Here is what a dubious character I am. Yesterday I was watching Charlie Rose when he talked with Jon Alter, Eric Foner, and Mark Halperin about historical ideas surrounding the Obama transition. Well I looked up Halperin on Wikipedia, and Foner, too, and they're Jewish. So is my old friend Alter, whose smart comments on that show about new media vs old media I will get to when I am not counting Jews. I wasn't going to talk about this, I was going to exhibit some discretion, as I don't go off on NPR's many Jewish commentators, were it not for the fact that right now a friend sent me an email, actually a smart Jewish friend saying, "Another Jew, head of OMB, Peter Orszag". (I don't know; he looks Jewish). And last week when I blogged about Jewish money at the Council on Foreign Relations, it was a high-status mole who sent me the report and who circled the names for my edification.
I'm only saying that I'm not the only one circling Jewish names. These facts obviously have some significance to smart people. Though yes, I admit: it's an uncomfortable exercise. It reminds me most strongly of sitting in Fenway Park in 1975 or when my team the Orioles came up to bat and a guy in front of me–we had a big inning–said, I seem to remember just when Tommie Davis was announced, That makes 5 in a row. Because we had a lot of blacks in the lineup (Bumbry, Blair, Rich Coggins, Earl Williams, then Davis, maybe), and Boston was Boston. It angered me then. Now I'm doing it. Why?
Because it is significant of a large sociological fact that goes unremarked, the importance of Jews in the new establishment, and because Zionism remains an uninterrogated belief system in much of Jewish life. To revisit my Khazars post of yesterday: I am able to do this stuff partly because I don't think the story turns out in an unhappy way. There are different ways of imagining Jewish influence than the central European tragedy. American can do that, we have historical imagination. But ignoring the facts, that's a journalistic dereliction. Even Sports Illustrated sometimes does stories about black athletes.