Guardian

Lerman: No Jews, no big deal


Antony Lerman has an article on CiF criticising the use of the phrase ”the silent Holocaust” to describe assimilation of Jews.

The first point to make (a point which would be instantly deleted on CiF) is the utter hypocrisy of Lerman’s criticism of the use of Nazi analogies:

But if we pause to think of the suffering of a dying Jewish child in the ghetto and a dying Palestinian child in Gaza, who would dare to suggest that their suffering is any different.

Second, if Jews took Lerman’s advice to stop worrying about antisemitism then there could well be a lot fewer of them:

I sense that so much of the Jewish world is more comfortable with an identifiable enemy that hates us than with a multicultural society that welcomes Jews on equal terms.

Third, nearly half of American Jews are marrying non-Jews. When a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman, the children are not Jewish according to Jewish law which is matrilineal.

If Lerman could be bothered to do the maths (does he know Excel?), he would see that with half of Jewish men marrying out and assuming 2 children per couple, within ten generations the Jewish population falls by 94%.

Of course he has no suggestion as to how this self-imposed near-extinction can be avoided.

But then all his recent work suggests that he considers it no big deal  …….

43 replies »

  1. The title of Lerman’s article is “Assimilation is not a Dirty Word”

    Maybe Lerman can come here and tell us whether he thinks “Diversity” is a ‘dirty word’?

  2. Louise, don’t ask difficult questions, really!!! Obviously, it depends on who wants diversity!!! Nu, really!!!

  3. Lerman used to produce scholarly articles about antisemitism, I believe.
    It seems he’s found anti-Zionism a more lucrative market.

  4. Lerman does his shuffling house Jew routine again, getting more and more glaring at it as well.

    What is the substance of the article?
    Oy the term silent holocaust is terrible, you can’t use such imagery unless of course you wish to propagandize for the Arabs.

    Assimilation, not a problem and Lerman brings out the numbers showing a growing Jewish community in the USA, Canada, UK, France and Australia.
    Definitely keeping up with historical trends, inter-marriage isn’t happening, or certainly not in any measure that is quantifiable.

    His avoidance of using numbers to back up his claim isn’t a mistake, the numbers prove that the term silent holocaust, which is just an extension of Prof. Emil Fackenheim’s 614th commandment.

    The house Jew has done it again, instead of writing about the dangerous impact of inter-marriage and the declining Jewish population as a result of over-assimilation, he looks for a wart to write about.

    How typical, of course the apologists will jump all over it slapping his back.

  5. “Lerman: No Jews, no big deal”

    Cif watch is right to criticize Lerman’s tendentious article about assimilation.

    However, the comments I read thus far don’t address the real issue. (There is a tendency on cifwatch to preach to the choir, and that isn’t good enough. Critiques need to be both rigorous and neutral.)

    Back to Lerman: The problem with this article is that he can’t decide whether it is about assimilation or about the uses of Holocaust related analogies.

    This dichotomy shows up at the very beginning were he asks a series of leading questions:

    “Let’s say you’re very unhappy that a high proportion of the members of your minority group are losing their identity and assimilating into British society. Would you describe that as a Holocaust?”

    This is a question that is not a question. He expects his readers to assent to his view that one should not describe assimilation as a Holocaust. Yet, he does not tell us why such a term is inappropriate.

    In the very next paragraph he uses the same technique of asking a leading question:

    “Granted you’re deeply concerned about ensuring the continuity of your group’s culture and values. The lure of the host culture is such that you look into the future and see empty prayer houses and community centres, the collapse of family traditions, the end of practices that have lasted for generations. But to see assimilation as the equivalent of mass extermination, with all its evil connotations? As a deliberate act of self-immolation?”

    Lerman is angry that some people consider the possible disappearance of their ethno/religious group as a catastrophe. His anger gets the better of him and he is even unable to formulate a proper question or rather two questions.

    I’ll break them down.

    “But to see assimilation as the equivalent of mass extermination, with all its evil connotations?”

    This is a statement disguised as a question. Lerman can’t bring himself to formulate a declarative sentence because he needs to present himself as a reasonable modern assimilated Brit who doesn’t want to impose his ideas on his readers.

    The second question” isn’t even a sentence, it’s a fragment. Here too Lerman want to show how outraged he is by people who consider assimilation a form of genocide.

    “As a deliberate act of self-immolation?”

    Now, let’s look at the language he uses a bit more closely:

    “But to see assimilation as the equivalent of mass extermination, with all its evil connotations.”

    The use of the phrase “all its evil connotations” is a trick. That extermination of people is an evil is obvious. Now, what are the connotations of “extermination” and in what way are they evil or more evil than the act of genocide? And why “mass extermination?” Why not just extermination?

    That Lerman won’t say is a sign that he doesn’t wish us to think of these connotations, rather he wants us to concentrate on what is to him the worse offense of all: the thinking of assimilation as genocide.

    By using emotive language to describe the illegitimacy of comparing assimilation to genocide (the Holocaust) he wants the reader to forget that while the means are different, the result may be the same the disappearance of the Jewish people.

    In his next paragraph Lerman hammers the same point home using similar emotive language:

    “Well, yes, there are those who so describe assimilation. And no, it’s not a group setting out deliberately to trivialise the Jewish experience of the Holocaust. Calling Jewish assimilation a “Holocaust” or “the silent Holocaust” is now shockingly common among some Orthodox Jewish groups and among some who fund, or are responsible for, Jewish education.”

    Notice also how he offers false comparisons in order to make his point:

    Use of the term “”Holocaust” or “the silent Holocaust” is now shockingly common among some Orthodox Jewish groups.”

    Yet there is a big difference between the terms “Holocaust” and “silent Holocaust.” The two are by no means synonymous. The adjective silent connotes the crucial distinction between the two events: it tells us that it isn’t violent, that people are choosing to wittingly or unwittingly to give up their ethnic or religious affiliations.

    It the omission of this distinction that trivializes the Jewish experience” and not the calling attention to the alarming rate of assimilation which may well lead to the extinction of the Jewish people is Great Britain.

    Jews, even orthodox Jews know very well the difference between the Holocaust and a “silent Holocaust.’ Does Lerman?

    Moreover, Lerman’s belief that there is no reason to be alarmed by assimilation because it is voluntary shows his inability to understand the nature of human choice.

    I perform a voluntary act if I am consciously aware of the ramification of such an act. If someone chooses to consciously assimilate and to stop being Jewish let them do so. (But then they should stop thinking of themselves as Jews.) However, the reality is that most Jews who intermarry do not consciously set out to assimilate, that is to say to cut off all ties to the Jewish community. They fall in love the way that someone decides to consume a meal that will make them obese. These do not choose to become obese, they merely crave food that will make them so.

    Hence Lerman’s view that Jews “choose” to assimilate is not true. Lerman knows this which is why he has to demonize those Jews who worry about assimilation and accuse them of acting irrationally by comparing assimilation to genocide. (This would like accusing doctors who worry about the rate of obesity (calling it a silent killer) of denying people the right to eat the way they want to. After all in a free society people should have the right to binge eat and to get fat. Diversity is the rule, isn’t it?)

    Lerman doesn’t want a rational discussion about assimilation; he prefers instead to demonize those far sighted people who see beyond the immediate choices people make and ask us to think about their consequences.

    Surely a real democracy can tolerate a critique of assimilation as well as multiculturalism, even if The Guardian cannot.

  6. moderation, moderation, moderation.

    A little bird told me – Guardian cif moderation – is outsourced to India.

  7. Jacob-Alain,

    “However, the reality is that most Jews who intermarry do not consciously set out to assimilate, that is to say to cut off all ties to the Jewish community.”

    To assimilate…. to be or become absorbed… to conform or adjust to the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like.

    How does this amount to cutting off all ties to the community?

    I think that you give part of the answer here.

    “If someone chooses to consciously assimilate and to stop being Jewish let them do so. (But then they should stop thinking of themselves as Jews.) ”

    Aren’t you talking about the community cutting itself off from the individual, rather than the other way around? What various Christian sects would call “shunning”?

    Does a religiously non-obsevent Jew who marries a gentile, and gets a Monday to Friday job in Barclays Bank cease to be Jewish?

  8. What on earth does ‘Monday-Friday job in Barclays Bank’ have to do with it?

    Aren’t Jews allowed to work for Barclays anymore?

    Is it better if they work for Lloyds Bank?

  9. Whenever I hear a Guardinista Jew praising assimilation I think of Nick Cohen.

    The poor fellow said he didn’t have a Jewish family member for 100 years yet faced a barrage of antisemitism after he came out supporting the removal of Saddam. Not to mention the posts he generated on Cif.

  10. Armaros:

    “The poor fellow said he didn’t have a Jewish family member for 100 years yet faced a barrage of antisemitism after he came out supporting the removal of Saddam. Not to mention the posts he generated on Cif.”

    600 Million dead Iraqi children do not make a funny point.

    Mr. Lerman, thank you for the wonderful piece.

    We drink to that….

    B.

  11. “To assimilate…. to be or become absorbed… to conform or adjust to the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like.

    How does this amount to cutting off all ties to the community?”

    exiledlondoner, it depends on which custom and attitudes you conform to.
    If you conform to alien religous customs then you have stopped being a Jew even if you see your relatives once in a while.

  12. berchmansLiver

    “600 Million dead Iraqi children do not make a funny point.”

    There aren’t 600 milliion Arabs in the whole world much less children in Iraq.

    No wonder you liked Lerman’s article. His sense of reality matches yours.

  13. “If Lerman could be bothered to do the maths (does he know Excel?), he would see that with half of Jewish men marrying out and assuming 2 children per couple, within ten generations the Jewish population falls by 94%.”

    Don’t panic- From what alamos says about Nick Cohen, it won’t make any difference. Their descendants will still be “Jews” and still be victimised by Anti-semitism.

  14. Augie

    “If you conform to alien religous customs then you have stopped being a Jew even if you see your relatives once in a while.”

    Doesn’t it depend on whether Jews can be cosidered to collectively comprise a “nation” or are merely adherents of a particular religion?

  15. “Doesn’t it depend on whether Jews can be cosidered to collectively comprise a “nation” or are merely adherents of a particular religion?” MaggieFillbin

    No, it doesn’t.

    Jews are a culture, and a nation. Their religion and their culture are dialectically interrelated. Individuals when they change their religion cease being Jews, since by definition they also change their culture.

    The Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism in Spain may still have followed some Jewish customs in the first or second generation, but they third of fourth generation they became indistinguishable from other Catholic Spaniards.

  16. It would seem that no Jewish behaviour satisfies the Guardian, other than complete assimilation and disappearance.

    After all, the Guardian
    – thinks Jews should not have their own state
    – thinks Mideast Jews should belong to OneState dominated by Arabs
    – thinks Jews elsewhere should assimilate completely
    – disparages any separate Jewish identity (the Guadrain’s multiculti standards notwithstanding)

    All in all then, it would seem the Guardian’s only desired outcome is indeed disappearance of the Jewish people in a silent Holocaust.

  17. Augie,

    “exiledlondoner, it depends on which custom and attitudes you conform to.
    If you conform to alien religous customs then you have stopped being a Jew even if you see your relatives once in a while.”

    I’m not talking about changing religion – I’m talking about non-religious assimilated Jews, of who there are many, some 2nd, 3rd or 4th generations. Jacob-Alain was suggesting that by assimilating, they were cutting themselves off from their community – my point is that the Jewish community isn’t just the Orthodox Jewish community.

    The whole point is that to be Jewish – unlike being Catholic or Muslim – isn’t just a matter of religion – it’s also inextricably linked to race, culture and history.

    Louise,

    “Aren’t Jews allowed to work for Barclays anymore?”

    My point was that they worked on the sabbath.

    GuardianHatesJews,

    “After all, the Guardian”

    “- thinks Jews should not have their own state
    – thinks Mideast Jews should belong to OneState dominated by Arabs
    – thinks Jews elsewhere should assimilate completely
    – disparages any separate Jewish identity (the Guadrain’s multiculti standards notwithstanding)”

    Care to provide evidence for any one of these ludicrous assertions?

    “All in all then, it would seem the Guardian’s only desired outcome is indeed disappearance of the Jewish people in a silent Holocaust.”

    Meaningless, unsubstantiated drivel. The Guardian is a newspaper – not a single view. In so far as the Guardian has an editorial line, it is a million miles from the one you describe.

  18. berchmansLiver – Armaros: “The poor fellow said he didn’t have a Jewish family member for 100 years yet faced a barrage of antisemitism after he came out supporting the removal of Saddam. Not to mention the posts he generated on Cif.” 600 Million dead Iraqi children do not make a funny point.
    Mr. Lerman, thank you for the wonderful piece. We drink to that…. B.

    Bad mistake there. It was 800 Million dead Iraqi children and 900 Million dead Iraqi women and old people.

    Give us a break

  19. exiledlondoner “I’m not talking about changing religion – I’m talking about non-religious assimilated Jews, of who there are many, some 2nd, 3rd or 4th generations. Jacob-Alain was suggesting that by assimilating, they were cutting themselves off from their community – my point is that the Jewish community isn’t just the Orthodox Jewish community.”

    Changing one’s religion is part of the process of assimilation, ex-londoner.

    While some Jews don’t change their religion or don’t do so in the first generation, many do in subsequent generations.

    In any case, the only way to resolve this is by providing data, exlondoner to support your contention.

    For may part given the fact that the number of Jews in GB has been decreasing and not increasing means that the assimilated Jews are not counted as Jews or don’t count themselves as Jews.

    For the record, I am someone who married outside my faith, yet I made sure that me and my spouse are connected to the community in many relevant ways. from education, to participating in communal activities, etc.

    No one need not be religious to be Jewish but one has to have an active commitment to the community in some fundamental way.

  20. Augie,

    I’m not arguing in favour of assimilation – I think the UK (and London in particular) would be a lot poorer without any of the cultural diversity that has made it what it is. Jews make up one of the oldest and most established groups that are still distinct (unlike Huegonots for example).

    “For my part given the fact that the number of Jews in GB has been decreasing and not increasing means that the assimilated Jews are not counted as Jews or don’t count themselves as Jews.”

    I don’t know what effect such things as emigration (particularly to Israel) or birth rates have on that, but the question I was asking was why they don’t count themselves as Jews?

    Jacob-Alain’s point was they were cutting themselves off from their community, but there was a suggestion that this was maybe a two way process, with the community shunning those who branch out.

    All religious and cultural communities have similar problems – do they relax the cultural rules and give some ground to the world around them (this way they remain larger in number, but with a watered down culture), or do they keep to the old ways, which risks driving away many who can’t live to that standard.

    There’s a similar problem for the Amish in the US – the “old order” Amish have stuck to their ways, but lose most of their children to the outside world – other Amish have gradually assimilated, and have little unique about them apart from their religion.

    I suppose that in Israel the process would be much slower – the outside world is Jewish, though still largely secular. But for the ultra orthodox the problem will remain the same – how do you keep people within a ancient cultural tradition in the modern world?

  21. Exile: how do you keep people within a ancient cultural tradition in the modern world?
    ———–
    I have quite a few relatives who are newly religious Jews – and not all of them live in Israel. Perhaps the question should be how do you keep people from wanting to adopt a code according to which they can understand the world.

  22. Probably a reason that you are not iincorparated into the CIF Commenters section here Exiled.

    exiledlondoner

    14 Sep 09, 3:54pm (1 minute ago)

    FreePalestine48,

    a question to the pro-israeli’s: why should the palestinians ever accept a jewish state on their land?

    Not sure I qualify, but here goes…

    The moral reason is that over 5 million Jews live there, most of whom were born there, and that ethnic cleansing or removal of the right to self determination (two of the alternatives… there are others) is unacceptable.

    The pragmatic answer is that they’re there, and there isn’t much anyone can do about it, so if they don’t accept a Jewish state, Palestinians will only hurt themselves.

    Do yourself (and the Palestinians) a favour – campaign for the best deal possible, not for something that isn’t going to happen.

  23. “I don’t know what effect such things as emigration (particularly to Israel) or birth rates have on that, but the question I was asking was why they don’t count themselves as Jews?

    I did at one time read the statistics and emigration can’t account for the diminishment of the Jewish community in England. There was never a mass migration to Israel as there were in say Russia and other parts of Europe.

    Here some statistics:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Jews#Population

    notice that at the start of www1 there were half a million Jews and today there are half that many.

    That should tell you something.

    I think those people who speak in alarming terms of a grave threat are not far from wrong.

    Ironically, it’s the people Lerman hates who are having more children. Hence if he like unaffiliated Jews are having very few children then within a generation his views will not matter.

    Anyway, I wonder how many children Lerman has and if he is bringing them up Jewish?

  24. Augie,

    “notice that at the start of www1 there were half a million Jews and today there are half that many. That should tell you something.”

    Well given that there hasn’t been any large scale emigration, or any wiping out of the Jewish population, it would suggest that a lot of the descendents of early 20th century British Jews no longer consider themselves, or are considered by others Jewish.

    “I think those people who speak in alarming terms of a grave threat are not far from wrong.”

    Any grave threat is not to the people themselves – they’re still here, and most are probably living fulfilled and happy lives – the threat is to Judeism as a cultural presence in the UK, not to Jews.

    What are the reasons? All religions have suffered in that time (Jewish culture is very much tied into the Jewish religion), and is it possible that the onerous task of Jewish religious observance has accelarated that process?

    In the end I think that important as the culture is, it has to be relevent to the people or it will decline. Mita talks of newly religious Jews, which would tie in with the experiences elsewhere – there’s been an increase in strict religious observance alongside the decline in religious belief in general. Religious groups are becoming smaller and more fundementalist (in the true meaning of the word).

    I have a problem with the language that borrows from human tragedy, and transfers it to institutional and cultural decline – silent Holocaust etc. This isn’t an assault from outside forces (unless you count the modern world), it’s people voting with their feet, which they have every right to do.

    I wouldn’t want to see Jewish culture disappear from Britain (religion I’m less concerned about, though with Judaism, the two might be too closely entwined) – too much of my home town’s history is Jewish history as well. I don’t think it will disappear, but I’m not quite sure what is being proposed to halt the decline? So long as it doesn’t infringe on anyone’s freedom, then good luck.

  25. “I wouldn’t want to see Jewish culture disappear from Britain (religion I’m less concerned about, though with Judaism, the two might be too closely entwined) – too much of my home town’s history is Jewish history as well. I don’t think it will disappear, but I’m not quite sure what is being proposed to halt the decline? So long as it doesn’t infringe on anyone’s freedom, then good luck”- pilpulist

    Frankly I don’t see how it means shit to a tree as this is an issue that is of no concern to you, and your opinion is of no concern to those involved.

  26. 1Peter,

    Well it obviously is of some concern to me, and who elected you spokesperson for those involved?

    You really do have some issues to sort out, don’t you?

  27. The pilpulist’s concern is oh so touching.
    Oh yes, so touching and heart-warming.

    Yeah I have issues with your bullshit.

    I wouldn’t dream of telling Catholics what to do with regard to their faith, maintaining it, what efforts are worth or not worth trying.
    I wouldn’t dream of telling Christians how to maintain their values, or even discuss their values.

    Whether you have a “problem” with language being used to describe the assimilation and shrinking Jewish population really doesn’t mean a shit since you have nothing invested in it.

  28. exiledlondoner

    “Well given that there hasn’t been any large scale emigration, or any wiping out of the Jewish population, it would suggest that a lot of the descendents of early 20th century British Jews no longer consider themselves, or are considered by others Jewish.”

    Ex londoner, it’s obvious that you don’t know the first thing about Jewish life and peoplehood. I can’t therefore take anything you say on the issue seriously.

  29. Maybe Lerman has a point. Maybe assimilation is the way to go. Maybe Jews should just become like everyone else. OK, I agree.

    Now that Lerman and I are in agreement, is there any chance that the antisemites will agree to accept us as equals? Thought not.

    Why is Jewish culture so harmful if it has produced and continues to produce brilliant thinkers, scientists and artists?

    Any chance that Muslim mullahs will abandon their Koran; that Catholic priests will throw away their Bibles?

    Any chance that the Israelis will fold their tents and go back to Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Yemen, Poland, Russia or the scores of countries they came from? Why should they leave their ancestral home? The Arabs never wanted Eretz Israel before and only want it now because a tiny Jewish nation has defied them for 60 years.

    The children and grandchildren of Jews from Germany and Austria have a tragic history. Their parents and grandparents thought that they could escape antisemitism by assimilating and becoming model citizens of their countries. Now, two generations later, they are urging us to make the same old mistakes made by their grandparents.

  30. Assimilation isn’t a “new” issue, it has been faced by Jews throughout time, yet we have withstood the test of time.
    The Haggadah is a very good example.

    There are so many versions, and every chaim yankel comes out with his “new and more relevant” version of it, a women’s version, a workman’s circle version, a convert to Muslim version, a Conservative version, a Reform version and on and on it goes.

    They all have one thing in common, they have a need to change and modernize the Haggadah….and they fall to the sidelines after a generation or so to make room for the “new and improved” Haggadah, and of course the traditional one.

    Each generation comes out with versions that are more tied in to the modern times of the day and naturally fall out of favour with changing times. Yet somehow the traditional Haggadah withstands the test of time.

    There has always been a minority of Jews who have withstood total assimilation and have continued to carry onward, and it doesn’t always have to do with being “religious” or secular.

    Even having what to rebel against is something, at least they know they are rebelling against something and what it is as opposed who have completely fallen off and don’t even know what Judaism is anymore.

    People can bortch about terminology like silent holocaust till the cows come home, but quite frankly I’d rather that instead of playing the “house Jew” they wrote about suggestions of how to maintain Judaism rather than criticize the efforts of others.

    The programs bringing youth to Israel have had a tremendous impact, the programs in the IDF of bringing recruits to Yad Vashem, to exposing them to the Rabbinate has also had a tremendous impact.

    The numbers of soldiers that are turning to the Rabbinate for spiritual guidance is increasing and quite something to behold.

    The fact that Orthodox Rabbis took a bus on Shabbat with a Torah to Gaza, and the soldiers, most of them secular were emotionally touched by it, each one kissing the Torah and asking for a bracha is indicative of the impact on the men.

    I know many people are shocked by this and voice their derision at the involvement of the Rabbinate, but I for one say doing this on Shabat was a mitzva and kol hakavod to these men who gave strength to the boys who took advantage of it.

    Our koach is knowing who we are, who we were and who we will be.

  31. exiledlondoner – there is Jewish assimilation everywhere that Jews are not persecuted (and there even was in places where they have been persecuted but are allowed to adopt Christianity for social and professional reasons – e.g., Marx’s father).

    But it is also true that assimilation has never yet prevented anti-Semitism, the most glaring examples being Germany and Austria, where assimilation was rampant but the end was horrifying.

    In the US, there is constant inter-marriage between faiths and various “sects” – Catholics marrying Protestants, for example. For some reason, where I live there are lots of Mormons, and they are intermarried with many other faiths – including with Jews. Yet there are still well-defined enclaves where Jews are systematically excluded – for example, you will find Jews disproportionately represented in the highest levels of major companies – but rarely at the CEO level. That is why you had firms like Goldman Sachs formed by Jews – ironically, given its more recent leadership.

    It is clear to me that what Lerman fears is that he will be singled out because he is Jewish by those who have developed a hatred of Israel primarily based on anti-Semitism and be subjected to anti-Semitism because of Israel. This is what drives his own virulent hatred of Israel.

    Can you believe he was active in Habonim once (http://cifwatch.com/cif-contributors/antony-lerman/)? Doesn’t this remind you somewhat of the monks in the Middle Ages who converted from Judaism and became among the worst oppressors of Jews? Its not a new phenomenon. He attempts to curry favor by showing that he is “not like those other Jews” while speaking “as-a-Jew” to prove the “correctness” of his statements. He wants to present an image of being a Jew with all sorts of “positive” traits, which absolutely do not include having a special country for Jews, even though I have never noted him opposing countries which clearly define themselves as Moslem countries.

    Hence, since he object to the existence of Israel since it seems to be in contradiction to those “universal values he wishes to claim, assimilation is actually the best solution, in his eyes even though, it would, of course, lead to the elimination of those very “universal values”, and despite Israel’s numerous contributions to the world in so many fields.

    Herzl discovered this doesn’t work over a century ago.

    What Lerman also doesn’t realize is that no-one really likes a person who turns against his own group/religion – he is a useful idiot, but hardly an admired one. The more he writes, the smaller his little group of admirers will become. Hence his frequent appearances on CIF – he is rejected elsewhere. Perhaps he ought to remember Groucho’s remark -and decide its best not to belong to a club that is willing to take him.

  32. Hi AKUS,

    At least there’s one poster here who has an idea of the concept of debate. Your charming new friends seem to have a lot to learn, but then 1peter can’t be much older than fifteen – maybe there’s hope?

    “there is Jewish assimilation everywhere that Jews are not persecuted (and there even was in places where they have been persecuted but are allowed to adopt Christianity for social and professional reasons – e.g., Marx’s father).”

    Conversion to escape persecution goes back a lot further than that – it was common in pre-expulsion Spain, not that it stopped the persecution (converted Jews were targetted by the Inquisition).

    “But it is also true that assimilation has never yet prevented anti-Semitism, the most glaring examples being Germany and Austria, where assimilation was rampant but the end was horrifying.”

    I’m really not sure that this is currently the main motivation for Jews to assimilate – certainly not in the US or UK. I think that Judaism is experiencing the same problems that many religious traditions experience when living alongside modern secular life – given the choice between an ancient religious lifestyle and the consumerist society, many choose the latter. Religious observance is hard work.

    “In the US, there is constant inter-marriage between faiths and various “sects” – Catholics marrying Protestants, for example. For some reason, where I live there are lots of Mormons, and they are intermarried with many other faiths – including with Jews.”

    I’m the product of such intermarriage – religious and cultural.

    “Yet there are still well-defined enclaves where Jews are systematically excluded – for example, you will find Jews disproportionately represented in the highest levels of major companies – but rarely at the CEO level. That is why you had firms like Goldman Sachs formed by Jews – ironically, given its more recent leadership.”

    Do you have any evidence for this? My impression of both the UK and the US is that Jews are well represented – certainly on a purely demographic level (Jews make up less than 1% of the UK population). Whether that’s true when you look at individual cases, and relative merits of the people involved, I don’t know.

    You seem to be suggesting that there’s a glass ceiling?

    “It is clear to me that what Lerman fears is that he will be singled out because he is Jewish by those who have developed a hatred of Israel primarily based on anti-Semitism and be subjected to anti-Semitism because of Israel. This is what drives his own virulent hatred of Israel.”

    But Anthony Lerman identifies himself as Jewish, and writes for a high circulation newspaper? I could think of better ways of hiding away!

    “Can you believe he was active in Habonim once (http://cifwatch.com/cif-contributors/antony-lerman/)? Doesn’t this remind you somewhat of the monks in the Middle Ages who converted from Judaism and became among the worst oppressors of Jews?”

    People’s views change. Benny Morris is a case in point.

    I think that it is unsupportable to attempt to link Lerman to historic oppression of Jews – I’ve seen no evidence that he does any such thing. It seems little more than ritual abuse.

    “Its not a new phenomenon. He attempts to curry favor by showing that he is “not like those other Jews” while speaking “as-a-Jew” to prove the “correctness” of his statements. He wants to present an image of being a Jew with all sorts of “positive” traits, which absolutely do not include having a special country for Jews, even though I have never noted him opposing countries which clearly define themselves as Moslem countries.”

    Have you ever considered the possibility that Anthony Lerman (or Dan Rickman or Seth Freedman) speak out over Israel because they’re genuinely horrified by what Israel does? Is it really so difficult to imagine that some Jews would be as opposed to some of Israel’s actions as some gentiles?

    Far easier to come up with some cod-analysis of why they’re self-hating?

    “Hence, since he object to the existence of Israel since it seems to be in contradiction to those “universal values he wishes to claim, assimilation is actually the best solution, in his eyes even though, it would, of course, lead to the elimination of those very “universal values”, and despite Israel’s numerous contributions to the world in so many fields.”

    I don’t agree with Anthony Lerman about assimilation, or about a one-state solution – on the latter, my question is always the same: show me how it could be achieved, or how it would work.

    What I can’t accept is that his views are driven by anything but his own personal analysis of the situation. I don’t ascribe base motives to every Zionist that I disagree with – why should I to every one-stater? I might think that both are wrong, but that’s a very different matter.

    “What Lerman also doesn’t realize is that no-one really likes a person who turns against his own group/religion – he is a useful idiot, but hardly an admired one.”

    The tyranny of the majority?

    In the end we all have to decide whether our first loyalty lies with the group (race, religion, party, country), or with our conscience. The lucky (or unthinking) ones find no friction between the two.

    Personally, I have more admiration for someone who “turns against his own group” and remains true to his own beliefs (however wrong I might think they are), than someone who slavishly follows the herd, regardless of where it goes.

    “The more he writes, the smaller his little group of admirers will become. Hence his frequent appearances on CIF – he is rejected elsewhere. Perhaps he ought to remember Groucho’s remark -and decide its best not to belong to a club that is willing to take him.”

    As a lifelong Marxist and a fervent admirer of the most brilliant Marx brother (Karl was a fool in comparison), I cannot argue with that. I’ve always taken it a little further – I never apply to join anything, just in case they accept me.

    Now if Lenin had been better versed in the philosophy of Groucho, and less in that of Karl, then the world would be a far better place….

  33. Lerman is a Gideon Levy clone. Levy weeps tears of pity for Palestinians and writes of their every sorrow and eyelash fall. Every incident that occurs in Israel that can possibly be retailed in terms of how some Palestinian suffers as a result is done so with lashings of purple prose added for good measure. His is the school for how to wring the maximum melodrama out of the minimum of actual fact.

    His are the patented tears about Palestinian children complete with names, ages and cute characteristics sitting on the roof playing with their toys – made out of sticks because their parents are driven to penury by the nasty Israelis when those huge bombs descend in retaliation for the sparkly firework qassams sent to the bomb proof Jews just to say boo to them.

    Here is an example of his mastery: “No one asked who these fatalities were, whether they all deserved to die, and what benefit Israel derives from this wholesale killing. Beyond the terrifying number of civilians killed, including dozens of women and children, we should also ask whether every armed person in Gaza – and there are tens of thousands of them – deserves the death penalty, without a trial. The day the IDF began the targeted assassinations, our sensitivity to human life was doomed to be erased” http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/783711.html

    These columns are syndicated widely especially in hate-sites such as the electronic intifada saturating the internet proving the callous blood lust of the Jews.

    His motivation? (apart from the filthy filthy filthy dollars) Interviews with him on television and panels on which he sat during Cast Lead when I watched Channel Ten a lot showed him to be a rather grandmotherly type terrified that if we treat the Arabs badly their revenge on us will be dire so that we had better treat them well and pander to them now.

  34. “At least there’s one poster here who has an idea of the concept of debate. Your charming new friends seem to have a lot to learn”- pilpulist

    Pilpul is pilpul and that’s all you bring to the table.

    What you call debate is child’s play, the insistence that you have something of value to impart despite having little if any knowledge of the subject matter.

  35. Exiled – At least there’s one poster here who has an idea of the concept of debate. Your charming new friends seem to have a lot to learn, but then 1peter can’t be much older than fifteen – maybe there’s hope?

    That’s insulting.

    Being between 95 and death and being crotchety doesn’t give you the right to tease others.

  36. Mita – Here is an example of his mastery: “No one asked who these fatalities were, whether they all deserved to die, and what benefit Israel derives from this wholesale killing. Beyond the terrifying number of civilians killed, including dozens of women and children, we should also ask whether every armed person in Gaza – and there are tens of thousands of them – deserves the death penalty, without a trial. The day the IDF began the targeted assassinations, our sensitivity to human life was doomed to be erased”

    Indeed ‘targeted assassinations’ have becaome an anethma to the apologists for terrorism and their extreme left allies. The new technologies available, some developed by Israel in Israel, are creating unpleasant battlefield scenarios that leave the extreme left and militant Islamists in dismay.

    Berchmans posted:

    We in the west have reached a stage in our wars when ,because of technology, few of our own are killed as compared to the bad guys. The drones are the best examples of this cowardly abuse of power. I watched Woodstock last night and thought that there would have been little problem with Vietnam had it not been for tens of thousands of Americans dying.. whereas the trickle of dead in Afghanistan will ensure its continuation. The recent revelation that the IDF strategy ensured a massive ratio of death is the same.Israel will only negotiate when they start losing their precious kids.

  37. JerusalemMite

    Berchmans posted:

    We in the west have reached a stage in our wars when ,because of technology, few of our own are killed as compared to the bad guys. The drones are the best examples of this cowardly abuse of power. I watched Woodstock last night and thought that there would have been little problem with Vietnam had it not been for tens of thousands of Americans dying.. whereas the trickle of dead in Afghanistan will ensure its continuation. The recent revelation that the IDF strategy ensured a massive ratio of death is the same.Israel will only negotiate when they start losing their precious kids.

    The sad reality is that had the US lost anywhere near the amount of lives that Israel has in war, there would be no Arabs living anywhere between the river to the sea.

    As a pure ratio, the loss of life in Israel in 1948 was enormous compared to the USA in WWll or Viet Nam.

    The Americans were shell-shocked having lost 300,000 in WWll and 60,000 in Viet Nam, imagine had they lost men at the same ratio as the nascent state of Israel which was 1%, it would be a staggering 3,000,000 deaths.

    The projections of apologists like the above mentioned are just so typical of the baseless blatherings we see so often by people who are totally clue-less and make such insane comments that have no basis in reality.

    You can bet your ass that if the USA suffered 3,000,000 deaths in Viet Nam as opposed to 60,000 there wouldn’t be a Viet Nam on earth, just a huge crater.

  38. exiled – I believe firmly in freedom of expression, up to the point of useless trolling by the likes of such as Dotty (now philosoptimos) and talknic. (currently replyto) on CIF and am happy to debate you – or others – vigorously on a site which allows us to express our views without actually accusing each other of being paid shills, etc. etc. a la CIF.

    If you’re not happy with the level of debate here you should ask a few of the more intelligent commentators on CIF – those few, those happy few – like pretzel to join us and raise the level. Is linking to CW on CIF a “bannable” defence? CIF reminds me of a cross between the old apartheid regime, which used to ban people, and the USSR, which use to “delete” them from the history books. But warn them they will not be shielded from criticism and catcalls by specially trained moderators – this has turned out to be more like an Israeli newspaper than a polite British debating society.

    Re: conversion – I tried to give a topical example (K. Marx). What is interesting now is the number of conversos, specially in latin America, as descendants of Spanish and Portuguese families, who are discovering their “roots” and why they have traditions in their families of, for example, lighting candles in a cupboard on Friday night. Perhaps the other Marx family ate Duck Soup, rather than chicken soup, on Friday night, and never knew why 🙂

    Re – glass ceiling:

    Do you have any evidence for this? My impression of both the UK and the US is that Jews are well represented – certainly on a purely demographic level (Jews make up less than 1% of the UK population). Whether that’s true when you look at individual cases, and relative merits of the people involved, I don’t know.

    I think there is definitely a glass ceiling at many major US corporations, Jewish executives rise to the VP and SVP level, but rarely make it to the CEO level. Scan the websites of any number of major corporations for examples.

    Ironically, given the common association made between Jews and the world of finance, the same is true on Wall Street. That is why there are/were several Wall Street firms founded by Jews, though, ironically, as they grew they became more WASPish – Goldman Sachs, for example. The only one of the old firms that really kept its “Jewish identity” apart from the Rothschilds was Lehman Bros. How strange that a group of WASPs should have let only Lehman collapse … One of the few new firms with heavy Jewish representation is I can think of is Lazard, and at Cantor Fitzgerald Howard Lutnick has kept his iron grip on the firm he received from its founder, Bernie Cantor, even after the firm was almost destroyed in 9/11.

    A Jewish partner at a top US consulting firm once told me that anyone (e.g. – me!) could become CEO – and was shocked when I pointed out that although there was heavy over-representation of Jewish partners, there had never been, in almost 100 years, a Jewish CEO.

    Have you ever considered the possibility that Anthony Lerman (or Dan Rickman or Seth Freedman) speak out over Israel because they’re genuinely horrified by what Israel does? Is it really so difficult to imagine that some Jews would be as opposed to some of Israel’s actions as some gentiles?

    I have yet to see Lerman state that he has ever actually visited israel. Ditto Rickman. I think that they are ignorant – whatever mental image they have of Israel is so far from the thriving, vital, wonderful place it actually is as to be ludicrous.

    Rickman is a sort of well-meaning religious-lite kind of fellow who seems to like writing articles that attract anti-Semites posting the one or two really nasty things they can dig up in the Talmud from 2000 years ago as if they were partof today’s science curriculum.

    Lerman, on the other hand, I believe is scared of being subjected to anti-Semitic abuse or ostracism from his left-wing pals , hence his attempts to draw a line between him and others like him and Israelis and Diaspora Zionists. In his article today he once again played one of his favorite themes:

    “But when this story broke last week, the equation implied in some allegations – “Nazi” object-collector plus “Israel-basher” equals “antisemite” – was baseless and defamatory.”

    but when challenged to give an example of what he would consider a real example of verbal anti-Semitism if a collector of Nazi memorabilia is not an anti-Semite he did not reply.

    Freedman and Shabi turn up in Israel and become instant experts on matters that have defied some of the best brains in the world for decades. Their “horror” of Israel never seem to extend to what is going on in the rest of the world, on a far larger and more horrific scale than anything you can find in the I/P conflict – day after day in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, COngo, etc.

    Freedman is simply an attention craving, flip-flopping narcissist who has found the one place in the world he can spout his infantile, high-school nonsense and get admiring responses. He plays the “as-a former IDF-serving-Jew” card to authenticate his childish views and writes like the high-school graduate who never made it to university that he is – a sad and quite nasty case of arrested intellectual development. Berchmans without a kilt.

    Shabi plays the “as-a-left-wing-British-Iraqi-Jewess” card. She is immediately an expert in every negative aspect of of Israel. She is an expert on economics based on the Seaumas Milne 1930s school, an expert on Mizrahi Jews in Israel even though she never knew any till she moved there a year or so ago. She is an expert on the subjugation of females in Israel even though Israel almost had it second female Prime Minister, an expert really on every aspect of Israel, the Palestinians, etc. even though in fact I showed over and over that she literally had no idea what she was writing about.

    Have a good evening or early morning!

  39. I hear Lerman moved to Israel and rumour is that he had a bad personal experience (not related to the Palestine / Israel conflict).

  40. Ben Green – I hear Lerman moved to Israel and rumour is that he had a bad personal experience (not related to the Palestine / Israel conflict).

    Fits the bill.

    It would be nice to know what makes him tick.