President Petraeus hates Jews

Abe Foxman:

Israel should immediately battle a charge emerging in the US that its actions are endangering the lives of US soldiers, because it is a particularly “pernicious” argument that “smacks of blaming the Jews for everything,” Anti-Defamation League National Chairman Abe Foxman said on Monday.

I’ve had it with the fact that every time someone says something that opposes the Israeli far-right that person is labeled as an anti-Semite (EDIT: I forgot about the ones who are labeled self-hating Jews.)

There was some discussion earlier of whether accusing people like Foxman of having “dual loyalties” was unfair or not, given that Stupak and other Catholics are not accused of taking order from the Pope. I thought that was a good comparison and I’m not sure where I stand on this.

But at the same time, a thought experiment may be in order. This will probably get me in trouble, but here goes. Suppose there was a small country in Africa that was deemed vital to American political interests for whatever reasons. Suppose furthermore that it was constantly at war with its non-African neighbors, for whatever reason (maybe the country’s fault to some extent, maybe not). Suppose that African-American families owned the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal and that the heads of the editorial boards of two of the papers were African-American and that the editorial pages of these newspapers consistently expressed support for this small African country, more or less whatever it did (for the sake of accuracy, let’s say the Times was a bit more critical than the others). Suppose further that Ebony and Jet (now owned by an aging Harvard adjunct and someone from Australia) devoted a large part of each issue to describing anyone who criticized this small African country as racist (EDIT: or as a “self-hating African-American”).

People would eventually start to laugh at the “racism” charges, right?






145 replies
  1. 1
    Joey Maloney says:

    Abe Foxman does not have dual loyalties.

    Abe Foxman is loyal to Abe Foxman’s wallet. Period.

  2. 2
    Anya says:

    Good heavens, Patreus a closeted DFH? First the gays and now accusing Israel of endangering America’s national security.

    Who is the first wingnut to accuse him of being an anti American.

  3. 3
    Shygetz says:

    People would eventually start to laugh at the “racism” charges, right?

    Don’t people laugh at the anti-Semitism charges yet?

  4. 4
    Mike Kay says:

    isn’t Foxman the guy who used to star on “Sanford and Son”?

  5. 5
    DougJ says:

    @Shygetz:

    The Weekly Standard crowd stopped Juan Cole from getting a job at Yale by calling him an anti-Semite. I don’t think he was laughing about it.

  6. 6
    Tim F. says:

    The frustrating thing is that most of the Arab world could give a shit about Palestinians. This book by Iran-centric CIA veteran Robert Baer makes the point quite clearly: the Iranians, for example, only stir up trouble with Israel (lately) because Palestinians are so easy to manipulate when they’re pissed off. If Palestinians settle with Israel then Iran doesn’t have a wedge and it will go bother someone else.

    So yeah, Israel could easily make life easier for American troops if Netanyahu wasn’t such a complete asshole.

  7. 7
    Mike Kay says:

    @Anya: of course he’s a DFH – he went to an ivy league school, plus he dresses real fancy and doesn’t own a pick-up truck.

  8. 8
    beltane says:

    The worst part of this lies in the very real danger that it will make actual antisemitism more socially acceptable. Shame on Abe Foxman.

  9. 9
    Ash Can says:

    Wingnuts calling this guy “General Betray-Us” in 3…2…1…

  10. 10
    Ming says:

    I’m hoping the ADL quote is better when taken in context — all i know is, when i read it, i involuntarily emitted a loud “Oh, fuck off!”

  11. 11
    Bobzim says:

    @Shygetz:

    I’m not sure the word “laugh” is one I’d use, but Ive definitely seen a concerted effort to tamp down on the charges of anti-Semitism when someone criticizes Israel.

  12. 12

    @Anya:

    First the gays and now accusing Israel of endangering America’s national security.

    I guess he can kiss that 2012 GOP nomination goodbye now. I’m pretty sure his “pro-gay” stance was enough though.

  13. 13
    Svensker says:

    @Tim F.:

    The frustrating thing is that most of the Arab world could give a shit about Palestinians. This book by Iran-centric CIA veteran Robert Baer makes the point quite clearly: the Iranians, for example, only stir up trouble with Israel (lately) because Palestinians are so easy to manipulate when they’re pissed off.

    Um, Iranians ain’t Arabs. Perhaps our country wouldn’t be messing around with so many other folks if it had any fucking clue as to who those other folks were and what they thought about stuff.

  14. 14
    4tehlulz says:

    I forgot that Abe Foxman was still alive; I guess his little spasm served its purpose then.

  15. 15
    El Cid says:

    I think the closest comparison would be having all U.S. Cuba policy dominated by the most paranoid and bitter of the exile community, to the degree that for decades no one could take a public dissent to the ultra-hawk consensus in South Florida or New Jersey. It was quite a public fight that public officials had to engage if they suggested that anything non-rightist which happened anywhere in Latin America was not the result of a Fidel-Soviet plot. If you dissented from the crazy-most rightist exile consensus, you hated Cubans, were probably racist (notwithstanding the Cuban exile leadership’s generalized disrespect for other Latin immigrant groups in South Florida), and you wanted to have Fidel Castro’s babies.

    In South Florida for generations you could actually get attacked by exile terrorist groups, and any publication which suggested, hey, maybe this pure blockade and denunciation approach might not be working, would find their newsracks smashed or filled with shit.

    Thanks in no small part to simple age succession in generations and the self-motivated greed of U.S. corporations to make what money they see Europeans making in Cuba, that ultra hawk policies need to change. And, bit by bit, they are.

  16. 16
    DougJ says:

    @Svensker:

    Most Iranians I’ve met make a big deal about this distinction. They describe themselves as “Persians” not “Iranians”.

  17. 17
    Annie says:

    @Mike Kay:

    And, he has a Ph.D., but that don’t make him a “real” doctor….

  18. 18
    Mike in NC says:

    There was some discussion earlier of whether accusing people like Foxman of having “dual loyalties” was unfair or not, given that Stupak and other Catholics are not accused of taking order from the Pope.

    It’s pretty obvious where the loyalties of Krauthammer, Kristol, and the other neocons lie.

  19. 19
    MattF says:

    It’s a case of a limited behavioral repertoire. Whatever the stimulus, whatever the context, you get the same response. Understandable, maybe… but that doesn’t justify making it the basis of American foreign policy.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    soonergrunt says:

    Suppose there was a small country in Africa that was deemed vital to American political interests for whatever reasons.

    Exactly how is this theoretical country’s real counterpart, Israel vital to US interests?
    We don’t harbor a fleet there. We don’t have any bases there. We don’t have significant trade with them. We can’t, for many reasons most especially logistics, use the country as a foot-hold in the region, they have no significant natural resources that we need or want that their adversaries do have. And for all of that, more US servicemen have been murdered by Israeli military actions and more US citizens have been convicted of spying for Israel than by or for Saudi Arabia.

    So again, I ask, just exactly how vital is Israel to our national interests?

  22. 22
    My Truth Hurts says:

    The reason the anti-semite charges are always used is because historically it stops the critic dead in their tracks from speaking further. It also gives a pass to the Israelis from actually addressing the often legitimate criticism being levied. As always in politics the issues are reduced to name calling and word games.

  23. 23
    aimai says:

    I don’t know that you can separate any of this stuff–I mean, look, some accusations carry a very heavy historical burden. The accusation that American Jews who support Israel (and I am not among them) have impermissible and suspect “dual loyalties” isn’t the same as accusing African American commentaters (were there any) of supporting Afro-centric policies because of race loyalty. Its more like accusing Obama of planning to institute Shari’a law here because of an imputed blood based necessity. The *only cure* for people accused of such dual loyalties is expunging them from society, or politics. I’m wary, therefore, of labeling what I think of as bad policy as either Pro or anti semitic. Its bad policy not because it helps the jews, or hurts the jews, but because its bad policy for the US.

    I’m totally opposed to helping Israel, at this point–and I have relatives there. I think that Israel has what it thinks of as sovereign interests which are antithetical to ours, in the US, and mine as a citizen of the world. There are a lot of good people in Israel who are not hard liners, but unfortunately they are stuck with a government that is not willing to do anything to ratchet back the war, occupation, and oppression of neighbors and the Palestinians.

    But I don’t see why the different opinions of some American Jews should be subjected to any kind of race baiting attacks–lots of non jews hold the same weird notions of the primacy of Israel and its right wing leaders in US foreign policy. That’s because Israel is a partner with us in dealing arms, has made itself useful to us in fighting our long wars with various middle eastern countries, and was generally on our side as an ally/useful idiot when we were struggling with communism. In other words–as an imperial and post war power non-jewish US government and military got some good from the relationship. If its now become uncomfortable, problematic, immoral and *even worse* from a realpolitik point of view useless…well…it always takes a certain amount of time for reality to sink down from the level of theory to practice.

    I support Obama, Clinton, and Petraeus in this matter of the illegal settlements in East Jerusalem, in their understanding of the significance of this political spat, and in their attempts–which I hope will be fruitful–in reigning back the pro-israel policy to something that makes sense for us as a country. And so do a lot of jews in this country. Both because they are jews and have a certain ethnic morality which abhors the oppression of the palestinians on moral grounds, and despite the fact that they are jews and may have sentimental attachments to Israel or to family members there.

    In other words, I guess I’m saying, that my opposition to current Israeli political leadership and US support of that leadership comes about *precisely because* I’m a Jew (to the extent that I am) and an American citizen and not only because I’m a good American. The undiluted, undivided, American with no other identity/loyalty/history is also a figment of our political imagination. Ask Haitien Americans, Japanese Americans, and many others.

    aimai

  24. 24
    ericblair says:

    The main problem as I see it is that the seriously pro-Israel bunch and the serious antisemites both get a lot of mileage out of conflating “Jews” and “the current rightwing Israeli government”. In the US, there are a lot of non-Jews carrying Netanyahu’s water as well as a lot of Jews vigorously opposed to him.

    We do have a serious problem with Israeli intelligence; just think of the captured spies over the years. We don’t tolerate this from any other ally.

  25. 25
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @DougJ: Norman Finkelstein, son of Holocaust survivors, was driven out of DePaul Law School after a jihad (used advisedly) by the psychotic Dershowitz.

    @Tim F.: My recollection is that Osama bin, as Molly Ivins called him, only remembered to mention Palestine/Israel when he noticed what a huge button he was pushing in US domestic politics. Others have noted that the Saudi royal family and the Gulf oil emirs don’t give a fiddler’s fuck (it’s St Paddy’s Day!) about the Palestinians.

  26. 26
    GregB says:

    This is another case where the media is significantly behind the people on the learning curve.

    By the way, if the GOP wants to begin pointing to polls to determine what action the government takes then they should realize that the polls regarding the Israeli/Palestine issue are not as they wish.

  27. 27
    Colin Laney says:

    There was some discussion earlier of whether accusing people like Foxman of having “dual loyalties” was unfair or not . . .

    I don’t see how there can be much debate over whether or not this is fair. I suppose a case can be made over whether or not using the phrase dual loyalty is an effective rhetorical strategy, but obviously and blatantly true is obviously and blatantly true.

  28. 28
    Zifnab says:

    @aimai: Cheers to that.

  29. 29
    Bobzim says:

    @soonergrunt:

    So again, I ask, just exactly how vital is Israel to our national interests?

    It’s the Rube Goldberg-ness (!) of our Middle East foreign policy. We have meddled-and-pissed all over that place so we have to keep meddling-and-pissing to help counteract the fallout fro the previous meddling-and-pissing.

    But, as always, they hate us for our freedoms.

  30. 30
    Svensker says:

    @DougJ:

    Most Iranians I’ve met make a big deal about this distinction. They describe themselves as “Persians” not “Iranians”.

    Not surprising. Swedes would make a big deal about being described as “Inuits” because, well, they all live in a cold snowy northern climate, don’t they?

    Persians are Indo-Europeans, as is their language. Arabs are a Semitic people, as is their language. They just happen to live in the same part of the world and many of them share a religion.

  31. 31
    kay says:

    @Colin Laney:

    Clarify, for me, if you don’t mind.

    “Loyalty” priority refers to what? Israel or (specific ) religion?

  32. 32
    DougJ says:

    @aimai:

    The undiluted, undivided, American with no other identity/loyalty/history is also a figment of our political imagination. Ask Haitien Americans, Japanese Americans, and many others.

    I agree.

  33. 33
    Anya says:

    @Mike Kay: The best part of all of this is that old man McCain loses his boyfriend to the dirty hippies.

  34. 34
    Mark says:

    If only one productive thing comes out of this Obama-Netanyahu dust-up, it will be this: A recognition among politically-aware Americans (though not necessarily the politicians themselves) that support for Israeli warmongering and settlements is the RIGHT-WING position and support for peace and the human rights of Israelis and Palestinians alike is the PROGRESSIVE position. Amazingly, this awareness has often been lacking in the past.

  35. 35
    me says:

    Foxman has singlehandedly wrecked any credibility the ADL ever had.

  36. 36
    cat48 says:

    I think that Obama should call teh ADL and talk to Abe. There was an article in Haaertz this a.m. stating that Bibi’s brother-in-law called our president an anti-semite. Also, too, the far right is hanging up posters of a photo of Obama and King Abdullah together all over Israel with a PLO flag stating that Obama is PLO. I want to know what Abe thinks about this and what he might do about these things. Need to stop reading Israeli papers, I guess.

  37. 37
    Jon says:

    Doug,

    I’m Jewish. I stand with JStreet in this fight; I think Netanyahu is firmly in the wrong, and I think that charges that you have to be anti-Semitic or a self-hating Jew to criticize Israel are silly and pernicious. That said, my anti-Semitism radar goes off all the time in these debates. Now, that radar may be calibrated too finely. It went off, for example, when I read John’s “I’m Proud to Live In Israel’s Client State of America” — which can’t help but bring to my mind the old canard of the Jews controlling government. I’ve got no doubt, though, that anti-Semitism is at the root of at least some European reactions to Israel. Britain’s National Union of Teachers called for an international boycott in response to Israel’s brutality in Palestinian lands, but not, say, to Russia’s brutality in Chechnya — why? Because Russia, in contrast to Israel, was subject to an existential threat?

  38. 38
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Is anyone familiar with polling on this issue, specifically as regards age? The Peretz-Lieberman-Dershowitz generation vs the Juicebox Mafia?

  39. 39
    ajr22 says:

    As a J street/self hater I will agree the right wingers throw out the idea of anti-semitism far to often. The country is all jews, criticizing the country does not make you a anti-semite, just like criticizing America doesn’t mean your anti-american. However I don’t like when you start throwing around the “jews own everything” type of arguments. There is already alot of this going on with the banks, and this kind of resentment does scare/bother me.

  40. 40
    ericblair says:

    @Colin Laney: I don’t see how there can be much debate over whether or not this is fair. I suppose a case can be made over whether or not using the phrase dual loyalty is an effective rhetorical strategy, but obviously and blatantly true is obviously and blatantly true.

    The word “loyalty” is pretty problematic in a constitutional republic when you think about it. You’re not loyal to the President: if he tells you to break the law it is your duty to ignore or oppose him. You can’t be loyal to some idea of the United States: obviously, there are a whole lot of mutually contradictory ideas about what that is. You can only really be loyal to the Constitution and laws of the United States, which means being a law-abiding citizen. Hell, that’s what basically every oath of office from the President on down says anyways.

    If you want to post on a blog, write a book, or go on TV to air whatever your views are, have at it. If you’re bribing or blackmailing federal officials or committing espionage against the US, that’s not so good.

  41. 41
    kay says:

    This is from his prepared remarks:

    Insufficient progress toward a comprehensive Middle East peace.
    The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR [CentCom Area of Responsibility]. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas.”

    What part isn’t true? I don’t know how he presents the whole picture without addressing this.

    What is Foxman asking? That he leave this part out?

    He’d be completely abdicating his responsibility if he did not address this.

  42. 42
    Keith says:

    @Ash Can:

    I’d be willing to bet Rush would go so far as to call Petraeus that. He’d claim it’s OK since he’s just being satirical, and you’ll get Lindsay Graham and John McCain saying it’s not called for/inaccurate, but that’ll be about it in terms of outrage.

  43. 43
    Bobzim says:

    @ajr22: But wouldn’t you agree that there’s something of a media blackout in the U.S. as far as the Palestinian/Israel issue is concerned? Why is that?

  44. 44
    Nick says:

    If Persians and Arabs don’t really care much what happens to the Palestinians, then what is their beef with Israel?

  45. 45
    liberal says:

    @DougJ:
    True.

    Though IIRC only half of the Iranian population is Persian, which is pretty amazing if true.

  46. 46
    ericblair says:

    @Nick: If Persians and Arabs don’t really care much what happens to the Palestinians, then what is their beef with Israel?

    Besides the strategic concerns of having a nuclear power on your doorstep with considerably different geopolitical aims, it also helps to have some sort of foreign bugaboo around to distract the proles from the fact that their own government is fucking them over every day in every way. Worked here just fine, too.

  47. 47
    Maude says:

    @ajr22: Who did the jews own everthing meme?
    I know there are the haters who do the banker bit.
    I think that the people on this blog are concerned about the US.
    Look at what we have seen during the Bush years.

  48. 48
    John S. says:

    Abe Foxman is an asshole. He always has been, and he always will be. He’s a cheap opportunist that will exploit any situation for his own personal gain or aggrandizement. And it has nothing to do with him being Jewish.

    If anything, I see his condition as a function of politics (rightwing, neocon) not ethnicity.

  49. 49

    @Nick:

    If Persians and Arabs don’t really care much what happens to the Palestinians, then what is their beef with Israel?

    It’s largely along the lines of, “I am not oppressing you . . . Hey, Look! Over There!”

    I think that there are probably a lot of individual Arabs that care what happens to the Palestinians. I just have extreme doubt that the leadership of anyone in the Gulf cares. They’re a bunch of ruthless pragmatists. If they thought their rule would be enhanced by recognizing Israel, they’d open embassies tomorrow.

  50. 50
    liberal says:

    @aimai:

    That’s because Israel is a partner with us in dealing arms, has made itself useful to us in fighting our long wars with various middle eastern countries, and was generally on our side as an ally/useful idiot when we were struggling with communism. In other words—as an imperial and post war power non-jewish US government and military got some good from the relationship.

    I think you exaggerate here.

    The main benefit I could see we got from Israel was real-world examples of our hardware in wars/skirmishes against Soviet hardware. But in terms of our main strategic concern about the region—access to Persian Gulf oil—I don’t think Israel’s helped much.

  51. 51
    ellaesther says:

    OK, DougJ, you force me to again post a link to my Chicago Tribune commentary about whether or not criticism of Israel makes one an automatic anti-Semite.

    Does this mean, can it possibly mean, that any criticism of any Jew is, by definition, anti-Semitic? The term assumes baseless hatred, and allows us to summarily reject anything it touches. But if I do wrong, and someone points it out, isn’t the wrong still mine, even (and this is very important) if that someone hates me?

  52. 52
    ChrisZ says:

    Is it a bit too conspiratorial to think that Netanyahu is actually trying to prevent peace between Israel and Palestine because the conflict is what gives the right-wingers power? It seems too much like a bad movie motive, but I just don’t know with these right-wingers anymore.

  53. 53
    ellaesther says:

    @ellaesther: And do you remember back when you called me a self-hating Jew? And I called you a godless heretic? mistermix helped me out with much more appropriate smack talk — so please alter your memory so that it now contains the following:

    /clears throat/

    “This post is so stupid that I thought someone from Politico hacked into the site and wrote under your name.”

    Also.

  54. 54
    ellaesther says:

    @ChrisZ: No, in fact you have essentially put your finger on the crux of it.

  55. 55
    liberal says:

    @aimai:

    In other words, I guess I’m saying, that my opposition to current Israeli political leadership and US support of that leadership…

    Can I make an objection, not just to this post, but a lot of other posts on this thread?

    There seems to be an idea running about that only Likud favors Israeli colonization of the Occupied Territories, what I call “go-slow ethnic cleansing.” I don’t understand what evidence anyone has for this. AFAICT settlement building has had the support of all major Israeli parties including Labor, except the Arab ones, and possibly some left-wing ones (i.e., further to the left than Labor).

  56. 56
    liberal says:

    @ajr22:

    The country is all jews…

    Quibble (not really relevant to your point): the country isn’t all Jews; there’s a sizeable number of Arab (i.e., Palestinian) Israelis.

    …, criticizing the country does not make you a anti-semite, just like criticizing America doesn’t mean your anti-american. However I don’t like when you start throwing around the “jews own everything” type of arguments.

    I agree with that. The problem is the more nuanced situation when people call e.g. Walt and Mearsheimer anti-Semites when they claim the pro-Israeli lobby powerful. IMHO it’s an empirical fact that it’s powerful, and (IMHO) it’s not equivalent to the slur “the Jews own everything.”

  57. 57
    ellaesther says:

    @liberal: Two things:

    You’re essentially right, concerning the fact that the settlements have been built under every Israeli government, and were even sped up under Rabin’s post-Oslo government. The difference is that the Likud sees this as an ideological/quasi-religious imperative and is thus essentially unwilling to move toward a place of compromise, however conceived, whereas Labor (such as it is these days…) has more flexibility, and more diversity of opinion within its ranks. They are, after all, the party behind Oslo (whatever its failings) and behind the Taba Accords (which came too late in 2000 to do any good, but they were the party behind them).

    Point #2, and God save me for I have already gotten in trouble on the internets for saying this, but: While I agree with the term “go-slow ethnic cleansing” (and, in fact, I have written about it, using that precise term, re: Jerusalem), I have to take issue with the word “colonization.”

    Here’s why (to quote myself from when I was “a reader” on Sullivan’s place):

    Unlike the English or the French [in India or Algeria], to Jews, Hebron is just as much “home” as is Tel Aviv — more so, in fact. If I want Israelis and Jewish nationalists around the world to acknowledge the Palestinian narrative, to come to a place where they can realize that the Palestinian narrative is absolutely equally legitimate to our own — well, I have to acknowledge the Zionist narrative as well. I won’t win anyone over by saying “Look, this thing you’ve thought about yourselves for centuries is all wrong,” but I might (very big might) win them over by saying “Look, I understand why this is important to you, and I’m not saying it shouldn’t be. I’m saying that there is something even more important going on here, and we all need to find a way forward together.

  58. 58
    liberal says:

    @Jon:

    Britain’s National Union of Teachers called for an international boycott in response to Israel’s brutality in Palestinian lands, but not, say, to Russia’s brutality in Chechnya—why? Because Russia, in contrast to Israel, was subject to an existential threat?

    This reasoning wouldn’t apply to Britain, but in the US, there’s a clear reason to object more strongly to actions taken by Israel than to actions taken by Russia—because we help pay and give military assistance to Israel when it takes those actions.

  59. 59
    soonergrunt says:

    @liberal:
    Again, how exactly is Israel vital to US national interest?
    I don’t think it would be a good thing to see Israel pushed into the sea, but I also don’t think that the Israelis have any interest at all in supporting the US and our stated strategic/political goals if they perceive one iota of difference between our goals and theirs.

  60. 60
    Annie says:

    Words of wisdom from Ms. Sarah…I especially like the use of “progressed…”

    Once again, the Obama Administration is missing the boat on a very, very important issue. They need to go back to the basics and acknowledge Palestinian leaders have not progressed any peace process since President Obama was elected. It’s time for President Obama to push the reset button on our relations with our ally Israel.

  61. 61
    ellaesther says:

    @liberal: Oh, and Meretz (also known as Meretz-Yahad), the party I always voted for/volunteered for when living in Israel, has a strong anti-settlement position, and they are a self-defined Zionist party.

  62. 62
    Svensker says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    I think that there are probably a lot of individual Arabs that care what happens to the Palestinians. I just have extreme doubt that the leadership of anyone in the Gulf cares. They’re a bunch of ruthless pragmatists. If they thought their rule would be enhanced by recognizing Israel, they’d open embassies tomorrow.

    The “Arab street” cares a great deal about the Palestinians. They see TV news about Palestinian kids being shot up by Israeli soldiers and they get angry about it. Afterall, they have a family relationship, being Arabs and Muslims.

    The governments in the region — Egypt, Saudi and Jordan — make noises to placate the “street” but look to Uncle Sugar to help them maintain their undemocratic power. If that means not making much of a stink about the I/P issue, that’s what they do.

    I’m not as sure about Iran. I think Iran’s reaction to Israel is more of a hegemonic issue, along with the fact that the U.S. has fucked with Iran rather seriously since the 50s and since Israel is the U.S.’s ally in the region and talks about blowing Iran up all the time, the Iranian gov’t isn’t too fond. I know also that the B’hai’s in Iran were allied with the Shah’s brutal secret police and were/are big buddies with Israel, which doesn’t go down well with the Muslim majority in Iran. Whether the “Iranian street” looks at Israel negatively because Israel is oppressing the co-religionist Palestinians, as well as being allied with Iran’s enemies, I don’t have first hand knowledge.

  63. 63
    Anya says:

    @Nick: The continuation of this issue is a win for these despotic regimes. They use the genuine suffering of the Palestinians as a distraction – similar to the GOP use of tah gays and blacks.

  64. 64
    Svensker says:

    @ChrisZ:

    Is it a bit too conspiratorial to think that Netanyahu is actually trying to prevent peace between Israel and Palestine

    Judging from Israeli leaders’ actions, that has always been the plan. Talk, talk, in order to buy time and gain “facts on the ground” (i.e., land) and meanwhile do, do, everything to push off real peace, because that would mean an end to the land grab.

  65. 65
    ChrisZ says:

    @ellaesther:

    My other hypothesis (not necessarily mutually exclusive) was that he is just a racist who think Jews deserve whatever they want because they are Jews. Kind of like Manifest Destiny.

  66. 66
    ellaesther says:

    @Anya: That was true for a very long time, but it’s not so much anymore, because a lot of Arab leaders are just as worried about rising extremism within their borders as is the West. This is probably the biggest reason that in 2002 and again in 2007, all 27 member states of the Arab League offered a comprehensive peace in exchange for a two-state solution. Israel and the US ignored them, both times.

  67. 67
    wrb says:

    @aimai:

    The undiluted, undivided, American with no other identity/loyalty/history is also a figment of our political imagination. Ask Haitien Americans, Japanese Americans, and many others.

    I think this may be too absolute, but I’m not sure. I found myself wrestling with it for a surprising amount of time. Some of us are such mutts, and come from lines that have been in this country so long that detecting any loyalty to anything pre-American is kind of tough. Most of my ancestors were here by 1640. English Quakers, Pilgrims, and borderlanders, a French trapper, a Seneca… The most recent arrivals, a Swede and a Scot were here for the Civil War. So my first reaction was to think that the statement was absolutely false.

    But I do have some sort of group loyalty to the Enlightenment Protestantism that gave is such as Roger Williams and separation of church and state, Jefferson, Emerson and the Transcendentalists. But most of that stuff happened here. And is it purely philosophic? But is there an ethnic root to which I’m loyal? I don’t know. It clearly isn’t a Jewish or Catholic or Arab loyalty so maybe it its existence is demonstrated by the fact that it is not certain things.

  68. 68
    Bill Section 147 says:

    @soonergrunt: They fuck with the region and keep it unbalanced.

    If there was no oil in the Middle East, Israel would be unimportant. Sure there are a lot of Jewish Americans who care but they are not setting the policy.

    The enemy of empire is stability outside the empire.

  69. 69
    DougJ says:

    @Jon:

    I’m not Jewish, but my anti-Semitism radar goes off when I follow the European debate over Israel.

    It doesn’t go off here. That may be because most of the things I read about Israel are by people who are Jewish — Spencer Ackerman, Matt Yglesias, Josh Marshall are my main sources of Israel info.

    And I think that’s part of the point: the American media, particularly the portion of it that ever writes about Israel, is very heavily Jewish. How can it simultaneously be wildly anti-Semitic.

  70. 70
    Ed Marshall says:

    @ellaesther:

    Actually the French Algerians absolutely believed they were in France. I’m really not sympathetic to either narrative but at least their story was historical (and went back much, much, farther than todays Jewish population in Hebron) and not supernatural.

    I do agree with the overall intent of having anyone possible go take a look at Hebron though. I’ve been there and it’s difficult to explain just how incredibly awful the shit that the Palestinians have to deal with there is. I guess if you need to hand out pats on the head it’s not Višegrad because they haven’t all been murdered yet, but it’s like groundhog’s day of the time right before everyone died.

  71. 71
    DougJ says:

    @ajr22:

    Those papers are owned by Jewish families (Sulzbergers, Grahams, Murdochs). Fred Hiatt and Abe Rosenthal are Jewish.

    I’m not “throwing it around”.

    FWIW, I think the Sulzbergers and Grahams just about belong on Mt. Rushmore for what they’ve done for the country. I’m not sure this country would be what it is right now without the Washington Post (much as it sucks now) and the New York Times. But they are Jewish, their editorial pages are headed up by Jewish people, so…I just don’t see how anti-Semitism can be such a big issue here.

  72. 72
    ellaesther says:

    @Ed Marshall: Oh, my, I’m sorry, but no. Jewish nationalism is based (for good or ill) in the fact that the Jewish people prayed three times a day toward Zion for centuries of exile, and Hebron has been one of the holiest cities in Judaism since the death of Abraham.

    I know that the French Algerians thought they were in France (and, actually, I have compassion for those who had to flee) — but that was because the French came along and took political action very much in the modern day.

    The Jewish connection to Hebron is literally as old as the faith itself.

    ETA: I, too, have been to Hebron, and it is in fact very hard to describe the horror that Israel makes of daily life for the Palestinians. I would really recommend that anyone interested look into Breaking the Silence, a project by former Israeli soldiers who served in Hebron and want to call attention to the massive abuses.

    My point — my only point, I promise — is that if we want the Jewish people to listen to and respect the Palestinian story, we would be wise to listen to and respect the Jewish story.

  73. 73
    Nellcote says:

    I’ve noticed that Abe Foxman doesn’t have much to say about all the Nazi references at the teagooper rallies. I’m thinking in particular about that Dachau poster. Previously he could be counted on to make a big stink about such things.

  74. 74
  75. 75
    Mark S. says:

    @ellaesther:

    I found it interesting that the Arab states were not demanding a right of return and the only guy in the article who deemed it necessary was the Hamas prime minister. My impression, which I’ve expressed on one of these other Israel threads, is that you can judge whether an Arab is serious about peace by whether they demand a right of return, because there’s no way in hell Israel would agree to that.

  76. 76
    Svensker says:

    @ellaesther:

    My point—my only point, I promise—is that if we want the Jewish people to listen to and respect the Palestinian story, we would be wise to listen to and respect the Jewish story.

    I think you’re right. But, and it’s a big but, a lot of people, especially Palestinians, feel like they’ve had the “Jewish story” forced down their throats endlessly over the last 40 years, and almost no one has heard the Palestinian story. Ask an American for a word association with “Palestinian” and the American will come up with “terrorist”.

    Which is why there needs to be an honest broker between the two groups, who can get between and over everybody’s story — which at this point seems to be “My butthurt is bigger!” — and really try to respect and understand both sides, without getting tripped up in the baggage.

  77. 77
    Winston Smith says:

    Stupak’s Pope-ordered campaign of fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope are not discussed in public because of Vatican Ninja Death Squads.

    Duh.

    Jaques De Molay will be avenged!

  78. 78
    Redshift says:

    @ChrisZ: I don’t think the racism part is quite accurate, but the comparison to Manifest Destiny is spot-on — it’s more that he’s a nationalist who believes that Israelis deserve whatever they want because they are Israelis. I doubt he gives much of a thought to whether Jews in other countries deserve whatever they want.

  79. 79
    guy44 says:

    Rupert Murdoch isn’t Jewish. Just fyi.

  80. 80
    DougJ says:

    @guy44:

    I could have sworn I read he was (obviously very non-practicing), in VanityFair, maybe? Could have been Hitch, though, and that’s one of his things.

  81. 81
    Redshift says:

    @Mark S.: Hmm, I’d say if you think that only demanding things you know the other side could agree to is a prerequisite for being serious, you’ve been watching too many Democratic “negotiations” with Republicans. From what I’ve read, most analysts believe that in any realistic peace deal right of return is something that will be settled by substituting compensation, not something that must be discarded before serious negotiations can begin.

  82. 82
    Redshift says:

    @Winston Smith: Oh, and just because it should be said before the thread ends, Stupak takes orders from The Family, not from the Pope.

  83. 83
    ellaesther says:

    @Svensker: Yes, absolutely. No argument. Indeed, in the past I’ve even offered what might be fairly called apologetics for Palestinian anti-semitism

    Isn’t there a difference between, say, an American blaming “the Jews” for the world’s ills, and a Palestinian — told over and over that Israel is a Jewish state, for all Jews, everywhere, eternally — who blames “the Jews” for the ills his countrymen suffer? Is it baseless hatred — or hatred based in 35 years of my boot on his neck? Why do we want to believe that the Palestinians wouldn’t notice how badly we’ve treated them if no one were to point it out? Do we honestly believe they hate us so much for our peculiar religion that they would rather die, than see us live?

    As someone who regularly pisses people off on this issue (just look at my blog comments!), I still try to walk as careful a line as I can, is all. (You wouldn’t know it from the above, but I do!) “Not getting tripped up in the baggage” often involves choosing one’s words very, very carefully.

  84. 84
    The Populist says:

    Fact: My wife is half jewish, her dad is full jewish and I hate what Israel is doing and do not understand why we keep giving them all this money year after year when all they do is make our country more of a target for extremists like Ahmedinejad and AQ.

    Can’t call me anti-semetic because I don’t hate the people or their religion. I HATE THEIR POLICIES.

    If Israel wants safety and peace it needs to rethink this settlement nonsense. Show the ME that they are serious about it by stopping any new settlements. Not to be cliched but time can heal this IF the Israeli people wake up and say ENOUGH to their leaders.

  85. 85
    The Populist says:

    @guy44:

    True, but his rightie allies need Israel to be the ground zero spot for the coming Armageddon.

    This is another thing that gets me. I know MANY right wingers who could care less about the book of revelation aspect of their religion YET they support this nonsensical idea that their compadres who DO believe in Israel = Jesus comes back to beam them up to heaven and then turn the rest of us into blood rivers for the war to end all wars.

  86. 86
    Svensker says:

    @ellaesther:

    “Not getting tripped up in the baggage” often involves choosing one’s words very, very carefully.

    You do it quite well. I don’t envy you the necessity or the effort, but I salute you.

    Humans are just so dumb, aren’t they?

  87. 87
    The Populist says:

    @Svensker:

    Yet they will never be full safe. The Palestinians aren’t going anywhere. Other ME nations don’t want them around and Israel just doesn’t see that they are a pawn of far right evangelicals who want them to act this way so Jeebus can come back to save them (save them from what I never have understood? Most of these fucks are unethical and not worthy of the heaven they claim would have them).

  88. 88
    Ed Marshall says:

    Jewish nationalism is based (for good or ill) in the fact that the Jewish people prayed three times a day toward Zion for centuries of exile, and Hebron has been one of the holiest cities in Judaism since the death of Abraham.

    I thought “supernatural” covered that. I’m just not real sympathetic to this entire line of God-The-Real-Estate-Agent and more power to you if you think you can reason with people who it has some purchase with but I just find it horrifying.

  89. 89
    The Populist says:

    Off topic for a sec, but related:

    Why is it that evangelicals can believe the idea of a dead man (Jeebus) coming back to life to oversee End Times on his white horse, his heavenly army smiting all the sinners and unworthy while magically beaming up his minions to heaven so they can have an orgasmic front row seat to watching fellow Human Beings being turned into rivers of blood for the war of good vs evil?

    YET — these idiots have a hard time believing that climates are changing and will impact everything.

    They believe Jeebus was a republican and would not care if people rip off little old ladies life savings.

    Think Jews are unworthy of heaven because of their beliefs YET they believe in the same God.

    Weird huh?

  90. 90
    El Cid says:

    @The Populist: Duh — because Jesus didn’t talk about CO2 and climate change, and it wasn’t in the Old Testament neither.

  91. 91
    ChrisZ says:

    @Redshift:

    I will accept that correction. It’s all the same in-group/out-group mindset anyway, but perhaps in a case where race and nationalism and religion are so intertwined I should be especially careful to talk about the right one.

    I don’t know enough about Netanyahu specifically or Israeli politics generally to form truly informed opinions about them anyway. I was hoping to find some reasonable pro-Netanyahu arguments here to help me see the other side in this, but I suppose I will have to look elsewhere

  92. 92
    ellaesther says:

    @Svensker: Thank you very much, and you made me literally laugh out loud! Humans are indeed very dumb. I said so once to a graduate school professor who asked us what we had gleaned from that week’s readings. It’s the damn truth, is all it is.

  93. 93
    geg6 says:

    @aimai:

    The undiluted, undivided, American with no other identity/loyalty/history is also a figment of our political imagination.

    I simply cannot agree with that statement, much as it pains me to disagree with you, aimai.

    I am an American. I have ancestors that came from and relatives that still live in Ireland, Germany, and especially England. But I have no emotional ties to those nations other than the ones I have because America is their ally and they are America’s. If any of them did anything that endangered America, that embarrassed our government, or got our soldiers killed, I would have no hesitation in saying “fuck you” to them and would happily support cutting off any and all foreign aid we provide to them (assuming we provide them any, which is doubtful but possible).

    Perhaps mutts like me are few and far between (though I don’t think that’s so), but to say we are a figment of the imagination is simply not true.

  94. 94
    ellaesther says:

    @Ed Marshall: It can be horrifying, I agree. But it’s real — that is, it’s a real motivator — and so the only thing one can do is deal with it.

    But the problem really is in nationalism. Nationalism demands that people organize themselves around a discrete culture, and Jewish culture is these stories. Even if you’re an atheist, even if you take God out of the equation, you can’t take Hebron (or the Hebrew Scriptures) out of Jewish culture. Even if you say “the Bible is just stories that people told to try to explain their world to themselves” — which many, many Jews do — those are still our stories. One way or another, you have to factor it in.

    So personally, this Jew, who advocates for Israeli-Palestinian peace in no small part because I take my religion seriously, is hoping that someday, humanity moves beyond nationalism. But it’s where we are right now.

  95. 95
    aimai says:

    WRB, no, I don’t think my statement is “too absolute” or, at any rate, the existence of a very small subset of modern americans who identify *both* as “mutts” and as authentically from nowhere but here because their reckoned ancestors came in 1640 doesn’t disprove that.

    Look, there are plenty of modern day “African Americans” who share bloodlines with white “1640” ancestors but don’t get to claim them because of the way we think of blood/ethnicity/heritage. And, by the way, ditto for Jews. There are jews who have been in this country since some Portuguese Brazilian Jews came in 1654. Some of their descendants know it, and some don’t. Some identify with their jewish heritage, and some don’t. Some specifically reject their jewish identity because of modern events, like the holocaust, or late modern race and color bar experiences. ( Read a book like “Turbulent Souls” about the son of charismatic catholics who discovers, late in life, that both his parents converted out of Judaism post world war II and simply renounced the whole history and never told their children. Or, for an African American example, look at The Sweeter the Juice).

    Discovering and revaluing, or reinterpreting, competing blood lines and competing stories about who we are and how we got here are not a given–they happen because of historically contingent modern realities. I’m thinking here about the new technologies that individuals can use to study their own genetic heritage. This modern event is influencing the way modern peoples look at their genetic/social makeup. Its not a given that people who are of long heritage in this country, or mixed blood, or mixed ethnicity, are going to know that, or understand it, in one way.

    In addition, the very notion of the “home country” or the past, or the ethnic community, itself is subject to change and revision over time. Dual and complex loyalties between immigrant and home country have grown, waned, shifted over time as the home country itself changed hands–there are “german” americans who migrated here from Russia where they were originally a german settlement kept strictly separate from the russian population. There are “hispanics” in the far west who are actually the descendants of secret jews. The Cubans were mentioned way upthread. There are recent immigrants from countries and places that no longer exist. There are people here, like Zbigniew Brezinski, who woke up one day and found their home countries swallowed up and disappeared.

    My point is the subjective feeling that one is “just american” while others have some weird kind of divided loyalty, or some strange hyphenated identity– is a subjective feeling–not an historical fact. We are all as American as we think ourselves to be–and we are all as divisible into our separate identities, histories, and (sometimes) loyalties as we permit ourselves to be or as society insists we are.

    aimai

  96. 96
    John Cole says:

    I’m sick of religious nuts.

    BTW, God or whatever you go by- that whole “peace and good will towards men” shit is really working out, isn’t it?

    I’m ready for another flood.

  97. 97
    El Cid says:

    The movement to secure an actual, physical location for a Jewish nation, in the modern sense of a nation state, was a creation of 19th century and early 20th century nationalist movements, though of course the Zionist movement drew upon much older traditions among a widely dispersed Jewish population.

    When it began, it did not represent a majority viewpoint among Jewish organizations nor, to anyone’s ability to determine, Jewish populations themselves. Orthodox Jewish leaders, for example, then and to this day did not see this as the province of secular leaders but the province of their deity. Many others find the notion unrealistic. Some others opposed it because of internationalist shoshulist beliefs and aspirations, which generally opposed nationalism of any sort, that is, apparently until the founding of the USSR. And others thought the idea was interesting, but preferred a location other than modern Israel.

    Modern nation-state Jewish nationalism should not be seen as a perpetual movement which existed continuously over thousands of years, but a comparatively very recent movement, as were nearly all nationalist movements (the uniting of Germany and Italy, for example, as modern nation-states), yet drawing upon old traditions and beliefs and sentiments. As did many of the other nationalist movements.

  98. 98
    aimai says:

    geg6:

    I think you and wrb are sticking on the use of the word “figment”–let me try to put it a different way. I’m not saying that *you* and *your* experiences are figments, obviously they are real–but they are subjective and historically contingent.

    You have ancestors that live in England, Ireland, and Germany–and relatives that you know who still do? And you are sure that you don’t experience any divided loyalty, or any strong attachment to them that would affect your primary identification as “an american?” I’m sure that’s true. That’s because at the moment the way we, as a country, think about you and your inherent nature permits you to do so. But if you were Japanese during world war II, or Italian (as it turns out), you could easily have been interned for those identities and relations that you spurn now.

    I’m not challenging your experience–I’m just saying that the statement “I’m a mutt” and “I’m a real American *because* I’m a mutt” or *because I experience myself as having so many strands to my makeup that I don’t choose between them* is what anthropologists would call a culturally constructed statement, a statement that is as political as any other. There are places and times when American itself would have made you choose between those identities and loyalties. There are places and times when, you might discover, you would experience those ties very sentimentally indeed. At a distance, for example, the difference between scots/irish/english/welsh might seem pretty insignificant *because we currently think of some of that as the UK* but close up, or farther back in time, those might have seemed to be irreconcilable differences and you might have had to choose up sides. See funding for the IRA.

    aimai

  99. 99
    ChrisZ says:

    @aimai:

    __
    My point is the subjective feeling that one is “just american” while others have some weird kind of divided loyalty, or some strange hyphenated identity—is a subjective feeling—not an historical fact. We are all as American as we think ourselves to be—and we are all as divisible into our separate identities, histories, and (sometimes) loyalties as we permit ourselves to be or as society insists we are.*

    So is your point that no one is anything (just-American, Irish-American, Jewish-American) “in essence” because it is all subject to change, and that, because there is no “true” just-American then the very notion of someone without divided identities/loyalties/history is therefore meaningless? Because I disagree with that sentiment, but I don’t want to argue against it if it’s not what you’re saying.

    *I always forget how to de-boldify blockquotes. Hopefully that doesn’t look stupid above because I’ve never been able to get the edit function to work for me here.

  100. 100
    bcinaz says:

    The emotional blackmail wielded by Israel to deflect any criticism of their thuggish land grabs and aparteid policies is really annoying.

  101. 101
    soonergrunt says:

    @Bill Section 147:

    If there was no oil in the Middle East, Israel would be unimportant.

    There’s a shit-load of oil in the middle east, and Israel is, to be 100% honest, unimportant to our interests there, except as a road block to our national interests in the region.

  102. 102
    geg6 says:

    @aimai:

    Well, I can’t speak from my own experience, but I can tell you that my mother’s German/Irish ancestry didn’t cause her any divided feelings during WWII when America was at war with Germany (and there was much muttering against someone with a last name like Schnell) and Ireland was sometimes providing help to Germany as a way to stick to England. And my grandfather, who suffered quite a lot of harassment both by people in the community and his place of employment and the government during WWI, never referred to himself as a German American, but only as an American. And I cannot conceive as to how anyone could call him self-hating or anything since he deliberately chose not to change his name from Schnell to something more ambiguous like Quick.

    I guess I simply don’t get why anyone would feel loyalty to another country other than their own. I just don’t. I know people who do, but I don’t understand it and they can’t explain it to me in a way that seems even the slightest bit sensible or logical.

  103. 103
    Tax Analyst says:

    @aimai:

    Well stated.

  104. 104
    Svensker says:

    @aimai:

    You have ancestors that live in England, Ireland, and Germany—and relatives that you know who still do? And you are sure that you don’t experience any divided loyalty, or any strong attachment to them that would affect your primary identification as “an american?” I’m sure that’s true. That’s because at the moment the way we, as a country, think about you and your inherent nature permits you to do so. But if you were Japanese during world war II, or Italian (as it turns out), you could easily have been interned for those identities and relations that you spurn now.

    I have SOME relationship with my Swedish ancestors as you can tell by my name, obviously. But they are really so long ago and the relationship is really so diluted that it is essentially meaningless. My other ancestors — Scots, English, German, Alsatian, etc. — are also so long ago as to be meaningless. Any relatives I have in the Old Country would be 8th cousins or more distant, at this point. I suppose I have a sort of default Northern European WASP identity — but would I feel compelled to defend Northern Europe if the swarthy hordes from the South (those pesky Greeks, hi hub!) invaded? I don’t think so.

    Hyphenates are a definite feature in the U.S. Some groups assimilate pretty thoroughly, however, into the larger group and lose an ethnic identity. The only WASP group I can think of (that has been in the U.S. for a fairly long time) that has NOT totally assimilated are the Dutch because of the community strength of the Dutch Reformed Church and the schools it operates which keeps the kids marrying other Hollanders.

    But I don’t feel like a hyphenate, unless you want to start a WASP-American group.

  105. 105
    ChrisZ says:

    @aimai:

    Similarly, the statement “I’m a democrat” or “I’m a Catholic” are not really meaningful because there are imaginable circumstances in which that person would not identify that way?

  106. 106
    wrb says:

    @aimai:

    You have ancestors that live in England, Ireland, and Germany—and relatives that you know who still do?

    No actually.

    No relative I know of who lives anywhere but in the US. I didn’t grow up aware of many of the roots.

    I think it is quite possible for the links to become so attenuated and diluted that they have no further force.

    So I have native American ancestors- does that mean I feel some special bond with those on the other side of the Bearing land bridge? Or should I start painting myself blue to maintain connection with my Pictish ancestors?

  107. 107
    dadanarchist says:

    @ellaesther: Unlike the English or the French [in India or Algeria], to Jews, Hebron is just as much “home” as is Tel Aviv — more so, in fact.

    Minor historical quibble: for the French in Algeria, Algeria was home. Most of the “French” in North Africa were not originally French at all, but were other Mediterraneans – Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Greek – that the French encouraged to settle in North Africa in the late 19th century. It was only in North Africa that they became French and their Frenchness was tied up in their role as the “civilizers” of Algeria.

    This is why the Algerian war was such a nasty conflict – the pied noir for all their racism and anti-Arabism and Islamophobia had a point when they understood themselves to be French North Africans: because they were.

    As historians have argued, French North Africans had to be reinvented as just French and they were forcibly evacuated in 1962 to France, where they became pied noir and many became embittered (the French National Front originated among pied noir communities – Le Pen was a paratrooper in Algeria).

  108. 108
    dadanarchist says:

    @John Cole: I’m ready for another flood.

    I guess you missed the news, John: God Re-Floods Middle East

  109. 109
    ellaesther says:

    @dadanarchist: I actually addressed that up at #72, because you’re right. But even here, the Jewish belonging to Hebron (as one example on the West Bank) is much deeper and older. I actually have real compassion for the people who went through what you described, because it matters when you know yourself to be one thing, and then you’re told that you’re something else — and always have been.

  110. 110
    Annie says:

    Nationalism emerges in times of extreme crisis. Crisis enables charismatic leaders to rally a population and argue that the reasons why “you” (us) are in economic, political, religious and/or cultural decline is because of “them.” The Bosnian war is a perfect example of that.

    For some Jews, they have been lead to believe that they are in perpetual crisis, hence, this bizarre nationalism towards a “Jewish nation.” In my grandparents generation, it was a common to believe that the existence of Israel kept all Jews safe — again, us vs. them.

    What I think is happening (emerging), with younger generations, is that young Jews have multiple identities — not just a “Jewish” identify, but more of a hybrid — Jewish, plus other identifies. It is harder to push nationalism if people have several identifies that matter to them. It is harder to do a “us vs them” equation.

    Fundamentalists can push a form of nationalism because they make the religious identity paramount, they often have charismatic leaders, and can keep pushing the “us-them” narrative.

    In Israel, they cycle has to be broken.

  111. 111
    R says:

    Well I started out half way sympathic about Israel and I-P 10 years ago but I was too “objective” so got stabbed so often as a anti semite that now I look like a fruit strainer and have become a hard core objector to the US-Isr relationship and the I/P game played by Israel and enabled by we taxpayers.

    Put bluntly, the Jews/jewish cause, whatever you want to call it, and their ‘State” have been “spoiled” so long by everyone, their demands given in to, that their ‘leaders” like Foxman and others are like psychopathic teenager on steriods.

    I don’t think there is any cure for them because their grudes and victimhood status and entitlements because of get passed on to many in the next generations…what are we in now, the third generation of holocaust suriviors?
    And of couse this keeps aid and support flowing to Israel even though the US had no part in the holocaust . I have never been able to see why the US “owed” the Jews for holocaust. I think it was more a case of doing the right thing in helping them after WWII and now it’s morphed into something bizzare.

    I would be satisfied to simply have the feverent zionist believers who legistate for Israel out of my government, out of congress, out of FP decisions concerning the ME.

    They can have their right to support Israel, on their own dime and blood, believe whatever they choose, publish whatever they choose, join the IDF and etc,etc..

    The solution to the Israeli/jewish/zionist crotch hold on politicans is the same as the solution to any special interest or hyphen American groups like the militant Cuban exiles that dictated our Cuba policy for so long…… campaign reform.

    I saw something recently that just blew my mind. Following a link on another site to congressman Ackerman’s site there were his earmark disclosures in keeping with the new rule about disclosing earmarks . There was a earmark for $10 million dollars for a hospital in Israel and another for 2.5 million for a kidney unit in a Israeli hospital.

    Right after I had seen the coverage on the news of Americans standing in line to get medical attention at free medical clinics….that aren’t even financed by the gov but by private donations and medical professionals.

    You have to ask where his loyalty is when he takes americans hard earned money in the midist of our own health care crisis and unemployment and gives it to his favorite foreign country.

    Unf****believable. To me anyway.

  112. 112
    dadanarchist says:

    @ellaesther: I actually addressed that up at #72

    Ah, yes, you did, indeed.

    I guess, as a historian, I remain simultaneously skeptical and respectful of the stories peoples tell about themselves and their origins. So much of our traditions and histories, as Eric Hobsbawm pointed out, are invented, whether from whole cloth or from some kernel of actually lived historical reality.

    These stories are necessary in a modern society; they bind together otherwise disparate and fragmented individuals into a national community. But they are, of course, as the last 200 years has taught us, dangerous.

    Many French Algerians sincerely believed that they had claim to North Africa because they were descended from the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Goths and the Gauls that had populated North Africa during antiquity. They cast the Arabs as interlopers and saw the Bedouin as their ancient, if backwards, brothers. There was even scholarship by French anthropologists and historians to back this up (wonderfully analyzed by the historian Patricia M.E. Lorcin).

    So, yes, the story of Hebron is ancient, but what I’ve never understood about that particular facet of this intractable conflict is why Jews have special claim to Hebron when Muslims and Christians also see themselves as the descendants of Abraham. Shouldn’t Hebron serve as a place in which Muslims, Christians and Jews can celebrate their fundamental brotherhood?

  113. 113
    teraz kurwa my says:

    The Grahams aren’t Jewish either, unless you’re using a strictly racial definition with a one drop clause. In fact, given that the WSJ is more hardline pro-Israel than the WaPo which is more so than the NYT, the evidence would suggest that the more Jewish the owners are, the less pro Israeli-right it is. I’m basically in agreement with you on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but this section of your post could be not-unreasonably interpreted as racist.

  114. 114
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @beltane:

    The worst part of this lies in the very real danger that it will make actual antisemitism more socially acceptable. Shame on Abe Foxman.

    That’s true, and it’s unfortunately true that this happens everytime some Israeli hardliner accuses anyone who criticizes the Israeli government of antisemitism.

    Antisemitism is a real problem across the world and I don’t understand why these people (hardliners both in and outside of the Israeli government) enable it by tossing out the charge recklessly.

  115. 115
    liberal says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Again, how exactly is Israel vital to US national interest?

    Would have responded to your earlier post, but this thread already killed lots of productive hours at work.

    Anyhoo…IMHO, at the current time, the answer is, it’s not. Not in a positive way, anyhow.

    We have only one vital national interest in that region: access to Persian Gulf oil. Not control of (for the sake of oil companies, etc). Rather just access at a reasonable price. Meaning, “bad” outcomes are access completely cut off, or a single hegemon effectively controlling all the oil there and either threatening to cut off access or creating a more viable cartel.

    BTW, your reference to Israel murdering Americans on the Liberty makes you an anti-Semite. /snark

    …adding, if you liked the Liberty episode, you’ll love a 9-11 theory most people don’t talk about: Israel LIHOP (for which there’s actually some circumstantial evidence, AFAICT).

  116. 116
    liberal says:

    @dadanarchist:

    So, yes, the story of Hebron is ancient, but what I’ve never understood about that particular facet of this intractable conflict is why Jews have special claim to Hebron when Muslims and Christians also see themselves as the descendants of Abraham. Shouldn’t Hebron serve as a place in which Muslims, Christians and Jews can celebrate their fundamental brotherhood?

    Nah. If that were true, they wouldn’t have an excuse to keep murdering each other.

  117. 117
    liberal says:

    @ellaesther:

    But even here, the Jewish belonging to Hebron (as one example on the West Bank) is much deeper and older.

    So what? The central question here isn’t people’s emotions, its justice.

    If the criterion for “right to live on parcel X” is “did, at any time in the past 2000 years, the person’s ancestors (or putative ancestors) live there or have a special emotional attachment to X?”, the world would quickly become a living hell.

    The whole premise of Zionism has become especially laughable now, insofar as people who were living on the land less than a century ago are deemed not allowed to “return,” yet people whose connections are at best thousands of years ago are deemed fit to do so.

    What makes Israel less loathsome in this regard (relatively speaking) is that similar principles seem to operate in much of Europe, or at least have operated. This is pretty much foreign thinking to me as an American (NB: raised weakly Reform).

  118. 118
    liberal says:

    @wrb:

    I think it is quite possible for the links to become so attenuated and diluted that they have no further force.

    This is why I find the (white) American South’s attitude toward the Civil War strange.

  119. 119
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @ellaesther:

    My point—my only point, I promise—is that if we want the Jewish people to listen to and respect the Palestinian story, we would be wise to listen to and respect the Jewish story.

    O.K., agreed. Now, how do we accomplish this?

    Or is it really not our responsibility?

    Actually, given our history in the region I would say it is our responsibility to facilitate peace. But I am also somewhat sympathetic to those who argue we should just end all military support for Israel. And then, more or less, leave the situation to be resolved by the Palestinians and Israelis.

    But that’s probably not a great idea, so I’m open to suggestions.

  120. 120
    liberal says:

    @geg6:

    I guess I simply don’t get why anyone would feel loyalty to another country other than their own. I just don’t. I know people who do, but I don’t understand it and they can’t explain it to me in a way that seems even the slightest bit sensible or logical.

    It’s because our modern distinction between belong to a nation and belonging to an ethnic group is pretty recent. Furthermore, this distinction is, by and large, very strong in the US, and not so strong in much of Europe.

    While there’s a lot I don’t like about the US, this part of it I really, really like.

  121. 121
    liberal says:

    @aimai:

    I’m not challenging your experience—I’m just saying that the statement “I’m a mutt” and “I’m a real American because I’m a mutt” or because I experience myself as having so many strands to my makeup that I don’t choose between them is what anthropologists would call a culturally constructed statement, a statement that is as political as any other.

    That’s true, per se. IMHO dropping ethnic identity in favor of national identity is a form of progress born from the Enlightenment, and the Enlightenment itself has roots in a particular geographic region.

    That being said, one can certainly say, on a relative basis, that the identities of many Americans is more singularly American as these posters claim.

  122. 122
    geg6 says:

    @liberal:

    Guess I have to disagree with you. Given the strife over ethnicity that I have seen just over my own 51 years of life, I think that holding onto ethnic identities for no real reason is a very bad thing. I’m an American and my ethnicity is somewhat interesting from a historical viewpoint. But clinging to my “Irishness,” or “Germanness,” or “Englishness” brings no real value to my life or to anyone else’s and may lead me to think there is something superior about my particular ethnicity or that I should place more value on one of those countries over all the other countries of the world, including my own.

    Edited to add: I think I may have read your reply to me wrong now that I’ve seen your reply to aimai. Now I’m thinking we agree.

  123. 123
    liberal says:

    @aimai:

    See funding for the IRA.

    Not that it’s relevant to the point of your post, but as I pointed out in another thread, funding for the IRA is not equivalent to US funding for Israel. The former was private funding, and insofar as it didn’t receive the imprimatur of our government, it didn’t speak for those of us who didn’t send money toward the IRA, and didn’t associate our nation with the IRA. That’s not true of our support for Israel. Which is why (governemnt) “support” for Israel is contrary to our national interest in a way that private support for the IRA, however regrettable, wasn’t.

  124. 124
    liberal says:

    @aimai:

    I’m thinking here about the new technologies that individuals can use to study their own genetic heritage. This modern event is influencing the way modern peoples look at their genetic/social makeup.

    The genetic heritage stuff is fun and fascinating, though for me the fun part is the whole picture (the migration out of Africa, etc).

    That being said, if we can be normative and not descriptive for a second, it would be much better if people started viewing themselves as human, not belonging to ethnic group “X”. In fact, humans are relatively genetically uniform, compared to other primates, for example.

    The entire “I’m proud of my ethnic heritage” thing is fairly idiotic anyhow—we can be proud of ourselves as individuals, but why acts of ancestors should reflect well or ill upon us descendents is a mystery to me.

  125. 125
    liberal says:

    @ellaesther:

    Even if you’re an atheist, even if you take God out of the equation, you can’t take Hebron (or the Hebrew Scriptures) out of Jewish culture. Even if you say “the Bible is just stories that people told to try to explain their world to themselves”—which many, many Jews do—those are still our stories. One way or another, you have to factor it in.

    That seems highly questionable, if by “bible” you mean the five books. There’s a lot of stuff in there that’s very, very far removed from anyone’s experience these days.

    Yes, there’s the kosher laws there, which a lot of people still follow, but there’s all sorts of wacky sh*t that no one does.

  126. 126
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @geg6:

    I’m as much a mutt as you. The most recent immigrant ancestors I had were one set of great-grandparents I never met. They were dead before I was born. Other branches of my family tree have been here for 10 + generations. With a little bit of most of Europe running through my veins, it makes it great for ethnic celebrations, though. I can make a legit claim to being part of almost all of them. Today, for instance, my smidge of Irish is on full display.

  127. 127
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @John Cole:
    Well… the polar caps are melting.

  128. 128
    liberal says:

    @ellaesther:

    Oh, my, I’m sorry, but no. Jewish nationalism is based (for good or ill) in the fact that the Jewish people prayed three times a day toward Zion for centuries of exile…

    Where are you getting that?

    My upbringing wasn’t all that rigorous, but the only thing I can remember was the Passover “Next year in Jerusalem!” thing.

    The only think I’ve heard about praying in direction of X is the Muslim praying towards Mecca thing.

    AFAICT, you’re simply wrong—in the last millenium at least (maybe not e.g. during the Babylonian exile), this didn’t really happen until the Zionist movement, which is relatively recent.

  129. 129
    liberal says:

    @geg6:
    Yeah, I was being descriptive (why people think like that), not normative (since I think people shouldn’t think like that).

    Aside: the one situation where it really does make sense to think like that is when a group is truly under attack. But generally, it’s just an excuse for ignorant bloodletting.

  130. 130
    liberal says:

    @John Cole:
    Cole, instead of just sitting there on your ass, why don’t you file a lawsuit?

  131. 131
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @Annie:

    The cycle is being broken for a lot of American Jews because of the lessening, over time, of real anti-sematism in this country. I think there were a lot of people, back in the day, who never felt safe. They would look at what happened in Germany, at other historic anti-Jewish pogroms, at anti-sematism in this country, and think that they needed an exit strategy (just in case). I don’t know many younger American Jews, though, who even question whether they are truly a part of America or will ever be forced to leave it. That question doesn’t and shouldn’t come up.

  132. 132
    Jon says:

    @liberal:

    This reasoning wouldn’t apply to Britain, but in the US, there’s a clear reason to object more strongly to actions taken by Israel than to actions taken by Russia—-because we help pay and give military assistance to Israel when it takes those actions.

    No argument there. I’ve no beef with arguments that we should stop paying for those actions, or that we should use the leverage we get from our payments to cause Israel to stop taking them. But positions like the one enacted by the student council of the university where I teach — that single out Israel as the (only) worldwide bad actor where if a company does business with Israel, the university should divest its stock — fall, it seems to me, on another level. There are lots of bad actors out there, and I’m unconvinced that the government of Israel is worse than that of, say, Burma.

    Also, on praying towards Zion: ellaesther has this one right. The Amida, which is at the center of an observant Jew’s thrice-daily prayers, is prayed in the direction of the (former) Temple in Jerusalem. (Talmud Brachot, 30a). And while the movement for the establishment of a political Jewish state in Israel began in the nineteenth century, the idea that that territory was land that God had promised to the Jews; had exiled them from because of their sins; and — we prayed — would someday restore them to, has been basic in the liturgy for many centuries.

  133. 133
    Brent says:

    A big issue being ignored by all the non church-going BJer’s in here is that 70% of the US describes itself as protestant. If you grew up in that culture, as I did, you know full well that God blesses the nation that helps Israel and that they are inextricably linked to the Xian faith. Such that many hymns sing arout Israel as a metaphor for God’s chosen people, which only includes protestants, not actual Jews, of course.

    Then there is the end of days apocalypic role that Israel plays in bringing back that hippie dude with the long blonde hair and blue eyes that hangs over the mantle. It is essential, critical I tell you, that armageddon take place when the antichrist brings peace to that region.

    Supporting Israel is the same thing as professing faith to most protestants and ALL evangelicals, needless to say any in the religious republican right, esp of the Palin variety. They instictively regard any batshit thing Israel does as equivalent to something God does. Take my word on this one.

  134. 134
    Svensker says:

    @Brent:

    Supporting Israel is the same thing as professing faith to most protestants and ALL evangelicals, needless to say any in the religious republican right, esp of the Palin variety. They instictively regard any batshit thing Israel does as equivalent to something God does. Take my word on this one.

    Mainline Presbyterian church does NOT, nor does the Reformed Church in America. Quakers, of course, don’t either,tho they’re kinda beyond Protestant at this point. Can’t speak for any other Protestants out there.

  135. 135
    Jack says:

    Look what was done to fellow member of the tribe, Finkelstein. Look what’s been done to Shlain, Sand and Atzmon.

    I used to collect and collate data for the ADL, tracking skinhead groups (often undercover) in the Northeast.

    It was rewarding, and dangerous, and always worth it.

    That was before the ADL became Foxman’s Jihad.

    I wouldn’t waste a moment on that filthy hate group, anymore.

    Nowadays, if you don’t toe a very racialist line that has Jews-As-Chosen on one side, allied with Good Goys, and everyone else on the other side, working against the Chosen and Eretz Yisroel- you’re an anti-semite or a SHJ.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve been called a SHJ.

    To the point where when I hear it, I know the canary is dying in the mineshaft.

    ***

    I long ago stopped being a good Jew, and it was liberating as all hell.

  136. 136
    wrb says:

    @Brent:

    A big issue being ignored by all the non church-going BJer’s in here is that 70% of the US describes itself as protestant. If you grew up in that culture, as I did, you know full well that God blesses the nation that helps Israel and that they are inextricably linked to the Xian faith.

    You are misusing the term “protestant” and equating it with “evangelical”

    Those of us who grew up under the old-line protestant American churches that grew directly from the reformation/counter-reformation, the attendant barbarities and the corruption and self-dealing of the medieval Catholic church– Quakers, Congregationalists, Unitarians, Methodists, Presbyterians– don’t share that belief.

  137. 137
    Jack says:

    @dadanarchist:

    Shlomo Sand, in an act of heartrending courage, has dismantled the very foundation of the claims which inform Zionism.

  138. 138
    Brent says:

    @wrb:
    Yes, yes, I stand corrected. Switch protestant for evangelical. But, it must be said that the religious right that controls the republican party is heavily evangelical. So as far as politics and voting blocs goes, my comments apply to nearly half the voting public, in terms of how this issue plays. Since Revelation describes the Antichrist as a “man of peace,” these people have branded anyone since Carter who attempted to bring peace to that region as, if not the Antichrist, then an antichrist. Can you imagine? Obama is routinely depicted this way in red state churches. Netenyahoo, by deliberately throwing a wrench into the peace process, has thwarted, once again, the goal of the Antichrist Obama.

  139. 139
    bdg says:

    As an American Jew who has spent years living in the occupied Palestinian Territories and knows the horrors of living under foreign miliary occupation in and out (I am harrassed far more as a Jew for wanting to live among Palestinians), I must admit I have felt inclined to give up on any hope for a positive resolution of this issue.

    Why? Its not Israel. Its not the ADL. Its the US media and the pressure it is subjected to by attack campaigns when they try to report the truth. Their bottom line is the dollar, and when they publish an objective (i.e. pro-Palestinian freedom and human rights piece) they get inundated with threats of cancellations, boycotts, etc.

    And who is behind this? Yes, many pro-right with Israeli Jewish groups. But far far worse are the Christian Zionists. They can flood an editor or a congress member with millions of letters.

    The fanatical Christian Zionist movement is one of the central roots of the reason for the perpetuation of this problem (and the irony is that while they love Israeli colonization of the West Bank, they believe all Jews will convert or die during the rapture…

  140. 140
    hidflect says:

    @bdg

    That’s a skillful argument you make there. Full points. But do we think a bunch of Christians woke up one morning and decided to form such a uniquely intricate and richly financed association to assist Israel? Why does Israel have anything to do with them since they believe in the destruction of Israel? Why didn’t this movement exist 30 years ago? They’re bigoted idiots, but they’re useful, bigoted idiots. And someone has very kindly assisted them all the way to the cash vending machine and helped them withdraw their support dollars. Oddly enough, it wasn’t the Palestinians!

  141. 141
    ellaesther says:

    @liberal: I have a sense that I shouldn’t answer this as I have caught more than a whiff of troll, but just in case someone else takes you seriously:

    All Jews were “Orthodox” Jews until the Enlightenment, and in Orthodox Judaism (and often in non-Orthodox Judaism), one prays three times daily, toward Jerusalem — and, not only that, prays for the re-establishment of Jerusalem/Zion as the Jewish home.

  142. 142
    liberal says:

    @liberal:

    AFAICT, you’re simply wrong…

    Nope, I was wrong here.

    Whoops.

  143. 143
    liberal says:

    @ellaesther:
    My apologies. I googled “pray towards Zion” and got one hit. Silly me…

  144. 144
    liberal says:

    @Jon:

    But positions like the one enacted by the student council of the university where I teach—that single out Israel as the (only) worldwide bad actor where if a company does business with Israel, the university should divest its stock—fall, it seems to me, on another level. There are lots of bad actors out there, and I’m unconvinced that the government of Israel is worse than that of, say, Burma.

    Your reasoning is flawed.

    As a nation, we’re entirely unresponsible for the situation in Burma. On the other hand, we’re largely (though not entirely) responsible for the situation of the Palestinians. Attempting to divest from companies that do business with Israel is one way to put pressure into the situation. Of course, it would be much better for our government to stop funding Israeli war crimes. But that’s not an immediate option.

  145. 145
    liberal says:

    @ellaesther:

    …and, not only that, prays for the re-establishment of Jerusalem/Zion as the Jewish home.

    So? That doesn’t mean the words of the prayer should be taken literally, as the evidence put forth by El Cid shows. Zionism is a recent phenomenon.

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