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July 10, 2010

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman’s displeasure with Israel?

Not much to add to Sarah Honig’s article except that every American living in Israel has similar American cousins and friends or by now maybe ex-friends. Each passing year it seems, the gap between American Jews and Israeli Jews is widening. When Obama and BB speak of unbreakable bonds I tend to laugh as as far as American Jewry is concerned, there was for the vast majority never any strong bonds to begin with. Some say that we are reliving 1939 again, maybe but as far as American Jewry is concerned I think they have never broken free of the 1939 time lock. Little in their attitudes seems to have changed. Yamit

Another Tack: Isolation II – My American cousins
By Sarah Honig

When one of the world’s more influential economists, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, took pains on his recent visit here to dissociate himself personally from Israel’s obvious odiousness, I was hardly surprised. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what in Israeli statecraft incurred Krugman’s displeasure, but his annoyance seemed de rigueur.

Why? Because Krugman sounded so much like my own blood relations in Obamaland. It was from them that I gained incipient insight into Israel’s isolation – even within the Jewish context.

It began to dawn on me during the worst years of the second intifada, when buses here blew up, supermarkets were dangerous places, fast-food eateries became frequent targets and just going out meant you might be putting your life on the line. Most of my American family – comfortable, self-satisfied, assimilated and resplendent in impeccable liberal credentials – didn’t appear much perturbed about our well-being. Concerned inquiries usually came from non-Jewish friends.

But the very same kin were aghast to discover before the last American presidential election that we didn’t share their ebullient enthusiasm for Barack Obama. Indeed I quickly concluded that, even when severely goaded, it’s best not to exercise my freedom of speech. We, the uncool and benightedly reactionary Israeli branch of the clan, were anyhow already frowned upon, disapproved of and exceedingly close to familial excommunication.

I kept uncharacteristically mum when a once-favorite cousin fulminated in unambiguous rebuke: “You people liked Nixon. He was good for you but he was awful for us.”

I couldn’t decide whether she only addressed her provincial Israeli relatives or perhaps all Israelis collectively, but I was reminded of the Passover Haggada’s emblematic Wicked Son.

He’s the one who intones: “What is this service to you?” In other words, he detaches himself from the Jewish collective, relishing in the role of an objective observer, who standoffishly passes judgment on fellow Jews rather than identifying with them.

A younger cousin of mine glories in this role.

He got into Facebook fisticuffs with my daughter over his support for the Mavi Marmara thugs. My daughter retorted that not living here, in our shoes, and hardly knowing what he’s talking about, he mustn’t dispense unsolicited advice whose consequences he won’t have to bear. But the cousin immodestly insisted that he bases his opinions on “a good upbringing, years of education and a natural high level of judgment” (which presumably we lack).

Not living in Israel, he added, “is a conscious choice I make so as not to fall in line with the national psychosis Israelis suffer from, the psychosis that prevents many Israelis from rationally engaging in the world.”

After advising us to read and heed The New York Times, he went on to wish Israelis “liberation from oppression, both foreign and domestic, and from internal bonds created by historically justified but fundamentally self-destructive fears.”

EVINCING THE same smugness as my various cousins, Krugman probably agrees, though as a very fussed-over guest in our insular little land it would be a tad impolite to say so. Still, it’s inevitable that, having patted us on the back (for our economic resilience), he’d follow it up with a kick in the pants.

To maintain his reputation in the radical halls of American academe and left-leaning media (he is a New York Times columnist), Krugman must cleanse himself of anything which might hint at sympathy for a state that the more successful and affluent American Jews tend to consider a bothersome burden.

This isn’t calculatingly cynical. It’s almost knee-jerk.

Hence Krugman had to stress that his presence in Israel shouldn’t be taken as “an uncritical endorsement of everything the Israeli government does” and that “there is a lot that troubles” him about Israel’s “policy, both domestic and in the region.”

His Jewishness evidently entitles him to give us a piece of his mind because, like “many American Jews,” he’s troubled “in the way you are troubled when someone you love is behaving in a self-destructive way.”

Krugman then warned us against “a lot of people on the other side of the US spectrum who have a vision of the real America that does not include people like me and therefore does not ultimately include people like you either…. They may for tactical reasons endorse whatever the current Israeli government does, but in the end they are not on your side and in the end sometimes critical friends are.”

This is where it does get disingenuous. Jews, who haughtily disdain Jewish interests, resort to shared Jewish genes to caution us against conservative non-Jews, who support us warmly. Those who, like my cousin, lament Israel’s “fundamentally self-destructive fears,” play the anti-Semitic card when it suits them. Krugman intimated that the unidentified “people on the other side of the US spectrum” hate him and us for who we are.

Nevertheless, I’d rather take my chances with “the other side” than with Krugman and many of my ultra-“progressive” cousins. During most of Zionism’s history, it must be admitted, Zionists (and later Israelis) weren’t by-and-large American Jewry’s bon ton.

Save for an extraordinary honeymoon following the Six Day War, we impeded the American dream of certain Jews. If a terrible fate befalls us, “Jewish-Americans” will recall Krugman’s admonition that we “trouble” them. They’d congratulate themselves for not having, in my cousin’s words, succumbed to our “psychosis.” They’d perhaps shed compulsory tears, as they did for Europe’s butchered Jews post-Holocaust, but we mustn’t count on a massive portion of America’s Jewish mass – no more than Europe’s Jews could before and during World War II.

The Jewish-owned New York Times, by which my cousins swear and where Krugman publishes opeds, typifies that segment of US Jewry. During all of World War II it saw fit to publish only two lead editorials on Jewish issues. One, on January 22, 1942, was an acerbic attack on demands for all-Jewish military units under British auspices (which were eventually created as the Jewish Brigade). While the extermination of Jews continued unabated, the Times’s indignation was spent on preventing the formation of “a Zionist army.”

In February 1942 the rickety illegal immigrant ship Struma sank after the British refused to let refugees from Hitler’s hell enter this country. All but one of its 768 passengers perished.

The Times accorded it four bland paragraphs on an inside page. The New York Post and The Washington Post judged the horror deserved editorial condemnation.

Contrast that with the Times’s earlier frontpage treatment for the capsizing of another “illegal” vessel, the Patria, whose tragedy was caused by a miscalculated Hagana attempt to disable the ship’s engines so the British couldn’t remove it from Haifa Port.

The Times’s scale of values was unmistakable – a story that embarrassed the Zionists won pride of place; the one that highlighted Jewish misfortune and embarrassed Zionism’s foes was downplayed.

It’s still oppressively so nowadays

  • Posted by yamit82 @ 2:27 pm | 26 Comments »

    26 Comments to Nobel laureate Paul Krugman’s displeasure with Israel?

    1. Joy says:

      Good morning.

      Sarah Honig’s cousins could be my cousins. I now tune them out, except when they claim to love Israel, then I tell them that love without respect isn’t worth having. I wish I’d realized sooner in life that people whose love doesn’t include respect must be rejected, and I pray that Israelis appreciate this. Israel is repeatedly attacked by people determined to eliminate it, but Honig’s pompous cousin deems Israelis to be paranoid. I guess it’s easy to be paranoid when people who pretend to love you demand that you commit suicide.

    2. Shebrew Warrior says:

      Krugman hates America, so of course he hates Israel. It’s called being liberal.

    3. yamit82 says:

      Good Morning to you too.

      then I tell them that love without respect isn’t worth having. I wish I’d realized sooner in life that people whose love doesn’t include respect must be rejected, and I pray that Israelis appreciate this. Israel is repeatedly attacked by people determined to eliminate it, but Honig’s pompous cousin deems Israelis to be paranoid. I guess it’s easy to be paranoid when people who pretend to love you demand that you commit suicide.

      Your point is well founded, respect is the first requisite of true love and commitment. That includes people and nations. Respect must be earned by deeds and our leaders and too many of our people have lost their self-respect and pride. Once lost difficult to find again but there are enough of us that will always hold down the fort, so to speak. Lending a hand in our own destruction is not for us an option.

    4. yamit82 says:

      Krugman hates America, so of course he hates Israel. It’s called being liberal.

      He’s worse than your everyday garden variety liberal, he’s afraid. Fear is a terrible burden to carry around 24×7.

    5. Laura says:

      Sarah’s cousins really suck. I would advise her not to have anything to do with them. But take comfort in the fact that their liberalism is out of touch with the majority of Americans as well. It’s ironic that liberal Jews beat up on Israel in order to try to convince gentile Americans that they are one of them. Yet their very liberalism goes against the views of the majority of Americans thus making them stand out as different from the rest of America. Most gentiles I know cannot understand how Jews can be democrats. So conservative Jews, Jews who support Israel are actually more American.

    6. Krugman is a clever albeit failed Keynesian economist who has no greater insight into geopolitics than pop stars who are given the opportunity to mouth off about Israel by leftie newspapers and chat shows.

      David Frost used to host a not-to-be-missed Sunday morning interview program in London and I remember the day George Michael dropped by to discuss… his latest record? his concert tour? his drug bust? No, something he had real expertise in: Ariel Sharon’s policies in the territories.

      Everyone has their 15 minutes of fame and 14 of them are spent condemning Israel.

    7. rongrand says:

      .

      Most gentiles I know cannot understand how Jews can be democrats. So conservative Jews, Jews who support Israel are actually more American.

      Laura, you got that right. In fact one evening on the Bill O’Reilly show, during the Dennis Miller segment, Bill said he couldn’t under stand why American Jews were so liberal and those in Israel were conservative, Miller agreed and said he thinks they are disconnected from Israel.

      I as well thought the same so in my first email communications with Caroline Glick I asked her how is it the majority of Jews in Israel were conservative while a majority of American Jews were liberal?

      Her reply was: “It’s because American Jews are out of the line of fire so they fell free to worry about inanities” (of course I had to look up the meaning of that word).

      However, I have noted a number of times, what bothers me is the treatment of Israel and the Jews not only by the Muslim world but likewise our president (incompetent)and administration. I truly find this upsetting.

      Don’t they see what I see?

    8. yamit82 says:

      Don’t they see what I see?

      No! Willful blindness and stupidity a toxic mix always leading to self destruction.

    9. keelie says:

      After advising us to read and heed The New York Times, he went on to wish Israelis “liberation from oppression, both foreign and domestic, and from internal bonds created by historically justified but fundamentally self-destructive fears.”

      High-minded crap. It’s fear. He’s a coward, as is Krugman.

      Yamit:

      He’s worse than your everyday garden variety liberal, he’s afraid. Fear is a terrible burden to carry around 24×7.

      Obviously you got there before me; took the words right out of my mouth so to speak.

    10. Birdalone says:

      Why does anyone in Israel consider Paul Krugman to still be an economist worth paying attention to? His Nobel Prize was for work done years ago when he WAS an economist. The past few years, he has deliberately, and publicly, turned himself into an opinionated liberal. No one in America has taken him seriously about economics since March 2008 when he wrote an series of opinions about the worthlessness of candidate Obama’s health care reform proposals.

      It’s not fear that drives these liberals. there IS an arrogant condescension that they know what is best for everyone else, who are apparently too stupid to know better. not just Israel, but EVERYBODY.

    11. Shebrew Warrior says:

      The people on this site who insist that Christians love Israel are invited to explain this:

      MINNEAPOLIS — Presbyterian leaders strongly backed a proposal Friday that included a call to end U.S. aid to Israel unless the country stops settlement expansions in disputed Palestinian territories.

      But they said the 172-page report, which details their church’s approach to issues in the Middle East, was a sincere effort to mend long-standing fractures between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Jewish groups.

      These Friends of the Jews sincerely mend fences by calling on the US to end aid to Israel. The Methodists and the Catholic Church side with the Palestinians, too. All this Christian love is giving Shebrew the vapors.

    12. Shebrew Warrior says:

      Krugman lacks all credibility. His economic philosophy is jumbled and shallow; he’s sort of a neo-Keynesian Marxist Laborite Luddite dilettante. He continues to advocate massive government stimulus spending, oblivious to the fact that deflation caused by excessive debt is only exacerbated by additional debt. In short, the guy’s a chucklehead in his field of “expertise”. Now, we’re supposed to listen to his wise pronouncements on foreign policy? Bah, Krugbug!

    13. yamit82 says:

      It’s not fear that drives these liberals. there IS an arrogant condescension that they know what is best for everyone else, who are apparently too stupid to know better. not just Israel, but EVERYBODY.

      I was referring to mostly Jewish liberals. If suddenly enough influential gentile liberals were to suddenly embrace Israel and war the Jews would follow blindly and in lockstep. The fear, is being rejected by those whom the Jews believe will protect them.

    14. yamit82 says:

      Krugman lacks all credibility. His economic philosophy is jumbled and shallow; he’s sort of a neo-Keynesian Marxist Laborite Luddite dilettante.

      I tend to agree but he is in good company as most economists with any influence concur with Krugman. Isn’t it interesting that failed social, economic and educational theories always extend way past the point where it is obvious that those theories were failures?

    15. yamit82 says:

      I had a running disagreement with Sarah, Ted and laura on this. They will tell you that certain Christians are our bosom buddies and we must embrace them, blah blah blah.

    16. Shebrew Warrior says:

      Let them embrace us first. When the Arabs controlled the Christian holy places, Christians had no access. Only after 1967 did Catholics and other Christians gain the right to worship in their shrines because the Jews allowed it. Even so, the Catholic Church sides with the Palestinian Arabs over the Jews. That tells me the Catholics hate Jews more than they love Jesus. The Presbyterians and Methodists don’t give a flying fuck about the Tibetans, the Rwandans, the Sudanese, or any other persecuted people, but they’re totally devoted to the Palestinians because it gives them a convenient excuse to shit on the Jews. My sister was enthralled with CUFI, and I have no grievance with them, but I’m not counting on them, either. History doesn’t lie, and Christian history is more consistent with the actions of the Presbys, the Methos and the Caths. It blows my mind that the Catholic Church is so ungrateful to Israel for granting access to Christian holy places. That’s the smoking gun right there. Their priority should be having Catholics be able to travel anywhere in the Holy Land, but the Church wants Judea and Samaria to be in the hands of anti-Catholic Muslim thugs instead of Catholic-friendly Jews. How’s that for being self-destructively anti-Semitic? Fuck’em.

    17. Laura says:

      Yamit and Shebrew, evangelical Christians are the biggest supporters of Israel. As to the leaders of the other denominations, how much do they actually represent their rank and file members? The article only refers to leaders and furthermore these are leftist churches. I recall a few years back regarding the Presbyterian church calling for divestment against Israel which resulted in a backlash by members of the church.

      I have made the point over and over again that polls show the majority of Americans have a favorable view of Israel and that with Republicans the numbers are in the 70′s and 80′s. And Republicans tend to be more Christian. The biggest haters of Israel come from the secular left. I think the problem with some of those churche leaders mentioned is that in fact they are not so much truly Christians as they are left wing political activists. Sort of like the Reform Rabbis who are more concerned with leftist politics than with true Torah teachings.

      I know I will never convince Yamit and probably not you either Shebrew. Perhaps the Christians here can weigh in.

    18. rongrand says:

      Presbyterian leaders strongly backed a proposal Friday that included a call to end U.S. aid to Israel unless the country stops settlement expansions in disputed Palestinian territories.

      Shebrew, I agree with you. First of all you note they say DISPUTED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, We can put an end to that dispute here and now. All of Israel, the Holy Land belongs to the Jews. We all know that, G-d especially knows that after all He designated it as the land of the Jews. End of dispute. Will someone please explain this to the Palestinians and while your at it please tell the Presbyterian leaders.

      I had a running disagreement with Sarah, Ted and laura on this. They will tell you that certain Christians are our bosom buddies and we must embrace them, blah blah blah.

      Uncle, take it from an x-runner who has a busted knee and foot, don’t run, have a walking disagreement with Sarah, Ted and Laura. You may be somewhat right about some Christians. I had the experience discussing Israel with my accountant and he was telling me how an elder from his Christian Church had visited Israel, returned home telling his parishioners how the Israelis were treating these poor Palestinians and how they were forced to live in such close quarters.

      I had to explain to him the person from his church bought into a lot of crap. For one thing he should have visited some of the Jewish sites that were bombed by the Palestinians. Visit the holy sites and see Arabs throwing rocks at everyone. Listen if they don’t like their living conditions, get out of town. Hell, they could almost walk to Jordan (were they really belong).

      Our own Catholic church buys into this crap. Listen if these Palestinians were really Catholic they would insist their leaders stop killing Jews. Just maybe they are Catholic in name only. blah blah blah.

    19. yamit82 says:

      Now you see why I love ron, that’s the kind of Christian I can live with because he has no ideological or theological agenda. He likes us and supports us and just because he believes it’s the right thing to do. He asks nothing in return except respect as a human being. Respect I freely give as well as my admiration. I won’t kiss his ass though. :)

    20. Shebrew Warrior says:

      I mentioned that I have no grievance against the fundamentalists. That’s a more complicated topic for another time. The Christian groups I identified are anti-Semitic, no ifs, ands, or buts. I didn’t condemn the Baptists. Put me in the undecided column on that one. The Catholic Church makes me so goddamned angry, the kind of anger you experience only when dealing with ingrates. The Jews gave them their holy places, and the Catholics turn around and support the Arabs. I’m so pissed I could spit nickels out my ass. Don’t let Bill Levinson fool you, either. What happened in Poland during the Holocaust was because of the Polish Catholic Church.

    21. Joy says:

      Whatever you do, please don’t get her started on the blacks.

    22. rongrand says:

      I won’t kiss his ass though.

      Uncle, that certainly isn’t necessary.

      Bottom line, Israel is no larger than the state of NJ and in comparison to the whole Arab world this is just a small blimp on the radar screen.
      If we live by so called Christian values, love for our neighbors and or Islam love for a neighbor then why is Israel being treated so badly by both?

      Call it what you want or color the way you want, but it is nothing more than anti-Semitism.

      Shame, shame and shame.

    23. jerry says:

      Jewish ignorance of Judaism is a major factor in lack of support. Custom and habit of Jewish practice in America among those who have no inclination toward scholarship is always going to be a diminishing factor in determining loyalties. I am surprised that Jewish loyalty has take this long to shatter. On a more positive note, I believe that loyalties can turn on a dime – toward Israel as well as away from it. I am gratified by the changes that have been engendered in the Birthright participants.

    24. Calvary says:

      I know I will never convince Yamit and probably not you either Shebrew. Perhaps the Christians here can weigh in.

      Well, I couldn’t say it any better than you did, Laura. There are so many branches of Christianity that you can definitely find some that are anti-Israel – even anti-Semitic. So, if you want to think Christians are a diabolical, insidious threat to Israel, your path is before you.

      I think the problem with some of those church leaders mentioned is that in fact they are not so much truly Christians as they are left wing political activists.

      Bingo! When you start hearing a lot of trendy politics in your pulpit, you know you’re in trouble. Leftists are well-practiced at infiltrating organizations in order to corrupt them from the inside. The Church is definitely one of their targets, and they have taken some denominations down – especially the state-run churches in Europe.

      On the other hand, the churches that are growing and filled to capacity are the evangelical, Bible-based churches. These, on average, are the people that know the Tanakh and know the Jewish origins of our faith. And these are the people that know God’s covenants with Israel. Not surprisingly, these people are mostly friendly to Jews and Israel.

      Actually, the difficult thing for many of us in this camp is balancing our strong affinity for Israel with the need to reach out to Muslims. I don’t mean ‘reaching out’ in the touchy-feeley Obama way. And I definitely don’t mean ‘reaching out’ by throwing Israel under the bus. (Also the Obama way!) But reaching out to free them from the prison that is Islam.

      Nonetheless, this probably makes some people queasy.

    25. yamit82 says:

      Laura and Sheb, read this: CUFI 1 and CUFI 2

      Calvary won’t I’m sure, as he never accepts anything that is contradiction to his beliefs and ideological Christian world view, even when the truth hits him in the nuts.

      I like to compare how we deal with Christian Zionist to how we should react to Iran getting the bomb or bombs to be more exact.

      Even at this late date I believe we should Bomb the hell out of Iran. I say this knowing that we will probably not stop them from eventually getting their nukes. We just can’t afford to give them the benefit of the doubt..Any delay is still a delay.

      We can’t know which Christians are really with us or are using our naivete to kill us in other more subtle ways. So we should in my opinion consider all of them till proven otherwise as less than friendly and deal with them accordingly. No Jew and especially Israeli Jew should have to prostitute ourselves from our core beliefs and Jewish interests in order to accommodate Christians who believe they are our god mandated replacements. I hold that an attack and attempt to de-legitimize and usurp Judaism, is no different from a threatened physical attack on the Jews and should be viewed on the same level and reacted to in kind.

    26. yamit82 says:

      Actually, the difficult thing for many of us in this camp is balancing our strong affinity for Israel with the need to reach out to Muslims. I don’t mean ‘reaching out’ in the touchy-feeley Obama way. And I definitely don’t mean ‘reaching out’ by throwing Israel under the bus. (Also the Obama way!) But reaching out to free them from the prison that is Islam.

      Nonetheless, this probably makes some people queasy.

      I suggest you forget about the Jews and concentrate on the Muslims. Don’t love us or support us just do your thing first with the Muslims. Approach every Muslim anywhere in the world with the word, The Good News. I’m sure they will respond to you in a way most appropriate to your mission. After you finish converting all the Muslims then come to the Jews if you must.

      Sure I know you are supposed to go to the Jews First, but a little reversal of order shouldn’t matter much. You still might get a lot of otherwise lost souls; and most Jews are too smart to buy you shit anyway. They much prefer Buddhism and other new age cults to accepting a god on a stick. Lets say your efforts towards the Jew is an example of the law of diminishing returns.. Even you Christians can’t afford over time to expend so many billions of dollars for so negligible returns. Go to the Muslims first That would be fun to watch. :)

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