Yglesias’ strange definition of Jewish

May 27, 2011
Media_httpuploadwikim_atexgMany of the non Ashkenazi Jews I know are not as Zionist as the European ones and when they come to America they are not so much against Israel as they come to America to survive and make a buck to bring back home… what is more many really don’t want to go back to the army. It isn’t so much that they don’t support Israel, they do and they support it strongly, but they might not want to become career soldiers and coming to America is their chance at opportunity. If anything the born American European Jews have a home here and are more apt to become politically involved. I come from this background for instance and it was assumed that my political allegiance was to the left, but that was just the stereotype that people like Yglesias push. It is hard for Jews now to not support Israel, since the U.N. Goldstone Report was proven to be a fraud. there are Sephardic Jews like my father’s family who were here for hundreds of years before the Eastern European Jews started showing up. Those Sephards were loyal to George Washington, Israel did not yet exist. Jews such as Harmon Hendricks and Washington’s friend Rabbi Sextius. Other Sephardic Jews in my family would be Emma Lazarus, the poet and activist for both women’s issues and other social ills of the era. She also was a staunch Zionist. Lazarus was the fourth of seven children of Moshe Lazarus and Esther Nathan, Portuguese Sephardic Jews whose families had been settled in New York since the colonial period. She was related through her mother to Benjamin N. Cardozo, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. Her writings attracted the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He corresponded with her until his death. She argued for the creation of a Jewish homeland thirteen years before Theodor Herzl began to use the term Zionism.  In the winter of 1882, multitudes of destitute Ashkenazi Jews emigrated from the Russian Pale of Settlement to New York; Lazarus taught technical education to help them become self-supporting. Her most famous work is “The New Colossus”, which is inscribed on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Not exactly what Yglesias is talking about. I don’t think Yglesias knows WTF Yglesias is talking about.

Wondering why most Israelis don’t think like him anymore, Matt Yglesias claims that Israel is afflicted with ‘post-Jewish Zionism.’

The existence of Christian Zionists is, of course, not new. But what is new is that Israeli politics has drifted toward the hawkish right over the past ten years even as Jewish Americans remain on the progressive left. That change in Israeli politics, meanwhile, has been in part driven by a demographic shift away from the kind of secular ashkenazi Jews who predominate in the American population. At the same time, Christian Zionist sentiment has boomed in America and the Palestinian cause has never been less popular among America’s overwhelmingly non-Jewish population.
This is all part of what I’ve called the trend toward post-Jewish Zionism. That’s not to say that there are no Jewish Zionists in the United States (or Canada, etc.) but merely to observe that Jews as such are decreasingly relevant to the politics of Israel. In Europe, too, we’re seeing a boom of far-right parties (True Finns, Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the Danish People’s Party) with strong pro-Israel stands.

But look at whom he is defining as ‘post-Jewish.’

Daniel Levy’s article on Israeli demographics is also relevant to this. If you’re a typical Jewish American, this is quite literally not your father’s Israel. The Palestinian, Haredi, “national Orthodox,” and Russian immigrant shares of the population have all grown substantially.

While it’s true that the Haredi, national Orthodox (by which I assume he means National Religious) and Russian immigrant (by the way, most of whom are not religious and many of whom are not Jewish at all) populations have grown, that does not explain why Israelis have become what Yglesias calls ‘hawkish right,’ nor does it explain why fewer and fewer Israelis are sympathetic to the ‘Palestinian’ cause.
The Likud gets very few Haredi votes and probably not a whole lot of National Religious votes or Russian immigrant votes either. What’s driven Israel to the right is not changing demographics but changing perceptions of the possibility of peace (without scare quotes) with the ‘Palestinians.’ Most Israelis have realized the truth over the last 6-11 years (look up those dates): That it’s not peace or a state that the ‘Palestinians’ want. It’s that they want to destroy the Jewish state. We won’t roll over and play dead for them.
Some people would call that kind of shift democracy.
And by the way, those Haredim and National Religious Jews are more Jewish (in practice) than Yglesias will ever be. I would definitely not call them ‘post Jewish.’ That’s absurd.

Matt Yglesias, at Think Progress, writes about the Daily Caller op-ed in which Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Gevalt) castigates American Jews for not being his kind of American Jew. (Next up: Joe Walsh wishes wimmin were still ladies!)
I won’t pile more on Walsh — it seems gratuitous at this stage — but Yglesias seems to have contracted Walsh’s unseemly “they’re all alike” affect in this passage:

Israeli politics has drifted toward the hawkish right over the past ten years even as Jewish Americans remain on the progressive left. That change in Israeli politics, meanwhile, has been in part driven by a demographic shift away from the kind of secular ashkenazi Jews who predominate in the American population. 

Say what? Ashkenazim have a genetic predisposition toward liberal democracy?
Let me put it this way: Vus?


“Orwellian” list of journalists nominated for 2011 Orwell Prize includes Guardian’s Rachel Shabi

March 31, 2011

“From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:

WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” – 1984, by George Orwell

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H/T Judy

George Orwell, prolific writer and a staunch opponent of totalitarianism (including communism), writing in the spring of 1945, in a long essay titled “Antisemitism in Britain“, for the Contemporary Jewish Record, stated that anti-Semitism was on the increase in Britain, and that it was “irrational and will not yield to arguments.”
He argued that it would be useful to discover why anti-Semites could “swallow such absurdities on one particular subject while remaining sane on others.”
Anti-Zionists today, those who are opposed to the Jewish state’s very existence and engage in demonization beyond any limits of reason, as those active in the fight for the state’s survival are acutely aware, is often equally irrational and unable to yield to even the most lucid arguments.
Indeed, the quote I cited above from 1984 reflects one of the common understandings the word “Orwellian” – the capacity to hold inherently irreconcilable, hypocritical, and/or irrational political views without the slightest cognitive dissonance.
The Orwell Prize for Journalism is characterized, on their website, as:

“Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year, we award prizes for the work – the book, the blog which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.”

The 2011 list includes prolific Israel haters such as Robert Fisk (See here,  here, and here), the man with the proud distinction of engaging in journalistic bias so egregious as to inspire the word Fisking) and Guardian contributor, Rachel Shabi.
In discussing a review of “Not the Enemy: Israel’s Jews from Arab Lands”, the New Centrist succinctly sums up Shabi as follows:

“Shabi is part of small group of post-Zionist Mizrahi intellectuals who want to reclaim the non-European aspect their identity. I think this is a positive thing. But some of these post-Zionists have a tendency to borrow analytical frameworks from Marxists and others who view Ashkenazim and Zionists as imperialists and colonialists. In this narrative, the Mizrahim are indigenous people who have been victimized by Zionism, just like the Palestinians. In other words, Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians are people of color and Ashkenazis are whitey. Shabi and her political allies, in turn, are part pf the global resistance against the forces of global empire.

Here’s a sampling of Shabi’s offerings on the evils of Zionism and the moral sins of Israeli Jews:

“Most Israelis, in other words, seem to have convinced themselves that their own moral superiority somehow sanctions and justifies their own acts of moral repugnance. As a line of defence, it’s hard to see how this will stand up in court.” The self-defence defence January 23, 2009
But Palestinian analyst Ghassan Khatib says there is another factor at play in the overall media skew. “Even if the Palestinian side came up with proper messages, Hamas has been successfully labelled by Israel as a terrorist group and is portrayed in the western media in a manner similar to al-Qaida,” he says. As a result, western audiences are more prepared to sympathise with Israel – because it fits the “us or them” binary to which post 9/11 ears are attuned.” Winning the media warJanuary 10, 2009
“Kfir Brigade’s own former members describe its role in enforcing the Israeli occupation as having turned them into “monsters”. This brigade is the nightmare of bed-wetting Palestinian children and its deeds should be the nightmare of any Israeli who seeks peace, rather than perpetual loathing, between the Jewish and Palestinian peoples of the region.” Bruiting about brutes November 29, 2008

In the mind of Shabi, every Israeli act, her every fear and concern, can be contorted in a way to suggest the state’s inherent and immutable bigotry.
Indeed, her capacity to twist and turn prose in a way which assigns maximum malice to the Jewish state seems to have no limits as, more recently, she penned a piece for the Guardian which managed to spin Israeli concerns over the potential rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as evidence of Israeli racism.
The Muslim Brotherhood, as we noted previously, is a viciously anti-Semitic movement, which openly calls the destruction of Israel and whose spiritual leader, Yusef al-Qaradawi has endorsed the Holocaust as divinely inspired just punishment of the Jews.
The capacity to engage in such a profound moral inversion – accusing Jews of racism for expressing their concern over a movement inspired by a man who endorsed the Holocaust – represents the dangerous doublethink so eloquently illustrated in the totalitarian dystopia of Orwell’s novel and seems, at the very least, inconsistent with the moral parameters of the prize which bears his name.