Friday, April 27, 2012

J Street speaks up for American Jews who aren't bloodthirsty idiot scumbags but don't want to take abuse from the ones who are


"The truth is that like many liberal American Jews -- and most American Jews are still liberal -- I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going. It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide -- and that’s bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world."
-- Paul Krugman, in a Tuesday NYT blogpost,
"The Crisis of Zionism"

by Ken

Howie and I are both in the position of being American Jews who are horrified by what comes out of the mouths of most of the official mouthpieces of American Jewry, especially with regard to Israel, providing unstinting, unquestioning support for every psychotically, fascistically delusional perfidy perpetrated by the country's increasingly scummy right-wing governments.

I've been enormously relieved and cheered by the advent and endurance of J Street, providing a voice of sanity in opposition to the demons of American Jewry. It's preposterous to have to defend my belief in the founding ideals of the Israeli state, but the mad-dog cretins of the "Israel Can Do No Wrong" lobby are as loud and vicious as they are satanically determined to see Israel destroyed by their insanity. Let me just say, though, that my parents were ardent Zionists going back to the years before I was born and before the creation of the state of Israel, when they were already housing visiting Palestinian Zionist activists drumming up support in the U.S.

My mother was a lifelong pillar of Hadassah. Even she was stunned -- shaken to her roots, in fact -- by the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and his wife (both of whom she knew) by a Jew, inspired by the murderous ravings of satanic ultra-Orthodox rabbis. Of course the Labor Zionists who were the dominant force in the creation of Israel are long gone, their place taken by pathetically wishy-woshy Laborites and a savage Right at the beck and call of ultra-Orthodox partisans who not only played no role in the creating and saving of Israel but actively opposed it, and still don't serve in the Israeli military, the gutless sociopathic garbage.

Of course I don't dare say these things within the hearing of the craven minions of the Israeli Likud-and-worse fascist. Apparently Paul Krugman is inclined to bite his tongue as well. Yesterday J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami sent the organization's mailing list a copy of this open letter he sent to Paul Krugman, accompanied by this explanatory note:
This morning I sent the following letter to Mr. Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist in response to his short commentary this week. As we recommit ourselves on this Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, to advocating for a secure and peaceful Israel, we hope you will find this especially timely and encourage you to read and forward to friends and family.

Here's the open letter:
An Open Letter to Paul Krugman

Dear Mr. Krugman,

On Tuesday around 3.30pm, my inbox began filling up with subject headings such as, “Did you see this from Krugman???” and, “From my favorite economist… on Beinart?!” Your three short paragraphs, which began as a heads-up that you intend to write something at some point about Peter Beinart and his new book, The Crisis of Zionism, created quite a stir.

What was so striking to so many was not, of course, what you actually said about Peter (although I agree with you that he is a “brave man who deserves better”), but what you said about what you wouldn’t say. What struck a chord was that despite your belief that current Israel’s policies are leading it down a suicidal path, you choose to stay silent on the topic – not because you don’t care, but because of the attacks and accusations of anti-semitism and the like that would follow.

Israel not being your bailiwick, why would you, like Peter, walk into the “buzzsaw,” you tell us.

Mr. Krugman, I understand this sentiment. As the President of J Street, the pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby, I am followed closely by my own personal buzzsaw. I know that the cost of speaking up about Israel can be so dear that many hundreds of thousands of Jews choose instead to stay silent or disengage from Israel entirely.

But as you rightly point out, Israel’s present path affects not only Israel, but all Americans and Jews everywhere.

Which is why I would like to invite you to reconsider your decision. I invite you to not let a vocal minority silence your voice. You are a Nobel prize-winning economist and leading American thinker whose contribution to the marketplace of ideas on so many issues is such an asset to this country’s democracy. I invite you not to let their smears cause you to sit this one out.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to drop your day job and take up the cause. I’m not even asking you to devote extensive column inches to this topic. All I’m asking is that you not silence yourself because someone else has decided that if you do, you’ll have to pay a price.

I like to think that the three short paragraphs that you wrote on Tuesday were a hint of more to come and not a vow of silence. So, on behalf of the many Jewish Americans to whom you can give voice, I invite you to say more.

Because only when everyone – especially those who already have a megaphone – stands up, will the smears and attacks lose their power. Only then will brave men like Peter Beinart receive the fair treatment you so clearly think they deserve.

Many thanks,

Jeremy Ben-Ami

Click here to tweet, facebook, and share this with your friends and make sure Paul Krugman sees this open letter!

April 24, 2012, 2:54 PM
The Crisis of Zionism

Something I’ve been meaning to do — and still don’t have the time to do properly — is say something about Peter Beinart’s brave book The Crisis of Zionism.

The truth is that like many liberal American Jews -- and most American Jews are still liberal -- I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going. It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide -- and that’s bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world. But I have other battles to fight, and to say anything to that effect is to bring yourself under intense attack from organized groups that try to make any criticism of Israeli policies tantamount to anti-Semitism.

But it’s only right to say something on behalf of Beinart, who has predictably run into that buzzsaw. As I said, a brave man, and he deserves better.

I just thought I'd pass all this on for your consideration.

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At 2:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember, growing up in the '50s, the "pishka" in the cupboard in my grandmother's bedroom -- the little container for charitable donations to Israel. In fact, there were several little containers -- one for each of the grandchildren to put some of their pennies whenever they got a few coins from the grandparents. Those were the days when we gave money to plant trees and were proud of how the kibbutzniks were making the desert bloom. God, were we naive.

It's been apparent for a long time that demographics are not on Israel's side. In this, I do not mean that the country is a tiny entity surrounded by millions of bloodthirsty Arabs, as we were taught as children. I mean that the Palestinians that chose to stay or managed to not get squeezed out, had a higher birth rate and time on their side. And thus Israel, in order to remain a Jewish state, had to lose the democratic part of the equation and institute a step-by-step apartheid to disenfranchise an ethnic minority that threatened to become a majority.

And we are now left with a situation where the decendants of the survivors of Holocaust have lost the moral high ground. The victims have become the victimizers. It's a monstrous irony.

Meanwhile, the paranoid Likudnik rightwing and their American dupes continue to act as if Israel is still the tiny, all-but-defenseless country that we were sending our pishka pennies to in 1956.

And if I dare to point these facts out to my elderly aunt, she refuses to discuss the issue. If she didn't love me, I'm sure she would think I'm the usual "anti-Semitic, self-hating Jew."

The gall of those who would fling these accusations is matched only by their political influence and the ubiquitous drone of their propaganda.

Frankly, I gave up expecting any sensible policy on Israel a long time ago. If I were king of the world, I'd mandate that Israel turn over the land-grabbing West Bank settlements to the Palestinians. I'd make Jerusalem an arms-free international zone belonging to no country, open to all visitors and administered by a rotating group of nations under the auspices of the U.N.

I understand the visceral fear of the older generation of American Jews who remember the Holocaust as if it were yesterday and view the state of Israel as the last refuge for Jews in a world that could very easily become hostile again. I understand real politik and acting in your country's best interests, however murky the moral picture may be. I just don't see Fortress Israel embarking on pre-emptive war as being in the best interests of either Israel or my own country. And, in fact, I am not willing to sacrifice American interests in order to placate AIPAC or validate the landgrabbing of emigrees from Eastern Parkway.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Beautifully said. Thanks for sharing that.



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