My X, right or wrong: Two Versions

In the following video, there is a commentry on the expression “my country, right or wrong”

He traces the origin of this expression, and points out that it is elliptical, and that the full context calls for support of the country if it is right, and criticism of it, if it is wrong.

I bring this topic up because of the genocide which is taking place in Gaza.

This genocide is a troublesome fact for many people – both Jews and non-Jews. There are Zionist Jews who identify with Israel and feel that loyalty and patriotism requires them to defend the actions of the Israeli government – right or wrong. And not willing to say that the Israeli government is wrong – they rationalize.

There are also Zionist Jews who are critical of the Israeli government. And there are, of course, non-Zionist Jews who are also overwhelmingly critical, and both groups are among those in the student protests against the genocide in Gaza.

Now this loyalty or patriotism question is taking place in the U.S. and in other countries around the world. For example, the U.S. government is supporting Israel in its genocide of Gaza. [To be more accurate, it is Joe Biden who is doing the supporting.] So. the support of Israel for allegedly loyal Americans depends on the stance of their government.

Be it as it may, all these people who support the genocide in Gaza can be called supporters of a patriotic or loyalist version of “my X, right ot wromg.”

The othe version of “my X, right or wrong” I will call “opportunistic.”

Opportunists are, above all, politicians, college administrators, soldiers, and policemen. Their loyalty – if one may call it that – is to their paycheck: “my paycheck, right or wrong.” Both soldiers and policemen are prone to rationalize their behavior as their duty or simply as following orders. Politician and college administrators (notably, presidents), on the other hand, if challenged, rationalize in a more detailed manner.

Let me take as an example the speech of Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House of Representatives at Columbia University:

He talks about anti-semitism, as if that was the problem. No, the problem is genocide in Gaza!

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