After reading Phil Weiss’ take on the AJC 2007 survey, whose findings about the I-P conflict disturbed me, I wanted to revisit the issue which I’ve already covered in this post.
Phil correctly notes no in depth questions about the Occupation like: do you view the settlements as an obstacle to peace? Should Israel relinquish most of the settlements if there was a chance for a genuine opportunity for peace?
But another absence from the survey glared at me as well. Phil correctly notes its obsession with anti-Semitism, which isn’t surprising since this currently mostly hackneyed phenomenon seems to be the single factor that props up the work of most mainstream Jewish organizations and gives them their raison d’etre. But if we’re going to talk about hatred of Jews shouldn’t we explore Jewish attitudes toward others? Why no questions about attitudes toward Muslims, Blacks, Hispanics or immigrants? All of these are very hot issues in political life in this country. The survey’s utter disinterest in them shows, I think, a fundamental unwillingness to look at ourselves and any role we might play in maintaining a destructive status quo either in the Middle East or in relation to our fellow citizens.
“Why no questions about attitudes toward Muslims, Blacks, Hispanics or immigrants? All of these are very hot issues in political life in this country. ”
There actually were two questions about immigration – #25 and #26
In order to have some normative data to compare American Jew’s attitudes towards others, can you point me in the direction of a study that looked at different ethnic group’s attitudes towards other ethnic/racial groups. I was not able to find any such study using Google.
I imagine that given the proclivity of some to use the potential results of such a survey by the AJC to demonize American Jews, the survey people at AJC would not want to ask those questions unless they could contrast them with overall attitudes or other ethnic groups’ attitudes.
I may be wrong and you may be correct that it is due to a certain self-absorption with anti-semitism. Those people who feel that way really should spend more time Philip Weiss’s comments section so they can relax.
Bill Pearlman says
You know Rich, I may not like you and what you write, ( understatement of the year) But at least unlike your pal Phil Weiss you don’t get all hot for Christmas and you don’t have a big following among the neo-nazi, white supremecist movement. And that’s sopmething.
Richard Silverstein says
Bill: I’ve just spent the last 30 seconds laughing my head off at yr comment. That’s really a high compliment coming from you & it really made my day. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it (really, I mean it).
Unlike you, I do like Phil & agree with the lion’s share of his views. But I’ve written a number of critical comments at his blog about his views on the topics you mentioned. For the life of me I can’t understand a pro-assimilationist view of Jewish identity. It’s as if he got lost in a Jewish time warp circa 1939.
I’ve written a number of harsh posts here about Christmas & the prevailing Christian culture as well.
My posts have been linked to What Really Happened & a few other Revionist type sites, but I’ve blocked their readers fr. visiting my site directly. I have gotten some really awful genocidal comments fr. a few neo-Nazi types over the yrs here. But not in some time. The most abuse comes fr. Kahanist & other right wing types.
And I think Phil’s pride at this weird new use of the term “religious left” is strange.
BTW, I do have some bona fides among neocon Jews. Don’t tell anyone (they might throw me out if you do) but Commentary Magazine lists Tikun Olam in its blogroll. It never ceases to amaze me & I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Oh God, the “religious left”…
Can you imagine the “religious left”…
(a) ever agreeing with Amira Hass or Gideon Levy?
(b) supporting B’Tselem or Machsom Watch?
(c) voting Meretz?
Philip, if you’re out there reading this, there’s nothing remotely “left” about the folks you term the “religious left”.
(On a more lighthearted note, I would agree that there’s nothing wrong with using Xmas as an excuse to go out and have a nice meal at a Chinese or Indian restaurant – if only you could leave it at that…)
Richard Silverstein says
Yes, Andy, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Phil’s talking about secular Jews who support Israel, what he calls a “religious state.” But just because those who support AIPAC might be largely secular Jews (though even that might be in dispute), certainly doesn’t mean they’re “left.” Maybe he means “left” ironically or some such. I really don’t have a clue. Much as I like Phil & many of his views, this coinage should die a quick death imo.
One can only hope that Phil Weiss reads these comments because he sure as heck doesn’t seem to read his own…
Agree that his terminology is inaccurate and confuses the issues rather than clarifies them.