Editor’s note: A perspective worthy of serious debate from Mondoweiss. Interesting though that the people who find Jewish ethnocentrism problematic don’t find other forms of identity politics equally problematic.
The politics of Jewish ethnocentrism
How can Bret Stephens, who is so sensitive to any slight he perceives against his own people, use the phrase “disease of the Arab mind” when writing about hundreds of millions of other people? That is what Stephens, the Pulitzer prize winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, did in his recent article about the Egyptian Olympic athlete who refused to shake hands with with his Israeli opponent.
“The disease of the Arab mind”? Total disgrace the @WSJ publishes horrifically racist language by @StephensWSJhttps://twitter.com/
NTarnopolsky/status/ 765537717866356736 …
Similarly, how can David Horowitz, who like Bret Stephens, is so quick to assign prejudice when Jews and Israel are criticized, write something like this?
There has never been a people as dishonest, immoral, bloodthirsty & unworthy of respect as the Palestinian Arabs.https://twitter.com/splendid_
savage/status/ 763627952781295616 …
How do we have a culture that allows these type of moral and ethical contradictions to go, without even a discussion about it?
I think a good place to start in solving this riddle is with a recent Judi Rudoren quote (that Adam Horowitz pointed out). The deputy international editor and former Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times said that Israelis are
“blunt and racist in a way that’s just different from America… It’s blunter there, but it is also more rooted in experience. It’s not based on some stereotype. It’s based on, ‘Every Israeli I know has acted in this way.’ Or, ‘My cousin was killed by a suicide bomber.’ It’s not based on kind of an idea, it’s based on experience.”
Let me unpack that. Rudoren said there is a lot of prejudice and racism in the world but unlike other people who are racist and prejudiced the world over, we Jews are justified in our prejudices. This sophisticated editor turns out to be so ethnocentric she can’t separate her subjective reality from reality itself. When she feels pain when Jews are killed after a Palestinian attack that pain she experiences makes her understanding of what happened totally “prejudiced”. But according to her it isn’t prejudice it’s reality. This in spite of every racist thinking exactly the the same way Rudoren does, that they have a REASON for their own racism, that their prejudice is warranted by the real world. (Just listen to David Duke some time.) But Rudoren believes that what goes on in her head, unlike the fantasies of the racists out there, is objective reality. And remember she is considered one of the “good guys,” a liberal from the liberal NY Times.
This is not just the view of one top Jewish editor at the New York Times. It is a powerful force in the world and an Orwellian force in U.S. culture. It allows the obscene double standards practiced by the two Jewish fanatics above.
It’s the same ethnocentrism Jeffrey Goldberg exhibited when Jews applauded Donald Trump at AIPAC. “Stop being surprised,” he ordered his twitter followers.
Those of you who are surprised a pro-Israel audience likes a pro-Israel speech by Donald Trump should stop being surprised.
Nothing to see here. Because Jews are alwaysallowed, according to Goldberg. And don’t make Goldberg tell you why. All delirious Trump crowds must be looked at askance, except when Goldberg’s people do it. It’s how he experienced the world from when he was young.
Jews are always better! And so Jeffrey Goldberg fit every experience in his life to make himself feel comfortable as an ethnocentric Jew in the modern world. Actually more than comfortable. His whole career is an attempt to defeat “reality” with an ethnocentric Jewish reality.
And since, unsurprisingly, in Jeffrey Goldberg’s reality, he represents “moral clarity,” and since his own identity is what is ultimately at stake here, he becomes a Torquemada type figure in all his “debates.” He makes people who see the world as it actually is defend themselves to Goldberg, because Goldberg is such an insecure Jew.
The result is an Orwellian world where Goldberg is publicly assessing whether Andrew Sullivan is an anti-Semite.
Because when an Irish-Catholic raises his voice when speaking about Benjamin Netanyahu, it somehow makes Goldberg feel like it’s Kristallnacht all over again.
Goldberg and others have been telling themselves the same preposterous self-serving story for many years. And meanwhile tormenting people who see the world as it actually is. That’s how Jeffrey Goldberg deals with his cognitive dissonance. Why go to a shrink like everyone else does, when Jeffrey Goldberg can drive everyone else nuts instead.
Not only is it necessary for him to convert other people to the Goldberg ethnocentric view of the world, he does it by the sword. He will defame anyone who disturbs the childlike equilibrium he has in his brain. So utterly clueless about the world, yet not letting that ignorance restrain his pomposity one bit, he must bully/cajole/convince “reality” to fit into the view of his delicate Jewish psyche.
When the AIPAC Jews applauded Trump, Peter Beinart reacted in a justly angry way in Haaretz. He was inspired right from his headline: “Trump at AIPAC: A Jewish betrayal of the U.S.”
“Thank you, Donald Trump. Unwittingly, you’ve done something important. You’ve exposed AIPAC’s indifference to the well being of the country in which it thrives. My country. The United States.”
Peter Beinart is not living his life worrying about phantom neo-Nazis celebrating every bad bit of publicity Jews get, the way Jeffrey Goldberg is.
But then Jeffrey Goldberg doesn’t consider himself like every other journalist who merely reports the news. He is a historical figure who was put in this world to help the Jewish people. So he tries to censor reality with his tweets because it sure looks bad for the Good and Moral side, the Jewish side, Jeffrey’s side. And like all fanatics, personal ethics mean little to him.
Censoring reality is also what the late A.M. Rosenthal did when he famously censored Thomas Friedman’s report of “indiscriminate” Israeli bombing of Beirut in 1982. Rosenthal and Goldberg know the truth: Israel and the Jews are “good,” their enemies “evil”.
So if they to have to cover up certain nasty facts that give a mistaken impression about what “the overall context of the events” actually is, and what their moral clarity tells them, well, that ain’t a decision at all.
“The overall context of the event” may be familiar to you as the words of another leading voice of Jewish ethnocentrism. It was how Benjamin Netanyahureacted to the video that came out of an Israeli army medic executing in cold blood a prone and wounded Palestinian in occupied Hebron in March, a man who had minutes earlier injured another Israeli soldier with a knife.
Netanyahu said this:
As the father of a soldier and as Prime Minister, I would like to reiterate: The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] backs its soldiers…. Our soldiers are not murderers. They act against murderers and I hope that a way will be found to balance between the action and the overall context of the event.
And he said this:
“Questioning the IDF’s morality is outrageous and unacceptable… IDF soldiers, our children, maintain a high moral standard when they deal with bloodthirsty murderers… IDF soldiers deal with bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational circumstances.”
The question that immediately comes to mind is what possible “overall context of the event,” or mitigating circumstances argument, can possibly be made with a straight face to even to the most sympathetically inclined judge? This is what is called an open and shut case. Thanks to the video, we see the crime from beginning to end. We even have the bonus footage of the murdering medic shaking hands with his Hebron Sabbath host Baruch Marzel (who Larry Derfner tells us is “monster in chief… the leader of a movement that produces and glorifies Arab-killers.”)
But Netanyahu’s meaning was clear to those it was intended, his Israeli audience. The extenuating circumstances in the murder seen in the video are that our children including the murdering medic are good and their children are bloodthirsty murderers.
This is part of the elephant in the room, the 21st century “Jewish question” that so many people now have a hand on, but don’t know what they’re actually touching. The lack of personal ethics shown by these ethnocentric Jews, while lecturing and condemning far and wide, all under the banner of “moral clarity,” has caused perplexity and rage. Robert Wrightexpressed both after they smeared Chuck Hagel for having used the words “Jewish lobby.”
“These people are blinded by their passions, and the fact that their smears are wild and unfounded doesn’t mean they’re insincere.”
I say that this blindness is Orwellian because it is everywhere and uncontested. So Rep. Hank Johnson uses the word “termites” to describe the settlements, and to him it is just a word. It meansnothing to anyone in the room in Philadelphia he is addressing, and the whole world understands “termites” exactly the way he used it.
But the next thing a bunch of ethnocentric Jews are explaining what a terrible thing he said.
This is also the untold story of the Iran deal a year ago: the head-on collision between actual reality and ethnocentric Jewish reality. Between every leading country in the world and honest journalists like Andrew Sullivan and James Fallows and an almost unanimous chorus of Israeli security experts on one side, representing reality– and Netanyahu and Goldberg and Jamie Kirchick and other ethnocentrics representing what is only in their head, on the other.
What a circus it was. Netanyahu was allowed to make the world crazy over the non-Iran threat to Israel. Why? Because the ethnocentric Jewish “perception of reality,” even if it is as far removed from reality as it often actually is, gets to sit at the table with reality. In fact at the head of the table.
And it is a fascinating story. To my mind the most humorous collision between the real world and the Jewish ethnocentric fantasy world was the breakup of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and his “soul friend” Senator Cory Booker after Booker came out for the Iran deal. Booker lives in the real world. He got all the briefings. He knows that Iran, as ex-Mossad head Efraim Halevy put it, is “1000 years” away from threatening Israel’s existence.
But Booker had to contend with a totally deranged tribal fantasy. I love how Booker refused to meet the late Elie Wiesel and Ron Dermer. Few politicians would do that. He deserves respect for that.
This was what Booker was subject to non-stop fromhis former friend. On Facebook, Boteach wrote that it was “troubling and tragic” that his “soul friend” chose to support the deal despite the fact that he went to Israel at 25 and visited the holocaust museum in Jerusalem, “a trip that I arranged trusting that he would absorb the never-ending Jewish struggle for survival in a world inhabited by the kind of evil represented by the Iranian regime.”
How many public figures can even afford not to be indoctrinated in Jewish ethnocentrism? The exceptions are the brave ones. I believe Jewish ethnocentrism is a unique threat to American political life today. It has been ignored for way too long, and that is the story I am going to keep on telling.