Jul 25, 2010

Mondoweiss: The new mixed-Jewish establishment


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The new mixed-Jewish establishment

Posted: 24 Jul 2010 07:58 AM PDT

From Mike Allen's Politico Playbook for this weekend:

--PEOPLE magazine: "Clinton is Methodist and Mezvinsky is Jewish, but it's unlikely either will convert, says a source, adding, 'It will be an interfaith ceremony.' …


--Anne Kornblut and Jon Cohen, in Napa. Campbell Brown is a bridesmaid, Dan Senor is doing the ketubah ceremony, Jessica Yellin will read a poem (sans teleprompter). Guests include Laura and Bill Burton, Stephanie Cutter, Sarah Feinberg, Todd Harris, Leibo and Russ Schriefer.

I'm out of it, so I searched the power people at second wedding. Cohen, the groom, is a Washington Post pollster. Kornblut is a reporter for the Post who I often see on MSNBC. Here she reports for the Post on her own wedding guest Sarah Feinberg-- very incestuous, huh?-- who was an aide to Rahm Emanuel (who by the way is Jewish and took a vacation in the Occupied Golan Heights recently) and is now at Bloomberg (which is owned by Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York, etc). Campbell Brown converted to Judaism to marry Dan Senor, the AIPAC apparatchik. Todd Harris is the Republican consultant on Chris Matthews all the time who strikes a neconnish tone re the Islamic world. Jessica Yellin is a CNN anchor; no data. Bill Burton is another Obama aide. So is Stephanie Cutter. Russ Schriefer, another political consultant on the right, son of a Long Island butcher, seems to have married up. His wife Nina Easton works at Fortune and was formerly married to Ron Brownstein, per Wikipedia. Seems that Nina is Episcopalian; but that's the point, there are plenty power goyim here too.

And I bet that with folks like Senor and Harris there, Zionism is written into the Kornblut-Cohen ketubah (formal agreement in Jewish weddings).

Though I bet the Clinton intermarriage will have its share of dinner-table fights about Zionism. NBC said that George Soros would play a part in the Clinton wedding; he's a liberal Zionist. But Marc Mezvinsky's uncle is the great Norton Mezvinsky, an anti-Zionist. And Chelsea's got to be hip...

Couldn't 'Commentary' go with the non-Zionist flow?

Posted: 24 Jul 2010 07:30 AM PDT

Scott McConnell at The American Conservative, on Commentary Magazine's flirtation with non-Zionism. I love the Sam Francis quote about neocons' hidden agenda to embroil the U.S. in perpetual war. Of course the neocons would say there's no difference in national interests, a useful self-delusion:

Commentary had not always been dogmatically Zionist: in its early days, it had run such leading dovish intellectuals from Palestine as Uri Avnery. In 1946, Hannah Arendt assessed Theodor Herzl's legacy 50 years after the publication of The Jewish State. She found the Zionist idea flawed: there was no country to be had without displacing the original inhabitants, and such a state would not end anti-Semitism in the world. Four years later, Clement Greenberg wrote that if Jews could survive only by becoming aggressive nationalists, they would have lost justification for persisting as a group.

Anti-Zionism receded after Israel's founding, in the magazine and beyond. Commentary devoted little space to Israel before 1967. By the 1980s, however, Podhoretz could be counted on to slam critics of Israel as anti-Semitic. By the 1990s, advocacy for Israel and alarmist pieces about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction were Commentary staples.

To his credit, [author Benjamin] Balint treats the debates swirling about the magazine in the age of 9/11 with considerable dispassion. He claims it is a "canard" that neocons cared more for Israel than the U.S., but quotes without sneering many of those who make the charge. In his epilogue, he adds this assessment from the late paleoconservative essayist Sam Francis: "What neoconservatives have done is to design an ideology ... that offers ostensible and plausible rationalizations for the perpetual war in which Israel and its agents of influence in the U.S. government and media seek to embroil the United States (and which all too many American conservatives, out of a foolishly misplaced patriotism, are eager to support) without explicitly invoking the needs and interests of Israel itself."

Israel destroyed the USS Liberty, OK. But what was the motive?

Posted: 24 Jul 2010 07:24 AM PDT

The USS Liberty is in the news. A former Navy signalman on the spy ship bombed to hell by the Israelis in 1967 was on the Gaza freedom flotilla, and John Mearsheimer has argued that the Liberty case shows that when the Israelis kill Americans, nothing happens. (Mearsheimer also cited Rachel Corrie's killing in Rafah in 2003 and Furkan Dogan's killing on the Mavi Marmara on May 31).

I like the Liberty story because it's so grotesque: 34 Americans killed and dozens wounded in daylight on the Mediterranean during the Six-Day War in a savage and repeated attack on an intelligence vessel. Officially described as a mistake, but few of the survivors believe it. Didn't the Israelis know what they were doing?

But if it was deliberate, what was the motive?

Lately I've been reading The Passionate Attachment, by the late former under secretary of State George W. Ball and his son Douglas Ball, and it argues that the Israelis were fearful that the U.S. would report on continued Israeli hostilities at a time when the U.N. had voted for a ceasefire. On June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the war, they say, Israel still wanted to conquer the Golan Heights.

"[T]he United Nations had adopted a cease-fire resolution and they [the Israelis] feared there might not be enough time to accomplish this objective without, as it were, going into overtime.

"The Liberty's presence and function were known to Israel's leaders. They presumably thought it vital that the Liberty be prevented from informing Washington of their intentions to violate any cease-fire before they had completed their occupation of the Golan. Their solution was brutal and direct. Israeli aircraft determined the exact location of the ship and undertook a combined air-naval attack...

[B]y permitting a cover-up of Israel's attack on the Liberty, President Johnson told the Israelis in effect that nothing they did would induce American politicians to refuse their bidding. From that time forth, the Israelis began to act as if they had an inalienable right to American aid and backing.

Yes I know: presumably. Still it's an interesting theory.

Smear tactics show that lobby is losing power in discourse

Posted: 24 Jul 2010 06:36 AM PDT

Yesterday Jeffrey Goldberg reached a fresh low, blaming Stephen Walt for the anti-Semitic emails that Goldberg gets. He titled his post, "Stephen Walt's Mailbag," then quoted a bunch of scabrous and anti-semitic emails that were actually in Goldberg's inbox.

Crazy. Andrew Sullivan points out that this is vicious guilt beyond even association. Daniel Luban says, shrewdly, "The fact that so many of Walt and Mearsheimer's enemies have descended into this sort of hysteria...[Goldberg lately went after Mearsheimer, too] has arguably been more helpful to their case than any number of endorsements of their position would have been."

Three years ago at Yivo Institute, Jeffrey Goldberg said that he would refuse to debate Walt and Mearsheimer. Now he is smearing them day after day.

I think the cause of this shift is obvious: Goldberg and his ilk are slowly being edged off the stage by Mearsheimer, Walt, and other critics of Israel. Early this week, Tablet labeled its piece on critics of Israel (notably Walt, Sullivan, Glenn Greenwald, and Jim Lobe) that inaugurated the smear season, "agents of influence." Right: we have influence in the discourse. Young people don't trust Jeffrey Goldberg as a guide. They're looking around, they're questioning the peace process and the idea of two states. It's just a matter of time before mainstream editors start trusting us, too. The New York Times' publication of Glenn Loury talking about Zionism and the Nakba and Robert Mackey talking sense about the flotilla is huge.

Goldberg has had a long run. Consider the fact that early on he seemed content to pursue a parochial career-- at the Jerusalem Post and the Forward-- then found a golden road opening before him because the mainstream (and yes, pro-Zionist media bosses) trusted Jewish race-men-- religious Zionists, like Goldberg. When he got to The New Yorker, it was said that he was editor David Remnick's id, willing to say stuff that Remnick wasn't going to say himself but wanted to hear. (Like bad information about Saddam's alleged ties to Al-Qaeda). Now Goldberg is just Goldberg's id, and the tantrums show he's losing power. 

Today, no problem

Posted: 24 Jul 2010 06:15 AM PDT

From Daniel Schorr's obit in the Times:

The Times offered him a job [in 1952] but suggested he return to the Netherlands for a few weeks while details were worked out. In early February 1953, that country was devastated by a severe storm, and Mr. Schorr's dispatches so impressed Murrow, one of the most respected broadcast journalists working then, that he cabled him--Mr. Schorr recalled the exact words more than a half-century later--asking, "Would you at all consider joining the staff of CBS News with an initial assignment in Washington?"

Mr. Schorr still preferred The Times, but when he didn't hear further, he inquired and learned that the offer had been withdrawn. As Mr. Schorr told the story, an editor later sheepishly explained that the paper was concerned that too many Jewish bylines might jeopardize its coverage of the Mideast.

I wonder if that's the whole story. The Times job was in New York; how would that affect the Middle East coverage? I wonder if the issue wasn't class/zeal; Schorr was the son of immigrants, and a Zionist, the Times's publisher was anti-Zionist. And of course today both Times correspondents in Jerusalem are Jewish and tend to imbibe the Israeli story...

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