Museum of Jewish Heritage spikes panel on John Judis’s book as too controversial

Israel/Palestine
on 11 Comments
John Judis

John Judis

The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York has spiked a planned appearance by John Judis, author of the groundbreaking new history of Truman and the establishment of Israel, as too controversial.

I’m told that Judis had agreed on a date, June 1, with the programming director of the museum, Gabriel Sanders, and that Sanders went about lining up other speakers to appear with Judis on a panel about his book. Then Sanders abruptly got back to Judis and said the subject had been deemed too hot by the powers-that-be at the museum, they feared there would be protests of the event.

I reached out to Betsy Aldredge, who does publicity for the museum. She said,

“I looked into the situation and here is our comment: We were interested in the book. We considered it, but were concerned that the controversy would overshadow the content. Therefore, we decided not to move forward with the event.”

The controversy? Jeffrey Goldberg doesn’t like the book. Neither does the Wall Street Journal. Is that a controversy? If the book is worthy of discussion, why worry about a controversy?

The book says that Truman personally opposed the partition of Palestine in 1947 because he did not believe in establishing nations that failed to separate church and state, but his arm was twisted by the Zionist lobby in the U.S. and he caved on his principles out of political concern.

Judis is a highly-respected journalist in his 60s with a reputation for sobriety and discretion. He identifies himself with an American Reform Jewish tradition and says that he is for a two-state solution. He has long worked for The New Republic, a magazine that has historically been supportive of Israel, and that ran an excerpt of his book.

(Ah, open debate in the American Jewish community. Seven million Jews, one opinion permitted.)

 

11 Responses

  1. Donald
    February 18, 2014, 3:33 pm

    I’ve only started the book, which I think is good so far. To me the real value of it is that Judis seems to be trying to tell the story of Zionism fairly. The tradition has been to present the antisemitism across Europe which motivated people to think (quite understandably) that they needed a Jewish state and whitewash the uglier aspects of Zionist thinking. Judis, so far as I have gotten into it, still tells the story of how antisemitism motivated the Zionist dream for Jewish self-determination, but he doesn’t gloss over the imperialist attitudes towards Arabs and their rights. That, of course, is what makes the book “controversial”.

    He also presents a complex portrait of the non-Jewish supporters of a Jewish state–sometimes people are simply lumped into one of two categories as either philosemites or antisemites, but the reality is that Christian Zionists often partake of characteristics of both. Which isn’t that surprising–if you glorify a group, then you’re already thinking like a racist in some ways.

    • thetruthhurts
      February 18, 2014, 6:56 pm

      phil
      i got some bad news. pro-palestinian princeton university scientist rush holt of new jersey announced he won’t run anymore.
      some jewish woman called greenstein will.
      oh boy!

  2. CitizenC
    February 18, 2014, 4:29 pm

    I’ve ordered the book. I wonder what it will bring to the subject that Michael Cohen did not provide in “Truman and Israel” which is outstanding, used Max Lowenthal’s papers for the first time, showed how clearly Zionism outflanked the diplomatic and military establishment, via key operatives in Truman’s inner circle, bipartisan control of the parties and Congress, financial contributions, enlisting gentile opinion, etc. Cohen was torn between his scholarly integrity and competence, and reluctance to admit the picture he painted. At the very end he tries to claim the circumstances were unique, but they became a blueprint for Zionist influence, at least in its “representational” phase. A more comprehensive and insidious phase in which Zionist influence started to constitute the government, not just influence it, began with the neocons under Reagan (IMO, not Cohen’s)

    link to ucpress.edu

    The ToC is accessible on the UC Press web site. Chap 15 is about “consensus on strategic asset”. This reflects Pentagon appraisals of Israel’s military prowess in the war, but as Cohen acknowledges, such judgments were “ephemeral”, meaning overtaken by larger Cold War strategy, in which the US cultivated Arab nationalism as a potential Cold War asset, for a time at least.

  3. Justpassingby
    February 18, 2014, 5:04 pm

    Israel lobby does not exist huh? Another censorship by Israel/lobby.

  4. American
    February 18, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Judiss should send the museum a thank you note—labeling a book as controversial is a sure fire way to get people to buy and read it.
    I’m probably not going to bother probably since I’ve already got volumes and volumes of info and docs on Truman and the zionist.
    I hope it is reviewed on C-span books.

  5. Nevada Ned
    February 18, 2014, 5:43 pm

    Phil Weiss writes:

    Judis is a highly-respected journalist in his 60s with a reputation for sobriety and discretion. He identifies himself with an American Reform Jewish tradition and says that he is for a two-state solution. He has long worked for The New Republic, a magazine that has historically been supportive of Israel, and that ran an excerpt of his book.

    Mearsheimer and Walt are highly respected scholars, with reputations for sobriety and discretion. They support the two-state solution. Nevertheless, the Lobby tried very hard to smear these two card-carrying members of the foreign policy Establishment. Without success.

    Think that the Lobby will try to smear Judis also? Will Eric Alterman write that Judis’ book is “awful”, written by an “Israel hater”? Stay tuned. See if Judis gets the Max Blumenthal treatment.

  6. just
    February 18, 2014, 5:58 pm

    The zionist narrative cannot be sullied. The world cannot “handle the truth”.

    Some museum……..sinking into the dustbin and verrry afraid that only truth will emerge.

    They dishonor the history of Jewish people, and many others.

  7. Krauss
    February 18, 2014, 5:58 pm

    Another day, another case of censorship.

    I’m losing count at how the policing inside our community is growing more and more authoritarian. Maybe it always was, just that the dissenters weren’t as visible before.

    We’re reaching a point where you almost have to go outside the Jewish community to have a real discussion on Israel, but of course folks like Judis are very sensitive to that because they know the smears will come flying “self-hating Jew”, “why do you encourage the goyim?” etc.

    So I guess he’s left to sit on his hands for now, at least if he still insists on talking to a community which is lead(read: the donor base) by a bunch of hard-right Likudniks who are a much more natural fit in Putin’s Russia on issues like free speech, independent voices and democratic values than they are in pluralistic America.

  8. DICKERSON3870
    February 18, 2014, 6:19 pm

    RE: “Museum of Jewish Heritage spikes panel on John Judis’s book as too controversial”

    MY COMMENT: Judis is the new Goldstone! As James Petras* put it: “In the past Jewish leaders, especially labor and socially-engaged activists had joined forces with Leftists in opposition to political bigots, McCarthyite purges and blacklists. Today’s leaders practice the very same bully, blackmail and blacklist politics against critics of Israel and its Zionist appendages.” In other words, Judis is getting the “Goldstone treatment”, just like Beinart** before him.

    * SEE: “The ‘Israel First’ Industry and CEO Profiteering”, by James Petras, dissidentvoice.org, 1/16/14

    [EXCERPTS] During the first half of the 20th century, socially conscious Jews in the United States organized a large network of solidarity and charity associations financed mostly through small donations, raffles, and dues by working and lower middle class supporters. Many of these associations dealt with the everyday needs of Jewish workers, immigrants, and families in need. . .
    . . . Over the past fifty years a far-reaching transformation has taken place within Jewish organizations, among its leaders and their practices and policies. Currently, Jewish leaders have converted charities, social aid-societies and overseas programs for working class Jews into money machines for self-enrichment; converted charities funding health programs for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism into the funding of colonial settlements for armed Zionist zealots intent on uprooting Palestinians; and organized a powerful political machine which buys US Congress people and penetrates the Executive in order to serve Israeli military aims. From defending human rights and fighting fascism, the leaders of the principle Jewish organizations defend each and every Israeli violation of Palestinian human rights – from arbitrary arrests of non-violent dissidents to the detention of children in ‘cages.’ Israel’s Kafkaesque prolonged administration detention without trial is approved by contemporary leaders. In the past Jewish leaders, especially labor and socially-engaged activists had joined forces with Leftists in opposition to political bigots, McCarthyite purges and blacklists. Today’s leaders practice the very same bully, blackmail and blacklist politics against critics of Israel and its Zionist appendages.
    In the past Jewish leaders of social aid organizations received modest salaries . . .
    . . . The moderately social liberal Jewish weekly, The Forward, recently completed a survey of the salaries of Jewish “not-for profits” leaders, with the aid of a professor from the Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania). Among the leading profiteers was Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) earning $688,280, Howard Kohr of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — $556,232, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) — $504,445, Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) — $435,050, Janice Weinman of Hadassah — $410,000, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (PMJO) — $400,815, Mark Helfield of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society — $268,834 and Ann Toback of the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring — $185,712. These salaries and perks put the Jewish leaders of non-profits in the upper 10% of US incomes — a far cry from the not-too-distant past. According to the analysis by the Forward and the Wharton team, ‘most leaders (CEOs) are vastly overpaid – earning more than twice what the head of an organization of their size would be expected to make”.
    While the membership has declined in many organizations, especially among working and lower middle class Jews, the funding has increased and most important the plutocratic leaders have embraced a virulent militarist foreign policy and repressive domestic policies. Forward describes Abraham Foxman as “diverting the ADL from its self-described mission of fighting all forms of bigotry in the US and abroad to putting the ADL firmly on the side of bigotry and intolerance.” . . .
    . . . The overwhelming response of the Jewish readers to the Forward’s survey was one of indignation, disgust, and anger. As one reader commented, “The economic disconnect between their (CEOs) salaries and the average incomes of those who contribute to their charities is unacceptable”. Another indignant reader remarked succinctly: “Gonifs! (Thieves!)”. Many announced they could cut off future donations. One formerly orthodox reader stated, “I would rather give to a street beggar than to any of these”.
    The drop-off of donations from lower-middle class Jews, however, will have little effect in reducing the salaries of the ‘non-profit’ CEO’s or changing the politics of their ‘non-profits; because they increasingly depend on six and seven digit contributions from Jewish millionaires and billionaires. Moreover, the contributions by big donors are linked to the politics of repression at home and securing multi-billion dollar military aid and trade programs for Israel from the US Treasury. The billionaire donors have no objection to funding the millionaire leaders – as long as they concentrate their efforts on buying the votes of US Congress members and aligning their politics with Israel’s war aims. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to dissidentvoice.org

    ** AND SEE: “Peter ‘Powder Keg’ Beinart is disinvited from gig at Atlanta Jewish book festival”, by Annie Robbins, Mondoweiss, 11/05/12

    [EXCERPTS] The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta (MJCCA) has dis-invited liberal Zionist Peter Beinart from a speaking engagement at its annual Jewish book festival, presumably because he has called for a boycott of settlement goods, and it’s causing quite a stir. Everyone from J Street to Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt is weighing in. The event is expected to attract over 10,000 people this year. Beinart is one of 55 authors, some best selling, listed on MJCCA’s 2012 festival brochure. His talk, named “Zionist Zeal” about his book ‘The Crisis of Zionism’, is listed on page 16, relegated to a spot alongside “Low Cal Gal” Lisa Lillian and right above Marni Davis’s “Jews and Booze”.
    The center’s president and CEO are now defending their decision to cancel Beinart’s invitation, claiming that once that brochure went out with word of Beinart’s appearance, protests came “pouring in.”
    However, just how many of the center’s 18,000 members participated in this screeching avalanche of disapproval is not information Steven Cadranel, the president of the MJCCA, is willing to disclose. Nor is he saying if any arm twisting measures were employed. After all, it’s entirely possible merely a few big donors expressed their disapproval in a way that could impact the economic future of the center and phff… and so, for the first time in the history of the festival, a scheduled writer’s invitation went kaput.
    San Franciscans are quite familiar with this kind of blacklash against Jewish cultural events since the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation announced extremely restrictive funding guidelines a few years ago accompanied by “witch hunts.” . . .

    SOURCE – link to mondoweiss.net

  9. doug
    February 18, 2014, 6:40 pm

    Bloggingheads.tv has a video interview between Wright and Judis discussing his new book.

  10. Talkback
    February 19, 2014, 9:27 am

    Not only the Palestinians are hostages of Zionism.

Leave a Reply