At the end of his 1981 movie A History of the World, Part I, Mel Brooks added three funny fake “trailers” for non-existent movies, one of them being Jews in Space. The trailer showed a Star of David-shaped spacecraft, crewed by bearded guys in yarmulkes and prayer shawls, winning an interstellar holy war. In titling this piece “Jews in Space,” I’m not referring to that kind of Jew in space – I’m talking about a category of Jews who seem to be so hostile to their own people and their own heritage that they’ve entirely escaped the gravitational pull of basic common sense, decency, and fact and spun out into the orbit of rabid anti-Israeli and pro-Islamic radicalism. I’m not going to use the term “self-hating Jew.” After all, who’s to say who’s a self-hating Jew and who isn’t? I don’t know these people’s hearts. By the same token, however, I can’t help it if many other observers, after examining these individuals’ records, have decided that they are, indeed, self-hating Jews of the first water – odious wretches who’ve broken faith with everything their forefathers believed in and stood for. But hey, just to repeat, I’m not going to call them that. Anyhow, here they are:
1. Richard Falk, U.S. jurist. Falk should have been forever disqualified from holding any responsible position when, after meeting Khomeini in 1979, he mocked claims that the ayatollah was fanatical or reactionary. Later appointed UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Palestine (his term ends this year), he’s repeatedly compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying that it exhibits “genocidal tendencies” and warning of a forthcoming “Palestinian holocaust.” To Falk, the Boston Marathon bombings were an understandable act of “resistance” to U.S. imperialist hegemony and Americans’ outraged reactions were rooted in “Islamophobia.” In 2011, Falk blurbed a book by fellow Jew-in-space Gilad Atzmon that was so virulently anti-Semitic that even notorious Israel-bashers distanced themselves from it (“Why would anyone blurb a book like this?” Andrew Sullivan asked); last year, in retaliation for UN Watch’s assiduous reporting on his vile record, Falk vindictively urged an investigation into that valiant NGO. As if all this weren’t enough, Falk is a 9/11 Truther whose call for a study of U.S. officials’ alleged involvement in the annihilation of the Twin Towers moved even morally lethargic UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to label his charges “preposterous.” Not once, but several times apiece, the U.S., Britain, and Canada have all demanded that the UN fire Falk. But there he stays.
2. Roger Cohen, British-born New York Times columnist. A series of staggeringly fatuous columns Cohen wrote in 2009 about a two-week visit to Iran cemented his reputation as “American journalism’s most prominent Iranian apologist” (to quote the Weekly Standard ‘s Michael Goldfarb). Notwithstanding Ahmadinejad’s rants about wiping Israel off the map, Cohen praised Iran as the Middle East’s most democratic state, other than Israel, and insisted that viewing it as totalitarian was a “grotesque caricature.” Jeffrey Goldberg (Atlantic Monthly) has called him “credulous”; Michael Rubin (National Review) has described him as a “useful idiot.” When he spoke in 2009 at an L.A. synagogue, an audience of Iranian Jews responded with derisive laughter to his naivete about the true intentions of Hamas and Hezbollah. One congregant lamented: “He didn’t understand the geopolitical situation, and he doesn’t know what he is talking about.” The synagogue’s rabbi later wrote that “for someone who covered the disintegration of the Balkans into ferocious slaughter he seems oddly unaware of how tenacious and potent is ideology.”
3. Ronnie Kasrils, South African politician. After spending over a quarter-century as an anti-apartheid guerilla fighter, Kasrils, the African National Congress’s highest-ranking white leader as well as a longtime member of the South African Communist Party Politburo, joined the post-apartheid RSA government – serving for several years as Minister of Intelligence – and began advocating zealously for the Palestinian cause. Among his goals: to convince his fellow South African Jews that the suffering inflicted by Israel upon Palestinians is “far worse than anything our people faced during the most dreadful days of apartheid.” To Kasrils, Israelis are “baby killers” and “Nazis,” and Israel’s security fence is totally unjustifiable – this from a man who during the Cold War (when he was trained by the KGB and Stasi and counted both Che Guevara and Fidel Castro as chums) accepted the Kremlin line that the Berlin Wall was necessary to keep West Germany from destroying the GDR. And what does Kasrils have to say about Islamic terrorists? “We feel sorrow for those who died under rocket fire in Israel,” he has written. “But we do not blame Hizbullah or Palestinian resistance any more than we blamed South Africa liberation forces when civilians died.”
4. Sarah Schulman, U.S. writer. Schulman, a lesbian novelist and playwright who teaches at the City University of New York, is the leading promoter of the insipid concept of “pinkwashing” – the claim, which in the last couple of years has gained traction in the American and European academy with alarming speed, that Israel markets its liberal gay-rights record as a way of distracting from an illiberal policy of oppressing innocent Palestinians. Schulman, who comes from a family of Holocaust survivors and whose psychopathology I’ve pondered at this site more than once, has marched with members of Hamas (no big deal, she says, pointing out that she’s also “marched in the same gay pride parade with gay Republicans for decades”) and has responded to expressions of concern about the treatment of women and gays in Muslim societies by saying: “right now, that is not my job.” Is she really as thoroughly, spectacularly ignorant about Islam as she seems to be, or is she simply in full-scale, ideologically driven denial? Given that she’s equally thick-headed, ill-educated, and utterly in thrall to hard-left orthodoxies, it’s hard to say.
5. Dror Feiler, Swedish-Israeli artist. Raised in Israel’s only Communist kibbutz, Feiler has lived in Sweden since 1973. The head of several pro-Palestinian groups and an organizer of the Gaza “Freedom Flotillas,” he’s worked alongside Hamas leaders, compared Israeli leaders to Slobodan Milosevic, and said that “people who are occupied have the right to resist,” even violently. At a 2010 rally in Turkey, Feiler stood by in silence while another speaker decried “the filth that is Israel” and the crowd shouted “death to Israel.” “Snow White and the Madness of Truth,” a 2004 art installation by Feiler and his wife, Gunilla, memorialized Hanadi Jaradat, a Palestinian suicide bomber who killed 21 people in Haifa. Israeli ambassador Zvi Mazel was so furious that he vandalized the artwork, making headlines worldwide. Feiler denied that “Snow White” glorified terrorism, but added: “Although I do not justify the suicide attackers, I can definitely understand them. They have nothing to live for, so they look for something to die for.”
6. Anna Baltzer, U.S. activist. Applauded by an ally as “the It-Girl of Anti-Zionism,” Baltzer heads the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (an International Solidarity Movement front), sits on the boards of several other such groups, and tours the U.S. telling audiences – often in churches – how evil Israel is and extolling Palestinians’ “armed struggle against illegal occupation.” Frequently accused of fabricating accounts of Israeli misdeeds and of claiming to have witnessed events that are, in fact, mere hearsay, Baltzer continued to promote the tale of the Jenin massacre long after it had been discredited; the details of another of her stories, about a pregnant Palestinian who purportedly lost twin babies because she was held up at an Israeli checkpoint, have changed repeatedly. Baltzer sells herself to audiences as the grandchild of “Polish Holocaust survivors” – a detail, notes Steven Stotsky of CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), that’s plainly intended “to establish her supposed moral authenticity.” Yet she turns out to be riotously inauthentic: her claim to have been a Fulbright scholar has been disproven; and researcher Lee Siegel has discovered that she’s used “at least three aliases.” Her legal surname is Piller, her mother’s maiden name; her father, a German gentile, is named Lambrecht. And her grandparents? Yes, they were of Polish ethnicity, but grew up in Belgium, whence they fled when the Nazis invaded: not quite the picture conjured up by the words “Polish Holocaust survivors.” As for the name Baltzer, Anna invented it, a family friend told Siegel, so her grandmother – an ardent Zionist who died in 2011 – “would not know what Anna was really doing to harm and defame the Jewish people and Israel for Arab anti-Semites abroad.”
7. Max Blumenthal, U.S. writer. In the space of just a few years, Blumenthal, the son of Clinton consiglieri Sidney Blumenthal (who coined the term “permanent campaign”), has made a name for himself as an anti-Israel attack dog. Andrew Breitbart considered him “unscrupulous”; the blogger Allahpundit has called him a “smear merchant”; Joel B. Pollak dubs him “Hezbollah’s Hanoi Jane.” Blumenthal’s 2013 book Goliath slams Israel as a nightmare tyranny awash in Islamophobia, mob violence, and Orthodox Jewish fanaticism; meanwhile, visiting Arab countries, he sings their praises – asserting on Lebanese TV, for example, that owing to U.S. media censorship of anti-Israel views, “no mainstream American television program…would allow me to speak as freely as I’m speaking to you right now.” His oeuvre is littered with disproven claims and disavowed quotes; as CAMERA puts it, he “doesn’t seem to care too much about the facts.” In August 2013, Breitbart’s William Bigelow said he “not only should be shunned, but reviled” and called him “possibly the most self-hating Jew on the planet.” Hey, he said it, not me.
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