Jewish community is Humpty Dumpty– it won’t come back together again, and shouldn’t

US Politics
on 61 Comments

Everyone is passing around an article in today’s New York Times, titled, “Iran deal opens a vitriolic divide among American Jews,” by Jonathan Weisman and Alexander Burns. The article deplores the vituperation between Jews over foreign policy and even blames the president for the impasse. Here’s the heart of the complaint:

[L]eaders now speak openly of long-term damage to Jewish organizations, and possibly to American-Israeli relations….

Greg Rosenbaum, the chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, raised such concerns this month at a private meeting between President Obama and Jewish groups. At the meeting, other Jewish leaders told Mr. Obama that his own rhetoric — framing the debate as a choice between diplomacy and war, and speaking of the money lining up against the deal — was only accelerating the corrosion.

“We are on the verge of fratricide in the Jewish community, and it has to stop,” said Mr. Rosenbaum, who spoke of Jews’ spurning organizational meetings, and even religious services, simply to avoid discussing Iran.

That desperation is also voiced by Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel and Steve Israel, two Democrats who oppose their president on the Iran breakthrough:

Mr. Engel said. “And there has to be a rapprochement between the United States and Israel. There just has to be.”

But the bitterness of the current debate will make that difficult. Mr. Israel said that Republican leaders had begun exploiting the rift

Do these folks have any sense of accountability? They took on the president, and people believe they did so because of concerns for Israel! They think there shouldn’t be consequences to them or the hard-right Israel lobby they represent? That is chutzpah.

Haaretz today reports that Jewish groups who oppose the deal have poured $100 million into their opposition. That sounds like real money.

Almost $100 million has been poured in by Jewish groups in opposition to the deal. Jewish leaders like Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Bob Cohen from AIPAC and Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s national director, as well as a majority of the Jewish Federations have strongly came out against the international accord and are lobbying Congress to vote to disapprove the deal.

$100 million spent against Obama, torquing public opinion in the polling– and Obama shouldn’t talk about money? I say President Obama has a perfect right to take on the forces that are trying to destroy his greatest foreign policy achievement. And it’s an American tradition to talk about corruption of the political process by money, and an American tradition going back to Madison in the Federalist papers to decry the power of a faction in a republic.

The upset at Obama goes back to this statement by the president to Democratic senators quoted by the Times in January:

The president said he understood the pressures that senators face from donors and others.

And to his speech on August 5 at American University on the historic importance of the Iran Deal, in which he called out Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu for opposing the deal and said he has a constitutional duty to work for the U.S.

because this is such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support…

as President of the United States, it would be an abrogation of my constitutional duty to act against my best judgment simply because it causes temporary friction with a dear friend and ally.  I do not believe that would be the right thing to do for the United States.  I do not believe it would be the right thing to do for Israel.

Let me be clear that I think the “fratricide” in the Jewish community is necessary. There is just too much that’s been shoved under the carpet. The liberal Zionists went along with the neoconservatives on the Iraq war, and had substantial influence in that decision process; and the liberals’ regret over that horrifying mistake is one reason they have been so great on the Iran Deal, and working so hard for the president. The liberal Zionists do so in part because when a difference in interest is stated between Israel and the U.S., they will be on the American side. They believe that the neocons are Israel firsters but they won’t say so publicly because that is a traditional anti-semitic charge and because they care too much about the Jewish solidarity that is such a value in the Times piece to have a full-blown civil war.

But the civil war will come. The divisions in this piece will resonate in next year’s campaigns. The Dems and the Republicans will argue over the end of the two-state solution and what to do about Israel’s absorption of the West Bank; and inside the Democratic Party, that same reality will produce a confrontation over BDS between liberal Zionist Jews and anti-Zionists, many of whom are Jews.

All these open divisions are necessary and right because the stakes are so real when it comes to American policy because Jews are empowered. We don’t live in the shtetl with court Jews going to negotiate on our behalf with the powers-that-be. No, we are part of the American establishment, and one segment of our community, operating in what they have described as a “Jewish interest,” pushed a U.S. war with Iraq and now a U.S. war with Iran. And other Jews see a different interest. “Every Jewish member of California’s Congressional delegation except Brad Sherman is supporting the #IranDeal,” J Street crows today.

Eli Lake says the fight over the Deal is over. Another good sign. Samantha Power, US ambassador to the United Nations, wrote a piece supporting the deal in Politico and never mentioned Israel!

About Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .


Posted In:

61 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    August 28, 2015, 4:09 pm

    Let the monolith fall.

  2. Keith
    August 28, 2015, 4:13 pm

    For a break from the ludicrous political theater on the Iran deal, I provide a quote and link to an article at Counterpunch by Ismael Hossein-zadeh which discusses this from a more realistic perspective. I might add that one of the original seven countries on the neocon hit list is Lebanon which is now on the brink of collapse and is barely held together by Hizbollah. War and destruction everywhere, yet Bernie wants Saudi Arabia to become more involved. No joke.

    “The second misconception that the war party’s vehement opposition to the nuclear deal has created is that their ultimate goal vis-à-vis Iran is significantly different from that of the Obama administration and other proponents of the deal. In reality, however, the difference between the opponents and proponents of the deal is largely tactical; strategically, both factions pursue the same objective: regime change in Iran.

    While the advocates of the deal have in recent years switched their tactics from direct military intervention and regime change from without to soft-power methods of regime change from within, the opponents of the deal continue to insist that overwhelming military force and escalating economic strangulation are the more effective means of regime change in Tehran, that is, regime change from outside.” (Ismael Hossein-zadeh) http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/28/behind-the-congressional-disagreements-over-the-iran-nuclear-deal/

  3. amigo
    August 28, 2015, 5:48 pm

    It would appear that the mantra of ” victimisation ” is so deeply ingrained in these people that it must be in their DNA.

    It is beyond belief that they claim it is all someones elses fault and they are the targets of some outside force that is trying to divide and destroy Jews.

    To paraphrase Eljay !!, It,s like the rapist who files suit against his victim for breaking his nose while resisting .

  4. tokyobk
    August 28, 2015, 9:16 pm

    Ironically, one of the Zionist dreams was that Jews could finally be normal citizens of they town country, that the police officer would be Jewish as would be the criminal. Jews could be scholars and farmers and bus drivers.

    In fact it will probably be the collapse of Zionism and the split of the Jewish community into the same various camps you find in most groups, that will lead to full normalisation.

    I agree with Phil, most importantly its good for I/P and good for America and lastly, btw, good for the Jews.

    • Elliot
      August 28, 2015, 11:18 pm

      I belong to a Jewish community in which the only topic we cannot discuss is Israel. There has even been a move to create a separate online discussion group for the subject of Israel. Everything else can stay on the regular listserv. How ironic that the one thing that was supposed to “normalize” Jews is the only abnormal component of Jewish life today. Israel fails at its own game.

      • tokyobk
        August 28, 2015, 11:42 pm

        Indeed.

      • JWalters
        August 29, 2015, 6:23 pm

        When you have to hide the facts you should probably re-examine your case.

    • Kris
      August 28, 2015, 11:44 pm

      @tokyobk: “Ironically, one of the Zionist dreams was that Jews could finally be normal citizens of they town country, that the police officer would be Jewish as would be the criminal.”

      They got the part about the criminal being Jewish right.

    • gamal
      August 29, 2015, 1:04 am

      “In fact it will probably be the collapse of Zionism and the split of the Jewish community”

      Jews are united under the banner of Zionism? Like “One ring in the darkness binds them”

      ” into the same various camps you find in most groups, that will lead to full normalisation.”

      Jews are not normal? when did that happen? I am surprised that anti-semitism of this gravity is permitted here.

      I have enjoyed your other posts attempting to establish a kind of Critical Racism, pace Sleeter et al’s Critical Multiculturalism.

      http://christinesleeter.org/critical-multiculturalism-theory-and-praxis/

      • tokyobk
        August 29, 2015, 10:58 am

        Jews have often been taken as either super or sub human, not as normal.

        Normalizing the Jew means becoming like other groups who are presumed to have a range of opinions, skills and allegiances. Not all Jews are untied under Zionism, whatever its pretentions (one of which I mentioned was precisely to turn Jews into a “normal” nation). But, most American Jews are correctly assumed to support Israel. That is changing, which is Phil’s point and we both agree its for the good.

  5. Bandolero
    August 29, 2015, 1:05 am

    I agree it’s a good thing what’s happening in the jewish community. When it’s successful it’s cleaned of the neocon crazies. It’s necessary to take on extremists doing great harm to mankind, and when you take on extremists, expect them extreme things to do and cause some troubles, but it’s nevertheless necessary.

    One more funny thing from the open letter of the extremist supporters Nita Lowey Lowey, Eliot L. Engel and Steve Israel as quoted in the New York Times:

    “… questioning the credentials of longstanding advocates for Israel; and accusations of dual loyalty are inappropriate.”

    It sounds as if they feel offended that some people suggest they have dual loyality in the meaning of having any other loyality beside oyality to Israel. I find it quite funny to read it that way.

    • Les
      August 29, 2015, 4:53 pm

      Such politicians as these constitute not a “faction” but as Israel’s fifth column the US.

  6. Citizen
    August 29, 2015, 6:44 am

    The daily pounding on the public by those TV fear ads against the Iran Deal is pushing the public increasingly against said deal, and drowning out Obama and the short appearance here and there on TV of anybody supporting the deal. Those millions spent on those Fear ads will result in polls citing majority support for killing the deal over the entire election year, and thereafter. Isn’t there any rich donors around that can produce a steady stream of counter ads supporting the deal?

    • JWalters
      August 29, 2015, 6:25 pm

      Perhaps this is evidence of where the financial power lies?

    • chet
      August 29, 2015, 6:44 pm

      Controlling The Message — an anti-semitic trope? (in jest, but …)

  7. pabelmont
    August 29, 2015, 9:30 am

    Here’s an interesting point: These Jewish pols all declare that they support and have always supported Israel and those that oppose the Iran deal do so because (I propose) “supporting Israel” means, to them, supporting whatever Israel’s leader-of-the-moment calls for. (It beggars belief to suppose that — rather than loyalty to Israel’s leader of the moment — they’ve actually analyzed all the P5+1/Iran negotiation, etc., and actually find fault with it from a pro-USA perspective.)

    It appears that their support for the USA has another meaning because they sure aren’t supporting whatever the USA’s president-of-the-moment calls for.

    There’s at least a double standard for you (and if not double loyalty then perhaps single loyalty to Israel!)

    • yourstruly
      August 29, 2015, 12:22 pm

      single loyalty to Israel = Israel-firster

    • ritzl
      August 29, 2015, 10:01 pm

      Brilliant, pab!

      “It appears that their [followers of “Israel’s leader-of-the-moment”] support for the USA has another meaning because they sure aren’t supporting whatever the USA’s president-of-the-moment calls for.”

  8. PilgrimSoul
    August 29, 2015, 2:31 pm

    One aspect people can’t seem to get their heads around is the fact that people in Congress are getting money from AIPAC to vote as Mr. Netanyahu wants them to. Yes, they may have divided loyalties, but what about the money they’re getting? Both play a role, but people shy away from discussing the money. It’s corruption, pure and simple, and the corruption is coming from the Israel Lobby and from Netanyahu.

    Schumer’s defection is a case in point. The guy has been receiving money for years to tell lies about what’s really going on in I/P, and to vote as his boss Netayahu wants him to. If activists in the Democratic Party don’t do something about his betrayal, no Democratic President in the future will be able to make independent foreign policy. My concern is not so much about what’s going on in the Jewish community, but what this corruption is doing to our country and whatever is left of its democratic institutions.

  9. Keith
    August 29, 2015, 2:42 pm

    “We are on the verge of fratricide in the Jewish community, and it has to stop,” said Mr. Rosenbaum, who spoke of Jews’ spurning organizational meetings, and even religious services, simply to avoid discussing Iran.”

    Yes, yes, individual Jews publicly disagreeing with each other is destroying tribal solidarity, only totalitarian conformity is acceptable in this “community.”

    • hophmi
      August 29, 2015, 3:16 pm

      Oh please. The way antisemites like you react is the reason Jews get uneasy when there are public disagreement. Vultures like you exist to exploit those divisions.

      • echinococcus
        August 29, 2015, 4:11 pm

        No shoot, now hophmi is the Jewishness gatekeeper.
        News for you, sir: a large part, in fact probably most of the foaming-at-the mouth “antisemite” crowd writing here is biologically (and sometime religiously) Jewish. No, we don’t get uneasy, we enjoy every opportunity to stick it to the Zionists, and most of us don’t approve of the nonreligious who still believe that religion is transmitted vaginally. Seeing that you don’t have a monopoly, I’ll trouble you to stop practicing real antisemitism and to only speak in the name of the Zionists.. Exclusively. Thank you.

      • Mooser
        August 29, 2015, 4:12 pm

        “Oh please. The way antisemites like you…”

        Gee whillikers Mr. Wilson, Hophmi just made a direct (and completely unsupported) accusation of antisemitism. Now that’s outreach!

      • Annie Robbins
        August 29, 2015, 6:54 pm

        and he wonders why we don’t believe 40% of the racism in france comes from anti semites. when all you have is a hammer everything becomes a nail.

      • Keith
        August 29, 2015, 4:24 pm

        HOPHMI- “The way antisemites like you react is the reason Jews get uneasy when there are public disagreement.”

        Anti-Semite? Keep talking like that and maybe Ben Karp will invite you to Eliezer where you and he can hobnob in plush surroundings, eat good food and enjoy fine wine (ask Phil), all the while basking in the reflective glow of shared victimhood. Secure behind solid walls and closed doors you can freely discuss anything at all, no need to feel uneasy that Keith might hear and take advantage. As if your aggressive arrogance had anything to do with victimhood.

        HOPHMI- “Vultures like you exist to exploit those divisions.”

        Vultures? I had no idea you trembled at the thought of my awesome power to exploit divisions within the Jewish “community.” An existential threat? Wow!

        Speaking of anti-Semitism (and what else do you do?), I think it is time for a realistic definition of actual anti-Semitism. “Thus ADL head Nathan Perlmuttetr maintained that the “real anti-Semitism” in American consisted of policy initiatives “corrosive of Jewish interests….” (p37, “The Holocaust Industry,” Norman Finkelstein)

        Well Hophmi, you have certainly convinced me that any breach in totalitarian conformity within the Jewish community represents an existential threat to the Jewish people (as opposed to people who are Jews) Perhaps that is why some of the early Zionists gravitated to Fascism?

      • JWalters
        August 29, 2015, 6:30 pm

        The vultures are the criminal gold-worshipers who are duping and exploiting the Jewish community. They are akin to Bernie Madoff, who swindled a Holocaust memorial fund. As Jewish psychologist Avigail Abarbanel explained, “It’s time for American Jews to recognize they have been duped”.
        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/american-recognize-duped

      • hophmi
        August 31, 2015, 12:33 pm

        “and he wonders why we don’t believe 40% of the racism in france comes from anti semites.”

        Who said that 40% of the racism in France came from antisemites? I said Jews were 40% of the victims of violent racist incidents, not that 40% of the racism in France came from antisemites.

        It really makes no difference whether you choose to believe in reality; reality doesn’t care.

        It does make a difference when people of privilege have trouble seeing the difference between their concerns and the concerns of people who are part of a small minority. That’s a serious problem with some here. As I’ve said before, it’s really not that different from what the Catholic Church used to do with Jewish converts to Catholicism, using them as the most strident critics of other Jews. The same thing happens with the African-American community; conservatives love to celebrate Black people who sound white and take positions against affirmative action (see Connerly and McWhorter). So, yes, Jews have many reasons to be cautious when division exists in our community not because disagreements are inherently bad, but because there are lot of bad people out there who would like nothing more than to exploit them for their own purposes, whether they are partisan people who confront inconvenient statistics by disbelieving them, or evil people who simply which the Jewish community ill.

  10. tokyobk
    August 29, 2015, 7:43 pm

    Keith — you flatter yourself to think you are someone I would not have invited you to discuss anything, including anti-Semitism, were you around town. And yes it would have been over some nice bourbon. Why not.

    I don’t have any reason to think you are particularly loathsome in person or a vulture. I do think you want to deny that anti-Semitism was an -endemic- (please refresh your understanding of this word it does not mean essential) feature of European society and also want to cast it as a rational response to Jewish malfeasance. I consider that despicable and not on tribal grounds because I fins it despicable when applied otherwise. I don’t see any rational reason to pogrom or make Jews live in a ghetto or wear different color shoes etc… etc… etc…

    Fact is, the only person in my whole time arranging completely open discussions about a wide range of subjects who I refused to host was Pamela Geller.

    Were I still around I would have no problem hosting a debate with almost anyone of your Jew-hobby heroes, even Mr. Atzmon, certainly Israel critics who are perhaps on the line of some old school Jew clustering such as has been accused about Weir (I don(t know her work).

    • Keith
      August 29, 2015, 11:47 pm

      TOKYOBK- “Keith — you flatter yourself to think you are someone I would not have invited you to discuss anything, including anti-Semitism, were you around town.”

      What are you talking about? As usual, your comment has nothing to do with anything I have said. You have, once again, resorted to your usual tactic of creating a strawman, putting words in my mouth so that you can attack the words you put in my mouth. You never quote what I actually say, rather, you continue to regurgitate the same ungrounded assertions that you have falsely attributed to me in the past. You don’t seem to care who I really am or what I believe, preferring instead to create your own version of me which comports with and justifies your sick ideology. And by the way, do you not comprehend what the “reply” icon is for? If you want to comment on something I actually said, you click the icon and have at it. But you don’t want to do that, do you? Instead, you make stand alone comments where you can construct your strawmen far away from my actual comments in the hope that someone will assume (incorrectly) that you are not simply making things up, which, of course, you are. You are one sick puppy. Perhaps you would care to share with our fellow Mondoweisers why you refuse to reply directly to me concerning my comments, instead creating free standing strawmen?

      • tokyobk
        August 30, 2015, 4:32 am

        Keith:

        You said this:

        “Anti-Semite? Keep talking like that and maybe Ben Karp will invite you to Eliezer where you and he can hobnob in plush surroundings, eat good food and enjoy fine wine (ask Phil), all the while basking in the reflective glow of shared victimhood.”

        I responded with an accurate description of what went on at Eliezer, not your fantasy of Jews huddled around groaning about victimisation.

        You have indeed rejected the idea that anti-Semitism was endemic to Europe for much of its history, implying that I meant Europeans were essentially anti-Semitic when I never agreed that. So those are direct response to what you have said here. I may miss some of your comments so sorry if I seemed to have been avoiding responding to you.

      • Keith
        August 30, 2015, 10:31 am

        TOKYOBK- “I responded with an accurate description of what went on at Eliezer, not your fantasy of Jews huddled around groaning about victimisation.”

        I was ridiculing Hophmi’s ludicrous assertion that Jews disagreeing in public left them vulnerable to folks like me somehow exploiting divisions amongst Jews. It was heavy handed ridicule. You responded that I flatter myself thinking you wouldn’t invite me to Eliezer, yet another preposterous and irrelevant statement on your part where you make things up. As for exactly what you do at Eliezer where you take Jewishness seriously (Phil’s words), I am simply parodying Hophmi’s and your narrow focus on anti-Semitism and “Jew Hobbyists.” Your latest comment, like virtually all of your comments, ignores the thread itself and the actual comments of others so that you can endlessly regurgitate your unchanging version of events. I need to break this off so I can leave on vacation. Why don’t you invite Hophmi to Eliezer to discuss multiculturalism and outreach? Enough of this!

    • tree
      August 30, 2015, 4:06 am

      TBK
      …certainly Israel critics who are perhaps on the line of some old school Jew clustering such as has been accused about Weir (I don’t know her work).

      Your accusations against Keith, et al, are quite ridiculous and unseemly, but at least they have a chance to respond here. Your swipe at Weir is beyond the pale.

      You said that you have no knowledge of the claims against her, nor any knowledge of her work, so why go so low as to mention her as if the claims against her might have merit? If you have no knowledge, and apparently no interest in knowing, anything about her, then shut the f*** up about “jew clustering”, whatever that is, which is not even remotely what she is accused of doing. You aren’t acquitting yourself well here. You seem instead to be haphazardly flaunting your prejudices while wildly accusing others of prejudice.

      • tokyobk
        August 30, 2015, 4:28 am

        Hi Tree —

        No swipe at Weir at all.

        Keith seems to think I hosted private Jewish meetings which exclude people like him. I replied that in fact I went out of my way to host people who were considered dissident to mainstream conversations about I/P and were I still there would have no problem hosting Weir, someone who has been accused of being anti-Semitic.

      • tokyobk
        August 30, 2015, 4:39 am

        .. I don’t know anything about Weir to evaluate whether the accusations are correct or not imo, I do know she has been accused of clustering legitimate criticisms of Israel with old school Jew baiting. My point to Keith was, contrary to his fantasy, I did and would indeed host people who have been accused of anti-Semitism (Finkelstein, Weiss, Shipman all came and others) and were I still there I would host Weir in a heartbeat.

        In fact, Keith and others only know of Eliezer, -because- I invited Phil so a bit strange for him to imagine it as a place that avoided this conversation or any side of it.

        Anything else?

      • tree
        August 30, 2015, 5:33 am

        I don’t know anything about Weir to evaluate whether the accusations are correct or not imo, I do know she has been accused of clustering legitimate criticisms of Israel with old school Jew baiting.

        I find it odd, but yet somehow strangely predictable in your case, that someone who is so obsessed with anti-semitism, or “Jew-hobbyists” or “Jew-clustering”, or whatever, hasn’t bothered to read any of the voluminous thread on Weir, or her writings or speeches, etc. out of sheer purposeful ignorance but thinks its A-OK to repeat the accusations that are made by others. It isn’t. If that’s how lightly you pass on a serious allegation you claim to have no opinion on, an allegation that can ruin a person’s life work by the way, then you shouldn’t wonder why others see you as unduly obsessed with the topic.

        In fact, Keith and others only know of Eliezer, -because- I invited Phil so a bit strange for him to imagine it as a place that avoided this conversation or any side of it.

        And we all know from Phil’s article about his invitation that he was made to feel guilty about his work for justice and equality for Palestinians, that your introduction dealt first-off with the rift in the Jewish community on the subject of Israel, and that the first question you asked him at Eliezer was not about the plight of the Palestinians, but if he thought about how his work could encourage anti-semites. All the outward focus in that group dinner was on Jews. Palestinians were merely a backdrop to a discussion of whether Phil was doing something good for the Jews or not.

        I think Keith has hit a kernel of truth in comparing you to Hophmi. You may be a bit less bigoted and a bit more liberal but some of the prejudices are the same. I see that similarity as the reasoning behind Keith’s fantasy, not whether or not you would host people that your Jewish Yale society would consider anti-semitic. Of course such an invite would give you yet another chance to talk about anti-semitism – and Jews. Despite your insistence that others here are “Jew-hobbyists” I think its a description that fits you better than most here.

      • tokyobk
        August 30, 2015, 6:19 am

        Tree-

        I am not sure why you see my being very careful about Weir is the same as slandering her or participating in her slander. Meaning, I am not instantly assuming she is a bigot just because someone, even JVP which I respect, says so. In fact, this is the opposite of jumping on the accusation bandwagon, the opposite of tossing around antisemitism accusations lightly.

        I find Jew-hobby a useful term because it can describe someone who likes to discuss Jewish power topics without lobbing the anti-Semitism accusation. A Jew hobbyist may or may not be an anti-Semite. This is again an effort to be more careful, not less.

        As for me and Hophmi? We may agree on some aspects of anti-Semitism. About I/P, no I stand firmly with all those here who completely reject the idea of Jewish supremacy of any kind over Palestinians. I find the use anti-Semitism charges to cover Israel to be especially despicable.

      • tokyobk
        August 30, 2015, 6:23 am

        Tree-

        Your last point I accept.

        I did ask Phil the question as you describe. I was not among those who wanted him to feel guilty, in fact I wanted Phil to make them feel guilty where appropriate.

        But yes, it was mostly a Jewish conversation,among a diverse crowd of Jews and non Jews, and moreover I can see how people as different as me, Keith, Phil could all be considered Jew hobbyists.

      • Sibiriak
        August 30, 2015, 6:58 am

        tokyobk: I find Jew-hobby a useful term because it can describe someone who likes to discuss Jewish power topics without lobbing the anti-Semitism accusation
        ———————–

        But how is that useful?

        On the one hand, the “Jew-hobbyist” epithet has a highly pejorative ring and comes across as weasel word for “anti-Semite”, your claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

        On the other hand, however the term is interpreted , in the final analysis it can only serve in forums like this as a means of ad hominem argument–focusing on the person, not the points being made.

        I suggest dropping it forthwith.

      • tokyobk
        August 30, 2015, 9:04 am

        Sibiriak,

        I think it is useful in describing a type of person drawn to the I/P discussion. I think it is a shade of grey in what is otherwise considered a black and white scenario. I think I have used it to mean that while you cannot know whats in someones heart, you can know what their interests are. I don’t believe I have ever called anyone who comments here regularly an anti-semite. It is clear, however, that there are several people here who are drawn to the increasingly visible/audible Jewish ID aspect of I/P.

        Though it has this descriptive utility, imo, you are correct it does lend itself like “racist” to being used as an ad-hominem that shifts focus to the alleged character of a person and away from the argument itself, and should be used carefully if at all.

      • Kris
        August 30, 2015, 12:28 pm

        @tokyobk: “It is clear, however, that there are several people here who are drawn to the increasingly visible/audible Jewish ID aspect of I/P.”

        Please, could you explain what you mean? What is the “visibile/audible Jewish ID aspect” of I/P?

        Is there a non-Jewish ID aspect of I/P? Isn’t the whole I/P problem based on the fact that Jews are able to get away with stealing and occupying Palestinian land because they are Jews?

      • Mooser
        August 30, 2015, 1:17 pm

        I still think that “Jew hobbiest” (sic and you can add a “k” to that) was one of the more antisemitic tropes to be introduced around here, lately.

      • Mooser
        August 30, 2015, 1:53 pm

        “I find Jew-hobby a useful term because it can describe someone who…”

        Oh, really? You (and nobody else in the fucking world, unless you want to cite it?) find certain epithets and generalizations “useful”?

        Well, so can Keith, then, huh?

      • Mooser
        August 30, 2015, 2:11 pm

        “and moreover I can see how people as different as me, Keith, Phil could all be considered Jew hobbyists.”

        Wow, for a word (“hobbiest”) you started out not knowing how to spell, you have sure fallen in love with the term. You’ll do anything but give it up. Generalize it into meaningless, maybe, but you are gonna hang on to it. I don’t think it will come into general use. It gets 9 entries on a Google search, most of them you.
        And BTW, I believe this is Phil’s full-time (with mandatory OT) job, not a hobby.

      • tree
        August 30, 2015, 2:41 pm

        I am not sure why you see my being very careful about Weir is the same as slandering her or participating in her slander. Meaning, I am not instantly assuming she is a bigot just because someone, even JVP which I respect, says so. In fact, this is the opposite of jumping on the accusation bandwagon, the opposite of tossing around antisemitism accusations lightly.

        If you think that you were “being very careful” then why did you even bring her into the conversation, each time mentioning that she had been accused of anti-semitism? In the first place, neither the formal JVP nor the ETO charges accuse her of anti-semitism or bigotry. But of course there are those who do accuse her of such, but not formally and not with any sound judgment on their part, imo. Phil has likewise been accused of being anti-semitic, as have many others. Do you feel the need to mention the accusation against him every time Phil’s name comes up? No? Then why bring Weir into your discussion when talking about your fantasy of Keith’s “Jew-hobbyists”, among whom you earlier listed as Duke and Farrakhan (and Henry Ford and Martin Luther)? Putting her in the same grouping automatically assumes the charges, doesn’t it? Caveat or not.

        And why repeat an accusation, even with caveats, when you have no knowledge about whether it is true or not? If you had heard that someone had been accused by another person of being a child molester but did not have any knowledge on which to base a decision on whether the charge was honest or not, would you consistently repeat that charge whenever you brought that person’s name up? I think not. A charge of anti-semitism, even if totally false, can have an impact nearly as devastating. In fact the French President has given a speech which compares “anti-semitic” online speech with child pornography, and has proposed laws to treat it as such.

        https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/france-must-treat-online-anti-semitism-child-pornography-president-says

        If you want a quick primer on the Weir dispute without reading the large thread, i would suggest these two sources. One, the statement from JVP

        https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/jewish-voice-for-peace-statement-on-our-relationship-with-alison-weir/

        and two, the contrary analysis of the JVP statement, from Amith Gupta:

        http://louisproyect.org/2015/06/25/the-jewish-voice-for-peace-attack-on-alison-weir-jvp-loses-its-balance-2/

        If you don’t care enough to find out the facts, then please don’t repeat the accusation. For too many people the mere mention of the accusation is enough to convince them of the charge.

        As for the your “Jew-hobbyist” term, I think SIbiriak’s comment on it was spot on. It comes across as a weasel word for anti-semite, and isn’t helpful.

      • tokyobk
        August 30, 2015, 5:18 pm

        Tree – I mentioned her as someone who has been accused of anti-Semitism to make the point that people accused of anti-Semitism have not been barred from speaking at what Keith obviously thinks is some exclusive conversation that hides from critics of Israel or controversial speakers.

        Finkelstein, Weiss, Shipman have been -accused- of anti-semitism. Are they anti-semites? Of course not. Does my mentioning that they have been -accused- of anti-Semitism imply agreement. No. In fact, that I had them invited means I want them to have a chance to respond.

        I mentioned that were I still at that task, I would have no problem inviting Atzmon, Weir or anyone else to do what we did there, open debate, not moaning about victimisation.

        I understand the criticisms of the term Jew-hobbyist.

      • echinococcus
        August 30, 2015, 5:42 pm

        tokyobk,

        All that relentless and pointless pilling and pulling is causing dizziness, nausea and hives.

      • b.grand
        August 30, 2015, 6:35 pm

        Tree,

        Thank you for sticking with this, and not letting passive-aggressive, back-handed innuendo slide unchallenged.

        (BTW, all the navel-gazers dawdling over the definition of anti-Semitism should lock themselves in a room with Gilad Atzmon, because they haven’t adequately defined “Jew” or “jewishness” either.)

      • Frankie P
        August 30, 2015, 7:55 pm

        It is at this point that interested readers should go back and read Phil’s post about Ben and Eliezer in order to gain a better perspective. Perhaps after reading it, one may gain a better understanding of terms like “jew clustering” and “jew hobbyist”.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/04/shmully-and-guilt

        Frankie P

    • Mooser
      August 30, 2015, 1:23 pm

      Were I still around I would have no problem hosting a debate with almost anyone of your Jew-hobby heroes, even Mr. Atzmon, certainly Israel critics who are perhaps on the line of some old school Jew clustering such as has been accused about Weir (I don(t know her work).”

      “Jew-hobby heroes” “old school Jew clustering” “such as has been accused about Weir (I don(t know her work)”.

      Dude is nuts.

    • tree
      August 30, 2015, 6:41 pm

      Tokyobk,

      This was your first mention of Weir in this thread, in a comment to Keith:

      Were I still around I would have no problem hosting a debate with almost anyone of your Jew-hobby heroes, even Mr. Atzmon, certainly Israel critics who are perhaps on the line of some old school Jew clustering such as has been accused about Weir (I don(t know her work). – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/08/community-together-shouldnt#comment-152744

      You weren’t likening her to Phil or Finkelstein or Shipman. You are trying to move the goalposts after the fact. You referred to her as one of Keith’s “Jew-hobby heroes”, implying that she was anti-semitic, like other people you earlier compared Keith to, such as Ford, Duke and Farrakhan. Your disclaimer at the end was a cheap attempt to imply while claiming not to accuse. Have you ever said that Phil was ” perhaps on the line of some old school Jew clustering” ? No, just Weir, whom you have asserted numerous times you are ignorant about.

      BTW, I have a strong feeling that, if you actually did invite her, the clear leaders of the group would spend all their time accusing her of anti-semitism, so the discussion would be all about Jews again; “who gives a f**k about whats happening to the Palestinians, you said things that make us feel bad, so you are a bad person.” What a waste of time that would be.

      …Keith obviously thinks is some exclusive conversation that hides from critics of Israel or controversial speakers.

      If you think that you obviously haven’t a clue what Keith has been saying, even though he explained it in detail. Hophmi called him an anti-semite and made a stupid lame-*ss remark about how it was the fault of “anti-semites” like Keith that Jews don’t feel comfortable disagreeing about things in public. The reason Keith brought your name into the mix was because you have likewise accused Keith of being anti-semitic, although you couched the accusation in other words. You and hophmi are both most interested in the Palestinian issue on this blog in terms of what and who is and isn’t anti-semitic. Hophmi’s list is a tad bigger than yours, but the emphasis is the same. That’s the source of Keith’s rejoinder to Hophmi, not whether or not Eliezer hosts people who aren’t Jewish or who criticize Israel.

      One more BTW: This enforced silence on disagreement on Israel or Iran perpetrated by “Jewish community leaders” is incredibly counterproductive. If the community is falsely implied to be uniform in opinion on these subjects then its all the more likely that people with little other knowledge to go on will believe that the entire community is monolithic and supports and approves every atrocity and oppression that Israel commits.

      • RoHa
        August 30, 2015, 8:32 pm

        “then its [sic] all the more likely that people with little other knowledge to go on will believe that the entire community is monolithic and supports and approves every atrocity and oppression that Israel commits.”

        Too late, tree. That is almost exactly what I, and I am sure many others, already believe, and have believed for years. It is only comparatively recently that I have learned that Lilienthal and Moshe Menhuin are not the only exceptions.

      • W.Jones
        August 30, 2015, 9:31 pm

        Tree,
        I understand your point about some of Ben’s (Toky’s) views. However, you can also consider that what Ben (Toky) has just said that he would do – invite Weir to speak – would be considered a violation of JVP’s ban on any cooperation with Weir. If Ben were a JVP organizer, it would make him an Open JVP advocate willing to give people like Weir an opportunity to focus on the Lobby’s major role in Congress. What JVP’s Statement calls her “tail wags dog” view is the second main grounds that it gives for banning cooperation with Weir. Based on that, Ben is a radical.

        Think about that for a moment.

      • tree
        August 30, 2015, 10:27 pm

        My apologies for the missing apostrophe, RoHa. I know the rule but plead an error of haste and hope the court will let me off with a lenient sentence, so to speak.

        (I’d add a smiley face except it might be considered a second offense.)

      • RoHa
        August 30, 2015, 10:41 pm

        I was pretty sure it was a typo, which is why I withheld the lecture. ; )

      • echinococcus
        August 31, 2015, 1:04 am

        Jones,

        The idea about Tokyobk inviting Weir is interesting at first sight, but it’s hard to believe that bk would ever maintain the invitation if she insisted on talking business (i.e. Palestine, invasion and Zionism) instead of answering questions about “antisemitism”, again and again. After all, that seems to be the only thing he’s ever interested in. Will be interesting to follow, though.

      • Mooser
        August 31, 2015, 1:54 pm

        “However, you can also consider that what Ben (Toky) has just said that he would do – invite Weir to speak”

        Were he still around. But since he’s “not doing that anymore” it really doesn’t make much difference.

  11. Pixel
    August 30, 2015, 12:08 am

    Phil, you’ve written with such conviction.

    VERY exciting!

    Encore! Encore!!

  12. mcohen.
    August 31, 2015, 7:29 am

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faisal%E2%80%93Weizmann_Agreement

    american jewish support for israel is an obvious target for israel,s enemies…..similar to breaking the leg of a chair…..it still stands upright but a heavy weight will topple it.

    the iran deal is one leg,bds is another………that both these events originate in the usa is no coincidence.unfortunately american jews have lost focus of the bigger picture…..israel is the reason american jews have managed to gain a seat at the table in the first place…..it has been a powerful rallying point and brought focus to jewish power….the question is

    how do jews in the diaspora remain focused on some ideal concept of a state for jews and remain unified and still solve the moral dilemma of the i/p conflict

    the answer lies in the dynamics of long term conflict management…….

    the isolation of the area to prevent the spread of conflict ideology……arms control must not only affect one party but both….

    the kickstart of a viable political process that can engage both sides.this process must include all jews worldwide and palestinian arabs

    this might sound strange but judaism and israel are one concept……the i/p conflict is a judaism problem not an american jewish problem

    this worldwide consensus will relieve some of the pressure currently facing american jews ,it will also spread the load for future population transfers and compensation

    palestianians in gaza and the west bank must be absorbed into israel with the option of either citizenship or compensation to relocate……at the moment refugees are flooding europe….further conflict in israel will add to this refugee problem therefore those 1948 palestinians must be compensated and relocated to countries that jews came from in 1948.the same option of compensation and relocation must be offered to jews that fled arab and european countries as refugees and settled in israel

    this might solve the refugee right of return problem

    there is no doubt that the middle east is facing severe water shortages in the near future so relocation of populations to other countries will become inevitable

    the state of israel,s current borders will need to be redrawn to accomodate the reality of the return of refugees and a map originally drawn up by the faisal- weizmann agreement might serve as a template for israel,s borders

    the idea that regional players can go a long way to solving the i/p conflict is not a new one.both egypt and turkey could play key roles and on a bigger scale the us and russia.the oppurtunity to redraw the borders for permanent one,s and at the same time solve the palestinian refugee problem is now.

    the gradual transition to a secular state with a clear division between the state and the military is important and must be implemented in the coming years.it will be up to the military to ensure the political process proceeds peacefully and with purpose to israel becoming a secular democratic state for all its citizens

    • Mooser
      August 31, 2015, 12:40 pm

      “it will be up to the military to ensure the political process proceeds peacefully and with purpose to israel becoming a secular democratic state for all its citizens”

      Shorter “mcohen”: ‘Israel should be a military dictatorship. What a liberal idea!’

  13. Mooser
    August 31, 2015, 1:51 pm

    “…..israel is the reason american jews have managed to gain a seat at the table in the first place…..”:

    That’s right, and still, today, there are 60,000 Israeli Jewish colonists in the US, helping to expand US Jewish settlements, and increasing Jewish political power in the US.

Leave a Reply