Tuesday, December 08, 2009

American Jewry loves to scorch the Religious Right -- except when its their own, at which point they scream "anti-Semite!"

I’m accused of anti-semitism
(Mondoweiss) -- by Philip Weiss --

Israeli freelance writer Lisa Goldman is accusing me, at her Twitter feed here, of fueling antisemitism for pointing out that both NY Times reporters in Israel are Jewish, one of them is Israeli, and both are married to Israelis.

As if ethnicity and religion have anything to do with anything, she seems to be saying.

This sort of accusation has prevented a lot of intelligent people from even looking into issues of Jewish media presence/power, out of fear of being labelled antisemites. Goldman’s wrong for a few reasons:

I wish Jewishness was neutral factor in this. It’s not. Not when Dershowitz says, accurately, that the secular religion of American Jews is supporting Israel. Goldman might say, Well many many Jews don’t buy the Dershowitz religion. And she’s right: I don’t. Adam Horowitz doesn’t. Cecilie Surasky doesn’t. But we have all had to undertake a conscious struggle with that programming and have risked excommunication in doing so. Some of us have been excommunicated, denied a livelihood, etc. We are proud Jews. Yet we are Jews taking on a monolithic identification syndrome. The orthodoxy inside Jewish life over Israel is as strong as the Catholic orthodoxy on abortion...

As long as Jews define Jewishness as being support for Israel, then Jewishness is on the table to be examined. Sensitively. But it must be on there. A couple months back Morton Sobell, hearing about the horrors of the Gaza slaughter at the Brecht Forum, said that after generations of concern with anti-Semitism, now we must look at "Semitism." He meant that we must take on issues of nationalist chauvinism within Jewish life.

The Times coverage on Israel/Palestine is biased; we’ve demonstrated this often. It reflects the Israeli lullabye that the Israelis are a democracy up against religious terrorism. It’s an important question for us to consider: why the Times coverage is biased. Well guess what, there is zero diversity on their reporting corps (and in years gone by, when the Times was non-Zionist, it barred Jewish reporters from working in Israel/Palestine).

We’re Americans who discuss religious issues robustly. I can’t tell you how many journalists have made their careers by scrutinizing the religious right. Oh, but now we can’t talk about religion in politics!...MORE...LINK

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