Sunday, December 04, 2011

Jewish identity politics

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz attacked The Wandering Who? by Gilad Atzmon on Fox Business TV. His main purpose was to shame and intimidate anyone associated to the book. He is particularly upset about this endorsement by John Mearsheimer:
“Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their ‘Jewishness.’ Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.”
Dershowitz also hates Mearsheimer for co-writing an academic article and book on The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Atzmon is a famous jazz saxophonist who describes himself as a proud self-hating Jew, and responds to Deshowitz on his blog.

The book is not so much about Jews or Judaism, but about Jewish identity politics. That is, it concerns the views of people like Dershowitz, who don't necessarily have any Jewish religious beliefs, but are concerned with Jewish politics above all else. The most outrageous argument I found is that Israel is worse than Nazi Germany. That is absurd, but hardly anything to get excited about. I tend to be pro-Israel, but a lot of people disagree with things Israel does, and political arguments that make comparisons to Nazis are commonplace. The Left was frequently comparing George W. Bush to Hitler.

It seems to me that Dershowitz is just proving some of what Atzmon says. Dershowitz is preoccupied with Jewish identity politics and Zionism, and with launching vitriolic personal attacks against those who disagree. He supports preemptive war and torture to advance his causes. He also supports animal rights because he thinks humans are no better than animals. And he is very quick to call anyone an "anti-Semite" if they do not support his Jewish identity politics.

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