‘Forward’ editor Eisner challenges US Jews to acknowledge ‘extraordinary wealth, status and political power’

Israel/Palestine
on 219 Comments

Five months ago at the J Street conference in Washington, Jane Eisner, the editor of the Jewish newspaper The Forward, gave an important speech about Jewish power (video above). I’ve been meaning to type up her comments ever since; and now’s the time.

Eisner spoke as a progressive and a religious Zionist, thrilled by the Jewish presence in Occupy Wall Street. Those ideas made up the body of her speech, and I have no truck with them. In fact, I don’t believe that anyone can bring “Jewish values” into the public square without dealing front and center with religious persecution in Palestine.  

But Eisner is an accomplished journalist, and she spoke as the head of a news organization, and she and I are in agreement about the NEWS: American Jews have a responsibility to recognize our historic new position, a role of power and wealth; and it is absurd to claim that we are persecuted outsiders. But Eisner can speak for herself. Excerpts:

What I can contribute I hope are a few words not of text but of context. [As journalists] we tell stories, and we try to tell you what they mean. The story happening here and around America is one of a Jewish community at a historic turning point. We face challenges that we might not even have imagined a generation or two ago, challenges brought by our prosperity, our transition from a victimized minority to a group with extraordinary wealth, social status and political power.

Alongside the challenges that come with power– that is, first and foremost to use it well– we have an unprecedented opportunity to take our religious values and our faith commimtnet into the public square…

There’s an old saying that good journalism is all about Comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. We Jews are for the most part the comfortable in 21st century America, and we need to recognize that, to absorb that, to allow it to shape our public behavior, our religious expression, and our pro Israel advocacy….

[Eisner says that one challenge is for liberal Jews to accept that conservative Jews will be active politically]

An even greater challenge is to incorporate a realistic appraisal of who we are in this society into our public role. It seems to me that most of the establishment Jewish organizations operate under the assumptions of the last century, that Jews are vulnerable and this close to another disaster [thumb and forefinger an inch apart] and that the best people to lead those organizations are white men of a certain age and experience.

I understand where that comes from. Our history is littered with examples of Jews attaining great wealth and status, think of Spain in the 14th century or Germany a century ago, only to have that privilege crumble under the oppressive weight of an inquisition or a holocaust. I understand the fear that good moments will evaporate in an instant. Hey im a Jewish mother. Guilt and anxiety are my constant companions.

But those episodes in history didn’t happen in America, which I believe has a far more tolerant DNA and, despite our sometimes ugly past, has a far better chance of guaranteeing the rights of minorities than any other place on earth. Never mind the fact that Americans love us here. They really do. Robert Putnam in his recent seminal work American Grace: How Religion Unites Us and Divides Us, asserts that we Jews are the most popular religious group in America, and he offers the data to back it up. This very fact I know does create a kind of cognitive dissonance with some Jews. I actually spoke to Putnam about this and he told me that when he lectured at his own Reform synagogue just outside Boston, and I am quoting him, People said, “you’re wrong, they do hate us” and he replied to them, “Best as I can tell they don’t.”

They don’t. So as you chart the future of pro Israel advocacy, I urge you to do that in the context of this new reality. We are a vulnerable people in many places in the world. The tragic events last week in Toulouse are just only the latest reminder. But right now here in America, we are in a fundamentally different place, and we are a fundamentally different people. We should never forget that power is always a privilege, that it can corrupt those who wield it, and that it comes with its own sense of demands and responsibilities.

As we become more asserted in the public square we should also be mindful to support and maintain the constitutional separation of religion and state that I believe has enabled us to function as such a free minority and ethnic group here in this country.

One addendum: Will Jane Eisner apply her highest American ideals — protection of the minority, separation of church and state — to Israel and Palestine?

About Philip Weiss

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

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219 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    August 25, 2012, 11:16 am

    This is supposedly progress? You’ve gotta be kidding me.

    “Never mind the fact that Americans love us here. They really do. ”

    In other words, “we’re” not really Americans, “we’re Jews.”
    You should change the title from US Jews to Jews in the US, cuz that is exactly what she means

    How is this any different than Weizman’s “there are no French Jews, there are only Jews living in France” and so on. Im glad this gets you excited Phil, this lady speaking MOST DEFINITELY as an outsider, as a Jew first and foremost. Yes, the eternal and indivisible “people” Give Me A Break.

    Although I will say, I appreciate the monkey wrench she throws into the whole “anti-semitism is a racial hatred, independent of jewish actions” nonsense – kind of hard to gain wealth and power in country after country if everyone hates you simply for who you are. But you and Eisner are already aware of this, that’s why we’re now getting this “rehabilitation” project stuff.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 25, 2012, 11:32 am

      In other words, “we’re” not really Americans, “we’re Jews.”

      i don’t understand how you came up with this analysis.

      • eljay
        August 25, 2012, 11:48 am

        >> Robert Putnam in his recent seminal work … asserts that we Jews are the most popular religious group in America …

        When did Jews become [again] a religious group? Or is Mr. Putnam simply being anti-Semitic in his denial that Jews are a race, a nation, a culture, an ethnicity, a tribe, a people and a collective?

      • Dan Crowther
        August 25, 2012, 12:19 pm

        Annie-

        “Never mind the fact that Americans love us here. They really do. Robert Putnam in his recent seminal work American Grace: How Religion Unites Us and Divides Us, asserts that we Jews are the most popular religious group in America, and he offers the data to back it up. This very fact I know does create a kind of cognitive dissonance with some Jews. I actually spoke to Putnam about this and he told me that when he lectured at his own Reform synagogue just outside Boston, and I am quoting him, People said, “you’re wrong, they do hate us” and he replied to them, “Best as I can tell they don’t.”

        I cant help but noticing that “americans” are a “they” both from Eisners POV and the people at the synagogue in Boston. “that americans love us here” is hard to ignore. its the statement of someone who views themselves as part of a supra-national(if thats the right term) group. im guessing eisner was born here? white americans referring to americans as a separate group? weird. i cant be the only one who noticed that.

      • eljay
        August 25, 2012, 12:43 pm

        >> I cant help but noticing that “americans” are a “they” both from Eisners POV … i cant be the only one who noticed that.

        You’re not. I’m a first-generation Canadian of Croatian and Italian descent and I happen to know quite a few first-generation Canadians of Croatian and Italian descent. I can’t imagine myself or any of these people I know saying “Canadians love us here. They really do. “, as if we were somehow different or apart from Canadians, or perhaps not Canadian ourselves.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 25, 2012, 4:42 pm

        ok, i hear what you are saying. it does sound like a separate group although i guess i didn’t hear the “we’re not really americans” part, or i wouldn’t agree with it.

        i couldn’t help be reminded of something i read in the University of California Jewish Student Campus Climate Fact-Finding Team Report linked by Rahim Kurwa in http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/timeline-how-the-uc-administration-censors-students-and-faculty-who-stand-up-for-human-rights.html

        here’s the report link including the closing/last paragraph :

        http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/documents/campus_climate_jewish.pdf

        “In the Team’s conversations with campus administrators and Jewish community members, there was a lack of representation of religious minorities on local Campus Climate Councils established by the Chancellors in June 2010. This absence has created a perceived gap in the level of appreciation by administrators regarding Jewish campus climate and rests on assumptions and stereotypes of the Jewish community. For example, there is an impression of a Jewish community which has “made it”, is “safe”, and is therefore less deserving of the same degree of protection afforded to other minority groups. This last point was made evident at UC San Diego where several students and faculty insisted that their Climate Council was reserved for underrepresented minorities. While a specific council may be viewed in this way by certain communities, this may be based on assumptions which ignore the history of bigotry and hostility directed at Jews which is still very much a part of the campus community and society at large.”

        a perceived gap in the level of appreciation ……that jews are an underrepresented minority in need of protection…it seems to run cross counter to what eisner said.

      • Kathleen
        August 25, 2012, 9:30 pm

        Myth

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 1:28 pm

        Hey Dan, in regard to Eisner’s understanding of the real relationship of Jews to each other and to America, all I can think of is Mencken’s remark about people not understanding what their paycheck depends on their not understanding. In this case, of course, she compounds the error (and her salary?) by trying to make sure other American Jews don’t understand it, either.

    • Dan Crowther
      August 25, 2012, 12:08 pm

      Sorry if I was harsh there – I should make my objections clearer. I am not objecting to anything Eisner said, or Phil wrote – the fact that so little progress has been made regarding the larger american jewish communities perception of their place in society, is to me, unfortunate, but ultimately inconsequential. One simple question: what is more likely to happen – some ethnic cleansing and israeli annexation over most of the west bank etc OR american jews en masse demanding a change in US policy? It answers itself. I’m sorry but the navel gazing as the world burns frustrates me.

      • American
        August 25, 2012, 4:10 pm

        I’m sorry but the navel gazing as the world burns frustrates me.””…Dan

        Ditto.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 1:31 pm

        “I’m sorry but the navel gazing as the world burns frustrates me.”

        And Jews have been through a whole lot worse than having a pail of cold water dumped on their heads. Do us good.

    • ColinWright
      August 25, 2012, 3:04 pm

      Dan Crowther. To be frank, I find analysis of your kind tedious.

      It smacks of what persistently turns me off about ‘progressives’ — ironically, it’s the utter intolerance, the demand that everyone think exactly as you prescribe, the total unwillingness to allow for any other perspective but yours.

      People can’t be evangelicals, and they can’t be conservatives, and they can’t be much of anything except exactly what you would like.

      So Jane Eisner wants to see US Jews as a community. So frigging what? I once got flamed here for suggesting that if it were up to me, they’d assimilate instead, but my point was that’s what my preference would be. I don’t seriously expect everyone to conform to my preferences, and if they don’t want to, as long as they’re not stepping on my toes in the process, I don’t care. They can set up communes or go to Oral Roberts university or get together every Saturday and feel exceptional — I don’t care. Ask me what I would like them to do in an ideal world and I’ll say — but that doesn’t mean I either think it will happen or think they should find my arguments compelling.

      It often strikes me that ‘progressives’ — and by that I mean people of the outlook that is predominant here — really live in a little bubble. They are utterly intolerant of any point of view but their own, and as a result, have only the most distorted idea of what motivates and drives people outside that bubble of theirs, and form the most absurd expectations. Like someone who will remain nameless thinking that all those Hispanics coming into this country spell an end to US support for Israel. Hah! Get out there and actually meet these people — not try to convert them, just meet them — and you’ll find a good many of them are Evangelical nutters.

      And they just love Israel. Their pastor tells them to.

      I don’t want to argue about that. It’s just an example. The point is that the ‘progressive’ mindset is so utterly rigid and intolerant that it cannot even comprehend the external world any more in terms that are remotely realistic — and this indeed does get back to your reaction to Jane Eisner’s remarks.

      The remarks are interesting. They’re certainly not the words I — or evidently you — would say, but so what? Other people are different from you. Quit demanding that they see the world just as you would have them see it.

      • Ranjit Suresh
        August 25, 2012, 4:34 pm

        What are you talking about? Dan is calling out Eisner precisely for being intolerant. And you’re saying – what? – that being intolerant of intolerance is itself intolerant? This is no different than saying a civil rights activist is a race-baiter or is playing the race card. It’s a form of obfuscation and verbal chicanery whose sole purpose is to turn the eyes of the public away from wrongdoing and towards those rare individuals calling it out.

        So Eisner wants to see Jews as a community? It matters because no Hispanic, no Asian, no Christian, no African American is allowed to say what she said in this speech. Nobody – without running the risk of serious repercussions to career, to access, and to your reputation. It matters when you have an elite group that self-identifies among themselves but refuses the right of the rest of society to recognize the extent to which they act as a cohesive group. A group which views other Americans as the other, but wants Americans to see them as just white people.

        Sorry, but it’s dishonest, it’s damaging to our national discourse, it undermines the sense that we can be a country based on fair play and merit, and its wrong.

      • ColinWright
        August 25, 2012, 5:08 pm

        Suresh says: ‘Sorry, but it’s dishonest, it’s damaging to our national discourse, it undermines the sense that we can be a country based on fair play and merit, and its wrong.’

        I don’t see it that way. On the contrary, I see Eisner’s statements as actually seeing what the situation is. Her response isn’t necessarily what mine would be — but it’s a valid one.

        Both your and Crowther’s responses, on the other hand, are exactly what I object to — a demand that anything that fails to conform to the progressive orthodoxy simply be denied, that all ostriches must shove their heads in the sand rather than seeing what the situation actually is.

        …and in the end, what this results in is a mindnumbingly irrelevant game of exchanging impeccable verbal formula, of fitting everything into the paradigm, of never questioning the validity of the paradigm itself. At their worst, progressives (as I have illustrated) are literally incapable of understanding what is actually happening in that big, bad unwashed world out there. They just spend all their time trying to twist it all until it will fit into their pre-concieved framework.

        It is an orthodoxy. Moreover, it’s a rather rigid and unbending orthodoxy, inherently hostile to any new ideas and incapable of accepting any data that doesn’t fit.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 12:01 pm

        “And you’re saying – what? – that being intolerant of intolerance is itself intolerant? This is no different than saying a civil rights activist is a race-baiter or is playing the race card”

        And I thought I was the only one who read Colin’s comments. Thanks.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 3:34 pm

        Ranjit: “What are you talking about? Dan is calling out Eisner precisely for being intolerant. And you’re saying – what? – that being intolerant of intolerance is itself intolerant?”

        It might not be in isolation — but it is part of the striking rigidity of the ‘progressive’ outlook.

        Nothing is ever considered on its own merits or even perceived for what it is in its own terms — it’s all just shoe-horned into the paradigm and then evaluated in terms of that. Considerations of what actually is happening in the real world or will happen as a result of the resulting progressive prescription being applied become entirely secondary — all that matters is how well it all accords with the paradigm.

        The result is a kind of distortion that can amount to complete blindness. See for example Mooser’s notion that Hispanic immigration will cause US support for Israel to decline. That depends on a total failure to grasp who these Hispanics even are. He just slaps ’em into his paradigm and happily decides it’ll result in increased opposition to Israel. Oh no it won’t. I’d be happy if it would — but it won’t. Whatever the ‘Progressevaluator’ says.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 3:48 pm

        Mooser says: ‘And I thought I was the only one who read Colin’s comments. Thanks.’

        But you don’t read them, Mooser. Your responses have repeatedly made that clear. You just seize on whatever chance phrase will give you a pretext to vent your pathological hostility.

        This very post I just quote here is a good example of that. It’s utterly pointless. It’s simply an attempt to be rude. Kind of an ineffectual one — but certainly sincere.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 5:33 pm

        “It might not be in isolation — but it is part of the striking rigidity of the ‘progressive’ outlook.”

        Okay then Colin, it should be very, very easy for you to link us to the ‘Progressive Creed’ or the dictums which delineate this “striking rigidity’ Where is it. And gee, I gotta wonder why you use and accept what is the “striking rigidity” in the wing-nut view of progressives.

        Colin, if you are trying to get to anti-Zionism from Wingnuttia, there’s only one path to take, the one labeled “anti-Semitism”. Oh, not because you, Colin, have an anti-Semitic bone in your body, but because the level on which “conservatives” approach these subjects (ethnicity, community, colonialism, authoritarianism) is a melange of racist, discriminatory thought, sexism and factoids combined with pseudo-scientific blather. You can take that road if you want. I certainly can’t stop you.

        But let that go, and I’ll go back to my first challenge. If Progressivism requires or demands a “striking rigidity” please show us the rules, the creed that Progressive must rigidly adhere to. Or does each Progressive just have to guess, and hope he’s right?

      • MRW
        August 26, 2012, 6:08 pm

        @Ranjit Suresh,

        I agree completely. Colin, you missed the point, and argued something else that was bothering you. Dan (et al?) was not denying anyone the right to choice of assembly or community; the melting point has lots of lumps of food and nutrients. He was decrying exactly what Suresh wrote: “A group which views other Americans as the other, but wants Americans to see them as just white people,” and I might add as “American” with special status on the basis of fill-in-the-blank: pick your persecution or century. The peoples of America came here to escape all that and STFU about it has as much applicability here as ‘learn the damn language’.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 6:20 pm

        “pathological hostility.”

        Oh crap, did I stab somebody fifty-seven times again? No wonder there’s so much blood on my bathrobe. I must remember to get dressed before venting my “pathological hostility”.

        Anyway, Colin, about those strikingly rigid rules for Progressives?

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 6:43 pm

        Suresh says: “…So Eisner wants to see Jews as a community? It matters because no Hispanic, no Asian, no Christian, no African American is allowed to say what she said in this speech. Nobody – without running the risk of serious repercussions to career, to access, and to your reputation. It matters when you have an elite group that self-identifies among themselves but refuses the right of the rest of society to recognize the extent to which they act as a cohesive group. A group which views other Americans as the other, but wants Americans to see them as just white people.

        Sorry, but it’s dishonest, it’s damaging to our national discourse, it undermines the sense that we can be a country based on fair play and merit, and its wrong.”

        This may well all be true — but it is not what Eisner said.

        She merely acknowledged that Jews are a group — which is at least a tenable position. She did not deny anyone else the right to point that out — and I wouldn’t be surprised if she hasn’t ever denied the right to anyone to point it out.

        Others may, and that might indeed be dishonest, but that has nothing to do with what Eisner said. She didn’t say it.

        You keep putting words in her mouth. You construct eminently satisfying arguments — that fail on the grounds that they are not what Eisner said.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 6:55 pm

        MRW says: “I agree completely. Colin, you missed the point, and argued something else that was bothering you. Dan (et al?) was not denying anyone the right to choice of assembly or community; the melting point has lots of lumps of food and nutrients. He was decrying exactly what Suresh wrote: “A group which views other Americans as the other, but wants Americans to see them as just white people,”

        I most certainly did not miss the point. Suresh is ignoring the point that Eisner did not insist other Americans see Jews as ‘just White people.’

        Other Jews may have done that elsewhere, but Eisner did not do it here. These posts are persistently responding to something Eisner did not say.

        Jews aren’t the Borg Collective. Other Jews can make any claims they want to: it doesn’t follow that Eisner ever made them or is obliged to conform with them. So whence cometh the notion that Eisner ever denied other Americans the right to view Jews as a separate community? Post the link.

      • American
        August 26, 2012, 8:53 pm

        Ranjit Suresh says:
        A group which views other Americans as the other, but wants Americans to see them as just white people.”>>>>>>>

        This is another one of the contradictions.
        I came back read to her speech again since people were still commenting on it and I don’t how many ways to say she will never ever ” get it”.
        And I don’t know why the Eisners dont’ get it. Obviously not all stupid. So what to chalk it up too? I just gonna call it some kind of narcissism….where they cannot, if their life depended on it, really fully consider any interest but their own…..or that others might insist or have a ‘right’ to put some interest above that of the Jews. Blame on victimhood or whatever, there it is.

        What she did.
        Eisner talks about being realistic about who Jews are now in their ‘public role’ now that they have arrived and are comfortable. That’s fine. Good so far.
        Then she talks about bringing their values and religious values to the ‘ ‘public square’…. I guess that’s fine too if she’s meaning human values in general.
        Then she talks about how Jews rose to wealth and influence in other countries only to see it all crumble. O.K. True.
        Then she says that’s unlikely in America because our DNA is different and we love Jews.
        Then in summary she advises that Jews remember their new status and power in America….”As They Go Fourth to Advocate for Israel.”

        Yes, indeed Jews take your new found wealth and power and happy American home and run right fucking over the cliff with it. Be rest assured that you’re so rich and influential and that Americans love you so much now they won’t look askance at you or oppose you or condemn you for lobbying their government on behalf of the parasitic Israel cancer that already infects our government to such a degree more Americans are criticizing it, protesting it, talking about it every day.
        Clueless, totally clueless.

      • American
        August 25, 2012, 4:35 pm

        “I don’t care.”…Colin

        I quite agree. I don’t believe most people really care or are concerned with whether or not a specific group ”assimilates”….meaning intermarriage, or becoming in all ways like the majority or us, or dropping all their traditions in favor of ours and etc.. The people inside the group might care but not those outside unless the un-assimilation involves some critical issue that affects outsiders.

      • RoHa
        August 26, 2012, 10:58 pm

        “The people inside the group might care but not those outside unless the un-assimilation involves some critical issue that affects outsiders.”

        The critical issue is one of support for the society. If the un-assimilated group is seen as parasitic, disloyal, or destructive of the greater society in which they live, then the people outside the group will care.

        As a result of maintaining various tradtions, Jews and Muslims have been, and are, frequently seen in this way. Jews are suspected of being parasitic and disloyal. Muslims are seen as being destructive of the values of Western societies, and probably disloyal as well.

      • American
        August 27, 2012, 12:06 pm

        “As a result of maintaining various tradtions, Jews and Muslims have been, and are, frequently seen in this way. Jews are suspected of being parasitic and disloyal. Muslims are seen as being destructive of the values of Western societies, and probably disloyal as well”…RoHa

        I don’t think it’s the actual maintaining of different traditions that arouses resentment. Except maybe among the nutcase fringes like the Koran burning preacher.
        I do agree that if some group is seen as disloyal or threatening to the greater society….as in the the critical collective interest, not just to some other ideological group(s)….then the majority is going to turn against them.

      • bilal a
        August 25, 2012, 4:57 pm

        Yes the disconnect is between moral universalism and chosen-ness . Does it really matter in the long run if most Americans love Jews, if in fact, (some, a few, or most ) secular Jews hate Middle Americans? I wonder waht Putnam’s research says on this matter, we already know the Orthodox position of why God invented the nations.

      • Dan Crowther
        August 25, 2012, 5:45 pm

        Colin,

        I think if you re-read what I wrote, I say I think people should be free to discuss these matters and have their views, but it shouldn’t be covered here to the point of obscuring the larger pressing issues.

        I’ll leave all the sht about progressives etc. aside – strange how an objection to my comment became a referendum on “progressives” – and simply ask: is her description of her fellow americans a little strange, and isn’t it a little strange that phil doesn’t think its strange?

      • Philip Weiss
        August 26, 2012, 11:02 am

        the issue of the collective’s self-consciousness is much less interesting to me than the correct description of an american elite. i think that’s where you and i differ dan. regardless of how egalitarian my politics are, and i believe they are, and even are populist at times, i believe that elites play an important role in the steering of a society. this site for me is about israel palestine. many people here want americans to wake up and become engaged on the question. i do myself. but i have always believed that Jews care more about these issues than almost anybody else, in much the way that Cuban Americans care more about Cuba than any other bloc in our society, and have influence for that reason alone. in the Israel Palestine context you have a special interest that also has extraordinary access. which is why i focus on it. and yes, for me there’s an element of jewish navelgazing as you would characterize it; but i think reflection and social transformation are all good things.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 12:24 pm

        Blah, blah, blah, social tranformation, reflection. Us Jews are so goddam good that we are gonna give up our little colonial project because it’s the right thing to do. We coulda made it work you know!

        You sound to me like a guy who still can’t face how easily he was made a fool of by Zionism, and who made a fool of him.

        “but i have always believed that Jews care more about these issues than almost anybody else, in much the way that Cuban Americans care more about Cuba than any other bloc in our society”

        Oh, so the anti-Zionism, or Israel-critical segment is like the “Cuban exiles”? ROTFLMSJAO. Oh yeah, maybe we can make Tel Aviv like Havana used to be in the good old days before Castro?

        We’ll get change in Israel when, nope, sometime after (the big mo’) the American Jews are knocked off their perch. Or rather, get knocked off. And that means you, too. You get social transformation when there’s social transformation.
        Besides, why should anybody trust us? If we could come back from the Holacaust to today’s Israel…. When a guy has a gun to your head, you don’t want assurances, and you wouldn’t be, nor should you be, satisfied with them. You want somebody to take away the gun. And the gun is our elite status and affluence. When that is taken away, we’ll change, and not before. And don’t expect us to give it up willingly, Phil, we don’t all have the excess of it you were given, enough to give up lots and still be allright.
        However, Phil, I must say that if you voluntarily gave up your own elite status affluence and influence, that would be a good example for others, and might even clear the way for somebody who could say ‘murder’ or ‘genocide’ instead of “apartheid”.

      • Citizen
        August 26, 2012, 1:17 pm

        @ Phil Weiss,
        True, yet does Cuba get $ 3B a year in direct aid sans strings, plus, with interest, and does Cuba get $3B a year in US guaranteed oil reserve, both at the expense of our own safety net? And does Cuba get its debt guaranteed by the US even though its credit rating is higher than the USA’s? Does Cuba have the US veto in the UN SC in its pocket? There’s more apples than oranges in the relationship the US has with Cuba as compared to Israel.

        The two realistic overriding factors required for influencing foreign policy are: 1) that the political benefits of a lobby’s foreign-policy position outweigh the domestic political costs; and 2) that at worst, the foreign-policy costs of adopting an ill-conceived special-interest position will not outweigh the domestic political benefits. In applying this formula to the Cuba and Israel lobbies, one can conclude that, despite the obvious damage both lobbies have caused to U.S. foreign-policy interests, local and national domestic political interests have outweighed that damage in the minds of successive U.S. administrations, both Democratic and Republican. One reason for placing domestic interests over foreign-policy interests in both cases is that neither the Cuba lobby nor the Israel lobby has had an effective counterlobby to balance it. Iraq, and now Iran may change this, eventually, and likely too late. Ron Paul and Jill Stein seem to be the best Americans can do; most Americans think they are wackos when it comes to foreign policy.

        QUOTE:
        But what of the claim that the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel is really a reflection of “the public’s overwhelming sympathy?” There are at least three big problems with this assertion.
        First, even if it were true that the public had “overwhelming sympathy” for Israel, it does not immediately follow that United States policy would necessarily follow suit. U.S. officials frequently do things that a majority of Americans oppose, if they believe that doing so is in the U.S. interest. A majority of Americans oppose fighting on in Afghanistan, for example, yet the Obama administration chose to escalate that war instead. Similarly, numerous polls show that the American people favor the “public option” in health care, but that’s not exactly the policy that health care reform produced. Public opinion is an important factor, of course, but what public officials decide to do almost always reflects a more complex weighting of political factors (including the intensity of public preferences, broader strategic considerations, the weight of organized interests, etc.)
        Second, to the extent that the American public does have a favorable image of Israel — and there’s no question that it does — that is at least partly due to the lobby’s own efforts to shape public discourse and stifle negative commentary. The lobby doesn’t “control the media,” but “pro-Israel” groups like the ADL and CAMERA work actively to influence how Israel is portrayed in the United States, aided by reliably supportive publications like The New Republic. (As its former editor-in-chief Marty Peretz once admitted, “there’s a sort of party line on Israel” at the journal). That’s their privilege, of course, but groups and individuals in the lobby have also tried to silence or smear virtually any one who criticizes the “special relationship,” and all-too-often those efforts succeed (if perhaps less frequently than they used to). If Americans were exposed to a more open discourse — such as the discourse that prevails in Europe or in Israel itself — Israel’s favorable image would almost certainly decrease (though by no means disappear).
        Third, and most important, the evidence suggests that the American people are not in favor of a one-sided “special relationship” where Israel gets unconditional American backing no matter what it does. Although there is no question that Americans have a generally favorable image of Israel and want the United States to help it survive and prosper, they are not demanding that U.S. politicians back it to the hilt or show the kind of craven adulation that Congress displayed last week.
        For starters, many Americans recognize that one-sided support for Israel is a problem for the United States, and that figure is even higher among “opinion leaders.” A Pew survey in November 2005 found that 39 percent of Americans saw the special relationship as a “major source of global discontent,” and 78 percent of the news media, 72 percent of military leaders and 69 percent of foreign affairs specialists believed that backing Israel seriously damages America’s image around the world. A 2003 survey by the University of Maryland reported that over 60 percent of Americans would be willing to withhold aid to Israel if it resisted pressure to settle the conflict with the Palestinians, and 73 percent said the United States should not favor either side. In fact, a survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League in 2005 found that 78 percent of Americans believed that Washington should favor neither Israel nor the Palestinians. A 2010 survey by the Brookings Institution found similar results: although 25 percent of Americans thought the United States should “lean toward Israel” in its efforts to resolve the conflict, a healthy 67 percent believed the United States should “lean toward neither side.”
        In the 2010 election, “pro-Israel” PACs gave about $3 million to candidates from both parties. By comparison, Arab-American PACs gave less than $50,000. You can buy a lot of applause when the balance is stacked that way.
        END QUOTE
        http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/06/03/do_the_american_people_support_the_special_relationship

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 3:58 pm

        Dan Crowther says ‘Colin…’

        Well, I went back and reread what you initially wrote. It certainly could have been the case that I came to this with a loaded gun — and when I saw you flitting between the trees, took a shot.

        However, I don’t think so.

        This is what you wrote:

        “This is supposedly progress? You’ve gotta be kidding me.

        “Never mind the fact that Americans love us here. They really do. ”

        In other words, “we’re” not really Americans, “we’re Jews.”
        You should change the title from US Jews to Jews in the US, cuz that is exactly what she means…”

        Now, Eisner did not extoll the existence of the Jewish community. Nor did she extoll its alleged ‘extraordinary privilege and power.’

        She merely accepted it. All she actually called for was some recognition of the fact that this implies some moral obligation.

        And I think she’s right about that. And I also think that it is an example of the ideological rigidity I am referring to that people seem to be incapable of recognizing that and are instead horrified that she didn’t decry the existence of the facts she referred to but instead simply moved right along to their implications.

      • MRW
        August 26, 2012, 6:21 pm

        We don’t fight wars for Cuba. Phil.

      • MRW
        August 26, 2012, 6:22 pm

        @Citizen,

        Dahling. Learn paragraph breaks. ;-)

      • MRW
        August 26, 2012, 6:24 pm

        “might even clear the way for somebody who could say ‘murder’ or ‘genocide’ instead of ‘apartheid’.”

        Hear. Hear.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 6:24 pm

        “It certainly could have been the case that I came to this with a loaded gun — and when I saw you flitting between the trees, took a shot.”

        You do have a very strange relationship with this comment section. Now you’re fantisising about shooting the other commenters? Oh yeah, you’re normal. Thank God you aren’t “severely disturbed” and have no “pathological hostility”. Than you might really do something awful
        like talk back to the overlord of the comment section.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 6:30 pm

        “And I also think that it is an example of the ideological rigidity I am referring to that people seem to be incapable of recognizing that …”

        I’m sorry, are you talking about “people” or “Progressives”. And I still haven’t seen the lionk to the rules for progressives. Or would you prefer to link us to the site or article that best describes the ideological rigidity of Progressives? That would be fine, too.

      • gamal
        August 26, 2012, 9:47 pm

        ” you have a special interest that also has extraordinary access. which is why i focus on it.”

        but do any anti-Zionist and anti-Imperialist Jews have access, on account of their being Jewish, or is the access a function of some elite Jews subservience to the concerns and plans of state managers now known as Austerity and the war on resource owners (who are all terrorists or primitives) absent a committed and strong civil society movement, does Joel Kovel or Chomsky or Noah Cohen have access, do you?

        dont the Jewish Meritocratic billionaires pay for access, pay for their high table seats, and what they pay for is neo-liberalism at home, the origins of their wealth and neo-colonialism abroad that secures the core economy.

        do the one percent read Common Dreams and repent, Zionism like Imperialism and its wicked little child Capitalism cannot be reformed ultimately they will have to be defeated or collapse from some other catastrophic cause, neo-liberal elite Jews in the US are unlikely, are they not, to forgo privilege in exchange for solidarity with the oppressed, whatever the arguments, because no benefits other than “moral” or psychic ones accrue from such activities.

        may i say that to an outsider US politics seem weird and kind of feudal, with inviolable taboos and a fearful culture of vengeful self-righteousness, replete with fabulous and rebarbative superstitions and the tsunamis of money.

        In some ways i can imagine committed Zionists of any identity getting a thrill from witnessing the unalloyed brutality of the colonial enterprise, of which Zionism is but a small, though integral, part.

        sites like this must be a hoot for those in the throes of a kosher or non-kosher ziocaine binge.
        I mean to put it simply all this giddiness about having made the high WASP/kleptocrat table, due to those extra IQ points ( see Lewontin, Leon Kammin et al), is perhaps a little misplaced, stocks in terror/savagery are falling sharply, my broker tells me that scapegoats are looking good in the medium term.
        no disrespect intended but this is kind of the reverse of the MB approach of building a movement amongst the despised, by addressing their immediate concerns and needs, they would no doubt characterize this p0lemical or propaganda (in the non-perjorative sense) approach, if not as appealing to the effendis, then as arguing with them, but winning arguments with the powerful rarely produces positive results, unless you have a big stick and are arguing about where they’d like the lick, they already have a surfeit of carrots. That stick comes from things like Labour Unions and strong civil society organizations that can confront power in its own terms, and challenge them where they live.

        i dont know about the transformative content of my navel, i guess its pretty limited but, though easily accessible, its hardly elite. finally my lack of clarity is, i hope, offset by my pomposity.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 11:57 pm

        “finally my lack of clarity is, i hope, offset by my pomposity.”

        Yes! I’ll drink to that, and to the man that said it. You don’t mind if I crib that, if I need it, I hope? I promise not to use it here.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 11:59 pm

        “We don’t fight wars for Cuba. Phil.”

        Well, what about the Bay of Pigs?

      • Theo
        August 27, 2012, 9:34 am

        Phillip Weiss says:

        “… this site for me is about israel palestine.”

        Sounds good, but may I ask: what Prof. Ellis, with his long tirade of 45 plus articles on jewish past, german quilt, constant reminder “that we jews are better and more intelligent”, etc. has to do with your blog?
        It bores even Mooser to death and he is such a patient and polite individual.

      • Theo
        August 27, 2012, 9:50 am

        Mooser

        You are absolutly correct!! I tried many times to mention that in Europe the cause of anti-semitism and the eventual jew hunting was just what you are talking about. Jews became effluent, owned great part of economy, banks, etc., yet always considered themselves to be separate, not one of the nation.
        Up to now, every time my comment was deleted, it seems it is better to be ignorant, as the Bible so apptly says.

        Americans are in great part emmigrated europeans, in other words the same human beings that caused so much havoc in the past.
        If jews have arrived in the USA, have money, influence and political clout, is there not the danger of an eventuell repeatation of events if they keep considering themselves a separate group of americans? The majority may consider them as a thorn in the national unity if they see the antics of the AIPAC, ADL, double citizenships and US jews serving in the IDF. Now not being in danger do not guarantee the same for the future if we should have great economic problems. The poor have very little love for the rich, even less for the rich who brag about their good fortune.

      • Citizen
        August 27, 2012, 11:37 am

        @ Mooser

        RE: “Americans are in great part emmigrated europeans, in other words the same human beings that caused so much havoc in the past.”

        Well, not literally the same human beings, but their later generations. Including all those Jewish Americans who came in droves, too, yes?
        On “a people apart, ” and the danger of “eventuell repeatation of events,”
        it may be a good idea to start with deciding what’s the cart and who’s the horse:

        http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9912/reviews/rubinstein.html

        And what’s due to nature, what’s due to nurture.

      • MRW
        August 27, 2012, 2:35 pm

        Well, what about the Bay of Pigs?

        For, Mooser. For. Not against.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 3:00 pm

        “Up to now, every time my comment was deleted”

        Well, buddy, if you think the affluence of the Jews and their cultural isolation was an excuse for anti-Semitism, I can see why they ban your comments.
        It’s really simple. If you can come up with “reasons” why anti-Semitism was excusable or necessary, the Zionists can come up with reasons why the Palestinians must be persecuted. And they will be just as valid.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 3:09 pm

        “It bores even Mooser to death and he is such a patient and polite individual.”

        Thanks, Theo. I’ve been trying especially hard to restrain myself, as you can see by my reponses to Colin, and I’m glad it shows.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 3:13 pm

        “For, Mooser. For. Not against.”

        I thought the Bay of Pigs was “for” Cuba, to depose Castro.

      • MRW
        August 28, 2012, 7:02 am

        Nah, Mooser, it was FOR us.

    • Krauss
      August 25, 2012, 3:37 pm

      Dan,

      Would you, say, be against Indian-American cherishing their heritage?
      America has de-facto moved away from an ethos of the melting pot(even if that phrase is still used) to something of a salad bowl instead, if the expression is allowed.

      Eisner simply says the obvious: we’re here, we’ve arrived and we better deal with our privilege instead thinking that we’re these perennial outsiders. Our intermarriage rate is 50 %. 40 % of all people at the richest list of the Fortune 400 billionaires list are Jews. Look at Ivy League deans, go down the list. It’s all there.

      You don’t reach those heights without assimilating. It’s the constant fear of the ethnocentric elements in the Jewish community. A fear which is far overblown, if you look at the explosive Orthodox birthrates.

      Still, it’s time to give up the total assimilation ideal. It worked when the people who immigrated were overwhelmingly European. Yes, there are cultural differences(and they are far starker in Europe than in America), but they could nonetheless be bridged. In Modern America, you have race, religion, culture(from across continents, not within the same one).

      You make some good points but Jewish identity will by definition be seperate from the more broad American identity, just like most conscious minorities.
      This needn’t be negative as long as it isn’t based on fear of the other – which has often been the case (and again for historical reasons) in the Jewish community and that in itself is a problem, a problem Eisner is working to solve, as well as Phil and many other progressive Jews.

      • Ranjit Suresh
        August 25, 2012, 4:41 pm

        It’s different Krauss. Believe me – no Indian would feign outrage if people started noticing how many of us there are in IT or medicine. We wouldn’t call it anti-Indianism and claim that it can only pave the way to a recolonization of India by white people.

        No Indian would respond that way in part because there’s no hiding who in fact is Indian. The same is not true in the case of writers for the New Yorker, executive members of the American Enterprise Institute, Harvard associate deans, Silicon Valley executives, hedge fund managers, etc. As a result, if Indians came to dominate all these industries – guess what? People would speak about it and there might be efforts to increase diversity and enforce fair employment.

      • Krauss
        August 26, 2012, 2:35 am

        Ranjit, I agree. It’s different. Indians haven’t been a perennial minority without their own homeland for thousands of years, and nearly wiped out at one point. Colonialism was bad, but India nonetheless got the better end of the stick. The British were extatic about India, praising it as the ‘Crown Jewel’ of their Empire. Able Indians were often allowed into the Imperial service and the most gifted were sent to other colonies to oversee the project. Indians became an integral part of the colonial ruling class in many African countries, for example. Judenrat aside, do you imagine any number of Jews joining the SS and managing the Nazi territories(the short time it lasted?).

        This isn’t to say that India – on net balance – suffered through Colonialism, but your complete lack of historical perspective undermines your argument. As you say, “it’s different”.

        Jane’s point is that Jewish fear of persecution, deeply embedded in our cultural DNA, our history and and the stories we tell our children should be loosened up because America is truly a different place.
        But she understands that what is holding people back isn’t just the intellectual argument, it’s the emotional argument. There are still lots of Jews living in America with relatives who survived the Holocaust or people who were involved in those efforts during the war to save Jews. It’s constantly in the background in a way you can’t understand.

        And understanding this doesn’t mean that it should be blindly accepted as a fundamental truth to all Jewish life, that leads to paranoia as Jane clearly states. But you can’t change something unless you understand where it’s coming from and you clearly don’t. It’s not just about the intellectual argument, it’s about the kishkes question.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 4:06 am

        Krauss says; “Able Indians were often allowed into the Imperial service and the most gifted were sent to other colonies to oversee the project. Indians became an integral part of the colonial ruling class in many African countries, for example.”

        I don’t think this is true. My impression is that Indians were usually brought in as indentured labor and subsequently established themselves as petty traders, developing communities which supported doctors, lawyers, etc more or less independently of British sponsorship.

        Incidentally, before deciding that Indians have had no experience of persecution, you might want to read about their experiences in some of those colonies, both in Africa and elsewhere.

      • gamal
        August 26, 2012, 1:19 pm

        “Colonialism was bad, but India nonetheless got the better end of the stick. The British were ecstatic about India”,which stick would that be? this one perhaps
        http://www.countercurrents.org/polya201111.htm

      • MRW
        August 26, 2012, 6:32 pm

        “This isn’t to say that India – on net balance – suffered through Colonialism”

        Wow.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 12:12 am

        gamal, there’s nothing you can do about a grown, supposedly educated man who will say something like that except ridicule him. If he was at all suseptible to arguement or facts, there’s no way he could reach this point and make a statement like that seriously.
        Yeah, the British went there to do the Indians good. Get a grip, Colin.
        Yes sir, there was nothing the British liked better than sailing around the Cape of Good hope to go do the Indians some good, and give them the long end of the stick. That’s why they adopted steam propulsion, so they could get there fustest with the mostest good for the Indians.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 12:17 am

        MRW, do you see? And this attitude pervades everything the know-it-all says.
        Yeah Colin, and the Northwest Indians are decimating the salmon runs, and torture is the way to deal with 9-11, and guns make everything safer and more peaceful. And Monsignor Ross Douthat is an “intelligent conservative” or something. It’s like a little bit of “American Thinker” come to Mondoweiss.

      • American
        August 27, 2012, 1:55 pm

        “But she understands that what is holding people back isn’t just the intellectual argument, it’s the emotional argument. There are still lots of Jews living in America with relatives who survived the Holocaust or people who were involved in those efforts during the war to save Jews. It’s constantly in the background in a way you can’t understand.”…Krauss

        I think we understand the emotional component in those that are emotional about it.
        But they don’t ‘intellectually’ understand any limits to their claims.

        And the real truth is, organized Jewishness and Jewish support for Israel has gone beyond the holocaust nightmare and the Israel safe haven theory to a different ’cause’ now.

        It’s now become a egotistical or grandiose, for lack of better words, accepted notion that Jews are a separate and most importantly a ”unique” kind of resurrected from history people of One Nation of Jews, in or out of Israel and ‘within’ the other nations they live it.
        And they believe or are led to believe that this uniqueness endows them with unique political privileges and rights “within” the nations they live in.

        Although their uniqueness may have originally been established in their minds because of victimhood and some deliberate religious misinterpretation of Choosiness among some hierarchy, it’s morphed past that into some kind of special ‘Geo-Political People Entity’ as expressed in the existence of and their support for Israel as the Capital of this worldwide Jewish Nation.
        This description may not be the clearest explanation of how this phenomenon evolved but that’s basically the gist of it. And of course it’s inspired by the zionist ideology.

        An outsider looking at this, one aware of the politics and the influence of this group affecting some critical policies of their nation, is going to think of the old canard against Jews of the “nation within a nation” and what it implies. IOW, the organized advocacy of the Jewish Nation within us for their foreign nation of Israel, entailing as it does national sacrifices by the whole for the benefit of the one unique Jewish people.

        This is what Eisner and US zionism, liberal or not, is promoting.
        And she is wrong about Americans being different than other people and is flirting with danger in assuming that when she tells Jews to confidently go forth in their Pro Israel advoacy. Because if this gets taken to the extreme, and Iran is current an example of that, Americans will react to it as any other people would. Americans won’t holocaust them for it, but the Jews collectively rightly or wrongly would face the social and political hostility of a lot of the public that could set Jews back decades in the US.

        Could be wrong, but I believe this what Jews like MJ Rosenberg in particular, and Phil and others understand is possible and is one of the reasons why they do and say what they do.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 3:22 pm

        “Choosiness”

        Yes, the doctrine of “Choosiness” is an integral part of Jewish values. As Hillel famously said: “If I don’t shop around, who will do it for me” (there were no ‘personal shoppers’ back then) But it was Maimonides who codified it it terms of Jewish-Gentile relations: “Always wait til the Day-after-Christmas-Sales”

      • American
        August 27, 2012, 3:40 pm

        @Mooser,

        It was too late for me to edit when I noticed. And I was hoping you wouldn’t notice…damn it.

      • American
        August 25, 2012, 5:05 pm

        Krauss says:
        Dan
        Would you, say, be against Indian-American cherishing their heritage?”
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>

        No. I wouldn’t.
        And preserving their heritage is not the point or the bone of contention anyone has with the Jewish community or US Zionst.

        This is: “to allow it to shape ….. our pro Israel advocacy….” did you miss that?

        This is the only objection most Americans have or would have for the valid and simple reason that their advocacy for a foreign nation effects the whole of us in this country financially, security wise and several other ways.
        This where I put the neon flashing ‘Verboten’ sign on any ethnic or religious minority going beyond their right to have their say in US domestic policies to dictating US policy toward foreign countries that does, could affect us all.
        Totally forbidden in my book.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 12:21 am

        And don’t forget, American, the nice little fraud they have going on, telling American Jews that advocating Israel is part of their social, religious and cultural community, and that this advocating is doing them (American Jews) good.

      • Dan Crowther
        August 25, 2012, 8:19 pm

        Krauss asks:

        Would you, say, be against Indian-American cherishing their heritage?

        Probably not. And as far I know, Indian American’s aren’t involved in the subsidization of illegal military occupations – what I find distasteful is not the cherishing of heritages and so on, its that its being done to distract from much more serious issues. The house is literally on fire, in large part because of the people eisner is talking to, and we’re now getting to the point where…… “we” are pretty much (but never guaranteed) safe from another holocaust in america.” Wow. What news.

      • Krauss
        August 26, 2012, 2:43 am

        Dan, you’re missing(or should I say omitting) the point.

        I’m not conflating Zionism with Jewish identity.
        And your argument against Eisner wasn’t her embrace of Israel(yes she is a liberal, but conflicted, Zionist). Your argument against her was stated in the following way:

        In other words, “we’re” not really Americans, “we’re Jews.”
        You should change the title from US Jews to Jews in the US, because that is exactly what she means.

        How is this any different than Weizman’s “there are no French Jews, there are only Jews living in France” and so on. Im glad this gets you excited Phil, this lady is speaking MOST DEFINITELY as an outsider, as a Jew first and foremost.

        So your opposition to her is based not on anything related to Israel, as I clearly show, but on her embrace of Jewishness.

        So your reply to me is just an effort to divert attention from your original post which showed a deep hostility to Jewish identity – and I believe what you perceive as strains of seperatism inherent in that.

        But as I pointed out, there are different forms of seperatism – seperatism is a negative word, but it does capture the essence of identity.

        Identity, even if based on positive values, is a form of seperatism in of itself. Something makes your identity different from everyone else’s.

        My point was: the problem isn’t seperatism, an inescapable facet of identity, but rather what it is built upon. Is it built on fear or on positive values? That’s what Eisner was pointing to and the part I agree with.

        Your argument is much more hostile; you attack her for identifying as a Jew in the first place, even dredging up the age-old dual loyalty canard by invoking Weizman.

        Notice again that you reach for the Zionist line, Weizman wasn’t a prominent Jew in the cultural sense, but he was very important for Zionism. For you, Jewish identity is constantly channeled via Zionism.
        It makes you little different than the right-wing Likudniks, only that they base it as a base for Jewish identity, while you base it as a way to be hostile to Jewish identity.

      • Dan Crowther
        August 26, 2012, 10:25 am

        Krauss — Once again, my criticism is not of jewish identity. My criticism is of a post here on MW that calls her views progress – to me, they are no different than from what Weizman’s said long ago. Im not hostile to jewish identity and its inherent separateness, Im hostile to those who claim that the same views with different packaging is progress. Phil claims that this woman is speaking as an american jew, but its clear she is speaking as a jewish american. That’s my beef – this post is pissing on my leg and telling me its raining.

        If she came out and said “jews were once persecuted, in many horrible ways, in many parts of the world, but that has fuck all to do with us sitting here and shame on you for using their suffering to brow beat others or to deflect criticism of Israel,” we might be on to something. But here, she places herself right in the middle of the suffering, she is part of the group that came ashore here in the US, after being thrown out of a host of other countries, hell, she seems to have been present during the Inquisition. So, her proposals are a little different, “hey we gotta be responsible” and so on, but her core view of “jewishness” as you say, is really no different than the views of weizman and co.

        Its important here at MW to highlight this nonsense, because Phil thinks people like Eisner are the “integrators” in the american jewish community, a person who clearly views all non jews in america not as her countrypeople but as “them.” Phil has set a very, very low bar for “liberal” zionists to be congratulated around here, maybe I’m trying to raise it.

        One last thing Krauss – lets not play the ” I know what you think about everything based on your short comment” game – lets not try and divine what others think, you made a lot of declarative statements about what you think I think, hardly any of them true. Lets deal with whats in Ink, not what you think is in my head.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 12:29 pm

        “we” are pretty much (but never guaranteed) safe from another holocaust in america.””

        Except that Eisner’s definition of “Holocaust” is probably as wide as Phil’s is narrow. If Zionists and Israel supporters were actually indicted and prosecuted for their crimes, how long before that became “the new Holocaust”? Or even just outed and reviled?

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 1:40 pm

        Eisner can’t be truthful about Jewish identity, or the “Jewish community” in America, without admitting how ridiculous her stance as some kind of arbiter or describer of it is. It is, in varying degrees, the illusion people like Eisner (and I’m sure she is by no means the worst) create about the “Jewish community” in America which allows them to inveigle so much money and obedience out of them. Is she the worst, no the Zionists are, by far, the worst. They’re all selling a very expensive snake oil, and all you get for your money is people telling you how smart you are. Come to think of it, I would pay a lot for that service about now, myself.
        And of course, the “Jewish community” is the grease that Zionism slides in using. We could pull the rug right out from under tham by simply declaring, and acting like the reality of the situation, that there are a certain number of people in America (a few million?) who share an old-fashioned religious belief. But if we keep up this charade of a “Jewish community” which it is so beneficial to belong to and whose self-professed positive attributes one can share in, the money pours in.
        Hey, but in AMerica, where you can be a “community” by owning a certain brand of motorcycle, car or boat, or other consumer item, it’s bound to work.

      • MRW
        August 26, 2012, 6:37 pm

        OK, Mooser, you win. You’re smart. You’re really smart. And so is your dog. (I love chocolate labs.)

      • MRW
        August 26, 2012, 6:39 pm

        @Mooser,

        “”If Zionists and Israel supporters were actually indicted and prosecuted for their crimes, how long before that became “the new Holocaust”? Or even just outed and reviled?

        Eckactly.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 3:44 pm

        “OK, Mooser, you win. You’re smart. You’re really smart. And so is your dog. (I love chocolate labs.)”

        MRW, when I’m dressed in head-to-toe in Ralph Lauren “Polo”, with that magnificent chocolate lab at my side, I almost feel not Jewish! And nobody can tell. Or…can they?

      • RoHa
        August 26, 2012, 10:49 pm

        “Would you, say, be against Indian-American cherishing their heritage?”

        1. What is a “heritage” in this context?
        2. What makes it “theirs”?

        If “heritage” means something like Indian cooking or philosophy, I like both of those. I do some Indian cooking, and study Indian philosophy. Am I not allowed to? And does it somehow belong to people of Indian ancestry, so that it is the “heritage” of Apu who eats hot dogs and has never heard of Shankara and Ramanuja?

        “America has de-facto moved away from an ethos of the melting pot(even if that phrase is still used) to something of a salad bowl instead”

        Not a good move, in my opinion.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 12:04 am

        “America has de-facto moved away from an ethos of the melting pot(even if that phrase is still used) to something of a salad bowl instead, if the expression is allowed.”

        Or so the wing-nuts tell us Krauss, or so the wing-nuts tell us. But there’s really no reason for an intelligent guy like you to take it seriously. In fact, with the affirmative actions trying to ameloriate to some degree the effects of discrimination, America is becoming more of a melting pot, thank God.
        Oh, sure, there’s some nasty chunky stuff who refuse to melt into the American pot, but that’s mostly wing-nuts, bitching about the color of the stew in the pot.

      • Dan Crowther
        August 27, 2012, 9:53 am

        After reading through this thread, I am convinced of a few things: (1) The Moose Man is the Top Man. No question. (2) This issue has only highlighted the numb-skullerly of some of those who claim to be(self appointed, of course) enlightened “leaders of jewish thought” or whatever (3) I’m pretty sure Colin Wright, is in fact, Niall Ferguson.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 3:46 pm

        “(3) I’m pretty sure Colin Wright, is in fact, Niall Ferguson.”

        Oh, don’t be silly, Dan. However odious his conclusions, Niall Ferguson can write. Everybody knows that.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        August 28, 2012, 12:06 pm

        Krauss,
        “Jewish identity will by definition be seperate from the more broad American identity, just like most conscious minorities.”

        – “just like most conscious minorities” – Is that so?

        All other minorities with a hyphenated identity like “Mexican-American”, “Irish-American”, or “XY-American” are American first and use the other property as a secondary qualification. But the Jewish identity in America is being an “American Jew”. – That’s a small difference to being a hyphenated “Jewish-American”.

  2. mijj
    August 25, 2012, 11:19 am

    > “America .. has a far more tolerant DNA”

    lol … what?

    DNA? .. i think she means culture. But, isn’t America steeped in intolerance. Maybe she isn’t concerned with intolerance in general, but intolerance against Jews.

    Intolerance can switch in an instant. It isn’t founded on logic, it’s founded on frustration, emotion and the need to vent on a victim. The intolerance against Muslims is only a hair’s breadth away from intolerance against Jews.

    A firestorm of intolerance that engulfs Muslims can just as easily engulf Jews.

    • ColinWright
      August 25, 2012, 3:31 pm

      mijj says: “…DNA? .. i think she means culture. But, isn’t America steeped in intolerance…”

      America can indeed be intolerant — but we’re pretty clearly a lot less intolerant than most places.

      Just look at the almost hysterical reaction in European countries as soon as they acquire a minority population of 5% or so. It’s telling that someone who would pass for ‘white’ in this country is usually considered an alien in Europe. They have a far tighter definition of ‘whiteness’ — and get much more readily upset at any sign that the ‘other’ is moving in.

      In Europe, one has headscarf laws. Here, headscarves can get dirty looks — but no one tries to rationalize making them illegal. Here, it would never even occur to us to discriminate against someone that in Europe would be seen as ‘Arab’ or ‘Turkish.’

      Churchill once remarked that ‘democracy is the worst political system in the world — except for all the others.’ Similarly, America is most intolerant nation on earth — except for all the others.

      • libra
        August 25, 2012, 7:12 pm

        CW: Here, it would never even occur to us to discriminate against someone that in Europe would be seen as ‘Arab’ or ‘Turkish.’

        Perhaps not Colin but you – and I mean you – would rationalize shooting them in the back from a helicopter gunship in their own country.

      • ColinWright
        August 25, 2012, 8:19 pm

        libra says: “Perhaps not Colin but you – and I mean you – would rationalize shooting them in the back from a helicopter gunship in their own country.”

        Oh God help us.

        Indeed. However, not on the basis of their religion. On the basis of the fact that they were wandering around with an RPG — as they were, and as I pointed out at the time.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 12:30 pm

        Gee, Krauss, one must ask oneself, when did Europe have lifetime chattel slavery for Africans they had to go and get?

      • YoungMassJew
        August 26, 2012, 12:41 pm

        Colin, well said.
        Although I run the risk of sounding arrogant/pretenious, I’ve give this example of American tolerance that demonstrates how people are more tolerant here than other countries. At the store I work at between Boston and Worcester, MA one can find Muslim women in full burgas coming into the store at roughly the same time as Conservative kippa wearing Jews. Where else can you find this? Queens? I don’t think inside Israel you would find this even in the mixed Arab and Jewish towns without moltov cocktails being flung at the Muslim women or rocks being thrown at the Muslims. Maybe I’m wrong. There might be one town/city in Israel/Palestine. And again, not to sound arrogant, but me thinks that I’m the only one at the store that is keeping these people comfortable and able to shop there cause I don’t stare rudely at them like everyone else does. Me I don’t think I’m being courageous. I, like Phil and other Jews, simply are Humanists. The situation for Muslims in this country is heartbreaking in the sense that they have to deal with the stares and at worse mosque burnings. Also, whoever said that it can turn on a dime once Americans wake up to the power of the Zionist lobby and conflate all Jews with the Zionist billionaires is also correct and I will give you this example which I just know will be censored, but please let me put the comment in context. Of course Jews aren’t being lynched in America or having their temples burned to the ground; however, there are angry working class white people in this country who are definitely suspicious about the Jews. Like my co-worker from Framingham, MA who mumbled under his breath about “a genocide” because I did my job poorly for one day but made up for it and now we get along. Or my working class co-worker when I worked at CVS in my town 10 minutes from Boston who complained that “the Rashi school” is changing this character of Dedham,MA. Or course my class privilege upper middle class trumps religious/ethnicity and these co-workers have a much harder life than I do, but listen especially yourstruly I’m talking to you, it’s not going to take much for there to be “a peasant revolt” so to speak against Jews in general once Dick and Jane or as I say “the Jones’s” (I’ve never even heard that phrase “Dick and Jane” I guess that’s a different generation) wake up to the mess that Zionism has brought on America and Palestine.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 1:52 pm

        “Although I run the risk of sounding arrogant/pretenious”

        No, I really don’t think you do, and the disclaimer does you more harm than good. After all, if you just sound like yourself, YMJ, would you be arrogant or pretentious? I don’t think so.
        Only thing you sound to me is, well, young, and you’ve already admitted that. And there’s no point in me resenting you for that!
        Anyway, maybe we could go out for a burga, sometime.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 2:35 pm

        “Or course my class privilege upper middle class trumps religious/ethnicity”

        You’re working retail, and you write like that, but you’re “upper middle class” which “trumps religious/ethnicity”? And think you run the risk of being “arrogant” or “pretentious”?
        My, I am learning a lot about the Jewish community and the Jewish identity.

      • YoungMassJew
        August 26, 2012, 6:42 pm

        Just part time(retail) while I’m in college Mooser. The neighborhood where I grew up is upper-middle. I know I can do better than my current job. You’re making it too complicated really, but I know you’re comments are usually just for kicks.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 3:58 pm

        ” I know I can do better than my current job.”

        Oh, you’ll be swell, you’ll be great, gonna have the whole world on a plate! Working part-time (yeow, what a load, school and a job) while going to school will keep you out of trouble. Stay away from girls, and with any luck, you’ll do fine. And remember, you’re 15IQ pts. smarter than the average bear, or something like that. You’ll get every picnic basket that’s in Jellystone Park before you’re 30. But for God’s sake stay away from girls! And if you haven’t yet, join a rock and roll band. Remember what I said about the girls.

      • Djinn
        September 4, 2012, 2:43 am

        Ah Colin I can only assume you don’t know any Arabs, they are REGULARLY discrimated against, it may never occur to YOU to discriminate against them but many of your fellow citizens not to mention many businesses & organizations that do so as well.

        My ex does not look remotely Arab but the minute people find out his name the anti-Arab discrimination comes thick & fast.

  3. Kathleen
    August 25, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Jewish justice movement finally dealing with the “persecution in Palestine”. Grown by leaps and bounds the last five years. As I often say better late than never. Important to acknowledge this is new and welcomed. Important not to allow anyone to pretend that this is the way it has been. Sometimes there is a clear attempt to create a new myth. A new and growing change

  4. yourstruly
    August 25, 2012, 2:04 pm

    “can’t say that the only true judaism is progressive?” except when the question is on whose side, the slave or the slavemaster, one sure can. as for the rest of judaism (the superman in the sky, the rituals and such), strictly superstition and ornamental.

    • ColinWright
      August 25, 2012, 3:20 pm

      yourstruly says: ‘“can’t say that the only true judaism is progressive?” except when the question is on whose side, the slave or the slavemaster, one sure can. ‘

      But how is that ‘true judaism’? As far as I can see, that attitude only goes back around two hundred years — and is largely a product not of Judaism itself so much as the result of the interaction of it and the surrounding gentile culture.

      Go back further, and you will find Jews most decidedly plumping for the slavemaster rather than the slave. As in the Polish-ruled Ukraine, where they acted as the agents of the Catholic Polish landlords in oppressing the Orthodox Christian peasantry.

      This isn’t the preamble to an anti-semitic rant. But I think this ‘true Judaism’ stuff is to some extent a self-deluding fairy tale — that Jews always were good and Israel is just some kind of regrettable anomaly.

      Call me crazy, but I suspect the moral texture of Jews and Judaism is more or less the same mix as the moral texture of just about anyone else — and I don’t see why I should agree that there necessarily is some morally pure ‘true judaism’ any more than I see the Catholic Church as having been an unalloyed force for goodness ever since Saint Peter.

      The truth of the matter — in my view, at this moment — is that the world is always a seething maelstrom of moral ambiguity. Notions like ‘the true judaism’ are attempts to replace this with a comprehensible division between good and evil — with ‘true judaism’ safely and definitely on the good side.

      But is it? I’m inclined to doubt it. I don’t think that division is clearly there. More like occasionally one has flashes of pure light and puddles of inarguable darkness — but mostly, it’s just a very turgid flood.

      • yourstruly
        August 25, 2012, 5:41 pm

        your points are well taken but two hundred years is plenty long enough for the emergence of a group attitude (such as opposition to oppression), and, yes, it’s largely a product not of judaism itself but of the interaction between it and the surrounding non-jewish culture. that not all jews now (or ever) held this attitude merely attests to the fact that jews, same as other peoples, are not immune to appeals to prejudice. but to the extent and for as long as the identification with the oppressed holds, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that siding with the oppressed is not uniquely jewish, but instead is an attitude that’s more often found among the oppressed (or formerly oppressed) than among those who have no personal or collective memory of having been persecuted. i have in mind here the support that japanese-americans (remembering what happened to them &/or their parents during ww ii) are offering muslim-americans who now find themselves confronted by growing animosity towards muslims in america.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 12:34 pm

        yours truly, it is indeed true that not all Jews, for whatever reason, respond to the call of prejudice. The real question is, why on earth should Israel respond to the call of the American Jews? Especially if they keep on getting the money, which is institutionalised in our government?
        So there will be an American Judaism, which will sneer at, and be sneered at, by Israeli Judaism. Big deal.

      • yourstruly
        August 26, 2012, 1:52 pm

        mooser, not israel responding to the call of american jews, but the u.s. government responding to the demand of its people for an end to the u.s.-israel special relationship, without which, the zionist entity will be forced to face up to the realities of being not just alone in the arab/islamic world but abandoned now by its former protector.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 2:42 pm

        “not israel responding to the call of american jews, but the u.s. government responding to the demand of its people for an end to the u.s.-israel special relationship”

        Right, but I don’t think that will happen until they’ve convinced themselves that the Jewish community is nothing to be afraid of, or in awe of. And that will be a rough process.

  5. radii
    August 25, 2012, 3:44 pm

    the truth will set you free – if jews acknowledge their extraordinary wealth and power it can be a healthy debate as to what to do with it – by keeping it in the shadows (biggest open secret in the world), the momentum of a failed ideology can be allowed to chug right along despite its clear path toward danger

    • ColinWright
      August 25, 2012, 4:45 pm

      ‘Extraordinary wealth and power’ is a bit of an exaggeration in the first place.

      I looked it up: Jews have done well for themselves — but hardly extraordinarily well. Depending on what indice you look at, they’re 60% rather than 44%, 29% rather than 15%.

      I imagine most definable groups you could come up with vary from the norm by similar amounts — up or down. So it would be as accurate to say Jews have done ‘ordinarily well’ as it would be to call it ‘extraordinarily well.’

      And this touches on a common thread I have noted before — in Ellis’ and Weiss’ writings, among others. The idea is ‘say we’re good, or say we’re bad — but don’t, whatever you do, suggest we’re ordinary, or insignificant.’

    • Mooser
      August 26, 2012, 12:38 pm

      “– if jews acknowledge their extraordinary wealth and power it can be a healthy debate as to what to do with it –”

      Jeez, what on earth else do you do with it? You found yourself a Jewish country. Just like the Christians who came here (oh, they may not have had that much, but they had enough to beat the Native Americans into the ground) and all the born-agains are talking about now. You know, a Christian nation.
      The idea that Jews are going to give up on Zionism out of the goodness of their hearts and finally getting the right information is ridiculous. It’s insulting to Gentiles, too, but don’t worry about that.

  6. American
    August 25, 2012, 3:54 pm

    I see a couple of flaws in Eisner’s thinking.

    First, setting yourself up or proclaiming yourself as a wealth or political power group ”of ethnics or religious” whichever way she wants to identify it, which is what you are doing when you claim it for Jews as a group, is a two edged sword depending on how others view the results or use of this ‘group’ power. It’s different then defining yourself as a regular American political group with a diverse set of ethnic people in it.

    Second, it seems a lot of Jews like Eisner, those so into Jewishness, cannot for the life of them conceive of “balance”. It’s either the extreme of Putnam’s ‘we’re most loved or the others extreme of we’re most hated’.

    Third, I agree Jews should acknowledge their comfort in America and drop their holocaust mentality. But many like Eisner base that advice on being good advice, only because of or as long as Jews have some above ordinary power as a group.

    What I see in this is still elements of tribalism( the grouping) narcissism (the we’re loved) (along with the often stated or implied claim Jews are a ‘unique’ force for good) or paranoia (we’re hated) existing among others in the group or it’s leaders.
    And making Jewish comfort dependent on Jewish wealth and power in America instead of just on ”the America” that enabled them to reach this level of comfort and wealth to begin with.

    I just think this kind of thinking is the persistent fatal flaw of Jewish tribalism for Jews, whether the tribe is competing for good or bad results, like zionism ,within themselves and then resulting on the country or world because you never know which way anything will go, and if it turns out bad then you’ve risk setting the entire tribe up for fall.
    I dont’ see this tribal thinking ending though, as official doctrine so to speak, for most of the Jewish leaders and spokespeople. And I have no idea how prevalent this thinking is among ordinary Jews.

    Basically I think it’s a vicious circle.

    • bilal a
      August 25, 2012, 4:44 pm

      This championing of Jewish wealth and power , far disproportionate to their population percentage, and concentrated in instiutions considered immoral and anti-American by most Americans (Wall Street, Vegas, Hollywood, academia, media, etc. ) ; seems to me dangerous. Even if this economic power has provided short term political power, through, lets face it, corription of voting democracy through corporate purchase democracy, then someone is still bound to ask , how did this tiny minority take over America ? The answer, true or not, might be, through profeshional networking, which is a fancy word for ethnic tribal discrimination against middle Americans. And someone might ask , what is the fruits of this benevolent takeover, we have to cut off grandmas medicaid and social security to pay off all the wars for Israel ?

      This new bravado and hubris is not a good thing for America, better to put back the Sheldon Adelsons into the shadows.

    • Mooser
      August 26, 2012, 12:58 pm

      “Basically I think it’s a vicious circle.”

      American, if I had simply scrolled through and read your comment before I started commenting, I wouldn’t have spun in so many viscous circles

      “I just think this kind of thinking is the persistent fatal flaw of Jewish tribalism for Jews, whether the tribe is competing for good or bad results”

      It doesn’t matter what the tribe says it wants, good, bad or indifferent. You get certain results from victimology tribalism, or any other kind, for that matter. You don’t get to choose which results you want. There is no alchemy turns tribal dross into gold.

      • MRW
        August 27, 2012, 2:46 pm

        Almost there, Mooser.

        You get certain results from victimology tribalism, or any other kind, for that matter. You don’t get to choose which results you want.

        You may get the results you want immediately. You don’t get to choose the consequences of those results over time.

  7. atime forpeace
    August 25, 2012, 4:16 pm

    Was Rudyard Kiplling writing to the zionists directly?

    “If any question why we died
    Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

    Rudyard kipling.

  8. ColinWright
    August 25, 2012, 4:58 pm

    I think Eisner’s central point is valid: that in America, Jews are no longer an oppressed group so much as a privileged group — and with privilege, comes moral responsibility.

    From an egalitarian perspective, this is an uncomfortable thought on a number of scores, but the only possible counters I can see are (a) the Ayn Randian one that them that has, gets — all for me, and none for you, because I’m better. (b) A demand that Jews stop perceiving themselves as a group at all. Or (c) that privilege is wrong, and that Jews should remain a group but adopt the rather impractical and pointless course of trying to modulate their achievements and acquisitions so as to match the overall average.

    • Mooser
      August 26, 2012, 1:00 pm

      “and with privilege, comes moral responsibility.”

      No, with privilege, you get release from moral responsibility. A lot of your comments demonstrate that, in case you didn’t notice.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 3:10 pm

        Mooser says: ““and with privilege, comes moral responsibility.”

        No, with privilege, you get release from moral responsibility. A lot of your comments demonstrate that, in case you didn’t notice.”

        Awww…he came up with another way of saying something rude.

        Isn’t he cute? Come over to my house sometime, Mooser, and I’ll give you a puppy treat.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 7:42 pm

        “Awww…he came up with another way of saying something rude.”

        I make a simple, easily proven observation about your comments, and you call it rude? That’s funny. Why would you do that?

  9. eGuard
    August 25, 2012, 5:11 pm

    Only two minutes in, and the video lost me. I fell asleep.

    Wake me up when US Jews (“Jewish community”) change anything.

    • Mooser
      August 26, 2012, 1:03 pm

      “Wake me up when US Jews (“Jewish community”) change anything.”

      I intend to get a much better night’s rest than you eGuard! They can wake me when something changes US Jews. You’ll get woken up every hour by US Jews announcing that something has changed.

      • MRW
        August 27, 2012, 2:49 pm

        This, Mooser, was funny. And true.

  10. chinese box
    August 25, 2012, 5:35 pm

    “Never mind the fact that Americans love us here. They really do.”

    This is certainly a jarring statement. I hope the Eisner just mispoke and and it doesn’t mean what it sounds like.

    Assuming for the sake of argument that it does mean what it seems to mean, I doubt it’s representative of mainstream American Jewish thought, although Abe Foxman and the “Israel as insurance policy” crowd probably share her sentiments. Keep in mind also that as editor of “The Forward” Eisner has built her career around Jewish identity politics. If assimilation occurs in America, her job goes POOF, just as AIPAC goes away if a just settlement in Palestine takes place. So some people and groups have a vested interest in promoting division and notions of separateness.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 25, 2012, 7:58 pm

      If assimilation occurs in America, her job goes POOF

      i doubt it. there would still be a market for jewish periodicals or an online market even if jews did fully assimilate. they’re still going to be jewish. have you checked out the forward lately? there’s more there than just politics.

      • ColinWright
        August 25, 2012, 8:36 pm

        Annie Robbins: “…even if jews did fully assimilate. they’re still going to be jewish…”

        Isn’t this a bit of an oxymoron? I mean, at least one of my ancestors was Danish, but she seems to promptly promptly assimilated. You’d have a heck of a time selling me Danish magazine subscriptions.

        …I think you need to define your terms more closely — or maybe pick some new ones. Evidently, by ‘assimilated’ you mean someone who is still conscious of their Jewish identity — but isn’t a Forward reader. Or what do you mean?

    • ColinWright
      August 25, 2012, 8:29 pm

      chinese box says: “…Keep in mind also that as editor of “The Forward” Eisner has built her career around Jewish identity politics. ..”

      At a guess, that’s a tad unfair to Eisner.

      All these things are subjective. The extent to which ‘the Jews’ are a discrete entity would depend on which Jew you ask. If Eisner is editor of the Forward rather than head of some section of the Los Angeles Times, it follows that she has spent more of her time among Jews for whom Jews are more of a discrete community.

      Saying she’s ‘built her career’ around the reality of Jewish identity implies an element of conscious choice that probably isn’t there. For her, Jewish identity is a real and substantial reality — and she has acted accordingly. As I said, not necessarily what I would have prescribed if it were all up to Doctor Colin, but I don’t see anything actually wrong about it.

      I think — particularly living in New York City — she’s exaggerating the awesome power and influence of this collective, but if she wants to believe it, that’s okay. It’s positively commendable that she thinks this implies some moral obligation.

      • Ranjit Suresh
        August 25, 2012, 11:24 pm

        Why? Why is it commendable to think that your racial heritage endows you with some special moral sensibility?

        No. People laughed at Romney when he talked about America’s and Great Britain’s shared Anglo-Saxon ancestry. Well, if someone went much further than Romney’s modest claim and said that Anglo-Saxons have some special moral obligation simply on account of blood – and not on behalf of a culture that other groups can share in the U.S. and UK – they’d be rightly considered racist.

        Why do we make special allowance here? Eisner is expressing in an ostensibly liberal, secular disguise the same old tired notion that some races are endowed with an inherent dignity denied to members of other groups.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 3:58 am

        Ranjit: “Why? Why is it commendable to think that your racial heritage endows you with some special moral sensibility?”

        Unless I missed it, Eisner did not say that Jews’ racial heritage endowed them with some special moral sensibility; others have made such claims — but I didn’t see any such claim above.

        What she said was that Jewish success implies increased moral obligations — which isn’t a view I find especially congenial but which is certainly commendable in and of itself.

        “…Why do we make special allowance here? Eisner is expressing in an ostensibly liberal, secular disguise the same old tired notion that some races are endowed with an inherent dignity denied to members of other groups.”

        ? Where do you see this in Eisner’s remarks?

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 1:07 pm

        “? Where do you see this in Eisner’s remarks?”

        Man, are you obtuse, Colin. The fact that Eisner keeps on mentioning this self-invented “Jewish success” doesn’t clue you in to the truth of what Ranjit says?
        Since you can’t seem to get it, just imagine what would happen if Afro-American leaders made the same claims of “success”? They’ed be challenged from every direction! Every single discrimination caused problem in the American black community would be laid at their feet.

        Just the fact that Eisner can so confidently proclaim this “Jewish success” is all you need to know about the elevated position position she thinks Jews deserve.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 1:58 pm

        Mooser says: “Man, are you obtuse, Colin. The fact that Eisner keeps on mentioning this self-invented “Jewish success” doesn’t clue you in to the truth of what Ranjit says?”

        So according to you Jews in America have not been successful? It is, after all and according to you, Eisner’s invention.

        And failing to recognize this economic and political failure makes me obtuse?

        I’m just trying to understand your reasoning here. But let’s back up. Show me those figures demonstrating how unsuccessful American Jews have actually been.

        …but actually, let’s drop it. You’re not interested in the actual issue at all — much less saying anything logically coherent about it. You just can’t control your spleen.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 2:14 pm

        Ranjit Suresh says: “No. People laughed at Romney when he talked about America’s and Great Britain’s shared Anglo-Saxon ancestry. Well, if someone went much further than Romney’s modest claim and said that Anglo-Saxons have some special moral obligation simply on account of blood – and not on behalf of a culture that other groups can share in the U.S. and UK – they’d be rightly considered racist.”

        There is that.

        However, Romney making such a claim would involve the attempt to create the sense of an ethnic community where there isn’t such a sense –that would be the racist undertaking.

        On the other hand, even absent Eisner, many Jews do have a sense of ethnic identity. The conscious community is already there. Eisner isn’t creating it. So for your analogy to work, there would have to be an explicitly, exclusively Anglo-Saxon community in place for Romney to address.

        …and if there were such a community, Romney could indeed call on it to recognize that privilege confers obligation. There would be nothing racist about that. It would be commendable.

        You may well be right that any conscious attempt to maintain Jewish identity is implicitly racist. However, Eisner wasn’t trying to uphold this community. She was merely taking it as a given — and asserting that it could no longer claim to be oppressed, but on the contrary, was privileged.

        People are trying to put words in Eisner’s mouth here. If they think there shouldn’t be a distinct Jewish community at all, they’re welcome to say so as far as I am concerned.

        However, that is not what Eisner was saying. Read the article.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 4:43 pm

        “You just can’t control your spleen.”

        No, no, spleen is fine, just dandy, thanks. My liver, on the other hand is not in such good shape. But I guess that’s the price I pay for wanting to be a hep-cat.
        Anyway, I’m not denying that Jews have been successful, of course not. Where did you get that? What I’m wondering is if Jews owe their success to the “Jewish community”, and I’d also like to know what it consists of. (I certainly think the “Jewish community” has helped Jews in certain basic ways having to do with their problems as immigrants and with religious problems, but is Jewish “success” rightfully a concern of the Jewish community?) The “self-invented Jewish success” I’m talking about is “the Jewish community” and the success in imposing that idea (or at least getting them to acquiesce to it) on the Jews in America, who, I’m pretty sure, would be aghast at any real Jewish community, and even more aghast about being forced into it.
        But we seem to be discussing two different “issues”, I’m trying to discuss the Jewish community, and in what sense it exists, or doesn’t, and why, and you seem to be trying to figure out how you can condemn it while excusing your own tendencies in exploiting that kind of group identification. But that’s just a guess.

        Oh, whoops, didn’t see that part where you told me to drop it. Oh well, too late. comment’s already submitted, sorry.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 5:01 pm

        “If they think there shouldn’t be a distinct Jewish community at all”

        What do you mean by “distinct”? So we can’t figure out what a “community” is, and now we’ve got to worry about “distinct”?

        Now, as far as I know, Jews, like anybody else are allowed to have a “distinct” religious community and a “distinct” social community, if they so desire. You don’t think maybe this whole discussion is about whether or not unscrupulous or even illegal, let alone immoral are being hidden behind the rubric of “the Jewish community” and whether it’s the elite status of Jews which allows them to do that.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 7:46 pm

        “Anyway, I’m not denying that Jews have been successful, of course not.”

        In fact, I would say that I have a much higher opinion of Jewish success in this country than Eisner does. After all, they never made slaves out of us, and have never tried to go backwards on Jewish rights, as people have been doing to African-Americans since the Emancipation Proclamation.
        But of course, that would mean Eisner would have to compare herself, as a Jew, with African-Americans.

      • Citizen
        August 26, 2012, 8:05 pm

        @ Mo0ser,

        In my experience, Gentiles admire how Jews stick together, their extended sense of family who help their own, but for some reason, the Gentiles I know don’t do this themselves, and they actually deplore David Duke’s type of thinking on the matter, whether they are Xtrian fundies or godless liberals. Instead, they are big on “merit” and “treating people like they are individuals.” They treat “legacy” at the ivy leagues as just a matter of being rich, and wish they were rich so they could do the same. Not always consistent, these Gentiles I know.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 4:11 pm

        “In my experience, Gentiles admire how Jews stick together, their extended sense of family who help their own, but for some reason,”

        Oh sure, after all, they can come to Mondoweiss, and they can see just how much Jews stick together! Because when one Jew, an elite educated American Jew (and we can have many examples besides PW) tells the Zionists they might be making some serious mistakes, all the Zionists say “Now coming from anybody else, this would infuriate us, and we wouldn’t consider it anything but anti-Semitism, but since you, a Jew, says it (and especially one who is such a mensch) we must give it a thourough hearing, and we can’t impugn your motives, and even if we can’t agree, tribal unity forbids us smearing or low-balling you” Yup, it’s easy to see how Jews stick together, and if you believe that, I’ve got some Madoff Fund bonds to sell you.
        However, at selling the idea that we stick together, we have few peers. At selling it yes, to the Gentiles, but that hasn’t done as much harm as our selling it to ourselves.

  11. Kathleen
    August 25, 2012, 9:43 pm

    “wealth, status, political power” Have had arguments with numerous Jewish friends who often beat their “chosen people” chest and often claim how Jews excel. I often argue that while this is great I bring attention to how NPR, etc disproportionately promote books written by Jews, Jewish guest etc. This continuous support of one another at the expense of getting the most informed, creative etc who may be non Jews is noticable. Former employees at NPR have charged (some settled) that there is a “pervasive cronyism” That an outside group was called in to investigate these charges. That report has never been released. This support of fellow Jews permeates the Jewish culture bringing notoriety, wealth, opportunity

    • YoungMassJew
      August 26, 2012, 1:02 pm

      Yes Kathleen. When Jews do this it’s incredibly obnoxious and usually involves anti-Genitile racism. It’s what eventually will cause a backlash against them if unmitigated. Maybe it will be social ostristrazation (sp) which I prefer. I hope its non-violent.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 2:08 pm

        “Maybe it will be social ostristrazation (sp) which I prefer”

        So you’d rather be stuck in the social hall of cinder-block and prefab-laminated-truss reform Synagogue eating stale regalach and homentachen? Is insufficient filling supposed to be a mitzvoh or something? And wondering if it was really spiritual energy or an electricity which opened the ark or kept the eternal light burning?
        Screw that noise, brother, if we just step out the back and walk a ways into the scrub and trees, say, you did bring a lighter, right?

      • YoungMassJew
        August 26, 2012, 6:58 pm

        Mooser, I should’ve been more specific. It’s mostly the Zionist nationalistic Jews who do the whole “They [the Palestinians]want what we have” bit that they assert of Jews belonging to a superior culture. It’s also Zionists who distribute the obnoxious statistics of how many start-ups there are in Israel, the drugs invented, etc as if only “the Jewish brain” can produce greatness. It’s pretentious and obnoxious and causes resentment in the 98%.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 4:15 pm

        “Mooser, I should’ve been more specific.”

        Maybe, but then it wouldn’t have triggered those memories from 45 years ago. My gosh, I can still smell the building! Not that it smelled bad, but like many buildings, had a distinct scent in different parts of it. I wonder if it’s still there, I’ll try and Google-Earth it today.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 2:38 pm

        “Yes Kathleen. When Jews do this it’s incredibly obnoxious and usually involves anti-Genitile racism. It’s what eventually will cause a backlash against them if unmitigated. Maybe it will be social ostristrazation (sp) which I prefer. I hope its non-violent.”

        I wonder what there actually is to be done about it?

        As I noted, this sort of pattern is hardly unique to Jews. Whether they do it consciously or simply because they find the person more congenial, people will tend to favor others of the same background — and hence often of the same ethnicity — over themselves.

        I’m not sure that can be prevented. Indeed, I’m even averse to trying to prevent it. I think it’s usually a mistake to try to make people do things that are contrary to their nature. Absent gross seizures of power or privilege, I’d be inclined to just ignore it. It is indeed true that since I am not Tongan or whatever it was that I cannot get a job at that warehouse I mentioned in San Francisco. Whether I should fret about this is a different matter.

        It is worth pointing out that in the case of something like NPR, the problem may be self-correcting. It will still need an audience. If in fact Jews have seized control of it and are running it by Jews and for Jews, then eventually the only people who will be interested in it will be Jews themselves — and so NPR will be competing for a slice of that 2% of the population audience.

        That doesn’t sound very fruitful to me. And what are you going to do about it? The cure may be worse than the disease…and I suspect that in the end, you won’t kill the disease anyway. People will still tend to favor others that they identify with. And one of the ways people identify with each other is ethnicity.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 3:45 pm

        “Whether they do it consciously or simply because they find the person more congenial, people will tend to favor others of the same background — and hence often of the same ethnicity — over themselves.”

        So we’re talking about the point where tribal unity becomes self-sacrifice? I’ve never heard of a Jew quitting a good job just so another Jew can have it, but it may have happened, if you say so. But wouldn’t he expect the same in return? Sounds like musical boardroom chairs, if you ask me.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 4:52 pm

        “I wonder what there actually is to be done about it?”

        Hard to say. On the one hand, Jews are not easily identifiable by skin tone, on the other, that makes it easier for them to get out while the gettings good.
        In my estimation, when something happens which significantly changes the situation of the Jews in America, it will significantly change the situation of the Jews in America.
        It’s that simple.

      • YoungMassJew
        August 26, 2012, 7:05 pm

        Colin, what I do about it is by ignoring these people[Zionists] like they’re the criminals they are. I’m working on public shaming tactics when the opportunity presents itself. Zionists don’t know who they dealing with. I’m in it to the end. They won’t keep me quiet.

  12. yourstruly
    August 25, 2012, 10:39 pm

    not mentioned on this thread is concern that unless it is contested the zionist claim that israel speaks for all jews tends to deter both jews and non-jews from speaking out against israel’s maltreatment of palestinians. rather than take on the real risk of being labeled either an antisemite or self-hating jew, individuals and even groups feel pressure to muzzle their real feelings on israel/palestine, thereby giving israel a free ride, so to speak. the danger here is that silence on the issue of containing the zionist entity clears the way for israel to complete its theft of palestine, along with all the dire consequences for life on earth that such an outcome portends. that is why it is so vital and urgent that jewish americans participate in seeking justice for palestine. Jewish partipation puts faces on the slogan, “Not in My Name”, thereby disinhibiting heretofore silent americans (of all political and religious persuasions) to speak out against israel’s u.s.-backed crimes and for justice in palestine. simply stated there’s no peace without justice, and without peace – doomsday.

  13. bilal a
    August 25, 2012, 10:40 pm

    There doesnt seem to be an explanation for the divide between the majority of american progressives (Jewish and otherwise) and the elite liberal institutions on the issue of Palestine-Israel. Is there a political economy explanation for the persistence of embarassments like Netanyahu for both Jews and other Americans both here and in Israel I mean trillions are being spent on these wars and its going to someone, but to whom Not the widows and the disabled veterans obviously. In other words, is the Apartheid state a cash cow for the Christian and Jewish Zionist elite in America, even as it hurts average Americans through these wasteful budjet expenditures.

    I’d like to see some research on the political economy of anti terrorism and zionism as a whole. As a data point, take Lockheed martin a recipient of a big part of the pentagon spent trillions. It is 12&+ owned publicly by Capital world investors run by someone named Jim Rothenberg, also a high level trustee at Harvard and Caltech. Rothenberg does a search for an endowment financial manager at Caltech and comes up with a certain Scott Richland, formerly of hedge funds, the Los Angeles Jewish community foundation, and Birthright Israel.

    So ignoring the blatant Israeli monetization of terrorism as in the case of Michael Chertoff of homeland security and Israel, is there a signficant cash cow nexus between leading Jewish elites, the Pentagon expenditures recipients, and liberal academia

    If so, Israel isnt an aprtheid state, its a business venture transferring trillions from normal american taxpayers to a tiny criminal elite. Like in the godfather film, Hyman Roth turns to Michael Correlone, “Michael, we’re bigger than US Steel.”

    • Citizen
      August 26, 2012, 5:51 am

      RE: “I’d like to see some research on the political economy of anti terrorism and zionism as a whole.”

      Me too. Starting with some research on the economy of anti-terrorism and zionism as a whole I imagine after aggregating a set of facts, the individuals and groups start popping out, as your single data points illustrates.

  14. American
    August 26, 2012, 3:04 am

    In thinking about the Jewish group and all kinds of ethnic groups and looking around in general at countries dividing up in many cases along ethnic lines, we may forced or at least influenced into accept this trend.
    I don’t think it would work well or for long when ethnic interest superceed most other interest in a group. Then all you have is a constant fight and jockeying for political power between groups who have to maintain their power for the groups benefit.
    Well, we have that now among elites and other interest but the ethnic componant would make it even more fractured. We’d be like the Sunni and Shiites in Iraq plus half a dozen other groups in a constant war of political violence if not outright violence.
    In fact political violence describes what the US has now for the most part.

    • Mooser
      August 26, 2012, 1:18 pm

      “We’d be like the Sunni and Shiites in Iraq…”

      Before or after the US invasion and War on Iraq?

      • gamal
        August 26, 2012, 1:42 pm

        as in….

        This article serves as a critical examination of sectarianism in Iraqi society and politics, considering both its historical origins and its contemporary manifestations. The article thus evaluates the sectarian question in two parts: (1) its historical context in the Iraqi milieu and (2) the uses of social sectarianism for political purposes in modern Iraq. This provides the framework for a critical evaluation of the assorted actors, both Iraqi and foreign, who have used sectarianism to advance their parochial interests in occupied Iraq.
        The historical survey of sectarianism examines the social and folkloric bases of social sectarianism in modern Iraq. We argue that the manifestation of sectarianism in contemporary Iraq was transformed from a social phenomenon into a political programme under the Anglo-American military occupation. Even before the occupation, a primary theme of global discourse on Iraq (1990–2002) was the attempt by external actors to embed political sectarianism into the political dynamics of Iraq.
        This essay argues that the violent and highly politicized form of sectarianism that currently characterizes Iraq is the result of a deliberate manipulation of social differences that had been largely transcended in Iraq’s major urban centres through decades of national state-building. The processes of this ‘new sectarianism’ are evaluated in terms of the political and legal mechanisms that have been institutionalized in occupied Iraq. The primary instigators of this new sectarianism are identified as Anglo-American occupation authorities; regional actors; and critically, a class of ‘carpetbaggers’1 – Iraqi expatriates who were parachuted into power by occupation forces and have since developed narrow sectarian constituencies in the pursuit of their parochial interests.

        http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Article,id=11013/

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 3:49 pm

        Yup, exactly gamal. Thar Shias-and-Sunnis-fighting-forever blather was the almost universal excuse for Anglo-American crimes in Iraq.
        Pretty funny, it was. One year, Iraq was unified and disciplined enough to threaten the world, and the next year, Iraq was a tribal wreck, a horror show of Sunni-Shia sectarian atrocities. And gee, what happened in the short period between those two states?

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 5:20 pm

        “Even before the occupation, a primary theme of global discourse on Iraq (1990–2002) was the attempt by external actors to embed political sectarianism into the political dynamics of Iraq.”

        Now, I distinctly recall, in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s expulsion from Kuwait (in the course of which we scrupulously avoided entering Iraq and even let the surviving Republican Guard divisions withdraw back into Iraq) a massive Shi’a uprising in southern Iraq.

        …which we were upbraided for not supporting, and which involved Sunni soldiers crushing Shi’as in tanks, screaming ‘after today, no more Shi’a!’

        But I guess all that was propaganda. It never happened.

        I also recall us imposing a ‘no-fly zone’ over Northern Iraq, in the wake of (among other things) the massive gassing of an entire Kurdish town by Hussein’s regime.

        But again, I suppose that never happened. It was all propaganda. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was actually an ethnically unified, homogeneous, harmonious nation.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 6:06 pm

        I’m somewhat vaguer about this, but as I recall, in eighteenth and nineteenth century Iraq, Wahhabi (Sunni) fanatics were given to raiding Shia communities and killing all the men and boys.

        But that must be propaganda as well. Before the Americans, it was all sweetness and light, with everyone respecting their neighbors. That would be why the Sassoon family (eventually to wind up as English gentry) fled Basra in the eighteenth century. The local amir was about to express his affection.

        But propaganda again, I suppose. Then Iraq is where the Turks sent the Armenians in 1915. They had this crazy idea that someone was sure to kill them. Funny thing is, they were proved horrifyingly correct.

        But that’s all propaganda. All those centuries, Iraq was a paradise of intercommunal harmony. That would explain the large population and thriving agriculture. It wouldn’t have been a wasteland of desert and swamp, with people glowering in alternate hatred and terror at their neighbor. That would be propaganda.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 6:54 pm

        “That would explain the large population and thriving agriculture. It wouldn’t have been a wasteland of desert and swamp, with people glowering in alternate hatred and terror at their neighbor. That would be propaganda.”

        You break it, you buy it. We bought it.
        But while we were there, we should have pried the secret of de-desertification you imply the Iraqis have but refuse to use, and oh yes, control over the rainfall.
        Naturally, you went and did your part in operation Iraqi Freedom, and we honor you for attempting to bring civilisation to the benighted heathen

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 7:38 pm

        “I’m somewhat vaguer about this, but as I recall, in eighteenth and nineteenth century Iraq…”

        Oh, don’t feel bad. I can’t remember anything from before I was born, and the 18th and 19th centiries are a complete blank to me.

      • gamal
        August 26, 2012, 11:36 pm

        have you been reading Churchill or something, no doubt current dustbowl conditions in the US are the result of..? mexican immigration, catholic protestant tensions?

        some methodological considerations you may wish to consider, when applying your “it was already broken” theory to Iraq are well explained in this essay about India, you know that age old conflict between islam and Hinduism!

        David Ludden Ayodhya: A Window on the World

        Holy men declared Monday, December 6, 1992, auspicious, and more than 300,000 people gathered that day in Ayodhya, a pilgrimage town north of Varanasi (Benaras). Most wore the saffron color of Hindu nationalism. At mid-day, a vanguard among them broke down police barricades around a mosque called the Babri Masjid, built in 1528 by the first Mughal emperor of India, Babar. Cheering men swarmed the domes of the old mosque and in five hours they hammered and axed it to the ground. Video cameras hummed. Eye-witnesses took notes for news reports around the world. Hindu leaders, who had mobilized for this event since 1984, watched with satisfaction. For they and their followers believe that god Rama was born here and that Babar had destroyed Rama’s temple (mandir) to build his mosque (masjid). The construction of the new Rama temple was begun that evening on the rubble of the Babri Masjid. Government officials looked on ineffectually. Violence triggered by the demolition killed 1,700 people and injured 5,500 over the next four months.

        Supporters justify the action at Ayodhya as the liberation of a Hindu sacred space to unify the Indian nation. Critics call it violence against Muslims and Indian civil society. In this volume, we explore the mobilizations, genealogies, and interpretations that locate this one very emotional and symbolic day in the struggles that are underway to redefine India politically in the age after the Cold War. Ayodhya is a window on a world of conflict inside nationalism, which came into being in the 1980s, and also onto the global staging of national politics and cultures in the late twentieth century. Ayodhya symbolizes Hindu-Muslim conflict in South Asia and conjures the nightmare of nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Like other communal conflicts, communalism in India is also international (Midalarsky 1992). Not only in India, but also in France, (the former) Yugoslavia, Turkey, Germany, the U.S., Sri Lanka, Russia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Iran — anywhere that minorities face hostile majoritarianism — minority conditions worsened in the 1980s (Gurr 1993). Since the late 1970s, nationalist movements based on the assertion that only one majority ethnic or religious group defines a nation have emerged with new cultural force and creativity — with new rituals and spectacles, including televised violence — to revalorize old emotions and symbolic resources. As we will see, the men who destroyed Babar’s mosque marched to a cultural movement whose ideas, images, media, organizations, and resources are transnational in form, scope, and influence. Ayodhya is a refraction of “ethnic cleansing” in Serbia, the “moral majority” in the U.S., and other movements that define nations by ethnicity and religion.

        Primordialism

        In the early 1990s, when religious upheaval threaten India’s stable, modern, secular, and multi-cultural democracy, economic crisis also upended India’s treasury (Gordon and Oldenburg 1992); observers who assessed the condition of the country had to keep in mind that many states have crumbled since Iran’s 1978 Islamic Revolution. In 1992, two large, multi-ethic states much like India — the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia — were in pieces. Many analysts concluded that Ayodhya reflected a wider alienation of cultures from states that was tearing the loyalties of peoples away from governments in many parts of the world.

        Loyalties more powerful than old-style nationalism seem to be breaking states apart in the last quarter of the century. In this context, scholarly interest in nationalism has increased along with skepticism about modern institutions (Anderson 1981; Chatterjee 1986, 1993; Connor 1994). Scholars discuss the invented, imagined nature of nationalism as popular movements deconstruct world politics. In the 1980s in the U.S., politicians called for government to “get off our backs,” as governments collapsed elsewhere under the force of popular assertions of their illegitimacy. These new popular movements (including ones that failed, as in China) pitted “the people” against “the government” in new ways. Nationalism and national cultures were being redefined from many directions.

        The process continues, and religion plays an important part, as represented, for instance, by its prominence in the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development. In the U.S., India, Algeria, Poland, Iran, Israel, and elsewhere, religion entered politics with new force in the 1980s; and in the U.S., it also permeated thinking about world politics, as militant Muslims appeared to pose a serious threat to the U.S. abroad. Apprehensions about Islam deepened during the Iran hostage crisis and Persian Gulf War, and in 1992, American journalists in India immediately interpreted events at Ayodhya as Hindu rage against Islam. They were quickly joined by a prominent political scientist (Huntington 1993) and by scholars of religion (Juergensmeyer 1993) who consider Hindu nationalism to be a response in kind to Islamic nationalism. In this perspective, Hinduism and Islam together form a single image of religious militancy, as they entangle one another, fighting like two armies at war, or boxers in a ring. Newsweek (December 21, 1992, p.446) even used a phrase from media coverage of militant Islam to headline its story on Ayodhya: “Holy War in India.”

        Huntington formulated these ideas into a new framework for analyzing global politics as “a clash of civilizations.” In his post-Cold War world order, Islam is a world civilization that has expanded its power historically east and west, like an empire, so that today, nationalist Hindus fight Muslims on the east, while Jews and Christians fight Muslims in the west (Huntington 1993, 33-4ff). Communalism in India is thus symptomatic of the new world order emerging from the Cold War. Journalists Steve Coll and Edward Gargan effectively explain how India entered this new world order. They report that the centralized Indian state, built on socialist lines by Jawaharlal Nehru, went bankrupt in the 1980s, releasing the powers of the free market and religious nationalism — both suppressed by “Nehruvian socialism.” Indian business and the BJP thus represent populist forces, which together confront the weakening socialist state in India, in a conflict like that in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (Coll 1994; see especially New York Times July 24, 1992, December 11, 1992, September 17, 1993).

        In this reading of recent history, religious nationalisms express primordial loyalties that were set free (in a positive reading) or unleashed (in a negative reading) by crumbling state control over political systems in the 1980s. Religion seems to be a natural, populist political force, articulating people’s cultural and national identity at a level of emotive meaning more basic and fundamental than other kinds of political affiliations. Religious identities naturally break into politics when constraints weaken. India is like Iran, Poland, and Russia. Evoking Yugoslavia, Edward Gargan reported that, “the hatreds of India” emerged in the 1980s from “Hindu memory scarred by centuries of sometimes despotic Islamic rule” (New York Times, December 11, 1992, A10). Though Muslim sultans have not ruled India for two centuries, Hindus still appear to hold a grudge, aggravated by the traumas of Partition in 1947 and by the continuous animosity of Pakistan. When Nehru’s Congress Party declined — with the assassination of his Prime Minister daughter, Indira Gandhi (1984) and her Prime Minister son, Rajiv Gandhi (1989) — communal conflict erupted in electoral politics and in violent clashes that defied the Indian state and threatened to overwhelm it.

        Identification

        This interpretation gains support from firmly established ideas about the religious foundation of civilizations, national identities, and cultures in Eurasia. When modern European research on India began, in the late eighteenth century, it focused primarily on classical languages and religion, and today the idea that religion defines India remains deeply rooted in modern scholarship. Histories of Indian civilization, art, society, politics, and culture routinely separate the “Hindu,” “Muslim,” “British,” and “Independence” epochs. “India” and “Hindu” are often equated when defining “Indian culture,” whose core characteristics are most often taken to be “Hindu.” Anthropological research and museum exhibits often present “Hindu” ritual, texts, and art to depict “Indian culture.” Islamic artifacts are equally often used to describe a Muslim culture that originated in the Middle East that expanded into India. Exhibitions in the British Museum and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art are organized on these lines, for example. Indian Islam is thus portrayed as being foreign and derivative, alien both to India and to the Islamic heartland. The authority of these ideas and cultural practices increased understandably in 1947, when Hinduism and Islam became majority religions on opposite sides of the borders separating hostile states in South Asia; and to the extent that Pakistan has been Islamicized, its heartland of cultural identity has been shifted away from South Asia toward the Middle East.

        From this perspective, the Babri Masjid seems to be a foreign transplant. But in fact, Babar built his empire primarily in what is now India, where Islam is just as important for cultural history as it is in Pakistan and Bangladesh. As a major religious tradition of the people, Islam is older in India than in Turkey. Indian Islam is older than American Christianity and European Protestantism. Indian Islam is no more derivative than Chinese, Tibetan, or Japanese Buddhism. In India’s historical culture and civilization, Islam has very deep roots indeed, and the distinctiveness of Indian Islam represents the characteristic capacity of Islam everywhere to be adaptable to the environment — a feature that is equally important in diverse and changing regions of its Middle East “heartland” (exemplified in the career of Pan-Islamism and the end of the Caliphate) as it is in India, Indonesia, and Senegal (Eaton 1993; Azmeh 1993). Yet the idea that Islam is foreign in India is axiomatic among the Hindu nationalist groups that destroyed the Babri Masjid; this idea is used to argue for second-class Muslim citizenship and even for the expulsion of Muslims from India.

        Thinking about communalism thus highlights the need to reconsider the basic terms that we use to talk about India, and to question common assumptions that have been built into modern knowledge. All of a sudden, in 1947, India came to denote a civilization and an independent national state, but the two meanings do not coincide. Indian history, culture, and civilization extend back to about 2,000 B.C.E. and they were never bounded by the lines on the map that separate states today. Geographically, Indian history and Indian civilization include the territory of Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Partition of India in 1947 can thus be taken to mean the division of Indian civilization into separate independent states, one of which is called “India.” But actually, Partition divided a territory that was formed by British imperialism without any reference to Indian civilization at all. (British India also included Burma, now The Union of Myanmar; and Native States under British rule were not formed with any concern for their status in Indian civilization.) Ironically, therefore, the territory that we use to describe the landscape of Indian civilization was defined politically by the British Empire. India was never what it is today in a geographical, demographic, or cultural sense, before 1947.

        Thus the identification of India with Hindu and Hinduism is deeply problematic. In its demographic statistics, India today is a majority Hindu country, and so was British India, in 1946; but this does not mean that India (even as defined by state boundaries today) was ever populated predominately by people whose identity was formed by their collective identification with a religion called “Hinduism” or a “Hindu” religious persona. Like Muslim, Hindu conjures an identity that is defined in many ways, and defined differently even by the same individual according to context. It is not known how many people in India would have identified themselves as Hindus, if asked, simply, “What is your religion?,” in 1800, 1900, 1947, or 1993. But the vast religious tradition that we refer to as “Hinduism” has no single, unanimously agreed upon core set of institutions — like the Koran, umma (community of believers in Islam), Bible, Catholic Church, or Talmud — around which a Hindu religious identity could have been traditionally organized. Central philosophical tenets — dharma (religious duty), karma (fateful action), and samsara (the cycle of rebirth) — rationalize a division of believers into four ranked varnas (Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Sudra), and also distinctions (not similarities) among countless castes (jatis) which form the primary basis of social identity. Each person’s identity is located ritually by religious duties appropriate for one’s specific social and ritual status (varnashramadharma). Religious practices revolve around many different deities (devas), sectarian traditions (sampradays), and teachers (gurus) that form centers of personal devotion and affective religious affiliation. Ideas that define Hinduism as a religion also discourage the formation of a collective Hindu religious identity among believers and practitioners.

        The term Hindu came to have wide cultural meaning — and became a term that people use to identify themselves — primarily because it has been used by government in census statistics and elections. Hindu is an official term for counting people, and this gives the statistical impression that India is a majority Hindu territory. Even so, in 1947, only 65% of the population of India was Hindu by official census definition. But Hindu and India have the same derivation: both terms come from the name of the Indus River. From the days of Alexander the Great, people east of the Indus were called “Hindus” and their territory became “India.” Hindu did not begin as a religious term, but as a term that was used by outsiders to designate people who lived east of the Indus. Hindu India has not been defined internally, by religious traditions of collective Hindu identity, so much as externally, by practices of religious identification. Under British rule, Hindu became a category for people in India who were not Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, or others. This division of the population by religious categories was used to create descriptions of India that we inherit.

        The practice of labelling things Indian with the term Hindu has caused endless confusion, obliterating lines between religious and census classifications. Webster’s New World Dictionary (1984), for instance, describes Mohandas Gandhi as a “Hindu nationalist leader.” True, Gandhi was a religious Hindu who was also an Indian nationalist leader, but he opposed Hindu nationalism; he was killed by a Hindu nationalist for “appeasing the Muslims.” Webster’s reinforces the very political identification of India with Hindu that Gandhi opposed. A pattern of phrasing has also become common recently in news reporting that further confuses Hindu and India. A recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer (August 6, 1994, p.A10), for instance, reports that, “Predominantly Hindu India has long blamed Islamic Pakistan for financing and training the terrorists who planted the 13 bombs that exploded across central Bombay on March 12, 1993, after Hindu-Muslim riots swept India.” This is like saying, “The predominantly Christian U.S. blames Islamic Iraq for human rights violations”: it is not exactly untrue, but it implies an explanation of the government’s action that is misleading. This phrasing reinforces in the mind of the reader the idea that Hinduism constitutes India in a way that really is untrue, however: because the government of India is not Hindu, “predominantly”; it is less so, in fact, than the U.S. government is Christian, because most political parties in India explicitly oppose Hindu politics. The effect of this phrasing is to identify India, the Indian people, and the Indian government as being Hindu by definition. Making this identifications into a political reality is in fact the project of Hindu nationalism.

        Orientalism

        Interpreting communalism in India as a struggle between Hinduism and Islam fits a pattern of ideas about India that has dominated U.S. media and public opinion since the 1950s (Isaacs 1959, 1972; Asia Society 1976; Cecil, Jani, and Takacs 1994). The interpretations of events at Ayodhya by Gargan, Coll, and Huntington are thus very accessible to their audience and easy for most readers to accept; but this very fact makes their arguments susceptible to a form of criticism inaugurated by Edward Said’s book, Orientalism, in 1978. Many scholars have built upon Said’s critique, imbuing the term orientalism today with the connotation of ideological stereotyping, like racism and sexism. For Said argued effectively that by rendering non-western societies in religious stereotypes, European empires rationalized their own world dominance, creating forms of knowledge about the world that continue even today to support western imperialism.

        Modern European empires expanded into India and the Muslim world simultaneously, in the late eighteenth century: British rule was formalized in India in the 1790s, and Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798 (Adas 1993). At the same time, European scholars, painters, novelists, museum curators, journalists, designers, policy makers, and politicians began systematically to create compelling images of Hindus and Muslims for western audiences. Alien, exotic, sensual, despotic, traditional, prone to violence, backward, immoral, threatening, and irrational in their fervent religiosity: such imagery formed an evocative repertoire of representations depicting the non-European others that opposed the west. Producers of culture in Europe created images of Europe as being the essence of modernity and progress as they propagated stereotypes of tradition and backwardness elsewhere.

        In Said’s critical perspective, the otherness of the orient for Europe became the founding principle and empirical substance of orientalism — the compilation of images that constructed Asiatic cultures in the western mind. In this context, Indian civilization was defined by the texts that orientalists used to compile the laws and legacy of Hinduism. In the same vein, Muslim cultures were defined essentially by Islamic texts. Equating non-European cultures with non-European religions thus became fixed cognitive routines in scholarship and colonial policy. This enabled Europeans to justify imperial expansion in both religious and secular terms: for Christians, European imperialism saved souls, and for modernists, it brought progress into a world of backwardness and tradition (Breckenridge and van der Veer 1994; Adas 1990). Taking Said’s point of view, we can look at media coverage in new light. Images of fanatical Muslims (in Lebanon and Iran), Muslim terrorists (Libya, Palestine), and Muslim tyrants (Libya, Iraq, Iran) are common in the west. In the same vein, the word “frenzied” (usually in the phrase “frenzied mob”) appeared in almost all U.S. newspaper accounts of the events at Ayodhya. “Hindu fanatics” and “Hindu zealots” appear almost as often (Zeff 1994). Such habits of phrasing are not ephemeral or unique to the U.S. press. They represent cultural patterns that are deeply ingrained. Western accounts of India have long stressed the exotic features that make India foreign to modern, western, readers: mysticism, yoga, ritual, caste, untouchables, cremated widows (sati), female seclusion (purdah), “holy war” (jihad), and for that matter, communalism. The cultural connotations of these patterns of usage indicate the ideological legacy of orientalism, which created the religious stereotypes of Muslims, Hindus, and all “others” that even today rationalize western power in the world.

        European imperialism thus invented the religious traditionalism that formed its ideological other in the orient, and this made imperialism appear ideologically as the equivalent of modernization and progress. As a result, we can see in the history books that Europeans brought modernity to an East that was steeped in tradition. As a popular textbook says,

        India, like ancient Egypt, was a land saturated with religion; its people were obsessed with the destiny and status of man in the hereafter. Nearly every aspect of life, every thought and action, was conditioned by faith and dogma, whether in business, in politics, or in social behavior. (Wallbank 1965, p.25)

        It is not uncommon to read that people in the non-Western world are still living in the past, even the Middle Ages. Thus the master narrative of Modern History as written by the West for itself and for its worldwide power finds the progressive West — with its secularism, science, rationality, economic development, and just institutions of law and politics — facing the mystical, irrational, stagnant, passive, chaotic, mysterious East, which always seems always to resist and fail in the process of modernization.

        So journalistic and social science renditions of communal conflict in India in terms of primordial religion draw from an old storehouse of imagery that identifies the religions we see in the headlines with those that define Indian civilization and (deeper in the realm of hidden implication) implies that the conflict at Ayodhya dramatizes the very religious traditionalism and irrationality that describe and explain India’s poverty and backwardness. Ironically, however, European imperialism actually used its own political power to fashion the orient in the image of orientalism; so that chains of historical causation connect orientalism and communalism. Orientalism rationalized the institutionalization of oppositions and separations between Hindu and Muslim, and these were built into colonial administration and law. Colonial officials wrote separate Hindu and Muslim law codes, which remain (with modification) in effect today (Baird 1993); and in 1986, a Supreme Court case concerning the rights of a Muslim widow, Shah Bano, became a major event in the escalation of communalism, because Hindu nationalists argued vehemently that the maintenance of a separate Muslim law violated principles of Indian unity and social justice. Similarly, colonial officials made it a policy to consult Hindu and Muslim leaders separately (Freitag 1989); a tradition that hardened in the form of separate Hindu and Muslim electorates, established in 1911 and in force until 1947. The inability of the Indian National Congress to win designated “Muslim seats,” especially in “Muslim majority provinces,” laid the electoral basis of the Partition of British India into the independent states of India and Pakistan in 1947 (Brown 1985; Jalal 1981, 1985).

        A “fact” established by orientalism — that India was defined by its opposing religions — thus began its career as an idea, a theory, and became a modern institutional reality. This is the central argument in The Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India (1990), where Gyanendra Pandey argues that the assumption of Hindu-Muslim antagonism became a guiding principle in colonial sociology and administrative practice. The modern colonial state produced mountains of authoritative data — in ethnography, census statistics, law, and history — which appear to be the epitome of scientific objectivity. Upon this foundation, an edifice of inference and conjecture were built. The result is a massive colonial archive that documents the primordial qualities of religion in India, and of Hindu-Muslim conflict in particular. When writing about riots, for instance, colonial officers — usually police and local administrators, in the first instance — wrote what seem to be “eye-witness accounts” and were intended to appear as such. But many of these authors were absent from the event and far from experts on local affairs. They often gave reports an air of expertise by using the phrase “communal riot.” Because Hindu-Muslim conflict was assumed to be brewing all the time in India, the label could easily be made to stick, and it was very handy in describing conflicts for which local officials sought to deflect responsibility. “Communal conflict” became a catch-all phrase for violent unrest; reports used it often, perhaps indiscriminately. Conflicts can be shown to have been about many other things other than antagonism between communities: sometimes riots were anti-government or anti-police uprisings; sometimes they were the product of state and especially police violence. One thing is certain: the political utility of the phrase for officials — further enhanced by the inherent explanation it implies for the origin of social conflict in religion — undermines the statistical reliability of data produced by its utilization: for the colonial period, it is often impossible to know what the category “communal riot” refers to in reality. These are also cautionary insights today for anyone considering communalism from afar and who thus depends on layers of intermediation for data about local events in India or elsewhere.

        Most scholars of India today argue that communal conflict never was caused by Hinduism and Islam; many agree with Said and Pandey that as a historical phenomenon, communalism is a product of orientalism and the colonial state. They argue that we should not imagine communalism as erupting from the “hatreds of India,” as though from the unconscious of a civilization. Instead, we should explore how the state has been implicated in communalism since colonial times. From this point of view, explanations of communalism that deflect attention away from the state toward religion are suspicious precisely because they are so persuasive. Such explanations became popular and convincing because of their incessant repetition: they have been repeated so often because they helped to sustain empire, because they still effectively exonerate the modern state and modern forms of power from responsibility for communalism, and because they make the institutions and personalities of the modern state into the arbiters in social conflicts in the world of social life under their jurisdiction. (G.Prakash 1990; Freitag below)

        Communalism

        This volume describes a framework for studying communalism that combines the perspectives of several social sciences to focus simultaneously on culture, society, and politics. We begin by recognizing that communalism resists any definition, and that it can be defined differently for different purposes. For social science inquiry, however, it can be defined usefully as a particular formation of purposeful human activity: communalism is collective antagonism organized around religious, linguistic, and/or ethnic identities.

        Ideas unite the organization, antagonism, collectivities, and identities that comprise communalism. These ideas do not form a closed system; they are dispersed throughout the heritage of modernity. In India, communalism is based on the fundamental idea that Hindus and Muslims constitute totally separate communities in essential opposition to one another. This idea precedes, facilitates, justifies, and provides an explanation for communalism. It has been used to construct every Hindu and Muslim as a member of one community, and every communal leader as a community spokesmen. It represents each collective identity as a community alive through all time; it enables past memories and emotions to fill the present and each Hindu and Muslim to become a sentient vehicle of communal experience. This basic communal idea creates religious community in the image of a family, a nation.

        This communal idea cannot be proved or disproved. It cannot be effectively subjected to truth-testing, because, like other ideas about collective identity in the modern world, it is deeply rooted in modern systems of belief and understanding. This rootedness indicates how communalism participates in modern history and culture at many levels; its meanings are diverse and many-layered. It is alive in everyday politics — in the streets, courts, media, elections, religious and cultural institutions, schools, academic research, and intimate conversations — anywhere that people can be influenced to form themselves and public opinion around oppositional ethnic or religious identities. Its most dramatic moments are massively organized public events — riots, demonstrations, processions, media spectacles, and elections — which in India engage society widely and directly, and which animate competitions for power in India’s constitutional democracy. Communalism is also a form of back room scheming. Today, some parties in India have elaborate communal platforms, most prominently, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), “The Indian People’s Party,” which seeks to form a Hindu government, symbolized by images of Lord Rama’s righteous, peaceful kingdom. Many candidates in other parties also use communal strategies and tactics, however. Indira and Rajiv Gandhi made alliances and mobilized campaigns on communal lines, though their own philosophy was secular, though their Congress Party is officially secular, and though India’s constitution defines India as a “secular republic.”

        Active people do not need to justify their activities in expansive detail or muse on them philosophically. They can concentrate on daily maneuvers and local affairs in the institutional settings that make their activity sensible. Social science, however, needs to consider the ideological construction of social action and the cultural construction of its institutional context in a single, coherent, analytical field. Personal identities and political ideologies depend alike on cultural conditions that are built into the institutions of everyday life. From this perspective, it is important to recognize that communalism arose inside the institutions of modernity; exploring the implications of this fact is a major preoccupation of this volume.

        Though people whom we can identify as Hindus and Muslims did use religious ideas and symbols to mobilize religious identities politically in pre-modern times, the activity of organizing Muslims and Hindus as antagonistic collective identities became widespread only in the 1890s, during the Cow Protection Movement, when Hindu groups attacked Muslims across northern India (Freitag, below). By this time, the Indian National Congress (established 1885) had launched an national movement that embraced all religious, ethnic, and linguistic identities in an over-arching Indian identity. Defined in opposition to “British” identity, this “Indian” identity did carry an ethnic flavor, but its precise cultural characteristics were unspecified. Congress sought to unite all Indians within one Indian national identity whatever their language, religion, or ethnicity. The Muslim League was organized in 1906, to mobilize Muslim identities for increasing collective Muslim representation in British India (Hardy 1972; Jalal 1985). This project involved a logical antagonism to the Congress program that was enacted at various points in the national movement but was also overcome at moments of reconciliation and unity. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was organized in 1925, to define a unified “Hindu” identity and to define India as a Hindu nation. This definition excluded all non-Hindus absolutely; so from the beginning, the RSS and allied organizations opposed efforts by Gandhi and Congress to unify Indians of all religions (T.Basu et al 1993).

        Modernity in India has thus entailed many efforts to organize collective identities. Most of these have been regional and minority movements for political representation in the modern state system. In 1947, Partition resulted from regional movements among Muslims in eastern Bengal and western Punjab. In 1956, India’s constituent states were reorganized on linguistic lines to respect regional systems that had taken shape since the 1920s. Tamils, Sikhs, and other groups have gained regional power. All these movements mobilized social identities that actually overlap and mix in everyday life — like most social identities — to make them politically exclusive and competitive. At their boundaries, these movements often generate antagonism organized around religious, linguistic, and/or ethnic identities. Since 1984, terrible conflict has accompanied regional movements in Punjab and Kashmir, which bear comparison to Palestine, Ulster, and Jaffna.

        Regional conflicts that could be embraced by our definition of communalism are not the subject of this book, however, though they do play an important part in our discussion. Because Hindu nationalism defines the Indian nation as a whole, and it is logically antagonistic to all regional and minority movements. In its effort to unify India, its opposition to Islam is top priority. Why this is so preoccupies many essays in this volume. One reason for the persistence of Hindu nationalism as a force in Indian political life during this century is that its basic tenets have been deployed many times to explain why Hindu-Muslim antagonism and thus communalism is morally correct, inevitable, necessary, and progressive. These ideas circulate widely and freely in the public domain. They have acquired a common sense quality by their institutionalized repetition in textbooks, museum exhibitions, scholarship, and other modern media. Their discursive narration that makes India Hindu.

        http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~dludden/MIH1Intro.htm

  15. Citizen
    August 26, 2012, 6:02 am

    Eisner is scratching the surface; I take the liberty here of putting her in context:
    Saturday, July 14, 2012

    David Brooks almost goes there

    In “Why Our Elites Stink,” David Brooks writes in the NYT:
    The corruption that has now crept into the world of finance and the other professions is not endemic to meritocracy but to the specific culture of our meritocracy. The problem is that today’s meritocratic elites cannot admit to themselves that they are elites.
    Everybody thinks they are countercultural rebels, insurgents against the true establishment, which is always somewhere else. This attitude prevails in the Ivy League, in the corporate boardrooms and even at television studios where hosts from Harvard, Stanford and Brown rail against the establishment.
    As a result, today’s elite lacks the self-conscious leadership ethos that the racist, sexist and anti-Semitic old boys’ network did possess. If you went to Groton a century ago, you knew you were privileged. You were taught how morally precarious privilege was and how much responsibility it entailed. You were housed in a spartan 6-foot-by-9-foot cubicle to prepare you for the rigors of leadership.
    The best of the WASP elites had a stewardship mentality, that they were temporary caretakers of institutions that would span generations. They cruelly ostracized people who did not live up to their codes of gentlemanly conduct and scrupulosity. They were insular and struggled with intimacy, but they did believe in restraint, reticence and service.
    Today’s elite is more talented and open but lacks a self-conscious leadership code. The language of meritocracy (how to succeed) has eclipsed the language of morality (how to be virtuous). Wall Street firms, for example, now hire on the basis of youth and brains, not experience and character. Most of their problems can be traced to this.
    If you read the e-mails from the Libor scandal you get the same sensation you get from reading the e-mails in so many recent scandals: these people are brats; they have no sense that they are guardians for an institution the world depends on; they have no consciousness of their larger social role.

    This is not a new theme for Brooks, who wrote a similar column in 2010 (“The Power Elite.”) Brooks tries to walk the fine line between being public-spirited and having a career. Now, you know and I know that what he’s trying to do here, under the guise of talking about “meritocrats,” is to get through to his fellow American Jews that they need to stop conceptualizing themselves so overwhelmingly as History’s Greatest Victims and start developing a sense of noblesse oblige about this country in which they have become predominant, in which they dominate the worldview of the educated classes. In a response to Brooks’ “Power Elite” column in VDARE.com two years ago, I wrote:
    The theory behind the dusty old concept of noblesse oblige is that a powerful class that thinks of itself as being in the game for the very long run will tend to behave in a more responsible fashion than one that doesn’t. As they say, nobody ever washed a rental car.
    In the early 20th Century, for example, leadership caste WASPs played a major role in setting aside National Parks and in limiting immigration.
    Even more fundamentally, they tolerated criticism of themselves by others. Criticism encourages you to behave better.
    Of course, the moribund WASP Establishment’s increasing fair-mindedness had its downsides. One problem with letting other people have their say about you is that they may undermine your power. [David] Samuels writes of “my own personal sorrow about the fate of the Harvard-educated Brahmins I admired in my youth, who cherished their belief in liberal openness while licking at the bleached bones of their family romances. Their mansions are threadbare and drafty, and stickers on their salt-eaten Volvos advertise the cause of zero population growth. It’s hard to imagine that their ancestors sailed clipper ships to China and wrote great books and built great companies and ran spies behind enemy lines in Europe.”
    But, shouldn’t new elites be held to the same standards of criticism that helped them displace the old elites? Why is it considered admirable for the new establishment to try to destroy the careers of their critics?
    For noblesse oblige to work, privileged and influential groups have to be publicly acknowledged to be privileged and influential. If, on the other hand, their main sense of collective identity is that of marginal members of society endangered by the might of the current majority, then the system doesn’t operate. …
    American Jews should start thinking of themselves less as oppressed outcasts who need to go for whatever they can get while the getting is good, and start more accurately thinking of themselves as belonging to the best-connected inner circle of the contemporary American Establishment.
    Thus, American Jews should realize that, like the Protestant elite of yore, their privileged position as a de facto leadership caste bestows upon themselves corresponding duties to conserve the long-term well-being of the United States—rather than to indulge in personal and ethnic profit and power maximization.
    But that’s unlikely to happen until the Jewish elite to begin to tolerate non-Jewish criticism, rather than to continue to try to destroy the careers of critics—or even just honest observers—in what seems to be an instinctive reaction intended to encourage the others.

    Deep down, does Brooks agree with what I said? I would assume: yes. We read each other and we are more or less on the same page.

    In career terms, obviously, Brooks’ euphemistic approach is better than my plain-spoken one. And it would be easy to argue that my frankness is too abrasive, that Brooks’ vague euphemisms are better for getting our mutual message out.

    But, here’s the rub: What evidence is there that Brooks’ readers grasp what he’s talking about at all? I’ve read through a fair fraction of the 527 comments on his column, and I don’t see many (if any) examples suggesting that Brooks’ readers comprehend his underlying message.

    What goes unsaid eventually goes unthought.

    My old articles are archived at iSteve.com — Steve Sailer
    By Steve Sailer on 7/14/2012

    • Mooser
      August 26, 2012, 1:15 pm

      “You were taught how morally precarious privilege was and how much responsibility it entailed. You were housed in a spartan 6-foot-by-9-foot cubicle to prepare you for the rigors of leadership.”

      ROTLMSJAO! Oh yaaz! And you learned that either you got f–cked in the butt, or you f–ked somebody else in the butt. And certainly, that experience made you much more moral around women. After all, what temptations could they present after that?

      “Sleep tight, ya bastards!”

      (Sorry about the profanity, all)

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 4:08 pm
      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 4:25 pm

        The curious thing about this whole thread is that no one seems to be at all concerned with what Eisner advocated.

        They are instead obsessed with the two things she simply accepted.

        First, she implicitly accepted there is a discrete Jewish community. Well, there is, and whether there should be is an interesting question, but one has to grant that Eisner’s very position as editor of the Forward implies that it does in fact exist. If it didn’t, there wouldn’t be a Forward, and for all its formal inclusiveness, J Street itself would seem a bit odd. We have somebody from a newspaper devoted to the interests of a community, addressing an organization composed largely of members of that community. It’s a safe bet there is in fact such a community.

        Second, she asserted that this community is no longer persecuted, but on the contrary enjoys ‘extraordinary wealth, social status and political power.’ Well, I happen to think that’s something of an exaggeration, but it’s a reasonable claim, on the whole. Like if somebody writes ‘America is rife with racism.’ Not necessarily a statement I would agree with, but I’ll wait to see what follows.

        So we have two true — or at least defensible — claims. From this Eisner goes on to assert that these claims in turn imply a moral obligation.

        That’s what she said. But no one’s interested in that. Instead, they seem to be upset about the initial claims having been made at all. Never mind that they are fairly obviously true.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 8:06 pm

        What can I say Colin, if we refuse to run the discussion according to you, or come to your conclusions we will just have to take the consequences. If you want to laugh derisively when that happens, go ahead. You got that coming. After all, you warned us.
        Of course, we could wonder if maybe it’s you who doesn’t…..oh, what am I saying, that’s ridiculous. Sorry.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 8:45 pm

        Mooser says: “What can I say Colin, if we refuse to run the discussion according to you, or come to your conclusions we will just have to take the consequences. If you want to laugh derisively when that happens, go ahead. You got that coming. After all, you warned us.
        Of course, we could wonder if maybe it’s you who doesn’t…..oh, what am I saying, that’s ridiculous. Sorry.”

        Oh sure Mooser. I keep making the point that Eisner didn’t say what people are happily pretending she said.

        That’s a ridiculous point. What possible validity could that have?

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 4:23 pm

        “Oh sure Mooser. I keep making the point that Eisner didn’t say what people are happily pretending she said.”

        That’s a ridiculous point. What possible validity could that have?

  16. Denis
    August 26, 2012, 11:46 am
    • Annie Robbins
      August 26, 2012, 12:55 pm

      i know i know i know, someone linked to the independent yesterday…ok. i will get on it. thanks for the extra shove.

  17. Mooser
    August 26, 2012, 2:16 pm

    Gosh, what a boon it is for Mondoweiss’s hitcount it is that nobody wants to define exactly and factually what a “community” is. Now, sure, it’s always permissible to say that people who share religious beliefs are a “spiritual community” but is that what we are talking about here?
    Say, I’ve got a crazy idea. Why don’t we see what the definition (if, indeed the is one, and the word isn’t intentionally pretty goddam meaningless or vague in this situation) of “community” in terms of today’s America is, and whether the Jews as a group, meet it.

    Cause I would hate to think that both sides are using the word “community” as a way of weaseling out of using the more accurate word “conspiracy” or “Mafia” (Accurate for what they are describing, not necessarily accurate for American Jews, I wouldn’t know) or something like that.
    I mean, c’mon, the Zionists keep on talking about a “Jewish community” in the furtherance of their interests. Does that obligate us (the anti-Zionist, or Zionist-critical) to use the same false groupings?
    We could start by looking at places that do work through confessional or ethnic communities, look at that and see if America and American Jews are like that.
    Funny, isn’t it that if American Jews are such a community, they have never tried to extend this notion of a “Jewish community” to recognition of it in the American political system. Or even the social system, else why were we always trumpeting, rather than decrying, the attainments of Jews in American society.
    Seems rather we would have campaigned for laws restricting our intercourse with Gentiles.

    • Philip Weiss
      August 26, 2012, 2:22 pm

      interesting. mulling.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 3:52 pm

        “interesting. mulling.”

        Oh, please, take your time. What the hell, it’s only been fifty-something years and a Harvard education. It’s about time you thought about something, but don’t rush into it.

      • marc b.
        August 26, 2012, 4:33 pm

        “interesting. mulling.”

        Oh, please, take your time.

        now mooser, let the man make his cider. it’s practical enterprise at least.

        (you would think that with the 4,000-year old intellectual tradition that’s literally bound up in his DNA, that the questions that you’ve raised might have occurred to him a bit earlier in the game.)

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 7:06 pm

        “(you would think that with the 4,000-year old intellectual tradition that’s literally bound up in his DNA, that the questions that you’ve raised might have occurred to him a bit earlier in the game.)”

        I’m sure it has, and he’s gotten the answer, but the Askenazi 15pt. IQ advantage gives him the wisdom to keep his mouth shut. Something I’ve never had, obviously.

      • Dan Crowther
        August 26, 2012, 9:01 pm

        Wow, Mooser. That was great. You too, Marc

    • Hostage
      August 26, 2012, 3:25 pm

      Gosh, what a boon it is for Mondoweiss’s hitcount it is that nobody wants to define exactly and factually what a “community” is.

      I’ve provided cites and links to the controlling legal authorities on the subject in the past and noted that they’re reflected in the EU acquis communautaire. (Greco-Bulgarian Communities (Opinion No. 17) and Minority Schools in Albania (Opinion A/B 64) the Permanent Court of International Justice). http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/fear-the-african-refugees-and-the-cost-of-maintaining-israel-as-a-jewish-state.html/comment-page-1#comment-457046

      It is:

      ” … a group of persons living in a given country or locality, having a race, religion, language and traditions of their own and united by this identity of race, religion, language and traditions in a sentiment of solidarity, with a view to preserving their traditions, maintaining their form of worship, ensuring the instruction and upbringing of their children in accordance with the spirit and traditions of their race and rendering mutual assistance to each other.”

      If you use that definition, then there were several mutually exclusive Jewish communities in Palestine that were 1) provisionally recognized as independent nations; and 2) incorporated in a multinational state called Israel.

      I mean, c’mon, the Zionists keep on talking about a “Jewish community” in the furtherance of their interests. Does that obligate us (the anti-Zionist, or Zionist-critical) to use the same false groupings?

      No, I’ve addressed that point here in the past. In an April 20, 1964 letter to Rabbi Elmer Berger of the American Council for Judaism from Assistant Secretary Phillips Talbot, the U.S. State Department confirmed that for constitutional reasons the US government “does not recognize a legal-political relationship based upon religious identification of American citizens. It does not in any way discriminate among American citizens upon the basis of religion or ethnicity. Accordingly, it should be clear that the Department of State does not regard the “Jewish people” concept as a concept of international law.” — See Whiteman’s Digest of International Law, Volume 8, U.S. Dept. of State, U.S. Govt. Print. Office, 1967, page 35

      Even the most enlightened persons disagree over the legal definitions of the basic terms of reference like “Jew”, “Jewish”, & etc. For example, the European definition could be employed to support the right to maintain separate schools in Israel for members of mutually exclusive Jewish ethnic communities or Jewish cultures, e.g. Ashkenazi parent: Sephardi girls have a bad influence on our girls
      Ashkenazi students in West Bank school protest against end of Sephardi-Ashkenazi segregation; Ministry threatens to prosecute parents. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/ashkenazi-parent-sephardi-girls-have-a-bad-influence-on-our-girls-1.1513

      The key historical difference lay in the policies of the Russian and British governments that prevented the communities from participating in the territorial government on a non-discriminatory basis. The United Nations adopted a declaration which stressed that point:

      Continue to reaffirm the right of self-determination of all peoples, taking into account the particular situation of peoples under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, and recognize the right of peoples to take legitimate action in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations to realize their inalienable right of self-determination. This shall not be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action that would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and thus possessed of a Government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind;

      http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/50/6

      Members of Jewish communities are more than adequately represented in the US federal, state, county, and municipal systems of government.

      • Hostage
        August 26, 2012, 3:51 pm

        P.S. Security Council Resolution 242 requires the Arabs to recognize the territorial integrity of Israel, despite the fact that the State of Israel systematically discriminates against its own non-Jewish ethnic communities and refuses to respect the right of self-determination of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

        Resolution 242 has been codified in international law via references in the Camp David Accords, Oslo Accords, the Mitchell Report, the Quartet Road Map, Annapolis framework, & etc. That has resulted in the conflation of “negotiations” with the terms of reference contained in resolution 242. That resolution and the other framework agreements should be repealed, since they do not explicitly recognize the immediate right of self-determination and participation in the political entity that ultimately governs the territory on a non-discriminatory basis.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 4:03 pm

        Thanks so much, Hostage. I’m astounded, not by the depth and breadth of your knowledge, or the meticulous and useful citing, both of which I’ve managed to get used to, nor am I surprised by the clear writing (my main reaction there is a maliscious envy). But the quick service, within the hour? I have no way to account for that. Thanks again.

        “Members of Jewish communities are more than adequately represented in the US federal, state, county, and municipal systems of government.”

        As individual Americans, who happen to be Jewish. Now, while that seems to be enough for the individual Jews (who’ve never done anything to change it) I can’t help but wonder why it’s not enough for Jewish leaders. Even if they are better served by the perception of a Jewish community than they are a reality of it, why is it they refuse to acknowledge the reality of the position of Jews in America? One could wonder, couldn’t one?
        Of course, it is somewhat hard to imagine even Ms. Eisner standing up and proclaiming: ‘The Jewish community (in a religious or social sense, the reality of it) has done so well in America, percisely because that is the only community (religious, social) we have, and no one has forced us into political or administrative or financial or even geographical communities!’
        And as I obliquely and clumsily inferred before, when a religious and/or social community begins to take on the other functions in America, it becomes a conspiracy. Because you are not doing it to get your share (which you’ve already gotten, and a heaping share, at that) but more than your share.

      • Hostage
        August 26, 2012, 7:12 pm

        when a religious and/or social community begins to take on the other functions in America, it becomes a conspiracy. Because you are not doing it to get your share (which you’ve already gotten, and a heaping share, at that) but more than your share.

        In the older European model, mentioned in the World Court cases above, they were grappling with treaty obligations for newly created states. The legal definition of a community extended to public support and entitlements for ethnic or religious minority schools.

        In the US model the “wall of separation doctrine” was applied in the 19th century to end public support for religious schools. Support for ethnic minority schools was viewed with equal disdain and suspicion after Brown V Board of Education, e.g. In New Jersey, a Community Divided http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/16/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/17Rlakewood.html?pagewanted=all

        Even in exceptional cases like the one in New Jersey, there is usually an existing secular “Jewish community” that views itself as separate from, and opposed to a hostile take-over or monopolization of public functions by one of the Orthodox sects or more cloistered Jewish communities. Even in Israel, the various ethnic and communal differences have never been eliminated. In the strictest sense, from the era of the division between the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, there has never been a monolithic or single Jewish “community” or “culture”, despite the various attempts to establish such a thing.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 8:13 pm

        “And as I obliquely and clumsily inferred before, when a religious and/or social community begins to take on the other functions in America, it becomes a conspiracy.”

        Okay, that was a clumsy formulation. Communities have had to do for themselves what the government has been unwilling to do for them, or couldn’t, and I do believe during the time of unrestricted European immigration Jewish social service organisations helped poor immigrant Jews. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

      • MRW
        August 26, 2012, 7:03 pm

        “in accordance with the spirit and traditions of their race and rendering mutual assistance to each other”

        Yeah, not rendering The Other.

    • marc b.
      August 26, 2012, 4:21 pm

      according to eisner, mooser, the jewish community in america is defined by the unequivocal love other americans have for it and its obligation to effectively advocate for the state of israel. which is ironic, because that’s exactly how i define my community of upper middle class, heterosexual, roman catholic, college-educated, second-generation european, white, middle-aged men with receding hairlines, a community that is also universally loved by other americans, and which has an obligation to effectively advocate for vatican city.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 7:34 pm

        Marc, I am prepared to love your community, but only the ones whose hairlines start further north than mine. Mine has apparently joined the Alaskan Gold Rush.

      • ColinWright
        August 26, 2012, 8:15 pm

        Marc b. says: “…according to eisner, mooser, the jewish community in america is defined by the unequivocal love other americans have for it and its obligation to effectively advocate for the state of israel.”

        Now this is what I mean. First, I don’t recall Eisner saying this love was ‘unequivocal.’ In fact, I suspect she’d promptly agree it’s quite equivocal.

        But more importantly, WHERE did she mention an ‘obligation to effectively advocate for Israel’?

        People are just inventing things to condemn her remarks. I think what bugs them about the remarks are precisely what bugs me about them: the assertion that Jews are a community, and the assertion that it has ‘extraordinary power, wealth, and influence’ or whatever.

        The problem with objecting to these statements is that they have some validity. So rather than jumping all over those, people are resorting to the rather shabby trick of simply inventing words and putting them in Eisner’s mouth.

        Well, that can be done, but let’s not be shy about it. ‘Eisner said we should all devour our own young while still alive.’ Well, that’s awful.

        Never mind that she didn’t say it. Let’s pretend she did so we can condemn her. God forbid we actually look at what she did say and discuss it on its merits.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 10:52 pm

        I’m sorry you aren’t getting the discussion. The way the software “stacks” the comments and replies doesn’t help, either. It’s not about whether there is or isn’t a “Jewish community”, as you say, of course there is. It’s about what kind of community it is, and what kind of community it portrays itself to be, and what Jews (or anybody else, for that matter) see it to be. And the misconceptions about it.

      • marc b.
        August 27, 2012, 8:41 am

        yes, colin, i believe that she does use those words about advocating for the state of israel. i’ll run the tape again when i get a chance. as for eisner’s sally field moment, it’s just plain silly. the whole speech is hollow nonsense, the only value being the insight provided into liberal group psychology.

      • marc b.
        August 27, 2012, 1:05 pm

        But more importantly, WHERE did she mention an ‘obligation to effectively advocate for Israel’?

        yes, she does say that at about 3:20-ish into the recording. (thank god for fast forward.) she says that it’s part of american jews responsibility in wielding their unprecedented collective power or because they are mostly comfortable or something like that. i can’t be bothered listening to her again.

    • American
      August 26, 2012, 5:56 pm

      “”Funny, isn’t it that if American Jews are such a community, they have never tried to extend this notion of a “Jewish community” to recognition of it in the American political system. “….Mooser

      Yea they have. That’s what has always been done without actually filing and registering as bona fide political party and having Jewish voter registration under ‘Jewish Party’. Although I am against that type of thing—- officially having some singular ethnic party seems un American—it might be a blessing in disguise if they did that. If it could peel away enough Jews from the R and D’s it would help break up the bipartisan I-firstdom competition of the two major parties and concentrate the Israeli issue more in the Jewish Party where they could battle it out among themselves and have people like Adelson pour their money into the Jewish Party and put up their own candidates for political office under the Jewish Party. I don’t think they would win any big offices cause the majority public would be turned off by single ethnic party but it might do wonders for weaning the R and D’s off zio and Jewish campaign funds and votes.
      And just think…you would finally be able to have a vote in the ‘Jewish community’.
      Which is why the VIP leaders probably won’t ever do it. LOL

      • MRW
        August 26, 2012, 6:59 pm

        That’s a great idea, American. Because the Christians couldn’t do it, nor Muslims, both being regarded as religions and therefore contra the church and state thing.

        But Jews could do it a la the Black Panther party or any number that sprang up and have been long forgotten.

        Maybe while they’re at it, they could reduce these damn presidential elections to four months MAX.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 7:30 pm

        “Yea they have. That’s what has always been done without actually filing and registering as bona fide political party and having Jewish voter registration under ‘Jewish Party’.”

        There’s an ugly name for that, actually several of them. There’s also the question of whether a “community” which would do that in the furtherance of a colonial scheme will be, first of all, open to moral suasion, and second, whether this instrument, this “Jewish Community” which they have designed and created for this purpose, and honed in effectiveness and efficiency over 50 years at least is capable of anything else except that.
        It’s a little like trying to convince a lawless international corporation or criminal cartel that they should turn into a social-service non-profit. It’s a hard sell, and the methods they use to promote this “community” and enterprise are the only methods they know!

        But admit that with Zionism we’ve been taken, gotten in over our heads, and desparately need help? Hell no! Gentiles would laugh at us and call us stupid! Death before that!

      • American
        August 26, 2012, 9:15 pm

        @ Mooser

        Face it Mooser…there is a Jewish community out there whose leaders/members decided to call themselves a community.
        There’s nothing you can do as a lone Moose wandering the hinderlands to stop them calling themselves a community.
        Next option….get a t-shirt that says ‘I dont belong to no stinking community’.LOL
        But then that might backfire….you might attract a lot people wanting to ‘join’ you in non community and it would get turned into a community.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 11:02 pm

        “There’s nothing you can do as a lone Moose wandering the hinderlands to stop them calling themselves a community.”

        Don’t I know it. And I don’t care (in fact I like) a Jewish religious community, or a Jewish social community, or a Jewish cultural community. All open and operating as such.
        But what I think is going on is that a religious, social, or cultural community is trying to parley itself into a political and fiinancial and legal (or even, God forbid extra-legal, but we passed that line long ago) community, or appear as such, in the interests of Zionism. Not Jews, or American Jews, but Zionism.
        And this involves two frauds, one on the Jews, as these organisations portray themselves as able to offer solutions and benefits they can’t, and a fraud on non-Jews, portraying what is, in the final accounting, a religious, social or cultural community as so much more than it is, as a political community.
        Heck, I got no objection to a Jewish community which accurately reflects the way I relate to my fellow Jews, that is religiously, socially, and maybe even culturally. I got big objection to a Jewish community which uses those community ties, which are the ones which really exist, as a front for something else, namely political activity which isn’t even designed to benefit US Jews (and that’s only one, and probably the most trivial of the objections)

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 11:35 pm

        “you might attract a lot people wanting to ‘join’ you in non community and it would get turned into a community.”

        Fine with me. We would eat, pray, play music, go to concerts, (Haydn and Brahms, of course) eat some more and maybe pray a little more. We would do good stuff for people, assuming we’ve got some bucks, and hope that besides doing good, it might just influence people favorably towards the Jews. It couldn’t hurt. We would do nothing to compromise our position as citizens of the US, nothing that would cast aspersions (didn’t Cleopatra die from that?) or suspicion on the Jewish faith. We would be, in short, a religious, social, and cultural community.
        And if the Gentiles suddenly decide to kill us all, well, we did our best.
        But to involve Jews under the guise of religious, social and cultural community into a private colonial project with bad-for-America implications by telling those Jews your community is much more than it actually is, does nobody any favors.
        And to think you are going to turn that machine they’ve built over the last fifty and more years to any other purpose than the one it was designed and built for? Very unlikely, and considering the fact that by now the entire thing is rife with shared guilt, probably unrealistic and I would think, very dangerous. I’m not sure I feel like telling them that Zionism has made criminals out of more Jews than anything else ever has.
        Of course the alternative is admitting we’ve failed, and need help. Not easy to do. And where is it to come from?

      • evets
        August 27, 2012, 10:16 am

        Mooser –

        These are fine sentiments. The trouble is that Israel often functions as a substitute for Jewish culture and religion in the U.S. precisely because these had been losing so much steam on their own, creating a large void. Devotion to Israel filled that void. It was partly an organic change, and partly orchestrated by those who led the Jewish organizations. Who knows what kind of Jewish culture would blossom in America without Israel as a lodestone and without the communal solidarity, either self-imposed or enforced from without, that has existed throughout most of Jewish history. Could secular Jewish culture persist in this environment? Should it?

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 12:18 pm

        “Mooser -These are fine sentiments.”

        Aren’t they, tho? Some of my finest, if I do say so myself. Of course, I didn’t put in the part about the orgies and unrestricted drug use. As for the rest of your comment, it once again demonstrates the desirability of saying in a straightforward manner what I apparently made so incomprehensible. I agree, the colonial project has eaten up the religion, as it invariably must.
        After all, a religion as small as ours, usually has to rent or buy a building, it can’t steal an entire country and then lead on an unaccountably credulous people with fairy tale talk about the benefits of receiving stolen goods.

      • evets
        August 27, 2012, 12:54 pm

        ‘Of course, I didn’t put in the part about the orgies and unrestricted drug use. ‘

        Don’t worry. I think that came through between the lines. I understand you’re busy with your songwriting and your general posting duties. It’s not easy.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 4:37 pm

        “I understand you’re busy with your songwriting”

        Whoa! Stop right there! I do not write the songs or compose the lyrics. Nope, not me. I just play the organ, as directed. And I didn’t even play on these recordings from the CD “Evolution of the Temple Garment” Of course, I play these songs in live arrangements, and if I’m lucky, I might play on the next CD.

  18. bilal a
    August 26, 2012, 6:12 pm

    The WASP old boy network that excluded Jews and other minorities based on ethnic preference and self promotion, legacies, private clubs, wasp only community associations used for ethnic self agrandizement; all of this behavior combined with money power to corrupt voting democracy was and is unethical, and now illegal, criminal. Disproportionate statistical representation was used by the courts to examine instiutional barriers to minority advancement based on meriot. Why not apply the same statistical tests to elite institutions like the media and academia to stop, once and for all, this type of criminal ethnic self promition. We could start with NPR, organize lunch counter sit ins, “We’re here to de-segregate NPR, the investment banks, college faculty, college admissions, and media. Apartheid in America is no more wanted than Apartheid in the West Bank.” ?

    The Census and the Department of Education could begin de-segregation by including Muslim American,and Jewish American as categories to start eradicating Islamaphobia and the Zionist Old Bou Network manifesting in college admissions discrimination.

    • Ranjit Suresh
      August 26, 2012, 10:32 pm

      Thank you bilal. Alas, it will never happen. Some forms of elitist, ethnic-discrimination are acceptable and are not considered a legitimate subject of debate.

      We can only discuss it in muted voices of praise – hence the constant invocation of the 15 point IQ advantage by commentators on this blog. We can never address it for what it is – a genuine infringement of civil rights.

      • Mooser
        August 26, 2012, 11:13 pm

        “hence the constant invocation of the 15 point IQ advantage by commentators on this blog”

        Oy Vey the trouble my mouth makes for me! Ranjit, I bring up that 15IQ pt. advantage ironically and derisively. Fredblogs, I believe first popped up with it, apropos of nothing, if I remember correctly. Me I don’t believe it exists in any meaningful way, and frankly, I don’t think it makes bugger-all difference if it does, serving only to indicate the unreliability and irrelevance of IQ testing, and the ridiculousness of a claimed IQ advantage.

      • Krauss
        August 27, 2012, 1:49 am

        The 15 in IQ points exists, but only for Ashkenazi Jews(80 % of American Jews).

        As I’ve written before, the debate on nature vs nurture is irrelevant, even if you take a completely non-biological view of this, the fact has stayed the same over a century.

        And before someone brings this up: the earliest test of Jewish children which showed below 100 in IQ was specifically tested on the dullest Jewish children since IQ tests were first used to seperate those who were viewed as the dullest so they could get a special education. And the results on the Jewish children showed the same as it did on the gentile children: yes, IQ tests can to some extent, but not perfectly, show intelligence.

        Still, the overrepresentation of Jews isn’t congruent with IQ tests alone.

        If you went by people who have IQs of over 130(which is about 1 or 2 % of the population) , and only looked at whites, 6/7 of all those people would be gentile whites with Jews the remaining 1/7th.

        Yet on many Ivy League schools, the white proportion is about 50 %, whereas 25 % is usually Jewish(sometimes even more).

        This means that the overwhelmingly majority of the brightest WASP kids are excluded from university.

        That’s why you have a lot of very bright WASP kids with very high SAT scores in colleges in state colleges(but not enough to completely elevate the colleges alltogether) who often have special honors programs and do exceptionally well.

        Ivy Leagues nonetheless give a very strong career advantage in terms of connections. Still, I’ve seen research that has shown that in terms of earnings, those with similar SAT scores end up earning the same on average regardless where they went to school because you prove yourself in the workforce.

        The difference is that those WASPs at regional state colleges end up as very bright local achievers, as Governors, local businessmen, professors at their regional schools etc.

        If you look at Silicon Valley a lot of WASPs have gone to these colleges. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, went to University of Alabama, yet he’s widely viewed as highly bright(even if not as creative as Jobs) and some even view his raw IQ as higher than Jobs’.

        There are many more such examples.

        But what distorts the image is that Ivy League gives more than just wealth, it gives political influence in a way, say, that University of Minnesota or Alabama for that matter usually doesn’t. And then you have de-facto Jewish networking.

        I’ve written about this before, that the old boy WASP network has been misunderstood since their primary source of discrimination wasn’t race(but it has been viewed that way because that’s the most common lens Jews use due to their genteel anti-Semitism). The primary source of discrimination was class. Ergo, most of the brightest WASPs were excluded because they weren’t bluebloods and/or were to poor to afford college.

        Now, most of the brightest WASPs are excluded because they aren’t the ‘right’ kind of whites and whites in general are excluded.

        Of course, the rich spoiled children of the WASP donors to the Ivy institutions always get a spot, same with rich spoiled children of the Jewish donors. But that process of corruption is race-neutral.

        Nonetheless, if Ivy League colleges would stop discriminating and select only for IQ(that means that the current SAT would have to be reworked to the old version, which was, as one college administrator put it ‘a thinly disguised IQ test'(it had a correlation to IQ tests of over 0.8)), then Jewish representation at Ivy League colleges would still be 6-7x higher than the proportion of our population, but it would still stand at maybe 10-12 % of the student body(curiously, that’s about how many Jews are at Princeton).

        Of course, this isn’t a popular topic among many within the Jewish community for obvious reasons.

        Many still harbour delusions about ‘meritocracy’ while failing to understand that the luckiest thing that can happen to a newborn child in America today is that he or she is a white Jew. You get the white privililege, you get the minority protection, you get the affirmative action reserved for those who are in genuine need, and you get access to a large network of Jews if you work towards it that will help you out purely based on your ethnicity in a way that most gentile whites don’t help each other(other than just passive preference based on skin color, but you’re likely to get the good end of that phenomenom too).

      • YoungMassJew
        August 27, 2012, 1:42 pm

        Krauss, I’ll say this. My family is all over the place in the type of jobs we do and vary in class background. Granted, no one in my family is mowing lawns for a living or is in construction (not that there’s anything wrong with these jobs), but not uber-rich either. Me, I’ll admit that I have an average IQ and go to a state university with not very many Jews. It goes to show you that you don’t have to be very bright to understand the dangers of Zionism and speak out against it. Some of my relatives are lawyers and/or doctor sure, but others are EMTs training to be paramedics and nurses. I’m not saying ones better than the others, I’m just explaining. And nearly all of them are Jewish on both sides. Idk, I’m not buying the IQ + 15 advantage thing. There’s got to be legacy for some of these kids that go to Ivies; they’re not all prodegies. A roommate of mine during birthright went to Cornell. He didn’t come across as very bright. He was like in the Int’l Relations field and I knew more about Israel/Palestine than he did, but maybe he’s an outlier.idk

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 4:47 pm

        “The 15 in IQ points exists, but only for Ashkenazi Jews(80 % of American Jews).”

        Are you sure you didn’t just get 14 pts. Krauss? I was always told the 15th point was the one which made you smart enough not to believe it or at least not to talk about it.
        But what it really comes down to, is this, Krauss: Do you think you are 15pts. smarter than the average Gentile Ben? Well do ya, punk?

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 5:34 pm

        Oh my gosh, I’m sorry Krauss, I guess my mouth ran away with my fingers or something. I hadn’t realised how serious this whole 15pt. business is! So maybe, since you know all about it you can tell me: When an Ashkenazi man or woman marries a non-Jewish man or woman, is he throwing away 7.5pts. of intelligence in their children, or the whole 15pt.? You know, Krauss, that whole dominant-recessive thing. Probably the whole fifteen, huh? So marrying “out” is condemning your half-Jewish children to an intelligence deficit, isn’t it? Why, if an Ashkenazi man married a minority woman, he’s practically condemning his children to imbecility!
        No wonder you are against inter-marriage. I had never considered the genetic consequences before!
        Thanks Kraus, for bringing me to a sense of my responsibility in maintaining the 15pt intelligence heritage of my people! There it is, the best argument against intermarriage. What kind of person would by marrying non-Jewish, deliberately make his children less intelligent? He’d have to be pretty stupid to do that!

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 5:42 pm

        “I’m not buying the IQ + 15 advantage thing.”

        Well, YMJ, you just passed my intelligence test, with flying colors! If you see through that 15pt nonsense, you’re plenty smart enough.

      • evets
        August 27, 2012, 6:16 pm

        ‘I was always told the 15th point was the one which made you smart enough not to believe it or at least not to talk about it.’

        But were you told by someone with the extra 15 — and if so did he/she have test transcripts for verification?

      • bilal a
        August 27, 2012, 8:46 pm

        The 15 pt thing is an urban legend, even if Ashkenazi are 30% of the Ivy League (they pay full tuition), theyre the bottom 30 percent I would suppose. The top ten percent of the classes at stanford b school, caltech, and harvard r most likely northern europeans, south and north asians, especially in fields requiring quantitative intellect. But excelling in academia, the arts, and business post graduation is mostly a social enterprise, and if Jewish Americans do well at this, we should admire them, not lament the fact that the world isnt an IQ based meritocracy. Bernie Madoff and Sheldon Adelson had ruthless ambition , amd business networking, not unlike Bain’s Ken doll Mitt Romney.

      • Krauss
        August 28, 2012, 4:50 am

        Where do I begin?

        No, no and no.

        The bottom 10 % in Harvard is 80 % African-American(a legacy of Affirmative Action). Hispanics are also clustered at the bottom.

        Jews are actually not at the top, we’re spread through.
        The average Jew who gets into Harvard is smart enough to go there, but again, if we would go for pure intellect alone, then probability theory would mean, if we had a true meritocracy, that 6/7 of all whites in Harvard would be gentile whites.

        Jews would still be at about 10-12 % of the entire student population, which is impressive. Also, success post-graduation is not a ‘mostly social enterprise’. Sure, Jewish networking helps, but not as much.

        And finally, Romney isn’t a ‘Ken Doll’. He’s a man with an IQ of over 160. He completely destroys you in both intellect and achievement.
        But that doens’t mean his politics is any good.

      • bilal a
        August 28, 2012, 8:07 am

        dunno Krauss, Romney has very high level verbal ability no doubt, and he’s a politician, like many CEOs, so its hard to calibrate based on remarks, but to many, there is no there there. Typical english major, style over substance. I doubnt he would have done so well at CalTech, which is difficult to bs you way in or through. CalTech is according to one college ‘friendliness” ranking, only Six 6 percent Jewish, so I’d stay with my albeit anecdotally based estimate,that in quantitative fields, Jewish students are probably at the lower third of white enrollment levels, due to the old boy network affirmative action bump up to ~30% of the Ivy League. A friend in an investment bank tells me hes never met a Jewish ‘quant’ trader, they cant compete with the russians, french, and chinese , so cluster in the quasi-legal ,verbal, sub-fields. Plus tribal networking doesnt really help in crunching data or analytics. Go figure.

        Interestingly perhaps, Muslim Americans, as opposed to Muslims in Europe, emigrated often through Phd student visas for engineering /science , making them far better educated than most white Americans. I wonder if the MSA is bigger than Hillel at CalTech ?

      • American
        August 28, 2012, 12:49 pm

        “And finally, Romney isn’t a ‘Ken Doll’. He’s a man with an IQ of over 160. He completely destroys you in both intellect and achievement.
        But that doens’t mean his politics is any good”…Krauss.

        Got anything to back up that claim? Where did you get that from?

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2012, 1:09 pm

        Krauss, I’ve heard that if you konk a person real good on the head with a baseball bat or iron pipe, give them a nice big concussion, you can lower their intelligence by a lot more than 15pts. and give them a host related health problems, besides. Maybe we should be smart enough to pass out Kevlar-reinforced yarmulkes?

        Oy vey, what am I doing? I’m making invidious opprobrious remarks to a man that Romney shares his IQ test results with. I bet he could have me conked on the head! And no doubt he’s told you where the Golden Plates are hidden?

      • marc b.
        August 29, 2012, 8:01 am

        and really, as if the test measuring IQ were a neutral measure of natural intelligence. there are enough studies to prove that it’s not, that there are more than 1 measure of intelligences.

        how about this krauss? romney has the moral sensibilities of a ken doll. is that more accurate in your mind?

    • marc b.
      August 27, 2012, 1:12 pm

      bilal a, i believe that the census does collect voluntarily provided information on ‘religion’ including a category for judaism.

      • American
        August 27, 2012, 9:33 pm

        marc b

        The census doesn’t do religious questions in the regular census.
        They do do a seperate survey on religion in the US that includes every kind of religion.
        it’s online if you want to find it.

  19. ColinWright
    August 26, 2012, 7:20 pm

    American says: “…If it could peel away enough Jews from the R and D’s it would help break up the bipartisan I-firstdom competition of the two major parties and concentrate the Israeli issue more in the Jewish Party where they could battle it out among themselves and have people like Adelson pour their money into the Jewish Party and put up their own candidates for political office under the Jewish Party…”

    This reprises the positively peculiar refusal around here to acknowledge the importance of the evangelical vote to US support for Israel.

    The guys who toe the line when it comes to Israel aren’t people from districts with a lot of Jews — they’re people from districts with a lot of evangelicals. Mike Huckabee isn’t a big Israel supporter because he’s Jewish — he’s a big Israel supporter because he’s an evangelical, his supporters are evangelicals, and evangelicals love Israel.

    You can set up your Jewish party if you want to. It would have some interesting effects. However, don’t kid yourself that it would end US support for Israel.

  20. Klaus Bloemker
    August 26, 2012, 7:58 pm

    “People [Jews outside Boston] said, “you’re wrong, they [Americans] do hate us.”
    – Why didn’t these Jews believe “the fact that Americans love us here”?
    —————————————————————————————————————-

    I think that there is a general mistrust among many Jews toward philo-Semites.
    There is the assumption that Gentiles must – deep down – dislike Jews. If someone proclaims to be philo-Semitic he can’t be trusted because he can’t be quite honest.

    Where does this mistrust of philo-Semites stem from? It’s anyone’s guess.

    • Ranjit Suresh
      August 26, 2012, 10:33 pm

      At some point, you have to wonder: if you’re that suspicious of even your closest, and most selfless allies, might it be springing from a sense of guilty conscience?

    • RoHa
      August 26, 2012, 11:08 pm

      “Where does this mistrust of philo-Semites stem from? It’s anyone’s guess.”

      Projection?

      • bilal a
        August 27, 2012, 7:24 am

        Yes, projection. Take the example of the Larry David Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry pisses on a potrait of Jesus (by mistake) and then the hapless rube Christians view it as a miracle, a sign , a tear from the crying Jesus. Kind of funny when u watch it, but then it settles in that some committee of producers and advertisors approved this script, an aggressive screed meant to offend and potray believing Christians with complete contempt, surely a manifestation of Hatred. This same hatred is reflected again and again every night on your cable tv. Surely not an accident, if not a secularist conspiracy. If this is reflective of the synagogue attendees in Boston, it would be more accurate to say, ‘We hate Americans”, rahter than they hate us. Even the language reflects this, Shiksa (unclean, vermin) , Goyiim (nations, ie foreign to the Jewish nation ), schmos , schmucks., schlepping for Zion ?

      • RoHa
        August 27, 2012, 8:08 am

        “This same hatred is reflected again and again every night on your cable tv.”

        I haven’t got cable TV. I have noticed that most US TV shows seem to treat religion and religious leaders with deference, so there is certainly no secularist conspiracy involved.

      • YoungMassJew
        August 27, 2012, 1:49 pm

        Yes, bilal a, good observation. Just like the movie “Ted” which is funny until you realize the producers are injecting imagined anti-Semitism by pitting Jews against Italians and Irish of Boston. I checked if Andrew Goodman was involved in the movie, but he’s not to my knowledge. But who knows if Seth MacFarlene consulted Goodman even though it’s not in the credits. He had to get the anti-Gentile jokes from someone.

      • YoungMassJew
        August 27, 2012, 2:02 pm

        *David Goodman I meant

    • Mooser
      August 26, 2012, 11:19 pm

      Where does this mistrust of philo-Semites stem from? It’s anyone’s guess.”

      Are you kidding Klaus? The answer is right in front of us. You said it, as a hypothesis (“I think…”) and then you decided that because you said it, it must be a fact, and are now asking us, who never said it to explain the reasons for it and defend ourselves from the charge.
      There’s a name for that kind of, of, uh… thinking, but I can’t think of what it is. Does anybody know the name for it besides “pilpul“?

      • Klaus Bloemker
        August 27, 2012, 8:33 am

        Sorry Mooser, but my answer to you didn’t pass the moderators.

        I hope at least this point does:

        – I didn’t simply state as a fact – with no evidence – that Jews mistrust philo-Semites. – Eisner told as a fact that the Jews at the Reform synagogue outside Boston didn’t believe Putman when he told them that Americans
        “love us here.”
        – I just assumed that this disbelief was widespread among Jews.

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2012, 1:13 pm

        “Sorry Mooser, but my answer to you didn’t pass the moderators.”

        Oh, don’t worry, Klaus, I saw it.

    • American
      August 28, 2012, 1:35 pm

      I think that there is a general mistrust among many Jews toward philo-Semites.
      There is the assumption that Gentiles must – deep down – dislike Jews. If someone proclaims to be philo-Semitic he can’t be trusted because he can’t be quite honest.

      Where does this mistrust of philo-Semites stem from? It’s anyone’s guess”….Krauss>>>>>>>>

      Don’t you think that someone who excessively worships/loves some group like someone that excessively hates some group is a tad off in the head either way? It’s obsessive and cult like.

  21. Stogumber
    August 27, 2012, 1:36 am

    Eisner: “But those episodes in history didn’t happen in America, which I believe has a far more tolerant DNA and, despite our sometimes ugly past, has a far better chance of guaranteeing the rights of minorities than any other place on earth.”

    Being a German myself, I can’t evaluate the American “DNA”. But if I were a Jew, I wouldn’t trust too much in American exceptionalism.

    Meseems that the Jewish problem is not so much getting a better kind of Gentiles than getting a better way of debating aggrievements between Jews and Gentiles.

    The most important amelioriation would be a general rule: that any community who feels a collective responsibility to protect its victimized members, ought to take a kind of responsibility as well for its evildoing members and their victims.

    • seafoid
      August 27, 2012, 9:29 am

      The whole Jewish focus on eternal victimisation and antisemitism means they think they need a standing army that is top 5 in the world and this army needs practice so it needs a subject Palestinian population to abuse meaning they have to build their culture around this army and the sanctity of Jewish violence in order to protect their culture of love and respect . It is all so dysfunctional .

    • Klaus Bloemker
      August 27, 2012, 9:35 am

      Stogumber,
      “if I were a Jew, I wouldn’t trust too much in American exceptionalism [philo-Semitism].”

      Yes, it’s too good to last (or as we say in German “Ich traue dem Frieden nicht”).
      That’s also the assumption the ADL has. And in particular Israel. Whenever there is an anti-Semtic incident they raise hell but there is always the unstated message to the diaspora Jews: ‘You can’t trust the Gentiles, we have been telling you that all along – so brothers and sisters come to Israel’.
      – Can you blame the ADL, Israel or the congregation of Reform Jews at the Boston synagogue for their disbelief that Americans “love us here”? The long historical experience/memory of Jews tells them: ‘it’s too good to last’.

      • Mooser
        August 27, 2012, 4:55 pm

        “- Can you blame the ADL, Israel or the congregation of Reform Jews at the Boston synagogue for their disbelief that Americans “love us here”?”

        I would think there is hardly a one of them which does not have at least some hazy idea of what kidnapped Africans and their descendants have gone through here. They could compare the experience of the Jews in America with that. Some of them may even have a more detailed knowledge extending to the way America has treated Hispanics and Asians.
        Seems like a simple comparing would be instructive, if, of course, you felt there was any commonality between Jews and African-Americans, Hispanics or Asians.

      • MRW
        August 27, 2012, 5:28 pm

        @Mooser,

        Since it’s the end of a thread, I want to turn you and Mrs. Mooser onto this:
        http://www.jacquielawson.com
        Check out the dog cards.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        August 27, 2012, 7:02 pm

        Mooser,
        I of course don’t buy the ADL or Israeli idea that the Jews’ “long historical memory” of persecution can also apply to their fate in America.
        I just wrote it for the hell of it (or rather for the hell of the American Jews).

      • Mooser
        August 28, 2012, 1:26 pm

        “Check out the dog cards”

        Thanks so much, MRW. At least some people around here know what’s really important. Dora is 10 months now, about 75 lbs of inexhausible energy, appetite and mischeviousness and almost convulsive love for people and other animals, and spoiled out of her mind. If we run out of dog food, she could live on plastic bags, paper towels, wood, and shoelaces, all of which she eats eagerly, and digests well. She loves people so much, she’s actually a hazard to children, the well dressed and the elderly, but we’re working on this. She’s a big swimmer, too.

  22. Klaus Bloemker
    August 27, 2012, 7:36 pm

    I would like to make one more comment on the “cognitive dissonance” (Eisner) or discrepancy of cognition among the Jews of the Reform synagogue outside Boston: Putman told them that “Jews are the most popular religious group in America” and backed it up with data — but they said: “You’re wrong they do hate us”.
    ————————–
    It reminded me of Germany’s image in the world and how we are liked or disliked.

    Germans think that most countries dislike us. But in fact the popular opinion of Germany in most countries is much better than Germans think it is. Our self-image is worse than the image most countries have of us. – This is due to the fact that we have all been told in school how bad Nazism, WW II, the occupation of other countries culminating in the Holocaust was. And all this is rooted in Prussian militarism and Martin Luther’s pamphlet “On the Lies of the Jews.” – Okay.

    But why do Jews think other people hate them when in fact they like them?
    – Again, it’s anyone’s guess.

    • Mooser
      August 28, 2012, 1:37 pm

      “But why do Jews think other people hate them when in fact they like them?”

      See, the truth is, it’s like a reflection of the old saw about Jewish self-hatred: “I hate myself, but not because I’m Jewish”
      Well, I’m sure lot’s of people hate me, but not because I’m Jewish. They have much better reasons than that!

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