Sullivan: blockade, racism, checkpoints, militarism are ‘betrayal of Jewish virtues’

Sullivan is justly disturbed by the weird hubris shown in Israel by the dis of the Turkish envoy.

The slow cultural shifts in Israel – toward ever more arrogance, more fundamentalism, more Russian immigrant racism, contempt for the Muslim world, military adventurism, and the daily grinding of the Palestinians on the West Bank and pulverization and inhumane blockade of the people of Gaza … well maybe some others can explain it.

All I can say is: it saddens me, as a longtime lover of the Jewish state. It does not represent the historic mainstream of liberal Jewish society, it is a betrayal of many Jewish virtues that goyim like me deeply admire, and it seems designed for war as some kind of eternal and uplifting state of mind. I hope Israel shifts soon. For Israel’s sake.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 41 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Shmuel says:

    Russian immigrant racism

    Lieberman’s an ass, but Sullivan might want to watch such gross generalisations. Russian-Israelis (there are about a million of them) come in all shapes and sizes.

    • Tuyzentfloot says:

      And I’d prefer “a shift towards adventurous militarism etc” a bit more grossly generalized too. There’s a shift but it’s not as if it’s all new.

    • Avi says:

      True. Like all groups, they do come in “all shapes and sizes”. But, Shmuel, wasn’t Lieberman’s main voting bloc the 20 – 35 old Soviet immigrant demographic?

      I could be wrong, but as far as I remember, the statistics I saw after the election on Ha’aretz showed most of Lieberman’s support came from that demographic, especially the young generation.

      • Shmuel says:

        Let me put it this way, Avi. There is a lot of deep-seated racism in Israel – a part of which involves blaming Russians, settlers and Haredim for most of the ills (including racism) of society. Yisra’el Beiteinu also enjoys a lot of support from non-Russians, and it is by no means the only virulently racist show in town. Danny Ayalon, the deputy minister who started this particular brouhaha may have been acting on Lieberman’s instructions and may be a member of his party, but he’s Israeli-born and certainly did not enter Yisra’el Beiteinu for the borscht.

    • RE: “Russian-Israelis (there are about a million of them) come in all shapes and sizes.”

      MY COMMENT: Yes, of course. But also consider Moldovan/Israeli/American Orly Taitz and the following.

      *AN EXCERPT FROM A HAARETZ ARTICLE OF 01/27/09 TITLED “Police arrest Jewish teens for allegedly assaulting Arab youth in Galilee”:
      An Arab youth from the Galilee village of Majd el-Krum was injured lightly on Monday night after a gang of Jewish teens beat him with sticks while he was walking along the promenade in Tiberias.
      Police arrested eight suspects ranging from 14 to 16 years of age who are believed to have taken part in the assault.
      The victim, Mohammed Mansur, was rushed to Poriah Hospital near Tiberias, where he was treated for injuries sustained all over his body…..
      SOURCE - http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1059164.html

      *AN ISRAELI YOUTH (IVANOV) QUOTED IN A “HAARETZ” ARTICLE OF 02-07-09 TITLED, “Lieberman’s anti-Arab ideology wins over Israel’s teens” -
      “We have a problem: Upper Nazareth is surrounded by minorities. There are lots of incidents with them. Women are scared to walk in the streets, and people are afraid they’ll be stabbed. No one knows what to do about it at this point. There are people who live here and during a war they act as a fifth column. It will only be possible to make peace with them after we make war.”
      SOURCE - http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1061910.html

      • Shmuel says:

        Dickerson,

        We could swap racist anecdotes until the cows come home, but racism in Israel is not the prerogative of any particular ethnic or immigrant group. “Right-thinking” Israelis (termed AHUSALIM* by sociologist Barch Kimmerling), would like to believe however, that they are pure as the driven snow, and that the religious (especially settlers and Haredim), the “Russians” (any part of the former USSR will do) and the Mizrahim (immigrants from the southern republics of the USSR are generally considered both Russians and Mizrahim) , have ruined their tolerant, utopian society. This is the view reflected in Haaretz (house organ of the Ahusalim) and in the opinions of foreign journalists who get all of their information from said paper and their cosmopolitan Ahusal Israeli friends.

        *AHUSAL – acronym for ashkenazi – hiloni – vatik – sotzyalist – le’umi – Ashkenazi – secular – native-born – socialist – nationalist

  2. potsherd says:

    It was the work of Avigdor Lieberman, who instructed the Israel foreign ministry to display more arrogance to the rest of the world.

    The appointment of Lieberman should have been a ringing alarm to the rest of the world that Israel had taken a racist turn. The fact that governments worldwide failed to withdraw their ambassadors immediately at the news of this appointment was a profound failure. In the case of any other country, if such a racist had been part of the government, there would have been worldwide demands that he resign.

    But Israel, as always, gets a pass, and now we see the consequences. There can be no dealing with a government in which such a figure is a minister.

  3. Citizen says:

    Israel will continue down the same road–nothing can stop it except USA pressure, but that is not coming.

    McCain & Lieberman just assured Israel the USA will shake no stick, only give more carrots, despite what Mitchell said after being pushed by Charlie Rose regarding the past attempted use of threatening to withhold loan guarantees:

    link to peacenow.org

    Obama’s hands are tied by AIPAC-controlled congress.

    • Citizen says:

      PS: If you click on the Peacenow. org url, the article contains a link which makes it
      extremely easy to contact your senate reps, and you can edit the email msg anyway you like.

      Also, McCain & Lieberman visited Israeli settlements while in Israel, thus giving
      their rubber stamp of approval on continued Israeli expansion, which just happens
      to be against official US foreign policy.

  4. marc b. says:

    as a longtime lover of the Jewish state.

    Positively juvenile. How does one ‘love’ a State? This seems to be a variation on the advertising campaign, “Israel: America’s Best Friend in the Middle East!” Countries don’t have friends, only degrees of rivalry. And why call oneself a Goy without an apparent hint of irony? Is there any context in which being labeled goyim is not derogatory?

    • Mooser says:

      “Is there any context in which being labeled goyim is not derogatory?”

      No, and if there is one things which sets my few remaining teeth on edge, it’s when a non-Jew feels they have to demean themselves in that way to impress a Jew with their lack of anti-Semitism (or something, who knows with those people?). Sorta shows a lot of contempt for the Jew, I’ve always felt.

      • Citizen says:

        Mmmmm, I see a model: a “self-hating” Jew has the same profile as a “self-hating “goy.
        S0, what’s next?

        Somebody’s two cents about how the bipolar Disneyland theme needs to get beyond
        it’s bank funnel?

    • potsherd says:

      Self-hating goyim?

  5. Mooser says:

    It does not represent the historic mainstream of liberal Jewish society, it is a betrayal of many Jewish virtues that goyim like me deeply admire, and….

    Look, I’m not trying to be funny (on purpose, anyway) but what the hell, exactly, is he talking about? Apart from the many excellent Jewish individuals, of course, just as their are excellent and compassionate people from every faith or not. But what, in reality, in real life, is he talking about?

    Cause I’ll tell you what, I’m have been wondering about this for a while, and the answer I’m coming up with is not pleasant. When Sullivan says things like that about the “liberal Jewish community” and the Jewish virtues, he is taking for his examples (but nobody ever gives any, do they) all the things Zionists say about themselves and their own efforts. I’m becoming sure that’s where all that about Jewish virtues and liberal Jewish society come from, what the Zionists say about themselves, and what they promise and purport about the make-up of Israel.

    But back top the examples: How come nobody ever gives an example when they talk about the “Jewish virtues” You know, by completing the sentence ‘like the excellent work done by the Jewish organisation ————’.

    I mean, what the hell? We spend all day castigating the Jews in the US for among many other sins, nepotism, illiberality, social racism, nepotism and generally right-wing ishness, and we can support that with lots examples, both of individual collusion or organisations. Okay, and a lot of it may be true. But anyone, at anytime, can pipe up about this supposedly “liberal” basis of Judaism, and these “Jewish virtues”.
    Well, I’ve been a Jew all my life, and I don’t know what in real terms they are talking about?
    Motivating an intrinsically decentralised religious community to come together to change the course of Israel will be hard enough. Why start by saddling us with virtues we do not possess?

    Oh, and look, he calls himself “goyim”! How cute!

    • Cliff says:

      Wow, you read my mind.

      I think he’s just navigating the waters at the moment. Who knows what his intentions are.

      The guy was bashing Chomsky as a propagandist essentially (with a very very weak analysis basically, just a series of exasperated ‘pfft‘s) 4 years ago on Realtime w/ Bill M.

      The war went south, and so he jumped ship.

    • marc b. says:

      I am ambivalent about this whole “character” thing. Certainly there are general traits that compose ‘Jewishness’, at least as far as the promoters of such an identity are concerned. But as I’ve explained to those who get all weepy about the inherent cleverness, resilience, etc. of insert identity here, that cuts both ways. If “Jews”, a closed group by definition, are inherently clever, then doesn’t that identification naturally lead to the conclusion that “Jews” are inherently devious or duplicitous.

      As for Sullivan, he is just an intellectual jock sniffer. He desparately wants to be part of the conversation, he just isn’t quite sure yet what the dominant position will be.

    • Citizen says:

      Mooser, as a Jew, you get to sneer at the power of the usage of anti-semitism accusation. Goys do not. Whether or not they can feed their kids depends on
      avoiding the label of being an anti-semite. You are a joke. You get to joke about
      jews and gentiles, but you pay no price. Oh look, he calls himself a “jew”! How cute!”

      • Mooser says:

        “Whether or not they can feed their kids depends on
        avoiding the label of being an anti-semite.”

        If you are remarking that bigoted statement of any type are becoming more an more unacceptable in the workplace, well, you are probably right. So is a lot of the sexual horseplay that was once acceptable. A more diverse workforce means greater circumspection in those areas, no doubt about it. I think its a good thing.

        • Mooser says:

          “but you pay no price.”

          My good Citizen, it’s not my job to offer myself up as a sacrifice to your screwy, second-hand notions about Jews.
          But please tell me, what “price” do you feel it incumbent upon me to “pay” in this matter? And what am I paying for? You know how it is Citi, Jews like to know these things (well, when it isn’t Bernie Madoff offering them a miraculous investment. Him, we trust.).

        • Mooser says:

          “Mooser, as a Jew, you get to sneer at the power of the usage of anti-semitism accusation. Goys do not.”
          Sorry Citizen, maybe I spoke too fast. Let me consult my Talmud and Commentaries, along with Apocropha (all downloaded and searchable, it won’t take too long) and I’ll get back to you on this…
          Wrong again, darn it! on “Jews sneering” there’s at least a hundred pages, mostly about bagels (!) no, wait a sec, no, that’s “Jews smeering”! I’ll try again later, on “Jews vs. Goys power of usage antisemitism accusation”, well, it’s still compiling.

        • Citizen says:

          No problem, Mooser; I will just dial up the US agency dedicated to monitoring anti-goyism
          and have them look into it; after all, it’s what I pay taxes for. Have a happy ADL
          day, and may Hollywood always have your back.

  6. Cliff says:

    I want to know what Sullivan thinks ‘Jewish virtues’ are. What are Christian virtues? Islamic virtues? These are very vague statements. However, in Sullivan’s case – it’s just pandering. I wonder what his intentions are and why he cares about the I-P issue.

    It’s as if, Israel exists in a parallel universe from ‘Liberal American Jewry’ (European again). Two things apparently unrelated to one another.

    So many contradictions in the blurb Phil quoted. It’s like that line ‘saving Israel from itself‘ – Israel is the victim and the perpetrator, but the obvious emphasis is on the victim-hood because the statement is meant to be tragically ironic.

    • Todd says:

      “I want to know what Sullivan thinks ‘Jewish virtues’ are. What are Christian virtues? Islamic virtues? These are very vague statements. However, in Sullivan’s case – it’s just pandering. I wonder what his intentions are and why he cares about the I-P issue.”

      Jewish virtues talk is about as empty as family values talk, but I’ve never seen anyone questioning family values asked to provide citations to prove that some people actually talk about family values in a political context.

      • Citizen says:

        Sullivan is just a Pavlovian victim of the US school system. His choice of words, characterization
        regarding “historic mainstream” Jewish contribution to a better world is right out of our text books and the mouth
        of our public education cadre.
        Mooser must have been a High School drop-out. If so, he could make it up by
        watching Jerry Springer rather his guests. I especially recommend Jerry’s little
        philosophy bon mots at the end of each of his shows.

  7. Mooser says:

    Look, I am, as I said, not trying to be funny (I guess I don’t need to remind anybody of that) and I am hoping that somebody answers with a list of liberal and humanitarian causes espoused, and tremendous work done by “Jewish” (and we can be real easy about the standard for that, since there is no Jewish Vatican to give an imprimatur. But I keep on getting the qeasy feeling that most of the answers will revolve around things Jews did for other Jews (and if the Evil Eye gives it to me in the neck for putting it like that, well, I asked for it) in the earlier years of the twentieth century. Or worse, things done to enable Zionism, which was sold as “liberation” for the oppressed Jews.

    Sort of a circular definition of liberality if you ask me. I would love to be proven wrong.

    • Citizen says:

      Not sure what you mean here, Mooser. The Irish Sullivan has a high opinion of Jews; he says so–but he also says, some events have made him question that high opinion.
      He feels guilty about even questioning that POV; he’s at least willing to toss his angst out there to the public. Let’s here a letter you would write to this Mister Sullivan. Please don’t mention your shiksa wife as that would only cloak your actual POV.

  8. MHughes976 says:

    Surely there are statistics showing that Jews tend to be prominent in left-wing causes? And surely the outsider position of Jews in the West must have tended to make them receptive to new ideas and to want to shake up the traditional order and to make it, once shaken, more humane and therefore less of a threat to minorities? (Freud, Popper, Wittgenstein.)
    Of course Zionism is a different tendency, whereby Jews decided to become a majority in one place and to find local minorities dangerous and detestable. Sullivan seems to think that Zionism could have been and once was a humane and peaceful philosophy, whereas the truth is that it was always impossible for the Zionist state to maintain itself without the ruthless and militaristic paraphernalia that it employs so dramatically these days.
    Love for people because of their race is dangerous and not virtuous.

    • Citizen says:

      What about those people who say they love their own people? And hate you if you don’t cheer them on? Now contesting them will get you a cup of coffee, huh?

  9. Mooser & Citizen – Andrew Sullivan was born, bred, and educated in England, although of Irish descent ultimately.

    He is certainly no ‘Pavlovian victim of the US school system’ but having been out of the English culture scene for some 25 years, has simply not kept up with the negative sea change in British attitudes (much stronger among Scots and Irish ) towards Israel.

    During that twenty-five years, nearly a million Russian immigrants were inveigled into going to Israel, most with very perfunctory checks of their Jewish credentials.

    Many used this process as only as a way station to the US.
    See our old friend Lev Leviev: link to haaretz.com

    If you have any remaining claims for Israel being a democracy, check:
    link to theisraelproject.org

    These are not elections; they are farces.

    • Citizen says:

      Thanks, RP. Although I was wrong in assuming Sullivan had an American education; from what you say, Sullivan’s POV amounts to the same thing. The USA forced the USSR (and now Russia, and many former USSR satellite countries) via selective
      anti-trade and anti-trade financing legislation to allow soviet Jews to immigrate
      as an exception to strict scrutiny of claimed political persecution. The USA government does allow human civil rights to trump even the USA’s own best economic interests when it feels like doing so–as a matter of foreign policy.

      link to samvak.tripod.com

      If Congress so chose, it could curtail trade with Israel, not merely cut off loans
      or its annual cash dole to Israel–or at least threaten to and make such threats public
      –to cox Israel to back off its horrible treatment of the Palestinian people. Instead,
      the USA disses the Goldstone Report, resupplies and supplements Israel’s WMD and military might, and immunizes Israel from UN sanctions by US UNSC veto.

      • Citizen says:

        BTW, Sullivan got his Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, as well as a Ph.D. in government from Harvard. Surprise, surprise.