Dennis Yedwab writes in reference to the Amalek controversy:
What is interesting to me is that Duss' comment represents something I find fairly common among folks who criticize Israel at the existential level, especially the smart writers (Duss is very smart and while he may not be against the existence of the State of Israel, his writing sure gives no evidence that he supports it). That is, if an argument is misused by right-wing extremist then that entire argument is illegitimate. E.g. The fact that Israeli politicians use apocolyptic scenarios re: Iran or Hamas or Hezbollah to justify failed policies re: the Palestinians means that those arguments are in and of themselves illegitimate.
But the facts are that Hamas has not yet reconciled itself to Israel, that Ahmadinejad has repeatedly spoken of the destruction of the state of Israel, and Hezbollah is in the process taking over the government of Lebanon. Just because extremists misappropriate the argument doesn't mean it isn't real.
Duss' point (and I don't mean to pick on him, but he brought is up) also is a useful catalyst to bring up another point. The rise of the right in Israel has been explained to death but the collapse of the left has not. And I think one of the key things is that commentators like Duss are extremely attuned to the psychological issues involving the Palestinians (the humiliations at checkpoints, loyalty oaths, Nakba Day bannings, the idea of honor and respect for the loss they suffered to be acknowledged) but ignore it among Israelis Jews (that there is always another Amalek out to destroy the Jews - if its not Hitler it's Nasser. If not Nasser than Arafat If not Arafat then its Nasrallah etc). The failure of the political left in Israel and its supportive commentariat throughout the world to acknowledge and deal with that psychology has been critical to its utter evisceration as an force in Israeli politics - and not for the good.
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