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Mobius on WBAI Regarding AJC Paper on Antisemitism & The Jewish Left

I’ll be on WBAI’s Beyond The Pale in an hour and a half (12PM EST/7PM Israel) to discuss the American Jewish Committee’s paper “‘Progressive’ Jewish Thought and The New Anti-Semitism.”
Listen online here.
[Update]
Here’s my interview, followed by comments by Sara Roy, professor at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.
[audio:http://orthodoxanarchist.com/downloads/btp_ajcpaper.mp3]

32 thoughts on “Mobius on WBAI Regarding AJC Paper on Antisemitism & The Jewish Left

  1. Oh my God, you guys are such martyrs. Did anyone hear the pathos in Sara Roy’s voice? Give me a break. And Mobius, that story of the policeman going through your pockets – please get some perspective. Above all, can we be critical of Israel and engage in substantive debate on its policies (as well as the actions of the Palestinians and other players in the region) WITHOUT being so disgustingly self-righteous all the time? If you have something truly subversive to say, do you really need to call your radio show, “Beyond the Pale”? I’m so bored by all these people who claim again and again that the essence of Judaism is criticism or asking questions.

  2. I was impressed by the description of the situation of Americans in Israel, the refusal to hear danger and fear, and the shooting of the messenger. Resonated as pretty true, along with the context of Jewish paranoia in response to years of being scapegoated.
    re: cops and shabbos. Yeah… (sigh!) It was cute how you started talking faster when you got excited, but were still lucid. clap clap clap.

  3. I was glad to hear Mobius comment on the tone of some criticism being out of line, even if the criticism itself is legitimate. I realize that may not have been the thrust of his argument. But it showed some real fair-mindedness which I’m not so sure was shared by the interviewers.
    What I think we really have here is not a debate about content or facts. When it comes to anti-semitism, anti-zionism, and where they may overlap, we really seem to be arguing about where and how intensely we ought to focus our attention. It’s not a debate over what is important, but over what is more important.

  4. Hey, Amos! In addition to the essence of Judaism being tzedek, Judaism invented question asking…I think beginning with Abraham’s question, “What if I find 100 righteous; shall I still kill them all? What about 50? What about 10?”

  5. Interesting that the hosts of Beyond the Pale didn’t have the guts to invite Prof. Rosenfeld as a guest. I listen to the show often and there is no counter point allowed, it’s purely propaganda.

  6. Amos, what perspective should Mobius have when cops demand ID papers and search his pockets?
    Mobius, keep up the excellent work!

  7. EXPLORING THE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM
    The next part of my tv program Rodeph Emet (Pursuer of Truth) Part III will air on Manhattan Neighborhood Network on the following dates:
    Sunday 1/21 10:30 a.m. Channel 56 Time Warner Cable
    Sunday 2/4 10:30 a.m. Channel 56 Time Warner Cable
    Sunday 2/25 4:00 p.m. Channel 34 Time Warner Cable
    The program will be streamed live over the internet:
    Time Warner Ch34 | RCN 83 ASX File Time Warner Ch56 | RCN 84 ASX File
    http://mnn.org/sites/mnn.org/files/streams/ch34.asx
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    please tune in at the above time schedule Eastern Standard Time
    To view a sneak preview of the program go to:
    http://www.videoshoutout.com/view_video.php?viewkey=44259755d38e6d163e82
    and
    http://www.videoshoutout.com/view_video.php?viewkey=5a2e075a1a4a6e1b9770

  8. It’s perfectly acceptable for Mobius to say “It made me feel like…” or “it reminded me of” Nazi persecution. And, that’s what he did. But, it would be wrong to make the sweeping conclusion that, as a result of what may be an injustice, that “Israelis are Nazis” or “Israel is a Nazi State”. I think the report makes that distinction and wouldn’t dispute Mobius’ right to be frustrated over the incident (which, I’d actually be interested to hear more about).
    It’s a hair worth splitting.

  9. Hey Miriam, I love asking questions. I just don’t like when people congratulate themselves over and over for doing something so basic (though I don’t think this is what Mobius was doing). As for Judaism having invented the venerable practice of asking questions, I have to say that I doubt it. Certainly the fact that Avraham avinu interrogates God (of course, the real questioner is Moshe) is not in itself evidence that Judaism “invented question asking.” Finally, though I think that tzedek is very important, I don’t think Judaism has an “essence.”

  10. I disagree Amos, Judaism definitely has an essence. We bear the name éùøàì because we wrestle with challenging issues. Judaism has embodied a countercultural spirit since its inception and continues to do so to this very day. That doesn’t mean questioning for questioning’s sake, but it does mean not being content with easy answers.

  11. I always thought Beyond the Pale was a reference to the fact that wenow live outside the Pale of Settlement, an act no longer so subversive since the revolution of 1917.

  12. Am I the only one that found it amusing that the host clarified that “beyond the pale” was spelled with a P-A-L-E?

  13. Mobius, after listening to your comments, I’m still not sure who you think isn’t getting a fair shake here. You complain that the AJC unfairly lumps “Progressive Zionists with post-Zionists and anti-Zionists.” That would seem to suggest that the problem is one of centrist and right-wing Zionists silencing Progressive Zionist critiques by unfairly associating them with anti-Zionism.
    On the other hand, your original missive seemed to be peeved with the notion that the mainstream Jewish community chooses not to parse the distinctions between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. This seems to be an argument for carving out room for anti-Zionism with the American Jewish community. If so, such a radical project has to be honest about its aims – it is not merely seeking to permit open and honest dialogue about Israeli policies. Just as the Progressive Zionists shouldn’t be tarred with the stigma of anti-Zionism, neither should anti-Zionists – who seek the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state as their aim – take cover behind the far more benign agenda of Progressive Zionism

  14. You complain that the AJC unfairly lumps “Progressive Zionists with post-Zionists and anti-Zionists.” That would seem to suggest that the problem is one of centrist and right-wing Zionists silencing Progressive Zionist critiques by unfairly associating them with anti-Zionism.
    that’s not the problem. the problem is that jews who are critical of israeli policies — no matter what their politics are — are being accused of harboring a genocidal rage towards their fellow jews and actively assisting antisemites to destroy the jewish state and jeopardize the survival of the jewish people. whether left-, post-, or anti-zionist, we are all accused of cheerleading the nazis.
    i think it’s problematic — not the problem — to lump left-zionists, post-zionists, and anti-zionists together in the same group, though they clearly share overlapping spheres of interest. it makes it impossible to draw any distinction, as you’re seeking to do (and which i do believe is valuable), between the three philosophies.
    but that’s not the issue. the issue is that opposing jewish statehood for ethical, moral or religious reasons, or criticizing israel for those reasons, is defined as antisemitic.
    such a radical project has to be honest about its aims – it is not merely seeking to permit open and honest dialogue about Israeli policies. Just as the Progressive Zionists shouldn’t be tarred with the stigma of anti-Zionism, neither should anti-Zionists – who seek the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state as their aim – take cover behind the far more benign agenda of Progressive Zionism.
    certainly, it should not. however, though anti-zionism is not benign, neither is it genocidal, antisemitic, morally questionable, or indicative of self-loathing.

  15. if it seeks the destruction of the Jewish state, and therefore the (in theory) safe haven for Jews, isn’t it by nature antisemitic?
    I don’t agree that the antiZionist Jews are antisemitic. They are simply dupes of those who would destroy us.

  16. anti-zionism is contingent on the position that the jewish state has done all but provide a safe haven for jews. rather, it has created the world’s largest jewish ghetto in which you’re most likely to get killed for being jewish, and, due to its actions against its non-jewish neighbors and citizens, incites violence against jews throughout the world.
    ergo, it is not antisemitic to be anti-zionist. rather, it’s pro-jewish.

  17. “anti-zionism is contingent on the position that the jewish state has done all but provide a safe haven for jews. rather, it has created the world’s largest jewish ghetto in which you’re most likely to get killed for being jewish, and, due to its actions against its non-jewish neighbors and citizens, incites violence against jews throughout the world.”
    Sounds like a giant rationalization for excusing the anti-semitism of others. If I am killed in New York because I am Jewish you’re saying it’s not because the person who killed me is anti-semitic but was incited by Israel. Jews were being murdered in the ME before there was an Israel, what was the excuse then Mobius?

  18. did i say i agree with that position or did i simply state the position?
    wtf is up with people reading into my writing things i never say??? this is the 4th time today!

  19. oh and fyi — just because some acts of antisemitism may be motivated by shock/outrage/disgust with actions committed by israel and the shocking/outrageous/disgusting way in which some jews refuse to disavow (and in some cases outright cheerlead) those actions, that doesn’t mean that therefore every act of antisemitism is motivated by israel.

  20. case and point btw about how the way jews react towards their fellow jews’ statements re: israel can drive others towards hostile fringes. right now, jeff’s remark makes me want to scream JEWS ARE FUCKING STUPID.

  21. “jeff’s remark makes me want to scream JEWS ARE FUCKING STUPID.”
    Mobius your rationalization of anti-zionism makes me want to do the same, and I don’t even pretend to hold to the credo of Rav Joseph Soloveitchik. Sorry if I misinterpreted what you wrote, for what you believe.
    “those actions, that doesn’t mean that therefore every act of antisemitism is motivated by israel”
    and i didn’t say that. so practice what you preach and don’t read into my writings either.
    “case and point btw about how the way jews react towards their fellow jews’ statements re: israel can drive others towards hostile fringes”
    you seem only concerned with the drive in one direction, it can go both ways. i know your character is not so weak that one post from me will move you to the fringe or even closer to it. This in spite of your defense of people on the fringe being there only for the like of me.

  22. i am actually a post-zionist. i think that the founding of the state of israel was, in its time, a necessity, though one i would have preferred to have not been. now that israel exists, i am less interested in seeing it “destroyed” than seeing it become a beacon of moral justice.

  23. “…it has created the world’s largest jewish ghetto in which you’re most likely to get killed for being jewish, and, due to its actions against its non-jewish neighbors and citizens, incites violence against jews throughout the world. ergo, it is not antisemitic to be anti-zionist. rather, it’s pro-jewish.”
    Mobius, you must live in a different world that I do, because in my world, Israel is still very necessary. Right now in the UK, Jews are four times more likely to be attacked than Muslims. Antisemitism is a real threat to Jews all over Europe. There are only two countries on the planet where I would live as a Jew, America and Israel. I can live in America, because Israel already exists.
    It is still safer and better to be a Jew in Israel than anywhere else. You can be stabbed in a Berlin subway or on the streets Manchester for being visibly marked as Jewish in any way. It is even bad in the Netherlands and in Scandanavia.
    As for Israel’s actions inciting violence against Jews, that is simply an excuse to make violence against Jews acceptable. People who hate Jews would use any excuse. This goes way beyond Israel’s actions. It goes beyone the occuaption it even goes beyond Israel’s existence it is about Jew hatred.
    This is not to say that Israel’s actions are always right, but they are not the cause for antisemitism, they are only an excuse.

  24. Mr Mobious do you believe that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state? If not then you are not a Post Zionist you are an antizionist! You are wrong Mr mobious to deny the Jewish people self determination when a Jewish State is already in existence is Anti semitsm! Ulta leftist like Michael Neuwman preach self hate.

  25. Statehood ≠ Self-determination.
    Denying others equal representation and protection — to deny them from being full-fledged members of a society, particularly based on their ethnicity, race, or religion — is to deny them their right of self-determination.
    Zionism was a concession to those who denied us our own equality. Rather than stand and fight for Jewish rights, as was the approach of the Bund, Zionism resigned itself to the belief that such a fight was futile, and instead opted to voluntarily resettle the European Jewish community, in effect delivering a victory to their oppressor. Now we deny Arabs the same rights of which we had been deprived and demand they emigrate or be transferred, asserting that their emancipation would bring about our annihilation. And yet Zionism is not racism?
    By its very nature, as a Jewish state, Israel must exclude non-Jews from full civic participation in order to maintain a Jewish majority. It thus regularly engages in demographic warfare to attain those ends, enacting policies that are entirely irreconcilable with the claim of protecting minority rights, let alone, in the case of East Jerusalem, inconsistent with Geneva Conventions regarding the administration of occupied territory.
    Opposing ethnic statehood which deprives others of equal representation is not antisemitic. Nor is it anti-Zionist. I believe Jews have every right to self-determination in the land of Israel. Self-determination is an unquestionable right — a fundamental element of human freedom. However, attaining self-determination at the expense of another’s is at self-negating at best, and immoral at worst.

  26. A democratic state can give one ethnic group rights over another.
    Israel is not the same as United States and a democracy can give one ethnic group davantages over another. Mobious in 1948 the Arab armies that attacked Israel were not interested in A binational state they wanted the Jews to be anhilated! The Arabs lost 1948 and must get over it. If there is a Binational state then it will be be an Islamic state and Jews will have to flee Israel!
    Onw who is anti zionist is anti semitic and self hateing. pehaps the Arab Muslim states in the Middle east are imoral and should disband. It is the Arab attitude that needs to be Changed
    i

  27. A democratic state can give one ethnic group rights over another.
    NO! that is the OPPOSITE of democracy.
    in 1948 the Arab armies that attacked Israel were not interested in A binational state they wanted the Jews to be anhilated
    and yet prior to that, there were several attempts made by both secular zionists and hareidim to create a binational state, for which they were summarily assassinated by their right-wing zionist counterparts.
    If there is a Binational state then it will be be an Islamic state and Jews will have to flee Israel!
    the palestinians are overwhelmingly secular. maybe you should try learning about their culture before you making sweeping statements based more in right-wing anti-palestinian reactionaryism than in reality.
    Onw who is anti zionist is anti semitic and self hateing.
    welp, congratulations, you’ve just violated jewschool’s cardinal rule. you called me a self-hating jew for being critical of israel.
    you are now banned.
    i should have known better than to engage someone so clearly discomposed from the beginning… as william s. burroughs wrote, “do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill. it is a bottomless pit. tell them firmly, i am not paid to listen to this drivel. otherwise, they’ll make you as crazy as they are.”

  28. Having kicked this issue around in my head for a few days, I decided to post on it. I think I fairly characterized Mobius’ position not as supporting anti-Zionism, but rather opposing its marginalization. I have to conclude that while I find his arguments thought-provoking, I find them ultimately unpersuasive. Whatever the abstract merits of Jewish anti-Zionism, in today’s reality these views are misguided and dangerous. It is far more constructive for Progressive Jews to accept the reality of the state of Israel and work for social justice within the context of Zionism.

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