The other day Adam Horowitz published a dialogue with Daniel Sieradski of Occupy Judaism. This is a response to Sieradski from Jack Ross, author of Rabbi Outcast: Elmer Berger and American Jewish Anti-Zionism.
I feel compelled to write to you about your exchange with Adam Horowitz.
You’ll recall I saw you at Simchat Torah. I was disturbed by what I clearly sensed was the objective of “Occupy Judaism”, however noble and edifying its stated purpose, of seeking to manufacture the divisions you now so eagerly exploit no less than anyone on the pro-Palestinian side. I was going to write a dispatch but then saw that I had nothing of substance to add to what Phil had already written of his visit to OWS.
But your exchange with Adam confirms the fundamental duplicity here. “Support for terrorism”? “The middle-American pro-Israel majority”? As Bill Buckley used to say, I don’t want to say anything that would suggest that you believe a word of what you said.
But all this was already evident as soon as you went to work for the American Jewish Establishment. Exactly why do you expect anyone to care a whit what someone at Tablet magazine thinks?
I write this as someone who has many differences with the pro-Palestinian activist scene, and also with the tactics and assumptions of the activist left symbolized by OWS. I do not really care about any of the controversies within Occupy Wall Street, but honestly, do you really think it so imperative to retain the good will of the likes of Mark Green and Eliot Spitzer?
For instance, you are certainly correct to point out that US aid to Israel is only 0.08% of the federal budget, and that most of this effectively amounts to corporate welfare for the military-industrial complex. But the consequences of this arrangement extend far beyond the accounting ledger.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, leading organizations of the left such as the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee were unshakably committed to American military aid to Israel, and for this reason the post-Vietnam left was never able to offer a serious critique of, or opposition to, the military-industrial complex. And because there was no serious response to the military-industrial complex, there was no effective response to the de-industrialization of America, the engine of American economic decline and the single largest factor in the decline of the labor movement. (I say this as someone researching a book on the Socialist Party; there are consequences of Israel idolatry.)
You are acting as the agent of a wicked American Jewish Establishment, which Jewish Voice for Peace is exactly right to target for “occupation”. The “delegitimization” of Israel is largely a red herring; what has demanded delegitimization for the last 70 years is the American Jewish Establishment you now serve, which has perpetrated a perilous and tragic fraud in convincing the public at large that there exists an entity called “the Jewish people” and that Judaism amounts to little more than securing the political imperatives of that fictitious collective by any means necessary.
There is no question in mind that the Jewish establishment wants to press the issue at least as much as any Palestinian solidarity activists; they want to cause trouble and probably avenge their imagined past battles over “the left”. The central problem here is not racism, but the demand by that establishment to bow down before Baal and declare the sacredness and glory of the State of Israel, all that’s wrong with it being superfluous.
A true “Occupy Judaism”, as JVP understands, seeks the liberation of progressive Jews from the “community” and to fight for justice and righteousness for the victims of the American Jewish Establishment, including but not limited to the Palestinians. But you and your “official” Occupy Judaism, as a self-identified agent of the enemy, are nothing but an impostor.