Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recruiting Dead Grandmothers to Bash Israel


Jewish Israel-Bashers And Dead Grandmothers: A New Mormonism?
By: Edward Alexander

Date: Wednesday, January 26 2011

Jews have long objected to the Mormon practice of "vicariously"
converting their deceased ancestors to the Mormon faith, a practice
that has seemed to them more brazenly dogmatic than the worst excesses
of the Inquisition.

But now it seems that Jewish Israel-bashers, people who define their
"Jewishness" almost entirely by their repudiation of the Jewish state,
have developed their own brand of Mormonism. It consists of converting
deceased Zionist grandparents (especially of the female sort) to their
own pseudo-religion, which starts from the premise that when a person
can no longer be a Jew, he (or she) becomes an anti-Zionist.

In the December 21, 2010 issue of the National Post (Canada) the
astute journalist Barbara Kay expressed the hope that "after I have
shuffled off this mortal coil, none of my granddaughters will turn
into useful idiots for a rotten political movement riddled with
anti-Semitism." Kay was alluding to two unusually foul volleys of fire
and vitriol shot in the direction of Israel and its Jewish supporters
by two Canadian Jewish women, Jennifer Peto and Judy Rebick.

Peto, a 29-year-old activist on behalf of lesbian and anti-Zionist
causes, has gained notoriety for a master's thesis with the bombastic
title "The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the
Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education," submitted to and approved
bythe "sociology and equity" cranny of a minor branch of the
University of Toronto called Ontario Institute of Studies in Education

In its regurgitation of hoary anti-Semitic tropes directed at "Jewish
privilege," "Jewish racism," and the "apartheid" state of Israel, the
thesis reminded many of the pseudo-scholarly materials studied (and
brilliantly dissected) in Max Weinreich's Hitler's Professors (1946),
a book that showed how German academics were the first to make
anti-Semitism both academically respectable and complicit in murder.

Peto's malice toward Jews and Israel knows no bounds. Jews who wish to
remember the Holocaust are "racists" (an epithet without which she
would be rendered nearly speechless) who want to monopolize all that
beautiful suffering which other, especially darker skinned, peoples
would very much like, ex post facto, to share.

Israel - not only a country where Arabs and Jews share the same buses,
beaches, clinics, cafes, soccer pitches, and universities, but the
only country in history to have brought thousands of black people to
its shores to become citizens and not slaves - is for her the
quintessentially "apartheid" state. Chief among the multifarious
abominations Peto imputes to the wily Jews is "Hegemonic Holocaust

Professor Werner Cohn, the first to call attention to the scandal of
Peto's thesis (and the still greater scandal that her academic
adviser, one Sheryl Nestel, routinely encourages and approves such
theses), noted that Peto uses the word "hegemonic" 52 times but
defines it just once: "I am defining hegemonic Holocaust education as
projects that are sponsored by the Israeli government, and/or
mainstream Jewish organizations." Since Peto thinks (mistakenly) that
"hegemonic" is a pejorative term, she defines it as whatever Israel or
Jews do.

What distinguished Peto's rehashing of the ravings of the Protocols of
the Elders of Zion as modernized by assorted Chomskys, Finkelsteins,
and Walt-Mearsheimers, was her dedication of the thesis to her dead
and defenseless grandmother, Jolan Peto: "If she were alive today, she
would be right there with me protesting against Israeli apartheid."
Like most dead people, Peto's grandmother is vulnerable to assaults on
her memory by an unscrupulous and ruthless grandchild. (Jewish
mothers, one notices, rarely receive these accolades from their
Israel-bashing daughters; often still alive, mothers constitute too
great a risk.)

But Jolan Peto has been redeemed by her grandson, a Houston physician
named David Peto. He published on December 16 an open letter to the
press in which he urged his sister to respect the dead and cease to
conscript their grandmother for her sordid vendetta against the Jews:

"It is not my desire to get involved with the details of my sister
Jenny Peto's thesis, which has recently generated tremendous
controversy. There are people far more qualified than I to debate the
merits of the thesis, or lack thereof. There is, however, one point
that I would like to contest. My sister dedicated her thesis to our
late grandmother, Jolan Peto. She asserted that if our grandmother
"were alive today, she would be right there with me protesting against
Israeli apartheid."

"Our grandmother was the youngest teacher at the Jewish orphanage in
Budapest during the Second World War. She, along with my grandfather,
saved countless children from death at the hands of the Nazis. After
the war, she saw firsthand the brutality and baseness of the communist
regime that came into power. She, along with our grandfather and
father, escaped to Canada, and celebrated the day of their arrival
each and every year. Freedom was not an abstract idea to her; it was
alive and tangible for her. Our grandmother was a soft-spoken woman,
but she had an iron will. She taught us to abhor hatred, and to strive
for excellence in everything we did. She was a woman of endless
patience and generosity, and boundless love. She was uncompromising in
her dedication to truth and honesty, and was also an ardent supporter
of the state of Israel.

"My sister is simply wrong; our grandmother would have been entirely
opposed to her anti-Israel protests. Our grandmother had a tremendous
impact on my life, and her memory continues to be a source of strength
and inspiration to my family. My daughter is named after her, and we
pray that she will emulate her namesake. I cannot in good conscience
allow my sister to misappropriate publicly our grandmother's memory to
suit her political ideology."

For this act of decency, Dr. Peto was pilloried by his sister as "a
right-wing fanatical, racist Zionist."

* * * * *

The other "useful idiot" (and cemetery desecrator) to whom Kay alluded
is one Judy Rebick. She is a practitioner of no known discipline at
all (not even the one prohibited by W. H. Auden's Eleventh
Commandment: "Thou shalt not commit sociology"). Rather, she is a
"chaired" professor (at Ryerson University in Toronto) of "Social
Justice," that prolific generator of ferocious do-gooders, people who
confuse doing good with feeling good about what they are doing. She is
the author of a number of feminist tracts and a book called
Politically Speaking (co-authored with one Kike Roach).

A year before Peto vaulted to worldwide infamy, Rebick came to the
defense of yet another prodigiously busy Canadian-Jewish
Israel-basher, Naomi Klein, by announcing in September 2009 that her
own grandmother, who had survived a pogrom, indeed (she implied)
because she had survived a pogrom, "would have been so proud of Naomi
Klein" for exhorting the Toronto Film Festival to shun the city of Tel

The line of succession among these anti-Zionist converters of their
deceased grandmothers may, however, be traced a bit farther back than
Kay's Canadians, to a public intellectual of far greater weight,
moment, literacy, and prominence than either Rebick or Peto: England's
Alain De Botton.

De Botton is the author of several "self-help" books with titles like
How Proust Can Change Your Life; and to his actual publishing record
has recently been added a fictional string of titles invented by
Howard Jacobson, author of The Finkler Question. This satirical novel
portrays the spiritual anemia of England's anti-Zionist "ashamed"
Jews, who are ashamed not of their own perfidy and cowardice but of
Israel's existence. The character who gives the novel its name, Samuel
Finkler, is a composite figure based in part on De Botton. Finkler has
written such bestsellers as The Socratic Flirt and The Existentialist
in the Kitchen. For declaring on the BBC that, "as a Jew," he is
"ashamed" of Israel, Finkler is promptly rewarded with an invitation
to join a group of "well-known theatrical and academic Jews" who offer
to rename themselves "Ashamed Jews."

Flattered by the attention of the third-rate actors, he accepts the
honor. The narrator adds, for no readily apparent reason, that Finkler
cares as little for the praise of his fellow academics as for "the
prayers he had never said for his grandfather." The pointed acerbity
of that remark about how Finkler cynically manipulates the memory of
his grandfather is puzzling unless we are aware that, in this roman a
clef, Finkler's exploitation of his grandfather may well be based upon
De Botton's exploitation of his grandmother in the Anglo-Jewish and
Israeli press.

We do not know whether De Botton - who is proud to call himself an
atheist - has been more attentive to the soul of his grandmother than
that of his grandfather, but, like his Canadian emulators, he has gone
to the trouble of disinterring and resurrecting her, as if to invoke
ancestral authority for his repudiation of his ancestors.

In a September 22, 2009 interview with the London Jewish Chronicle, De
Botton replied to a question about what Israel meant to him as
follows: "Israel is for me a country I will always associate with my
grandmother, Yolande Gabai, who played a central role in the founding
of the state through her activities in Egypt with the Jewish Agency, a
country whose current state she would deplore, for she knew that peace
with the Arabs was at the core of the challenge facing the new

We are all too familiar with the smug, self-satisfied assurance of
these smelly little orthodoxies about "deplorable" Israel; they say,
in effect, the following: "Despite superficial evidence to the
contrary, such as the absence of peace since Israel's unilateral
withdrawal from Lebanon in favor of Hizbullah or from Gaza in favor of
Hamas, all of us thinking people who read The Independent, The
Guardian, The Observerand The New Statesman know that Israel is
responsible for the absence of peace with its neighbors because it has
not yet fully withdrawn from the disputed territories of Judea and
Samaria." (Which, lest it be forgotten, were entirely in the hands of
the Arabs, theirs to do with whatever they liked, from 1948-67, when
they decided to go to war against Israel.)

But this is not quite blatant and gross enough for De Botton: he must
also invoke the authority of his dead grandmother.

Yolande Gabai Harmor De Botton was indeed an important figure in the
Zionist movement. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, she spied for the Jewish
Agency during 1947-48, risking both her own life and that of her son
while posing as a Palestine Postjournalist, and earning the nickname
of "the Jewish Mata Hari." In July 1948 she was imprisoned in Egypt
and later deported. In 1948-49, she worked for the Middle East
Department of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. She died in 1959, ten
years before her grandson Alain was born, and left behind precious
little evidence that she would have become a willing recruit to the
view of Anglo-Jewish leftists that if Israel has a raison d'etre at
all, it is, as De Botton suggested in an egregious interview with
Haaretzin October 2008, to "humiliate" Arabs and "kill" their olive

(Allegations of Israeli attacks on Arab olive trees flare up
frequently in the propaganda war conducted by Arabs and Arabophiles in
the west. Though never attaining the scale of such gigantic frauds as
the "Jeningrad" massacre or the killing of Mohammed al-Dura, they
never go away either. In October 2002, for example, as a distraction
from the news of the latest intifada savagery, bien-pensant Jewish
leftists shrieked about "the cruel and vindictive destruction of
venerable olive groves under the pretext that they were hiding places
for snipers." Alas, as Israel Radio reported, the terrorist who had
just murdered two little Jewish girls and a woman in Hermesh exploited
the olive trees to reconnoiter the area and then slip under the fence
to do his murderous work.)

De Botton seems to take the fact that his grandmother got along nicely
in Egyptian society (while concealing her work as a spy) and believed
the foundation of a Jewish state would benefit Arabs (toward whom she
felt kindly) as well as Jews shows that she would now, if resurrected,
be an avid conscript to his own trendy prejudices and the Palestinian
irredentist cause.

Ben-Gurion, of course, believed the very same thing that Grandma
Yolande did; but he has yet to be conscripted by the grave-robbers.
Moreover, it does not occur to De Botton that the Palestinians have
become one of the world's most ruined peoples not because Jews won't
"make peace" with them but because, encouraged by the Petos, Rebicks,
and De Bottons, they have devoted themselves not to the building up of
their own society but to the destruction of the society of their

In addition to being a writer (at times, as in The Pleasures and
Sorrows of Work,a very good one), De Botton is the founder of an
institution in central London called The School of Life. Repudiating
the Renaissance tradition of liberal (or "useless") education in favor
of what John Henry Newman called the servile (or "useful") kind, the
school offers courses in (to quote De Botton) "marriage,
child-rearing, choosing a career, changing the world and death."

The curriculum does not, however, appear to include a course in the
Fifth Commandment, and De Botton's violation of the injunction to
honor your father and mother (and, by extension, your grandfather and
grandmother) suggests that he - and Peto and Rebick and all the other
aspiring Jewish Mormons - would do well to make honest people of
themselves before setting out to convert the dead and change the

Edward Alexander is professor emeritus of English Literature at the
University of Washington. He is the co-author, with Paul Bogdanor, of
"The Jewish Divide over Israel: Accusers and Defenders" (Transaction

2. Dersh on J Street's latest idiocy:

3. Leftists going bonkers over transparency:

4. The second Shoah?,7340,L-4019790,00.html

5. McCarthyists battling inciters:

6. Leftist pseudo-rabbis attacking Glenn Beck:,7340,L-4019919,00.html

7. Spilt milk: from the Wall St Journal:

REVIEW & OUTLOOKJANUARY 27, 2011.Land of Milk and Regulation
Preventing the next dairy farm oil slick..Article Comments (40) more
in Opinion ».
President Obama says he wants to purge regulations that are "just
plain dumb," like his humorous State of the Union bit about salmon. So
perhaps he should review a new rule that is supposed to prevent oil
spills akin to the Gulf Coast disaster—at the nation's dairy farms.

Two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule
that subjects dairy producers to the Spill Prevention, Control and
Countermeasure program, which was created in 1970 to prevent oil
discharges in navigable waters or near shorelines. Naturally, it
usually applies to oil and natural gas outfits. But the EPA has
discovered that milk contains "a percentage of animal fat, which is a
non-petroleum oil," as the agency put it in the Federal Register.

In other words, the EPA thinks the next blowout may happen in rural
Vermont or Wisconsin. Other dangerous pollution risks that somehow
haven't made it onto the EPA docket include leaks from maple sugar
taps and the vapors at Badger State breweries.

The EPA rule requires farms—as well as places that make cheese,
butter, yogurt, ice cream and the like—to prepare and implement an
emergency management plan in the event of a milk catastrophe. Among
dozens of requirements, farmers must train first responders in cleanup
protocol and build "containment facilities" such as dikes or berms to
mitigate offshore dairy slicks.

These plans must be in place by November, and the U.S. Department of
Agriculture is even running a $3 million program "to help farmers and
ranchers comply with on-farm oil spill regulations." You cannot make
this stuff up.

The final rule is actually more lenient than the one the EPA
originally proposed. The agency tried to claim jurisdiction over the
design specifications of "milk containers and associated piping and
appurtenances," until the industry pointed out that such equipment was
already overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, the USDA and
state inspectors. The EPA conceded, "While these measures are not
specifically intended for oil spill prevention, we believe they may
prevent discharges of oil in quantities that are harmful."

We appreciate Mr. Obama's call for more regulatory reason, but it
would be more credible if one of his key agencies wasn't literally
crying over unspilled milk.

8. Leftist Academic Fifth Column:

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