« You mean the Pakistanis are NOT OUR FRIENDS? | Main | Obama is wrong about the War Powers Resolution »

17 June 2011

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

ex-PFC Chuck

Great post. Thank you, David, for writing it and Pat for putting it up.

I was particularly struck by the quote from Karl Krauss: " . . that catastrophic conflict was the product of 'a disastrous failure of the imagination and an almost deliberate refusal to envisage the inevitable consequences of words and acts...made possible above all by the corruption of language in politics and by some of the major newspapers.'" It's a dead-on description of the political and media environment in the USA today.

jr786

You write:

"As he says, their views do not reflect those of the majority of American Jews."

Really? Is there then a silent Jewish-American majority that supports...what, exactly? A Bantustan Palestine, US permission for any one of the endless UN Resolutions against Israel to pass through the Security Council,severance of American taxpayer support of the Jewish State, full disclosure of Israeli actions in the attack on the Liberty, condemnation of Israeli nuclear weapons projects? What?

However well intentioned, this remains nonsense. The premise seems to be that the United States, or rather its non-Jewish citizens, depend on Jewish Americans to come to their senses vis-a-vis what might happent to them if they continue to support Likud policies. Is that it?

Who is the man, and who is the donkey?

Charles I

Sadly, imagination in this regard seems to be of the lobster in the pot variety.

I second the complaint of change driven by personal security concerns rather than some higher motive and commend DH for reminding us of our nature.

What level of gradually rising sense of insecurity, thence to be translated into political input, let alone output, would be sufficient?

Crystalnacht?

What is the prescription for a concerned party not content to await the lobster's apathetic but nonetheless noisily fatal change of status? If fear of antisemitism is the driver, then surely we should ratchet it up forthwith, abandon all energies fruitlessly directed at political/legal change?

I'm indignant, appreciate this is an actual phenomena that may be ultimately felicitous, but its horrible as well, I'd remain maddeningly, humanly, frustrated . . .prone to emotional outbursts.

Still, seriously, what to do with the powerful, power-hungry gentile Christian Fundamentalist cohort? The disturbing gang at the secret heart of American power, ala Jeff Sharlett's "The Family", noted yesterday? What fear discomforts their inerrant, immoral certainty and nutty imperative to the point of turning away from our personal friend and Saviour?

http://jeffsharlet.blogspot.com/2008/02/blog-post.html

Matthew

Whenever I find myself thinking, "It can't get any worse." It does.

See http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/06/14/kirk_goes_to_israel_comes_back_with_new_policy_approach

The US Navy is the most powerful force on Earth. Who knew we needed help from the Zionist Coast Guard, er, Navy, to protect the Persian Gulf?

walrus

Matthew:

"Whenever I find myself thinking, "It can't get any worse." It does."

I agree with you and thank you for posting the link to a truly nauseating display of Congressional Israeli backside licking. If Israel decides it wants to project itself militarily into the Indian ocean, then I think a confrontation and war is certain.

I second Mr. Habakkuks observation that when AIPAC crumbles it could do so quickly.

The catalyst will be Israel overplaying its hand - chutzpah - of the "You should give us a nuclear aircraft carrier and the aircraft to put on it!" type.

Fred

Matthew,

You missed the best part:

"Kirk also wants the... State Department to designate the Turkish aid organization IHH, which organized the flotilla of ships that tried to breach Israel's Gaza blockade in May 2010, as a terrorist organization."

I guess the Senator believes that American citizen killed by the IDF was a terrorist?

Roy G

Walrus, in re chutzpah, a few years ago, I thought demanding the release of the traitorous spy Jonathan Pollard would be the moment of Israel's 'jumping the shark,' but I guess the ramp has been moved quite a bit since then. I think it could be still, if the drumbeat gets loud enough for the public to hear.

It'll be interesting to see if 'our' Congress will try to sneak this through without public debate – as is their wont these days.

Babak Makkinejad

All:

The formulation of Mr. Habakkuk puts the onus of change on Jews and their associated sectarian organizations in the United States.

But the fact remains that over 3 generations (since the Truman at the very least), the representatives of the American people, have consistently sent supporters of the Israel to US elected positions. Neither the voters nor the elected were coerced into voting in this manner.

The electrode in US bears far more responsibility than AIPAC for this disaster, in my opinion.

Furthermore, I very much doubt that we are either at the beginning or at the end of the love affair of assorted Protestant sects with the idea(s) of Ancient Israel. It could be quite likely that we are not even at the mid-point.

Since this love affair began in UK sometime in the 19-the century and it has lasted about 140 years now, I should expect it to continue for another 140 years or more.

And for the United States to once again become politically neutral in this regard will probably take more than 3 generations; another 60 to 80 years.

Practically this means that US is powerless – as a polity – to deal dispassionately with the religious war in Palestine between Jews and Muslims.

Having said that, I think there are a few and very narrow and limited areas in which US Protestants can maintain separate positions than those of Israel and her Jewish supporters.

One such potential area of difference is the final disposition of Al Haram Al Sharif and its environs. The Protestants have no dog in that fight and are best advised not taking any position that puts them at odds with hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world.

Furthermore, the Protestant partisans of Israel, in the United State and elsewhere, might find it useful to avoid taking positions on the Occupied Territories, Jordan Valley, and the borders.

All these and more such splitting of the hairs could have the effect of preventing the current situation from further deteriorating along the lines of a religious confrontation this time between Protestantism and Islam. It will not resolve it.

LeaNder

"the position of the lobby may crumble – and do so quite rapidly."

I like Phil Weiss' optimism, sometimes it's contagious. But I somehow doubt, for several reasons it will happen. One is that this love affair, a love affair of which wasn't aware of a decade ago, runs too deep now.

The Hasbara--as Pat calls them--on Mondoweiss had a very specific argument a couple of years ago, everyone that doesn't support Israel or it's close ties to the US is ultimately a looser, and I think there is a grain of truth to it. Phil is very aware that any other position on the issue is a risk to your career.

Maybe ultimately we will get the war between West and East that will bring the West down via bringing the US to it's knees.

"triumphalist period"

good term to describe it. I wasn't a fan of the communist systems, but I was fearful that it's existence might have been necessary to keep capitalism slightly in check.

In the post 9/11 universe I noticed the neocons loved Bismarck, he gave Germans the first social security, they argued. Bismarck wouldn't have done so, if there wasn't a broad movement with demands, were is that now?

And I am not sure, what to think of the teaparty. That may not be a party I would love to join.

Norbert M Salamon

Thank you for the cogent analysis.
To make life a little more enjopyable rearding the I/P problem, please enjoy the operatic satire at:

http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/israhell-comes-to-realise-its-end-must-watch.html#entry11819426

shanks

All,

It is UNLIKELY there are sane voices in the Jewish crowd in the din of 'Ayatollahs on the Potomac' clamouring for cleansing in the Middle East. Far too small a group, too little money to influence things. I suspect, most American Jews are of the general populace stereotype 'there but for the grace of God, go I' screwing their eyes shut and blanking their minds out or even not knowing what's going on in their name through AIPAC and other singularly evil organisations.

What I believe is more likely is that, the economic upheaval that everyone is going through might make them vulnerable. While it may not be a pogrom, getting caught in generic mayhem is still not nice. The growing economic class divide and that they're acutely aware of wealth & jews association and the scenes of history that world seems to careen unfairly against them when the economy sucks...

Well, this time, the world is fairly going to revolt against the rich across the world and since a fair number of them are jews....

This.

That's going to cost them. A single minded focus on hating the other while the economic foundations are rotting away.

arbogast

What we are seeing is a role reversal between the United States and Israel.

It used to be that the US was the somewhat timid, restrained bystander and Israel was the font of derring-do. Cf. The Miracle at Entebbe.

But the Israeli's always wanted others to do the heavy lifting for them. 9/11 gave them the opportunity to do exactly that with American shleppers, all too willing to go to the ME en masse, get themselves killed and maimed, in the battle against "terrorism".

Then came the invasion of Lebanon and the grim reality of defeat at the hands of Hezbollah South of the Litani.

So now we have The Miracle of Abbottabad and the Israeli's asking someone to hold their coat while they attack Iran, but never, quite, getting around to doing it.

So, I modify my original prognostication. Israel, unbelievably, wants the US to hit Iranian nuclear sites. They really, really want that. If a Republican like Michelle Bachman is elected, they will get their wish.

So they will wait until after November of 2012. What happens then is too far away to tell.

Unbelievably, also, they despise Obama, who if he had fallen on his knees and worshipped them could not have done a better job in selling the country to them. But Obama, perhaps because somewhere he has a non-lordotic, non-ass-kissing, non-Reagan worshipping neuron in his CNS, doesn't seem to want to do a miracle in Tehran for them.

I guess that actually our military, who perhaps are the only sane ones left, some of them, have told him that they are not on board. Really not on board. I have never heard of a high-ranking military person in the US saying publicly that we, the US, should bomb Iran.

Ken Hoop

Babak Makkinejad

There is no question (heretical forms of) Protestantism provide a bulwark for American affinity for Zionism. However, Roman Catholicism has been infected with the virus too, as John Paul, during a 1994 interview with Parade Magazine said that "it must be understood that the Jews, who for thousands of years were dispersed among the nations of the world decided to return to the land of their ancestors. This is their right!"

http://www.mfa.gov.il/PopeinIsrael/Background_Information/Impact_of_the_Papal_Visit_to_Israel-Apr_2009.htm

This constitutes a direct reversal of millenia of Catholic assertions of doctrine to the contrary.
Earlier Popes specifically decried Herzl's plan.
It can only be interpreted as representing decadence in that Church as well.

Dag

China's Jewish community. Is there such a thing? If so, how big is it? And how powerful?

Fred

Ken Hoop,

I think it has been brought up here before that if Israel is 'the' home of the Jewish people then political leaders can quite quickly make the link that one can not be Jewish and Russian, French, German, American... you name it. It's not much of a stretch from not being citizens to not being legally allowed to own land, companies, etc. Haven't they been down that road before in the past? Aren't the Israeli's doing the latter to the Palestinians right now?

Babak Makkinejad

Ken Hoop:

Thank you for your comment.

I think that the issue is one of "Who is to rule on Whom?"

The late Pope's position is ambiguous since it does not stipulate (nor does it follow from his opinion) that Jews have an intrinsic right to the exercuise of power in Palestine.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

Good to see you commenting here again. When we were discussing these matters some time back, you pointed to the central role played by a kind of secular cult of the Holocaust in the post-war West. This seems to me of critical importance. Absent the legitimacy conferred by the Holocaust on Zionism in the minds of most non-Jews, the kind of mixture of bribery and blackmail which as LeaNder notes has been extensively used to ensure unquestioning American support for reckless Israeli policies would be liable to backfire disastrously.

The behaviour of Netanyahu in recent years – and also of the leadership of the American Jewish community – seems to be premised on the assumption that this cult will last indefinitely, while in fact their own words and actions are progressively eroding it. The fact that beliefs of this kind have a very considerable inertia allows Zionists to fool themselves into thinking that, for example, campaigning for the release of Jonathan Pollard – to use RoyG's example – can be done with impunity. I suspect this simply demonstrates quite how fatuously complacent many of them are.

On the specifically Protestant aspect of all this, it is important to reflect upon the implications of a change of alliances, which were discussed in an article entitled 'Is Israel Good for the Jews?' published in 'The Nation' back in 2006 by a veteran 'progressive' Jewish writer, Norman Birnbaum. A key passage read as follows:

"Domestically, the chief allies of American Jewry were once the liberal Protestants; the modern Catholics, whose great achievement was the Second Vatican Council; and progressive secularists. Now organized Jewry has an alliance with those who were not so long ago embittered anti-Semites. The Protestant fundamentalists think the founding of the Jewish state means that the conversion of the Jews is imminent. Suppose the fundamentalists demand that US Jewry anticipate the end of time by beginning their conversion now? Some have welcomed the Lebanon crisis as the initiation of Armageddon. In the meantime, they combat the pluralism of the public sphere, which is indispensable to enduring rights for Jews in the United States. America is in serious danger of becoming a nation defined not by citizenship but by bargains among struggling ethnic and religious communities, united in an impossible project of global domination. Will Nobel prizes and business acumen, and seventeenth-century biblical imagery of America as a New Israel, protect the Jewish minority as our imperial project disintegrates? Its end could generate the domestic deprivation and tension conducive to renewed anti-Semitism."

(See http://www.thenation.com/article/israel-good-jews )

My late father came from industrial South Wales – a part of Britain where an extraordinary variety of forms of sectarian Protestantism used to proliferate and where the 'progressive' tradition was very strong. And although on coming to England he acquired a cynical Tory side, my family are precisely the kind of people whom Birnbaum identifies as traditional allies of Jews. My father was very actively involved in the movement of educated opinion in favour of confrontation with Germany in the late 30s – and Nazi anti-Semitism was a major factor in this. A large part of my and my wife's social circle has always been made up of Jews and part Jews.

The fact that those who profess to lead the American Jewish community have formed an alliance with the kind of Protestant fundamentalists of whose utterly deplorable influence on US politics Charles I reminds us rather obviously seems to me utterly bizarre. It is rather as though a family friend had decided to get into bed with an elderly relative who was in and out of the insane asylum. It seems not simply a contemptible alliance, but also – for the reasons given by Birnbaum and for others – a stupid one.

But can they embrace this without undermining support for Zionism among mainstream American Christians and secular liberals? And, crucially, can they continue to carry a majority of American Jews along with them? I doubt it, somehow, but then I have never lived in the United States, so my ability to judge is limited.

Babak Makkinejad

David Habakkuk:

Thank you for your comments.

The implications of which are that the (semi-)religion of Shoah is superior to Islam. That, in fact, once again, powerful Christian states, this time in their post-Christian pretension phase, are confronting Muslim sentiment and indeed Islam on the issue of political disposition of Palestine. That is, the contest for disposition of Palestine is again one inspired by religious sentiment on all sides.

This is a costly Euro-Atlantic policy as in essence, it tells Muslims that they are an inferior people whose concerns in regards to Palestine are irrelevant to the Euro-Atlantic states.

For the United States, the stupid thing is that there are very many individuals who out of their own convictions or due to their familial backgrounds correctly realize that they - and indeed the United States - have no dog in that religious war in Palestine. Yet they are powerless to alter policies that, as you have observed, essentially are Religious Fantasies.

Those who want to expedite the coming of the End of the world are truly fatigued and cowardly people; they wish the world to end so that they no longer have to carry the burden of being alive – with all its attendant joys and pains.

They are, in my opinion, truly contemptible. It is a pity that they cannot go wholesale to another planet where they can live their fantasies to their fullest.

Religiously, one wonders that in the event that the human race is dispersed among any number of extra-solar planets, would the Second-Coming or the End-of-The-World occur simultaneously among all these planets. If so, what happens to the notion of the Relativity of Simultaneity that Einstein formulated?

Furthermore, would there be multiple Saviors, one for each planet? Or the Savior could exist simultaneously at multiple locations in the Universe? Or only the poor people on Earth are going to experience the privileges of Armageddon while for those living in the extra-solar planets life will be going on?

Many years ago, I met a fellow who believed in reincarnation. I asked him what happens to the soul of the earth worms when they are cut in half; since as you know, each piece will become a complete animal. Or alternatively, since more humans are alive today than have ever existed, where did all these new souls come from? No replies.

Ken Hoop

Babak

The original reincarnation belief, if I'm not mistaken, involved incarnating in other dimensions.

As to fundamentalists, there are none "demanding Jewish conversion" which would be a violation of "doctrine"--the Jews "need" to witness the physical display of the Parousia to awe them into doing so en masse, according to the scenario.

This is why they accept the strictures placed on missionary activity in Israel.

As for the Pope, earlier Popes told Herzl the land in question was already inhabited and the wish to return rather than convert to Christianity was itself a stubborn resistance to God's wishes.

LeaNder

"Or alternatively, since more humans are alive today than have ever existed, where did all these new souls come from?"

Babak, when I was young, I wondered if we could possibly exist in diverse existences, parallel, unaware of the others, so to speak. Reincarnation combined with Karma is an interesting concept. Especially Karma. Can't it be compared with purgatory or hell?

"The implications of which are that the (semi-)religion of Shoah is superior to Islam. "

If one watches the complex scenario today one can't help but be reminded that antisemitism always was anti-"Semites". It's deeply disturbing that some of those that serve at the alter of the Shoa (I would include myself here, but think it should exclude the following) use similar conspiracy tales, as the European extreme right a century earlier. What exactly does that mean?:


http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/abedin_weiner/0018631

Does anyone remember Laurie Mylroie? Elanor Benador is somebody that should be watched just as closely, as the power brokers she serves as a PR adviser:

A protocol of the Elders of Mecca?
http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/03/the-protocols-of-the-elders-of-mecca-the-final-word-on-the-pact-of-umar/

optimax

Babak,
A line from an old blues song, "Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die."

Cieran

Babak:

Thank you for your as-always-interesting thoughts. I second Mr. Habakkuk's welcome on seeing you posting here again.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

I would stress that I was not, in my previous comment, making a personal judgement on the objective value of the cult of the Shoah – and certainly not suggesting it should be seen as superior to Islam, or expressing contempt for the religion of Muslims.

It seems to me quite evidently the case that the policies pursued by Israel, and also by the United States and to a somewhat but not so far greatly lesser extent the major European states, are such as to make very many Muslims feel they are seen as inferior people professing a contemptible religion. That this is not a very clever thing for Americans and Europeans to do I would certainly agree.

It is also in my view a peculiarly stupid thing for Israelis to do. Once you have declared that the conflict over Palestine has no compromise solution – which Netanyahu has now, in effect, explicitly done – the notion of Israel as a safe haven for Jews goes from being problematic to being ludicrous. If the future of Israel can only be seen as one of conflict without end, then this must accelerate the already very visible degenerative dynamic, whereby the relative salience of those motivated by religious and ethnic nationalist commitment in the society progressively increases.

Too many of those primarily motivated by more mundane considerations, like the well-being and indeed survival of themselves and their children, can very easily leave, and indeed are quite evidently doing so. And this change in the balance of the society can only exacerbate the catastrophic potentialities implicit in the current situation.

As to how the cult of the Shoah should be evaluated, I think a great deal hangs upon what specifically is involved in it, and what it is being used to do. Of the Jewish refugees from the various disasters of continental European history who ended up in Britain, through various routes, in the course of the last century, what is striking is that, beyond an origin, they had nothing in common: and certainly not a common religion or culture. Among German Jewish refugees, moreover, many had identified totally with Germany and German culture, so much so that any residual identification with any specifically Jewish culture had largely vanished.

The Jew who most influenced me when young, who made it here shortly before the war after six weeks in Buchenwald, was an agnostic whose grandparents had converted to Lutheranism, and whose father – as I learnt after his death – had distinguished himself in the Imperial German Army in the First World War.

So anti-Semitism of the Nazi kind, as also that of the Frenchmen who condemned Dreyfus, and their analogues in the United States and Britain, has always seemed to me something distinct alike from religious intolerance and from the antipathy which people of one culture often feel for those of an alien culture, and far worse than either. And so it has seemed and continues to seem to me that it is wholly appropriate that the taboo against anti-Semitism should be a bedrock feature of Western culture.

But by the same token, the promiscuous exploitation of this taboo to suppress criticism of the actions of Israeli governments has ended up simply producing irritation and contempt. And this is not simply among non-Jews in Britain. At the time of the Israeli attack on Gaza, the veteran Jewish Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman addressed the issue directly in the House of Commons:

"My parents came to Britain as refugees from Poland. Most of their families were subsequently murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

"My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The current Israeli Government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among Gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count."

(See http://www.ufppc.org/quotations-mainmenu-39/8307-speech-sir-gerald-kaufman-says-israeli-leaders-are-not-simply-war-criminals-they-are-fools-.html )

I have no doubt that in saying this Sir Gerald was saying what he himself thinks. However, I also suspect that he may have been trying, quite deliberately, to lance a boil, saying what he knows many of his Gentile fellow countrymen feel, but do not say.

Babak Makkinejad

Cieran:

Thank you for your welcome.

David Habakkuk:

I understood you correctly, I only commented on a possible ramification of the current situation for the relationship between the Euro-Atlantic Community and the Muslim polities.

I this war will continue with its attendand hardening of positions on all sides.

Ken Hoop

Historian James J Martin said the Nuremberg Laws were the approximate obverse of Talmudic laws as being practised in Germany.

The Nazi Nuremberg Laws were not thoroughgoingly "racial," e.g.did not extend past two generations. That is to say, Jews and their descendants who it was established had converted to Christianity in the mid 1800s or prior were "Aryans!"

On the other hand, Orthodox Jewish law, in the manner it treated (and treats) recent converts displays a generationally spanning probationary attitude-to the chagrin of many of the converts.

"So anti-Semitism of the Nazi kind, as also that of the Frenchmen who condemned Dreyfus, and their analogues in the United States and Britain, has always seemed to me something distinct alike from religious intolerance and from the antipathy which people of one culture often feel for those of an alien culture, and far worse than either. And so it has seemed and continues to seem to me that it is wholly appropriate that the taboo against anti-Semitism should be a bedrock feature of Western culture."

The point being, among others, that although there was a high degree of assimilation and intermarriage, about 33% I believe in the 19th Century in Germany, do not assume among the resistant Orthodox Jewish German community there was not significant animosity toward Jews who had taken either avenue.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

October 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Blog powered by Typepad