The Jewish Intellectual Predicament

I’ve written on this site and elsewhere about the curious phenomenon of Jewish intelligence, so competent across the disciplines and professions—approximately .04 per cent of the world’s population garnering 18 per cent of Nobel prizes—and yet so feckless and inept when it comes to taking stock of its precarious position in the world and working to ensure its own perpetuation. I’ve suggested a heuristic distinction between specialized intelligence and general intelligence, with Jews excelling at the former and lamentably deficient in the latter. Jewish accomplishments in music, mathematics, literature, theology, economics, science and jurisprudence are legendary. At the same time, millennia of social and cultural quarantine must have their effect on the sensibility of a people, producing a creature who is always in danger of contracting that wasting disease which Ruth Wisse in Jews and Power has diagnosed as “the veneration of political weakness”—not a smart move given the bloody historical register.

There is also a powerful strain of self-loathing and self-betrayal in the Jewish sensibility, exemplified by the personage whom Wisse anatomizes as “the ubiquitous informer, or moser…For every Mordecai and Esther who risked their lives to protect fellow Jews, there were schemers who turned betrayal or conversion to profit.” This is as true today as it was yesterday and the day before that, and as it is likely to be tomorrow, assuming there is one. We can plot the long chronicle of perfidy along a continuum from the iconic to the picayune, let us say from Cain who slew his own brother to Josh Levinger today, an MIT lab technician and member of the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement, who invented the “Boycott Toolkit.” This is described in a press announcement as “a resource where users can generate lists of specific products and companies targeted for boycotts [and] locations of stores that sell each product.” To paraphrase Lee Kaplan of Stop the ISM website, who has written about this latest development, in today’s high-tech environment there’s even an app for treachery against Jews. And it was provided by a Jew. This is only another way of refusing to be one’s brother’s keeper.

Being Jewish myself, I have tried, intently if not quite successfully, to understand this mysterious and self-destructive tendency that prospers in the Jewish soul. It should be immediately evident to anyone who thinks about it that such indifference to the sanguinary lessons of history—whether out of a benign identification with the supposedly universal aspirations of mankind, known in Hebrew as the yetzer hatov, or the malign inclination toward defection from principle and unscrupulous opportunism, the yetzer hara—must inevitably lead to self-immolation. For that matter, to these traditional Hebrew terms we might propose a third, the yetzer ba’arout, or the inclination to ignorance, which is equally noxious and no less widespread. All three yetzerim invite disaster. In the last analysis, the antisemite does not distinguish between Jews; even those he regards as accomplices would not be spared in a final reckoning.

There is a passage in Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness which makes this running together of distinctions painfully clear. Referring to the Nazi cleansing operations in the Polish town of Rovno, he writes: “the Germans opened fire and slaughtered on the edge of pits, in two days, some twenty-five thousand souls…well-to-do and proletarian, pious, assimilated, and baptized, communal leaders, synagogue functionaries, pedlars and drawers of water, Communists and Zionists, intellectuals, artists, and village idiots, and some four thousand babies.” As I commented in The Big Lie, “the message is that we’re all incriminated. Warm Jews, lukewarm Jews and cold Jews are equally at risk. At the end of the day, the antisemite never stopped to take their temperature.”

It matters little which of the three inner dispositions or yetzerim governs Jewish thought and behavior, be it the tropism toward the “good” that issues in a kind of unanchored evangelism at the expense of one’s own well-being; or the inclination toward communal infidelity, the breaking faith with one’s  threatened collective for one’s own sordid advantage; or just plain ignorance,  lethargy and intellectual vagrancy. Removed from the social and political dynamic of what historian Robert Wistrich calls “the longest hatred,” hatov, hara and ba’arout lean alarmingly toward the same destination.

Psychologist Scot Gardiner in his recent publication Roots, Episodes, Cohorts conceives of good and evil “not as a dichotomy but as a dimension”; those “at the ends of the scale” are still related. The same is true of the three yetzerim, the good, the bad and the ugly, which all have the potential to divert attention from the essential issue: continuation. In the absence of common sense—which a commenter to a previous article of mine felicitously renamed “uncommon sense”—grounded in a knowledge of history and a willingness to survey and confront the world as it is, in other words, in the absence of non-specific or general intelligence, none of the three catalytic propensities has much survival value.

To begin with, the unreflected practice of the yetzer hatov is no guarantee of divine favor and certainly not of earthly longevity. The temptation to embrace the high abstractions of universal justice, ecumenical peace and various lofty idealisms of purpose and belief seems endemic to the ethical component of the Jewish mind. Perhaps generations of Torah study and Talmudic speculation have led inexorably to a passion for remote implausibilities and the esoteric delight in intricate or elevated fantasies. Being lost in thought leads to being lost in the world, specific intelligence and notable accomplishments notwithstanding.

Albert Einstein, to take a resonant example, was by general consent a pretty smart guy and one of the two or three greatest physicists who ever lived. His mind could traverse the mathematical contours of time, gravity and space—his proper discipline—but when it came to Israel and the hard thinking necessary for ensuring its survival in the boiling cauldron of the Middle East, he was a veritable dummy. Much like that dubious glory of the Jewish people Martin Buber, Einstein believed that Israel should strive to entrench a form of cultural Zionism in its communal soil. But he repudiated Zionism as a nationalist enterprise, which required the maintenance of defensible borders and a spirit of martial vigor and self-assertion. Speaking at a seder in New York, as reported in Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His Life and Universe, he told his audience that his “awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power.” A political innocent, he could not see that absenting such facts and qualities, Israel might never have come into existence or would have been rapidly obliterated once it had.

The same is more or less true of another Jewish luminary, Avishai Margolit,  feted as Israel’s “foremost philosopher.” A founding member of Peace Now, which should tell us all we need to know, Margolit insists that Israel should lift the “siege” of Gaza, forgetting that the so-called siege allows thousands of tons of supplies, medicines and electrical power to transit from Israel into Gaza, except when the crossings are closed owing to Hamas sniper fire and mortar bombardments or when the Ashkelon generator comes under attack. The great philosopher also appears untroubled by the prospect of suicide bombers and  guerilla fighters sifting into Israel as students, laborers and patients. Further, Margolit does not seem aware of the fact—he has much company here—that Israel is under no obligation, neither domestic nor international, neither legal nor moral, to victual and replenish an uncompromising enemy. What other nation on the planet would commit a folly of this nature? Margolit may be an acclaimed “thinker” but he is neither wise nor street-smart; the fatuousness of his proposals is exceeded only by the dangers they would unleash. In short, Margolit is a typical Jewish savant of emeritus caliber, crowned with laurels and showered with awards, dispensing nuggets of pseudo-sagacity, and completely irrelevant.

Then there are the Jews who embody the yetzer hara, the propagators of lies and harms. These are Jews like Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University, famous for describing the country that pays his salary, which he is apparently in no hurry to forgo, as an “apartheid state,” and for having raised his arms in solidarity with Yasser Arafat in his Mukataa compound during the last intifida. Or Bard College professor Joel Kovel who has published a book titled Overcoming Zionism in which he condemns the creation of Israel, places the term Islamo-Fascism in scare quotes, traffics in barefaced lies (“Israel’s bombing of ambulances,” its deliberate targeting of “humanitarian aid workers and UN observers,” its causing of ecological disasters, etc.), and opts for the one-state solution beloved of closet antisemites. Or poet Aharon Shabtai who in his volume J’Accuse vilifies Israeli soldiers as killers from the egg. Or author Shlomo Sand, celebrated in Europe for his recently published The Invention of the Jews which argues that the Jewish “nation” is a late social construct without historical or biblical warrant. Or Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, who solicits funds from the Saudis and flagrantly tilts HRW reports to excoriate Israel and “parrot Palestinian testimonies.” Or filmmaker Shimon Dotan whose documentary Hot House sympathetically profiles Palestinian terrorist Ahlam Tamini who murdered fifteen Israelis, eight of them children. Or the leftist daily Haaretz’s literary critic and belletrist Yitzhak Laor who champions the late, fiercely anti-Israeli Palestinian laureate Mahmoud Darwish (who compares Jews to “flying insects”) andconsiders Israel as a country fighting a “dirty war,” a killer of “unarmed Palestinians.” Or Middle East prof Mark LeVine who believes Israel needs to be saved from itself and that the Gaza war was unjustified, and cites highly contaminated sources like “a joint Tel Aviv University-European study,” Jimmy Carter, a Hamas spokeman in the Los Angeles Times, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), revisionist Avi Shlaim, Haaretz Israel-bashing lefties Gideon Levy and Amira Haas, and of course the redoubtable Neve Gordon, to support his bias. Of despicables like Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Naomi Klein and Ilan Pappe, nothing more need be said; the very names are sufficient.

Perhaps the worst of this lot, in terms of the empirical harm done to the Jewish state and by extension to Diaspora Jews as well, is the South African jurist Richard Goldstone, crouching like a spider at the center of a UN web of lies. On September 16, 2009, Goldstone tabled his United Nations Report on Israeli conduct during Operation Cast Lead, accusing Israel of crimes it did not commit while effectively exculpating Hamas for crimes it did. Goldstone’s strategy was initially to establish a moral equivalence between a country defending its citizens and a terrorist organization deliberately attacking that country’s civilians. As one delves deeper into the Report, the strategy becomes ever more insidious, presenting Israel and Hamas not merely as moral equivalents but as political incompatibles, that is, Israel is depicted as a terrorist regime and Hamas as a legitimate government. Goldstone also implied that Israel, but not Hamas, might be referred to the International Criminal Court. In the words of Alan Dershowitz, with reference to the breaking scandal of Goldstone’s apartheid past as a white South African hanging judge, “Goldstone is an ambitious opportunist…He has always put personal advancement over principle.” With Jews like Goldstone, who needs antisemites?

All of these “haraites,” if I may coin a word, have profited in one way or another from their moral delinquency, basking in public renown, cashing in on book sales and lecture fees, furthering their careers and assuming positions of public or institutional importance. Apostasy pays.

The constituency of the ignorant, the negligent, the indifferent and the apathetic is no less vast. The third yetzer is ubiquitous among the Jewish population at large but flourishes most conspicuously on university campuses. Leading the charge of the Israel-divestiture movement at UC Berkeley, to take a representative instance, is the Jewish group Kesher Enoshi which, as former head of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association Abraham Miller writes, “partners with the virulently anti-Zionist group Students for Justice in Palestine.” Moreover, “fully one-third of the Jewish Studies program faculty signed a petition on behalf of the divestiture resolution.” Even Berkeley Hillel has become problematic, “showcasing…Israel-bashing groups.” Jewish apathy, he continues, along with Jewish left-wing politics, promotes the Palestinian narrative while prejudicing the Zionist future. Similarly, as Daniel Gordis, president of the Jerusalem Shalem Center, says of Brandeis University’s Jewish students who objected to Israel’s ambassador Michael Oren delivering a commencement address, “one is struck by an astounding simplicity, and frankly, an utter lack of courage to stand firm against the tidal wave of unbridled hostility toward Israel.”

These students are enormously energetic in pursuing their project of delegitimizing the Zionist experiment which is Israel, but they are nonetheless totally apathetic in undertaking the quest for truth, that is, the effort to disambiguate the historical and legal facts stifled beneath the many layers of propaganda to which they readily succumb. A moribund curiosity and a lack of enthusiasm for real scholarship are infallible symptoms of intellectual lassitude. These students are obviously bright in their way, no doubt excelling at their studies, yet the simplicity of mind is also startling in their failure to recognize how they are ultimately delegitimizing themselves. Apathy and simplicity together constitute the third yetzer, the inclination to ignorance, of which these campus Jews are the chief carriers and the heralds of things to come.

These three categories of desolation will overlap to some extent. Where does one locate the plethora of anti-Zionist Jewish organizations, like J Street, the New Israel Fund, the Committee on New Alternatives in the Middle East, the Union for Progressive Zionists, the Israel Policy Forum, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace (Brit Tzedek V’Shalom), Rabbis for Human Rights, Gisha, Peace Now, B’Tselem, the American Jewish Committee, Choice (Breira), the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, Independent Jewish Voices, the Union for Reform Judaism and most recently JCall, among hundreds of simulacra? Some of their members will be motivated by what they regard as a higher vocation, generally of a leftist stamp, others are in the game to advance their own narrow interests, and still others have little idea of the consequences of their lobbying. But like their assorted compatriots, they too are tarred by the promiscuousyetzer brush.

I have presented merely a random sampling from all sides of the yetzerdivide—scientists, philosophers, poets, sophists, casuists, professors, students, organizers, the whole megilla. What they all share in various degrees is a specialized intelligence that generates proficiency in their respective fields. But they have something else in common too, namely, an inability to connect with the reality of a world that has rarely managed to welcome or accommodate the Jew in its midst. What is missing here isordinary smarts.

There are, of course, exemplary figures blessed with prodigies of (un)common sense and worldly perceptiveness, from, say, the great Halachic scholar Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman (the Vilna Gaon) for whom secular knowledge, particularly history and geography, were paramount concerns, and the founder of the Zionist movement Theodor Herzl, to contemporary political writers like Caroline Glick, Sarah Honig, Barry Rubin, David Horowitz, David Hornik and Dennis Prager, among others. I suspect they comprise the exceptions. But for so many Jews, both among the acclaimed and the general public, an education in the ways of the world is asine qua non. And especially for Jews distracted by the yetzerim—even the admittedly noble yetzer hatov—such an education would enable them to adopt the necessary strategies for survival, to wit, waking consciousness, group solidarity and a belated awareness that the state of the Jews is inseparable from the Jewish state.

How to acquire this education, this inclination to worldly knowledge and pragmatic intelligence—let us call it the yetzer hada’at, the most essential impulse of all—is obviously another question entirely. But one thing is certain. Knowledge of the temporal domains of history, politics and culture, and of one’s place in the unfolding drama of human relations, is the ground of perseverance. Only thus can Jews subject to the enchantments of rootless exaltations, venal self-aggrandizement and congenial mental indolence finally repudiate the derisory pageant of the foolish, the contemptible and the ignorant. For moral and intellectual redemption is the condition of communal survival.

  • Jim Johnson

    If you feel that the world is out to get you think of the anxiety that it would cause with in.
    Who hasn't seen the play ground bullies begin to victimize a target.The sense that one could be next induces an anxiety ridden student to avoid being seen as with the victim. He wants to be seen as part of the winning side. He then may join in the bullying himself. He may contrive all sorts sins the victim might be guilty of.
    Did not Peter himself actually deny Christ three times ?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Indioviejo Indioviejo

      The word is cowardice.

    • lsfein

      Sounds like you don't know too much about history, Jim.

  • Daniel

    Dear David,
    I enjoy your writings immensely, due to your uncompromising wisdom, and vigorous stand on the side of the true and righteous; not to mention your superb writing skills.
    I am not Jewish, but Christian. Even so, from a very young age, and ever since, I have intuitively sided 1000% with whatever the cause of Israel has been. The cause of Israel that subscribes to the dream of its good and great founders and the dream of the Jewish people throughout history. One does not have to be a genius to see what is perfectly right and wrong in this issue.
    Do not despair or give up hope, for there is a great number, a quiet majority of us out there that supports and loves you for what you are and stand for. The inherent good in the great majority of the Jewish people.
    My best regards, Daniel

  • Sam Bluefarb

    I consider David Soleway to be our Jewish Zola. So why, oh, why, did he conflate the American Jewish Committee with, and among, a litany of self-hating apologists and traducers? The AJC has been in the forefront of the battle against such unspeakables. It was the AJC that sponored Professor Alvin Rosenfeld's powerful monograph, "The New AntiSemitism," in which he takes to task rhe very same "New Historians" and varied Jewish anti-Semites as does David Solway–, the likes of Ilan Pappe, Jacqueline Rose, Israel Shahak, Tony Judt, et al, ad nauseum… unless in his zeal, the AJC was adventitously included. Or unless the AJC has undergone an inexplicable volte face. It's difficult for me to believe that the AJC, once a sponsor of Commentary, and still its friend, should have been included in that nefarious roster. unless I misread the passage–after several rereadings.

  • ibn khaldun

    Time to start sewing on foreskins to the Jewish anti-Semites

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Indioviejo Indioviejo

    David. you describe a cross section of humanity in a microcosm. Fortunately there is always an element of humanity who will stand for truth and justice. Have faith in the power of the jewish story, because it transcends all manner of frontiers. You and the above mentioned paladins must be tireless, relentless, in this endeavour, for humanity's sake. On the other hand, I don't believe yet in turning the other cheek, nor in forgiving anyone (sorry Elie Wiesel), I'm still stuck in an eye for an eye, even if I end blind. This cause is sacred.

  • david elder

    I am an Australian Christian not a Jew, but I commend Mr Solway for standing up for his people. I also take the opportunity to express deep regret for ostensibly Christian contributions to antisemitism. I think it is important for Jews to hammer the real history of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Few realise that Israel cooperated with the reasonable UN partition plan giving the Palestinians a state alongside Israel. The surrounding Arab states did not recognise Israel OR THE PALESTINIAN STATE. I am not normally a capitals man, but this needs to be driven home. The West Bank was seized in 1948 by Jordan not Israel. IIRC the Gaza Strip suffered a similar fate under Egypt. Israel after the 1967 war had possession of the West Bank, but offered it back to Jordan in return for peace – offer refused. And so on. A two-state solution today is fine with me provided the Palestinians actually want peace on those terms – a large proviso, alas. If only they could produce a leader like an Ataturk (our honourable opponent at Gallipoli) instead of an Arafat, the whole business would probably be largely sorted out long ago.

  • Toma

    This cause is sacred

    Yes,there is nothing more sacred in the world then the sight of a mighty cowardly army dropping cluster bombs on hospitals and UN warehouses.Puke.

    • AntiFascist18

      They didn't DROP enough cluster bombs on Gaza, buddy. And too bad a Fascist Pig like you wasn't under one of the few drops they made.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Azov Azov

      This the joke they've been telling us for decades. Truth came out. The Palestinians are not the followers of the Filistines. They are ARABS. They intentionally hide in hospitals and mosques, and in densely populated areas and hope for some children to become casualties. Now THAT is really brave. The UN has been their clarion for decades, and lately the Human Rights Commission has become completely infected with representatives of the Muslim countries. What they want ? Israel, complete with everything in it, so they can build their mosques on top of the Christian and Jewish monuments, like they built their Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock Mosque right on top of the Jewish Temple. Like they built thousands of mosques on top of other people's temples and churches. They will never stop demanding Israel land, until there is nothing left. Like they demand the world for themselves, as Mohammed ordained some 1400 years ago, and like they push to colonize Europe.

    • Jeff

      I thought many people settled this issue…you were dead to us? So what–no you're a resurrected as a super A-hole?

      You're not a university student! And you wouldn't be majoring in politics! The only thing you're good at is reading propaganda and spewing back!

      You're no just a useful idiot to the Islamic cause but you're an idiot! Rather than repeating the crap created by the Muslims, why don't you give up your cozy Western citizenship and live among the Muslims? I'm damn serious! It's time for people like you to either put up or shut up! Many Western intellectuals (nothing like you) during the early days of the Russian revolution went over to live among the Bolsheviks and guess what? Most got disillusion when their reality hit them like a ton of bricks!

      It's time for you to live among your heroes rather than just read and repeat back their twisted hate literature!

    • Jeff

      One more thing Toma:

      Choke on the TRUTH about Gaza:
      http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/ar

      and how people like you are being mislead, watch this:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8f8h3G_9Isc

      Yes…you were saying what again?

    • guest

      Toma: Are you crazy? A a nail and glass-filled bomb exploded by a ten year old arab homicide bombe will kill just as many if not more innocent people than the imaginary cluster bomb you invented. We dare you to face off to a drugged arab woman pulling the pin on her explosives vest. Yes, get up real close to your lovely arab invaders and hold their hands while they blow themselves to their unique, drug-riddled "paradise."

  • Gamaliel Isaac

    High IQ just means the ability to rationalize ingenious delusions. People believe what they want to believe. There is a lot of incentive to believe that the enemy really isn't that bad and that it's Israel's fault and if Israel just makes some concessions everything will be all right. Also there is incentive to show those who are hostile to Israel that they shouldn't blame us that we're with them and they should like us. People with high IQs simply find ingenious argues to defend these despicable positions.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Azov Azov

    Mr. David Solway is exactly of my recent opinion. There are good Jews and bad ones. There is no other way to explain how Jews supported all minority rights, only to see their policy backfire with the Muslims. Some of them it seems are still pressing on. Despite the fact that mass-killing Jews has been a pleasure for Mohammed and is deeply embedded in the Islamic faith. How can it even be tolerated as a religion ?! There is no horror you can think of which is not mentioned as a virtue in this.. whatever cult this is.. ?!

  • von Starkermann

    Jews feel happiest when entering the Gas Ovens. There they can lament for all of their sins both original and not. Unfortunately at the Ovens they cannot complain any longer. Some might say they should have tried harder to defend themselves, but at this point even that is futile. The issue is not then, but now. When will the Jews worldwide wake up and see anti- semitism for what it is, a spiritual, and moral cancer sucking the life out of the worlds smartest and most productive group of people. When do you think the Jews will figure this all out? In the ovens again? I hope not.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Azov Azov

      Ha. Don't blame the Jews for their own Holocaust, past and predicted. You are breaking two principles: Nobody deserves that, and there is no justice in collective punishment. Watch out, this is stupid propaganda. Plus, I suppose it's everybody's business that it never happens again, to nobody, and it will be everybody's guilt if it be let to happen. Besides, Jews are only the first in line for Muslims. All others that do not convert are right next. And I'm not going to convert.

    • http://www.explorersink.blogspot.com Foolster41

      You remind me of the clockmaker in an episode of Get Smart (who made a coo-coo with hitler going "Sig heil". Your opinions are discusting, and yet you try to disguise it to sound neutral. You're going to also keep telling us"I'm swiss" right?

    • Rick

      You are right. The poor little Jews will be marched to the Xyclon B and cry woe as me! Quit kidding yourselves. The introspection and self hatred is evidenced throughout our history. Even today in Israel, the government and electorate are frightened to do what they must to survive….Instead they will look for other countries to protect them from vaporization. A good majority of jews are professional victims-and hapilly so,

  • Lawrence Kohn

    Bluefarb is correct about the AJC and Solway needs correction about URJ-read President Eric Yoffie's critique of J Street during the Gaza war and his report on his recent visit to Israel. North American Reform Judaism is Zionist, not anti Zionist. One doesn't need to be religiously conservative or politically conservative to be Zionist. Richard Hirsch past head of the World Union for Progressive Judaism was one of the torch lighters at this year's independence day celebration in Israel. Our Temple (belongs to URJ) has school to school programming with Israel students in Nesher. Barry Rubin spoke at our Temple last month. Check your sources if you want to be accurate and not alienate those who support Zionism who may differ with you in other respects politically. Finally, Cain was not the appropriate example to use since he wasn't a Jew. Joseph's brothers, David's sons; you get it, you know, but you wanted to use the phrase "brother's keeper".

    • guestspeaker

      Dear Lawrence,
      Would you please explain 'Zionist, Zionism' according to your current understanding?
      I am a dedicated student of the Scriptures and the New Testament and although I understand Zion according to Elohim, I don't think I am sure of the world's [Iran's] definition. I am always trying to understand other people.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/The_Inquisitor The_Inquisitor

    "I’ve written on this site and elsewhere about the curious phenomenon of Jewish intelligence"

    It's time these intelligent Jews wake up and learn that the omnipotent state is not their friend.

    We need more Jews like Ayn Rand and less Jews like those who vote lock step with the Democratic Party.

  • AntiFascist18

    Those cited above, especially UC Irvine moron LeVine would have gladly stood alongside Hitler were he still alive.

    Goldstone is no better than the Stalinazis Ronnie Kasrils and Joe Slovo whom he supposedly opposed in South Africa. And where's Soros, Emanuel, Axelrod, David Miliband, the JINO Demos of Congress?

    Lib Jewish women love abortions? Great, some of them should have aborted some of the names listed above.

  • Edward swift

    how anyone no matter what their religion could support the taking of someone elses land is beyond me.

    israel has a border. they've moved half a million citizens outside their border. how can you build on someone elses land and expect peace. how can you treat the palestenians as 5th class citizens and expect peace?

    • lsfein

      Dear Edward, you are not so swift really. Borders change when wars happen. And Israel won those wars. Sorry, buddy. Ooops, I forgot, The rules don't apply when it comes to the Jews, right? When the Jews loose they loose. And when the Jews win, they have to loose too.

      BTW, there are a million Arab citizens inside of Israel who are equal citizens, and they don't want it any other way. Their lives are better in Israel than anywhere else in the entire Arab world.

    • ibn khaldun

      Israel took's Israel's lands that happened to be under illegal Arab occupation before 1967. And by the way Ed, when will you be turning your back yard over to some Indian tribes?

    • guestspeaker

      You need to go and learn the real story about Israel's establishment Edward. Don't just hear what you want to, try learning the whole story.

      In 1948, the world body voted to give this land to the people who called themselves Jews, those saved from the camps and those who escaped. The world League was comprised of western nations and the western nations gave the land, by vote, to the victims of the war and of the 'diaspora', those whom wanted to return to the land of their own fathers and grandfathers.

      The difference between the Jews and the Palestinians is their religion, their belief. Some Palestinians are Christians and some are Muslims, some peace-minded and some are not.
      Currently, the UN is overwhelming Muslim. When the IMF/UN controls the world, the liberal Jews will see that they believed a lie, instead of their own Elohim.
      What most people don't understand is—that the Land of Israel doesn't belong to 'people' at all! The Land belongs to Elohim!

      The Land of Israel does NOT belong to the made-up god Allah, or the false-prophet Mohammad. The Land has been lived upon (via conquests and war) by men for thousands of years. It does not belong to Islam, nor the Palestinians! So, please stop speaking against that which you don't understand. That's how hateful rumors spread.
      Elohim has a plan for His Land, and it will be accomplished.

  • Samurai Hit Woman

    It’s more complicated than this but it’s a start. I’ve puzzled over why so
    many Jews are liberal when liberalism has become totalitarian, illiberal, and anti-Semitic.

    And it came to me whereas Christians believe their salvation is dependant on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and is given by the grace of God Jews believe good works alone will square them with God.

    So good works are ingrained in the Jewish conscientiousness whether they believe in God or not. And if they can get someone else to do the good works on their behalf, in this case the someone else is government, all the better.

    • Jim C.

      Well, it's a theory.

      Essentially what this guy says is "Jews are a pretty intelligent, accomplished group of people." They are. "Jewish contributions to various fields due to this intellectual prowess are legendary." True again. "So how come many of my fellow intelligent Jews don't agree with me? I conclude they must actually be stupid!" uhhhhhhhhh……

  • Consider

    I am much impressed with Jewish (and everyone else's for that matter) contributions to theology.
    Realy, how could the world manage without advances in theology!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/lovesjeeves lovesjeeves

    Mr. Solway's article is illuminating in addressing one of the most profound quandaries of contemporary society. For more insight regarding this, read Norman Podhoretz's book, "Why Are Jews Liberals?" published 2009.

  • Harry Kirmon

    Solway is profound is his analysis. I would like him to add the "Marxist Billionaires" to the above lists of betrayers to their race, e.g., Mark Cuban, The Sandlers of Golden West, George Soros, The Simons, Peter Lewis, The Pritzkers of Chicago, Numerous Wall Street Jewish Millionaires.

  • lafitte

    A genetic analysis pertaining to the inclinations (yetzerim) might explain their various manifestations. For example, what skills were required to survive following the Roman-Jewish War (ha mered ha gadol), 66 – 73. Some 1 to 1.5M Jews, many of whom fought to the death, were killed in one of history's most important, yet least known wars.

    Interestingly, that war came some 35 yrs after Jesus' ("King of the JEWS," said the sign hung upon him by the Romans) crucifixion – might that fact shed light on Pilate's actions and the real culprit in Jesus's, death? Procurator Gessius Florus provoked the initial rebellion, but his Roman army of 18,000 was crushed. Rome, greatly alarmed, recalled legions from as far as Britian and eventually prevailed, the war ending with the fall of Masada.

    Defeatists and collaborators were eliminated by the Zealots and the Sicarii. The spirit of such as these lived on and the Jews revolted twice more in the Kitos War 115 – 117, and the Bar Kochba Revolt 132 – 135. Unfortunately for the Jews, the Zealots and the Sicarii 9and other Jews) fought each other. Lessons learned?

  • Harry Kirmon

    I recently had a conversation with a very nice jewish woman raised in Brooklyn and living in Florida. After a while, I told her of my many jewish acquaintances and my admiration of Israelis, there down-to-earthiness-and generally good character and unpretentiousness. She said she didn't like them, and implied that a great many American jews felt the same way. Get this: to her, they were sort of "rustic", a bit "strange", and that they were hard to relate to.

    Of course she is secular, reformed and very liberal. Most Israelis don't have the option of delusion and airy, self defeating thoughts. She didn't even seem to have that much interest in Israel. I have found this often among American Jews.

  • Democracy First

    Harry, because we read of so many Jewish intellectuals who have turned on their people, we get a distorted view. Bear this in mind: the Obama admin has recently panicked over the loss of Jewish voters and donors, such that we've seen the president and Hillary suddenly and incongruently reaching out to the Jewish community. This tells us something: the clear majority of Jews do care about themselves as a people and for ISrael.

  • Christian Zionist

    Excellent article, Mr. Solway.

    Solway lists a few of the rabidly anti-Israeli Jews. However, the true number is in the thousands.

    The following have attempted a complete list. It is a shame the most complete list (including over 7,000 such modern self-haters) has been done in a puerile, pejorative manner by a dis-reputable organisation:
    http://www.masada2000.org/list-A.html

    Here is a somewhat better-done attempt: http://www.israel-academia-monitor.com/index.php

    I for one do not understand why Jewish and Israeli society does not ostracise the anti-Semitic Jews who are doing so much harm to their own comunity.

  • ibn khaldun

    The best exposure of Jewish anti-Semites is athttp://www.isracampus.org.il

  • http://understandingevil.wordpress.com Alma Centana

    Self criticism can be a good thing. Trying to understand your enemies, and when they have a just grievance, admitting it, can be a good thing. However, the self-criticism that we see and the embracing of harmful ideologies must reflect something more than a lack of intelligence. It must reflect a moral flaw of some kind.

    • Jim C.

      Reasonably put. But where that moral flaw is located…well, that is the real question.

  • Liberty Clinger

    With God there is a direct relationship between intelligence and moral judgment: MQ = K x IQ

    Without God there is an inverse relationship between intelligence and moral judgment: MQ = K / IQ

    “If God does not exist, then everything is permitted” Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  • Fred Glass

    After the Diaspora Jews no longer were able to defend themselves. Living in hostile lands they developed the attitude: "don't make trouble". This frame of mind enabled survival these last 1700 years. It lingers in the Jewish Psyche. It will diminish as Israel becomes stronger & more confident.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/naomilitvin naomilitvin

    I like this article very much and will post it on twitter.

  • Abraham Miller

    A wonderfully written piece. David Soloway really does get it.

  • bob maram

    both the extreme utterances of the "tea party " conservatives aand the irrational anti israel rhetoric of the left make a mockery of civil discourse. let us celebrate and embrace the political and ethical dynamic of the center