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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why Do Leftist Jewish Bloggers Love The Dual Loyalty Smear?

I posted earlier about how left-wing bloggers deliberately misrepresented a statement issued by Eric Cantor's office about a meeting Cantor had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Glenn Greenwald accused Cantor of pledging allegiance to Israel over the U.S., and Greenwald's accusations were amplified with accusations by other left-wingers that Cantor was a traitor.

The dual loyalty charge against American Jews has an ignominious history.  This Time magazine editorial from 1941 discusses how it's done, Jew-Baiting:
Last week freedom-loving U.S. citizens —heirs of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and a great host of heroes—had genuinely good reason to fear that Freedom might perish from their land. For last week Charles Augustus Lindbergh and Gerald Prentice Nye cast aside all but the last veil of pretense and, in the pattern established by Adolf Hitler years ago, sought to make the Jews a public national issue in the U.S.
Hitler showed how attacks on the Jews can be used as a prime device for promoting discord, inciting bitterness, destroying tolerance and ultimately overthrowing the basic principles of civil liberties and personal freedom. Last week, continuing to divide the nation, Hero Lindbergh attacked the Jews as being one of the "three most important groups who have been pressing this country toward war.'' The other two groups: the British and the Roosevelt Administration.
It is no news that Jews heartily dislike Hitler and would gladly see him frazzled. They would be less than human if they did not. Hero Lindbergh, piously declaring that "no person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany," offered U.S. Jews advice: they should suppress their natural opinion. He added: "The Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it [war] ... for they will be among the first to feel its consequences." The plain implication was that the Jews will be blamed for war if it comes and will be persecuted because of it when opportunity arises. If this was not a threat it was the next thing to it.

Next to blaming the Jews for a war (especially if lost), the most effective anti-Jew talk is to accuse Jews of having more than their share of wealth and influence.
Read the attacks on Cantor chronicled in my prior post, and you will see that these themes are repeated with great frequency:  American Jews push us towards war in the interest of Israel, serve their own interests not those of our country, and the "Israel lobby" has too much influence.

The irony, or sickness, of how the dual loyalty charge is made in 2010 is that Jewish leftist bloggers are at the forefront. 

In addition to Greenwald, M.J. Rosenberg, who works for Media Matters, is quite blunt and unapologetic in using the charge of dual loyalty against Cantor and other pro-Israel American Jews:
AIPAC officials never, ever, say that when push comes to shove their loyalty is with Israel not the United States. In fact, the accusation that this is the case is the charge AIPAC hates most.

But the soon-to-be Majority Leader came right out and said it: Israel, right or wrong.
Rosenberg misrepresents Cantor's statement, but it really doesn't matter to him, because he understands the power of accusing American Jews of disloyalty.

So too does Philip Weiss, who unlike Greenwald and Rosenberg, is honest enough to state that Cantor being Jewish is fair game and essential to making the dual loyalty charge stick:
Does it matter that Cantor is Jewish? All the commenters step around this fact. (Except Laura Rozen: Cantor "is set to become the highest ranking Jewish member of Congress in history.") They don't want to feed anti-Semitism; some of them are Jews, they obviously believe that you can be Jewish and American and not be biased toward Israel. And that's true, you can...
And as to dual loyalty, Eric Alterman and John Judis both explained that dual loyalty is part of support for Zionism. So did the anti-Zionist Rabbi Elmer Berger 70 years ago. So did Herzl's rich English hosts 110 years ago when they told him to get lost, they were doing fine in England.

And the reason it's vital to talk about these things now is that you can't unpack the disastrous American decision to invade Iraq or the push now to go to war with Iran (or indeed the unending support for Israeli colonization of the West Bank, or the defeat of the right of return in the 40s and 50s when American presidents were demanding the return of the refugees) without talking about the lobby and the construction of Jewish identity. I submit that not acknowledging the Jewish piece of this is a kind of forcible political stupidity that inhibits genuine understanding.
It is fair to criticize Israel, supporters of Israel, and the incoming Majority-Leader of the House.  But make your case to the American people on the merits, not by stoking charges that Jews are not loyal to the United States.

It is precisely because these leftist Jews have not been able to make the case against Israel to the American people that they resort to the dual loyalty smear.  And it's time to start calling them out on it.

Update:  M.J. Rosenberg responds that I Am Just A Member Of The Tribe.

Also, David Bernstein at Volokh Conspiracy points out that another of Greenwald's arguments, that the U.S. should stop giving aid to Israel because Israel has a higher standard of living, also is false.

And, Cantor's spokesman also has written a column decrying the blatently false characterizations of the press release he wrote:

More concerning, however, is that not one of the individuals mentioned here inquired, called or emailed about the intent Eric’s remarks. Not one took the time to ask for additional details about this part of their conversation before putting their own words into his mouth, resulting in accusations of being a traitor or committing felonious acts.

In the four days since the original post, the charge has been repeated hundreds of times. This kind of echo chamber is not only sloppy, but terribly dangerous.
While the spokesman's explanation makes perfect sense, it is somewhat beside the point.  Greenwald, Rosenberg, Weiss, and the others couldn't have cared less about a fair reading of the press release drafted by Cantor's spokesman.

Update 11-20-2010 - My response to Glenn Greenwald's response, Glenn Greenwald Plays Victim.

Related Posts:
Glenn Greenwald Does His Israel-Firsters Dance Again
The "Israel-Firsters" Slur Rears Its Ugly Head
What Does The "Israel Lobby" Have To Do With The Discovery Channel Hostage Taking?

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  1. Start with the FBI where it seems to be an article of faith.

  2. Not surprised.

    Once you look pass the liberals pretty rhetoric, the inherent racism and bigotry of liberalism always shines through.

  3. There is a lot about which to comment here but I'll confine myself to one issue: the "right of return."

    Weiss, for example, writes as if this is an agreed-upon right in whose exercise the Palestinians were frustrated in the forties and fifties. Certainly it's still something they loudly and constantly assert.

    But it has no basis in law or history. Just as an example, I read a book a few months ago on the Russo-Finnish War. It was an act of sheer, raw aggression by the Soviet Union, as a result of which they grabbed thousands of square miles of Finnish land and expelled 400,000 Finns from the Karelia region, none of whom took anything beyond what they could carry. I don't hear any agitation for the Karelian right of return.

    Nor do I detect much distress at the plight of the Sudeten Germans...the Volga Germans...millions upon millions of others...or for that matter the Jews who fled Arab lands after 1948 taking with them only what they could carry and sometimes not allowed even that.

    Of these millions, not one, not a solitary one, is still in a refugee camp today. Only the Palestinian Arabs are and that's because their "brother Arabs" see them only as people whose misery can be exploited for political purposes.

    And of course, if the Palestinians had accepted the UN' 1947 partition the total number of Arabs displaced by Israel would have been none.

  4. Thanks for keeping up with this. I'm baffled sometimes at how hating --- self-hating or otherwise --- are the Jewish leftists. Mondoweiss is just unreal. I've stopped hammering him, it's so bad. It's like a caricature of all the Jew-hating, philo-Palestinian, pro-jihad ideology that's out there. Only, it's not a caricature.

  5. Think of it like this: An American Jew charging another American Jew with dual loyalties is like James Clyburn charging Allen West with being an Uncle Tom.

    The first American Jew and Clyburn inhabit the same plantation space and fervently desire The Other to be lockstep residents. Since they refuse to return to the plantation (in the case of the first American Jew, it involves a death wish), then The Other must expect scurrilous accusations intended to undermine their standing in the eyes of the body politic—the second American Jew is attacked with the unprovable claim of divided loyalties (That he sees nothing wrong with the existence of the Great State of Israel does not mean that he has sworn allegiance to that country; it just means he knows history.).

    The black guy is called out as an Uncle Tom, as sell-out, or whatever despicable epithets that can be cast upon him.

    The opprobrium leveled at both guys will vanish into the ether if they do one thing: join in the death wish; renounce freedom of thought and action. In sum, they must return to the plantation.

    Therefore, the smear is simple a leveraging tool intended to move the weak-minded to renounce their principles.

    Yes, life is that simple.

  6. Yet you seem to ignore the real constitutional question involving Dual Allegiance, as does Althouse, D. Douglas, Volokh, Tribe, and Turley.
    How can a Natural Born Citizen of the US, eligible to be POTUS, be born w/ dual allegiance
    (and possibly to this day)to Britain? Those of Jewish descent have the opportunity to claim Jewish Citizenship by statute. Natural Born Citizen is a construct of our Federal Common Law (Natural Law), which requires singular allegiance at birth (i.e one is born in the US of 2 US Citizen parents).
    Tribe knows Obama is not eligible, since he defined Natural Born Citizern, as "one born Within the Territory and ALLEGIANCE of a Nation." at the Resolution 511 hearings.
    Have you all been threatened to shut up? Are you that afraid of the "birther" epithet?

  7. Alex Bensky: I don't hear any agitation for the Karelian right of return.

    Gee whiz. It's called the Karelian question. Karels don't just want to return to their land, they want what they consider their land back.

    Cantor can say what he wants, but he clearly undermined a unified U.S. policy when he released a statement saying "Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington."

  8. Dear Professor Jacobson, It has truly saddened me to find that when a person is religious and Leftist (in my experience, Christian and Jewish), when push comes to shove, political ideology trumps religious values a majority of the time. Almost always.

    It's even more disheartening when the person is otherwise intelligent, loving, and kind.

  9. @Zachriel Probably the reason you can't imagine that is that you're focusing on ethnic identity, while the comments were referring to the person's actions. Work on that and maybe the light will dawn. I won't hold my breath.

  10. wasdave: Probably the reason you can't imagine that is that you're focusing on ethnic identity, while the comments were referring to the person's actions.

    "today's leftists"
    "Leftist Jewish pundits/bloggers"

  11. Glenn Reynolds' theory that it's projection rings true to me. Leftists* have long had a loyalty to international socialism that matches or exceeds their loyalty to the country of their citizenship.

    *whether they be leftists of Jewish, Jesuit, athiest or other persuasion; a fact that debunks Zachriel's "bigot" bunk.

  12. It's amazing you keep repeating the treason charge without even touching was started it. It was simply a defelction of Cantor's own words about Pelosi during her trip to Syria a few years back, in which it was Cantor charging Pelosi with treason and breaking the Logan Act. And she didn't even pledge loyalty to Syria (in any possible way) the way Cantor did to Israel. And that it was started this - liberals saying that it is BY CANTOR'S OWN STANDARDS that he committed treason. Even Greenwald admits he doesn't believe this, it's just what Cantor believes - for every country except Israel.