The bastards

Israel/Palestine
on 93 Comments

I can’t let Passover pass without recording a good crack my mother got off at me over matzoh ball soup. I was telling her that I was trying to raise money for this website when she said, Oh what about the Koch brothers? My mother is no fan of this site, and the crack touches on the fundamental political difference that I have with her (and yes, I’m wringing my oedipal laundry here, at the undignified age of 55, but, so it goes). She believes in “the bastards” theory of political agency.

The bastards is a concept that I believe Jews brought over from Eastern Europe, where we were at the mercy of the czar from above– the bastards– and of the peasants from below. The essential political dilemma of Jewish life, as a segregated minority with financial utility to the larger society, was how to propitiate both these forces without getting caught in the grinder. Caught we were, of course; but Zionism, Communism, integrationism, assimilationism, all these belief systems had their roots in this dilemma. It’s my contention that we had more to fear from below than above, from the nationalist populists becoming resentful and murderous (the Hungarian role in the Holocaust, for instance, had a confiscatory impulse; or just read Isaac Babel’s descriptions of pogroms in the Ukraine), and I have noticed that my mother always treated help well– workers– as I have too, when I was not one myself. But the bastards, the goyim in power, they always received the full measure of our scorn. And just as James Merrill used to speak of a daisy chain of gay poets going back from him to Ginsberg to Auden to Hart Crane to Melville to Whitman, so the bastards had unbroken pedigree in my family’s cultural/political memory from Coolidge to Hoover to Dulles to Eisenhower to Nixon to Reagan, right on up to the Bushes and the Koch brothers. These were the real powers in political life; and I think there is some bastard-ism in Chomsky’s analysis and in the New Yorker magazine’s; the New Yorker pilloried the Kochs.

Here is Beryl Satter talking about the bastards in her book, Family Properties, which honors her father Mark, a housing lawyer in Chicago who worked for black people to beat racial discrimination in the ’60s. Satter quotes a Chicago rabbi on what being Jewish means, historically:

When tensions arose between the Polish state and the peasants, Poland’s ruling class could distract the peasants by turning them on the Jews. Similarly, in the United States Jews were excluded from the real sources of power—the senior management of banks, utilities, and insurance companies was overwhelmingly gentile—but were welcome to act as urban middlemen, that is, as ghetto merchants or contract sellers (exploitive real estate businesses)

I would note that Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s father was a spiritual cousin of Mark Satter’s, a housing lawyer who fought for tenants’ rights. While his daughter has few political values that one can discern, apart from Making it.

And this is my chief critique of the Bastards theory of history. We are wealthy and privileged in America. I look around my mother’s seder table and I don’t see her grandfather Philip the tailor or my grandfather Herman the auto mechanic or my grandmother Rose the social worker, no I see entitled people. We are as likely to be the bastards ourselves as the civil rights attorneys filing suits against the bastards. We are not Satter’s middlemen, we are not excluded from the real sources of power. To believe otherwise is a piece of nostalgic self-service.

Our political role has changed. The neoconservatives are the best evidence of this. They hatched the Iraq war. It was their brilliant idea, there can be no question of this. And yet my mother, who with pride ascribes great intellectual powers to Marx and Freud to turn society on its ear from the safety of a Viennese couch or the British Museum, can discern no such social power in Abrams, Feith, Kagan and Wolfowitz. No they merely served the bastards. Jews can’t be the bastards. 

I understand the emotional necessity of this construction of history. At the risk of gross oversimplification (which has never stopped me before) we served an intermediary role, as Satter says. We were of vital necessity to the bastards, we could say with assurance that a society that failed to honor the place of the Jews would not prosper, even as we were discriminated against. And thus we could make an identification with the classes below us, the peasants etc, against the bastards. We could fight the bastards on the poor’s behalf. Even if we were not poor ourselves, even if we had a country house. And we could gain street cred by waging that fight– some indemnity against the poor’s resentment.

And yes, some of us made noble sacrifices in this endeavor. Beryl Satter’s father. Schwerner and Goodman the martyrs of Mississippi. Or the Jewish lawyers who are quoted in Ailsa Chang’s superb reports on racism inside the New York Police Department today on WNYC.

I’m just saying, I don’t think the model works any more. We must consider our enlarged place in the American establishment and jump up to it. We must listen to Helen Thomas and not just vilify this accomplished woman.

And of course this is the lesson of the Israel lobby, which I believe determines US policy in the Middle East, including– o Elijah!– the affliction of the Egyptian people for the last 30 years.

93 Responses

  1. Danaa
    April 27, 2011, 11:18 am

    Phil, I really like your analysis – that’s some real historical insight there. So the modern day Jews have become The Bastards, but continue to deny it with all their might. That may be the reason that nothing like the mere mention of money to get you the dreaded label.

    Your concern for the inevitable backlash from the peasantry echoes throughout the community – as you often allude to. An echo that resonates with the younger generation but with no anchor in the establishment. But that IS what being a REAL bastard is all about, isn’t it? the ability to close one’s ears and shut one’ eyes and speak with forked tongue comes with the territory. It is a smug, complacent place where all The bastards from time immemorial unite. WE deserve it, so they say, and try to think. Try because there’s always that little voice, the tinkerbell of history, full of angry peasants’ fury.

    It is not for naught that Jewish people of conscience throw their lot with the Palestinians’ cause of freedom and human dignity. The palestinians – and their unique plight – as the group oppressed by Jews in power (including Israel now) – are, in a way, the symbol of modern day peasants – everywhere. To fight their fight is, ultimately, a replay of the age old Jewish fight – a very modern, very global version of it. It is, for many, the only known antidot to bastardism.

    Though, like all medicines, there are side-effects. May you be able to resist them for as long as need be. In German there’s a saying that translates as “money doesn’t smell”. Except, as we all know, it does. To high heaven. So no Koch brothers for you. Or Sabans. Soros, we can talk about later.

    • LeaNder
      April 27, 2011, 1:38 pm

      “money doesn’t smell”

      that’s much older actually, Danaa: pecunia non olet. But yes the Germans adopted it.

    • Philip Weiss
      April 27, 2011, 2:03 pm

      thanks Danaa, very helpful; yes i think there is a huge historical/spiritual burden on our community; as beinart and j street spin their wheels in the sands of entitlement

      • pabelmont
        April 28, 2011, 6:55 am

        Interesting: simultaneously powerless court Jews and powerful “bastards”

        People who would never dream of claiming a “right” to rule America, or even be a big-shot in America, DO claim (e.g., in America) a right to rule Palestine, calling it Israel. After all, it’s far away and nobody is inconvenienced by this besides the Palestinians, a negligible dark-skinned people (to the Zionist-anticipated general American perception, that is). And the $3B/yr, that’s just a friendly gesture, not an injury to USA. Poor injured people doing no harm, here, folks! Just trying to live like anyone else. Live and let live, we always say!

        On the other hand, even though there is a huge Jewish presence in the USA’s power structure — neocons in government, bankers, corporate leaders, universities, media — no Jew would claim a “right” to such leadership, we’re all just court Jews here, sah, not leaders.

        Meanwhile the Zionists wring their hands at the danger of resurgent anti-Semitism to the Jewish people world-wide, including in the USA, which makes Zionism a continuing necessity. (Hey, USA Jews, how’s it feel living in “harm’s way” here, hunh?) (And if all these Jewish power-people — and all the others of course — were to come to serious grief in the USA, just how much benefit to the world’s Jews would Israel (still) be, anyhow, in that case?

        Have I got this right? In order to claim a right to rule in Palestine, Zionists must disclaim a right to rule, a right even to permanence, in the USA (and elsewhere).

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 3:48 pm

      Nice, it’s always the goy serfs or their current economic current incarnation, that are the ultimate bugaboo. And rightfully so. They pay the price for greed, wearing a “judeo-christian” crown. Phil’s very wary of the power that may come with this revelation, ane he should be. Meanwhile, those goyim beneath this wisdom, those goyim who love the flag, Ol Glory, are still sleeping.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 7:26 pm

        “Nice, it’s always the goy serfs”

        I knew a Jewish surfer once. He was such a cool guy, they called him Iceberg!

  2. Mooser
    April 27, 2011, 11:24 am

    “(and yes, I’m wringing my oedipal laundry here, at the undignified age of 55, but, so it goes).”

    Well! You very neatly excised me from this conversation! Good work. I feel like a rug has been pulled out from under me. I’d better go before my ass hits the floor.

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2011, 11:38 am

      BTW, you might try my method of dealing with dainty Oedipal underthings; like Pandit Motalil Nehru I send mine to Pleurniche et Cie (124, Avenue de la Grande Armee, Paris) .

      • Citizen
        April 27, 2011, 3:57 pm

        Not to mention, Mooser, it’s always helpful to you and your sense of self to watch Jerry Springer’s filter process work product on primetime TV.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 5:24 pm

        Couldn’t do it if I wanted to, unfortunately. Don’t got a TV. When I was young, my mother told me she could watch me through the TV to see if I was being bad, and ever since then, they make me nervous.

  3. lysias
    April 27, 2011, 11:42 am

    This is very consistent with the views David Simon expressed in his Tablet interview.

  4. Chaos4700
    April 27, 2011, 11:46 am

    I don’t usually intrude on the articles that are self-reflective on Jewish culture — it’s not why I’m here, and I concern myself far more with policy-making and its consequences and perhaps am unfairly prejudiced to consider exploring cultural dynamics to be a waste of time (they aren’t, in actuality, but I don’t have the disposition to explore them)

    However… your mom said that? At a holiday dinner? I thought I had it bad when my mom drilled me about my appearance at Easter dinner at my aunt’s but she wasn’t sarcastic, wasn’t political and did it quietly to me after we were leaving.

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 4:05 pm

      Gee, Chaos, you should know that the Hegalian dialetic-prone Rabbi who taught me Jewish cultural studies, often quoting Maimamidess, posits some major issues for the Israel apologists appearing here, of late regularly.

  5. Scott
    April 27, 2011, 11:47 am

    Your Mom is funny. I guess you could have said, you’re willing to try but they’re Christian Zionists, which seems to be at least passively true.

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2011, 5:07 pm

      “I guess you could have said….”

      No, I don’t think he could have. I know when my Mom gave me that look along with a few well-chosen words, I was left quivering like an aspic, completely defeated, like a Napoleon Blownapart, and required at least an hour to find and re-assemble the wreckage into some semblance of my old self. Passing a blithe, clever come-back past my larynx was out of the question.

  6. Sin Nombre
    April 27, 2011, 12:15 pm

    “I’m just saying, I don’t think the model works any more. We must consider our enlarged place in the American establishment….”

    Ah but is that a hole I perceive in the logic of your piece, Phil? I.e., for some reasons jews can’t ever be bastards? We gentiles somehow got a lock on the position?

    Sounds like I’d love your Mom for her saltiness, and would overlook that position in her, but c’mon…..

    • annie
      April 27, 2011, 12:50 pm

      i’m not sure how you could call it a ‘hole in the logic’ because phil addressed it here:

      We are as likely to be the bastards ourselves as the civil rights attorneys filing suits against the bastards. We are not Satter’s middlemen, we are not excluded from the real sources of power. To believe otherwise is a piece of nostalgic self-service.

      • Citizen
        April 27, 2011, 4:16 pm

        Ah, but annie, where exactly does Dick Witty fit into this picture? Phil seems to think he has a place,

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2011, 5:10 pm

        “We are not Satter’s middlemen….”

        If Satter does have any openings for middlemen, or even auto-mechanics or tailors, I’m available, and I’d be grateful for the leg up.

  7. annie
    April 27, 2011, 12:56 pm

    this is a really interesting article and i liked how you brought it around full circle to include current evolutions in your thinking

    We must listen to Helen Thomas and not just vilify this accomplished woman.

    i learn so much here, i had never heard the term ‘the bastards’ used this way before. your mom sounds rather feisty. funny.

  8. hughsansom
    April 27, 2011, 2:59 pm

    I believe the bastards theory of political agency has been formalized by the economists Daron Acemoglu and John Roemer . . . have to check on that.

    As for the above/below problem. . . . It used to be that we had more to worry about from below. Maybe 18th Century into late 20th. Now it’s the above, as it was 700 years ago, a thousand. Today, with endless surveillance, monitoring, tracking, counting, enumerating, tallying plus coercion, drones, aromatherapy, FOX, ABC, NPR, CNN, The Times, The Times and The Post, we’ve cycled back into a tyranny of the top.

    Once our great modern civilization collapses, we’ll likely cycle back into a tyranny of the bottom — using Einstein’s stone knives and bearskins.

    One way or another, Philip Weiss’s post calls for a connection diagram.

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 4:27 pm

      Yeah, hughsansomm, Phil, and the rest of us here, do look for that connection, even as Dick Witty blows smoke screens. Phil’s goal is to see beyond Witty’s smokescreens. And, tell us about what Witty hides. Must have something to do with their respective mothers.

  9. hophmi
    April 27, 2011, 3:20 pm

    It’s so silly. There are maybe 6 million Jews in America. We are not a big enough community to be ascribed responsibility for any of these policies. These policies are the work of a government that was overwhelmingly Gentile. To blame the Jews is to infantilize the Gentiles.

    • Citizen
      April 27, 2011, 4:39 pm

      Well, yeah, hophmi, that takes care of the US goys and european goys; once you realize they are not tribal these days, and like all western peoples, except the jews to the extent they’ve been only superficially westernized, they like to
      think people like you hohmi, are not actually infantile. We will wake up.

    • MRW
      April 27, 2011, 4:41 pm

      Right, hophmi. No effect on policies (when there’s ample evidence and ample instances of bragging rights about it) but in the next breath, you’re counting how many Nobel Prizes are won by Jews.

    • Chaos4700
      April 27, 2011, 5:11 pm

      “The Jews?” If you bother to read the article, Mr. Weiss does name names. He doesn’t simply refer to “the Jews.”

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2011, 5:16 pm

      “We are not a big enough community to be ascribed responsibility for any of these policies”

      And besides, we’re way to fungible to pin down. Remember, we can always slip into the fedoras or striped pajamas, and then where’s your blame-game, Israel criticisers?

      Zionism: The Gentiles made us do it!

    • Danaa
      April 27, 2011, 7:36 pm

      hophmi: “There are maybe 6 million Jews in America. We are not a big enough community to be ascribed responsibility for any of these policies.”

      That is exactly the problem – with ONLY 6M Jews, so much accumulated power and influence. Which would not be so unusual for a well-to-do, well-educated and well-networked minority (check out the Chinese in e.g., Malaysia), except that in this case, too much of the influence is wielded on behalf of a foreign power which does not have the US’ best interests at heart.

      So yes, you are right. way too much power concentrated in the hands of way too few (and I DID NOT even begin to discuss wealth, did you notice?)

      More hophmi homilies: “These policies are the work of a government that was overwhelmingly Gentile.”

      Now, now. You need to look more closely at who directed (and directs) which policy and where. When it comes to foreign affairs, the position of many people of jewish descent is quite prominent, as it is in the think tanks and establishment media. Again, not so unexpected for a minority, except for the cross-contamination by Zionism.

      “To blame the Jews is to infantilize the Gentiles”

      But that is exactly how you feel about the gentiles. Often in code,when in the open, butt quite overt when the backs are turned. Your own disdain of non-Jews comes through in most of your posts. So we’ll just consider this little statement of yours a Freudian slip, shall we?

  10. HRK
    April 27, 2011, 4:00 pm

    Typically, conflicts involve two sides. Yet far too much history of the conflicts between Jews and gentiles is written in a way in which the blame for the tensions and friction and hatred that existed (at some points) between (some members of) the two groups is almost entirely the fault of gentiles. I think this needs to be corrected. If I were younger and inclined toward seeking a history Ph.D. . . . .

    Esau’s Tears by Albert Lindemann is a beginning of the reconsideration of the conflicts between the two groups. But if more historians ever start down this road of exploration (particularly gentile historians), Abe Foxman and Co. will not be smiling. Expect a fuss.

    Here’s what Lindemann has to say about a book review of Esau’s Tears written by Judith Laikin Elkin:

    “Judith Laikin Elkin’s review of my book, Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews, was published in the same issue of the AHR [104 (October 1999): 1370–71] as a rancorous exchange of letters (1448–49) relating to that book. I will not repeat here the points I made in the exchange, except to reemphasize that Esau’s Tears has been widely and favorably reviewed by respected scholars, as has my previous book, The Jew Accused.

    Elkin begins by terming my book a ‘545-page polemic . . . [challenging] Jewish historiography from biblical times to the Holocaust.’ Many other reviewers have offered special praise for the volume’s balance, its effort to look at issues openly and dispassionately. Elkin seems especially upset by what she perceives as my failure to recognize ‘a unique Jewish genius,’ by remarks of mine that she considers ‘antagonistic to the Jewish experience,’ and by my criticism of those historians who present anti-Semitism as exclusively the product of Gentile fantasies about Jews, unrelated to Jewish action in the real world. My main sin obviously is in not writing history ‘correctly.'”

    Found here: link to historycooperative.org

    And, yes, please read everything–including Elkin’s response. I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that she does take issue with many of his counter remarks. I’m inclined to think she’s the tendentious one, however. I’m no expert in this area (I did read Linemann’s book, though), but just think about it: Are conflicts typically two-sided, or not?

    One more thing (let me preface this by saying that I’m going by memory, and I could be making some mistakes here): In Chutzpah, Dershowitz slams Martin Luther for his anti-Semitism–I think he says that Christians should forever curse Luther’s name or something–but then mentions Maimonides in glowing terms many pages later–not so much as a peep regarding Maimonides anti-gentilism. (I believe Shahak indicated that Maimonides was the one who instructed Jewish doctors not to heal gentiles out of good will but only because if they didn’t heal it would give Jews bad P.R.) What’s up with Dersh pulling this crap? hophmi and eee–I’ve got to hear your explanation for this one.

    • MHughes976
      April 27, 2011, 5:11 pm

      It’s unsound to assume that all complaints by Jewish people against Christians are well conceived, all complaints the other way misconceived. On the other hand, we do have to remember that Christians were very dominant for a very long time and that they may have inserted certain assumptions into historical discourse of which we should be critical. But all that said, it is not a good idea for our purposes, which is to hold a rational discussion of the present ME situation, to start scratching at the wound of Jewish-Christian grievances or to start a competition about who has brought most good into the world.
      History is very interesting but there can be far too much of it.

  11. hophmi
    April 27, 2011, 4:33 pm

    HRK demonstrates the way in which pro-Palestinian activism enables antisemitism. Good job, HRK.

    • HRK
      April 27, 2011, 7:10 pm

      To hophmi: That’s offensive. Specifically, what did I say that was anti-Semitic? I’m dumbfounded that someone who says there are two sides to every conflict could be considered an anti-Semite. If that’s not what you’re disputing, then what? The Shahak part about Maimonides mandating Jewish doctors having the proper motivations to heal gentiles? Noah Feldman wrote about being taught this in his modern orthodox high school. The Lindemann part? He’s a respected historian. So, what is it that’s got your goat?

      Why is it kosher for Dershowitz to bring up Luther’s mistakes but not kosher for me to bring up Maimondes mistakes? (Why doesn’t Dershowitz bring up both sets of mistakes?

      • Keith
        April 27, 2011, 11:15 pm

        HRK- I have included a link to a 5 minute Norman Finkelstein video where he discusses Dershowitz as a pathological liar. You (and others) may find it interesting.

        link to normanfinkelstein.com

      • tree
        April 28, 2011, 3:50 am

        To hophmi: That’s offensive.

        Yes, but its entirely predictable on hophmi’s part. He is a bigot when it comes to gentiles. They can’t be trusted as far as he’s concerned. (He’s said so here.) But heaven forbid anyone say the same thing about Jews. (and I know that was NOT what you said, HRK). He can stereotype Jews, as long as its a positive stereotype, like intelligence. He’ll take personal and group credit for any and every Jewish Nobel Laureate simply because they are Jewish like him, but insist that any disreputable Jewish person should not be used as an example of Jewishness, and any particular Jew with some power or responsibility for anything negative will be verbally minimized by hophmi. ‘Its isn’t really his/her fault; its the goys who are really to blame,’ in essence, as he illustrated above.

        To Phil, I think the narrative that Jews were never the bastards in the past is just that. A nice reassuring Jewish narrative, with a tenuous relationship to reality. Some Jews were bastards, and some were not. Its not an all or nothing thing. Just because some, or even most, Jews were not “bastards” doesn’t mean that there were no Jewish “bastards”. And to my mind, being a “bastard’ means exploiting others, not just being at the very top of the heap. Middlemen are just as capable of being exploiters as those above them. The Arenda system, which greatly benefited the Jewish tax farmers who were employed by the Polish noblemen, exploited the Ukrainian peasants and those Jewish tax farmers were willing participants in the exploitation. This doesn’t excuse the violence of the Ukrainian peasants, but it does explain it in a way that is much more understandable as an unfortunate phenomenon than the usual gentile “disease” theory that some Jews like to propound.

        My own feeling on this is that this narrative of always a gentile “bastard” and never a Jewish “bastard” is part of what must be mentally and emotional dismantled for the conflict to end. There are too many Jews who can’t accept that Jews , individually and in groups, are fully capable of doing bad things. Hence the almost ridiculous acceptance of so much hasbara that flies in the face of reality. There’s a need to admit (and accept) that Jews as a group are basically like all other human beings on Earth, both in the good and in the bad. There are anti-semites out there who have to accept and acknowledge the good, but there are also Jewish bigots who have to accept and acknowledge the bad.

        Off topic abit, but poor Viola Liuzzo. Hardly remembered because she wasn’t Jewish.

      • annie
        April 28, 2011, 3:56 am

        well stated roha. a 2 way street

      • hophmi
        April 28, 2011, 8:56 am

        This is all beside the point. The point is that:

        1. People here are speaking of Jews as a group, not as individuals. That’s bigoted. The power structure in every one of these societies was not in any way Jewish. It was dominated by another religious group, usually Christian.

        2. No one has indicated here what a discussion of Jewish tax farmers and Ukranian peasants has to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It appears that the sole purpose is to suggest that hatred of Jews pre-war was less than Jews claim it was. This seems only possible in a time when Holocaust survivors are dying off and memory of the Holocaust is receding. But that makes it no less hateful, and frankly, no less irrelevant.

      • Antidote
        April 28, 2011, 9:10 am

        “People here are speaking of Jews as a group, not as individuals. That’s bigoted.”

        I thought that was the essence of Zionism, if not Judaism: speaking of Jews as a group? So it’s not bigoted if Jews and Zionists do it?

        “This seems only possible in a time when Holocaust survivors are dying off and memory of the Holocaust is receding.”

        Memory has an odd connection to the progress of time, and that’s particularly true for political/historical events. How come memory of the Holocaust peaked decades after 45?

      • hophmi
        April 28, 2011, 9:21 am

        “I thought that was the essence of Zionism, if not Judaism: speaking of Jews as a group? So it’s not bigoted if Jews and Zionists do it?”

        This is really tiresome.

        Jews were persecuted as a group. Therefore, Jews banded together and formed a political movement to deal with the problem. It does not follow that it is thus OK to speak of “Jewish financiers” and “Jewish tax farmers.”

        “Memory has an odd connection to the progress of time, and that’s particularly true for political/historical events. How come memory of the Holocaust peaked decades after 45?”

        Because most Holocaust survivors were reluctant to talk about it at first, and efforts to preserve the memory did not coalesce until later, when the survivors started dying off. It’s not difficult to understand. Go watch “The Pawnbroker.”

      • hophmi
        April 28, 2011, 9:17 am

        Why? You really can’t understand the difference?

        Well, it’s simple. Lots of Jews were killed by Gentiles. The theology of Luther and the theology of the Catholic Church directly contributed to this. Alan Dershowitz would not care about Luther if Luther’s thoughts hadn’t been translated into action.

        Let’s put aside for the moment that Israel Shahak is not, and never has been, a respected scholar of Jewish history, Talmud, or Bible, and that his books are polemics, not scholarly works. Let’s also put aside that the misquoting of the Talmud and the misquoting of Jewish scholars (since so much of understanding both is context and commentary) is a an old antisemitic practice. Let’s also put aside that for most Jews, Maimonides represents a theological of liberality and inclusiveness, and that he reiterated the view that those Gentiles who keep the Noahide laws have a place in the World to Come.

        The fact remains that Jews did not kill lots of Gentiles, whatever Maimonides wrote in the 11th century about the motivation for treating a Gentile. Maimonides wrote some not-so-nice things about Islam too. Did Jews go out and start massacring Muslims? Does Maimonides’ life as a respected adviser to the Sultan suggest that his theological feelings carried over into his personal dealings? Can you find me a place where Maimonides advocating throwing Gentiles into a fire or something similar?

      • Elliot
        April 28, 2011, 10:25 am

        hophmi –
        Maimonides represents a theological of liberality and inclusiveness, and that he reiterated the view that those Gentiles who keep the Noahide laws have a place in the World to Come.
        Maimonides has a deserved reputation for inclusiveness. As a leader of the Egyptian Jewish community he extended an olive branch to the Kara’ite sect. He insisted that converts to Judaism be treated as full equals in the community. He also projected a Messianic vision of inclusiveness of the world.
        Yet, Maimonides could not transcend his own times. His taxonomy of creation (going up) was: mineral, vegetable, animal, human, Jew, prophet. As you say, he had nasty things to say about other religions. Famously, he considered Christianity to be idol worshippers – just about the harshest thing a Jewish theologian can say about anybody.

        As for including Gentiles in a Jewish vision of the world through promoting the Noahide laws, well, Lubavitch (Chabad) does that too.
        Do you consider Chabad to be inclusive?

        Ultimately, this is all anachronistic projections. Maimonides was not in a position to act out any of his supremacist fantasies. Perhaps he preferred it that way.
        If he popped out of the 13th century to join us who knows if he would be on Mondoweiss or living on a West Bank settlement. Suffice to say that the racist, violent West Bank settlers venerate Maimonides too.

      • HRK
        April 28, 2011, 10:40 am

        “Lots of Jews were killed by Gentiles.” Jews were numerically quite small in most places in Europe. Hence, even if some in their group had wanted to harm gentiles in a too obvious way (such as physically), such actions doubtlessly would have redounded to their detriment. So, even if they were only looking out for themselves such actions wouldn’t have made sense. Do we judge the Irish masses as morally better than the English for not being pro-colonialism? Were the Irish ever in a position to be colonialists?

        Now that Jews have their own country and have power over the Occupied Territories we can see that their governments, too, have caused harm to the Other living among them. 700,000 Palestinians expelled! Yet some Jewish historians and leaders bring up Jewish expulsions in Europe as if what’s happened in the Middle East is entirely unrelated–Jewish exceptionalism, of course. (“But that’s different!”)

        Internal beliefs about others motivates external action, whether one has the ability to carry out those actions or not. So there is a place for looking at the beliefs which gentiles cultivated of Jews and Jews cultivated of gentiles.

        If you decide that cultivation of hatred toward the Other is only relevant when it’s followed by violence (“the fact remains that Jews did not kill lots of Gentiles”), then you’re right hophmi, Maimonides is morally superior to Luther. If you look at the root–the hatred and competition and striving to stand over the Other–that causes killing in the first place, then both sides behaved blameworthy.

        No, I don’t know that Maimonides advocated throwing gentiles in a fire, but I do know that Shahak indicates that somewhere in one of the Talmuds there is a discussion of how one need not (or is it should not? I can’t recall) rescue a gentile from a well he’s fallen into. Both prescriptions suck, if you ask me.

      • hophmi
        April 28, 2011, 1:38 pm

        “Jews were numerically quite small in most places in Europe. Hence, even if some in their group had wanted to harm gentiles in a too obvious way (such as physically), such actions doubtlessly would have redounded to their detriment.”

        Whatever. The fact remains that the Gentiles killed the Jews, not the other way around.

        “Now that Jews have their own country and have power over the Occupied Territories we can see that their governments, too, have caused harm to the Other living among them. ”

        Yeah. Sure. 6 million Jews were killed in six years, the culmination of a thousand years of smaller massacres. Israel has killed at most tens of thousands over 60 years in a land conflict in which tens of thousands of Israelis have also died.

        Most people would see a major difference there, unless they’re very partisan.

        “So there is a place for looking at the beliefs which gentiles cultivated of Jews and Jews cultivated of gentiles.”

        I don’t see you analyzing what Hamas thinks of the Jews.

        “If you decide that cultivation of hatred toward the Other is only relevant when it’s followed by violence (“the fact remains that Jews did not kill lots of Gentiles”), then you’re right hophmi, Maimonides is morally superior to Luther. ”

        I didn’t say that. I said that comparing the two is ridiculous given the numbers, the scope, and the history. You’re not going to convince me, or most people, that there is any moral equivalency between an ideology promoted by Popes and others that preaches hatred and condones murder to a religious majority and leads to the deaths of millions of people and an ideology preached by a few rabbis that historically led to nothing. Luther’s audience was much bigger, and thus, Luther’s responsibility was much greater.

        I’m not really interested in what Shahak has to say about the Talmud. He’s not recognized by any rabbi I know of as a Talmudic or Judaic scholar, and as someone who has studied the Talmud, a second-century book with many different opinions, discussions, conjectures, tangents, and aphorisms, all written in shorthand, all easily quoted out of context, all subject to extensive, extensive commentary, there are others who are more credible and less tarred by a political and religious agenda.

      • Cliff
        April 28, 2011, 4:46 pm

        Whatever. The fact remains that the Gentiles killed the Jews, not the other way around.

        And this is where people stop reading.

        The entire point of HRK’s post is that Jews were not in the position to behave a certain way. Now they are.

        Is that not what we say about the US? Realpolitik? Not the Lobby? Plain old Imperialism? Not the subversion and exploitation of our political system by Zionism?

        The rest of your post is the usual whiny verbiage.

      • hophmi
        April 28, 2011, 6:16 pm

        “The entire point of HRK’s post is that Jews were not in the position to behave a certain way. Now they are.”

        Really? HRK wrote: “Typically, conflicts involve two sides. Yet far too much history of the conflicts between Jews and gentiles is written in a way in which the blame for the tensions and friction and hatred that existed (at some points) between (some members of) the two groups is almost entirely the fault of gentiles. ”

        Seems to me his point is that Jews have it easy in the scholarship and that they deserve more blame for their persecution.

      • Cliff
        April 28, 2011, 6:26 pm

        Good job at reading selectively!

        Jews were numerically quite small in most places in Europe. Hence, even if some in their group had wanted to harm gentiles in a too obvious way (such as physically), such actions doubtlessly would have redounded to their detriment. So, even if they were only looking out for themselves such actions wouldn’t have made sense. Do we judge the Irish masses as morally better than the English for not being pro-colonialism? Were the Irish ever in a position to be colonialists?

        Now that Jews have their own country and have power over the Occupied Territories we can see that their governments, too, have caused harm to the Other living among them. 700,000 Palestinians expelled! Yet some Jewish historians and leaders bring up Jewish expulsions in Europe as if what’s happened in the Middle East is entirely unrelated–Jewish exceptionalism, of course. (“But that’s different!”)

      • Donald
        April 28, 2011, 6:43 pm

        Usually Christians were in power and were the ones killing Jews, but at least once the situation was reversed and it was Jews slaughtering Christians–this happened during the reign of Heraclius, when Jews and Persians joined forces. When Heraclius retook Jerusalem he wanted to kill all the Jews.

        Here’s one source about the slaughter of the Christians–you can go other places (wikipedia, for instance) to find out about Heraclius’s desire to commit genocide in return–

        link

        The Jewish virtual library also has the story (both about Jews slaughtering Christians and what Heraclius wanted to do in response), but anyone interested can find the link with a bit of googling.

        And obviously Israel has behaved much like any typical European colonial state, with the usual contempt and feelings of moral superiority towards the natives.

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2011, 7:39 pm

      “HRK demonstrates the way in which pro-Palestinian activism enables antisemitism. Good job, HRK.”

      Could you be any more repulsive, Hophmi, or any more obvious?
      Yup, there it is: Any Palestinian sympathies means anti-Semitism.

      Of course, the obvious would never occur to Hophmi: That maybe if you admitted to what is right in front of every body’s face, they wouldn’t have to go looking for more esoteric answers.
      But there I go again, misunderestimating Hophmi!
      I forgot Hophmi’s mission, to make sure that the crimes of Israel are irrevocably mated in people’s minds with Judaism. Anything which serves to alienate Jews from other people is grist for his mill. Why just think of the advantages to Zionism if Jews are made to seem inherently different than others, especially if that can be combined with an implicit threat.

      • hophmi
        April 28, 2011, 8:57 am

        “Could you be any more repulsive, Hophmi, or any more obvious?
        Yup, there it is: Any Palestinian sympathies means anti-Semitism.”

        Get off your high moose. What does a discussion of Jewish tax farmers have to do with Palestinian sympathies?

      • Chaos4700
        April 28, 2011, 4:03 pm

        You’re the one who made that straw man, hophmi, and now you’re going to beat it up for us?

        Anyone else want popcorn? I have a feeling this clown act is going to go on for quite a bit.

      • Cliff
        April 28, 2011, 4:44 pm

        Hophmi, if you can’t follow the discussion don’t click your fingers together. All you keep doing is whining.

        Blah blah – how does [insert content you don’t agree with but cannot counter with a substantiated rebuttal] help the Palestinian cause – blah blah.

        Or some variation. Whining whining whining. You do the same on Max Blumenthal’s blog. Get a life!

      • hophmi
        April 28, 2011, 4:50 pm

        “Hophmi, if you can’t follow the discussion don’t click your fingers together. All you keep doing is whining.”

        I can follow the discussion just fine. I just happen to be one who doesn’t believe you people should get away with this crap unanswered.

      • Cliff
        April 28, 2011, 5:19 pm

        That’s strange, here I thought you weren’t even answering anything. All you really seem to be doing is indignantly asking rhetorical questions.

        Here let’s summarize your general response to the discussion at hand:

        Nothing a Rabbi-so-and-so says matters because 6 million people didn’t die.

        You have this sick fetish where if people aren’t killed in the millions, then they aren’t killed at all. They aren’t abused. They aren’t subjected to racism. Their culture, their religion, and even their existence is debased or outright denied.

      • hophmi
        April 28, 2011, 6:23 pm

        “Nothing a Rabbi-so-and-so says matters because 6 million people didn’t die.”

        Again, not at all what I said. All I said was comparing this with Luther is ridiculous given the comparative audiences and the history of European Christendom and European Judaism. It is simple. One side repeatedly massacred the other side. And the Jews were the massacred. Again and again. The six million was just the end of it. There were hundreds upon hundreds of thousands before that.

        And what you want to talk about is what an 11th century rabbi wrote at a time when Jews were being slaughtered in the Crusades.

      • Cliff
        April 28, 2011, 6:31 pm

        Nah, I think HRK summed it up sufficiently. You don’t think something counts unless it leads to wide-scale violence. Except, with Israel, Zionism and the Palestinians – it DOES lead to wide-scale violence. Just not 6 million.

        You have all these checks in place to stop yourself from introspection.

        Like I said, all you do is whine and intentionally miss the context of your opponents comments. Putz.

    • Chaos4700
      April 28, 2011, 4:01 pm

      This coming from one of the worst offenders for using the phrase “the Jews” in his posts as a matter of course.

      • Mooser
        April 29, 2011, 10:33 pm

        Chaos, you’ve got to understand; Israel is not the worst thing of all the worst things that ever have happened or could happen in all time. So, you see, it’s all all right!
        With a built in Sanity Clause: Nothing Israel does can be worst than the Holocaust, cause that was the worst that ever was or could be.

  12. MRW
    April 27, 2011, 4:41 pm

    Really liked this piece, Phil. Smart.

  13. seafoid
    April 27, 2011, 5:34 pm

    I don’t buy Zionism as “the bastards”. The bastards get away with things. I think the Zionists have a reckoning coming up. The bastards are competent and I don’t think they come across as know nothings. I think the Israeli image of the Mossad is an attempt to project the bastards but recently the Mossad has been exposed as amateurish. So full marks for effort, Israel but it’s no cigar. Israel is too needy. And probably traumatised. I think Israel needs psychiatric help and nobody would ever have said that about the Cossacks, I’m sure.

    • Elliot
      April 28, 2011, 8:14 am

      I think Israel needs psychiatric help and nobody would ever have said that about the Cossacks, I’m sure.
      Seafoid – LOL. How about an anti-defamation league for the much maligned Cossacks? Abe Foxman should start a consultancy for ethnic groups around the world or just license them to open franchises: ADL-Cossacks, ADL-Tamil Tigers etc.

  14. Keith
    April 27, 2011, 6:04 pm

    PHIL- You are, I think, touching on a crucially important point regarding Jews, Zionism and power. At what point did the Jewish elite arrive and become part of “the bastards?” In my view, the 1967 war was the turning point. Up until then, the Jews were looked upon with suspicion by the Gentile elites due to Jewish association with socialism/Marxism. In 1967, Israel performed a valuable service for US foreign policy objectives by smashing the Arab countries, humiliating Nasser, and driving a stake in the heart of Pan Arabism. Whatever one thinks about Israel’s current strategic value, the 1967 war was a huge victory for empire. Through Israel, American Jewish elites had established their militaristic bona fides and shed their socialistic image. Support for Israel and support for militarism and empire caused historic barriers to fall. Israel and Zionism became the darlings of Jewish intellectuals who had once been cool to both. In fact, I believe it was sometime around here when a group of Trotskyite intellectuals morphed into the neocons. A couple of quotes to make a point.

    “The language of Zionism is a rendering of the dialectic of Judaism into a singular power form, and with a big army behind it, an army not just military but also a very large apparatus within state and civil society, staffed by new Jews who are not simply Jews, therefore, but power-Jews, Jews whose sincere devotion to Israel is also a sincere attachment to the pillars of empire.” (Joel Kovel)

    “For Israel’s new American Jewish ‘supporters,’ however, such talk bordered on heresy: an independent Israel at peace with its neighbors was worthless; an Israel aligned with currents in the Arab world seeking independence from the United States was a disaster. Only an Israeli Sparta beholden to American power would do, because only then could US Jewish leaders act as spokesmen for American imperial ambitions.” (Norman Finkelstein)

    • Elliot
      April 28, 2011, 8:04 am

      Tree and Keith – thank you for your thoughtful analyses.
      Phil, great article. As Beryl Satter illustrates, her father’s early death is particularly tragic because this good man got caught in the middle of forces greater than any individual. Mark Satter was both pro bono attorney/activist and landlord – which on Chicago’s West Side meant, by definition: slumlord. There were Jews who, as an ethnic group, were beneficiaries of the Chicago’s power elite’s scam to fleece Blacks of their earnings yet West Side and many South Side Jews, as a group (along with working class Catholics) were the victims of blockbusting, the racist federal policy that made White property nearly valueless once Blacks moved in to the neighborhood. And, the same rabbi Phil quotes, argues that Jews were targeted by Illinois’ White power elite precisely because Jews were judged to be open to taking in Blacks – unlike any other ethnic group at that time.
      As other commenters have pointed out, Jews were both victims and bastards.
      Two generations later this dichotomy still plays out today. Jews, as a group, have drifted to the right. The Jewish neocons articulate the rhetoric, but Israel and money have taken their toll on your average middle-class Jew too.
      Yet many of these same Jews still respond viscerally to the wrongs of exploitation. These Jews get that our society has a racist system to defraud Blacks and they also get that we need to act and many of them do.
      I see this over and over again. It gives me hope that Jews will yet open their eyes to the evils of Israel. Inshallah.

  15. RoHa
    April 27, 2011, 8:29 pm

    “where we were at the mercy … of the peasants from below.”

    What did Jews do that pissed off the peasants?

    “Similarly, in the United States Jews were excluded from the real sources of power—the senior management of banks, utilities, and insurance companies was overwhelmingly gentile….[Phil:] I don’t think the model works any more. ”

    And how, Phil! Look at the names of the banks and finance companies, and of the various bankers and company and government officials, that have just screwed us all in the lastest financial disaster.

    • Citizen
      April 28, 2011, 12:08 pm

      RoHa, you really need to learn some history, e.g., about the lives of Polish, Ukranian, and Russian peasants, say in the earlier part of the 19th Century, for starters–and then keep going.

      • RoHa
        April 28, 2011, 10:58 pm

        Removed.

  16. tommy
    April 27, 2011, 9:52 pm

    The allure of America is that every ethnic group will eventually ascend to the highest levels of wealth and power. Jews have recently reached that level and now belong to the same group of bastards that used to be dominated by Puritans, then Episcopalians, then Presbyterians, then Catholics, then etc. The list can also be made by ethnic group. Joe Kennedy was a bastard, just like Samuel Adams and Ford were. There seem to be a couple of Italian bastards on the Supreme Court. Some think the president is a bastard. Cisneros was one. Perhaps no moral philosophy can overcome the bastardization the highest levels of power requires, which is why governance based on secular civil rights is so important.

    • Elliot
      April 28, 2011, 9:18 am

      which is why governance based on secular civil rights is so important.
      Yes, they are all bastards. How do you get bastards to agree to govern based on secular civil rights? After all, the way they got to the top was by mastering how to co-opt, manipulate and generally sidestep the civil rights without getting caught. Why should they start now that they finally don’t have to listen to the likes of you and me.
      It has to start with educating people so they protest when the bastards take the people’s name in vain.
      If the people lead, the leaders will follow.
      I think I’ve hit my cliche quota for the day.

    • Citizen
      April 28, 2011, 12:29 pm

      Here is what Silverman said:
      “If Barack Obama doesn’t become the next president of the United States, I’m going to blame the Jews.
      And I know you’re saying like, ‘Oh, my God, Sarah, I can’t believe you’re saying this. Jews are the most liberal, scrappy, civil rightsy people there are.’ Yes, that’s true. But you’re forgetting a whole large group of Jews that are not that way.
      And they go by several aliases: Nana, Pappa, Zaydie, Bubbe, plain old grandma and grandpa.”

      Be interesting to see what Sarah says about the Jewish contribution in the next presidential election, especially if Obama starts taking his old Cairo speech to heart as he considers the Arab Spring still springy. Jeez, is it faintly possible he’d blow off Dennis Ross? Does Donald Trump hold the ace card?

  17. Debonnaire
    April 28, 2011, 2:01 am

    Eisenhower was a “bastard”? He was deeply opposed to Truman’s blithe decison to drop the A- bombs on Japan. Whereas, I think Adlai Stevenson would have started many wars that Ike avoided. Why did Jews prefer Stevenson to Ike? Because he was a supposed intellectual? Did he have any character and foresight as Ike did? I think Stevenson was a lot like Bill Bradley, the so-called progressive man of principle who had had Henry Kissinger on his foreign policy team in his 2000 primary challenge to Gore. i.e. Stevenson was a fraud. You could make a case that that’s far worse than a “bastard”.

    • Citizen
      April 28, 2011, 12:51 pm

      It might be worthwhile to read Stevenson’s 1952 speech to the American Legion on the nature of US patriotism. Here’s a couple lines from it:
      The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live, and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the Bill of Rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak of anti-communism.”

      Just substitute “anti-communism” with “anti-terrorism,” or, more specifically, the viable code synonym,”anti-radical Islam” (You can’t use “anti-Islam” because that’s too easy to diss as simple bigotry.) Of course, if you do, you have ruined Bibi’s, and both the two main US political party’s POV.

      PS: Took when Stevenson gave that speech we had a conscription military force. Now, it’s a chicken hawk field day.

  18. Thomson Rutherford
    April 28, 2011, 2:34 am

    By crackie, you said it, Joel Kovel! The Eternal Jew as Uebermensch!

    (But I’m glad it wasn’t I.)

    • Citizen
      April 28, 2011, 12:55 pm

      Can you not feel yourself an ubermensch when you’ve been chosen by G-D? Twist your mission any which way, if G-D chose you among all others, why, who can rightfully rebel against G-D?

  19. Arnon Shwantzinger Too
    April 28, 2011, 5:11 am

    Once the Jew got his rightful place as a White Man (ie. was accepted as a peer by other Whites), the Jew effortlessly turned his back on the downtrodden and brown. “I’m on board! Pull up the life line!”

    Jewish Objectivism at its finest.
    (well, Jewish Objectivism is sort of redundant. Objectivism was Jewish from inception)

    • Citizen
      April 28, 2011, 12:57 pm

      Whiteman or Brownman, fungibility is the main course. You can be anything you wanna be!

  20. Kathleen
    April 28, 2011, 12:10 pm

    “as ghetto merchants or contract sellers (exploitive real estate businesses)”

    Let’s not pretend that there is not power, wealth, control with real estate holdings or ownership of businesses, factories etc

  21. Kathleen
    April 28, 2011, 12:43 pm

    Some bastard thinking goes way back and is prevalent in many cultures

    Deuteronomy is filled with bastard thinking
    “”For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”
    “”Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.”

    Deuteronomy, chapter 28, verses 1-13:

    “1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

    2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

    3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

    4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

    5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

    6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.

    7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.

    8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

    9 The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.

    10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.

    11 And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

    12 The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

    13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:”

    • hophmi
      April 28, 2011, 1:40 pm

      Just curious, Kathleen. Do you treat all religions this way? Do you think this is all there is to Judaism?

      • Cliff
        April 28, 2011, 4:42 pm

        More whining from hophmi. Did she say that’s all there was?

        Are you mentally incapable of identifying context? Or do you have your Zio-blinders on again?

        We know you’re color blind…

        link to salsa.democracyinaction.org

  22. Richard Witty
    April 28, 2011, 12:44 pm

    “We are wealthy and privileged in America. ”

    You use the term “we” so carelessly in this regard. There are MANY Jews that are elite and successful, urban, elite college educated. And there are MANY that are not, that are still working people (or not working).

    I doubt very much that your mother is rationalizing that Abrams, Feith, et al are angels or even puppets. But, you are wrong that they are puppeteers.

    And, Helen Thomas’ ‘send them back where they came from’ (even those that were born in Israel) is repulsive. It would be wonderful for you to see that clearly.

    If we are to listen to her, then it would be rational for us to comparatively listen to Abrams and Feith.

    Does your mother read the blog, the comments, mine?

    • Chaos4700
      April 28, 2011, 1:32 pm

      So to summarize:

      Jews like Abrams and Feith are blameless, Arabs like Helen Thomas are demons.

      Witty in a nutshell. Jews good, Arabs bad.

    • hophmi
      April 28, 2011, 1:42 pm

      It’s not surprising. Phil is one of those leftists who holds it against people if they don’t agree with his politics, more so if they’re successful.

      And of course, he rejects talking about Jews collectively – unless he is doing the talking, in which case, we’re “collectively wealthy.”

      The truth, as you point out, is that there are plenty of poor Jews around.

      • Chaos4700
        April 28, 2011, 3:09 pm

        Still feeling “liberal” after being patted on the back by hophmi, Witty?

    • Danaa
      April 28, 2011, 2:23 pm

      Witty asks: “Does your mother read the blog, the comments, mine?”

      Yours Witty? I should hope not – for the sake of her sanity – both linguistic and holistic.

      Do you, by any chance ever reread some of your own comments? do you not see why you are the object of ridicule on this blog? so much so that I sometimes feel pangs of compassion. I mean, I know you are a life form, a bona fide member of our species. And we should all be united against them aliens (when they finally deem to show up, that is….).

  23. annie
    April 28, 2011, 2:02 pm

    . Yes we can bash the zionists all we want, but please do not comment on the past or present deeds of the jews, the goyims may wake up and take notice.

    Although they constitute only 2% of the US population, they control our government, banks, TV, entertainment industry, just to name a few.

    you say you’ve had your comments deleted in the past. i don’t know if they resemble this but i for one have an issue w/this framing. yes there are zionist interests controlling american interests but to frame this as the 2% or ‘the jews’ i don’t think this is accurate. most jews are not in any position to control congress. there is not a conspiracy of 6 million of american jews doing this. there’s the lobby who try to speak for all of them just like israel tries to speak for all jews. but there are lots of jews that just live their lives. what happened in poland with the jewish money lenders (as you allege, if accurate) wasn’t the entire population of jews either. collective punishment of the masses whether jewish or palestinians or whoever is wrong and there’s never justification for it no matter who does it. it can be used to explain how these poproms came about but it can never be used to justify it. it doesn’t serve us to regard the ‘2%’ as ‘controlling’ anything because they just do not. there are probably no more that 2% of the 2% who have that kind of power.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      April 28, 2011, 11:22 pm

      “it doesn’t serve us to regard the ’2%’ as ‘controlling’ anything because they just do not. there are probably no more that 2% of the 2% who have that kind of power.”

      Annie, I usually appreciate your comments, but the one above prompts some questions. Are you familiar with the operations of American Jewish Zionist organizations? Do you think you understand the reach of those organizations and the depth and extent of participation of the American Jewish community within them?

      And in another vein: Do you hold non-Jews responsible for what Jews do within America?

      • annie
        April 28, 2011, 11:48 pm

        maybe i’m wrong. but i just don’t think there are that many really powerful people. 2% of 6 million is over 100,000 people. are there even 100,000 really powerful people in the US? i would put the number much lower.

        Do you hold non-Jews responsible for what Jews do within America?

        i hold congress responsible for bending over. is that what you mean? wrt the American Jewish Zionist organizations, like zoa and aipac..i wagger the same ilk are running both. you could probably easily fit the main movers in one oversized aipac conference. i am confident there are millions of jews who don’t control the US.

  24. Justice Please
    April 28, 2011, 2:04 pm

    “We are as likely to be the bastards ourselves as the civil rights attorneys filing suits against the bastards. We are not Satter’s middlemen, we are not excluded from the real sources of power. To believe otherwise is a piece of nostalgic self-service.”

    Amen, more power to you Phil. Superb analysis. The world will be a better place when Jews and non-Jews who “believe otherwise”, who can’t admit that Jews are just as capable of being bastards as any other people, finally accept this very notion.

  25. Michael W.
    April 28, 2011, 2:05 pm

    And what does any of this have to do with Zionism/Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

  26. Avi
    April 28, 2011, 6:38 pm

    Sure, Phil, you meant to write, “Basterds”.

    • Avi
      April 29, 2011, 12:42 am

      That should have read: “Surely, Phil, you meant…..”

  27. patm
    April 28, 2011, 10:06 pm

    What an excellent thread!
    (I confess I had to google up “Basterds” to get Avi’s clever joke.)

    Phil, I hope some dastardly rich person does turn up to help finance MW. Danaa mentioned George Soros. And what about Ralph Nader? He’s likely not rich, but he recently wrote a book telling billionaires what they should do with their money: “Only the Super Rich Can Save Us.” Some of the SR read it too, as I recall. Perhaps the book or Nader himself could provide you with some tips.

    If you did land a big whack of money, what sorts of things would you tackle first on the site? MW is a treasure. Thank you for it.

  28. Richard Witty
    April 29, 2011, 9:14 am

    An important component of Phil’s inquiry, the honest weight of it, is “what do I/we think?” (Both I and “we”)

    I think it is critical for Phil to determine and clarify in literally all of these posts whether he is speaking of:

    1. Political cliques with influence (neo-conservatives, a SMALL minority of Jews, and even when they pretend to speak on behalf of all Jews, very rarely, they are not and it is wrong to state in any way that ‘Jews advocate’ when he means the limited cliques).

    2. Himself – Necessary for him to recognize that his experience of a the second generation of Jews at Harvard is NOT indicative of general Jewish experience, or general Jewish voice.

    Everything that is described as a pattern is in fact very various among the secular Jewish community. It is a general truth (the only one that I perceive) that the vast majority of Jews of all political attitudes support the existence (and defense) of Israel and defer to American and Israeli policies that appear to affirm that.

    There is very very little of the radical anti-Zionist sentiment that is expressed here, really in any generation. And, that is rational, not the result of gullibility, of brainwashing, of monopoly of information, fascism, intoxication. Rational sympathy.

    But, there is division between to what extent and how Israel should treat its neighbors, what risks and efforts it should take.

    The progressive on Israel view asserts that Israel should make every effort to construct a peace, willing to talk to anyone (not willing to be gullible though).

    The careful view asserts that Israel should wait for clear signals of acceptance from the various Palestinian factions, to distrust rather than just to not trust.

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