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‘J Post’ says David Remnick is ‘conflicted’ and ‘born of Jewish parents’

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When criticized, the Israel lobby smears. Here’s an attack on New Yorker editor David Remnick, published in the Jerusalem Post, that takes Remnick’s late agonies over the Jewish state and spits them back in his eye. The piece’s thrust is that a once-literary magazine has gone downhill, but its author, Steve Frank, a Washington attorney, is most upset that Remnick is awakening about Israel. And he gets out the shiv: Remnick may not be Jewish, he has “conflicted identity issues.”  Disgusting.

under Remnick’s reign, The New Yorker, and particularly Remnick himself, repeatedly and obsessively focuses on what Remnick perceives to be the failings of the State of Israel, as he did once again in a recent Talk of the Town “Comment” in the March 12 issue (now posted prominently on the website of “Intifada – The Voice of Palestine”).

In this latest diatribe, Remnick crosses the line of rationality, putting Israel in the same category of countries “embroiled in a crisis of democratic becoming” as Egypt and Syria, decrying “emboldened fundamentalists” (in Israel) who “flaunt an increasingly aggressive medievalism,” and speaking of a “descent into apartheid, xenophobia, and isolation.”

Why Remnick chooses singularly to obsess about the Israel-Palestinian conflict (with an unabashedly anti- Israel bias), while rarely, if ever, commenting on other conflicts where millions of people also were displaced in war (in Kashmir or Armenia, for example), remains a mystery. In his March 12 piece, Remnick chooses to highlight a recent incident where an Orthodox rabbi reportedly spat upon a young schoolgirl because he considered her attire to be “insufficiently demure.”

Of course, this is not acceptable behavior.

But why does Remnick devote valuable New Yorker real estate to such trivial matters, while ignoring much more grievous violations of human rights elsewhere (the death penalty for gays in Saudi Arabia and Yemen and other Arab countries, the complete subjugation of women under Islamic law, including routine violence against women)? One can only surmise that Remnick is working out his own conflicted identity issues (Remnick was born of Jewish parents in Hackensack, New Jersey) on the company dime.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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25 Responses

  1. William Burns
    May 1, 2012, 9:57 am

    I wonder how much Steve Frank writes about Kashmir and Armenia.

  2. FreddyV
    May 1, 2012, 10:31 am

    Ah, the old ‘There are far worse than Israel’ card.

    No one argues that, but those nations aren’t engaged in an occupation machine fully designed to make the lives of those living under it so miserable that they have no choice but to emigrate, whilst all the time espousing a pretense of democracy and asking for other nations to pay for their occupation machine by using holocaust guilt and religious blackmail.

  3. Talkback
    May 1, 2012, 10:32 am

    “One can only surmise that Remnick is working out his own conflicted identity issues …”

    Hahaha. So if you focus on Israel, you have problems with being a Jew. Steve Frank is hilarious (and not working out his collective cognitive dissonance issues.)

    • marc b.
      May 1, 2012, 11:03 am

      obsessing over israel’s misdeeds is a sign of mental instability, but obsessing over the obsessions of obsessives is a symptom of what exactly?

      • Annie Robbins
        May 1, 2012, 11:10 am

        speaking of obsessing:

        These days, subscribers’ weekly issues pile up on their bedside tables for months at a time, until they get around to leafing through an issue for the occasional interesting piece and glancing at the cartoons.

        i wonder how many new yorker subscribers he interviewed for this hack job?

      • marc b.
        May 1, 2012, 11:31 am

        i wonder how many new yorker subscribers he interviewed for this hack job?

        i’m not a fan of the ‘New Yorker’ or Remnick, but i’ll assume that Frank’s scientific poll of readers’ habits consisted of Frank carping on about Remnick at a dinner party, and a few polite nods of the head from the host. but since this is such a serious problem in his mind, where has Frank been for the past 14 odd years? (Remnick took over as editor in 1998 with ‘no prior editorial experience since high school’. *gasp*. so why was Remnick was promoted to that position in the first place? Frank doesn’t venture a guess.) When did Remnick’s sophomoric management of the ‘New Yorker’ became an issue for Frank? you’d think that if the health of the magazine was a concern to Frank, that he might’ve piped up earlier. (my unscientific poll by way of google didn’t turn up any prior public criticism of Remnick by Frank.)

  4. eljay
    May 1, 2012, 10:45 am

    >> But why does Remnick devote valuable New Yorker real estate to [Israel], while ignoring much more grievous violations of human rights elsewhere … ?

    Probably because the Glorious Jewish State of the Chosen People is “a Light Unto the Nations”, while other states full of lesser human beings are not.

    “Israel: We may not be as good as the best but, hey, at least we’re not as bad as the worst!” (c)

  5. lysias
    May 1, 2012, 10:53 am

    What’s the relevance of Hackensack, New Jersey?

    • MichaelSmith
      May 1, 2012, 2:38 pm

      Hackensack is suburban and funny-sounding. Writing that Remnick comes from there is definitely a put-down.

      I wonder how much of the New Yorker’s current position grows out of Remnick-Hertzberg dualism. My theory is that Remnick and the magazine fell under the influence of his political editor, Hendrik Hertzberg, and what appears in the magazine reflects Hertzberg’s influence or Remnick’s struggles to escape it.

      Remnick’s original field of interest was Russian and the Soviet Union. He wasn’t that concerned with American politics. In my theory, the articles on domestic politics reflect Hertzberg’s thinking. Articles on Israel and the Middle East would fall into the gray area in between Hertzberg’s interests and Remnick’s.

      It’s just a theory, though, and perhaps impossible to verify (in so far as what you can’t ascribe to Hertzberg’s influence you can attribute to Remnick’s efforts to break free and remain his own man).

      • lysias
        May 1, 2012, 3:06 pm

        Wikipedia entry on Remnick makes his background sound pretty typical for an upper middle class kid from the suburbs:

        Remnick was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, the son of a dentist and an art teacher.[1] He was raised in Hillsdale, New Jersey, in a secular Jewish home with, he has said, “a lot of books around”.[2] He is also childhood friends with comedian Bill Maher. He graduated from Princeton University in 1981 with an A. B. in comparative literature; there, he met writer John McPhee and helped found The Nassau Weekly.

  6. Annie Robbins
    May 1, 2012, 11:02 am

    the new yorker focuses on israel repeatedly and obsessively? do tell.

    • doug
      May 1, 2012, 4:07 pm

      My gf, a longime subscriber to the New Yorker, was astonished that anyone would perceive Remnick as “obsessed with Israel” let alone somehow anti-Israel. But then while she is somewhat liberal, she’s not Jewish. She just loves the magazine.

      • lysias
        May 1, 2012, 4:15 pm

        The New Yorker went downhill under Tina Brown, but Remnick has brought it back.

  7. Pixel
    May 1, 2012, 11:08 am

    1. “conflicted identity issues.” = the new goyim “self-hating Jew”

    2. Why [fill in the blank] chooses singularly to obsess about the Israel-Palestinian conflict (with an unabashedly anti- Israel bias), while rarely, if ever, commenting on other conflicts…

    I’m beginning to think that this is not just a rationalization always tossed out there. I honestly think they DON’T understand why.

  8. MarkF
    May 1, 2012, 11:21 am

    “Remnick was born of Jewish parents in Hackensack, New Jersey”

    Wow Phil, you’re right about the shiv. So maybe it’s time to revamp Law of Return?

    Brutal. The lobby sure do take a big bite of tuchus in this debate. Luckily there’s principled folks out there with big tuchuses.

  9. American
    May 1, 2012, 11:27 am

    The reason for Americans to obsess over Israel more so than other rouges and abuses is because we, our government and politicians, are as guilty and responsible for what it does as it is. This is our Frankenstein, we raised it.

  10. Les
    May 1, 2012, 12:38 pm

    Part of the problem is that Remnick is so very late in joining Israel’s critics. Better late than never, all the same.

  11. Klaus Bloemker
    May 1, 2012, 2:12 pm

    Why not write about other trouble spots and human rights violation in the world?
    A fair enough question.

    But then:
    – Why does the US and the EU have a special envoy for the Middle East and not for Kashmir?
    – Why do all major papers and TV networks have a correspondent in Israel and not in Kashmir?

    Is this a conspiracy or a collective (conscious or unconscious anti-Semitic) distortion of the Gentile’s world-view? A distortion that now afflicts even some Jews?

    • Bumblebye
      May 1, 2012, 4:55 pm

      Did Alien hordes invade Kashmir, or parts thereof, and take it over? Are the original Kashmiris denied citizenship in their own land, or are the alien invaders further colonizing them? Is the Kashmiri government subsidized to the tune of Billions by the US taxpayer? Are the internal Kashmiri refugees paid for to the tune of hundreds of millions by US and EU taxpayers? Do we, or are we encouraged to, think of the Kashmiri invaders as ‘us’? What kind of parallel are you trying to make, Bloemker? There really isn’t one.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        May 1, 2012, 6:03 pm

        I agree with what you say. You must have misunderstood me.
        The concern with Palestine (and not with Kashmir or Armenia) is neither a conspiracy nor an anti-Semtic prejudice of the Gentile world.

  12. DICKERSON3870
    May 1, 2012, 3:01 pm

    RE: “Why Remnick chooses singularly to obsess about the Israel-Palestinian conflict. . .” ~ Steve Frank, a Washington attorney

    MY COMMENT: Might it be for the same reason that Mr. Frank seems to “obsess about the Israel-Palestinian conflict”; namely, because Remnick is Jewish? Isn’t concern for Israel (as opposed to gays in Saudi Arabia and Yemen) drilled into the consciousness of most American Jews beginning at a very young age?

  13. DICKERSON3870
    May 1, 2012, 3:13 pm

    RE: “In his March 12 piece, Remnick chooses to highlight a recent incident where an Orthodox rabbi reportedly spat upon a young schoolgirl because he considered her attire to be ‘insufficiently demure’. . . why does Remnick devote valuable New Yorker real estate to such trivial matters. . . ?” ~ Steve Frank, a Washington attorney

    PERHAPS BECAUSE OF THIS: Israel’s bizarre decision to give up on education – and its future, by Ami Kaufman, +972 Magazine, 12/03/11

    (excerpts) Last week I came across a disturbing story, one of many recently, where Haredi school boys threw stones at secular Jewish school girls. [Because] The schoolgirls were singing. . .
    . . . what bothered me more about this particular incident was the age of the perpetrators. These were young boys or teenagers, already well versed on the issues of female singing and its dangers.
    What this incident shows more than anything else, is the education factor and how it will change this country. And it shows how incidents like the one above are going to happen again, and again and again.
    Much has been said on the demographics of the Haredi community and the pace at which it grows. But not many know of how huge an impact Haredi education already has on this state.
    These Haredi rock-throwing boys learn in a Haredi school.
    That’s because there are four sectors to the Israeli education system: State, State-Religious, Arab, and ultra-Orthodox (Haredi). The major problem with this is that the level of study in the Arab and Haredi schools is much lower than in the state schools. And what makes the problem even worse, is that the level in the state schools themselves has never been lower. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://972mag.com/israel%E2%80%99s-bizarre-decision-to-give-up-on-education-and-its-future/28962/

  14. justicewillprevail
    May 1, 2012, 3:55 pm

    What people like Frank fail to realise, in their blissful ziobubble, is that the conversation has changed. Smearing decent people like Remnick with such blatantly childish and ridiculous allegations doesn’t affect Remnick one whit, but it does confirm for many the readiness of Israeli acolytes to lurch into hysterical hyperbole at the slightest provocation, making them look ridiculous, unbalanced and desperate. Undemocratic, promoting censure and censorship of anything they don’t approve, demanding a mindless subservience to their highly biased, tendentious and simplistic narrative – one which it is obvious they know only too well holds no water at the slightest examination, they only emphasise how much they are losing their previous stranglehold on what Americans are allowed by them to say. The cat is out of the bag, losers.

  15. lysias
    May 1, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Remnick does consider himself a Jew, by the way, according to this Washington Post piece from just after he started editing The New Yorker:

    He had taken a year off from Princeton, part of which he spent playing guitar for handouts in the Paris subway. Now he took off for Japan, wangling a job teaching English at Sophia University in Tokyo (“a Jew in a Jesuit university teaching Shintoists and Buddhists”) and traveling on “maybe $2 a day” through India, Russia, Thailand and Nepal.

    . . .

    “When we finally get back to the office he says, ‘Did you want to talk to me about something?’ I said I’d really like to get a job. And he started talking about this paper the Post owned in Everett, Washington. My eyes widened and my stomach dropped about a foot and I said, ‘There are no Jews there.’ And Howard Simons stopped laughing about 15 minutes later and put me on the night police beat. That’s how I started at The Post. It was my first and last benefit of the Jewish media conspiracy.”

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