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June 22, 2015 2:46 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Jews Against Themselves, by Edward Alexander (EXCERPT)

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The cover of Edward Alexander's new book. Photo: .

The cover of Jews Against Themselves. Photo: .

Jews Against Themselves is about the new forms taken by Jewish apostasy in an age when Jewish existence is threatened more starkly and immediately than at any time since the Hitler era.

I have not attempted a systematic taxonomy of all the species of Jews arrayed under the genus “enemies of Israel,” a monumental task that would require an encyclopedia to include the following: Jewish progressives against Israel; Jewish queers against Israel; Haredim against Israel; Holocaust survivors against Israel; children of Holocaust survivors against Israel; Jewish Voice for Peace; grandchildren of Holocaust survivors against Israel; survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto against Israel; J Street; Jewish postmodernists against Israel; Jewish Berkeley professors against Israel; post-Zionists against Israel; Jewish members of MESA (Middle East Studies Association) against Israel; Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG, also called, seasonally, London’s Jewish Christmas carolers against Israel); and so on and on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

Despite this, there will always be readers who express astonishment that there are Jews who question the Jewish right to live as a natural right, or hate Israel and are ashamed to have a state. Surely they are as rare as singing mice or card-playing pigs?

Alas, no.

There are important differences between apostates like Pablo Christiani or Abner of Burgos of medieval Europe and Marc Ellis or Daniel Boyarin of modern America. Nevertheless we may say of those Jews who have, over the centuries, defamed, abandoned, and harmed their own people: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” The broadest definition of their apostasy, and one that does not even mention conversion to Christianity or Islam, was given in the Middle Ages, by none other than Maimonides (1135–1204), and it still holds:

One who separates himself from the community, even if he does not commit a transgression but only holds aloof from the congregation of Israel, does not fulfill religious precepts in common with his people, shows himself indifferent when they are in distress, does not observe their fasts, but goes his own way, as if he were one of the gentiles and did not belong to the Jewish people—such a person has no share in the world to come.

—Maimonides, Laws of Repentance, iii


Below is an exclusive excerpt from Jews Against Themselves: 

My most vivid and satisfying memory of growing up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn dates from May 1948, when I was eleven and a half years old. Jackie Robinson, who then lived adjacent to my high school, was beginning the second year of his brilliant career with the Dodgers, and for me and most of my friends, he was the greatest man in the world. Coming a close second to Robinson in our esteem was David Ben-Gurion, whose declaration that month that the Jews, like other peoples, now had a state of their own, ignited dancing in the streets.

These two heroic figures came together for me almost magically when I heard Robinson address a block party (either on Amboy Street or the adjacent Hopkinson Avenue) to celebrate Israel’s independence.
I consider myself lucky never to have been disillusioned about what my parents taught me: that both men symbolized the belated righting of ancient historical wrongs, that Robinson was indeed a uniquely
courageous figure and that the birth of Israel just a few years after the destruction of European Jewry was one of the greatest affirmations of life ever made by a martyred people, indeed what Ruth Wisse would later call the most hopeful sign for humanity since the dove came back to Noah with an olive leaf after the primeval flood.

Elsewhere in this book the reader will come upon Jewish memoirists who regret that their 1940s interest in baseball was a distraction from Jewish concerns, but my experience was the opposite. The linkage between Jewish and Negro rebirth was reinforced in my Hebrew school (providentially located on 500 Herzl Street) by Principal Rabbi Z. Harry Gutstein’s system of rewards for boys who could recite the Shema from memory or show mastery of Hebrew conjugations: good work was rewarded with points that could lead to tickets to Dodger games. Some years later I also came to understand that one reason why Brooklyn (and not Boston or Philadelphia or St. Louis) became the site for the experiment in integrating baseball was precisely its large Jewish population and its sense of brotherhood with the Negro. “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, and to be young was very heaven.”

But, like Wordsworth, I was to be disillusioned not by Israel, which has had to mobilize for, and survive, sixty-six years of relentless military and ideological onslaught, such as no other nation has endured (or could endure) but by Jews of the progressive persuasion. They have not only failed to mobilize their intellectual resources on behalf of a constantly besieged country, but have abandoned it to, where they have not actually joined, its enemies, and become “Jews against themselves.” Who among us could have imagined that liberalism, which so many modern Jews have adopted as their raison d’etre, would itself become dogmatic, would acquire a craving for forbidden fruit (and its legalization), and–this above all–would abandon the Jews, and turn against Zionism and the state of Israel? Ian Buruma did not exaggerate when he wrote, over a decade ago, in the New York Times Magazine, that the Palestinian cause has become the universal litmus of liberal credentials. (To readers of that newspaper, of course, this must have seemed the most banal of commonplaces.) Which of us youngsters was even aware of Zionism’s emphasis upon “negation of the Diaspora” lest the Diaspora negate Zionism? Indeed, how many adult Jews in 1948 could have imagined that the Holocaust would cast its specter of blood and shame over the Jews well into the next century, that its lesson would be not “Never again,” but–for the victims–“It happened once, it can happen again” and–for the perpetrators–“We did it once, we can do it again.”

Jews Against Themselves, by Edward Alexander is available for purchase here. (Paperback, May 2015. 181 pages.)

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  • Rene Arena K.

    One thing is the existence of ISRAEL and another is the “The Jewish State of Israel”; “Fundamentalism” is condemned when a country is established as a “Fundamental Islamic Republic”; Explain the difference. Rest my case!

  • Steve Brizel

    just curious-what does the author think of a certain oped columnist in the NY Times who never misses an opportunity to bash Israel?

  • PermReader

    Nobody of your readers find out themselves against themselves.Your algemeiner censorship is the same against themselves Jews. The main cause is the cowardice combined with the covert low moral evaluation of each other.

  • JewishGuy

    Interestingly, Jackie Robinson was number 42, a significant Torah number: 42 journeys in the desert; 42 letters in a name of Hashem. Sandy Koufax was number 32, Lamed-Bet, the word for “heart”. Both of them stood up for their people and what was right and just in America; and we salute them.
    Re the topic of “Jews Against Themselves”: one has to wonder about the 80% of Israel who died in Egypt in the plague of darkness…The final redemption, though, is said to include everyone. So it seems we have work to do helping our people return to teshuvah. May Hashem strengthen us.

  • EXCLUSIVE: American Tax-Deductible Contributions Pay For Defense Of Arab Terrorists in Israel
    American Jews are funding the families of Arab terrorists who kill Jews in Jerusalem.
    6.20.2015 News Ronn Torossian 18

    A few days ago in these pages we wrote about an extreme left-wing American Jewish organization, The New Israel Fund (NIF), which has the constant agenda of harming the State of Israel through a variety of mechanisms.
    The latest – as reported by Israeli media today – is that the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a petition by an NIF-supported organization to allow the wife of Ghassan Abu Jamal who murdered five Israelis in November 2014 in a brutal massacre during morning prayers in Jerusalem to remain in Jerusalem. Rightfully, courts have ruled that the terrorists’ wife – who is not a citizen of Israel – will not be allowed to remain in the Holy City.
    Hamoked- an NIF grantee – has announced they will appeal this decision in court on July 13, 2015 – and until that time Nadia Abu Jamal is not allowed in Jerusalem. The New Israel Fund opposes “collective punishment” – and Hamoked’s supposed mission is to assist Palestinians “whose rights are violated due to Israel’s policies.”
    Separately, Israeli courts also recently rejected a petition from Hamoked which seeks to allow “family unification between Israeli Arabs and Gaza Strip residents.”
    In the past, Israel’s State Prosecutor concluded that HaMoked’s “self-presentation as ‘a human rights organization’ has no basis in reality and is designed to mislead.” This organization – which is largely devoted to the defense of Arab terrorists – as a grantee of the New Israel Fund, has received $688,901 worth of grants from them between 2008-2013.
    As The Algemeiner Journal reported New Israel Fund is “a controversial foundation that supports dozens of Israel related causes, many of which are considered hostile to the Jewish State.”

    Most shocking is that donations to Hamoked – via the 501c3 of the New Israel Fund – are tax-deductible in the United States. Hence, fees and expenses related to the legal defense of the family members of Palestinian Arab terrorists are tax-deductible in the United States.
    Shamefully, donors to the New Israel Fund include prominent American Jews including the head of the UJA-Federation, Alisa Doctoroff, Karen R. Adler of The Jewish Communal Fund, The Leichtag Foundation, The Jim Joseph Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, George S. Warburg, Sanford & Linda Gallanter, Louis & Richard England Family Foundation, Irwin and Joan Jacobs, the Bonnie and Marty Tenenbaum Foundation, the Edith and Henry Everett Foundation, and others.
    American Jews are funding the families of Arab terrorists who kill Jews in Jerusalem.

    Ronn Torossian is a New York based entrepreneur and author of “For Immediate Release.”
    George Birnbaum is an international political consultant, who formerly served as chief of staff for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    Hank Sheinkopf, CEO of Sheinkopf Communications is a leading political strategist who has worked on campaigns in four continents. His clients have included former President Bill Clinton. the rather the kill them. 

    This includes congregation Beth Am of Silicon valley who is a supporter of NIF.

    This is a violation of American non-profit laws and the Patriot Act. Someone is going to jail.

    Robin Rosenblatt (I am a former Israeli Soldier and Anti Terrorist Agent)
    The Israel Longhorn Project
    Nonprofit 501(c) 3 #74-3177354
    22 Yarnall Place
    Redwood City, CA 94063
    Tel: 650.631.9270 / Cell: 650.339.0269

  • Mort Gantman

    Julian: You doth pontificate once again. on and on and on…
    Your point is clear. But, you seem to write to “hear” yourself
    talk. Bright, certainly! too much….Yup!

  • Irmgard Gesund

    Mr. Clovelley,
    Duly noted, as you were at pains to describe your own family tree, you have not the honor to claim that you have any connection to the Jewish people. Seemingly, you refuse even to admit that the Jews are a people. Apparently,the modern science that has uncovered genetic DNA is unacceptable to you when applied to the Jewish people.

    So, please, Mr. Clovelley, do tell me: why are you so obsessively absorbed with thoughts about us Jews? Why do I always see letters by you in the Comments sections of articles concerning Jewish problems/questions in which you interject your patronizing opinions? Do you really think you understand what it feels like to have the memory of 2000 years of the worst and most consistent persecution of a people in history, etched in your brain?

  • Irwin Herschlag

    The history of your outlook and that of some of the responses show how badly you need the rest of us. To translate the Yiddish of your intellectual and spiritual predecessors: We did not get to Israel on the “paper bridges” we were told to wait for and have been far more significant than the role of “water carrier” to which they assigned us. Isolating us also isolates you. This can only lead to another Masada.
    Can’t Am Yisroel just agree to disagree and survive together?

  • Rene j. Kirchheimer

    Not only,”it can happen again”, but “we can do it much worse”.

  • R sharfman

    Absolutely correct!!! We forget what Rabbi Hillel said long ago” if I am not for myself Who Will Be?” That must come first.


    Here are the e-mail addresses which I inadvertently left out of my previous post. Or should be contacted and reminded that Israel’s survival is at stake and their left-wing support of peace now, Jews for peace, J St., etc. is jeopardizing Israel., Rob Eshman , RABBI JOHN ROSOVE


    Send this article to:, Rob Eshman , RABBI JOHN ROSOVE

    Marty Kaplan is a active promoter of left-wing causes that are damaging to Israel. He writes for the Jewish Journal, he blogs at Huffington Post, influences young minds as a professor of journalism at USC.

    Rob Eshman is the editor in chief of all the Jewish Journal. He started out as a peace now organizer. he hijacks in a tremendous amount of Jewish Jewish resources to promote his left-wing agenda.

    Rabbi John Rosove is cochair of the rabbinical Council for J St. this is a Jewish group that is undermining any attempts to stop Iran from developing it’s nuclear/missile program aimed at destroying Israel.

    • Winston Lyons

      John Train, absolutely spot on about Kaplan and Eshman. Thanks for the background info.

  • Julian Clovelley

    Every truly conscious person has to face up to the reality that their personal identity is largely chosen rather than “actual”

    For example my own. I am English. No doubt I carry vague genetic traces of Ancient Britons (pre Roman). But if I follow my mother’s line I’m Irish and can follow that chain. If I follow my fathers’s chain I am unresearched “English” on my Grandfather’s side and Huguenot refugee Belgian/North German French on my Grandmother’s side. My mother was born Catholic – my father Protestant. So who “am” I really?. In the end we all choose our identity, often under childhood pressure and conditioning

    It is surely no difference for a Jewish person. Family Genealogies are not traceable over two thousand years. the Jewish identity is more chosen through cultural and religious affiliation of far more recent times, than “actual” In those terms Jew and Gentile have been intermixed for well over two thousand years – and indeed may never have been separate except through artificially created cultural and religious choice

    I remain very unconvinced Jewish people actually exist as a historical lineage – any more than I think English exists as a long term lineage. The only long term lineage I have ever personally come across is the Aboriginal people of Australia – and only a small full-blood minority there too. Even that is questionable ,in that the supposed isolation is likely not to have been absolute in Northern Australia. There was contact, the scale of which we can’t easily assess.

    My point is that since identity is so much more chosen than actual, it is hardly surprising people choose to walk away from the identity thrust on them by others at birth. This may be considered “inconvenient” by the Genealogically obsessed but Genetically incorrect Zionist Movement

    Persecution has reinforced the chosen Jewish identity, both amongst Jewish people and amongst sympathetic Gentiles. So much so that the real question “So you think You’re different?” is circumvented

    To me a Jewish Apostate is doing no more than I did in my Anglo Christian culture. At the time I said something much in accordance with a well known pop song by Holly Cole “Make it Go Away of Make it Better” and felt the sheer desolation expressed in the words

    “This is not the way you should see me
    This is not the face I recognize
    Could I lay my head down here for a moment
    Would you sing to me like I’m your child
    Cause I’m not angry I’m not crying
    I’m just in over my head
    You could be the angel that stayed on my shoulder
    When all of the other angels left”

    I demand the right to be who I am – not what religion or culture or even some deluded version of loyalty has told me I am compelled to be. Where is the loyalty in betraying myself, where is the love in demanding I be born in another’s image or that for some reason I am racially bound to rules composed long before I was born?

    Few of us are really born into our “home” – there comes a day when most of us have to seek it for ourselves

    Again this beautiful song expresses it:

    “There are reasons silver linings
    There are lessons but I don’t care
    Cause I just need a hand that I can hold onto
    When it’s darker then death out there

    I’m so cold
    And so far away from my home…
    …Make it go away or make it better
    Isn’t that what love’s supposed to do
    Make it go away or make it better
    ‘Cause I would do either one for you”

    That is how it feels to have to walk away – But there is no choice for some, Jewish or Gentile – when their birth culture just will not budge on its delusions enough to even allow you room to breathe and to be what you perceive as ME.

    Let a song tell you how it feels

    • Bert

      John is very confused. The Jewish leftists are NOT walking away at all. It would be better if they did simply ‘walk away’. Unfortunately they remain obsessively involved with the one purpose to instigate murderous hatred against the State of Israel and her supporters. These people are constantly inciting Arabs to attack Israel which results in deaths on both sides. These Jewish renegades are also identified in the bible as repeatedly attacking Moses and trying to scuttle the entire vision of the Jewish people emerging from slavery to pursue their own destiny. These Jewish leftists were also major players in Stalin’s murder regime. They also volunteered to help Stalin’s program to erase Judaism in Russia. Their goal remains unchanged which is to infiltrate the Jewish community to undermine and ultimately destroy the Jewish community and the State of Israel.

      • Crazycatkid

        I think anyone who proposes that a group, religious, cultural or otherwise is invalid has some serious issues – either hatred for that particular group or other emotional problems. A freshman argument cannot negate thousands of years of relgion and culture- all the family joy that it involves – because John misunderstands and thinks we define ourselves only by DNA.
        Lets not be harsh. Perhaps he is a teenager, yet to grow up and live and love, still rebelling against “the man.”

    • tb

      Your equivalency between a Euro-mix rejecting his/her identity and a Jew demonizing Israel and joining its enemies is false. Contrary to claims, Jews do not require born Jews to be Zionists or refrain from criticizing Israel. However, there is a uniquely perverse and long history of Jewish-born Jew-haters (Pablo Christiani, etc.) who have worked passionately to implement anti-Jewish atrocities. That is what is in play today when born-Jews, under cover of being caring progressives, not only spread lies about Israel, join with Hamas, etc.; but put their Jewish stamp to the calumny before a world that is fixated by the Jewish state.

    • zadimel

      The fact that you are not persuaded to believe that the Jewish people actually exist as a “historical lineage” convinces me that you are somewhat delusional.DNA testing on many Jews have demonstrated the link between ancient Jews of 2000-3700 years ago an those of today. Despite efforts to destroy our faith, nationhood and civilization by among others and in no particular order, the Assyrians,Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Christians, Muslims and Europeans we are still in existence. Much archeological research in the Jewish State points to a great deal of very early Jewish contributions. Setting aside your general ignorance of Jewish history, you have little on which to base your opinions.


    NOT UNEXPECTED,READ 2ND.THESSALONIANS CH.2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Fred

    This article is a sad but true indictment of a distorted thinking prevalent in left thinking Jews. The Judas Goat syndrome, very sad but true.

  • herb Glatter

    As a fellow Brooklyn Dodgers fan who lived in Bath Beach, Brooklyn in the early ’40’s and cheered when Robinson came on board, your work is timely. It’s time for a new Jewish tradition – EXCOMMUNICATION – of the way too many traitors in our midst.

  • AlanB

    and Yachad