Jeffrey Goldberg suggests anti-Zionists aren’t Jews

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 14 Comments

Weird. Jeffrey Goldberg goes after the bloggers panel during the J Street conference and describes it as a group of "anti-Zionists with Jewish parents." Think about that. This is a statement of excommunication. He’s not saying anti-Zionist Jews. He’s saying we had Jewish parents. He’s not even calling us non-Jewish Jews, an insult that hurled by an old Israeli recently. This time we don’t get to be Jews. Thus he equates Jewishness with Zionism, entirely. His dismissal presumably refers to Richard Silverstein, Jerry Haber, Sydney Levy, Max Blumenthal, myself et al. A couple of those folks are Zionists, by the way.

Also: Haber and I learned that we were bar mitzvah’d in the same conservative Baltimore synagogue and had the same cantor, Weisgal, I’m forgetting his first name. Haber was in the big suburban branch, I was in the inner city branch.  

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14 Responses

  1. MRW
    October 29, 2009, 12:41 am

    Wow. Goldberg is some kinda pompous ass (reference the link) passing along hearsay about J Street panel participants, when he didn’t even attend the conference, and dissing Hillary Mann Leverett as “is an apologist for the Iranian regime.” For those of you who dont know who Hillary Mann Leverett is (or her husband), here’s her bio from the National Journal online:

    Hillary Mann Leverett is CEO of STRATEGA. She has more than 20 years of academic, legal, business, diplomatic, and policy experience working on Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and African issues.

    In the Bush Administration, Leverett worked as the Director for Iran, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council, Middle East specialist on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, and as Political Advisor for Middle East, Central Asian and African issues for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. From 2001-2003, she was one of a small number of U.S. diplomats authorized to negotiate with the Iranians over Afghanistan, al-Qaida and Iraq. In the Clinton Administration, Leverett also served as Political Advisor for Middle East, Central Asian and African issues for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Associate Director for Near Eastern Affairs at the National Security Council, and as Special Assistant to the Ambassador at the U.S. embassy in Cairo. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and a Watson Fellowship, and from 1990-1991 worked in the U.S. embassies in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and Israel.

    Leverett has published Op Eds on Middle Eastern and South Asian issues in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, al Hayat, The National Interest, and Salon, and has appeared on news and public affairs programs on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and al Jazeera. Along with her husband, Flynt Leverett, she was profiled in a feature story in the November 2007 issue of Esquire magazine. She has provided expert testimony to the U.S. House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. Leverett is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Brandeis University. She also studied at the American University in Cairo and Tel Aviv University.

    She described in that Esquire magazine piece about how she was getting death threats for her changed points-of-view about Iran during the Bush admin. It’s been a while since I read that article about her and her husband, but I was struck that she resigned out of integrity, although she was probably pushed. The absolute utter arrogance of Goldberg. Although, I have to say his edit of her words is powerful and makes me wonder why Obama hasn’t plucked her for his admin. The logic in his final paragraph is specious.

  2. Richard Witty
    October 29, 2009, 6:47 am

    There are two simultaneous components to being Jewish:

    1. Association
    2. Values/practice

    The left devalues the importance of association, the right devalues the importance of morality and humanism.

    Either omission is “not Jewish”.

    • Chaos4700
      October 29, 2009, 7:05 am

      So that we’re clear, then you agree with the assessment presented in Shlomo Sand’s book about Jewish not being an ethnicity? Your use of “association” is (perhaps deliberately) vague.

      • Richard Witty
        October 29, 2009, 9:45 am

        Is that your summary of Sand’s thesis?

        When I say “are Jewish” I mean similarly to the question “are you human?”

        Of course you are human, as in the species, the association, but are you fully human, as in the potential, the morality.

        To be a real Jew, you have to be both. Not one OR the other.

        If Phil for example was Jewish in association, but is now assimilated in association, then he has renounced one component of his real Jewishness.

        If likud or further neo-Zionist right, for example was Jewish by birth and association, but has renounced its adherence to ethics and “loving thy neighbor as thyself”, they have renounced one component of their real Jewishness.

        That statement invites a lot of anger, and actually rational accusations of hypocrisy when directed at me. I’m not as fully ethical or Jewish identified as it means to be fully Jewish.

        The birth originated Jewishness is off/on. The qualitative is developed, and intentionally.

      • Chaos4700
        October 29, 2009, 9:49 am

        So basically, Witty, people are only Jewish if you say they are.

        Got it.

        Hey, if you’re going to make ridiculous reductions of my posts? Turnabout is fair play.

      • Donald
        October 29, 2009, 11:04 am

        Okay, Richard, this is one of those rare occasions where I’m sympathetic to part of what you’re saying. You want to define “being Jewish” as someone who exemplifies the best moral values one finds in the Jewish tradition (or anyway, the best values as you see them). That’s fine, except other people define it other ways. So you’re going to have to write out what you think being a real Jew means every time you use the term this way, or people won’t know what you mean.

        It’s rather like saying a “real Christian” is someone who adheres to Jesus’s teachings in every respect. That’s fine too, but others use the term differently.

    • Donald
      October 29, 2009, 7:07 am

      The “no true Scotsman fallacy” in action.

      • Chaos4700
        October 29, 2009, 7:26 am

        I guess we should consider renaming it to “No true Semite fallacy” in deference to Witty’s wearing the phrase out.

  3. Richard Witty
    October 29, 2009, 6:47 am

    There are two simultaneous components to being Jewish:

    1. Association
    2. Values/practice

    The left devalues the importance of association, the right devalues the importance of morality and humanism.

    Either ommission leads to the conclusion that one is not “currently Jewish”.

    • seanmcbride
      October 29, 2009, 10:47 am

      Is there any reason why any human being with a fully functioning mind should pay attention to the proclamations of self-appointed cult leaders and spokespersons?

  4. seanmcbride
    October 29, 2009, 10:48 am

    Inside Jeffrey Goldberg there is a little Pamela Geller struggling to get out. The undertone of hysteria is unmistakable.

  5. Elliot
    October 29, 2009, 11:01 pm

    JJ Goldberg: “I’m telling people who are worried about the hijinks at the unofficial J Street bloggers’ panel not to become overly bothered by it; it was a clownish event, and the people on the panel were marginal figures except in the rather circumscribed universe of anti-Zionists-with-Jewish parents (where they are giants). ”

    Totally weird. JJ Goldberg’s non-Jews included one Orthodox Jew on the panel and, by my count, at least one rabbi and a cantor in the audience.
    He also misses the point of Max Blumenthal’s comment. If the only thing the J Street conference did was to knock St. Eli Weisel off his pedestal – dayenu!

    And btw, the panel was fun. Dunno how Goldberg would have fit in. Better that he stayed away.

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