Beinart’s romance, and the coming tragedy

Even before its release last month, Peter Beinart’s The Crisis of Zionism has been extravagantly denounced and praised. To his everlasting credit, Beinart has described in vivid and uncompromising terms the corrupting and corrosive impact of the American Jewish establishment he so courageously exposed in The New York Review of Books:

At the core of the tragedy lies the refusal to accept that in both America and Israel, we live in an age not of Jewish weakness, but of Jewish power, and that without moral vigilance, Jews will abuse power just as hideously as anyone else. American Jewish organizations do not deny that Jews wield power, privately, they exult in it. Emotionally, power is what groups like AIPAC sell…. They deny that Jews, like all human beings, can use power not merely to survive, but to destroy. A few years ago, a journalist reported that Malcolm Hoenlein, the influential executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, had a photo in his conference room of Israeli F-15s flying over Auschwitz. It is a photo of a fantasy. Israeli jets never bombed Auschwitz and never will. What they have bombed, in recent years, is the Gaza Strip, a fenced-in, hideously overcrowded, desperately poor slum from which terrorist groups sometimes shell Israel. Hoenlein, in other words, has decorated his conference room not with an image of the reality that he helps perpetuate, but with an image of the fantasy that he superimposes on that reality. In this way, he embodies the American Jewish establishment, which, by superimposing the Jewish past on the Jewish present, is failing the challenge of a new age.

Beinart has offered a powerful indictment of the American Jewish Establishment, to be sure, but he steadfastly refuses to challenge the very legitimacy of that establishment. For the one question that has not been asked is why its loss of the younger generation of American Jews should be regarded as a problematic development in the first place, much less a crisis.

American Judaism, in the main, does not regard itself as a religion in the sense that the term is understood in the modern world. American Jews, in this discourse, are less a religious community than a polity. All of the major denominations of American Judaism are affiliated with the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, which regards itself as the governing body of the whole American community and has essentially no other purpose than to advocate for the State of Israel. Said “community,” in turn, is regarded to be nothing more than an appendage of the transnational polity called “the Jewish people” of which, according to the official ideology of the State of Israel, it is the collectively held possession as opposed to a state of all its citizens.

When John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published their 2005 book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, it was vulnerable to predictably lurid charges in part because it was not just aimed at the powerful American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The authors also insisted on documenting a much wider phenomenon, and their use of the somewhat vague term “Israel lobby” did not properly elaborate that AIPAC and scores of other politically powerful non-religious Jewish organizations like it are all affiliates of the larger Conference of Presidents. Peter Beinart’s original essay in The New York Review of Books, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” spoke more directly to this reality and provided the more apt and precise term “American Jewish Establishment,” of which the Israel lobby is merely a part.

It is largely for this very reason that Beinart’s exposure of this establishment has provoked yet unprecedented hysteria from the famously hysterical neoconservative movement. He has been given a megaphone to announce to the world for the first time what informed American Jews have always understood about the neocons — that they, in fact, are the true self-hating Jews, with their pathological hatred of any expression of Judaism’s traditions of social justice and other affronts to the Spartan virtues. In short, he has said everything about the American Jewish Establishment for which Pat Buchanan and Norman Finkelstein were so brutally vilified in years past.

Perhaps no hostile reviewer of The Crisis of Zionism was more hysterical than Daniel Gordis, president of Israel’s Shalem Center, in the Jerusalem Post. Gordis proclaimed, in what can only be considered a deliberate misrepresentation, that “Beinart’s problem, most fundamentally, is that the American liberalism with which he is so infatuated does not comfortably have a place for Jewish ethnic nationalism. … Beinart’s problem isn’t really with Israel. It’s with Judaism.” Beinart responded forcefully:

Gordis wants me to be some deracinated Rosa Luxembourg, cold to my own people and moistened only by the pain of others. Sorry, that’s not the book I wrote because it’s not the person I am. At the root of Gordis’ misrepresentations lies this problem. As he’s written elsewhere, he’s convinced that many young liberal Jews are embracing a brand of universalism that undermines their commitment to the Jewish people. It’s convenient for him to make me the poster child of this phenomenon. … The problem with this analysis is that I actually share Gordis’ concern.

Are Young Rabbis Turning on Israel?” Gordis asked in the June 2011 issue of Commentary. The article began by relating with horror an email sent out by the faculty of Hebrew College, a nondenominational rabbinical seminary in Boston, on the occasion of Israel’s War Memorial Day, asking with respect to the fallen on both sides of the 1948 war, “On this day, what do you remember and for whom do you grieve?” The question apparently never dawned on anyone why American rabbinical students should be commemorating the Memorial Day of a foreign nation to begin with.

Indeed, the article at times descends into self-parody, with a signature neocon reference to Neville Chamberlain. Nonetheless, Gordis still got to the heart of the matter:

What is entirely gone is an instinct of belonging, the visceral sense on the part of these students that they are part of a people, that the blood and the losses that were required to create the State of Israel is their blood and their loss. What appears to be, at first blush, an issue of weakening Zionist loyalties is thus actually something far more worrisome.

What Gordis evaded is the fact this is not just a story about students: there already exists a considerable cohort of senior rabbis of this persuasion. In the aftermath of Gaza, an obscure San Francisco-based left-wing protest group called Jewish Voice for Peace was rapidly propelled by the force of events into becoming a national organization, and late in 2010 it announced the formation of a “Rabbinical Council” consisting of over 30 rabbis and rabbinical students. Jewish Voice for Peace has proven unique in seriously questioning, when not flatly rejecting, the first principles of Zionism and the American Jewish Establishment.

I attended a recent talk by Beinart at my Brooklyn synagogue, Kolot Chayeinu, which has significant ties to Jewish Voice for Peace. The rabbi, Ellen Lippmann, though not a member of JVP, has been an outspoken leader of the nearly-as-radical Rabbis for Human Rights, and both the congregation’s president and education director are longstanding supporters. The audience for this talk was mostly middle-aged and older, Beinart’s primary audience seeking reassurance in its progressive Zionism. The overwhelming sense was of preserving a spiritual dependence on the State of Israel in an anti-regime form. But this is by no means representative of the cutting edge of progressive American Judaism.

The current student rabbi at Kolot Chayeinu, Scott Fox, described in an earlier interview the mood lamented by Daniel Gordis on his own campus in New York:

Every year around three people try to tackle the conversation about Israel in their senior sermon. All of these people have been appalled at the changes going on in American Jewish identity. The response to their sermons has been weak. Other than that we rarely talk about Israel, if at all, in casual conversation or in class. There is simply little interest in it.

Fox describes himself as a non-Zionist, explaining, “My Judaism is not the Judaism of a political state and certainly has no connection to the modern State of Israel and its culture and history. For me they are not the Jewish state, but a Jewish state. They are Jewish neighbors who share parts of my identity, but not much at that.” Speaking for himself as well as for the wider American Jewish community as documented in sociological surveys, he hastened to add, “This is not fueled by political strife, or compassion fatigue, or self-hatred; it is simply that American Jews have a deep identity and rich history, and Israel does not factor into that identity.” Of the student body at Hebrew Union College, said Fox, “I would say that we are about one third in favor of the above, one third appalled and fighting vehemently against this trend, and one third ambivalent.  Most of the faculty is in the second category, although there are some who are also ambivalent.  Few, if any, are in favor of these changes.”

This, in short, is the specter haunting American Jewry, or at least its self-appointed leadership in the Israel lobby and the American Jewish Establishment. The mere proposition that Judaism is a religion and not a nationality is irrationally feared and despised by this establishment. There are plainly self-interested reasons for this, including but not limited to those of the Israel lobby. The increasing disaffection with Israel and Zionist ideology is colliding with several other trends in American Jewry that would not necessarily be otherwise related. These include dramatically rising rates of intermarriage; the gradual breakdown of denominationalism that has been largely propelled by the atrophy of the Conservative movement and the growth of unaffiliated progressive congregations; and the rapid decline of the suburban base that most Jewish institutions have been designed to serve for the last half-century.

Peter Beinart leaves no doubt that he is painfully aware of these realities that complicate his liberal Zionist ideal in the present day. Shortly after the publication of the original New York Review of Books essay, Ross Douthat identified the unspoken fear behind the piece as being “ that liberal Jews are (very gradually) following the same trajectory as liberal Episcopalians before them, keeping their politics but surrendering their distinctive cultural and religious identity, and that the demise of liberal Zionism says something, not only about the fate of Israel, but about the fate of secular Judaism in the United States.”

Beinart takes this head-on in the concluding chapters of his book. He convincingly disassembles the skepticism of the “alienation thesis” about young American Jews and Israel and explains that for the bulk of the current generation it is exactly what Douthat described: “they are less alienated than indifferent.” But Beinart also describes the rise of a progressive religious movement in the current generation that is decidedly non-Zionist, with some of its standard bearers even deeply involved in anti-Zionist activism through groups like Jewish Voice for Peace. Beinart upbraids this movement:

It is a lovely dream, and an abdication. Even on purely religious grounds…  Jewish liturgy itself, if taken seriously, requires wrestling with what Jews make of their return to the land of Israel. … Acting ethically in an age of Jewish power means confronting not only the suffering that gentiles endure but the suffering that Jews cause. For Jews who espouse liberal principles, indifference to whether the Jewish state remains a democracy constitutes as deep a betrayal of the bonds of peoplehood as indifference to whether there remains a Jewish state at all. Israel cannot be tucked away in the attic, left to degrade while progressive, committed Jews live their religious and ethical ideals in the United States. A disfigured Jewish state will haunt not only American Zionism but American Judaism. And the American Jews who try to avert their eyes will be judged harshly by history, no matter how laudable their soup kitchens and how spirited their prayer.

There is no question that the Zionist legacy will unavoidably haunt any progressive Jewish future in America or anywhere else. But to the contrary, it is the abnormal relationship between American Jewry and Israel, from which a growing number of young rabbis are recoiling, that is in such great measure responsible for the unfolding tragedy. It might be asked in response to Beinart’s challenge: is the rich American Jewish social justice tradition, the legacy of Meyer London, Rose Schneiderman, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwermer really supposed to be reduced to assisting in Washington bureaucratic wrangling on behalf of the loyal opposition of a foreign country, as the closely aligned J Street has essentially asked?

Beinart’s alternative is an idealized liberal Zionist tradition of the civil rights era. But liberal American Judaism in the 1950s and ’60s was ultimately defined less by the civil rights movement than by the garish Scientology-style demands for financial obeisance to the United Jewish Appeal, denounced by a few unbowed anti-Zionist rabbis as a new form of Baal worship. Here is where Beinart’s profound unseriousness comes into view, which many critics detected in his 2006 Cold War liberal-revivalist manifesto The Good Fight. For the historical hero of The Crisis of Zionism, Rabbi Stephen Wise, an arch-defender of the Soviet Union up to his death in 1949, was as antithetical a character to the narrative of the first book as could be asked for.

This abiding ideological commitment, indeed, was largely why, in the years leading up to the founding of the State of Israel, Wise was marginalized by Abba Hillel Silver, a zealot for the first principles of Jewish nationalism who could forge alliances with such unlikely figures as Sen. Robert Taft. Yet after 1948, Silver himself was marginalized for such heterodox opinions as opposing the 1956 Suez War at the expense of the foremost disciple of Stephen Wise, Philip Bernstein, who as a founder of AIPAC set the organization’s belligerent and maximalist tone from the beginning. Indeed, one suspects that if they were alive today, Wise would be with the neocons and Silver with J Street.

This history betrays much of the wishful thinking in Beinart’s narrative, undermining his distinction between the “historically liberal” American Jewish Congress and Anti-Defamation League with the “non-liberal” AIPAC and American Jewish Committee. One of the “exiles” from the American Jewish Establishment Beinart profiles is Philip Klutznick, who was roundly ostracized for advocating a two-state solution (to the point of writing in defense of AIPAC “scalping” victim Sen. Charles Percy) in the 1970s, but in 1960 was one of the critical operatives who thwarted a proactive stand on the Palestinian refugee problem by candidate John F. Kennedy. In the words of the great philosopher of our generation, Homer Simpson, “Everything’s perfect about the past except how it led to the present.”

To be clear, the Israeli predicament is a tragedy of epic proportions. When Beinart and other more conscientious progressive Zionists speak of a genuine two-state solution based on the 1949 armistice line, they speak of what Israel should have accepted in the 1950s. Even for a moment in the 1990s, a two-state solution on Israel’s terms could have come off, with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat the only men with even a prayer of being able to sell such a deal to their respective peoples. But through it all has been the fatal conceit that Israel could not simply be a nation-state unto itself but must define itself as the possession and representative of the whole transnational “Jewish people.” Ultimately, one senses that Beinart and many of those he speaks for are more interested in saving Zionism for themselves than in saving Israel as a Jewish state.

Whether or not they have the literary talent, and even the haziest historical knowledge, to articulate it, both the indifferent and assimilating majority and the religiously committed progressive minority of the rising American Jewish generation understand that this historic American Jewish idolatry of the State of Israel has been the problem, not the solution. What they seek from the State of Israel is, as Yitzhak Rabin might have said, a divorce, not a marriage.

In offering a romance for the left-liberal-tinged American Zionism of the early statehood era, Peter Beinart repeats and indeed celebrates the refusal to make the choice that it is in all likelihood far too late to make now: whether to content itself to be a normal nation-state, even a “Jewish” one, or to insist that it is still the possession and representative of an imagined transnational entity, of which the other major component is one of the most politically powerful socio-cultural groups in the world’s sole superpower.

This post first appeared on antiwar.com yesterday.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Media, Neocons, US Politics

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

  1. Terryscott says:

    Ross makes some excellent points–but I think he’s wrong to call the majority “assimilating and indifferent.” Ross lives in a white Jewish leftist ghetto in Brooklyn and attends the most left-wing synagogue in America. His ability to be the spokesman for his Pepsi generation is suspect.

  2. Pixel says:

    This is a tremendous piece. Thanks for including it.

    Beinart plays an important role in moving the conversation from one point to the next.

  3. Nevada Ned says:

    Jewish critics like Beinart are important now, but much more important and much earlier were Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein. Not that they’re getting any recognition.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Beinart “Jews will abuse power just as hideously as anyone else. ” Will? Has been and continues to.

    Phil: “It is largely for this very reason that Beinart’s exposure of this establishment has provoked yet unprecedented hysteria from the famously hysterical neoconservative movement.”

    I find this to be an absurd statement. Phil do you actually believe that the goyim have not been discussing this issue based on facts and have not been banging on our Reps doors in regard to this critical issue? The majority of folks in the Jewish community have clearly had their heads in the sand because of many reasons but don’t kid yourself that Beinart has exposed this establishment. Conversations, lobbying, petitions etc with our Reps about this issue have been going on for decades. Now go ahead and say Beinart has clearly assisted in helping the Jewish community face this issue. But claiming that he has “exposed” this community as if this is a first is absurd

    • American says:

      But claiming that he has “exposed” this community as if this is a first is absurd”

      I agree, people of conscience and true patriots exposed the Israel fetish in US government long ago. That those truth tellers and danger warners haven’t been able to eradicate it is proof of the total corruption of our political system.
      Beinart’ s problem and others like him is they assume they, the Jews, will or can do something about it….the way they approach it, as being under the control of the Jews is another indication of their tribalism. The Jewish community won’t change I/P or the US-Isr problem….they can’t turn fast enough, they are 63 years into the Jewish/Israel favored status quo. At the pace Israel is moving, by the time, if they ever do, catch up with reality and the non Jewish world re Israel, it will already be over….some zionist or Israeli event will have changed it whether they or we are ready for it or not. Pessimistic?…yes…but political reality.

      • Mooser says:

        Beinart seems intent on avoiding the very crux of the biscuit. There is no more Jewish community. There is only Zionism, and Judaism is its handmaiden, its whore, and its body-guard.
        I think that would be harder for Beinart to face than any exposure of Israeli crimes, he would have to face the fact that the relation of Jew-to-Jew is no different than the relations of Jews to Gentiles.

        Until Beinart (and others) must face that fact, that Zionism is not a subsidiary of Judaism, but that Judaism is a wholly-owned property of Zionism which would have to completely and wholly re-invent and re-organise itself without Zionism’s support. Oh well, who ever thought that cute little Golden Calf, which many people claimed had the potential to grow into a red heifer, would grow up to be such a monster.

        Progressive Zionism can solve these problems. Well, it has a much better chance than regressive Zionism, wouldn’t you say?

        • Mooser says:

          I believe the correct technical term for what Zionism did to Judaism is “a bust-out”. Another good parallel would be a ‘vulture-capital’ firm’s actions.
          Much easier to believe that Zionism went wrong than it is to believe we bought a golden red heifer in a poke. That would mean admitting that the Holocaust actually hurt us.

        • hophmi says:

          “Until Beinart (and others) must face that fact, that Zionism is not a subsidiary of Judaism, but that Judaism is a wholly-owned property of Zionism which would have to completely and wholly re-invent and re-organise itself without Zionism’s support. Oh well, who ever thought that cute little Golden Calf, which many people claimed had the potential to grow into a red heifer, would grow up to be such a monster.”

          Spoken like someone who spends a lot of time obsessing over Zionism, and knows next to nothing about Judaism.

        • Mooser says:

          “Spoken like someone who spends a lot of time obsessing over Zionism, and knows next to nothing about Judaism.”

          Hophmi, you do not have the slightest understanding of Progressive Zionism. But don’t worry, you can switch over from regressive Zionism any time you want.

        • Hostage says:

          Spoken like someone who spends a lot of time obsessing over Zionism, and knows next to nothing about Judaism.

          In fact you speak like someone who knows nothing about Judaism. Paranoia and dislike of Gentiles is likened to idolatry in Jewish literature. According to the Talmudic legends in Yoma and Gittin, hatred without a cause had become endemic in the Jewish religious community and it led to the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the exile, e.g. Yoma 9b says:

          But why was the second Sanctuary destroyed, seeing that in its time they were occupying themselves with Torah, [observance of] precepts, and the practice of charity? Because therein prevailed hatred without cause. That teaches you that groundless hatred is considered as of even gravity with the three sins of idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed together.

          [pdf] link to halakhah.com

          Shulchan Aruch Orech Chayim sec. 580 lists dates on the Jewish Calendar on which tragic events occurred. It’s traditional for a religious person to fast on those days. The last date on the list is the 9th of Adar, when the dispute between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel over the 18 ordinances took place. The followers of Rabbi Shammai, subsequently managed to murder enough of the followers of Rabbi Hillel to secure a majority in favor of implementing the ordinances. Shabbat 17a says that day was as grievous to Israel as the day when the golden calf was made. link to halakhah.com

          Then as now, some idiots created a controversy by insisting that the Jews accept as law the idea that we should have nothing to do with Gentiles and cannot co-exist with them. Here is how the Jewish Encyclopedia describes the situation:

          As all the nations around Judea made common cause with the Romans, the Zealots were naturally inflamed against every one of them; and therefore the Shammaites proposed to prevent all communication between Jew and Gentile, by prohibiting the Jews from buying any article of food or drink from their heathen neighbors. The Hillelites, still moderate in their religious and political views, would not agree to such sharply defined exclusiveness; but when the Sanhedrin was called together to consider the propriety of such measures, the Shammaites, with the aid of the Zealots, gained the day. Eleazar ben Ananias invited the disciples of both schools to meet at his house. Armed men were stationed at the door, and instructed to permit every one to enter, but no one to leave. During the discussions that were carried on under these circumstances, many Hillelites are said to have been killed; and there and then the remainder adopted the restrictive propositions of the Shammaites, known in the Talmud as “The Eighteen Articles.” On account of the violence which attended those enactments, and because of the radicalism of the enactments themselves, the day on which the Shammaites thus triumphed over the Hillelites was thereafter regarded as a day of misfortune (Tosef., Shab. i. 16 et seq.; Shab. 13a, 17a; Yer. Shab. i. 3c).

          link to jewishencyclopedia.com

          So it’s you, not Mooser, who needs to get some clue. Judaism has nearly destroyed itself over ts flirtations with racism and xenophobia and Zionism is another such disaster.

        • American says:

          Beinart seems intent on avoiding the very crux of the biscuit. There is no more Jewish community. There is only Zionism, and Judaism is its handmaiden, its whore, and its body-guard.”..Mooser

          I think that is deadly accurate…..Israel and zionism have replaced Judaism and corrupted whatever better traditions of Jewishness that existed by “organizing” them for Israel.

        • “There is no more Jewish community.” American and Mooser.

          Maybe. But there are Jewish communities, Jews who gather in order to Jew ( a verb- meaning to do Jewish things- Like say the Shma, read the Torah and pray to God. To say kiddush on wine and light candles and celebrate the Jewish holidays.) The numbers are decreasing but there are Jewish communities.

      • pabelmont says:

        Beinert is not trying to convert BIG-ZION, he is talking to Jewish people. Big difference.

        I think it is not important whether or not “the Jewish community” (is there one? or two? or many?) cares to defend Israel — come what may — or not. WATCH THE MONEY: if AIPAC and BIG-ZION want to continue their wonderful game, they’ve got the money and it would take a tsunami among Jews — maybe 90% pro-Palestinian and anti Greater Israel — to get Congress to care more about a few votes than about a lot of money.

      • Hostage says:

        At the core of the tragedy lies the refusal to accept that in both America and Israel, we live in an age not of Jewish weakness, but of Jewish power

        According to some who departed the faith, that failure is what makes history so “Jewish”:

        One Jew said to another “I was too weak”. This saying could serve as a motto for a book on the history of Judaism. — Heinrich Heine

        • Hey Hostage. Are you going to reply to my comment yesterday on the ‘Ben Gurion expulsion’ thread?

        • Hostage says:

          Hey Hostage. Are you going to reply to my comment yesterday on the ‘Ben Gurion expulsion’ thread?

          I haven’t seen it. In any event, I usually decide which things are interesting enough to comment about on my own. That’s a pretty stale thread thanks to your on-going efforts to beat dead horses.

        • The thread was not stale and I don’t beat dead horses. It’s more likely that you ran out of steam.
          BTW. I’m now reading Barbara Smith’s book. H.M.G.’s mismanagement of the Mandate of Palestine WAS appalling.

      • Hey American. Who WAS responsible for the anthrax attacks? You said you’d tell us.

    • libra says:

      “It is largely for this very reason that Beinart’s exposure of this establishment has provoked yet unprecedented hysteria from the famously hysterical neoconservative movement.”

      Kathleen, these are Jack Ross’s words not Phil’s. But perhaps the key point is that Beinart is a Jewish commentator openly discussing this in a book. That crosses a line, possibly because it’s harder to play the anti-semitism card.

      But as regards Phil, he has written of Jewish American power on Mondoweiss in a similarly honest fashion as Beinart. But curiously he was less than honest in his letter to the Methodists, choosing instead to portray American Jews as victims. Why did he stay his hand? Only he can answer but I’m not sure Phil has been quite the same since his dinner party in Connecticut.

    • Kathleen says:

      oops Jack Ross“It is largely for this very reason that Beinart’s exposure of this establishment has provoked yet unprecedented hysteria from the famously hysterical neoconservative movement.”

      I find this to be an absurd statement. Phil do you actually believe that the goyim have not been discussing this issue based on facts and have not been banging on our Reps doors in regard to this critical issue? The majority of folks in the Jewish community have clearly had their heads in the sand because of many reasons but don’t kid yourself that Beinart has exposed this establishment. Conversations, lobbying, petitions etc with our Reps about this issue have been going on for decades. Now go ahead and say Beinart has clearly assisted in helping the Jewish community face this issue. But claiming that he has “exposed” this community as if this is a first is absurd

      • hophmi says:

        When in doubt, just post twice. It’s Jack Ross’s statement, not Phil’s, and once again, no one has impugned the holy activism of non-Jews, Kathleen.

        • Cliff says:

          Actually, people like you impugn on the activism of non-Jews and Jews alike when it comes to Israel. Of course, if it’s pro-Palestinian politically speaking or more accurately, pro-human rights/pro-common sense – then you will change the subject to X/Y/Z country and harangue the activist for being an activist on the issue you care the most about.

      • Mooser says:

        “Phil do you actually believe that the goyim have not been discussing this issue based on facts and have not been banging on our Reps doors in regard to this critical issue(?)

        But Kathleen, if progressive Zionists aren’t leading this effort, how could it possibly be effective, or not spin off into anti-Semitism.
        After all, what non-Jewish organisations have the altruistic, ethical, and organisational experience, along with the intellectual tradition and 2500 years of experience?
        I mean, can’t you tell from the way the Zionists altruistically saved all those Jews from Hitler and made the desert bloom proves that….. oh crap, I’ll get back to you when the paint dries and I can get out of this corner.

    • Citizen says:

      Truman privately noted in 1948 that the unterhund Zionist Jews had become uberhund. He noted too in disgust that they really were in that sense just another group of humans illustrating what happens when a group gets power. I think he was put out when that Zionist rabbi pounded his fist on the oval office desk…made him think of something else other than the fundy bible passages he had read countless times growing up and the fact the Zionists had him by the balls, threatening to put their power behind Dewey if Truman did not go along with the Zionist program.

  5. pabelmont says:

    Fabulous essay! One particularly noteworthy (but problematic) point:

    [the neocons], in fact, are the true self-hating Jews, with their pathological hatred of any expression of Judaism’s traditions of social justice and other affronts to the Spartan virtues. In short, he has said everything about the American Jewish Establishment for which Pat Buchanan and Norman Finkelstein were so brutally vilified in years past.

    This seems to suggest that there is only one Judaism, but there are many.

    If I were religious and affiliated with a Jewish community, I’d want to find one devoted to “social justice” rather than to “Spartan values”. A group like the Quakers. (“Some of my best Friends are Jews.”) But both sorts of groups exist, both sorts of religious beliefs, and both are real and both are Jewish, strange as that may seem. (Same way, the Christian “community” embraces “social justice” and peace enthusiasts — but also pro-Israel doomsday enthusiasts of the “inerrant Bible” (and its inerrant interpreters one wishes to add, maybe a bit snidely and unnecessarily).

    • yourstruly says:

      up until ww ii the social justice wing of judaism dominated in america, which is why jack ross’s “the neocons, in fact, are the true self-hating jews, with their pathological hatred of any expression of judaism’s traditions of social justice and other affronts to the spartan virtues” rings true. not only true but a useful concept in the push against these neocon israel firsters, because tagging them with the antisemitic label and making it stick means that in their attempts to intimidate nonzionists into silence on the subject of i/p they won’t get away with playing the antisemitic card, because if they do the accused can throw the card right back at them. not to forget that the neocons are antisemitic for another reason, which is that since israel insists that it speaks for world jewry, it’s brutal treatment of the palestinian people endangers jews everywhere, not to mention all life on earth.

      • Citizen says:

        yep, yourstruly, the point MJ Rosenberg said a few days ago here on another thread–the one regarding Phil’s evening in the cabin in the woods of ivied Harvard.

        • yourstruly says:

          there are a few people, myself included, who’ve been saying this for at least 30 years, but until recently it’s been like when a tree falls and nobody’s around, is there a noise? and credit the internet for this widening of the discourse.

  6. American says:

    “American Judaism, in the main, does not regard itself as a religion in the sense that the term is understood in the modern world. American Jews, in this discourse, are less a religious community than a polity. All of the major denominations of American Judaism are affiliated with the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, which regards itself as the governing body of the whole American community and has essentially no other purpose than to advocate for the State of Israel. Said “community,” in turn, is regarded to be nothing more than an appendage of the transnational polity called “the Jewish people” of which, according to the official ideology of the State of Israel, it is the collectively held possession as opposed to a state of all its citizens.”

    And that is the problem. They either don’t see or don’t care that the zionist are living up to every old canard about Jews. …they are acting as the old’ nation within a nation’ in the US…as a ‘political body’ for a foreign nation within the US nation.
    I don’t know why more of the Jewish community doesn’t get how this US zionist cult in our government and the Jews by implication/extension are viewed by non Jewish Americans as detrimental to this country.
    This is why I am so dismissive of all the Jew hater claims. Actual Jew haters are so
    minuscule they are immaterial in the US. But the resentment Israel and the Israel firsters create in the US is valid. Most of the Jewish discussions I see, as in Beinarts, are as if there was no non Jewish world looking at what the zionist and Israel are doing, as if what the wider world thinks of their actions and attitudes isn’t going to affect them sooner or later.

    The World Jewish “Congress’, all the “Global Jewish World Political entities”, the Jewish Conference of ‘Presidents’, all the Jewish People World Governments….all so bizarre, so canard like. It’s like some weird alien race thinking they can operate the world to their benefit from some Zionist space ship station in the sky thru remote control of the earthly Jews.

    • yourstruly says:

      yes, it’s almost unbelievable that at a time when antisemitism is almost nonexistent, demonic zionism cast its spell on the body politic. then when the backlash to zionism occurs zionists label it antisemitic. of course they can only get away with this if the public accepts their equating zionism with judaism, but, alas, so far seems the public is doing just that, which is why internet sites such as mw & organizations such as jvp are so important. hopefully there’s enough time left for us to turn things around.

  7. rensanceman says:

    The debate created by Beinert’s work is essentially about the values inherent in Judaism vs. the values and goals of (colonial) Zionism. The former provides a prescription in living a spiritual and moral life to achieve a better world for all, versus the Zionist goal of ruthlessly gaining ownership of all of Palestine without too much regard for lives of others who are not Jewish ( non-Ashkanazi rather) while suspending any ethical or moral codes that may apply.
    The ethical dilemma faced by young Jews who study Torah and Talmudic teachings must be great when they see on U-tube scenes of families being evicted in the dead of night with settlers moving into their hones at day break, or of a little boy begging IDF soldiers not to arrest his Dad for ‘stealing’ water from his own spring, not to mention Operation Cast Lead. And all this being done by the most “moral army” in the world.

    The moral chasm is too great to reconcile by today’s generation and it will widen with time. After the fading away of the likes of Livni, Bibi, Peres, and Liberman, key us hope that the next generations will be less Masada-minded and more willing to join the world community.

    • yourstruly says:

      with a nuclear war* on the horizon the world community can’t afford to wait until the fading away of the likes of livni et all.

      *two of em, one in the mideast, the other in asia between india and pakistan

  8. hophmi says:

    Yes, it all looks absurd if you have no knowledge of history and seek to apply a special standard to Jews that you don’t apply to others. If, however, you do have a knowledge of the past, it is not at all surprising that Jews, for whom persecution knew no national borders, would seek to unite amongst themselves.

    The Muslims certainly do it, though organizations like the OIC. The Arabs certainly do it, through organizations like the Arab League. The Catholics certainly do it through the Catholic Church. All of these bodies represent numbers that are several dozens times the size of the worldwide Jewish community.

    Why is it so surprising that Jews would seek to unite for common causes?

    • MarkF says:

      “The Catholics certainly do it through the Catholic Church.”

      Which is what, about 80% Catholic?

      Dude, we’re being asked to support settlements. Is that what you want to unite around? We’re being asked to unite around a state that you’re not willing to live in – unless the going gets pretty rough around here.

      The govt. of the United States forks over 3+ billion a year to the entity we want to unite around. Last I checked, the Catholic church can support itself. Are we incapable of supporting a piece of land the size of New Jersey without help from a nation whose makeup is over 90% Christian? Really?

      I guess you can feel proud of that. Me personally, I’m kind of surprised…..

      • hophmi says:

        The WJC and bodies like it are not asking you to support settlements. Israel is not the only cause the Conference of Presidents addresses, or, for that matter, the Board of Deputies in Great Britain.

        Jack Ross seems to believe that by virtue of forming umbrella organizations that purport to speak for the Jewish community, we are a polity more than we are a religion, but other religious groups who do so seemingly are not. Jack wrote that “American Judaism, in the main, does not regard itself as a religion in the sense that the term is understood in the modern world” because everyone belongs to the Conference of Presidents, ie, we have umbrella orgs that purport to speak for us. One commentator here wrote that organizations like the WJC play into anti-Jewish stereotypes.

        I’m asking: How is that any difference from what other faiths do? The Catholic Church purports to speak for Catholics, and they definitely take political positions. Muslims have several national organizations from CAIR to ISNA to many in between that purport to speak for them. Yes, we have international organizations too.

        So do Catholics and Muslims and people of other faiths. So why does an international Jewish organization give rise to canards about Jewish influence, but an international Catholic organization like the Church, which is far, far more powerful, escape scrutiny here?

        • Cliff says:

          hophmi said:

          [...]an international Catholic organization like the Church, which is far, far more powerful, escape scrutiny here?

          Really? That’s what is being said here in some variation?

          This is your only argument – in one form or another – against MW, in it’s entirety (and in defense of Israel and Zionism, and your own pathology).

          Go outside, get some sun-light, get a hobby, get a girlfriend, get a life. You’re such a predictable, cartoon villain come-to-life.

        • hophmi says:

          Jack Ross writes that the American Jewish community is more of a polity than a religion because it has an umbrella org that is comprised of all of the major denominations. Another writer here, American, says, orgs like the World Jewish Congress, play into antisemitic stereotypes.

          There seems to be an implicit rejection here of the right of Jews to organize themselves and define themselves.

          Jews ARE permitted to act collectively as both a religious group and as a political one. They have defined themselves as such for a long time. That does not negate their ability to be citizens of other nations any more than it does Catholics who follow the church or Muslims who believe in an Ummah.

          The fact that Catholics and Muslims organize themselves nationally and internationally should show that doing so has nothing to do with victimhood.

        • piotr says:

          “Settlements” is a package of policies that oppress and dispossess Palestinians in West Bank and East Jerusalem, the most grotesque project ever defended by United States. And as long as USA blocks any attempts of to temper Israeli policies they will be increasingly more severe. And all main Jewish organizations in USA vehemently oppose even tiniest steps that would nudge, even very slightly, Israel away from the policies of moral, humanitarian and eventually, political disaster.

          The letter of 1200 rabbis to the congress of Methodist Church is but one example. We know about pandemonium that erupted when Obama tried to put life into peace process and get the freeze of settlements. Needless to say, main Jewish organizations supported it fully, and thus they are on the record as anti-peace and pro-settlement. These policies continue.

          There is not talking point of Israel hasbarah machine that would be to brazen or too immoral not to be parroted by main Jewish organization and bulk of rabbis in USA. My favorite was that during Cast Lead IDF had historically unprecedented effort to avoid innocent casualties. They behaved better than Janjaweed in Darfur! Isn’t IDF adorable?

        • Mooser says:

          “Jews ARE permitted to act collectively as both a religious group and as a political one.”

          “Collectively” ? Hophmi, would you please describe for us the mechanism through which the consensus needed for “collective” action is arrived at in the Jewish community? Is it a plebiscite? Or do individual congregations elect representatives to a central Congress or other ruling body who them hammer out a “collective” statement which is ratified by process? Or is it more of a spiritual thing, where one guy, like a sort of Jewish Pope, is deemed to be in touch with God, and capable of interpreting and explicating His orders, which are then taken as “collective” by Jews.

          Please, Hophmi, describe the process that makes any decisions or actions taken by Jews purporting to represent all Jews “collective”?
          Or do you not know what “collective” means, unless it means “whatever Hophmi wants it to mean”.
          At any rate, that you think Judaism and Communism are pretty much the same is pretty obvious, you Commie! Stalin had the same ideas about “collective” decisions as you do.

        • Mooser says:

          “The fact that Catholics and Muslims organize themselves nationally and internationally should show that doing so has nothing to do with victimhood.”

          So you are saying that Catholics and Muslims “organize themselves nationally and internationally” to steal countries, defy the UN, and dispossess and murder another people? Examples, please?

        • piotr says:

          Mooser, I do not understand you Bourgeois preoccupation with “well defined procedures”. What is important is to establish the true will of the People, and the way to do it is not to go through some rigmarole but to rely on avantgarde that flexibly organizes itself as the situation requires. Then masses join with joy (some nudging may be required) with notable exception of backward and/or degenerate elements or those who obstinately exhibit false consciousness.

          I will try to translate words of a poet:

          an individual is nothing, and individual is nonsense,
          even a great personage cannot lift 5-inch-thick log
          the Party is like a palm with million fingers
          clenched into one powerful fist

        • Citizen says:

          hophmi, nobody here or anywhere needs to support the ways any group, such as the Jews, define themselves and act accordingly, but all groups are defined by their actions and omissions, and by the verbiage and logic of how they justify same. X’s rights 2 self-govern end where Y’s rights begin. You need to study up on the Nuremberg Trials and the international agencies that sprang up after those trials as progeny of them and the principles they stand for today, principles not often agreed on prior thereto in human history.

    • Mooser says:

      “Why is it so surprising that Jews would seek to unite for common causes?”

      Like stealing from the Palestinians, double-crossing our friends, and brain-washing young Jews?
      But look, don’t get discouraged, Hoffie. When you get even a significant fraction of the Jews to “unite for common causes” we can consider where we go from there.

      • hophmi says:

        No, like protecting themselves from persecution.

        How about you answer the question, Mooser? Are Jews allowed to unite to protect themselves from persecution?

        • Mooser says:

          “Are Jews allowed to unite to protect themselves from persecution?”

          Gee, I see it as a gang of settlers intent on protecting their ill-gotten gains and intent on getting more, and you see it as “protect(ing) themselves from persecution”
          Gosh, I wonder why we have such a different viewpoint? But of course, I live in the United States. I haven’t made aliyah to Israel and given up my US citizenship, like Hophmi has.

        • Mooser says:

          “Are Jews allowed to unite to protect themselves from persecution?”

          Wow! I didn’t know you were made of such stern stuff Hophmi! So you and the other guys in the squad, whoops, I mean minyan drill together, practice marksmanship, handle explosives and timers, stockpile explosives, ammunition and weapons, and go on long forced marches to toughen yourselves? Of course you also beat or even kill a laggard once in a while to keep discipline up, and use orders to administer beatings or killings as a way of testing the motivation, and skills of newcomers to your self-defense group. Wait a minute, I know, you could call it the Jewish Defense League! Catchy, no?

          Or do you just watch “Inglorious Basterds” over and over until you have a spontaneous and premature Ziocaine ejaculation?

          Yeah, your a regular Meir Kahane, Hophmi. A fust-cless defender of the Jewish race. But as a twerp, you have very few peers, I’ll give you that.

        • Dutch says:

          ‘Are Jews allowed to unite to protect themselves from persecution?’

          Is that behind the Green Line? Because on the Westbank the Palestinians try to unite to protect themselves from persecution. Would you say they have the same rights as Jews in doing so?

        • Mooser says:

          Dutch, Hophmi belongs to a much tougher set of Jews than I did. You should see them out on the Temple grounds, practicing close-order drill, simulating bayonet charges, and practicing with machine guns and hand-grenades. Not to mention, when the time comes, he apparently knows of ways for the “Jewish Community” to compel its members to participate in Jewish self-defense, pay the parents or wives of the fallen, or care for the wounded.

        • Mooser says:

          “Are Jews allowed to unite to protect themselves from persecution?”

          Which persecution do we need to “unite” to protect ourselves from, Hophmi? The PRs and Schwartzes moving into “our” commmunities?
          Whoopee! Every Jew a George Zimmerman!

        • Dutch says:

          I realize that, Mooser, nevertheless I’d appreciate his answer. Let him say it.

        • Mooser says:

          I never realised before how dedicated Hophmi is! He wants to form Jewish self-defense malitias. Every synagogue basement filled to the brim with ammo, guns and explosives. Sure, it’s against all the laws of the United States, having a religious private army, but what the heck.
          Yeah, a Jewish IRA! That’s exactly what we need.

        • Rizla says:

          Mr. Hophmi, who decides when it’s persecution, and not a persecution complex?

          Persecution: “To harrass, afflict, hunt down, or put to death, esp. for religious or political opinions.” Can anyone look at the I/P situation and see that happening, to the state of Israel? I don’t see it. To the contrary, the slightest critique of Israel brings a mob of angry hasbara voices out of the woodwork, anywhere in the world. There’s software and handbooks to help them do it.

          Allowed to? Of course they’re “allowed to”, the Israelis have gone their own direction for decades, seemingly unconcerned with the opinion of the goyim. Assuming that goyim and diaspora Jews in the US will forever love and support this Unification (in Israel) against (perceived) Persecution is probably asking too much, no?

          And if a certain group of Jews unites, and another group disagrees, who decides which is the authentic group?

        • yourstruly says:

          unite to protect ourselves from persecution by taking over palestinine, ethnic cleansing its indigenous people, the palestinians, laying siege to and repeatedly going to war against a million & a half of them in the tiny coastal strip gaza, a war that won’t end this side of genocide? oh, i forgot, palestinians deserve this because there was once this mufti from jerusalem?

        • Mooser says:

          “You should see them out on the Temple grounds, practicing close-order drill, simulating bayonet charges, and practicing with machine guns and hand-grenades. ”

          What are saying here Mooser? Jews practicing close order drill, etc. on the Temple Mount? Near Al-aksa? Huh?

        • What are you saying here, Mooser? George Zimmerman is Jewish? Huh.

        • why bring up zimmerman? why not the brothers Eliyahu and Avi Werdesheim with Shomrim, the Orthodox Jewish watch group?

          Eliyahu cut out several facts about the incident and about his background as a member of the special forces for the Israeli Army.

          link to baltimore.cbslocal.com

        • hophmi says:

          Yay Annie! You found a story about a Jew who beat up a black guy! Yay! I mean, apparently, the victim does not even want to testify, but who cares? Jew beats up black guy, I’ve got to post it because it makes the Jews look bad. Yay for Annie!

        • Citizen says:

          hophmi, are Palestinians allowed to unite to protect themselves from persecution? Is that what the Bush Jr regime did when it invaded Iraq?

        • nice try hophmi, i didn’t bring up this topic. i just didn’t see how zimmerman was really germane to the conversation so i don’t know why pz mentioned him (perhaps because, according to you..it sounds like Jew who beat up a black guy? go after pz, not me). just because he has a jewish sounding name? is zimmerman even jewish? whereas the Werdesheim thug brothers were part of an orthodox ‘watch’ group (except it sounds like stalking thuggery coupled with violence/bad combo). so i thought heck, if that’s the direction y’all want to drag the topic might as well have the perps (fanatical violent religious nutjobs) match the kinda crime we’re addressing.

          and what do you mean i found a story. it’s not exactly a secret, now is it. there is a trial going on regardless of the fact the kid, who i think landed in the hospital, is too afraid to testify. even the brothers legal defense thought of using the publicity from Trayvon Martin to have the venue changed.

          link to baltimoresun.com

          Avi and Eliyahu Werdesheim, Jewish brothers accused of beating a black teen while guarding their Park Heights neighborhood, withdrew a request to change the court venue Tuesday and elected to move forward with a Baltimore trial by judge, waiving their right to be heard by a jury of their peers.

          They had previously complained that media coverage of their case, coupled with comparisons to the Florida shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was gunned down by a zealous neighborhood watch captain, made it impossible to impanel a fair jury in the city.

          and why would they be waiving their right to be heard by a jury of their peers? i wonder why someone would do that?

          anyway, i thought of it because i remembered when i first heard of the story i recalled one of the brothers had been in the iof, and this reminded me of the JDL. so it was on topic, like zimmerman is not.

        • Hostage says:

          Jew beats up black guy, I’ve got to post it because it makes the Jews look bad.

          Hophmi, when I supplied verbatim quotes from the Talmud, Rashi’s commentaries, and the Jewish Encyclopedia on Orthodox Judaism’s historical beliefs about Gentiles, you accused me of trying to make Judaism look bad. Then you tried to conceal or downplay the fact that the national religious parties in Israel and many of Israel’s citizens still publicly endorse those beliefs as a fundamental doctrine – as do many of the Chabad-Lubavitchers and Kahanists who hang out here in the MW comment section. Half of Israel’s high school students don’t even believe in equal rights for Gentile citizens.
          link to haaretz.com

          If Annie were trying to catalog all of the derogatory articles that Israelis have published about “Kushis”, she wouldn’t have time for anything else and you wouldn’t be able to deflect and dissemble fast enough.

          Despite the fact that Israel is a signatory of the Refugee Convention it has ignored the prohibitions on refoulment and deported or turned-back African refugees. In the worst cases that practice has resulted in the deaths of people seeking asylum. The government’s media echo chamber has carried-on a campaign against the refugees claiming they’re merely economic migrants who are threatening the Jewish character of the State. In response, the government has constructed a large concentration camp in the Negev desert and adopted an “infiltration” law which authorized indefinite detention without any hearings or trials where asylum seekers could present evidence to challenge the government’s claims.
          link to independent.co.uk
          link to haaretz.com
          Is Israel a Safe Haven?
          link to tau.ac.il

          Just the other day the former head of Shin Bet noted that Israel has become more racist and intolerant of foreigners in the last 10-15 years.
          link to haaretz.com

          Here is a bit of another Haaretz article, titled “Kahane Won”:

          Rabbi Meir Kahane can rest in peace: His doctrine has won. Twenty years after his Knesset list was disqualified and 18 years after he was murdered, Kahanism has become legitimate in public discourse. If there is something that typifies Israel’s current murky, hollow election campaign, which ends the day after tomorrow, it is the transformation of racism and nationalism into accepted values.

          If Kahane were alive and running for the 18th Knesset, not only would his list not be banned, it would win many votes, as Yisrael Beiteinu is expected to do. The prohibited has become permitted, the ostracized is now accepted, the destestable has become the talented – that’s the slippery slope down which Israeli society has skidded over the past two decades.

          There’s no need to refer to Haaretz’s startling revelation that Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman was a member of Kahane’s Kach party in his youth: This campaign’s dark horse was and is a Kahanist. The differences between Kach and Yisrael Beiteinu are minuscule, not fundamental and certainly not a matter of morality.

          link to haaretz.com

          So Israeli politicians and political commentators agree that the level of racism and hatred of foreigners has gotten out of hand and something needs to be done about it.

        • Antidote says:

          Well put, Dutch.

          hophmi says: “it all looks absurd if you have no knowledge of history and seek to apply a special standard to Jews that you don’t apply to others.”

          it’s just as absurd to not take into account the history of other people and not grant them the “special standard” you apply to Jews. It’s not that difficult to wrap your head around this, is it, hophmi? You think Jews are the only people with a history of oppression and persecution? Apparently you do not have any knowledge of history other than Jewish history, or more precisely: Jewish victimhood

        • hophmi says:

          “You think Jews are the only people with a history of oppression and persecution?”

          Not at all. Is that an argument?

    • Mooser says:

      “if you have no knowledge of history”

      If there’s one thing you got plenty of, Hophmi, it that good ol’ hysterical memory.
      Help, the Gentiles are coming! One if by land, two if by intermarriage.

  9. Mooser says:

    “The Muslims certainly do it, though organizations like the OIC. The Arabs certainly do it, through organizations like the Arab League. The Catholics certainly do it through the Catholic Church. All of these bodies represent numbers that are several dozens times the size of the worldwide Jewish community”

    Absurd and bigoted. But of course, from your completely provincial point-of-view, it probably makes some kind of sense. So, how many UN Resolutions is the Catholic Church in violation of?

    • Mooser says:

      And of course, Hophmi’s remark about the Catholic Church begs for the question: “and how many Divisions does the Pope have?”
      And, BTW, how many undeclared nuclear weapons does the Catholic Church have?

      • hophmi says:

        I’m not aware of any held by the World Jewish Congress.

        • Hostage says:

          I’m not aware of any held by the World Jewish Congress.

          The WJC was established on the principle of “the unity of the Jewish people” and they constantly prattle-on in their propaganda about Israel being “the nation state of the Jewish people”. Here is a video where the Secretary General of the WJC explains efforts to garner diplomatic support for the State of Israel against the Palestinian bid for UN recognition. He complains that President Abbas will never recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and says that real question is how Jews view their own history, and their own capital, Jerusalem, and their own nation state, the state of Israel. He encourages Jews to step up to the plate and say this is my history, my country, and my destiny. @ 2:30 link to worldjewishcongress.org

          The WJC President also writes Op-Eds on Israel’s military assets and the strategy he would like the government of Israel to pursue with its fleet of submarines. link to worldjewishcongress.org

          The WJC delegation from the nation state of the Jews has hundreds of nuclear weapons.

        • hophmi says:

          “The WJC delegation from the nation state of the Jews has hundreds of nuclear weapons”

          LOL. Your attempts to prove your point never fail to amaze me, Hostage.

        • Hostage says:

          LOL. Your attempts to prove your point never fail to amaze me, Hostage.

          The attempts of the WJC to claim Jerusalem as their capital and Israel as their nation state, while representing every other Jewish community throughout the world never fails to amaze me Hophmi.

    • Rizla says:

      And that world-famous moral army, the Vatican City Defense Force (sic)? And the 16 foot wall around Rome…

  10. Kathleen says:

    Beinart “in an age not of Jewish weakness, but of Jewish power” as if Jews have never had power in their history

    • hophmi says:

      Why don’t you enlighten us, Kathleen, as to what power Jews had before 1948.

      • Mooser says:

        Hophmi, why don’t you tell us what “power” Jews, as Jews, need?

        All I need as a Jew is tolerance for my religious practices. And the same civil protections as anybody else. And any of the things related to religious practice (birth, death, marriage, etc) which impinge on the community will have to be adjusted to community standards just like anybody else does.
        Why do you need more? Cause the women won’t listen to you if there’s someplace else for them to go or any agency which can protect their rights?
        You bet you want Jewish power! How on earth will you compel Jews to do what you say without it? How it must gnaw at you that Jews are no longer second-class or non-citizens, with you as an intermediary between them and the gentile world, and with the Gentiles keeping their noses out of out intra-Jewish business.

      • Keith says:

        HOPHMI- “Why don’t you enlighten us, Kathleen, as to what power Jews had before 1948.”

        My, what a shameless rhetorical gambit. Are you suggesting, Hophmi, that for the last two-thousands years Jews have been powerless? That you are unaware of instances of Jewish power and privilege? That the Jews had it worse than the peasantry? This is nothing but the ongoing Jews as eternal victims ideology of Zionism, disingenuously phrased to put the onus on Kathleen to “prove” that Jews had power historically. If you seriously believe that Jews have been historically powerless before miraculously blossoming in the US (and the USSR), please indicate this so that we will know that you are not challenging Kathleen on a point which you know to be true but see benefit in implying otherwise as a debating tactic.

        • yourstruly says:

          i understand what you’re saying but a quarter century ago i visited the shtetl in southeast poland where my grandparents came from, and, with as many horse draw carts as cars on the road as well as a log cabin still in use, it was apparent to me that the people there were quite poor. and if they’re poor then it’s unlikely there were a great many rich poles (either jewish or christian) back in the late 19th century. some in warsaw and the other big cities, but poland was mostly rural in the 19th century, so whatever power a few elite jews had, it’s unlikely they shared it with their poor brethren. so while coming down on the 1% anywhere & any time is legitimate, isn’t generalizing so as to implicate the 99% in the misdeeds of the 1%, like, overreaching a bit?

      • Citizen says:

        hophmi, it’s arguable, for example, that Jews had more power as a consistent daily event than the serfs and/or peasants in Europe over many centuries.

        • American says:

          In my reading of ‘real’ history..as opposed to the zionist version of Jewish history…..the existence of what is referred to as “Court Jews”…which were basically Jews who were intermediaries or performed services like tax collections and oversaw royal rentals to the serfs and peasants for the Crowns of numerous countries thruout time were far more privileged and better off than the other commoners. Whether this benefited the entire Jewish collective or not is debatable but no doubt the Court Jews did intercede for the Jewish community in some cases. This practice of Court Jews servicing state royalty did lead to resentment of Jews and the establishing of many of the canards about the greed of Jews and etc.. The common serfs on the other hand had no court representatives and where the peasants finally all out revolted against the Crown for being overtaxed and impoverished, the Crown usually responded by expelling the target of their ire, the Jewish ‘representatives’ of the Crown and the Jews along with them to calm the masses revolt and hold onto their crowns. Whether this position of Jews was caused by some restrictions against being land owners or not in some countries it led to commoners to being trapped between tax collecting Court Jews on one hand and Jewish merchants practice of interest on debt making peasants unable to pay for basic needs and eternally in debt on the other hand. Between the two and without any avenue to the Crown for redress by commoners against their impoverishment their revolts were directed against the Jews first, then the Crown. In most cases I read about European rejection of Jews it was the popular masses revolt, not the ruling entity or the Crown that initiated it. There were other cases, as we know, where the religion of the Crown or ruling entity was responsible for the shunning of Jews on religious grounds.
          Jewish wisdom holds this was another historical ‘scapegoating’ of the Jews….but the way it worked in those times was the Crown set a amount to be collected for the Crown and that was what the Court Jews who served in that capacity must provide the Crown, their profit was whatever they could demand or collect over and above that amount. So there was probably both some scapegoating of Jews by the Crowns to deflect their own guilt and some opportunistic greed mongering by the Court Jews.
          You could make the comparison that in some ways the zionist of today resemble the Court Jews of old. They are certainly “extracting” from the common masses for their own benefit while also aiding/servicing and ensuring the ‘Congressional Court’ Rulers who allow them to do this, keep their Court thrones in Congress.

        • Antidote says:

          Book tip (1995 or so) – maybe hophmi should have a look at it

          link to amazon.com

        • Citizen says:

          The Fatal Embrace: Anti-semitism as state-craft, as an institution for power exchange–check out the comments on this book Antidote tips to hophmi: link to amazon.com

      • Hostage says:

        Why don’t you enlighten us, Kathleen, as to what power Jews had before 1948.

        Well the case of Jacob Schiff financing half the Japanese Navy in order to punish Tsarist Russia for its treatment of Jews is a damn good example. There are many others wherein powerful Jewish banking families intervened in political events, including the role of Edmund de Rothschild in soliciting the Balfour Declaration.

        A variety of sources document the involvement of Louis Brandies and Felix Frankfurter in covert political actions during their 45 years on the Supreme Court. link to books.google.com

        The two men had a hand in making changes to the draft of the Balfour Declaration and in securing support for the declaration from President Wilson. Even after the Declaration had been published abroad, the role of the a U.S. Supreme Court Justice in helping to author it was kept secret from the US Secretary of State and the US State Department, e.g. :

        The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain [Telegram] Washington, December 15, 1917, 3 p. m.
        6041. Investigate discreetly and report fully and promptly to
        Department reasons for Balfour’s recent statement relative Jewish state in Palestine. – Lansing

        Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, 1917, Supplement 2, The World War, Part I: The continuation of the war–participation of the United States link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        There were a number of Jewish Kingdoms that the Zionists could have elected to resurrect beside the ones in Palestine, e.g. a Himyarite Jewish Kingdom in Yemen, a Jewish Khazar Kingdom just north of the Caspian Sea, and a Jewish Kingdom of Adiabene just east of the Tigris river in Assyria. Medieval Jewish communitities were self-governing entities, generally allowed by secular rulers to govern themselves according to Jewish law, e.g. Medieval Sourcebook: Ordinance of the Jews of the Crown of Aragon, 1354 CE link to fordham.edu

        • MHughes976 says:

          I would like to think that Jewish people who were in influential positions in previous times, ie had power, thought and acted in the best interests of the groups to which they were affiliated. Thus I suppose that Sir Moses Montefiore worked for the best interests of the British nation and Albert Ballin, the Kaiser’s good friend, for the best interests of the Germans – as well as they could interepret those interests. I assume that our recent UK Foreign Secretaries who are Jewish did their best for this kingdom in international affairs.
          The idea that there is a Jewish Power which Jews actually do – or morally should – serve, regardless of their nationality or proclaimed loyalties, is actually an anti-Semitic idea of some destructive potential.
          Hostage is right enough to say that there were ancient and medieval Jewish kingdoms whose people were presumably as patriotic as anyone else and whose level of morality was, as far as we can see, not too different from anyone else’s. Jewish people are just like other people in morality and just like other people in the human rights that they can claim. So are the Palestinians. No difference at all. No innate superiorities. No innate sub-humanity.

        • hophmi says:

          None of that is power. Power to me is the ability to control your own destiny. That’s what self-determination is all about.

          The ability of Jewish communities to govern themselves during the Middle Ages has nothing to do with power.

          Neither does a Jew with money equal power. Jacob Schiff money could not stop the Kishniev pogrom.

          Power is the ability to control your destiny. Period.

        • Hostage says:

          None of that is power. Power to me is the ability to control your own destiny.

          I cited at least three Jewish Kingdoms that fit that bill of particulars exactly.

        • eljay says:

          >> Power is the ability to control your destiny. Period.

          That is a most excellent argument in favour of Iran and the Palestinians acquiring nuclear deterrent capabilities. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to deny them the power – the ability – to control their destinies. Well said.

        • hophmi says:

          You cited three pre-modern examples that are all controversial pieces of history to begin with; it’s not clear that in any of these situations, Jews were even a majority of the realm.

          The history of the Jews, particularly in Europe, in the thousand or so years before 1948, is one punctuated by expulsion after expulsion, periodic massacres, and after the Enlightenment and Emancipation, the worst massacre of all. That’s key. The Holocaust came AFTER the Jews were emancipated and given equal rights in Europe. That is why, no matter how successful Jews are in America, no matter how much wealth individual Jews may accumulate, no matter how esteemed Jews are, it is not security, and the equal rights rhetoric of the one-staters is unconvincing.

          We have experienced all of this before. There have been successful and wealthy Jews before; we have been esteemed as a people in the past. But when we became less than profitable, when a ruler came along who wasn’t a big fan, or when the central authority got weak and peasantry out of control, wealth and esteem made no difference.

          No amount of communal autonomy provided long-term stability, and as you and others have pointed out, the deals communal leaders were forced to make with individual rulers for protection from the Christian masses only made antisemitism worse in the long run.

          Thus, we sought self-determination and political statehood.

          The jury is out on whether this model will work better than in the past; it has been only 64 years. But the status of Jews across the world has improved more the last 64 years than in the 1000 years before that. I don’t think that is a coincidence.

        • Hostage says:

          You cited three pre-modern examples that are all controversial pieces of history to begin with;

          The Zionist cite even more obscure and remote Kingdoms of the middle or late Bronze Age for which little to no reliable evidence exists. There’s no evidence that the Judeans or Israelis constituted a majority of the population.

        • Citizen says:

          Gee, hophmi, if power is the ability to control your own destiny, what is the ability to control the destiny of others? You really do need to take a look at that book Antitdote hot-linked just for you, The Fatal Embrace. Pick up The Transparent Cabal while you are at it.

        • Donald says:

          “The history of the Jews, particularly in Europe, in the thousand or so years before 1948, is one punctuated by expulsion after expulsion, periodic massacres, and after the Enlightenment and Emancipation, the worst massacre of all.”

          There were a lot of massacres in Europe, actually, aimed at a lot of different groups. The concept of universal human rights really didn’t take a firm hold until after 1945 (and only in some places after that). When that concept doesn’t have a firm grip on people’s minds, you have things like the Balkans Wars and Europeans who go to other places end up replicating the same sort of behavior they complained about in Europe (for example, the Nakba).

          “That is why, no matter how successful Jews are in America, no matter how much wealth individual Jews may accumulate, no matter how esteemed Jews are, it is not security, and the equal rights rhetoric of the one-staters is unconvincing.”

          That’s a weird segue. Are you talking about Israel or America? If you do want to fantasize about how it could happen here and why Jews need a refuge, what’s to become of the rest of us? Or are you assuming that in an America gone mad most of the rest of us are the bad guys? What state do Amnesty International supporters flee to? Oh, wait, I know–people like me are going to be launching pogroms, because that’s just the way we are. You can take the goy out of the Middle Ages, but you can’t take the Middle Ages out of the goy.

          “But the status of Jews across the world has improved more the last 64 years than in the 1000 years before that. I don’t think that is a coincidence.”

          Magical thinking. There’s been a gradual awakening regarding the rights of minorities in the past century or so, particularly after WWII, though in the US it didn’t really take off until the 60′s and the idea has been gradually expanding to include other groups, such as gay people. The existence of Israel has precisely nothing to do with the fact that Jews are no longer discriminated against in the US. And what is supposed to be the cause and effect relationship between Israel and improved rights for Jews in the rest of the world?

        • Citizen says:

          Donald, too, the concept of Human Rights was first legitimized (more or less internationally) at the Nuremberg Trials and Trials of Imperial Japanese leaders following WW2 (a direct product of Versailles, following WW1). The Holocaust and birth of the Cold War (along with tons of Zionist cash and Jewish media pushing, which otherwise would have gone to Dewey, along with key vote regions, such as NY) prompted Truman to recognize Israel’s self -declaration as a state. The irony of course is that the settler Zionists, new Israelis, totally ignored, and still do, the international legal principles established first for the world at Nuremberg and folllowed by its progeny at Geneva. Perhaps hophmi read Phil Roth’s imaginary fiction novel pretending America did not remain American in the higher sense it had imagined itself to be? His fictional Lindberg America prevailed over his own (Roth’s) preferred version (at least at the time he wrote the novel), which actually did happen.

          Re: “But the status of Jews across the world has improved more the last 64 years than in the 1000 years before that. I don’t think that is a coincidence.” Yes, magical thinking. Of course it was not a coincidence, as I just suggested. Maybe Philip Roth should write a new novel imagining no state of Israel being established because Hitler decided not to join Japan’s war on America and to maintain his agreement with Stalin. Or since hophmi likes to engage in magical thinking, he could imagine that to his heart’s content. What would the world be like today?

      • Citizen says:

        Russia and the Jews: 200 Years Together:
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        The wiki page is loaded against the author; try reading the actual book, which has yet to be published in full in English–because the author is such a tiny literary figure?

        • Citizen says:

          While the wiki page on 200 Years Together is loaded against the book, this review of a Chapter of it takes a US white nationalist view of the book: link to theoccidentalobserver.net

          Again, perhaps one day the book may be published in English so we can decide for ourselves?

        • Citizen says:

          Here’s a review of another chapter of the book; as in the review above of another chapter, you may disregard the reviewer’s text but the passages from the book itself excerpted are very interesting. Solzshenitzyn’s book should be published by a mainstream press here in the USA. Maybe an English publisher will beat us to it, as they did by publishing M & W’s seminal article that led to The Israel Lobby?

        • Citizen says:

          And a third chapter of 200 Years Together reviewed by KM: link to theoccidentalobserver.net

    • hophmi says:

      Why don’t you enlighten us, Kathleen, about all of the power Jews had before 1948.

      • Mooser says:

        And Hophmi, why don’t you enlighten us about all the power the Jews have today? What “power” do you need, Hophmi?
        Of course, if banality could kill, and pretension wound, you’d be a world power, Hophmi.

      • Rizla says:

        Of course, the Jews in the early 1900′s had no power at all. Just like the Tibetans, who have easily convinced the UK to do another Balfour declaration, to create a homeland in the remote Himalaya. The World Zionist Council just appeared out of thin air, just like that, in ’48. Financial support for it was always lacking. Come on, you’re not that naive.

      • yourstruly says:

        jewish-americans had plenty of power before 1948. otherwise how would they have convinced president harry truman to commit himself to an entity that continues to threaten an already fragile peace (gunter grass) a mistake in judgement that was to haunt america for the next 64 years.

      • AllenBee says:

        Benjamin Netanyahu himself reflects on “Jewish power” well before 1948.

        In “A Place Among the Nations,” (1993) Netanyahu wrote:

        “The men of Versailles were first and foremost political thinkers . . . [and] the leaders of Zionism from Herzl onward formed a ready partnership with the leading statesmen of the day. (That partnership in some cases developed out of earlier ties; well before becoming prime minister of the British Empire, Lloyd George had served as Herzl’s lawyer, representing the Zionist movement in Britain, and he had drawn up its proposal to build a British protectorate.) 25

        Lloyd George was the primary decision maker at Versailles. Bernard Baruch exerted significant influence at Versailles, as did Max Warburg. American Zionist Jews (in addition to Baruch) had seats at the table at Versailles, according to Edwin Black, who notes in “The Transfer Agreement” that

        “After the war, the question of who would represent Jewish interests at the Peace Conference was bitterly contested. A delegation cutting across Committee and Congress lines finally did assemble at Versailles. . . . [M]ajority Jewish sentiments won out at Versailles, assuring a Jewish homeland in Palestine . . .American Jewish Congress leaders returned from Versailles in triumph. They had helped create a Jewish homeland . . .”

        Jews, who in 1933 had no state, nevertheless had several seats at the table at Versailles; Lloyd George, a key negotiator at Versailles, had an established relationship with Jews; and Bernard Baruch was Woodrow Wilson’s closest advisor at Versailles.

        On the other hand, Germans, whose fate was decided at Versailles, were not represented at the treaty negotiations; in fact, for the duration of the treaty negotiations, the German people were still under blockade. German sources state that 765,000 German civilians had died of starvation, which prompted the German surrender in Nov. 1918. Edwin Black notes that

        “800,000 Germans died of starvation . . .”

        conceding that another 35,000 Germans civilians died of starvation AFTER the end of the war.

        Furthermore, the aspirations of Arabs and Muslims of the former Ottoman empire were not only not represented at Versailles, the promises made to them by Woodrow Wilson and the British were betrayed. At Wilson’s request, the King Crane Commission spent several months speaking with numerous leaders and Arab community leaders throughout the region. The Commission compiled substantial information, and sought to present it to Wilson in time for him to include it in the Versailles negotiations, but the report was buried; it would have weakened the force of the zionist claim to Palestine.

        You tell me, hophmi, who had power?

  11. Kathleen says:

    The fact that the discussion has opened up a great deal in the Jewish community is a good sign BUT how has that or will that change things on the ground in the conflict? With so many who know more than many of us are saying the two state solution is dead, with ever expanding illegal settlements it is sure looking that way

    • yourstruly says:

      awakening not only jewish-americans but the rest of the public to the realities in the mideast as well as to the dangers that u.s. support for the zionist entity poses to national security. yes, the process has been annoyingly slow, but only a quarter century ago, change in the u.s.s.r was glacial, but then, presto, it melted. the same thing’s going to happen to the zionist entity.

  12. dbroncos says:

    Beinart has succeded in sending this simple message to American Jews who are invested in Israel: Israel, and hence Judaism, is in big trouble.

    For Americans who are not invested in Israel, however, supporting Israel is problematic in ways that are separate from ethnic/religeous concerns. Supporting the Jewish state’s campaign of home demolishment, destruction of olive orchards, land theft, water theft, poisoning waters wells with raw sewage, settlements, by-pass roads, checkpoints, martial law, torture, murder, and war against Palestinians has made mockery our American values, human values actually, as spelled out in our constitution. Every POTUS, Sate Dept. rep, UN rep , etc. who preaches to the world about human rights becomes a joke because of our support for Israel. And there’s much more at stake here than America’s image. With few exceptions, almost every act of international terrorism that has targeted American citizens, going all the way back to Sirhan Sirhan, has shared a common theme that has motivated the terrorists: contempt for America because of our support for Israel. The attcks on 9/11 should have been a turning point in our understanding about how deeply despised we are because of our support for Israel and the autorats of the ME. At a minimum American leadership should have endeavored to understand our enemies and to come clean with our citizens about the “why” of 9/11. We were lied to instead – “they hate us because we’re free.” Then we went to war in Afganistan and Iraq at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. As far as I’m concerned, this disastrous mire we’ve created for ourselves in the ME can be laid on the doorstep of Israel’s blind supporters. 9/11 was the culmination of contempt built up over many decades. Terminator: “I’ll be back.” a funny line. Ramzi Yousef: “We’ll be back” that was no joke but no one took him seriously.

    As an American without any atachment to Israel I’m not at all conflicted about what Israel or Zionism mean to my identity. Practical solutions to the America/ Israel/Palestine entanglement will have to include the views of a growing number of Americans who have come to see just how costly that entanglement has become vis a vis the chain of events that took us from Sirhan Sirhan to the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Citizen says:

      dbroncos, very well said. And that entanglement was something our founding fathers, especially George Washington, were afraid of, and it looks like Iran is the next target, with Syria as a side job. I’m afraid Americans are way too slow in waking up as they’ve had no help, but rather hinderance from becoming informed consenters thanks to our traitorous Fourth Branch Of Government, which has too long, with the assurance of no Military Draft, and the collusion of our Congress and WH did basically what Goebbels did–quite a feat in a democracy only now getting STASI structures really firmly in place since 9/11.

  13. dbroncos says:

    Citizen,

    I don’t see Israel’s supporters, including the neo-cons, as traitors. They’re deluded Americans who’ve drunk deeply of the Zionist kool aid. They’re hardcore, ethnocentric nationalists who see the interests of the US and Israel as identical. But whether or not people like Wolfowitz and Feith really believe our interests are the same, is, in a way, irrelevant. No matter what they believe, the neo cons who provided the intellectual basis, the reasons, for our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, were dead wrong in their assumptions about those wars. Wrong about Iraqi ties to Al Qeida, wrong about WMD, wrong about the costs and duration of those wars. Part of that cost should be measured in terms of the civil liberties we’ve sacrificed to greater “security,” including surveillance of our phone calls and e-mails, assassination of American citizens by executive order, indefinite detention of American citizens without charges or trial, etc… The men and women who looked at 9/11 as an act of war, rather than a terrorist crime, who saw in 9/11 an opportunity to eliminate Israel’s enemies in the ME and an opportunity to further cement the bond between the US and Israel by telling our citizens that Americans and Israeli Jews share the same enemy (islomofascists) for the same reason (they hate freedom) should be exposed; and they will be as more frustrated Americans call attention to what supporting Israel’s ethnocracy has COST US. This understanding of the problem with American support for Israel isn’t limited to America’s “radical left”. We’ve seen signs that the conversations taking place among senior American military leadership is much different than what we’re hearing out of congress, the White House, and among the civilian leadership in the Pentagon. There are a few notable conservatives (Pat Buchannon, Robert Novak, Ron Paul)who’ve have pointed out the absurdly outsized and dangerous place Israel has in American politics. This thread of America’s critique of the Special Relationship, including W&M’s important book, is a vital part of the mostly sub terrainian American critique of the Special Relationship. This critical thread, together with the late breaking and essential insurrection going on in America’s Jewish population, is slowly progressing. Zionists are holding on tight to what big money and critical choke points of power in congress and the MSM can do for them in controlling this conversation. That’s not enough. The dyke is springing too many leaks and they don’t have enough fingers among them to plug the holes. As for those who thumped the war drums for Iraq and are still thumping them for war on Iran, they may yet hang their heads in disgrace.

    • yourstruly says:

      so the israel firsters’ exploiting 9/11 to eliminate israel’s enemies in the mideast is not an act of treason, even though general david petreaus, among others, has said that israel’s intransigence vis-a-vis a me peace settlement endangers u.s. troops in afghanistan as well as being a threat to our nation’s security? why not indict the israel firsters in congress? because article 3 of the consitution defines treason as “levying war against the united states or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort”? but isn’t this exactly what israel firsters do? and if the supreme court decides that the acts of these israel firsters don’t fit the definition of treason, no big deal, the constitution can be amended so that said acts fit the new definition of treason. alternatively the number of judges in the supreme court could be increased, something that fdr unsuccessfully tried back in the days when the court had the public’s trust. today, though, would people care, what with it being stacked with right wing thugs?