Yesterday, I wrote about the phenomenon of PEP (Progressive Except on Palestine) a condition, in which victims are liberal on every issue except the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some PEPs diagnose themselves with the syndrome, openly embrace it and identify as PEP-Positive. These PEPs will declare with pride that they line up ideologically with liberals except for when it comes to supporting the government of Israel. Some of them will claim that supporting Israeli policy is a liberal position and that their stance is consistent with liberal values. So, they are aware that they disagree with liberals but see their fellow liberals as not understanding that unquestioning support for Israeli policy is a liberal value. They would accuse others of being PEI, Progressive Except on Israel. The other population of self-diagnosing PEPs are those who say they are liberal almost always but that their Zionism is the one thing that trumps their liberalism.
But what about the countless people suffering from PEP without knowing it? Well, here is a handy PEP Diagnostic Test (PTD). You can take it yourself or administer it to someone else.
1. Are you a registered Republican?
2. Are you a registered Democrat who votes for Republicans because of Israel?
3. Are you a registered Democrat who is tempted to vote for Republicans because of Israel?
4. Do you do the following two things?
a. Vote for Democrats, The Working Families Party, The Green Party or any left of center party but never, ever for Republicans?
b. Support the Israeli government whether Likud or Labor is in power?
5. Are you critical of the actions of the U.S. government but never critical of the actions of the Israeli government?
6. Do you think the following statements are both true?
a. Calling a U.S. citizen anti-American or un-American for being critical of the U.S. government is ridiculous, knee-jerk, unintelligent and actually incorrect.
b. People who are critical of the Israeli government are either anti-Semitic or anti-Israel of both.
7. Do you think the following two statements are true?
a. Dissent in the United States is patriotic.
b. Being pro-Israel means never questioning the Israeli government.
8. Do you do the following two things?
a. Ask people who are critical of Israeli policy, “What would the United States do if this were happening to us?”
b. Attend anti-war rallies against U.S. military actions you see as disproportionate, unjust, and counter-productive.
9. Do you prefer diplomatic over military solutions to all conflicts except for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
10. Do you think Israel does all it can to protect civilians?
11. Do you consider Jews critical of Israeli policy to be self-loathing?
12. Do you agree with two of the three following statements?
a. Stereotypes and generalizations are dangerous, wrong, and distort the truth.
b. Most Israelis and Jews in general are peace-loving, reflective, evolved, nuanced, rational, analytical, sensitive and empathetic people who are just as saddened by the deaths of Palestinian children as they are by the deaths of Jewish children.
c. Most Palestinians are unevolved, primitive, irrational, religious fundamentalists who take pleasure in seeing the dead bodies of Jewishchildren.
13. Do you believe in national liberation for all people except Palestinians?
14. Are you opposed to imperialism and colonialism but think that has nothing to do with Israel?
15. Do you own and/ or wear a dashiki but find keffiyehs offensive?
16. Before or after you explain your unwavering support for the Israeli government, do you offer the following disclaimers:
a. “I helped register Black people to vote in the South during the 1960s.”
b. “I was in Nicaragua supporting the Sandinistas.”
17. Did you become pro-Israel after a Birth Right trip?
18. Do you respond to criticism of Israel by asking critics, “What about other countries like Syria or North Korea?”
19. Do you find yourself agreeing with Christian Zionists?
RESULTS: If you answered Yes to questions 1 or 2, you are not a PEP because you are not a progressive. If you answered yes to questions 3-19 you are a PEP.
But do not despair, treatment is available, as I’ll explain in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!