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Salon writer concludes that ‘judeophobe’ is just code for ‘anti-Zionist’

Israel/Palestine
on 104 Comments

After Gore Vidal died a year ago, Stan Persky, a Canadian Jewish writer, read that he was anti-Semitic; and so he reread Vidal to decide for himself and concluded that the charge was aimed at his anti-Zionism. What a good thing that LA Review of Books and Salon are running this sort of inquiry:

The day after Gore Vidal’s death (a year ago, July 31, 2012) … I stumbled into a Facebook catfight. One of my FB friends (who I’ll leave nameless) was having a conniption fit about, of all people, Gore Vidal. …. the litany included most of the standard jibes about Vidal: elitist, patrician snob, conspiracy theorist, racist, and oddly, “judeophobe.”..

The reason that the term “judeophobe,” which had probably not been included in Vidal’s expectations when he was contemplating his obits, caught my attention was no doubt because I’m also a descendent of the famous “Chosen People,” though admittedly I’m what’s known in the trade as a “bad Jew.” Surely, my however feeble anti-semitic radar should have picked up on, over the many years, Vidal’s alleged loathing of Jews, if it existed.That’s what led me, a month or so later, to download Vidal’s Selected Essays. I wanted to check for any evidence of judeophobia…

The charge of judeophobia seemed prima facie unlikely, given that Vidal had lived for some 50 years with a Jewish companion, Howard Auster (now deceased). And, as I quickly re-discovered, there was absolutely nothing in the essays, including one of Vidal’s best-known essays that explicitly discusses Jews and homosexuals, “Pink Triangle and Yellow Star” (1981), to substantiate the claim of judeophobia.

It took only a couple of minutes of Internet rummaging-around to get to the source of the judeophobia charge. My Facebook friend, it turned out, had been reading a batch of pro-Zionist blogs that slagged the recently-departed polemicist Vidal for his views on Israel. Since my friend was a fervent anti-Islamicist-terrorist (a perfectly respectable view), he had lately acquired a rather indiscriminate corollary affection for my Jewish compatriots who were citizens of Israel, especially the more militant right-wing members of that category (a not-so-respectable fondness)…

While many criticisms of Vidal, both personal and political, are justified, the judeophobe charge doesn’t stick. In the end, it was just another complicated dispute about Israel, Zionism, and some American Jewish supporters of Israel, disputes of which there is no end. So, “judeophobe” is just exaggerated code for “anti-Zionist.”

I wish Persky had identified the person who slagged Vidal. Why aren’t writers accountable for this type of speech?

Also, Persky makes clear why Norman Finkelstein, whom I respect in so many areas, is wrong when he says that we shouldn’t debate Zionism, because as far as Americans are concerned, Zionism could be a hairspray. Understanding the ideology of Zionism is necessary to this discussion, and it’s not hard to educate people about such terms. I’ve long said that the media need to be talking about Zionism, so that anti-Zionists can stand up and show that we don’t have horns, and this piece moves the ball down the field. And don’t tell me that’s a mixed metaphor.

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104 Responses

  1. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    August 4, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Gore Vidal has been proven correct about so many, many things! He will always have my utmost respect.

  2. German Lefty
    German Lefty
    August 4, 2013, 5:40 pm

    Understanding the ideology of Zionism is necessary to this discussion
    I totally agree. Before I understood what Zionism actually means, I thought that “two states for two peoples” is a just solution.

  3. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    August 4, 2013, 6:08 pm

    I don’t know about it being a “code.” They just refuse to make the distinction between anti-Zionist and anti-Semite (Judeophobe, Jew hater). Doing so would deprive them of their only moral weapon.

    • American
      American
      August 4, 2013, 11:16 pm

      ‘They just refuse to make the distinction between anti-Zionist and anti-Semite’ …….Stephen Shenfield

      Exactly….what else have they got?….nothing.

  4. Hostage
    Hostage
    August 4, 2013, 10:21 pm

    “The case against Clevinger was open and shut. The only thing missing was something to charge him with.”

  5. tokyobk
    tokyobk
    August 4, 2013, 10:39 pm

    Zionism should be discussed and bright lines should be drawn for everyone’s sake.
    You could say some Zionists force no distinction but some anti-Zionists won’t abide any distinction either. For some anti-Zionists there is no legitimate charge of anti-semitism.

    Vidal was complicated. I think you could take him to be turned off by Jews as a group, not more than many of his class and age. Though, beyond Israel he felt The Jews were hindering his writing career. He also had complicated feelings about gays as a group (and even as a category) despite having a male partner. And, he could be found to be more racist and definitely classist than anti-Jew.

    • marc b.
      marc b.
      August 5, 2013, 4:00 pm

      For some anti-Zionists there is no legitimate charge of anti-semitism.

      yes, maybe, but this post is about gore vidal, not ‘some anti-Zionists [and] charges[s] of anti-semitism’. if you’re going to allege that vidal ‘felt that The Jews were hindering his writing career’, or that he was ‘turned off by Jews as a group’, implying anti-Semitism without overtly charging him with that offense, some source material might be nice.

    • PeaceThroughJustice
      PeaceThroughJustice
      August 8, 2013, 11:27 am

      TokyoBK is complicated. I think you could say he’s turned off by gentiles as a group. He’s always felt that gentiles are out to get him and hold him back. And he has complicated feelings about how much he should truthfully reveal of himself here on this site.

      How do I know all this? Actually I don’t, but you can decide for yourself here– http://mondoweiss.net/profile/tokyobk

  6. Nevada Ned
    Nevada Ned
    August 4, 2013, 11:13 pm

    The obituary of Gore Vidal in the New York Times says that…

    Mr. Vidal was an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, and once
    called Norman Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary, and his wife, the journalist
    Midge Decter, “Israeli fifth columnists.”

    Seems to be an accurate description of Vidal’s viewpoint.

  7. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    August 5, 2013, 4:32 am

    I don’t have the patience or desire to surf the web and find specific anti Jewish stuff in
    Vidal’s works. I bet you can find Jewish stuff that isn’t Zionist that Vidal spoke of in disparaging tones. (I remember a quote from him at a party and all the nasal kvetchy voices were getting on his nerves, but find it and point out that it was anodyne compared to my imperfect memory). Certainly one cannot cite his Jewish lover as proof that he wasn’t anti Jewish. If that is considered proof in your brand of logic, then I suggest you get a new brand of logic.

    Vidal with his deep American roots, in the hundreds of years is deep roots for white Americans, disparaged those who came over more recently and had any attitudes towards overseas that were not as aloof as his own. If his anti Zionism was merely of the sort: american interests are here, zionist interests are not the same, americans should choose american interests, it would have been one thing. But his tone was: these people are not real americans with their attachments to humans outside the boundaries of the united states. this is not pure anti zionism, it is antizionism combined with anti immigrant, (specifically in this case: anti Jewish immigrant.)

    • annie
      annie
      August 6, 2013, 5:12 pm

      you’re so transparent yonah. you don’t have ‘patience or desire’ to look but you ‘bet’ if you did you could find anti jewish ‘stuff….and then you move on to gossipy-type allegations insinuating he was an anti semite. phff.

      meanwhile, if you could source it you probably would. which leads me to believe you can’t.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 6, 2013, 5:30 pm

        Annie- You’re as lovable as Michael Oren.

        Here, start with this as I dig for more. Or will this delay my response being published by three days. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/03/eulogizing-gore-vidal_n_1737252.html

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 6, 2013, 5:37 pm

        here’s one that costs too much money to get through the firewall. maybe you can afford it with help from the gold star commentators.
        http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02695653

      • AlGhorear
        AlGhorear
        August 6, 2013, 7:23 pm

        In this post and others down thread, you fail to link to anything that Gore Vidal said. All the articles you reference are people commenting about him. You offer nothing but opinion. Try harder.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 6, 2013, 10:29 pm

        yonah fredman:

        I bet you can find Jewish stuff that isn’t Zionist that Vidal spoke of in disparaging tones

        Well, I took a look at your David Greenberg article. It seems, once again, that the issue is anti-Zionism, not antisemitism.

        In the demonology of Vidal and his not-so-progressive Progressive forbears, Jews in particular loomed large. Vidal’s anti-Semitic rants frequently insinuated that Jews were un-American, more loyal to Israel than the United States.

        The most notorious of these pieces, “The Empire Lovers Strike Back,” ran in the The Nation on March 22, 1986, and achieved what many would have thought impossible: arousing sympathy for Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter. It was the kind of piece that should give pause to those who ritually deny that anti-Zionism is rooted in anti-Semitism; it should be read in full.

        Describing the Podhoretzs as propagandists for Israel (“in its never-ending wars against just about everyone … a predatory people”), he cast Podhoretz, who was born in the United States, as someone who would never become “an ‘assimilated American,’ to use the old-fashioned terminology.” Addressing Decter, he declared, “I’ve got to tell you I don’t much like your country, which is Israel.”

        Vidal actually continues:

        Although there is nothing wrong with being a lobbyist for a foreign power, one is supposed to register with the Justice Department.

        So, Greenberg gives us the usual anti-Zionism=antisemitism rant, nothing more.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 6, 2013, 5:57 pm

        Found it, Annie.
        http://youngcontrarian.tumblr.com/post/14914351170/gore-vidal-and-the-jewish-question

        The relevant passage: The most telling passages in “Some Jews and the Gays” are those which refer to ‘New York Jewish publicists’ as “new-class persons” who find it hard to realise that “Manhattan is not the world”. “No matter how crowded and noisy a room,” Vidal notes at one stage, “one can always detect the new-class person’s nasal whine”. Good grief.

      • tree
        tree
        August 7, 2013, 2:03 am

        All your “examples” of Vidal’s “anti-semitic” writings are not his writings at all but, surprise, surprise the writings of others who called Vidal by that epithet, which is exactly what Persky was alluding to. You seem to have fallen into the trap that Persky avoided. Perhaps the new definition of anti-semitic is indeed a person that (certain) Jews don’t like.

        “Some Jews and the Gays”, also titled “Pink Triangle and Yellow Star”,was a scathing response to Midge Decter’s tantrum about gays, called “The Boys on the Beach”. Apparently referring to Decter in a negative fashion is considered “anti-semitic” because the “youngcontrarian”, and apparently yonah as well, believes that all Jews are alike, therefore to lambast one is to lambast them all. One must also not refer to any Jew as writing something akin to the “Protocols” because it hurts their feelings, and we all “know” that no Jew could possibly be a bigot or a conspiracy theorist, even if it was Midge Decter and Norman Podhoretz, those beacons of tolerance that Vidal was talking about.

        I think you simply proved Persky’s point. You didn’t read Vidal. You read a criticism that accused him of anti-semitism and bought it unquestioningly because it supports your “WASP”-o-phobia, and gives you a chance to bash Phil again.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 6, 2013, 6:00 pm

        Gore Vidal was Wasp dreck. You want to beatify him here at Mondoweiss. Great. Go ahead. But he was wasp drek.

        As a writer, no one could stand next to him. As a human, no one would want to stand next to him. Except you here at MW.

      • annie
        annie
        August 6, 2013, 6:24 pm

        why thank you for taking the time to source your allegations yonah. btw, i don’t know much about him and have never read one of his books so i can’t say i ‘like’ him nor have a ‘beautified’ him. i simply think if you’re going to insinuate a bunch of stuff about someone you should provide some source.

        i’ll check out your links.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        August 6, 2013, 6:36 pm

        Bullshit.

        You don’t know anything about Vidal.

        You are simply ranting because he wasn’t a Zionist zombie like you.

      • Donald
        Donald
        August 6, 2013, 7:32 pm

        “Wasp dreck”. Interesting usage. “X dreck”. Try substituting various ethnicities for X and see how it sounds.

        As for Vidal, he did say some disgusting things–I’d forgotten some of them. I used to suspect he did it deliberately, to be outrageous, not that this would excuse it. Or maybe he really believed some of that.

        “As a writer, no one could stand next to him. As a human, no one would want to stand next to him. Except you here at MW.”

        Kind of sweeping. Try asking if people would endorse the various outrageous things he said. I wouldn’t, but I’d also completely forgotten about some of them too.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 6, 2013, 7:55 pm

        Donald- My meaning would have been best conveyed by the phrase “patrician dreck”. I used Wasp instead of patrician. Sorry, wasps. And all you patricians who are nice, sorry to you, too.

        By Mondoweiss, I didn’t mean to include everyone. But Phil obviously wrote the headline and feels that except for Zionism, Vidal was a lover of all humans or some such something. And even a quick surf reveals this to be false.

        Vidal was a character with some iconic value and an excellent writer. I read “Myra Breckenridge” a long time ago and the first 200 or so pages of “Julian” about twenty years ago and “Lincoln” only recently. “Lincoln” was the most readable work on the Civil War that I have ever read and reading Vidal’s “Lincoln” and E.L. Doctorow’s “The March” helped me celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

        Even when I was a kid watching Buckley threatening to bop Vidal in the nose for calling him a fascist, I could tell that Vidal was a “character”. But a character implies cuteness and in fact he wrote intemperate things, prejudicial things, hateful things and he wasn’t cute. (And attributing his hate only to the topic of Zionism, well it doesn’t look true to me.)

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 6, 2013, 8:56 pm

        yonah fredman,

        Gore Vidal was Wasp dreck.

        Interesting remark — can you expand on it?

        “Dreck” in Yiddish means excrement or shit.

        Do you generally associate white Anglo-Saxon Protestants in your mind with excrement or shit?

        Would you have a problem with WASPs asserting that, say, Norman Podhoretz or Elliott Abrams are Jewish dreck? Would it perhaps have an antisemitic vibe to it?

      • just
        just
        August 7, 2013, 12:01 am

        What is “wasp dreck”?

        What is your anti-everything- but- Zionism is supreme “dreck” narrative?

        This is why I cannot take you seriously. You and your ilk are bigots still resting on victim- hood without ever examining your present awful practices and revenge against an indigenous people that did you NO wrong wrt the Holocaust.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        August 7, 2013, 2:42 am

        Wondering Jew,

        Eric Alterman plagiarizing anti-BDS propagandist says things like ‘WASP dreck’ without flinching.

        If someone were ever to say ‘Jewish dreck’ – he’d have a conniption.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 7, 2013, 4:44 am

        Meanwhile- I apologized to all WASPs. But not to the memory of Vidal. For he was indeed dreck; intelligent dreck, at times interesting and beguiling dreck, but in the end, hate filled dreck.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 7, 2013, 5:07 am

        yonah fredman:

        …hate filled dreck

        And yet you cannot produce a single quote from Vidal that supports that claim. Shameful.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        August 7, 2013, 7:02 am

        Wondering Jew,

        Could you cite some of Vidal’s work that you believe is ‘hate filled dreck’?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 7, 2013, 9:44 am

        yonah fredman,

        He [Gore Vidal] wrote intemperate things, prejudicial things, hateful things and he wasn’t cute.

        Provide some examples of Vidal’s “hateful” remarks.

        Surely you are familiar with and appreciate the writings of Voltaire, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope and H.L. Mencken — did they also say “hateful” things? (And were they trying to be “cute”?)

        I recall that Vidal expressed distaste (even loathing) for prominent neoconservatives like Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter. But many people all around the world from all ethnic and religious backgrounds have noticed that many leading neoconservatives are (and here comes a list)

        1. abusive
        2. aggressive
        3. angry
        4. bullying
        5. crude
        6. graceless
        7. humorless
        8. Israel-obsessed
        9. Jew-obsessed
        10. militantly ethnocentric and ethnic nationalist
        11. obnoxious
        12. primitive
        13. self-obsessed
        14. selfish
        15. vindictive
        16. warmongering
        17. xenophobic

        These are personality traits common to all overexcited ethnic and religious nationalists — not just Jewish nationalists — “Germany-obsessed” and “German-obsessed” works — pick whatever group comes to mind in chauvinist and triumphalist mode. Ethnic and religious zealots have often inspired savage (and well-deserved) satire and derision by better and more fine-tuned minds — and Gore Vidal’s mind was highly fine-tuned.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 7, 2013, 10:05 am

        yonah fredman,

        For he [Gore Vidal] was indeed dreck; intelligent dreck, at times interesting and beguiling dreck, but in the end, hate filled dreck.

        One of the more shrill and unbalanced comments I’ve read on Mondoweiss — clearly Gore Vidal struck a sensitive nerve in Yonah Fredman — hit the mark squarely, in fact. Yonah is a true zealot.

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        August 7, 2013, 8:04 pm

        yes, and those links are some pretty underwhelming evidence of vidal’s anti-Semitism. if the ‘most notorious’ bit of anti-Semitic ranting by vidal is his piece on the decter-podhoretz hydra, that doesn’t amount to anything. (although frankly i’d be hard pressed to give a good goddamn about any negative thing said about those duplicitous, racist warmongers.)

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        August 8, 2013, 11:24 am

        Wondering Jew says:

        Sorry, wasps. And all you patricians who are nice, sorry to you, too.

        All your backtracking is done sarcastically.

        Once again, if someone said ‘Jewish dreck’ you’d have a s**t-fit.

        That is how deeply ingrained hypocrisy and dishonesty is in your political community.

        It’s second-nature to people like you to be dishonest.

        The worst of you is like hophmi (pro-settler/blatantly racist and bigoted) and the least of you is like you (passive-aggressive liars).

        It’s disgusting that this is the level of discourse.

        I think it once again reaffirms the reality that Zionism has historically had superior arms and weak enemies.

        This conflict is neither complex nor impressive in its scope. The Arab world is disintegrating and they were never impressive.

        In that environment, a group of rapists, murderers, ethno-religious ultra-nationalists like the Jewish Zionists could transform Arab Palestine into Jewish Israel with minimal losses.

        No wonder we’re all here arguing.

        Our position is moralistic and idealistic.

        Your position is cartoony-grade EVIL. Evil as in ‘it’s war, so we won and they lost’. Evil as in, ‘the Islamists hate Jews so we expand settlements and steal their land and water’.

        That’s your logic. Bullshit after bullshit after bullshit.

        And your quibbles about BDS this and BDS that is pathetic and shows how little you room you have to wiggle in your own ‘moral’ outrage.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 8, 2013, 4:08 pm

        Upon further reflection what Vidal wrote was not hate filled dreck. It was in keeping with the Mencken tradition, although I compare it to what catty people would say to each other as they leave a party. “Everywhere that nasal whine!” It’s merely racist, rather than hate filled.

        I guess his catty racism combines with his love for Lindbergh to make him particularly galling. Lindbergh was an acceptable American hero until September of 41 when he gave his infamous speech. Those who attack Lindbergh even before that speech were on the right side of history, see, as in the German Nazis that Lindbergh respected so much, were on the wrong side of history. But to defend Lindbergh after his September 41 speech, is to defend a top 5 Jew hater of the American 20th Century. And Gore Vidal opposed the US entering WW II and to his end considered Lindbergh a hero.

        That’s the type of thinking that one finds in the comments section here from time to time, but I don’t think it is really respectable. Think Pat Buchanan. That’s the type of animus I feel towards Vidal, quite similar to what I feel towards Pat Buchanan.

  8. FreddyV
    FreddyV
    August 5, 2013, 5:40 am

    A Zionist is a person who believes in a state for Jewish people.

    Ironically, most Zionists aren’t Jewish. They’re dumbassed Evangelical Christian fundamentalists and if they learned the error of their ways, Israel wouldn’t exist.

    I think the distinction is screaming to be made as we could then discuss the motivations behind it all.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      August 5, 2013, 8:47 am

      “A Zionist is a person who believes in a state for Jewish people. ”

      I think that first and foremost a Zionist is someone who wants to preserve Jewishness. Some of them think that the best way to prevent assimilation or annihilation is territorial segregation and an army.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 5, 2013, 10:57 am

        Talkback, There are ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists, who evidently think that their way is the path to “preserving Jewishness”.
        I would say that Zionism, as originally formulated in late 19th century Europe, was based on:
        1.Nationalism: the Jews are not (only ) a religion, they are a nation.
        2.Pessimism : Anti-Semitism is endemic in European culture and society. Ultimately there is no future for the Jews in Europe.
        3. Territory: Seeing that the Jews are a nation, and need to get out of Europe, the solution is the establishment of a Jewish state in the Jewish homeland.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 6, 2013, 8:05 am

        jon s says: “Talkback, There are ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists, who evidently think that their way is the path to “preserving Jewishness”.

        They are Zionists, too. But they are anti “national Zionism” as a way to preserve Jewishness. See also “cultural Zionism”.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 6, 2013, 9:29 am

        Talkback, I disagree. The ultra-Orthodox anti – Zionists, such as the Satmar Hassidim , are definitely opposed to the tenets of Zionism, including cultural Zionism.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        August 6, 2013, 3:00 pm

        @ Jon S.
        Certain 19th century Hassidic groups developed their own nationalistic ideas, albeit dressed up as traditional theology. Ultra-Orthodox leaders such as the Gerrer Rebbe expanded the kabbalistic idea of a metaphysicial Jewish nation.
        The ultra-Orthodox were also fearful of their non-Jewish neighbors and deeply pessimistic of any change. It was not uncommon, at the beginning of the 19th century, for Eastern European Jews to pray that Europe’s old order defeat Napoleon.
        So, your #1 and #2 were part of the anti-Zionist, traditionalist worldview too.
        Large sections of today’s ultra-Orthodox have no problem supporting the State of Israel, participating prominently in political and public life including settling the West Bank.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        August 6, 2013, 3:38 pm

        About definitions. If a Zionist is one who wants to preserve Jewishness then presumably everyone who considers him/herself Jewish (without any ‘self-hatred’ or even regret) is a Zionist and everyone who is reasonably tolerant in matters of culture is at least mildly sympathetic to Zionism. Zionism wouldn’t be very controversial at that rate. So we’d need a further term to describe Zionism as we meet it in action in the ME. ‘Militaristic Zionism’?
        If a Zionist is one who believes in a state for Jewish people then Zionism has no essential interest in the ME and the def would include those who were prepared for a Jewish state in Uganda or elsewhere, the minority in the 1905 Zionist Congress. Once again we’d need a further term – ‘1905 Zionism’?
        Anyone may use words as thinks fit but it seems to me more convenient to define Zionism so that the claim to sovereignty in Palestine is mentioned. So for me a Zionist is one who believes that Jewish people, and they only, have a natural right – ‘birthright’ – to a share of sovereignty in the Holy Land. (This does not preclude shares in sovereignty being given to others by grace and generosity, just not by birthright.) Those who believe that Jewish and Palestinian individuals have equal rights would not be Zionists in this sense, but they would not be able to justify the events of 48 or oppose a 1ss at present.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 7, 2013, 11:49 am

        MHughes976 says: “If a Zionist is one who wants to preserve Jewishness then presumably everyone who considers him/herself Jewish (without any ‘self-hatred’ or even regret) is a Zionist …”

        Not necessarily. There are individuals of Jewish heritage who simply don’t care, if they are Jewish or not, if what they do preserves Jewishness or not or if they marry Jews or not. Same happens within other peoples or religions.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 6, 2013, 4:14 pm

        Talkback- Are you anti Zionist? Opposed to anyone who wants to preserve Jewishness?

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        August 6, 2013, 6:11 pm

        @ Yonah –
        The term “preserve” like “continuity”, “from generation to generation” are buzzwords in the organized Jewish community. These concepts have always struck me as desperate: you preserve perishables. And who said “continuity” is a good thing? – What about the merits of “change”? I think these sentimental terms mask a hard-nosed ideology. And that’s the real appeal.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        August 6, 2013, 6:29 pm

        Elliot- Talkback was the one who defined Zionism in those terms. I think his terms are ridiculous in terms of defining Zionism.

        In terms of defining the goal Jewish future: Preserve/ continuity, I get your point. Here are some impressions that do not define my Jewish future, but define my groping for understanding my own reactions to the implications of the present for the Jewish future:

        I get a kick out of hearing youngsters speaking Hebrew, for it bespeaks a future for the Jewish people. I am wary when that youngster is unaware of the realities of the Middle East, for it bespeaks a Jewish future unaware of the facts of life (including the hopes and not just the fears, including the ability to empathize with the other and not just fear the other). I am wary when a youngster speaks Torah if it doesn’t include a dose of t.v. or something from modern society, for it bespeaks of a narrow minded Jewish future. But when a youngster mixes metaphors from Torah and modern society, that doesn’t bespeak of preservation but rather of a future and I really get a kick out of it.

      • American
        American
        August 6, 2013, 9:01 pm

        yonah fredman says:
        August 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm

        Talkback- Are you anti Zionist? Opposed to anyone who wants to preserve Jewishness?>>>>>

        What exactly are you calling Jewishness?

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 7, 2013, 11:43 am

        yonah fredman says: “Talkback- Are you anti Zionist? Opposed to anyone who wants to preserve Jewishness?”

        No. I’m against the delegitimation of (Arab) Palestinians (which happens since 1919) as a way of preserving Jewishness.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 7, 2013, 3:56 pm

        My feeling is that Jewish heritage, traditions and identity are important, and worth handing down to the next generation.
        My parents and grand-parents and great-grandparents and all those generations past held on to that identity and those values, and handed them down through all that history, all the way down to little old me. Now am I going to be the one to break the continuity, to say “it ends here, with me?”. My answer is: hell, no. So if I were to know that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren won’t be Jewish, would it bother me, make me sad?
        Absolutely.

      • annie
        annie
        August 8, 2013, 10:59 am

        I’m against the delegitimation of (Arab) Palestinians (which happens since 1919) as a way of preserving Jewishness.

        i understand but that is different than defining a zionist as “someone who wants to preserve Jewishness”. because obviously there are a lot of people (myself included) who are interested in preserving ‘jewishness’ who do not define as zionists.

        ethnicities are a beautiful thing and merging of ethnicities is also a beautiful thing, imho. the idea of extinguishing ethnicities or cultural identity is not the answer to conflict.

      • yrn
        yrn
        August 8, 2013, 11:46 am

        “because obviously there are a lot of people (myself included) who are interested in preserving ‘jewishness’ ”

        How do you preserve your “jewishness” as a non Jew ???

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        August 8, 2013, 12:58 pm

        So if I were to know that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren won’t be Jewish, would it bother me, make me sad? Absolutely.

        Really? Why would it bother you and make you sad? Because you view non-Jews as inferior?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 8, 2013, 12:59 pm

        jon s,

        What you are saying is that you organize your life around a narrow and fixed ethnocentrism and ethnic identity. Most of us don’t do that, and there is probably a psychological (perhaps even genetic) explanation for why some people feel a pressing emotional need to do this.

        Most of us — especially most Americans — are open to cultural synergy, cross-fertilization, change, evolution, etc. We are continually redefining ourselves in light of new interactions with other peoples and cultures.

        By the way, when European ethnic groups play this game (the game of ethnic identity politics), they are usually accused of being “white supremacists” (not merely “white nationalists”). Why is that? “Supremacist” is a much more loaded word than “nationalist.”

        Are all Jewish nationalists by definition Jewish supremacists? We know for a certainty that some of them are — their racist views are on the record.

      • annie
        annie
        August 8, 2013, 1:47 pm

        yrn, supporting separation of church and state is one way of preserving people’s right to worship, regardless of their faith. on principle the idea of preserving ethnicities (which was the point of my last paragraph above) it’s not important whether that pertains to one or the other, as opposed to an idea it pertains specifically to my own or one in favor of another.

        anyway, what’s clear from your copy paste is you know very well i did not reference ‘my’ jewishness and what’s blatantly transparent is instead of engaging what i wrote you tried giving it another meaning. #fail.

      • yrn
        yrn
        August 8, 2013, 2:27 pm

        Annie

        What’s the connection between the bunch of words you gathered above to the question
        “because obviously there are a lot of people (myself included) who are interested in preserving ‘jewishness’ ”
        You are not Jewish, what’s ‘jewishness’ you want to preserve as a non Jew, has to do with what you wrote.

      • yrn
        yrn
        August 8, 2013, 2:36 pm

        Elliot

        So for you, if your grandchildren are not Jews anymore , you don’t see it as a bad thing? It’s change.
        Why are you Jewish Elliot, because you were born Jewish, as you know most Anti Zionist that claim they were Israeli’s once, have a problems with been Jewish, some converted some left Judaism, you will hardly find someone that left Israel that lives happily with been Jewish.

      • annie
        annie
        August 8, 2013, 3:31 pm

        what’s ‘jewishness’ you want to preserve as a non Jew

        yrn, there’s no sense repeating myself without understanding what you’re failing to comprehend. first please copy past the specific “bunch of words” you’re referencing and i will try to elaborate. thanks

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 8, 2013, 3:45 pm

        So if I were to know that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren won’t be Jewish, would it bother me, make me sad?
        Absolutely.

        Abraham thought God had spoken to him, and asked him to kill his son Issac. Today, we would just place him under psychiatric hold and see if medication might provide some improvement. What’s sad is that you think continuity with a bunch of dead people is more important than your relationship with your own living posterity.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 8, 2013, 4:11 pm

        Hostage,

        Mighty nice writing:

        Abraham thought God had spoken to him, and asked him to kill his son Issac. Today, we would just place him under psychiatric hold and see if medication might provide some improvement. What’s sad is that you think continuity with a bunch of dead people is more important than your relationship with your own living posterity.

        I wonder more and more if many behavioral patterns among human groups are produced by genetic factors. Is there an ethnocentrism gene (or complex of genes)? And the reason I wonder is that ethnocentric behavior is so automatic in flavor — underwater, deterministic, unconscious. People are driven to behave this way for mysterious reasons. It is very difficult for ethnocentric people to see or think outside their ethnocentric box.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 8, 2013, 4:17 pm

        German Lefty, I thought my comment was pretty clear: because I think the Jewish identity and heritage is worth preserving and I want to see it survive. Like in a relay race, I don’t want to be the generation that drops the stick.
        Who said anything about inferiority or superiority? I do believe that Jews have the right to be different, to preserve our identity. That’s not claiming superiority.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 8, 2013, 4:32 pm

        Hostage, A lot could be said about the story of Abraham and Isaac, I just don’t see the relevance here.
        So in your view Abraham was a psychiatric case, and the Jewish people of generations past is nothing more than “a bunch of dead people”.
        Thanks to those dead people, we are here today. And who said that there’s a contradiction between acknowledging our heritage and addressing present-day issues?

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 8, 2013, 5:33 pm

        jon s says: “So if I were to know that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren won’t be Jewish, would it bother me, make me sad?
        Absolutely.”

        It’s all about you and not about your grandchildren, right?

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 8, 2013, 6:04 pm

        Annie Robbins says: “i understand but that is different than defining a zionist as “someone who wants to preserve Jewishness”. because obviously there are a lot of people (myself included) who are interested in preserving ‘jewishness’ who do not define as zionists.”

        Annie, that all humans are mammals doesn’t mean that all mammals are human. That all Zionists want to preserve Jewishness doesn’t mean that all preserver of Jewishness are Zionists.

        Having a state is only their prefered method to preserve Jewishness. Your method might be different.

        “ethnicities are a beautiful thing and merging of ethnicities is also a beautiful thing, imho. the idea of extinguishing ethnicities or cultural identity is not the answer to conflict.”

        I neither prefer extinguishing nor preserving *ethnicities*. I find the whole idea of a collective *identity* juvenile.

      • annie
        annie
        August 8, 2013, 6:51 pm

        Annie, that all humans are mammals doesn’t mean that all mammals are human.

        point taken. and on your last point i don’t self identify as part of a collective ethnic identity nor really understand what that would be like. hence i try not to judge those who do. it’s something people are raised with..or not. but i like having them around(different ethnicities that is).

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        August 8, 2013, 6:54 pm

        @ jon s
        RE: “Thanks to those dead people, we are here today. And who said that there’s a contradiction between acknowledging our heritage and addressing present-day issues?”

        Thanks to dead people we are all here today. What’s your point?

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 8, 2013, 9:18 pm

        “because I think the Jewish identity and heritage is worth preserving and I want to see it survive.”

        1. What is “the Jewish identity”? I keep seeing the word “identity” used, but no-one ever tells me what an identity is.

        2. Why do you think it is worth preserving?

        3. At what cost?

        4. What is the Jewish heritage?

        5. Why do you think it is worth preserving?

        6. At what cost?

        7. Do you think it can only be preserved by Jews?
        If it is something like (e.g.) the Confucian or the Stoic heritage, then it is part of the common intellectual heritage of mankind. One does not need to be a Confucian or a Stoic to understand those schools, to recognize their value, or to transmit them to future generations. And one would not need to be a Jew to transmit the Jewish heritage.

        If one does need to be a Jew to preserve the Jewish heritage, please explain why.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 8, 2013, 9:28 pm

        “So in your view Abraham was a psychiatric case”

        In my view he is one of the least admirable characters in fiction.

        According to the Bible, Abraham was a coward, a liar, a pimp, and possibly a rapist.

        Worst of all, he didn’t even have the moral strength to protect his children. Protecting ones children is a basic duty that is recognized as such throughout the world.

        Out of fear for his own life, he twice pretended his wife was his sister, (“My sister very clean”) and left her to another man .

        Sarah told him to shag the slave girl in order to get an heir. We are not told how enthusiastic Hagar was about the business, but no-one cared. She was a slave girl.

        When Hagar did get pregnant, and had a son, she got uppity. Abraham’s wife told him to dump Hagar out into the desert. He, gutless wonder that he was, did. No thought of defending his child or his child’s mother.

        No surprise, then, that when the sky-dictator told him to slice his second son’s throat, he was ready to obey. He didn’t know the sky-dictator would say, “Only kidding. Just wanted to see if you would do it.” No worthwhile father would kill his children on the word of command. He would die himself, first.

        Abraham was a moral degenerate, without a shred of decency.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 8, 2013, 9:36 pm

        Talkback:

        Having a state is only their prefered method to preserve Jewishness.

        Paradoxically, Zionism radically altered “Jewishness” in order to preserve it.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 8, 2013, 10:47 pm

        Hostage, A lot could be said about the story of Abraham and Isaac, I just don’t see the relevance here.

        Get real. You are the one who brought up the subject of some sort of imaginary Jewish continuity to “all those generations past” and handing down their traditions to the next generation. Abraham was supposedly given the “Covenant of Circumcision” for that express purpose. Try reading Genesis 17. The Mayor of Nazareth Illit pointed out that Jewish tradition is based upon the story of Abraham and his covenants:

        I’m a proud offshoot of a glorious dynasty of “racists” that started with the “Covenant of the Pieces” [that God made with Abraham, recounted in Genesis 15:1–15] and the explicitly racist promise: “To your seed I have given this land” [Genesis 15:38]

        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/nazareth-illit-mayor-says-if-you-think-im-a-racist-then-israel-is-a-racist-state.html

        So in your view Abraham was a psychiatric case

        No, I doubt that Abraham ever really existed. I was pointing out that you are passing down a tradition that is not adapted to the views and habits of modern civilization.

        Anyone who believes that God has spoken to them regarding grants of ownership to the land and resources of inhabited territories, and is willing to offer up one of his family members as a human sacrifice in exchange, would by definition, be considered a psychiatric case today.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        August 8, 2013, 11:03 pm

        @ yrn: “you will hardly find someone that left Israel that lives happily with been Jewish”.
        It’s true! There are many ex-pat Israeli citizens who were forced to live unhappy Jewish lives in Israel. It’s not easy being Christian or Muslim in a Jewish ethnocracy. Anyway, as you said, now that they have left Israel, they still do not lead happy, Jewish lives.
        All’s well that ends well.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        August 8, 2013, 11:16 pm

        @ Yonah:
        That still feels like “preserving” (the term you used, too).

        Jewish culture is always changing and I feel very comfortable within the broad parameters of change.
        What delights me and inspired me is anybody speaking values within a Jewish or Christian context. Particularly on I/P. I delight in Jews more than Christians only, I think, because I’m Jewish and feel much more connected to Jewish texts and Jewish culture.
        But that has nothing to do with “preserving”. The Jewish community is beset with such depressingly familiar dominating forces of chronic crises of moral emptiness. If that gets fixed, all your worries about preservation will solve themselves. If Jews can kick their Israel habit and their subservience to the benevolant philanthropist bosses – known in the shtetl in the Yiddish (of Hebrew origin) as the g’veer (moneybags) but nowadays, the poritz (evil landowner) will do just fine – you’ll get tons of continuity and natural preservation and healthy development.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        August 8, 2013, 11:22 pm

        @ Jon S.
        Let’s say you get your turn in the time machine and run into Abraham. You would have very little to talk about besides the weather, even if you did polish your Biblical Hebrew.
        If you had a second turn going back in time, you most likely wouldn’t have such a great time with your great-great-grandfather in the shtetl either. After you’d taken some pictures and eaten their best kugel, you’d be quite ready to quickly get out of some Eastern European hovel and get back to your life today.
        You speak from a place of ahistorical reduction.
        How meaningful is the term “Jew” as an identification with past generations?
        Ideas, yes; folkways, yes; a feeling of connectedness, yes. But nothing more real than just that.

      • annie
        annie
        August 8, 2013, 11:59 pm

        Anyone who believes that God has spoken to them regarding grants of ownership to the land and resources of inhabited territories, and is willing to offer up one of his family members as a human sacrifice in exchange, would by definition, be considered a psychiatric case today.

        i agree. if anyone has concerns about carrying on one’s ethnicity they don’t have to do it like this. but if they did they’d have the law chasing them down (at least in the US).

      • annie
        annie
        August 9, 2013, 12:07 am

        Thanks to dead people we are all here today. What’s your point?

        i never thought of it that way. but thanks to a bunch of dead people i’m here too. it’s fairly odd we’re even having this discussion. everyone on earth is here because of a long succession of dead people who were once alive.

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 9, 2013, 1:02 am

        Talkback, Let’s imagine that somehow you could know the future, and you discover that future generations in your family will be miserable , suffering from -God forbid- a debilitating disease. I assume that that knowledge would sadden you.
        So is that “all about you”?
        I think that pretty much all cultures seek to transmit their traditions and heritage and values from generation to generation. So I suppose I would feel the same if I came from a different culture. In other words, if I were, say, a Christian I would also be sad to if I were to know that my grandchildren won’t be Jewish. *

        *just kidding

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 9, 2013, 1:10 am

        jon s:

        : My feeling is that Jewish heritage, traditions and identity are important..

        Which of the many traditions and forms of identity? All of them? All the religious traditions? All the cultural traditions? What about the newly-minted “untraditional traditions and identities”, as in Zionist nationalism?

      • jon s
        jon s
        August 9, 2013, 1:18 am

        Elliot,
        Boy, would I have a lot to talk to Abraham about! I would ask him to explain the disrepancy between his absolute compliance to the order to sacrifice his beloved son on the one hand, and his pleas and bargaining on behalf of the sinners of S’dom on the other. He pleads with God to spare the people of S’dom- idolators, sinners, total strangers, yet he doesn’t question the need to sacrifice an innocent child, his own son.
        Aside from that I would compliment him on the solution he found for the conflict with Lot – an inspiration for those who support a two-state solution today.
        As to our ancestors in the shtetl, after sampling the kugel and comparing recipes, I would strongly urge them to get the hell out.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 9, 2013, 2:04 am

        i agree. if anyone has concerns about carrying on one’s ethnicity they don’t have to do it like this. but if they did they’d have the law chasing them down (at least in the US).

        We consider ourselves normal and highly civilized. Yet we allow people to perform unnecessary surgery and dangerous rituals on the genitals of healthy newborn infants and slaughter animals using less than compassionate procedures on the basis of the exercise of religious freedom. What will our own posterity think about that in a few generations ?

        The primitive notions in the story of Abraham were not unique in the era and locale in which the events allegedly took place. Biblical Abraham certainly wasn’t troubled about the prospect of abandoning the traditions and religious practices of his own father or community. Why should we hang onto his or anyone else’s superstitions if they have no particular merit? I’m certainly not willing to disown my own flesh and blood in order to pay homage to myths, legends, and traditions.

      • yrn
        yrn
        August 9, 2013, 3:51 am

        Annie

        What’s the connection between your answer
        “supporting separation of church and state is one way of preserving people’s right to worship”
        To My Question.
        “because obviously there are a lot of people (myself included) who are interested in preserving ‘jewishness’ ”
        How do you preserve your “jewishness” as a non Jew ???

      • annie
        annie
        August 9, 2013, 5:08 am

        yrn, i did not ever reference “my” jewishness. you know that. that is why you declined my request here wrt your ‘bunch of words’: http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/salon-writer-concludes-that-judeophobe-is-just-code-for-anti-zionist.html/comment-page-1#comment-582796

        and as i answered before, my interest in preserving ethnicities is here:

        supporting separation of church and state is one way of preserving people’s right to worship, regardless of their faith. on principle the idea of preserving ethnicities (which was the point of my last paragraph above) it’s not important whether that pertains to one or the other, as opposed to an idea it pertains specifically to my own or one in favor of another.

        the separation of church and state: Jefferson: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

        it means religion can’t encroach on the state and the state doesn’t infringe or punish someone because of religious beliefs. (thereby the state preserves individual right of the religious..which one could view as preserving religion when the religion is tied to ethnicicy) not that ethnicities are primarily religions because they are not.

        either way my answer did not relate to your question because your question is based on allegations never broached.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        August 9, 2013, 7:02 am

        About logic. You shouldn’t have taken talkback’s point, annie, because he is confusing a definition of something with a descriptive statement.
        If ‘wishing to preserve Jewishness’ is the DEFINING characteristic of ‘Zionism’ then anyone who wishes to preserve Jewishness is a Zionist: if you have the defining characteristic of a certain category you belong in that category.
        If you define Zionism some other way and then add ‘All Zionists want to preserve Jewishness’ you do then leave open the possibility that ‘Not all who want to preserve Jewishness are Zionists’, but that is just because you have not this time linked the two ideas by definition.
        Under Talkback’s definition I would be a Zionist. Under the definitions used by some round here I would be an anti-Semite. Under my own definitions I a neither. No one owns words. Definitions are not right or wrong. The only necessity is to be clear about what definition is in use.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 9, 2013, 8:47 am

        Sibiriak says: “Paradoxically, Zionism radically altered “Jewishness” in order to preserve it.”

        No, they just changed the method.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 9, 2013, 8:53 am

        Hostage says: “Anyone who believes that God has spoken to them regarding grants of ownership to the land and resources of inhabited territories, and is willing to offer up one of his family members as a human sacrifice in exchange, would by definition, be considered a psychiatric case today.”

        Or a case of substance abuse.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        August 9, 2013, 8:57 am

        jon s says: “Talkback, Let’s imagine that somehow you could know the future, and you discover that future generations in your family will be miserable , suffering from -God forbid- a debilitating disease. I assume that that knowledge would sadden you.”

        So for you not being Jewish is comparable to suffering from a miserable, debilitating disease. If that’s the case, you might visit a doctor to check if you suffer from … ‘not being Jewish’.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak
        August 9, 2013, 9:25 am

        Talkback

        Sibiriak says: “Paradoxically, Zionism radically altered “Jewishness” in order to preserve it.”

        No, they just changed the method.

        I disagree. Zionism changed the very nature of “Jewishness”–changed Jewish culture, identity, language, religion, ideology, etc. Forms of “Jewishness” came into being which had never existed before.

      • annie
        annie
        August 9, 2013, 9:41 am

        you shouldn’t have taken talkback’s point, annie, because he is confusing a definition of something with a descriptive statement.
        If ‘wishing to preserve Jewishness’ is the DEFINING characteristic of ‘Zionism’ then anyone who wishes to preserve Jewishness is a Zionist

        i thought of that Mhughes, but before i conceded i scrolled up and read what s/he had written.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/08/salon-writer-concludes-that-judeophobe-is-just-code-for-anti-zionist.html/comment-page-1#comment-581935

        talkback didn’t use the term ‘define’, i did. he didn’t say that was the definition of a zionist, he said

        I think that first and foremost a Zionist is someone who wants to preserve Jewishness.

        iow, he thinks the priority of a zionist is to preserve jewishness. that goes to the intent of a person. in the same way someone might believe the priority of a lioness is to feed her cubs. and while intent may be part of an identity, it is not the extent of it nor necessarily the defining characteristic.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 9, 2013, 9:42 am

        jon s,

        Why should your ethnocentric and ethnic nationalist agenda, issues, problems, conflicts and enemies be of greater concern to non-Jews than their own respective ethnic agendas and issues? Beyond that — most non-Jews are not bogged down in ethnocentrism and ethnic nationalism for themselves — their outlook on the world is more open and universal.

        Any thoughts?

        To what degree in general are ethnocentrism and ethnic nationalism irritants in human social relations — the cause of endless primitive conflict over petty (even infantile) emotional and psychological needs?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 9, 2013, 10:03 am

        Annie,

        What is your own cultural background — ethnic and religious — and that of your parents?

        What factors first lured you in to the Great Mideast Debates?

        Me: Anglo-Irish, fourth generation American, Roman Catholic by upbringing, currently agnostic but sympathetic to progressive religions.

        What first drew me into the Great Mideast Debates was having my intelligence regularly insulted in discussions with neoconservatives (some of whom were my professors and classmates) about American Mideast policy. They frequently made statements that were obviously unfactual and made no sense, and which were clearly driven by strong (often violent) emotions that had nothing to do with the quest for truth.

        I tend to come to these controversies from the standpoint of American interests and a curiosity in sorting out what is really going on the world.

        Many pro-Israel activists have a genius for setting into motion feuds that never end and which perpetually escalate in emotional (and physical) violence. I have come to associate these attitudes with irrational Old Testament zealotry — or Abrahamism. God is on my side against your side. One quickly discovers that it is impossible to pursue a rational conservation with ethno-religious nationalist zealots — they are angry and self-righteous cultists, not reasonable and truth-seeking thinkers.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        August 9, 2013, 10:07 am

        “Talkback, Let’s imagine that somehow you could know the future, and you discover that future generations in your family will be miserable , suffering from -God forbid- a debilitating disease. I assume that that knowledge would sadden you.”
        “So is that ‘all about you’?”

        It’s amazing that with some people if you let them talk you find all kinds of vile bigotry comes pouring out. (Especially from what supposedly passes for the “left” among the zionists…)

        Tell us, jon, is someone said that they would be said if their grandkids were Jews they would be sad, just as they would be sad if their grandkids suffered some loathsome disease, would you not see the disgusting bigotry in what you wrote?

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 9, 2013, 10:32 am

        My main problem with neocons (and many pro-Israel activists): from the get-go, they were haranguing me to hate and wage violence against their ethnic nationalist enemies. If you weren’t instantly on board with their program of military aggression and endless culture wars, they defined you as a biblical or blood enemy. Crazy stuff. I don’t respond well to being told whom to hate.

        It has amazed me that so many Americans have been willing to go along passively with the overheated and narrow program of the Israel lobby, with no reasonable questions asked.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        August 9, 2013, 11:05 am

        You shouldn’t have taken talkback’s point, annie, because he is confusing a definition of something with a descriptive statement. If ‘wishing to preserve Jewishness’ is the DEFINING characteristic of ‘Zionism’ then anyone who wishes to preserve Jewishness is a Zionist: if you have the defining characteristic of a certain category you belong in that category.

        I agree with MHughes976.
        FreddyV started this discussion by stating that “A Zionist is a person who…” Although he didn’t use the word definition, he gave his definition of “Zionist”. Therefore, we are talking about a definition.
        By the way, I agree with FreddyV’s definition.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 9, 2013, 11:08 am

        Talkback, Let’s imagine that somehow you could know the future, and you discover that future generations in your family will be miserable , suffering from -God forbid- a debilitating disease. I assume that that knowledge would sadden you.

        There’s no need to imagine it. The interest in Jewish DNA studies had its origins in a number of Mendelian genetic disorders that inbred populations are prone to pass along to their descendants.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        August 9, 2013, 11:15 am

        So if I were to know that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren won’t be Jewish, would it bother me, make me sad? Absolutely. […] I think the Jewish identity and heritage is worth preserving and I want to see it survive.

        What if your grandchildren fall in love with non-Jews and wish to raise their children just as humans, not specifically as Jews? Shouldn’t you first and foremost want your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to live their lives in a way that makes them happy? Wouldn’t it make YOU happy to see THEM happy?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 9, 2013, 11:41 am

        No, they just changed the method.

        To a completely non-religious one that permitted a multitude of otherwise unqualified and unworthy atheists to “return to Zion”.

      • seanmcbride
        seanmcbride
        August 9, 2013, 11:46 am

        Hostage,

        No, they just changed the method.

        To a completely non-religious one that permitted a multitude of otherwise unqualified and unworthy atheists to “return to Zion”.

        But the mainstream Jewish religious establishment has passionately embraced and absorbed Zionism. The situation is more complex than this.

      • yrn
        yrn
        August 9, 2013, 2:12 pm

        Elliot

        Based on your comments, your above comment is predictable and I guess that you as some other Jews here do not put any emphasis or meaning or weight, if your next Generations will be Jewish or not, lets say guess from a practical everyday life, you maybe even encourage them to go with the main stream and not to be different ( A Jew).
        And if the next generation will intermarry, your next generation position will be very liberal, meaning let the kids decide what’s good for them which is OK and then the next Generation will not have any connection to Judaism, Jewishness you name it.
        As most assimilated waves in the beginning of the 20 Century in Europe.

        This cannot happened in Israel.
        There are two ways to preserve Judaism today, either you are religious, or you live in Israel, religious or not.
        Why? ask yourself.

      • yrn
        yrn
        August 9, 2013, 3:10 pm

        “As to our ancestors in the shtetl, after sampling the kugel and comparing recipes, I would strongly urge them to get the hell out.”

        Were too….. and how, most of those poor Jews, could not afford food, so how could they, if been accepted somewhere get the hell out and be saved from the horrors of the Nazis.
        But as some indicate there, they had nothing to worry, as no one hated the Jews and no harm could occur.
        From those who sit today in the US and their families were lucky to escape from Europe and today from their comfort chairs, analyse their history in a way that will fit their today Agenda.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      August 5, 2013, 9:15 am

      When Hagee spoke at AIPAC conference in 2007 he said there were 50 million of such insane fundies: http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2013/08/christian-zionism-the-new-heresy-that-undermines-middle-east-peace/

  9. Citizen
    Citizen
    August 5, 2013, 6:11 am

    I think Gore Vidal gave a clear sense of his POV here: http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/jewhis1.htm#Foreword

    • Keith
      Keith
      August 6, 2013, 5:31 pm

      CITIZEN- The book which Vidal is writing about, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years,” by Israel Shahak, is one I highly recommend.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        August 7, 2013, 6:33 am

        @ Keith
        Yes, I know. I highly recommend it too.

  10. homingpigeon
    homingpigeon
    August 7, 2013, 6:16 am

    There is a larger question behind the discussion of whether Vidal was or wasn’t anti-Semitic. I note that the people arguing that he was, seem to WANT him to have been anti-Semitic It is tempting to get into a counter argument that he wasn’t, but I think we should inquire more into the mindset – and ultimately that aspect of Zionist ideology itself – that absolutely insists on contriving and believing the exaggerated worst.

    Could a case be made that it is the Zionist who is the self-hating Jew, who wants me to hate him, and will do everything he can to prove that I hate him? Does Zionism demand that I hate my Jewish neighbor in order to sustain its own logic?

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      August 7, 2013, 1:33 pm

      Could a case be made that it is the Zionist who is the self-hating Jew, who wants me to hate him, and will do everything he can to prove that I hate him? Does Zionism demand that I hate my Jewish neighbor in order to sustain its own logic?

      That could be used as an abstract to describe Herzl’s Der Judenstat and the embarrassing racial theories it proposed. The Zionists have created a number of public organs devoted to discovering or fabricating new examples of antisemitism and reporting them to their constituencies.

      Herzl wrote that diaspora Jews could only produce inferior intellects and revolutionaries that carried the seeds antisemitism with them to the other lands through their own emigration. He claimed that Jews had lost the power of assimilation in the middle ages and could not live normal lives among the Gentiles, who inevitably resented the societal problems created by the Jews. Believe me, only complete idiots would praise this douche bag in their children’s textbooks as their founding father and hang pictures of him in their government office buildings.

      • Xpat
        Xpat
        August 8, 2013, 11:05 pm

        @ Hostage: Would you cite your reference. Thanks.
        “Herzl wrote that diaspora Jews could only produce inferior intellects and revolutionaries that carried the seeds antisemitism with them to the other lands through their own emigration. He claimed that Jews had lost the power of assimilation in the middle ages and could not live normal lives among the Gentiles, who inevitably resented the societal problems created by the Jews. “

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        August 9, 2013, 1:32 am

        @ Hostage: Would you cite your reference. Thanks.

        Surely. Herzl taught that the Jewish diaspora created abnormal conditions of life that inherently produced an abundance of mediocre intellects, disruptive revolutionaries, or greedy bankers. He said that we are the actual root cause of our own problems and Anti-Semitism. Here are some verbatim quotes on the subject:

        The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in perceptible numbers. Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution. This is the case in every country, and will remain so, even in those highly civilized—for instance, France—until the Jewish question finds a solution on a political basis. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of Anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America.

        Anti-Semitism increases day by day and hour by hour among the nations; indeed, it is bound to increase, because the causes of its growth continue to exist and cannot be removed. Its remote cause is our loss of the power of assimilation during the Middle Ages; its immediate cause is our excessive production of mediocre intellects, who cannot find an outlet downwards or upwards—that is to say, no wholesome outlet in either direction. When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of all revolutionary parties; and at the same time, when we rise, there rises also our terrible power of the purse.

        See — The Jewish State, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25282/25282-h/25282-h.htm

    • American
      American
      August 7, 2013, 1:47 pm

      homingpigeon says:
      August 7, 2013 at 6:16 am

      There is a larger question behind the discussion of whether Vidal was or wasn’t anti-Semitic.
      >>>>>>>>

      He just looks like an anti semite to Jews–to everyone else he just looks like a typical ‘snob’.

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