Let it go

Palestinians on their way to work in Israel, at the Tarkoumia checkpoint, June 10, 2013.

Palestinians on their way to work in Israel, at the Tarkoumia checkpoint, June 10, 2013, published in Haaretz June 8

A lot of my old Jewish friends are afraid of me, so I try and be chipper, though it’s not my mode. I went to a nice party in New York City. An old friend was there who is much more logical than I am and we talked about the trails near his house. I always think about something he said to me ten years ago: Israel was a just response to the Holocaust, but they should make Israel withdraw to the ’67 border and if it won’t do so, impose a solution. I remember accepting what he said. At the party, I wanted to grab him and say: Guess what, they didn’t do what you wanted, and no one is going to impose a solution, and we’re having a lot of fun here talking about the trails near your house.

Another friend was wearing his jacket like a shawl and giving out samples of his art. He and I walk on eggshells with each other ever since I got in a fight with him about Jerusalem. He said sweetly I had to check out a cartoon in the New Yorker that describes Israel as the occupier, I would like it.

At the melon slices table, a whippersnapper who is going to Brazil for the finals next month ran down Qatar to me as the site for the 2022 World Cup. “They have sharia law. They don’t let gays have any freedom. The women are covered, and you can’t drink.” I said, You can drink. No you can’t, he said. I said, “I’ve been there, people can drink.”

The body of Israel is fetid in the back room of American Jews. They haven’t been there but it’s stinking up the joint, and it pollutes their view of the world. Max Blumenthal tried to tell them what it is, but the Zionists ran him out of town using the Nation; so instead we got Ari Shavit praising anonymous sex in Tel Aviv nightclubs as the latest Zionist revival of the “miracle” that is Israel. When it really is this intolerant rightwing society that rails against intermarriage and beats up journalists of a different race. That’s what it is.

And it’s foreign. That’s why American Jews need to let it go. It’s another country. It’s not the west.

Israeli Prime Minister, on right

Israeli Prime Minister, on right

They’re famously rude. Their prime minister has no tone. He looks like a European dictator in black and white photos from the mid-century.

Last Sunday the head of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, David Marwell, beat up on the author John Judis for saying that the Israel lobby compelled Truman to recognize Israel. Marwell looked upset. The undercurrent of the conversation was what my old friend said 10 years ago: that Israel was a just resolution of the Jewish Question of Europe, let’s not unpack that. And last time round the Jewish Question ended in the gas chambers because of the idea that Judis has broached, the idea of Jewish power.

But it wasn’t a just resolution of the Jewish Question; it wasn’t because it is based on racism against the indigenous people, as Judis pointed out repeatedly, including on the part of leading American liberals. Brandeis and Frankfurter and Julian Mack were leading liberal judges, and they were racist toward Arabs.

Israel can’t get away from that original sin because it has refused the many opportunities it had to escape it. It just kept doubling down. Ten years after my logical friend said ’67 borders, it’s still laughing at him. The answer to the Jewish Question in Israel is in the picture at the top of this post from Gideon Levy’s latest column in Haaretz, Levy who has reached the honorable conclusion for a former liberal Zionist after x years of trying to square the circle: he says the world must pressure Israel to build one state with equal rights. Where are the American Jews making the same leap?

The answer to the Jewish Question that so bedeviled Europe is at that good party. It’s the Jewish presence in a democracy, Jews in America doing our thing. That guy at the melons table is going to the World Cup finals, God bless him, with his smart non-Jewish girlfriend. My friend in the shawl has a smart non-Jewish girlfriend too, and leads a big life, music and food and the ocean. My logical friend, the same. Being an elite if that’s what we are, but unmolested, encouraged, not just tolerated, embraced– this is the actual real answer we made to the Jewish Question of Europe.

Why can’t American Jews understand the world we made here. Why can’t we live in the moment and see what we got? How can we turn a blind eye to the oppression of another people for a foreign state that’s warehoused for us just in case, of what? We’re not the only people who have been persecuted and massacred. Other people are experiencing kindred conditions right now. We don’t live there, we don’t want to live there, we live here, we like it here, that’s a foreign country where they praise rudeness and toughness and beat the shit out of a beautiful journalist whose case we should all be screaming about today. Let go of the dead idea. Just let it go.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged

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

  1. seafoid says:

    I thought this was going to be about Frozen.

    • Shingo says:

      Me too. Just goes to show who has kids younger than 10.

    • Ron Edwards says:

      I immediately thought, “OK, it’s clearly not about Frozen,” clicked, read the article, and it *still* earwormed me!! (kids = 6, 6, 5)

      • seafoid says:

        link to youtube.com

        The hasbara glows white on Mount Zion tonight
        Not a Facebook like to be seen.
        A kingdom of isolation,
        and it looks like Bibi’s the Queen
        BDS is howling like this swirling storm inside
        Couldn’t keep it in;
        Heaven knows I’ve tried

        Don’t let them in,
        don’t let them see
        Be the IDF Jew you always have to be
        Conceal, don’t feel,
        don’t let them know
        Well now they know

        Let it go, let it go
        Can’t hold it back anymore

  2. I come from an entirely different demographic than the one that Phil describes. I am familiar with the demographic, I’ve lived among it most of my life.

    They’re not going to let it go. They are on the sidelines of the issue. The movers and the shakers are those who give big bucks to political candidates. None of the people in the room give big bucks. As far as journalists and thinkers, you want them to embrace Max Blumenthal and shun Ari Shavit. Not going to happen. Generational change will occur, but mostly among activists and the people described here are not activists.

    It seems to me that the democratic party is the weak link keeping support for Israel as bipartisan rather than a republican neanderthal position. These people at the party are democrats and they are not activists and therefore their “let it go” is not going to happen on your clock. If events force them, that’s one thing. But just the sentiment of “let it go” is not going to make it happen.

    • ritzl says:

      yf- A way to merge the article and what you wrote is that Phil’s friends are poised to “let it go”, or alternately that they are receptive to a forcing/nudging “event.” They seem open to being led in a new direction.

      It’s up to activists to provide the nudge.

      • Ellen says:

        Activists can make noise, get information out there. But if the information can not find reception? Too many just do not want to hear it, or go there. To do so means re thinking a life-time of indoctrination.

        My fear is that the “nudge” will be something or a series of somethings that are so horrific, Jews of the world will recoil in horror what Israel has done in their name.

        • Citizen says:

          That “nudge” will be POTUS Hillary attacking Iran, and/or arming, funding “moderates” attacking Syria regime. Also, arming Nuland’s Ukraine ZioNazis. All the above?

      • pabelmont says:

        As to “nudges” –

        One type is Americans learning more about what is going on. If Pope Francis or the EU or the ICC acts “loudly” enough to be heard through the silencing filter of MSM.

        The other type of nudge is another stupid war fought “to order” for Israel. Yes, HRC dancing to AIPAC’s tune (as Obama almost but not quite does).

        Also, actions by church groups, student groups, minor political parties, and “great men” (if any there be). Maybe Carter again.

    • Donald says:

      “The movers and the shakers are those who give big bucks to political candidates.”

      I mostly agree, but that’s partly because the journalists and thinkers who supposedly support a 2SS are much more concerned about defending Israel’s image than they are about the reality. If the uglier truths about Israel were commonly talked about in the press, I don’t know that the donors would have it all their own way. The NYT editors yesterday wrote a piece splitting the blame for the current situation between Israelis and Palestinians. And they warn the US not to seem supportive of Hamas because of its “violence” and “hateful” behavior. Which I wouldn’t mind, if they applied the same standards to Israel, but they don’t.

      “As far as journalists and thinkers, you want them to embrace Max Blumenthal and shun Ari Shavit. Not going to happen.”

      Based on what appears in the NYT, including yesterday’s editorial, you’re right, but the question is why? I’m asking. I could speculate (and even give an answer so far as Christian Zionists are concerned, because I know that mindset pretty well), but I don’t know the answer. You would think that NYT editors are well-informed enough to see their own hypocrisy, but I don’t know what they are thinking when they write things like what appeared yesterday.

      link to Saturday NYT editorial

      • Keith says:

        DONALD- “Based on what appears in the NYT, including yesterday’s editorial, you’re right, but the question is why?

        Why? Because the media disseminate official propaganda. To the degree that the government represents the rough consensus of the dominant elites, they can count on media support. The media, in turn, are rewarded with advertising dollars. Should the media depart from its primary propaganda function, they will lose advertising and eventually fail financially. Only if the government departs from elite consensus, or if there are serious differences among the various elites, will the media begin to fulfill their mythological role as providers of accurate information to inform the citizenry. Mostly, they manufacture consent. This shouldn’t be surprising. In fact, it is difficult to imagine an alternative in view of the nature of our political economy.

    • Elliot says:

      “Generational change will occur, but mostly among activists and the people described here are not activists.”
      Why will generational change be limited to activists and why do activists need generational change in the first place? My demographic is different to yours and Phil’s yet I see the same lack of interest as in his circle and Israel’s general lack of relevance. Outside of the hardcore, this is a societal – not activist – shift. The activists are the ones who do care, the ones who travel to I/P and talk about BDS. Many of those started out in the the hardcore Israel – kids with strong Jewish backgrounds, Israelis and so on. Look at the very strong Jewish backgrounds of the leadership of Jewish Voice for Peace or, more recently, Open Hillel.

  3. ritzl says:

    Great article.

      • MHughes976 says:

        Yes, brilliantly written, which the NYT editorial usefully supplied by Donald was not. We measure progress by inches in this matter, so I suppose that the slightly resigned tone of the NYT, accepting that Hamas will be involved, only let them not be dominant, indicated that the day of real negotiations may have inched that bit closer. Only so much could go wrong.

  4. Ellen says:

    Their prime minister has no tone. He looks like a European dictator in black and white photos from the mid-century.

    He, and most other members of his government speak and act like a mid-century Eastern European two-bit dictator-thugs.

  5. Shuki says:

    How exactly does one develop such self-hatred?

    • RoHa says:

      So no reply to Philip’s points. Just a claim about this psychological state. But whatever his psychological state may be, Israel is still a foreign country for Americans, and it is still an unjust state. Philip’s attitudes do not affect the reality.

    • a blah chick says:

      Shuki time!

      And in this edition of “Shuki Time” the writer expresses despair regarding Phil Weiss’s determination to engage in independent thinking. How does one get to this level of “self-hatred”? By reading, writing and thinking too darn much! Everyone knows that self hatred is a symptom of an over worked intellect.

    • pjdude says:

      So to believe in justice as a Jew is to hate one’s self?

    • talknic says:

      @ Shuki “How exactly does one develop such self-hatred?”

      Believing in the basic common sense tenets of Judaism, don’t steal, don’t lie, no false accusations etc. Believing states should adhere to International Law and the UN Charter, Human Rights etc. & a state should adhere to its Declaration of statehood, write its promised constitution, have legal elections for the first time, under that constitution. Quite normal stuff.

      How did you develop your addiction to ziocaine, other folk’s territory?

    • Elliot says:

      @Shuki,
      “Self-hatred”
      As others have already commented, it’s not “hatred.” Phil explained in the article why it’s not “self-”. Truth of the matter that Israelis don’t care about American Jews, so you are in no position to reprimand an American Jew for recognizing the gap between the two cultures.

      • LeaNder says:

        I was going to write something similar, Elliot. How can it be self-hatred if you don’t accept the artificially created Jewish Zionist identity, to start with. Its basic premise is: United as Zionists against the world out there we must stand, Jewish dissenters are self-haters. Since Zionism (and apartness?) is the essence of Judaism.

        Does that make Israeli anti- or post-Zionists self-haters too?

    • Shmuel says:

      To quote Mike Marqusee:

      The people who call us self-haters want to steal our selves from us — appropriate our selves for their cause — and speaking as a self, I’m damned if I’m going to let them get away with it.

  6. wes says:

    Relax max (bloomingthrall)…….. it is almost over
    let it go ,let it be,let it grow

    the other day i went to my favourite park,sat on a bench in the sun,let it all go.
    next thing a magpie came to sit next to me,real close which is unusual.they are quite wary.

    who would put a rock upon a sapling
    a blind man searching for a blessing

  7. Beautiful essay- why I love Mondoweiss! Thanks so much Phil for sharing.

  8. Krauss says:

    Why can’t Jews let it go? Because Zionists are right on one thing and one thing only: non-Orthodox Jewry does not survive in the diaspora without anti-Semitism.

    In Israel it does.

    Remind me again, how many Jewish girlfriends did tour friends have?

    • If I understand Krauss, you seem to be saying, that these Jews want to disappear, but they don’t want all Jews to disappear. Thus they have divided the burdens of the planet: America lets its people free including us, so that we can choose to disappear, and Israel which is not as free as that, so that a survival remnant will exist.

      My friend larry who died almost half a year ago, was an assimilated Jew and he was a supporter of Israel despite his opposition to the war against Iraq of 2002. but he was 61, of a generation raised in the aftermath of the abyss and his historical reference vis a vis being a Jew were the abyss and Israel. He visited Israel once and was impressed when he saw garbagemen who wore yarmulkas.
      The next generation will see it differently, conceivably, but they will pull away from the issue and leave the floor to “mainstream” supporters of Israel. By which I mean the type of monomania that Phil shows on the Israel issue does not appeal to the average person and if they pull away from the place because it is a foreign country, they will pull away from the issue itself as much as possible and leave the issue to those who are willing to get out in front. There will be those who follow Phil and Max B., but they will not be the mainstream.

      The collapse of the peace process, now being mourned by Yair Lapid, places the mainstream in a sort of flux, forced to choose between blaming Netanyahu and blaming Abbas. But I can guarantee you that 60 year old Jews are not going to go traipsing across the aisle to support the chaos that might follow a one state solution.

    • Elliot says:

      @krauss,
      You seem to have overlooked the experience of the last 30 years. Reform Judaism (and other streams) embraced interfaith families with remarkable success. There would be no Reform movement today without the Jewish children of interfaith couples. These families’ commitment to Judaism cannot be said to be predicated on anti-Semitism.
      There are several other important developments that show it is premature to mourn the death of non-Orthodox or non-Israeli Judaism.
      Having a non-Jewish girlfriend does not spell the end of the Jewish People, even for the Orthodox.

    • Elliot says:

      Also, the justification for a Jewish state is anti-Semitism. So, your argument is that Judaism cannot survive in a free and open world. This is the challenge that modernity posed to Judaism ever since the walls of the ghetto came tumbling down, going back to the 1780s Berlin. This problem is now in its third century and likely will be around for centuries to come.

      • Keith says:

        ELLIOT- “Also, the justification for a Jewish state is anti-Semitism.”

        One of the primary purposes of Israel is to prevent Jewish assimilation into Gentile society. Krauss is referring to “Jewry” in the sense of Jewishness and Jewish tribalism. I doubt that he is commenting on the Judaic religion. During the enlightenment, Jews splintered into Reformed, Conservative and Orthodox Judaism, along with secular Jews. Zionism and Israel is an attempt to re-unite the various branches of Jews on a secular, quasi-religious basis. The exploitation of perceived anti-Semitism is a key ingredient in the success of Zionism and the maintenance of Jewish tribal solidarity. Krauss appears to be saying that without perceived anti-Semitism to exploit, Jewish tribalism will fade outside of Israel. I agree.

        • Elliot says:

          @Keith,
          Tribalism is a constant of any group. Look at sports teams or, for that matter, commenters on blogs. You referenced some of the Jewish religious response to modernity. (A note on your terminology: The Christian church was “Reformed”; the 19h century Jewish response to modernity was styled as “Reform”.) There are others. And there were, and continue to be, non-religious responses.
          To reduce non-Israeli Jewry to fading tribalism is straight out of the Zionist ideological playbook. This rejection of modern Judaism also ignores a heck of a lot of evidence, past and ongoing.

    • Elliot says:

      @ Krauss,
      I don’t think it’s even true that American Jews can’t “let it go” because they believe your statement to be true (even though they act in ways that are self-fulfilling of this prognosis). Consider for a moment why a much larger group, namely, Christian Americans, can’t let it go. Surely, they are not obsessed with Jewish continuity too.
      The answer lies elsewhere.

  9. ahadhaadam says:

    Well the underlying assumption is true – without the zealous support of American Jews for Israel, America would probably use a more even handed approach to the region or perhaps even drop Israel altogether (I don’t buy the “strategic asset” argument for one bit – Israel is a liability, not an asset).

    However, the likelihood of American Jews detaching themselves from Israel is very low since it’s an issue of identity. Much of American Jewry, mostly the secular one, has pegged its entire identity on its support for Israel. I meet them all the time: they eat pork, attend synagogue once in a blue moon if at all, and are far from what anyone would consider Jewish. For them being Jewish means a few watered down customs and most importantly, supporting Israel (and as a bonus, hating Arabs/Muslims).

    American Jews and Jewish leaders need an Israel in a constant state of conflict, to create a sense of solidarity and purpose. Think of all these organizations that support Israel like AIPAC. What would they do in case of peace? Would someone lobby for Holland with such zeal and dedication? Israel in peace means the end of American Jewry within 2-3 generations through assimilation, save for a few Orthodox communities which will continue to exist like Jews always have – for them Judaism is a religion.

    • john h says:

      “For them being Jewish means a few watered down customs and most importantly, supporting Israel (and as a bonus, hating Arabs/Muslims)”.

      Sounds to me pretty much like a description of so-called Christian Zionists.

  10. ckg says:

    If you aren’t a Haaretz subscriber:
    Here is a link to Gideon Levy’s 6/8 opinion piece that is not behind a pay wall:
    link to rantosaurus2.wordpress.com
    And here is a link to the 5/31 piece, not behind a pay wall: link to sabbah.biz

  11. irishmoses says:

    Phil said:

    “Being an elite if that’s what we are, but unmolested, encouraged, not just tolerated, embraced– this is the actual real answer we made to the Jewish Question of Europe.
    Why can’t American Jews understand the world we made here. Why can’t we live in the moment and see what we got? How can we turn a blind eye to the oppression of another people for a foreign state that’s warehoused for us just in case, of what? ….Just let it go.”

    Ellen said: “My fear is that the “nudge” will be something or a series of somethings that are so horrific, Jews of the world will recoil in horror what Israel has done in their name.”

    There’s a much scarier scenario Just “letting Israel go” may not be enough, and Ellen’s nudge may be too late. Israel and its oppressive actions and policies are tarnishing the moral standing of Judaism and attaching, perhaps unfairly, the responsibility for that oppression to all Jews. It is, after all, the Jewish State in which all the world’s Jews have automatic “return” rights.

    So what happens when the vast, non-Jewish majority starts to put the dots together and sees Israeli oppression for what it is, and the harm Israel and its US lobby has done to the interests of this country? What happens when they conclude the vast majority of American Jews are either providing direct support to an oppressive foreign regime or are intentionally turning their heads away from the oppression so Jewish interests aren’t harmed by confronting that oppressive regime?

    Will public outrage against the Jews be motivated by mindless antisemitism or will it be based on genuine anger at fellow citizens who directly or indirectly encouraged and supported the oppression of another people, despite the harm this was doing to US interests and values, not to mention the catastrophic harm done to the Palestinian people?

    That’s a very scary scenario that some Jews are beginning to recognize and fear. J.J. Goldberg wrote about it recently in Forward:

    link to blogs.forward.com?

    As for the strength of Israel’s democracy, that carries a double edge. First, the perceived weakening of Israel’s commitment to democracy — internally and in the fact that it governs several million Palestinians under military rule — troubles Jews who view democracy and human rights as fundamental values. It drives them away from Israel at a time when both Israel and the Jewish communities want ties to be stronger. Secondly — and this is perhaps the report’s most controversial finding — the image of Israel in the broader society increasingly rebounds onto the image, and hence the security, of local Jews. To the extent that Israel is perceived negatively, Jews are perceived negatively.

    [emphasis added].

    I see this happening within me more and more. My relationship with Jewish friends and Jews in general is beginning to be filtered through the prism of my constant image of Israel’s ongoing and increasing oppression of the Palestinian people, and US Jews direct or indirect support of that oppression. I want to insert my concern in every conversation involving Jews, but I know I can’t. The barriers are too high and I’m a non-Jew whose concern for that oppression is likely seen as either suspect or really none of my business. So the conversations continue, about politics, art, music, sports, but it’s not quite the same for me, it’s uncomfortable, not genuine as it used to be.

    More and more I wonder how Americans in the mid-1930s reacted to Germans in Germany or Germans visiting from Germany. Germans were very cultured, had achieved economic success, were hard-working, successful, articulate, political, savvy, entertaining. All those things. Yet, hovering in the background was the Jewish question. Why was Germany oppressing its Jews, and why were Germans directly or indirectly supporting that oppression? What was it like for an American to talk to one of those Germans? Would you discuss music, art, German economic success? Or, was there an unspoken subtext that made Americans feel uncomfortable having normal conversations with people who were allowing oppression of another people?

    The distorted light filtering through the prism through which I’m beginning to view my otherwise normal conversations with Jewish friends and acquaintances seems more and more similar to those likely experienced by many thoughtful Americans with German friends and acquaintances during the 1930s.

    Food for thought.

    • Kris says:

      @irishmoses, thank you for saying so clearly what I have been feeling.

      “The distorted light filtering through the prism through which I’m beginning to view my otherwise normal conversations with Jewish friends and acquaintances seems more and more similar to those likely experienced by many thoughtful Americans with German friends and acquaintances during the 1930s.”

      This is exactly how I feel when talking with my Jewish friends and acquaintances; the ongoing Jewish oppression of the Palestinians is always there between us. My closest Jewish friend (alas, no longer so close because of this) was very active in the Civil Rights movement and is now active on behalf of illegal immigrants to the U.S., but she cannot talk about Palestine, except to shrug, smile ruefully, and say, “Oh, those crazy Israelis!” as if we’re talking about harmless childish high jinks.

      Like my other Jewish friends, she works at not knowing what Jews are doing to the Palestinians. These friends of mine are wonderful people, and their horror and shame will be devastating when they finally let themselves see what is done in their name and with their connivance.

      • irishmoses says:

        What a paradox, a Jewish friend who “…was very active in the Civil Rights movement and is now active on behalf of illegal immigrants to the U.S., but she cannot talk about Palestine, except to shrug, smile ruefully, and say, “Oh, those crazy Israelis!” as if we’re talking about harmless childish high jinks.”

        The scary thing is that the high moral standing Jews in this country have earned by their strong support and advocacy on behalf of oppressed minorities is being undermined by the oppressive state Israel has become, and by their failure to disassociate themselves from Israel’s oppressive policies and actions.

        Thanks Kris.

    • wes says:

      Dear food for thought

      i know this guy who lost a lot of weight because he thought food was thought and could survive on thought without eating real food…….or something like that
      anyway a strange thing happened to him.
      One day he was thinking his breakfast when suddenly out popped this excellent well cooked sunny side up idea.
      How do you eat those bad unhealthy thoughts without getting a sore stomach.
      what would be the perfect cure.
      He chewed on this for days on end and finally it came to him
      Look for good thoughts only,search them out,leave all the negative alone,there is no shortage…….. it tastes terrible and smells even worse.
      and hey if there are no good thoughts around then think some up,after all
      its only ………
      thought for food.

    • Denis says:

      IM, J.J. Goldberg’s piece of Jun06, “Diaspora to Israel: We need you to change” is also very interesting in light of Phil’s concerns.

      Goldberg begins by citing a new GoI $53M hasbara initiative aimed at diaspora. Nothing new there. Then, by way of contrast, he cites a 6-month study by the Jewish People Policy Institute about what diaspora Jews really want to hear from GoI.

      From Goldberg’s summary of the study:

      The third theme, perhaps most alarming, was fear that Israel isn’t sufficiently alert to the damage its behavior does to its standing in the world — and, consequently, to Jews’ own standing and security in the countries where they live. . . Here’s a particularly striking passage: “[A] chief finding of our report is that a majority of Diaspora Jews expects Israel to uncompromisingly deploy Jewish and universal humanitarian values with respect to the rights of its minority citizens.”

      link to forward.com

      If I may be so impudent as to try and re-state Phil’s concerns in Goldberg’s words, what I understand Phil to be saying is that US Jews have to accept that GoI will never “uncompromisingly deploy Jewish and universal humanitarian values with respect to the rights of its minority citizens.” It is just not going to happen.

      Consequently, unlike other Americans, there comes a point in every sentient American Jew’s life when he/she has to make an irrevocable decision between supporting what is right and buying into the Israel-as-my-homeland meme. It is not possible to do both.

      Eventually, Americans will come to see Israel as being inimical to America’s interests and a military/nuclear threat, IOW as an enemy. Then things could get very difficult for American Jews who support Israel. And I’m thinking of the 18th century when tens of thousands of British subjects in America — many of them high-ranking political and judicial figures — had their property confiscated and thousands were hung b/c they refused to deny their allegiance to the British crown. I’m thinking of the 20th century when virtually all Japanese Americans were persecuted, imprisoned, and had their property confiscated as soon as Japan became an enemy. I’m thinking of the 21st century and the Islamophobic vitriol that arose out of the ashes of the WTC and fueled not just thousands of attacks on American Muslims, but the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan that killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims.

      Maybe “American” Jews who carry the Zionist dream in their hearts should not let it go. Maybe they should act on it, pack up, and re-settle where their heart is.

    • john h says:

      “Israel and its oppressive actions and policies are tarnishing the moral standing of Judaism and attaching, perhaps unfairly, the responsibility for that oppression to all Jews”.

      Add to this what LeaNder said: “the artificially created Jewish Zionist identity, to start with. Its basic premise is: United as Zionists against the world out there we must stand, Jewish dissenters are self-haters. Since Zionism (and apartness?) is the essence of Judaism”.

      “Food for thought” indeed.

      Judaism was, effectively, hijacked, as epitomised in the Jabotinsky claim:

      “either Zionism is moral and just or it is immoral and unjust. We hold that Zionism is moral and just. There is no other morality”.

  12. irishmoses says:

    For some reason the edit function didn’t work. Is there a time limit for completing an edit?

    In any case, I eliminated the last line and substituted,

    “If the dots are connected and tide begins to turn against the Jews, how will Phil’s view of the current status of US Jews as elite, as encouraged, as embraced be affected? I wonder. Still, it’s early days and perhaps the tide is beginning turn against Israel within the US Jewish community. One can hope.

  13. libra says:

    I really think Phil should expand on what he means by “Just let it go.”

  14. Clif Brown says:

    Accept no hand-me-down identity. The only way one can have a true identity is to freely choose it as an adult, holding what was said by parents in one’s youth at a distance for careful examination.

    A great deal of the mindless inhumanity we see across the world comes from the unquestioning and comfortable acceptance of what is given; of the blind passing on their particular kind of blindness, proud to do so. When one can see fault in one’s own family, race, tribe, and react to it just as one would to the same seen in a stranger, then one has established one’s own identity.

    What I am suggesting is nothing less than asking for individuals to step out into the cold, when others are sitting warm by the fire. Such an act will never be a common thing, but it offers the chance of real authenticity, the best way to peace of mind.

  15. doug says:

    Former Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Kurtzer:
    Coming down hard on Israel’s interference in US politics

    “Israeli leaders need to understand the United States is Also A Sovereign Country”

    link to youtube.com

    Amazing!

  16. broadside says:

    “They’re famously rude.”

    Speaking of parties, got a great story for you. About eight years ago, down south, I’m bartending for a “Jewish party” — the host’s words, he was Jewish, the guests were all Jewish, including the guests of honor, Jews, a couple, from Australia.

    So I’m at the bar, to my right, about six feet away, is the host and the male guest of honor. The guest says something to the host along the lines of, “Those Israelis are a difficult lot,” to which the host, not hearing him, not fully paying attention, looking out on the party, about 20 people or so, says, “Hmmm?”

    Now, I’m thinking: this is great: the guest, not knowing his host’s politics, I assume, has to make a quick decision: do I repeat what I just said, which of course would make his comment that much more emphatic, or do I just pretend my wife is summoning me and walk away.

    He bravely — could well have taken a breath — repeats what he said, “I said, those Israelis are a difficult bunch…” — and I wish Abe Foxman could have been there to hear what a patio full of Jews, American, Australian, and one other country, as I recall, had to say about Israelis. Not only not a single kind word said, everyone had only severely negative things to say.

    This was the greatest party I’ve ever been to!

  17. This post reveals a lot.

    First the photo: this is the cause: the repression of the Palestinian people. Then the content: Present at a party with Jews, who are on the opposite side of the divide of history. I, Phil Weiss, am on the side of right. They are on the side of repression.

    Behold the rhetoric: “The body of Israel is fetid in the back room of American Jews. They haven’t been there but it’s stinking up the joint, and it pollutes their view of the world.”

    It pollutes their view of the world. Not distorts, but pollutes. (To Weiss, the disappearance of Zionism from the history of the world would undo 9/11. Yes, the middle east would probably be messy, but its mess would not have reached American shores in the disaster of 9/11 and the wars that were declared in its wake. So Israel’s existence is not a mere distortion of history but the very cause of the biggest American catastrophes of the last couple decades. (The fall of the stock market would not be strictly within this category, but because of the predominance of Jews and the stink which pollutes their thinking, who knows? maybe the fall of the stock market is American Zionism’s fault as well.) And as such it is not merely a distortion of history but a pollution of the point of view of American Jews.)

    Some more revealing rhetoric: “And it’s foreign. That’s why American Jews need to let it go. It’s another country. It’s not the west.”

    This should be read slowly because it is not at first clear. It’s not American. We already knew that. But he means that it is foreign to our values and to western (humanist) values.

    But the language that he uses: It’s another country. That’s a nationalist argument rather than a humanist argument and the language is not necessarily designed for clarity. Weiss introduces not only the foreignness of values, but delineates the red white and blue American values and anything beyond American shores is “foreign”. He is playing humanist and American nationalist and intertwining the rhetoric.

    The smart nonJewish girlfriends of these successful Jewish New Yorkers deserves comment as well. Phil is cloaking himself in his integrated personality. I have rejected Judaism with my nonJewish wife and I reject the Judaism of Zionism as well. But these guys have rejected Judaism with their nonJewish girlfriends, but they cling to the Judaism of Zionism. They embrace America literally embodied in their women, but they cling to the ideas of nonAmerica with their polluted politics.

    I understand why Shuki would refer to this as self hate. A loaded term, so let me enunciate clearly: Phil with reference to the nonJewish girlfriends is an advocate for unpolluted Americanism. You’ve tossed the Torah away. You’ve tossed the Jewishness away. You’re American through and through. So toss the Israel away. This is not self hate, but let’s call it thorny.

    • just says:

      This post of yours says a lot about you, yonah. Rather insulting to the writer and ‘thorny’ (again).

      Your allegation that “You’ve tossed the Torah away. You’ve tossed the Jewishness away. You’re American through and through. So toss the Israel away.”
      is repugnant, imho.

      • This is my interpretation of what Phil has written. If you feel that such an interpretation reveals too much about the interpreter, okay. but these are my interpretations not my words.

        • ohiojoes says:

          It struck me too–the complete revulsion in his tone, the lack of any restraint. Pollution, to be driven from our land. Sometimes, accidentally, people tell you how they really feel.

  18. Faisal says:

    About ten million people were abused to death or massacred in the Belgian-controlled Congo Free State and about 10 millions more because of the ensuing warlordism and neighbouring raids since the mid 1990′s (with the blessing, guidance and obscuration of European colonists/neocolonists, Uncle Sam imperialists and their Ugandan, Rwandan and Burundian collaborators).

    If Congolese refugees, settler-colonists and illegal immigrants took over a multi-ethnic/confessional/cultural country and turned it into an apartheid garrison state; how soft would you be in any way on them? Their unprecedented plight – probably the most scarred people on earth now, or even in human history – will be increasingly cheapend and negated if used as an excuse or pretext, right?

    Non-Middle Eastern/North African anti-Zionists are simply too accomodating of Jewish Zionists. Put too much emphasis on secondary characteristics like Jewishness. They often treat Jewish Zionists as Jews first, Zionists second.

    Be more like us Middle Eastern and North African anti-Zionists. Jews lived in the mostly Muslim/pagan Middle East/North Africa for centuries or even millenia – like in Yemen – until European colonialism with its divide and rule strategies and racial superiority psychosis ignited all sorts of hatreds and instabilities – not to mention their outgrowth, European Zionism, gathering steam since the late 1800′s – in what used to be pretty much an “identity politics-free” Middle East/North Africa.

    Middle Eastern and North African Jewish Zionists were treated with the respect they deserved. You wanna take over Palestine? You wanna scheme with European racists and Christendom’s aggressors? Be my guest. But please don’t pretend it’s all about Europe and whites and use terms like “gentiles” and “goyim” with the wrong people – that may work in Belgium or Hungary, and other parts of that human-like inhabited continent – never mind the petty defense mechanism notion that everybody is envious of “Jewish success and intelligence”. Such Eurocentrism regarding history, socioeconomics, demographics, humanities and political configurations is imbecilic and out of place to say the least.

    Treat Zionists – especially those who say that Palestine is their national home and pretend to be just a bunch “self-determining” ladies and gents – like the stealthy and expedient social Darwinists they really are.

  19. eljay says:

    >> y.f.: This post reveals a lot.

    What your post appears to reveal is that you despise – or perhaps envy – Phil for his growth, as a human being, beyond the confines of the religion / “tribe” he was born into.

  20. Woody Tanaka says:

    “The undercurrent of the conversation was what my old friend said 10 years ago: that Israel was a just resolution of the Jewish Question of Europe… ”

    Boy, what a damnably bigoted sentiment. The only way one can call the destruction of the Palestinian polity in its land, the ethnic cleansing of them, and the continuous, non-stop oppression of them “just” is if the speaker believes that Jews are the only people who must be considered in any moral calculus. THAT is the thing that American Jews and Zionists of all stripes refuse to accept, and why that state is completely illegitimate until all of the people under its control are fully free and justly compensated for their losses.

  21. goldmarx says:

    Yonah’s interpretation of Phil’s words is reasonable, and I don’t usually agree with Yonah. And again, Phil brings up his commonality of having non-Jewish significant others with his Jewish male friend, as if that is some solution to the problems plaguing us today AND as if Jewish men dating or marrying Jewish women is some kind of disease.

    • Philip Weiss says:

      I apologize for that implication if it was there. It was just the actual truth of that party, that there were 4 couples there with a Jewish male and non-Jewish female. I am not at all opposed to inmarriage, but I am reflecting a reality, and the conditions of my life as a Jew.

    • irishmoses says:

      I think your take on Phil’s comment is a bit of a stretch. He said nothing about non-Jewish significant others being a solution to problems facing Judaism, nor did he say or imply that dating or marrying Jewish women is some kind of disease. Please, you’re better than that.

      The meaning I took, the obvious one IMHO, was that the Jewish males he was talking to were not following one of the central tenets of mainstream Judaism, that one should date and marry only a Jew, yet they were attached to Israel with an almost religious fervor. That’s the paradox: American Jews who are so assimilated, liberal, and out front on so many civil rights issues, treat Israel with all its oppression as some sort of untouchable religious totem.

      And here you and Yonah are, defending against some straw man, imaginary attack on Judaism, while ignoring the reality of Phil’s post, that the oppressive state that Israel has become is unworthy of further support from either a liberal Jewish moral or religious Jewish moral standpoint. You both need to focus on the real moral issue. You’re both better than this sort of lamely disguised ad hominem attack. At least I hope you are.

    • talknic says:

      goldmarx ” as if that is some solution to the problems plaguing us today AND as if Jewish men dating or marrying Jewish women is some kind of disease”

      If you say so, Phil hasn’t.

  22. I cannot underscore how much I like reading about Phil at parties–

  23. talknic says:

    @ Allison Deger “I cannot underscore how much I like reading about Phil at parties”

    That’s ’cause there’s no underscore facility :-)