Philip Weiss at Mondoweiss is not only anti-Zionist. As I indicated in my last post, he is deeply troubled by his Jewishness – by Jews. This post from yesterday, in which the pretense of his own inclusion in the consideration is the usual fraud, and the only element that would distinguish it, could easily be found in the pages of a neo-Nazi or KKK official organ. Read the comments too. You’ll especially love this one: “The Romans apparently dealt with the problem of the Jewish egregore through de-centralization — by scattering the Jews to the winds.”
Perusing the blog is actually a creepy experience, leading to a desire for bath water. And he thinks he’s walking in the light.
7 thoughts on “More Mondoweiss Anti-Semitism”
The real question is, am I going to regret it? You already ex-communicated me. There’s nowhere left to go but the rack.
“(and never mind the whole issue of the Native Americans)”
What do you think I was talking about here in the last thread? “The inheritance I’ve got now is so massive, so destructive, so frought with opportunity to struggle or cower there’s just something greedy about having an overseas enclave to go with it.” The native Americans, of course. Israel is my focus in this particular discussion. It’s not my only focus.
Also, I wrote nothing to suggest negating Jewish identity. I want to negate al-Nakba and nothing else. Or does 2000 years of Jewish identity require negating someone else’s connection to their land?
I’ll leave it at that.
Well, Andrew, I hope I won’t regret going back on my decision to end our exchange, but you said some real and heartfelt things here that invite a real and human response. I do recall that sentence. It’s powerful and wrenching, but it lacked a clear object for its passion, and so missed its mark. However, guilt over that tragedy (and human history is so full of them, isn’t it?), leading to misidentifying it with a very different historical reality, helps no one, here or there.
You and I obviously have different perspectives on the population movements that surrounded the lead up and aftermath of the declaration of an Israeli state, including elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa. What then? Arguing against a historically continuous and identifiably constant Jewish ethnicity and its generational descent from ancient Israel – restricting Jewishness, meaningfully, only to its religious nature, so that modern, secular ideologies can ridicule, as they could any religion’s, its spiritual claims – is certainly to negate Jewish identity, for political purpose. I raised the issue of an historic Palestinian national identity only to indicate, as if it should require demonstration, that each of our tats have tits. I have no desire to negate Palestinian connection to the land. I wish for a Palestinian state that will prosper. Can you make a like claim about Jews and Israel?
That might persuade a novice; it’s a little shaky when you realize you can’t convert to Kurdish, Kosovar or Palestinian. For that matter, when you convert to Judaism for the purpose of Israeli citizenship, you must demonstrate obedience to the law. No breaking Shabbat, no pork, no golden calf and none of the good times to be had in Canaan. Someone who can immigrate to Israel as an oleh can get away with that stuff (well, maybe not the golden calf). What else? Kurds, Kosovars and Palestinians come from one specific area. Most Jews don’t come from what is today Israel and that’s obvious when you consider the many different people who are Jewish – there definitely have been conversions. At this point it’s a matter of arguing for the religion giving you exclusive or privileged entitlement to a land you have no way of proving your ancestors literally come from. The religion itself is from that area, and under Zionism’s own terms if some Jebusites showed up they would have a greater claim to Jerusalem than the Jews. It argues that people have an ancient connection to eretz Israel based on shared religion and this gives them the right to engineer an ethnic majority by expelling those who are actually there and have an established ancestral connection.
Oh no, you can be a Zionist and have sympathy for the Palestinians. You’re just not going to stop hurting them until you get what you want.
It has been quite clear from the start that you are no novice in your anti-Semitism, which neither begins nor ends with your unwillingness to intellectually accommodate the complexity of Jewish identity in any but a negative light. So I could point out that there are Israelis who aren’t Jewish, and a majority of Jews who are not, in varied measures, obedient to the law – even atheists – and yet are still Jewish. That one is not Catholic, for example, simply by virtue, alone, of being born to a Catholic, as one is, indeed, Kurdish or German simply as consequence of being born to a Kurd or German – or a Jew simply by being born to a Jewish mother. Or that there isn’t even an American ethnicity, but a nationality that is synonymous with a citizenship status (and never mind the whole issue of the Native Americans), whereas one can be a French citizen, but not actually, you know, “French.” There is all that complexity in the worldwide mix. But, say, let’s focus on the Jews.
Or I could point out that the continuing and overwhelming genetic studies clearly support ancient Jewish origin in the lands of Israel and the Palestinian territories, or argue that there was no commonly attributed designation of “Palestinian” as a group identifier prior to the First World War, but that arguments over these issues in the public rather than scholarly sphere are always subterfuge for political disputes anyway. Or I could point out that Jews had what they wanted (or, certainly, were willing to accept, before the 1948 war, and then again after, and even, possibly, in 1937, from the Peel Commission), which was never, as a matter of government policy “exclusive” entitlement to the land – and that it is the Arab world, including the Palestinians, all these years, over the course of multiple national and proxy wars, and decades of terrorist attacks all around the world, that has never ceased in pursuit of what it wants: the elimination of Israel.
I could say all these things (oh, my goodness; I just did) and you could argue back, and we could haggle, and whittle away at the fine points, and make concessions, and try to reach some begrudging, common understanding, all as part of the hard work of intellectual discourse that seeks to reach honest and just conclusions that might enable people to live together.
But you don’t seek any of those things. Any arguments you have over Israeli behavior in the contemporary era or recent years are just a predetermined manifestation of your desire to negate Jewish identity – going back two thousand years, no less. You don’t want agreement. You don’t want peace. Just like the guys at Mondoweiss, you might want an end to Palestinian suffering, but you want an end to Israel more. And what you want here – knowing that given your position there is no ground for purposeful exchange between us – is an opportunity to vent your righteous disdain and hatred. Which makes discussion between us certainly a waste of my time and now at an end.
Jay, if you read between the lines, you’ll notice Philip’s anti-Zionism is layered: he’s not against Zionism in principle; only the current situation. He thinks Zionism was a legitimate movement at the start, and that’s evident in how he titled one post, “We can seize on Herzl’s central teaching: dignity.”
When Phil wakes up to the fact Zionism is not an intrinsic part of Jewish identity, and you can in fact be anti-Zionist without belonging to the kooky Neturei Karta or Satmar, he may find life a bit less confusing. And give me a break. If a neo-Nazi wrote about Madoff, “It exposed the new Jewish place in America in a fresh way,” it would be a moment of lucidity. Neo-Nazis think Barak Obama exposes the Jewish place in America, for crying out loud. Phil is going through a boring and very unnecessary identity crisis because he thinks there’s such a thing as “Jewish” interest, he thinks Zionism is a real “Jewish” interest and he has a conscience about what it’s done to the Palestinians. This causes him to be very critical yet sometimes say things unpalatable to real opponents of Zionism, like this:
In particular, “There must be an acknowledgment by Palestinians of their own power to make Israelis miserable.” Yeah. Right.
If you read a little more closely, you’ll see that Weiss’s seeming approval of Zionism (as he thinks it originated in Herzl’s mind) is only to the extent he limits the identification of it with the pursuit of Jewish “dignity.” (So good of Weiss to approve of that.) But, first, Weiss has no layers. Even the personal and ethnic identity crisis that drives him is publicly displayed. Surely no political activist has promulgated his ideology with more persistent reference to his mother. Second, Zionism is as intrinsic a part of Jewish identity as Kurdish nationalism is of Kurdish identity, Kosovar nationalism is of Kosovar identity or, for that matter, Palestinian nationalism is of Palestinian identity, no more, no less, regardless of the theological privilege that argues for more or the anti-Semitism that argues for less. Third, Weiss’s presentation of the issues in the post to which you link is so astoundingly ignorant of history (a knowledge of which does not entail lack of sympathy for the Palestinians) that even though I think him not very bright, it seems manifestly blind prejudice instead that disables him from even attempting an honest presentation of an opposing perspective. Your own closing verbal smirk suggests no greater knowledge of history, but that, too, seems a product of what you call anti-Zionism.