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Old 12-09-2011, 08:06 PM
ledocs ledocs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: France, Earth
Posts: 1,165
Default Re: Values Added: The Whirligig of Time (Glenn Loury & Walter Russell Mead)

Thanks for these citations, Stephanie.

I am not someone who has followed Jeffrey Goldberg at all. I am surprised that he has endorsed the kernel of Beinart's video. Beinart's video (according to Goldberg's blog post), however, is consistent with Mearsheimer's speech to the Jerusalem Fund. It's just that Beinart is a [formerly/currently] Zionistic Jew, as am I, in an attenuated way, and Mearsheimer is not. I would like to see a secular, majority Jewish Israel survive. Where I may differ from many is that I think that there is a theocratic problem at the heart of Zionism, as it has developed. It's not just that Israel has become too militaristic and racist, or not sufficiently liberal-democratic, it's that it is insufficiently secular, both in its "constitution" and in its politics. I think that Gershon Gorenberg more or less agrees with me on this point, although he is an observant Jew, and I am not.

With regard to the Walt/Mearsheimer book, the question arises about its attitude to the importance of the Christian Zionist movement in determining America's policy towards Israel. My own intuition is that it is quite important, but still less important than the hardline Jewish lobby. A reason for this is that the legitimacy of Christian Zionism is derivative from the legitimacy of Jewish Zionism, although the Christian Zionists no doubt try to work their way around this problem. But secondly, this still all has to be worked out in terms of the nuts and bolts of American politics and power. And in those terms, my intuition tells me that the influence of Christian Zionism derives from the hardline American Zionists, that Christian Zionism could not be nearly as influential as it is in the absence of the hardline Jewish lobby. But showing how that works in terms of lobbying and money and elections would be a very difficult task.

I just read today about an interview that Gingrich gave to a Jewish "cable television" channel, an interview in which Obama is skewered as having supported handing over Israel to terrorists, and so on. My general view is that American policy to Israel is dominated by the politics of irrational fanatics of various kinds, some Jewish and some Christian, and by Holocaust-related guilt, a little of which goes a long way under contemporary conditions.

I think it's a little strange that Goldberg thought he had to go all out against this Atzmon fellow, and against Mearsheimer and Richard Falk for having written blurbs for his book. I'm not denying that the excerpts from the book which its detractors (Goldberg prominent among them) quote are highly incendiary. But I don't think one can look at the literature of "self-hating Jews" in the same way as one looks at the Protocols of Zion, it's just hermeneutically incorrect. And I'm guessing that there are a lot of sensitive and worthwhile passages in that book, the guy seems interesting to me, he's a very good musician, which means a lot to me, I think that's important to understanding him. I think he has been driven to a state that is close to madness because of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, he can't wash the stain off of his own skin. So everything he writes about Israel has to be read in that light. I did watch a video he did in which he talks movingly about the Palestinian people, it's clear that he cares very deeply about this. He calls Jeffrey Goldberg, in his blog, a "former concentration camp guard." I know that he's referring there to something specific about Goldberg's service in the Israeli army, but I don't know to what, exactly. Putting this differently, I don't see Atzmon as the sort of person who would have been a Nazi collaborator, who would have handed over Jews to save his own skin, his "self-hatred" does not extend that far. I think that Atzmon's book probably deserves to be read and understood on its own, highly peculiar terms.

I have talked a lot about books that I have not read, not a good idea.

Last edited by ledocs; 12-09-2011 at 08:13 PM..
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