The Jewish Threat — real or imaginary?
follow-up — trying to learn the truth

April 20, 2005

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Discus/2005-04-20.htm

      The unusual number of responses to my last mailing, "The Jewish Threat ― Real or Imaginary? ― trying to learn the truth" [1] was no surprise. This happened also a year ago when I distributed a letter from the prominent Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery to Yasser Arafat,[2] in which he protested Arafat's approval of Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ", seen by Arafat as being "moving and historical". Avnery believed the film promoted anti-Semitism. That seemed right to me then, and still does, although I haven't seen it. My preface to that letter was

To hate is human

      The notion that people can be taught, propagandized, conditioned not to hate is nonsense, though it can be useful in making those who come to believe the idea feel guilty, convinced that they “shouldn't” feel hatred, but nevertheless know they do. Hatred is a powerful, raw emotion common to all of us, whether we admit it or not. To deny the reality of that emotion is as absurd as it would be to deny the reality of love, also a powerful, raw emotion, or of the sexual urge.

      In my experience the hatreds I felt, and some of which I still feel, seem to come primarily from threats to my sense of my own self worth. For example, if I am lied to and successfully deceived, only to discover later that I had been made a “fool” of because of someone else's questionable motives and clever deviousness, that fills me with hatred. I also believe, although I haven't personally experienced it, that hatred can be stirred by fear.

      The reason to try to build a social order that does not generate hatreds is simply because when hatreds are stirred, the results can be, and often are, great damage to people, a point too obvious to bother documenting. Uri Avnery's open letter to Yasser Arafat cites, I believe justifiably, the unceasing use of the biblical story of the Crucifixion as a basic cause of the hatred many Christians feel for Jews. I do not know how prevalent such hatred is in the world today. But it is easy to see that a bloody gruesome blockbuster film that both feeds on and contributes to that hatred is a great financial success and socially very destructive, as are so many “great” financial successes.

      Now, a year later, the U.S. continues to threaten the tortured Middle East with more bombing and Israel continues methodically to destroy Palestinian society in pursuit of its supposedly God-given Manifest Destiny, supported to the hilt by the Bush cabal. Naturally, under these conditions hatred continues to be a big seller, a really hot item. So the reactions to my last letter and posting were not unexpected. Moreover, I then posted the two earlier published papers by Jeffrey Blankfort cited in my essay: his Jan 2003 "The Israel Lobby and the Left ― Uneasy questions" [3] and his provocative "War for Israel" from Jan 2004,[4] additional stimuli for discussion.

      This posting contains parts of the correspondence with respondants. Addresses, except for one or two, are included so that you can write them your comments or get the full correspondence. One person asked for anonymity because, "I have young children and must keep my head down." It's obvious why from his very first paragraph, which explodes like an apparent bombshell of anti-Semitism:

      Let me be honest, for that's all that counts in this world. It appears that you haven't even begun to grasp the evil inherent in the ideas of Judaism and therefore in everyone infected by those ideas ― Jews and Christians.

Leonard Herman, as I will call this "anonymous" correspondent, ended his first letter, "I'm an ex-Christian, you can become and ex-Jew." But I wasn't ready to renounce my heritage as a secular Jew, more specifically, as a Jewish athiest. We exchanged a few notes. In my view Len's passion and anger and his fiery rhetoric tend to hide the broader context of his deep dissatisfaction with society, much of which I share with him.

      Much of our exchange of letters is at Leonard. Not everyone felt so passionate or angry as he did.

Loie Hayes' <noramicah@juno.com> position is more or less at the opposite end of the spectrum from Leonards'. Her initial note begins:

      I read with interest your essay on “the Jewish threat…” I think your conclusion, “Jews, off our backs,” conveys a conspiracist assumption that’s not supported by your arguments. Of course there are Jewish rightists just as there are Moslem, Christian, Hindi, etc reactionaries. I just don’t think you have made a strong enough case that the Jewish conservatives are more significant in swaying US policy than the Christians. ...

      Most of our exchange is at Loie .

Benjamin Melançon <ben@melanconent.com> had many comments, among them:

Parts of this essay are the best thing I could send to my brother to get him to understand the situation Palestinians are in. Other parts would get thrown back in my face, mostly the implication – unsupported by evidence or logic – that Jewish war-planners are getting the United States empire to do the Israeli government's bidding. Personally I think those people would sacrifice Zionism (the idea of a Jewish nation) for their world domination schemes the moment their strategies suggested it ...

      Most of my exchange with Ben is at Ben.

Rebecca Hale <rahale@jaggedlightning.com> began her first e-mail:

      i appreciate your anguish regarding speaking up about the racism and violence embedded in israeli society.

      i am jewish also, but i became a catholic last year. even though i am now a baptized catholic, i still care very much about israel and the jewish people.

      Part of our correspondence is at Rebecca.

Peter Kirsch <pjk1298@new.co.za>, wrote a brief but urgent note:

Brilliant!
On the money!
But WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT????????????
It's not enough to sit around and whine while the USA is going down the tube.

      Part of our exchange is at Peter.

Mark Bruzonsky's <mark@bruzonsky.com> focus was essentially the same as Peter's ― the need to act:

      ...we have to face the basic fact that we are not organized in a potent way to really do anything that would be effective. We need a real international think-tank, a real organization, of our own. ...

      Your long essay represents a major effort to get to the bottom of things.

      Part of our exchange is at Mark.

Mary took first place for brevity:

Delete my address immediately.

Bill Templer <bill_templer@yahoo.com> called my attention to Bertell Ollman's "Letter of resignation from the Jewish people" with "Some similar views, but a very personal probing account of the aporias of being Jewish on the far left", at http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=107&ItemID=7430 . Bill wrote:

      I think Mark overbelabors the reference to Jewish in his attacks on neo-cons. ZNet has had a number of recent articles on Wolfowitz (Monbiot and others), for ex., not one contains the word 'Jew'. Hard to find any 'Jews' at the Pentagon. Or over at CIA. Nor do the Palestinians I work with carry on as much as MER about the 'Jews' running Washington.

      Part of our exchange is at Bill.

Herb Fox <herb_fox@post.harvard.edu> wrote:

      It appears to me that there is actually more criticism among Israeli Jews of the behavior of their nation towards the Palestinians than there is among American Jews ...

      ...The only criticism of your article that I would raise is that it is too much of a diatribe. ...

      Part of our exchange is at Herb.

Jeff Blankfort <jblankfort@earthlink.net> wrote:

      Just read it and sent it off to my sister and a few friends including the ex-Israeli Gilad Atzmon. ... A couple of years ago, after Billy Graham was revealed to have told Nixon that he had "to break the Jewish stranglehold on the media", and tricky Dick agreed with him, Graham was forced to apologize for his "anti-semitic" statement. Nixon, being dead, got off the hook. ...

      Part of our exchange is at Jeff.

L. Urban Kohler <lurbankohler@yahoo.com> wrote:

      ...I have several jewish friends and neighbors with whom I have built up enough trust over the years that I'd like to think they would accept an honest opinion or question from me without dismissing me as anti-semitic.

      WRONG! apparently!

      I have had so many negative experiences ...

      Part of our exchange is at Urban.


Part of exchange with Leonard Herman

From: Leonard Herman
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2005 05:35 a.m.
For: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      Let me be honest, for that's all that counts in this world. It appears that you haven't even begun to grasp the evil inherent in the ideas of Judaism and therefore in everyone infected by those ideas--Jews and Christians.

      As a starting point, I ask you to read your tribe's scriptures--beginning with the Torah of course. You'll find there a manual for racism, conquest, genocide, lying, rape, and theft. You'll find a Satan-God who institutes racial supremacism by choosing one tribe of human beings, giving them laws that will make them permanently separate from the rest of humanity, and promising them that they will rule the world and permanently exploit the rest of humankind. You tell me what's to be proud of in that.
http://www.geocities.com/gergae2004/Writings/Pentateuch.htm

      The Old Testament--its ideas--are the source of white Europe's racism and colonialism. It's a primer for any group that wants to declare itself "chosen" and therefore able to kill and steal from the non-chosen at will.
http://www.geocities.com/gergae2004/Writings/White.htm

      Jews are, of course, more affected by this evil than Christians or Muslims--and their actions show it. With their unique supremacist tribalism, Jews are ipso facto in a permanent state of war with the rest of mankind, and will always be so until they renounce the ideas that created them, become ex-Jews, and join the human race as equals. They must give up their racial supremacism and their Messianic vision of ruling the world from Jerusalem.

      Mankind should be anti-Semitic, for Semitism-a.k.a. Judaism, is evil and a perversion of all that is geniunely human. I'm an ex-Christian, you can become and ex-Jew.


From: George Salzman
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 11:56:10 -0500
To: Leonard Herman

      I very much appreciate your candor. The response to my last e-mail distribution has been pretty unusual ... I'd like to send out a "follow-up" distribution ... Would it be OK if I include yours, either just as is or, if you want to modify it, as modified?

      I'm quite ready to believe the worst about practically all religions (maybe Buddhism, about which I really know practically nothing, might be an exception), and I don't want to start immersing myself in a study of the Torah. I have been a committed athiest anarchist communist (not Communist!) for many years, and don't need to know all the faults of Judaism in detail. I feel the same way about capitalism, probably the most destructive extremist fundamentalism that's ever existed. It's beyond me to know so many facts in detail and so much history. I already know enough, and want to focus my efforts on changing things, not simply learning more.

      Apropos my becoming, as you put it, an "ex-Jew", here's a bit of a note that I wrote yesterday:

---------------------
      As you know, being "Jewish" really means nothing to me. ... what we somehow have to get folks to accept is real solid anarchism ― away with all the ethnic, religious, nationalistic, etc., etc. stereotypes. ... [To see the rest of this paragraph and the one that follows it go to
Bill ]
De: Leonard Herman
Para: George Salzman
Fecha: Jueves, 14 de Abril de 2005 10:33 a.m.

      You can use the letter, but please attribute it to "anonymous"

      I live in a fascist state that has joined in the Jewish/Zionist war against the rest of mankind. I have young children and must keep my head down.

      For your interest, here's a representative quote from the Torah:

      "Deuteronomy 20:10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies. 15This is how you are to treat *all the cities that are at a distance from you* and do not belong to the nations nearby. 16However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17Completely destroy them--the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--as the LORD your God has commanded you."

      There's obviously no need to talk about a "Jewish Conspiracy" or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion when stuff like this fills the Jewish scriptures.

      I wish we never had to talk about Jews or any other group, but the sad fact remains that Jews define themselves as jews based on the Torah. No Torah, no Jews. And the Torah is chock full of the worst ideas to ever infect human minds. Jews are, unfortunately, more or less, infected by these ideas. The Jewish leadership abuse their power and influence over other Jews and the goyim for the purpose of implementing their insane ideas.

      Capitalism is, ultimately, an expression of Torah ideas. The Torah is the story of how God created a ruling class whom he permitted to live off the labor of the rest of the population. It's all there. Read it.

      Communism, Christianity, Reform Judaism, Feminism, and Gay Liberation were all attempts to reform the Torah. As a good revolutionary yourself, I think you understand how reform movements never really change anything. One has to kill the beast--it cannot be reformed.

      I think its ironic that everything you oppose in this world has it origins in the Torah. Don't you? Don't you think it's worth your while to look into the roots of this murderous insanity that grips nuclear-armed Jews and Christians?


Exchange with Loie Hayes

From: Loie Hayes <noramicah@juno.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 20:20:22 GMT
For: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      I read with interest your essay on “the Jewish threat…” I think your conclusion, “Jews, off our backs,” conveys a conspiracist assumption that’s not supported by your arguments. Of course there are Jewish rightists just as there are Moslem, Christian, Hindi, etc reactionaries. I just don’t think you have made a strong enough case that the Jewish conservatives are more significant in swaying US policy than the Christians. And more importantly what are the social and economic forces behind the individual conservatives? I really doubt that other social forces hold a candle to the fossil fuel lobby. Finally, even with recognizing the role of specific Jews and the Israeli government, your argument sells short the diversity of Jews and Israelis and the very committed role that progressive Jews have played for centuries – and the efforts now among US Jews to break with the historically Ashkenazi/pro-Zionist forces that are too easily conflated with “the Jews.”


From: George Salzman
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 17:58:12 -0500
To: Loie Hayes

      Thanks for writing. You're correct that it does suggest conspiracy, but, as the context of the essay I hope makes clear, a conspiracy of a particular subset of American Jews -- namely the American Jewish neo-cons who are highly placed in the Bush administration and the wealthy reactionary ones who hold enormous power in the corporate media. Note how I concluded my essay:

--------------------------------------
But the thrust of this Bageant essay, "Sons of a Laboring God: Getting Down and Dumb at Burt's Tavern", is that depriving poor people of the chance to get a decent education is deliberate. It's purpose is to keep them dumb. He cites the following: “Too much public education only gets working people riled up and full of backsass.” -- Virginia Senator Harry Flood Byrd.

      That's right. If the American people knew the truth about what course the U.S. and Israeli governments are pursuing, then we would all be 'riled up and full of backsass', and would demand of the Jewish neocons and their American Jewish supporters,

Jews, off our backs!
We are Americans, not Israelis!

      Above all, we are human beings! We demand there be no attack on Iran, or on any other country or peoples. We reject all forms of colonialism, imperialism or other attempts to dominate the lives of any human beings. We will not give our lives, our energy, or our wealth to support conquest and destruction of any peoples.[P.S.]

And my P.S. reads:
[P.S.] The final paragraph is to emphasize that the demand to Jewish neocons and their American Jewish supporters is not just an expression of nationalism, but is based on the common humanity of all peoples.

--------------------------------------
      It was a tough call for me to put that together, for a couple of reasons. I am outraged that so many of my American Jewish friends are unwilling to open their eyes and acknowledge the terrible truth of what the nation-state of Israel means. So I purposely ended with an inflamatory challenge that I thought would, if they read that far, get them off their asses. And I also wanted to rouse up all other Americans to realize that we are being screwed by U.S. and Israeli policies. Let's face the fact that lots of people are nationalistic, and I wanted to catch their attention with that challenge. But of course I don't identify with nationalism, hence the clarification of the final paragraph after the challenge, and then the P.S. to boot.

      As for your apparent readiness to believe that there may not have existed a "conspiratorial" association, though by now it's quite public, hence by definition not conspiratorial, in my judgment there is ample evidence that the policy being pursued by the U.S. is pretty close to the plans formulated and projected by the largely but not entirely Jewish neo-cons in various groups, plans that began to surface a couple of years ago, e.g. with the PNAC. I'm planning to post two papers by Jeffrey Blankfort that make the strongest argument I know of for influence of Jewish neo-cons in government and in the corporate media. Of course it's impossible to know with certainty what forces are most powerful, and Jeff can't prove his case. For me that's not the major point. I'm not trying to "prove" (nor do I believe) that, as you put it, "the Jewish conservatives are more significant in swaying US policy than the Christians".

      I wrote to a friend associated with Al Giordano's Narco News website today, as follows in part,

--------------------------
      I'm planning to also post Jeff Blankfort's essays from 2003 and 2004, which make the strongest case I am aware of for the powerful influence of American Jewish neo-cons. I wrote him a note today, in which I said in part,

      "I would really like your material to get widely known. [To see the rest of this paragraph and the one that follows it go to Jeff ]

--------------------------
      I agree with you about the forces of giant capitalism (the fossil fuel lobby). I explicitly recognize that in footnote [16], namely
[16] Recent evidence indicating that the neocons are not in control was reported by investigative journalist Greg Palast working with BBC Newsnight and Harpers magazine. He reported on “two conflicting plans [for Iraqi oil], setting off a hidden policy war between neo-conservatives at the Pentagon, on one side, versus a combination of "Big Oil" executives and US State Department "pragmatists." "Big Oil" appears to have won. The latest plan, obtained by Newsnight from the US State Department was, we learned, drafted with the help of American oil industry consultants.” The BBC Newsnight report by Greg Palast is available at http://www.canadiandimension.mb.ca/extra/d032805gp.htm .

      Your final sentence points to a possible shortcoming of my essay. I'm not sure. I don't want to sell anyone short, regardless of their tribal affiliation, bloodlines, whatever. ... I'm writing folks to ask their permission for me to include their statements in another e-mail distribution ..., and of course offer ... the opportunity to modify what they wrote... Would it be OK to include your comments, either as is or modified as you see fit?


From: Loie Hayes
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 12:54:39 -0400
To: George Salzman

      Sure it’s fine to post my response. I would add, after my sentence about relative influence of Christians and Jews, the question: And if Jews are NOT more influential than Christians, what credence is there to non-Jews saying “Jews, get off my back”?

      I’ll also try to find you some good web postings on work by Jews to undermine the illusion that conservative Ashkenazis speak for “all” Jews.


From: Loie Hayes
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 13:25:15 -0400
To: "'George Salzman'"

On the Christian origins of Bush policy:

Chip Berlet and Nikhil Aziz, "Culture, Religion, Apocalypse, and Middle East Foreign Policy," IRC Right Web (Silver City, NM: Interhemispheric Resource Center, December 5, 2003).
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/analysis/2003/0312apocalypse.php

"Antisemitism After September 11th", by Esther Kaplan
http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v16n2/AntisemitismAfter.html

Some print publications by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz:

The Issue Is Power: Essays on Women, Jews, Violence and Resistance. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 1992.

"Action and Awareness: Handbook on Anti-Semitism", co-edited. NY: New Jewish Agenda, 1991.

The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology, co-edited with Irena Klepfisz. 2nd expanded ed., Boston: Beacon Press, 1989.

Good anthologies:

Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, eds., Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon. New York: Grove Press, 2003.

Jewish Locations: Traversing Racialized Landscapes, eds., Lisa Tessman & Bat-Ami Bar On. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001.

The Narrow Bridge: Jewish Views on Multiculturalism, ed., Marla Brettschneider. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996.


Exchange with Ben Melançon

Subject: Support for War against Iraq lower among Jews
From: Benjamin Melançon <ben@melanconent.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 21:43:02 -0400
To: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      Thanks for keeping the faith and putting so much effort into your excellent essays. Parts of this essay are the best thing I could send to my brother to get him to understand the situation Palestinians are in. Other parts would get thrown back in my face, mostly the implication – unsupported by evidence or logic – that Jewish war-planners are getting the United States empire to do the Israeli government's bidding. Personally I think those people would sacrifice Zionism (the idea of a Jewish nation) for their world domination schemes the moment their strategies suggested it, but the point is the lack of evidence for the contrary view. On a purely practical level, the accurate argument that these people are hastening the end of U.S. empire, and with it economic and military support for the Israeli government, would be most effective among Jews who support these adventures.

      But that is of lesser importance. I think your original understanding of people in the U.S. – facing an onslaught of propaganda – is more accurate than the 'we need to educate ourselves' view. Looking at opinion polls it is more disturbing that a majority of people in the U.S. supported military action against Iraq before September 11 – thanks to the relentless propaganda under three presidents justifying murderous sanctions – and that vast majorities favored government infiltration of subversive groups and shutting down of liberties after the attacks.

      The real problem, I submit, is that people trust their government. That, in turn, comes less from propaganda and virtually not at all from failure to educate ourselves but from not seeing an available alternative. People are inherently decent, but for the evil of society to be stopped people need to have a radical outlook. This will only happen with sustained communication and outreach to everyone, and the simultaneous building of a new way to organize human power.

      Anyhow, as for the factual correction I originally wanted to write about:

      At the time you cite that support for a war against Iraq was 59% among U.S. Jews – 2002 January – it was significantly higher among the total U.S. population– over 61%. In fact, that's comparing apples and oranges, because for the question as it was worded by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), (an organization that supported Bush's proposed war) – "4. Do you approve or disapprove of the United States taking military action against Iraq to try and remove Saddam Hussein from power?" – had a around 70% support in the general population at the time.

AJC Poll:
http://www.ajc.org/InTheMedia/Publications.asp?did=734&pid=1597

General Population Poll:
http://www.americans-world.org/digest/regional_issues/Conflict_Iraq/mil_action.cfm

      The support of the war among organized veterans' was far more prominent and certainly more important in influencing public opinion than the Jewish groups.

      We do, of course need to destroy the legitimacy that all these people claim, whether as organized (really, elite-established groups of) Jews, veterans, businesspeople, or intellectuals. Our emphasis should be on organizing the non-elites, not on ascribing the statements of particular elites to the cultural group they happen to belong to.

      Our appeal must always be to people's common humanity, not a pitting of competing national allegiances. People are naturally opposed to war, oppression, and starvation-inducing economic exploitation, but we must be shown the consequences of each every day to transform our sentiment into action.

      To a future for human beings by human beings.



From: George Salzman
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 15:42:58 -0500
To: Benjamin Melançon

      Thanks for your thoughtful answer. I agree with most of what you say. I got about nine or so responses to my essay. Anti-Semitism is a good subject to get people's adrenaline up. ... I'd like to include your response in another e-mail distribution to my list, either as is or, if you prefer, modified as you see fit. My intent is to avoid the labor of writing my comments to each individual and not continuing the discussion with my entire list (now close to 1200). The work for me will be a little more (because I need to get permissions), but the reach of the ideas will be much larger.

      I'm planning to also post Jeff Blankfort's essays from 2003 and 2004, which make the strongest case I am aware of for the powerful influence of American Jewish neo-cons. I wrote him a note today, in which I said in part,

      "I would really like your material to get widely known. [To see the rest of this paragraph and the one that follows it go to Jeff ]

      Onwards and upwards with grassroots authentic media! On the absolute necessity of that you and I are in total agreement. I don't consider the exact percentages from various polls as being of critical importance. I'm not sure of all the dates, but I do recall that Amy Goodman reported on polls at congesssional offices that showed enormously more opposition to than support for the planned attack. That's in my posting at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Discus/2002-09-30CallToStopUS.htm .

      Again, thanks for all your work, and for your encouraging note. And let me know if it's OK to distribute your e-mail.


Part of exchange with Rebecca Hale

From: Rebecca Hale <rahale@jaggedlightning.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 15:26:41 -0400
To: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

i appreciate your anguish regarding speaking up about the racism and violence embedded in israeli society.

i am jewish also, but i became a catholic last year. even though i am now a baptized catholic, i still care very much about israel and the jewish people.

i am working on getting a site up that might help "make a difference"

www.media-seed.com

. . .
i am becoming less afraid of offending my jewish friends and colleagues - i think more and more jews are slowly waking up to the fact that the jewish people and israel are probably being used to further a neocon agenda which is being put forth by people who deep down do not give a rat's ass about the jewish people. there are alot of gentle, brilliant, sensitive and compassionate jewish people who know deep down that it is wrong to take what belongs to someone else and then kill them when they don't like it. ...

From: George Salzman
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 15:42:58 -0500
To: Rebecca Hale

      ...The toughest group of people I'd love to be able to reach are those in the hard-right Christian fundamentalist camp ― those who are totally in favor of the State of Israel ― caring nothing about the terrible fate the Palestinians are suffering. But I don't even have the language ― I know nothing in detail about any religion ― and my approach is based on a differnt kind of 'faith', not of a religious variety but on the anarchist's faith in the fundamental decency of most ordinary people. That is my 'credo' and that is why I try so hard not to be scornful of people, because I see us all as products of our social environments.

      I know of one person who's trying to get to the religious right, Charles E. Carlson, who has a massive campaign going. You can get on his mailing list by writing Charles E. Carlson <general@whtt.org>. I'll put the most recent mailing I got from him after your message. The only thing that has troubled me about his mailings is that he has on his site articles that it seems to me may have the result of transferring the hatred of some Christian Fundamentalist Right-Wingers from the Palestinian Arab victims to Jews in general. I have intended to write him about this concern for some time, but haven't yet got around to it.


From: Rahale [Rebecca Hale]
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 10:19:56 -0400
To: salzman
CC: Charles E. Carlson <general@whtt.org>

      i see what you mean about the danger of transferring hatred of the muslims back into hatred of jews. especially once people realize that so many high placed jews are the ones pumping up this war economy, in conjunction with the entire iron triangle and especially Kellogg Brown Root, Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed, etc...

      i have some examples of my artwork up on my site
www.jaggedlightning.com

      i met a woman yesterday at the Kids Expo, in Poughkeepsie New York from a Billy Graham ministry - she had a booth for Christmas Child. these "christians" are being told that sending kids a basket of "toys" (usually cheap stuff from Target/WalMart ) is a good way to help compensate for the loss of their community, which was probably bombed by the united states or a puppet of the us. and these women really believe they are helping. send toys to kids in war torn countries. that is just so insulting to my intelligence. why not just stop the policies that allow the bombing of their countries in the first place ? that is a talking point, i would hope. these are the kinds of women's issues i want to discuss.


From: Rahale [Rebecca Hale]
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 13:41:32 -0400
To: George Salzman
CC: Charles E. Carlson

      thanks for writing back. yes i would like to be included in your next email out ... .

      today i spoke with a gentleman who advised me to start attending Quaker meetings - advice i am going to take. i am Catholic but my church does support this war, is very hypocritical about Pro-Life vs. war mongering and in fact i am no longer comfortable going there. this has been hard on me because personally i do need the support of a public spiritual practice. so i will start attending the Quaker Friends meeting in Poughkeepsie, this Sunday.

      not only evangelicals but catholics as well are missing the point of Pro Life. [refers to the Charles E. Carlson piece I sent her - G.S.] that is an important discussion. also the israel discussion - i just watched Why We Fight, a 1:40 minute long documentary that took a prize at Sundance . it is very important and if you have time you can see it for free at www.informationclearinghouse.info . Richard Perle is shown openly lying on more than one occasion about his role as well as Cheney's role in the arms dealing. Perle is very close to the Israeli government in power. what a terrifying man. i know the jewish culture very well. there is an extreme disconnect between Us and Them - really a fatal flaw. but you are right, turning the racism back on the jews is not the correct course.

      thank you and i will work on putting my writing together - maybe it will "go somewhere" and really hit the target and be effective. that would be great.

      i am working on a children's environmental education project ...


From: George Salzman
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 14:42:57 -0500
To: Rebecca Hale

      It's too bad that your local Catholic church is hypocritical. That's a basic problem, for me, with all established religions. I know there are lots of good folks who need the kind of social contacts and support that our society largely denies, and which various religious institutions provide, more or less. But the belief systems that they promulgate can be anywhere from very good to very bad. In other words, you can't trust religion. My own 'faith' is much simpler ― I believe in the basic decency of the overwhelming majority of ordinary, everyday people. That's the keystone of my faith in anarchism, that we don't need to be "governed" by 'smart' people. We can run our own lives, and are better off without nation-states, capitalism, measured exchange (now largely money-based), and all forms of hierarchical power structures. We need love, affirmation of our own self-worth by our fellows, and an opportunity to be useful to others ― not through so-called 'charity' but by mutual aid, of which the great anarchist Peter Kropotkin wrote in his book, Mutual Aid. I wrote about some of that in an essay a couple of years ago. It's at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Grass/Infra/Infra-5.htm .

      I see that I got your name from the CERJ list of John Wilmerding. That must have been a couple of years ago. He threw me off for what he regarded as stealing his property, i.e. the names on his list, accusing me of spamming 'his' people. As it turned out, some of the excellent contacts I've made have been through CERJ. Too bad he's only partially liberated. So it goes.

      At any rate, good luck with your new Friends Meeting.


Part of exchange with Peter Kirsch

From: Peter Kirsch <pjk1298@new.co.za>
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2005 12:30:20 +0200
To: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

Brilliant!
On the money!
But WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT????????????
It's not enough to sit around and whine while the USA is going down the tube.



From: George Salzman
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 15:00:30 -0500
To: Peter Kirsch

      Thank you for your note encouraging me in my efforts. The question you ask, and your comment are exactly what Mark Bruzonsky emphasized in his response to my mailing. This seems to be a really adrenaline-raising topic, judging from the unusual number of folks who took the trouble to write me. I haven't had so many notes since about a year ago when I posted Uri Avnery's open letter to Arafat criticizing his enthusiastic approval of Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of The Christ". I want to send out a follow-up to my entire e-mail distribution list (about 1200) with about ten or so of the responses, followed by my comments. If it's OK to include your note, either as is or modified if you wish, I'd appreciate it. That way instead of my just writing back to individuals, the discussion can get to a much larger group.

      Part of a note I sent to Bruzonsky earlier today follows:

---------------------------
      Unfortunately I think you're correct about our inability to prevent an attack (probably by our surrogate Israeli air force) on Iran. I have come to believe that the only way to stop the Israeli govt. is by ... [To see the rest of this go to
Mark]
From: Peter Kirsch
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 11:16:08 +0200
To: George Salzman

What we need is ORGANISATION and MONEY (and lots of it) to counteract the extremely powerful American Jewish organisations (AIPAC, ADL etc), PLUS some charismatic leadership.

How do we do it? I wish I knew.

Wouldn't it be great if 535 Congresspeople grew backbones instead of being abject slugs caving in to Jewish pressure?......


Part of exchange with Mark Bruzonsky

From: Mark Bruzonsky <mark@bruzonsky.com>
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2005 11:23:25 -0400
To: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      Your concern about what is coming is right on target. But what to do about it is far less certain and we have to face the basic fact that we are not organized in a potent way to really do anything that would be effective. We need a real international think-tank, a real organization, of our own. Even so..I suggest you look at these past efforts summarized with many documents at:

(at time of Intifada I) href="http://www.MiddleEast.org/jcome

(1998 when Iraq war almost exploded during Clinton years) http://www.MiddleEast.org/iraq

      Your long essay represents a major effort to get to the bottom of things and I realize represents substantial thought and effort on your part. I have just looked over it but not read it thoroughly yet. Even so right from the start I can see many areas that I think need to be expanded, and some which need I think to be changed or even ommitted. Here too...it takes a comprehensive strategy to really have an impact. It's not enough to have great flour or sugar or ingredients to bake bread. It's necessary to have those incredients to start, BUT also unless there is a baker and a bakery to make real use of those ingredients there isn't any bread that can be eaten.

      Hence the strategy to put this information to use, the think-tank that is needed to do so, is what we are really lacking at this point from my point-of-view.


From: George Salzman
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 14:14:11 -0500
To: Mark Bruzonsky

      Thank you for your very encouraging comments regarding my efforts to understand what's going on. ...

      Unfortunately I think you're correct about our inability to prevent an attack (probably by our surrogate Israeli air force) on Iran. I have come to believe that the only way to stop the Israeli govt. is by getting enough Americans to realize that we're being screwed by the U.S. govt. because of its drive for world domination, and that all the resources going to Israel are to secure it as a major military base in the U.S. drive for control, as are all the resources used to attack Israel's neighbors.

      How to get the American people to wise up is a tough call. Sure it would be good to have a think-tank, or many of them. The basic problem, as you correctly say, is that we don't really know how to proceed. Personally I have been putting most of my effort into helping develop a grassroots communication and information infrastructure, because, I think, as long as everyday people ― the people Joe Bageant writes about so well ― don't turn to authentic popular media for their news and understanding, as long as they turn to the corporate media, there's no possibility of turning things around.

      I'll welcome whatever criticisms you care to make of my essay, particularly because I believe our political perceptions are somewhat different. It strikes me that I'm more stridently opposed to the capitalist system than comes across in your writing. My sense is that I'm closer to Joe Bageant, William Blum [5] and perhaps even to Chomsky. Of the people who responded I think you and Jeff Blankfort are perhaps the ones who see the American Jewish neocons and their supporters as most threatening. Others don't emphasize so strongly their being Jewish. My own belief is partly expressed in a note I sent to Jeff yesterday, in part as follows:

--------------------------------
      I would really like your material to get widely known. It's the strongest argument I know of (admittedly I'm not widely read) that ... [To see the rest of this go to Jeff.]
--------------------------------
      Keep up the great effort. I've learned a lot from your e-mails.
Part of exchange with Bill Templer

From: Bill Templer <bill_templer@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 19:31:33 -0700 (PDT)
To: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      thanks for the latest. It will definitely anger some people. Or make them think you are turning into a partial mouthpiece for MER.

      Here a very relevant piece regarding your latest article:
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=107&ItemID=7430 . Some similar views, but a very personal probing account of the aporias of being Jewish on the far left. [Bertell Ollman, "Letter Of Resignation From The Jewish People"] Also, take a look at Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, The Politics of Anti-Semitism (Counterpunch Books), relevant essays there by Uri Avnery, Edward Said and others.

      I think Mark overbelabors the reference to Jewish in his attacks on neo-cons. ZNet has had a number of recent articles on Wolfowitz (Monbiot and others), for ex., not one contains the word 'Jew'. Hard to find any 'Jews' at the Pentagon. Or over at CIA. Nor do the Palestinians I work with carry on as much as MER about the 'Jews' running Washington.

      I lived through a lot of anti-Semitism as a kid (it was rampant in Chicago, maybe not in Champaign) and am very sensitive on this personally. I am also in an academic field where I have been denied many jobs, even recently, because of Jewish background. I know this. During Vietnam war, when I was fired at Ohio U, there was much talk in the university administration about all the 'Jews' making trouble on campus, Jewish students from the east coast and Cleveland, Jewish staff.

      Ghazi-Walid Falah and I gave a paper at the American Ass. of Geographers conf in Denver yesterday that will upset a lot of Israeli academics (on geopolitics of enclavization Gaza/West Bank). We have a strong attack there on Israel's folkish territorial imperative. But nothing about the 'Jews.' Chomsky still supports a two-state solution. For pragmatic reasons. He's no apologist for anything.

      Anyhow, stick with focus on possible attack on Iran. Not a 'Jewish-engineered' attack on Iran. Just a superpower imperial attack. World capitalism, the current geopolitics of oil, neo-con machinations, are not about ethnic origins. Read the above article. It's not far from where your head (or mine) is, but says it a bit differently.

      I worked many many years with Roma activists in southeastern Europe, still do. What Roma face in Balkan society has really honed my sensitivity to racism, its multiple faces and masks. Its viciousness, its innuendos, its agendas of exclusion, its subterfuges in discourse. The whole rotten business of 'imaging of the Other.' Struggling against it is at the absolute core of any kind of libertarian socialist politics.


From: George Salzman
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 22:24:59 -0500
To: Bill Templer

      Thanks for your note, on anti-Semitism, etc. ... I would like to send out another e-mail distribution with the responses, and my comments. Would it be OK to include yours, either as is or modified, if you care to make any changes? ...

      As you know, being "Jewish" really means nothing to me. ... what we somehow have to get folks to accept is real solid anarchism ― away with all the ethnic, religious, nationalistic, etc., etc. stereotypes. Hating bad people, whether they're bad Jews like Kissinger, bad Italians like Berlusconi, or bad Catholics like Pinochet seems natural to me, but of course not because they're Jewish, Italian or Catholic. There are things Jews shouldn't do, but they're the same things that nobody should do, like for example being president of the World Bank. From Jew Martin Wolfenson to Jew Paul Wolfowitz. The solution: there shouldn't be a World Bank, and all of society's current parasites should do honest bread labor, as Kropotkin called it. ...

      I think it may be a mistake to avoid identifying people by their ethnicity in a society where these labels are widely used to attack people. Maybe better, I think, to out the bastards. Let them know we regard them as the scum of humanity. And that goes as well for those of the Catholic hierarchy whose actions are hateful, like former New York Cardinal Spellman, who blessed American weaponry in Viet Nam. However, don't think I'm just mouthing stuff from Bruzonsky. I think he's got things to learn too. He keeps writing about the need to have a think tank (of course he means his think tank), but I'd rather see him reading some of Joe Bageant's stuff, and maybe even goiing to Joe's town in Virginia for a vacation from urban liberalism and an education in what class really means. That's probably unfair to Mark, but my sense is that he doesn't come down as he ought on capitalism ― giant transnational capitalism. He knows about it, of course, but I think William Blum's maybe got a more solid perspective.

      As for your comment about Chomsky not being an apologist for anything, I pretty much agree with that, but ― here's a part of a note I sent to Blankfort today:

--------------------------------
      I would really like your material to get widely known. It's the strongest argument I know of (admittedly I'm not widely read) that ... [To see the rest of this go to
Jeff.]
--------------------------------

      I'll be posting Blankfort's 2003 and 2004 essays before too long [now done]. He is convinced of the power of the American Jewish neo-cons and their associated network, and is (in my view a little too strongly) critical of Chomsky. But as I wrote in my paper, that to me is not a major issue, while the world is going down the tubes.


From: Bill Templer
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 02:51:08 -0700 (PDT)
To: George Salzman

      Here's something important by Mike Klare (he teaches in Amherst I guess) on the coming war with Iran:
http://www.mojones.com/news/dailymojo/2005/04/blood_oil_iran.html

      Mazin Qumsiyeh was just elected the head of our One Democratic State in Palestine organization. Mazin in some ways is becoming the principal Palestinian intellectual activist, I trust his politics far more than the diatribes ... of MER. Maybe with Mazin at its helm our organization will go somewhere.


Part of exchange with Herb Fox

From: Herb Fox <herb_fox@post.harvard.edu>
Date: Sun, 10 Apr 2005 00:01:43 -0400
To: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      It appears to me that there is actually more criticism among Israeli Jews of the behavior of their nation towards the Palestinians than there is among American Jews. I believe that those Jews who want an open discussion of the behavior of the Israeli nation towards the Palestinians are in the best Jewish tradition and those who shout "self-hating Jew" or "anti-semite" at Jews like you and me are the true anti-semites. For they are providing an objective basis in their behavior for the Jews to be perceived as criminals and to lose whatever moral authority the Jews could once have laid claim to. The behavior of the Germans under the Nazis generated anti-German attitudes. The behavior of the Israeli Jews and their neocon brethren in the US are generating anti-semitic attitudes. (I should say anti-Jewish, because the Palestinians are also semites.)

      The only criticism of your article that i would raise is that it is too much of a diatribe. I believe a shorter, more focused piece would have more likelihood of being taken seriously by some under the influence of the American-Jewish propaganda machine.

      I am attaching something, just in case you have not seen it.

----------------------------------
Israelis: Victims No Longer?
By Ann Pettifer

      Iris Murdoch, the Oxford moral philosopher and novelist, thought suffering was not necessarily redemptive; it did not always improve us either morally or spiritually ... she argued that while suffering might well be a constituent of the moral life, it must never be an end in itself ...

      In his new book, Israel and Palestine: Out of the Ashes: The Search for Jewish Identity in the 21st Century, Marc Ellis wrestles with the meaning for Jews of a Jewish state that has become an idol, pursuing policies that were "in another age and in different circumstances carried out against us. Ghettoization of an entire people, collective punishment for the resistance of the few."

      Ellis expresses disappointment with American Jewish leaders who call only "for unity against an 'uncivilized' foe and for loving rather than criticizing the state of Israel." Ellis wants Jews everywhere to stop taking refuge in narratives of themselves as the suffering innocent; it is hypocritical, he says, "when victims now empowered claim victim−hood." He exhorts them to return to the prophetic tradition ... to act justly ...

      A greater Israel ― purged of Palestinians ― would be a barren achievement, a far cry from what the prophet lsaiah hoped would be "a Light unto the Nations."

      Postscript. As I was writing this, an Israeli friend (a member of Ta'ayush, an Israeli/ Palestinian peace group) phoned to say that he was detained for several hours after trying to deliver food and supplies to the Occupied Territories. (Jews are not allowed into Bethlehem, hence his arrest.) The sympathetic Israeli policeman who was taking down his details said that he had watched the light go out in Palestinian eyes; a different kind of despair was overtaking them. My friend asked whether this would mean more suicide bombing. Not necessarily, was the policeman's response: this time the despair was more like that experienced by Jews as they went passively to their slaughter in the concentration camps.

Ann Pettifer <awalshe@nd.edu> is a freelance writer and the publisher of Common Sense, the alternative newspaper at the Notre Dame University.


From: George Salzman
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 08:31:48 -0500
To: Herb Fox

      Thanks for writing your reactions, and for sending me Ann Pettifer's article, which I hadn't seen before ... I'm in pretty much total agreement with your comments. You might be right about my piece being too lengthy and vitriolic to be taken seriously by people ... who buy the whole kit and kaboodle put out by organized American Jewry. But I'm not so sure, because I think I wanted to reach not only American Jews who currently support Israel but even more the ordinary working class Americans about whom Joe Bageant writes so effectively. In short, maybe it's more effective to come on like a ball of fury and fire, like he does. I don't know.

      I'm planning to post a couple of articles by Jeffrey Blankfort [now done]. Here's part of a note I sent him yesterday:

--------------------------------
      I would really like your material to get widely known. It's the strongest argument I know of (admittedly I'm not widely read) that makes the case for the power of the Jewish neo-cons and their associated network. That thesis is not provable, of course, but ... [To see the rest of this go to
Jeff.]
--------------------------------
      The main problem, as I see it, is corporate control of the media, which is why I'm doing my utmost to help in developing the grassroots communications and news infrastructure.
Part of exchange with Jeffrey Blankfort

From: Jeffrey Blankfort <jblankfort@earthlink.net>
Date: Sat, 09 Apr 2005 20:11:03 -0700
To: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      Just read it and sent it off to my sister and a few friends including the ex-Israeli Gilad Atzmon. I think like you do that the threat is very real, but I would estimate that the number of American Jews who are actively engaged, as opposed to the Good Germans who do nothing, is hardly 59% and more like a third, at best. The problem is that these are the wealthiest and the most politically connected and there is no doubt about their control of the media. A couple of years ago, after Billy Graham was revealed to have told Nixon that he had "to break the Jewish stranglehold on the media, and tricky Dick agreed with him, Graham was forced to apologize for his "anti-semitic" statement. Nixon, being dead, got off the hook. But no one, at least publicly, noted that both of these men were in positions to know who controlled the media and no one, at least publicly, raised that as an issue.

      Since purely from observation, I was aware that both Graham and Nixon knew what they were talking about, on this one rare occasion, at least, I started keeping a list which I finally gave up when it ran over 11 pages. I got my info from the NY Times, the Jewish weekly Forward and occasionally, the Wall Street Journal. Someone sent an early version to Al-Jazeera and it is supposedly still on its web site. But that is not all, I can't think of a single aspect of American culture in which Jews do not play a dominant role. Hell, the owner of the NFL Champion New England Patriots (!), Kraft, is a huge supporter of Israel and besides contributing mucho dollars to the Zionist cause, built a stadium over there. Who are the commissioners of baseball and basketball? Selig and Stern. There is hardly an op-ed page of a paper in the US that does not carry at least one syndicated Zionist. As I said in a talk a few years ago, the reality makes the Protocols of the Elders of Zion read like the funny papers, which is what we called the comics when I was a kid, about 10 years behind you.

      I think there is an inherent problem in Judaism and Jewish culture that has fostered this need to dominate and do it without shame, and it is the nonsense that Jews have imbibed over the ages that makes most believe that they/we are "the chosen people of God." Now, anyone who studies anthropology will appreciate that every primitive people selected their god or gods and then, through the manipulations of their leaders, their gods selected them. But the Jews wrote the book and that was and has been it. Since others, when they weren't killing or harassing Jews, also acknowledged them as the "chosen," that only made it worse. There is a sense of superiority that Jews feel over non-Jews, one that is not only passed on by their parents, but by leaders of the community, that is at the foundation of the threat which you so clearly have recognized. It was the establishment of Israel which gave this superior feeling people state power that has set the disaster train speeding down the track. Before and without it, Jews were content with striving to excel in a non-Jewish world with as much or as little ethical sense as non-Jews. Israel, or more precisely Israel's swift victory in 1967, gave Jews a sense of empowerment they had never before experienced and most have yet to come down from it. They have had Congress in their pocket long before the Christian Zionists appeared on the scene but now the combination appears to be unbeatable and no president has the guts to challenge it. That Chomsky has never recognized this and has ignored the times when presidents Ford, Carter, and Daddy Bush challenged it, and lost ― because it undercuts his position totally and completely ― has had a severely negative effect on building a movement to challenge it and, as the late Israel Shahak noted in a letter to me in 1991, "no doubt, he helps the Zionists." I go into detail in my article on the lobby's clash with Ford and Bush and I will be waiting to see how Chomsky responds.


From: George Salzman
Date: Sat, 09 Apr 2005 18:25:21 -0500
To: Jeffrey Blankfort

      Thanks for your comments. I think I'll not post (or mail out) a "correction" or amplification because what I have in my brief e-mail about Bush having "signed off" was just taken from the material of Ray McGovern that I quoted in the essay, namely

      ...In a speech given on February 18, former UN arms inspector and Marine officer Scott Ritter (who was totally on target before the Iraq War on that country's lack of weapons of mass destruction) claimed that the president has already "signed off" on plans to bomb Iran in June in order to destroy its alleged nuclear weapons program and eventually bring about "regime change."

and anyone who reads the essay will see where it came from. My guess is that Ray McGovern is probably pretty well informed and factually correst. Although you are correct in distinguishing between a U.S. bombing and an Israeli bombing, in terms of the political impact, as far as I am concerned Israel would only be "free" to carry it out if the U.S. gives the OK. Your comment about "both parties" applauding an Israeli air strike refers, I think, to both U.S. political parties.

      ... do you know about the so-called Strait Gate Ministry in Arizona that Charles E. Carlson established? He's got a big campaign going to try to get people (and pastors) currently in the right-wing fundamentalist churches to stop hating Palestinian Arabs. He sends out e-mails to about a million individuals and has meetings in front of churches that he considers "apostate" where he and his supporters give out literature, engage folks in respectful conversation as they are leaving services, and display posters. His address is Charles E. Carlson <general@whtt.org> where the whtt stands for We Hold These Truths.


From: George Salzman
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 11:12:19 -0500
To: Jeffrey Blankfort

      I would really like your material to get widely known. It's the strongest argument I know of (admittedly I'm not widely read) that makes the case for the power of the Jewish neo-cons and their associated network. That thesis is not provable, of course, but you make it eminently plausible. In the larger sense, I believe Chomsky's insistence on seeing it as part of the overall U.S. geopolitical promotion of U.S. mega-capitalist's interests is correct. He also acknowledges the influential role of Jews in the media, but for the wrong reason -- in answering questions at his Oct. 22, 2002 talk he said, "Influence of Israel over the US elite? ... So there is an Israel lobby and it has influence insofar as it is allied to actual US power. Where it runs into any conflict with US power it dissolves. (Another factor is they have enormous influence over the media because they happen to be strong within the intellectual community.) So yes, they're powerful, but I wouldn't exaggerate their power." By ignoring the enormous degree of ownership by rich (and reactionary) Jews and dismissing Jewish media influence as attributable simply to "they [Jews] happen to be strong within the intellectual community" Chomsky is really being misleading.


Part of exchange with L. Urban Kohler

From: L. Urban Kohler <lurbankohler@yahoo.com>
Fecha: Miércoles, 13 de Abril de 2005 03:40 p.m.
To: George Salzman <george.salzman@umb.edu>

      ... I have several jewish friends and neighbors with whom I have built up enough trust over the years that I'd like to think they would accept an honest opinion or question from me without dismissing me as anti-semitic.

      WRONG! apparently!

      I have had so many negative experiences trying to make sense of news stories and analysis regarding the Middle east that I find myself treading very lightly around them. I feel like I'm punished and disdained immediately whenever I broach the subject. This morning, I read a ny times front page item saying Sharon is asking Bush to put pressure on Iran about the nuclear program, and on the internet read a reaction from an intelligent non-jewish friend saying there is an obvious double standard. The US & Israeli nuclear weapons are "OK," being on the side of right, and those of Korea, Iran, etc. evil and a threat to world peace. I would really like to see how these jewish friends deal with these questions that seem so obviously crying out for balance & seeing both sides fairly, but I just don't dare bring it up anymore. Careful as I've been, trying to sound them out about these things, I feel already that they are gently shunning me, and the threat of further shunning, or worse, is very real to me!...


From: George Salzman
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 16:29:49 -0500
To: L Urban Kohler

      ... I just located your e-mail to me from a year ago, April 9, 2004 ... I wanted to write you before this note arrived, to get your permission to include your account of your experiences in college learning about Jews, and later experience of Jews complaining in the Soviet Union (or was it Russia by then?) in a follow-up e-mail distribution to my last one ... This way people can be directly in touch with each other if they wish ... would it be OK to include your messages (nothing is more convincing than ones personal experiences), either as is or in modified form, if you wish to make any changes?


Subject: Re: A letter of protest from Avnery to Arafat
From: L. Urban Kohler
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2004 18:38:10 -0700 (PDT)
To: George Salzman

      In my experience (raised with intense Catholic indoctrination) the idea to hate jews because they killed Jesus was just not there!

      I was puzzled to hear this idea for the first time, as a freshman in college. I heard it from a jew, a sophomore who lived in the next dorm room. He teased me that we catholics hated jews because they killed Jesus, and I still remember being too confused to respond. I didn't feel anything at all toward jews. I was unaware of any kind of polarity and it was not in my nature or training to regard any other human as different from me or as an enemy. I can honestly say I was indifferent to "semitic" people − not even knowing what that meant − until jews with whom I was thrown together in college, as dorm-mates, classmates, friends and housemates, created in my mind the feeling that there was a difference, a polarity − even enmity & ethnic or racial hatred. Even then, as I accepted their version of the situation − on nothing more than their insistence that it was so − I remember wondering how it was that I had gotten all the way to college without even the faintest inkling of anti-semitism. I shrugged it off that I had somehow missed something important, since it seemed so important to them.

      Now, nearly a half century later, I can draw on much more experience, having watched the middle east situation unfold and evolve, plus having lived in Russia (Moscow) and noted some interesting aspects of the situation there for the jews, (the alleged anti-semitism which the letter [refers to Uri Avnery's letter to Arafat -- G.S] describes as having driven over a million jews to refuge in Israel)

      Jews in Russia during the time of Gorbachev, when I lived there, felt besieged − and I noted the similarity with my first experiences with "anti-semitism:" that this seemed to be expressed only by jews themselves. They claimed they were discriminated against on a grand scale. At the same time I learned that as 1% of the population they held 17% of the advanced college degrees in Russia. I also noted (and admit this is purely anecdotal) that the jews I knew in Moscow consistently had better apartments and better furnishings than anyone else I knew. And, of all the people eager to get out of Russia in those days, jews seemed to be the only ones actually emigrating. They were going mostly to America and Israel, taking their state-sponsored educations with them.

      After a lifetime of puzzling over these issues, I sincerely believe that jews have developed a useful tradition of keeping alive a "persecution perception." This helps drive them to try harder, to stick together and support and favor fellow jews. It seems to me to be working so well that the persecution reality is no longer true. David has become Goliath! Jews may be resented, but it would seem to be due to their overwhelming success & power, and to their sticking together and disdaining non-jews.

      Just as I don't think "who killed Christ? etc." is relevant, I also don't think we should be making as much of ethnicity as we do. But I honestly think there is an agenda to force this feeling of polarity.

      i could go on at great length explaining decades of anecdotes, observations, readings and general world awareness that have led me to this perception, but it is meant only as a suggestion, a request this possibility be considered by those jews and supporters of Israel who are conflicted between their tribal & ethnic loyalties and the actions taken in their name by zionists and the likes of Sharon & Netanyahu, and their own sense of justice and humanity as regards the plight of Palestinians.

      I began this response with the intention of saying only that, in my experience, who killed Christ and why and how, etc. has no relevance to today's situation. As a young man I was forced to acknowledge a polarity that for me did not exist. I suspect that kind of artificially created perception of anti-semitism served the purposes of zionism, the way those purposes were served, much more brutally, by the notion mentioned in the recent internet flurry (on CERJ and Fixgov) of invective over the seven jews who control America's media − the notion that zionists wanted jews to be persecuted and tortured and killed, in order to solidify zionism.

      Things have become very distorted. Many of even the most sincere jews have a blind spot regarding Israel and its policies. We all have blind spots, and I don't want to point fingers of blame. I just want to propose for consideration by sincere people the lessons of my own personal experience, sketched here incompletely but I think clearly enough for open minds.

P.S. consider this paragraph from the end of the 'letter to Arafat:'
      "...Without anti-Semitism, the Zionist vision would have remained an abstract idea. From the pogrom of Kishinev, through the Holocaust to the anti-Semitism in Russia that has recently driven more than a million Jews to Israel − anti-Semitism was and remains the most dangerous enemy of the Palestinian people. There is much truth in the saying that the Palestinians are “the victims of the victims”.

      Keeping in mind the ideas I described above, isn't it possible to realize that anti-semitism could be claimed, exaggerated and even nurtured to serve the cause of Zionism?

___________________________

Notes.

[1] "The Jewish Threat ― Real or imaginary? ― trying to learn the truth" is at
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Discus/2005-04-09.htm .

[2] "An Open Letter to Yasser Arafat: Mel Gibson's Passion ― for Money!" is at
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Salz/2004-04-08.htm .

[3] Jeffrey Blankfort, "The Israel Lobby and the Left ― Uneasy questions" at
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Discus/2005-04-10.htm .

[4] Jeffrey Blankfort, "War for Israel" at
http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Discus/2005-04-14.htm .

[5] William Blum's analysis focuses squarely on the implications of the United States' geo-political strategy. In his writing ethnicity and religion seem to be irrelevant for understanding what's happening. I highly recommend his Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions since World War II, updated edition (2004), Common Courage Press. His latest Anti-Empire Report, No. 20, on April 19, 2005, written as the Vatican Council was choosing a new pope, ended with five questions to God, the last of which is: "Is it true that if you wanted us to go naked, we wouldn't have been born with clothing on?" Blum maintains a website at http://www.killinghope.org .


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