Jewish Scene
Anti-Zionism by 'progressive' Jews
Noa Levanon
Published: 16.07.07, 16:20
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1. Publishing Houses
Daniel ,   Cambridge U.K.   (07.16.07)
Why exactly are these well known (and in some cases academic) publishing houses so blindly publishing work that is historically inaccurate and offensive? I can only speculate that: 1. the general idea of being controversial sells; 2. those recommending these books for publication share the attitude of the writes, for example Chomsky was instrumental in geeting Finkelstein's work published. I think these publishers do need to be brought to task.
2. Flawed Premises and Wrong Conclusions
Jerry Sussman ,   Alexandria, USA   (07.16.07)
I agree that, among certain quarters, liberals and Progressives among them, it may be "in" to be anti-Zionist. However, I think that the author's reasoning is as fundamentally flawed as is the persons whose reasoning he questions. The author suggests that, within Europe, anti-semitism and anti-Zionism are most pronounced in England and in France. As England and France are among the most-liberal and Progressive, the inference is that liberal and Progressives are at the forefront of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism. The trouble with this conclusion is that the author's premises are incorrect. Even a cursory familiarity with the pronouncements of the media and governments of the less enlightened countries of Europe (how does Russia sound) shows an equally, if not more, virulent strain of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the level of anti-semitic assaults and anti-Zionist propoganda emanating from Russia has far exceeded anything in either England or France. So far as I am aware, no prominent members of the legislatures of either England or France openly have called for the deportation of Jews (they have done so in the Duma), and bands of skin-headed youths do not regularly march through either London or Paris advocating their death (they regularly do so in St. Petersburg). In Russia today as in Russia one hundred years ago, the influence and loyalty of "the Jews" is discussed in the media far more than in either England or France, and Israel is portrayed as an aggressor nation whose leadership is caricatured in a way reminiscent of Joseph Goebbels. Belarus, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia are no different. The favorable media attention given to Estonia's annual commemoration ceremonies in honor of its SS veterans, belies the authors thesis. No, anti-semitism and anti-Zionism are not liberal ideologies, espoused by Progressives . Rather, they are ideologies common to many peoples, in many countries, in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere.
3. A lesson from history
leon ,   Grand Rapids USA   (07.16.07)
The term "progressive" was first used in the '30s by the Communist Party USA, which was reacting to attacks on it by "conservatives". The term "progressive" is meant to imply forward-looking change to a better society. It is polemical, and ridiculously inaccurate, since all change is not good, and change, for the sake of change is dangerous. So-called progressive Jews are those who want to deny Jewish peoplehood, and worship "diversity" as an universal good. This, of course, is patently, a denial of Zionism, however it may be disguised.
4. Is it OK to slap them?
Kyle ,   Southpark, CO, USA   (07.16.07)
5. Publishing Houses
Steve ,   USA   (07.16.07)
Because sadly its now oh so fashionable to be an anti semite in the UK and even in America ergo the entire leftwing can now openly display the most anti Zionist /anti Israel books on their coffee tables to prove they are cutting edge when it comes to fashionable thought. Sad but true
6. Beyond my understanding
C McCoy ,   Canada   (07.16.07)
I can certainly see how those who are proZionist would vary in their level of commitment, from vague to intense. Again, I can understand those Haredim who are against Zionism, as in their view, Judaism trumps Israel. These so-called intellectuals, no, beyond anything. Traitorous.
7. Non-Zionist Jews give bad name to Jewish heritage.
Uzi ,   Haifa   (07.16.07)
Anti-Zionists are much worse as they side with the worst antisemites.
8. Chomskym, Finkelstein, Judt and others...
Flavio ,   Sao Paulo, Brazil   (07.16.07)
...are sophisticated cowards trying to dodge what Gabriel Schoenfeld, a senior editor of Commentary magazine, called 'the poisonous arrow' from anti-semites. I believe only an experienced psychiatrist would be able to fully understand the deep reasons for this self-hating complex. Meanwhile, as my late Grandpa used to say, 'imach shemam'!
9. #4 Are they cowards hiding behind a fake name?
David ,   Los Angeles   (07.16.07)
10. The author has lumped together,liberalism,progressivism,anti
lakshmi   (07.16.07)
zionism,zionism and anti semitism in an unhelpful fashion.Most anti zionism origninates with the world community's understanding of the injustices of the israeli Occupation of Palestine.Rather than criticising their state for this injustice many israelis proudly call themselves zionists in the manner that the early founders of the state of israel did ,following their mentor Theodor Herzl(author of Der Judenstaat,1896).Herzl called for the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous popluation wherever the new jewish homeland would be established.Happened to be Palestine and his successors followed his philosophy.As long as the Occupation continues there will be growing anti zionism.
11. #5 and publishing hosues
English guy ,   London   (07.16.07)
"the entire leftwing can now openly display the most anti Zionist /anti Israel books on their coffee tables to prove they are cutting edge " What a load of absolute claptrap - we live in a free world and your comments reek of conspiracy - which is totally impossible. What is difficult to believe about the fact that in the UK and the US we are no longer such gullible fools that we only read what the Zionist organisations tell us we should read. What sort of world do you think we live in? No freedom of thought, no freedom? You assume that people are so stupid that they cannot discern between rank propaganda and history books published by professors with good credentials. As with every politically sensitive subject, you are going to find books in favour and books again. So what's the problem? You only want a world where one-sided pro-Zionist books are published? That is called Stalinism. Hey ho.
12. 2, you should read his 1st article. you misunderstood him
student ,   USA   (07.16.07)
Prof. Rosenfeld, in his original article for the AJC, recognizes that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are very much present among the radical right wing, in many countries. He is, in fact, most disturbed that people who call themselves progressive are nowadays willing to choose such opposite bed-fellows, just to bash Israel. He does NOT believe that anti-Zionism is progressive, in the true sense of the word. I think his reference to England and France in this interview alludes to the fact that, in addition to rising street violence, there is also rising virulently anti-Israel rhetoric in the academia there. Such 'verbal violence', if you will, among academics is less noticeable in the former Soviet Union countries that you mentioned. I'm sure he would agree with you that anti-Semitism is VERY much ingrained in society in those countries.
13. On the intellectual laziness of Leftists
Yermiyahu ,   San Francisco, USA   (07.16.07)
Can someone please explain to me what Occupation is, how we define, and what is bad about it? Oh also, while they are at it, can they please elaborate a consistent, coherent theory of human rights that shows how these rights originate from a moral system they can substantiate, and explains what we are supposed to do when these rights come into conflict to each other? I have never heard someone on the Left seek to address these fundamental issues, nor do I expect to. This is the case for two reasons. Firstly, Leftism only makes sense when you sweep the most challenging and interesting moral questions under the rug: in a worldview that requires one to see every event in history as the amoral, deterministic result of the distribution of wealth, one can only sustain the feelings of irrational, hate-filled moral outrage that animate leftist foot soldiers if one avoids asking oneself where right and wrong come from in the first place. Secondly, Leftists rarely if ever are actually concerned about human rights except insofar as they may be selectively invoked to justify condemnations of Israel and the US that are as fatuous as they are fashionable. Show me a Leftist capable of thinking creatively and incisively about the above questions, and I'll show you one on the brink of changing his stripes. The Left is a lonely place for someone who doesn't like to be told what to believe, and who is interested by nuance.
14. #11 English Guy
Steve ,   USA   (07.16.07)
English Guy, is it Stalinist to question how the word "genocide" is constantly used by those on the Left to describe a population that's gone from 1.5 million in 1948 to more then 3 million in 2007 because that's what the Left constantly does ? Or how about the word Apartheid, when clearly Israel does not resemble S Africa but no matter, the left doesn't seem to care a twiddle about facts when it comes to Jews ... oops I mean "zionists" Stalinism isn't calling out those people who distort the truth or use it selectively, or those who exhibit a clear double standard when thay call on Israel to do something but ignore everyone else who does it. Isn't it ethnic cleansing when Arabs demand Jews leave Gaza or Hebron? Where's the left's outrage? Where was the Left and their shouting about occupation when Egypt ruled Gaza or when Jordan ruled the W Bank? Where ? The author of this article describes books being published by respectable academic houses that are full of mistakes. But truth or facts doesn't seem to matter to the Left when and where Jews are concerned and sadly many Jews who consider themselves progressives know this to be true and over compensate for their real belief that they now have to hide. And the Left in the UK is so anxious to be accepted by the activist and Islamist Muslims who can do no wrong. Your own government has warned against even using the word Muslim along with terrorism. If you won't even identify the problem, how on earth do you expect to fight it ? Finally from reading your post English Guy, I'd be curious as to what your definition of "Zionist" is since? What do you think Zionism is ? Tell us if you would because I'm willing to bet its a very very different meaning then many here have.
15. interconnectedness
Vitaliy ,   Brooklyn, USA   (07.16.07)
I think that Professor's point best underscores the need to start the corrective work "at home." I would suggest with training for Knesset members and state employees not to call others "Nazis" or "worst than Nazis." That Shas member, who got what was coming to him, was completely out of line. If we allow Jews to say things like that to other Jews, why can't it be used in other context? My point being that calling people "Nazis" cheapens and delegitimizes the Holocaust.
16. #11, but it is fine to publish lies?
Danny   (07.16.07)
So Princeton press should be happy to publish a book by Jacqueline Rose that has Hertzl going to the opera 36 years after he died or maybe a speech by Jabotinsky in 1947 - some seven years after he died. This error was pointed out to her in a speech she gave but she still included it in her book - which makes her a liar. I have no problem with Ms Rose standing on a box in Hyde Park Corner shouting her nonsense with all the other loonies. But to claim some sort of academic imprimatur to her BS is a disgrace to Princeton University Press and University of London. If she wants to put in the cover that this book has no academic merit and purely represents her personal view and have it published under "Liars R Us" press, then that is freedom of speech. I would prefer to have an academic press where blatant lies are not allowed. Of course you won't want this because you prefer to lie about Israel and want to pretend that comments like "Carter brought peace to the Middle East" have some vague basis in fact.
17. The man has a point
Inyaki ,   Bilbao, Basque   (07.16.07)
I must admit that the man has a point. Just think of early Christians- all jews, what a mess have they brought on their brother jews. On the other hand the man sounds like a censor. Can't we criticise our brotthers at all? Where is the red line? and I am not talking about nuts like Finkelstein etc.
18. jewish liberals
avi ,   ny   (07.17.07)
The only silver lining to the contant backstabbing of the Jewish people by Jewish liberals is that they invariably have gentile children ofr grandchildren. Good riddance.
andrew ,   miami,fl   (07.17.07)
20. #17, the line should be drawn at lies
Danny   (07.17.07)
21. 17 - what are you talking about? he OPPOSES censorship!
reader ,   USA   (07.17.07)
In the interview, the professor clearly says that NO legal action should be taken against anyone for their views. What should be done, he said, is expose the factual errors or tendentious hyperbole present in many of the accusations against Israel. He doesn't propose silencing such arguments (regardless of how irrational they may be), but rather meeting them with counter-arguments. How on earth is that censorship?! There is a common criticism against Israelis and their supporters claiming that they call anyone who criticizes them an 'anti-Semite'. From many of these talkbacks, it seems that, in reality, there is a knee-jerk reaction of crying 'censorship' anytime someone points out errors in arguments against Israel. This is nonsense. Critique such as Rosenfeld suggests promotes dialogue and pluralism, and thus, is the OPPOSITE OF CENSORSHIP.
22. #2---Did you read the article????????
Ilana ,   galut   (07.17.07)
He is talking about JEWISH, self-labeled 'progressives', who are rabidly anti-zionist/anti-Jewish...... Please read his original article.
23. What's your favorite book, english dude?
Kyle ,   Southpark, CO, USA   (07.17.07)
Do you consider David Irving a reputable historian?
24. The reality of the Jewish State
shriber ,   Cambridge, Mass   (07.17.07)
The Jewish State is a reality and those Jews who don't want to live there don't have to. However, they have no right to tell those Jews who live there that they alone of all the peoples of the world have no right to a State of their own. No one has appointed them the leaders of the Jews.
25. Rosenfeld just too tiresome for words...
Richard Silverstein ,   Seattle, USA   (07.17.07)
Imagine the idea that Rosenfeld denies the AJC is a "conservative advocacy group." The only person he's fooling is himself & those AJC leaders & members who like to think of themselves as "mainstream." They haven't represented the mainstream of American Jewish thought on the Israeli Palestinian conflict for years. And all the polls including their own annual one prove it.
26. Reply to Richard Silverstein
apter ,   Buffalo, New York   (07.17.07)
Richard couldn't be more wrong. It's those folks at Tikkun who think themselves in the mainstream who are kidding themselves. Moreover, I'd like to see the polls he is referring to. Most Jews in the US support Israel, but they do it privately. It's because they don't make the noise that Richard and his friends make that he thinks they are not in the majority.
27. Uzi in Haifa is right
shriber ,   Cambridge, Mass   (07.17.07)
to say that the anti-Zionist Jews, who only call themselves Jews when they are attacking Israel, give aid and comfort to antisemites.
28. When anti-Zionists
Jdyer ,   USA   (07.17.07)
call themselves Jews I like to know in what sense are they Jews. Do they belong to any Shul? Do they speak any Jewish language be it Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, etc. If their Jewishness is confined only to anti-Zionist activities then they should not be considered Jews. A Jew need not be religious, but he or she must live within the Jewish community and they must work for its perpetuation. Most non ultra Orthodox anti-Zionists are also assimilationists who would like nothing better than to see the Jewish people disappear from the earth.
29. tikkunlunacticatic
alan ,   point cleare alaska   (07.17.07)
the rabbi nerners of the progressive movement, the penny rosenmudin waters, these are the core slef loathing Jews or opportunists, does it matter, who have attracted those Jews who are desperately seeking a spiritual substitution. The aroma therapy crowd. The white skin privilage crowd. The ones whose diet is granola and honey.
RCA ,   USA   (07.17.07)
I think that what has long been passing under the radar of many American Jews, even those calling themselves Zionists, is both the mild and not so mild contempt held by Zionism for life outside Israel. Zionists have over and over again stressed the fact that, from their viewpoint, Jews are in "exile" outside the "Jewish state". In fact, one of the functions of Israeli diplomats in the US is to persuade Jews to immigrate to Israel and It can easily be argued that the continued promotion of Aliyah undermines the legitimacy of American Jewish life. There has been no evidence that even a significant minority of American Jews accept the Zionist idea of "exile". One could say that the natural sense which American Jews feel for their co-religionists in Israel is not Zionism, yet those who do not completely understand the idea tend to think it is. American Jews believe themselves to be fully American and only a minute number believe their Judaism is something more than a cultural identity and religious committment. Anyway, how could those who would so wish, when Israeli Rabbinical run courts actions on identity amount to a slap in the face. In my experience, the vast majority of American Jews clearly view themselves as Americans by nationality, citizenship, aand political allegiance, and Jews by religion. There is even provision for the athiests to be accepted as Jews. In these present times, here in the US, even the term "diaspora" is out of style as a way to refer to Jews outside of Israel. The idea that Jews outside of Israel are residing in some "unnatural exile" is a distortion of history. The First and Second Temples and the times they represented were relatively brief notations on a Jewish time line that was instead dominated by diaspora. Abraham, father of Jews discovered his God outside of Israel. The Torah was given to the Jewish people outside of Israel. The most important Talmud or compilation of Jewish tradition, is the one from Babylon, not the one from Jerusalem. Even during the era of the Second Temple, more Jews lived in the diaspora than in Israel. Displacement then, has been the normal state of affairs for Jews for nearly 2,600 years. Zionism has served a purpose, but that seems to be changing due to the turns it has taken in the hands of those who wield it. This is one American view.
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