By Israel Shamir
Times is a bountiful spring of instructions to perplexed mankind.
Its editors appointed by Mr Sulzberger (apparently, God's representative
on earth) have an advice for everybody: what should the French
do with their cheese (pasteurise and shove it you-know-where),
Russians with their media (give it to Mr Gusinsky, a coreligionist
of Mr Sulzberger), Chinese with their country (open it to Enron)
and Palestinians with themselves (die, soonest). Now from their
Mt Sinai on the 5th Avenue they conferred on grateful humanity
a new commandment penned by Ian Buruma, directing us How to Talk
about Israel. Yes, it is delicate task. You may speak freely about
Saudis and describe them as a medieval Kingdom of Evil, famous
for their cruelty and barbarism (Norman Liebman) or their monstrous
regime (Lenni Brenner), you may say that Swiss are mean and ugly,
you may call French froggies; moreover, you may pour
scorn and hate on the United States of America, as (justifiably)
did Ms Roy in her recent epistle. But you have to be guided by
Mr Sulzberger and his hacks if you dare to Talk about Israel.
so special about Israel? Our sweet Jaffa oranges? Our modest nuclear
armed forces able to destroy every European capital? Our superb
snipers who can kill a child at half a mile? Our wonderful torture
equipment eagerly purchased by every Enemy of Terrorism? No, when
Buruma writes Israel, he does not mean the State of
Israel, a small but nasty piece of goods located somewhere in
the Eastern Mediterranean. He means a much stronger entity.
a gifted American writer Ghassan Ghraizi, whose novel, "Israel,
by Any Other Name" I warmly recommend, was tricked by wily
started reading Buruma, expecting an answer to how I can discuss
Israel with some of my Jewish friends; but all I got was obfuscation
and misdirection. Starting with the first three words, the
Jewish Problem, Buruma exploits the symbols of historically
European Jewish persecution to confuse the Palestinian grievances.
Like a magicians, Burumas misdirection of focus on
anti-Semitism blurs a readers understanding.
The remaining text suffers from contradictions, omissions, and
false comparisons. (read full text of Ghraizis review
man, Ghraizi, did not understand that Buruma (and many other people)
used Israel as a euphemism for the ineffable J-word.
There is nothing special about Israel but we are full of Mr Sulzbergers
nephews and Mr Wolfowitz cousins. Nothing special, but whatever
passes for the American Mind is manufactured by the JINSA. Nothing
special, but we get more American money than any part of the USA.
Nothing special, but every American politician from the President
down to last State Governor will say uncle if asked
by our Prime Minister. In plain words, our special position is
nothing but an indicator of exalted, nay, unique position of the
Miriam Reik from New York City noted: The fact that Ian
Buruma wrote it as if walking on eggs, shows the depth of the
problem. (read her response below). Still, publication of
Buruma's essay (at the bottom of the email) is an important and
encouraging event. Not because he says something new - he does
not. Not because he is honest or sincere - he is not. But it is
a sign that the elusive Enemy reels under the brunt of attack.
It is a hurt cry, the first cry of Goliath hurt.
ago, when this list departed into uncharted waters of checking
the Jewish connection behind the developments in the US and the
Middle East, such an essay would not be needed. One could talk
about Israel with admiration, or at worst with regret that she
lost her youthful idealism. One could not even notice the new
American Jewish elite of the superpower who directed every bullet
of Israeli snipers and every bomb dropped by the US planes on
Iraq and Afghanistan. Things had changed.
admits that the idea that Jewish interests are somehow at
the center of American foreign policy in the Middle East is widely
held, and not only outside the United States. He tries to
pooh-pooh it, but he is painfully aware of peeling Stealth cover
of the American Judeocracy. Once revealed, this peculiar form
of social organisation, akin to Brahmin predominance in India,
became obvious to millions of spectators. The ever-watchful Anti-Defamation
League (ADL) also noticed hateful conspiracy theories
about Jews continue to gather force around the world
two years of intensive efforts by watchdog groups and democratic
governments to combat them But a "conspiracy
theory" is not prima facie absurd, at any rate in Anglo-American
jurisprudence. Indeed, "participation in a common plan or
conspiracy" to commit aggression was the centrepiece of the
prosecution's indictment at the Nuremberg trial, writes
of silence was undermined by the Jewish dissidents:
Norman Finkelstein, Miriam Reik, Jeff Blankfort, Michael Neumann,
Gilad Atzmon, Edward Herman, Israel Shahak together with their
gentile comrades, for the Jewish conspiracy
works for the interests of the organised Jewish leadership, and
against the true interests of ordinary folk of Jewish origin.
More to the point, there is no Jew or Gentile but brotherhood
of humanity for whoever accepts this brotherhood.
effort and self-sacrifice will be lost unless supported by others.
Or, in words of Samuel Adams, "It does not require a majority
to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set
brush fires in people's minds."
Buruma walked on eggs, wonderful Arundhati Roy in
her ode to equally wonderful Noam Chomsky did not even come close
to the eggs. She noticed the mainstream media's blatant
performance as the U.S. government's mouthpiece, its display of
vengeful patriotism, its willingness to publish Pentagon press
handouts as news, and its explicit censorship. She noticed
that the United States can commit horrible crimes and escape condemnation
because it has enlisted the services of the most powerful,
most successful publicity firm in the world: Hollywood.
But she circumspectly does not notice the American Jews who are
predominant in the media and Hollywood.
two dozens of Media moguls she carefully mentions a non-Jewish
one, although a friend of Israel, Berlusconi. She justly condemns
Neoliberal capitalism without referring to Milton
Friedman and genocidal bombing of Cambodia without the name of
Henry Kissinger. She writes of the key role America has
played in the conflict in the Middle East, in which thousands
have died fighting Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian
territory but avoids the real reason behind this American
role: the mighty power of the Jewish Lobby, as attended and duly
described by Noam Chomskys co-author of Manufacturing Consent,
fearless Edward Herman (alas, he remained unmentioned in her piece).
of the war and preceding sanctions that have led directly,
and indirectly, to the death of hundreds of thousands of people
in Iraq but does not notice the [self-styled] Cabal, these
25 people, in words of Thomas Friedman to Ari Shavit ["Friedman
laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are
at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who,
if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago,
the Iraq war would not have happened. "] who caused the war,
and almost all of them Jewish disciples of Leo Strauss and their
it is like talking of Indias policy in 19th century without
mentioning the British rule. Could it be that for an Indian writer,
the Brahmins leading role goes without saying? But our problem
is exactly that: the huge monopoly of media causing lack of democracy
in the US. The monopoly should receive the same treatment the
giant Standard Oil received in the beginning of 20th century:
it should be broken and democratised.
1. HOW TO
TALK ABOUT ISRAEL By Ian Buruma New York Times Magazine August
31, 2003 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/31/magazine/31ANTISEMITISM.html
2. Conspiracy Theories about Jews, US Newswire Sept. 2
3. in his new foreword to the German translation he quotes Adam
Smith, The Wealth of Nations (New York: 2000), intro. by Robert
Reich to such effect, while defending himself against such charges.
From Miriam Reik:
The fact that the NY Times published "How to talk about Israel"
(Aug. 31) shows that the American press, despite years of strongly
pro-Israeli coverage, recognizes that a problem exists. The fact
that Ian Buruma wrote it as if walking on eggs, shows the depth
of the problem.
the reason the article failed to address the extent of AIPAC's
influence on Congress. AIPAC's website proudly announces that
an affiliate took a third of all Congressional representatives
to Israel on "educational" trips so far this summer
alone. None were taken to the Occupied Territories and it is doubtful
that any even met a Palestinian. Our President has recognized
that the Wall being built by Israel is a "problem",
yet 31 of those Congressmen immediately wrote a letter supporting
it and a comparable Dear Colleague letter is circulating among
the most powerful men in America, Tom Delay, made a speech in
Israel recently saying that he is "an Israeli at heart"
and flew the Israeli flag on his website (until he received some
irate letters), leading some to question his primary loyalty.
Congress nearly unanimously passed $9 billion in loan guarantees
to Israel, on top of the largely guaranteed $3 billion annual
aid package, despite our starving state budgets and despite the
fact that this entails selling large quantities of arms to Israel
in contravention of our own laws prohibiting such sales to countries
violating human rights.
in addition to the humiliation of James Moran, there were the
lessons taught to Earl Hilliard and Cynthia McKinney, legislators
who wouldn't line up entirely behind Israel and who consequently
lost elections last year, largely due to money flowing to their
opponents from mainstream American Jewish sources.
M. Reik, PhD