Another response to Mearsheimer’s Jewish categories

David Schraub writes to Andrew Sullivan about the latter’s defence of John Mearsheimer’s categorisations of the American Jewish community into ‘Righteous Jews v. New Afrikaaners‘.  From the middle:

“Mearsheimer also groups the entire list — “righteous” and “Afrikaner” — under the broader label of “American Jews who care deeply about Israel.” This is the fulcrum of your defense of his delineation — that Mearsheimer’s objection to the “New Afrikaners” is that, within the broader class of people who care about Israel, their political prescriptions are deeply misplaced; the “righteous Jews” are the ones who truly care and know best. But again, to characterize them as folks who “care deeply about Israel” is simply not an accurate description of several of his “righteous Jews”. I mean that in an entirely value-neutral way — not that their politics are inconsistent with a deep concern for Israel (though I think in many cases they are), but simply that they wouldn’t characterize themselves as folks who “care deeply about Israel”.

Put simply, by their own admission a goodly portion of Mearsheimer’s “righteous Jews” are not folks who “deeply care” about Israel and are committed to achieving a two-state solution for as long as it is a plausible goal. Their commitments and desires lie elsewhere. They are not our friends. They are not our allies.”


3 Responses to “Another response to Mearsheimer’s Jewish categories”

  1. Inna Says:

    Just sent Andrew an e-mail simply exchanging “Jews” for “gays”. I have also of course had to change the issues involved. Rather than Israel/Palestine we have the military and civil marriage. I wonder if he will consider himself to be an Afrikaaner for “blindly supporting” civil marriage and integration of the military. I wonder too if he will do some soul-searching and re-examine how he at the least writes about Jews who are politicaly active as Jews.

    I certainly hope so because my respect for a man I used to think quite ethical is falling by the day.



  2. jdyer Says:

    Here is a link to the review of review of “Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England” by Anthony Julius by the great American literary critique Harold Bloom.

    He has some pretty damning things to say about British antisemitism especially, in academia, and especially, the way it hides under the name of “anti-Zionism.”

    “The Jewish Question: British Anti-Semitism”

    Notice that he rightly includes Caryl Churchill among contemporary British antisemites.

    “The greatness of Shakespeare and of Dickens renders their anti-Semitic masterpieces more troublesome than the litany of lesser but frequently estimable traducers: Thomas Nashe, Daniel Defoe, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Wyndham Lewis, down to the contemporary poet Tom Paulin and the dramatist Caryl Churchill. Ezra Pound scarcely can be blamed upon the English, and T. S. Eliot, despite his conversion in citizenship and faith, remains an American phenomenon, a monument to a past illness, a literary malaise now largely vanished.”

    I expect Bloom’s critique to make a decisive contribution to the debate.

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      He’s right about Dickens being a serious problem. The first image of a “Jew” that most non-Jewish children in the UK see is that of Fagin.

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