my efforts on glenn greenwald’s column

[Read the article:
Finding Obama guilty of insufficient devotion to Israel]
[Read more letters about this article: Here]

there’s more coded subtext in goldberg than anyone has mentioned yet

The reference to Palm Beach is already code, and unless I am deceiving myself, it refers to people who would not be expected to be Obama voters anyhow, but the most interesting thing to me is the yiddishism “kishke.” I am sure most of you know that yiddish is NOT spoken in Israel except by the anti-zionist ultra-orthodox. I have felt for quite a few years that the peculiar alliance that formed in the 1970s between pro-settler groups in Israel, or in the occupied territories, and various orthodox factions in the USA was not ‘zionist’ at all. The semantics of this are complex, but one could describe it as a deliberate attempt to inflate ‘zionism’ like a balloon until it bursts. Obama is not going to comprehend this—few do.

Permalink Tuesday, May 13, 2008 09:45 PM

an even more basic point everyone has missed

The question was wrong. and Obama’s answer was wrong too. All this talk about ‘kishkes’ or ‘guts’—it isn’t about that. That isn’t where you feel love for Israel, or for anything or anyone else. It’s possible none of these people have ever felt love, but when you do feel it, you feel it in your chest, not your ‘gut’. In the area conventionally referred to as the heart, but actually it is in the center of the chest, around the lungs, whereas the heart is off to one side. Now one could say (the real devious ones, like Phil Weiss, could say) it’s because these Palm Beach Jews are hard boiled machers, ashamed of showing their feelings. Well, when it gets to juggling with nuclear world war, that isn’t good enough any more. In fact, probably the thing that has allowed me to rebut accusations of anti-Semitism is that I am really not ashamed to feel ‘love for Israel,’ right in my chest, and bleed about it too, very publicly. So far, no one has had the ‘guts’ to accuse me of faking this.

Permalink Wednesday, May 14, 2008 03:39 AM

Palm Beach voters

The political identifications of these people are confusing, because like most US Jewish communities, the Palm Beach Jews to whom Goldberg appeals are “Democrats except when it comes to Israel.” This type of Jewish voter could be described as DINO (democrat in name only) in the making, because more and more issues will be perceived by them as “Israel related.” Here is an interesting poll observation : “Broward and Palm Beach counties (which have very large populations and lean strongly Democratic) swung much more toward Bush than was typical for counties where Republicans won less than 47% or 48% of the vote in 2000.”

Permalink Wednesday, May 14, 2008 09:05 PM

the confusing political identification of Goldberg’s reference group

To an outside observer, all these cultural signals are baffling at first. Not only do these highly significant Palm Beach Jews vote Democrat on domestic issues, but religiously speaking they are largely liberal : In Palm Beach County, the 2005 Jewish Community Study found that 26% identified themselves as Reform, and 34% as Conservative, leaving, I suppose, only 30% identifying themselves as Orthodox. In many ways, they seem ‘progressive,’ they have a ‘socialist heritage’ even, from ‘the old country.’ Yet, they will use their tactical voting power to push the USA into a world war, so it behooves you to understand their idiosyncracies. Another coded reference in Goldberg is “you don’t feel Jewish worry the way a senator from New York would feel it.” Charles Schumer, maybe—another DINO when it comes to foreign policy.

Permalink Wednesday, May 14, 2008 10:02 PM

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