Another prominent American Jew pronounces himself ‘disgusted’ with Israel

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 35 Comments

Earlier today I called for more Jewish apostates in the face of Israel’s repulsive conduct (please watch this video). Well a friend pointed this out to me:

This Times piece on the ADL opposing the mosque near Ground Zero prompted a healthy rejoinder from Jay Rosen, the influential journalism prof at NYU (and a Jew), at twitter a few days ago:

My alienation from and disgust with the "organized Jewish community" (and the polity of Israel) is close to complete

35 Responses

  1. radii
    August 3, 2010, 9:47 pm

    more please … since the US is dictated to by the israeli lobby our ability to put israel’s bad conduct in-check is nearly moot, hence it is only important jews who can do it … many many more must speak up and turn the tide against the insanity of the israeli regime and zionism generally

  2. thankgodimatheist
    August 3, 2010, 11:07 pm

    “My alienation from and disgust with the “organized Jewish community” (and the polity of Israel) is close to complete”

    Good news..Now how much more is needed to make it complete..Does he read the zionist apologists on this site?

  3. Jethro
    August 3, 2010, 11:19 pm

    That is one beautifully-written tweet.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    August 4, 2010, 12:38 am

    I have often been impressed with comments made by Jay Rosen. I hope we will hear a lot more from him.

  5. yourstruly
    August 4, 2010, 1:01 am

    Not just prominent Jews but Jews from all walks of life are disavowing support for Zionism and its settler-state Israel. The reason for this is Israel’s barbaric treatment of Palestinians as exemplified in its siege of Gaza. Turns out that said behavior goes against the essence of Jewish tradition, which is to always side with the oppressed, never with the oppressor, even (better, especially) when the oppressor happens to be a co-religionist. But aren’t those sacred texts and rituals the essence of Judaism? Fortunately not, being that most Jewish-Americans are secular rather than religious. And the turnabout of Jewish-Americans from supporting the so-called Jewish-state (so-called because colonialism is inherently racist which, again, goes against the above mentioned Jewish tradition) to demanding justice for the Palestinians will have profound implications on U.S. policy vis a vis the Mideast conflict. Why? Because it’ll be difficult for our government persist with its support of the so-called Jewish state when U.S. Jewry is demanding that its government stop coddling Israel.

    • RoHa
      August 4, 2010, 1:05 am

      It may sound ungracious, and even ungrateful, but I find myself thinking, “About bloody time. Where’ve you been for the last sixty-odd years?”

  6. Rowan
    August 4, 2010, 2:23 am

    Bla bla bla:

    There is a sense that anti-Semitism is the same everywhere. Like it says in the Haggadah, in every generation one rises up to destroy us.
    (Anthony Julius, Haaretz, Aug 4 2010)

    • Citizen
      August 4, 2010, 3:57 am

      All of recorded history has been cherry-picked to stress the continuity of anti-semitism throughout the ages. What’s left out, of course, is the real reason why the Jews have survived.

    • eGuard
      August 4, 2010, 5:57 am

      Julius does all reasonable (“But … Peres gets it wrong. Or, rather, partly wrong”), but then:

      Q: How do we know which is which [re anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism]?

      A: It’s not that easy to define, but easy to identify. Broadly speaking, the relating of Israel to Nazi Germany and Zionism to Nazism, that seems to me to be strongly anti-Semitic in its impulse. It is a kind of malicious attempt to identify persecuted with the persecuted.
      So we’re let go for now, but can always come back to change his opinion. And he will.

      By the way, his book (more, it’s Harold Bloom NYT review) was discussed here some months ago. .

      • American
        August 4, 2010, 11:09 am

        “Q: How do we know which is which [re anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism]?

        A: It’s not that easy to define, but easy to identify. Broadly speaking, the relating of Israel to Nazi Germany and Zionism to Nazism, that seems to me to be strongly anti-Semitic in its impulse. It is a kind of malicious attempt to identify persecuted with the persecuted.’

        Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
        We see what you do.
        We see how it is like in many ways what the nazis did.
        Therefore we compare you to the nazis.
        Particulary because you have screamed for 65 years about what the nazis did to you while you are doing the exact same thing to others.
        The persecuted are now doing the persecuting.
        What?….you thought no one would notice?
        .

      • American
        August 4, 2010, 11:28 am

        Totally frivolous remark but I was reading about how Duke Univ. has succeeded in making an “invisibility cloak”…not kidding. Don’t have the full details but something to do a material that bends light waves.
        Anyway the Peres statement reminded me of it. It’s like the zios think they are wearing some invisibility cloak where we can’t see what they are doing , only hear what they say.

    • Shmuel
      August 4, 2010, 7:50 am

      Like it says in the Haggadah …

      Spoken like a true Zionist. That particular passage has been omitted by progressive Jews for nearly two centuries (see eg. Leopold Stein’s Hagada, Frankfurt am Main, 1841 – on which the Central Council of American Rabbis based its Union Haggadah, New York, 1908). The idea of perpetual and inevitable anti-Semitism is, today, a primarily Zionist view.

      • Mooser
        August 4, 2010, 9:57 am

        Shmuel, keep your eye on Rowan. It really doesn’t matter what happens, how the Jewish community (whatever that is) acts, hell, we could go over their and tear the place to pieces with our own hands, and Rowan would insist that Zionism, and God alone knows how many other sins, are intrinsic to the Jewish souls. After all, we kept him from getting married (“If I was Jewish…”).
        Rowan, have you ever thought about taking up the saxophone?

      • MHughes976
        August 4, 2010, 11:51 am

        I suppose that it’s in the nature of all religions to be interpreted and reinterpreted – but what is the antiquity and authority of the Haggadah passage in question? And is it rightly understood to mean ‘At all times destroyers exist among non-Jews’ or ‘at all times destroyers are prevalent among non-Jews’?
        In the Church of England we now make little use of the Athanasian Creed, which assures us that all who fail to keep the faith whole and undefiled will without doubt perish everlastingly. But it’s still sort of there somewhere in the background.

      • Shmuel
        August 4, 2010, 1:30 pm

        MHughes,

        The basic text of the Haggadah was compiled in Babylonia in the 9th century, but this particular passage (Pour out Thy wrath/fury) was added in the Middle Ages, in response to the massacres perpetrated by the Crusaders, en route to the Holy Land. It reflects Jewish powerlessness, faith in divine retribution, and a sort of fatalism born of painful experience. 19th-century German Reformers felt that it no longer reflected Jewish reality, aspirations or theology, and created far more positive, hopeful versions of the passage, in keeping with changing attitudes toward and within non-Jewish society. American Reform (the largest Jewish religious denomination today) built upon the traditions and vision of German Reform, striving to be an integral part of the society in which it resided. The passage remained in the more traditional versions of the Haggadah, although explanations and interpretations (including historical context) are often offered during the Passover ritual – which traditionally includes discussion of the texts recited.

        Apropos the C of E, I was visiting the Santa Sabina basilica in Rome a couple of years ago, and noticed a good deal of hubbub. It turned out that the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was visiting Rome at the time, was scheduled to celebrate mass at Santa Sabina. I decided to stick around, and quite enjoyed the service (which included a very good African choir). I did feel a little uncomfortable with one of the readings however – the story of Jesus’ judgement before Pilate, from Matthew 27, including the verse uttered by the Jews present: “His blood be on us and on our children”. Of course it’s part of Christian tradition and, as you point out, our religions have some unfortunate baggage, challenging our powers of interpretation and reinterpretation (“in the spirit of the best human values of the age,” to quote American Jewish theologian Mordecai Kaplan). I guess I expected more of the C of E, for some reason. I guess I expected this particular passage to be somewhat more “in the background”. After all, Dr. Williams could have chosen any number of other readings.

      • Antidote
        August 4, 2010, 2:02 pm

        “including the verse uttered by the Jews present: “His blood be on us and on our children”. Of course it’s part of Christian tradition and, as you point out, our religions have some unfortunate baggage, challenging our powers of interpretation and reinterpretation …. I guess I expected more of the C of E, for some reason. I guess I expected this particular passage to be somewhat more “in the background”

        There is no reason to limit the interpretation of ‘Jews’ in this passage to the ‘Jewish people’ – past and present. The C of E is arguably more ‘Jewish’ (from a NT perspective) than it ever was ‘Christian’. ‘For the glory of God and Israel/England’ is not exactly compatible with the teachings of Christ (or Judaism, for that matter)

      • Shmuel
        August 4, 2010, 2:38 pm

        Antidote,

        The little angel on my shoulder (or was it the devil?) told me that it would be very Anglican to share the blame for Christ’s death, and that is how that may very well be what was going through Dr. Williams’ mind, but the reading was out there and discussed by the Archbishop, but no such explanation was offered. Maybe such an interpretation is taken for granted. I don’t know.

        Judaism certainly influenced the Reformation (and shared much of its criticism of the Catholic Church – reflected eg. in Christian-Jewish polemical literature) which, in turn, had a profound impact on Judaism – especially in Germany, Holland and Hungary. I think Christianity is far more Jewish than it would care to admit, and Judaism (even the ultra-Ortho variety) is far more Christian than it would care to admit.

      • Shmuel
        August 4, 2010, 2:40 pm

        especially in Germany, Holland and Hungary

        And in England and her former colonies, of course.

      • MHughes976
        August 4, 2010, 3:51 pm

        Thanks for information and comments. I think Matthew’s Gospel is very conscious both of the intimate links and of the dreadful divisions between (what were becoming) Judaism and Christianity. The crowds surrounding Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount and the crowds demanding Jesus’ death are both images of what all of us can be, or can join ourselves with. Of course if you join yourself with the wrong set there is (on some Jewish principles) punishment for yourself and for your heirs, which presumably Mt. sees in the events of 70.
        Unlike Anti, I think Anglicanism is authentic Christianity. This isn’t the place to argue that toss specifically, but it does indicate how problematic judgements about authenticity – authentic Judaism, authentic Islam, authentic humanity even – are.

      • MHughes976
        August 4, 2010, 3:53 pm

        By my barely grammatical ‘it’ I meant ‘even this brief exchange of views’.

      • Shmuel
        August 4, 2010, 4:20 pm

        Of course if you join yourself with the wrong set there is (on some Jewish principles) punishment for yourself and for your heirs

        Only in the eyes of God, and even there, the Hebrew Bible is somewhat contradictory. Rabbinical exegesis has tried to interpret Ex. 34:7 (and similar verses) in such a fashion as not to violate the fundamental principle of individual responsibility (expressed unequivocally in Deut. 24:16). In fact the idea of sons paying for the sins of the fathers may have been another “dig” at Pharisaic Judaism, on the part of the author of Matthew – as nomistic, ritualistic, heartless, amoral, etc. – and not necessarily representative of Jewish tradition at the time.

        Once again I recommend Jacquot Grunewald’s Chalom Jésus, lettre d’un rabbin d’aujourd’hui au rabbi de Nazareth (Albin Michel: 2000), for a fascinating discussion of the Jewish context of Jesus’ teachings.

      • Antidote
        August 4, 2010, 8:37 pm

        Shmuel — that was no doubt a devil sitting on your shoulder, from the point of view of the CofE, Dr. Williams and the Archbishop. I was thinking along the lines of MHughes that the “crowds surrounding Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount and the crowds demanding Jesus’ death are both images of what all of us can be, or can join ourselves with,” and that a narrow literalist and historical reading of ‘the Jews’ is not warranted (and also a fairly recent obsession of interpreting scripture). But I have to strongly disagree with MHughes on the point that “Anglicanism is authentic Christianity”. Even if there was any agreement on what ‘authentic Christianity’ (or Judaism) is, one would have to at least consider Chesterton’s point that Christianity is not an idea that has failed, but an idea that has never been tried. The idea of a Christian state is an oxymoron, considering the teachings of Christ in the NT, which are antithetical to the ‘old law’, particularly with regard to sex and war. To declare sterility a blessing, for instance, was incomprehensible to both Jews and Romans, and Christian theologians from Augustine to Aquinas and the reformers struggled with the contradictory demands of the material world and Christian/Platonic idealism. But yes, as you say: “Christianity is far more Jewish than it would care to admit, and Judaism (even the ultra-Ortho variety) is far more Christian than it would care to admit.”

        As to the sons paying for the sins of the father: I would say the idea of collective guilt is widespread in tribal law codes, both ancient and modern

  7. Richard Witty
    August 4, 2010, 2:33 am

    Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.

    After englightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.

    • Frances
      August 4, 2010, 7:45 am

      And you, at all times, never making any sense.

      • Mooser
        August 4, 2010, 9:59 am

        For God’s sake, Witty, chop all the wood you want, but leave the English language alone. Even if you are “englightened”.
        I guess you are too numb with ziocaine to notice that it’s been swinging back at you?

      • Richard Witty
        August 4, 2010, 10:03 am

        You don’t understand the slogan?

        That Phil is urging that Jews “convert” (apostacy), from support or sympathy with Zionism.

        I seek something skew. That is that people learn to respect Zionism, so that it can be applied humanely and appropriately.

        Still a state, still defending itself, still building homes, still supporting Jewish institutions, but doing so in an enlightened manner, not in a fearful manner.

        In contrast, a revolution that makes on the ground changes, but retains an ethic of fanaticism and willing brutality (just a different face) is NOT a qualitative change as far as social justice is measured.

      • Bumblebye
        August 4, 2010, 10:32 am

        “something skew”…Definitely so. Zionism has never ever been “applied humanely and appropriately”. There’s no such beast.

      • American
        August 4, 2010, 11:16 am

        That people ‘learn’ to respect zionism?

        Wow…that’s a little midget nazi jingo if I ever heard one. Heil Zio!

        What happens if we don’t learn to ‘respect’ zionism?
        Do you confiscate our land and bulldoze our houses down or what?

    • Mooser
      August 4, 2010, 10:03 am

      “After englightenment,(sic) chopping wood and carrying water.

      Nah, they leave that for the Palestinians. Not the water or the wood, just the “hewing and carrying”.

      As I said, Witty, it’s biting you back, and you don’t even notice. You will make a wonderful Zionist Zombie.

  8. homingpigeon
    August 4, 2010, 6:03 am

    The real test will be at election time. When will Democrat and Republican politicians stop competing with each other to see who can be most obsequious to Israel? And when will voters who are seeing the light on Palestine stop voting for the Zionist candidates on the grounds that one of them is the lesser of two evils on other issues?

  9. RoHa
    August 4, 2010, 6:08 am

    Here in Australia, both our major parties suck up to Israel. And our compulsory voting system is preferential. Difficult not to vote for a Zionist supporter if one wants to vote at all.

  10. joer
    August 4, 2010, 7:03 am

    “My alienation from and disgust with the “organized Jewish community” (and the polity of Israel) is close to complete”

    I am hesitant to critique the esteemed professor’s tweet, but perhaps a more direct and less ambiguous way to convey his message would be: “Fuck Israel”.

  11. Oscar
    August 4, 2010, 7:04 am

    Well, it would be much better if he published an op-ed piece in, say, the WSJ, rather than a 141-character tweet. But another convert in the War of Ideas in the Middle East.

    Of much greater significance was Prof. Rosen’s tweet to Peter Beinhart congratulating him for getting a deal to expand his explosive essay from NY Review of Books into a book-length work. “You speak for me,” tweeted Rosen. Here’s the link to the announcement . . . . Fourth blurb down in Publisher’s Weekly. link to publishersweekly.com

    Shades of Walt and Mearshimer!

  12. Leper Colonialist
    August 4, 2010, 9:36 am

    Wonderful – better late than never.

    NOW comes the really hard part – voting that way, and convincing others in the Jewish community to do likewise. Easier said than done.

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