Sunday, July 25, 2010

Boycotting Israel. The idea is apparent, not abhorrent.


In this week's issue of Newsweek, Jacob Weisberg decides the best way to begin to advocate against the shunning of Israel by entertainers is to insult Meg Ryan. To show that he is fair and balanced, he then calls another performer who will not have concerts in Israel, Elvis Costello, a "thoughtful person". He ends the article by saying that both Ryan and Costello are hard to disassociate from Anti-Semitism.

Let's review. Mel Gibson equals Elvis Costello, much like David Duke equals Jimmy Carter. This is the position of "reasonable Jewish voices".

I don't like the "some of my best friends are _____" argument. It's been the last refuge of scoundrels since I was in knee pants. Yes, I have Jewish friends and cordial colleagues. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, for pity's sake. I have friends and cordial colleagues from Cameroon. Even a cyber-hermit like me gets out and about once in a while.

Weisberg's main argument is that Israel is a democracy and we shouldn't do this to democracies. I'm old enough to remember Orson Welles going on TV and saying similar things about South Africa back in the 1970s. As much as I like Orson Welles' work, this memory is not one that helps Weisberg's argument.

I also remember something my dear friend Mina Millett said. Mina was a good Catholic girl from Los Angeles who went to Boston to get her bachelor's degree at Brandeis. She made a lot of friends on campus. Making and keeping friends was Mina's strongest suit among a plethora of strong suits. She also saw Jewish culture up close and personal for the first time at Brandeis, and her lasting impression was that the religion and the culture it engendered was determined to keep all wounds and injustices of the past seven millenia daisy fresh.

Liberals aren't 100% behind Israel as they were in days gone by. The conservative movement has a few anti-Israeli discontents like Pat Buchanan, but there are many more evangelical Christians who are staunchly pro-Israel, and more precisely pro-Israeli expansionism. Many born-agains think these are the End Times, but their reading of the Bible says the borders of Israel must be defined far beyond the current borders so that Armageddon may commence.

Mr. Weisberg, you want to persuade non-Jews to follow your advice. Follow the advice of this non-Jew. Speak out against the Jews who take these idiots' money and smile. The Christian Right make no bones about the end of the story being Israel's destruction and the slaughter of all Jews who don't convert. Playing them for saps perpetrates the stereotype of Hebrew venality.

Back when Saturday Night Live was fresh and new, Al Franken and Tom Davis did a skit where Franken played a midwestern beauty pageant contestant and Davis the emcee. When the usually innocuous question came, Davis asked, "Do you think Jews control a disproportionate amount of this country's wealth?" Franken's beauty queen waited three beats and answered with a pasted on smile.

"Yes."

Guess what? I was a kid from California. The Jewish question was barely on my radar. There were Jews in my high school, but I really didn't think about it much. I thought, correctly, that Franken was making fun of the character he played, the knee jerk anti-Semite from the great unwashed middle of this country,

Guess what? I'm not a kid anymore. Jews control a disproportionate amount of this country's wealth, not to mention political power and control of influential industries. They are 2.4% of the U.S. population. There are more Jews here than in Israel, but are still dwarfed by the size of other ethnic minorities in our population. There are six times as many Latinos, five times as many blacks and twice as many Asians. Look at the representation in Congress, the lists of most influential publishers, the leaders in the movie and record industry and most of all, the financial services industry. I'm not saying Jews in America haven't worked hard to get where they are, but I'm also saying they benefited from a Semitic old boy network established to counteract an older established anti-Semitic old boy network.

In several important industries, the Jews won and won big. It's more than a little galling to hear Jews whine about how oppressed they are as a people, especially in the United States.

I will not compare Israel to Nazi Germany. The Nazis are unique and comparisons to them because of a few superficial similarities by any other government ever are dull and facile. I will compare the Israelis to the people who gave them the land, Great Britain. The Brits thought that land they stole was theirs fair and square, and were happy to punish entire populations of people for the actions of a few people among those populations, as they did in the American colonies, in Ireland and in India. It took centuries, but Great Britain no longer has political control in those places. That shit doesn't play anymore, and the sooner that "reasonable Jewish voices" like Mr. Weisberg realize that, the sooner there will be something like a real dialogue.

Mr. Weisberg, sneering at Meg Ryan, like the vilification of Jimmy Carter, does not score any points, except with people who give you money and want to see you either dead or wearing a cross.

Here endeth the lesson.

7 comments:

Zoey and Me said...

Excellent post. Thanks. Israel has been at war,killing their neighbors, for a long time and the U.S. pays a shitload for those kills. It's time the U.S. grew up. I pray daily.

Margaret Benbow said...

A brave post. Thank you.

no_slappz said...

matty boy,

Who knew you were an anti-Semite. Well, the cat's out of the bag now. Given your obvious antipathy, I'm a little surprised you followed your anti-Semitic rant with a post about Andy Borowitz, one of those Jews who controls a disproportionate amount of this country's humor.

You wrote:

Guess what? I'm not a kid anymore. Jews control a disproportionate amount of this country's wealth, not to mention political power and control of influential industries.

For a guy who claims to like numbers, you quickly fly off into the emotional haze when the subject is Jews.

They are 2.4% of the U.S. population.

Maybe you ought to perform a few calculations to see if Jewish wealth is strikingly out of proportion with population figures.

You know Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are NOT Jewish.

There are more Jews here than in Israel, but are still dwarfed by the size of other ethnic minorities in our population.

The best estimates suggest about 6 million Americans are Jewish. Meanwhile, there are about 5 million Jews in Israel, and only 15 million Jews on the entire planet.

There are six times as many Latinos, five times as many blacks and twice as many Asians.

What point are you making? The only obvious point is an exercise of your anti-Semitic sensibilities.

Look at the representation in Congress, the lists of most influential publishers, the leaders in the movie and record industry and most of all, the financial services industry.

It is one of the unique aspects of anti-Semitism contrasted with other forms of prejudice, that anti-Semites are disturbed by success of the group they dislike.

The usual forms of bias hang on the burdens caused by the unloved group. On that score blacks take the gold medal in every way. Murder, violence, social pathologies, academic underachievement. You name it.

On the other hand, Jews seem to have a knack for winning Nobel Prizes, most notably in the sciences, economics and a sprinkling in literature.

However, considering the writers who have been rejected, the award for Literature looks a little like a wild card.

You really take the cake with the following anti-Semitic classic:

I'm not saying Jews in America haven't worked hard to get where they are, but I'm also saying they benefited from a Semitic old boy network established to counteract an older established anti-Semitic old boy network.

So, if, as you believe, Jews have come to dominate America because they have helped each other, what's stopping blacks? If one group can do it, why not another?

In your view Jews were an underclass that rose to the top through some form of unity among Jews. Sounds simple the way you look at it.

In several important industries, the Jews won and won big. It's more than a little galling to hear Jews whine about how oppressed they are as a people, especially in the United States.

Oh. So you, who claims to have limited contact with Jews, believe the occasional Jewish complainer speaks for all Jews. Wow. Your anti-Semtism runs deep.

Have you got some data tallying the number of Jews complaining about oppression? Or have you let your imagination rule?

Something tells me there are Jews in the hierarchy of your college and you dislike them.

Matty Boy said...

Slappz, your math skills and logic skills are very weak. You make many wildly incorrect suppositions about my life based on paranoid reading of what I wrote. I'm not interested in discussing this with you because I don't think there is any chance of changing or opening your mind. You show no evidence of a having a mind, just defective and defensive collection of misfiring synapses.

no_slappz said...

matty boy, you wrote:

Slappz, your math skills and logic skills are very weak.

In fact, you are wrong. I did manage a 700 on my math SAT and do have a degree in mechanical engineering.

You make many wildly incorrect suppositions about my life based on paranoid reading of what I wrote.

You wrote what you wrote. Getting the point of your rant takes no special skill or unusual reading. Frankly, you're blind to your anti-Semitism.

I did not get into your totally uniformed views on Israel and the so-called Palestinians because you are clearly absent all knowledge on that topic.

I'm not interested in discussing this with you because I don't think there is any chance of changing or opening your mind.

Stated with all the conviction of the most ardent anti-Semite. In fact, you're the guy who needs some mind changing, but it seems you lack the self-awareness to understand this obvious fact.

dguzman said...

Oh fer cryin' out loud, Slappy is still around? I guess that's probably the biggest benefit of my lack of regular posting on my impeachment/dreamy bloggy: no Slappy.

Anyway, I think ALL military theocracies are WRONG -- that includes Israel and Iran, of all odd bedfellows, and could one day include the USA if certain tea-partiers have their way.

Matty Boy said...

Yes, he's still around, now doing his impression of Seinfeld's Uncle Leo. Even on blogs where you don't post regularly, your web traffic dwarfs the pathetic trickle (or is it treacle) of people he can attract to his blog.

He comes here hoping someone will read what he writes.