Arendt: Born in conflict, Israel will degenerate into Sparta, and American Jews will need to back away

Israel/Palestine
on 160 Comments
Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt

For the new year, here are some prophetic excerpts from two essays of Hannah Arendt’s, collected in The Jewish Writings (2007). Please note her predictions of the Nakba, of unending conflict, of Zionist dependence on the American Jewish community, of ultimate conflict with that American Jewish community, and the contribution of political Zionism to world anti-semitism. Just what Howard Gutman said recently. For which he was denounced by– Zionists.

Zionism Reconsidered, 1944:

Nationalism is bad enough when it trusts in nothing but the rude force of the nation. A nationalism that necessarily and admittedly depends upon the force of a foreign nation is certainly worse. This is the threatened state of Jewish nationalism and of the proposed Jewish state, surrounded inevitably by Arab states and Arab people. Even a Jewish majority in Palestine–nay even a transfer of all Palestine’s Arabs, which is openly demanded by the revisionists–would not substantially change a situation in which Jews must either ask protection from an outside power against their neighbors or come to a working agreement with their neighbors…

[T]he Zionists, if they continue to ignore the Mediterranean people and watch out only for the big faraway powers, will appear only as their tools, the agents of foreign and hostile interests. Jews who know their own history should be aware that such a state of affairs will inevitably lead to a new wave of Jew-hatred; the antisemitism of tomorrow will assert that Jews not only profiteered from the presence of foreign big powers in that region but had actually plotted it and hence are guilty of the consequences…

[T]he sole new piece of historical philosophy which the Zionists contributed out of their own new experiences [was] “A nation is a group of people…  held together by a common enemy” (Herzl)–an absurd doctrine…

To such [political] independence, it was believed, the Jewish nation could arrive under the protecting wings of any great power strong enough to shelter its growth…. the Zionists ended by making the Jewish national emancipation entirely dependent upon the material intersts of another nation.

The actual result was a return of the new movement to the traditional methods of shtadlonus [court Jews], which the Zionists once had so bitterly despised and violently denounced. Now Zionists too knew no better place politically than the lobbies of the powerful, and no sounder basis for agreements than their good services as agents of foreign interests…

[O]nly folly could dictate a policy which trusts a distant imperial power for protection, while alienating the goodwill of neighbors. What then, one is prompted to ask, will be the future policy of Zionism with respect to big powers, and what program will Zionists have to offer for a solution of the Arab-Jewish conflict?…

If a Jewish commonwealth is obtained in the near future–with or without partition–it will be due to the political influence of American Jews…. But if the Jewish commonwealth is proclaimed against the will of the Arabs and without the support of the Mediterranean peoples, not only financial help but political support will be necessary for a long time to come. And that may turn out to be very troublesome indeed for Jews in this country [the U.S.], who after all have no power to direct the political destinies of the Near East. It may eventually be far more of a responsibility than today they imagine or tomorrow can make good.

To Save the Jewish Homeland, 1948 [on the occasion of war in Palestine]

And even if the Jews were to win the war, its end would find the unique possibilities and the unique achievements of Zionism in Palestine destroyed. The land that would come into being would be something quite other than the dream of world Jewry, Zionist and non-Zionist. The ‘victorious’ Jews would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded into ever-threatened borders, absorbed with physical self-defense to a degree that would submerge all other interests and acitvities. The growth of a Jewish culture would cease to be the concern of the whole people; social experiments would have to be discarded as impractical luxuries; political thought would center around military strategy…. And all this would be the fate of a nation that — no matter how many immigrants it could still absorb and how far it extended its boundaries (the whole of Palestine and Transjordan is the insane Revisionist demand)–would still remain a very small people greatly outnumbered by hostile neighbors.

Under such circumstances… the Palestinian Jews would degenerate into one of those small warrior tribes about whose possibilities and importance history has amply informed us since the days of Sparta. Their relations with world Jewry would become problematical, since their defense interests might clash at any moment with those of other countries where large number of Jews lived. Palestine Jewry would eventually separate itself from the larger body of world Jewry and in its isolation develop into an entirely new people. Thus it becomes plain that at this moment and under present circumstances a Jewish state can only be erected at the price of the Jewish homeland…

One grim addendum. In the heyday of the special relationship between the US and Israel, American Jewry felt itself to be one with the Israeli people. We Are One! declared Melvin Urofsky’s book of 1978. That unity is today being dissolved. The haredi-secular conflict in Israel that is getting so much attention here is one means of that dissolution. And the aim, unconsciously, may be a desire by American Jews to distance themselves from Israeli Jews so that when the Arab Spring at last brings a democratic movement to Israel and Palestine, and bloody conflict ensues, and the Israeli gov’t is cast as the bad guys, American Jews are emotionally prepared to regard the bloodshed as inevitable and not their problem.

160 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    January 1, 2012, 1:26 pm

    Do not know much about Hannah Arendt. Sounds like a brilliant and honest lady. “agents of a foreign interest” She nails it.

    Let’s hope and pray that there is not more and more bloodshed. That Israeli officials and the I lobby in this country will see how much harm Israel is doing to themselves by extending their internationally recognized borders through outright thievery.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      January 1, 2012, 4:11 pm

      After writing, “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” her report of the Eichmann trial in which Arendt suggested that had not the Judenrat, the Jewish councils appointed by the Nazis in occupied Europe, collaborated with the Nazis in their round-up of Jews to be sent off to the death camps to the point of providing them with lists, collecting valuables, and policing Jews who were non-cooperative, the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis would have greatly reduced, she became a non-person in the Jewish world.

      It was not until the past few years that she was resurrected to the degree that her name could even be mentioned in the Jewish press, albeit usually critically.

      • LeaNder
        January 2, 2012, 7:03 am

        collecting valuables

        Jeffrey whatever German Jews left was hardly allowed to be collected by the “Judenrat”.

        While it is obvious that the Nazis forced prominent Jewish Germans to support their plans, they surely didn’t allow them to collect the valuables the victims left. Their main “duty” was to send the letters to the people chosen for the transport, what they were allowed to take along and basically and unfortunately to calm them down.

        You also have to remember, that the Nazis weren’t really open about their goals.

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 2, 2012, 2:05 pm

          Sorry, LeaNdr, if I didn’t make myself clear. The valuables the Juderat collected was not for themselves but was turned over to the Nazi administrators. But they did more then send letters back, they provided lists of ghetto residents who would be chosen for transport and there were uniformed Jewish police who were their to enforce the orders that the Judenrat had received from the Nazis which occasionally required violence against uncooperative Jews. There a films of them doing so which I have had the displeasure of seeing them.

          At one point, before the first intifada, the Israelis tried to duplicate what the Nazis had done by setting up “village leagues” within the occupied West Bank and Gaza but it proved to be a failure. They had more success, unfortunately, with the PA.

        • seafoid
          January 3, 2012, 9:55 am

          Jeffrey

          Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a super book on the war in Iraq and there’s one photo in it that shows the Americans isolating a village and then blowing up everything in it that was based on the advice of Israeli specialists who perfected the policy in Gaza.

          Of course that’s what the Germans used to do. The Germans lost. The Americans lost in Iraq. Israel is going to lose.

        • LeaNder
          January 4, 2012, 8:33 am

          There a films of them doing so which I have had the displeasure of seeing them.

          Jeffrey, what films exactly? I would be interested, but also in knowing more about the date of production and it’s respective authors/perspectives.
          Nazi productions?

          At one point, before the first intifada, the Israelis tried to duplicate what the Nazis had done by setting up “village leagues” within the occupied West Bank and Gaza but it proved to be a failure. They had more success, unfortunately, with the PA.

          Arjan El Fassed, Abbas’ Village League, The Electronic Intifada
          9 September 2007

          Abbas is now explicitly armed and backed by Israel and the United States and has declared war on the Hamas movement. We can reach back to another precedent to understand his current role. Following the debacle (from Israel’s perspective) of the 1976 municipal elections, it set up the Village Leagues in the 1980s. These were bodies staffed by Palestinian collaborators appointed by Israel.

          Unfortunately it’s very easy to discover repressive elements of state power without pointing at the Nazis, I know, I know, I surely have the same obsession.

          Jeffrey, [in nuce - not much time]: I know my response above was slightly wrong, to the extend it defends the mainly more prominent, thus elite Jewish Germans forced into this special institutional frame and pressured to execute state-demands by the Nazis. I also don’t like any inquisitorial tools, since I did not like them in some exchanges lately. And yes, I am slightly hesitant about your litmus test too.

          But yes, in the end I would not even blame a Jewish KAPO in the camp myself. It’s obvious that cooperation with “the system” was the first step to find out slightly more about “the machinery” of the whole place you were forced into. Some had been separated, were had they gone? and series of connected questions … I know some of the stories … thus I was really mad when a know-nothing, and not really interested in knowing, power players like Dershowitz used the KAPO tag for Norman Finkelstein’s mother …

          The Nazis didn’t invent authoritarian practices, they borrowed whatever they felt they needed for control. So why constantly bringing them into play?

          I discovered the basic authoritarian control tool: the informer, in an art project on a huge forensic psychiatry terrain with high security areas. The forensic patients, I met, could work themselves up into better conditions by, what do you think? Informing on other’s transgressions of institutional laws. Informing on others in fact brought more freedom to move for yourselves. I find this absolutely sick, but I am also sure I will find theories justifying it in earlier centuries. The rules of control are actually simple and ages old.

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 4, 2012, 3:06 pm

          LeaNder,

          The Nazis didn’t invent authoritarian practices, but they raised, or better said, brought them to an unprecedented level and became the standard for comparison. Since what they did, how they did it and, moreover, why, will inevitably linked to the Jewish holocaust and the creation of the state of Israel, comparisons between the two are appropriate, particularly so when the founding theoretical principles, “blut und bloden,” (blood and soil) were identical and when Israeli behavior and commentary mimic that of the 3rd Reich. Indeed the first such comparisons were first made by Jewish concentration camp survivors in Israel themselves, the most notable having been Israel Shahak.

          The Judenraat Jewish councils were not of German Jews but were set up by the Nazis in other parts of Europe where there were Jewish populations. The film that I saw many years ago was simply documentary footage which depicted Jewish police wearing military “greatcoats” but not apparently armed who were policing the ghetto, pushing Jews along, for the Nazis. As for kapos, they come in all sizes, colors, genders and nationalities and while one might make a case for why they betrayed their fellow humans to save themselves, those who have not been their victims have no business forgiving them.

    • dahoit
      January 2, 2012, 12:42 pm

      Her the banality of evil quote is an everyday happenstance,and a sign of our premodern times.

  2. Kathleen
    January 1, 2012, 1:27 pm

    Race for Iran has a great piece up as well as Micheal Scheuer over at Non Intervention

  3. lobewyper
    January 1, 2012, 1:42 pm

    “The actual result was a return of the new movement to the traditional methods of shtadlonus [court Jews], which the Zionists once had so bitterly despised and violently denounced. Now Zionists too knew no better place politically than the lobbies of the powerful, and no sounder basis for agreements than their good services as agents of foreign interests…”

    Why does this sound so familiar?

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      January 1, 2012, 4:19 pm

      Zionism took Court Jewry to new heights. It was even more essential to its success than getting the support of the majority of the world’s Jews. Without it, there would have been no Balfour Declaration which was viewed by Britain as their reward for pushing the US into WW1 on Britain’s side when its chances of defeating Germany were next to nil. Had the war ended without a German defeat, we would not have seen the rise of Hitler and what came after it, culminating in the state of Israel.

      • john h
        January 1, 2012, 5:58 pm

        Had the war ended without a German defeat, we would not have seen the rise of Hitler and what came after it, culminating in the state of Israel.

        Good point. Seems to me the same could be said if the war had ended without the unjust terms placed on Germany, or as decisively as it did the second time and then the subsequent few years, that scenario would also not have happened.

        Mistakes and bad decisions have such a major and long-lasting effect.

      • Robert Werdine
        January 4, 2012, 2:04 pm

        Jeffrey Blankfort says,

        “Without it, there would have been no Balfour Declaration which was viewed by Britain as their reward for pushing the US into WW1 on Britain’s side when its chances of defeating Germany were next to nil.”

        So “the Jews” got the Balfour Declaration for pushing America into the war? Got it.

        Are you kidding with this? The Jews “pushed” America into WWI? Tell me Jeffrey, so “they” were behind Ludendorf’s unrestricted sub warfare and the Zimmerman telegram?

        The German defeat did indeed sire Hitler’s rise, but I hardly think a German victory would have been a blessing, and would have seen much, if not most of the continent enslaved by them.

        Johnh,

        You speak of the harsh terms imposed on Germany, but considering that the war was a war of aggression waged by Germany, and the fact that German terms on Russia and the Allies would have been infinitely more severe (take a peak at the map that emerged from the Brest-Litovsk treaty), I’d say the Germans got off rather easy, and they borrowed far more than they ever paid out in reparations.

        • Gilad
          January 4, 2012, 3:44 pm

          Jeffrey is obviously spot on here, I learned about it from Amos Elon’s The Pity of it All (not exactly a right wing Nazi text) . But we have to be precise here.. it was not the ‘Jews’, it was actually a few Jewish (German and Russian) bankers who ‘somehow’ changed sides, from being German patriotic into ‘pro British’.. All relevant information is widely available..

        • PeaceThroughJustice
          January 4, 2012, 4:36 pm

          Werdine, you don’t have to believe Jeffrey. You can read it directly from Lloyd George’s memoirs–

          The Balfour Declaration represented the convinced policy of all parties in our country and also in America, but the launching of it in 1917 was due, as I have said, to propagandist reasons. I should like once more to remind the British public, who may be hesitating about the burdens of our Zionist Declaration to-day, of the actual war position at the time of that Declaration. We are now looking at the War through the dazzling glow of a triumphant end, but in 1917 the issue of the War was still very much in doubt. … For the Allies there were two paramount problems at that time. The first was that the Central Powers should be broken by the blockade before our supplies of food and essential raw material were cut off by sinkings of our own ships. The other was that the war preparations in the United States should be speeded up to such an extent as to enable the Allies to be adequately reinforced in the critical campaign of 1918 by American troops. In the solution of these two problems, public opinion in Russia and America played a great part, and we had every reason at that time to believe that in both countries the friendliness or hostility of the Jewish race might make a considerable difference.
          link to mailstar.net
          Memoirs of Lloyd George

        • Robert Werdine
          January 4, 2012, 6:21 pm

          Gilad,

          This is ahistorical. It was not “Jewish bankers” that brought America into the war. It was German unrestricted submarine warfare and the Zimmerman Telegram, in which the Germans, incredibly, promised the Mexicans the return of territories lost in the Mexican-American War in return for entering the war on Germany’s side, which provoked America into the war. An outraged America declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.

          Long term, it was not in America’s interest to have Germany exploiting and enslaving the continent. It was also just plain wrong. By the time America declared war, Russia was all but out of the war, and the British and the French were exhausted and demoralized. Without American intervention, the Allies would have lost the war. Our intervention was therefore right as well as critical.

          I would be most interested in knowing what this readily available information supporting Bankfort’s assertion could be.

          Peace tj,

          The sentiments expressed by Lloyd George here relate to the reason for making the declaration of the policy public at that particular time (which was in November 1917–seven months after America declared war), rather than for initiating the the policy itself. In any event, Blankfort has said that the Balfour Declaration was “[The Jews'] reward for pushing the US into WW1 on Britain’s side.” This is baseless.

        • Gilad
          January 4, 2012, 6:48 pm

          Robert, you obviously restrict yourself to a very limited vision of history.
          In my writing I insist that the past is a living dynamic entity. The past keeps changing as it reflects through our vision of history on the present and the future.

          You have just learned about an alternative narrative that offers a completely different interpretation of some major and dramatic events that changed the world we are living in. It is not a fringe conspiratorial narrative. It is discussed by major historian. All the relevant documents are available, some are on the net. Instead of referring to is as an ‘ahistorical’, just make your investigation. Take your time, read Amos Elon, as far as i can remember Benjamin Freedman also referred to it in his famous speech, though you may trust Freedman.

          I am touring from tomorrow, but you can approach me via my site. I think that i refer to it in my latest book in a footnote. if you don’t find your way, i guess that both Blankfort and myself can sort you out.

          And to conclude-what Jeff said wasn’t baseless, he didn’t use the appropriate PC J term. It wasn’t the ‘Jews’, it was the ‘Jewish Bankers’ or the ‘Jewish Lobbies’ are as some would say ‘Zionists’ etc’ . Mind you it is also the same Jewish lobby that prevented you from learning this chapter in your past.

          Peace
          G

        • MRW
          January 4, 2012, 7:01 pm

          Hostage and Blankfort will correct you, Robert Werdine. In fact, Hostage already has, somewhere in the archives, with links, which you have not provided.

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 5, 2012, 1:32 pm

          Baseless, Weirdine? Whether the Zionists were influential in pushing the US to enter the war when it did, there were certainly powerful elements within the British government–not apologists for Zionism such as yourself who believed they did. No doubt, you haven’t read the “Palestine Papers 1917-1922 Seeds of Conflict.” by Doreen Ingrams, published by Braziller 1973.

          A key document at the end of the book, summarizes why the Balfour Declaration was issued and why the British could not go back on it, despite the headaches in brought them on the ground in Palestine in its first five years which clearly comes across in these documents.

          “Early in 1923,” Ingrams writes, “the Duke of Devonshire [Edward Cavendish] — who had succeeded Churchill as Secretary of State for the Colonies — circulated for the consideration of the Cabinet in deciding future policy, a memorandum on British policy in Palestine from 1917 in which it was stated:
          ‘British policy in Palestine during the past five years has been based upon the Balfour Declaration of November 1917….

          ‘Briefly stated, the object [of the Declaration] was to enlist the sympathies on the allied side of influential Jews and Jewish organizations all over the world….It is arguable that the negotiations with the Zionists, which had been in progress for many months before the Declaration was actually published, did, in fact, have considerable effect in advancing the date in which the United States Government intervened in the war. However that may be, it must always be remembered that the Declaration was made at a time of extreme peril to the cause of the Allies…. The Balfour Declaration was a war measure…designed to secure tangible benefits which it was hoped could contribute to the ultimate victory of the Allies. These benefits may or may not have been worth securing and may or may not have been actually secured; but the objections to going back on a promise made under such conditions are obvious. The Jews would naturally regard it as an act of baseness if, having appealed to them in our hour of peril, we were to throw them over when the danger was past.’” (p. 173)

          If the meaning of this passage is not clear to you, Wierdine, it will be to others who read this blog.

          There are also a number of strange questions about the origins of the Zimmerman telegram and how and when it came to exposed and by whom, but that is not the argument here which is whether or not the British awarded Palestine to the Zionists for what they clearly perceived to be their assistance in bringing the US into WW1 and, no doubt, assisting the British war effort with their pocket book.

          There is no other reason that has ever been offered to explain why the Balfour Declaration was issued to a scion of the world’s leading banking family and a major supporter of Jewish colonization, Walter Rothschild, presenting Palestine to the Zionists as a Jewish homeland that has ever withstood scrutiny. Perhaps you can pull one out of your hat.Why there has been so little historical attention paid to this is, for me, one of the major historical coverups of the 20th century and is understandable, from the Zionists perspective, given its implications. If you don’t understand what those are. Mr. Wierdine , I will be happy to spell them out.

        • Donald
          January 5, 2012, 1:39 pm

          The back cover of Tom Segev’s book “One Palestine, Complete–Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate” summarizes the contents of the book this way–

          “the British, far from being pro-Arab, consistently favored the Zionist position, out of the mistaken–and anti-Semitic–belief that Jews turned the wheels of history.”

          Which seems clear enough. I’d point out that if British officials mistakenly thought that Zionists had more power than they really wielded, it meant that, ironically, the Zionists really did have a lot of power in this case.

        • PeaceThroughJustice
          January 5, 2012, 6:19 pm

          The structure of Jeffrey’s post is a little complicated, so to make sure Robert Werdine doesn’t misunderstand let me point out that the statement “The Jews would naturally regard it as an act of baseness if, having appealed to them in our hour of peril, we were to throw them over when the danger was past,” are the exact words of a British cabinet minister, writing in 1923, and not merely an historian’s interpretation of British motives.

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 5, 2012, 11:43 pm

          We frequently hear that the myth of Jewish power is really only that, a myth, we are told that convinces world leaders and other men of power that “the Jews” are really more powerful than they really are. That is the myth, that Jewish power is a delusion based on ancient antisemitic canards but, believe me, those who have believed in the power of influential Jews at various times weren’t seeing a mirage; they were seeing the real thing. Was it a myth that a member of the Rothschild family ran the banking of virtually every major European country at one time?

          Segev, otherwise a responsible journalist, helps to propagate this myth. In the case of Palestine and the Balfour Declaration, the alternative is too horrible to contemplate. Consequently what he wrote about the Balfour Report was the equivalent of sticking his head in the sand,

        • Annie Robbins
          January 6, 2012, 1:05 am

          .Why there has been so little historical attention paid to this is, for me, one of the major historical coverups of the 20th century and is understandable, from the Zionists perspective, given its implications.

          this isn’t the sort of information that’s going to just disappear into the ether.

          If you don’t understand what those are. Mr. Wierdine , I will be happy to spell them out.

          if he doesn’t come back and clarify he understands what those implications are…..by all means do.

        • Hostage
          January 6, 2012, 3:47 am

          In fact, Hostage already has, somewhere in the archives, with links, which you have not provided.

          I can think of several comments, but others here have addressed the content of many of those. You are probably thinking of this one: link to mondoweiss.net

          A few points that haven’t been addressed with regard to submarine warfare and the Zimmerman cable: a) The German Foreign Minister, Gottlieb von Jagow, resigned in November 1916 over the issue of unrestricted submarine warfare, which he had opposed. b) He was replaced by his Under-Secretary, Arthur Zimmermann, who was a supporter of the Zionists and submarine warfare. Zimmermann had lobbied other governments on behalf of the Zionists. He arranged with the Turkish government for the purchase of land and the erection of the Technion, or Israel Institute of Technology building in Haifa.

          I’m not a prophet, so I don’t know if the outcome of the war would have effected the colonial ambitions of the Zionists. The Jews working in the German Foreign Office, included future President of the World Jewish Congress Nahum Goldmann. They, like Weizmann, were carrying-on their own propaganda program to secure German and Turkish guarantees of a national home in Palestine.

          John Cornelius has written a series of articles which illustrate that it is very likely that the Zionists in Germany were instrumental both in initiating the misguided Zimmerman initiative to invite Mexico to attack the US, and in providing the necessary intelligence or cryptographic keys for the German diplomatic code to the British government so that it could conveniently inform the United States about the text of the intercepted telegram – just in the nick of time. See for example The Hidden History of the Balfour Declaration, John Cornelius, WRMEA, 2005.

        • GalenSword
          January 6, 2012, 5:45 am

          When I was a Harvard undergrad back in the middle 70s (’77), Jewish studies specialists referred to the myth of Jewish powerlessness. Scholarly understanding and pop history diverge with respect to Jews.

        • GalenSword
          January 6, 2012, 10:19 am

          If I am not mistaken, a major topic of the 1905 Zionist conference was the Ottoman Empire and how it impeded Zionist goals.

          The British Rothschilds were very keen on the dismantlement of the Ottoman Empire because they viewed it as an impediment to access to Mesopotamian oil.

          Is it mere chance that the Balfour declaration was addressed to Lord Walter Rothschild when it had become so clear that Zionist needs and the Rothschild oil strategy had become congruent.

          Note also that oil production and distribution was a Jewish niche industry in the Czarist Empire.

          The French Rothschilds, who had contracts with the Czarist government for oil industry development, viewed Zionism as an escape valve on Czarist Jewish radicalism while the British Rothschilds saw a value in bringing Czarist Jewish oil workers to Palestine.

          When Herbert Samuel became the first High Commissioner for Mandatory Palestine, some of his first priorities were a pipeline from Mesopotamia (Mosul) to Palestine (Haifa) and a railway from Mesopotamia (Bagdad) to Palestine (Haifa).

          link to en.wikipedia.org

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 6, 2012, 2:03 pm

          Thanks, Hostage. This was the information that I left out of my post re Balfour because I didn’t want to digress from the point I was making, regarding it as being a reward to the Zionists for services rendered to His Majesty at a critical moment in the war, namely pushing the US to join the war on its side. If the Brits were aware that the Zimmerman telegram was among them, their eagerness to give them a reward would be so much the greater.

          It is obvious that the hidden history of Balfour and of the Zimmerman telegram–a story almost as bogus on the surface as the alleged Iranian attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador– will remain hidden. In fact, it and the subsequent Zionist collaboration with the Nazis up until 1941, including providing intelligence about the British, are, perhaps, the main reasons that the Zionists insist that there can be no questioning of the official holocaust narrative. It is not what the Nazis did that they don’t want scrutinized, it was what their Zionist forerunners did.

        • Richard Witty
          January 6, 2012, 2:24 pm

          So what?

          The promises were made, both of exclusive right to the land (behind closed doors), both of right to reside and self-govern (in public).

          Both promises were made for the promise to and for services rendered to the imperial powers during the war.

          And, the promise to Jews was also made because the Jews had historically been suppressed and very visibly persecuted. And, the promise to the Arab hopefuls was made because of their residence and the prospect of difficulty at any “colonial” change (even though the whole political setting of the post WW1 was of imposed colonial change).

          The implied importance of Zionist “collaboration” with naziis, is entirely a description of unintended consequences under severe stress, not a basis of any cynical conclusion to rest one’s weight on.

          The reason that questioning the holocaust narrative is frowned on are the observation that a people can be disappeared, AND that the invocation of trauma and trauma with the prospect of blaming the victims, is so horrid to invoke.

          The inquiry is only useful for revolutionary purposes, metaphorically violent ripping of muscle from bone, in the name of righting some long-past wrong.

          Both the San Remo Zionist thesis and the anti-Zionist thesis are out to lunch, relative to current reality.

          The thesis that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist (the construction that you are collectively attempting to make) will result in subsequent war.

          Why pursue that? You are that angry?

        • Robert Werdine
          January 6, 2012, 10:18 pm

          Gilad,

          Thank you for your reply. I would have replied yesterday but my neighborhood’s internet service was shut off all day until late this morning. I will be more than happy to read Amos Elon’s “The Pity of it All,” and promise to read it with an open mind. I am currently finishing Trevor Royale’s excellent biography of Orde Wingate, which I had been reading on my vacation until a few days ago, and promise to begin reading Elon’s book, which I have ordered on Amazon, the moment I am finished.

          I am, btw, an admirer of your “Take it or Leave it,” and “Nostalgico.” I recently obtained an 18-disc recording of John Coltrane’s recordings for Prestige on Original Jazz Classics, which I highly recommend, if you don’t already have it.

        • Robert Werdine
          January 6, 2012, 10:25 pm

          Jeffrey,

          Said you:

          “There is no other reason that has ever been offered to explain why the Balfour Declaration was issued to a scion of the world’s leading banking family and a major supporter of Jewish colonization, Walter Rothschild, presenting Palestine to the Zionists as a Jewish homeland that has ever withstood scrutiny. Perhaps you can pull one out of your hat.”

          While it seems that any explanation of a major world event that cannot be properly ascribed to the machinations of some sinister cabal of cynical, wily, string-pulling Jews is unlikely to satisfy you, here is one “out of my hat.”

          In the first place, the Balfour Declaration resulted, ultimately, from the waning fortunes of the Allied powers in 1917. 1917, like 1916, was a bad year. By the spring, the Verdun and Somme offensives of the previous year had bled the Allies white on the Western front, Russia was mired in revolution and chaos, and the French army was now teetering on the brink of wholesale mutiny. There was thus a strong desire to avert Russia from making a separate peace, and to encourage America into a stronger, faster commitment on the continent (only some 77,000 American troops had yet landed in France by November 1917, when the Declaration was made public). Officials in the British Foreign Office were concerned about the hostility of world Jewry toward anti-semitic Russia, and even more concerned about American Jews of German and Austro-Hungarian descent, whom they feared supported the Central Powers. The men of Whitehall, almost to a man, all held exaggerated notions of Jewish power and influence; you’d have been right at home there, Jeffrey. And Zionists like Weizmann, of course, were only too happy to encourage this kind of thinking along.

          There is thus no question that the British and the French both felt in the months before America entered the war, that supporting the Zionist cause and getting American Jews behind them would help bring America into the war, and keep Russia fighting the Germans. In the event, it did neither. America entered the war on account of German belligerence and stupidity, not the machinations of Zionists, and the efforts of Russian Zionist Nahum Sokolow, who promised the Quai d’Orsay (and later, Whitehall) to rally Jewish support for keeping Russia in the war in exchange for the pro-Zionist statement issued by French Foreign Minister Jules Cambon on June 4, 1917, came to nothing, and Russia was out of the war by the end of the year.

          There was also, then, a British desire to thwart French claims to Palestine, which were enunciated in the pro-Zionist declaration of French Foreign Minister, Jules Cambon on June 4, 1917, and an even greater fear that the Germans would issue a pro-Zionist declaration of their own, and the British were determined to beat them to the punch. At the cabinet meeting on October 31, Balfour made the case for a pro-Zionist declaration. It would aid the British in generating propaganda among Jews in America (read: Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter—both close advisors to President Wilson) and Russia (read: Leon Trotsky), and among other Jews around the world. Lord Robert Cecil and Sir Ronald Graham also reminded Balfour that the clock was ticking, that a German declaration could be imminent, and that such a declaration would “throw the Zionists into the arms of the Germans.” That was the clincher. The cabinet then authorized Balfour to issue the declaration on November 2, which he did in the form of a letter to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, head of Britian’s Zionist Federation.

          The issuance of the Balfour Declaration was therefore perfectly consonant with wartime and post-wartime British imperial strategic interests, as they judged them to be at the time; whether it had any discernable influence on the course of the war, which was at its lowest point for the Allies at the end of 1917, and was nearly lost the following spring under the weight of a crushing German offensive, is open to doubt. World Jewry and support for Zionism did nothing to win the war; it did nothing to keep Russia fighting, and it was American participation, courtesy of German intransigence and blundering, and the exhaustion of German human and material resources after four years of conflict in the summer of 1918, along with the collapse of the German home front, that did that. With regard to America, who had already been in the war for seven months, it was hoped, among other things, that it would encourage Jewish opinion around Wilson to influence him into a more favorable disposition towards toward British wartime and post-wartime strategic interests currently at odds with some of the President’s more dreamy post-war visions. The success of this is open to even more doubt. In any event, the British sensibly saw the Balfour Declaration as a win-win proposition, whatever it might or might not actually achieve.

          Hope this clears things up for you.

          My sources for the above are:

          1) Isaiah Friedman, “The Question of Palestine: British-Jewish-Arab Relations,” 1973, pp. 57, 268-269, 278.

          2) David Fromkin, “A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East,” 1991, pp. 41-42, 92, 292-293, 295.

          ***

          The notion that there exists some relationship between the Balfour Declaration and the Zimmerman Telegram is laughable, and is not entertained by any reputable historian that I am aware of.

          Mr Cornelius, writing in the virulently anti-Israel Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, posits the following: that Zionists in Britian and Germany, working in tandem, engineered the following changes to facilitate their agenda: the removal of the Asquith government in December 1916, the result of a “secret agreement” between Weizmann and Balfour and Lloyd George, so that the pro-Zionist Lloyd George government could be brought to power because Asquith was in danger of endorsing a negotiated settlement with Germany, contrary to Zionist interests, and the removal of Gottlieb von Jagow, the German Foreign Minister, with Arthur Zimmermann, who “enjoyed good relations with German Zionists and was thus susceptible to Zionist influence.”

          With Zionists thus now controlling the Lloyd George government and the German Foreign Office, Zionists in the German Foreign Office, among them one Herr von Kemnitz, an East Asia expert in the German foreign office and “presumably a Zionist agent,” gives Zimmerman a text of the proposed telegram which he had “likely received from London,” and which Zimmerman then forwards on his own authority. The telegram is exposed by the British, and revealed to the Americans, thus provoking an outraged America into war with Germany. Zionists in Britian thus drafted the telegram, relayed it to their brethren in the German Foreign Office to be sent, and won for themselves the reward of the Balfour Declaration.

          I hardly know where to begin with this. In the first place, this ignores the fact that the Asquith government was brought down not by Zionist machinations, but by a severe failure of confidence on the part of the public engendered by the disasters at the Somme, at Gallipoli, and in Mesopotamia, along with a perception of Asquith’s ineffectiveness as a war leader, for which he was ill-suited. Cornelius to the contrary, there was not much of a chance of a negotiated settlement in 1916 or anytime else; the German “peace note” of December 12, 1916, envisaged a Central Powers dominated Europe from the English Channel to the Black Sea: The German army currently occupied Belgium, Poland, most of European Russia, Serbia, Rumania, and ten of the richest provinces of France. The Germans, in effect, were offering the Allies “peace” if they could only keep the conquests resulting from the war of aggression they had initiated. Lloyd George, now PM, rejected the offer with contempt. The notion that Asquith, even if he had wanted to, would have seen this as a basis for negotiations, is preposterous. That the French would have is even more so. At the very height of the bloodshed and public outrage, no British government would have, or could have, consented to that. Both Britian and France were both unwilling to surrender without being properly beaten, Zionists or no Zionists.

          Secondly there is no evidence that von Kemnitz—an obscure German official about whom very little is known—was a “Zionist agent,” that the British drafted the Zimmerman telegram and relayed it to Zionists in the German Foreign Office, or that anyone in the German Foreign Office relayed it to London. The evidence is overwhelming that the British intercepted the telegram and were able to decipher it because they had cracked the German codes, without the benefit of Zionist intrigue, I should deign to mention.

          Specifically, Room 40 intercepted code 13040 from Persia in 1915, and they intercepted code 0075 in the weeks prior to intercepting the Zimmerman telegram in January 1917. The latter code was used to transmit the telegram first from Berlin to Washington, and the former code was used to transmit the message from the German embassy in Washington to Mexico. Mr. Cornelius’ thesis that the British somehow needed the help of German Zionists to obtain the Zimmerman telegram betrays an ignorance of the wiliness and the reach of British of counter-intelligence in both world wars—this was particularly demonstrated by their getting wind of the German plans for their High Seas Fleet to attack the Royal Navy at Jutland in 1916, and in their cracking of the Enigma code in WWII.

          My sources for the above:

          1) C.M. Andrews, “Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community,” 1985, pp. 106-114.

          2) Henry Newbolt, “Naval Operations: History of the Great War Based on Official Documents,” Vol. IV, 1928, pp. 229-276.

          3) Robert K. Massie, “Castles of Steel: Britian, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea,” 2003, pp. 696-697, 712-713.

          4) Cecil John Edmonds, “East and West of Zagros: Travel, War, and Politics in Persia and Iraq, 1913-1921,” pp.60-81.

          Also, for those who would cast doubt on the reach and agility of British counter intelligence, I would recommend David Kahn’s “Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boats Codes, 1939-1943,” 1991.

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 7, 2012, 1:00 am

          Witty, I have to hand it to you, not a prize, but the recognition that no stupider a statement has ever been made–although certainly many have equaled, equaled, but not surpassed it–then this one:

          “And, the promise to Jews was also made because the Jews had historically been suppressed and very visibly persecuted. And, the promise to the Arab hopefuls was made because of their residence and the prospect of difficulty at any “colonial” change (even though the whole political setting of the post WW1 was of imposed colonial change).”

          Let’s hear it, boys, for the humanity of British imperialism that we didn’t know existed before Witty revealed it here on Mondoweiss, the information obtained, no doubt, at great personal risk from secret Foreign Office communiques known only to him and to Yaweh.

          And, lest I forget before exiting, you are quite right, I do not believe Israel has a right to exist. In fact, I don’t believe any state has a right to exist, but as can be expected, Israel and its supporters are the only ones that demand it (actually, the idea originated with Kissinger). People have a right to exist but not at the expense of other people which includes the theft of their land and the ethnic cleansing of their population. In other words, let those who have committed those crimes take their collective tucheses elsewhere.

        • Gilad
          January 7, 2012, 3:55 am

          Thanks Robert, Elon is an important text. the conclusion of the book is slightly lame though.
          You surprised me with ‘Take it or leave it’, where did you buy it? Do you live in the UK? I am in NYC next week, i will try to obtain the Prestige collection… there is nothing I love more than Coltrane, in fact he is my God…

        • Robert Werdine
          January 7, 2012, 6:45 pm

          Gilad,

          I got “Take it or leave it…” from Amazon UK a few years ago. It’s superb. Love Sam Anstice Brown’s dynamic drumming, too.

          Hope you’re able to get the Coltrane; it’s excellent. There is a tendency to look askance at Coltrane’s pre-Giant Steps recordings, but this is a mistake. Trane’s intensity in albums like “Lush Life” and “Traneing In” are wonderfully complemented by Red Garland’s cool, elegant piano accompaniment, though nothing equals the magic that Coltrane, Miles, and Bill Evans would conjure up on “Kind of Blue.” Love Evans too. My uncle saw Evans perform at the Village Vangaurd with Scott La Faro and Paul Motian in 1961 before Lafaro was tragically killed. I would have given anything to have seen them live.

          I’ve been a freak for a lot of these box sets they’ve been releasing this past decade. I got Ornette Coleman’s “Beauty is A Rare Thing,” (6 discs) which is a compilation of his Atlantic recordings, “Rahsaan,” (10 discs) which is a compilation of Roland Kirk’s recordings on Mercury, and Charles Mingus “Complete Debut Recordings” (12 discs). Recently, I also got Steve Lacy’s “5 X Monk X Lacy” and Art Pepper’s “Meet’s the Rhythm Section.”

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 9, 2012, 1:39 am

          Werdine, you write:

          “Officials in the British Foreign Office were concerned about the hostility of world Jewry toward anti-semitic Russia, and even more concerned about American Jews of German and Austro-Hungarian descent, whom they feared supported the Central Powers. The men of Whitehall, almost to a man, all held exaggerated notions of Jewish power and influence; you’d have been right at home there, Jeffrey. And Zionists like Weizmann, of course, were only too happy to encourage this kind of thinking along.”

          Regarding the first part you are correct to the extent that as long as the much despised Czarist Russia was allied with the British and the French, the Zionists sat on their hands and would not take sides in the war and, indeed, the Zionists were also lobbying Germany to offer them the rights to settle in Palestine similar to what they were demanding and eventually got from Britain after long negotiations in which the American Zionists, by their own admissions, had been heavily involved.

          All of your historical references do not stand up against the statement by the British Secretary of State to his cabinet in 1923 which I quoted in detail earlier in which he confirmed that Palestine was awarded to the Zionists for their services to His Majesty which enabled them to win the war. If that statement, in the public record, was not quoted by your sources, I would suggest their “histories” are not worth the paper they were printed on.

          Moreover, you have not presented any argument that Arthur Zimmerman, who escalated the submarine attacks on US ships and who, on his own and without authorization from the Kaiser, sent that strange telegram to the Mexican government, calling for an alliance with it against the United States which proved to be the trigger, the Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin, the 9-11 incident, that “provoked” the US to join the war, was not committed to the Zionist cause and that the whole operation was not designed to do just that, to get the US to join the fighting and save Britain’s butt. What he did unilaterally certainly did not help the German cause and his actions were particularly questionable given that up to then it had been Germany’s intent to keep the US out of the war. Take this as you will, but deviousness came as natural to those early Zionists (and to their successors) as breathing.

          Finally, as to your silly statement that “The men of Whitehall, almost to a man, all held exaggerated notions of Jewish power and influence,” that is the same kind of bullbleep we still hear these days even after the US Congress rewarded Netanyahu with 29 standing ovations two days after he had publicly insulted the president of the US and even after, against the president’s wishes, they almost unanimously passed a sanctions bill, written by AIPAC , that has put this country on the threshold of launching a war against Iran on Israel’s behalf.

          As for your questioning the extent of “Jewish power and influence” at the time of WW1, I suggest you do some investigation into the roles played by the Rothschild, Warburg, and Schiff banking families, by bankers Kuhn and Loeb, and Bernard Baruch, before, during, and after the war.

  4. Kathleen
    January 1, 2012, 1:48 pm

    over at Press TV
    “Two former CIA analysts have advised US President Barack Obama to immediately put an end to the “torrent of war propaganda against Iran” as this will lead to the destruction of Israel and devastation of world economy.”

    • Krauss
      January 1, 2012, 2:18 pm

      PressTV is the state television of Iran. Just that we ought to be careful trusting papers like Wall Street Journal, thinking the propaganda arm of the Iranian regime is a source worth listening too is a tad naïve.

      • Kathleen
        January 1, 2012, 2:54 pm

        Like we should be trusting CNN, MSNBC, Fox news, NPR about Iran. All of the host on these shows have been allowing guest to endlessly repeat the false claims about Iran for 8 long years now. Never ever challenging. Hell NPR’s Terry Gross has endlessly repeated these claims herself. Not like any facts about Iran are going to get through NPR

        Not hard to imagine that Ray Mc Govern would be saying drop the inflammatory and unsubstantiated claims about Iran

      • Charon
        January 1, 2012, 3:05 pm

        Wanted to add RT (Russia Today) to that . Also state-sponsored. PressTV and RT often seem to report the stories the alternative media reports. Many alternative media sites often use PressTV and RT as a source too. This is dangerous because they are both state-owned. My guess is they scour the alternative media for stuff to report which is why they share stories. These stories are taboo for the Western MSM, but not for Iran/Russia since they’re Eastern. Their English-speaking and Western-looking reporters confused me at first until I found out they were state-sponsored and based in the East.

        I just don’t trust them at all. They’re about as reliable as DEBKAfile (Mossad’s made-up ‘news’ propaganda arm… debkaFAIL)

        • Theo
          January 3, 2012, 9:42 am

          Charon, “I just don´t trust them all… based in the east.”

          Are we back to the cold war days, west against east?

          I watch RT, Al Jaseera, France24, CCTV, BBC, etc., all state sponsored stations and they certainly beat CNN and Fox News. They may be state sponsored or owned, however more honest about news than our pure white, western, private, zionist owned and Tel Aviv controlled TV.

        • teta mother me
          January 4, 2012, 8:59 pm

          what is it about the concept of fact-based information that people even here just don’t get?

          Y’all judge Muslims and Iranians by Western, Judeo-Christian standards, but they do not apply; Muslims and especially Iranian Muslims have a qualitatively different mental landscape.

          At the root and foundation, Persians are NOT Abrahamic, their foundation is Aryan/Zoroastrian. Abrahamic Islam was added only 1300 years ago, after Iran had built its culture on about 1900 years of Zoroastrianism.

          Today, much of the internal tension among Iranians is a cultural/Aryan/Zoroastrian resentment of the imposition of the Arabic Islam, though to be sure, many Persians embrace Islam as well.

          In Iran, the symbol of Zoroaster –a bird with outstretched wings –graces every conceivable surface, from bedposts to taxi cabs to doorways, T-shirts, motorcycles. Depending on how strictly Islamic a particular city is (Iran’s cities differ in the degree of adherence to strict Islam, from liberal Shiraz, where Hafez and Saadi ‘reign,’ to Mashad, site of a very holy shrine to I forget which important relation of Mohammed, to Qom, the surprisingly liberal ‘Vatican City’ of Islam, where Muslims study Islam with equal passion and dedication as they study nanotechnology and stem cell science — they might be more advanced than US in bioscience & medical technology.

          In the US, the fracture lines of that conflict can be seen in the distinctions between Azar Nafisi’s “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” by an anti-Islamic Iranian-now American author; and “Jasmine and Stars: Reading MORE than Lolita in Tehran,” by Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz, professor of Middle Eastern studies, specialist in the poetry of Rumi, and Muslim, who teaches at Washington U. in St. Louis. Keshavarz incorporates the ‘full Persian’ — she is Muslim, specializes in poetry of quintessentially Zoroastrian Rumi, and has a Jewish in-law.

          Karen Armstrong has studied World Religions like few others in our day. Here’s what she says about the Aryans/Zoroastrian inflection of Iranian culture (in “The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions,” pp 4-5)

          “The Avestan [Persian] Aryans called their gods daevas . . .However, they were not omnipotent and had to submit to the sacred order that held the universe together. Thanks to this order, . . .called asha . . . the seasons succeeded one another in due course, the rain fell at the right time . . . [This order] made life possible, . . .defining what was true and correct.
          Human society also depended upon this sacred order. People had to make firm, binding agreements about grazing rights, the herding of cattle, marriage, and the exchange of goods. Translated into social terms, asha meant loyalty, truth, and respect, the ideals embodied by Varuna, the guardian of order, and Mithra, his assistant. [Recall that Constantine's troops had been worshipers of Mithra up until the day Constantine had a vision that he would conquer in the sign of the Christian cross, and thereupon established Christianity as the Roman state religion.] These gods supervised all covenant agreements that were sealed by a solemn oath. The Aryans took the spoken word very seriously. Like all other phemonena, speech was a god . . . The Aryan religion was not very visual . . .Instead, they found that the act of listening brought them close to the sacred. Quite apart from its meaning, the very sound of a chant was holy; even a single syllable could encapsulate the divine. Similarly, a vow, once uttered, was eternally binding, and a lie was absolutely evil because it perverted the holy power inherent in the spoken word. The Aryans would never lose this passion for absolute truthfulness.

          The bolded portion is highly significant. If you’ve been around Iranians, or listened carefully to the actual speeches — not the MSM parodies and bastardizations– of Iranian leaders such as Ahmadinejad or Khameini or Muhammad Larijani, you will observe that they are almost painfully truthful. Israelis understand this and exploit the characteristic to their advantage and Iran’s disadvantage.

          All of this is to say that just because PressTV is Iranian state-controlled does NOT mean that the information is not truthful. Certainly they reveal and conceal what serves their interests, but the above described characteristic of Aryanism is incompatible with the nature of Luntzian ‘perception management’ that Americans have been stewed in for the past 75 years.

        • Annie Robbins
          January 4, 2012, 10:40 pm

          fantastic comment, thank you so much teta

        • john h
          January 7, 2012, 3:46 am

          Yes, appreciate that, teta.

          I’ve always had the (supposedly naive) impression that Ahmadinejad actually says what he really believes rather than putting on a performance like a politician.

          As for RT, that is now my preferred news and comment source since we lost Al Jazeera recently. Keiser and Alyona are gems at times, often amusing and usually exposing the world as it probably is rather than as the MSM channels spin it.

          France24 does have some value too.

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        January 1, 2012, 4:24 pm

        Krauss,

        Press TV is Iran’s outlet to the world and has unusually good coverage for everything except what is taking place in Iran where it provides the same kind of pro-government propaganda one finds on Fox News when there is a Republican in the White House.

        In the case of the former CIA agents, analysts, etc., who have publicly opposed the US going to war with Iran, I know of at least six: Ray McGovern, Phil Giraldi, Kathy Christison and her late husband, Bill, Michael Scheuer, and Robert Baer. You won’t hear that from any mainstream US news outlet.

        • Kathleen
          January 3, 2012, 1:27 pm

          I followed Kathleen and Bill Christison and every thing they wrote and said along with McGovern, Scott ritter and others. Sorry to hear about Bill. MSNBC has Robert Baer on sometimes

      • NickJOCW
        January 2, 2012, 7:54 am

        You will rarely get the truth from one source and it is perhaps a tad naïve to expect to. Read as many divergent contributions as possible then make up your own mind.

        Here is one thought provoking perspective: link to eng.globalaffairs.ru

        and here is another pertinent quote from Arendt:

        The absolute refusal to believe the truth of anything no matter how well it may be established, in other words, the result of consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lies will now be accepted as truth and truth be defamed as a lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world – and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end – is being destroyed.

      • dahoit
        January 2, 2012, 12:47 pm

        Well lets look at the track record of Press TV,and the track record of the Zionist MSM;Who is responsible for more hate, death ,war ,economic destruction and our total foreign policy disaster?Hmmm….,a tough one ,huh?

        • NickJOCW
          January 2, 2012, 9:12 pm

          I watch a fair amount of Press TV link to presstv.ir. It has a slightly amateur charm but never strays into hysteria and largely confines its news to straight reportage. It does scrupulously announce NATO fatalities but makes no further comment. It has little coverage of Israel itself, which it seems to see as an irritant, one of those unfortunate things one has to put up with, but broadcasts sympathetically about life in Gaza. It has film and discussions about darker US/UK issues but never personalises its coverage of foreign leaders and on the whole takes a somewhat Olympian view of US and the UK policies, portraying them as tiresome and misguided rather than evil. It demonises no one and I have never seen anything where my immediate response has been that it cannot possibly be true. It carries little or no domestic news but neither do the other main national English language channels. It does no harm.

      • Robert
        February 13, 2012, 1:47 am

        Krauss,

        I, also, have the willies at trusting PressTV, because it’s Iranian TV. I think that in the final analysis, however, the content is OK. Ray McGovern and Philip Giraldi are not stooges.

  5. Krauss
    January 1, 2012, 2:17 pm

    I admit to recently having sat down and read Gilad Atzmon’s screed, blurbed by Mearsheimer (and he was condemned for it). I was ambivalent, because Gilad Atzmon is an uberradical, but I never felt any hostility towards Jews or Judaism. He is more of a ‘world citizen’, but prone to extreme statements.

    After I read a book, I watched a video interview with him. In the same interview he at once described himself as a ‘self-hater’ and ‘indestructible’ as well as ‘the world’s foremost expert on Jewish identity’. A man with tons of contradictions, which is why I read his book with an open mind.

    He mixes pure crazyness and statements that can easily fall into anti-Semitic territory with flashes of pure brilliance. His take on Zionism is intertwined with his views of Judaism.

    He views Zionism as the opposite of it, for reasons too long to delve into here, and if you look at hardcore ‘Torah Jews’ many are opposed to Zionism. Indeed, many haredim view it as an illegitimate state.

    He also analyzes Judaism as an ‘exiled religion’, it’s setup as to set yourself apart, which is why religious Jews do just that. See Eliot Abrams’ comment on the need of Jews to be ‘seperate in the socities that they live in’.

    Everything from kosher food to holidays, if you follow a Jewish lifestyle it ensures that you remain a part of the fabric of the society but still retain the outsider status, Gilad credits this as a key reason for why Jews have been so successful; we have the sociological knowledge of the society but because of our (historical) detachment we see things others cannot see. This is not only related to issues of social justice but also cultural traits that can be clearly seen by us(and exploited by us) among many other factors.

    But this exiled state, when put into practice and becomming Israel creates this inherent tension. Atzmon writes that Israel has grappled with this and found a solution. In the diaspora, it’s easy for religious Jews to come up with a plethora of reasons to resist assimilation, because Judaism is in many ways tailormade to avoid melting away into the society you live in, to become part of it, get the sweet fruits but retain the outsider status to both have the edge of the outsider but not at an extent to ailenate yourself from the structures of that community.

    In Israel, it’s much harder, and therefore it has created a ghetto for itself. It has walled off itself from it’s neighbours, to keep the exiled balance needed. It has created it’s own shtetl, but on a massive scale but within Israel(further segregation with Arabs) but also with it’s neighbours. See the West Bank wall. The wall to Egypt has just been completed. They’ve just begun on a third wall to Jordan.

    Because Judaism is in so many ways created and upheld as a Diaspora religion, Israel has to create conditions remniscient of the Diaspora within and outside of the nation in order for Zionism to work.

    It’s an interesting take. There are many other thoughts I found remarkable, but the price of this creativity is the pure crazyness and borderline anti-Semitism always under the surface. He said in his interview that one of his mentors, a Jew by the way, told him that he should write like he makes his music; never plan and never think, just letting it flow out. That way, even if some thoughts come out which may be uncalibrated, that is the price you pay for the insights needed that can only flow out without forcing. Gilad then made the comparison why so many Jazz musicians take drugs, because they want to reach that subconscious state of mind, just having it all flow out without mitigation, because that is where the best music is made.

    He has a similar style when writing. He is highly gifted but again, I view some of his thoughts as utter crazyness and even dangerous, and other thoughts as quite remarkable, even highly perceptive. I wouldn’t go as far as to recommend the book outright, but if you’re feeling bored and want a new perspective, even one you at times radically disagree with(at least I did), it can be worthwhile for the simple reason of intellectual development, to meet his arguments and think about them, even if you end up disagreeing, without preconditions.

    I’ll look into Arendt’s writings too. And just for balance, I’m going to read Jabotinsky again, it’s been a long time since I’ve devoured his writings and that of his followers. i remember I was blown away by his talent, and disturbed by his right-wing radicalism, bordering on fascism. But an agile mind is an agile mind, whether we talk about the far-left like Atzmon or the far-right like Jabotinsky.

    Middle of the road fence-sitters bore me.

    • dumvitaestspesest
      January 1, 2012, 3:13 pm

      Well , well done Mr Krauss.
      Why are you talking about ,” a man who has denied the Holocaust and claimed that there is no need to denounce the Protocols Elders of Zion ‘because American Jews already control the world via proxy’? There are some strange people lurking on this site.”,end of mr. Krauss’s quote.
      link to mondoweiss.net

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        January 1, 2012, 8:41 pm

        Atzmon has not “denied the Holocaust” unless you believe that it is not as legitimate to examine it as any other historical event or series of events and that people should be fined and/or imprisoned as they are in France, Germany, Austria and a couple of other countries for not accepting, word for word the official narrative that has been presented to us by the same people who have told us the truth all these years about Israel.

        Not being able to question any part of that narrative, including its exclusion of the history of Nazi-Zionist collaboration as has been mentioned on other posts and is well documented in Lenni Brenner’s “51 Documents,” makes what happened to the Jews in WW2, makes it unique among historical events that have had more far devastating effects on victimized groups such as the genocide against the indigenous peoples of the Americas (Chris Hitchens thought that was jolly good and we should drink a toast to Columbus) and the 400 years of slavery which, when I went to UCLA, was still being positively rationalized in our text books.

        Ironically, by denying any question of the “offical narrative,” it has made more people question it. Surely there is enough evidence, in testimonies, documents, in ghastly photographs and otherwise, to prove the horrors of what happened without having to worry about those who stupidly call it a holahoax,

        As for Atzmon’s comment about Jews controlling the world by proxy, you may quibble about his choice of words but he obviously meant the control by the Zionist establishment over the US Congress and US Middle East policy and the control of the Zionists in Britain over the UK’s Middle East policy. Given the US power over the UN Security Council and the way Washington has protected Israel in the Council for years with its vetos and threatened vetos, it would be hard to fault Atzmon’s argument. As distasteful as it may sound the reality is far more distasteful. Were it not, there would be no need for Mondoweiss.

        But, as with the case of Israel that gets away with breaking every international law it chooses–if it bothers looking at them at all–what we are seeing is Jewish exceptionalism that has flourished since the end of the war, in which Jews, speaking for Israel, for other Jewish interests are considered beyond the pale of criticism and anyone who ventures beyond that pale is sure to be labeled an anti-semite

        • dumvitaestspesest
          January 1, 2012, 9:06 pm

          My comment was a tiny bit spiteful, yet friendly, sarcastic remark to Krauss’s sarcastic , non-friendly remark (posted in the attached link) in which ,he
          criticised me for linking something from, OMG, Gilad Atzmon’s site ,which according to Mr Krauss ,it should be prohibited at mondoweiss.

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 2, 2012, 1:12 am

          Sorry, dumvitaestspesest, I wasn’t able to go to that link, and missed the sarcasm, but I think my comment might be a bit useful given that Atzmon is almost if not more hated by Jewish anti-zionists of my acquaintance as he is by the Dershowitz types, including Dersh himself. Of course these anti-zionists who are in denial about the lobby–it’s all about US imperialism yatatayata–are exactly what Atzmon has been describing and yet he has never met them. Unfortunately, I have.

        • dahoit
          January 2, 2012, 1:00 pm

          There are 4 people in the world who deny that Hitler put Jews(and others)in concentration camps and many died, while the Germans were fighting the whole world,and those 4 are in mental asylums.(Don’t mention we did it to our own people shhh,just not too many?died.)
          But there are billions who know that the scenario put forth by serial liars and justifiers? of Israeli hegemony and repression has holes that any rational non tribal person finds as obvious.
          If discussion of the Holocaust would back the official Zionist and MSM tale,why would said discussion be off limits?
          Has there ever been another subject that you can’t talk about in the history of this world?

        • Kathleen
          January 3, 2012, 1:30 pm

          ahamadenejad has questioned the numbers and said repeatedly that the Palestinians did not create the situation . He has also said something about opening up the historical records about numbers. Are these records not opened for inspection? I have no idea

    • dumvitaestspesest
      January 1, 2012, 3:29 pm

      It was not “bordering on fascism” . It was fascism.
      “By 1934, Jabotinsky and his Betar youth movement had made an alliance with Il Duce, when the Betar established a naval training academy at Civitavecchia, Mussolini’s naval base north of Rome. L’Idea Sionistica, Betar’s Italian-language magazine, described the dedication ceremonies which launched the academy: “The order — ‘Attention!’ A triple chant ordered by the squad’s commanding officer — ‘Viva L’Italia, Viva Il Re! Viva Il Duce!’ resounded, followed by the benediction which Rabbi Aldo Lattes invoked in Italian and in Hebrew for God, for the King, and for Il Duce … ‘Giovinezza’ [the fascist party's anthem] was sung with much enthusiasm by the Betarim.”

      Mussolini endorsed Jabotinsky in 1935, saying, “For Zionism to succeed, you need to have a Jewish state with a Jewish flag, and Jewish language. The person who really understands that IS YOUR fascist, Jabotinsky.”

      Il Duce gave his personal endorsement to the project in 1936, when he visited Civitavecchia and reviewed the Betar cadre force. It was not a mere coincidence that the universal uniform of Betar was the fascist brownshirt.
      Although Jabotinsky was careful not to endorse Mussolini directly, he nonetheless PUBLICLY DEFENDED HIM.
      In 1935 during a lecture tour of the United States, Jabotinsky wrote several articles which appeared in the New York Jewish Daily Bulletin. “Whatever any few think of Fascism’s other points, there is no doubt that the Italian brand of Fascist ideology is at least an ideology of racial equality. Let us not be so humble as to pretend that this does not matter — that racial equality is too insignificant an idea to outbalance the absence of civic freedom. For it is not true…. Equality comes first, always first, super first; and Jews should remember it, and hold that a regime maintaining that principle in a world turned cannibal does, partly, but considerably, atone for its other short-comings.”

      That same year, Jabotinsky founded the New Zionist Organization and sought to hold its first convention in the Venetian port city of Trieste. According to sources, associates dissuaded him, arguing that it would be a public endorsement of Italian Fascism, which was not politically appropriate. (The congress was held in Vienna.)

      • Kathleen
        January 3, 2012, 1:33 pm

        Interesting that Micheal Ledeen did a great deal of research into Italian fascism..and has strong connections to Italian intelligence sources

      • Jeffrey Blankfort
        January 5, 2012, 1:47 pm

        Re Betar, Maxime Rodinson, one of the earliest and most important of the European Jewish writers to attack Zionism described supporters of Jabotinsky marching through the streets shouting “Hitler for Germany!, Mussoloni for Italy!, and Jabotinsky for Palestine!.”

        That trend of the Zionist movement is now clearly in the ascendency.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      January 1, 2012, 4:37 pm

      Glad you took the opportunity to read Gilad Atzmon’s “The Wandering Who,” the inspiration of which, I believe, stemmed from his experiences with British Jewish anti-Zionists who seem to be more outraged at any suggestion that Jews in the US, the UK, or anywhere else, exert influence on their governments’ pro-Israel policies than what Israel does to the Palestinians on the ground. Which is my experience with them there as well as here in the US.

      In identifying them as Jewish tribalists Atzmon hit on to something which they don’t want to deal with–an inconvenient truth– which explains not only their hatred of Atzmon and attempts to censure him, but their more restrained criticism of Mondoweiss which is almost unique among Jewish-hosted blogs in discussing the subject.

      It is true that for the unprepared, The Wandering Who makes for some uncomfortable reading and while I don’t agree with every one of his points, or at least, not to the degree that he does, I think this is one of the most important books yet written about the Jewish identity and provides insights into why things are as they are.

      • Gilad
        January 2, 2012, 1:04 pm

        Hello Jeff, a friend mentioned this discussion to me,,, let me tell you a secret, I also don’t agree with me completely :) But thanks for your support. Happy New Year
        G

        • Mooser
          January 2, 2012, 1:32 pm

          “let me tell you a secret, I also don’t agree with me completely”

          Aww, how cute, Gilad; you’re full of crap and you know it.

          link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

          link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 2, 2012, 9:11 pm

          Mooser, with all due respect to the very bright Gabriel A., who hosts Jews Sans Frontieres (why that is in French when he, too, as I recall, is an Israeli, I don’t know), but we’re not talking about intelligence here. From what I have read, from as far as I read in this blogpost, and from past exchanges with him, albeit none recently, he seems not to have escaped the encapsulation of Jewish tribalism that Atzmon describes–nor is he anxious to do so– and while I am not familiar with this site I do know that he does not subscribe to the belief that the Israel Lobby is the dominant factor shaping US policy towards the Israel-Palestine conflict which is a belief he shares with other members of the board of the International Jewish AntiZionist Network (IJAN) who have spent an inordinate amount of time attacking Atzmon and even lobbied me about him, fruitlessly. In fact, I’m not aware of anything else they do or have done? Are you?

        • yourstruly
          January 3, 2012, 12:43 am

          a couple years ago ijan members shutdown the israeli counsulates in los angeles and san francisco for a few hours.

        • Gilad
          January 3, 2012, 5:02 am

          I must admit that I attempted to read Ash’s review.. The man clearly doesn’t understand Lacan at all. Ash’s review wasn’t published on any respected outlet, and was far too lame , hence I didn’t bothered to address it.

          As far as I can remember, his main argument was that Lacan says, ‘unconscious is the discourse of the other’ and Gilad says ‘Unconsciousness is the discourse of the other’ .. big deal. Even a ‘lame Beyond Frontieress’ Ash should have been clever enough to gather that while Lacan deals with the human subject, I am dealing with a morbid collective in which Ash, Mooser, IJAN and a few other AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists) are mere exemplary cases.

          In other words, when dealing with a collective it make sense to employ the abstract form ‘unconsciousness’. Needless to say, that Ash failure to grasp the analogy between Israeli unconsciousness with male fear of impotence is very embarrassing, for this analogy was actually brought up by Slavio Zizek, the most respected Lacan reader. Oy Vey…I guess that this explains why no one touched any of these AZZ’s reviews…

        • Gilad
          January 3, 2012, 5:16 am

          Few hours, not even a day, …Yourstruly, just to remind you that Gaza is a concentration camp for more than a few hours, or just a few days or even years. Do you really think that half a dozen Jews can vindicate the entire tribe by engaging in a tea break Israeli embassy’s occupation? Let me tell you, it will take more than that to emancipate the tribe of itself…

        • Mooser
          January 3, 2012, 12:16 pm

          “Mooser, with all due respect to the very bright Gabriel A., who hosts Jews Sans Frontieres”

          JSF is hosted by Mark Elf. Gabriel A sometimes has articles posted there.

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 3, 2012, 12:20 pm

          Protests in front of the Israeli consulates have been routine for years, long before IJAN, and during those protests, the consulates usually close their doors. Having organized at the time (1985) what was the largest protest at the SF consulate ever held, with more than 600 people on both sides of the street, I have since come to consider them to be a waste of time. If one wants street protests, the ADL offices would be better targets.

      • Danaa
        January 2, 2012, 3:38 pm

        I too, like dumbvita…, find Krauss’ largely positive take on Gilad’s book a bit strange, given especially his earlier quick-on-the-draw denounciation of the mere mention of Gilad – that in response to a single reference. And here he is, not 3 days later, and he has already read – and digested – The Wandering Who – and is out pronto with a review. As I said, mostly positive of the man, but with a few barbed wire razors hidden in the “borderline anti-semitic” allusions (what the heck is that? wish someone would tell me).

        On the same thread, I responded already – taking to task the bizzare tendency of certain members of the tribe – such as it is – typically it’s most anti-zionist wings – to come out in force and declare Atzmon as the-man-beyond-the-pale. The not-fit-to-mention, especially in the oh-so-polite left-of-left anti-zionist circles.

        link to mondoweiss.net

        I am reading The wandering Who now, and so far, am finding many of the views expressed mirroring some of my own. As an ex-Israeli myself I can certainly second the take on israelis’ attitudes to zionism – as something that is taken for granted and hardly worth a whole lot of fighting over. For Israelis who grew up there, Zionism won, Israel is here, and the questions to agonize over all have to do with in what form it took and will take in the future. This attitude can be is very different from those who came to Israel as adults – for example – out of commitment to that nebulous zionism-as-an ideology, and who feel that they must continue to actualize their idealized zionism every day (I mean especially that subset of the liberal zionist immigrants, people like Larry Derfner and Gershon Gorenberg, among others).

        Though I haven’t finished reading yet, I can say one thing already – as someone who feels they moved out of a cult-like society, and having witnessed virtually all my youthful pure-hearted warrior heroes toppled (people like Moshe Dayan, for example), I am still a heck of a lot angrier, and can only hope to someday find a way to channel that anger into trans-tribal critiques as cogently as Gilad is striving to do.

        • dumvitaestspesest
          January 2, 2012, 4:46 pm

          Daana,
          Thank you for letting us see a part of the inner struggle that is going on in your mind , heart and soul. When one feels like one has been cheated by so called, youthful idols/icons/heroes, then the anger and disappointment creeps in, and mixed emotions fly all over. But I ‘m sure that deep down you know that you are on the right path, that you’ve made the right choices by separating yourself from the toxic ,tribal idelogy, that was thrown upon you, when you were young, impressionable and the most vulnerable.
          Gilad went through it ,and he is a good person to relate to.

        • Jeffrey Blankfort
          January 2, 2012, 9:16 pm

          Danaa,

          I wish to also add my appreciation for your comments and for having come through some challenging life experiences more sane than ever.

        • Gilad
          January 3, 2012, 5:11 am

          Hello Danna, some Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists oppose the book because it exposes them as AZZ (Anti Zionist Zionists) … While the book was supposed to encourage them to self reflect, they made a clear tactical mistake, yet symptomatic to their Talmudic approach- they tried to silence it.

          The result was immediately clear. While the book was proved to be a best seller, the AZZ found themselves fighting it alongside Dershowitz and Foxman. And guess what, according to The Wandering Who, this is exactly where they belong…

        • American
          January 4, 2012, 4:46 pm

          I just went to amazon to order the book and read some reviews.
          Don’t know if it will tell me anything more than what I have observed for myself…..but we’ll see.

          I have from the beginning of my introduction to zionism maintained it is indeed a “Cult’, that it is built on some idea of a “special people” who can’t be questioned or judged because of their specialness. And that they are so narcissistic in this that they are not concerned with how others think of them –except when they need to prevent someone thinking something negative about them or manipulate opinion. I don’t think Jews or zionist have a good understanding of exactly what positive or negative opinions others have of them at all.

          Krauss said above that —’Gilad credits this as a key reason for why Jews have been so successful; we have the sociological knowledge of the society but because of our (historical) detachment we see things others cannot see. This is not only related to issues of social justice but also cultural traits that can be clearly seen by us(and exploited by us) among many other factors.”

          I don’t see that at all–I think they are too “attached to themselves” to be able to use any objective observations of others in the most strategic ways –with the exception of the use of holocaust sympathy tool–but even in that we see they actually have misused it to the point where it has lost a lot of it’s effectiveness. If they were astute at all about societies zionism wouldn’t now be getting condemnation it’s getting. Everything about zionism says to me they know little about others or human nature in general because they are so fixated on themselves alone. For a group like zionist that consider everyone their enemy they are definitely handicapped by their narcassism because it keeps them from understanding what makes their enemies tick.

    • RoHa
      January 1, 2012, 7:19 pm

      “In the diaspora, it’s easy for religious Jews to come up with a plethora of reasons to resist assimilation, because Judaism is in many ways tailormade to avoid melting away into the society you live in, to become part of it,[a] get the sweet fruits but retain the outsider status to both have the edge of the outsider but [b] not at an extent to ailenate yourself from the structures of that community.”

      So Atzmon is saying that [a] Jews remain separate in order to exploit the people they live among?

      And [b] seems to contrary to the reality. It seems to me (not an expert, I should stress) that Jewish separatism has frequently been so extreme as to alienate the rest of the community. This is surely the principal cause of anti-Semitism.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        January 1, 2012, 7:58 pm

        RoHa writes: “It seems to me … that Jewish separatism has frequently been so extreme as to alienate the rest of the community.”

        But it isn’t really separatism by itself which is so alienating. It’s the combination of on the one hand refusing to break bread with the crowd while at the same time insisting on participating in the ruling power structure. This is almost unique and is what constitutes the “Jewish problem.” Think of other separatist groups, like the Amish, who believe the ways of the broad society are harmful and so insulate themselves by keeping apart. But they keep completely apart (or as completely as they can). They suffer from the prejudice that all minorites must suffer from, but there is no need for new concepts like “anti-Amishness” to explain it.

      • yourstruly
        January 1, 2012, 8:34 pm

        jewish separatism may have been extreme in the past but based on the 1990 jewish population survey which reported an intemarriage rate of 52%, the walls of separation already were crumbling back then. in addition, separatism as a cause of antisemitism is suspect, given that the amish, among others, maintain a rigid separatism without inciting anti-amish-ism. similarly asian immigrant groups in america tend to hold together for several generations, before assimilation catches hold.

        • RoHa
          January 1, 2012, 9:08 pm

          “based on the 1990 jewish population survey which reported an intemarriage rate of 52%, the walls of separation already were crumbling back then”

          This is good. But “back then”? You make it sound as though 1990 was a long time ago.

          “separatism as a cause of antisemitism is suspect, given that the amish, among others, maintain a rigid separatism without inciting anti-amish-ism.”

          PeaceThroughJustice has addressed that. He adds that Jews also insist on being part of the power structure. They want the benefits of being part of the community without actually being part of it. I would add that the Amish are largely rural and physically separated from the rest of the community.

          “similarly asian immigrant groups in america tend to hold together for several generations, before assimilation catches hold.”

          And they too suffered for it, didn’t they?

          (I read somewhere that at least since the 1990s an American woman of Asian ancestry was more likely to marry a man of European ancestry than a man of Asian ancestry. This, too, is a good thing.)

        • dahoit
          January 2, 2012, 1:03 pm

          Yes,as I have a Jewish son in law,the degrees of separation are eroding,to the good.

        • Mooser
          January 3, 2012, 12:00 pm

          “Yes,as I have a Jewish son in law,the degrees of separation are eroding,to the good.”

          That’s wonderful, but just to be on the safe side, make sure you know where the keys to your safe-deposit box, your liquor cabinet, your gun-safe and your stash-box are at all times. A little caution goes a long way towards assuring family peace.

      • Mooser
        January 2, 2012, 1:35 pm

        “It seems to me (not an expert, I should stress) that Jewish separatism has frequently been so extreme as to alienate the rest of the community. This is surely the principal cause of anti-Semitism.”

        Ah, finally I understand the slave trade in Africans, and the continuing skin color racism of American society. But if those darned Africans want to hide themselves away so “as to alienate the rest of the community” (Gosh, how many weasels can you fit in one phrase?) they’ve got to deal with the consequences.

        • eee
          January 2, 2012, 2:59 pm

          Mooser,

          You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas. Have fun with your new friends.

          Can you answer a simple question in a straight forward manner:
          Do you think that the assimilation of Jews is a good thing?

        • NorthOfFortyNine
          January 2, 2012, 3:51 pm

          @ eee: Do you think that the assimilation of Jews is a good thing?

          Do you , eee, think the assimilation of Bretons into French society and in turn French into European society is a good thing? What about Venetians into Italian society and again into European society?

          You should come to Canada, eee, and take a ride on public transit. Almost everyone comes from somewhere else and almost everyone gets along. People are respected for who they are, not where they came from or who their mother was. The world is getting smaller and this is the future. You can’t fight entropy. -N49.

        • eee
          January 2, 2012, 4:02 pm

          “Do you , eee, think the assimilation of Bretons into French society and in turn French into European society is a good thing? What about Venetians into Italian society and again into European society?”

          I think you should ask the Bretons and Venetians and the French. Regarding the French they are quite keen on maintaining the French language and not introducing English words into it. How does that fit with your theory? The number of Europeans is going down and the number of Asians who are nationalistic is going up. So the trend in the world is exactly the opposite of what you are saying.

          As for the question at hand, I think that the fact that Jews exist is good and therefore Jews assimilating is bad. Do you think the assimilation of Jews is a good thing?

        • NorthOfFortyNine
          January 2, 2012, 4:42 pm

          I think you should ask the Bretons and Venetians and the French [if assimilation is good for them.] … As for the question at hand, I think that the fact that Jews exist is good and therefore Jews assimilating is bad. Do you think the assimilation of Jews is a good thing?

          I am not so narcissitic as to consider the question only as it applies to “my people.” The broader question is more interesting, anyway.

          As for the Bretons and the Venetians, if it were not for their (partial) assimilation, there would be no French and no Italiians. Do I think the existence of the French and the existence of the Italians is a good thing? Of course — don’t you?

          It remains that cultural progress is sustained by the cross-pollination of different “peoples” That’s how history rolls. -N49.

        • RoHa
          January 2, 2012, 6:40 pm

          “finally I understand the slave trade in Africans, and the continuing skin color racism of American society”

          Apples and oranges. Neither the slave trade nor skin-colour racism have anything to do with separatism.

          “Gosh, how many weasels can you fit in one phrase?”

          Is there a prize for the highest number?

        • RoHa
          January 2, 2012, 6:43 pm

          ” I think that the fact that Jews exist is good ”

          Why?
          How would the wolrd be worse if no-one regarded him/herself as a Jew? How would the world be worse if no-one regarded him/herself as a Cajun? How would the world be worse if no-one regarded him/herself as a Breton?

        • The Hasbara Buster
          January 2, 2012, 7:05 pm

          Do you think the assimilation of Jews is a good thing?

          I know first-hand of a middle-aged Jewish couple here in my city who refused to see their daughter again after she converted to Catholicism to marry a Catholic. I’ll be antisemitic (or blunt, in another interpretation): I consider such behavior (the parents’, not the daughter’s) monstrous.

          If the assimilation of Jews means prioritizing parent-child kinship over the Jewish religion, yes, it’s absolutely a good thing.

        • American
          January 3, 2012, 12:26 am

          “Do you think the assimilation of Jews is a good thing?”…..eee

          No one cares if Jews assimilate or not….they are free to chose what they please.
          Radical Jews like radical Muslims or other radicals however, can’t be allowed to harm other people. That is the situation with zionist.

        • yourstruly
          January 3, 2012, 12:55 am

          i know a japanese-american who’s parents wouldn’t let him marry a okinawan woman on the basis that she wasn’t good enough for him. and, yes, i also know jews who refused to allow their children to marry a non-jews, but there numbers are swamped by the families i know who have welcomed non-jews, blacks, latinos into their families.

        • piotr
          January 3, 2012, 4:18 am

          It reminds me an article about a Polish border town that happens to be 50-50 Polish-Lithuanians. Parents are rather hostile to inter-ethnic dating. Reporter talks with the young people. A Lithuanian girl: “There are no jobs here anyway. I work in Berlin, and I have a boyfriend there. A Turkish one.”

        • Mooser
          January 3, 2012, 11:46 am

          “You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.”

          Okay, you’ve got me there, “eee”! When you have, as I do, three cats and a new dog (a chocolate Lab, and its pedigree goes back to Solomon, I’ll have you know!) fleas can be a problem. We buy “Advantage” and “Frontline” in bulk, for Chri’sake, and bomb the house regularly.

          Now as far as my “new friends” go: I’ve had friends from everywhere, both the human and animal kingdom, as long as I’ve been alive. I’ve got new friends and old friends.

          And as far as assimilation goes, “eee” you are the most assimilated Jew I’ve ever seen! You are the perfect Yiddishe emulation of a Southern cracker it’s ever been my nauseating honor to meet. Y’all take care now.

          And for God’s sake (well, then, for Israel’s sake) “eee” stop whining like the new-laid punk you are, huh?

        • Mooser
          January 3, 2012, 11:54 am

          “I know first-hand of a middle-aged Jewish couple here in my city who refused to see their daughter again after she converted to Catholicism to marry a Catholic.”

          Oh, I don’t know. Me, I’d be awfully suspicious of any man who required that my daughter convert in order to marry him. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, any man who doesn’t insist (well, as much as you can insist on anything concerning the female species) that his bride to be stay just the way she is, is a pig. Maybe her parents see the pig in him, not just the Catholic.

        • Mooser
          January 3, 2012, 12:23 pm

          “jews who refused to allow their children to marry a non-jews”

          Sorry, it’s very hard to understand what you mean. If you are of majority age, your parents cannot prevent you from marrying anybody you goddam please. Yes, they can threaten to disinherit you, or threaten not to talk to you, but how can they prevent you from marrying?
          And if you are in a position where being disinherited, or ostracised from your family matters enough to prevent you from marrying, you aren’t ready to get married, are you?

          Now, when I got married, my new Mother-in-law said we could come and live in her house. “But Mom” I said, “it’s so small, there’s no room….” Anyway, you know the rest.

        • PeaceThroughJustice
          January 3, 2012, 2:19 pm

          Mooser writes that the statement “jews who refused to allow their children to marry a non-jews” is “very hard to understand.” Presumably he means that all those Jews (still roughly half, today in the twenty-first century in one of the most secular societies on the planet) who refuse to marry any of the 98% of the people around them because of their bloodlines, are doing it from choice and not out of duress. But what’s worse?

        • Mooser
          January 4, 2012, 11:42 am

          “But what’s worse?”

          Didn’t Ricardo Montalbaum settle that discussion in a discussion of “rich Corinthian leather”? “But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” 1 Corinthians 7:9

        • eee
          January 4, 2012, 12:27 pm

          Mooser,

          Have fun with your new friends. When you one time attempt a serious answer to a simple question, you will be taken seriously. Here I will give you another chance: Is assimilation of Jews good or bad?

      • American
        January 3, 2012, 12:53 am

        “It seems to me … that Jewish separatism has frequently been so extreme as to alienate the rest of the community.”

        I don’t think it’s separatism…other groups like Quakers remain separate, much more separate than Jews. ..maybe the fact they remain so separate is why there is no clash with or resentment of them.
        I would think anti semitism began basically as a Clash of Cultures—the Jewish vr Christian, Muslim, ect. cultures from the beginning. It is more plausible this is how what is now called anti semitism began in the ancient days when people were identified by tribe and individuals were more or less dependent on tribal support for welfare and survival.

        • Mooser
          January 3, 2012, 12:03 pm

          “maybe the fact they remain so separate is why there is no clash with or resentment of them.”

          Didn’t they used to hang any Quaker who wandered into Boston, or something like that?

        • American
          January 3, 2012, 2:54 pm

          It was the Puritians?…well that figures. As far as I am concerned they were our first religious radicals and terrorist

        • RoHa
          January 3, 2012, 7:06 pm

          “I don’t think it’s separatism…other groups like Quakers remain separate, much more separate than Jews”

          PeaceThroughJustice suggested that it is not just separatism, but also that Jews also insist on being part of the power structure. They want the benefits of being part of the community without actually being part of it.

          I have never noticed any Quaker separatism. I do notice that refusal of immigrant groups to assimilate leads to resentment.

          “I would think anti semitism began basically as a Clash of Cultures—the Jewish vr Christian, Muslim, ect. cultures from the beginning. ”

          It seems there was resentment against Jewish separatism in the Roman Empire long before Islam and even before Christianity.

        • Danaa
          January 4, 2012, 2:26 pm

          RoHa: “It seems there was resentment against Jewish separatism in the Roman Empire long before Islam and even before Christianity.”

          I’ll beg to differ some on this score. There is no evidence of any unusual resentment pre-Christianity towards “Jews” as a class. In those days they were israelites and were resented to the extent other tribal, proto-nationalists groups are, ie, on account of what they did – as a nation/group, not so much what they were or preached. Population centers of jews outside the israel areas were no more persecuted than any other group, and in fact, there’s evidence they were better off than most, having made their mark as successful traders.

          Based on what I know of the history at the time, the attitudes towards Jews as Christianity started to spread were, again, nothing that could be encapsulated in the word “resentment”. Rather, Christianity was for a long time – centuries actually, regarded as a splinter sect of Judaism, an increasingly estranged one. Both religions were quite proslesizing in the first centuries AD, though Christianity, as a religion, seems to have had a break away moment in the 2nd century AD, no doubt thanks to Paul’s brilliant recasting of it as a universal religion – separate from its Jerusalem origins. Christianity itself consisted of several sub-sects way into the 4th century AD – and even beyond – (besides the evolving “Eastern” Byzantine version) and these were marked by different degrees of separation from the Jewish origins. So what resentments there were was par for the course in the post-hellenistic/Roman era where every region had its own take on what part of which religion to follow.

          There was often plenty of resentment from the earlier Christian converts towards Jews who may have lived side-by-side to them – and those are best understood in the context of sect politics, such as the world has often known. The ones who chose to follow the more purist Jewish dictates, continuing to identify with israel as the center of the religion, have looked down upon those newer converts who, to them, seemed to practice a lower heretic form of Judaism. What could be considered an a-la-carte version of judaism – follow some laws on a pick and choose basis. There were also numerous cases of Christians vilified by Jews and sometimes even turned over to their enemies. If resentment grew out of these times when the two quite similar religions were rubbing each other raw, even as each was splitting into more sub-sects, it’s understandable. To call incidents of Christian-on-Jew violence at the time anti-semitism at is a misnomer, because there was plenty to go the other way around too, at least before the Christians captured the Roman leadership positions. It was for a long time more like the antipathy – and internecine fights between other diverging sects like catholics and protestants or sunnis and shiites.

          Actual anti-semitism – of Jews as a people apart seems to have started popping up in the 4th century AD right around the time the church was getting centralized and organized around a single ruling dogma. That too can be understood as a rising religious center reacting against potential challenges to its power, especially as the dogma needed to be enforced.

          As for resentment against Jewish separatism at post Roman Empire times, that too can be easily understood in the context of the times. I believe that one of the problems that gave the resentment such an edge later is that it wasn’t just separatism. It was the Jewish sense of exceptionalism and superiority., something that the exilic community through its many individuals found it hard to hide. The truth is that Judaism never stopped viewing Christianity as a throughly inferior religion, not just a different one. That kind of contempt is just barely visible under the surface, but persists to today. And it continues to be a problem, only slightly softened by an even greater contempt all too many Jews – and virtually all israelis – feel towards Islam.

        • RoHa
          January 4, 2012, 8:37 pm

          “There is no evidence of any unusual resentment pre-Christianity towards “Jews” as a class.”

          There are indications both of resentment towards Jewish group behaviour and of persecution in the years before Christianity became a power in the Roman Empire.

          We have an uncertain account of an expulsion of the Jews in 139 BCE., and the Alexandrian pogrom of 38 CE. (Check out the background to that.)

          Cicero (Pro Flacco) claims that Jews stick together and wield influence in informal political meetings)
          Horace expresses similar ideas about Jewish influence.

          Look at Juvenal(Satire 14.96-106)

          Jews held an ambiguous position. They had admirers and even converts, but also hostility.

          Seneca was very disparaging of Jewish practice Tacitus condemns the separate eating, the refusal of mixed marriages, circumcision “to mark their difference”, the way the converts learn to “despise the Gods, shed their patriotic loyalty, and treat their parents, children, and siblings as of no account” (contemnere deos, exuere partiam, parentes liberos fratres vilia habere. Hist. 5.5.2)

          It is not the Jewish Wars that worry Tacitus. Militarily, the Jews were defeated. It is Jewish behaviour.

          So yes, there was resentment.

          “Rather, Christianity was for a long time – centuries actually, regarded as a splinter sect of Judaism, an increasingly estranged one.”

          I’m not sure just how true this is. Christianity was very quickly recognised as distinct from other forms of Judaism. Pliny the Younger was uncertain about how to deal with Christians. He would have had no uncertainty about how to deal with ordinary Jews. Suetonius (who worked with Pliny) referred to an expulsion of Jews from Rome under Claudius, but said that Nero punished Christians. He separated them. Of course, he may have used the term to separate the new sect of really whacko Jews from the ordinarily whacko Jews, but he does not refer to them as Jews at all. He says “a new and mischievous superstition”. (Tacitus, in the famous but doubtful passage, says “a most mischievous superstition”. He does not call them Jews, either.)

          “Christianity, as a religion, seems to have had a break away moment in the 2nd century AD”

          Yes, Marcion and Mark marked it off clearly.

          So I think anti-Semitism pre-dates Christianity.

        • MHughes976
          January 5, 2012, 8:13 am

          I went to a lecture by Martin Goodman, Professor of Ancient History at Oxford, in which he suggested that the Jewish War could be portrayed as a soap opera – ‘Caesars and Herods’ I suppose. He drew attention to the relationship between Titus (whose family, seriously short of pagan prodigies, were grateful for a prophecy from the Jewish sage Josephus) and the Jewish princess Berenice, the loves of each others’ lives, seemingly, who were split up by post-war anti-Jewish sentiment in the Senate. Had they married and had children there would probably have been Jewish kings reigning in Europe.

        • Woody Tanaka
          January 5, 2012, 10:12 am

          I went to a lecture by Martin Goodman, Professor of Ancient History at Oxford… He drew attention to the relationship between Titus… and the Jewish princess Berenice, the loves of each others’ lives, seemingly, who were split up by post-war anti-Jewish sentiment in the Senate. Had they married and had children there would probably have been Jewish kings reigning in Europe.

          I’m surprsied that Goodman would make such a claim, given that Roman Imperial Reign did not follow a primogeniture system.

      • Gilad
        January 3, 2012, 5:22 am

        RoHa, this is not what i say..i guess that you better read the book. I do not talk about Jews (what they say or what they do), I elaborate on the ideology (Jewishness). I try to understand what exilic culture is all about..

        • RoHa
          January 3, 2012, 7:08 pm

          Thanks. I will know not to attribute those thoughts to you.

        • Gilad
          January 3, 2012, 7:39 pm

          It is OK, I am used to people attributing me some strange thoughts.. All i can say is read my own words, not what people say on my behalf. I am not a Marxist or a political activist and simplicity is not necessarily a value in my universe. I am a truth seeker, hence, my ideas are sometime complicated … i am sorry about it
          Peace G

        • Mooser
          January 4, 2012, 11:49 am

          ” I am a truth seeker, hence, my ideas are sometime complicated…”

          Yeah, yeah, Gilad, you are large, you contain multitudes. Try going on a diet.

        • MRW
          January 4, 2012, 7:37 pm

          I loved the book. Mooser, you should read it. It sounds more like you than you would know. ;-)

        • Gilad
          January 5, 2012, 3:07 am

          He knows this is why he joined forces with Dershowitz. as the book suggested, we are dealing with a pretty unified tribal front… the political ‘debate’ is there to confuse to Goyim..

    • LeaNder
      January 2, 2012, 7:44 am

      Middle of the road fence-sitters bore me.

      Do you talk about our stridently ostentatious fence-sitter Richard Witty?

      I’ve devoured his writings and that of his followers. I remember I was blown away by his talent, and disturbed by his right-wing radicalism, bordering on fascism.

      Krauss, your name attracts me, naturally, just as Weiss did … all the Kraus, Krausse’s way back then … I’ll think I’ll get to your topic in a little time.

      At the moment I feel more inclined to go back and look very closely at Karl but I may well meet the Revisionists there, although you never know with these denier’s of fences,
      a) Assimilationist
      b) Zionist
      satirical expressionist freelancers, do you?

      But strictly what literature would you suggest?

    • Keith
      January 2, 2012, 5:12 pm

      KRAUS- I have read Gilad Atzmon’s book “The Wandering Who” and overall enjoyed and recommend it. I think it worth noting, however, that the different chapters vary considerably in quality, some very good, others quite bad. Atzmon tends to be intentionally provocative, however, this book was more restrained than other things he has done. Below, Mooser links to Jews Sans Frontiers, where Evildoer takes a cheap shot at the book by focusing on chapter 9, one of the worst. It is interesting to compare the Atzmon book with Israel Shahak’s “Jewish History, Jewish Religion.” Both are from a secular Israeli background in which their experiences with the Judaic religion are formed by how that religion is observed in Israel, which tends to be more Orthodox and not at all what a US Reformed Jew is accustomed to. Something to keep in mind.

      • Gilad
        January 3, 2012, 5:34 am

        Hello Keith, Actually, I think that my chapter 9 is not bad at all… It is indeed bad news for the so-called Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists AKA AZZ.

        The book is not more restrained than my previous writings. It actually include my most controversial articles. But somehow, judging by the many endorsements, they all make sense when put together.

        Just a small correction, Shahak came from a religious background, I think that his father was a qualified Rabbi. However the big difference between Shahak and myself is that Shahak concentrated on Judaism and the Talmud in particular. I learned a lot for Shahak, yet, it is clear to me that our contemporary issues with Jewish identity (Zionism, anti Zionism, AIPAC etc’ ) has something to do with Jewish secular identity.

        My task is to deconstruct this identity and to understand its fundamentals .
        This fact alone may explain why I am probably the most hated (ex) Jew on this planet, but guess what, I learned to enjoy it :)

        • Mooser
          January 3, 2012, 12:30 pm

          ” My task is to deconstruct this identity and to understand its fundamentals .
          This fact alone may explain why I am probably the most hated (ex) Jew on this planet, but guess what, I learned to enjoy it :)”

          What a dishonest ass.

        • Keith
          January 3, 2012, 3:55 pm

          Hi Gilad, thanks for taking the time to comment. Always nice to hear from the author. I do feel, however, that your response requires that I elaborate somewhat on my initial comment to Kraus. Let me begin by paying you a compliment. I feel that the foreword to “The Wandering Who?” was exceptionally well written. Beautiful prose. Insightful description. So good, in fact, that whatever followed was bound to be a bit of a letdown.

          Let us begin with Chapter 9, the object of Gabriel Ash’s critique. Entitled “Jewish Unconsciousness is the Discourse of the Goyim,” it endeavors to unravel the unconscious motivation of Zionist Jews, a hopeless and somewhat dubious task. Needless to say, empirical evidence of group unconsciousness consists largely of the author projecting his bias. That “proof” should consist largely of a subjective interpretation of a Cohen brothers film is hardly convincing. Perhaps this is why Gabriel Ash chose this particular chapter to highlight, while ignoring the rest of the book, some of which is quite good.

          I very much liked chapter 18, where you discuss what constitutes Jewishness. I have always found this topic intriguing and quite germane to Jewish tribalism, Zionism, and the creation of the Jewish state. I found the discussion quite good, and somewhat agree with your conclusion that “That which maintains the Jewish identity is fear.” I have long felt that without the Holocaust, Zionism would have withered away, a Jewish state never created. I do feel, however, that there is more to Jewishness and Zionism than simply fear. I think that a certain opportunistic sense of eternal victim-hood as a psychological balm is significant, along with the power seeking organizational solidarity provided by Zionism.

          Let me conclude with a comment on “anti-Zionist Zionists,” which I refer to as neo-Zionists. First, I think that Jews opposing Zionism identifying themselves as Jews has, overall, been a positive thing. It has served to combat the notion that Zionism speaks for “the Jews,” and that opposition to Zionism is anti-Semitism. It has opened up the discussion considerably. Having said that, I do think that you are on to something. It appears that many anti-Zionist Jews, Philip Weiss included, have utilized their organized Jewish anti-Zionist activities to reinforce their Jewish identities. Attempting to have their cake and eat it too. Gabriel Ash, however, seems to fall in yet another category. In addition to the above, he is, I believe, a doctrinaire Marxist. As such, anything which does not adhere to a rigid Marxist explanation is considered a threat to his ideology, which, in turn, rejects “Jewishness” as an explanation for anything.

          In sum, I liked the book and hope that you aren’t overly upset by my comments on chapter 9. Hopefully, we will see more of Gilad Atzmon on Mondoweiss.

        • Gilad
          January 3, 2012, 4:15 pm

          Hello Keith, I understand what you are saying about ch 9. however, in the discourse I try to develop here or there, there is no need for forensic evidence. I offer an analytical insight, you can take it or leave it. I accept it. And still Ash’s critic seems to be lame.

          Re Ch 18 we obviously agree, yet, one of my ‘original’ ideas in this book is that the Holocaust was always there. The fear is inherent to the PRE- Traumatic Stress Syndrome. In other words, to be a Jew is to be fearful. Interestingly enough in Hebrew, an orthodox Jew is called Yehudi Hared- A ‘fearful Jew’.

          Keith you say “I think that Jews opposing Zionism identifying themselves as Jews has, overall, been a positive thing.” Believe it or not, i tend to agree with you. And it could be much greater if Jews would dedicate themselves to ethical issues rather than trying to steer the movement.

          We have a lot of great Jews in this movement and their contribution is crucial. Yet, we have a bunch of Talmudic characters who constantly try to tell us what is right and who is wrong. My message to them and everyone else is simple. WE don’t need a Kosher stamp!!!

          Thanks for your attention, and i am not upset at all… and even if you make me upset it won’t be an issue!

          Peace G

        • dumvitaestspesest
          January 3, 2012, 4:23 pm

          Is Gilad, the Gilad?? I mean Gilad Atzmon??
          Nice for you, sir, to drop by and be a part of the conversations here.
          I do admire your work ,and your writing.
          Chapeau bas, and keep doing great work:)

          And a charming song for you.

        • Gilad
          January 3, 2012, 5:15 pm

          Yep it is me.. Gilad Atzmon, tx for your kind words:) By the way I will be in NYC next week, in case you or anyone else wants to meet me..

        • MRW
          January 4, 2012, 7:50 pm

          Keith, you might be interested in what prominent American Jews thought of Zionism back in 1919 when they petitioned President Wilson to take their petition, viewpoint, and 300 signatures to the (WW I) Peace Conference.

          (From the archives of the New York Times
          March 5, 1919, Wednesday Page 7, 2438 words)
          View original article
          Note: This article will open in PDF format as a facsimile of the original
          New York Times page. Below is an accurate transcript of the original
          (signatures at bottom):
          PROTEST TO WILSON AGAINST ZIONIST STATE
          Representative Jews Ask Him to Present It to the Peace Conference.
          Special to The New York Times.

          This is the transcription of the original NYT image page:
          link to home2.btconnect.com
          The link to the original is there as well.

          They didn’t want Zionism, they didn’t want a Zionist or Jewish State, and they didn’t mince words.

        • piotr
          January 4, 2012, 11:34 pm

          Electrons from Gilad! Now I am starting to comprehend the notion of non-kosher electricity!

          Gilad, I think that you at occasion make anti-Semitic rants. I do not recall the details, but once you discuss opinions of a Jewish Marxist on some Palestinian issue. Which you found disturbingly incorrect and you attributed the errors to the obstinate Jewishness of the writer.

          According to your own synopsis, this guy was reducing the isssue to class warfare and imperialism. Correct or wrong, this is a standard Marxist perspective, rather than “Jewish Marxism”. Unless Jewishness of Marxism goes all the way back to Karl Marx. In any case, standard Marxism is a universalist doctrine, and so very far from tribalism.

        • Gilad
          January 5, 2012, 2:55 pm

          Piotr: Gilad, I think that you at occasion make anti-Semitic rants.

          G: You are entitled to think, whether you can substantiate is obviously another matter.

          Piotr: I do not recall the details, but once you discuss opinions of a Jewish Marxist on some Palestinian issue. Which you found disturbingly incorrect and you attributed the errors to the obstinate Jewishness of the writer.

          G: Don’t you think that it is slightly outrageous to come with such a vague statement and yet to associate me with a racism.
          I guess that this is the piece you are referring to
          link to gilad.co.uk
          If you find ‘antisemitism’ there, i will be happy to discuss it

          Piotr: According to your own synopsis, this guy was reducing the isssue to class warfare and imperialism. Correct or wrong, this is a standard Marxist perspective, rather than “Jewish Marxism”. Unless Jewishness of Marxism goes all the way back to Karl Marx. In any case, standard Marxism is a universalist doctrine, and so very far from tribalism.

          G: If you read my paper , you will be able to stop guessing…

  6. DICKERSON3870
    January 1, 2012, 2:35 pm

    RE: “[T]he sole new piece of historical philosophy which the Zionists contributed out of their own new experiences [was] ‘A nation is a group of people… held together by a common enemy’ (Herzl)–an absurd doctrine…” ~ Arendt

    AND SEE: Israel’s Defense Chief OK’s Hundreds of Israeli Deaths, By Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.org, 11/11/11

    (excerpt) . . . An essential motive of Zionism from its beginning was a fierce desire to end the centuries of Jewish weakness, to show the world that Jews would no longer be pushed around, that they’d fight back and prove themselves tougher than their enemies. There was more to Zionism than that. But the “pride through strength” piece came to dominate the whole project. Hence the massive Israeli military machine with its nuclear arsenal.
    But you can’t prove that you’re stronger than your enemies unless you’ve also got enemies — or at least believe you’ve got enemies — to fight against. So there has to be a myth of Israel’s insecurity, fueled by an image of vicious anti-semites lurking somewhere out there, for Zionism to work. Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran has gradually risen to the top of Israel oh-so-necessary enemies list. Iranophobia is rampant in Israel, as one Israeli scholar writes, because “Israel needs an existential threat.”
    Anyone who has grown up in Israel, or in the U.S. Jewish community (as I did), and paid attention knows all this…

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to commondreams.org

    P.S. A RELATED FACEBOOK GROUP
    Name – Hannah Arendt: Integrity Personified
    Category - Common Interest, Beliefs & Causes
    Description - A group for individuals who greatly respect the legendary Hannah Arendt, and who admire the immense integrity her life epitomized. Oh, come, all ye “conscious pariahs”, Joyful and triumphant! Oh, come ye, oh, come ye…
    Open - All content is public.
    LINK – link to facebook.com

  7. dumvitaestspesest
    January 1, 2012, 2:53 pm

    A good quote, from Hannah Arendt’s pool of quotes, for all Richards Witty’s of the world. As a grim warning.
    “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who NEVER make up their minds TO BE good or evil.”
    link to brainyquote.com

  8. NormanF
    January 1, 2012, 3:01 pm

    Hannah Arendt’s fears have proven by the passage of time to be misplaced.

    Israel is a healthy and vibrant democracy with a strong civil society, growing economy and confidence about its future.

    Its neighbors in contrast are societies sundered by fanaticism, the lack of pluralism, economies on life support or on the verge of collapse and pessimism about the future.

    The Zionist experiment succeeded against all the odds. Arab nationalism is dead and the Islamists waiting in the wings to takeover promise only more repression, demagoguery and distraction from the Arab condition.

    Israel is not yet a Sparta and American Jews see no reason to abandon their support of the Middle East’s only democracy.

    • dahoit
      January 2, 2012, 1:05 pm

      I had a friend who always whistled in the dark also,Norman.

      • eee
        January 2, 2012, 3:08 pm

        Dahoit,

        Take any measure of human development you want to compare Israel to its neighbors, Israel will come out on top. Education, health, technology, human rights, you pick. And as for Israel’s Arabs, they are much richer and much better educated on average than the Arabs in neighboring countries. So who is whistling in the dark? Israel is a huge success.

        • patm
          January 2, 2012, 10:21 pm

          Take any measure of human development you want to compare Israel to its neighbors,… Try this article on for size, 3e.

          “Israel’s bizarre decision to give up on education – and its future”

          As Israelis, Palestinians and the rest of the world deal with the crimes of the occupation and the possibilities of one state or two – Israel’s choices in education show it has already decided to give up on the state that already exists. December 5 2011, Ami Kaufman

          link to 972mag.com

        • yourstruly
          January 3, 2012, 1:02 am

          huge success or not, until there’s justice for palestine, israel will be looked upon as a pariah entity.

    • Jeffrey Blankfort
      January 2, 2012, 9:23 pm

      I think this is satire. Add NOT to the end of every sentence and read it again. Then you will see the truth and what the author meant us to take away from it. Right, Norman F?

    • john h
      January 4, 2012, 12:17 am

      So, according to you, NormanF, it was/is the Zionist experiment?

      Funny that, I thought it was an absolute necessity, how silly of me.

      And if this experiment has already succeeded, how come you can say Israel is not yet a Sparta?

      Arab nationalism is dead. Pull the other leg.

    • Danaa
      January 5, 2012, 12:42 pm

      Norman F, if israel is indeed such a smashing success, a light unto the nations as you suggest, how come just about every israeli I know does the california dreamin’ thing?

      Most Israelis who can – from among the secular ranks, mind you – are frentically getting their second passports. And from among the technically trained well over one half now reside outside israel, for the most part, permanently.

      But you are right about one things – the more religiously inclined, the more likely to stay and partake in the great shining light that only israel, supporters and indentured vassals can see.

      One of these days you should dust off your hebrew and go visit some holly land folks, Have a chat with ordinary people of the secular class (oh ya, stay away from the pundits – there, as here, as anywhere). Then tell us about the light they feel basked in.

  9. eee
    January 1, 2012, 3:13 pm

    “That unity is today being dissolved. The haredi-secular conflict in Israel that is getting so much attention here is one means of that dissolution.”

    Keep on dreaming. The unity is only getting stronger as slowly but surely the Jewish population in Israel becomes the major Jewish population in the world and the percentage of orthodox Jews grows in the US as the less religious Jews assimilate.

    As usual, you ignore the facts on the ground. Can you point out ONE major Jewish institution that advocates cutting ties with Israel? In fact, these major institutions, like Hillel, have confirmed the strong ties of American Jews to Israel by refusing to accept fringe anti-Zionists groups like JVP.

    • The Hasbara Buster
      January 1, 2012, 5:37 pm

      The point is that those “fringe anti-Zionist groups” didn’t formerly exist, and it was very rare to see Jews organizedly advocating for Palestinian rights. Also, Jewish criticism of Israel and the Lobby is enjoying increased normalcy — what Tom Friedman recently said in the NYT would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

      One important fact that should be underscored is that we have reached a critical-mass point in which the sheer numbers of Jewish critics of Israel enables us non-Jews to also criticize the country without fear of being called antisemites. Indeed, the antisemitism slander, one of the most powerful weapons previously wielded by the Hasbara brigade, is being quietly dropped as it is ludicrous to call someone a Jew-hater for saying the same things that large numbers of Jews also say.

      • yourstruly
        January 1, 2012, 8:43 pm

        how many times has it been said on mw that the presence of large number of jewish anti-zionists will provide cover for non-jews (as well as other jews) to get out of the closet and speak their mind? seems that prediction is coming true. another prediction that the settler entity israel (not its people) would collapse in 2012 is about to be tested.

      • eee
        January 2, 2012, 3:04 pm

        “the sheer numbers of Jewish critics of Israel”

        Based in what do you make this assertion? There have always been many Jewish critics of Israel. The number has not changed. There is just no data showing that Jews are becoming more anti-Israel. The opposite is true. As the number of Jews in Israel grows both in absolute terms and relative to the diaspora, it is clear that Israel is becoming a more important component of Judaism.

        • The Hasbara Buster
          January 2, 2012, 7:07 pm

          Just think that 10 years ago we had the Electronic Intifada and we had Palestine Remembered, but we had no Mondoweiss, no Tikun Olam, no Magnes Zionist. I don’t know if there are more Jewish critics of Israel than before, but certainly they’re much more visible and vocal.

    • MLE
      January 1, 2012, 6:27 pm

      I think you don’t have a good understanding of American Judaism. The Haredis may become a larger segment of the Jewish population in the United States, since they are producing more babies than those in the Conservative and Reform movements, but they are not able to reproduce enough to make up for all the Jewish people who marry outside the faith and do not raise their children as full fledged Jews.

      Also considering the majority of the Israel wrong or right crowd is part of the older generation, over 50, they are going to die off and there is no guarantee that their children are going to provide the same levels of support (financial or political) that the previous generations have done. Certainly our lack of cold war mentality, growing up under the promise of Oslo and a two state solution, and our very negative experience with the Iraq war and the neocon movement are going to shape our political views when we start choosing which charities we want to support.

      Also, the majority of the money power that exists within the Jewish community is not held in the Ultra-Orthodox communities, its the more assimilated Jews who hold the majority of the wealth. And while they might not completely abandon Israel- the conversation is shifting. My dad announced this week he’s going to donate primarily to J-Street from now on. Of course many people on the site think J-Street might not go far enough, it is a sign that the community is slowly shifting.

      • eee
        January 2, 2012, 3:19 pm

        “The Haredis may become a larger segment of the Jewish population in the United States, since they are producing more babies than those in the Conservative and Reform movements, but they are not able to reproduce enough to make up for all the Jewish people who marry outside the faith and do not raise their children as full fledged Jews.”

        Exactly, Jewish population in the US is growing smaller and more religious. This means that a large majority of Jews worldwide will be living in Israel in a generation. That means Israel will become even more important for Jews. It is true that monetary support for Israel is not going to grow or even become less, but that is not an issue as Israel is constantly becoming richer.

        The Jews that don’t care about Israel will assimilate while those that want to retain their Judaism will forge even stronger ties with Israel since it will be the undisputed center of Jewish life.

    • dahoit
      January 2, 2012, 1:06 pm

      Wouldn’t 1.7 % be considered fringe?Or am I a victim of the ignorance of the new math?

    • Mooser
      January 2, 2012, 1:40 pm

      C’mon, Norman! And “eee”, I’m ashamed of you! You’re just phoning it in, merely fulfilling the minimal requirements, and putting no effort into it. Oh well, with no young hasbara blood coming up to challenge your security, you don’t worry about losing your sinecure.

  10. ToivoS
    January 1, 2012, 3:18 pm

    I had no idea that Hanna Arendt had written such prescient analyses that early. Really very interesting. Phil, you should perhaps put up some of Einsteins essays on his views on Zionism. link to amazon.com I just read this book and was really struck with the many things about the emerging Israeli state that concerned him. What I found really striking was the last chapter that discusses the NYTs obituary of Einstein and how they so thoroughly distorted his views on the Israeli state. It was this information that convinced me that the NYT was already thoroughly in the Zionist camp as early as 1952.

    • dahoit
      January 2, 2012, 1:10 pm

      Sulzsberger?owned it prior to 1900?or so,so it’s been Zionist for at least one hundred years.
      I bet the current publishers son Sr. says daily from wherever,Arthur,what have you done to my newspaper,you’ve destroyed our credibility.Oy!
      Little(in spirit and humanity) people produce little.

    • eee
      January 2, 2012, 3:24 pm

      Tovios,

      Actions speak much louder than words. When Einstein died he left all his papers and the rights to his writing and image to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, one of the leading Zionist institutions (that Einstein helped found by the way). Every time someone uses a picture of Einstein in a commercial, the Hebrew U gets royalties.

      Anyone that wants to claim that Einstein was not a Zionist has to explain why he gave this huge gift to the Hebrew U. I haven’t heard a good explanation yet.

      • Light
        January 2, 2012, 4:42 pm

        Supporting a university is different than supporting a government. Einstein supported education and Jewish cultural institutions. Einstein opposed nationalism.

      • Keith
        January 2, 2012, 4:51 pm

        EEE- Einstein was a cultural Zionist who opposed political Zionism. Bequeathing his papers to the Hebrew University is not inconsistent with opposition to a Jewish state. Likewise, one can make major contributions to an American University while still opposing US imperialism.

      • ToivoS
        January 2, 2012, 5:51 pm

        I did not say Einstein was not a Zionist but he had much to say about the nature of emerging state of Israel. He wrote many times that Israel should avoid having a standing army. He most certainly opposed the Nakba. He argued strongly for a binational state. He is on record calling Begin a fascist and he meant that literally. In short his Zionism is unrecognizable in what Israel has become.

        Being one of the co-founders of Hebrew U it makes perfect sense that he left his papers to them. One of his big causes was to end discrimination against Jews in University education. He saw HU as a place where European Jews could get a higher education.

  11. atime forpeace
    January 1, 2012, 5:37 pm

    what a great capability to be able to discern the ends at the beginning.

    she must have been exposed to some serious political debates to have been able to prognosticate so lucidly.

    thanks Phil, for this great article.

  12. Richard Witty
    January 1, 2012, 6:47 pm

    I also didn’t like Phil’s selection of Arendt quotes.

    Too many …. in the editorial selection.

    While defense comprises a great deal of Israeli political thinking, Israel is not a one-dimensional defense state at this point.

    It is a relatively mature, complex, multi-faceted, alive economy/society, with a great degree of diversity, culture, intellectual discussion, spirituality, etc.

    It is NOT a one-dimensional society as Arendt feared. I wish that you would undertake to distinguish the word “I fear” inherent in her writing, from the word “I predict” (implying prophecy, even with trends prediction is more than flawed), from the phrase “it is inevitable”.

    Nothing is inevitable. It is not inevitable that Israel will fizzle. It is not inevitable that its neighbors will permanently reject Israel as Israel (indicated by the Arab League proposal). It is not inevitable that there will be some integrity destroying fundamental contradiction.

    Its a speculation at this point, from what you’ve presented, a repetitive, and determined speculation.

    Maybe drops of water do turn mills. Or, maybe some drops of water (say ones mingled with acid) just burn holes into mill tines, making the mill non-functional.

    “Step by step, the longest march shall be won, quickly won. Many stones can form an arch, singly none, singly none. And through union what we will, can be accomplished still. Drops of water turn a mill, singly none, singly none.”

    In summary, I don’t think that Arendt’s prophecy has born out, as much as elements of it clearly are familiar to any observer.

    The stresses of components haven’t killed the whole, over 64 years now.

    You think that they are at this point reaching their point of maximum tension?

    The generational memory and significance of the holocaust is passing, changing. So, that observation is relevant, but the statute of limitations on temporariness of the state of Israel has lapsed.

    The relationship between the US and Israel is NOT constructed of backroom kings’ ears. It is more substantive, more interdependent, more enduring.

  13. mudder
    January 1, 2012, 9:03 pm

    Not sure if I should be sharing this, but take a look if you must: link to youtube.com “This is SPARTA (Israel)!”

    • dahoit
      January 2, 2012, 1:13 pm

      C’mon,the Spartans faced enemies totally equal in armament and capability,unlike Israel who has never faced an equal,just poorly led dictatorial rabble,probably unmotivated by their own leadership of criminals.

  14. piotr
    January 1, 2012, 9:28 pm

    I think eee is mostly correct. All lemmings join New Sparta.

    Arendt was both right: Israel modelled itself after Sparta, and wrong:
    world Jewry adapted to Spartan model of ethnic pride. After all, what
    was wrong about Sparta!
    Until this stupid Epaminondas came and liberated the helots of Messenia.
    But one should focus on the positive. After all, helots were satisfactorily controlled for 600 hundred years at least, and Messenians, for at least 300. Within 300 years we will have a Messiah sooner than Epaminondas (or Salah-ed-Din).

    Messiah is a problem, however, and there seem to be a tension between Messianic and Spartan. Israel is a Jewish state, but what does it mean to be a Jew? Spartan model is that citizenry = army and army = citizens. Military service is what unites the Jews, and Diasporah Jews can participate — end return to the bitterness of their exile where they are unredeemed but useful. Messianic model is to follow Halacha and be worthy of Messiah, who according to some is a very martial kind of man, but according to others will not care for non-spiritual struggle. So we have at least 3 kinds of very Jewish Jews in Israel and the 4th kind which is sort of passably Jewish — Radical Leftist. And the helots, who are not the problem but part of the solution: it is the opposition to helots that unites the citizens (well, except for Radical Leftists).

    Anyway, it is a sad testimony to the quality of classic education that Radical Leftists are accused of being henchmen of Umma rather than Medists. Sympathy to Persia/Iran is a vice that Spartans would readily recognize.

    • ToivoS
      January 2, 2012, 3:04 am

      Piotr, this in one weird comment. You are conflating 3000 years of historical friction into a single point. Are you saying that leftist should assume an antagonistic attitude against Persia in order to protect modern Greece. Haven’t you noticed — the Persians have been replaced in Anatolia by the Seluks, er excuse me, Turkey is now, well a Turkic nation. I think this is a seriously misplaced classical education. If you haven’t noticed the Pelopenesian wars are over. We are dealing with other issues now.

      • piotr
        January 2, 2012, 5:58 pm

        I am a bit confused when you round to full thousands.

        Identification of Radical Leftist with sympathy toward Persian Empire is as accurate as in the case of Caliphate which is a more standard accusations, “Islamofascists and Radical Leftists” (or inaccurate).

        In any case, I do not see any extremely long stretch of “historical friction” but a relatively recent case of patterning social institutions and ideology after Sparta. Just consider

        Saving Israel: How the Jewish People Can Win a War that May Never End (Winner of the 2009 National Jewish Book Award) by Daniel Gordis.

  15. MHughes976
    January 2, 2012, 12:40 pm

    There is no absolutely accurate analogy, ancient or modern, for the current IP situation, but Sparta and the helots, with their perpetual war and secret agents targeting helot dissidents, do come close in some ways.
    The First Book of Maccabees, written 100-ish BCE in support of the Hasmonean dynasty, claims (ch.12) that the Judaeans and the Spartans had had good relations, perhaps even blood brotherhood and a habit of mutual prayer. (II Macc and Josephus somewhat concur.) Historically this may not be too likely but it does show that some influential intellectual figures and perhaps the hard-driving King John thought the Spartans a good role model. Maybe they saw resemblances between the helots and the Samaritans.

    • piotr
      January 2, 2012, 8:37 pm

      Analogy is not supposed to be “accutate”, it just points to a certain pattern.

      Also, it is important to understand why Sparta is admired and what the admirers want to achieve, which is a bit different than what Sparta history was in actuality.

      Sparta at its peak was a relatively egalitarian and (also relatively) democratic society of warriors ruling over helots. The combination of early military training, egalitarianism and the common civic pride related to martial success is quite reminiscent of early Zionism. One can make the case that Sparta was the origin of National Socialism (in different mixtures of nationalism and socialism).

      What is very attractive to some is that without being overtly autocratic, Sparta was conservative (and, in time, not egalitarian at all). The constancy of war with helots maintained the solidarity of the citizens. As Israel grows conservative, the Spartan model is enormously attractive to our American conservatives. Eternal war is an elixir or eternal power. The role of neo-cons was to a degree that of experts and teachers on Spartan model of politics. This is how I see the enormous influence they had with folks like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush. The other reason for specifically Jewish influence is that the project of eternal war had to take place in Middle (and not so Middle) East, and one needed experts that would not be nay-sayers like the Arabists who were booted out.

      And of course to market the war project to all and sundry you needed people good at writing and bullshitting, not barking Cheney or cryptic Rumsfeld (not too mention Bush).

      But the role of neo-cons was not simple that of passive employees of the big folks who were in charge. By being so close to the center, neo-cons tilted the project of eternal war a little so it became one and the same war as the eternal war of Israel.

      • yourstruly
        January 3, 2012, 1:21 am

        another way of saying that the neocons are israel-firsters

        • piotr
          January 3, 2012, 4:05 am

          Nope. 1st — Sparta, i.e. militarism. 2nd — as liberalism is increasingly unreliable as militarist support, former “Jackson Democrats” turn conservative, hence “neo” cons, 3rd — militarism needs a cause, an enemy, a fixed enemy if possible, and Israel solved this problem, 4th — you got the drift.

          Truly, after the fall of Communism it is a bit hard to justify militarism without Israel. Otherwise, why should we care which Islamic regime is more dominant in Persian Gulf — a monarchy or a republic? We really need to import paranoia from our best ally (other allies are truly deficient as suppliers of that commodity, ). Then everything falls into place: Hezbollah is a sworn enemy of Israel, put them amoung PERMANENT ENEMIES. Who supports Hezbollah? Etc. Watch how Russia and China become Enemies — or almost enemies because it is dangerous to overdo it. But suddenly our paranoid military spending makes some sense (Iran by itself spends about 1% of what we do, and about 10% of what our allies in the region spend, hard to see why they need us, but with ambigous Russia and China… )

          So we need Israel that is beset, paranoid and militaristic and THUS shares our values. If it develops some racism, this is a plus. We need some racism here, and it the old varieties are not practical anymore. Clearly, militarism cannot be maintained by logic alone.

          So, year, “Israel First”, but this is not the welfare of Israelis but Israel as “we” need it to develop sufficient paranoia and prolong militarism a bit longer.

  16. seafoid
    January 2, 2012, 4:54 pm

    From the Encyclopaedia britannica sometime in the 1970s

    ” the absence of peace with its Arab neighbours remains however a major handicap to israel’s ability to realise the full potential of its human and material resources both in furthering social and economic progress at home and in benefitting the Middle Eastern Region as a whole”

    I guess that by now it is pretty clear that Israel has given up on social progress and the full potential of its human resources for the sake of half a million deluded Jewish bigots on the West Bank.

  17. Keith
    January 2, 2012, 5:51 pm

    According to Israel Shahak, “It seems that Israel and zionism are a throw-back to the role of classical Judaism ….” That is to say, Zionism is a tribal ideology which functions similar to classical Judaism as a unifier of the Jewish tribe. It strives to maintain an exclusivist Jewish identity which necessitates opposing assimilation, frequently referred to as an existential threat to the Jewish people. Perceived anti-Semitism is the mother’s milk of Zionism. It is important to remember that Zionism is a means to unite the Diaspora Jews through the Zionist ideology and the organized support of Israel. Without the committed, organized support of American Diaspora Jews, Israel could not exist in its present form as a militarized, war-mongering Jewish state. Likewise, without Israel and Zionism, Jewish tribal solidarity would begin wane, already somewhat happening. Too much has been made of Israel as a Jewish refuge. The reality is that the Jewish state has always been desperate to secure Jewish immigration to remain viable.

  18. jayn0t
    January 3, 2012, 11:06 pm

    Hannah Arendt is promoted as some kind of saint because she covered the trial of Eichmann and coined the banal phrase ‘the banality of evil’. Her account of this trial seethes with special pleading and resentment – she says that the death penalty is necessary but insufficient for Nazi war criminals – but not Allied ones.

    Like all left-Zionists, her main concern is that mass murder by Jews will provoke ‘a new wave of Jew-hatred’. It’s as if critics of the Nazis worried that it would cause anti-German prejudice – that it would produce people like Hannah Arendt!

    See the section by Arendt in The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings – Neil Levi and Michael Rothberg – Routledge, 2003.

    • Charltonr
      January 4, 2012, 12:47 am

      You cam damn Hannah Arendt with faint praise, or dismiss whatever she says that may not agree with what you think or say.

      Let’s just recognize the applicability of what she said in 1944 to the situation today.

      “Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana.