Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jewish Anti-Zionism

Cathy Young's recent post on Eric Alterman got me thinking about Jewishness, Zionism, and anti-Semitism, but I didn't really have enough intellectual wraparound at the time to write a post about it (in other words, I'm "duh" on some of this stuff).

Well, now I have the wraparound.

Cathy's discussing a feud she's had with the Nation's Eric Alterman, which ended up getting some big media play at the time,
here and here (related: "Eric Alterman and the Politics of Anti-Semitism"). The comment at the post from "Fat Man," discussing whether Alterman was a "self-hating Jew," was rather provocative:

No, Alterman is not a self-hating Jew, the only person he has any regard or love for, is himself.

What Alterman is, is a Jew hating Jew. Unfortunately, there are more than a few of them including Noam Chomsky, Tony Judt and the late (PTL) Harold Pinter.

The Jihadists love them because they conform to and prove their theology of Jewish degradation. The leftists who have taken up the support of Jihadists as their greatest cause (in order to demonstrate that their support of the Soviets was humanitarian, no doubt), are thrilled with the Jew hating Jews because they prove that there are men even more craven than the leftists.
That's some serious talk, and, again, I had no comment, but Carl in Jerusalem (discussing "baseless hatred") linked to David Solway's piece today at FrontPage Magazine, "The Beginning of the Night," so it got me thinking:

This degree of self-abhorence must be nearly unprecedented, for rarely, if ever, has an ethnic or national collective turned against an entire nation made up of people with whom it shares an ancestral tradition and a millennial archive. History furnishes many examples of a social or intellectual group targeting a particular class of a society with which it is in one way or another associated or identified. But to defame an entire country with whose inhabitants one shares a cultural or genealogical relation, to dispute its founding principles, to cast suspicion upon its moral character, to support its enemies and to question its right to existence is surely a unique phenomenon. Even those Germans horrified by the abominations of the Nazis, or Russians sickened by the excesses of the Communists, rarely went to the extremes of repudiation evinced by the truants of the Jewish faith.

The late Harold Pinter won a Nobel Prize, not for his over-rated plays, but for his anti-Israeli (and anti-American) posturing. Equally influential are fellow Jewish anti-Zionists like Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Naomi Klein, Joel Kovel, Tony Judt, Ilan Pappe, Tom Segev, Sara Roy, Henry Siegman, Avrum Burg, Jaqueline Rose and Richard Falk, to mention only a sparse handful, whose denunciation of Israel is so extreme and untextured as to be scarcely distinguishable from antisemitism.

Such apostates do not scruple to trade in apocrypha when indulging their animus against their own people, even when they can be readily exposed. In Fabricating Israeli History, Efraim Karsh has abundantly demonstrated how left-wing Israeli “New Historians” have cooked the documents they work with. The lamentable Naomi Klein falsely accuses Israel of having cynically profited from “endless war” and calls for academic and economic boycotts. Noam Chomsky’s gross fabrications have been outed by Peter Collier. The list goes on ....

What these Jewish quislings have not understood is that Jews, as Primo Levi insisted, are not permitted to forget. Survival demands that contemporary Jews retrieve the Maccabean strain in their heritage, eschew the myopia of complacency, and take the necessary measures—starting with memory and awareness—to combat a menace that remains perennial. But countering the dissimulation and calumnies of the anti-Zionists is not easy. We know that a lie repeated a thousand times becomes a truth. But it seems that a truth repeated a thousand times becomes an irritation.

Given the virulent anti-Zionist advocacy of so many prominent Jewish self-haters, one remains skeptical of ever achieving collective assent or reasonable consensus. Masking the syndrome of self-contempt as a quest for “justice,” these Jewish turncoats seek redemption in a denial of both history and genealogy. Diagnostically speaking, it is not so much a mental illness or clinical aberration we are witnessing, but a sickness in the soul supple enough to contort itself into a spurious idealism, a simulacrum of ideological nobility.

Few of these people, I suspect, have ever been viciously targeted and physically assaulted merely for being Jewish. Very few have ever lived under the constant threat of military invasion, of suicide bombers wreaking carnage in their public spaces and of randomly incoming missiles on their towns and cities as a matter of everyday existence. They hail largely from among the privileged who have been spared the traumatic experience of confronting the bloody and unflinching enmity of their antagonists. They have jobs, salaries, leisure, prestige, comfort and security. They are bubbled in their groups and organizations. Their children do not live in Sderot where an entire generation of Israeli youngsters, growing up amidst the relentless shelling of their homes and playgrounds, suffers from acute PTSD and severe psychological regression.

This state of fortunate exemption has allowed them the luxury of sanctimonious censure of those who are on the receiving end of all they have managed to avoid. Our renegades would do well to read George Steiner’s Language and Silence. Steiner writes: “If Israel were to be destroyed, no Jew would escape unscathed. The shock of failure, the need and harrying of those seeking refuge, would reach out to implicate even the most indifferent, the most anti-Zionist.”

But of course, it is not only a question of Israel. “Somewhere the determination to kill Jews,” Steiner continues, “to harass them from the earth simply because they are, is always alive.” Those Jews who affect otherwise are living in a fool’s paradise.
I'm sorting through all of this stuff myself. In fact, in the wake of Israel's Gaza campaign, and both the global parade of violent anti-Semitism, as well as the academic and journalistic abandonment of Israel, the existential question of the Jewish state seems all too real.

I'll have more later.


cracker said...

Question Professor:

A Jew can be an anti-zionist,

but an Israeli cannot? Yes No Maybe?

An Israeli can be anti-semitic

and of course a Jew cannot, Yes No Maybe?

courtneyme109 said...

To co opt a linked quiz

"Look, let's put aside the histrionics. If you don't like the policies that are commonly called "neoconservatism," then say so (and why).

Exactly what is the point of singling out its Jewish proponents and accusing them (via prediction, not proof) of actually promoting anti-Semitism?"

Joubert said...

Donald, Alterman may be a self-loathing Jew but there really are very religious Jews (even in Israel) who sincerely believe that Israel was a "spiritual" mistake - Marxist hubris.

Unlike you, I wrapped my head around this a long time ago but decided that it was too late to cry over spilled milk.

Norm said...

To Cracker:
My opinion is that an Israeli can be an anti-zionist; and there are actually several small groups of Israeli youth who are non-Jewish children of Russian immigrants and have formed Nazi admiration organizations. So an Israeli can be an anti-semite.

To Patrick:
You are referring to a small group of observant Jews who believe that the State of Israel should not have been reborn until the Messiah comes. This is nothing new. They have maintained the position since 1948. They recently received publicity because Iran is taking advantage of them for propaganda purposes.

You have hit upon an issue which is
really not so difficult to comprehend. For many of these people like Amy Goodman, Chomsky etc ideology trumps religion or ethnic background. In addition, many of these same people have found that their ideology has led to becoming very rich from books and lectures. Therefore, once one can find that you can make a really good living selling an ideology you are not going to change.

These people have been around for a long, long time. There used to be a lot more before Stalin made his pact with Hitler. They are very, very dangerous. They always talk about "peace and justice" and omit the word freedom. It's their peace and their justice, the rest of us end up in prison.

What makes they spew more venom and hate is that they all understand that the day will come, as it does for all of us, when they will have to answer a few questions.

Anonymous said...


Douglas, how do you come up with these eloquent masterpieces?

YOu cited a bunch of well researched academics and scholars and called them on their anti-zionism stance, without actually refuting anything they had to say.

Par for the course NOrm.

You even managed to make, yet another allusion to HItler and Stalin! CAn you people go a few lines without invoking Stalin and Hitler? It makes me wonder whether ya'll got some unhealthy infactuation with these universally appointed brutal dictators.

P.S - Norm dont' forget to cite those other forgotten dictators that the US has supported with open "arms" (no pun intended).

Now if only Donald and his cohorts can actually invoke some serious evidence against these so called Jewish anti-semites or anti-zionists, then you all might be taken half assed seriously.

I suspect that ain't happenin' anytime soon around here.

Norm, sorry to break it to yah but zionism is an IDEALOGY. A failed idealogy, but an idealogy none the less.

Norm said...

If you need evidence of their anti-zionism stances you are certainly not aware of the world around you.

Proving you are non compus mentis is your statement that Zionism is a failed ideology !! Let's see...in 1948 Israel had a population of 800,000 Jews, Arabs & Christians with an economy known for exporting Jaffa oranges. Today it has a population of over 7 million people with one of the most vibrant high tech economies in the world. I am not going to even start to tick off the accomplishments of the people in Israel in education, medicine, the arts etc. To say that Zionism has failed.....failed ? It is the accomplishment of a 1800 year dream; and the accomplishment of the first generation born after the holocaust to insure it will never happen again. CS...you are the failure, you are the loser. Whatever you write on this blog from this point on is clueless.

Anonymous said...


Upon second thought, perhaps you may have something going here. A failure or success of an ideology is largely dependent on the lense through which the ideology is viewed.

If zionism didn't seek to trump the rights of a select group of people in place of the universal rights and freedoms of all, then I would beg to differ with you that zionism is an utter failure.

If you think some people in this world deserve access to these fundamental rights and freedoms over others, then all the power to you. I agree that by this definition, Zionism is a meteoric success.

"Let's see...in 1948 Israel had a population of 800,000 Jews, Arabs & Christians with an economy known for exporting Jaffa oranges. Today it has a population of over 7 million people..."

hmm you sorta just proved some case and point right here. Do you ever wonder how this population boom occurred? Did Jesus make a swipe of the wand and make it happen?

Where did all these people come from? I thought you all hated the United Nations? I bet you aren't hatin' them when they decided to create the State of Israel did you?

Would you approve, if the UN decided tomorrow that the UNited States of America is now a Native state owned and operated by the natives? Will you be ok with being relegated to second class citizen or better yet, displaced out of your own country?

I am sure you would welcome the natives with open arms when they decide to take back their rightful ownership to the land that you now call home?

Wuddya say buddy?

Norm said...

Well, a big section of the 7 million people living in Israel are the 750,000 Jews and their descendants who were forced to leave all the Arab/Muslim countries with only the clothes on their backs in 1948-1950. You know, the Sephardic Jews. The Arabs stole their homes, businesses and bank accounts. The UN never gave them refugee status or any money because unlike the Arabs they were welcomed home and integrated into Israeli society.

I wonder why Palestinian refugees are legally not allowed to become
Lebanese citizens? Why are they not allowed to leave their living quarters and integrate into Lebanese society? Because the Arabs use them as political pawns...shame on the Arabs.

Lest everyone forgets, the Jews are the natives in Israel. The Arabs are the recent invaders. There have been Jews living in Israel, even during the diaspora, for thousands of years.

The only question I have for you is whether you want to keep arguing about this or make peace?

Actually your answer is meaningless because it is obvious that Iran is going to provoke a war with Israel.
Their plan to destroy several Israeli cities with a huge simultaneous attack of rockets was ended during the first five minutes of the Israeli air attack on Gaza. But Iran will keep trying.

Aaron Turpen said...

I fail to see how not agreeing with Zionism somehow makes one automatically a "Jew hater." Zionism is a political philosophy that states that the State of Israel was to be founded in Palestine and is to exist at all costs.

Proponents of Israel often point out the many accomplishments the nation has had. While there are many, consider why the Palestinians have never had the same ability: 1/3 of the foreign aid given by the United States goes to Israel.

That amounts to BILLIONS per year. Give me billions in free money and I can accomplish some pretty great things too.

The point of Zionism is that it's a political movement that just happens to have a religious group backing it. Jews are not a race, they are an ethnic culture of religion. Most Jews today are not even semites ("Arabs"), but are actually Europeans.

The cry of "anti-semite" or "Jew hater" every time someone opposes Zionism is a ridiculous avoidance of facing the real issue in political discussion.

It's tantamount to calling anyone who opposes the global warming debate as a man-made phenomenon a "Bushie" or "neo-con."

It's a straw man argument meant to draw the discussion away from the factual and into the emotional.