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Richard Cohen’s racist ABC’s: Arab culture, biracial children, Chirlane McCray’s sexuality

Israel/Palestine
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Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen is evidently the culture columnist at the Washington Post. A year ago he endorsed Mitt Romney’s view that Jews are culturally superior to Arabs. And two days ago he wrote that NY mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s marriage to a black woman makes good folks want to vomit:

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

Cohen is now on the defensive for these comments, justly. Alex Pareene at Salon hints that Jeff Bezos should fire Cohen, and says his racism isn’t just offensive, it’s anachronistic; Americans overwhelmingly say they have no issue with interracial romance.

Here’s what Cohen said about “Arab culture” and Jewish culture a year ago:

I do know, though, that if you eliminate what would certainly be condemned as a racist explanation — Jews as inherently smarter than non-Jews — then you are left with culture: There was something in the Jewish experience — 1,000 or so years of persecution and being shunted into dishonorable occupations such as money lending — that prepared Europe’s Jews for the onset of capitalism…

The cultural difference between Israel and its Arab neighbors is so striking that you would think it beyond question. But when Mitt Romney attributed the gap between Israel’s economic performance and the Palestinians’ — “Culture makes all the difference,” he said in Israel — the roof came down on him. PC police the world over raised a red card, giving him demerits for having the temerity to notice the obvious. Predictably, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator and a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, denounced the statement as “racist.” It was, of course, just the opposite.

This is a complicated matter. It’s true that the West Bank is under Israeli occupation and parts of Gaza have been pounded into rubble. It is also true that for years the Palestinians benefited from jobs in Israel. …

Still, for all the caveats, Arabs themselves recognize that they have a cultural problem.

I don’t question that Jews have had a remarkable culture, historically, in this stage of capitalism. But it’s over. Power destroyed it. The great Jewish IQ advantage is collapsing before our eyes and Cohen’s entitled Zionist stupidity is Exhibit A.

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About Philip Weiss

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

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81 Responses

  1. seafoid
    seafoid
    November 13, 2013, 3:40 pm

    A for AIPAC
    B for Brutality
    C for Contempt
    D for Plan Dalet
    E for Ego
    G for Grandeur (delusions of)
    H for Home Demolitions
    I for Indoctrination
    J for (nominally) Jewish
    K for Klanlike
    L for Lobby
    M for Mammon
    N for Nakba
    O for Odious
    P for Pathological Narcissism
    Q for Quds
    R for Revenge
    S for Sadism
    T for Torture
    U for Undivided eternal
    V for Violence
    W for Washington DC
    Y for YESHA
    Z for Zionism
    F for fucked

  2. ThorsteinVeblen2012
    ThorsteinVeblen2012
    November 13, 2013, 4:27 pm

    These awful things I write are not my thoughts

    They are the thoughts of other people

    Not people I know or have spoken to

    Not people I can quote or attribute

    They just appear in my head

    I take no responsibility for them

    I just write them down.

  3. lysias
    lysias
    November 13, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Richard Cohen is 72 years old, and grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens. He represents a mentality that is on the way out.

  4. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 13, 2013, 5:02 pm

    ” To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.” Well, perhaops that’s true.

    But, then, the first question: Why does he care? Why is he writing to “cultural conservatives”? And, second, does he share their values?

    And the third question: why does he put ANY of this in a newspaper?

    I’m not sure the columnist should be fired. Maybe it’s the editor or the owner of the paper.

    We’ll see how the paper owns up or hides on this one.

  5. The Hasbara Buster
    The Hasbara Buster
    November 13, 2013, 6:14 pm

    Phil,

    I don’t question that Jews have had a remarkable culture, historically, in this stage of capitalism.

    Well, I do have a problem with this assertion. The accurate statement would be that Jews have been great producers of the cultures they have lived in.

    There’s little Jewish, if anything at all, in the cultural output of Ashkenazi Jews. It’s not like they developed the concerto for piano and orchestra, the modern short story or oil-on-canvas painting. It’s not like they founded a physics school that eventually led to the Relativity Theory. They are all European creations that were taken up by Jews on an individual basis. Of course there’s a Jewish tradition of providing their offspring with an education, but that alone does not constitute a culture, nor can it be construed as the source of Jewish achievement, which would have been nonexistent outside of a European cultural context (no Einstein from Morocco).

    The ultimate reason for the Ashekanzi Jews’ (and Israel’s) success is that Europe made them the gift of Enlightment, freeing them from the yoke of religion. Left to their own forces, they would have probably ended up like the Haredi community in Israel, whose culture is uniquely Jewish.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      November 13, 2013, 9:39 pm

      HB: “Europe made them the gift of Enlightment, freeing them from the yoke of religion”.

      Indeed. Great point.

      I bet Freud and Marx would agree! And the composer Mendelssohn. And the European invention of “nationalism” came just in time for Herzl. All these 3 were, I believe, not religious.

      You thought that, maybe, Jews invented banking? No sir. Not even that.

      • MRW
        MRW
        November 14, 2013, 4:20 am

        @The Hasbara Buster and @pabelmont,
        Smart comments.

      • ziusudra
        ziusudra
        November 14, 2013, 8:54 am

        Greetings pabelmont,
        … you thought that, maybe, Jews invented Banking?….
        May i add?
        Modern Banking & Commercial Capitalism stems from
        14th C Venice.
        . They sat on wooden banks outside. The Bank.
        . They carried their coins in a small leather purse. The Bursa.
        . They gave credit. The verb credere, To Believe.
        ziusudra

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        November 15, 2013, 6:30 am

        @ Ziusudra

        I’m not sure any one group can be completely blamed for the creation of banking. It’s not perhaps exactly fair. Certainly you’re right about the Venetians but let’s not forget that before them the Knights Templar were issuing letters of credit that could be redeemed throughout Europe and even into the Holy Lands and were issuing loans on a scale that could meet the needs of entire kingdoms. Their monasteries could also act as the most secure of safety deposit boxes for their wealthy clients.

        I wonder than if it could be argued that the Venetian economic expansion was aided by their ability to move into a niche left vacant by the dissolution of the Knights in the early 14th Century?

      • American
        American
        November 14, 2013, 2:30 pm

        Cohen would hate this. But it’s true of all groups, particulary those that try to stay too tribal. The author still has a tad of conceit in this and in some places I would explain the difference between ‘adopting’ or incorporating’ instead of using assimilation. But basically it makes the point— any group or culture will stagnate and decline if it closes itself off.
        http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/rabbis-round-table/.premium-1.557627

        ‘Assimilation is good for Jews’…..
        Without the influence of the outside world, Jews and Judaism fossilize.
        (snip)
        ”In his essay “The Blessing of Assimilation in Jewish History,” Rabbi Gerson Cohen, former Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, writes, “A frank appraisal of the periods in which Judaism flourished will indicate … that in a profound sense … assimilation … was a stimulus to original thinking and expression.”

        ‘For instance, Maimonides assimilated the Greek philosophy of Aristotle and Plato in order to write his “Guide for the Perplexed,” one of the most influential works of Jewish philosophy ever composed. Theodor Herzl and other early Zionist visionaries assimilated the nationalistic philosophies of nineteenth century Europe to envision and achieve a sovereign, modern, democratic Jewish state.”

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 14, 2013, 8:01 pm

        ‘For instance, Maimonides assimilated the Greek philosophy of Aristotle and Plato …’

        Dare they mention that Miamonedes claimed to be in the same intellectual tradtion as al-Farabi, was an admirer of Ibn Sina*, and acknowledged his debt to his contemporary, Ibn Rushd?

        (It was Ibn Rushd who rescued Aristotle from the Neo-Platonic interpretations that were being forced on him, and led to a new appreciation of Greek philosophy in the West.)

        (*One of the most infuriatingly brilliant people who ever lived. Read about him, and be humbled. [RoHa seethes with envy, mutters dark imprecations.])

      • MRW
        MRW
        November 14, 2013, 8:50 pm

        Even Wikipedia gets banking wrong. It started with the Sumerians in 3500 BC. They kept debits and credits on clay tablets until the harvest came in and debts were settled up. At least, that is the earliest record we have of them since none of us speak or read Chinese.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 15, 2013, 6:15 am

        “At least, that is the earliest record we have of them since none of us speak or read Chinese.”

        Who are “us”?

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        November 15, 2013, 6:32 am

        @ MRW

        Not sure if the Sumerian records can be classed as banking records, they’re more like tax records by the state.

      • MRW
        MRW
        November 16, 2013, 3:06 am

        Roha, if you speak Chinese, I bow my head to you.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        November 16, 2013, 6:31 am

        I took Chinese in college. It’s actually very easy to learn. Grammar is easy just different from ours.

        IMO only writing the characters was tricky, but once you break down a character into familiar radicals and learn stroke order, it becomes easier.

        Fun language to learn.

        @RoHa

        你叫什么中文的名字?

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        November 16, 2013, 6:37 am

        你学习汉语多久?

      • lysias
        lysias
        November 16, 2013, 6:20 pm

        Two words for “us” in Chinese, at least in the Peking version of Mandarin. “Tzamen” is “we” meaning “you and I (and nobody else)”, whereas “tzamen” is “we” for all other groups of people including the speaker.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 16, 2013, 8:21 pm

        我只叫英文名字. 不住在中国. 英文名字行不行?

    • Inanna
      Inanna
      November 14, 2013, 4:26 am

      Well said Hasbara Buster.

    • DaveS
      DaveS
      November 14, 2013, 12:13 pm

      HB, that’s a great point. Very profound, very clearly articulated.

    • Chu
      Chu
      November 14, 2013, 12:51 pm

      Well done. That statement is worthy of your title, Hasbara Buster.

  6. American
    American
    November 13, 2013, 6:27 pm

    “People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) ”

    Oh man, I cant believe he’s going to get away with writing that!

  7. American
    American
    November 13, 2013, 6:43 pm

    Sen. John McCain’s Son Jack Marries Black Air Force Captain …blackamericaweb.com/…/sen-john-mccains-son-jack-marries-black-air-fo…‎Cached
    SimilarJun 4, 2013 – The Arizona senator’s son, Jack was married over the weekend to……

    And there is a long time repub senator who is married to a black woman (cant think 0f his name)and another married to an Asian and Jeb Bush who married a Latino.

    Cohen should just move to Israel where he wont be disturbed by this intermingling.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      November 13, 2013, 9:45 pm

      American: The (presumed) fact that social conservatives hold tight to various prejudices does NOT mean that they all practice what (many of them) preach. think of all those congressmen who preach “family values” (which seems to mean (often violent) “male dominance within the family” and a need for a “great leader” (or at least a “decider” such as Bush-shrub) but get caught with mistresses etc. On the other hand, deviation would usually be done in secret. Hmmm.

      • American
        American
        November 14, 2013, 7:53 am

        @pabelmont

        Yes I know…..lots of hypocrisy .

  8. bilal a
    bilal a
    November 13, 2013, 7:04 pm

    “the great Jewish IQ advantage” depends on where they live and their income, among other factors, and estimates vary by author, and in any case seem irrelevant to measures of skills that actually contribute to social wealth, ie the real economy, rather than the paper one:

    “Lynn and Vanhanen report that Israeli Jews have strikingly low IQs by comparison. One large sample from 1989 put the figure at 90, while a far smaller sample from 1975 indicated an IQ of 97, with both results drawn from Israel’s large Jewish majority rather than its small Arab minority.”

    http://www.vdare.com/articles/iq-and-the-wealth-of-nations-richard-lynn-replies-to-ron-unz

    “Ninety years ago, Stanford psychologist Lewis Terman began an ambitious search for the brightest kids in California, administering IQ tests to several thousand of children across the state. Those scoring above an IQ of 135 (approximately the top 1 percent of scores) were tracked for further study. There were two young boys, Luis Alvarez and William Shockley, who were among the many who took Terman’s tests but missed the cutoff score. Despite their exclusion from a study of young “geniuses,” both went on to study physics, earn PhDs, and win the Nobel prize. ”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=recognizing-spatial-intel

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      November 13, 2013, 9:52 pm

      When I was young (1950s), Jewish kids (in San Francisco) seemed to be the smartest kids and also did best at classical music. Or perhaps I thought so because of the company I kept. More recently, and not only in San Francisco, the smartest kids seemed to be those of Asian immigrants.

      My guess is that children in families if STRIVERS who work hard (and especially if exposed to reading at an early age) do well. My parents’ parents were Jewish immigrants and I would assume were strivers. Nowadays, symphony orchestras (and UC Berkeley) are showing a huge tendency toward Asians.

      The newer immigrants.

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        November 15, 2013, 6:37 am

        Most of America lies between the Left coast and Yankeedom, and assuming all populations follow a Bell curve distribution, there are hundreds of thousands more Gentile high IQ individuals than those found in the relatively small immigrant populations, so their exclusion has something to do with another measure besides intelligence., most likely ‘networking’ as some argue, a polite term for discrimination based upon ethnicity.

        eg YJP
        http://www.yjpnewyork.org/

      • annie
        annie
        November 15, 2013, 7:57 am

        “YJP Access is open predominantly by-invitation only. ”

        here’s a video http://www.yjpaccess.com/

  9. petersz
    petersz
    November 13, 2013, 7:45 pm

    Hmmm. Wasn’t Steve Jobs half Arab?

    • gamal
      gamal
      November 13, 2013, 10:51 pm

      yes but it wasn’t the good half

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        November 15, 2013, 6:28 am

        lol

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        November 15, 2013, 6:38 am

        I wasn’t aware he had a good half.

  10. ToivoS
    ToivoS
    November 13, 2013, 8:36 pm

    Cohen defends himself in a huffPo piece. He really doesn’t see what he has written is so wrong. What is interesting is that his piece was reviewed by senior editors and the offending sentence went right past them. What this reveals is that they are, in fact, the “conventional” people he thinks he is distancing himself from.

  11. W.Jones
    W.Jones
    November 13, 2013, 9:13 pm

    Perhaps a few centuries from now some historians will write a book about mistreatment of Muslims in America and our foreign policy. They will go back and dredge up quotes like these to desperately prove to the future generations that there really was widespread prejudice against Arabs among many layers of US society, particularly the media and ruling class. It will be hard for those generations to put themselves back in our peoples’ mindset because it will be so different.

    • traintosiberia
      traintosiberia
      November 13, 2013, 10:50 pm

      There will be videos of Nathyahu calling Iranian president a wolf,documented atrocities on Gaza,and W Bank,on Syria and lebanon and on recorded gloatings by Israel regarding the assassination of the scientist. There will be informations from the archives about the bitterness of Kerry, Biden,spat between Obama and Israeli politicians, weakness of Congress and Senate,writing of Congressional acts by AIPAC.

      Yes American politican will be blamed but the future generations will conclude that the American interests ,its citizen suffered way more under the yoke of AIPAC/JINSA . They also would conclude that Muslims were safer in tolerant US/Canada/UK compared their brethern were in Pakistan, Iraq,Syria Burma Ethiopia , Russia or China

  12. chris o
    chris o
    November 13, 2013, 9:51 pm

    I love the closing paragraph. It packs a solid punch.

  13. RoHa
    RoHa
    November 13, 2013, 11:55 pm

    Repulsive though is views on race may be, he is correct about some points.

    Culture is not race. Culture is learned. Criticizing a culture is not racist. It is not even necessarily a sign of any sort of bigotry. And there is no moral reason for forbidding such criticism. If one culture is inferior to another in some respect (e.g., politeness) there is no reason why we should not be allowed to say so. “Japanese culture is more courteous than US culture” may or may not be true, but it is wrong to try to prevent discussion of the issue and its implications. Discussion does not automatically imply approval or condemnation. Nor does acknowledging success in some field (war, ethnic cleansing, nation building) automatically imply approval of the methods by which the success was achieved.

    And – perhaps most importantly – acknowledging cultural inferiority of a group does not in any way diminish the rights of the members of that group.

    “There was something in the Jewish experience — 1,000 or so years of persecution and being shunted into dishonourable occupations such as money lending — that prepared Europe’s Jews for the onset of capitalism…”

    The success of the Jews in Israel does not, I think, have anything to do with this “1000 years of blah blah blah”. It stems from the fact that the Jews were modern Europeans. Their culture and education was modern European. They were more like their fellow Poles, Germans, and Hungarians than the Jews of Morocco or Syria. And so they used modern European methods.

    (This American conservative nattering about “capitalism” ignores the role Jews played in the development of socialism, as well as the alleged socialist tendencies of the Zionists.)

    “Still, for all the caveats, Arabs themselves recognize that they have a cultural problem.”

    http://www.arab-hdr.org/
    http://arabdevelopment.com/

    And have had for a long time. I suspect that a lot of the cultural weakness comes from being controlled by non-Arab powers (especially the Turks) for a very long time. Most Arab countries have only been independent since the early to middle twentieth century.

  14. Inanna
    Inanna
    November 14, 2013, 4:24 am

    Cohen wouldn’t have lasted 5 more minutes in any job if he had said anything negative about Jews. However, having said them about Arabs and still maintaining his employment shows the acceptability of anti-Arab discourse in this country.

  15. Inanna
    Inanna
    November 14, 2013, 4:31 am

    Perhaps Cohen could also expound on what it is about Palestinian culture that explains the fact that the Palestinians enjoy per capita income that is less than half of the surrounding Arab countries. I think I know what it is. Palestinian culture occupies itself, steals its own land and property to give to others, ethnically cleanses itself, builds walls around itself, builds checkpoints to keep its people imprisoned and blockades itself from contact with the outside world such that goods and people cannot be moved.

    Palestinian culture has some talent, let me tell ya.

    • piotr
      piotr
      November 14, 2013, 12:37 pm

      It is quite a bit like comparing different economic outcomes for nobility and serfs and attributing them to cultural differences. It is not like there were no cultural differences. Interestingly, the nobility had the right to bear arms and the serfs did not, so there is also something for the believers in the Second Amendment (to some, this is the First Commandment). And voila: the settlers have the right to bear arms and Palestinians usually do not. Perhaps piotr has a better explanation than Romney and Cohen?

      It is sociologically (and politically) interesting that Romney and Cohen agree on that bit of idiocy. It means that it was not a random slip of the tongue but a conviction that has a wide circulation among the comfortable classes.

      I could perhaps defend Romney, except that he also wrote explanation for his slip that did not make any sense. In his explanation, the culture that enables our economy to thrive consists of family values and belief in “something larger than ourself”. Is it really what Palestinians lack? Cohen was more glib in his explanations, but he left certain things out: the economically successful culture gives two sets of skills: to climb up and to keep the competitors down.

      Dear Mr. Romney and Mr. Cohen, It’s Obvious You Won’t Survive by Your Wits Alone http://www.comicvine.com/dilbert-6-it-s-obvious-you-won-t-survive-by-your-w/4000-396042/

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        November 15, 2013, 6:41 am

        Insightful . Imagine Palestine with a 2nd amendment under the British. No Nakba, no Israel.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      November 14, 2013, 7:46 pm

      On the narrow question of Palestinian culture and the economic position of the Palestinians, I think Israeli theft, the occupation, and the waves of Israeli destruction are so important that it is impossible to detect any cultural factors.

  16. ziusudra
    ziusudra
    November 14, 2013, 8:34 am

    Greetings Phillip. Weiss,
    ….the great Jewish IQ advantage is collapsing before our eyes….

    Mankind is endowed with a brain.
    We all have the same wiring.
    I ne’er heard of a a better hand, leg or an eye.
    IQ is based on knowledge.
    Intelligence is based on cognizance.
    Striving for Scholasticism is not IQ.
    Universities have been compiling knowledge
    since the middle ages of ancient Egyptians, Persians,
    Sumerians, Greeks & Romans. Whoever has a path
    to such knowledge, stores it, hence it is a compiled IQ,
    nothing one is born with.
    We all had to learn metholical workings of grammar,
    but not the use of language.
    ziusudra
    PS It could be said that US Jews aren’t as scholastic as
    they were in the seclusion of their Euro Ghetti & Family ties
    in the late 19th C. to the early 20thC. It could also mean
    that the US Jew is assimilating with the US way of life.

  17. American
    American
    November 14, 2013, 1:16 pm

    ”’Mondoweiss Comments Section Needs Some Disinfectant”

    http://mjayrosenberg.com/2013/11/14/mondoweiss-comments-section-needs-some-disinfectant/

    Opps, here he goes again.
    I didnt pay much attention to this thread so came back to see exactly what anti semitic comments he’s talking about here.
    The cockroach thing I mgiht agree with, like it’s referring to Jewish culture instead of Cohen’s particular zionist, family upbringing, or whatever segment of culture he is part of ‘within’the Jewish umbrella.
    But I dont see any other ……does anyone else?

    • piotr
      piotr
      November 14, 2013, 5:38 pm

      MJ Rosenberg is rather blameless here. He objected to that:

      Cohen comes from a culture that has not changed or moved out or improved. It is like the survival of the cockroach , never evolved and always been there for millions of years. Every problem is a nail to be bluntly hammered .

      Somehow the peculiarity of American establishment (not just American, but this is establishment peculiarity) to fancy itself as “meriticratic” and “product of superior culture” was projected as a property of “a culture”, presumably Jewish. I would not devote overly long polemic to this passage by traintosiberia, but let me just defend hapless cockroaches: since when were they observed to treat every problem as a “nail to be bluntly hammered”?

      Insulting cockroaches can inflate public passions and should not be undertaken lightly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_newspaper_cockroach_cartoon_controversy

      • philweiss
        philweiss
        November 18, 2013, 10:53 am

        I’m with MJ here, it’s offensive and I’m stripping as much of it out of the thread as I can

      • American
        American
        November 18, 2013, 11:41 am

        As much as I hate saying anything that might encourage MJ’s A-S paranoia— I have to agree the way trans wrote it can be read as Jewish culture as the cockroach.

      • marc b.
        marc b.
        November 18, 2013, 12:12 pm

        i have to agree, too. not that I am the arbiter of what’s appropriate. but equating a culture, its people with an insect is offensive. worse still, it’s taken the focus off of the smiling, racist senility of the widely read r.cohen. having said that, I don’t see rosenberg calling for the Washington Post to be ‘disinfected’. (isn’t that what you do to eliminate germs? perhaps a step or two above cockroaches on the evolutionary chart, but no less hardy) yes, cohen is a racist dope, but it seems to end there, at least as far as the recent conversation goes. maybe I missed something, though. I don’t find Rosenberg to be worth the time generally.

    • Ellen
      Ellen
      November 14, 2013, 5:56 pm

      I respect Rosenberg, but do not really understand his thing about labeling MW an “Antisemitic” site. Oversensitivity….projection? The cockroach thing…well maybe cringe-worthy. But hey, this is is a blog with people from all cultural background posting. Put it into context. Not to play “whaddabout” but does he consider the vile anti Arab posts that past through here in the flow of discussion? Is that what he means by “Antisemitic?”

      How it appears or feels to Rosenberg may have a completely different context to another person in another part of the world. The point made was the inability to progress, to move on. Not calling someone a cockroach. But Rosenberg read it as such.

      Me thinks Rosenberg is reading things that are not there and projecting himself, his conditioning onto others instead of seeing the bigger context.

      I hope he reads this because I always take the time to read him.

      • American
        American
        November 14, 2013, 6:38 pm

        After having one knock down drag out with MJ I have ceased letting him piss me off and just recongize he has a huge chip on his shoulder about ‘gentiles’ criticizing Israel or zionism.
        It’s fine for Jews to do it but not for any non Jewish or Americans to do it….Because we gentiles caused anti semitism and the holocaust which made Israel and zionism necessary—so we should all shut up support saving Israel (mostly from itself).
        He’s a lot like Jerry Slater that way, the only good gentiles are ones who acknowledge their eternal collective guilt and ‘unconditional’ responsibility to the Jews and Israel.

        But he does do a good job lambasting the traitor politicians so it’s a small trade off.

      • annie
        annie
        November 14, 2013, 10:19 pm

        Me thinks Rosenberg is reading things that are not there and projecting himself, his conditioning onto others instead of seeing the bigger context.

        what strikes me as interesting is that he has a big megaphone and he’s chosen to use it here. single-handedly first ali and now MW. both very big enchiladas in the discourse of exposing israel’s crimes. and he is in this business of exposure especially concerning the lobby.

        it’s unusual for a person in media, at a time like this with so much going on, to choose a comment section to critique. i’ve seen so much worse at haaretz, jpost, tablet, guardian, huff po, so what’s the main intent? given him and phil are friends and he could have just written him, or come here and posted himself his objection to the comment.

        i keep thinking of that ending of the sentence he cut

        Every problem is a nail to be bluntly hammered .

        Every problem is a nail to be bluntly hammered .

        Every problem is a nail to be bluntly hammered .

        it was a very blunt action choosing to write a post about one comment. and i find it very difficult to understand how someone would “try not to read the comments on Mondoweiss”

        i never ‘try’ not to read anything. maybe i phrased that wrong. there’s nothing i want to read that i have to restrain myself from. it requires no effort on my part to not read the things i don’t want to read. i just don’t read them.

        mj said he read the comment section to see if ” MW would turn Cohen into a symbol of Jews”

        so that’s what he was looking for when he decided to read the thread. if you’ve got a hammer then what you see are nails.

      • American
        American
        November 15, 2013, 9:20 am

        ‘what strikes me as interesting is that he has a big megaphone and he’s chosen to use it here.’…..annie

        I think it’s what I said, he objects to the way non Jews on MW are allowed to air their opinions on Israel…he is not for any ‘war of ideas’.
        It’s the— “I can say anything I want to about my brother but no outsider better pick on him”…kind of thing.
        Plus it’s all the non Jews fault anyway that Israel is necesary.
        I’ve read his blog fairly regulary since he started it cause I think his AIPAC background gives him some good insights into the lobby and congress.
        One time he wrote about how the US was destroying Israel and how we had an ‘obligation’ to ‘save it from itself’ and the pain this was causing Jews who believed in Israel.
        I made what I thought was a very sympathic comment acknowledging his justifable angst— but made the mistake of adding that if he was frustrated though imagine how frustrated non Jewish Americans with no attachment to Israel felt about what was going on with Israel and the US.
        Well!…he went ballistic. How dare I, an anti semite, have anything to say about this. Although the US is also non Jews country and government, in MJ’s mind they have no right to object to anything concerning US-Israel–even when he says the many of the same things.
        I was an anti semite because I had said ”how Americans felt’ and that was
        ‘ insinuating’ or code for Jews not being real Americans.
        The other commenters came to my defense and told him he was wrong about what I said and was seeing things that werent there, but it made no difference and he jumped on them also—he was full tilt into a frothing anti semites rant…a total Cat 5 meltdown.
        He does have a severe gentile and christian hang up re Jews and Israel.
        When the new Catholic Pope was installed he sent out a tweet attacking him that was so bad it was unbelievable….called him a murderer and Jew killer and on and on.
        He just cant see in himself the same kind of prejudice he accuses other people of.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        November 15, 2013, 12:34 pm

        Annie,

        You made good points. If we are together working for a goal of human rights in a despairing, losing situation, why attack an ally like Ali, M.W. publicly unless it is fully conclusive that they are seriously racist?

        A big problem with these kinds of attacks is how they deal with ambiguity, choosing to turn it against the accused. Ali repeatedly opposes Zionism, so is that racist? TrainstoSiberia complained that the writer “Cohen comes from a culture that has not changed… The language of violence dominates the discussion of the neocons and of the Israeli leaders.” So is Trains complaining about some nationality or about a larger culture that includes the Neocons? Naturally the latter.

        Unfortunately, this “presumption of racism” works to freeze and shutdown discussion, Annie. We are dealing with a conflict between Nationalisms. It makes sense that many people opposed to conflict are going to criticize the nationalism and the “language of violence”. They may become afraid to speak out if those criticisms will be labeled as racist. It is only natural that prolific critics will make a statement at one point that is ambiguous or uninformed. Also, yes, sometimes inside national cultures there can be instances of problems. If Muslim culture was a pacifist Mennonite culture, obviously there would be no obstacle to peace (that might not be the only result). If you can’t discuss any problems in a nationalist movement it shuts down your conversation and you are not able to speak out in a helpful way.

        And don’t think MJR has the “answer” to the “presumption of racism”: even he has been labeled anti-Semitic.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        November 15, 2013, 5:30 pm

        Amer,

        Check out the comment section on Mondoweiss in case you think anti-Semitism is dead. The good news. It emanates not from Muslims or Arabs in general but from the same people who never could stand Jews and they are, happily, a dying breed.

        The problem with this claim is that the people who are most dedicated to human rights in the Holy Land are leftist human rights activists. If you go through history you see that the leftists are the one who have been the strongest against racism and discrimination. It is not a situation where some kind of centuries-old chronic intolerant creature starts his career working for Strom Thurmond and goes over to the MW comments blog. That does not make sense. The kind of people making criticisms about nationalism are the opposite- those who have been dedicated to universalism and equality.

    • annie
      annie
      November 14, 2013, 9:41 pm

      here’s what he said:

      But here is my favorite. Ostensibly about Richard Cohen, it notes that “Cohen comes from a culture that has not changed or moved out or improved. It is like the survival of the cockroach, never evolved and always been there for millions of years.”

      which is interesting because when i first read the the comment (here, not at mj’s) i just assumed he was referencing a culture of racism “never evolved and always been there for millions of years”. and then reading the comment further it was more explicit:

      The language of violence dominates the discussion of the neoocns and of the Israeli leaders . The language of violence are always given audible platform by the media when Arabs or Iranian are the target .

      i didn’t read it as ‘the jews are cockroaches’. i read it as the culture of violence and racism has the survival of a cockroach (it does) and he specified neocons and israeli leaders adding ‘the media’ (cohen’s culture) as always giving an audible platform when Arabs or Iranian are the target . and generally they (the media) do.

      and i find it curious mj chose to cut off the quote before the end of the thought…never evolved and always been there for millions of years. Every problem is a nail to be bluntly hammered .

      it contextualizes the meaning but he didn’t capture it in the quote. wonder why.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        November 14, 2013, 10:15 pm

        “i didn’t read it as ‘the jews are cockroaches’. i read it as the culture of violence and racism has the survival of a cockroach (it does)”

        Obviously you need more practice in seeing things that aren’t there.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 14, 2013, 11:08 pm

        Cockroach is a term that people with an ounce of common sense would avoid in talking about any “other”.

        Think of Kafka’s Gregor Samsa and then choose a different metaphor other than cockroach. Is it really so difficult to choose one’s words?

      • talknic
        talknic
        November 15, 2013, 12:22 am

        @ yonah fredman Demonstrates an Israeli apologists dishonesty in twisting what has been said.

        “Cockroach is a term that people with an ounce of common sense would avoid in talking about any “other””

        It wasn’t about any ‘other’ . It was a comment on the culture.

        “Cohen comes from a culture that has not changed or moved out or improved. It is like the survival of the cockroach, never evolved and always been there for millions of years.”

        Seems they’re oblivious they’re making such fools of themselves at every twist and turn

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 15, 2013, 1:11 am

        talknic- How would it play if I compared Arab culture to cockroaches, do you think that would play well? I don’t think so. If you disagree, let me know.

      • Obsidian
        Obsidian
        November 15, 2013, 2:12 am

        ” It is like the survival of the cockroach, never evolved and always been there for millions of years.”

        No. The cockroach had evolved until it reached an evolutionary stage where it no longer need to evolve further.

        The cockroach had reached a stage of evolutionary perfection.

      • talknic
        talknic
        November 15, 2013, 2:37 am

        @ yonah fredman “How would it play if I compared Arab culture to cockroaches”

        Go ahead, in the same context if you will aka

        Cohen comes from a culture that has not changed or moved out or improved .It is like the survival of the cockroach , never evolved and always been there for millions of years. Every problem is a nail to be bluntly hammered .
        That culture easily writes off Arabs’s opposition as the pernenial expression of weakness and worship of powerful having found expression from Ben Gurion-Weizmann duo to Friedman and Ledeen duo.
        The fomer claimed Arabs understood only the strength and show of forces . Friedman wrote -” What part of this you dont understand” .He wrote ,” We need to shake the neighborhood” on the eve of Iraq 2003 war . Ledeen wrote “[Every ten years or so we need to go out and beat the crap out of some countries to show who was in charge]. The language of violence dominates the discussion of the neoocns and of the Israeli leaders . The language of violence are always given audible platform by the media when Arabs or Iranian are the target

        I’ll wait … http://talknic.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/waiting_for_the_israeli_propagandist.gif

      • annie
        annie
        November 15, 2013, 8:22 am

        The cockroach had reached a stage of evolutionary perfection.

        this reminds me of something i said to my son’s lawyer after we finally (after 5 years) won. he used to drive me up the wall, i can’t explain it. just endless mental stuff. anyway, after we won (and of course we were very grateful) i told him he reminded me of a termite. he said, couldn’t i remind you of another animal, a badger or something? i said no, you decimated everything in our path and turned it into dust.

      • just
        just
        November 15, 2013, 8:32 am

        Annie– you are a treasure, indeed.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        November 15, 2013, 8:45 am

        @ Obsidian

        Go back to school Obsidian, nothing ever reaches evolutionary “perfection”, the most an organism can do is reach an evolutionary equilibrium with its environment and that, by its very nature, is temporary.

      • annie
        annie
        November 15, 2013, 3:07 pm

        just, my intention is not to defend the comment because i think it was harsh. but personally i wouldn’t mind having the survival skills of a cockroach, and i would definitely wish it upon my kin. but the “never evolved ” part of it? i don’t really think cockroaches could have survived and proliferated without adapting, which is evolution. anyway, i’m just rambling.

      • philweiss
        philweiss
        November 18, 2013, 10:54 am

        Annie its resonance seems clear to me. The confusion of whether it’s Jewish culture or a racist culture is too easy. This kind of generalization and vile reference wrt Muslims we would not tolerate…

  18. mcohen
    mcohen
    November 14, 2013, 6:40 pm

    Philip Weiss on November 13, 2013 says

    “The great Jewish IQ advantage is collapsing before our eyes and Cohen’s entitled Zionist stupidity is Exhibit A.”

    hey phil don,t be so hard on yourself

    anyway the more you squeeze the better the jews

    keep up the good work,the golden age of American jewry is in decline and it is the startup Israel that needs to cut itself loose not the other way round

  19. LanceThruster
    LanceThruster
    November 14, 2013, 7:07 pm

    Homer Stokes: [as Grand Kleagle at a KKK rally] Brothers! Oh, brothers! We have all gathered here, to preserve our hallowed culture and heritage! We aim to pull evil up by the root, before it chokes out the flower of our culture and heritage! And our women, let’s not forget those ladies, y’all. Looking to us for protection! From darkies, from Jews, from papists, and from all those smart-ass folks say we come descended from monkeys!

  20. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    November 14, 2013, 11:31 pm

    RE: “Cohen comes from a culture that has not changed or moved out or improved. It is like the survival of the cockroach, never evolved . . .” ~ traintosiberia

    MY COMMENT: I find this highly offensive! ! !

    • Ecru
      Ecru
      November 15, 2013, 6:47 am

      @ Dickerson3870

      What exactly do you find offensive? I took the comment to be referring to that sub-culture of xenophobia found in (I’m pretty sure) all cultures and apparently dominant in Israel and amongst Zionists, not referring to Jewish culture (cultures) as a whole.

  21. Eva Smagacz
    Eva Smagacz
    November 15, 2013, 7:02 am

    Traintosiberia,

    Propose you change your choice of living fossil. Replace Blattaria with Coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae, for example. That way your argument ( mostly – Blattaria is said to be able to survive a nuclear winter, not something anyone had tested Coelacanthiformes for) stands, and the knee jerk reaction of Anti-Semitism is avoided.

    You know – Judaism and cockroaches in the same sentence – “must” be anti-Semitism, Judaism and coelacanth in the same sentence – who knows, people may even read understand your argument about culture being like a living fossil without knee jerk reaction ( and yes, this is aimed squarely at you, MJRosenburg )

    • just
      just
      November 15, 2013, 7:30 am

      A big thank you and a belly laugh, too!

      How about a faecolith?

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