More on Mark Kleiman’s appeal to Jews to come out against Iran sanctions

Israel/Palestine
on 42 Comments
Kleiman

Kleiman

Yesterday I picked up UCLA professor Mark Kleiman’s appeal to Jews and people with Jewish-sounding names to write to their Senators as Jews in opposition to the Iran sanctions being pushed by the warmongering Israel lobby. I wrote that Kleiman and I agree that Jews have outsized influence on Middle East policy. Kleiman wrote to me:

I see your post says that you and I agree. That is false. We could not disagree more. And I thought my previous email made that clear, since it started with “Not at all.”

I do not believe that “Jews” have too much influence.  I despise the practice of “counting Jews,” whether you’re doing it or whether Fred Malek does it for Richard Nixon. I think that farmers who dislike farm subsidies should label themselves as farmers when they write in opposition to farm subsidies. In this case, support for Obama and opposition to war with Iran is almost certainly more prevalent among Jews than among non-Jews. That was the whole point of my post: the position of the self-appointed moneyed spokespeople for the American Jewish community do not in fact reflect the majority views in that community.

If you and Jonah Goldberg and that creep at the Free Beacon want to brawl, be my guest. But I have no interest in taking sides. I’m a proud liberal, a proud Jew (despite Adelson and Bibi) and a proud American (despite Cheney), and a proponent of both Jewish influence in American politics and American power in the world, both of which, on average, are exerted in a liberal direction.

Since your projection of your views onto me is incorrect, and since you claim the title of “journalist,” I request that you publish a full retraction.

I’m happy to publish Kleiman’s note but no retraction. I’ll say it again: Kleiman and I agree that Jews have outsize influence on Middle East policy. He thinks it’s a good thing; I think it’s problematic, given the politics of the Israel lobby and Zionism inside Jewish life. His claim here that Jews are just another constituency but one that opposes the sanctions legislation, and that’s why he’s trying to animate it is disingenuous. He’s not issuing his appeal to Iranian-Americans — who oppose the hateful sanctions legislation in greater measure than Jews, I’m sure — because he knows Iranian-Americans are chopped liver on this issue. He knows that politicians respond to Jews on this question, and those “self-appointed moneyed spokespeople for the American Jewish community” have incredible access to Obama and the Senate too. (And though I agree with him that those spokespeople are out of step with liberal Jewish life, that does not account for the Union for Reform Judaism supporting the Iraq war, or Americans for Peace Now refusing to quit the rightwing Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.)

Kleiman does some name-calling, lumping me with a famous act of anti-Semitism: Fred Malek counting Jews under Nixon. That’s foolish. As Rob Eshman of the Jewish Journal said lately, We live “at a time of unparalleled Jewish power and wealth, and it makes us so uneasy, we prefer to talk about everything but.” Kleiman seems nostalgic for the 70s and the era of Jewish outsiderness. It’s over.

42 Responses

  1. unverified__5ilf90kd
    January 18, 2014, 1:55 pm

    Kleiman says ‘I do not believe that “Jews” have too much influence.’ This is irrational thinking at best. It is clear that many Jews control a lot of money and wish to support AIPAC or Israeli goals. Because they control so much money and are concerned about Israel they tend to have a disproportionate access to and influence over politicians in many cases related to foreign policy. The recent Iran sanctions bill is a dramatic example of this, according to our mainstream media and even the Israeli media. Given that the majority of Americans are opposed to this bill, it is a logical step for the average American to propose that Jews have too much influence and therefore may distort the desires of the American majority.

  2. Keith
    January 18, 2014, 2:26 pm

    MARK KLEIMAN- “I’m a proud liberal, a proud Jew (despite Adelson and Bibi) and a proud American (despite Cheney), and a proponent of both Jewish influence in American politics and American power in the world, both of which, on average, are exerted in a liberal direction.”

    Ah, a liberal imperialist and Jewish chauvinist. Kind of go together, don’t they? Phil, perhaps you are embracing this guy a little too closely? Maybe not.

    Kleiman: “I despise the practice of “counting Jews,”….”

    I suspect that what Kleiman really means is that he hates highlighting Jewish power in front of Gentiles. I also suspect that Kleiman himself “counts Jews.” How else to measure “Jewish influence in American politics?” Did he oppose counting the lack of Jews back when Jews were assaulting the citadels of power? Besides, in a multicultural society how else to detect power imbalances among the various groups? Isn’t that what affirmative action was all about? And didn’t Jews support that when it benefited them? And now oppose “reverse discrimination” when it threatens? Having power and remaining invisible, hence unaccountable, is having your cake and eating it too. It’s all about power.

    • bilal a
      January 18, 2014, 6:51 pm

      This is the major risk of ‘counting Jews’, any application of Jewish supported affirmative action most recently applied to white gentiles , now being applied to religion, would dramatically display a prima facie statistical case of illegal discrimination which would require courts to decide if there were non discriminatory rationales that could explain why Jews have a vast over representation in certain professions, industries, and cultural-non profit institutions. The defendants would be forced to argue a meritocratic supremacist rationale, which you’ve seen in print, but would hardly hold up to further analysis given the vast pool of Gentile intellectual elites in comparison to the relatively small Jewish population.

      The last thing an academic wants is someone to count Jews in academia, ie apply a legal statistical methodology to Jewish discrimination inside or outside the academy, its an open and shut class action law suit invitation (if the courts worked fairly).

      Gross statistical disparities alone can constitute prima facie proof of a pattern or practice of discrimination
      link to litigation-essentials.lexisnexis.com

      • seafoid
        January 19, 2014, 6:51 am

        Bilal- you nailed it. If the Alawis or the Druze had emigrated en masse to the US it would be EXACTLY the same. Judaism is no different to the other two. Middle East minority memes. Don’t know how to run countries and will never have mass popular support. Walid Junbalat is far smarter than anyone in AIPAC.

  3. American
    January 18, 2014, 2:34 pm

    While I agreed with Kleiman that in the Iran situtation Jews opposing Iran should make it clear to the politicians they are Jews ….its too bad he was making that appeal as a “proud’ proponent of Jewish influence…instead of the political realities in the Iran issue .

    “I’m a proud liberal, a proud Jew (despite Adelson and Bibi) and a proud American (despite Cheney), and a proponent of both Jewish influence in American politics and American power in the world, both of which, on average, are exerted in a liberal direction.”

    And he may be a proud Jew but he’s definitely not American in the sense most other Americans are—-this country and the use of its power was not meant to be influenced by ethnics any more than it was to be by religious influence.
    He’s thinks he’s not like Adelson and Bibi?…lol.
    All the ways the ‘ethnic proud-ist” delude themselves about what they are is amazing…as if there’s a difference in a liberal supremist and a conserative supremist.
    There isnt.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 18, 2014, 3:29 pm

      he’s definitely not American in the sense most other Americans are—-this country and the use of its power was not meant to be influenced by ethnics any more than it was to be by religious influence.

      to be fair he did say

      I think that farmers who dislike farm subsidies should label themselves as farmers when they write in opposition to farm subsidies.

      but i guess wrt iran he thinks jews should mention their ethnicity. i’m a tad confused by his stance and will have to read the post again and the original.

      it reads like he has a visceral reaction to the wording “counting jews”, but it’s not just 2 words, it’s a phrase that’s not necessarily literal. (1,2,3,4). it’s an idea, and i think he may employ it. just saying:

      support for Obama and opposition to war with Iran is almost certainly more prevalent among Jews than among non-Jews. That was the whole point of my post: the position of the self-appointed moneyed spokespeople for the American Jewish community do not in fact reflect the majority views in that community.

      where does he come up with opposition to war with Iran is almost certainly more prevalent among Jews than among non-Jews. ?

      i think clearly the vast majority of americans are not interested in war w/iran. so how does he measure that support “more prevalent among Jews” without counting? a hunch? or is it based off congresses support for the sanctions? as if that represents non jews? i’m just throwing stuff out there but it seems very strange logic.

      and how does he come up w/that and self-appointed moneyed spokespeople for the American Jewish community without counting? and i say that as someone who agrees there are ‘self-appointed moneyed spokespeople for the American Jewish community’. but how many do they represent? 1/3 of the jewish community? 20%? you don’t know without counting. and how much of the air do they take up over this issue? in congress, in the press? you don’t know without counting. or maybe he’s not interested in knowing how much air they take up, he just wants to here the voices of the other jews who do not agree with the ‘self-appointed moneyed spokespeople’.

      well, i think the politicians should quit focusing on what american jews think. i think everyone should write in as americans (like his farmer idea).

      i’m confused. and i do agree w/phil about name-calling, lumping me with a famous act of anti-Semitism. strange and unnecessary.

      • American
        January 18, 2014, 6:39 pm

        i’m confused. and i do agree w/phil about name-calling, lumping me with a famous act of anti-Semitism. strange and unnecessary.”
        …annie

        Permit me to unconfuse everyone.
        Kleiman is a snide, pompous blankey blank.
        As best I can tell after extensive googling and reading of his articles, twitter and comments pertinent to this subject, he is both a liberal and Jewish chauvinist. He thinks his liberal creds establish his ‘moral unimpeachability’ and his Jewish creds give him the Chosen’s right to ‘impeach’ all others.
        Just add asshole and there you have it.

        A few of his gems:

        J. Edgar Hoover and the WASPocracy
        January 9, 2014 by Mark Kleiman 33 Comments
        link to samefacts.com
        snip…

        ”All of this made me think again of Joseph Epstein’s anti-meritocratic (and more-than-implicitly anti-Semitic) panegyric on the WASP aristocracy that lost power in the 1960s. Yes, there were advantages to having a real, self-respecting, and devoutly patriotic Establishment rather than a kakistocracy of Kochs and Murdochs. When it was necessary for the defense of the Republic, that Establishment proved capable of dealing with a MacArthur, a McCarthy, and at last a Nixon. But – even ignoring the appalling record it compiled in places such as Iran, the Congo, the Dominican Republic, and Vietnam – the WASPocracy could never work up the collective spine to take on J. Edgar. And when the time came at last to undo the violence-backed caste system of the South, the Establishment yielded only under pressure from distinctly non-WASP sources: overwhelmingly African-American and Jewish, and associated with the labor movement rather than with the owners of capital.

        Yes, there was something to be said for the Kennans, the Achesons, and the Bundys who won the Cold War. But the summary judgement on the WASP ruling class has to be “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”
        He adds—-Yes. That’s what makes his screed so sickening. He has fully internalized the WASPocractic contempt for Jews who are “merely clever” and “lack character.”

        Mark A.R. Kleiman ‏@MarkARKleiman Dec 14
        Megyn Kelly is dreaming of a white Christmas. But her “white Jesus” assumes that Jews are white. Who knew?

        Mark A.R. Kleiman ‏@MarkARKleiman Oct 3
        Hobby Lobby to Jews: “We don’t cater to you people.” Surprise! Misogyny and Jew-baiting go together. link to bit.ly
        & link to nydailynews.com
        Wherein he says the ‘absence’ of Jewish religious merchandise in a retail speciality shop that caters to Christians is proof of it’s anti semitism.

      • American
        January 18, 2014, 6:48 pm

        I would only add that ‘the WASPocractic contempt for Jews who are “merely clever” and “lack character” is absolutely justified in Kleiman’s case.

      • Ron Edwards
        January 18, 2014, 8:17 pm

        “Yes, there was something to be said for the Kennans, the Achesons, and the Bundys who won the Cold War.” Ah. THAT kind of liberal. Flat-out imperialist.

        I think you nailed it.

        Might I add that his writing makes scientific prose look elegant.

      • Mike_Konrad
        January 19, 2014, 1:41 am

        All of this made me think again of Joseph Epstein’s anti-meritocratic … panegyric on the WASP aristocracy … Yes, there were advantages to having a real, self-respecting, and devoutly patriotic Establishment rather than a kakistocracy of Kochs and Murdochs.

        Good Lord!

        Those two sentences constituted a missive of donnish fustian. You should be banned from the net forever for using those words like that without warning people.

      • Mike_Konrad
        January 19, 2014, 1:48 am

        Mark A.R. Kleiman ‏@MarkARKleiman Oct 3
        Hobby Lobby to Jews: “We don’t cater to you people.” Surprise! Misogyny and Jew-baiting go together. link to bit.ly
        link to nydailynews.com
        Wherein he says the ‘absence’ of Jewish religious merchandise in a retail speciality shop that caters to Christians is proof of it’s anti semitism.

        They probably do not cater to Muslims either. So it should be okay.

      • American
        January 19, 2014, 3:35 pm

        ‘They probably do not cater to Muslims either. So it should be okay.”…Mike _Konrad

        This is the kind of complaint I think is ridiculous and whiney and says a lot about the persons complaining……and yet see all the time.
        A store in my town sells ‘only’ Black history, symbols, books, decorations, dolls and so on merchandise…..I do not take the ‘absence’ of white Jesus statutes and Santa Claus to be a insult to or discrimination against whites.
        Its a ‘speciality store’, the owner wanted to promote Back history and merchandise….thats her right…its her private business she’s doing it in.

      • Philip Munger
        January 18, 2014, 8:43 pm

        where does he come up with opposition to war with Iran is almost certainly more prevalent among Jews than among non-Jews. ?

        Maybe by listing the two groups and comparing them?

        Maybe by enumerating them on separate lists and collating them?

        Maybe by putting a pile of articles against Iran intervention or sanctions by non-Jews and placing it next to a pile of articles on the same by Jews, and measuring the two piles?

        Maybe by remembering incidents and anecdotes about the two groups’ positions in his head, and calculating the totals?

        Surely not by “counting,” though, eh?

      • yonah fredman
        January 18, 2014, 9:08 pm

        Kleiman (I assume has no polling about the current polling of US Jews versus US nonJewish whites, blacks, Hispanics and others on the issue of Iran and Obama) but he is using the information about voting in November ’12, in which Obama trounced Romney among Jews but merely squeaked by in the nonJewish population.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 20, 2014, 11:14 am

        Obama trounced Romney among Jews but merely squeaked by in the nonJewish population.

        source?

      • yonah fredman
        January 21, 2014, 5:29 pm

        Annie- Go to the exit polls from 2012. Study them. You can google election 2012 presidential by religion and then click on the images and that will give you a chart that includes that
        Jews voted for Obama by 69% to 30%.

        The nation voted for Obama by 51 to 47.2% of the vote. Do I need to tell you how to google that?

        If you remove that 2% that voted by 69 to 30, the nonJewish vote is therefore more tilted towards Romney than the 51 to 47.2% indicate.

        I feel that it is relevant to cite the white vote as well. (Ashkenazi Jews in particular are associated with white people and the white vote is therefore relevant.) The white vote was Romney 59 to Obama’s 39%.
        link to ropercenter.uconn.edu (again this would be even more tilted towards Romney if it would be the nonJewish white vote).

      • Philip Weiss
        January 19, 2014, 11:09 am

        Thanks Philip. I didn’t think of that.

    • Chu
      January 20, 2014, 10:07 am

      He reminds me of MJ.

  4. kma
    January 18, 2014, 3:29 pm

    political influence isn’t the biggest issue, in my opinion. Rich people have it, white people have it, males have it…
    Kleiman’s comment about farmers weighing in on farm bills is more to the point. Zionist influence on US war/spending for zionist interests benefits ONE segment of the US population ONLY – the ones who are allowed to claim the land taken from the Palestinians with financial/military/political support of the entire US. It is a conflict of interest, and I see his point, though he stops a little short of it.

  5. W.Jones
    January 18, 2014, 4:50 pm

    His answer to you, Phil, was “I don’t think a Jewish name would have extra weight on a question about heath care or crime control or global warming or Burma. It’s only on questions where “Jews” generically are perceived to have one opinion that a Jew expressing a contrary opinion is man-bites-dog.”

    So here, on this issue people are considered having one view, and to step outside that would be an exception to the alleged fact that they don’t have extra weight- which is not the case on normal issues. But in this case it is an exception because they are seen to have one view, and being an exception “the name” does carry extra weight, and thus results in such a strong impact to be like man bites dog.

    In any case, Washington works by lobby and interest groups. So you can just ask what are the lobbies, interest groups, and constituencies that want aggression in the Middle East, and you got your answer.

    In the runup to the Iraq war, I would assume good journalists would take on all the interest groups pushing for war- from the oil companies to contractors, the Iraqi oppositionists, etc. And a person who really does not want war would express their concerns about all these, and lay it all out in order to prevent the war, which was wrong.

  6. DICKERSON3870
    January 18, 2014, 4:51 pm

    RE: “Kleiman and I agree that Jews have outsize influence on Middle East policy. He thinks it’s a good thing; I think it’s problematic, given the politics of the Israel lobby and Zionism inside Jewish life.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Something seems very rotten, and it ain’t in the state of Denmark!

    CHECK OUT: “Rabbi Pinto’s ‘Generosity’ Extends Up GOP Food Chain”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 1/18/14

    [EXCERPT] In a recent post, I relayed a very smart theory posed to me by a journalist friend that Wonder Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto didn’t just decide on his own to come to the States and open an offshoot of his Shuva Yisrael movement in New York City. In fact, so my friend suggested, he was sent here by some very powerful people inside Israel who wanted to help their friends in the GOP get elected so they could advance a pro-Israel agenda. Those powerful people in Israel’s right-wing government already have plenty of supporters in the halls of Congress. This is in part due to the well-oiled campaign finance machine developed by the Israel Lobby, which funnels hundreds of millions into the campaign coffers of selected pro-Israel candidates.

    But if you’re greedy, as leaders like Bibi Netanyahu tend to be, you always want more. What if Israel could open new ‘markets?’ Any Israeli who reads Forbes knows that Israelis and Diaspora Jews give $250-million every year to a slew of Miracle rabbis like Pinto. One fine morning, one smart political operative may’ve woken up and said: by God, let’s send one of these guys to New York and we’ll make a killing. We’ll raise millions more than we already do. What’s more, we’ll have better control of the donors and candidates because they’ll be “ours,” not just the Lobby’s. If this theory holds, then Michael Grimm might’ve been the model, the first guinea pig. Pinto did very well by Grimm. According to Ynet, his donors raised over half of the $1-million total the candidate raised for his first 2010 campaign.

    But my friend suggested something else: he said see which other Republicans Pinto’s donors are giving to. See how many, and see how high up the food chain it goes. Well, it turns out that thanks to a comment of reader “J,” I find that Laura Rozen has already done this research. She points a finger to the very apex of the food chain, to the top predator, none other than Eric Cantor himself . . .
    . . . Speaking of the Lobby’s corrupt influence, Rozen reveals in her article that during the Israel trip during which Grimm and other Republican Congressmembers skinny-dipped in the Kinneret, an Aipac staffer picked up the bar tab that led to that little kerfuffle. The Lobby will do anything for its guys, even get ‘em drunk
    , which leads to embarrassing escapades like this one. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

    P.S. BACKGROUND – link to richardsilverstein.com

  7. seafoid
    January 18, 2014, 4:52 pm

    “I do not believe that “Jews” have too much influence”

    link to theguardian.com

    In his learning plays, Brecht asks us “expressly to discover that what happens all the time is not natural”.

  8. Kathleen
    January 18, 2014, 6:15 pm

    Kleinman “In this case, support for Obama and opposition to war with Iran is almost certainly more prevalent among Jews than among non-Jews.” Is he including Jews in Israel in this statement?

    Clearly has his head up where the sun does not shine on this issue.

    Kleinman can not stand that just who is pushing for these sanctions along with military action against Iran is being exposed full force.

    • seafoid
      January 18, 2014, 10:53 pm

      I think it comes back to campaign finance.
      What % of campaign finance comes from armchair warriors and who are they?

      I don’t think we want to go there but we might have to if we don’t want to go to war.

  9. Krauss
    January 18, 2014, 6:49 pm

    Kleiman’s age is showing. Mentally he’s still stuck in the 1970s as you noted.

    Also, while American Jews do affect politics in a liberal direction on average on domestic politics inside America, the direction has been illiberal when it comes to Israel/Palestine. Kleiman says this is because the establishment is out of step with their constituents, but this is (probably) based on his reading of the Pew poll.

    But the numbers showed that over 40% of all Jews didn’t think settlements made a difference(and 17% thought it helped). So a slight majority of U.S. Jews either think settlements don’t matter or in fact help the cause of peace.

    This isn’t exactly an overwhelming liberal affirmation.
    Kleiman doesn’t want to go into this issue, that there’s a base for hardline sentiment and while it isn’t as universal as the establishment, it’s hardly as isolated as he likes to pretend to himself.

    And he needs to come to grips with the fact that Jewish political influence is not always liberal, or positive, at least when it concerns foreign policy(the Iraq war was one episode which had many complicated reasons, among them oil, but where AIPAC and the rest of the Jewish political establishment were also instrumental) and of course I/P. Instead Kleiman starts to rant about Nixon, about something that happened 40 years ago. It shows how he has remained stuck in time. He doesn’t want to deal with the overreach and abuse of power, because in his mind, Jews are victims, forever.

    This mentality is not just wrong. It’s immoral. Because it justifies the oppression of others based on a flawed outlook of the world that necessitates brutality in the name of survival, while there is no actual threat to survival to Jewish life. Does anyone seriously think Hamas or Hezbollah will invade Israel? Do they honestly think Iran will? Are Jews in the diaspora threatened with pogroms? 3 Fed chairs in a row have been Jewish.

    Kleiman needs to wake up and deal with his privilege instead of retreating to the comfortable cave of victimhood where he doesn’t have to deal with these painful issues, because he is scared of the answers if he were honest with himself.
    His mentality is helping and enabling the continuation of the policies that brutalize another people. He’s all for Jews speaking out, but he doesn’t want to deal with the overrepresentation of Jews in the debate, in other words, he wants the status quo, where Palestinians are barred.

    This has all the classic hallmarks of liberal Zionism. Pretend you’re against the situation, but react in fury whenever people actually take concrete steps towards what you say you’re after. Just like the Haaretz columnists who denounce the illiberal winds in Israel while the next second praising Ariel Sharon, the godfather of the settlements, as a fallen king of Israel. When called on it, like Bradley Burston was, they too react in fury while they are having their hypocrisy exposed.

    • seafoid
      January 18, 2014, 10:56 pm

      “This has all the classic hallmarks of liberal Zionism. Pretend you’re against the situation, but react in fury whenever people actually take concrete steps towards what you say you’re after.”

      That’s power, Krauss.

      link to theguardian.com

      “In response to political scandal and public outrage, official Washington repeatedly uses the same well-worn tactic. It is the one that has been hauled out over decades in response to many of America’s most significant political scandals. Predictably, it is the same one that shaped President Obama’s much-heralded Friday speech to announce his proposals for “reforming” the National Security Agency in the wake of seven months of intense worldwide controversy. The crux of this tactic is that US political leaders pretend to validate and even channel public anger by acknowledging that there are “serious questions that have been raised”. They vow changes to fix the system and ensure these problems never happen again. And they then set out, with their actions, to do exactly the opposite: to make the system prettier and more politically palatable with empty, cosmetic “reforms” so as to placate public anger while leaving the system fundamentally unchanged, even more immune than before to serious challenge.”

      They can follow all the power memes but the problem with Zionism is that their system is slowly falling apart.

      • Sibiriak
        January 19, 2014, 12:45 am

        seafoid:

        They can follow all the power memes but the problem with Zionism is that their system is slowly falling apart.

        Very slowly.

    • irishmoses
      January 19, 2014, 12:58 am

      Bingo.

      No substance here. IMHO, Just a desire to make strong public statement that he’s not to be associated with those extreme liberal Zionists, like Blumenthal and apparently MW and Phil.

      Moral courage is not of high value in the academy. Better to keep a foot in each camp and lean toward those perceived to have the power.

      Will there be a response?

      • yonah fredman
        January 19, 2014, 2:53 am

        irishmoses- Obviously Kleinman does not want to be associated with MW and Phil. (I didn’t notice Max Blumenthal, so let me stick to MW and Phil which are roughly equivalent.) Why do you label MW and Phil as Zionist even if extreme liberal Zionists. Is not this website anti Zionist? Or is that a form of humor?

      • yrn
        January 19, 2014, 3:57 am

        yonah fredman
        irishmoses was not in the lecture when he can use the term “extreme liberal Zionists”, or “Anti Zionist” or Jews.

        AntiZio’s should synchronize better if they want to have progress.

      • irishmoses
        January 19, 2014, 1:44 pm

        Yonah said:

        Why do you label MW and Phil as Zionist even if extreme liberal Zionists. Is not this website anti Zionist? Or is that a form of humor?

        Good question Yonah. Part was tongue in cheek, but part reflects what I believe about Zionism. I think there were righteous Zionists back in the day who believed Jews should settle in Palestine (and even in pre-1967 war Israel today). Ahad Ha’am, Martin Buber, to name but a few. But their Zionism was qualified and limited to immigration and cooperation with the indigenous Palestinians (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) and did include discrimination in employment, eviction from lands, let alone mass ethnic cleansing and all that happened in 1948 and after. Modern versions of righteous Zionists would, in my view, include those who favor a bi-national state and those who support the Arab Peace Plan or its derivatives as well as equal rights for all non-Jews. I fall under that definition and to that extent qualify as an “extreme liberal Zionist” or righteous Zionist as I have no desire to see Jews removed from pre-1967 war Israel so long as all non-Jews have equal rights and protections.

        To some extent anyone who believes Jews have some legal right to live in Palestine is almost by definition a Zionist. The far “left” of that fringe would be righteous or “extreme liberal Zionists”. Since I don’t think Phil believes in removing all Jews from Israel, I would include him in my tongue-in-cheek definition of “extreme liberal Zionism”, or in my not-tongue-in-cheek definition of “righteous Zionism”.

        A brief history lesson. First, right of wrong (and certainly unfair to the Palestinians) the 1922 League of Nations ratification of the Balfour Declaration gave Zionism a limited legality: the right to settle within Palestine, but with the condition that the civil rights of non-Jews not be violated. It did not give Jews an exclusive right to Palestine or a right to rule Palestine. Second, to the extent that the 1947 Partition Plan created a Jewish State in Palestine, the State of Israel is legal but limited to the area of the partition. Whether Israel has a valid legal claim to the additional 50 percent of Palestine it conquered in 1948 I am uncertain but doubtful. It certainly has no legal right to all territories it conquered, annexed, and settled after the 1967 war.

        A key requirement in the UN’s partition plan and later recognition of Israel is that it agree not to violate the civil rights of non-Jews (a requirement that stems from Balfour, and the League of Nations ratification of Balfour. Israel agreed to those conditions but has blatantly violated them from the get go. Obviously the mass ethnic cleansings of 1948 and 1967, the occupation, annexations, and the settlements all violate Israel’s legal duty to protect the rights of non-Jews under Balfour, LoN, and UN requirements and agreements, not to mention international law and the 4th Geneva Convention requirements.

        So, the bottom line is this: Zionism took a wrong turn early on and became an immoral and criminal enterprise once the decision was made to violate the civil rights of non-Jews and express terms of Balfour, LoN, and UN agreements (etc.). The effect of those violations has been brutality in the extreme and a permanent state of oppression for some 6 million Palestinians, millions of whom are still trapped in refugee camps or living under the boot of the Israeli army some 67 years later.

        Jews like Avi Shavit and many others who condone that conduct, despite their professed liberalism, are apologists for the Zionism that went wrong, that became profoundly immoral. Those that condemn the immoral turn of Zionism are righteous Zionists.

        To respond to yrn’s typical screed (that I am attacking all Jews, and hence a Jew Hater and anti-Semite), an anti-Zionist, in my view, is someone who opposes immoral Zionism (see above for details). An anti-Zionist can still be a righteous Zionist (see above). Someone who claims to be an anti-Zionist but in fact hates all Jews is a Jew Hater and an anti-Semite disguised as an anti-Zionist.

        The question Yonah is what kind of Zionist are you? Where do you come down in the above discussion and history? (I’ll leave yrn out as he/she is beyond hope and incapable of rational discourse).

      • yonah fredman
        January 19, 2014, 2:21 pm

        irishmoses- Wow. Thanks for the complete answer. Just a short answer for now. Time is linear and therefore my relation to the sins of 47 and 48 have always been of a different nature than my relation to the sins of post 67 in which my lifespan has created associations and i have a sense of ownership that i do not possess in the prehistory (from my perspective) of 47, 48. I love imagining a world that includes an Israel of the buber and ahad haam frame of mind. the distance between reality and this dream is daunting.

  10. Cliff
    January 18, 2014, 6:58 pm

    Kleinman says he’s a liberal.

    I wonder what his opinions are of Israel and Zionism?

  11. bilal a
    January 18, 2014, 7:00 pm

    a proponent of both Jewish influence in American politics and American power in the world, both of which, on average, are exerted in a liberal direction

    Liberal direction.

    In this context, is ‘Liberal’ a code word for ‘its good for the Jews’ ?

    Is It Good for the Jews?
    By STANLEY FISH
    link to opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com

  12. piotr
    January 18, 2014, 8:33 pm

    We can believe Prof. Kleiman that he disagrees with Phil (relatively, a simpleton, who either lacks or hides his Ph. D.). Nevertheless, they share some premises, namely that Jews have large influence, as can be easily attested by the words used in debates in US Congress and Senate. Is this influence too large, it is proper to try to quantify it?

    The course of action advocated by Prof. Kleiman would make little sense if Jewish organization had small influence. In that case, a general appeal would do better, or perhaps an appeal to Armenian-Americans, Arab-Americans etc. with extra an benefit that it is very simple to recognize Armenian names. I could even sketch good speeches, “our solidarity with the oldest Christian nation requires to carefully examine consequences of the bill” (some may recall appeals based on solidarity with the second oldest Christian nation, so why not go to the first one?).

    After the initial agreement that Jews have large influence, one can try to either quantify it or evaluate: good, bad, hard to tell. Kleiman clearly believes that it is good or at worst, “hard to tell”, unfortunately, at rare occasions, the official exponents of that influence do not represent the majority weighted by university degree (although it may properly represent the majority weighted by campaign donations etc.). Unfortunately, the money people, while well meaning, may sometimes be stupid.

    One can easily explain why one should not try to quantify Jewish influence. It is known from physics that a quantity may be altered as a result of measurement, and political sciences inform us that a quantity may be altered even when it is merely discussed. These versions of Heisenberg principle have particularly detrimental effect on Jewish influence (it may be related with the politics of Heisenberg himself).

    In any case, once we assume that Jewish influence is of proper size (and surely not outsize) we must be alarmed that this hallowed brand can be tarnished. A diplomatic (or worse, military) disaster proudly stamped “as advised by AIPAC” could do exactly that. For some reasons, this view seems particularly frequent in California: Feinstein, Hartman, Kleiman (this is Jew counting, so Ann Robbins is not included, even though I view her as a public figure).

  13. W.Jones
    January 18, 2014, 9:16 pm

    Kleiman writes:

    I do not believe that “Jews” have too much influence.

    Why does he use quotation marks?

    I’m a proud liberal, a proud… proponent of both Jewish influence in American politics and American power in the world, both of which, on average, are exerted in a liberal direction.

    Sounds like a good subtitle for a major liberal, antiwar book, perhaps one that can be passed among antiwar activists in Syria.

    Phil, perhaps you really should issue a retraction, now that he has clarified his views as to the above? Just say that you retract your earlier view, and carry the above quote in the subtitle. That is, rather than thinking there is too much influence, as you portray it, he sees the influences as generally liberal, positive ones. Certainly the major international issues, those taking up much time at the United Nations and in Sec. of Defense Confirmation hearings revolve around the Middle East. Kleiman has thus clarified that he sees strong power being influenced in a good, rather than excessive direction.

    Certainly in international politics there are a few key issues the constituencies and “American power” have focused on, and look at the good liberal values it has enforced. Certainly the Iraqis have been feeling the benefit. I should stop here.

  14. ritzl
    January 19, 2014, 12:37 am

    Jewish surnames only matter, even notionally, if just a few people “call” or if something is perceived to have been reduced down to a debate between Jews.

    If a lot of people “call,” that bit of info has no significance.

  15. shachalnur
    January 19, 2014, 10:30 am

    Maybe some have noticed that Jews calling other Jews “Anti-Semite” has become fashionable.

    Only last week an IDF officer called the makers of the TV program “Eretz Nehederet” anti-semites,after it mocked IDF career officers.

    There are US-Iran negotiations and a US imposed Israel-PA peace plan,allegedly,that both look more like setting up huge military conflicts,than solving anything.

    The US is creating a huge rift between paranoid Israel and Jews world wide, the gap is widening into territory where Jews call each other “Nazi’s” and “Anti-semites”.

    Since there are serious indications that Pres. Oblabla is becoming a real danger for Israel ,the ME ,US and the world,UCLA Proffesors calling for more division is dangerous.

    Is there anybody here that knows what exactly is being negotiated between US and Iran ,or what is really behind Kerry’s egotrip in the ME?

    The only thing that’s clear is Jews going for each others throats,and “Influential Jewish Voices” cheerleading this development.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 19, 2014, 10:56 am

      Is there anybody here that knows what exactly is being negotiated between US and Iran ,or what is really behind Kerry’s egotrip in the ME? The only thing that’s clear is Jews going for each others throats

      excuse me? could you be more specific? why not google around a little bit if you don’t understand what’s being negotiated?

    • American
      January 19, 2014, 12:37 pm

      shachalnur says

      The US is creating a huge rift between paranoid Israel and Jews world wide, the gap is widening into territory where Jews call each other “Nazi’s” and “Anti-semites”.

      Since there are serious indications that Pres. Oblabla is becoming a real danger for Israel ,the ME ,US and the world,UCLA Proffesors calling for more division is dangerous.>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      Spare us the typical responsibility avoiding Israeli and zionist …’its all johnny’s fault’ …excuse please.
      Zionism is a failure…those of you who support it have done this to yourselves.

  16. pabelmont
    January 19, 2014, 12:42 pm

    I think this discussion of the influence of American Jews on politics requires a clear distinction between Jews as voters, Jews as small-contributors to political campaigns (and to advocacy groups and other pressure groups, such as Sierra Club, ADL, Center for Constitutional Rights, B’Tzelem, JVP, AIPAC, etc., and LASTLY, the very-big-money Jewish contributors to political campaigns.

    I assume that Jews as voters are not important politically except in a few states and I hope (but by no means) assume that Jews-as-voters will always prefer the AIPAC-supported candidate to her opponent. Same for Jews as small-contributors.
    OTOH, Jewish big-money-contributors to political campaigns are (I assume) the mainstay of AIPAC and its nefarious work and they matter a great deal indeed.

    So the allegation of out-sized political clout should be made of Jewish big-money folks, not American Jews generally. Might be best to drop the “Jewish” and use “ZIONIST” instead, and this would embrace the non-Jews among the big-money Zionists (such as, perhaps, those non-Jews who run big defense contractors such as Boeing who may be, for all I know, both supporters of arms sales to the Middle East (due to incessant, never ending conflict, which depends on support of Israel) and non-Jews.

  17. irishmoses
    January 19, 2014, 2:15 pm

    Apropos and important to this discussion is a 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals case that was published yesterday.

    link to latimes.com

    This case extends the NYT vs. Sullivan (if memory serves) enhanced protections against claims of defamation given to media figures to those who are bloggers. One making a claim of defamation against any media figure, now including bloggers, must prove actual malice on the part of the blogger in making the allegedly defamatory statement. This is a wonderful First Amendment case that MW (and other bloggers like even me) should really be grateful for.

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