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In a testament to the myopic quality of Jewish liberalism, a parallel movement known as Occupy Judaism (OJ) has sprung up amidst the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests in New York City and around the country. “We’re going global with this,” said Daniel Sieradski, a New York Jewish activist who took a lead role in organizing a Yom Kippur service close to the Occupy Wall Street protests. The myopia? Sieradski, along with his followers, is apparently oblivious to the historic reality that anti-capitalist movements have always had an element of anti-Semitism attached to them.
It’s a long history. As New American columnist Daniel Sayani points out, the OWS, despite self-professed notions that they are leading a new movement “are merely perpetuating the socialist belief that Jews are to blame for ‘social injustice,’ an idea that began with Proudhon.” Proudhon was a self-professed anarchist who published What is Property? Or, An Inquiry Into the Principle of Right and Government in 1840. He inspired Karl Marx, who maintained a years-long correspondence with the author. In 1844, Marx himself wrote “On the Jewish Question,” (alternatively entitled “A World Without Jews”) in which he blames the Jews for the same “income inequality” and “dollar worship” that irks many of today’s protesters.
Furthermore, Sayani points out, the American Left’s favorite economist, John Maynard Keynes, whose economic policies “of bailouts, central banking, and massive governmental intervention to ‘stabilize’ output over the business cycle” was himself an anti-Semite who once stated, “It is not agreeable to see civilization so under the ugly thumbs of its impure Jews who have all the money and the power and brains.”
Sieradski acknowledges that there are elements of anti-Semitism among the demonstrators, but he considers them a small fringe element that has “chosen to co-opt the protests as an opportunity” to spread such prejudice. But he expressed the hope that he could dispel Jewish stereotypes and “fight those using Jew-hatred,” by his presence at the demonstrations.
Yet he and his followers seemingly undermine that cause. At a Kol Nidre service, the evening service of the Yom Kippur holiday October 7th, Sieradski read a text composed by Zach Teutsch, a DC labor organizer. Part of the message was a relinquishment of personal responsibility, coupled with socialist/Marxist, “evil banker” undertones:
Today, we are thinking about a different kind of commitment made under duress. A big part of our financial crisis was caused by a banking system which misled and pressured, which up-sold and implored us to sign without reading, where fraud was rampant, and where caution was absent. Because of those external problems, many good hardworking people were steered, under a sort of duress, into financial doom while their futures were sold from the rich to the richer.
And undertones of economic enslavement:
Today, as we think about how commitments must be contemplated in the context of right and wrong, of earth and heaven, we know that those notes have no moral weight, that banks can’t and shouldn’t own the futures of people who work, and that it’s time for the bankers to abandon their claims on everyday people’s futures. I will leave it to another [on this day] to think about what this means practically or what policies we should adopt as a country. For today, we should think about the moral content of promises, oaths, commitments, and pledges. Is it right to follow through on these? Is it right to own another’s future?
Here’s another group of folks who concur with Sieradski’s message: “Seriously people, just WHO is our enemy? The unemployed left-wing 25-year-old holding up a sign, OR the (blank) banksters who swindled the American taxpayers out of A TRILLION dollars in the “bailout” scam AND continue to oppress the (blank) Working Class?!?”
Unfortunately for Sieradski and other like-minded followers of Occupy Judaism, the blanks in the above statement are crucial. The term that fills in the blank before “banksters” is “judeo-capitalist.” The word that fills in the blank before “Working Class” is “White.” The group that shares the same philosophical outlook that animates Occupy Judaism? The American Nazi Party.
This classic rant about Jews enslaving the public through the financial system is textbook anti-Semitism, and it fits much of the “Occupy” message almost perfectly. The problem with applying the “Occupy” concept to Judaism, which is lost on Sieradski and co., is that it creates a moral equivalency between what they see as deficits in Judaism and the problems they have with the financial system — which is exactly what the Nazi Jew-haters do.
“Far too many Jewish institutions have solicited money from the very same people who’ve gotten us in this economic mess,” Sieradski said, pointing out that many of those institutions were associated with mega-swindler Bernard Madoff. Yet he noted that those views were his own and not those of the Occupy Judaism movement. He was also quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying, “Most Jewish institutions are dominated by their wealthiest donors, whose views might not be in line with that of the wider Jewish community.” The Jewish Week reported that Sieradski allowed for “the possibility of sit-ins and demonstrations in front of synagogues and Jewish organizations.”
It is also lost on JewishJournal.com columnist MJ Rosenthal, who contends that charges of anti-Semitism with respect to the OWS movement are nothing more than “an ugly old tradition” being exploited by “conservatives in a state of near panic.” The purpose of such charges is “to break the backs of popular movements that threaten the power of the wealthiest 1 percent of our population.” Rosenthal concedes that there have been instances of anti-Semitism on display at Wall Street, but he attributes them to the idea that “mass movements attract all kinds of people, some invariably unsavory.”
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