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The liberal Zionist lament: Joe Klein and Jodi Rudoren try to explain away Israeli racism

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“We’re not going to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem this morning,” WNYC public radio host Brian Lehrer told listeners Monday at the close of his all-Jewish discussion with NY Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren and Time columnist Joe Klein about the Netanyahu victory aftermath. They might have come a little closer if his guests had included a Palestinian instead of two Zionists—­one who tilts coverage in the “newspaper of record” to Israel’s benefit, and the other a “liberal” who recently wrote that Palestinians have given Israelis good cause to be harsh, bigoted tyrants.

But for insight into the struggles of Israel’s liberal supporters since last Tuesday, the half-hour radio segment was interesting. Klein praised Obama for what Lehrer called his “public break with Netanyahu” in the President’s Huffington Post interview this weekend. Rudoren said that “people here are quite, quite stunned and a little scared about what’s gonna happen next” because of Obama’s unprecedented criticism.

On the show, Klein denounced the “overt racism” of Netanyahu’s final election appeal. “He has now, really, at the highest levels, introduced anti-Arab bigotry against Israeli citizens into the political discourse. That kind of stuff has a real consequence.”

Klein used similar words in last week’s Time column. But his own tolerance for racism is more than slight. While lamenting that Netanyahu “won because he ran as a bigot,” he offers that Jews “have had cause” (wars, terrorism and “overpowering anti-Jewish bigotry”) to “regard Arabs as the rest of the world traditionally regarded Jews.”

Citing critics who see the election results as proof that “Israel has become a harsh, bigoted tyrant state,” Klein insists: “It has certainly acted that way at times, but usually with excellent provocation.”

Klein’s justification for Israel’s horrors stems from the same gooey-eyed blindness that afflicts David Brooks. Completely missing the irony, he finds inspiration for Jewish-Palestinian togetherness in seeing settlers welcomed to a land where longtime residents can’t return:

When I was a little boy, my grandmother would sing me to sleep with the Israeli national anthem. It still brings tears to my eyes. My near annual visits to Israel have always been memorable. About a decade ago, I was at a welcoming ceremony for new immigrants—­thousands of them, Russians and Iranians and Ethiopians. And I thought, if Ethiopians and Russians could join that way, why not, eventually, Semites and Semites, Jews and Arabs?

How many Palestinians should die or lose their homes so liberal American Jews can get choked up over a song? The problems between “Semites and Semites” are due to decades of institutional theft, displacement and discrimination, not hardwired ethnic hatred which is the Zionist’s go-to explanation for the conflict.

Klein’s column approvingly echoes Ari Shavit’s infamous justification for Israel’s 1947-8 Nakba: “It may be argued that the massacres were necessary, that Israel could not have been created without them, but they were massacres nonetheless.” He blames Netanyahu for reviving those supposedly vanquished horrors by conjuring the specter of “droves of Arab voters.”

But Klein never reflects that the racism he frankly labels “dehumanizing” is essential to maintaining Jewish supremacy, that it’s been there the whole time, and that it far predates Israel’s founding. And he omits the anti-Arab campaign themes used by the Labor Party’s Herzog.

It’s sad that a writer who defends the necessity of Israeli massacres, or who thinks there could ever be “excellent provocation” for bigoted tyranny, would be booked to represent a liberal viewpoint on a public radio show (­or still be employed as a Time columnist).

On the Lehrer show, Rudoren acknowledged that some Palestinians and left-wing Israelis advocate “one person, one vote.” She even referenced “ethnocracy” and the phrase “from the river to the sea.”

But with a derisive laugh, she said “I don’t see any of these [one state] models particularly working… I don’t think Israeli Jews basically want to live in some kind of melting-pot state based on one person, one vote, they want to live in a Jewish state with not only a Jewish majority but with, you know, a Jewish anthem and flag and institutions and holidays and things like that.” (Just imagine the year is 1965, and substitute “Mississippi whites” for “Israeli Jews.” Is there any other nation whose desire for segregation we defer to, or celebrate as “sharing our values”?)

“And I don’t think that Palestinians really want to live in a… I don’t think it… maybe some of them want to live there,” she fumbled, then stipulated: “I don’t think it sort of speaks to Palestinian national aspirations to have a state that’s, you know, fifty-fifty or sixty-forty or whatever, where, you know, with, within, with all the history of Israeli institutions. I don’t think that quite answers their yearning either.”

But how would she know? After praising Rudoren’s blinkered reporting as “spectacularly good, really great stuff,” Klein asked her what West Bank Palestinians thought about Netanyahu’s video. She confessed that she “unfortunately” hadn’t visited the West Bank—just minutes away from her West Jerusalem enclave—since the election. Instead, she described the reactions of Israeli Jews, many of whom she said condemned the video as a “beyond-the-pale moment,” insisting that “nobody has supported this kind of statement on Election Day.”

Reversing herself instantly, she acknowledged having herself been “shocked” during her time in Israel by “the racial discourse on both sides [?!]… it’s very blunt here, in a way that is very uncomfortable for an American sensibility.” (Not that you’d know it from reading her stories.) Netanyahu’s race-baiting was “a small move, I think, beyond a line for a lot of Israelis. It was not, you know, a completely out-of-the-box, ‘I’ve never heard anything like this.'” Israelis don’t view race “in the same way that we do.” (Remember, this country supposedly shares American values.)

Of “Israeli Arabs,” Klein asserted incredibly, “their loyalty is to Israel.”

At the end of his Time column, Klein calls Netanyahu’s Election Day speech “beyond tragic. It is shameful and embarrassing.” Unknowingly, he nails it. For liberal Zionists, it’s not the tragedy of generations of Palestinians exiled, slaughtered or marginalized because powerful outsiders claim their land—­it’s the shame and embarrassment of those who have to reconcile their support for all of that with their liberal self-image.

Ali Abunimah live-tweeted the WNYC segment with rising disbelief:

Peter Feld

Peter Feld is a writer, editorial consultant, market researcher and former political strategist at Democratic polling firms. He is @peterfeld on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

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59 Responses

  1. a blah chick on March 24, 2015, 10:33 am

    Have you seen David brooks’s latest? Like Klein and Jodi-Jodi-Jodi it deals with Jewish “specialness.” It’s called “How to Fight Anti-Semitism” and it’s pretty bad, even for a Brooks column. There were a bevy of excretory quotes but I think the one I saw on Twitter sums it up quite well.

    “There are others who see anti-Semitism as another form of bigotry. But these are different evils. Most bigotry is an assertion of inferiority and speaks the language of oppression. Anti-Semitism is an assertion of impurity and speaks the language of extermination. Anti-Semitism’s logical endpoint is violence.”

    Yeah, cuz who ever heard of hatred of blacks, or gays or Native Americans ending in violence.


    • annie on March 24, 2015, 11:32 am

      that’s an outrageous quote from brooks. even in their victimhood they claim superiority. hatred against us is worse, bigger and all encompassing! total trash! get your head out of the sand brooks.

      • David Doppler on March 24, 2015, 1:09 pm

        I agree, Annie. We’re all human. Bias is insidious and finds its way into all sorts of places (EVERYONE needs to look within). It is what our social institutions do with bias – to magnify it or to isolate and shame it – that creates times and places of extreme oppression based on bias, or, alternatively, islands of diverse culture, such as many (but not all always) enjoy today in the Unites States.

        I continue to believe that we have evolved different somatic states that facilitate either fear of, or welcoming “the other,” depending on a basic sense of safety or threat, and that Netanyahu and the Neocons are major fear-mongers, like most fascists, depending on the basic sense of threat to justify leadership based on “the strength of the Leader’s spine,” which is inspiring, when you’re afraid, and disgusting when you feel safe and secure.

        Mandela said, we must not only free the blacks from their oppression, but the whites from their fear.

        Brooks is wrong to assert the difference, that Anti-Semitism, like the Jewish people, are unique, because it blinds him to the universality of the whole situation. I don’t begrudge him getting “gooey-eyed” when he thinks of Israel. I understand it, because I feel the same way when I think of America’s founding principals. Absolutely worth fighting for.

        But bigotry in service of or directed at one race or ethnic group is just as bad in one situation as the next. Liberal intellectuals, above everyone else, needs to understand this. Look within, David. Behold your own bias. Come to realize it does not justify oppressing Palestinians, or excusing fascist governments or societies.

      • a blah chick on March 24, 2015, 2:19 pm

        Annie, that column was just chock full of rancid goodness. Somehow he manages to discuss why Jews are “fleeing” Europe while never mentioning “BDS” one time. But he does give a shout out to the nuclear talks with Iran:

        “In the Obama administration, there are people who know that the Iranians are anti-Semitic, but they don’t know what to do with that fact and put this mental derangement on a distant shelf. They negotiate with the Iranian leaders, as if anti-Semitism was some odd quirk, instead of what it is, a core element of their mental architecture.”

        Ya got that? The “core element” of the Iranian psyche is anti-semitism and poor little ole America doesn’t know what to do about it.

        Brooks has always been a bone head but these rantings are just unhinged. I think he’s heard too many war stories from his IDF son about the glorious battles against Nablus elementary.

      • seafoid on March 24, 2015, 2:42 pm

        This paper is very interesting on the subject of bias ”

        The Role of Decision-Making Biases in Ireland’s Banking Crisis

      • amigo on March 24, 2015, 3:44 pm

        “This paper is very interesting on the subject of bias ” – See more at:” seafoid.

        Euphoric conditions.A national blindspot.Misjudgements embedded in collective psychology .The paper could well be referring to zionist group think.

        “To date, analyses of Ireland’s property bubble and consequent banking crisis, while isolating many important institutional factors, have mostly fallen back on psychological generalisations to explain this array of consequential misjudgements. Regling and Watson (2010) refer to “euphoric conditions”, a “national blind-spot” and misjudgements that were “embedded in collective psychology”. Honohan (2009, 2010) describes how the banks were caught up in the “mass psychology” of the bubble; a “construction frenzy”; international financial markets were “hysterical”; government policy created “a climate of public opinion which was led to believe that the party could last forever.” Whelan (2010) pins the blame more straightforwardly on “over-optimism”, especially in relation to the likelihood of the continuation of Ireland’s abnormally high economic growth. In addition to hypothesising the existence of herding and groupthink, Nyberg (2011) refers to a national “mania”; Fitz Gerald (2011) calls it “madness”.”

      • JLewisDickerson on March 24, 2015, 4:02 pm

        RE: “get your head out of the sand brooks.” ~ Annie

        MY REPLY: David Brooks’ head IS sand (or something far less intelligent than sand)!
        He is truly a nitwit.
        Truly, he is!

        P.S. I’m not kidding, y’all!

      • just on March 24, 2015, 4:40 pm

        “there are people who know that the Iranians are anti-Semitic”

        Wonder if he bothered to speak to any Iranian Jews.

        “…..Sion Mahgrefte is the head of the Jewish community in Esfahan. He declined to comment directly on political matters, especially in the current heated environment, but he did say that the members of his community felt very much at home in Iran.

        “Israel and Iran are countries,” he said. “And we consider ourselves Iranian Jews, not Israeli Jews. So the hostilities between Israel and Iran do not affect us.”

        There is even a Jewish representative in Iran’s parliament. And aside from the vibrant Jewish community in Esfahan — there are 13 synagogues in the city — there are also several Orthodox Cathedrals representing a sizable Christian community…..”

        “Brooks has always been a bone head but these rantings are just unhinged. I think he’s heard too many war stories from his IDF son about the glorious battles against Nablus elementary.”


    • Krauss on March 24, 2015, 1:49 pm

      Brooks is not alone in claiming that anti-Jewish bigotry is “special”.

      What Brooks is really saying is that Jewish blood is worth more than non-Jewish blood. And in that, too, he is not alone in believing.

      There’s a lot of undealt racism in the Jewish community and we’re seeing it all gush forth these days.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 24, 2015, 4:25 pm


        It’s the same as the ‘holocaust uniqueness’ nonsense. As the late Peter Novick put it – can’t remember the exact words – essentially the likes of Wiesel et al are saying ” Your suffering, unlike OUR suffering, is ordinary.”

        The narcissism and victim mentality of certain sectors of the American Jewish ‘community’ is deeply unpleasant. Transfer that narcissism to a garrison state armed with nuclear bombs and lording it over a subject people, and who can be surprised at the horrors of Zionism?

      • JLewisDickerson on March 24, 2015, 4:47 pm


        October 7, 1971

        Dear President of Israel,

        In tonight’s television we saw that Israel was expelling Black people women and children. Israel did the right thing. I’ve been driving a Tonical here in San Francisco over thirty-five years now and I’ve seen what the black people will do to destroy and destroy.

        Now in San Francisco thirty years ago. There was only about fifteen thousand Blacks in a population of whites 800,000. In these years I have witnessed how they bring drugs to white women a long long time ago. [He apparently had seen the racist, propagandistic 1936 film “Reefer Madness”*! ~ J.L.D.] These people destroy cities and people. Our population is down to 700,000 people and 300,000 are black. There is never an hour, night or day that black people don’t commit purse snatching, rape, robbery. I know because I’ve been robbed and when I saw thousands of photos of blacks, for only one year, my eyes were open also.

        Oh yes I guess you now have read about school desegregation. White people all over the United States are upset over this. After bussing babies, and small children, out of their neighbors school, the black organization is now trying to prevent better education to bright school children. Israel should make a law, that when a black man commits any crime, he or she could be expelled to another country.

        Don’t wait or Israel will be sorry. My wife is Past President of Bnai Brith and now is Past President of Past Presidents of Bnai Brith. Although we will never be able to visit Israel, because I never can make enough for us to travel to Israel, our hearts and minds are for her greatness in ??? affair and at home. God bless Israel. I know that never a Jew will be called a man without a country.

        Yours sincerely,
        David B. Dulberg
        1967 32nd Avenue
        San Francisco, California

        SOURCE –

        * P.S. Reefer Madness (1938) [VIDEO, 1:08:20] –

      • lysias on March 24, 2015, 4:57 pm

        David B. Dulberg of San Francisco died at the age of 91 on January 19, 1996.

        Which means he was 67 years old when he wrote that letter.

      • seafoid on March 24, 2015, 5:04 pm


        the dual fantasy of helplessness and unlimited power

        and Yanks are beginning to see through it


      • JLewisDickerson on March 24, 2015, 5:17 pm

        RE: “David B. Dulberg of San Francisco died at the age of 91 on January 19, 1996.” ~ lysias

        MY REPLY: Only the good die young!

    • traintosiberia on March 24, 2015, 11:12 pm

      Today’s article in NYT by David Brooks shows the low the ” liberal Zionist”would reach to deny the reality ,distort the contrxt,divert the issue and beat the drum of war on Iran in the process will mirror the lies,racism ,arrogance and fealty to violence demonstrated by Netanyahu.

      Brooks bemoan of racist comments from Iranian leader . But has he forgot the racist comments of Israeli past and current PM and of other who couldnt do
      or yet haven’t?
      He cites violence in Europeand blames it on Muslim influx. Has he forgot the cooperative angle between French army and Zionist against Algerian freedom movement? Doesn’t he know that 40 % or more of the violence have sprang from White and in the context of Gaza war?
      He cites the holocaust conference in Iran and automatically term it as Holocaust denial conference . Nothing can be farther from the truth.
      He then adds that Iranian scientist have attended . Somebody should remind him of the assassination of Iranian scientists. He rambles off to 911 but forgets to delve the Israeli footprints left on the scene. For obvious reasons he doesn’t mention Iraq war. But if he wrote this in 2003. He would have
      He blames the antisemitism in ME as some kind of organic DNA based and same time abstract psychological illness of inscrutable but of fundamental nature . May be ,he should look into his own dogmatic inflexibility and flight from reason and try to connect it to the false teachings he has been forced to imbibe inculcate in others,and defend his own organically imposed loyalty .

    • on March 25, 2015, 10:00 am

      The Boston Globe gave well known Islam basher Ayaan Hirsi Ali nearly a full page Opinion article in the editorial section yesterday.

      I sent this email to the letters department.

      It seems that the Globe has finally finished its long in coming transition from a newspaper into a propaganda rag along the lines of “Der Sturmer”.

      You give well known racist and Muslim hater Ayaan Hirsi Ali nearly an entire page for her usual, albeit slightly toned down, anti Muslim screed.

      Even the student body at Brandeis, hardly a bastion of progressive thought when it comes to Islam, forced the University withdraw the honorary degree it was planning on bestowing upon her.

      What next? Can we look forward to an article by Pam Geller explaining how Muslims are “savages”.

      It’s really quite scary to watch the mainstream media and the political class gin up this hatred of Muslims and sell the narrative that Muslims trying to defend their homes and countries from attacks, invasion, and occupations of the Western nations are some kind of “radicalized” nuts.

      The USA is beginning to feel a lot like Germany in the late 1930s. Never expected to see that in my lifetime.

      Shame on you.

      This is the last time I will ever pick up the Globe.

      Think they’ll print it?

      • just on March 25, 2015, 10:12 am

        No. Never mind that they should. It’s awesome~ well done, Giles.

        “‘I think people single out Islam,’ says Jon Stewart

        …Stewart: Right. Well, no, I mean, I guess my point is, I think people single out Islam as though there is something inherently wrong with it that wasn’t wrong with other religions. And so I guess my point is if Christianity went through almost the exact same process, people who thought they knew better and were purer and that created violence and so why, I get the sense that you think Islam is different than other religions.”

        (Video @ link)

      • lysias on March 25, 2015, 10:34 am
      • just on March 25, 2015, 10:53 am

        Saw that, lysias.

        Because it’s such a ‘religion of peace’ with no extremism at all.

        I do wonder what she found so “difficult” about converting.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 25, 2015, 11:54 am

        Ugh. A quote:

        ”The Somali-born Hirsi Ali, 45, also reportedly criticized President Barack Obama as naïve in his attempt to negotiate a nuclear arms deal with Iran, arguing that Muslims equate compromise with shame, and that Islamic extremists must be defeated rather than accommodated.”

        Can anyone tell me what qualifies Hirsi Magan to offer opinions on the Iranian nuclear talks? She has no knowledge of the region other than her bumper sticker generalisations. ”Muslims equate compromise with shame”???? WTF? So one fifth of the world’s population is incapable of compromising? This woman is an ‘academic’?

        If Magan wrote this type of shit about Jews, she’d never have been granted a visa to enter the US, let alone attain celebrity martyr status.

    • RockyMissouri on March 25, 2015, 12:11 pm


      • RockyMissouri on March 25, 2015, 12:16 pm

        Hirsi Ali is a grifter/con and a willing tool of the right. She gets away with much, due to the fact that she is a republican. A horrifying shrew.

      • annie on March 25, 2015, 12:31 pm

        nah, she gets away with it because she’s african/black and makes outrageous claims (lies, which got her kicked out of the netherlands). but she’s not so famous for getting busted for her lies here, so there’s a big push to resurrect her in the states. because she is exotic looking and black and claims to have been a victim of muslim related persecution she makes a perfect poster girl for the right.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 25, 2015, 12:32 pm

        Maybe the reason she hasn’t succeeded in converting to Judaism is because the rabbis weren’t too impressed when they found out that she thinks Deuteronomy is a person?

        True story.

  2. bintbiba on March 24, 2015, 10:49 am

    Sick !!!!!

    Sickening !!!!

    • Krauss on March 24, 2015, 1:52 pm

      Would the NYT have accepted someone who was deeply biased to one side in the Northern Ireland “troubles” in the 1990s for the paper’s coverage? Jodi should be fired

      Was also hilarious listening to her explaining that Bibi “really believes” in the 2SS “but just not now”. Oh please. People say you start believing your own lies if you repeat them long enough. I’m not even sure if Jodi even admits to herself just how flagrantly she is lying.

      I’m telling you, Jodi will immigrate to Israel once she’s done with her assignment. She’s throwing herself on the tracks for Israel time after time. It’s really amazing to watch.

      • seafoid on March 24, 2015, 3:31 pm

        Rudoren is in danger of being left isolated while the people move on, like a homophobe as the population went over to the side of gay marriage. Repeating hasbara memes may not be career enhancing for much longer.

  3. eljay on March 24, 2015, 11:08 am

    But with a derisive laugh, she said “I don’t see any of these [one state] models particularly working… I don’t think Israeli Jews basically want to live in some kind of melting-pot state based on one person, one vote, they want to live in a Jewish state with not only a Jewish majority but with, you know, a Jewish anthem and flag and institutions and holidays and things like that.” …

    “And I don’t think that Palestinians really want to live in a… I don’t think it… maybe some of them want to live there,” she fumbled, then stipulated: “I don’t think it sort of speaks to Palestinian national aspirations to have a state that’s, you know, fifty-fifty or sixty-forty or whatever, where, you know, with, within, with all the history of Israeli institutions. I don’t think that quite answers their yearning either.”

    IOW: “Jewish Israelis (and non-Israeli Jews) want a supremacist “Jewish State”. Palestinians…uhhh…well, y’know, we don’t really know what they want and, y’know, since we don’t give a f*ck, we’re not going to bother to find out.”

    And what about justice, accountability and equality?

    “Huh? I don’t understan…ohhh, I get it: You mean ‘peace’. Sure, yeah, we all love ‘peace’.”

  4. pabelmont on March 24, 2015, 11:40 am

    The holocaust was not merely violent but exterminatory — of Gypsies, Gays, mentally-impaired, some physically-impaired, and — oh yes!, Jews. Maybe Slavs as well. And never forget Communists, Labor leaders, etc.

    And so, for Brooks and many others who cannot see any problems other than the problems of Jews, antisemitism is violent and exterminatory.

    Unlike Israel’s behavior toward Palestinians in OPTs and outside which is violent, deadly, confiscatory of property, but falls short of exterminatory. (So nice, really, not to be as bad as the Nazis! Oh the Israelis, those darlings! Not as bad as the Nazis. Not nearly as bad. I’m speaking of the Nazis of 1940s. In the 1930s, they were not so bad and Israel seems reaching for the earlier comparison.)

  5. Mooser on March 24, 2015, 11:47 am

    “When I was a little boy, my grandmother would sing me to sleep with the Israeli national anthem.”

    You had a grandmother? You’re very lucky.

    • Rusty Pipes on March 24, 2015, 9:47 pm

      What are the odds that Klein knew enough Hebrew to understand even half of the words of HaTikvah when he was still young enough to be sung to sleep with a lullaby? Perhaps if he could separate his love for his Zionist grandmother from the Israel of his imagination, he could deal with the realities in Israel today.

      • Philemon on March 28, 2015, 9:36 pm

        Please forgive me, but, I can’t help it. Senile dementia is my excuse.

        Somehow, I have this vision of the infant being lulled to sleep with a chorus of:

        “Lloyd George knew my father;

        “Father knew Lloyd George…”

  6. Boomer on March 24, 2015, 11:59 am

    Thank you, Mr. Feld, for your forthright report.

  7. aiman on March 24, 2015, 11:59 am

    “But with a derisive laugh, she said …”

    That stood out well. Liberal Zionists are malevolent when cornered. That’s because Bibi or not they are Zionists at the end of the day. The embarrassment’s all about self-image. Liberal Zionism sticks out sorely even in the old liberal colonial coats. They are the only class of tribal supremacists to get not just a pass but a mantle of intellectualism in today’s world and have other members of their tribe congratulate them over “spectacularly good, really great stuff” even while expressing the ugliest bigotry and utter stupidity. They can’t see it, just can’t. The much rumoured Jewish intelligence seems to have been severely dulled by Zionism for those who subscribe to Zionism. These guys are f****** stupid.

  8. seafoid on March 24, 2015, 12:09 pm

    Of “Israeli Arabs,” Klein asserted incredibly, “their loyalty is to Israel.” –

    They can’t have any Palestinians on to speak for themselves because they’ll only say something incoherent, right, Joe ?

    “Slim Williams delivers a stump speech in blackface. This was an important part of nearly every minstrel show — a performer delivers a political speech filled with puns and malaprops. The speaker’s demeanor is reminiscent of the pomposity of Zip Coon; he aspires to great dignity, wisdom and intelligence, but his hilarious mangling of language always makes him appear foolish and ignorant.”

    And now Sabras are at it – and Jews were so prominent in desegregation and everything

    ya salaam

  9. Les on March 24, 2015, 12:19 pm

    This is the same media that depicts Palestinians as dark and swarthy complete with big noses and as terrorists with the power to match Israel’s military might, just as the German media depicted the terrorist Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto.

  10. RoHa on March 24, 2015, 12:23 pm

    “I don’t think it sort of speaks to Palestinian national aspirations ”

    Not if you assume that Palestinians have the same sort of “national aspirations” that Zionists have. But why make that assumption? Indeed, why make the assumption that Palestinians have any “national aspirations” at all?

    • peterfeld on March 24, 2015, 3:44 pm

      Rudoren tells us Israeli institutions can’t fulfill “Palestinian national aspirations,” then Klein insists Palestinian citizens of Israel are so loyal to those same Israeli institutions.

  11. JLewisDickerson on March 24, 2015, 2:57 pm

    RE: “The liberal Zionist lament: Joe Klein and Jodi Rudoren try to explain away Israeli racism

    MY COMMENT: The New York Times has in effect become a quasi-official publication of the “U.S. Jewish Establishment”! Consequently, it’s primary goal is to use ‘spin’ to quash as much criticism (no matter how warranted/deserved*) of Israel as possible.

    * TAKE IT AWAY, NORM: “Humanism Hangs in the Balance; Israel vs. Judaism”, by Norman Pollack,, March 23, 2015

    [EXCERPT] . . . Let’s go back to the day after the election, Jodi Rudoren’s New York Times article, “Win Sets Netanyahu on Path to Remake Israeli Government,” (Mar. 18), in which, despite evidence to the contrary, she offers the prospect of his having a freer hand to move toward the Center: “Israelis emboldened [him] with a clear mandate in balloting on Tuesday, paving the way for him to lead a right-leaning and religious coalition that could be far easier to control, since his own party holds many more seats now…. While the new coalition will almost certainly be more purely conservative, it is also more narrowly tailored, potentially freeing its leader of the constraints that often guided his last government.” Nominally moving rightward, he “also has gotten rid of extremists in his own party, Likud, and shrunk the Jewish Home party, which he often placated over the last two years by expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank.” For the coalition to be “more narrowly tailored” suggests eliminating fanaticism for what is “more purely conservative,” in this case, in the words of Uzi Arad, his former national security adviser, “more ‘tough pragmatism’ than ‘stiff defiance.’” I find it otherwise, not only in the complexion of his coalition partners, including ultra-Orthodox parties, but his continued mobilization of opposition, if not worse, to Iran, and, domestically, everything from settlement construction to regional displays of toughness (e.g., once more, Gaza) to the precepts of market fundamentalism in shaping Israel’s economy.

    My New York Times Comment on the Rudoren article, March 19, follows:

    Israel is in a state of denial, whichever party or coalition of parties wins. In vain does one find soul-searching over the rape of Gaza, a chapter in the annals of barbarism and cruelty. Domestic issues are all well and good, but frankly are a diversion to what is central for peace and Israel’s long-term security: the Palestinian question and its corollary, settlements.

    To preserve the status quo, Israel has made itself an international pariah, a position on which Israelis seem to thrive. Besotted with hate and malaise, the Israeli citizen uses militarism as the national vehicle of cohesion: celebrate exploits of killing as a means of drawing together.

    Needless to say, this is a corruption of Judaism, which for centuries has expressed universal values of peace and mutual respect. The Great Paradox: The Jewish State is anti-Jewish, defaming and caricaturing a beloved faith founded on human rights and aid and succor to all deprived, displaced, and underprivileged. It is tragic that world Jewry increasingly supports current Israeli policies, which only encourages what we find today in Israel: Netanyahu and Herzog alike lack the moral courage to bring Israel into line with international law and morality. Whichever party or coalition wins, we will have more of the same: more Gazas, more settlements, more contempt for world opinion, in sum, the DESECRATION of Judaism itself by this arrogant, lawless nation acting in the name of Jewish values.


    Update: consider Jason Horowitz’s NYT article, “Do the Democrats and Israel Have a Future Together?,” (March 21), which reveals domestic forces of Reaction in full-court-press propaganda mode to bring the Democrats into line in support of Israel. Perhaps the whole topic is artificial if not ill-considered given the overwhelming bipartisan support for Israel in America regardless of particular political leadership on either side. Tempest in a tea pot? Probably, because Israel stands in the eyes of America’s political, military, and intelligence communities as code for a still deeper affiliation or attachment, spearhead for US global hegemony, not unlike Britain and NATO, in strategic importance for America’s whole counterrevolutionary agenda (rapidly extended now to the Far East through Pacific-First and the Trans-Pacific Partnership) to secure ideological dominance, the protection of oil supplies, and effective resistance to Left-movements for social change. Israel and America, bedfellows eternal, as the covers of militarism are neatly tucked in.

    Horowitz has a stellar cast of notables seeking to patch up differences—Elliott Abrams (Bush adviser on the Middle East, and as I recall, back further, architect of repression in Latin America), Ann Lewis, (close to both Clintons), Malcolm Hoenlein (Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations), for starters, AIPAC, and crème de la crème, Pastor Hagee’s Christians United for Israel (CUFI), not to be gainsaid in organizing pressures on Israel’s behalf—a blue-ribbon effort by shock troops to influence US policy. Add John Boehner, Michele Bachman, Ted Cruz, and Lindsey Graham to the foregoing mix and one has a revelatory look at, more than a Netanyahu cheering section, what constitutes Israel’s appeal for Americans: surely not the religious principles and faith of Judaism per se, but the retrograde policies of ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and the application of force to resolve all problems and reduce all tensions.

    Horowitz writes, “While a deepening polarization among American Jews about Netanyahu [I’m skeptical of this] puts Obama’s potential successor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a politically uncomfortable position, it is the transformation of Israel into a partisan issue that fills Democratic Jewish officials with dread.” This shouldn’t (mine), but for safety sake we see college campuses targeted, “trips of movie stars to Israel,” the usual, even African-Americans and Hispanics, an important part of the party base, enlisted in the cause, Republicans meanwhile active in pushing for a political realignment, as in Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, to bring Jews still further into their ranks. I will skip over the activities of Ron Dermer, a one-man dynamo, as Israel’s US ambassador, or Sheldon Adelson himself, a one-man Las Vegas version of Fort Knox, except to mention the former’s statement, popular no doubt in its sentiments for CP readers, but for me reeking in duplicity in one respect—the use of cultural issues to obfuscate the need for first addressing the more fundamental class and structural issues relevant to the democratization process as the vital context for then realizing rights dear to all of us. Horowitz quotes Dermer in what I take to be cynicism of the first water—forget Gaza, forget repression of internal dissent, forget support of dictators as standard procedure, none matters when you look at Israel’s civil liberties record (which I find wanting): “’I think the progressive case for Israel is an easy case to make,’” Dermer stated. “’We’re the only country that’s had a chief justice of the Supreme Court, a speaker of the Knesset and a prime minister who were women. You have gay rights in Israel…. And then you have respect for minority rights in Israel.’” I’m not buying. Tell it to those living for decades under Israel’s iron heel. Tell it to the children who survived the saturated bombing and shelling of Gaza blinded or with limbs missing. Tell it to the young men who have been unemployed and socially humiliated. But don’t, Israelis, tell it to yourselves, because in your state of profound denial, you won’t believe that others have been hurt by your actions.

    My New York Times Comment on the Horowitz article, same date, follows:

    Hora circles and singing Hebrew anthems will not cover over the war crimes Israel has committed in Gaza, nor its ethnic cleansing in general. Why is it Israel has the most favorable support in America from extreme right-wing groups? As for liberal Democrats, support there confirms the bipartisan consensus on war, intervention, drone assassination. A liberal Democrat is a Republican in everything but name.

    I grieve for Judaism. It was not always thus. Like Dermer I was raised in Miami Beach but decades earlier, my parents hardworking successful Lincoln Road merchants from Minsk (Mom) and Pinsk (Dad). I was deeply proud, as a young radical, of my Jewish heritage.

    Why not! Jews from say 1900-60 stood in the forefront of humanistic philosophy and learning, interpreted Torah in universal terms favoring welcoming the stranger and helping the underdog. In the arts, Jews were in the forefront of music, art, literature. I mourned the execution of the Rosenbergs, and like many other young Jews I threw myself wholeheartedly into the civil rights struggle (yes picketing Woolworth’s in Harvard Square to Mississippi Freedom Summer and Selma) and antiwar movement.

    World Jewry today led by the example of Israel forfeits its Jewishness via slavish devotion to a Militaristic State which oppresses the proverbial Other. Adelson speaks for many–but not me. Let the charade of Israeli democracy go on. God knows better. God, oddly, has always been for the victims, not the oppressors.


  12. just on March 24, 2015, 2:58 pm

    Super article, Peter Feld! Beautifully written, too.

    “I am a Liberal Zionist. That means I am an arrogant oxyMORON.”

  13. justicewillprevail on March 24, 2015, 3:45 pm

    Fascinating, in a way, to see the apologists and propagandists squirming as the truth finally starts breaking through the wall they have built around it. As we all know, when confronted with the basic facts, zionism has no answer other than a retreat into exceptionalism, victimhood and, with no real shame, the acceptance that the existence of israel as it currently exists necessarily entails a racist state. Bibi didn’t speak out of turn, or as a maverick, he simply said in plain language what the majority of israelis think. It is the revelation of the truth which bothers these people, not the denial of justice or human rights to half of the population, not the assaults on children, the imprisonments without trial, the confiscation of homes and lands and the expulsion of local people. No, it is just the embarrassment which they feel at the truth being broadcast to people they thought they had successfully suckered for decades. Enjoy their discomfort, there is a lot more coming down the pike, now the dam is breaking, and many of those who were formerly cowed by the lobby will feel able to speak freely. That is their nightmare – free thinking, free speech and free debate, with copious information freely available.

  14. just on March 24, 2015, 4:09 pm

    “Israel’s indwelling bomb: The internal intifada of racism

    Welcome to Israel, 2015, where the prime minister warns of voting Arab hordes, the foreign minister threatens dissenters with decapitation, and a disappointed leftist voter tells rightists to ‘Drink cyanide.'”

    (shhhh~ don’t tell the ‘Bears for Israel’ et al…


    “You might think that the creation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition and the sniping between Israel’s government and the White House would be at the forefront of post-election public discussion in Israel today.

    But no – across social media, on radio talk shows, on the street and around water-coolers – the conversation has been overwhelmingly about race.

    Deep-seated prejudices and resentments, always simmering below the surface, exploded into view during the hard-fought election campaign. And over the week since the polls closed, it has proven impossible to put the racial genie back into the bottle.

    Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson, like many overseas pundits, missed the many layers of Israel’s race issue in his post-election analysis. Comparing Netanyahu’s warning that “droves of Arabs” were voting to get out the right-wing vote to racist Republican scare tactics aimed at white voters in the U.S., Meyerson joked that “perhaps Likud and the Republicans can open an Institute for the Prevention of Dark-Skinned People Voting.”

    Would that racism in Israel was as simple as skin color: it is far more complicated mix of nationalism, religion and culture.

    ……….But Netanyahu was not the only face of racism in Israel this week – in fact, he wasn’t even the front-runner. That honor belonged to one Yoram Hetzroni – a communications professor who looks more like an aging refugee from an 80’s heavy metal band than an academic.

    Hetzroni is no stranger to controversy – he was removed from his position at Ariel University for remarks he made against female victims of sexual assault, which he claims represent a political vendetta against his left-wing views. The fact that he has little to lose professionally must have played into his choice to toss lighter fluid on the flames of post-election ethnic tensions, insulting Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent who make up Netanyahu’s core supporters in a fiery appearance on a morning chat show.

    “It wouldn’t have been terrible if your parents had been left to rot in Morocco,” he told fellow guest Amira Bouzaglo. It must be noted that Bouzaglo had just called him a fascist and a racist for his stand against Israel’s Law of Return and policy of encouraging Jewish immigration, which he suggested was ultimately responsible for the ingathering of the riff-raff whose votes had kept Netanyahu in power.

    Even in the no-holds-barred world of Israeli political debate, his remarks were judged by the host of the show to have crossed the line – and Hetzroni was summarily dismissed from the television studio after declining an opportunity to apologize.

    The Hetzroni incident added to the existing fury of the anger sparked during the campaign when artist Yair Garbuz, a speaker at a pre-election anti-Netanyahu rally, railed against “amulet-kissers, idol-worshippers and people who prostrate themselves at the graves of saints” whom he charged were controlling the State of Israel.

    Both Garbuz and Hetzroni touched on historic sensitivity of Moroccan, Iraqi, Yemenite and other “dark-skinned” groups who feel that their pride, culture and religious beliefs have been trampled for decades by a condescending, secular, “white” Israeli Ashkenazi elite. This resentment has long been politicized, with lighter-skinned Israelis identified with leftist Labor, and darker-skinned Israelis with right-wing Likud.

    Usually, the members of the left-leaning elite who do, in fact, scorn their counterparts are too polite or politically savvy to express their disdain openly. But the high stakes and strong emotions of this election season pulled sentiments which most Israelis would rather bury above ground. Some libertarian types defended Hetzroni’s right to express his politically incorrect views – but in mainstream Israel, it created such a furious backlash that the police announced that they were “examining his statements” to see if they “constituted a crime.”

    Where will Hetzroni be when Aharish lights her torch? Far away, presuming there are no actual charges filed against him. Unrepentant, Hetzroni announced on television that he is packing his bags and “leaving all this garbage behind and getting out of here” after concluding that “I’m too logical, intelligent and successful for this place: this is an emotional, hot-tempered and Levantine country.”

    And, it can be added, one that won’t miss him very much.”

    • traintosiberia on March 24, 2015, 8:27 pm

      “Welcome to Israel, 2015, where the prime minister warns of voting Arab hordes, —–‘Drink cyanide.’”

      Havent we been lamenting the lack of Democray in ME an the abscence of democratic thoughts amomng the muslims for years?

    • a blah chick on March 25, 2015, 9:25 am

      “It wouldn’t have been terrible if your parents had been left to rot in Morocco,” he told fellow guest Amira Bouzaglo. It must be noted that Bouzaglo had just called him a fascist and a racist for his stand against Israel’s Law of Return and policy of encouraging Jewish immigration, which he suggested was ultimately responsible for the ingathering of the riff-raff whose votes had kept Netanyahu in power.”

      This is another reason to keep the hate going against the Palestinians and the greater world, deflect from the tensions within the Jewish community. Otherwise they’d be at each others throats.

  15. just on March 24, 2015, 6:46 pm

    “………… Binyamin Netanyahu stood in an East Jerusalem settlement and said in a televised interview that he would never agree to a Palestinian state if re-elected and would not halt settlement construction (Report, 17 March). The next day, he and his party were re-elected to power with a decisive majority, giving a mandate to his pre-election commitments – commitments which fly in the face of any “peace process”, freedom and justice for Palestinians, and international law. Netanyahu’s unequivocal words cannot be ignored by the UN, the US, the UK and the EU. Israel’s prime minister has made it explicitly clear that his country will continue to breach international law, and these are not statements that can be retracted. Now is the time for sanctions. Without sanctions on Israel, Palestinians cannot see a future free of occupation, apartheid and, in Gaza, crippling siege. The next UK government must push the EU to impose immediate sanctions on Israel until it abides by international law, ends settlement building, and ends the occupation and the blockade of Gaza.

    Hugh Lanning (Chair, Palestine Solidarity Campaign), Maxine Peake, Brian Eno, Miriam Margolyes, Ken Loach, Benjamin Zephaniah, Paul Laverty, Ahdaf Soueif, Dr Karma Nabulsi”

  16. Les on March 24, 2015, 6:52 pm

    Are any of Israel’s Jewish political parties headed by non-Europeans?

  17. traintosiberia on March 24, 2015, 8:11 pm

    David Brooks can be asked to join the league . He completely has lost it but NYT doesnt see that way and let him publish an artcile that is high on extreme emotion and low on basic informartion .Well he has information but he doesnt bother to offer similar piece of information from the other side of the camps or from the perspective of the “other”victims . Worst he casually promotes violence and ask Europeans to take the lead in carrying the violence .
    He is also known as some kind of liberal . But when Israel is concerned pre emptive violence that binds the zionist of differnet stripes together .

  18. MRW on March 25, 2015, 7:41 am

    Short form: Jews (or anyone) do not have the right to impose the ergodic axiom on mankind. Period.

  19. just on March 25, 2015, 9:28 am

    From Asher Schechter’s long-ish article in Haaretz:

    “………Herzog’s form of racism

    The last time this happened, during Netanyahu’s first government in the late 1990s, Israelis were so outraged they ousted Bibi and voted for Labor’s Ehud Barak (who turned out to be a bitter disappointment in his own right). But the real silver lining is that Netanyahu’s reelection forces the world to face truths about Israel, about its policies in the West Bank and the chances of it ever making an honest effort to change.

    For instance, even if Israel had a prime minister willing to take radical measures, he would never have the majority to do so. Even if Isaac Herzog had won the election, he would have been a weak prime minister, probably heading a national unity government (otherwise he would probably lack a Knesset majority). This would be a hodgepodge coalition incapable of anything but a pointless round or two of peace negotiations, all the while maintaining the status quo.

    Meanwhile, the left and right have an eerily similar viewpoint when it comes to the Palestinians. Much has been written about Netanyahu’s “droves” comment about Israeli Arab voters, but Herzog’s own quasi-racist campaign has been all but forgotten. In one ad, his army buddies hailed him as someone who “understands the Arab mentality” and “has seen Arabs in the crosshairs.”

    In his effort to attract centrist voters, Herzog tried his best to be a Netanyahu-lite. He didn’t resort to race-baiting “droves” comments, but he ruled out including the Arab Joint List in his coalition. Labor thugs didn’t attack MK Haneen Zoabi as extreme right-wing thugs did, but Zionist Union supported Zoabi’s disqualification from the election.

    Not to mention, Herzog didn’t say a word about ending the occupation. Based on his campaign messages, one can only deduce that while a Herzog-led government would no doubt have been infinitely better in treating Israeli Arabs, it wouldn’t have treated them as equals.

    The truth is, a Labor-led government would have simply put a friendlier face — Herzog’s — on a lot of the same problems. With Netanyahu, no doubt, some of the problems are more acute, but there’s one distinct advantage: The masks, pretenses and excuses come off.

    With Netanyahu, it seems the world is more willing to acknowledge the reality of Israeli policies. The word “apartheid,” for example, comes easier to people when it’s ascribed to Netanyahu. Instead of waiting around for Herzog to inevitably hit the wall of the Israeli consensus and accomplish nothing, the world can now finally acknowledge that the two-state solution is all but dead and continue from there.

    No more Bibi-lite

    So Netanyahu’s reelection isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if only because Netanyahu spurs people around the world to act tough on Israel. With Netanyahu there’s less of a chance that Israel will continue to be coddled. Denied the warm embrace that has protected it for decades and prevented it from changing, it might actually be forced to make a change….

    …In a way, Netanyahu’s fourth term offers the best hope for changing the Israeli predicament — not because of the actions of Netanyahu himself, but because of the reactions he might provoke, the chain reaction caused by the dissatisfaction he causes. For years now, Israeli governments — left, right and center — have been slaves to the status quo, doing frustratingly little to challenge it, unchallenged themselves by an international community too hesitant to act.

    Let’s face it. A weak Labor-led coalition would have had little chance of making a dent in Israel’s mass of troubles. It would only have made the status quo more admissible. With Netanyahu, though, the status quo seems much more ominous, much more infuriating. If there was ever a chance of changing it, right now might be the best time.”

  20. just on March 25, 2015, 10:16 am

    “Teenagers in an alternative school program were surprised this week to discover the following question on a worksheet on “Nazi ideology and policy”: “From your acquaintance with the peoples that live in Israel, which is the superior race and which is the inferior race?”

    The students were part of the Hila program in Petah Tikvah — Hila provides education for teenagers who have dropped out of the state school system. Some 8,000 students are enrolled in the program nationwide. …

    The worksheet was a prep sheet for a test culminating 10 years of Holocaust studies; for these students the test takes the place of Israel’s matriculation exam in history.

    One teacher said she was just as surprised as her students about the question. She said the worksheet was part of reading material prepared by a teacher who no longer works for Hila.”

    So the “teacher” didn’t know what the worksheet questions were???

    Yeah, riiight. So they devote 10 years to the studies of the Holocaust? How many do they devote to the ongoing Nakba? To the peace charade?

  21. eljay on March 25, 2015, 10:38 am

    “Teenagers in an alternative school program were surprised this week to discover the following question on a worksheet on “Nazi ideology and policy”: “From your acquaintance with the peoples that live in Israel, which is the superior race and which is the inferior race?” … The worksheet was a prep sheet for a test culminating 10 years of Holocaust studies …

    1. TEN YEARS of Holocaust studies?! Wow, it really is a religion!

    2. Why would the students be surprised by that question? It can’t be because they don’t know the answer: Zio-supremacists in/and the supremacist “Jewish State” have been making the answer very clear for almost 70 years.

    • annie on March 25, 2015, 12:02 pm

      TEN YEARS of Holocaust studies?!

      holocaust studies is a college major offered at several universities. they have entire departments just for it. they pump out graduates yearly to teach it cross the world.

  22. a blah chick on March 25, 2015, 12:43 pm

    Just said: I do wonder what she (Hirsi) found so “difficult” about converting.

    Me: ADD? Didn’t she originally claim to be an atheist?

    Hirsi trouble is that she wants to be a member of the ruling elite (pundit wing). But as a Muslim born black African woman she’s going to be ignored unless she proves her worth to the ruling class. In the beginning she thought bad-mouthing Islam and joining with the racist right in Europe would do the trick but it was not enough because she’s still black. And lying on her immigration papers didn’t help either.

    But now she’s married to Niall Ferguson (Imperial Historian) and getting paid by the AEI. She’s on her way.

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