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Miriam Adelson says ‘anti-Israel’ Jews seek an ‘express ticket to assimilation’

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Miriam Adelson has jumped into the war between good Jews and bad Jews, saying that “many” Jews have turned against Israel to get “an express ticket to successful assimilation.” Her criticism is a common refrain among Israel supporters, that Jews who support Palestinian rights have a weak connection to their Jewish heritage or are self-haters.

Adelson is of course one of Trump’s biggest donors and married to Sheldon Adelson, who is the president’s biggest donor. A physician, Adelson is the winner of the presidential medal of freedom from Trump and also the richest Israeli. Yesterday the rightwing Israel lobby group, the Israeli American Council, or IAC, circulated a blogpost Adelson wrote in January that bewails the assimilation of Jews. There should be 500,000,000 Jews on earth. But anti-Israel Jews have accepted the teachings of antisemites so as to fit in.

We Jews cannot afford division. There are too few us, and too many others who want us to fail, falter, disperse or perish. Scholars believe that, in King David’s time, three millennia ago, the Jewish population numbered around 5 million. Today, we are 14 million – barely a threefold increase. Consider that the Chinese population is believed to have increased about a hundred-fold over the same period. By rights, we Jews should number at least a half-billion today.

But, all too often, anti-Semitism has had its way: from the Inquisition to the pogroms to the Holocaust…

And hatred for us from the outside has engendered drift and doubt among us: All too many Jews assimilate and are lost to the community because they see no good reason to stay. And all too many of these Jews see anti-Israel activism as an express-ticket to successful assimilation.

As to politics, Adelson says that rightwing Israel lobby groups will fix the problem between American Jews and Israel, just when that divide is growing larger. Some of her magical thinking:

We fully expect that the IAC will continue growing and thus shrink whatever gap might exist between American Jews and Israel. This is the time for us to unite, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, of any affiliation.

Adelson’s definition of Jewish community is plainly a religious Zionist one that defies borders:

[I]t is so important to bring closer the world’s two largest Jewish communities – in Israel and in the United States. We are a giant extended family. Though thousands of miles separate us, we share the same joy and pain, the same glorious birthright and the same burden of the disasters that befell us because of this birthright.

Zionists have thrown themselves into the battle against assimilation because they see the struggle between universalism and particularism in the Jewish community as undermining Israel’s support. Israel supporters often say that the deeper someone’s identification with the Jewish community and/or Jewish religion, the stronger their support for Israel. Jeffrey Goldberg said that Jewish critics of Israel were people with Jewish parents, meaning they had lost connection to their Jewishness. Israel’s million-dollar Genesis Prize– the “Jewish Nobel”– was rolled out as a weapon to fight assimilation.

Bari Weiss of the New York Times, one of Israel’s leading advocates in the U.S., has said that Jews who criticize Israel are just trying to fit in with the non-Jews.

[In ancient times] Jewish boys, teenagers young men were so desperate to fit into the surrounding society and they wanted to pass off as non Jews in the gymnasium where you obviously exercised in the nude, so they actually underwent an ancient surgery to undo their circumcisions… This is real, it’s really real and… the reason I bring that up, is that the desire to be a part of the cool group and the desire to be a part of the group that you always thought was your home, and the deep psychological discomfort of realizing it might not be, is very powerful…

[F]rankly when I look at Jews who support the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement, I feel sympathy because I understand emotionally what is driving that. It’s a deep, deep desire to feel a part of a tribe.

Weiss urged Jews to love Jewish “particularism,” our special role in history. Our specialness is “frankly why we drive people crazy still,” she said.

Similarly, Dennis Ross, the advocate for Israel as White House peace processor, co-chairs an organization, the Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem, that bewails the lack of increase of Jewish population and works against assimilation. For instance, in this document:

Develop new approaches to limit the erosive effects of assimilation and intermarriage.

We need more Jewish babies to keep Israel strong:

[There is a need to reduce] obstacles that interfere with the birth of a third and fourth child in Israeli families and developing conditions that may facilitate Jewish family growth in both Israel and the Diaspora.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of Mondoweiss.net and founded the site in 2005-06.

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27 Responses

  1. eljay on February 13, 2020, 12:43 pm

    Jewish Zionists like Mrs. Adelson, Ms. Weiss and Mr. Ross are excellent examples of the insanity that is Zionism:
    – Mrs Adelson says “We Jews cannot afford division”, (deliberately?) oblivious to the fact that for decades she and other Jewish supremacists have been fostering division.

    – Ms. Weiss says “the desire to be a part of the cool group and the desire to be a part of the group that you always thought was your home, and the deep psychological discomfort of realizing it might not be, is very powerful”, seemingly clueless about how that also applies to “the Jewish people”.

    – Mr. Ross says “[There is a need to reduce] obstacles that interfere with the birth of a third and fourth child in Israeli* families”, clearly comfortable with his decision to be a supremacist.

    If Zionists were truly concerned about the lack of Jews in the world, they would simply make Jewish the bureaucratic nationality of “Jewish State”. Instantly every person living in or up to n-generations removed from geographic Palestine would be Jewish.

    But they won’t do that because like all Zionists they know that Jewish is – and they want Jewish to remain – a religion-based identity.
    _______________________
    (*by which he means Jewish)

    • Ernie on February 14, 2020, 5:07 pm

      Real question: Why is it that when we want to characterise behaviour that we find politically or morally repugnant, the best we can do is to psychologise it as ‘insane’, simultaneously giving the perpetrators a free pass – they need treatment, not opposition – and casting slurs on the mentally ill.

      • eljay on February 14, 2020, 7:02 pm

        || Ernie: Real question: Why is it that when we want to characterise behaviour that we find politically or morally repugnant, the best we can do is to psychologise it as ‘insane’ … ||

        I have no other way to explain the sheer hypocrisy – the selective madness – of Zionism and Zionists:
        – Evil elsewhere is evil; in I-P, it’s an excuse, justification, an opportunity.
        – Justice, accountability and equality elsewhere are good; in I-P they are loathsome, anti-Semitic and even “Jew hatred”.
        – A religious conversion transforms an American or a European or an Asian person into a long-exiled Ancient Israelite and transforms a foreign land into his ancient / historic / ancestral / lost / one true homeland.

        || … simultaneously giving the perpetrators a free pass … ||

        Who’s giving Zionists a “free pass”? I believe that one way or another Zionists must be held accountable for their past and on-going (war) crimes. In no way should Zionists be allowed to continue to be supremacists, to have a supremacist state or to do “necessary evil” unto others. No group of people should have any of those “rights” that Zionists ascribe to themselves.

      • Ernie on February 15, 2020, 6:47 pm

        @eljay

        If you really ‘have no other way to explain the sheer hypocrisy’, you need to think about it more deeply. Zionists don’t oppress Palestinians, etc. because they’re suffering psychological distress. They do it because they want Palestinian land and resources for themselves. It’s not insanity; it’s perfectly rational greed. If they make excuses that seem hypocritical to you, that’s rational, too, particularly as they always get away with it.

        If you really believe, ‘Evil elsewhere is evil; in I-P, it’s an excuse, justification, an opportunity.
        ‘– Justice, accountability and equality elsewhere are good; in I-P they are loathsome, anti-Semitic and even “Jew hatred”’, then you’re just not paying attention. Principled antiracism can be magically transformed into antisemitism in Britain, as we’ve been observing for the past few years, or anywhere else, just for example.

        When you characterise Zionist greed and violence as ‘insanity’, you are the one giving them a free pass. If they are insane, they need understanding and medical care, not political opposition. Or are you of the opinion that the mentally ill are evil and deserve punishment?

      • eljay on February 15, 2020, 10:15 pm

        || Ernie: @eljay

        If you really ‘have no other way to explain the sheer hypocrisy’, you need to think about it more deeply. Zionists don’t oppress Palestinians, etc. because they’re suffering psychological distress. They do it because they want Palestinian land and resources for themselves. It’s not insanity; it’s perfectly rational greed. If they make excuses that seem hypocritical to you, that’s rational, too, particularly as they always get away with it. … ||

        It seems to me that people like wondering jew (a.k.a. yonah fredman) and jon s suffer from a mental illness that causes them to truly and deeply believe that they are Ancient Israelites and that geographic Palestine is their “ancient / eternal / historic / ancestral / lost / one true homeland”. If that’s not insanity, I don’t know what is.

        || … When you characterise Zionist greed and violence as ‘insanity’, you are the one giving them a free pass. If they are insane, they need understanding and medical care, not political opposition. Or are you of the opinion that the mentally ill are evil and deserve punishment? ||

        No-one – mentally ill or not – is entitled to do evil unto others. Everyone – mentally ill or not – who commits a crime must be held accountable for his actions. Mental illness is not a “free pass” to continue doing evil unto others.

      • wondering jew on February 16, 2020, 12:52 pm

        Eljay- I think we should allow the experts to define mental illness, and not even them, for they use labels to promote conformity and who gave them the right.
        I do not know if belief in connection to the land through right of birth qualifies as mental illness. I used to share that belief, but no longer in as literal a way. Previously i thought i was from the bloodline of children of israel from the time of the Exodus and now I see different races as ancestors when i see my face in the mirror and i do not base my zionism circa 2020 on a genetic heritage. I am heir to the deeds of ben gurion fulfilling the dictates of pinsker in his reaction to the czar. The eventual story of europe up to 1945 turns pinsker into a prophet and though our current post war epoch particularly in USA puts the lie to the global aspect of pinsker’s pessimism, it is his accuracy up til ’45 that i choose to emphasize. All the songs and prayers are relevant in terms of labeling the return under the phrase return and destiny and land of the fathers and turn it into a mass movement aimed at a territory and an army and the will to survive as a unit with an identity.
        The clash with the indigenous was inevitable and not dismissable. I think that the beilin abd rabbo plan of 2003 is the best step forward though imperfect. I think the Jewish body politick in The Land is unprepared to take this step.

      • eljay on February 16, 2020, 3:11 pm

        || wondering jew: Eljay- I think we should allow the experts to define mental illness … ||

        They are free to do so.

        || … I do not know if belief in connection to the land through right of birth qualifies as mental illness. … ||

        I don’t know if it is mental illness, but is certainly seems like madness to me to believe that – among other things – a religion-based identity can transform any person with either the remotest of ties or no ties at all to a geographic region into an Ancient Inhabitant of that region, long-exiled from it and fully entitled to “return” to it and partake of it and to do so at the expense of the region’s indigenous population.

        || … The clash with the indigenous was inevitable and not dismissable. … ||

        But it’s all just “necessary evil” under the bridge now, right? Forgive and forget and move on to justice, accountability and equality (in one state or two) in geographic Palestine, right?

        Yeah, I didn’t think so.

      • Talkback on February 16, 2020, 3:33 pm

        wondering jew: “The clash with the indigenous was inevitable …”

        Well, settler colonialism is like that, Apartheid even more.

      • MHughes976 on February 16, 2020, 4:03 pm

        The Palestinians are on the receiving end of what the Zs do – and theirs is the real problem – but for us in the West the greater problem is not just that they do it but think themselves right in doing it and that a great proportion of Western opinion agrees with them or at least wouldn’t dream of contradicting.

      • MHughes976 on February 17, 2020, 4:43 am

        That’s an honest statement on your part about inevitable conflict, Yonah. I tend to agree with Jon that there has always been an element of self-perceived generosity in Z and an intention to offer much greater benefit to non-Jews than Jews had ever received. But for the reason you give this intention was not morally valid and contained an element of self-deception.

      • Mooser on February 17, 2020, 1:21 pm

        “Previously i thought i was from the bloodline of children of israel from the time of the Exodus and now I see different races as ancestors when i see my face in the mirror and i do not base my zionism circa 2020 on a genetic heritage.” “wj”, not insane.

        “Yonah”, don’t get discouraged about that “bloodline of the children of” thing. There must be some mistake. Genetic testing has become much more accurate, just in the last few years. Much better at rejecting random results.

      • RoHa on February 17, 2020, 11:57 pm

        “The clash with the indigenous was inevitable and not dismissable. ”

        And that by itself should be enough to show you that the whole project, the idea of “return and destiny and land of the fathers”, the “mass movement aimed at a territory and an army and the will to survive as a unit with an identity” was misconceived and fundamentally wrong.

  2. wondering jew on February 13, 2020, 3:26 pm

    Extremes of rhetoric are of the zeitgeist, particularly in the run up to November’s election. (Israel’s never ending election cycle is of a different sort).
    Adelson is wrong. Assimilation has already been accomplished and those nominal Jews who have a preoccupation with this issue on the side opposing Israel have already achieved assimilation. And they agree with those who oppose Israel’s existence.
    Israel’s behavior on the mere face of it is sufficient to earn the hatred of the Palestinians. That’s the nature of war and of this war with the exile that it entailed for masses of Palestinians. For nonapathetic observers to prefer Likud to the Palestinians means a real disdain for Palestinian self respect and thus those that have already assimilated assimilate this point of view. The assimilation is not complete, that takes a few generations or a century or more and this phase began somewhere after 1945 and gelled in 1967, especially vis a vis Israel.
    Had Hitler never arisen, the assimilation of American Jews would probably have proceeded as it had in the early part of the 20th century, with low level antisemitism the rule of the masses (and the elites) but never (Ulysses Grant excepted) on an official level and assimilation was occurring with self hatred as the rule, to the point of real disdain for Jewish roots. It was only in the aftermath of ’67, that someone like Irving Howe would publish In the World of Our Fathers and IB Singer would be hailed as genius. (side thought: pre 67 was embodied by Arendt’s disdain for Jewish sensibilities. Turns out her condemnation of the Judenrat is not controversial, but her assessment of Eichmann was just dead wrong and she chose to believe a lying Nazi, just like she chose to lie with a Nazi.) so the role of Israel in the self respect of american jews as embodied in 1967 does play a role in the process of Jewish assimilation. But it’s 50 years hence and assimilation proceeds apace and the disdain for Israel’s policies and Israel’s war/hatred stance vis a vis the Palestinians is heartfelt, not a path to assimilation, but the result of assimilation.

    I am more assimilated than my siblings and my position on Zionism is far to the left of my siblings.

    Those who back the Netanyahu view of reality have written off the peace movement of 1993 through 2009 as a failed and misconceived idea. I think doubts regarding the peaceful intent of the Palestinians is not off the mark. In their hearts they want the Zionists to leave and heap upon them whatever rhetoric goes along with the wish of “get out”. Giving sovereignty to the Palestinians is a dangerous idea. But because of the settler nature of the occupation, Israel does not have the luxury of waiting for real peace. The settler nature of the occupation is toxic, dripping poison into the bloodstream of The Land every day, so ending it is imperative despite the danger. Israelis sense the danger, but very few sense the toxicity and they are blind or deaf or whatever sense they are lacking. And Mrs. Adelson disdains the Palestinians and is blind and deaf to the toxicity. And whether the assimilated Jews back the Palestinians for whatever historic reason, they are sensitive to a very real fact: the toxicity of the occupation and Mrs. Adelson is insensate to that fact.

    • eljay on February 13, 2020, 5:29 pm

      || wondering jew on February 13, 2020, 3:26 pm ||

      Shorter w.j.: The choice to be Jewish comprises a “right” to be a supremacist, to have as large as possible a supremacist state and to do “necessary evil” unto others.

      || … Giving sovereignty to the Palestinians is a dangerous idea. … ||

      Liberating victims from the basement is a dangerous idea: It is the end of privilege and it may even result in accountability for crimes committed.

      • Mooser on February 14, 2020, 6:14 pm

        “Assimilation” is such a revealing word.”

        And it’s used back-asswards in our discussions. The US assimilated the Jews. Not the other way round. And the US did it unconditionally. Never demanded we marry so many non-Jews, never demanded the slightest decrease in observance, never interfered with Jewish religious education and worship, or even clothing. Don’t blame that on assimilation.

      • RoHa on February 15, 2020, 2:11 am

        “Never demanded we marry so many non-Jews, never demanded the slightest decrease in observance, never interfered with Jewish religious education and worship, or even clothing. ”

        Those early Americans just didn’t care about Jews one way or the other. No recognition at all of how special Jews are. Anti-Semites!

      • Mooser on February 15, 2020, 1:16 pm

        “No recognition at all of how special Jews are”

        I know. Looking at the conditions extant in the US at that time, it is very clear the US was intent on reducing us to the status occupied by, well, ordinary white people.

    • Mooser on February 15, 2020, 5:45 pm

      “(side thought: pre 67 was embodied by Arendt’s disdain for Jewish sensibilities. Turns out her condemnation of the Judenrat is not controversial, but her assessment of Eichmann was just dead wrong and she chose to believe a lying Nazi, just like she chose to lie with a Nazi.)” “wondering jew”!

      As the New Yorker cartoon says: “Christ, Dianne, what an asshole”

  3. Misterioso on February 13, 2020, 5:53 pm

    The horrible reality of Zionism was nailed long ago by four wise eminent Jews:

    Then Secretary of State for India and the British cabinet’s only Jewish member, Lord Edwin Montagu’s response to Prime Minister Lloyd George following issuance of the illegal 1917 Balfour Declaration: “All my life I have been trying to get out of the ghetto. You want to force me back there.”

    Henry Morgenthau Sr., former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1919: “Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history…. The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is… a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light.” (Quoted by Frank Epp, Whose Land is Palestine? p. 261)

    Asked to sign a petition supporting settlement of Jews in Palestine, Sigmund Freud declined: “I cannot…I do not think that Palestine could ever become a Jewish state….It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land….I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.” (Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 2/26/30)

    Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, 1944: “The concept of a racial state – the Hitlerian concept- is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved. . . , I urge that we do nothing to set us back on the road to the past. To project at this time the creation of a Jewish state or commonwealth is to launch a singular innovation in world affairs which might well have incalculable consequences.”

    • Nathan on February 13, 2020, 11:43 pm

      Misterioso – Freud didn’t get it right in this case: a Jewish state was founded in Palestine (it happened in 1948). You like to tell everyone about “reality”, but perhaps you would like to face reality yourself.

      • Misterioso on February 14, 2020, 8:51 am

        @Nathan

        Sigh

        REALITY:

        Briefly:
        Yes, a well documented racist, expansionist, illegal/brutal occupier, serial violator of international humanitarian law, borderless Zionist entity (i.e., not a state or country) was created in Palestine in 1948 by means of armed might, several massacres, mass rape, intimidation and the expulsion by 1967 of 1,250,000 of the indigenous Palestinians by Zionists of foreign origin that 72 years later is still dependent on funding provided by American tax payers. In short, Freud was right on the money!!

      • Talkback on February 14, 2020, 11:32 am

        Nathan: “Freud didn’t get it right in this case: a Jewish state was founded in Palestine …”

        Freud was talking about Palestine becoming a Jewish state, not about fouding a Jewish state in Palestine. But I’m sure that he never thought about a Jewish state being an Jewish Apartheid state in all of Palestine.

    • jon s on February 17, 2020, 3:38 pm

      Since Misterioso likes to cite Henry Morgenthau Sr. a Jewish critic of Zionism, I would like to add some information on the next generations of the Morgenthau family. Henry Morgenthau Jr. (1891-1967)served as FDR’s Treasury Secretary from 1934 to 1945 . Initially he, too, was an opponent of Zionism but under the impact of the Holocaust his attitude changed: he was instrumental in creating the War Refugee Board, went on to work for the UJA and became a strong supporter of Israel. There’s even a moshav named for him here (Tal Shahar, about halfway between Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva).
      Morgenthau Sr.’s granddaughter was the historian Barbara Tuchman (1912-1989) , who wrote ” Bible and sword : England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour” ( among other works) .

  4. CHUCKMAN on February 14, 2020, 12:21 am

    “Assimilation” is such a revealing word.

    The undertones of a form of racism seem clear.

  5. James Canning on February 14, 2020, 11:14 am

    Jews in America have been “assimilated” for generations now. Surely this fact is evident to Miriam Adelson.

    • Mooser on February 14, 2020, 12:51 pm

      “Jews in America have been “assimilated” for generations now.”

      For Gawd’s heated saki, from almost the very founding of the US

      Who else got one one of those letters? Native Americans? Nope. African American slaves, or indeed any African American? No. Hispanics in what became American territory? Nada.

  6. Mooser on February 14, 2020, 12:13 pm

    ” There should be 500,000,000 Jews on earth”

    And Adelson is just the man who can afford the massive out-reach/conversion program it’ll take to achieve that number!

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