Alongside Anti-Semitism, ‘Occupy Judaism’

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Yet Rosenthal omits some inconvenient truths. Anti-Semitic displays have not been limited to New York, like those seen here, where demonstrators have spewed invective at Jews and offered up stereotypical theories regarding Jewish control of mass media, money, and “other areas of production.” Anti-Semitic protesters can be seen here in Los Angeles as well. In LA, signs and speeches reference the narrative shaped by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and its Jewish banker conspiracy theories. And here’s a video of LA Occupy protester Patricia McAllister, who claims to be employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Ms. McAllister’s take on the movement? “I think that the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve–which is not run by the federal government–they need to be run out of this country.”

Moreover, Rosenthal cannot possibly sustain his argument that anti-Semitism is an anecdotal part of the Occupy movement now that the demonstrations have been endorsed, not only by the Nazi party as mentioned above, but by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. They have a long and documented history of anti-Semitism impossible to ignore, which ties into the last inconvenient truth of OWS: despite condemnations by both the Emergency Committee for Israel and the Anti-Defamation League, no one as of yet has condemned the anti-Semitic protesters from within the movement.

Tablet columnist Michelle Goldberg attributes this to “the limitations of a leaderless movement.” Yet it is precisely that lack of leadership which makes this movement, not merely limited, but highly exploitable by darker and better organized elements. Tellingly, Sieradski characterizes this flaw as a positive attribute of OWS. “The whole thing is an anarchistic affair, so any affinity group that has an action is welcome to come and do their action,” he says.

Unfortunately, Sieradski and others like him are naive. As New York Times columnist David Brooks writes, the Occupy movement was sparked by Adbusters magazine, whose previous claim to fame was a 2004 essay, “Why Won’t Anyone Say They’re Jewish?” which contended that the “[Jewish] neocons are…the most influencial (sic) political/intellectual force in the world right now,” and that it is “necessary to put them under a microscope. And if we see maleness, whiteness, Jewishness, Zionism or intellectual thuggery there, then let us not look the other way.”

The article further questions the motivation of neo-cons’ support for the Iraq war and what came to loosely be known as the Bush Doctrine, which the article not-so-subtly implied was ginned up by Jewish neo-cons to serve Israel. Oddly enough, the same article notes that “Jews make up less than 2 percent of the American population.” This bears a remarkable similarity to the protesters’ insistence that they represent 99 percent of the country protesting the actions of the other 1 percent. Or as Brooks puts it, “the virtuous 99 percent of society is being cheated by the richest and greediest 1 percent” (italic mine).

Harvard political scientist (and Jewish American) Robert Putnam also dismisses the notion that expressions of anti-Semitism at these demonstrations amount to anything more than anecdotal incidents. “The only people in America worried about that are the Jews,” he contends. That would be some Jews. At this moment, the proponents of Occupy Judaism don’t appear to be worried at all.

It remains to be seen whether or not their lack of concern is warranted, and what they will do if the “anecdotal” anti-Semitic undertones manifesting themselves in two of America’s largest cities grow louder, and/or spread to other Occupy movements around the nation and the world. If they do, the Occupy Judaism proponents may learn a brutally painful lesson: every populist political movement needs useful idiots.

How useful? No matter how progressive and or/anarchistic Occupy Judaism’s members are, one can only wonder if their myopia extends as far as standing “shoulder to shoulder” with Nazis and Communists in order to achieve the “greater good.” OJ adherents might want to peruse a history book or two to see what has happened to Jews when those two groups have assumed the reins of power. No doubt many of the true believers in the Occupy Judaism movement console themselves with the bromide that any similarly cataclysmic chain of events “could never happen here.”

A five minute stroll might be more than illuminating. That’s the time it takes to walk from Zuccotti Park — to the September 11th Memorial.

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  • mrbean

    Remember, the clandestine Muslim Marxist Obama supports these Occupy anti semites having been mentored by the anti semite black liberation theology crackpot Reverend Jeremiah Wright for 20 years,

    • gtoop

      America is controlled by Zionists.
      That's why America supports Israeli aggression on Palestinians.

  • Flipside

    1) You shouldn't censor your blogs.
    2) You cannot erase the neocons from history. They did what they did.
    3) You should not accuse people you disagree with of having no knowledge of history.
    4) Far too many Jewish institutions HAVE solicited money from the very same people who’ve gotten us in this economic mess, including Yeshiva University.
    5) A fair minded person would have to consider that some Anti-semitism is caused by Jews.
    6) Attributing the recent populist attempts to reform the economy as "anti-semitic" will simply place Jews on the wrong side when we get our reform. Look how Israel reeled after its embassy was removed from Egypt, after they tried to prop up Mubarak.
    7) Georg Simmel knew that there is no freedom without money. So how do you not know that people are trying to get their freedom back from this engineered recession?

    • stern

      neocons – code for "Jews"
      Flopside – code for Jew=hater

      • Flipside

        It’s not code at all. They are who they are and they did what they did.

    • Eric

      "A fair minded person would have to consider that some Anti-semitism is caused by Jews."

      Seriously? This ignorance implies some racism in the US is caused by African Americans, some sexism is caused by women, some homophobia is caused by gays. The actions of some Jews, African Americans, women, gays, never justify hatred of the class to which they belong.

      • Flipside

        I agree with everything you said.

    • UCSPanther

      Well, well, well.

      It appears your attempt to hide your antisemitism has finally failed. We can finally see your true colors for what they are.

      You should've quit while you were ahead in the game, but now, it is too late.

      • Flipside

        Damn. If I had hidden it in some honest, hard work, no one would have found it.

        • UCSPanther

          Damn rights.

          You know bloody well Ron Paul, anti-Israelism, George Soros and Jew hatred are not well liked in these parts.

          • Flipside

            Actually, they are.

    • Ronald W. Carnine

      Flipside, the truth is against you. You don't know your history. If the Jews were really controlling Wall Street it would run like a well oiled machine. The Jews have been killed by the millions, thousands of rockets have been fired at Israel yet she continues to thrive. The truth is, the Palestinians are jealous of her prosperity. Look at the billions of dollars the Palestinians have wasted w/o helping their people. Arabs that are citizens of Israel live in much better conditions than the Palestinians. Anti-semitism is not caused by Israel, but rather in the depravity of the human heart. The Palestinians have been offered a state but continue to reject every offer from Israel even though they were given over 95% of what they demanded. Now are they being fair and realistic? Not at all. There is a good reason Israel supported Mubarak even though his gov't was far from perfect. He agreed not to kill every Jewish person in Israel. As soon as Egypt came under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the sword rattling began again. Your reasoning is flawed because you don't know your history (or refuse to acknowledge it) and your prejudice is overwhelming and blinds you from the truth. I feel sorry for you.

      • Flipside

        I know my history just fine. You in the other hand should be Israel’s national poet with that bathetic prose of yours.

  • Tamir Druz, Israel

    I think the organizers of Occupy Wall Street intended it to have anti-Semitic and anti-Israel undertones from the very beginning. Starting with the name of the movement itseslf, I find it curious that they would use the term "occupy," since what the Left views as the "occupation" of Judea and Samaria is the main preoccupation of many of those involved. For example, Kalle Lasn, one of the main organizers, has a history of anti-Jewish writings and recently equated Gaza to the ghettos of Nazi Germany. Also, the organizers have repeatedly claimed inspiration from the "Arab Spring," which many Leftists believe is a precursor to the end of Israel. And then there is the term "Wall Street," which is a thinly disguised allusion to Jewish bankers for many on the Left.

    • JEM

      Well said. One point, If Kalle Lasn equated Gaza to the ghettos of Nazi Germany, how is it that the Hamas charter is one of the finest examples of anti-Semitic writing to come along since the height of Nazi propaganda?

  • Findalis

    There were names for these Jews in the Death Camps: Kapos. True in the 40s and true with this group.

    • friedmanj

      you just called my son, the grandchild of four Holocaust survivors, a kapo. Look it up. My son never murdered a fellow Jew, was never in a concentration camp and is using his first amendment rights to fight against the anti-zionists and nazis who show up once in a while. In fact the only people who attacked the Sukkah and attacked my daughter in law are people like you, neo-con, intolerant Jews who hate other Jews who don't agree with their views. Hiding behind a phoney screen name so that you don't have to be accountable makes you very lucky, because if I knew who you were I would make sure you got dragged to court for slandering my son. Jeanette Friedman Sieradski, proud of my son, proud of my daughter in law, proud Jew who stands up to haters, Jewish ones and other ones.

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    How many Jew haters are there ?? the answer!! uncountable many.
    So what does it mather if there are now 1027 more anti-semites running
    around in search for virgins.,by killing innocent Jewish life.
    It 's good to know from wich waste-filled holes they crawl, the easier you
    can destroy them.

  • visitor

    Antisemites are found both on the right and left; nothing new there. Wackjobs and haters try to latch on to any movement they can exploit, as the LaRouchies did with the Tea Party. Just as a handful of racist signs at TP rallies did not justify charges that all TP supporters were racists, witnes TP support for Cain, the pathetic attempts by a handful of antisemites to exploit OWS for their own ends do not prove that OWS is an antisemitic movement. The fact that so many OWS supporters welcomed Kol Nidrei on Wall Street and the errection of sukkahs at a dozen Occupy events should tell you more about the true character of this movement than a handful of haters. You have every right to decry the politics of OWS but not to misrepresent the broad movement on the basis of a tiny bunch of misfits.

    • alan g

      One main difference between the tea party and ows is when the larouches and racists were identified by tea partiers, they were condemned. And I mean immediately. Where as at the ows is concerned, they did not condemn, but accepted them as part of the group. It’s a pretty clear distinction. Undeniable to me.

    • ziontruth

      "Antisemites are found both on the right and left;"

      On the Right they're marginalized; on the Left, either mainstream or fast becoming so.

  • NotaBene

    And anti-Communist movements have an even stronger history of Anti-semitism, so what is your point?

  • Truth Be Told

    The writer of this article is using a biased media slant to paint a picture of Occupy Judaism as a cohort of the Nazi party, which, comes off to me as far-reaching, completely missing the point and engaging in defensive, self-righteous finger pointing rather than seeing more deeply into the heart of this movement. In order to set the record straight, I'd like to address and clarify the statements the author has made about one of Oj's leaders, Dan Sieradski.

    The author states that Sieradski is naive, but If the author himself had a clue, he would know that Sieradski is the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, that his grandfather helped thousands of Jews escape from concentration camps and Europe during the war, that his great-uncle was one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and his immediate family and Sieradski himself have been involved in holocaust education, survivor relations and social activism for the past 30+ years.

    For the author to make public statements and assertions such as those in this article is nothing more than engaging in the irresponsible and ignorant behavior he accuses Sieradski of.

    In a broad global movement such as Occupy that has no firm leadership, it's tempting to single one individual out and blame him or her for the maladies of the movement. Overall, it would be more wise to take a look at the systemic inefficiencies which created the cause for the movement, which includes corruption at every level. This would be a better usage of attention to the printed word, rather than wasting time and energy crying "Anti-Semitism," which haters will continue to do in any given situation because the paradigm allows people to blame others rather than taking responsibility for and tending to their own inner mess.

    • Raymond in DC

      That Sieradski is the grandchild of Holocaust survivors is irrelevant, though some will use it to establish credentials or credibility. Norman Finkelstein is the son of survivors while Hedi Epstein escaped to the UK just ahead of the holocaust. So what? It hasn't stopped them from defaming Jews and Israel or standing with her enemies. This is little different from the "As-a-Jew" trope wherein those who have divorced themselves from the Jewish community, its traditions and its values, nonetheless attempt to validate their nonsense by insisting, "As a Jew …".

    • Herman Caintonette

      Democracy is messy; Judaism, it is said, is messier. Ask three rabbis their views, and you are likely to get seven opinions.

      It is important to remember that Jews are not monolithic in their views; Noam Chomsky is no less Jewish than David Horowitz. Sieradsky has a right to his views.

  • UCSPanther

    If there's a good reason to be armed, this is it, especially if you have Jewish background. These idiots don't want to just stop with the elite, they'll go for you if they so much as suspect you have Jewish background.

    Remember: Antisemitism is a dangerous chimera consisting of racial hatred, religious hatred and conspiracy theories.

  • George Jochnowitz

    Way back in 1969, when I considered myself a leftist, I wrote an essay entitled "The Left Is Soft on Anti-Semitism." It appeared in the Village Voice. Here is a link:
    The more things change, the more they remain the same.

  • AaronLeavy

    I'm confused by the author's argument. From what I can gather the fact that others have used attacks or critiques of capitalism as an excuse to air their pre-existing hatred for Jews (and others) seems to mean that Jews themselves are not allowed to publicly critique capitalism for fear of giving aid and comfort to anti-Semites. Does this mean that the author believes that Jews' first priority in forming and expressing political opinions is to check those opinions against arguments made by anti-Semites, so as to hopefully avoid giving fuel to those hateful fires?

    • DBM

      YES! And not only does this line of reasoning lead to this odd "Jews can't criticize American capitalism or they're supporting anti-Semitism" conclusion; it also reinforces the "Jews = parasitic, money-hungry capitalists" image that's at the root of much anti-Semitism. Essentially, at the root of every argument I've seen that OWS is anti-Semitic is the belief that somehow Jews and bankers are one and the same — a deeply problematic assumption!

  • Jim

    Forget getting the Jews. Get the Scottish . Remember it was Cargill that pushed for NAFTA which impoverished the Mexicans with our subsidized corn flooding their markets.

  • Ben

    the idea of the persecuted Jews to save themselves in international left movement at the price of sacrificing their riches was modernized : let them take all-sacrifice Judaism!
    The theatre of absurd.