AIPAC American Jews American Task Force On Palestine Americans for Peace Now Israel Israel lobby Israeli occupation Israeli settlements J Street Palestinians

Philip Weiss attacks J Street. Why he’s wrong.

Philip Weiss and I have been communicating after he attacked J Street on MondoWeiss. A good many issues were broached, but one of his arguments is that J Street ought to be appealing to a much broader constituency than American Jews who feel some attachment to Israel. Some of his acolytes, true to form, said there was no fundamental difference between J Street and AIPAC, we are all just racist Zionist Jews providing cover for Israeli oppression (and, true to form, some said we are all disloyal to America). Here is my response (slightly revised from the one I sent Phil):


The Israeli-Arab problem is America’s problem. Solving it can and should be a high priority for all Americans. It is critically important for a wider, more broad-based coalition of Americans –Jewish and non-Jewish—to counter the right wing Jewish and Christian Zionist furies. I completely agree with you. Church groups, Arab American organizations, unions, everyone who wants evenhanded American diplomacy should weigh in. Some of them already do, often working side by side with my camp: e.g., Churches for Middle East Peace, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, centrist and left wing evangelicals trying to show that John Hagee doesn’t speak for them, the Arab American Institute and the American Task Force on Palestine.

There is nothing stopping you and all of your fans from organizing all Americans. Go ahead, if you want to.

But you will notice that all of those other groups are organizations based on specific religious or ethnic identities. We all understand that it is in America’s interests to end the nightmare of the occupation, but we all bring other aspects of our identities to the table.

Some of your fans resent the whole idea of American Jews having ANYTHING to say about this issue. Do they also think those who are organized as Catholics, or Arab Americans, should have no say? Or should self-identified Jews just step back and shut up and let “real Americans” fix the mess the Zionists have made? Guess what? Even if that proposition weren’t offensive and racist, it would a disastrous political move.

Right now, the political reality is that the conventional Israel lobby in the Jewish community has persuaded politicians that it speaks on behalf of the only Jews who matter, and that retribution awaits those who cross it. (The Christian Zionists have had similar successes with some in Congress, so that evangelicals like the Sojourners also don’t get taken seriously enough).

One way to help change this political reality is to demonstrate that another, large, vocal, politically engaged part of the American Jewish community exists, and that it will support American leaders who don’t always do what the conventional lobby wants. That is not the only thing that needs to be done. But it is one of the things that needs to be done.

I can’t possibly convince the people who comment on your posts why there is a big difference between AIPAC and J Street or Brit Tzedek ‘v Shalom or APN. I, and others, have been trying to counter AIPAC and the right wing of the Jewish community for many years. We’ve lost. We’ve blown it. But we’ve tried. I was among those who called for the U..S. and Israel to talk to the PLO long before the Oslo years. APN, on whose board I serve, was one of the few Jewish groups that supported GH Bush on penalizing Israel financially because of its stance on the settlements. As far as I’m concerned, targeted financial penalties should be on the table now. Did I and others make mistakes? Zillions of them. But if people see no distinction between those positions and AIPAC’s, there is no sense in discussing it further.

Right now, though I have a very specific goal that J Street and others share. The specific goal is to help create a political environment in which the next president feels like he has the leeway to exert necessary pressures on both sides, rather than just one side, of the Israeli-Arab conflict. It is to give the president the sense that he will have broad-based support from a vocal, strong constituency if, for example, he tells the Israelis to stop the madness of continuing settlement expansion and, if they don’t, imposes real costs.

And yes, of course, just stopping expansion is not the end goal; getting the settlers out of there is the goal, but the freeze has to be the first step. The next step will be more difficult but that has to be taken, too.

The mission in life of some American Jews is to prevent American pressure of any kind on any Israeli government. All the other policy matters you are talking about –e.g, whether they want Jerusalem to be united or not—are important, but they are much less important than whether the U.S. has the diplomatic flexibility it needs to take a balanced approach instead of a one-sided approach.

As you know, I have been hard at work writing a book about all of this. And I can tell you that based on my own, rather painful experience in the American Jewish trenches and a good many interviews with members of Congress, their aides, and American officials from several administrations, I KNOW the following to be true: politicians need to hear from many more American Jews, including political contributors, who will say that AIPAC and the rest of the conventional lobby do not speak for them. That is the political reality. That is the battle J Street and its allies are trying to wage. But it is only part of the battle. I hope there is a broader coalition of Americans, speaking together as Americans, who press our government to get more engaged in this conflict and do what needs to be done in order to preserve the possibility of two states. Be my guest. Go out and organize!

54 thoughts on “Philip Weiss attacks J Street. Why he’s wrong.

  1. Good one, Dan.

    I made a few comments on some comments to Weiss’ last screed. I’ve been reading a bit about Oswald Mosley, the British facist whose son has been in the news these days. If you compare some of his rhetoric to the rhetoric used by more than a few of Weiss’s “fans,” as you call them, the logic (or lack of it) and fury are very similar. What’s unnerving about this, though, is that somehow these racists claim to be FIGHTING racism, because they think they are aligned with the Palestinian cause….Scary, wierd stuff…

  2. Phil’s fans include those that identify with the farish left (who think of themselves as anti-colonialism primarily) and those that are more at the part of the circle that’s right/left.

    Both the Mussolini fascist and some of the early nazis originated at the intersection of the left/right. Ezra Pound was an example. The evolution of the KKK from populism is another (though very different from state/business/aristocracy oriented fascism).

    Many of the animosities to the neo-conservatives on the part of the paleo-conservatives, are a fight between old money and new money. The old money in Italy for example orchestrated the marriage between business, military and state that fascism represented, ironically mobilizing against the new money of Jewish banking (rather than the Italian and Swiss banking old elite).

    Its odd to see liberals like Phil get sucked up to an extent into the animosities between artistocrats and nouveau-riche. Neither of them are him personally, nor do they represent his or others’ idealism.

    Strange bedfellows emerge from common criticisms. Better bedfellows emerge from longer term commitments, and to positives (to communities’ health).

  3. Thanks, LeaNder.

    I can’t figure out where you stand on any of these questions, based on your very occasional comments. Are you somewhere between Phil and me? Somewhere between me and the Magnes Zionist? Somewhere else? Nowhere? (that is a noble place to be, sometimes)

  4. Hard to say. I am with reason and I am with ethics. But I have learned over the years to pay more attention to emotions too. And yes I have a deeply “emotional” connection to the Jewish history in my country.

    Obviously ethics is not the best perspective to look at politics. This is the core reason I think this article is a really brilliant challenge to Phil. It would be a challenge to me. …

    Compared with Phil, I was absolutely fascinated by the survey. It is one of the most interesting ones I have read for a long time. I think it is a brilliant basis for strategic work, as it suggests a dialogical approach. Ironically this revelation came the deeper I entered it. I love numbers, but obviously I am aware that behind the numbers are real people. …

    As all “other stormtroopers” I am partly mirroring onto Phil my own vision on matters. When I first was confronted with his “double loyalty”, line of thought it created an emotional turmoil. (that is much too close to the Nazi kind of thought for me to feel comfortable with)

    But I see “Phil’s crowd” –on second thought your “parallel universe” is not such a bad image–as a rather diverse crowd. And somehow I am with Phil, at least I assume–we are all mirroring partly ourselves into the texts of others–that it is much better to have the voices out there, an open debate.

    Why? I am very interested in the debate of new vs old antisemitism. And yes it is interesting to watch too, no matter how revolting or wrong it may feel at times, which diverse antisemitic imagery surfaces, and to try to differentiate which may be simply a–no offense intended–a reaction to suppressive tendencies, which ultimately demands to ignore a part of reality, and real antisemitism. I would expect the first to latently stay and the second to fade with changed reality. Not sure if I got over what I mean? E.g. in Chris Moore it seems to be soundly based in the old religious antisemitism, up to the point that it puzzles me, but it is supported by other non-liberal elements. At least it feels.

    Magnes Zionist definitively touches my deepest layers. Phil does partly. … You can consider him simply as the usual Jewish runagate that crosses over into enemy lines, or you can consider him as a part of the “diverse Jewish mind” that mirrors difficult times, as I am. He is aware, that he might be wrong, even that what he does might be dangerous.

    But, antisemitism may not always be dangerous, and I am not so sure if the neocon’s handling of the matter is very wise are wise either. But I think America will make it. And yes I wish JStreet the best.


    [Foreword, by F.M.Schweitzer to Robert Michael, A Concise history of Antisemitism, Oxford 2005:]

    “France was the home of the racialist ideology and in 1900 racist antisemitism as stronger there than in Germany or elsewhere. But France was also the home of Enlightenment and its opposition to religious and racial prosecution, which paved the way for the emancipation of French Jews by the revolutionaries in 1790 and 1791. France was the pioneer of the emancipation of the Jews in Europe. Royalist and clerical effort to employ antisemitism to undo revolutionary changes of 1789 to 1815 failed. The defeat of Napoleon III in 1870 and 1871 gave the royalists and clericals another chance. But after a series of crises and scandals, the Third Republic won out, the republican parties rejecting political antisemitism as the discredited weapon of their enemies. There was a revival of antisemtism from 1886 on, ignited by the immensely popular, demagogic writings of the Catholic royalist Edouard Drumont. He stroked up the anti-Dreyfus crusade of army officers, royalists, clergy, and aristocrats who, again, sought to overthrow the Republic and came close to dragging France into civil war. But again they failed. …”

  5. Right now, the political reality is that the “conventional Israel lobby in the Jewish community has persuaded politicians that it speaks on behalf of the only Jews who matter, and that retribution awaits those who cross it. (The Christian Zionists have had similar successes with some in Congress, so that evangelicals like the Sojourners also don’t get taken seriously enough).”

    The problem is that the Israel Lobby includes billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson,Haim Saban,
    Sam Zell,Mort Zuckerman,and Michael Steinhardt;
    all of which have used the power of their money to buy influence among politicans, and to assure that THEIR view of what the proper relationship between the US and Israel prevails…
    This is simple fact that must be addressed and dealt with before “democracy” can carry the day in the struggle with groups like AIPAC..
    Are we to believe that the antidote for this is George Soros?

  6. Guys, anybody that has a link to a guy like Martillo on his web site is really showing his colors. Phil Weiss is a Jewish anti-semite and we all know that they are the worse kind. And his little band of brown shirted, kaffiyeh wearing disciples are even worse. I only post comments over there because I get a little bored sometimes and it’s fun. The best thing you can say about Phil Weiss is that he doesn’t have any kids. So when he kicks the bucket that will at least be the last we will hear from the Weiss strain.

  7. Thats a lame response Bill.

    I’ve known Phil off and on for 45 years. He’s attempting to do what he thinks is good in the world. I wish that he would approach the questions in more positive light, what he can do to help, rather than what he can do to criticize only.

    I also dislike that he has that link to Martillo.

    I wish that you would approach the questions in more positive light as well. Proactive, helpful, rather than defensive and then aggressive.

    If you want to attempt to address the power of money in politics, or even in economy, towards transforming it to more of a one-person one-vote, or one-good-idea one-vote, approach, wonderful.

    To single out Jews (and on a single litmus test) in that corruption that common to all, is confused.

    The individuals that you sited as illustrations have VERY different views, and very different patterns of contributions for very different purposes.

  8. Come on Rich. The guy is an advocate of the destruction of Israel, he parrots the Hamas line. And his fan base if full of neo-nazi’s pro jihad types. On a personal level he married out and is all hot for Christian holidays. His Judaism is only there when it comes to bashing Israel or any Jew that likes being Jewish. It’s an old story.

  9. Bill, I am puzzled by that association. Not sure what to make of it. But then I am puzzled by Joachim.

    The basic question I keep asking myself is, what is the origin of this enterprise, the energy behind it? When and why did it start? And is Joachim’s “Judonia/Ashkenaszi obsession really dangerous? Apart from being attractive to some. More dangerous than other conspiracy tales? I know, I know. But I mean today! It would only be dangerous if people with power relied on it. Can you imagine such a scenario? That would need such fundamental shifts, I just don’t see it happen.

    “And” I read scholarly work that moves slightly more carefully in a similar direction. Who does expect an IT scientist(if I get matters correctly) to be an expert in history? He often misses the necessary solid foundation in European history.

    Let me suggest one line of thought, he is part of a natural counterforce reacting against a perceived control of research.


    Sorry for the many errors above, preview option would be nice, gone again for a while, here or in Phil’s den. This would have been the correct title:

    Robert Michael, A Concise History of American Antisemitism

    Does html work here?:
    Robert Michael (founder of H-Antisemitism), A Concise History of American Antisemitism, 2005

  10. Martillo’s thesis is exagerated, intentionally divisive, often hateful, and dangerous.

    Is David Duke’s thesis dangerous?

    Phil doesn’t know what line he is taking. (Only from your paranoia is it describable as “the Hamas line”.) He is enamored with people that I think deserve a great deal of criticism, and interprets harsh criticism of them as censorship.

    And from that place buys into and feeds the conspiratorial as “the story”, rather than respects the dialectic.

    He is different than his posse. And, yes, many things that he says strike me as harmful in reaction, rather than reform.

  11. I think Martillo is onto something here and there, but that’s probably no more than 10% of his thesis. The rest can be thrown out. I am not in the position to really create a rebuttal to all his claims right now – I have neither time nor sufficient knowledge of some matters, but in a couple of times I did challenge him – like his assertion that Holodomor was a Jewish genocide against ethnic Ukranians – he never reacted (he might have missed my comment, though: TypePad that powers Mondoweiss is not very helpful when it comes to keeping in touch with the comments). Reading his Judonia stuff I was struck more than once by his assertions built on little more than thin air (on things that I do know something about, such as anti-Semitism in Russia) and it gives me comfort to think that the rest of the stuff is on similarly shaky foundations. Because otherwise if one is to follow his thesis to the end the conclusion that Jews as ethnicity are dangerous to the world is the only obvious one.

  12. Richard your being more than a little disingenuous here. Phil Weiss is an advocate of total assimilation, although interestingly enough he celebrates Christmas and Easter. He is an advocate of the “right of return” and a one state solution. Or more directly “Palestine, from the river to the sea” . ( and we all know what would happen then ) The Iranians having the atomic bomb., nothing to worry about there.
    . And I haven’t ever seen him write anything that could remotely be described has critical of the Arabs, in any way what so ever. Not even a guy like Samir Kuntar. He has turned his back on Judaism. Which is a personal choice I suppose. But it really bothers him that there are Jews who haven’t. Again, it’s the Chomsky, Finkelstein, Zinn pattern. And an old story really. What I really resent his use of the term “my people”. Who exactly would that be? It seems to me that his people are Hamas, and Hezbollah. Can you really argue any of this?

  13. HlMeankin,

    “The problem is that the Israel Lobby includes billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson,Haim Saban,
    Sam Zell,Mort Zuckerman,and Michael Steinhardt;
    all of which have used the power of their money to buy influence among politicans, and to assure that THEIR view of what the proper relationship between the US and Israel prevails…
    This is simple fact that must be addressed and dealt with before “democracy” can carry the day in the struggle with groups like AIPAC..
    Are we to believe that the antidote for this is George Soros?”

    Go to Look at the list of top contributors to 527 organizations in 2004. The top 4 are all Jewish. 3 of those (Soros, Peter Lewis, and the Sandlers) or their repts were all involved in the early conversations about an alternative lobby that eventually created J. Street.

    Other top donors to the Dems include Danny Abraham and Alan Solomont, who have long been active in the pro-Israel left. Are they the “answer?” No. There is not one answer. They are part of it. So are the smallish, on-line contributions from grassroots donors that should, by all rights, pour in the J Street PAC.

  14. One thing I do wish could happen though. And Rich and Dan, you know I’m right here. For all their talk of censorship, the zionist jackboot, and all the rest of it. All I would need to triple membership of AIPAC, not to mention Friends of Likud. Is to put Phil, Martillo, Ed, and all the rest of the boys on a speaking tour of synagogues and JCC’s.

  15. Bill,
    As I said, Phil does not know clearly what he supports or doesn’t.

    He knows what appalls him, and although he has lots of media incidents that he can point to and document, they are dots that sometimes add up to a constellation (not a truth, just a reference), and sometimes just “melt into the sea eventually”.

    He, like much of the left, know what stimulates their opposition.

    A lot of those stimuli motivate me as well, and by reputation Dan. There are wrongs that are committed, some incidents, some structural. The structural wrongs require reform. And, only identification and criticism will result in reform.

    Only identification and criticism will NEVER yield reform. It takes PROPOSAL and organization.

    In the Israel/Palestine discussion on the settlements for example, there are NO slam-dunk just decisions. There are two many layers of naive and opportunist parties that get caught in the cross-fire of other opportunists agendas.

    For example, although many of the settlers are enthusiastic expansionists, and willing rationalize indirect theft by any means necessary, most are partially naive purchasers of relatively inexpensive homes in a world where houses are EXPENSIVE. (Same as me looking for the best home available for the money.) They don’t have clear title to their property as there are considerable and supportable counter-claims.

    But, they were deceived (or rationalized) en masse. 475,000 civilians forced to move in a likely fire sale is not justice itself, and would certainly not be perceived as justice.

    But, removing them (or giving them a means to live in Israel, by compensation) might be the least unjust path.

    J Street is more right than Phil is. And, him speaking louder and louder, does make the arguments more convincing or more just.

  16. I think he knows exactly what he supports. And he has stated it explicitly. You just don’t want to see it.

    Look, I know your hearts in the right place. But what you propose is absurd and you know it. First, the cost of moving 500,000 people is huge. They don’t have it and we’re not going to give it to them, nor should we. Second, the surge in military spending that that would entail would be huge, Third, I know you’ve been to Israel, you put Syrian artillery on The Golan and Hamas rockets and their Iranian allies on the west bank ridge line then the rest of the country is untenable. And don’t tell me that Israel would have the support of the world in retaliating, you know that’s not true. Lastly, the social fabric of Israel, not that great to begin with would be totally destroyed. What’s the upside to your plan?

  17. Bill,
    The conditions that you fear are temporary and changing.

    Israel has within its capability to make enormous diplomatic changes, particularly with Syria.

    If Israel succeeds at changing the relationship with Syria, then Hezbollah and Hamas will be either entirely isolated or forced to moderate.

    And, if Israel accepted the 67 borders, and the Arab League followed through on its commitment to normalize relations, then the fanatics would have very very limited paths of support (ideological and materiel).

    A path to accepting the 67 borders could include offering settlers the choice of whether they wish to reside in sovereign Palestine, or sovereign Israel. Those that wish to remain on the land, as Palestinian citizens, could be negotiated to be allowed to do so, assuming that reasonable compensation is paid to perfect title to the land that they reside on.

    That could probably only be accepted if similar compensation to perfect title to land within Israel is offered.

    Peace is possible, and worth it.

    The fearful approach nearly certainly continues a status of permanent war consciousness, and the odd dual ethical consciousness that results from doing harm to others (even if needed in the course of defending one’s own communities’ civilians).

    The STRUCTURE of the relationship compels that state of war, at a time where structures that facilitate states of relative peace are possible.

    The dividing line is intention to annex. If Israel turned away from that strategy, then peace is likely possible. If it schemes ways to continue that, then peace is likely impossible.

  18. Ok, let me come at this from another angle. Say you were PM of Israel and had 100 seats in the knesset. And unlike Phil Weiss you were interested in the country continuing. In short you have the power to do what you wanted. Ok, what’s the plan?

  19. Adopt the Geneva accords. Do it through Fatah/PA.

    Negotiate with Syria.

    Establish diplomatic relations with the members of the Arab League.

    Establish a modified free trade zone in the Mediterranean, and Mideast.

    Reform internal Israeli institutions, particularly punishing all forms of bribery for social services and permits.

    Reform the structure of the courts, to emphasize precedent in law, giving the Supreme Court the authority to determine consistency with fundamental law, that applies downstream, not only case by case.

    Encourage Arab parties’ participation in Knesset coalitions. Give them something to show for it.

    Negotiate approximately 67 borders with Palestine, Syria, Lebanon.

  20. Ah yes.
    There are other wealthy Jews supporting groups that are alternative to AIPAC.
    The problem is that Saban has poured alot of cash into the Democratic Party superstructure, as well as aquiring much influence with Hillary.
    Adelson on the other side has great influence with the Repubs and even some Dems…
    And we know Adelson is also working hard IN ISRAEL,spending alot on media, to push his fascist line on settlements..
    Problem is both Left and Right trends have unity around supporting Israel’s “security”…..lets say for example the unwillingness to allow Iran a nuclear weapon..or more probably that Iran become, thru application of nuclear technology, a rival hegomonic power..
    Spicing all this is the appeal to the racist view that “Islamic Fascim” threatens Israel and all Jews? What is that but Israeli chauvinism disguised as “defense of the fatherland”.
    By the way. Pearlman what is your hobby? To hunt down “antisemites”? Can you please argue your points with evidence and logic rather than innuendo and sophisim? Have you ever thought that maybe your cause would be strengthened by lively debate. Even with someone like Martillo?
    Why don’t you challenge him to debate and post it on Weiss and this website..
    We would all learn from it..

  21. J-Street strikes me as strange. Since there are mega-buck Jews who have views like theirs , why aren’t they as well funded as AIPAC? (Is it because Jews who have such views are really not interested in sinking their money into ANYTHING that has to do with Israel one way or the other?).
    Shmuel Rosner in Ha’aretz shows that the poll J-Street released which claims to show the “majority” of American Jews support their positions used extremely long and convoluted questions to try to skew the results in their ideological direction, even though in the end, the results were pretty “Right-wing” in spite of their best efforts….for example a majority opposes turning over control of eastern Jerusalem to the Palestinians. Also, their claim that a “majority” wants American pressure to force an agreement doesn’t necessarily mean they want pressure to force Israel to give up its important interests and to damage its security.

    Here’s the link:

  22. HL,
    “Problem is both Left and Right trends have unity around supporting Israel’s “security”…..lets say for example the unwillingness to allow Iran a nuclear weapon..or more probably that Iran become, thru application of nuclear technology, a rival hegomonic power..”

    There are distinctions between left and right, but it seems like no distinction would be distinct enough for you. Check out both J Street and Americans for Peace Now on Iran, and you will see that both have joined the general, progressive mobilization to stop the Ackerman-Pense resolution that many interpret as a call for a blockade of Iran. They and a few other smaller groups have not joined in the hysteria about Iranian nukes.

    That said, yes, there is concern on both the Jewish left and right for “Israel’s security.” The difference is that our side has a different definition of Israel’s security than our counterparts on the right. The way you have phrased it, however, indicates that only a complete lack of concern for Israel’s security would please you. Do I have that right? Do we not have your permision to worry, even a teeny little bit, about the safety of people in Israel?

  23. Ah Dan,
    A gentle appeal to absurdity is still an appeal to absurdity. No you don’t have my permission to use Israel’s security as an excuse for backing Obama’s good-cop/bad cop strategy of confronting Iran..
    The Ackerman-Pense opposition will lessen when Obama uses the carrot and stick approach.
    Which begs the question: What is wrong with Iran having a nuke? It threatens Israel’s existance?
    Iran will attack using nukes? That’s silly.
    But it might discourage immigration of Jews to Israel. And most importantly,make it harder to transfer,(read:ethnically cleanse) the Palestinians.
    So let me ask you right up front: If Iran will not back down, even after Obama’s sweet talking,
    is it ok with you, to attack them militarily?
    You know, a fist in a glove, is still a fist..

  24. HL,

    This will have to be last comment for awhile, I’m afraid.

    You asked 2 different questions.

    What is wrong with Iran having a nuke? Ask the Arab and other Persian states, or the EU. They are also very worried about it and they are not controlled by an Israel lobby or Jewish billionaires. Why are they worried? The nukes would almost certainly cause an arms race in the Persian Gulf. None of those Persian Gulf leaders are afraid that Israel will use nuclear weapons; they are not so sure about the current Iranian regime.The same international left that has always fought against the nuclear weaponization of the world because of escalating arms races is willing to give Iran a free pass. Very strange, but, I guess, predictable.

    Also, the protection of a nuclear umbrella would enhance Iran’s ability to be even more venturesome and dangerously meddlesome beyond its borders. This is not a country controlled by very nice people. The far left somehow refuses to acknowledge that. Maybe funds and weapons flowing into Hizbollah and terror cells and Shiite soldiers killing Americans in Iraq don’t bother the left; they very much bother me. This kind of behavior is more likely with an Iran armed with nuclear weapons, as the likelihood of other countries deterring it would dramatically diminish. You yourself said it would “make it harder” for Israel to transfer Palestinians. So your logic is the same as the logic I just used. It just doesn’t work when applied to Israel, because it is already armed to the teeth, but it applies to other nations in the Middle East, which would be far more vulnerable to Iranian interventions.

    And yes, there is a very very slim chance that in a moment of recklessness, the weapons could be used against Israel. Some say it is not in American’s “interests” to care about what happens to Israel. I think America has a moral interest in protecting Israeli Jews and Arab citizens of Israel and Palestinians, as well as Iranians, from being incinerated, just as it has a moral interest in ending the agonies of Palestinians under occupation.

    Your second question is would it be ok to attack them militarily? I am with Martin Van Crevald of the Hebrew University and other Israelis who say living with a nuclear Iran is probably better than living in the world that would result if it were attacked. So don’t be frightened of me.

    See ya.

  25. Y. Ben-David
    Rosner’s article is highly polemical. Does his critique give you the impression he is very interested in the survey or knows the basics of empirical sciences?

    True the standard line of thought is that questions have to be short and unambiguous: every person MUST understand the same. Some people are less intelligent.

    Have you read the survey data? Would you fall asleep reading the question. Would you be unable to understand it? Do you think there is a high risk different people will read and/or understand the question differently?

    If you read the whole survey data–or all questions leading up to the “long questions” –what does the question feel like to you? Why could they–after a series of shorter questions leading up to these–use a more detailed question here?

    survey data, decide for yourself:
    survey data


    Bill Pearlman

    You should stop to push Charles Keating more and more into the arms of Joachim. Your attack on him via his Jewish wife is revolting. Her choice is none of your business and that she choose him to hurt her parents is pure speculation. We all know your chauvinism.

    Peter D

    I made the same experience with Joachim. When I offered him to continue an exchange that was too much off topic–it felt–he ignored to contact me. As attempts to contact him either produced error messages or went unanswered.

    He is not really interested in dialog, which makes me wonder. Were I him, I would be very interested in people pointing out errors. We are all human, after all. …

  26. Leandor,
    A request. Can you keep the discussion that occurs on Mondoweiss there?

    Bill Pearlman commenting on mondoweiss is a different one than occurs here.

  27. Don’t worry Richard. I am definitively gone for a longer time now. At least in the comment sections.

  28. Richard, what makes you think that “Bill Pearlman commenting on
    mondoweiss is a different one than occurs here”
    ? In his words
    (comment #7 above):

    “I only post comments over there [Mondoweiss] because I get a little
    bored sometimes and it’s fun.”

    If you are trying to imply that Pearlman on Mondoweiss is somehow
    deliberately nastier than he is here, well, I consider anyone saying
    “Phil Weiss is a Jewish anti-semite and we all know that they are the
    worse kind”
    pretty nasty.

    Dan, I tried to post this comment several times from work but it looks like I’m being blocked from my work computer’s IP. Can you check whether I wound up in your spam filters?

  29. Its more responsible to address posts where they originate, rather than bring a brawl to someone else’s living room.

    I think Phil’s comments though deserve scrutiny here.

    I am angry at Phil that he privately and publicly dismisses the effects of his editorial powers (choice of headlines, tone of arguments, selection of material to present).

    I don’t think he realizes what he is doing, literally inspiring those that hate, unnecessarily condemning good efforts, and insulting his family and friends.

    For example, if he thinks that J Street isn’t doing enough, or assertively enough, rather than urge them to make their points more effectively, he’s often condemning them. (The difference between criticism and condemnation.)

    And, without proposal, and without reviewing the silhouette that gets created by solely “critical review”.

    I find it irresponsible to not proceed to proposal, to only ridicule.

  30. Peter, I should have clarified a little. I don’t consider saying Phil Weiss is a Jewish anti-semite anything but a factual statement. You want to think that that’s nasty go ahead. However, the difference between Fleshler’s blog and Weiss is this. While I don’t agree with him he doesn’t want to see Israel destroyed and replaced by Hamasstan. Phil Weiss does. And on the whole he attracts a more rational class of commentators. Phil Weiss is excedingly popular with out and out jew hating, holocaust denying, no bones about it anti-semites who are absolutely convinced that there is a Jewish conspiracy that runs America and the world.

  31. Re: Phil.

    I don’t know the guy. I guess Dan and Richard do. But, Richard, I suspect he does “know what he is doing.” At a certain point, when so many right wing and left wing nut jobs comment on his site about the JEWS, he must know that he is attracting people whom he would never invite to a dinner party with his lefty liberal friends. So, I smell a writer who either has or is gunning for a book contract, and he’s probably going to go on and on about his quest to come to terms with his Jewish self, his assimilated American self, and his hatred of Israel. And he’s probably going to dip into a lot of these blog entries, so he doesn’t have to work very hard…So a lot of this is marketing, the invention of a persona. Could he be the Steven Colbert of Jewish Jew-bashers? I wouldn’t be surprised…

  32. Bill, Weiss is not too sure of what should happen in Israel/Palestine and he repeatedly emphasized it. His main concern is the crisis of Jewish identity in America in the wake of the Iraq war. He does post some Israel-related posts and sometimes a few of those seem a bit out of place on his blog in the light of its main topic, but I don’t see this as something to lament: to be fair, pro-Israeli point-of-view does overwhelm the mainstream media, so, a bit of a pull from the other side is welcome, I think.
    Saying that he is an antisemite is a hate speech and factually wrong. I challenge you to find even one example of him saying anything that would qualify him so. You seem to project the attitude of some of his commenters (what Richard likes to call “the posse”) onto him and this is wrong and unjustified. Speaking of his commenters: yes, some of them are hard to stomach. Yet, I prefer: a) to confront them when I have a good point and I think had a couple of if not successes then at least not failures to drive my point through; b) to hear what some people in the US really think about the Jews and the Jewish question; I have never met antisemitism in the US but I realize that my experience is very limited for several reasons and to be exposed to the real state of affairs in some part of the US population – and I’d be really interested to know how big this part is – is enlightening and helpful: as they say, know thy enemy. Sometimes even these guys have a point – taken out of context or misrepresented, but a point nonetheless.
    One thing I totally agree with Weiss is that cover-up will almost always exacerbate the original offense, so, making the issues a public domain and a subject for an open discussion is better than stifling the debate. If there is a soul-search necessary in the US Jewish community – which I believe there is – then we better not keep it under covers. Sooner of later all secrets get exposed; keeping secrets, on the other hand, only breeds conspiracy theories.
    Bill, I read some of your comments and, as I said before, I did not like them. If you are indeed the Sword of Gideon on Mondoweiss, then I’d have some even harsher words for you.

  33. Teddy, I took the liberty of editing your last comment (#35) and deleting the corrections. Philip Weiss as the “Steven Colbert of Jewish Jew-bashers” is a brilliant line, even if it is too harsh on Phil. I am pretty sure he believes what he writes, when he writes it.

  34. Teddy,
    Phil is aware of the fascisti following that he has.

    He minimizes their importance.

    He claims that Jews are not in danger, that the social norm is repulsion at violent or verbal anti-semitism, and that Jews are an accepted part of the mainstream community in the US, and that that status differs from the historical American anti-semitism, and European.

    I agree with what he saying to an extent. But, I see it as parallel to federal government officials stating in 2001, that tax cuts were possible because the ‘federal government will never again be in severe deficit’ (not a quote of anyone).

    The point is that things change, and more specifically that the factors that make things change are often considered innocuous originally, but are really significant and predictable.

    For example, if the concept that “Jews are a subversive community” becomes assumed, on the basis of the Walt/Mearsheimer or Buchanan main thesis that Jews distort rational American foreign policy (they didn’t use that language overtly, but others do for the same phenomena) out of “dual loyalty”, that prospectively becomes an accepted rationale for suppression.

    In 1928 in Germany, a state under growing economic stress, a coalition of liberal parties controlled the legislature. “Gradually” (I forgot what year) that coalition lost power to a coalition of conservative parties. “Gradually” the nazis came to be the predominant party in the conservative coalition, and Hitler won the chancellorship (in a coalition). “Gradually”, the nazis purged the coalition, disbanded the legislature and assumed dictatorial powers.

    That was a “gradual” transition of 6 years. From liberal majority, with patriotic assimilated Jews prominent in that liberal majority, to dictatorship and very shortly severe persecution and genocide.

    What shifts? First associations, assumptions.

    Phil evokes the civil. But those that quote him, speak in the name of the vicious. And, he does know it.

    The most pernicious efforts are the ideological ones that imprint the underlying associations that allow a leftist or fascist to condemn (and in generalization) rather than analyze and weigh.

  35. I essentially agree with your point that it is useful to have counter-pressure against the AIPAC types from within the Jewish community. On the other hand, you prove Phil right in your use of racist rhetoric. For example, referring to the conflict as “Arab-Israeli.” They are called Palestinians. Only Jews who believe in expropriating Palestinian land refer to Palestinians as “Arabs.” It’s meant to imply that the Palestinians are not native to Palestine. It’s a stupid argument, since property rights are property rights. Even though I was born in Michigan, no Jew has the right to throw me out of my home in Boston. Secondly, you referred flippantly to a “united” Jerusalem “or not.” “United” is Zion-speak for “Jews Only.” It doesn’t mean united, it means exclusive. United normally means it would be everyone’s! When Jews use the word, “united” clearly means support for ethnic cleansing the Palestinian residents. So you can’t get any more racist that that type of rhetoric you are using. There isn’t any essential difference between an AIPAC Jew and a “nice” Jew. They all think they have rights over other people.

  36. Karin Friedemann-

    Of course there is an “Arab-Israeli” conflict. The Arabs define themselves as an “umma”-a people. Nasser said an Arab is someone who speaks Arabic and is immersed in Arabic culture. There is a body called “The Arab League”. Almost all the Arab countries are in a state of war with Israel, and neither the two whom have signed formal “peace agreements” with Israel (Egypt and Jordan) grants Israel any legitimacy in their official, state-controlled media (the “peace agreements” are presented as temporary cease-fires which will be honored as long as it is in the interests of their governments to do so-this is particularly true of Egypt). FATAH’s charter says the Palestinians are in integral part of the Arab “umma”.
    I don’t want to get into the argument of whether there is a distinctive, national identity called “Palestinian”. On the one hand, before 1948 the Palestinians totally rejected the term, saying they were “Arabs who lived in southern Syria”… the term “Palestinian” meant “Jew”. On the other hand, they do call themselves “Palestinians” today.

    Regarding “united Jerusalem”, one has to look at what are the realistic options. One is the current situation of Israeli political control of the city. Arabs have the right to vote for the city council, which they refuse to do, and the right to become Israeli citizens, which most have rejected. Thus, if they feel they are not represented in municipal affairs, that is their choice. Of course, Israel needs to do a lot more to improve conditions in the Arab part of the city (“right-winger Likudnik” Moshe Arens wrote about that this week in Ha’aretz).
    Under the current situation there is free movement of Arab and Jewish citizens in the city and of tourists.
    What is the alternative?
    Putting Arab parts of Jerusalem under Palestinian control will INEVITABLY mean gunmen taking over the areas bordering Jewish areas and firing into them (this is what happened when Israel pulled out of Bethelehem-gunmen fired into the Gilo neighborhood, ruining the lives of both Jews AND Arabs). Assuming there isn’t a total disconnect as their was before 1967 there will still be an end to free movement, checkpoints will be put up in the middle of the city, people will have long waits to cross from one side to the other and Arab economic opportunities in the Jewish areas will be hard hit. They will meanwhile be forced to live under corrupt Palestinian Authority rule. That is why most Jerusalem Arabs, as much as they don’t like Israel, don’t want to see the city divided (Meron Benveniste has confirmed this is Ha’aretz).

  37. Karin,

    “Arab-Israeli” is pretty much understood by about, oh, 500 million people or so to refer to more than just Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. I presume Dan was not referring only to the Palestinians, but to all of the countries that are still in a state of war with Israel. Calling someone a “racist” because you haven’t a clue about what he is talking about is rather pathetic.

    Dan, and many others who comment this blog, is clearly for dividing Jerusalem and making it the capital of two states. What in the world are you talking about? He was not advocating a “united Jerusalem” in the sense that you mean. He was referring to Philip Weiss’ characterization of J Street’s position. Calling someone a “racist” because you haven’t taken the trouble to understand his positions is even more pathetic than outright ignorance.

    Finally, I am going to put the following sentence on my wall as an example of appalling, apparently unwitting racism:

    “So you can’t get any more racist that that type of rhetoric you are using. There isn’t any essential difference between an AIPAC Jew and a “nice” Jew. They all think they have rights over other people.”

    You really belong on MondoWeiss. They would welcome ignorant generalizations like that.

  38. Teddy (and Dan),

    I am from the Boston area and recognize Karin Freidemann. She is, according to press reports, married to…Joachim Martillo! She is a well-known anti-Semitic fixture. I don’t know if “ignorance” is the proper adjective. It is too benign.

    See the piece in the attached about that esteemed couple:

  39. Mr Witty balks at Weiss’s fascist followers.
    Richard are you also upset that in Rome and London, the respective Jewish communities had little difficulty uniting with right wing reactionaires,and fascists to defeat the respective “left-wing” mayors whom they perceived as too soft on “Islamo-Facism”…
    And Rachel, please refrain from trying to win your arguments by labeling folks; “antisemite”,
    in case you didn’t know its called the fallacy of argumentum ad hominum…attacking the person and not the argument…

  40. HL,

    I almost never use the word “anti-Semite” and would generally agree with you. I think Teddy did a good job of responding to her arguments. What would you call the quote he cited if not anti-Semitism? Just Google this person and you will see that she has a clear track record.

    Let me put it another way. Is there anyone in the world whom you would characterize as anti-Semitic? Is there no one?

  41. J Street like AIPAC represents the opinions of those that fund it. It does not work to create an open discourse. It adds another voice to the existing Zionist discourse or makes an existing voice louder.

    Creating open debate is not a goal of J Street.

    If we had open discussion of ME policy in the USA, it would be as acceptable to discuss regime change, invasion and Zionist population removal (or transfer) with regard to Israel as it has been for Neocons to propose regime change, invasions and population transfer within Arabic or Muslim countries.

    Likewise, in the case of Iran, the US government would consider the possibility of limiting the alliance with Israel in order to achieve better relations with Iran by the same Realpolitik that Nixon and Kissinger applied to the PRC and the RoC.

    Before I switched to Physics, I was focused on Eastern European history and Jewish studies. I could write much more thorough historical analysis if I had more time to do so.

    On the issue of Russian anti-Semitism, I do not differ much from Columbia Professor Stanislawski except that I am reluctant to accept the position that treatment of Jews became anomalous under Alexader III because Russian Jews had become involved in an increasing amount of radicalism, terrorism, and assassination from the 1850s onward.

    I know that Tauger et al. claims there was no conscious government starvation of the Ukraine under Stalin, but his argument is flawed, and Tauger simply does not seem to understand agronomics well enough to be trustworthy in his conclusions.

    In computer network engineering I am Mr. Virtualization, for my business partner and I pioneered the concepts of virtual LANs, virtual LAN routing, and virtual private networking.

    As a consequence, I may be more willing to think in terms of virtualization than working political scientists, but limiting the concepts of colonial and imperial systems to organizations based in traditional national nation-states that have physical territories simply seems too restrictive when analyzing the “Israel Lobby.”

    As I argue from Introduction: The Virtual Colonial Motherland as Political Innovationonward (with far too many typos, the Zionist movement seems to consist primarily of a Zionist intelligentsia, which targets or mobilizes the Jewish political-economic elite and which treats the vast majority of Jews as a resource to be cultivated and not as a source of ideas or opinions that must be taken into account.

    From this starting point I develop the concepts of the Zionist Virtual Colonial Motherland and the Zionist Imperial system. I argue that as the Zionist Empire has evolved, it has rendered the USA a dependent and intimidated client state.

    I do not see much awareness until recently among Zionist intellectuals of the nature of the organization that they have brought into existence, but then Roman intellectuals really only became aware of “Roman-ness” or Romania in the fourth century CE.

    There is evidence that Daniel Pipes is thinking in these terms if only because he projects such an orginization onto Islamism (see Jewish Extremism at Harvard.)

    In the second videoclip Pipes talks about the Saudi nomenklatura as the mobilizing force among Islamists in analogy to the Soviet nomenklatura.

    It is a misrepresentation of the nature of the Soviet nomenklatura, and because Daniel Pipes’s father is Richard Pipes’s, I am fairly certain that Daniel Pipes is consciously lying about Islamic politics just as his father consciously lied about Soviet politics for years. (I took classes from Richard Pipes.)

    Philip Weiss has discussed father and son Neocon teams on his blog. The Pipeses are probably the most interesting in terms of Zionist mobilization and disinformatsia.

    Anyway, I have to admit that I am intermittently very busy, and often miss questions unless they are directly posted to me or put as comments on my blog. If Leander and Peter D. send me their concerns, I will try to address them.

    BTW, because Phil tends to focus on issues of American Jewish identity while I tend to look mostly at the effect of the Israel Lobby or Israel advocacy on American politics and society, we are probably less focused on Israel and foreign policy than other people, who discuss Zionism.

  42. BTW, umma does not really mean people. Qaum is closer to the idea of people in the tribal or voelkisch sense. Umma is more like community.

    Yehuda Ben-David is simply parroting standard Zionist propaganda. Palestinians certainly applied the term Palestinian to themselves politically as early as the 1890s, and I have found earlier non-political usages that were geographic and cultural.

    The description of the events in Beit Jalla (not Bethlehem) is a misrepresentation, and Palestinians did not vote in the municipal elections because Zionists would use such voting as an argument to legitimize Zionist rule.

    PA corruption is not the issue for Jerusalem Palestinians when they are reluctant to live under the PA.

    1. In terms of corruption the PA is an amateur by comparison with the much more professional Israeli government.

    2. The Israeli government would only concede pieces of E. Jerusalem to Palestinian rule.

    3. If E. Jerusalem were under the PA, Jerusalem Palestinians would be as subject to IDF rampages as other Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories are.

  43. And the comedy team of Martillo and Friedman are heard from. It’s like having vermin infest your house.

  44. It’s like having vermin infest your house.

    Perhaps the vermin aren’t who you think they are, Bill…

    As for Phil, I don’t think he really understands the nuances of American Jewish politics. He’s like an enthusiastic outsider who has great hopes that things might develop in a certain direction politically–& then when they don’t, he gets peeved. But of course his expectations weren’t realistic to begin with & of course he’ll be disappointed.

    J Street is doing exactly what it should be doing right now. To expect it to do more or be more radical or more “correct” in its political agenda is simply unrealistic. I’d rather it be effective than be ideologically pure.

    And Phil is no more an anti-Semite than Bill is a jack-booted fascist. You’re not, Bill, are you?? [wink, wink-nudge, nudge]

  45. Could someone please explain why the “Peace Camp” practically has a consensus to constantly defend and coddle Mondoweiss himself and somehow magically distance him from the types he attracts and their odious rhetoric as if their posts to his blog are just some jarring and unintended coincidence?

    Furthermore in a somewhat sympathetic defense, Richard Witty wrote

    “Phil does not know clearly what he supports or doesn’t…he knows what appalls him”

    Does that mean to say everything is emotional and that he is bereft of core beliefs and of philosophies and therefore is exempt from the discipline, consistency and intellectual honesty that such a commitment requires?

    If, for example, he insists on buddying up to types who write

    “There isn’t any essential difference between an AIPAC Jew and a “nice” Jew. They all think they have rights over other people”

    So he has an identity crisis, or he is too idealistic or regretfully full of other innocent foibles and therefore corroborates with the ideological sceptic tanks?

    The disheartening part is that as a teen and early twenty something I was enamored with rightist politics until I gradually realized it was a dead end and saw that the Peace Now-type ideology has a certain level-headed sophisitication that was necessary to really understand a situation.

    However, if more than one proponent of this “Peace Camp” ideology on the blogosphere feels compelled to defend Mondoweiss and dignify him with responses (even if in opposition) when he and his execrable comrades deserve to be ignored then I suspect that the supposed levelheadedness is quite compromised by political correctness gone awry.

  46. Zach, what on earth are you talking about here:

    Does that mean to say everything is emotional and that he is bereft of core beliefs and of philosophies and therefore is exempt from the discipline, consistency and intellectual honesty that such a commitment requires?

    Do you mean to say that the honest thing is to shut up if somebody shows up on your blog and mouths odious ideas? Note that you did not produce a Weiss quote but a quote from one of his posters. You could not find one quote that could be qualified as outrageous by Phil, so, you had to resort to smear by association?
    If you bemoan the people who comment there, why not produce a counter-mass of comments? Why is it only Witty (and I every once in a while) who tries to counterbalance them? If there were enough smart and eloquent people commenting there, it would have made a difference. I saw Richard Silverstein getting a nod from one of the more vocal of the posse once, for example.
    You are wrong: the honest thing for Phil is to do exactly what he thinks is right, without covering up and deferring to somebody’s feelings. Since he is not a blind ideologue, he can be reasoned with and convinced by sound arguments if he is in the wrong.
    Yous last point is totally befuddling: you get disillusioned with right-wing politics, become sympathetic to “Peace Now-type ideology” but then because some people whom you consider of “Peace Now-type ideology” defend somebody else (whoever he is) you get disillusioned with the ideology again??? Do you arrive at your ideas based on the ideas themselves or based on what some people who hold these ideas think of somebody?

  47. He is a long-time personal and family friend, and has the benefit of the doubt on that basis.

    I give my uncle the benefit of the doubt as well, even though he has often stated opinions that appall me.

  48. Ah, the great Richard Silverstein is heard from. The man who proudly fails the lynch test. Perhaps if Samir Kuntar had visited the Silverstein house in Seattle instead of Nahariya he might feel differently. Then again, he might not.

  49. And before you get your liberal knickers in an uproar that was a comment NOT some some sort of threat that you whip up in your own mind.

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