What if they gave a massacre and ‘the Forward’ couldn’t even mention it?

US Politics
on 31 Comments

Here’s the Forward’s 50 top Jews in leadership, the Jews who are leading American Jewry into the future. One of them is Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Oren’s not American, and he’s described as "center-left."

Then there’s Irving Moskowitz, funder of colonies, and neocon Steven Rosen and neocon Michael Steinhardt. These are leaders? I wonder if they’re center-left too? Wow. Not one anti-Gaza Jew here, at first reading. Oh mein gott. No boycott Jews. No anti-Zionists. They don’t even mention the word Gaza. And when they praise Roger Cohen of the Times– not a word about Gaza. Help.

Update: Wondering Jew corrects me in the comments, saying that Gaza is mentioned in connection with Ari Roth, who bravely staged 7 Jewish Children. My bad: my search function didn’t turn up Gaza.

As to Danielf90’s point: This is the heart of it, isn’t it? All these stirrings on the Jewish left. All these young idealistic Jews who share my point of view– and whenever I run into Ralph Seliger of Meretz or J.J. Goldberg of the Forward, they say in essence to me, Well you represent something in the Jewish community. But the Forward demonstrates that as far as it’s concerned these voices should be excommunicated. It elevates hardliners like Oren and Rosen on the right, but there is no real left represented. This is about identity construction; and the failure of the builders to see what is taking place among the disillusioned.

31 Responses

  1. Danielf90
    November 16, 2009, 2:45 pm

    a) Do you believe all jews are REQUIRED to have a public opinion about Gaza?

    b) Did you ever think that maybe pro-boycott views are so radical and fringe in the Jewish community that they’re not really on the scale?

    • Citizen
      November 16, 2009, 4:58 pm

      Of course not, why should they be any different than any average Weimar or 3rd Reich German? Or any average American these days?
      What scale? To weigh what? What on earth are you talking about? Hey, how about
      them Mets?

      • Danielf90
        November 16, 2009, 5:10 pm

        For you to imply that AMERICAN people who happen to be jewish must have an opinion on AMERICA is one thing but for you to imply (which I believe you have, apologies if you didn’t) that AMERICAN people who happen to be Jewish must have an opinion on ISRAEL is another.

        Regarding the ‘scale’. Jewish leaders are most likely (again feel free to elaborate if you think I’m wrong) people that the ‘Jewish community’ see as their representatives. Since no pro-boycott or actively anti-zionist jews are there it suggest that these pro-boycott and anti-zionist views are pretty marginal when compared to the concensus of the ‘American Jewish Community’.

        I wasn’t judging pro-boycott or anti-zionist views, I was merely adding a comment to explain why nobody with these views are in that list.

      • Chaos4700
        November 16, 2009, 5:45 pm

        So when does the the American Jewish community convene, in their whole, to vote on its leaders? Or is there some other election process I’m not aware of, of which you refer, Danielf90? Heck, was there even a vote for placing people on this list? I’m guessing not, considering at least one of the so-designated leaders of American Jews on this list isn’t even American.

    • Danaa
      November 16, 2009, 5:50 pm

      danielf90, the views you consider marginal are so because of a deliberate campaign to marginalize them. The post-zionist or even anti-zionist views are, in fact, far from marginal in the circles where I walk. Which, BTW, have a predominance of younger (and some nopt so young) jewish people who are active in the progressive causes. They may not all want to come out with their opinions specifically on say, BDS, and face the rebuke from the establishment, but they hold the views nonetheless, and act accordingly. Just how do you think was Anna Baltzer able to get all those bookings across the country not to mention a publisher for her book?

      No matter how much you or the JJ Goldbergs of this world try to corral alternative perspectives into a “marginal” corner, those views are there and thriving and growing.

      Maybe it’s the world-according-to-the-forward that’s got a limited perspective of what the “jewish community” is becoming. Fine by me – I prefer a stealth movement at this point anyways.

      • Danielf90
        November 16, 2009, 7:11 pm

        Admittedly, being from Britain I can’t comment on the specifics of American Jewish politics and views towards Israel.

        However, do you really think that your marginal (which i don’t mean as an insult, merely a matter of what i see as fact) fact are there because people just don’t agree with you? Every jew has access to the internet, has access to al-jazeera, has access to the massive amounts of documentations of Israeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, gross human rights abuses, blogs like this one, etc. etc. There’s no way you could possibly claim that the insidious ‘pro-israel lobby’ stops Jews from seeing this stuff because it can’t.

        Many jews that I know in the UK are somewhat critical of Israel (to varying degrees) and many, even conservatives, have either mooted or actually practice the idea of a boycott of settlement goods (i certainly do). BUT to call for academic and cultural boycotts is a step too far for most people, as is being anti- the notion of a Jewish state. I think you might have to accept that really IS a line too far for most Jews.

        ALSO: Did you even think that maybe the reason that the ‘Jewish Community’ doesn’t have many big movers’n’shakers on your part of the left is because most of those jews choose not to associate with the jewish community? I know that in the UK, of all the (non-haredi) anti-zionist jews (of which there aren’t many, maybe 1000-2000 max.), hardly any get involved with mainstream jewish life, AT ALL. Thus, even though they’re Jews they would never be included in ‘The Forward’ because they don’t contribute? [of course, it may well be that they don’t contribute because they’re not welcome in the jewish community, but that doesn’t invalidate my point].

      • Danaa
        November 16, 2009, 8:15 pm

        your points on the differences between the communities in Britain and the US are well taken. However, you must be a relative newcomer to this blog for you to make the comments you do about the jewish lobby. You can read all about the takes on the lobby most recently on any jeff blankfort’s post (eg, the Obama capitulation, etc thread). The political system in the US is such as to give lobbies unparalleled power politically. But in addition, our MSM is effectively gagged on the subject and woe to any who dares breech that dam. The reason you see a certain bitterness on the part of certain journalists here, is because they have been the subject of rather ruthless retribution, one that does not stop with them but extends to family and friends. And I assure you that the jewish “establishment” in the US is utterly ruthless in squashing dissent. Maybe in UK, people are polite. They are so not in the US.

        As for the ability to reach other news outlets – the majority of americans still get their news from MSM. And the lobby is the one word that dares not be spoken, so how are they to know what and who is really responsible for the atrocious iraq debacle, for example?

        What we are discussing here, however, is the fact that many in the jewish community are, in fact, subject to dual loyalty, and in the case of people like dershowitcz and goldberg and kristol and ross and the neocons – it’s single loyalty and it ain’t to america. And that’s the ‘secret” many in the jewish community know. In a crunch – they’ll go with israel, not the US. And as the interests of the two entities – and their values – are rapidly diverging, we all see major problems up ahead. maybe Israelis would welcome a wave of antisemitism in the US (and trust mew, they would, because they are THAT selfish), but most of us won’t. Ask M J Rosenberg what keeps him awake at night (you can find him at TPMcafe and at media matters).

        many in the UK are way ahead of us, realizing that Israel has become a middle eastern country which pays lip service to western – and even jewish – values and principles. I am fond of saying that israel is one of the least jewish states among the west – no wonder they need the palestinians to “define” them as jewish.

        BTW – you think perhaps the british lobby had something to do with the recent muzzling of stories and opinions in the guardian and BBC? didn’t you guys just have this superb expose on the subject on tele? we have another post on this subject here today. By all means you should raise your points with the posters there too, and see what dust is shaken loose.

  2. James
    November 16, 2009, 2:53 pm

    but phil, it’s about being jewish and having money… being jewish and suffering is also a popular topic… others suffering is just not something jewish news outlets cover, or only in so far as it pales to their own…

  3. Chaos4700
    November 16, 2009, 4:43 pm

    So let me get this straight… you’ve got a list of commemorating the leadership of American Jews… and some of the people on it aren’t even American?

    How appropos.

  4. wondering jew
    November 16, 2009, 5:11 pm

    Apparently Phil Weiss was not careful in his reading of the Forward’s article, for it included this. Maybe not politically correct enough to meet Phil Weiss’s standards, it still qualifies as “mentioning” Gaza.

    Ari Roth
    Ari Roth, the ebullient playwright and director of Theater J in Washington, D.C., took a risk in the aftermath of January’s Israeli military incursion into Gaza: In March, he staged a reading of Caryl Churchill’s Palestinian protest play, “Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza,” at Washington’s Jewish Community Center. After 12 years at Theater J, during which time he consolidated and expanded its quality, reach and repertoire, Roth, 48, is still willing to go out on a limb. Not only did he stage the Churchill play this year — garnering protests — but he had previously staged Motti Lerner’s “Pangs of the Messiah,” about the Israeli settlements, and Hillel Mittelpunkt’s “The Accident,” about Israel’s hypocritical intelligentsia. “I don’t program to offend the Jewish community, but to be in dialogue on issues that are extremely important,” Roth said.

    • Citizen
      November 16, 2009, 5:18 pm

      Steve Rosen’s there too, leading American Jews into the 21st Century–all on the list maybe except Ari Roth? I didn’t get all the way down the list yet…

  5. Philip Weiss
    November 16, 2009, 5:32 pm

    thanks for comments, folks, i respond to danielf90 and Wondering Jew in an update to the post, phil

  6. OhioJoes
    November 16, 2009, 6:05 pm

    Quite an inadvertant admission by our boy Phil! He doesn’t actually READ before he criticizes, he just does searches for words (Gaza, Nakba, Weiss). If he doesn’t find them, thence begins his whine.

    • Chaos4700
      November 16, 2009, 6:07 pm

      Zionists: Professional schoolyard bullies for over sixty years. At worst, even if that were true, that would still make him a match for Witty. (You’re not even in the ballpark, I daresay).

      • OhioJoes
        November 16, 2009, 6:16 pm

        Hey chaos, how is that a reply to my comment? Could it be that our reply button policeman isn’t perfect?

      • Chaos4700
        November 16, 2009, 7:48 pm

        I’d put your comment where it truly deserves to go, OJ, but regrettably that would require me to try to flush a perfectly good monitor down my toilet.

  7. Richard Witty
    November 16, 2009, 6:22 pm

    link to hsjp.org

    This is a program put on at Hampshire College this weekend by “Students for Justice in Palestine”, which I would love to attend, but have a previous commitment.

    I’ve wanted to meet Ali Abunimeh and Anna Balzer, and others.

    A Hampshire student that is a childhood friend of my kids, will be speaking in support of a two-state solution in which “peace is the ultimate justice”, forward thinking.

    We’ll see if the tenor of the event is punitive (implied in BDS) or democratic (equal rights for all, even Zionists that refuse to be part of a single state).

    • Chaos4700
      November 16, 2009, 7:46 pm

      Witty? Why don’t you believe Jews can coexist with other peoples? Anyone else struck by the real tenor of Witty’s commentary? He really does think Jews deserve a privileged existence. Zionists refusing to be part of a single state is what spurred on the Nakba and the wars that followed and left Middle Eastern Jewish tradition shattered and subservient to that of European (specifically, Zionist) supremacy.

      Witty forgets, again and again and again, Middle Eastern Jews got along quite fine in Middle Eastern cultures before 1948. Before Zionist terrorism was rewarded with a state that continuously violates international laws.

      • Richard Witty
        November 16, 2009, 10:48 pm

        Again, Chaos, your rosy picture of the “good old days”, like most, aren’t exactly accurate.

        The status that Palestinians are rebelling against currently, was the similar to the status of Jews over thousands of years in the Islamic Umma. They just found their ways of getting through it.

        That it was better than how Europeans treated Jews (with exceptions), isn’t saying much.

        For whatever good or bad reasons that Jews seek to associate in a state, it exists, and is nearly universally hoped to remain as a state.

        Agitation against Israel is almost entirely from outside. There is little to no popular movement within fundamentally criticizing the existence of the state as Jewish AND democratic.

        Expansion is criticized. Annexation is criticized. Existence as Israel is very very rarely.

      • Chaos4700
        November 16, 2009, 10:53 pm

        Don’t you lecture me on the “good old days,” you Nakba-denying racist hypocrite. You’re the two-faced moral turncoat who dreams the Zionist dream of Jewish uber alles, and then you turn around and say, “Oh! Well the past doesn’t matter! Unless it happened to Jews. Then the past matters a lot.”

        Enjoy the Judenreich while it lasts, Witty. It’s not lasting for much longer.

  8. Call Me Ishmael
    November 17, 2009, 1:19 am

    From The Forward’s story about its 50 most influential American Jews:

    “Joel and Ethan Coen directed a homage to, and darkly comic caricature of, their Jewish-Minnesotan roots. “A Serious Man” begins with a fable acted out in Yiddish by Yelena Shmulenson, Allen Lewis Rickman and legendary Yiddish actor, Fyvush Finkel. It continues by portraying, with tenderness, a farcical version of the suburban Jewish Minneapolis world in which the brothers grew up. The film was such an intense evocation of its milieu that audiences and critics who were neither Jewish nor Minnesotan, including the New Yorker, had little liking for it…. Their next project is purported to be a movie version of Michael Chabon’s “Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” for which they would take the subject of Jews on frozen plains once more to heart.

    Non-Jewish audiences and critics “had little liking for” the film. Exactly.

    Could someone explain why such a high proportion of films produced by Hollywood are about Jewish themes and depicted through a Jewish perspective? Could it be that movie-goers didn’t care much for “A Serious Man” because they are just up to the gills in Jewish ethnicity? (I thought “Fargo” was a powerful movie, even though it seemed to have only one Jewish bit-character.)

  9. Cliff
    November 17, 2009, 1:58 am

    Hollywood is not representative of American society. It is it’s own institution within it’s own world.

    Just look at random portrayals of Jews in Hollywood. Even in mindless action flicks like ‘Independence Day’ – there’s a scene where a Jew does a prayer during the alien attack and the former secretary of defense or vice president or whoever says he’s not Jewish. The Jewish guy says ‘no one’s perfect’.

    I mean, it’s not a big deal but it’s that kind of subtle or casual representations of Jewishness (always positive in any meaningful sense) is a testament to Jewish power in the modern era.

    There is an over-representation of Jews in our TV/Movie culture as well as news media.

    And of course, Palestinians are by and large represented here mostly by Jews via the pathetic, racist, colonial mentality as well as cowardly mainstream media.

    I mean, reflecting on Stewart’s recent show. Did he even READ Baltzer’s book? Why didn Balzter and Barghoutti(sp) challenge Jon more on his propaganda? It would be so easy to dismantle Zionist lies and it was on television! How much chances do you have to pull the curtain like that? Zionism is a lie and needs to be exposed not compromised with.

    I mean, take a fake Liberal but rather Zionist Jew like Witty. He nor his fellow Nazis will win. The Palestinians can continue to hold out and resist the fascism of Zionism and refuse recognition of Israel as a racist, Jewish, ethno-cratic State. Meanwhile, activism will continue to build, and the conflict will become a civil rights movement rather than the war that it truly is against a virtually defenseless people.

    And now that it becomes a civil rights struggle (which it already was) then the stupid, idiotic, and both intellectually lazy and cowardly American masses can get on board.

    You can even load up the movement w/ the typical pretentious Jewish catchphrases like ‘Not in our name!’ or ‘Never again!’

    Use Jewish humanism as a medium to do what is just but overall most efficient.

    The conflict cannot be won through war. Israel will continue instigating more wars. They will continue their oppression, continue their murdering and daily humiliation.

    Meanwhile, our bought and paid for media, our Jewish Thought Police, and our corrupt politicians will whitewash and contribute to the intentional dumbing down of our society (even more so than it is). This way, when Arabs and especially the Palestinians, fight back – it will ALWAYS be reported on as if there is no reason. No context. Nothing. Just terrorism. Terrorism for terror’s sake or for ‘lolJihad’.

    So use Jewish humanism. It’s not like those Jews are in complete solidarity. They see Palestinian Arabs as ‘clay of Jewish humanism’. It makes THEM feel good about themselves to disassociate all things Jewish (meanwhile the double standard in referring to Islamic terrorism as Islamic terrorism) from Zionism (Zionism is a construct of Jewish identity, particular the European Jews) while hugging the Natives.

    They want absolution.

    And there are simply TOO MANY Nazi Jews like Witty within the Jewish community. The dissent in the Jewish community is always still through the lens of Jewishness and still operating on the same mechanisms as the Zionists and Neocons (see: pretentious, ‘exceptional’ Jewish catchphrases).

    So you have to be smart. Do not resort to violence. Completely meet the utterly disgusting and racist, colonial expectations of yourself as an Arab by ‘Liberal Jews’ and non-Jews (but mostly the former).

    Be the Native who has given up war. After all, you have dark skin and Jews suffered a lot remember? 6 million! You don’t get to have any kind of angst or rage. You just sit there and look helpless and let the ‘good’ Jews come help you. So it’s a win-win.


    Once the fact that this has become a civil rights movement has entered the mainstream – all the goy pussies can get on board and not worried about being called anti$emitic.

    Work w/ Jews. Be in solidarity with THEM being in solidarity w/ the Palestinians instead of simply (and what would just and moral) being in solidarity w/ the Palestinians.

    Use Jewish Liberals like Chomsky and whatever windbag phony to your advantage.

    People are being OPPRESSED. It’s time to appraise your intellectual labor and your physical labor. How far have you come? Not far. They have more guns, more money, and many institutions working independently as a PR firm (Hollywood, corrupt Western MSM, etc.).

    So, lie down and take the hit. Do not fight back. Give up your right to defend yourself. Let the Zionists destroy themselves.

    They are Nazis, and when their Nazis behavior has become known in the mainstream, they will self-destruct. And finally justice will be done.

    • Call Me Ishmael
      November 17, 2009, 3:22 am

      “Once the fact that this has become a civil rights movement has entered the mainstream – all the goy pussies can get on board and not worried about being called anti$emitic.”

      Cliff, I wouldn’t count on sympathy for the Palestinians being the impetus. More likely, the goy anti-Zionist uprising will not occur till later, when the deceived masses become convinced that Zionism is threatening their welfare, their democracy, and many other things they always took for granted. It will be a shame it had to come to that.

    • Chu
      November 17, 2009, 11:01 am

      Cliff, Welcome to reality in America. It’s disappointing to see how rotten it all is when you look at the details. It really changes a person’s perspective.
      There can be no doubt that things need to, and will change. The amount of information one can learn about this issue today is terrific. This information was unavailable years ago.

  10. Eva Smagacz
    November 17, 2009, 5:22 am

    Goy anti-Zionist uprising will not be anti-Zionist. It will be anti-Semitic.
    Just like anti-Jihadism is never only against fundamentalists, but instead morphs into Islamophobia.

    • potsherd
      November 17, 2009, 11:28 am

      Given that this is so, many will argue that anti-Zionism must be repressed. Not because it is wrong, but because it is too true.

      In the meantime, every move by Israel increases the pressure and the urgency for anti-Zionism. The only solution I see is for US Jews to take the lead in denouncing the Zionists.

  11. Danielf90
    November 17, 2009, 6:00 am

    I tried post a comment 3x last night and it submitted fine and never up on here. Was it pre-moderated?

    • Danaa
      November 17, 2009, 12:34 pm

      Danielf90, not necessarily. Glitches happen with the comment section. The same happened to me yesterday, though only once. The trick seemed to be to exit the site then log back in. Other glitches happen when one takes too long with a reply (or leave it on, unsent while exploring the amazons or the arctics),. Then there are times the site is down for some maintenance and if you try to post at that time your words of wisdom may just be gone forever. PS how about answering my comment to you on the Forward thread?

      • Danielf90
        November 17, 2009, 12:38 pm

        That’s what I was trying to do. Luckily I saved my most recent reply. Currently on the move, so will reply when I get near my laptop.

      • Danielf90
        November 17, 2009, 1:02 pm

        Nope, it ain’t working. There must be something in my post that’s filtering it out….hmm….I’ve really not said anything that i can think would set off the filters: rich, jews, conspiracy, dual loyalty, israel lobby, hmm…..

      • Danaa
        November 17, 2009, 2:45 pm

        I doubt it’s the filters. We’ve had people here cursin’ to high heavens that somehow got through the gates (OhioJoes comes to mind). All I can suggest is that you make a slight change in some wording and try again. Otherwise, you know, my comment stands as the last word(s) on the subject – on two continents at that!

        I’ll give you a hint though: it’s from within the tribe that the workings of the lobby are known best. That’s where the ties that bind are stretched to the breaking point for many. That’s where the ruthlessness of which I speak threads its way, chopping everywhichway. Just how do you think they got to Roger Cohen? the british version of the lobby has a lot to learn, BTW, but they are trying their darnest.

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