Michael Oren cannot hide his disrespect for Jewish Americans

US Politics
on 92 Comments

Michael Oren’s fascinating and provocative memoir includes an anecdote that will make readers wince. Oren is an American, born in New York, who immigrated to Israel in his late 20s and raised three children there. He recently asked his son Noam, now an officer in the Israeli army, “Who do you feel you have more in common with, your Bedouin sergeant Mahmud, or your cousin Josh in Long Island?” Noam answers: “‘Are you serious?’ he shrugged. ‘Mahmud slept in the dirt with me. Mahmud fought for this country.'”

The Oren family’s American relatives will not be happy at this insensitive story. But it perfectly illustrates a central paradox in Oren’s book (entitled Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide). He was appointed ambassador to the U.S. partly to try and slow the Jewish American drift away from Israel. But there’s a big impediment to this goal: Oren truly does not respect Jewish Americans, and his feelings bubble constantly just under the surface of his narrative. Right after he relates the anecdote about his son, he adds:

“Many Israelis — the world’s only Jews without a compound identity — looked down on an American Jewry that preferred comfort to sovereignty.”

Oren shares this view, even if he tries to hide it.

His enemies list of Jewish Americans is long. Early reports focused on his attack on certain Jewish journalists, including Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, for criticizing Israel at all, and his speculation as to “whether Americans Jews really felt as secure as they claimed,” and therefore “perhaps persistent fears of anti-Semitism impelled them to distance themselves from Israel and its often controversial policies.”

There is more. Oren has a pathological dislike for J Street, the moderate pro-Israel lobbying group that was started as an alternative to AIPAC. (Nowhere in 377 pages does he even mention Jewish Voice for Peace.) At first, Oren grudgingly “engages” in a “dialogue” with J Street, even though “I had no illusions about the group, which received funds from anti-Israel contributors, supported every legislator critical of Israel, and stridently attacked mainstream American Jewish leaders.”

Then Judge Richard Goldstone issued his report criticizing Israeli human rights violations during the 2008-09 attack on Gaza: “. . . outrageously, J Street members hosted Goldstone in Congress and began lobbying against sanctions on Iran,” Oren writes. His “dialogue” with the organization ended. So much for diplomatically listening to other viewpoints. (Oren was merciless toward Goldstone, even after the judge partly recanted in a Washington Post op-ed piece a year later. Oren writes that a certain rabbi “asked me to meet Goldstone and accept his penitence but, rather coldly, I refused.”)Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to Mondoweiss today.

The Oren Jewish enemies list also included a number of Obama administration officials. He doesn’t like Martin Indyk, who seems to most observers an ordinary, inoffensive “peace processor,” certainly no threat to Israel. He is especially nasty about Steven Simon, describing him as “a former Orthodox Jew turned dapper apostate in pinstripes and suspenders.” The only U.S. official he thoroughly approves of is Dennis Ross, which should tell us something.

One Jewish American he does have sympathy for is Jonathan Pollard, who was sentenced in 1987 to life in prison for spying for Israel. Oren lobbies high officials for Pollard’s release. “One senior member of the National Security Council told me over breakfast, ‘As an American Jew, I believe Jonathan Pollard should get out of prison. . .’ He paused to take a bite of his bacon. ‘In a coffin.'”

As the bacon-detail shows, Oren tries to hold himself in check, but his real views about Jewish Americans continually break the surface. He says: “In America, the problem is a scarcity of Jewish identity, while in Israel, the problem is a superabundance. I, for one, would rather deal with a superabundance.” He complains that “only a third of American Jews ever visited Israel and many of those would cancel their trips at the first whiff of crisis.”

Michael Oren provides plenty of raw material in his book for someone to develop a comprehensive explanation for his anti-Jewish American feelings. For now, the anecdote about his son suggests at least part of the reason. Oren writes about his own military training in Israel as a paratrooper, and he brings it up more often than you might expect in what is supposed to be a diplomat’s account. He would deny it, but on some level he thinks Jewish Americans just aren’t tough enough.

92 Responses

  1. amigo
    July 6, 2015, 12:45 pm

    If Oren hates his fellow tribal members so vociferously, what must he think of “Arabs” and non Jews.

    I shudder to think.Suffice it to say , he must have had all the right answers for Nietanyahu to be appointed Ambassador in the first instance , even though that did not work out for him.

    I look forward to a plethora of books taking him on.The upside of that will be his very busy schedule for the next few years attempting to justify his spiel.It will also keep quite a few so called Lib zios occupied and less able to write pro Israel screeds under the guise of being peace nicks.

    These people deserve each other.

    • Marnie
      July 6, 2015, 1:21 pm

      @Amigo
      I hate to think of him as a neighbor, but why doesn’t he leave the US, give up his citizenship and live in Israel permanently (gag…). I’m positive he won’t be missed in the country that afforded him and his a good life, wait a minute, he said there was a scarcity of Jewish identity in the US. That must have been quite traumatizing for him. Apparently the US is uncomfortably gentile. He has to continue to live there and monitor it I guess, bitch about it, start conspiracy theories that American Jews aren’t hopped up on zionism as he is due to the invisible but nonetheless present antisemitism that has American Jews scared shitless. Right.

      • amigo
        July 6, 2015, 3:38 pm

        I am not sure if he moved permanently to Israel but I think he is a member of the Knesset.He had to renounce his American citizenship to take that position.Wonders will never cease.I bet that,s the next law the 5th column will be addressing.

        In any case , he is a traitor.Sure would not want to have him living on the street where I live.

  2. Shmuel
    July 6, 2015, 1:42 pm

    “Who do you feel you have more in common with, your Bedouin sergeant Mahmud, or your cousin Josh in Long Island?” Noam answers: “‘Are you serious?’ he shrugged. ‘Mahmud slept in the dirt with me. Mahmud fought for this country.’”

    Yet Josh is supposed to be 100% devoted not only to his cousin Noam and his uncle Michael, but to Benjamin Netanyahu! And if he fails, he’s just another “classical anti-Semite” or screwed up self-hater/self-promoter.

    “Many Israelis — the world’s only Jews without a compound identity”

    So how do you describe the difference between Noam and Mahmud (which is the whole point of the previous anecdote)? Noam is just an Israeli and Mahmud is what? Michael just calls him a “Bedouin”. But Mahmud slept in the dirt with Noam and fought for Noam’s unhyphenated identity!

    • evets
      July 6, 2015, 2:21 pm

      It’s interesting he would even ask his son the question, since his son presumably had infrequent contact with his cousin and clearly had much contact with Mahmud under circumstances which would naturally foster closeness. If Oren believes that tribe should trump all, the response should have been disappointing, though I expect it made him kind of proud. Of course, it’s possible Mahmud is somehow part of the tribe, in which case it’s all just confusing.

      At any rate I feel for young Josh, though I guess he’s taking this potshot on behalf of all American Jews who don’t know what it’s like to sleep in the dirt like real men.

      • Shmuel
        July 6, 2015, 2:31 pm

        It’s interesting he would even ask his son the question

        Although I’ve heard similar (hypocritical) sentiments from Jewish-Israeli soldiers, I’m guessing he didn’t. It’s a little too rhetorical, and it has already been established that Oren’s accounts of his conversations in this book are somewhat less than truthful.

        In recounting this “conversation”, Oren pushes a few too many hasbara buttons (negation of the diaspora [a few sub-buttons there as well], the glories of IDF service, equality and even brotherhood between the un-compounded and non-Jewish citizens of Israel — if they would only be loyal and do their duty, etc.).

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2015, 5:43 pm

        “At any rate I feel for young Josh, though I guess he’s taking this potshot on behalf of all American Jews who don’t know what it’s like to sleep in the dirt like real men.”

        Cousin “Josh” shouldn’t be too hard to find. Somebody should, and ask him about it.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      July 6, 2015, 3:58 pm

      It’s quite likely that neither Josh nor Mahmud exist and Oren invented them to make his point, which I think is this. Josh is a fellow Jew and therefore SHOULD (by Zionist lights) be much closer to Noam than Mahmud is, but in fact he is not — wholly on account of Josh’ weakness and perfidy, of course.

      Mahmud is a Bedouin, or he could be a Druze — two groups traditionally half-accepted (being not too numerous) as loyal appendages of the Zionist state and contrasted with the ordinary “Arabs” (the Israelis don’t like to utter the word “Palestinian”) who are the enemy.

      • James North
        July 6, 2015, 6:12 pm

        Of course “Mahmud” — at least as Oren portrays him — is the Gunga Din loyal native, long a beloved figure in Orientalism.

      • Shmuel
        July 7, 2015, 2:41 am

        You’re a better man than cousin Josh is, Gunga Din!

      • bryan
        July 7, 2015, 4:00 am

        I wonder if Oren asked Mahmud how he felt about israeli attempts to drive his people from the Negev and the Jordan Valley. Sleeping in the dirt is a useful accomplishment, especially if your home is likely to be destroyed for want of planning permission.

      • Mooser
        July 7, 2015, 11:18 am

        “You’re a better man than cousin Josh is, Gunga Din!”

        I knew there had to be a “better man” line in there, but would Shmuel show a little deference to an ancient, decrepit and slow brain? Nope, he rushes right on past.

  3. ckg
    July 6, 2015, 2:02 pm

    Oren: “One senior member of the National Security Council told me over breakfast..”

    I suspect former Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken knows exactly whom Oren is referring to. From Wikipedia: Blinken, who is Jewish,[1] married Evan Ryan in a bi-denominational ceremony officiated by a rabbi and priest at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C.[10]

  4. Annie Robbins
    July 6, 2015, 2:09 pm

    “Israelis — the world’s only Jews without a compound identity ”

    oh gag me with a f’ing spoon. he’s gross.

    • Mooser
      July 6, 2015, 2:49 pm

      But I thought “Israeli’s do< have a compound identity!! See, they think of themselves as "Israelis" but the Government of Israel registers them as "Jews". Isn't that a compound identity?

      • Hostage
        July 6, 2015, 4:21 pm

        See, they think of themselves as “Israelis” but the Government of Israel registers them as “Jews”. Isn’t that a compound identity?

        I know, then there’s this “Hebrew” identity from Plan Dalet:

        (a) The objective of this plan is to gain control of the areas of the Hebrew state and defend its borders.

        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Plan_Dalet.html

        So they must have had a map somewhere that showed their armed militias the location of these “defensible borders” they keep shreying about, but they’ve never been willing to share it with anyone.

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 4:30 pm

        “So they must have had a map somewhere that showed their armed militias the location of these “defensible borders” they keep shreying about, but they’ve never been willing to share it with anyone.”

        Don’t you see Hostage, the way it works? It’s so clever! If Israel is ever taxed with, asked for an accounting for the actions of settlers, they can say: “Hey, it wasn’t us Israelis did that, it was a bunch of Jews!”

      • Sibiriak
        July 6, 2015, 11:37 pm

        Mooser: But I thought “Israeli’s do< have a compound identity!! See, they think of themselves as "Israelis" but the Government of Israel registers them as "Jews". Isn't that a compound identity?
        —————-

        Great point! Oren’s assertion is pure nonsense. All Israelis have official compound identities–Israeli citizenship + “nationality”.

    • RoHa
      July 6, 2015, 9:09 pm

      I have enough trouble working out what simple identities are. Now I’m faced with compound identities!

      Is there a formula for it, with principal, compounding period, and so forth?

      • Mooser
        July 7, 2015, 8:44 pm

        See “RoHa”, that’s the problem with rushing in and making the joke I would have made. You have to make some pretty lousy jokes. Ones even I wouldn’t make, unless you didn’t, of course! I ask you, is it worth it?

      • RoHa
        July 7, 2015, 10:02 pm

        Yes.

      • Mooser
        July 8, 2015, 3:04 pm

        “Yes.”

        Then I’m sunk. You will always get there ‘fustest with the mustiest’ like I used to. Maybe I’ll join the “Jape of the Month Club”, so I’ll have a constant supply of fresh puns, juicy mots, big double-entendres and real crisp Pippins, in season.

  5. Steve Grover
    July 6, 2015, 2:35 pm

    As Gomer Pyle sez, “Surprise! Surprise!” he doesn’t mention Jewish Voice for Peace! Why would Oren give a group like JVP that hates Israel the time of day?

    As far as Pollard is concerned he as served 3X as long as anyone convicted of a similar crime.

    Oren quite often praises Obama in the book. Netanyahu and the President did get along well when they met. Oren did a good job as a diplomat in his effort to maintain personal relationships with those on both sides of the aisle. He reached out to all religions as well and held an Iftar at the embassy.

    The ultra left hate Oren because he did his job as a diplomat and represented his government and the ultra right hate Oren for exactly the same reason.

    I was amused by the remarks made by John McCain at the retirement party for Joe Lieberman.

    • amigo
      July 6, 2015, 3:17 pm

      “As Gomer Pyle sez, “Surprise! Surprise!” he doesn’t mention Jewish Voice for Peace! Why would Oren give a group like JVP that hates Israel the time of day?” SG

      I dunno , maybe for the same reason adelson gives “BDS” the time of day.Lots of days.I believe Jewish Voice for Peace supports BDS.

      http://forward.com/news/309227/sheldon-adelson-to-host-secret-anti-bds-summit-for-jewish-donors/

      Ignore them at your peril .

      • Steve Grover
        July 6, 2015, 3:27 pm

        Oren very indirectly mentions JVP. He mentions Rabbi Capers Funnye who is Facebook friends with Rabbi Brant Rosen. Rabbi Capers Funnye is pro Israel and a friend of Michael Oren’s and a cousin of First Lady Michelle Obama.

      • amigo
        July 6, 2015, 3:44 pm

        “As Gomer Pyle sez, “Surprise! Surprise!” he doesn’t mention Jewish Voice for Peace! Why would Oren give a group like JVP that hates Israel the time of day? SG

        Then this.

        “Oren very indirectly mentions JVP.” SG

        did you have a point to make??.

      • Steve Grover
        July 6, 2015, 3:54 pm

        @amigo,
        I’m just amplifying the significance of JVP for your benefit.

      • amigo
        July 6, 2015, 4:10 pm

        “@amigo,
        I’m just amplifying the significance of JVP for your benefit ” SG

        Are you saying the words Jewish and peace are an oxymoron.

        Hmmmm, very revealing.

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 4:23 pm

        “Are you saying the words Jewish and peace are an oxymoron.”

        Who needs “peace”? When I listen to Grober and Hophmi and Yonah and “Jon s” expound, I begin to wonder if “Jewish” is an oxymoron!

      • Steve Grover
        July 6, 2015, 4:57 pm

        Amigo tries to put words in my mouth by saying “Are you saying the words Jewish and peace are an oxymoron.”
        JVP has nothing to do with peace. A more accurate name for JVP is “Jews Who Think Israel Should Surrender to Terrorism and Die”.

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 11:25 pm

        “A more accurate name for JVP is “Jews Who Think Israel Should Surrender to Terrorism and Die”.”

        Psst, Stevie! Listen just between you and me, don’t say stuff like that, please? Please don’t let the Gentiles know that the Jewish people is full of renegades and traitors! Jews who want other Jews to die, so Arabs can take over! Stevie, other religions don’t have problems like this, cases of mass self-hatred and a desire to kill their own tribe! It’s not something we want to advertise, m’okay?

      • talknic
        July 7, 2015, 12:09 am

        With nothing of substance to say Steve Grover demonstrates mealy mouthed nonsense

        ” A more accurate name for JVP is “Jews Who Think Israel Should Surrender to Terrorism and Die”

        Care to substantiate your claims … thx …. I’ll wait

      • Steve Grover
        July 7, 2015, 12:41 pm

        Mooser or is it Dybbuk?
        The history of Christianity and Islam is chock full of renegades and traitors who want to kill their coreligionists. With respect to the case of the Jewish people you are referring to, they are not renegades. They are morons who think they are renegades.

      • Mooser
        July 7, 2015, 4:17 pm

        “Care to substantiate your claims … thx …. I’ll wait”

        Talknic, I have heard some Christians have difficulty with the doctrine of transubstantiation. Zionists simplify the theology and just forgo substantiation at all. You just gotta take it on faith.

      • Mooser
        July 8, 2015, 4:55 pm

        “The history of Christianity and Islam is chock full of renegades and traitors who want to kill their coreligionists.”

        Uh, “Stevie”, I know, of course, that you mean well, but would you be terribly disappointed if I told you it doesn’t make me feel any better about Judaism being plagued with traitors and kapos and needing a good stiff Inquisition to weed them out?

        Or are you trying to say that this gives you the right to kill your correligionists if they don’t agree with you? Don’t quite get it. At any rate, it’s hardly comforting, but thanks for trying.

      • Brewer
        July 9, 2015, 8:03 pm

        Rabbi Capers Funnye. There’s a guy with a compound identity.

    • Mooser
      July 8, 2015, 5:40 pm

      “As far as Pollard is concerned he as served 3X as long as anyone convicted of a similar crime.”

      Yes, as I remember, the Rosenbergs didn’t serve a whole lot of time, did they? But the time served.

    • lysias
      July 8, 2015, 6:42 pm

      As far as Pollard is concerned he as served 3X as long as anyone convicted of a similar crime.

      3X? John Walker, the Navy spy, was arrested on May 20,. 1985, was sentenced to life in jail, and stayed in jail until he died on August 28, 2014. That’s nearly 30 years.

      Pollard has yet to serve even as long as that in jail. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1987.

  6. David Doppler
    July 6, 2015, 2:38 pm

    “Israelis – the world’s only Jews without a compound identity.”

    The chief advantage of the technological age we live in – with instant communications and rapid transportation – is that one can be a member of many different societies or groups: one’s immediate neighborhood, block, dorm or apartment floor, or gated community, classes and teams, one’s co-workers, one’s professional societies, one’s fraternal organizations, one’s alumni associations, one’s religious groups, one’s political group, blogs where one posts, one’s online gaming community, social media groups, etc., etc.

    The difference Oren suggests as an advantage for Israeli Jews is actually a ticket back 2,000 years and more when such tribal sharing was the natural though primitive state. Freeing oneself from “compound identity,” as he sees it, is a process of denial of the importance of anyone else, other than Chief-Rabbi certified Jews. It is a starvation of life, rather than an enhancement of life he is promoting. Balance among the different groups one belongs to requires careful management, and one can be stretched too thinly, but preaching oneness as a virtue seems both narrow-minded and anachronistic.

    Fanatical, even.

  7. Mooser
    July 6, 2015, 2:47 pm

    “He paused to take a bite of his bacon”

    Yup, as an American Jew, that tells me everything I need to know about the guy. Discussing Pollard over breakfast, and I bet it wasn’t kosher bacon.

    • Shmuel
      July 6, 2015, 2:56 pm

      “He paused to take a bite of his bacon”

      There’s some sort of chemical reaction that takes place only if you’ve got a “compounded identity” and have “preferred comfort to sovereignty”. The “uncompounded” can eat as much bacon as they like, and it doesn’t seem to affect them.

      • Steve Grover
        July 6, 2015, 3:19 pm

        “One senior member of the National Security Council told me over breakfast, ‘As an American Jew, I believe Jonathan Pollard should get out of prison. . .’ He paused to take a bite of his bacon. ‘In a coffin.’”

        Oren was pointing out how stupid a person sounds when the nitrates are talking.

      • John O
        July 6, 2015, 3:33 pm

        @sg “Oren was pointing out how stupid a person sounds when the nitrates are talking.”

        Wow, that’s subtle. Oren is surely the James Joyce de nos jours.

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 4:18 pm

        “Oren was pointing out how stupid a person sounds when the nitrates are talking.”

        Maybe, “Grober”, but speaking of kosher bacon, I know one thing. Ain’t nobody gonna cure you.

      • James North
        July 6, 2015, 4:20 pm

        “Grober:” Don’t you realize that Oren is attacking you— for not moving to Israel and serving in its army?

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 4:26 pm

        “Grober:” Don’t you realize that Oren is attacking you— for not moving to Israel and serving in its army?”

        But what happens if “Grober” runs off and joins the IDF and his parents buy another car? Everybody should have someplace to come home to!

      • Steve Grover
        July 6, 2015, 5:54 pm

        @James North,
        I don’t have a problem with being criticized by someone who served in the U.S. Armed Forces or the IDF for not serving. It is legitimate criticism.

    • Steve Grover
      July 6, 2015, 5:20 pm

      @mooser,
      Thanks for your concern about my family. My father z”l and my mother z”l have passed away. I have 2 children in college and a third child who will be a senior in high school. Our home will always be open to them.

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 6:19 pm

        “I have 2 children in college and a third child who will be a senior in high school.”

        And no doubt, vociferous anti-BDSers, and pro-Israel fighters, every one! And your house will always be open to them, cause there’s nothing we can do about it, I mean, if kids do become anti-Zionist, there’s nothing you can do, except accept it. It’s unfair in a way, not having any real power over what might happen, but that’s the way it is. Just gotta lay back and take it..

      • Steve Grover
        July 6, 2015, 7:44 pm

        Geez Mooser, you should change your name to Dybbuk since you know my kids’ views without anyone telling you.

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 8:42 pm

        “since you know my kids’ views without anyone telling you.”

        Well, it was inevitable. And not a thing you can do about it.

    • Mooser
      July 8, 2015, 3:06 pm

      I can’t believe it! Bacon! When everybody knows we eat broiled kippahs for breakfast!

  8. Irfan
    July 6, 2015, 3:47 pm

    What is the difference between saying that American Jews have “compound identities” and saying that they have “dual loyalties”? Apparently, the first phrase is permissible when it comes from an Israeli who’s renounced his American citizenship. Meanwhile, the second phrase implies anti-Semitism on the part of the user, whether the user is Jewish or not. And yet they mean just about the same thing. They refer to the predicament of a person torn between two loyalties, but refer to different versions of the same division–one a permissible topic of discussion, the other a taboo.

    • catalan
      July 6, 2015, 4:33 pm

      “but refer to different versions of the same division–one a permissible topic of discussion, the other a taboo. – ” irfan
      I believe that the topic is taboo but not for the reason you imply. There may be as many fifty to a hundred million Americans with dual citizenship, with the vast majority of them Mexican (nobody knows how many but there are estimates). Opening up this particular topic may result is some shocking discoveries about this country and that’s why this is all best kept under the rug, with everyone pretending they don’t know. Better than having a Bosnia or Sudan, I think.
      The issue of Jewish “dual loyalty” in that context is of very little importance. Well unless you think that Mexico and the Unites States have identical interests.

      • John O
        July 6, 2015, 5:12 pm

        Hello, Donald!

        You had us all fooled for the longest time that you were from Catalunya (and several other places).

      • Donald
        July 6, 2015, 8:47 pm

        “Hello Donald”

        I’m confused. For multiple reasons.

      • Mooser
        July 6, 2015, 9:10 pm

        “Well unless you think that Mexico and the Unites States have identical interests.”

        Oh look, a regular Arizona all-rightnik he’s become already.

        Don’t worry, “catalan” we know all about Mexico’s subversive plan to flood the country with people who will foist a different heat scale on us, and make a real mild salsa a thing of the past. Even “extra mild” will burn, if they get their way!

      • John O
        July 7, 2015, 3:08 am

        “I’m confused. For multiple reasons.”

        Sorry; should have said “Mr Trump”.

      • Mooser
        July 7, 2015, 10:54 am

        “Sorry; should have said “Mr Trump”.

        That’s what I keep on telling them; “catalan” wants everybody to know he is a regular American all-rightnik!

      • catalan
        July 7, 2015, 11:53 am

        “That’s what I keep on telling them; “catalan” wants everybody to know he is a regular American all-rightnik” Mooser
        Why don’t we tone down on the hysteria. I voted for Obama the last election. I speak decent Spanish and live in a place where the vast majority of people are Hispanic. My town is 90 percent Hispanic according to the last census. Since I was illegal once myself, it would be the height of hypocrisy for me to speak negatively on that issue. Also, unlike you, I have tasted life in poor countries, whereas you love the poor from afar – an old American liberal habit.
        That said, the issue of dual loyalty, dual citizenship is a very common thread on this forum, and always with Jews under the microscope. It’s just not objective, considering that up to 100 million people have dual citizenship. I am not making a judgement as to the morality of this situation, just observing it. As usual, you engage in schoolyard labeling tactics. Peter Pan syndrome?

      • Mooser
        July 7, 2015, 4:11 pm

        “Why don’t we….”

        “Catty” pal, if it’s from you and it’s over a paragraph, I scroll right on past. Try to keep that in mind when you answer. TLTSDR

      • Irfan
        July 8, 2015, 3:07 pm

        Catalan–

        My question, in case you missed it, was, what is the DIFFERENCE between having a compound identity and having dual loyalties? I am not making either accusation. Michael Oren is making the first, and I am wondering how it differs from making the second. My answer is: it does not differ. Anyone sensitive about hearing the second mentioned should be equally sensitive about hearing the first mentioned. But this happens not to be the case, as your comment illustrates.

        I don’t yet have, but am a candidate for, dual citizenship (US/Pakistan), and intend to apply for it when I get a chance. Many of the Americanized members of my family have dual citizenship. It is a perfectly legitimate question whether we favor Pakistan’s interests over the US or vice versa in case of conflict. It is patently obvious that people differ on that issue. Some hyphenated Pakistanis favor Pakistan over the US; others do the reverse. It shouldn’t be traumatic to allow this bit of reality to make an appearance in debates about Pakistan. I face this question without fail every time I go to Pakistan. A responsible adult should have an answer to such questions rather than a series of whining non-responses and maudlin attempts to play the race card over a subject that has nothing to do with race.

        Incidentally, the discussion on this subject (dual loyalties/dual nationality) in Pakistan is a great deal more candid than the American discussion about Israel (which is saying something). Questions have been raised about the dual loyalties of a long list of prominent Pakistanis with dual national status (US, UK, and Canadian)–Hussain Haqqani, Shaukat Aziz, Tahirul Qadri, Faranaz Isphahani, Rehman Malik, and Moeen Qureishi among them. (Google any of those names and “dual national” or “dual loyalty”.) The same issues arise re Mexican-Americans or anyone else. They arise particularly acutely with Cuban-Americans, as a trip to Miami or Union City NJ will confirm.

        If the issue of dual loyalty is of such little importance to the present context, why did Michael Oren bring up compound identities and regard it as an accusation?

        Both phrases–“compound identity” and “dual loyalty”–refer to the state of being torn in one’s allegiances between countries. To repeat the question I asked (and which you’ve ignored): why is one way of referring to the phenomenon a permissible accusation, and the other a taboo?

    • echinococcus
      July 6, 2015, 4:48 pm

      Irfan,

      The term “dual loyalty” is nonsense, even though used all over the place. What counts in the “loyalty” is where it goes in the case of a conflict between the two countries.
      When it comes to the Zionist entity, there is no doubt that the full loyalty of such a subject will be to the tribal state, being acquired late in life, consciously and out of attachment to Zionism. It is totally different than other cases of double citizenship, where the non-US one is generally not acquired by choice but by inheritance mostly, the US citizenship being most generally the voluntarily acquired, desired one.

      • Irfan
        July 8, 2015, 3:23 pm

        Echinococcus,

        I don’t agree with your comment. The issue of dual loyalties is a complex one, which is why it should be discussed openly rather than treated as some taboo subject to be shoved under the table. I think you’re oversimplifying somewhat.

        The issue of dual loyalties arises with respect to any hyphenated identity and any pair of countries that allow for dual citizenship or nationality. Unless the perceived interests of two countries are identical, they can conflict. If they can conflict, then people can be conflicted over them. But the conflicts are a matter of degree, and go in lots of directions. Some people are more loyal to the country that’s far away. Some are more loyal to the country they’ve living in. There are a million variations in between those poles.

        There is a familiar literature on hyphenated identities (“compound identities”), and in that context, everybody admits that people can be divided. For some bizarre reason, when conversation turns to divided political loyalties, bring it up and everyone thinks you’re making an accusation of treason. Not so. It’s just an obvious fact that if people can be torn between two ethnic identities, they can be torn between two political ones. A culture unable to handle this fact is in denial.

        All of the preceding applies to American Jews and Israel, just as it applies everywhere else. I think it’s an exaggeration to say that the “full loyalty” of a Zionist is to Israel. It just depends on the person. Sometimes it is, sometime is isn’t. People are weird and complicated.

        As I said to Catalan, I don’t think Israeli dual citizenship is all that different from other kinds. In fact, that’s my whole point: it’s no different, but it’s treated as though it is. There are many reasons why people get dual nationality in non-US countries, among them more favorable visa options, the right to own real estate, and in some cases the right to vote, etc. In the Pakistani case, you also get reduced fees at tourist attractions (by a factor of 10), for whatever that’s worth.

        Incidentally, to respond to jon s below: as a matter of simple logic, if everyone has a compound identity, then no one has 100% of any identity. That’s what the phrase “compound identity” means.

      • Mooser
        July 8, 2015, 5:28 pm

        “if everyone has a compound identity, then no one has 100% of any identity.”

        Of course not, if a person moves to Palestine, and is involved in an illegal and risky settlement operation for Zionism, they still don’t want to go in 100%, they need a bolthole, so you hang on to your US passport.
        Isn’t it great? Bunches of, uh, ‘people’ completely unafraid to push Israel into disaster cause they can leave if the gamble doesn’t pay off. They’ve got a real dual-loyalty problem over there.

      • echinococcus
        July 9, 2015, 11:28 am

        Irfan,

        You make a lot of sense with regard to multiple citizenship and multiple nationality (in the traditional or Soviet-Ottoman sense of nationality); I cumulate several of both myself.
        What I was discussing was the term of “dual loyalty”. Totally different. Even though, as you say in daily life “the conflicts are a matter of degree, and go in lots of directions” and millions of shades are possible, with regard to each single decision that requires action it becomes a yes/no question.
        So we can guess the probable balance of loyalty as a statistical inference from the specific citizenships discussed. That immediately makes Israeli second citizenship unlike any others. Anyone born anywhere else does not usually request or accept this one as heritage citizenship, ease of travel or keeping family possessions in the old country etc., because there is precious little of that kind of situation. It is a citizenship that, always speaking statistically, very probably betokens an attachment to the political ideology of Zionism, or at the very least very strong tribal/racial attachment. The balance of loyalty of such a person, whenever a conflict of interest is perceived, is obvious. Worse still, the awareness of any conflict of interest in the mind of such a person will be irremediably sick.

  9. a blah chick
    July 6, 2015, 4:25 pm

    “Who do you feel you have more in common with, your Bedouin sergeant Mahmud, or your cousin Josh in Long Island?” Noam answers: “‘Are you serious?’ he shrugged. ‘Mahmud slept in the dirt with me. Mahmud fought for this country.’”

    And yet Mahmud’s people are being expelled from their lands to make way for a nice Jewish town that only Noam will be able to live in. It seems that military comaraderie only goes so far.

    • diasp0ra
      July 7, 2015, 4:42 am

      And Josh who apparently has nothing to do with the land can settle anywhere whilst Mahmuds people can’t tie a shoelace without discrimination and humiliation.

  10. lysias
    July 6, 2015, 4:58 pm

    Oren also repeatedly mentions Netanyahu’s military record in his book. (He writes about Netanyahu in the most sycophantic way.)

  11. lysias
    July 6, 2015, 5:05 pm

    Oren in that uniform looks like Dukakis in the tank.

  12. The Hasbara Buster
    July 6, 2015, 9:16 pm

    Oren is a fortunate man. He asks his son a question and the boy gives him exactly the answer he needs to prove a point.

  13. eljay
    July 7, 2015, 6:27 am

    “Many Israelis — the world’s only Jews without a compound identity — looked down on an American Jewry that preferred comfort to sovereignty.”

    1. Mr. Oren is mistaken – Jewish Israelis, too, have a compound identity: Jewish and Israeli.

    2. Many (most?) Israelis are hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists who advocate, justify, support and excuse Jewish supremacism in/and a supremacist “Jewish State” and all related past and on-going (war) crimes.

    • echinococcus
      July 7, 2015, 9:53 am

      Mr. Oren is mistaken – Jewish Israelis, too, have a compound identity: Jewish and Israeli

      To say nothing of their many passports.

      • jon s
        July 7, 2015, 4:42 pm

        Everyone has a “compound identity”: your citizenship, your ethnic group, your religion, your political affiliation, your profession, your sexual orientation…and more. Nobody is one-dimensional.
        On the other hand the “dual loyalties” accusation is raised to imply that Jewish -Americans are not 100% Americans.

      • Mooser
        July 7, 2015, 8:58 pm

        “On the other hand the “dual loyalties” accusation is raised to imply that Jewish -Americans are not 100% Americans”

        “Jon s” didn’t you just say we have “Jewish DNA” and with things “etched” on it??.

        How can we possibly be 100% American when we don’t have 100% American DNA? And what about our religion. How can we be loyal to America 100% when we are required by our religion to always keep the Zionist project, the highest expression of and only hope for Judaism, in the forefront of our loyalties?

      • eljay
        July 7, 2015, 9:25 pm

        || jon s: On the other hand the “dual loyalties” accusation is raised to imply that Jewish -Americans are not 100% Americans. ||

        It would help if Zio-supremacists were to stop insisting that Israel is the only true homeland of Jewish-Americans and that loyalty to the “Jewish State” is an essential part of being Jewish.

      • Mooser
        July 8, 2015, 5:32 pm

        “Everyone has a “compound identity”

        :Jewish DNA (on which is etched “Balebatim”) and a US passport! Now there’s the winning combo for a Palestine filibusterer and international squatter and freebooter!

      • echinococcus
        July 9, 2015, 3:04 pm

        On the other hand the “dual loyalties” accusation is raised to imply that Jewish -Americans are not 100% Americans.

        No such animal. There are American Jews, of course, like any other religion. “Jewish” is not an ethnicity.

        Also, it is entirely legitimate to speculate that any Jew not born in Palestine who carries a Zionist entity citizenship may effectively not be 100% American, as the grounds for requesting that second citizenship are overwhelmingly ideological.

        In the case of people like Jon S, assuming that he is a human, living in and working for the Zionist entity and that he is US-born, I would welcome a clear procedure for canceling his US citizenship. All Americans who wear the Zionist uniform must forfeit it, too.

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2015, 11:50 am

        “In the case of people like Jon S, assuming that he is a human, living in and working for the Zionist entity and that he is US-born,”

        Yes, that’s exactly what I mean, all those people who are pushing Israel further and further into intransigence have dual-passports, so they always have an ‘out’- a flight back to another country.
        I think Israel has a dual loyalty problem. A bad one. Israel might be different if people knew, in no uncertain terms, that they couldn’t just leave if it doesn’t satisfy their particular Zionist fantasy of Greater Israel, or whatever. Or if they make the place “too hot to hold them”, they can leave and avoid consequences.

  14. ckg
    July 7, 2015, 9:53 am

    On a related note, From Haaretz:

    Religious Services Minister David Azoulay (Shas) angered Reform Jews on Tuesday morning, by saying that they cannot be considered Jewish.

    Speaking to Army Radio, the minister said, “Let’s just say there’s a problem as soon as a Reform Jew stops following the religion of Israel. I can’t allow myself to say that such a person is a Jew.”

    He continued: “These are Jews that erred along the way, and we must ensure that every Jew comes back into the fold of Judaism, and accept everyone happily and with love.”

    The National Jewish Population Survey of 1990 showed 38% of U.S. Jews are affiliated with the Reform tradition.

    • Mooser
      July 7, 2015, 11:02 am

      “Speaking to Army Radio, the minister said, “Let’s just say there’s a problem as soon as a Reform Jew stops following the religion of Israel. I can’t allow myself to say that such a person is a Jew.”

      Oh crap, now I have an ugly bruise on my cheek, where I hit the floor when I syncoped after that. Oh, my poor, tattered, Tribal Unity.
      Well, I guess there’s only one thing to do. Tribal Unity must be preserved, so I guess all Reform and secular and Conservative Jews (wait, they’ve got a deal with the Orthodox, don’t they, stemming from the Trefa Banquet? Not their fault. You think I’m kidding?) will become Orthodox by next Shabbos.
      Jeez, I never thought that would happen, but what choice do we have?

      I implore all of my fellow and fellowette Jewish people to remember: “If we don’t hang out together, we will hang out separately, and who wants to stay home on a Saturday night?”

      • ckg
        July 7, 2015, 6:54 pm

        I sympathize, Mooser. Many evangelicals don’t consider Presbyterians, UCC congregants, and Quakers to be “real” Christians.

      • lysias
        July 7, 2015, 7:05 pm

        Many evangelicals don’t consider Presbyterians, UCC congregants, and Quakers to be “real” Christians.

        They don’t consider Catholics or Orthodox real Christians either.

        I wonder what they think of the Church Fathers.

      • ckg
        July 8, 2015, 10:15 am

        They don’t consider Catholics or Orthodox real Christians either.

        The U.S. right-wing fundamentalist web site Breaking Israel News seems almost giddy that the reconstituted, self-appointed Sanhedrin in Israel intends to put Pope Francis “on trial.” And similarly right-wing and end-times oriented World Net Daily seems similarly gleeful.

      • Mooser
        July 8, 2015, 5:48 pm

        “self-appointed Sanhedrin in Israel intends to put Pope Francis “on trial.”

        Wait til they send out for a couple of 4x4s and some 60Ds, and you’ll know His Holiness has been convicted??

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2015, 3:27 pm

        “They don’t consider Catholics or Orthodox real Christians either.”

        Well, what are those Catholic and Orthodox waiting for? Have they no idea of the value of Christian Unity? Besides, I thought they opposed having sects under most circumstances.

      • RoHa
        July 9, 2015, 7:54 pm

        Has it come to this? You are recycling my jokes?

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2015, 10:39 am

        “Has it come to this? You are recycling my jokes?”

        RoHa, although there is a vast amount of humor, it is ultimately a finite amount. If we don’t conserve, re-use, and recycle, we’ll run out.
        Would you like to live in a world which has run out of jokes?

  15. Froggy
    July 7, 2015, 1:28 pm

    “…the world’s only Jews without a compound identity….”

    That made me laugh. This hyphenate nonsense is typically American.

  16. hophmi
    July 7, 2015, 4:40 pm

    In the disdaining American Jewry sweepstakes, Mondoweiss is way ahead of Michael Oren.

    • Mooser
      July 7, 2015, 9:09 pm

      “In the disdaining American Jewry sweepstakes, Mondoweiss is way ahead of Michael Oren.”

      What on earth are you talking about Hophmi? Mondoweiss just covered, and promptly, the opening of a new Jewish denomination!

      But I know, Hophmi, when it comes to the American “Jewry” anything but manipulative flattery, a sales job, or self-pity based discourse, is “disdain”. American Jews will go all to pieces if they’re talked to like adults!

      Oh, BTW, what’s the prize? In the “disdaining American Jewry sweepstakes”, I mean. Should I buy a ticket?

  17. eGuard
    July 8, 2015, 1:31 pm

    Oren: Many Israelis — the world’s only Jews without a compound identity —

    Israelis are Jews? Tally one more antisemitic remark.

    Or is it a Palestinian in Jaffa that has a compound identity, stuffed upon him or her by this Israeli? This long-term two-passport Israeli Oren — does that not count as compound?

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