You feel guilty, you invent a plot, many plots. And to counter them, you have to organize your own plot. – Umberto Eco
A few days ago Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted out a piece by James Kirchick, saying “Important essay on Bernie Sanders and the Jews.”
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) April 25, 2016
The article was published in the Jewish magazine Tablet and was called “Bernie Sanders’s Jewish Problem, and Ours’.” Kirchick mocked the idea that Bernie Sanders had broken any taboos when he spoke about Israel/Palestine and criticized Israeli attacks on Gaza during the Democratic debate on April 14. Let’s begin with this excerpt:
Within seconds [of the debate], hosannas from the herd of independent minds poured forth. “Historic” declared The Huffington Post. “Bernie Sanders just shattered an American taboo on Israel,” gushed Vox’s Zack Beauchamp, whose knowledge of the Middle East is so voluminous as to include the imaginative, like the “bridge” connecting Gaza to the West Bank (which, naturally, Israel “limits traffic on.”) “Bravo to Sanders for saying that Israel’s assault on Gaza was disproportionate!” exclaimed Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. “Truth in a campaign! Wonders never cease!”
In reality, standing up for “Palestinians’ humanity,” as Beauchamp wrote, is as much a “taboo” as being in favor of healthy school lunches or cleaner air and water.
To think otherwise, one would have to inhabit world where ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the BBC, The Guardian, every major European broadcast network and newspaper, Vox, Salon, Slate, American academia, the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, and countless other media outlets and international institutions don’t exist. George W. Bush, remember, was the first American president to call for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Not so fast, James, I can’t let you pull that one off. You see, the “taboo” wasn’t “not sticking up for Palestinian humanity.” Though just in case it was, Hillary Clinton made sure not to make that mistake in her Aipac speech.
No; it was the first time a serious Presidential candidate attacked another for being “too pro Israel.” Until now, politicians only got attacked from the right over their position on Israel. That was the taboo.
James, concentrate hard now. Do you recall a politician (David Duke doesn’t count) with designs on the White House who insisted and refused to back down from a statement like “Israel used disproportionate force”?
It used to be if an American politician, in a fit of masochism, proclaimed during a debate that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “not right all of the time,” you and Jeffrey and all your friends would go on and on about why said politician “suspiciously” picked Netanyahu as someone who was “not right all of the time” — when billions of people in the world are not right all of the time! And so his singling out Netanyahu raised “certain suspicions.”
James, let me give you a tip before you write your next article on subjects like this. You might want to follow the ADL on twitter. I think you have a lot in common. This is what the ADL had to say about that same debate:
— ADL (@ADL_National) April 15, 2016
Hmm, interesting. Does the ADL have a problem with Senator Sanders standing up for “Palestinian humanity?” Maybe it does, but that wasn’t the taboo, was it? But you know all this. If Sanders had not “broken a taboo” – criticizing another politician for being too pro-Israel – it’s a lot less likely you would be writing, “Bernie Sanders’ Jewish problem.”
Back to Kirchick:
But to a particular type of commentator, and a particular type of Jew, the relevance of Sanders’ remarks lay not in what he said. Rather, it is the act of virtue-signaling—only we, the righteous Jews, as opposed to those cold-hearted tribalists, appreciate another people’s suffering—that sends the proverbial thrill down the leg….
While Sanders’ even-handedness on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is utterly banal, there is one sense in which his campaign is genuinely historic: He is the most successful Jewish presidential candidate in American history. But unlike Joe Lieberman, who was the first Jew to appear on a major party ticket in 2000, Jewishness—religious, cultural, political—is not something that Sanders likes to discuss. More often than not, it has been a source of awkward embarrassment, which he often tries to avoid by identifying himself as “Polish.” In an interview last June, NPR’s Diane Rehm asked Sanders to address his “dual citizenship with Israel.” When Sanders informed Rehm that he is “an American citizen, period,” the host protested that his name appeared on a “list” of American-Israeli dual nationals. (Rehm later apologized, though why she and her producer accepted as fact the assertions of neo-Nazis on the Internet has not been sufficiently explained.)
I love when you guys look for hidden motives. It can’t just be exactly what it looks like, which is the most normal perspective anywhere else in the world. You see, James, when a people is under a military occupation for 50 years, it is not shocking that most people think they’re the victims. There is no need for your “virtue signaling theory” to explain their behavior. One would think that a group of people so very sensitive to questions about their own motives would exercise a little more restraint before looking for psychological explanations in someone else’s conduct.
Oh and Sanders’s “utterly banal” even handedness– I’m going to point to the ADL tweet again. It’s his criticism of Israel that breaks the taboo.
And what about what he said to Diane Rehm? Now we get to the heart of the matter. Bernie Sanders is a proud American who happens to be Jewish. Before you and your friends moved the goalposts for Jews, that’s what Jews wanted when they came to this country. They wanted to be “American citizen period.” They dreamt of being able to be Americans, and unlike where they came from, they were hoping not to stand out as Jews if they didn’t want to. They wanted to “happen to be a Jew.” They wanted to be like all other Americans. But now—this is Bernie Sanders’s Jewish problem, as you put it– Bernie Sanders is not allowed to be an “American citizen, period.”
James, it could be “awkward embarrassment” or maybe Sanders is thinking: “What’s the point of all these Jewish questions? What does this have to do with the minimum wage, or trade, or Hillary’s Wall Street speeches. Why can’t I just be an American. Why must I be tribal? Why can’t I just be a fucking American who happens to be Jewish?”
Rehm later apologized, though why she and her producer accepted as fact the assertions of neo-Nazis on the Internet has not been sufficiently explained.
Yes I agree with you that Rehm’s explanation is not sufficient. Do you think she has a Nazi boyfriend? Or maybe she’s been bought off?
Or maybe she just woke up that day and said today “I’m going to empower the anti-Semites!” Be sure to email Jeffrey Goldberg and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and Jennifer Rubin and Daniel Goldhagen and Bret Stephens and Abe Foxman and put your heads together and come up with a united game plan as to what to do about Rehm. Even though she issues an apology maybe we should demand she make a donation to “Birthright;” I have to say there is still something disturbing about it. I don’t think it’s premature for Aipac to open a file on her unless of course there is one already. In any event I think you guys should pay special attention to her for a while.
Earlier this month, anti-Semitism again reared its ugly head in the form of a questioner who confronted Sanders at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. “As you know,” the man asked, “the Zionist Jews—and I don’t mean to offend anybody—they run the Federal Reserve, they run Wall Street, they run every campaign.” Struggling to finish over the audience’s loud booing (the only hopeful sign in an otherwise dispiriting moment of an already dispiriting campaign season), the man asked, “What is your affiliation to your Jewish community? That’s all I’m asking.”
As my Tablet magazine colleague Yair Rosenberg noted, Sanders’ answer was disappointing. Rather than use the outburst as an opportunity to rebuke blatant bigotry and leave it at that, Sanders thought it necessary to express his pro-Palestinian bona fides—so, you know, no one might think he was that kind of Jew. “Talking about Zionism and Israel,” Sanders said, “I am a strong defender of Israel, but I also believe that we have got to pay attention to the needs of the Palestinian people.” Of course, the questioner was not talking about the subtleties of the Middle East conflict when he alleged that “Zionist Jews” control everything from the nation’s money supply to its political system. His use of “Zionist,” as is so often the case when anti-Semites wish to disguise their anti-Semitism, was plainly conspiratorial.
Dear James, I’ve never read you before but I’m sure you make Jeffrey Goldberg proud. This is what your college Yair Rosenberg actually wrote:
“As you know,” opened the questioner, “the Zionist Jews–and I don’t mean to offend anybody–they run the Federal Reserve, they run Wall Street, they run every campaign.” As this unfolded, Sanders began wagging his finger in dissent, and interjected to deem “Zionist Jews” a “bad phrase.” His interlocutor, pressed to articulate a question, concluded by saying, “What is your affiliation to your Jewish community? That’s all I’m asking.”
“No, no, no, that’s not what you’re asking,” Sanders quickly replied, in a nod to the question’s underlying prejudice. “I am proud to be Jewish,” he declared, to cheers from the audience.
So Sanders’s actual response to the question was 1. “Zionist Jews” is a “bad phrase.” 2. “Your question is not innocent.” Sanders is implying, if not saying outright, that the guy has a problem with Jews, which he restates when he says, 3. “That’s not what you’re asking.” I.e., You are prejudiced. 4. “I am proud to be Jewish”
What is James Kirchick’s take away from this exchange?
Sanders thought it necessary to express his pro-Palestinian bona fides—so, you know, no one might think he was that kind of Jew.
Have you no shame at all?
Bernie Sanders’ campaign has illuminated the new rules that govern Jewish participation on the progressive left. One cannot simply be a Jew: One must be a Jew who loudly and proudly declaims his distance from Israel and the American Jewish “establishment” at every possible opportunity. And unlike every other member of the progressive coalition, Judaism and Jewish peoplehood must only be expressed through a universalist vision of “social justice” that emphatically proclaims that Jewish causes and rights are no more (or usually less) worthy than those of Black Lives Matter, the Palestinians, La Raza, etc., and which sees this self-abnegation as the price of entry—for Jews alone.
Quite a mouthful, James.
Let’s see what type of “Jews” join the progressive left. Firstly shockingly enough, they’re going to be less tribal than you. And no it’s not a “new rule that governs Jewish participation on the progressive left.” I think it’s the internet that’s causing all of this. Maybe when you guys get done outlawing BDS, you can outlaw the internet.
See, the problem is they read people like you and see exactly what you’re up to. And they know stuff like, Abe Foxman’s and the ADL’s position on the Armenian genocide is totally dependent on Turkey’s relationship with Israel, and know that great moral voice Elie Wiesel supports ethnic cleansing on the side. (Haaretz’s language not mine.) They also know what your contemptible rabbi Boteach wrote about Jimmy Carter:
Mr. Carter’s recent accusations of Israeli war crimes, his demand for a United Nations investigation into Israel’s actions in Gaza, and his call for Hamas – a genocidal terror organization – to be recognized as a legitimate political partner by Israel is making it near impossible not to ascribe to Carter some nasty feelings toward the Jewish state.
Where is Mr. Carter’s call for the world to recognize the legitimacy of Al Qaida or the Taliban?
When the choice is Jimmy Carter who has devoted his life to doing what he can to improve the world or Rabbi Shmuley, strangely enough it ain’t no choice at all for those kids.
And James, you’re being dishonest again. Those Jewish progressive leftists that got arrested having those seders at Jewish establishment offices on Passover were doing it “as Jews.” Now of course their ideas of Judaism are very different than yours. But theirs is a Jewish movement. To them what they do is “simply being Jewish.”
Oh and there is the issue of the never ending occupation and all its evils that surprisingly enough leads idealistic people to activism.
The Sanders campaign is important as a space in which the left’s universalistic pretensions are coming into conflict with the particularistic concerns of Jewish nationalism—as many on the left single out Israel for opprobrium and demand that their Jewish comrades do the same. English novelist Howard Jacobson ridiculed “ ‘As a Jew’ Jews” as those who invoke their ethnic identity solely to criticize Israel and their ethno-religious brethren. It is a species hardly unique to the Jewish tribe, but one that is certainly louder—and the recipient of more disproportionate and fawning media coverage—than any other genus of self-styled ethnic dissenter, a type that when found in other communities is generally ridiculed as an Uncle Tom or a puppet of the patriarchy.
Again: questioning motives. You do realize that you people are the only ones questioning their motives. For the rest of the world there is no mystery at all. You guys are the mystery. All the deceit, the witch hunts, character assassinations, the hysteria, the fanaticism. You guys act like a bunch of Bolsheviks.
Did you guys ever consider that being members of the most moral people in the world with the most moral army in the world– you don’t need to get so emotional and destroy all your enemies? Tell Jeffrey to take a day off! It can’t be easy every second tweet he has to waste so much energy on is it “good for the Jews/not good for the Jews,” “good for Israel/not good for Israel.” It has to take a toll on him. You have justice on your side! The world will inevitably come around to you!
And I notice you invoke the “particularistic concerns of Jewish nationalism.” Is that what Netanyahu means when he responded to an Israeli soldier’s execution of a prone Palestinian (who btw had every right according to international law to stab a soldier in Hebron, ground zero of occupation), by stating:
“I hope that a way will be found to find a balance between the act and the overall context of the event.”
When Netanyahu said, “overall context of the event,” did he mean the context of the “particularist concerns of Jewish nationalism” – in which our murdering medic is doing his very tribal best?
Sanders’ snub of the bipartisan AIPAC conference (he was the only presidential candidate not to address its nearly 20,000 members) was a defining mark of this tendency.
James, I have a question. I know you would have liked Sanders to have flown back to Washington and have you write his speech for him for Aipac. But how many of Sanders’s supporters do you think wanted him to do that? Some would say that it is more accurate that “bipartisan Aipac” snubbed Sanders. He was perfectly happy giving the speech to them by video, he couldn’t justify going back to Washington. Aipac said no thanks.
Just between us, James– the goyim don’t have to know your answer– What do you think would have happened if Sanders said he had no interest in giving any speech to Aipac and Hillary said because of this ridiculous Sanders campaign she had to stay on the road campaigning and couldn’t come to Washington for the Aipac conference but would love to give her speech via video hookup? And she could probably even get a permission slip from her megadonor Haim “I’m a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel” Saban to do it? I suspect an ”exception” would have been made over the no-speeches-to-Aipac-via-video policy. It’s only against Sanders that they enforce that rule. Hillary could have sent her speech by carrier pigeon and it wouldn’t be an issue.
But then again maybe I’m a paranoid conspiratorial self-hating Jew. Maybe Jeffrey Goldberg’s diagnosis of Glenn Greenwald applies to me as well: Maybe someone beat me up when I was a kid in Yeshiva! Remember Goldberg’s diagnosis:
“Self-hatred is a deeply-inexact description of the people this reader is trying to describe. In my experience, those Jews who consciously set themselves apart from the Jewish majority in the disgust they display for Israel, or for the principles of their faith, are often narcissists, and therefore seem to suffer from an excess of self-regard, rather than self-loathing. “Self-hater” is a euphemism, then, for “auto-anti-Semite,” or some other such locution. I generally try to stay away from such descriptions (though there are some very obvious candidates for the label of auto-anti-Semite, including the John Mearsheimer-endorsed neo-Nazi Gilad Atzmon).” ….I often suspect that some really bad shit happened to him [Greenwald] in Hebrew school…… (This is not to say I don’t admire some of his stands, including his forthright stance against torture — of course, this is a very Jewish position to take, if you ask me.)
I’m not a shrink, but it’s very strange to me that Goldberg so unselfconsciously talks about “narcissists” and “an excess of self regard.” If there are any characteristics you guys all share, it’s exactly that. Go down the list: Jeffrey Goldberg, Jennifer Rubin, Marty Peretz, Rabbi Boteach, Bret Stephens, Daniel Goldhagen, Alan Dershowitz. The list goes on and on. The preening self confidence, the nauseating degree of self righteousness, the smugness, the sanctimonious moralizing, the lecturing, the hectoring, the unscrupulousness, the lack of humility and of course– no sense of fair play at all.
Where does Jeffrey Goldberg get this chutzpah? He admires some of Greenwald’s stands, like on torture, but we all know: that’s “a very Jewish position.” Poor Glenn Greenwald. Who knows what happened to him in Hebrew school, and now Goldberg can’t even let him have his anti-torture position in peace. No, it’s the “Jew in you”! That’s the only reason you’re against torture, Glenn Greenwald.
If I were Jeffrey Goldberg I would be a little concerned that perhaps history is more likely to say Jeffrey Goldberg got beaten up in Hebrew school– and that’s why little insecure Jeffrey thought Meir Kahane’s JDL “had all the answers” as he put it, at a time when the Kahanists were beating up black people, because as much as he prayed and fantasized at night about going back in time and killing Hitler it didn’t look like it was happening. And then Jeffrey realized that American inner-cities are small potatoes. He could get on a plane and get a real gun and be in his very own Jewish army and shoot Arabs, or at least be a prison guard.
And then Jeffrey thought to himself “Anyone can be a prison guard for Arabs”– maybe Hashem has bigger plans for me. Maybe I can become one of those Middle East experts! If you know the right people you never know how the gig will turn out. And lo and behold now Jeffrey Goldberg is America’s “most influential Jewish Journalist;” instead of imprisoning Arabs he can fight the good cause in less brutal ways.
There’s a special place in Jewish heaven for Jeffrey Goldberg for all the extracurricular work he did surrounding Trump’s Aipac speech.
Before the speech, Goldberg was very clear about what was happening: Trump is a fascist. Here are three of his retweets:
First, the Trump -Hitler comparison.
- If the Hitler comparison is so flawed then why do 100% of the antisemitic replies to my tweets come from Trump supporters?
If the Hitler comparison is so flawed then why do 100% of the antisemitic replies to my tweets come from Trump supporters?
— Twitnter is Coming (@OhNoSheTwitnt) March 23, 2016
Second, Jews have very good ears for these things and they hear echos of fascism from Trump.
Trump's Jewish problem isn't anti-Semitism. It's that Jews hear echoes of fascism when he speaks. https://t.co/tF6FCL3ier
— Jacob Weisberg (@jacobwe) March 20, 2016
Third, Aipac is going to be Trump’s “toughest room yet.”
— David Schraub (@schraubd) March 21, 2016
So you see, Jeffrey was all ready to demonstrate to America once again the moral superiority of Jews: the special ears we have for fascists. He should have realized though that it is much easier to convince his readers how wonderful Jews are by repeating the standard talking points every day ad nauseum than actually having an almost scientific experiment in which you could compare Jews’ and non Jews’ reaction to a Trump speech. Seems just a little risky. But understandable: years of bullying everyone has made Jeffrey feel invincible. Because maybe Jeffrey should have entertained the possibility for a brief moment that all of the wonderful things he thinks and says about the Jews and Israel might be influenced so very, very slightly by, you know, his ethnicity and Kahane and the JDL and the IDF and being an Israeli prison guard and all that stuff.
Because maybe Jews are just like everyone else and they might actually respond to Trump like other crowds do!
Yikes. Poor Jeffrey. The Aipac crowd didn’t act as hoped for. They applauded!!! Raucously, with several standing ovations. So he really needed to work his magic now: 15,000 delirious Jews responding to Trump. What does Goldberg do? Well, he’s been here before. Main thing is not to panic.
First try denying reality:
Wow. Trump draws out the Obama haters at #AIPAC2016 quite effectively.
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) March 21, 2016
Translation “WoW! Trump used his Trumpian evil magic (brilliant what the words “quite effectively” contribute to the meaning of the sentence! ) to get the 75? 100? Obama haters in the crowd of twenty thousand to express their displeasure with Obama.
Problem: even the most influential Jewish Journalist in America can’t get people to believe his tweet over their eyes and ears!
Second, Nothing to see here.
Those of you who are surprised a pro-Israel audience likes a pro-Israel speech by Donald Trump should stop being surprised.
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) March 21, 2016
Pro-Israel audience. What’s that about? Why not write the “Jewish audience.” Because it can’t hurt to suggest the 45 Christian Evangelicals in the Aipac arena were making all that ruckus.
And did you notice, “likes” Trump speech instead of, you know, “loving” his speech.
But that still doesn’t solve the big problem. Jeffrey needed to tell the goyim what the correct way to understand what happened is, with the minimum damage to the good guys. It’s amazing just how impervious Goldberg feels here from even needing to have a defensible position on his favorite subject: the evils of prejudice.
True he had no good answer that would satisfy the goyim. He had foolishly set himself up by drinking his own Kool-aid. He believed his own propaganda. Aipac Jews were “better” than an average Trump crowd. When any non Jew (if they dared) could have told Jeffrey that the Aipac crowd would be just as loud as the rest of Trump’s rallies, if Trump just told the Aipac crowd what they wanted to hear.
Thankfully Goldberg still had one thing left, his moral authority:
Those of you who are surprised a pro-Israel audience likes a pro-Israel speech by Donald Trump should stop being surprised.
You should know better than to even think these Jews are doing something wrong! And you need to stop thinking those things immediately!
But why, Jeffrey? Can you explain why different rules and standards apply to Jews? Why is it OK for Jews to act like that when they hear a bigot but nobody else? Jeffrey what are you doing here? What is this all about? Why are you trying to mislead everyone?
I know nobody else can suggest a motive. But what’s your answer?
Jeffrey Goldberg has long ago lost the ability to realize how he comes across to other people. Especially when you look at his own motive-mongering. Remember this piece, “Andrew Sullivan Is Frightened by Complexity.”
If it is condescending to think that Andrew Sullivan — formerly an embarrassingly rabid Zionist, who lately has become an embarrassingly rabid anti-Zionist — doesn’t know much about the Middle East, and fears its complexity, well, I guess I’m guilty. …… (I remember when Andrew, of course, characterized Palestinians as devils and thought Israelis wore halos, but this was before, as he told me over lunch one day a couple of years ago, he realized that Netanyahu, in his opinion, was standing in the way of President Obama’s destiny. Once Netanyahu got in the way, Andrew said, he was finished defending Israel).
It’s fairly obvious that both sides in the conflict have screwed-up, in different ways and at different times. But to acknowledge that this is all very complicated is to forgo the opportunity to demonize Israel and its Jewish supporters, and Andrew wouldn’t want to miss that opportunity.
1. “Formerly an embarrassingly rabid Zionist”= you were always a little crazy in the head even when you were on our side. Now you’re crazy in the head in their side.
2. “Characterized Palestinians as devils”= you were a fanatic when you were on our side. Now you’re a fanatic on their side.
3. During lunch Andrew “told me” = Not something I heard, a rumor or a guess or an assumption. Andrew himself told me what I’m about to tell you. Look what Golberg is doing to his erstwhile friend. He had lunch with his then friend and takes a couple of words that Sullivan said totally out of context and turns it into, This is what Sullivan told me with his own mouth. Wait, who does things like this?
4. Netanyahu standing in the way of Obama’s destiny, so Sullivan finished defending Israel = Andrew really knows Israel is “correct” but she is standing in the way of (Sullivan’s irrational almost religious obsession with) Obama’s destiny. Sullivan– Goldberg is telling his readers– is willing to cloud his own judgment or lie or trick himself because: He just Can’t think straight when something gets into the way of Obama’s destiny.
Of course Sullivan never characterized Palestinians as devils. Sullivan simply used to accept the Goldberg narrative of Israel/Palestine as reality; but no good deed goes unpunished. This is what absolutely no scruples looks like.
OK, back to James Kirchick on Sanders. The Vermont senator’s Jewish problem just gets worse and worse:
So too was [the campaign’s] hiring of a Jewish outreach director, Simone Zimmerman, whose key qualification for the job of liaising with American Jewry was antagonizing her fellow Jews. When it was revealed that Zimmerman had attacked Clinton’s AIPAC speech as “racist and orientalist,” called on Hillel to provide a platform for anti-Zionists and other supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, and authored an expletive-laden Facebook tirade condemning Netanyahu as an “asshole” who had “sanctioned the murder of over 2,000 people,” the Sanders campaign suspended her. Rushing to Zimmerman’s defense was the chameleon-like Peter Beinart (Rhodes Scholar, Marshall “declined”), who, having grown tired of being a leading liberal hawk shape-shifted into a left-wing critic of American imperial hubris, now bears the burden of being the self-appointed conscience of American Jewry. He told the Times that Zimmerman’s suspension amounted to “the American Jewish community eating its own”; Beinart elaborated that, “She cares deeply and wants to make [the Jewish community] live up to its own stated ideals.” If only American Jews were as conscientious and caring as Peter Beinart and Simone Zimmermann.
Maybe it’s just me but it looks like a lot of taboos are being broken by a leading presidential candidate! Whatever you want to say about Peter Beinart, he comes to his positions honestly: This shit is really eating him up. You have to feel bad for him. He debated all of you. He is so earnest naive and idealistic. And careful to be precise, in every word he said.
While the bunch of you are the most cynical dishonest debaters around. If God came down and said you guys were wrong, you would look to find a way to trip Him up.
But you can’t bully history. Unless Sheldon Adelson buys the world, you guys are likely to be compared unfavorably to the likes of Walter Duranty. (Google him: The New York Times Moscow correspondent who is known as “Stalin’s apologist”). But relax, the ADL is not going to make you give all those awards back.
I don’t know what your guys’ religion actually is, but Simone Zimmerman and her friends aren’t joining not because something bad happened to them in Hebrew school or they have “excess self regard” or because they’re narcissists. It’s most likely what everyone else assumes: they just don’t want to lose their souls.
A more revealing aspect of the Sanders phenomenon concerned his notorious interview with the Daily News editorial board, in which he incorrectly asserted that 10,000 civilians had been killed in the 2014 Gaza War. After Sanders consulted with the Anti-Defamation League, his campaign revised the number down to the United Nations estimate of some 1,500 civilians (Israel maintains the number of innocents killed is substantially lower).
Ah the “notorious” Daily News interview. Who decided it was “notorious?” Perhaps the same people that Jennifer Rubin was talking about when she described the interview as “disastrous” in the Washington Post?
he incorrectly asserted that 10,000 civilians had been killed
Let’s look up the word “asserted.” Assert – “to state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully.”
Now let’s go back to the notorious and disastrous Daily News interview.
Sanders: Can anybody help me out here, because I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right
Daily News: I think it’s probably high, but we can look at that.
Sanders: I don’t have it in my number…but I think it’s over 10,000. My understanding is that a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don’t think I’m alone in believing that Israel’s force was more indiscriminate than it should have been.
Why would you use the word “assert,” which is a lie, and then to cover your tracks you don’t put the Daily News url: you put in the Times of Israel link?
Do you see why Simone Zimmerman and her friends want to have nothing to do with people like you? And what do you folks tell yourself when you realize that journalists like Peter Beinart or Andrew Sullivan never do what you just did? That it’s just the Walter Duranty types that do it. And that every single one of your crowd does it literally every time they write anything. If it’s too challenging to be a journalist, if the burden of being honest is too much– perhaps Sheldon Adelson can open a dental school and you all can become successful dentists. And the rest of the country can breathe a sigh of relief and go about their business.
The questioning of casualty figures, however, is beside the point, because to Sanders and his supporters, the number doesn’t matter. Even five hundred or one hundred Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza—in the midst of a racist war started by a genocidal terrorist organization—would have been “disproportionate.”
James, who is speaking here? Who says the casualty figure here is beside the point and doesn’t matter and even 100 dead would have been “disproportionate.” Oh ok; must be a hunch or theory of yours.
Which in turn brings up a very important point: If the numbers are irrelevant, and the need for moral outrage is not based on the quantity of the dead, then what is it based on, exactly?
So it’s your claim that for them numbers don’t matter at all, “which in turn bring up a very important point: if the numbers are irrelevant…..” Just a second, James. I would like to suggest that if only 100 Palestinian died in the last Gaza war Sanders would not use the word “Disproportionate” and would sound much more like Hillary, and also a good chance you would never have heard of Simone Zimmerman.
Why are Bernie Sanders and his Jewish surrogates not permanently outraged by the nearly half a million dead civilians in Syria? The answer, apparently, is that there exists a special kind of math in which even one dead Palestinian—killed unintentionally by Israeli forces in the midst of an ethically justified, defensive war provoked by its adversary—is proof of some horrible moral outrage committed not by the Palestinians but by Israel. Meanwhile, these self same critics have little or nothing to say about the incessant American drone strikes, dramatically intensified by a president they idolize, which have killed far more innocent people than the Israeli Defense Forces, never mind the atrocities committed by Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Egypt, and practically every other country on the planet.
Yada Yada Yada Yada Yada
I’m curious: do you believe these arguments or do you know it’s all obfuscation?
Last month, the Village Voice published a cover story titled, “The Heresy and Evangelism of Bernie Sanders,” which explicitly put forth the sociologically accurate if hardly morally binding proposition that, to be good leftists, Jews must denounce Israel….
This is not a new phenomenon for Jews on the left, who have always had to balance their commitment to cosmopolitan principles with their communal concerns. … For many left-wing Jews, distancing oneself from Israel and the American Jewish majority has become a marker of enlightenment and urbanity not unlike the way German Jews looked down upon shtetl Ostjuden from Poland and Russia. Contemporary Western liberal Jewish criticism of Israel’s “right wing drift” also has an unspoken racial component, as the vast majority of American Jews are of Ashkenazi descent while more than half of Israeli Jews are of Sephardic or Mizrahi lineage. And so the tension that long existed (and to some extent, still exists) between the old, Ashkenazi Israeli elite and the dispossessed Mizrahim is now being grafted onto the American-Israeli relationship—with the “good leftist” in the role of the racist Ashkenazi snobs.
Bernie Sanders and his Jewish devotees can distance themselves from Israel and Zionism all they want. But as has always been the case, it will make no difference to the people they are trying to please, who continue to reduce them to a single factor of their identity which in their minds has attained the totalizing force of an epithet: Jew.
I get all the Jewish self hatred and (very clever) the American Jewish racism against dark Israelis is what’s behind the American Jewish critique of Israel. It looks like we’re going to hear a lot more of that.
— Daniel Gordis (@DanielGordis) April 14, 2016
Quite a lot of chutzpah to accuse those American Jews sticking up for Palestinians as racist against dark-skinned people. But the payoff is if that actually catches on and becomes part of the narrative. (Simone Zimmerman, why are you so racist against Mizrachi Jews!?)
Did you ever consider the alternative explanation that unlike you and your friends these Jews have limits to their tribal loyalty– what James calls “their communal concerns”? And when they see and read what is going on over there, they think they have more in common with their next door gentile neighbors than with Netanyahu, Abe Foxman, Jeffrey and you. Shocking isn’t it?
And where is all this psychological analysis when the rare Arab or Muslim agrees with you guys on Israel. I haven’t read a discussion by you guys about what gets these Arabs to “betray” their own tribe? I don’t recall conjecture from you people about what happened to them in the madrasa, or talk of “virtue signalling” when you proudly trot them out and give them jobs in your think tanks.
If you are honestly seeking the truth you might want to watch this video–
and read the Israeli government’s explanation of it. The Education Minister, for instance:
If the terrorist was indeed wearing an explosive vest, the soldier would be considered a national hero….
The attacks on a soldier who protects all of us before the investigation has even started harms the military, harms Israel’s standing in the world, and is harmful towards our attempts to thwart future attacks.
Weird how it’s such a big deal in Israel and you guys are the biggest authorities on all things Israel; and not a peep from you guys about this.
And if you try hard to imagine what the Jewish kids see when they see that video, sadly for you and the ADL they don’t have that voice in your head with all the apologetics you tell yourself when you see it. And maybe they even know all about Colonel Ofer Winter as well, leading his troops to the border of Gaza before the 2014 slaughter:
“History has chosen us to spearhead the fight against the terrorist Gazan enemy who curses, vilifies and abominates Israel’s God,” Colonel Ofer Winter, the [Givati] unit’s commanding officer, wrote in the letter to his troops. He ended with a biblical quote promising divine protection for Israel’s warriors on the battlefield………
Jeffrey and James: your troubles are only beginning. You have terrorized your peers into silence over your daily intellectual and moral outrages. But these kids are iconoclasts/breakers of idols. And they are not afraid of the likes of you.
When Ayelet Waldman, an Israeli American writer, makes a (light-hearted) tweet about Israelis–
— Ayelet Waldman (@ayeletw) April 11, 2016
she does not have to wait long for the arbiter of all things moral Jeffrey Goldberg to denounce it as “blatant prejudice.”
This sort of blatant prejudice is not going to convince Israelis to fight the settlement movement: https://t.co/89Qhctljp4
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) April 26, 2016
And what tends to happen with these things happened. The most moral subgroup of the most moral people in the world are forced to take a moral stand:
Substitute any other group or nationality for "Israel" here and the offensiveness of this tweet is clear. https://t.co/bLp0syQeXk
— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) April 26, 2016
And then, produce a follow up article about the “controversy.”
Novelist Ayelet Waldman spars with Jeffrey Goldberg over Israel’s “#nationalcharacter”
And Ayelet Waldman is left pleading/hoping for a pass:
I love all the NON-Israelis berating me for making a joke about the Sabra's national character. Hey folks, I AM ISRAELI. It's allowed.
— Ayelet Waldman (@ayeletw) April 27, 2016
But wait, let’s look at one of comrade Kirchick’s tweets.
I'm shocked that the land of Adolf Hitler, Kurt Waldheim and Joerg Haider would vote for a far right presidential candidate #bpwahl16
— Jamie Kirchick (@jkirchick) April 24, 2016
What brought on Kirchick labeling millions and millions of Austrians as Nazis? Nothing more than the victory of a right wing Austrian political party whose leader as it happens, was in Israel two weeks ago at the invite of the Likud party (the most moral political party of the most moral country in the world) meeting government ministers.
“[Heinz-Christian] Strache, who arrived in Israel on Monday night, told Channel 1 TV on Wednesday that he had met with government ministers during the course of his visit, but declined to mention names, saying that he had promised confidentiality.”
Let me just guess what Jeffrey Goldberg’s response to Kirchick’s tweet would be:
“Those of you that are surprised that James Kirchick tweeted a prejudiced tweet about Austria should stop being surprised.”
But no. Jeffrey Goldberg has created a fantasy life for himself about Jews, Israel and the world in which the most anodyne observation– Waldman again:
Yesterday's bus bombing is a tragedy but not a surprise. This kind of terrible violence is an inevitable result of a brutal occupation.
— Ayelet Waldman (@ayeletw) April 19, 2016
results in this:
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) April 25, 2016
Since it’s a Jewish occupation, if you’re not surprised by resistance, that means you believe the “Jews had it coming apparently.”
For too long Jeffrey Goldberg has done his darnedest to intimidate everyone from asking him why there are different rules for Jews and Israel than for everyone else. If Goldberg keeps it up he might very well have a bunch of Jewish kids holding a seder on his lawn next Pesach.