Mondoweiss excerpted a talk by a rabbi, Melissa Weintraub, on strategies used by the Jewish community for dealing with Israel. The difficulty that Jews have is that they are the vanguard of the liberal, pro-immigration/multicultural anti-White left in the U.S., while at the same time their favorite country, Israel, is energetically engaged in apartheid and ethnic cleansing. This leads to cognitive dissonance and intense politicking in the Jewish community. But it’s clear that the most common strategy is simply avoidance (two versions).
Israel has become the most volatile wedge issue in American Jewish life, by most observers, journalists, rabbis, people who are immersed in this field. We’ve got 3 prevailing avenues for Israel engagement, currently.
One is avoidance. Nearly every American Jewish social justice organization– I was recently in a room with all the luminaries of the Jewish social justice movement and veritably every one of them has an organizational policy to avoid Israel. The rabbis of every denomination and from across the political spectrum talk about what actually a local rabbi Scott Perlo who’s at 6th and I calls the “the death by Israel sermon”, which means we can talk about anything but Israel. We can talk about health care or guns or other controversial issues, but say anything about Israel and we could be fired. It seems every day I hear of another organization that’s banned Israel from its listserve….
So that’s avoidance, the first pattern… The first pattern is really reacting to the second pattern, but I stated avoidance first because it’s become most ubiquitous…
The Second pattern is more overt antagonism; vilification, demonization; attacks and counter attacks on op ed pages, funding threats, boards and executive directors in utter terror, paralyzed, because they are in damned if you do and damned if you don’t situations on a regular basis. A lot of this is outside of public view, but I can tell you as someone who works in this field that I hear dozens of institutions facing these kinds of dilemmas every month.
And you know equally as damaging: reckless caricatures of each other’s positions, distortions, quoting each other out of context, impugning each other’s motives, antagonism.
The third pattern I call avoidance 2.0. And that is congregating with, conferencing with those who agree with our own politics, and dismissing everybody else as loony, or malicious, or dangerous. Taking pride in the numbers of those who are with us, categorically, one dimensionally dismissing everyone else. And that is becoming increasingly common as well.
So whatever happens with the current campaign for war with Iran, don’t expect American Jews to change their status as the backbone of the anti-White left. They may avoid the issue or do a lot of screaming at each other, but it won’t affect their attitudes on the core issues facing White America.
The rabbi’s remarks indicate an uptick in anxiety about Israel among American Jews. For one thing, the BDS movement, and in particular the recent anti-Israel resolutions by the American Studies Association and the Modern Language Association, indicates a shift in elite opinion where non-Jewish liberals feel the need to act on their principles. Israel as a pariah state is increasingly obvious to everyone.
Secondly, and more immediately, there is the push for war with Iran which, as everyone who is not living under a rock knows, is a project of Israel and its fifth column in the U.S. Indeed, although the New York Times failed to mention the Lobby in a recent article on the Kirk-Menendez-Schumer Iran war bill in the Senate, the role of the Israel Lobby is obvious. The Economist gets it:
Indeed, one gets the feeling that many prominent American Jews are trying to preemptively disassociate themselves from the war push. Ultimately, it’s because this time around, unlike Iraq, the role of the Israel Lobby can’t be hidden. As expected, all the heavy hitters in the organized Jewish community are in favor of the bill. As Peter Beinart notes,
AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council on Public Affairs, the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations all support a sanctions bill that Obama insists will wreck his chances of achieving a nuclear deal. In fact, “support” may be too weak a word. The new Iran sanctions effort, claims a well-placed congressional aide, is “totally and completely Jewish-community run.”
“Totally and completely Jewish-community run.”
But this is not a business-as-usual situation where AIPAC twists arms behind closed doors, throws money around, and then the politicians talk as if they have nothing but American interests at heart. To be sure, what should be labeled “the AIPAC Iran War bill” has a majority in the Senate, but little support among the Democrats, including four Jewish Senators, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee; Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee; Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Environment Committee; and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman of the Energy Committee. In the House, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, described by Scott McConnell as “an influential congresswoman who is often flamboyantly pro-Israel,” has not taken a stand on the bill. Because she represents a heavily Jewish district, Wasserman Schultz is getting intense pressure to support the bill.
So, despite the Lobby’s long history of successfully quelling dissent within the Jewish community, there has been significant leakage this time around, much more than in the case of the Iraq war.
This effort is entirely a project of the organized Jewish community, and everyone knows it. Beinart claims that “many of the key challenges facing the Jewish people stem not from our weakness but from our power.” Perhaps. But in fact the organized Jewish community has wielded huge power for quite a long time. If there is a war with Iran, it wouldn’t really be any different than the war in Iraq in terms of responsibility of the organized Jewish community.
The difference is that Obama is standing up to the Lobby in a way that George Bush, a foreign policy babe in the woods surrounded by neocons and without the hindsight of the failed Iraq war, never did. Not having Obama on board has been very costly to the Israel Lobby. Rather than being inundated with propaganda pieces on WMD which put all the focus on Saddam Hussein, phony intelligence produced by Jewish operatives in the Department of Defense (see here, p. 47 ff), and with the ADL screaming bloody murder if anyone mentioned the role of the Israel Lobby in promoting the war, the president instead asks that those who favor the bill to state explicitly that they want war. Excellent tactic because the American people are overwhelmingly against a war.
Imagine if Obama had gone along with the Lobby on this one. There would be a political consensus between Obama and Congress; the media would surely fall in line. The emphasis would be on Iran’s nuclear program and why even low levels of enrichment (that are allowed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) must be prevented in the case of Iran—a provision that all but ensures a war. The few voices implicating the Israel Lobby would be easily ignored and squelched, as happened in the case of Iraq (see here, p. 15ff). It’s one thing to oppose the Lobby by refusing loan guarantees for Israel or selling AWAC planes to Saudi Arabia, to recall two previous highly publicized battles between presidents and the Lobby. These issues have little emotional impact for the vast majority of Americans. However, it’s quite another thing to ask America to go to a very costly war on behalf of the interests of around 2% of its people. As with Syria, an overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want it.
Obama is an honest leftist, like the backbone of the BDS movement. The same goes for the EU and the recent academic critics of Israel in the American Studies Association and the Modern Language Association. Obama likely sees Palestinians as non-Whites battling a colonial regime; he’s for the Palestinians in the same way that he sees Mandela as a hero in South Africa and the same way he supports the multicultural, anti-White left in the U.S.
This principled, ideological world view makes a difference. Fundamentally, Obama is uncomfortable with Israel being dominated by the ethnonationalist right committed to ethnic cleansing on the West Bank, oppressing the Palestinians, and completely uninterested in peace or a two-state solution. These policies put Israel at odds with virtually the entire world. The U.S. alliance with Israel makes a mockery of the U.S. commitment to democracy and human rights.
Sadly, the demise of the campaign for war with Iran is just another indication of the power of the left and not really good news for White advocacy or for stemming Jewish power in maintaining the anti-White regime in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West. But without doubt, it is good news that American blood and treasure are much less likely to be spent on a war with Iran.
In any case, the result of Obama’s intransigence is that most of the focus is on AIPAC pressure on Congress, not on Iran’s nuclear program. This time around, if the ADL went after everyone who has noted the connection between the Israel Lobby and promoting war with Iran, they would be in the ridiculous situation of going after pretty much everyone. Nevertheless, the Economist withdrew the above cartoon from its website due to the ire of the ADL which described it as “anti-Semitic.” As usual, everyone knows it, but no one is supposed to talk about it.
But despite this ADL victory, the cat is out of the bag. It’s common knowledge that the push for war is entirely a project of the Jewish community.
Which makes at least some thoughtful Jews a bit concerned that the Iran situation could blow up in their faces. It’s one thing when everyone in the mainstream media and political arena pretends that it has nothing to do with Israel or AIPAC, and the ADL aggressively stifles what little dissent there is. It’s quite another thing when everyone knows that it’s all about the Lobby. As many have observed in this context, lobbies live in the dark and die in the sunshine, and in this case, as the Forward notes, “keeping a low public profile is proving impossible.”
This time around, it’s in-your-face, brazen partisanship on behalf of a foreign country, and that’s a tough sell to the American people when something as important as war is at stake. It’s a great object lesson on the power of the presidency, even when the Lobby still retains great power over Congress.
So I am not surprised that some prominent Jews are bailing out on this one and that the process is stalling in Congress. At this point, it’s a reasonable assessment of what’s good for the Jews.