Saturday, October 21st | 1 Heshvan 5778

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
March 31, 2015 5:52 pm

Hillary Clinton and Michael Lerner: A Historical Footnote

avatar by Edward Alexander

Email a copy of "Hillary Clinton and Michael Lerner: A Historical Footnote" to a friend

Hillary Clinton on Sunday called for the renewal of the 'special' relationship between the US and the Jewish state. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Algemeiner recently reported that “After weeks of escalating criticism of Israel by the Obama Administration, Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State and the leading 2016 Democratic presidential contender, on Sunday called for the renewal of the ‘special’ relationship between the US and the Jewish state. In a telephone conversation with Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Clinton said that she ‘thinks we need to all work together to return the special US-Israel relationship to constructive footing, to get back to basic shared concerns and interests.'”

One can understand the nervousness of Mrs. Clinton and other Democrats about the effect that President Obama’s relentless vendetta against PM Netanyahu may have on the Jewish vote. But before displaying a beggar-like gratitude for her recitation of clichés, American Jews might examine her own record, for example as First Lady, for (possible) evidence of just where she stands in the unending war of ideas over the state in which more than half the world’s Jews live. It is a state which (unbeknownst to Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough, who on March 23 regaled a J Street conference with venomous abuse of Israel) has not known one moment of peace since it came into being in 1948, long before there were any “occupied” territories.

In May 1993 a flurry of newspaper and magazine articles revealed that Hillary Clinton’s crusade to bring the reign of virtue to a selfish and benighted America was to be carried out under the spiritual tutelage of Michael Lerner, the Jewish leftist “thinker,” self-promoter, and editor of Tikkun  magazine, a publication itself dedicated (according to its official motto that appeared  in each issue) “to heal, repair and transform the world.” Lerner had been much in the news during the previous two years for incessantly declaring that Israelis were too much at ease in Zion. Apparently dissatisfied with the little disturbances visited upon Israelis by Iraqi missiles, bombs exploding in nurseries, schools, and supermarkets, or stabbings and shootings in buses, he recommended  “bringing the war home” by “disrupting the daily operation of Israeli society”  (Jerusalem Post, 13 July 1991), by refusing military service, for example.

Related coverage

October 20, 2017 1:51 pm
0

Hamas Supporter to Receive Award From Harvard Student Group

He has publicly endorsed Hamas, and secretly schemed with Hamas' supporters to thwart US-led peace efforts in the Middle East. Now Nihad Awad is preparing for a prestigious...

Lerner, it turned out, would be visiting  the White House to instruct the first lady in “the politics of meaning” and also of “caring and sharing.”  “As Michael Lerner and I discussed,” Mrs. Clinton announced,  “we have to first create a language that would better communicate what we are trying to say, and the policies would flow from that language.” (“Saint Hillary,” by Michael Kelly, New York Times Magazine, 23 May 1993).

To people not beguiled by Lerner, his “language” has always been redolent less of mind than of pudding and corn-mush. “I proposed that the Clinton Administration establish a policy where, for any proposed legislation . . . there would have to be written first an Ethical and Community Environmental Impact Report . . . to report how the proposed legislation or new program would impact on shaping the ethics and the caring and sharing of the community covered by that agency.”   “The 1970s and ’80s in the US were dominated,” Lerner had written, “by this belief that the individual had only him/herself [rather than “the system”] to blame if s/he faced a life that was unfulfilling.”  (Although a very slovenly writer, Lerner is a diligent gender warden and pronoun policeman.) Insofar as readers could penetrate the New Age pseudo-jargon that emanated from this odd couple, it appeared that Lerner had promised to distill for Mrs. Clinton the essence of the ethical ideas of the Bible for application to public policy. She had, moreover, proved a ready pupil, one who could say to him, with characteristic elegance, at a White House reception: “Am I your mouthpiece or what?” (Washington Post, 9 June 1993)

Who, everybody began to ask, was the First Lady’s new “guru”? Journalists with poor memories or a weak instinct for research mistakenly referred to him as being–prior to his elevation by the Clintons–“welcomed virtually nowhere.” (New York Times Magazine, 27 June 1993)  In fact, he had been a favorite of the news media ever since he began, in 1986, to promote the “Palestinian” cause within the Jewish community, where his name had been a familiar one since the late 1960s, partly for his aggression against that community itself, partly because of his involvement in radical causes generally.

In the fall of 1969 Lerner had commenced his open battle with what he called “the Jewish establishment” of “fat cats and conformists” in an article entitled “Jewish New Leftism at Berkeley” in Judaism magazine.  It included such utterances as the following:  “The Jewish community is racist, internally corrupt, and an apologist for the worst aspects of American capitalism and imperialism.”  “Black antisemitism is a tremendous disgrace to Jews; for this is not an antisemitism  rooted in. . . hatred of the Christ-killers but rather one rooted in the concrete fact of oppression by Jews of blacks in the ghetto. . . in part an earned antisemitism.”   “. . . The synagogue as currently established will have to be smashed.”  “This anti-Zionism [of young Jews] is irrational in its conclusions [that Israel should be destroyed] but “I know it to be correct in its fundamental impulses.”

“The child is father of the man,” wrote Wordsworth.  By the time Hillary Clinton discovered Lerner, the young man who in 1970 used to wear a revolutionist’s bandana had become “Rabbi Lerner,” playing  with his skullcap before a background of Jewish books while “explaining” the intifada (which lasted from 1987-91) for the TV cameras  by  blaming the Jews for the aggression of their enemies.  Lerner had grown fat on the intifada and used the constant burden of peril of the people of Israel as an opportunity for self-aggrandizement. Was it for these efforts that he was rewarded by being elevated, to borrow a favorite phrase from Tikkun magazine, to the status of Court Jew of the Left, or was the first lady really enraptured by his vapid maundering about “the politics of meaning”? Let us hope that the sentimentally  Christian Mrs. Clinton, whose theology tends to be formed by her politics, saw in Lerner only an exotic purveyor of Jewish-accented leftism and not a Jewish exponent of “liberation theology” who had given to it the original twist of wishing to discredit rather than liberate the community from which he came and the homeland to which it is attached.

So far there is no evidence that Lerner poured his ideas on the world’s need for a Palestinian state into Mrs. Clinton’s ear during their White House meeting of 26 April 1993.  But wait–Lerner recalls telling her:  “Gee, I have so many things that we ought to discuss.” And she replied, “Well, we don’t have to do it all today; this is just the first of several meetings.” (Washington Times, 7 June 1993). Of course Lerner by now has other meetings of presidential weight to attend: he has been a dedicated member of the “Rabbinic Cabinet” of J Street, the very organization for which Obama’s Chief of Staff McDonough delivered his keynote address tirade against Israel just a few days ago.

Edward Alexander’s latest book is Jews Against Themselves, published by Transaction.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • steven plaut

    There is no evidence that Lerner has ever opened a Bible.

  • DACON9

    RIVKA BRANDEIS
    NOTE: I HAVE COPYWRITE ON CAPS
    IN ALL COMMENTS(2015)LINKS.
    YOU NEED WRITTEN PERMISSION FOR FURTHER USE.

    NEXT CASE:I THINK WE NEED MASHIACH AT ONCE.
    A VOTE FOR HILLARY WILL SURELY HASTEN ‘HIS’ ARRIVAL.
    MUCH LIKE EGYPT,WE JUST FINISHED PASSOVER…
    WE HAVE REACHED THE 49th LEVEL OF IDIOCY
    AND ‘HASHEM’ HAS TO SAVE US FROM OUR FOOLISHNESS.
    ITS ENOUGH THE MAJORITY OF YOU ‘JEWS’
    VOTED FOR OBAMA TWO TIMES…..AND PROBABLY WOULD VOTE AGAIN BECAUSE YOU ARE BLIND DIEHARD SOCIALIST
    FROM YOUR GHETTO DAYS.
    SOCIALISM COMMUNISM AND UNIONISM IS THE DOWNFALL OF FREEDOM.

    ITS TIME TO WAKE UP, WHICH YOU ARE FAILING TO DO. THEREFORE…MASHIACH IS COMING SOON…
    TO SAVE YOU FROM YOURSELF.
    LAST CHANCE TO MAKE TESHUVA/REPENT.

    I HOPE SOMEONE HERE ASKS HOW TO REPENT…
    THAT WILL BRING HOPE THAT ATLEATS SOMEONE CARES…

  • Andries Juchter

    People who have even the slightest hint of respect for a politician, are insane to a degree that they might as well be euthanized.
    Hillary Clinton is a psychopath. And anybody who wants a psychopath in charge, should vote for her.
    But then again, people also believe that we can battle the current crisis with zero interest rates and by printing money.
    Those are the same retarded people who believe inflation is good for you, that Hillary cares, and that Bibi has your best interest in mind.
    Believe it or not, some are so stupid that they can’t even see that Shlomo is the reincarnation of Moshe. There are even rabbi’s that are so dumbed down that they don’t see this. And that is worrying, because in that case i think the Lord has prevented them from having that knowledge.

    Anyways, voting in general is stupid, and voting for Hillery is like kicking yourself in your nutsies, really hard.

    Next thing you know, we’re told Obama is a Christian, and the retards will belive i

  • Jarred Lyons

    Most of these responses are nothing but trash written by paid bloggers who want to stir up trouble. They do not represent Jewish commentary. I bet there is not one Jewish person who wrote such Illiterate trash. It’s so illiterate it’s just nonsensical blather.

  • While it is impossible to to take up every single slur and hateful innuendo in Edward Alexander’s screed, for those who believe that I am someone who hates Israel or that Tikkun Magazine has a one-sided view of the issues, let me bring to your attention 3 instances that might influence anyone but the most close-minded:
    1. In 1994, after the period of my connection to the Clintons, I signed permission for my son, whom I had brought to Israel to study for a year and a half during high school, to enter the IDF Tzanchanim (the paratroopers). This is my only child, and the person I loved most in the world. I had to sign permission because the IDF has the very humane policy of not allowing an only child to serve in a combat unit without his parents’ signed agreement. I wonder how many others who read this newspaper have similarly shown their support for Israel by going beyond pious statements and financial contributions to risk the life of their most precious child in suport of the State of Israel. Any fool could realize that this is not the action of a hater of Israel, but someone who passionately wants Israel to be safe. My critique of Israeli policies flows from that same commitment.
    2. In 2003, when the Iraq war was about to commence, I was banned from speaking at an anti-war rally because I publicly critiqued the organizing organization, ANSWER, for its refusal to recognize the right of Israel to exist. Though many of my friends in the anti-war movement asked me to not speak out against ANSWER, because it might deflect attention from the focus on opposing the war, my commitment to the rights of the Jewish people to have a state of our own led me to publicly condemn them (and it was reported as a headline story in the S.F. Chronicle and as a story in the Wall Street Journal.
    3. Though I ended up being very critical of the way Israel conducted its assault on Gaza in 2014, my first article after that struggle began in the summer of 2014 was a powerful critique of Hamas and a call of them to stop the bombing of Israeli civilians. In an article published in Huffington Post a few weeks ago after the Netanyahu electoral victory, I again critiqued Hamas and argued that their human-right-violating behavior was responsible for Israelis moving to the Right.
    Edward Alexander would have you believe that I’m one of those who hates Israel and is always opposed to its interests. This is simply a wild distortion. Like many other Jews, I want Israel to remain secure, and for that very reason at times critique its policies, but never its right to exist in security, and I have no tolerance for those who use double standards to attack Israel while not attacking other states whose behavior is as bad or worse, just as I have not tolerance for those who are for human rights everywhere else in the world except when it comes to Israel.
    Please read my book Embracing Israel/Palestine to see how I’ve written a balanced account that is both pro-Israel and pro-Palestiine, because each side needs to recognize that its future well-being depends on the future well being of the other side. You can order it for Kindle at Amazon.com or in hard copy from http://www.tikkun.org/eip.
    –Rabbi Michael Lerner

  • Jack

    While Lerner may assail the Israeli positions on the Palestinian issues, the long term prognosis for any chance of peace must come with a certain amount of self effacing rational honesty about how best to achieve that goal.
    Otherwise you are resigning Israeli’s to a life of perpetual war.

  • RIVKA BRANDEIS

    THIS WOMAN IS EVIL AND PERHAPS A LITTLE ‘GAY’…..BUT MOSTLY SHE IS AN ANGRY HATEFUL WOMEN WHO WOULD TOSS ISRAEL TO THE WIND…..

    THERE SEEMS TO BE NO SCRUPLES IN THE WHITE HOUSE OR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY…..SHAME ON YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO VOTES YEA TOWARDS THAT LIBERAL OLD BOYS/KKK/SCUL AND BONES BOYS CLUB…..MURDER IS NOT EVEN A BAT OF AN EYE LASH…..TO THIS GROUP AAT ALL…..

    AND, IF YOU AMERICANS DO…..’THEN YOUR MORE FOOLISH AND STUPID THEN I THOUGH’……YOU AMERICANS ARE AT FAULT FOR THE WORLD SITUATION….YOUR GRUBBY LARGE MOUTHS DEVOUR ALL…..

    AS FOR THOSE WONDERFUL RELIGIOUS ‘JEWS’ WHOSE PRAYERS ROCK TO HEAVEN…….VOTE FOR THE REAL AND THE MORE REAL OF WHERE AUTHORITY IS PLACED.

    NOW WE HAVE A BLACK CAUCUS WANTING TO THROW ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH AMERICANS TO THE WASTE BECAUSE WE ‘JEWS’ ARE INSULTING THE FIRST ‘BLACK’ /WHITE PRESIDENT…..NOW ISN’T THAT A JOSSLE.

    IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN MY FEAR THAT IF ANYTHING HAPPENED TO OBAMA THE BLACKNESS OF AMERICAN WOULD BE UNLEASHED IN A WAY THAT WOULD CRUSH EVEN ISIS AND THE ISLAMASISTS…..HOWEVER , I SEE WE ‘JEW’S’ DON’T HAVE TO ANYTHING FOR THIS APPLAUSE.

    SO I LET ALL MY FEARS GO AND NO LONGER PRAY THAT ‘OBAMA ‘ IS SAFE….IT DOES NOT MATTER ANYMORE…..

    HAVE THE BEST PASSOVER EVERYONE….AND, PRAY THAT ISRAEL IS FINE……AND AMERICA AND THE REST OF THE WORLD…..BUT, FOR SOME REASON A LOSE CANNON OF A BRAINLESS SOUL DECIDES TO EMBARK ON A SUICIDE MISSION LIKE THE WHITE, CHRISTIAN PILOT ANDREAS….YES, WHITE, CHRISTIAN…..AND PRIVILEGED ….I HOPE YOU ONLY HURT YOURSELVES AND YOUR FAMILIES.

    • BRYNABABY

      All the evil is coming from the likes of you.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Is better for Israel to said thank and keep the distance from her as she not better that her mate and party friend Obama: her move is to keep the Jews vote with the democrat guilty support to a president that had favour Islam and broke many USA laws a part favouring the enemy of western world and Israel.

  • Robert B Geller

    No surprises here. This is consistent with her actions over 20 years. Please remember the photograph where she was hugging Arafat. She will say and do anything to get elected. The Democrats have done enough damage to Israel. Perhaps American Jews should start voting for their interests, and start making Israel their primary interest.

  • Larry

    I don’t give a darn about her e-mails or lies. Name me one politician that is not a liar.
    Unless the Republicans can come up with another Reagan I will vote for Hillary.

  • Leo Toystory

    This bag of evil and corruption will be absolutely no better for the State of Israel than is Obama.

  • steven L

    Malcolm Hoenlein plaid into the hands of a leftist and pro-Islamic candidate. An error. Will the liberal Jews pursue their war on Israel?

  • mistinguette

    I spent several bewildering days with this self-professed and -aggrandizing faux guru. He always expressed empathy and grief for the palestinian arab; I used to ask where his sympathy lay for the bombed and beleaguered Israeli kindergartener and mom–he answered with a withering smirk–Such great thinkers as he need not answer such irrelevant emotional tantrumic queries. He also repaired to a social platform to find a woman who might accept his unimpressive, porcine and unprepossessing figure. He swore sources to secrecy to defend himself from charges of hypocrisy. Despite attacking Jews and in particular Jewish women, in these forays, he always preferred only Jewish matches. When I questioned him for his porridge-like pronouncements, he mumbled, “I knew i should never have accepted her,” [me] to a weekend of leftist anti-Israel ember-brands (they did not measure up to be of a stature one could factually call “firebrands”). His rabbinical ‘degree’ or s’micha is under great suspicion of being just as faux as everything else he has claimed over the years.

    One doubts he ever attended an accredited rabbinical academy or was tested for this rabbinical ordination. It was in many people’s view a financial transaction: He paid, they laid the parchment on him. Even Hillary shed him when his self-promotion threatened to grow larger than his ego and could barely fit through double-wide doors.

  • Reform School

    For those who remember the Trojan Horse, Mrs. Clinton occupies the section hosting the trap-door.

  • Thank you for the article.You have shown real Hillary. Many people don’t know her past contacts and intentions.

  • TED WEISS

    J Outhouse where proararabists , holocost deniers zionist haters . israel haters feel at home
    they have the blessing of the made up corupt self made Lerner
    (or iliaterate) sHAME ON ALL THEM
    let them move and leave their beloved sweet and palis

Algemeiner.com