There Goes The Neighborhood

May 16, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Devon Nola

I believe it’s a fair assumption that most social creatures understand when one is the newest arrival to, say, a party or a community, it is their responsibility to ingratiate themselves to the local, existing populace.  The most unwelcome guest is the one who arrives late and then proceeds to redecorate.  But this is exactly what we see happening, repeatedly, when Hasidic Jews descend on predominantly gentile communities.  In every case, the arrival of these orthodox groups is met with hostility and resistance by their host.  Is it possible that anti-Jewish sentiment is inherent in the gentile mind or are there natural grievances that need to be explored?

 Having lived for 8 years in a neighborhood that is home to a very large and quite powerful Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic community, I can say there are legitimate grievances.  I began delving into this phenomenon some time ago when I learned about the chaos surrounding Kiryas Joel, a Satmar sect of Hasidim in the town of Monroe in Orange County, NY.  The Satmar purchased land in an unincorporated section of Monroe to relocate some of the sect from Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The community started small, but due to the nature of Jewish ultra orthodox pro-creation practices, it multiplied at lightening speed.  The existing residents of Monroe grew weary as they watched their green, sprawling small town become inundated with multi-family dwellings to house the growing Hasidic population. The Satmar fought to become part of the incorporated section, which would allow them access to public funds. It wasn’t long before plans to annex massive acres of public land were put in motion for Jewish-only use and this sparked a fire storm between the two communities.  The details of the struggle can be seen in this 2016 documentary, Love Thy Neighbor.   Another issue was the exceedingly high numbers of Hasidics, who typically vote in blocs, impacting the local governing board in their favor, at the expense of the rest of the population.  Public school funds were being diverted to Jewish-only yeshivas. In some cases, public schools have actually collapsed as a result of this. It’s worth mentioning Kiryas Joel has the highest poverty rate in the nation (although, it is estimated that the dynasty controls $1 billion in assets in the U.S.)    More than 2/3 of the population live below the poverty line with 40% receiving food stamps.  So, we see a large handout to this community with zero return on investment.

In Rockland County, NY, the once idyllic suburban community of Ramapo has become chaotic with conflict due to the rapidly expanding Hasidic community.  The formerly picturesque neighborhoods with manicured lawns inside picket fences have been consumed by high-density multi-family dwellings.  In Ramapo, early residents bought single family homes and expected it to remain a neighborhood of single-family homes. This helps to preserve the value and the esthetic of the neighborhood.  But suddenly, they found themselves living next to a monstrous multi-family dwelling when the previous home had been leveled by the new orthodox owner and replaced with a structure housing four families. Another house was turned into a yeshiva. In one case, a trailer was dumped on the once-green lawn and the new Hasidic owner was running a business out of it.  It doesn’t seem as though rational people should need zoning laws enforced to tell them not to do this. Look around. Is anyone else operating a business out of trailer on their front lawn?

While the exploding demand for housing might be advantageous to property values in the short term, there are pitfalls. The increasing number of tax-exempt yeshivas and synagogues left crumbs in the town’s tax base.   Negligent (or greedy) city officials looked the other way, ignoring zoning, building and fire safety code violations. This created environmental implications by putting a strain on the sewer system, creating dangerous traffic congestion and in, some cases,  made it impossible for first responders to find an address since there was no municipal record of it. They ultimately overrun school boards and town councils, get zoning laws changed in their favor and in the end, property values plummet.

The neighboring communities, horrified by what happened in Ramapo, took measures to safeguard their town.  A significant step was having their local government put in place “no-knock” ordinances, prohibiting the oh-so common practice of hardcore real estate solicitation.  Hasidim come out in droves, knocking on doors, using very unethical methods such as intimidation, offering fistfuls of cash, in an effort to get the homeowner to sell. This practice is known as “blockbusting”. It’s intrusive and more importantly, it’s illegal and has been since 1968.  Nevertheless, they ignore the law and come back, repeatedly, in the hopes of wearing down the homeowner.  They often threaten the if they don’t sell. Many towns are now adopting this “no-knock” ordinance as a direct result of relentless orthodox solicitation.  Violation of the ordinance carries a fine anywhere from $100-$1250, depending on the town.

Watch Troublemakers in Ramapo:

We have seen these conflicts in virtually every suburban neighborhood on which the ultra-orthodox Jews descend.  Mahwah, in New Jersey, got a jump start.  After seeing the take-over in neighboring townships, they weren’t going to wait for the situation to accelerate.  The first sign of an eruv prompted the residents to put it into high gear. An eruv is essentially a symbolic boundary designated by white PVC pipe fixed to utility poles. This marks the area in which the orthodox Jews can engage in tasks the Torah forbids on the sabbath.  Apparently, G-d’s divine vision can’t see passed PVC. In the case of Mahwah, the eruv was put up by orthodox Jews from Orange County, NY.  Holy expansionism. Mahwah residents were already experiencing a problem in their community park, where the out-of-state Hasidim were crossing the state border, by the bus load, sometimes exceeding 100 people.  It made the park so over-crowded that local Mahwah residents weren’t bringing their own children to play for fear of injury based on the number of occupants.

Mahwah had very clear ordinances about signage within the community.  There are to be none. This ordinance, which is legal, had always been enforced. Not even so much as a ‘missing dog’ sign had ever been posted.  Residents of a township have the right to determine things like signage, overnight parking, etc., in their community and the ordinances are there to protect these decisions as long as they aren’t discriminatory or selectively enforced. However, the Bergen Rockland Eruv Association didn’t see it that way and filed a law suit, claiming the Mahwah residents were discriminating against them based on their religion. The Eruv Association insisted that the orthodox families had the right to religious freedom and the eruv was there to preserve this.  Apparently, the rights of the non-orthodox, who actually live and pay taxes in Mahwah, don’t figure into this equation.

In the end the Mahwah township council members, following the advice of their legal representation and under pressure from state government, voted 5-2 to settle.  The Eruv stayed, the township paid the Bergen Rockland Jewish association’s legal fees of $10,000 and the settlement stated that nothing would prevent the eruv association from expanding the boundary in the future.  Ahh, but the Mahwah residents didn’t walk away completely empty-handed.  The settlement stated that the PVC pipe would be painted to blend in with the pole.  Jackpot.

And this brings us to Lakewood, New Jersey, the latest victims of these unfriendly take-overs. Lakewood is in Ocean County.  What was once a rural vacation community is now home to one of the largest yeshivahs in the world. The population is exploding, as it often happens with Hasidic communities and with this comes all the problems we’ve seen in the other towns. Blockbusting, diversion of public-school funds for private Jewish institutions, taxpayers’ money and funds for public school buses have been siphoned to bus children to and from the Jews only school, over development of lands, negative impact on the environment due to over population, traffic congestion, etc. plague this community.  Even a senior community was overrun by these orthodox Jews. A serene, gated golf community, The Enclave, was where affluent people, 55 and over, thought they would take their last breath. They forged friendships and joked how the only way they would leave their community was feet first.  Sadly, that’s not how things turned out.  Aggressive solicitation began.  Seniors are often a vulnerable community to predatory practices,  and when they were told, “you better sell, you don’t want to be the only non-orthodox left in the community”, many panicked and relented to the pressure.  Eventually the golf course was slated to be replaced by multi-family dwellings to accommodate more Hasidim. Beginning with the first few orthodox that moved into The Enclave, trouble began to brew. The security bar at a side entrance, which wasn’t preventing strangers (or aggressive solicitors) from entering the community on foot as it should, was to be replaced with a proper gate operated by a card swipe. One orthodox man, who used this entrance on his way to synagogue on the sabbath, objected. He wasn’t permitted to use the technology that would open the gate. When the board wasn’t persuaded to reconsider the new gate, he filed a discrimination complaint with New Jersey Division on Civil Rights.  It begs the question, why on earth would one buy in a gated community full of goyim?  Future plans to have regulations put in place at the pool so that men and women would have separate swim times was also on the orthodox agenda. This was instituted in another community and violators were fined.

 A group, Rise Up Ocean County, is fighting back. RUOC is a collective of engaged citizens from approximately five townships, including Lakewood.  Their mission is concise: Mobilizing to preserve and improve the quality of life in Ocean County.  They have had enough of the yeshiva’s practices of “fueling ugly, unhealthy, inequitable economic development”, as quoted by the Jewish commentary outlet, ‘The Forward.’  RUOC is working on a documentary on this ordeal and here you can see a little taste, which exposes the 10 orthodox Rabbis that make up the Vaad, or council. They wield their power far beyond the religious community to influence public policy in their favor. If this power or their actions are contested, they rely on attacks of antisemitism.  I’ll be honest, if this is the definition of ‘Semitism,’ they give their neighbors ample reason to be disgruntled.

While Hasidim pride themselves on their love of community, it seems many of them don’t apply this fellowship in universal terms. What is it that drives such an institutional collective dismissal of the Other?   Why is it they don’t learn from their past?  I’m fairly confident that other than finding them a bit curious, no one would reject them if they didn’t insinuate themselves into lives outside Haredim.  Learning to live cooperatively as opposed to competitively with their neighbors might result in much more harmonious existence for everyone.

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Netanyahu is not the Disease, he is a Symptom

March 25, 2019  /  Gilad Atzmon

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By Gilad Atzmon

In a recent thought-provoking article Gideon Levy, probably one of the last genuine Israeli voices for peace, claims that “It is not Netanyahu who is responsible for Israeli ‘racism, extreme nationalism, divisiveness, incitement, hatred, anxiety and corruption.’” Behind Netanyahu, Levy says, there’s a nation of voters and other elected officials that aren’t very different from their leader.

“Simply put, the people are the problem… There are those who have hated Arabs long before Netanyahu. There are those who despise blacks, detest foreigners, exploit the weak and look down their noses at the whole world – and not because of Netanyahu. There are those who believe they are the chosen people and therefore deserve everything.”

Levy reaffirms the observation that I have been pushing for two decades. The problem with Israel is not of a political kind. The conflict with the Palestinians or the Arabs is not of a political nature as some delusional characters within the Palestinian solidarity movement have been proclaiming for years. Israel defines itself as the Jewish state. In order to grasp Israel, its politics, its policies and the intrusive nature of its lobby, we must understand the nature of Jewishness. We must learn to define the differences between Jews (the people), Judaism (the religion) and Jewishness (the ideology). We have to understand how those terms are related to each other and how they influence Israeli and Jewish politics globally.

Levy writes that “there are those who think that after the Holocaust, they are permitted to do anything. There are those who believe that Israel is tops in the world in every field, that international law doesn’t apply to it, and that no one can tell it what to do. There are those who think Israelis are victims – always victims, the only victims – and that the whole world is against us. There are those who are convinced that Israel is allowed to do anything, simply because it can.”

In order to understand what Levy is referring to we must dig into the core of Jewish identification and once and for all grasp the notion of Jewish choseness. Levy contends that “racism and xenophobia are deeply entrenched here, far more deeply than any Netanyahu…The apartheid did not start with him and will not end with his departure; it probably won’t even be dented. One of the most racist nations in the world cannot complain about its prime minister’s racism.” Netanyahu as such, is not the disease. He is a mere symptom.

The devastating news is that neither the Israeli ‘Left’ nor the Jewish so-called ‘anti’ Zionist league are any less racist than their Zionist foes. The Israeli Left pushes for a ‘two state solution.’ It crudely ignores the Palestinian cause i.e. the Right of Return. The Israeli Left advocates segregation and ghettoization; not exactly the universal message of harmony one would expect from ‘leftists.’ Disturbingly, the Diaspora Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist Left is even more racially exclusive than the Israeli Right. As I have explored many times in the past, Corbyn’s ‘favourite Jewish political group namely, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL)  is a racially exclusive political cell. It wouldn’t allow gentiles into its Jews-only club. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is no better. It will happily take donations from Goyim but will never allow those Goyim to become its board members.

Levy proclaims that “Netanyahu is the best thing to ever happen to Israeli politics – you can dump everything on him.” But in his most astute observation, which has been explored before by Uri Avnery (may he rest in peace) and yours truly, Levy continues, “It would be great if some local Nelson Mandela would arise, a brave leader with vision who would change the country’s basic values and lead a revolution. But no such person has been born here, and it’s doubtful he ever will be.”

Levy points at the core of the Zionist failure. If early Zionism was a promise to civilise the diaspora Jew by means of ‘homecoming,’ Israel happened to do the complete opposite. Not much is left out of the Zionist promise to make the Jews ‘people like all other people’: as Israel is about to perpetrate another colossal war crime in Gaza, we have to admit that we are dealing with an institutionally racist and dangerous identity like no other.

Forget “anti-semitism, this is real racism: israelis ‘undergo Jewish DNA test before being allowed to marry’

Israelis ‘undergo Jewish DNA test before being allowed to marry’

MEMO | March 12, 2019

DNA test sample [File photo]

DNA test sample [File photo]

Israel’s rabbinate “has been performing genetic testing on Israelis from the former Soviet Union, to check if they are ‘genetically Jewish’ as a condition for marriage registration”, according to Ynet.

The new site reported that “at least 20 couples have come forward after having been asked to undergo the procedure in the past year.”

“Although the existence of such tests was initially denied by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau admitted to having requested that some couples prove their Jewish status,” Ynet added, noting that “Lau claimed those were isolated incidents and there was no coercion.”

Ynet’s investigation revealed that “the complicated procedure was undertaken not only by the couples themselves but also by their relatives.”

“In one instance, a young woman who went to the rabbinate before her wedding was asked to conduct a DNA test along with her mother and her aunt, in order to eliminate the possibility that her mother was adopted,” the article stated.

“The young woman was told that if she refused the request, her marriage application would be denied,” Ynet added. “The rabbinate has control over Jewish religious rites in Israel.”

“According to the evidence accumulated by Ynet, these instances are examples of what appears to be a growing phenomenon where those applying to register for marriage, are being asked to undergo genetic testing if they want to have their requests granted,” the paper stated.

“Unfortunately, there are immigrants who, despite their eligibility under the Law of Return, are not defined as Jews according to Halacha,” said Lau in response. “In a few cases, there are those who claim to be Jews, but don’t possess the necessary documents to confirm it…or we find contradictions between their statements and what we would uncover about them”.

“In these cases we suggest undergoing DNA tests that would strengthen their claims,” he said. “It’s never forced upon anyone and only used to assist applicants in the research process.”

So much for the ridiculous claim that israel is a democracy: israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

Israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

By Adalah,

The Israeli Supreme Court early this afternoon, Sunday, 30 December 2018, dismissed the petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on behalf of Knesset Members Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi, and Joumah Azbarga (Joint List) against the Knesset Presidium’s decision to reject their proposed bill Basic Law: State of all its Citizens. In doing so, the Supreme Court refused to even allow a discussion of equal rights and a state for all of its citizens in the Knesset.

The Knesset Presidium refused to allow the submission of the bill – which declares Israel a “state of all its citizens” – based on the claim that Israel is a Jewish state.  This bill was initiated by Zahalka, Zoabi, and Azbarga in response to the new Basic Law – The Nation State of the Jewish People, passed by the Knesset in mid-July 2018.

The judgment follows a hearing on the petition last week, Monday, 24 December 2018, during which the justices received an announcement of early elections, and the decision to dissolve the 20th Knesset.

Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen (center with hat) speaks to journalists together with Arab members of Knesset on Monday, 24 December 2018, prior to the hearing on their petition at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. (Photo by Mati Milstein)

Chief Justice Hayut, who headed the three-justice panel hearing the case, hinted then that the court would consider the MKs’ petition, filed six months ago and not heard to date, as theoretical. Today, the petition was indeed dismissed for these reasons.

As the petition also attacks the constitutionality of the very bylaws used to disqualify the bill, there is no justification for the court’s decision to consider the petition as purely theoretical in nature, in Adalah’s view.

The court today chose to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s decision to prevent its own Palestinian Arab minority members from initiating a bill and a debate to promote democratic values on the basis of equality for all.

Adalah responded immediately to the court’s decision:

“This decision violates the basic right to full equality for Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. This judgment is the second in six years that the Israeli Supreme Court has decided to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s authority to prevent Arab MKs from submitting bills and initiating debate that challenges Israel’s character as a state of the Jewish people only. In both of these cases, the court exploited the announcement of early elections as a justification to dismiss these cases.

“This petition confronts a matter of principle – the right to equality and a state for all its citizens – that will certainly remain in the public discourse and as a key political platform of Arab MKs, and it is not expected to change.”

Adalah’s General Director Hassan Jabareen and Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury represented the Arab MKs in this case.

The original source of this article is Adalah

Jewish Politics in America – A Post Political View

November 14, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

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I was invited to join the Unz Review, here is a link to my first contribution:

http://www.unz.com/

“The two contradictory Jewish ideologies (Identitarianism and Israelism) are each well- ensconced within the two rival ideologies that are tearing America apart. The red Republican counties want America to be Israel Again. The large metropolitan areas near America’s coasts have adopted the twelve tribes of Israel model – a loose Identitarian coalition threatened by Samaritans, Canaanites, Amalekites or as Hillary Clinton calls them the ‘basket of deplorables.’

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In 1994 I enrolled in a postgraduate course in philosophy at a British University. On my first day at the University I had to complete a few routine administrative duties such as registering my name with the philosophy department and meeting my supervisors. I was also told that I had to join the student union. Being a subservient type, I walked over to the Student Union hall where I soon realized that the task was slightly more complicated than I had expected. There were a plethora of student unions to choose from: The Black Student Union, The Asian Student Association, The Socialist Students, The Gay Student Society and more. Confused, I asked for assistance. They asked where I was from. When I told them “Israel,” I was told that the “Jewish Student Union” was my home.

It was then, at the Student Union Hall, that I first encountered the identity split between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora. It would take some time before I was able to define this binary tension in philosophical or post political terms and before I understood the Jewish dilemma in terms of Nationalist/Identitarian dialectics. Two decades later, the political battle now going on in America is basically an extension of that internal Jewish debate.

Back in 1994 I didn’t see any reason to join the Jewish Student Union. I had never identified ‘as a Jew’ and Judaism meant little to me. Israel was my place of birth. My ‘identity’ as I then saw it was geographically oriented. Fortunately, I managed to complete my postgraduate course without becoming a ‘union member.’ But my thoughts about that morning at the student union hall have evolved into a few controversial books and hundreds of papers on ID politics and the current Identitarian dystopia.

In 2011 I wrote The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics. The premise of the book was that if Israel defines itself as the ‘Jewish State’ then we have to dissect the meaning of the J-Word. We have to grasp how Judaism (the religion), Jews (the people) and Jewishness (the spirit, ideology and culture) relate to each other and how these terms influence Israeli politics and the activities of the Jewish Lobby around the world. Instead of studying ‘Zionism,’ an archaic term that is not relevant to most Israelis, my book focused on Jewish identifications. I did not address the problematic question of ‘who and what Jews are,’ I tried instead to find out what those who call themselves Jews identify with.

While this question is certainly germane to an understanding of Israel and the Middle East conflict, it is also crucial to an understanding of the current American dystopia. Instead of asking ‘who Americans are’ let us explore what Americans identify with.

In the post-political era, America is divided into two camps, let’s call them Americans and Identitarians. Americans see themselves primarily as American patriots. They often subscribe to a nationalist populist ideology and, like the Israelis, identify with a piece of geography. On the other hand, Identitarians are primarily liberals and progressives. They identify themselves in biological and sociological terms, and they see themselves first as LGBTQ, Latino, Black, Jewish, feminist etc. Their bond with the American nationalist ethos is at most secondary and often non-existent.

This division in America between ‘nationalism’ and ‘identitarianism’ is similar to the dichotomy I observed at the student union hall in 1994. In fact, Israel has become a prime model for American nationalists. Similarly, it is Jewish progressive ideology that inspires Identitarians globally and in America in particular. It is the pervasiveness of Jewish ideologies within both nationalist and Identitarian discourses that sustains the dominance of Jewish and Israeli political institutions in American politics.

The Israeli Lobby’s hegemony over American foreign policy and its force in advocating policies that favor Israel has been widely recognized. Numerous studies on the topic have been published, such as: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (Prof John Mearsheimer and Prof Stephen Walt), The Power of Israel in The United State (Professor James Petras). Alison Weir’s website, If Americans Knew routinely presents a devastating chronicle of Israeli intervention in American politics. The Washington Report on the Middle East Affairs has been producing outstanding work as well. The crucial question is, why have Americans let this happen?

My study of Jewish ID politics suggests that America isn’t just influenced by one Jewish lobby or another. The entire American political-cultural-spiritual spectrum has been transformed into a internal Jewish exchange. Most American do not see the true nature of the battle they participate in and, for the obvious reasons, their media and their academics do not help. It is more convenient to keep Americans in the dark.

America is rapidly moving towards a civil war. The divide isn’t only ideological or political. The split is geographical, spiritual, educational and demographical. In a Voxarticle titled, “The Midterm Elections Revealed that America is in a Cold Civil War,” Zack Beauchamp writes, “This is a country fundamentally split in two, with no real room for compromise.” Of the midterm election Beauchamp reports that “American politics is polarized not on the basis of class or even ideology, but on identity… One side open to mass immigration and changes to the country’s traditional racial hierarchy, the other is deeply hostile to it.” He correctly observes that “Republicans and Democrats see themselves as part of cultural groups that are fundamentally distinct: They consume different media and attend different churches; live in distinct kinds of places and rarely interact with people who disagree with them.”

Despite this American schism, Israel and its Lobby are somehow able to influence both sides, managing to finding pathways to the secluded corridors of both parties. Although Democrats and Republicans can no longer talk to each other, it seems that both are happy to talk to Israel and the Lobby. And it is at AIPAC’s annual conference that these political foes compete in their eagerness to appease a foreign state. This anomaly in American politics demands attention.

As a former Israeli, I had not observed the effects of the Israel/ Jewish Diaspora dilemma until I had my experience at the Student Union Hall in Britain. Israel was born with the Zionist desire to eradicate the identity of Jews as cosmopolitans. Zionism promised to bond the Jew with the soil, with a territory, with borders. Thus, it is consistent with the Zionist paradigm that Israel is notorious for its appalling treatment of asylum seekers, immigrants and, of course, the indigenous people of the land. Israel has surrounded itself with separation walls. Israel deployed hundreds of snipers in its fight to stop the March of Return – a ‘caravan’ of Palestinian refugees who were marching towards its border. Israel has been putting into daily practice that which Trump has promised to deliver. For a Trump supporter, Israel’s politics is a wet dream. Maybe Trump should consider tweaking his motto in 2020 into ‘Let’s make America Israel.’ This would encompass building separation walls, bullying America’s neighbors, the potential to cleanseAmerica of the ‘enemy within,’ and so on. It is not surprising that in 2016 Trump beat Clinton in an Israeli absentee exit poll. The Israelis do love Trump. To them, he is a vindication of their hawkish ideological path. Although during the election Trump was castigated as a vile anti-Semite and a Hitler figure by the Jewish progressive press, once elected, Fox News was quick to point out that Trump was actually the ‘First Jewish President.’

We can see that Israel, Trump and his voters have a lot in common. They want militant anti immigration policies , they love ‘walls,’ they hate Muslims and they believe in borders. When alt right icon Richard Spencer described himself on Israeli TV as “a White Zionist” he was actually telling the truth. Israel puts into practice the ideas that Spencer and Trump can so far only entertain. But the parallels between Israel and the Trump administration’s Republican voters is just one side of the story.

In my recent book, Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto, I point out that while the old, good Left tried to unite us by insisting that it was not important whether one was Black, a Woman, a Muslim, a Jew or Gay; in the class war, we were all united against capitalism. It was the new Left that taught us to speak ‘as a’: as a Jew, as a Gay, as a Black and so on. Instead of being one people united in the struggle for justice and equality, within the post political realm we are pulled into endless identity battles.

Seemingly, this Identitarian revolution has been inspired by a few Jewish ideological and philosophical schools including, most importantly, the Frankfurt School. Truth must be said, when it comes to ID politics, Diaspora Jewish ideologists are often slightly more advanced than others, not because Jews are more clever than anyone else but simply because Jews have engaged in identity politics far longer than anyone else. While Gay identity politics is about four decades old and Feminism is maybe a century old, Jewish identity politics started in Babylon two and a half millennia ago. In fact, Judaism can be realised as an exilic Identitarian project. It deliberately and carefully sustains Jewish cultural, spiritual and physical segregation. Although Jews often drop their religion and dispose of God, many cling to Jewishness. For one reason or another, Jews often choose to operate within Jews- only political cells such as Jewish Voice for PeaceJewish Voice for Labour and so on. These Jewish bodies tend to preach inclusiveness while practicing exclusivity.

So it is hardly surprising that Jewish Identitarian philosophy and Jewish Identitarian success provides the model that inspires most, if not all, Identitarian politics within the New Left milieu in general and the current Democratic Party in particular. This isn’t the place to discuss at length or in depth the reasons behind Jewish identitarian success, however, it should be mentioned that while most Identitarians are taught to celebrate victimhood, to blame others for their misfortune, Jewish Identitarianism has a subtle dynamic balance between victimhood and entitlement.

Naturally, Jewish ideologists are at the helm of the Identitarian revolution. Maybe more well known is the fact that a chief funder of that revolution is financier George Soros and his Open Society Institute. Soros may genuinely believe in the Identitarian future: It is cosmopolitan, it is global, it defies borders and states but far more significantly, it also serves to divert attention from Wall Street and capitalist crimes: as long as Identitarians fight each other, no one bothers to fight Wall Street, Goldman Sachs and corporate tyranny. Soros didn’t invent this strategy, it has long been called ‘divide and conquer.’

The abovesheds light on the depth of influence of Jewish politics in America. While Israel is an exemplar of contemporary Republican goals, Democrats are emulating Jewish Diaspora identitarianism. The two contradictory Jewish ideologies are each well- ensconced within the two rival ideologies that are tearing America apart. The red Republican counties want America to be Israel Again. Thelarge metropolitan areas near America’s coasts have adopted the twelve tribes of Israel model – a loose Identitarian coalition threatened by Samaritans, Canaanites, Amalekites or as Hillary Clinton calls them the ‘basket of deplorables.’

The story of Jewish political strength in America doesn’t end there. A New York Jew can easily metamorphosize from an hard-core Identitarian into rabid Zionist settler and vice versa, but such a manoeuvre is not available to ordinary Americans. White nationalist Richard Spencer can not make the political shift that would turn him into a progressive or a liberal just as it is unlikely that a NY transsexual icon would find it possible to become a ‘redneck.’ While Jewish political identity is inherently elastic and can morph endlessly, the American political divide is fairly rigid. Jewish ideologists frequently change positions and camps, they shift from left to right, from Clinton to Trump (Dershowitz), they support immigration in their host counties yet oppose it in their own Jewish State, they are against rigid borders and even states in general, yet support the two state solution in Palestine (Chomsky). Gentiles are less flexible. They are expected to be coherent and consistent.

It was this manoeuvrability that made PM Netanyahu’s 2015 speech in front of a joint session of Congress a ‘success,’ although it might well have been considered a humiliation for any American with an ounce of patriotic pride. As we wellknow, Bibi can communicate easily with both Republicans and Democrats just as he cansimultaneously befriend Trump and Putin. He deploys snipers at the Gaza border with orders to kill while considerately peppering his statements with LGBTQ human rights advocacy. Not many Americans have dared to address this topic, but I believe that there are some who, by now, can see the situation clearly.

It was the Israeli in me who saw the disparity between ‘Israeli’ and ‘Jew’ at the Student Union Hall because I was raised as an Israeli patriot. I was trained to love and even die for the soil I mistakenly believed to be mine. As an Israeli, I was also trained to think tribal but speak universal, and I learned how to whine as a victim yet exercise oppression. But at a certain point in my life, around my thirties, I started to find all of it too exhausting. I wanted to simplify things. I demoted myself into an ordinary human being.

Questioning Jewish Progressive Wisdom

November 02, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

 There is an element of truth in the above…

There is an element of truth in the above…

By Gilad Atzmon

Earlier this week the Jewish Forward reported on Monday’s counter-Trump demonstration in Pittsburgh.

“They came in their thousands, singing Jewish songs and folksy protest anthems … (they were) holding signs denouncing Donald Trump as ‘President Hate.’”

I think it is not a clever move for leftist Jewish groups to declare that Trump is to blame for the terror attack in Pittsburgh. In fact, some might see it as irresponsible, and a response that could easily provoke further harassment and violence.

Most disturbing to me about the Jewish progressives’ response to Trump’s visit was the blunt dishonesty reflected in the signs and announcements of the protestors and organisers.

According to the Forward one sign read,

“you know who else was a nationalist? Hitler.”

Hitler was indeed a nationalist but so was Churchill, Gandhi, Herzl and even the 52% of the Brits who voted for Brexit. Nationalism isn’t the problem: Racism is.  Accordingly, we tend to believe that it was racism that drove Hitler’s discriminatory ideology. But the ‘progressive’  Jewish groups who opposed Trump this week aren’t free of racism. They themselves are operating as racially exclusive political groups. I have said it many times before. I struggle to see a categorical difference between Aryans only and Jews only clubs. To me, both are equally racist.

“Speakers from Bend the Arc, the progressive Jewish group that organised the march, castigated Trump and what they saw as his complicity in the attack, allegedly perpetrated by an anti-Semite who shared Trump’s anti-refugee views.”

It is comforting to learn that  Jewish progressives support some refugees; do they also support the Palestinian refugees?

Israel has prevented the ethnically cleansed Palestinians from returning  to their land for more than 70 years.  The Jewish State’s record on refugees and asylum seekers is appalling. But it seems the progressive Jews at Bend the Arc have little to say about that. I searched Bend the Arc’s web site and didn’t find any denouncements of the Jewish State’s anti refugee policies.  Maybe in the Jewish progressive universe one rule applies to the Jewish State and another rule to the sea of Goyim.

Noticeably,  the Bend the Arc event was not the only protest in town: A previous rally event had been held nearby, organized by the leftist Jewish group IfNotNow in collaboration with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and other groups.

“We know Trump is responsible for violence in our city,” IfNotNow and DSA organizer Arielle Cohen told the Forward. “ Trump has been the enabler-in-chief.” I fail to see the evidence that supports Cohen’s strongly worded accusations. And I wonder whether the decision makers at IfNotNow and JVP grasp the danger they may inflict on their communities by making such provocative accusations.

It is interesting to contrast this reaction to that of the members of the African American congregation that was targeted in 2015 by Dylann Roof, a self-professed racist shooter, who killed 9 people who had invited him into their bible study. After the shooting, Mr. Roof was unrepentant but the reaction of the victims and their families contrasts sharply with the progressive reaction to the Pittsburg massacre.

At Mr. Roof’s bond hearing, the victim’s relatives spoke directly to Roof. “You took something very precious from me”  Nadine Collier, the daughter of Ethel Lance said. “But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”

“I acknowledge that I am very angry,” said the sister of DePayne Middleton-Doctor. “But one thing that DePayne … taught me that we are the family that love built. We have no room for hating, so we have to forgive. I pray God on your soul.”

Each speaker offered Roof forgiveness and said they were praying for his soul, even as they described the pain of their losses. Not one speaker blamed political leaders or anti Black sentiment. They correctly saw Roof as the culprit, even as they compassionately prayed for him. There is much to admire in the congregation’s reaction. It was the opposite of inflammatory, intended to calm the situation.

If the goal is to unite America, to bridge the divide and calm things down, probably equating your president with Hitler and accusing him of the hate crimes of others is the worst possible path to choose.

 

Is Citizenship a Jewish Issue?

November 01, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

citizenship.jpg

By Eve Mykytyn

Aviya Kushner’s piece in The Forward, “Why Trump’s Callous Call to End Birthright Citizenship is a Jewish Issue,” is a bizarre attempt at victimhood especially after a group of Jews have just experienced real victimhood. Mr. Trump has made no secret of his desire to stop illegal immigration from the south, and Jews may rightly be incensed that he is using immigration as a campaign tactic, particularly demonising Hispanics, but Ms Kushner fails to show how this is a Jewish issue rather than an issue for the United States as a whole.

Ms Kushner begins by raising the alarm that Trump has threatened to strip American-born citizens of their citizenship. First, as Matt Flegenheimer and Jonathan Martin point out in the New York Times, the president’s threat rings hollow. Like his promise of a 10% tax reduction, this seems a campaign line with little chance of success.  Second, his threat, although it is difficult to discern its precise terms, did not seem to be meant to apply retroactively. Third, it is generally accepted that the 14th Amendment, although intended to confer citizenship on former slaves, clearly states that citizenship in the United States is given to all born here. The words are clear.

 “All persons born or naturalised in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Trump has stated erroneously that no other country grants citizenship by birth, once again dissing our neighbor to the north. He is generally correct however, most countries including all of Europe, do not grant citizenship by place of birth alone. So if  citizenship by place of birth is a problem, it is not uniquely a Jewish problem or even an American problem.

Ms Kushner recites a number of places and times that Jews were denied citizenship and/or expelled. She ends this list  with the confusing line that, “Citizenship also means the right to leave. To flee, life intact. By the late 1930s, it became virtually impossible for Jews to find shelter elsewhere.”  While it is true Jews had trouble finding refuge during World War II, the problem was that citizenship did not protect them. In the context of the holocaust, citizenship was irrelevant. If anything, the Nuremberg Laws stripping Jews of their citizenship, encouraged Jews to find safety elsewhere.

“President Trump’s comments that he could override the Constitution and remove citizenship, at will, should send alarms throughout the Jewish community…History says so.”  Actually, there may be many reasons to disagree with President Trump, but perhaps the alarm in the Jewish community should come from incorrectly positing themselves as victims.

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