it should. He gave away the game when late in the podcast he lamented how people who don't live in NYC often spend a lot of time thinking about NYC and forming wrong and misinformed opinions about NYC. And yet he made it very clear at the start of the pod that he has never been to Israel, doesn't appear to want to ever go there, and has all manner of takes about Israel. Are these takes also automatically wrong and misinformed, based on Barkan's own NYC argument?
I have a million thoughts about Israel-Palestine coverage, the conflict itself, etc, but I don't know that I'll add much new as a moderate liberal East coast Jew who is sympathetic to Palestinian statehood, but weary of it quickly becoming Mini Iran. So instead I'll point something out that Barkan danced around a bit, but deserves special attention: Israel is yet another example of why the two party political system is the worst system, except for all other systems. Just like the UK and Japan, Israel has been under an increasingly right wing government because the parliamentary split doesn't truly reflect the split among voters. This is why the Bibi supporters have long called him King Bibi, because the Israel left has consistently been incompetent and self destructive to the point of absurdity. In the most recent Bibi win, the Israeli left had so many tiny parties running for seats in the Knesset, that several of them received hundreds of thousands of votes and STILL didn't meet the threshold for having any Knesset seats. It was a scandal beyond all words because there was absolutely a path to keeping Bibi (and Ben Gvir and Smotric with him) from power, but the ideological differences amongst the left in Israel created a classic shoot my nose to spit my face situation. And now here we are. This (along with Japan and the UK) is a warning to all those idiots that James Carville talked about on his Pod with Bill Maher. The DSA types who cynically want to have Trump win (or someone worse) because they think "after the absolute worst right wing rule, the country will be eager to embrace socialism and maybe even communism". The way it works is, if the left breaks up into a bunch of little parties, the Right wins, and then keeps winning and winning and winning. So all these clowns who think they'll vote for Brother West or Maryanne or RFK Jr or whoever else, maybe learn something from Israel. You think you're making some kind of short term mavericky statement, and you end up with one or two or three decades of consequences.
Something missing in this conversation is the important concession that it’s *not* hypocritical for a good faith person to have decried the lack of free speech on college campuses over the last decade, but then, for example, condemn specific illiberal behavior after October 7th, like the Stanford professor who made all the Jewish students in his class raise their hands, separated them from their belongings and ordered them to stand in the corner of the classroom. The simplistic view of inconsistency in this episode is probably a side effect of Ross seemingly being so excited to criticize the “anti-woke” (much like he did in his last appearance)
Think much of the public response in Western societies is as simple as
White (perceived or real) = bad
Non-White = good
As someone that was in university during the second intifada, this conflict has a certain nostalgic appeal for me.
And as far as the disproportionate attention it gets, in addition to mapping nicely to the preferred leftist framing of white oppressor/POC oppressed, it’s a conflict that has crossed through the formative years of 5 generations of people. How many people were dusting off their Israel/Palestine takes this month? Academia monoculture.
Larry O’Brien I think would be the last goy commissioner of the NBA.
Also on the Philo-Antisemitism: during WWII the Nazis gave several senior members of Imperial Japan copies of the Protocols of the Elders. They read the book and started a plan to bring over as many Jews as possible
I personally hope you do more politics type stuff
Haven't listened yet but just wanted to say I'm glad you're covering this topic, and I hope you continue to cover a wide range of topics in both your writing and podcasts.
Ethan the paleocon. I have added Buchanan and Ron Paul to my list of top potential HOS guests.