Caroline Glick on Martin Peretz
For anyone who wishes to understand how the American Left - from which Barack Hussein Obama emerged - became anti-Israel, Caroline Glick's appreciation of Martin Peretz
is a must.
The reason I entitled this post "Martin Peretz, an appreciation,"
is not for what he wrote in 1967, but because of what has happened to
the Left, the Jewish Left and to Peretz in the 46 years that have passed
since he wrote that article.
In the late
1960s, Peretz wasn't alone in defending Israel against the radical Left -
white and black. In 1967, even Jewish Communists were willing to break
ranks to support Israel. And as the 1968 New York Teachers Strike
showed, at the time, liberal Jews in general were willing to defend
themselves from attacks by black anti-Semites.
in the intervening years, fewer and fewer voices on the Left, and
specifically on the Jewish Left were willing to take such positions and
pit themselves against their movement. And so as the decades passed,
what were the positions of the radical Left in the 1960s became
increasingly the positions of the mainstream Left, until by last summer,
they became the positions of the majority of delegates at the
Democratic National Convention.
Read the whole thing
When I was growing up in Chicago, the local Jewish establishment's
refusal to support Israel in the 1982 Lebanon War is what made me decide
to make aliyah. By the time I arrived at Columbia in 1987, and the
Palestinian uprising broke out, it was hard to find Jewish leaders who
were willing to stand up for Israel without stuttering.
the situation has become simply untenable. Suffice it to say that Bill
Ayres's political protégé Barack Obama's success in garnering 70 percent
of the Jewish vote is not an aberration.
through it all, Martin Peretz has rarely wavered. Despite his attempts
to support the Palestinians, he has not allowed his desire to see the
Arab conflict with Israel resolved diminish his support for Israel. He
has remained a staunch, loyal defender of Israel. When I was growing up,
I relied on his New Republic for its reporting on Israel and the Middle
East. Peretz was one of my intellectual heroes.
recent years, I've felt more bemused by than respectful of Peretz. A
colleague of mine quipped some years back that Peretz and Allan
Dershowitz live in an intellectual universe populated only by Peretz and
Dershowitz and they refuse to acknowledge that they are alone. That
quip has probably anchored my thinking on both men ever since.
But even if my colleague's remark was more true than false, reading
the FBI report, I decided I should discard its snide diminution of
Peretz. The fact is, he has been fighting this fight for nearly fifty
years. As a man of the Left, he has fought the fight for Israel and
Jewish rights, increasingly alone for nearly fifty years, and has done
so despite what must have been enormous personal costs as his comrades
all jumped ship, and in many cases, joined the cause of Israel's
As someone who grew up half a generation ahead of Caroline (I arrived at Bir Zeit on the Hudson in 1974, decided to make aliya while in yeshiva in 1980, and actually spent the summer of 1982 in Chicago watching Ted Koppel and Bibi Netanyahu every night), what bothers me is why so many American Jews were so swept up by the civil rights movement that they failed to notice or care when it turned against their Jewishness. One could place the blame for that on a lack of Jewish education.
Quite simply, 40-50 years ago. there were much fewer Jewish schools and a much smaller percentage of Jews were educated to care about our people. That wasn't done intentionally. It was just assumed by our parents' generation that we would stick together, even if we didn't have strong Jewish upbringings. We were in the goldener medina and therefore there was no need for that 'old' Jewish education to keep us in the fold (many Zionists made a similar mistake in Israel in the 50's and 60's), and we didn't want to do anything that would harm our college or job prospects. There was also a feeling that Jewish schools weren't 'good enough' academically, partly because of the quota systems that were in effect at the elite universities in the 50's and 60's.
As to how this influenced President Obama (a story to which Caroline only alludes), I discussed that at very great length here
Labels: American Left, Barack Hussein Obama, Leftist Jews, Martin Peretz