Jews criticising Israel can be antisemitic

As a Jew, Phillip Weiss, the American anti-Zionist Jew who runs the blog Mondoweiss, feels entitled to talk about the issue of antisemitism. The issue is that he spends most of his time explaining that people are not in fact antisemitic, they are merely criticising Israel legitimately. Take this post, for instance, where he tries to substantiate the idea that pro-Israel Jews in Western countries are in fact traitors with dual loyalties and that any reasonable person would agree with this.

That argument is itself antisemitic of course, however I was reading a post today on “pinkwashing” that just hammered home how deep Weiss’ racial prejudices really run (my bold):

How Sarah Schulman managed to get ‘Pinkwashing’ into the New York Times.

This is the type of person we need to engage: morally clear, independent, brave people. Schulman’s own Jewishness dropped right away when she saw what Palestinians were experiencing. She had been there once, to see cousins. But any family allegiance simply dropped away when she saw what was going on. Beautiful.

…  The young editor felt bad about the outcome and asked her what else she could write for the Times. Schulman sensed that he had a “very idealistic idea of the Times,” and no sense of the “Jewish politics of the Times” (oh, I love this phrase, it is a gift of insight), but she said, “What about pinkwashing?”

The implication here: “Jewishness” is incompatible with compassion, “Jewish politics” ruin the ideal picture that people paint of the New York Times. There is not even any ambiguity, Weiss is espousing pure bigotry.

Meanwhile, I have a faint suspicion that the post itself may be a tad dishonest. Here’s why (my bold):

The Times op-ed staff came up with question after question to challenge Schulman’s assumptions… One of the foolish queries on the piece was: “You have to prove that Israeli gay people are anti-Arab.” And there were “all these ridiculous delays.”

The documentation grew to 300 pages, and the Times just “couldn’t come up with something that would justify killing it.”

I’d be very interested to see how exactly she “proved” the “foolish query”, seeing as other people did not seem to struggle finding reasons that the Times should have killed the piece.

Anyway, regardless of the truth to these claims, Weiss does not seem able to write about anything Jewish without throwing in a negative or disparaging comment. He also unequivocally employs old antisemitic stereotypes to prove his point (disloyal Jews manipulating the media). I hate using the term “self-hating Jew” to describe people like Weiss, who seems extremely fond of himself (as opposed to, say, the self-deprecating Woody Allens and Larry Davids). Rather call a spade a “spade” — Jewish or not, Weiss is an antisemite.

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  1. #1 by Liam on February 7, 2012 - 3:54 pm

    I read that Mondoweiss article, too. Seemed to really highlight Weiss’s hyper-inflated sense of self more than most posts. Although I found Schulman’s history very interesting. Particularly Weiss’s take on how she came to be involved:

    “[T]he beauty of Schulman’s engagement here is that when she was told not to go to Tel Aviv University two years ago, and she said, “What boycott?” she didn’t get defensive and nutty. No, she looked into the issue and saw that it was straightforward and simple– and then she was in.

    This is the type of person we need to engage: morally clear, independent, brave people. Schulman’s own Jewishness dropped right away when she saw what Palestinians were experiencing. She had been there once, to see cousins. But any family allegiance simply dropped away when she saw what was going on. Beautiful.”

    Sounds eerily familiar, I think.

  2. #2 by MK on February 7, 2012 - 9:34 pm

    I don’t really trust Weiss’ account of her account, I feel like one or both of them were trying to make it sound far more surprising than it was. Let’s just say I would bet that she was not exactly a pro-Israel stalwart of the Jewish community before her “revelation”.

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