Saturday, October 06, 2007
Ottolenghi on Jewish Leftists
2. Best to indoctrinate them when they are young and helpless:
3. The British Lobby: http://hnn.us/blogs/comments/23227.html
4, Harvard law school expels star student for "holocaust denial"
CAMBRIDGE, Mass (AP)
What began as a minor citation in a scholarly work ended up causing Noor
Aljiem to be expelled from Harvard Law School. Aljiem, a third-year
student majoring in criminal law, submitted a paper that examined Nazi
travesties of criminal law, and received an .A. grade.
She was set to graduate Summa Cum Laude at the end of this semester, but
the university law school was forced to reconsider her status when
criminal law professor Alan Dershowitz criticized Njiem.s scholarship.
.She could have used any number of sources for her paper,. Dershowitz
explained, .but for some reason, one of her citations mentioned the book
Did Six Million Really Die? by imprisoned Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel..
.I admit there were misunderstandings,. Aljiem says. .But I did not
actually quote the book. I quoted a German legal reference that happened
to be cited in the book. Also, the citation was only one of three hundred
miscellaneous citations in my paper, and I was commended for the
thoroughness of my research. Furthermore the author of Did Six Million
Really Die? was not Ernst Zundel, but Richard Verrall, whose pen name was
Richard Harwood. Zundel merely helped Harwood to get the book published..
Saul Rubin, Dean of Harvard Law School, submitted the matter to an
academic review board. .The German legal reference was obscure, and Ms.
Njiem could have citied it directly, or through some other work,. Rubin
says. .That fact that her paper.s bibliography mentioned Zundel.s Did Six
Million Really Die? is indicative of carelessness or maliciousness. Either
way, we were forced to take Ms. Aljiem.s status under advisement..
A series of further misunderstandings ensued, at the end of which the
review board ruled against Aljiem. Harvard Law School was forced to revoke
her academic status, which had the effect of expelling her.
.Zundel.s book has been outlawed in Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
Israel, and most of mainland Europe,. Dershowitz explains. .To take a
hate-filled reference that has been outlawed in so many nations, and cite
it in a scholarly work, strikes me as more than a coincidence..
Aljiem, who is a Muslim, asked the law school if it would expel a student
for citing Salman Rushdie.s The Satanic Verses, which has been outlawed in
most Muslim nations..
They told me they would not, because Rushdie.s book does not deny the
Holocaust. They also objected to my use of a book that has been banned in
several countries. My position is that many banned books turn out later to
be literary classics. The Soviet Union banned Orwell.s novel 1984. England
banned Orwell.s Animal Farm, plus Adam Smith.s The Wealth of Nations.
America banned Harriet Beecher Stowe.s anti-slavery book Uncle Tom.s
Cabin. Iran banned Vladimir Nabokov.s novel Lolita. Is America the same as
.That.s a clever argument,. Dershowitz says, .but none of those books
killed six million people. Moreover, a book like Rushdies. Satanic Verses
merely questions theology and belief, while Zundel.s book is a hate-filled
assault on well-documented truth..
Aljiem submitted a formal apology, and offered to rewrite the paper
without the citation, but dean Saul Rubin said the review board.s decision
was final, and was out of his hands.
.I can see the board.s point,. Rubin explains. .When a person commits a
robbery, do we excuse her merely because she says she.s sorry? As an
aspiring criminal attorney, Ms. Aljiem surely realizes that all of us must
take personal responsibility for our actions.. After her expulsion, Aljiem
applied to other law schools in the hope of finishing her education, but
she says they all rejected her because of the incident at Harvard..Now I
have no way to pay back my school loans. Harvard wants to make an example
of me. They also want to separate Muslims from the rest of American
society by creating the illusion that only Muslims deserve to be attacked.
In reality, many people are attacked; not just Muslims. ..That.s a typical
blame-the-victim response,. Dershowitz says. .Whenever hate is exposed,
its perpetrators claim that their people are singled out as a group for
unfair treatment. This is only my opinion, but it seems to me that all
Muslims over-generalize, especially about Jews. Also, it is absurd for Ms.
Aljiem to claim that only Muslims are held accountable. Is Zundel, the
book.s author, a Muslim? We see this kind of illogic and selective memory
all the time. Frankly, I find it hypocritical.
.Aljiem plans to sue the university law school to reinstate her academic
status. Representing the law school will be a team led Alan Dershowitz,
who was not part of the review board.
The left among us like victimhood
In an essay published in the Jewish magazine Tikkun last January, Bertell
Ollman, one of the world's best-known Marxist theorists, recounted how,
on his way into the operating room, he realised that if he did not
survive his surgery, he would die a Jew. The prospect was so unsettling
that, once healed, he wrote his Letter of resignation from the Jewish
people. The reasons were Zionism, Israel, and the support its policies
enjoy from other Jews.
Ollman might yet reconsider, but for that to happen, Jews would have to
embrace his own version of Jewish identity. Paraphrasing a Lenny Bruce
joke, he said:
Noam Chomsky, Mordechai Vanunu and Edward Said are Jewish.
Elie Wiesel is goyish. So, too, all `Jewish' neo-cons.
Socialism and communism are Jewish. Sharon and Zionism are
very goyish. And, who knows, if this reading of Judaism were
to take hold, I may one day apply for readmission to the
Of Ollman's trinity, Chomsky is the only halachic Jew, but he qualifies
more for his anti-Israel venom than for his devotion to his ancestry's
traditions. Vanunu is a convert to Anglicanism and his alienation goes as
far as refusing to speak Hebrew, his mother tongue. Said was not Jewish,
though he was the darling of many anti-Zionist Jewish intellectuals.
So what makes Chomsky, Vanunu and Said "authentic" Jews, then? For
Ollman, it's their adherence to a political orthodoxy: being Jewish
equals being a certain type of progressive intellectual.
Ollman may sound outlandish. But he is not alone. Since the beginning of
the second intifada in September 2000, prominent Jews criticising Israel
have become louder and more assertive. Increasingly frequently, they feel
it is not enough to denounce Israel's policies publicly - they must do so
"as Jews". And going even further, they routinely renounce Israel itself
as part of their identity, and appeal to other Jews to do the same. In
some cases, despite the secularism of their proponents, these appeals
feature the salvation language of Christianity.
Israel's creation is dubbed "original sin", or derided as not exactly "an
immaculate conception". Jews, formerly "blinded" by the Zionist
narrative, should "see the truth" and forgo Zionism as a "redeeming" act
that will ensure "justice and reconciliation" with Palestinians. And so
What is behind this trend?
It started with Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm who suggested, long ago,
that Jewish identity need not include religion, language, culture,
tradition, historic background, kinship, or what he deemed "a certain
attitude toward the Jewish state". That doesn't leave much, other than
being part of the left.
The change was really spelled out, though, in late 2001, when the Italian
columnist Barbara Spinelli wrote that today's ultra-nationalist Israel
constitutes nothing less than a "scandal". And it is a scandal, above
all, for Jews themselves - since, as everyone knows, Jews are the
quintessential victims of modern nationalism (nationalism being, for
Spinelli as other likeminded intellectuals, virtually coterminous with
Nazism). It follows, then, that Jews everywhere have a special duty to
speak out against Israel, to apologise to its victims, and to do so
"If one thing is missing in Judaism," Spinelli wrote, "this is precisely
it: a mea culpa vis-a-vis the peoples and individuals who had to pay the
price of blood and exile to allow Israel to exist." She called upon world
Jewry to undertake such an act of contrition forthwith:
If the initiative does not come from Jerusalem then it should
start in the diaspora, where so many Jews live a double and
contradictory loyalty: to Israel, and to the state they
belong to and vote in. A solemn mea culpa, proclaimed from
the scattered communities in the West.
No one can accuse Jewish intellectuals of being deaf to these calls. For
the most part, those answering them have been not the long-term, all-out,
rabid haters of Israel, who need no excuse and waste no pieties in
reviling the Jewish state. Our heroes are of a somewhat different
complexion. Not only do they tend to speak more circumspectly but, with
whatever degree of disingenuousness, they cloak their hostility to Jewish
nationalism (ie Israel) in the mantle of solicitude for, precisely, the
good name of Jews and Judaism.
In the Guardian of August 8 2002, 45 Jewish signatories, in a widely
hailed act of public abjuration, repudiated their right of return to the
Jewish state on account of its allegedly racist policies. Since the
statement's original publication, over 80 more individuals from around
the world joined their ranks. One of the organisers subsequently
explained that what motivated him to act was the "pitiless violence" of
his "blood relatives", ie the Israeli people - the "violence", as he put
it, of the "traumatised former victim, clinging to past wounds from
generation unto generation". His goal was to save his fellow Jews from
In a similar vein, Israeli academic Bernard Avishai wrote a piece in 2005
entitled Saving Israel from itself - another Samaritan, no doubt. And
British-born historian Tony Judt, having chastised Israel for its
"immature" behaviour, has recommended that Israel "converts" - though he
stopped short of providing aspergillums.
The publicity given to this and similar initiatives by European Jews,
abetted in some cases by their Israeli counterparts, has been extensive.
There was tremendous excitement in Europe in 2002 over the declaration by
99 Israeli academics that their government was planning an imminent
"fully fledged ethnic cleansing" of the Palestinian people (a charge that
was not withdrawn when the atrocity failed to occur), and again over the
refusal of a few hundred Israeli army reservists to serve in the
There was even greater excitement when several European Jewish academics
turned up among the instigators of a movement to boycott Israeli academic
institutions, and yet again when Jewish politicians such as Gerald
Kaufman, Oona King and South Africa's Ronnie Kasrils called for the
boycott of Israeli commercial products. All three used similar rhetoric:
they were duty-bound, "as Jews", to denounce Israel. Kasrils, for
example, said that: "As a person who was born Jewish, I am morally
obliged to speak out against what is being done by the Zionist state of
Israel to the Palestinian people."
Many others have likewise seen it as their specifically Jewish duty to
denounce Israel. Shamai Leibowitz, an Israeli former tank commander,
explained his support for Israel divestment by saying that the call
"reflects true loyalty both to Israel's peaceful existence and to the
highest Jewish values".
And to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in January 2005, Anthony Lipmann
issued just the kind of mea culpa for which Spinelli called. The son of a
Holocaust survivor, albeit a convert to Christianity and an active member
of the Church of England, Lipmann was moved temporarily to reclaim his
patrimony. Writing in The Spectator under the title How I Became a Jew,
he averred that the "little band" of Holocaust survivors in Europe
has a terrible responsibility - to live well in the name of
those who did not live and to discourage the building of
walls and bulldozing of villages. Even more than this, they -
and all Jews - need to be the voice of conscience that will
prevent Israel from adopting the mantle of oppressor, and to
reject the label "antisemite" for those who speak out against
Israel's policies in the occupied territories.
Then there's Jacqueline Rose, an academic whose admiration for Edward
Said is inversely proportional to her knowledge of Zionist history. In
her book The Question of Zion (2005) - dedicated to Said - Rose undertook
to save Judaism itself from the curse of nationalism. "What is it," she
asks, "about the coming into being of this nation [Israel] and the
[Zionist] movement out of which it was born, that allowed it - and still
allows it - to shed the burdens of its own history, and so flagrantly to
Zionism, she concluded, has to be seen not as the fulfilment of an
age-old Jewish dream but as the out-and-out betrayal of Jewish history
and the Jewish heritage, an adoption of all that is, historically and
Can Judaism be saved? Yes, Rose and others assure us, but only by a
thorough-going renunciation of Zionism. As anti-Zionist polemicist
Michael Neumann writes, Jewish detractors of Israel such as Uri Avnery
and Noam Chomsky "are all Jewish. Their focus on Israel is no evidence of
double standards, but of where they feel their responsibilities lie."
For Neumann, as for Rose, these voices are needed more than ever today,
during the Jews' "dark night of the soul", as Rose calls it, because, in
Neumann's words, "Israel's current policies are themselves a threat to
Jews and Israelis everywhere".
That's why Jews must speak out against Israel, continues Neumann: "The
case for Jewish complicity [in Israel's crimes] seems much stronger than
the case for German complicity [in the Holocaust]. If many Jews spoke
out, it would have an enormous effect."
Presumably, by this Neumann means to imply that wartime Germans were
powerless victims of Hitler. Perhaps he'd go on to say, as it logically
follows, that they were just "obeying orders".
And so Jews line up to comply, as if condemning Israel in the public
square was a secular surrogate to the Vidui, or Yom Kippur confession. In
an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune, Oxford historian Avi Shlaim
justified his denunciation of Zionism by appealing to a faith he never
felt much connection to: "One of the greatest accolades in Judaism," he
instructed his readers, "is to be a rodef shalom, a seeker of peace."
That's why he sincerely believed that "Israel today is the real enemy of
Calls abound for Jews to repent, condemn Israel, hear the gospel of
anti-Zionism and convert to a new, exciting form of Judaism, based more
on Karl Marx and Rosa Luxembourg than Theodor Herzl and David Ben Gurion.
So is the rush to heed them. With antisemitism rising across Europe
alongside violence in the Middle East, Jews have been under pressure for
several years now. Instead of getting sympathy for the harassment they
are subjected to, Jews have earned only scorn for their refusal to
denounce Israel first.
That is the sad truth - one that anti-Zionist Jewish intellectuals, with
their demonising rhetoric against Israel and their patronising attitude
towards fellow Jews, have irresponsibly abetted. To shield themselves
from shame and abuse, Jews are asked to discard Israel from their own
collective identity. This step, and an active denunciation of Israel as
the antithesis of progressive and Jewish values (themselves, in this
vision, synonymous with one another), will gain them full acceptance.
Scores of Jews, especially among the progressive intellectuals, indeed
comply in public acts of mea culpa, thus lending an alibi to antisemites
and gentrifying anti-Jewish prejudice in the process.
A simple explanation is at hand for this: it is lonely, on the left, when
you step out of line. And the party line, when it comes to Israel and the
Jews, is that one can express a proud Jewish identity only through the
experience of suffering and victimisation from the past, which the
Holocaust has come to embody above all. The Jew as a victim and as a
witness of the quintessential, archetypal experience of suffering emerges
as the positive Jewish role-model, in sharp contrast to the pro-Israel or
even Zionist Jew, who is chastised for having betrayed both universal
values and what is seen as the authentic Jew. Again, to borrow from
Christian terminology, the Jew as the sacrificial lamb, the Agnus Dei, is
what we are being asked to be.
That's why so many Jews, spiteful of their faith and ashamed of Zionism's
accomplishments as a society which rejects the role of the victim, wish
Israel away. For them, it was so much better before Zionism, when we
could still say, with some self-righteousness, S'iz shver tsu zayn a Yid
- it is hard to be a Jew!
Emanuele Ottolenghi is the director of the Transatlantic Institute and
author of Autodafe: Europe, the Jews and Anti-Semitism
6. Pressuring Israel to Apologize for its Existence:
7. Gay Ramallah:
8. Israel.s Lord Haw-Haw denounces the "Israel Lobby":
9. Campus Crime:
10. Leftist Eugenics: