Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jewish Mondoweiss

Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss has a touching post on how Jewish he is. I have no doubt he is, and believe him fully when he tells how it's his Jewishness that drives his animosity towards Israel. Jews are complex, Judaism even more so, and given the right (wrong) ingredients, some Jewish ways of seeing the world can make you intensely dislike Israel. It doesn't make you any less wrong, or obtuse to the stories of the Jews, but it's authentic.

Of course, there's the problem of his readers, some of whom are rabid antisemites, as some of his contributors seem also to be. It's either twisted or tragic when a Jew travels with the people who hate his people, but he'd probably retort that the Jews have become so bad he's got no choice. All the sadder for him.

One of the consistent themes of Mondoweiss is the search for proof the numbers of his team are growing. From time to time they may even, on the fringes. If 3,000 years of history are any indication, however, they won't ever grow much, and they'll always stay on the fringes. Most people don't naturally adhere to positions of self hatred.


Avram said...

I used to comment a lot on Magnes Zionist and Silverstein's Tikkun Olam, however, I could never leave comments on Mondoweiss. I found so many comments to be viciously anti-Semitic that I decided it wasn't worth it. While I'm sure Magnes & Silverstein have many similar fans, they're intelligent enough to remove posts that slander their faith and people.

Cory said...

I'm too infrequent of a reader of Mondoweiss to comment on whether his content is anitsemetic or not and I am uncomfortable with the term "self-hating." Certainly, if Jews are all indvividuals, and are all members of an extended family of sorts, there will be some who will critique the family, publicly, and though these may remain minority views, it doesn't mean the author of these critiques really hates himself for being a Jew. It should be said though, one can be both Jewish and an antisemite.

My concern relates more to the promotion of Jewishness as though that lends some sort of credibility to critiques of Jews or Israel. What is always worrysome is to have a particularly harsh, though potentially dubious screed championed by opponents of Jews or Israel with the tagline "and even another Jews says so, and look at just how Jewish he is!"

If one is sincere in their "Yiddishkeit" and proud of it, great. If they are ashamed of their "Jewishness," well, too bad, but it makes no difference. Ones pride in or adherence to Judaism should have no bearing on their aguments. One is simply convincing or not and promoting ones Jewish credentials is merely a form of ad hominem arguing.

Anonymous said...

Philip Weiss is just weird. I wonder how he defines "Jewish through and through."

Also, a quick glance at his commentors shows that they are extremely misinformed, ill-informed, or selectively-informed. And have an awful lot of free time to spend commenting. Just weird.

Empress Trudy said...

A casual reading of that site leads to the conclusion that it's very similar to Mark Elf's JSF. Which while it claims to be 'Jewish', whatever that means in this context, means more or less what 'being Cambodian' would mean to the Khmer Rouge.

Even in Mondoweiss' tagged section on 'Islam' all the columns are about how (in his view) Jews are all racist maniacs opposed to Islam, the more innocent the Muslim, the more Jews hate and want to murder them.

See it's really not about being Jewish, it's about having ancestors who were Jewish back in the day. Two distinctly different things. After all I could claim I'm Polish even though I've never been there, can't speak it and the closest I've come is having a grandparent who emmigrated from Bialystock more than a hundred years ago. That's the kind of 'Jew' Mondoweiss is.

Avigdor said...

I really think sites like Mondoweiss are an attempt by their owners to connect to their Jewish identity. They just express in a weird, horribly painful way. They're absolutely obsessed with Jews, in a way that is unhealthy and dangerous to the rest of us, but I think on some level, it's rooted in a desire be close to their Jewish identity, even if it's in a twisted "over the shoulder" manner.