Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Speaking of Ponzi Schemes:
territories of the Israeli Left, are strongly opposed to any rhetorical
metaphors from Jewish history. They would get downright upset if someone
were to compare Palestinian atrocities against Jews to Nazi crimes. They
think it is insensitive to compare Islamofascism to fascism, or even to
use the term "Islamofascism." They certainly reject any comparison
between terrorist crimes and pogroms. They reject any comparison between
today's anti-Zionists and traditional anti-Semites. Anti-Israel rallies
must never be compared with Nuremberg rallies. And so on.
Over the past week or so, the Israeli media are suddenly filled with the
terms "pogroms," anti-Semitic violence," "racist attacks," and similar
terms. No, not with respect to the terror attack in Mumbai, but with
respect to the behavior of "settlers."
Last week, Jewish settlers were forcibly evicted from a house they legally
owned in Hebron. The eviction itself was outrageous and was wanton
anti-Jewish discrimination. No Arabs ever get evicted from homes in
Hebron they legally own or illegally occupy. The idea that "Palestinian"
areas must be ethnically cleansed of Jews in order to achieve peace is
mindlessly stupid. If that is what is necessary to achieve "peace," then
war is preferable. This would not be peace in any form.
In response to the eviction, many Jews were angry and some misbehaved.
Groups of Jewish teenage hotheads threw rocks at Israeli soldiers and at
Hebron Arabs. Some wrote offensive graffiti on the walls and doors of
Arab homes. Others engaged in similar forms of mischief. No Arabs were
The media in Israel are almost unanimously referring to such behavior of
the Jewish teenagers as "settler pogroms against Arabs." Never mind that
no Arabs were killed and it is doubtful even that any were injured.
There were some injuries to Israeli soldiers and cops during the scuffling
in the eviction of the settlers, and there were also settlers injured.
Yet these are "pogroms" in the minds of the columnists and reporters of
the Israeli media. One almost wishes they could personally experience a
REAL pogrom some place, so that they would know the difference between
pogroms and teenage mischief.
The throwing of stones by settlers at Arabs was in large part a response
to decades during which the settlers have been the targets of stones and
worse hurled at them by Hebron Arabs.
The settlers themselves are dragging out old stories about police
"provocateurs" to explain away the bad behavior of the young Jews. There
is no evidence of any such thing. Not every story in the media about
misbehavior of Jews is incorrect. Such misbehavior discredits the Israeli
Right and helps keep the policies of the Left operating. There is no
excuse for angry Jewish hotheads raising their hands against Israeli
soldiers and police.
There is also no excuse for the open bias and perpetual political
self-recruitment of the Israeli media on behalf of the far Left. This
bias infects the entire media, which serves as a daily amen chorus for the
Take the now-famous cell phone photo of what is being touted as a Jewish
settler firing at close range at Hebron Arabs. The photo is blurred. One
sees a man, who might or might not be a Jew, holding out his arm, which
might or might not contain a gun, in the general direction of some other
people, who might or might not be Arabs. If indeed the photo is of a Jew
aiming a gun in the direction of Arabs, it well might be someone pointing
it at Arabs threatening him, to warn them off. The bottom line is that
there were no reports of Arabs getting killed in the days of violence
following the eviction of the settlers. So the media interpretation of
the blurred photo is fiction.
Or take the reports, repeated ad nauseum in the Israeli mainstream media,
about settlers throwing acid on soldiers and destroying a soldier's eye.
Such "acid throwing reports" appear regularly in the Israeli mainstream
media every time settlers are evicted by the police from anywhere.
Except the stories are fabrications. In a previous such "report," the
acid turned out to be laundry soap. In the "report" this week, an
independent reporter called all the area medical facilities and there were
no soldiers who had received medical treatment for an acid injury to an
eye in any of them. (Documentation was on israelnationalnews.com) In
other words, while settler claims that every case of violent behavior by
Jews is just a police provocation are false, so are most of the reports
about settlers injuring soldiers and police.
For decades, Jews living in the West Bank have been daily victims of Arab
violence. The mainstream media no longer reports such stories. They are
boring. Mundane. But when a Jew allegedly uses violence against Arabs,
it is news. But news whose facts do not need to be checked too
Dogs biting mailmen are not news. Mailmen biting dogs are.
My guess is that 97% of cases involving reported settler "violence"
against Arabs are fictional or consist of Jews shooting back or otherwise
defending themselves. The rest are mischief. The Israeli mainstream
media would have you believe that for decades innocent Palestinians in the
West Bank have been terrorized by Jewish settlers, who vandalize their
property and violently assault them without provocation. This is exactly
as accurate as representing SS officers in 1944 as being the innocent
victims of violent partisans assaulting them and abusing them for no
reason at all. The media regularly claim that settlers vandalize Arab
orchards. While I would not go so far as to insist that they never do so,
Arab vandalism against Jewish orchards and property is the non-newsworthy
rule, and Jewish vandalism is the occasional retaliation.
I unreservedly repudiate all violence used by Jewish settlers against
Israeli police and soldiers. The same media so upset by such behavior
studiously ignore the violence and hooliganism by leftist pro-terror
demonstrators, who enter the West Bank every week to try to vandalize the
security fence in order to make it easier for Arab terrorists to murder
Jews. THAT is not news. Not even when they injure soldiers and police.
2. The whole world is talking about Bernard Madoff, the con man who
ran a fund and managed to lose at least $50 billion of the wealth of his
clients, which include much of the Jewish world. Yeshiva University may
have lost its entire endowment. Jewish charity funds lost millions. The
Technion lost at least 6 million dollars there. The Elie Wiesel fund
lost. So did Steven Spielberg.
The YNETnews.com web site run by Yediot Ahronot decided to interview a
representative of Jewish charity funds in the US about the scandal. They
chose a rep from the anti-Israel New Israel Fund.
Naw, the Israeli media are not biased.
Meanwhile, the media all over the world are reporting this as the world's
largest Ponzi scheme or pyramid con. It is not. The Israeli bank share
scandal of the 1980s was probably larger in inflation-adjusted dollars and
certainly much larger as a proportion of the Israeli economy, compared to
Madoff's scam relative to the US economy. It was larger than the recent
pyramid scheme in Columbia, south America, which paralyzed the country.
It was larger than the pyramid schemes that rabaged Albania, Russia, and
Israelis are still paying for the 1980s bank share Ponzi con. And not
just in cash. That bank share scandal discredited the Likud and
reinstated the Labor Party as a credible governing alternative. Labor had
been largely discredited after 1974, thanks to the military fiasco in the
early stages of the Yom Kippur War. The 1980s bank share boondoggle
restored Labor to its "respectability," convinced lots of Israelis that
the Likud consists of incompetent boobs, which it generally does.
Indirectly the bank share Ponzi scheme, which operated under the noses of
the Likud government, caused Oslo. In 1983 the only people in all of
Israel unaware that a giant Ponzi scheme was operating were the Likud
Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Israel.
The Likud bears direct responsibility both for the 1980s bank share Ponzi
scheme and for its horrific political side effects. The Oslo dead are in
part the collateral damage of the Likud's own gigantic Ponzi scam.
3. Meet the junkie Pestilinians of Gaza:
Does Jewish anti-Semitism exist?
Dec. 11, 2008
BENJAMIN WEINTHAL and ALEX FEUERHERDT , THE JERUSALEM POST
Prof. Alvin H. Rosenfeld's 2007 essay "Progressive Jewish Thinking and the
New Anti-Semitism" triggered an international debate over a largely
neglected phenomenon: anti-Zionist Jews who are waging fierce polemical
and organizational campaigns against Israel's existence. Many of them
employ language that fulfills the criteria of both the European Union's
"working definition" of anti-Semitism and the US State Department's
definition of contemporary anti-Semitism.
Although such anti-Zionist Jews are a bizarre fringe group in the US,
England, Canada and Germany, they are, nonetheless, attracting growing
attention from mainstream media because of their support for campaigns to
boycott Israel and their comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany and the
former apartheid regime in South Africa.
In his carefully worded manifesto, Rosenfeld, director of the Institute of
Jewish Culture and Arts at Indiana University and a leading Holocaust
scholar, poses the pressing question: Are these "Progressive Jews"
contributing to the new anti-Semitism? Perhaps the most astonishing
achievement of his essay is the didactic purpose it serves for a
non-Jewish audience. Charges of anti-Semitism and vulgar anti-Zionism
among Jews have been written off by non-Jews as an internecine Jewish
matter. However, major German and European media outlets, as well as
university forums and politicians, which seem unable to resist the
temptation to offer a bully pulpit to hard-core anti-Zionist Jews, could
benefit from a sober reading of Rosenfeld's essay. A vicarious need among
many German journalists to vent anti-Israeli hostility through
anti-Zionist Jews, who inoculate the press from the charge of Jew hatred
because of their Jewish backgrounds, helps to explain the staying power of
this unsavory phenomenon.
Rosenfeld's essay has been translated into German and his ideas have been
discussed, attacked and praised in a number of German newspapers. The
ongoing legal dispute between the German-Jewish journalist Henryk M.
Broder and Evelyn Hecht-Galinski over whether Hecht-Galinski is a Jewish
anti-Semite jolted the German media.The recent release of the media
watchdog organization CAMERA's book, Israel's Jewish Defamers: The Media
Dimension (2008), which includes a new essay by Rosenfeld, adds more
insight into "the Jewish Jew-haters."
Professor Rosenfeld, is there Jewish anti-Semitism? Isn't that a
contradiction in terms?
On the face of it, Jewish anti-Semitism does sound like a contradiction in
terms, but unfortunately the phenomenon exists and has a long history.
Some even claim to find reference to it as far back as the Bible and
interpret a verse such as Isaiah 49:17 as an example: "Your destroyers and
they that make you waste will come forth from among you." Isaiah was a
farsighted prophet, and while I claim no direct line of continuity between
ancient and medieval Jewish enemies of the Jews and the people that Henryk
M. Broder has rightly been exposing as implacably anti-Zionist and
anti-Semitic, some of the parallels are chilling.
Jewish intellectuals like Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky and Alfred Grosser
strongly deny being anti-Semites. They claim they are simply formulating
severe critiques of Israeli policy that have nothing to do with
anti-Semitism. What do you think of that claim?
In and of itself, criticism of Israeli politics and actions need not be
anti-Semitic. Like all countries, Israel is far from perfect and should
not be exempt from criticism, even sharp criticism. But too often what
passes as criticism of Israel is no more than a code term, or rhetorical
cover, for what is sometimes transparently a form of verbal aggression -
an impassioned denunciation or vilification of the state itself and even
its right to continued existence. If one attends carefully to the language
of some of the people you name, one finds that it has an edge to it - an
extra note of enthusiasm, anger, bitterness: an overwrought quality - that
goes well beyond what one normally thinks of as political commentary or
criticism. Something perverse is going on here, something that one almost
never finds when critics turn their sights on other countries, unless that
country happens to be America.
The current legal dispute between Broder and Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, the
daughter of Heinz Galinski [former head of the Central Council of Jews in
Germany and the Berlin Jewish Community] caused widespread media attention
in Germany. Hecht-Galinski equates Israeli policies with Nazi Germany and
argues that a "Jewish-Israel lobby with an active network extends around
the world and, thanks to America, its power has become great." Do you view
Hecht-Galinski's statements as anti-Semitic? And what is her motivation
for waging a campaign against Israel in the German media?
I don't know Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, so I have no idea what motivates her.
What I do know is that anytime I come across someone who draws links
between Israel and Nazi Germany, I become more than just a little uneasy.
And when such bogus links are made by commentators within Germany, then
it's time to pay special attention and ask what in the world is going on.
For these analogies are not only without foundation by the facts of the
real world but manifestly foul, clear expressions of bad faith or
When such people also allege a concerted effort by a "Jewish" or "Israeli"
lobby to exert control around the world, then the game is up. Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad just spouted this despicable stuff, which could have been
taken right out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, before a large
gathering at the United Nations. Remarkably, he received sustained
applause for it. Had they been in this audience, would Hecht-Galinski,
Grosser, Judt and Chomsky have joined in the hearty reception for the
vicious words of the Iranian president or walked out on him?
I would be heartened to read of their disapproval, but to date have seen
nothing by any of them that expresses contempt for this horrific assault.
And yet to just let it pass, as if it doesn't matter, is dismaying, and a
sign that the most extreme anti-Semitic rhetoric no longer registers as
serious or somehow is viewed as acceptable. That's a deeply worrisome
development, abetted by some of the aggressive words of anti-Zionist
When does criticism of Israel become anti-Semitic?
Natan Sharansky's "three Ds" test applies here: Whenever so-called
criticism of Israel demonizes or delegitimizes the Jewish state or holds
it to a double standard in passing judgment on it, we have crossed a line
that distinguishes legitimate criticism from anti-Semitism. There are
other measures as well, but Sharansky's are surely apt.
The European Union has had a working definition of Anti-Semitism since
2005. The US State Department's definition mirrors the EU definition. The
American historian Jeffrey Herf commented that "the State Department
definition is okay, but I would add that the most dangerous form of
anti-Semitism accuses Jews of waging wars with the intent to exterminate
others. This was the central Nazi accusation and key justification for
mass murder. Related to it is the accusation that Jews have seized control
of a nation's foreign policy and led it to war against its own national
interests. The accusation that an Israel lobby was responsible for the war
in Iraq is of that sort." How do you view the definitions? And is Herf's
The EU's working definition is helpful, as is the US State Department's
which resembles it closely, but neither is exhaustive. Herf's additions
focus on some current, concrete examples that are justified and help to
drive home the reality of a resurgent anti-Semitism.
In your essay "Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism," you
write: "The extreme anti-Zionism is not driven by anything remotely like
reasoned historical analysis, but rather by a complex tangle of
psychological as well as political motives that subvert reason and replace
it with something akin to hysteria." What political and psychological
motives do you mean?
The political motives behind present-day hostility to Jews and the Jewish
state spring from both right-wing and left-wing circles, but on the
intellectual level, most of it is situated among people who identify with
the Left. To proclaim oneself an anti-Zionist today is to seek validation
as a member in good standing of so-called progressive opinion. To my mind,
such gestures illustrate nothing much more than the ritualistic aspects of
a weak political identity and point up the poverty of much of what passes
today as "progressive" thought.
As for the emotional content or psychological motives at work here, that's
complex and cannot be adequately covered in a brief interview. Sander
Gilman has analyzed some of this complexity in his major study of Jewish
self-hatred. Theodor Lessing's earlier study exemplifies as well as
clarifies some of the mental/emotional turbulence at play.
In your essay you do not address Jewish self-hatred. Does the phenomenon
exist? And if so, how do you asses it?
You are right, I don't deal with Jewish self-hatred in that essay, and not
because I am skeptical about its existence. Sadly, it does exist,
especially among Jews who are beset by a disturbed or deeply conflicted
Jewish identity. Gilman's book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to
Let me just say this much for now: No one who knows the Jews well would
mistake them for being a normal people. They are not. The Jews date back a
long time - we are now in the year 5769 - and in different ways see
themselves as part of a long, accomplished, but often difficult history.
Threatened with total annihilation by Nazi Germany and its allies just the
day before yesterday, as Jews count time, some Jews do not want to see
themselves or want to be seen by others within this line of descent.
Add to these anxieties and rejections the revival of Jewish national
sovereignty in the State of Israel after millennia of national political
disenfranchisement, and you can begin to see how complex Jewish identity
can be. It is impacted by numerous factors - family, community, country,
culture, history - some of which make Jews feel uneasy or inadequate or
embarrassed or vulnerable.
One way - not a healthy way - to deal with the tangle of pressures that
accompany such a multifaceted identity is to deny it altogether or turn
aggressively against it. When that happens, and especially when Jews
internalize the external charges against them and adopt the negative
stereotypes in which these charges crystallize, you get something like
Jewish self-hatred. Most Jews are not afflicted by it, but some are.
According to a 2007 BBC survey, three-quarters of all Germans have a
negative opinion of Israel. Surveys show that anti-Semitism is growing
steadily in Europe, not least among Muslim immigrants. Against this
background, how do Jewish intellectuals come to condemn Israel in such
Especially at a time when anti-Semitism is again having a voice in
segments of the European public, it's irresponsible for Jewish
intellectuals to say some of the extreme things some have been saying. And
it's especially objectionable when some of these same people - to name
just three: Grosser, Hecht-Galinski and Reuven Moscovitz - regularly
attack Israel in the name of Judaism or Jewish ethics or Jewish experience
during the Shoah. These critics of Israel need their own critics. I am
full of respect for Henryk Broder for taking them on and pointing out how
wrongheaded and reckless they can be. More power to him!
Many of the Israel-criticizing Jews claim that Israel's policies toward
Palestinians promote anti-Semitism. What is your assessment of that?
If one wants to identify the agents of today's anti-Semitism, one should
look to the anti-Semites, not to Israel. How Israel can be justifiably
blamed for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries within Europe, or the
burning of synagogues, or assaults against individual Jews beats me.
Benjamin Weinthal is The Jerusalem Post correspondent in Germany. Alex
Feuerherdt lives in Bonn and writes for the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel,
the weekly Jewish newspaper J.dische Allgemeine, and the weekly Jungle
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com
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5. Anti-Semitic professors, not just in Israel:
Academics 'have abandoned Israeli boycott', say opponents
Our World: Inequality before the law
By CAROLINE GLICK