Campus Debates on Israel Drive a Wedge Between Jews and Minorities“, the New York Times notes with alarm.

Starting with the headline, this is a very odd piece. Not least because, last I heard, Jews were a minority, in every sense of the term I understand. Either Jewish moms have recently been very busy in the maternity wards of the great Republic, or some rather special, non-obvious sense of ‘minority’ is intended here.

But why waste time on these ponderous drolleries? Of course we all know what this means. ‘Minority’ is decent Times-speak for what Jackie Mason once referred to as the ‘schvartzers’.

Even with this scilicet understood, the headline is a lie. There’s a wedge, certainly, but it’s not between Jews and ‘minorities’. It’s between defenders of Israel and ‘minorities’. As is well known — though the Times piece barely adverts to the fact — an increasing number of Jews, particularly young Jews, have little or no use for Israel.

It’s a fine old Times hatchet job, in the grand tradition, softly phrased, magisterial and objective in tone, a virtuoso exercise in suggestio falsi and suppressio veri. Well worth reading on that basis alone, as an object lesson in how the Times recycles ideology and manufactures news out of it.

But what particularly tickled me about it was its account of the way this polemic was being conducted on campus — namely, in the plushy Care Bear terms discussed here just a few days ago. Discomfort. Check your privilege. Empowered. Aggressive. Hostility. Sensitivity. Feeling threatened. Divisive. Identity (a word which would make me reach for my revolver, if I owned a revolver. Fortunately, I do not).

Some of the kiddywinks ‘felt uncomfortable expressing their support for Israel.’ Well, no bloody wonder. I’d feel uncomfortable too, in their place. It’s a bit like expressing support for the Confederate States of America. I mean, family connections and all, one can understand, but still… This is a kind of discomfort we need more of.

(Of course, I think we need more discomfort on campus generally, and certainly a lot less fear of discomfort, but that’s a different topic.)

Before declaring her candidacy, Ms. Horwitz felt compelled to remove pro-Israel references from her Facebook page before she ran for the student senate.

So Ms Horwitz is a Zionist, but thank God she’s also an opportunist. She will do well in life, one way or the other. I don’t see that anyone’s heart need break over this sad story, or any like it.

17 thoughts on “Wedgie

  1. More accurate:

    “….Drive a Wedge Between Israel Opponents and Minority”

    The minority clearly being supporters of the Ghoulish State.

    I wasn’t partcularly troubled by this article though. The Times can dress up up however they want, and the kids can suck their thumbs and cling to their blankies, but there’s little doubt trends are moving in the right direction. And the AIPAC types are in full panic mode because they know what you’ve pointed out: young Jews on the whole have no use for Israel, of for that matter for the Finkelstein-described Holocaust Industry.

  2. our hero ms. horowitz will have a bright future ahead of her writing op-eds like today’s at the NYT on how friendly the cia is to LGBTQmore letters community. “the nation can rejoice today as, for the 1st time ever, a transgendered person hands the president his Tuesday kill list.”

      • thanks paul.

        the IDF has been “gay friendly” for quite a while now. don’t tell the xian zio-cultists in the US that. lots of rapey stuff still going on there. something about militarism & rape, i suppose, but the connections seem murky. maybe warriors need sensitivity training too?.f. lee ermey of “full metal jacket” fame can also lead a discussion of “when ‘no’ means no.”

  3. “an increasing number of Jews, particularly young Jews, have little or no use for Israel.”

    I’m not so certain of that. There are lots of Jews that criticize Israel and say “I am not a Zionist” only to turn around and endorse nearly every tenet of Hasbara there is. They say they’re opposed to the racism and the brutality, but reject the right of the Palestinians to resist that racism and brutality with anything but slogans. They reject the one-state solution, because it will destroy the Jewish character of Israel, while pretending they don’t know what the term “Jewish State” means or what it could possibly have to do with Judaism.

    Most of them are what Gilad Atzmon calls “Non-Zionist Zionists” who allegedly reject Zionism as an ideology while supporting Israel as a Jewish state. Atzmon also astutely notes that in order to be the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace—or “Jewish” anything for that matter—you have to be a Jew, and there is little chance of a leadership role for any Palestinian in these organizations that claim to fight for their rights. Apartheid is a fixture of Jewish culture, not just Israel.

    Here’s a fine example of the breed:

    “So, it’s a matter of historical fact, not a declaration from the mount of an eternally sanctioned moral imperative, that the State exists. Achieving it was monumental and essential for the Jews, and for human rights, even as the founding infringed upon the rights of others (who, in turn, not being saints, did a good deal of infringing themselves, and so on and so on).’

    The Palestinians infringed upon the rights of the Chosen Ones to steal their land in the name of human rights, but now we have to forget all that and give the Schwartzes their own shed out in the back, just so long as they stay 1 km away from the Jewish side of the security fence.

    • Todd Gitlin is certainly not the type I had in mind!

      However I tend to agree with you about the over-emphasis often placed on specifically *Jewish* organizations who are purportedly on the right side (meaning my side) of this question. It’s like a continuation of the Jewish franchise on the region; even the opposition has to be Jewish. As if we schgutzim ought to butt out of what is, implicitly, an internal conversation among Jews.

      But I don’t know the work of these organizations very well. Some are clearly just rear-guard Zionists with a paper-thin dissident cover (e.g. J Street). Others no doubt are more the real thing. But I’d be happier to see Jews who want to support the Palestinians do so in organizational contexts that were *not* exclusively Jewish.

      • ‘Todd Gitlin is certainly not the type I had in mind!’

        Is there another type?

        I tend to doubt the sincerity of Jewish “activists” who go into McCarthy mode whenever anyone fails to show due deference to Jewish sensitivities, which is pretty much most of them from what I can tell. The reaction to Gilad Atzmon, Michael O’Keefe and others who stray off the reservation is telling. The Palestinian “voice for peace” is being drowned out by Jews grabbing the bullhorn.

        If they are not gatekeepers keeping criticism of Israel within accepted limits, then their priorities are truly warped. They seem more concerned about the image of Jews being tarnished than they are with the realities of an entire populace being bombed and starved into submission.

        Interesting example of such a witch hunt on Mondoweiss, with this comment showing what is really going on though she gives them more credit for sincerity than I do.

        “This applies to Syria just as it applied to Libya and Iraq and J Street and OWS and Gilad Atzmon and now the previously respected FGM. There is a fundamental weakness in the left in general, which is reflected most clearly in the splitting of the ranks when it comes to bottom-line commitment to supporting human rights in general, and Palestinian rights in particular. There is – and perhaps always was – a wedge driven straight into the heart of the very word “justice”. This wedge oftentimes takes the form of evidently greater commitment to the historicity of injustice towards Jews in the 30’s of last century, than justice for those who are oppressed and persecuted in the here and now – oftentimes by descendants of the very jews who were last century’s victims. Commitment to a “truth” of the past and the “reality” of anti-semitism in the present simply takes precedence over true commitment to justice in the here and now. I see no other way of interpreting the tendency towards “shunning” the most active, capable and committed pro-palestinian activists. or the tendency among some on the left to find it in their heart to support the atrocities perpetrated against the Syrian people – the so-called “humanitarian interventionists”.

        What that shows is that deep at heart even the most human-rights-committed Jewish person is simply not committed enough. As I said before also – they fight with one hand tied behind their back, head turned always backwards. And these hobbled warriors, instead of providing the stamina and support palestinians out there on the killing fields need, are teaching them the art of wobbly knee dance on egg shells. No one can win with this tactic, not when the enemy has full commitment of its troops – down to the last fiber of their dark souls.”

        • Indeed. It’s a useful rule that the more willing people are to buy into some anti-anti-Semitic panic, the less they are to be trusted. That’s a sad thing on Mondoweiss. Just what is Greta supposed to have said that was anti-Semitic, anyway? Nothing seemed to link to it.

          • Interesting that they denounce her without even quoting or linking what she said. The Wikipedia has this on her:

            “Zionists operated the concentration camps and helped murder millions of innocent Jews,” which strikes me as more of an exaggeration of Zionist collaboration with the Nazis than an anti-Semitic statement. It’s closer to the truth than not.


        • As Arundati Roy once wrote on the concept of justice and it’s hand me down ersatz version:

          The assault on vulnerable, fragile sections of society is so complete, so cruel and so clever that its sheer audacity has eroded our definition of justice. It has forced us to lower our sights, and curtail our expectations. Even among the well-intentioned, the magnificent concept of justice is gradually being substituted with the reduced, far more fragile discourse of ‘human rights’.

          This is an alarming shift. The difference is that notions of equality, of parity, have been pried loose and eased out of the equation. It’s a process of attrition. Almost unconsciously, we begin to think of justice for the rich and human rights for the poor. Justice for the corporate world, human rights for its victims. Justice for Americans, human rights for Afghans and Iraqis. Justice for the Indian upper castes, human rights for Dalits and Adivasis (if that.) Justice for white Australians, human rights for Aborigines and immigrants (most times, not even that.)

          Another take on this distinction:

          What, then, happens to human rights when they are the rights of homo sacer, of those excluded from the political community; that is, when they are of no use, since they are the rights of those who, precisely, have no rights, and are treated as inhuman? Jacques Rancière proposes a salient dialectical reversal: ‘When they are of no use, one does the same as charitable persons do with their old clothes. One gives them to the poor.

          These were written several years ago and by now the Human Rights Industry has debased itself all the more fully:

  4. Last summer, during the Gaza massacre, I had occasion to meet an Israeli diplomat here in NY. I expected the usual besiege-victim, we’re-fighting-for-our-survival (by killing a couple thousand people, 500 of them children) patter. I was pleasantly surprised to hear none of it. He said his biggest fear wasn’t Americans’ antipathy toward Israel, nor anti-Semitism, but growing — and sheer — indifference. Not stated, but clearly implied, was: “And why wouldn’t someone be indifferent at best, given how beastly we are acting.”

    In their hearts, the AIPAC types, of which this fellow didn’t appear to be one, fear that Americans really don’t give a shit about the Ghoulish State, and that all of their efforts to liken Hamas or Iran or Hezbo to Bin Laden don’t resonate one bit. They surely know “our boys n girls” won’t go to another war to defend Israel’s “right to exist.” Israel could be absorbed into one, binational state tomorrow, and few would care.

  5. Sean, I think one of the strengths of the BDS movement is that it exists largely outside of, and without the blessing of, the “liberal” gatekeepers. Yes, this has clearly left it open to charges of anti-Semitism — and, bluntly, weasly insinuations of same by Finkelstein and Chomsky — but the movement presses on undeterred. They don’t appear to be seeking anyone’s permission or blessing. This is what I think truly scares the gatekeepers, as well as the AIPAC types. BDS shows few if any signs of being intimidated.

    • Yes indeed. One of many reasons why BDS is a brilliant strategy. Another is that it really does present people with a concrete choice: they can buy Sodastream products or decline to. People being what they are, they will want to justify their actions either way; and many will actually give it some thought and try to figure out what’s the right thing.

    • I’ve always been baffled by Finkelstein’s and Chomsky’s opposition to BDS. I just don’t understand what’s driving it. Makes me rather sad, because I admire them both very much.

      • If I were playing clairvoyant and/or dime-store shrink, I’d say they can’t quite “pull the trigger” on the Jewish State, or something deep in their subconscious prevents them from “going there.” They’ll vehemently criticize Israel and do everything possible to undermine it and its supporters but can’t seem to see it through —- surely, they had no such inhibitions about apartheid SA, which was actually tame in comparison to the wanton slaughterers of Gazans and many others.

    • BDS is a great idea in principle, but in practice it is a pussycat movement run by pussycats. The leaders of BDS just like their Jewish “allies” are more concerned with dancing the Hora around Jewish sensibilities than they are with the Jews dropping white phosphorus on their kids. This is a spectacularly awful example, pushing the liberal Zionist fiction that Jewish identity, Jewish culture and Jewish political and economic power have nothing to do with the Jewish state, and anyone suggesting they do is an anti-Semite. No, we are to believe Israel is just another “white European” colonial outpost, and by extension the people lobbiing 155 mm howitzer shells at Palestinian schoolkids are to be seen as white settlers, but never Jews.

      Israel will never be defeated through boycotting oranges and complaining about the “cultural appropriation” of hummus. The measure of Israel’s strength is not the number of oranges sold but the number of Western politicians and institutions that are bribed and blackmailed into submission. BDS will never succeed unless it is taken to the next level and directed at the Jewish power structure in Western countries.

      If you cannot even discuss Jewish power without the Jewish police and their collaborators accusing you of anti-Semitism, how can you fight it? If Palestinian “leaders” prefer to remain trapped in the ideological Gaza their Jewish gatekeepers have created for them, their movement will go nowhere.

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