Guardian

Tony Kushner: Jewish defamer of Israel, and latest Guardian Cause Celebre


Meet American Playwright Tony Kushner, the American Jewish far-left’s latest victim.

How do I know he’s a victim. Because Sarah Wildman, writing in CiF (The malaise behind CUNY’s affront to Tony Kushner, May 6), told me so.

How does she know he’s a victim?

Because City University of New York’s board of trustees voted not to proceed with the award of an honorary degree to Kushner.

What are Kushner’s crimes, according to Wildman?

“He is not is an Israel-basher [but merely] questions Israeli policy [and is] engaged in a thoughtful, nuanced, painful conversation with his colleagues, his family, his friends about the nature of democracy, the future of Zionism, and the context in which the state of Israel might finally make peace with the Palestinians.”

Not an Israel basher, she says.  Ok, let’s test that argument, and look at some of the “thoughtful, nuanced” remarks about Israel.

Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing:

[Israel was] founded in a program that, if you really want to be blunt about it, was ethnic cleansing, and that today is behaving abominably towards the Palestinian people.
Yale Israel Review (winter 2005)

It would be better if Israel didn’t exist:

I can unambivalently say that I think that it’s a terrible historical problem that modern Israel came into existence.”

“I’ve never been a Zionist. I have a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened.”
The New York Sun reporting Kushner comments made at a conference in NY(10/14/02)

“I think [Israel’s creation] was a mistake.”
Ha’aretz (4/7/04)

“Zionism aimed as the establishment of a national identity is predicated on a reading of Jewish history and an interpretation of the meaning of Jewish history I don’t share. Insofar as Zionism is an idea that the solution to the suffering of the Jewish people was the establishment of a Jewish nation, I think it is not the right answer.”
Ha’aretz (4/7/04)

“I am not a Zionist, in case you haven’t noticed.” Kushner cited “the shame of American Jews” for failing to denounce Israel.
Chicago Tribune (4/10/02)

Israel engages in barbarism and its very existence causes great peril for the entire world:

“The existence of the state of Israel, because of the terrible way that the Palestinian people have been treated, is now in great peril and the world is in peril as a consequence of it. And we have now the spectacle of Jewish people all over the world, who in the past century had an absolutely magnificent tradition of rejecting barbarism and right-wing murderous politics, rallying behind Ariel Sharon who 10 years ago would never have been acceptable anywhere.
—In These Times interview (3/4/02)”

On Israel’s anti-terrorism security fence:

” The Israeli-built security wall should come down, the homeland for the Palestinians should be built up, with a strictly enforced peace, not enforced by the Israel Defense Forces, but by the United Nations.”
Baltimore Jewish Times (6/4/04)

On Operation Defensive Shield, and Israel’s other defensive actions in 2002 in response to an unprecedented wave of terrorism.

 “…the savagery of Operation Defensive Shield.”

“I deplore the brutal and illegal tactics of the Israeli Defence Forces in the occupied territories. I deplore the occupation, the forced evacuations, the settlements, the refugee camps, the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people; Jews, of all people, with our history of suffering, should refuse to treat our fellow human beings like that.”
LondonTimes (5/7/02)

Implication that Israel is engaged in a form of cultural genocide against the Palestinians.

“Playwright Tony Kushner said Israel is involved in ‘a deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people.’”
New York Sun (10/4/02)

On suicide bombing as a form of resistance. Additional charge that IDF soldiers open fire on Palestinian children who merely throw stones.

One hardly justifies suicide bombings by pointing out that there’s also no “equivalence” between a dispossessed people resisting a thirty-six-year-old occupation and a massive military machine enforcing that repressive occupation, nor by noting that IDF attacks on civilians are themselves sometimes far less than careful or innocent. (Take the official policy of house demolitions, for example. Or Chris Hedges’s report in Harper’s magazine that he observed soldiers taunt Palestinian boys into throwing stones and then open fire.)

On malevolent influence of the Israel lobby.

“I really believe that the Israel lobby has pulled American Jews into bed with some really awful people is undeniably the case.”

Israel’s biggest supporters are among the most repulsive Jews.

“The biggest supporters of Israel are the most repulsive members of the Jewish community and Israel itself has got this disgraceful record.”

Wilder’s assertion that Kushner is not an “Israel basher” is beyond absurd.  He is viscerally hostile not only to Israeli policy, but remarkably gullible to the most odious defamations of the Jewish state.  He is not merely opposed to Israeli policy but, rather, to her very existence.

Wilder finishes by characterizing the decision not to award Kushner an honorary degree as “McCarthyite” and “shuting down conversation”, demonstrating that, as with many on the far left whose views are subjected to critical scrutiny, she has a truly expansive understanding of the word “McCarthyite”, suggesting a political orientation with the belief that employing the most reckless and hateful invectives against Israel – words which have the very real-world consequences of undermining the Jewish state’s very right to live – should not result in even the most minor negative social consequences.

Tony Kushner hates Israel, and is evidently repulsed by its citizens and the Jews who passionately support her.

He certainly has the right to hold such views, but those who rightfully see such ideas as hideous and racist are under no moral obligation to bestow him an honor.

23 replies »

  1. This whole topic has permutations that haven’t been addressed. For instance, forget the political dispute over Israel – is it wrong to deny an honor to individual when it turns out that (all depending on the guidelines) some number of the people charged with conferring the honor don’t actually honor the person proposed for it?

    More to the point here, note the slippery rhetorical device of “one hardly justifies” in “One hardly justifies suicide bombings by pointing out that there’s also no ‘equivalence’ between a dispossessed people resisting a thirty-six-year-old occupation and a massive military machine enforcing that repressive occupation, nor by noting that IDF attacks on civilians are themselves sometimes far less than careful or innocent.”

    Rhetorically, that sentence really only makes sense if “one hardly justifies” is read to suggest instead, “One means to excuse a little (if not more than a little)….”

  2. Honour? For what? Being a prize winning, first class, self hating ar*eh*le, sure, he can have an “honour” for that!

  3. This is how Wikipedia sees it:

    “Kushner’s criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and of the increased religious extremism in Israeli politics and culture has created some controversy in the American Jewish community, including some opposition to his receiving an honorary doctorate at the 2006 commencement of Brandeis University.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Kushner

  4. Here’s an illustration of how sleight of words can be used to smear.

    The NYT has taken up Weisenfeld’s comment saying “People who worship death for their children are not human.” and asked “Did he mean the Palestinians were not human?”

    Mondoweiss has merged the two quotations and has arrived at the following : Palestinians are not ‘human,’ says CUNY trustee who rejected Kushner

    The lesson learned: know whose quotations not to trust.

  5. way to make a mountain out of a molehill

    and it would have gone no where had not kushner put up a hissy fit

    i dont like people who run after honor

    and i personally dont think he is that great of a playwright

  6. Adam:
    In your myopic witch hunt against everyone that dares express an opinion, you seem to ignore the simple fact that this affair will turn into a giant “own-goal” for the pro-Israel crowd. What a field day for the Israel bashing crowd ! See how the Zionist tentacles control even the honorary degrees in the USA, awarded for literary achievements, not political views.

  7. mtc, they’ll say that anyway.

    Anti-Semites like Kushner and Judt and Goldstone cost Israeli lives. For that reason not only the Jeiwsh community but all civilised societies shoud ostracise them.

    • “mtc, they’ll say that anyway.”

      Precisely!

      Like it or not, we’re going to do the time. The anti-Zionists are going to make us do the time whether or not we have committed the crime. That being the case, why not commit the crime*? If the same verdict is delivered regardless of our actions, then we have free rein to choose those actions that are most conducive to our self-preservation. In a day and age when only God can be trusted to deliver uncorrupted judgment, only God’s law should limit our actions.

      *These are, of course, all metaphorical crimes, or “crimes” in the perverted Marxist sense. They think shooting Osama Bin Laden was a crime but the 3,000 murders he directed on September 11 were just “blowback.” They are not fit to preach at us.

  8. Remember when Robert Aumann won the Nobel Prize for economics ? His selection generated protest from the usual suspects. For example:
    http://sabbah.biz/mt/archives/2005/10/26/protest-action-against-the-nobel-prize-for-prof-aumann-and-thomas-schelling/
    Does CifWatch also support denying an award in Economics to someone whose political views are controversial ? Or is CifWatch so naive as to think that denying awards to people like Kushner will not establish a dangerous precedent ?

  9. Why should Jews alone be denied self-determination,national aspirations?
    And to suggest that Israel alone has different echelons of citizenship is simply absurd.
    As to ethnic cleansing,yes,of course,apart from the 6 million Arabs that currently live in Gaza,Israel and West Bank that is.
    Another asajew.

  10. 1) ‘In your myopic witch hunt against everyone that dares express an opinion’

    From another thread, here’s MindTheCrap’s version of an “opinion”:

    ‘How about “smash the religious extremist parasites that feed off hard-working Zionist capitalists” ‘

    Here, of course, he echoes the Nazis:

    The Jew as World Parasite (1944)

    http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/weltparasit.htm

    2) ‘What a field day for the Israel bashing crowd ! See how the Zionist tentacles control even the honorary degrees in the USA, awarded for literary achievements, not political views.’

    The only alternative would be for Jews to accept whatever anti-Semites (aka “anti-Zionists”) said about them or did to them without fighting back. To their eternal shame, for the most part the Jews of America and Britain went down that route during the 1930s and 1940s and it cost the lives of millions of their Jewish brothers and sisters.

    In any event, the reality lies in a rather different place. Like the Nazis before them, it is in fact the tentacles of the “anti-Zionists” which encircle the globe expelling their anti-Semitic poison at every opportunity.

    3) ‘Does CifWatch also support denying an award in Economics to someone whose political views are controversial?’

    His views are way beyond just controversial. They are wicked.

  11. Hoi Polloi:

    “His views are way beyond just controversial. They are wicked.”

    But that is what a lot of people said about Aumann. So my question remains: should awards for non-political achievements in the arts and sciences take into account the recipient’s political views ?

  12. I’m with MindTheCrap on this one and consider this an own goal by the trustee chap (whose name I forget) – the hooha is entirely predicatable. Honorary awards for non-political achievements should not really take into account the recipient’s views. (Of course, if the views of the proposed recipient were beyond the – sorry – politically correct pale eg. anti-black racism a la BNP etc, then the censorship would have been invisible – ie the person involved would never, no matter what the achievements, have been considered for an award of this type in the first place.)

    But well done Guardian – clap, clap, clap – for exposing yet again what the Jews are up to. The Guardian does not miss a single opportunity to underline their Case Against The Jews – in their theatre section, Michael Billington, jumps in with his one cent’s worth here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2011/may/06/tony-kushner-degree-snub-cuny

    This is the Michael Billington of whom Howard Jacobson wrote the following:

    Take Michael Billington’s somnolent review of the play in the Guardian. I would imagine that any accusation of anti-Semitism would horrify Michael Billington. And I certainly don’t make it. But if you wanted an example of how language itself can sleepwalk the most innocent towards racism, then here it is. “Churchill shows us,” he writes, “how Jewish children are bred to believe in the ‘otherness’ of Palestinians…”

    It is not just the adopted elision of Israeli children into Jewish children that is alarming, or the unquestioning acceptance of Caryl Churchill’s offered insider knowledge of Israeli child-rearing, what’s most chilling is that lazy use of the word “bred”, so rich in eugenic and bestial connotations, but inadvertently slipped back into the conversation now, as truth. Fact: Jews breed children in order to deny Palestinians their humanity. Watching another play in the same week, Billington complains about its manipulation of racial stereotypes. He doesn’t, you see, even notice the inconsistency.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/howard-jacobson/howard-jacobson-letrsquos-see-the-criticism-of-israel-for-what-it-really-is-1624827.html

    In my opinion, for what it’s worth, honorary awards are complete nonsense in the first place but that is another issue.

  13. the recipient of an honorary degree receives an endorsement from the bestowing institution which goes beyong mere academic or artistic recognition.

    If i were the trustee chappie i would want to ensure, in so far as i could, that no-one could claim my institution endorsed the antisemitic worldview of the odious Kushner.

    To grant or not to grant? Each way it’s an own goal for wiesenfeld.

  14. “But that is what a lot of people said about Aumann.”

    Because they say it does not make it so. Anti-Semites have been laying false charges against Jews for centuries. You make one yourself above. Kushner is a monster. He suggests that he has “a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened.” Well, like many Jews I have a problem with Kushner. It would have been far better if he never would have happened. Ditto his fellow travellers.

    You know I find it hilarious that American Jews like Kushner should think as they do. The truth is that they have far less moral right to their homes in the U.S. than they would in Israel. Men and women crossed an ocean and stole an entire country, a country with which they had absolutely no connection. In vanquishing their foes, these men and women committed a series of terrible genocides. These men and women were not Jews but the people who would become Americans. Let Kushner give his house back to its rightful owners, and, as he hates Israel, he can then go back to where the hell it is his family came from. If it’s Poland, he’ll fit right in. It’ll be a match made in Hell.

  15. In the only meaningful human analysis, we honor not the achievement, but the human being for the achievement. Shall we honor Leni Riefenstahl – an extraordinary filmmaker? The basest kind of racism in D.W. Griffith? Many people believed Elia Kazan undeserving of the lifetime honor bestowed on him by the American film academy, not because of his onetime politics, which he was right to reject, but because he turned on other people to save his own career. What about Pete Rose and the baseball Hall of Fame? Should a Jew – one would like to say “any right-thinking person” – participate in giving an honor to Caryl Churchill?

    The full extent of Kushner’s historically and morally distorted condemnation and singling out of Jewish nationhood, which Adam documented so thoroughly, is vile. John writes,

    “(Of course, if the views of the proposed recipient were beyond the – sorry – politically correct pale eg. anti-black racism a la BNP etc, then the censorship would have been invisible – ie the person involved would never, no matter what the achievements, have been considered for an award of this type in the first place.)”

    Be that claim as it may, it is only the nature of the times and the fact that Kushner is Jewish that prevents the range of his opinion on Israel from being perceived in just the same manner as that beyond-the-pale anti-black racism. Imagine some of his statements from the mouth of a non-Jew.

    Kushner is proudly outspoken as a person, and culturally and politically provocative as an artist. That’s who he is. Does he think the waters divide for him, that he can’t be the recipient of cultural and political reaction too, even from people who may think Angels in America a great and humane play? No one has a right to an honor, and there are plenty of politically homogenous groups that will gladly honor him. Other people don’t honor him. And they have reason not to.

  16. PRAYER FOR PALESTINE FROM A JEW: Let us help them to create something extraordinary,just as we have for ourselves-it is in our best interest to do so!Let us help them to build a home they will love with all their hearts, as we love Israel! It is foolish to damage that which is precious.We are both great nations…let us never forget this.Let us nurture peace with both our enemies and our friends, and recognize that they are a mirror…reflecting light unto the nations.

    We have a moral obligation to be creative in the ways we bring about peace. The “Arab Spring” we are now living through brings with it great dangers and great opportunities for peace in Israel/Palestine. We must find a way to be partners with each other. We cannot afford a failure of imagination this time around. This is a non-zero sum game… We must find a way to have our cake, and share it too.

    • “Let us help them to create something extraordinary,…”

      As with children, so with grown-ups, you can only help them so much; they have to do most of the work themselves or forever swim in their own mire.

      “We have a moral obligation to be creative in the ways we bring about peace.”

      Yes, we do. To be creative, meaning not to exclude ways that bring about peace even though they seem not to from a superficial point of view.

      “The ‘Arab Spring’ we are now living through brings with it great dangers and great opportunities for peace in Israel/Palestine.”

      This so-called Arab Spring is nothing but an Islamic Winter, with more and more states around Israel going the 1979 Iran route–away from peace with Israel and into perpetual war.

      “We must find a way to be partners with each other.”

      Tried in 1947, 1993 and 2005. Failed in 1947, 1993 and 2005.

      “This is a non-zero sum game…”

      If only the Muslims realized that.

  17. All this commotion over an honarary degree from CCNY appears everywhere but in the everday news of NYC, nobody honestly cares. The City College of New York was once an outstanding institution(highly selective, more CEO’s in the US were graduates from this institution than any other), since open admissions, the school is sh*t, many of the classes remedial(how to read, speak english, do arithmetic), I say let him have the damn degree, it’s worth as much as he is.

    • thank you for these links, especially

      http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_print=1&x_context=8&x_nameinnews=181&x_article=2033

      I guess CUNY may award degrees to whomever they like. And if being a self-hating jew doesn’t disqualify you, well that is a sign of the times and its preoccupation with freedom of speech.

      I haven’t seen any of his plays. It’s said they are very good. but kushner is clearly very confused about his jewish identity.

      What drove him? The need for acceptance? Fame? Fortune? We will never know what inspired him to lay such libels against his own people. I hope he lives to admit his dishonesty, if only privately, and to regret the damage he done.

      You can run, kushner. But you can’t hide.