I just looked at the comment section of the youtube speech by Congressman Howard Berman the other night in Sherman Oaks. It’s stunning how much rage there is toward Berman:
Portrait of a hypnotized zionist tool. He can’t even see how he is
speaking out of both sides of his mouth. PeaceThroughJustice above has it bang on: HB
says he is an ardent supporter of israel and he firmly stands behind
israel’s security"; then he is shocked that anyone would suggest that
US foreign policy is controlled by zionists.
There is no end of evidence that this kind of rage is bubbling to the surface all over America. My sister-in-law tells me that the almost-censored If Americans Knew speech at the Greenwich Library last week was "a mob scene." I’ve blogged about the fact that at a Yivo event, neocon Iraq-war-planner Bill Kristol had a hunted look as he spoke of the craziness that had surrounded neocons since the war. Neocon chronicler Jacob Heilbrunn has seemed fearful in his public statements about his book, They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons, stepping away from his own assertion that neocons formed cabals in the government. It is as if he is spooked by the snakepit he stepped into. The fact that our Israel policy has hurt us across the Arab world is no longer a revelation to Americans. They know it, and seem to want to do something about it. Jimmy Carter and Walt and Mearsheimer and the Iraq debacle have been an IV-drip into the American bloodstream.
The rage out there is not antisemitism. It may be antiZionism, it may
be isolationism. It is a groundswell that needs to be addressed
honestly. When Congressman Berman went into fits of denial that there is an Israel
lobby, after saying that he joined the Foreign Affairs Committee
because he cared about Israel, this was not honest.
What should Jewish institutions do about it? The answer is obvious, they should have forums. They should express the range of Jewish opinion re Israel (not the narrow range that Yivo gathered in its Martin Peretz-organized forum on Walt and Mearsheimer in November). They should encourage that range. They should begin an open discussion within the Jewish community of what Zionism has done to Jewish identity and American foreign policy. They should grill the neocons and give a platform to post-Zionist Jews like Joel Kovel and David Zellnik, rather than just smearing them. They should confront the extent to which the adamant refusal by the Jewish establishment to acknowledge Palestinian suffering even as it insists that Israel is a democracy has hurt Judaism and hurt U.S. foreign policy. They should wake up.