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August 3, 2016 5:07 pm

New Jewish Apostates

avatar by Edward Alexander and Paul Bogdanor

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Haaretz published a piece that denounced Israel for being racist, colonialist, reactionary, aggressive and Jewish. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The article, published by Ha’aretz, denounced Israel for being racist, colonialist, reactionary, aggressive and Jewish. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

On August 1, Professor Hasia Diner of NYU and Professor Marjorie Feld of Babson College in Massachusetts took to the pages of Ha’aretz to denounce the world’s only Jewish state for being racist, colonialist, reactionary, aggressive, and – this above all – Jewish. Vilification of Israel has long been de rigueur in that newspaper. “When it comes to defaming Jews,” says a character in Philip Roth’s Operation Shylock, “the Palestinians are pisherkes [small fry] next to Ha’aretz.”

On August 2, the same publication (perhaps as a result of some internal dissent) printed a powerful rebuttal by historian Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis. Jeffrey Goldberg of Atlantic Monthly declared that he was “getting ready to leave Ha’aretz behind.” Later he added: “when neo-Nazis are e-mailing me links to Ha’aretz op-eds declaring Israel to be evil, I’m going to take a break.”

Both Feld and Diner tell what might be called unconversion tales, from Zionism to Israelophobia, raw hatred of Israel, of its people, and, still more, of Diaspora Jews who recognize that securing Israel is the moral duty of this generation. Feld hints that she was awakened from her Zionist “delusions” by the outpourings of Noam Chomsky, a writer who would be rendered virtually speechless on the subject of Israel if he stopped equating the Jewish nation with Nazi Germany. His loathing of American Jewry was expressed as follows in 1988: “The Jewish community here is deeply totalitarian. They do not want democracy, they do not want freedom.” Beautiful and touching words! Are they also music to the ears of disillusioned history professors?

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Diner, more than Feld, has ideas all her own, some of which may surpass Chomsky’s ravings. For example, she contends that “the death of vast numbers of Jewish communities as a result of Zionist activity has impoverished the Jewish people.” Was it “Zionist activity” and not the Third Reich and its collaborators that annihilated European Jewry? Was it “Zionist activity” and not Arab dictatorships that expelled one Jewish population after another from countries they had inhabited for over a thousand years? And was it “Zionist activity” and not the devastation left by communism that prompted more than a million Jews to leave Russia?

Diner complains that “the singular insistence on Israel as a Jewish and Zionist state” forced her to renounce her Zionist views. “Does Jewish constitute a race or ethnicity?,” she asks. “Does a Jewish state mean a racial state?” This from a teacher of Jewish history? Doesn’t she know that Jewish people are found in all races, and that anyone can become Jewish? Did none of Diner’s colleagues at NYU tell her that the “racial state” of Israel is the only country in history to have sought out and brought to its shores tens of thousands of Africans as free and equal citizens?

“The Law of Return,” Diner avers, “can no longer look to me as anything other than racism.” Yet other free countries have their own Laws of Return, occasioning no protest from the principled professor. The Armenian constitution, for instance, permits individuals “of Armenian origin” to acquire citizenship through “a simplified procedure.” The Lithuanian constitution proclaims: “Everyone who is ethnically Lithuanian has the right to settle in Lithuania.” The Polish and Ukrainian constitutions have identical provisions.

Since the fury of Feld and Diner is aroused by Israel’s being a Jewish state, why do they not direct it also against Britain, a Christian state, with an official Protestant church, a Protestant monarch, a Protestant state education system? Other self-declared Christian states with numerous non-Christian citizens include such progressive bastions as Denmark, Finland, Greece, and Norway. And let us not speak of all the states whose names begin with “Islamic Republic of…” or “United Arab…,” and who are among the most zealous supporters of such hatefests as “Israel Apartheid Week.”

Since Israel’s people have been under military as well as ideological siege throughout its existence, our professorial duo could hardly avoid the subject of atrocities. They deal with it, alas, just as one might have expected. Diner writes: “I abhor violence, bombings, stabbings, or whatever hurtful means oppressed individuals resort to out of anger and frustration. And yet, I am not surprised when they do so, after so many decades of occupation, with no evidence of progress.” Can these historians really be unaware that terrorism against Jews in the Jewish homeland began decades before the “occupation”? As Paul Berman observed about apologists of their ilk, “Each new act of murder and suicide testified to how oppressive were the Israelis. Palestinian terror, in this view, was the measure of Israeli guilt. The more grotesque the terror, the deeper the guilt…”

Feld and Diner are nothing if not frank. They do not even bother to hide the logical end-point of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Diner not only boycotts everything Israeli, but also many of her co-religionists in the Diaspora. “I feel a sense of repulsion,” she explains, “when I enter a synagogue in front of which the congregation has planted a sign reading, ‘We Stand With Israel.’ I just do not go and avoid many Jewish settings where I know Israel will loom large as an icon of identity.”

As genocidal fanatics build nuclear bombs in Iran; as Hezbollah arms itself with over a hundred thousand missiles in Lebanon; as men, women, and children are butchered with knives in Israel; as small children in a Jewish school and shoppers in a kosher deli are massacred in Europe; as synagogues and community institutions are fortified against the never-ending nightmare of Islamist violence throughout the world, the Israel-haters take pride in their own perfidy by shunning their fellow Jews.

“One who separates himself from the [Jewish] community” – by showing indifference when it is in distress – “has no share in the world to come.” So declared Maimonides, the greatest of all Jewish sages, in the twelfth century (Laws of Repentance, iii). But if this verdict seems too remote and old-fashioned for Diner and Feld, let them ponder the following, delivered at the height of the Holocaust: “The history of our times will one day make bitter reading, when it records that some Jews were so morally uncertain that they denied they were obligated to risk their own safety in order to save other Jews who were being done to death abroad” (Ben Halpern, Jewish Frontier, August 1943).

Edward Alexander is the author of Jews Against Themselves (Transaction Publishers, 2015). Paul Bogdanor is the author of Kasztner’s Crime (Transaction Publishers, 2016).

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  • TWO points:

    I have never heard of Diner and Feld and do not know their personal circumstances. However, if they are like the vast majority of self-hating Jews, they will be defined as Jews leaving the Jewish fold because they have, for whatever reason, no Jewish offspring. The mentality is: If I have no Jewish future, I don’t want there to a Jewish future for any Jews at all – especially in the Jewish state which offers the biggest Jewish future of all.

    Secondly: The self-hating Jews rely to a huge extent on Israel’s alleged mis-treatment of the Palestinians. Researchers, backed by DNA, are showing that the vast majority of West Bank (not Gaza) Palestinians are in origin ancient Israelites or Cana’anites or ‘Isra-Cana’anites.
    Peace will be established upon this belated realisation. When this happens, how will the self-haters alter their stance?

  • Natan Nestel

    These two “scholars” who became anti-Zionists, parrot J Street and the NIF tired diatribes: Israel is right wing, imperialist, colonialist, occupation, guilty of ethnic cleansing, war crimes ….

    They are part of a growing number of North American Jews who have been affected, and subverted by J Street’s systematic and very effective ‘cult style’ indoctrination. The many individuals acquire a herd mentality.

    Real academics and intellectuals would prove their thesis, rather than throw around tired terms and exhausted slogans They make no attempt to deal with Israel’s strategic realities, and middle east history.
    ​And they call themselves historians.

    In a letter to an anti-Zionist friend, Marin Luther King said:

    “And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and freely accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against Jews, my friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is antisemitism.”

    • Markus Elkana Brajtman

      Why is that toilet paper allowed to exist?
      Time for Israel to wake up. You are in the middle of the dens of evil. Ha’arets should have been closed down years ago.
      That used toilet paper is the most evil spreader of lies against Israel.
      Had that been an Islamic paper, not only would they have been closed down, but the editors would have been executed for high treason.

  • Yale

    The basic problem Leftists face in the modern world is that history has been very unkind to them. Essentially ALL of their beliefs have been proven wrong:

    For example:

    Western democracies addressed the problems of racism, while the Left’s allies in the Soviet Bloc and Muslim world did not.

    Western capitalist economics was right about development as demonstrated by the great improvement in the socio-economic reality of Palestinians when there actually was an “occupation”.

    “Imperialism” and “militarism” are the mainstays of their allies on the Left and in the Islamic world.

    And perhaps worst of all: It was an uprising by workers that led to the downfall of the Soviet Union.

    People with a sense of history and some common sense must shove this reality in the faces of Leftists who insist on defaming those who turned out to be right. The Left has simply turned out to be wrong, and no verbal assault can change that.

  • jack

    you would think that at the level of education these “ubber liberal” women have obtained, they would have developed some critical thinking skills. But they have certainly not. Nor have they seriously studied history, biblical or otherwise…..their thought process is not academic, but obviously ideological anti-Semitic and one sided.
    Israel is the historic home of the Jews, long preceding Mohamed or the made name of Palestinians. That country never existed and when offered a distinct homeland, refused and made war against the Jews instead. They lost. 80% of the “disputed” territory was given to the new State of Jordan. Most “Palestinian” people live there. That is in effect their homeland. Israel is a free and ‘legal’ State and Jerusalem is it’s heart and Capitol….

  • Carlo

    Maybe Feld and Diner should be more concerned about fascist America. After all, the president can order American citizens killed, in secret, without any judicial or legislative review, by declaring them terrorists posing an imminent threat.
    The president can detain prisoners indefinitely without charges or trial.
    The president can order drone strikes at will in countries against which no war has been declared, and drone kill people whose identities are not even known.
    The president can start a torture program with impunity.
    The president can conduct warrantless surveillance on tens of millions of Americans and tap a database that allows metadata archived in 2007 to be accessed in 2017.
    The federal government can collect and store DNA swabs of people who have been arrested even if they are released and never convicted of any crime.

  • nat cheiman

    Self hating Jews. They should convert to Islam

    • Markus Elkana Brajtman

      nat cheiman.

      I could nit agree more . You are so right

  • Typically self hating totally ignorant JEWS.They belong with Ha-aretz in the nether world.

  • JarredS

    Haaretz and it’s writers are creepy….Especially Gideon Levy…A Sad Sour and miserable whiny whingy person who never smiles(a bit like his mate Abbas)their faces would crack if these two would ever try to smile…..

  • c. bacher

    Reuven Rivlin, the President of Israel, has spoken openly….lectured in public in Israel about the ‘racism’ that exists in Israel today!

    He has even cited Israel’s governing document, the Declaration of Independence, advising that in this document it states that all Israeli citizens are equal under the law no matter what ethnicity they are!

    But you sir, either don’t know or are ‘in denial’ about the fact that there was a law proposed last year by the the ‘right’ in the Israeli Knesset that would have given ‘Jewish’ Israeli citizens ‘favored status’ over other non- Jewish citizens of Israel. It was called the Nationality Law.

    Fortunately, there was a big ‘outcry’ from the business
    community and prominent political leaders such as Shimon
    Perez and many others.

    Yes, racism exists in Israel just as it does practically
    anywhere!

  • Hasia Diner and her like are examples of how the quality of university lecturers has deteriorated significantly since I was at university. Clearly she is as deranged as Noam Chomsky. They do not belong at university, they belong in an asylum.

  • .
    Germany has a repatriation low for ethnic Germans, and, so, by this law, hundreds of thousands of Schwabs (a German ethnic group) returned in the past thirty years to the German homeland from the Banat region in Romania, were Schwabs settled before, approximately, 600 years. Ireland has a repatriation low for ethnic Irish people (when, a few years ago, the Irish economy was booming, ethnic Irish returned to Ireland, by the Irish repatriation law, even from the USA). Greece, The Check Republic, Poland, etc, have, also, similar repatriation laws. I don’t know if the Dutch national state, Netherlands, has a repatriation law for ethnic Dutch living in their Diaspora.
    You should check it.

  • As I am sure Edward knows, almost all of the criticism coming out of the Beinart Beanies now is almost word-for-word a repeat of that of the Mopsim in Mandate Palestine in the 1920s and 1930s, the Palestinishe Komunistishe Partei. They urged Arabs to kill Jews in 1929 and even threw bombs in 1936-37. Their denouncements then are echoed in today’s “I-am-not-that-type-of-Zionist” crowd. But then, the Zionist Left fought them. Today, even someone like Ehud Barak went over to them, telling them how “tired” he was.

  • SteveHC

    Diner and Feld are nothing short of DISGUSTING. I certainly do not consider them to be Jewish, as they clearly do not subscribe to the tenets of our faith (to put it mildly). My skin crawls just thinking about individuals such as them.

  • There is a joke about a fisherman who landed a big fish. The fish asked the man to spare him, and said he would learn to breathe air and become his pet. And that is what happened. One day, stopping on a bridge to admire the river below, the fish slipped into the water – and drowned.
    Similarly, these stupid, misguided Jewish Professors have gone so far from their basis that THEY have become the bigots.
    Israel was recognized by the world community, as a refuge, a homeland for the Jews, after thousands of years of persecution and pogroms. Sure, there IS inequality – special rights are given to jews to solve this problem. For all others, Israel gives the same rights ALL countries give. Do the authors think that giving welfare payments to poor folk in the USA is bigotry? Well, they don’t give welfare payments to all, only to the poor. So the poor are segregated. Is this bigotry towards the afluent ?

  • a great and wise professor emerita from Harvard predicted that, as the pressure from Israel’s enemies becomes more intense, there will be Jews who will abandon the Jewish community and Israel and join Israel’s antagonists.

    some of these loathsome renegades are animated by weakness or cowardice or narcissism or career considerations, all conspicuously wrapped in counterfeit virtue.

    in many cases, as in the case of the subjects of the article, Israel’s Jewish antagonists make themselves look foolish. when one invokes the “occupation” as if it were an indictment and as if there were any alternative to the occupation (after Jordan attacked Israel in 1967) and one identifies the “occupation” as the source of motivating anguish for teenagers who decide to murder or to commit other atrocities, it is evident that a truly infantile intellect is at work. Feld & Diner fit right in.

  • Two more antisemites! So what.

  • Lia

    If there were no Israel Prof. Chomsky would have to remain silent and choke in his own antiIsrael bile. Mrs Feld & Mrs Diner are of his ilk.

  • Leslie Benjamini

    Diner & Feld are so morally reprehensible that I can’t find words to describe the depth of revulsion they elicit. The last paragraph of this article quoting both Maimonides & Halpern are right on point as to these two. They are soulless individuals. We Jews do not believe in Hell, it’s too bad there is no such place, I would like to say MAY THEY ROT IN HELL. I can’t believe these are Professors, I used to think you had to be intelligent to be a Professor, they have proven this is not the cas.

  • Ah, if only Jews were everything she said we were then we would be winners, not losers.

  • Rachel Cohen

    This is typical of many godless Jews. And being racially Jewish–is not the same as being Biblically Jewish.

    • Rachel Cohen

      “The Jewish community here {USA} is deeply totalitarian. They do not want democracy, they do not want freedom.” This is a true statement from a reprehensible man, one Noam Chomsky. If this were not true–most American Jewry–would not be voting Marxist democrat–who have been pushing totalitarian economic and Cultural Marxism for over one hundred years. Including sexual immorality, the mass murder of the unborn, high big government intrusion–including over regulation and over taxation, the welfare state… this list of Jewish promoted American totalitarianism is much too long to list here. Note–most of American Jewry are not evil because of their racial Jewishness–but rather due to their godlessness–in such they are no different than any other race of godless humanity.

  • Those professors omitted an historical fact in their Ha’aretz article. The reason the Arab-Israeli conflict persists is because Arabs deliberately deny that Israel is the Jewish nation.

    If you want to read about the genesis of their “meshugeneh” views, click on the link below:

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.734602

  • Jay Lavine

    The question as to whether Jews constitute a race or ethnicity is an excellent one. Jew-haters have always defined Jews in that way. Yet, is is quite correct that Jews come from all races, colors, cultures, and ethnicities. They are a people, yes, but a people defined by their faith and by the way of life they follow.

    Unfortunately, most people who call themselves Jews have adopted the racial/ethnic definition. And it’s not because they adhere to the halachic definition, which I consider only a seed or potential. It’s because when you don’t follow a Jewish way of life, there’s nothing left except an identity or maybe a culture. Some of Israel’s most strident supporters are individuals who have substituted Jewish ideology with right-wing ideology because it provides the self-validation they crave, but their estrangement from Judaism is frequently evident.

    Israel, too, appears to have adopted this ethnic definition. Founded by anti-religious individuals, it has surrendered Judaism to the haredim and others, with most Israelis content to blithely refer to themselves as “secular.” You’re either religious or secular; it’s so easy to create labels and see everything in terms of black and white and thereby foment divisiveness.

    Israeli politicians do sometimes speak about Jewish values for self-aggrandizement purposes, but talk is one thing, action is another. I often cringe when the visiting rich and famous, no matter how unscrupulous, are honored by the state, in effect, a repudiation of everything Judaism stands for.

    I have long felt that the ethnic definition of a Jew, enshrined in the “Jewish state” moniker, has opened up Israel to all kinds of criticism in terms of how it views and treats people who don’t meet this definition. If “Jewish state” referred to the Jewish faith and way of doing things, most of this kind of criticism would be easily deflected.

    In short, Israel needs to take a long, hard look at what it means to be Jewish. If you don’t respect yourself, then you can’t expect others to respect you either.

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