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August 4, 2016 2:07 pm

Another ‘Ashamed’ Jew Bares Her Soul

avatar by Jerold Auerbach

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Historian Hasia Diner. Photo: Facebook.

Historian Hasia Diner. Photo: Facebook.

Once upon a time, self-hating Jews flourished in the American diaspora, not only frightened of their own shadows but ready to appease enemies – ranging from local antisemites to distant Nazis. In 1948, miraculously, Israel emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust to dispel their fears and inspire them to imagine redemption through the restoration of Jewish national sovereignty. Their vicarious euphoria climaxed during the Six-Day War, when victorious Israelis returned to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the biblical homeland of the Jewish people in Judea and Samaria, even to the tombs of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs in Hebron.

But Jews can invariably be depended upon to turn against themselves, especially now when the world turns against Israel. The most recent exemplar of the “ASHamed Jew,” memorably popularized by Howard Jacobson in The Finkler Question (2010), is historian Hasia Diner, professor of American Jewish history and Judaic Studies at NYU. Writing on the Haaretz website (August 1) – where better to find a more receptive forum for criticism of Israel? – she can hardly be labeled a self-hating Jew. Preening about her Jewish identity, it is only Israel that she has come to loathe.

Diner’s diatribe recounts her “personal rubicon,” the line she dared not cross in 2010 when she could not bring herself to sign a statement of principles by the HaTikva organization. Affirming belief in “the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem as capital,” it even encouraged (gasp) “Aliyah to Israel.” To Diner, that was a shanda! Nor could she express her commitment to “strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state.” In her refusal she joined that renowned advocate of Palestinian statehood, Rabbi Michael Lerner.

Zionist activity, she claims, “has impoverished the Jewish people, robbing us of these many cultures that have fallen into the mew of Israeli homogenization.” No less offensive to her refined liberal sensibilities are “the tactics used by the State of Israel to suppress the Palestinians.” Worse yet is “the exponential growth of far right political parties and the increasing Haredization of Israel,” which has transformed the country into “a place that I abhor visiting.” Imagine: encountering religious Jews in the Jewish state!

Diligent scholar that she is, Diner confesses, “I have read too much about colonialism and racism” to still believe that the Six-Day War “changed everything” for the better. Indeed, even the Israel that she once loved “had depended well before 1967 upon the expropriation of Arab lands and the expulsion of Arab populations.” And the Law of Return, welcoming Jews from around the world to become Israeli citizens, “can no longer look to me as anything other than racism.” Her diatribe concludes: “I . . . avoid many Jewish settings where I know Israel will loom large as an icon of identity.” Imagine: a Jew identified with Israel! Almost as shocking as a Jew in fearful flight from the Jewish state.

Such is the shameful trajectory of an esteemed American Jewish historian who long ago belonged to the Habonim youth movement, only to realize as a senior citizen that Zionism is a “naïve delusion.” Sadly, to be sure, Diner is not alone. Analyzing her harangue, Ben Sales, Israel correspondent for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, wondered whether her laceration of Israel “reflects a growing trend among American Jews, in general, and the Jewish academic elite in particular.” (As a retired professor, I can vouch for that.)

Enclosed in her academic bubble, Diner seems to have absorbed the evident discomfort of young and liberal American Jews with Israel, a spreading virus that pervades academic institutions. Would that students could learn otherwise from a responsible adult.

Sam Finkler joined the “ASHamed” organization that favored Palestinians over Israelis. He should extend a warm welcome to Hasia Diner.

Jerold S. Auerbach is writing a history of The New York Times, Zionism and Israel, 1896-2016.

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  • Dan

    Diner confesses, “I have read too much about colonialism and racism” to still believe that the Six-Day War “changed everything” for the better.

    the only thing it did was prevent a massacre of Jews. A slight historical side-effect, by her estimation.

  • Doc

    To the world the only good Jew is the subjugated Jew, or the dead Jew.
    The liberals grant rights to all except the Jew.
    Human rights doesn’t extend to jews.
    If the pressure was put on the Palestinians to accept a Jewish state in genuine peace, which all thinking and genuinely honest people KNOW IS IMPOSSIBLE, then maybe a solution is possible.
    Until then Jews will not commit suicide for anyone, including the self haters amongst them.

    • Hope

      For years the American Colleges had anti semitism from Jewish men towards Jewish women and few gave a damn.This went on for years smearing Jewish women in fact at many Colleges the Jewish women factually had to leave school because of the name calling and self hatred of the men.Studies showed all over the Country Jewish women were victims of anti-semitism by there so called brothers .Here we are today what’s the fuss about now is it because it went beyond Jewish women .Would we have cared then we wouldn’t be in this situation now.We weren’t united then and we aren’t now, it’s strange to me that the pain of women didn’t call into action those who act now.Until the the past outrage and sorrow for the pained women we will find our fate and destiny in the hands of others only because we didn’t steer and guide our fate and destiny then .

  • ricardo

    Erev rav … unfortunately in every generation we have to live with them – some of the most evil done to the Jewish nation came from the Erev Rav since the days we left Egypt. Why would you think is any different now?

  • Zyx

    No panic, the loathing of Israel is one more expression of the left’s total ideological and political dispair. These guys have lost all intelligence, they have no sense of ethics and no values. In a sense Diner’s detestation of Israel is good news. She is a dinosaur on the verge of extinction.

  • ART

    sometimes these ‘intellectuals” are so busy showing there mental and moral purity that they lose touch with reality. Sometimes they spend too much time in their created worlds or theories and they”overthink” and again lose reality. They look for problems and situations to show their “superior” intellect

  • Robert

    She shoukld be fired from the lofty academic position she holds at NYU.

  • Another example of an over-educated dumb person. A member of an evergrowing
    modern-day Judenrat. Shame on her.

  • austin

    Michael Lerner has questionable smite at best…..he is mentally ill

    • austin


  • Ben Hecht, an American writer, journalist from the 1930 and 40s, called on American Jews to line up behind him and expose the murderess Nazis to the world, to save Europe’s Jews. His calls, for the most part went unanswered. He concluded. While Jews lined up behind all other causes they distanced themselves from being Jews allowing antisemitism to flourish.

  • David Hersch

    This silly woman displays classic and basic Maslow’s Hieracrchy of Needs. Closeted in her academic ivory tower, Diner possess a set of motivation systems especially around the area of psychological needs. She is driven to belong, be accepted and be loved and by spouting this pseudo intellectually rubbish and flying her liberal flag whilst projecting that she is overflowing with the milk of human kindness and an insight few possess, she finds solice in perceived esteem, false and worthless prestige and in so doing, in a looking-glass-self moment, feels accomplishment.

    Psychologists will find cause in a limited and selective knowledge of Judaism and in her being haunted by the more recent Holocaust and the echo of two thousand years of persecution which she desperately tries to avoid.

    Most of all, she doesn’t have the backbone to walk into a class and stand up to her students and whatever the current fashion and limited thinking may be. Most of all, she craves acceptance by her fellow academics in a world gone mad.

    • A Simple Jew

      This is the best analysis I have seen of the self-loathing Jews of academia. You are right. They are all seeking approval and they are all cowards.

  • Good riddance to her. We don’t need her support.

  • JarredS

    “She bares her soul” That is a good one…Jews like her go to that dumpster called Haaretz to dump on anything and on everything…Preferably on Israel….

  • JarredS

    Why do we even bother with these kind of Jews….Ignore them or better still kick them to the kerb instead….They have no shame no backbone no self worth or self respect no pride in themselves…..Israelis have a few choice names for them…Which I won’t repeat here…

  • Wow, lots of bashing of Liberals here. It’s so easy, even for educated (?) intelligent (?) Jews to throw around a term and make it into curse word. So easy, yet of so lazy.
    I am strongly pro-Israel (and a historian with 3 books about American Jewish history, even if I don’t have a PhD) yet I also support many liberal causes as far as domestic policy. And I even support a few ideas that are not liberal. In real life, people are not just cardboard, not just cliches.

    • Liora B

      Thank you. I struggle as a liberal/progressive to find balance between my ardent support for progressive policies and the virulent anti-Israel sentiments of a majority of American liberals. I have had the discussion shut down on me many times by “open-minded” liberals who refuse to consider history and take perspective on the situation–how does that reflect “liberal” values? That otherwise educated people either ignore or vocally favor the terrorist organizations that oppress their own people out of hatred for Israel–over allies who are forced to police them–is mind boggling. The painful irony that Israel is blamed and hated for preventing its own destruction.

  • Brian

    I believe that her book on early twentieth century American Jewish support for and identification with Blacks and it’s widespread promotion within CUNY — and other academic venues — played a big role in taking the steam out of violent ant-semitic Black movementof the 90s which was started by another book,co-written by the Jewish founder of The New Alliance Party, Fred Newman with Farakkan, “TheSecret Relationship of Blacks and Jews.” Which introduced blood libels and a movement to promote them with names like Leonard Jeffries, Khalid Mohammad, Jitu Weyusi. She now switches from saving Jewish lives to taking the, like Newman and Lerner.

  • Yale

    The flying pink elephant in all this is that the history of Israel has systematically and sequential disproved many of the beliefs of the Left. They were OK with this as long as the Left held a lock on power in the State, but once that monopoly was broken, and governments from the center and right succeeded where they had failed, their only recourse was to be against the State.

    The one hole in the Right’s success has been in achieving peace, which is why the Left must insist 1) that the Right is opposed to peace and 2) that giving power back to them will lead to peace. To admit that the Palestinians don’t want a solution to the conflict is to acknowledge their own intellectual bankruptcy. Rather than admit they are basically a bunch of fools, they denounce whatever aspects of Israel strike their fancy.

    For example, “robbing us of all those diverse cultures” is another way of saying that Israel is functioning effectively as a melting pot, just like America did for European immigrants in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Its an issue only someone who supports identity politics could describe as a problem.

  • There are some pretty disgusting liberal & self proclaimed enlightened Jews walking around.

  • robert davis

    As all “libverals” she is a LIAR : there never was a “palestinian” people and therefore “palestinian” land : how can anyone “suppress” somthing that never existed? What exists instead is antisemitism, cowardice, greed for fear of losing her job etc. If a “palestinian” people or state eer existed can she state some Historical facts from their History, their Kings, their capital etc. She is a liar, a sheep following a sheep herd of liars and antisemits.

  • Richard E Sherwin

    not another Jewish comic-book historian of Israel confessing in Ha’aretz. historians of the comic-books and comics are a hell of a lot more accurate, and less ‘theological’ and ‘ideological’ than this bunch of ‘Finkler Jews’…. (compare them to the ‘Schindler Jews’ for a dose of real judaism, jewish history, israel, and reality… let alone decency). the rootless offspring of well-off jewish families who left their kids’ jewish education to the necessary pablum of jewish hit and miss education in the States has finally found a mouthpiece in another jewish ideolog. ‘discovering’ they can’t stomach understand or experience israel from ha’aretz — will wonders never cease! maybe she should read more intellectual stuff like DRY BONES.

  • It’s sad when a case of extreme liberal bias infects the brain. Unfortunately, in many cases, there is no balanced perspective in American academia anymore. Professor Diner needs to take a trip to the Northern and Southern borders of Israel to obtain an healthy dose of reality.

  • Frances Weingarten

    Hasia Diner is not alone in her self-hatred. As Yoram Hazony described so well in his book, The Jewish State, Jews have been their own worst enemy for a very long time. Many wealthy and influential Jews worked very hard from the time of Theodore Herzl to prevent a Jewish state from becoming a reality and there are still very large numbers that wish it didn’t exist. It’s possible that they would have succeeded had it not been for the holocaust. They include those who write and read Haaretz as well as many others who are ashamed of who they are and want no attention focused on them. Diner is seemingly one of these but fortunately, the majority of Jews are proud of who they are and especially of their accomplishments. Israel is a splendid example of the strength, intelligence, dedication and perseverance that allowed the Jewish state to flourish and thrive — despite constant wars and animosity from their neighbours. We can only hope that Diner is only a small voice in an otherwise proud Jewish people.

  • When she will take her final breath, and in moments of reflection, will she proud of her legacy?
    For every childhood memory in the habonim, or visits to Israel once enjoyed be erased?
    She doesn’t refer to her parents, which I assume are no longer with us, be proud of her regection
    Of the Israel they once sent their daughter to celebrate through habonim.
    I can tell her that taking account of actions once thought progressive does not always look as bright as the quality of its original form. Her rejection of being recognized as Jew in public circles
    Makes her small amongst giants of her faith. As a role model and teacher to young minds, she has failed. When you no longer respect yourself or your heritage who should respect you?

  • Marco Redwolf

    Typical self loather.. Can you imagine waking up in the morning and looking at that punim ? Arrrrggghh
    Yes, that was politically incorrect and like my mother taught me its not nice to make fun of someone’s looks…Especially really unattractive Female Israel Haters.. OK maybe she doesn’t qualify as a self loather but just / only an Israel Hater? That’s just splitting hairs. I know a few people like Diner and they all have their heads up their ass.

  • More proof that one can become so educated that they become incredibly stupid.

  • Lynn K. Circle

    Jews who prefer Palestinians over Israelis are as much traitors to their own people as are Americans who join ISIS.

  • Jak40

    I am an Atheist Jew Secularist but Zionist; and I don’t agree more with any Israeli Government since the 50ies, that with any Government I had 60 long in my own country!But this actual situation help me to understand each day better, what was ashamed for the Jews in USA in the 30ies and 40ies : To take side with Dems who blocked the Quotas Visa for Jews… and a President who was an evident liar and a false friend…and Jews keept shutting up meanwhile only some courageous guys engaged in USAF against the Nazis and fought in Europe The mass didn’t move and New York had a very few manifestations and 3 millions Jews kept themselves invisible…They stayed quiet to don’t bother the Anti sémites of the State Department, and their own careers!!!
    Now, these coward intellectuals should do like their fellows spaniards in 1492: Convert and let Jews go….But right now these F….jews have not even the courage to say they abandon the combat, but are adopting rather a low profile to keep advantage among a foolish goyish society without any sense of Justice.
    They are living exactly the same Delirium and Reality Denying the Nazis experienced themselves until the Final Crush which made them realize what was the true reality!These self-hatred Jewish Scholars will be crushed too and will be even expelled from the USSA as well…I have never thought USA indemn of possible antijewish passion
    I just hope to SEE that, (and observe I was right or wrong?) before I die….

  • Lia

    You do not have to visit or live in Israel, Mrs/Miss/Ms Diner. If your wonderful heritage disgusts you, you are the only one who loses by that disgust. Many millions of us (nonJews & nonIsraelis), in the rest of the world, understand the greatness of Israel and we know that she is the apple of G-d’s eye. You choose to give up that coveted place in His affection, but do skip the fanfare, please.

  • I just hope that when antisemites start killing Jews she will be one of the first and she probably will as a most visible Jewish moron (just like liberal Jews in Nazi Germany who shouted most that they are German)

  • Should be titled – “Another ashamed Jew bares her lack of a soul.

  • Diner condemns the “horrible” Zionists for “robbing us (“us”? who exactly?) of these many cultures”? huh? on what planet is Diner living? is she a complete fool?

    in Diner’s perverse view, the Jews would be better off in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Germany, Hungary, France, Great Britain, etc., etc. has Diner caught the news in the last 20 or 30 years or has she been on holiday from the news, from the world, from reality?

    and, while we’re on the subject: where does this obtuse fool live? presumably somewhere in New York, right? what gives her the right to live on land of the Native Americans? Jews in Israel have a title deed in the Bible that is thousands of years old, pre-dating the Arabs by a couple of thousand years. what rights does Diner have? or, does she cut herself a big, fat, dispensation because she’s…smart or wise? not really…self-aware? no…virtuous…no evidence of that, either…full of insight…not that…full of unwarranted self-regard…now, there you have something.