After the Iran deal, American Jews turned to the “Establishment” of liberal Jewish organizations to whom they had written out so many checks over the years expecting them to do something about it.
And the organizations did what they do best. They expressed concern.
The ADL was “deeply concerned” about the Iran nuclear deal two years ago. It announced that it now has “cause for concern”. It’s unknown whether the next ADL boss, Obama crony Jonathan A. Greenblatt, it also concerned, but it doesn’t matter since the ADL’s concern and five bucks can get you an Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte at Starbucks.
AIPAC is also “deeply concerned” about the deal. So is John Boehner. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was also “deeply concerned” about Iran’s nuclear program eight years ago. The IAEA was “deeply concerned” about it four years ago. And Obama, he’s now “deeply concerned” about the Americans held in Iran. The last time he was “deeply concerned” about the subject was two years ago.
Expressing concern, deep or otherwise, is a meaningless formula that reassures the people actually upset about an issue that they are being taken seriously, by the organizations otherwise ignoring them.
After four years, conservatives have learned that Boehner’s concern doesn’t amount to much. American Jews are baffled to realize that the organizations they expected to help them are just as worthless.
American Jewish liberalism is based on a comforting myth that in times of crisis, its organizations step up to the challenge, rescuing Jews from the Holocaust, saving Soviet Jewry and fighting for Israel. In real life, the establishment has a long history of fighting the “radical” and “extremist” groups that actually did these things, before eventually climbing on the bandwagon and then claiming all the credit.
Before it was fundraising off Israel, the establishment was militantly anti-Zionist.
In the 20s, the establishment was directing money away from Israel to the USSR’s “Jewish” farming colonies. At a time when the future of Israel hung in the balance, the American Jewish Congress had sponsored a report by Louis Fischer, a Communist sympathizer and propagandist (and a future anti-Communist), who was denying that there was a famine and urging millions be spent on Soviet colonies.
The JDC’s Agro-Joint project committed more resources to developing agriculture in the USSR than in Israel. Fortunes that could have been used to save countless Jews from the Holocaust and build a stronger Israel were instead funneled into the USSR. When the Communists had gotten what they wanted from their useful idiots, many of the Joint’s employees ended up colonizing gulags.
This was one of the earliest splits between Zionists and anti-Zionists in American Jewish life, with the anti-Zionists being Communist sympathizers or their useful idiots. As Stephen Wise pointed out, "The protagonists of this colonization were more concerned about Russia than about Jews."
A $16 million fundraiser (more than twice what the JDC had spent on Israel) was accompanied by propaganda claiming that the Jews of the Soviet settlements had found a “new life” and a “happy future”. David A. Brown, the anti-Zionist head of the United Jewish Campaign, claimed that it would get rid of anti-Semitism. Before long, most of the Joint’s employees had been shot or imprisoned by Stalin.
But by then over a decade and a fortune had been lost. By the time the Soviet colonization project had been thoroughly discredited, the British limitations on Jewish immigration had closed another door.
In 1943, James N. Rosenberg, the JDC boss, stated that the world ought to learn a lesson from “Russia’s treatment of minorities.” Meanwhile the USSR had begun its struggle against “rootless cosmopolitans”; a coded reference to Jews. The two Russian Jews he was welcoming, Solomon Mikhoels and Itzik Feffer, would soon be killed by Stalin as part of a larger purge of Soviet Jews.
Having learned nothing from the butchery of his own Joint people by Stalin, the anti-Zionist Rosenberg then suggested that European Jews after the war should move to the USSR.
Eventually in 1950, Rosenberg, whose “On the Steppes” was a key piece of establishment propaganda for the Soviet colonies, belatedly admitted that his project had, “ended in dust, ashes and death.”
Israel does not exist because of the establishment, but in spite of it. It exists because while the establishment bosses in New York were swallowing Soviet lies, young Jewish farmers worked the soil in Israel. If Israel survives, it will be because of its farmers, not because of New York’s corrupt bosses.
The Jewish establishment has always been anti-Zionist. It was anti-Zionist before the State of Israel was founded. It is anti-Zionist today. Then and now, it disguises that anti-Zionism behind excuses while redirecting money to its pet political causes. Once Israel had won, history was rewritten and the anti-Zionist Jewish establishment became Zionist; even if it was a Zionism in name only.
During the 20s, the establishment directed aid away from Israel and toward the USSR. In the 30s, there was a more progressive cause than saving Jews from Nazi Germany and his name was FDR.
Once again the establishment was “deeply concerned” about the mass murder of Jews and it was willing to hold as many meetings as it took to issue statements of deep concern. The one thing it could not and would not do was actually challenge a liberal president who had emerged as a progressive hero.
That fell to Jewish radicals and extremists in the Bergson Group who took out angry ads in newspapers with immoderate titles like “Guaranteed Human Beings at $50 a piece.”
FDR was far more concerned with Muslim feelings than Jewish lives. At the end of the war, Roosevelt would say that he had learned more about the Jewish problem by talking to the Saudi king for five minutes than he could have learned from numerous letters. At Yalta, FDR had told Stalin that he would be happy to give the Saudi king “the six million Jews in the United States.”
The Saudi king had stated, “The word of Allah teaches us, and we implicitly believe this… that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew ensures him an immediate entry into Paradise and into the august presence of Allah. What more then can a Muslim want in this hard world.”
Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long, who would cunningly block Jewish rescue efforts, wrote in his diary that “The whole Mohamedan world is tending to flare up at the indications that the Allied forces are trying to locate Jewish people under their protection in Moslem territory.”
Long before Obama or Carter, a liberal president was sacrificing Jews to Muslim anti-Semitism with the complicity of the major Jewish organizations that promised their constituents that their diplomacy on the inside would succeed. And after six million were dead, the organizations that let them die spent the rest of the century fundraising off their ashes to create tolerance programs and big buildings.
In the 60s, it was finally time for the USSR. For decades the Jewish establishment had expressed “deep concern” over the organized persecution of Jews in the USSR. While the establishment focused on keeping lines of communication to the USSR open, young Jewish activists in America staged protests. They didn’t just march; they disrupted the very dialogue that the establishment wanted so badly.
Like the Bergson Group, these activists were young and edgy. They were not impressed by meetings with officials. Instead they realized that they had to make themselves a nuisance to succeed.
They were not “deeply concerned”. Instead they acted.
If Obama’s nuclear deal is to be defeated, it won’t be done by the establishment insiders. The
establishment is invested in its own credibility and its politics. It will make a show of fighting the Iran deal before fundraising off its miserable failure. And the money will go to fund its progressive causes.
The establishment will not stand up to Obama, just like it didn’t stand up to FDR. The real action will come from ad-hoc coalitions, like the one behind the Stop Iran Rally, that throw things together. And it will come from a handful of kids somewhat that do what the adults aren’t doing.
Bergson was in his early twenties when he began his activism. Dennis Prager was in his early twenties when he began working as the national spokesman for Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry. Where the establishment failed, they succeeded in bringing national attention to an urgent crisis.
Creative solutions will not come from the establishment, but from outside it. The establishment has been 0 for 3 when it came to building Israel, the Holocaust and Soviet Jewry. Expecting it to do any more about Iran than be “deeply concerned” is a formula for disappointment.
This is not a time for more internal diplomacy in which establishment bosses chat with politicians and come away with four pounds of nothing in a torn sack. It’s time for forceful activism that wakes up everyone to the reality that we are facing a future in which terrorists have nuclear weapons.
While the ADL spends money on lesson plans about Bruce Jenner and social justice poetry, while the UJA winks and funds BDS, a new generation will once again be called on to stand against Armageddon.