Home Letters from the Phantom Anti-Jewish Establishment
Home Letters from the Phantom Anti-Jewish Establishment

Letters from the Phantom Anti-Jewish Establishment

Alan Alda's wife signed a letter denouncing the newly elected left-wing mayor of New York for doing AIPAC's bidding. The Sandinista supporter had been accused of many things until then, but being an Israeli stooge wasn't one of them. Signing the letter, along with the spouse of that guy from MASH, were Martha Weinman Lear, the wife of the cousin of liberal producer Norman Lear,  Eve Ensler of the Vagina Monologues and diet guru Jane Hirschmann author of Overcoming Overeating who took a break from obsessing over food to sail on a Jihad cruise to Gaza.

Signing on to the attack on Bill de Blasio for being a dirty Zionist were such faded celebrities of the literary left as Erica Jong, who hasn't written a single book that anyone can name in the forty years since Fear of Flying first came out and Gloria Steinem, who peaked around that same time.

These familiar names of the Manhattan cocktail party circuit who grind their teeth every time they hear Netanyahu's name, give way to the professional activists, the board members of the toxic American Jewish World Service, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Dorot, the Rabbis for Gaza and Rabbis for Obama and the men and women like Peter Beinart of Open Zion and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace who have built their lives around the war on Israel as much as any Islamic Jihadist tinkering with a Kassam rocket in Gaza.

Joining them was Kathleen Peratis who, according to her Nation bio is a "longtime peace activist" who repeatedly calls for boycotting Israel despite traveling there "at least twice a year for the past twenty years." It's unclear how she combined the two, perhaps she made sure not to buy anything from Jews while she was in Israel.

Their names are equally familiar to a smaller circle of those who fight for and against Israel and their signatures are as predictable as snowstorms in winter.

The radical clergy sign on; Rachel Brown Cowan, a Unitarian who married a Jewish writer for the Village Voice, added "Rabbi" to her name and has been attacking the Jewish State non-stop after her husband's death, Rolando Matalon, who has yet to find a Latin American Marxist group he wouldn't embrace,  Ellen Lippmann, a BDS supporter and Sharon Kleinbaum, a lesbian supporter of the Fast for Gaza that aids and abets the not particularly pro-lesbian Hamas.

Reading these names feels like reviewing the membership of a small familiar club. Everyone knows everyone else and everyone in the club hates Israel.

Between Erica Jong and Alice Kessler-Harris (the biographer of Anti-Israel Communist playwright Lillian Hellman, whom Kessler described as having a "streak of Jewish anti-Semitism") is Peter A. Joseph who pays for this whole dance, funding everything from Peter Beinart's Open Zion to the Manhattan JCC whose anti-Israel turn has led to a pitched battle among members.

Peter A. Joseph revived the Israel Policy Forum, which had originally been folded into the Center for American Progress, and turned it into a machine for churning out anti-Israel letters. Before the IPF merged into CAP, it put out a letter urging the United States to work with Hamas. Afterward, its tactics have become slightly subtler, its letters appearing to be pro-Israel while advocating anti-Israel policies.

The Israel Policy Forum put out a letter in support of Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, despite his ties to the Iran Lobby, signed by Peter A. Joseph, hedge fund manager Neil Barsky, Marcia Riklis, the daughter of corporate raider Meshulam Riklis (not by his second wife Pia Zadora), Jack C. Bendheim, the president of a company that once dumped toxic waste in a Connecticut town, and Risa A. Levine, apparently a real estate lawyer from New York.

Why was anyone expected to listen to Pia Zadora's stepdaughter and a guy who once made a documentary about Ed Koch when it came to nominating a Secretary of Defense? The same reason that Bill de Blasio was supposed to listen to Alan Alda's wife and a diet guru who hates Israel.

Hating Israel has become a small petty club for the wealthy left and the Israel Policy Forum allows assorted obscure figures to assert their status by denouncing things or demanding things under the banner of an organization whose only asset is the wealth of a few private equity backers.

The Jewish Anti-Israel left likes to pretend that it's a grassroots movement whose voice is being squelched by some nebulous Jewish establishment when in reality it is an unelected establishment using its wealth and lingering fame to shout over the majority of American Jews who support Israel.

These sons, daughters, stepdaughters, wives and nieces of famous people, fading Feminist writers, Wall Street millionaires trying to buy social relevance, hippie social scientists who hit it big with books about food, sex or childrearing, radical rabbis holding forth to congregations who believe in religion as little as their preachers, are a phantom establishment, community leaders without a community except their own mutual approbation.

The Jewish Anti-Israel left is a phantom establishment of family foundations that direct money to networks of organizations that use the money to hire personnel and send out press releases to their own former staffers working for newspapers who then write about them maintaining the illusion of churning activity, when in reality all that is happening is that money is being moved around.

Anti-Israel Wall Street figures hire Anti-Israel activists to denounce the Jewish establishment for not paying enough attention to them. Family foundations run by privileged leftists send American activists to Israel to set up front groups to protest against something or other. They hold dinners where the nieces and nephews, the boycotters and the faded stars of the left listen to the activists that they pay tell them that any day now, American Jews will finally come around to their point of view.

Fittingly, considering the figures involved, the whole thing is a pyramid scheme except that the only people they can sell anything to is each other.

Every few weeks the Israel Policy Forum churns out another letter headlined "Prominent Jews Urge Someone or Other To Do Something" signed by by the guy who made a Koch documentary, Pia Zadora's stepdaughter, a hedge funder, another hedge funder, the guy whose company left drums of toxic waste in Connecticut, the Rabbi who loves the Sandinistas even more than Bill de Blasio and a retired Democratic congressman who attends the same cocktail parties.

The phantom establishment floats on a bubble of its own manufactured prominence. Its letter signers are important because they fund organizations that put out letters which they then sign. These antics are not limited to the Israel Policy Forum or even the United States.

A year after British comedian Stephen Fry appeared on a genealogy television show to trace his mother's Jewish roots, he signed on to a letter by British Jews, a group that he had never considered himself a member of, declaring its "independence" from the British Jewish establishment. The list included the expected collection of fading feminist authors, Marxist playwrights, historians and philosophers, as well as radical sociologists, pop psychologists and professional activists.

The "coming out party" of Independent Jewish Voices consisted of non-practicing Marxist Jews who were notorious for hating Israel, the UK, industry, facts, mirrors and human civilization announcing that loudly in a letter that was covered by their media friends.

There is a long history of such letters going back to the founding of Israel, the names of forgotten self-proclaimed leaders mixing with a few more notorious figures whose unfortunate legacy has survived into this time. None of these letters however have counted as much as a bullet in the rifle of an Israeli soldier standing watch in the night.

American Jews who worry over these letters from the phantom establishment of the cocktail party ought to look back and see how futile the rantings of I.F. Stone, New Dealer Joseph Proskauer, the rabid Elmer Berger and FDR speechwriter Samuel Rosenman proved to be.

Before J Street or the Israel Policy Forum, there was Jewish Alternatives to Zionism  headed by "Rabbi" Elmer Berger who had claimed that the Communist revolution in the Soviet Union meant that Jews no longer needed "Palestine".

Does anyone remember Lewis Affelder or Mr. and Mrs. Noel A. Buckner whose names appeared as sponsors on Jewish Alternatives to Zionism's stationary? How many remember Mary Louise `Wheezie' Gutman who collected English ceramics and owned a distillery? The wind of history has blown past their graves. Their names are smeared ink on yellowed paper while children play in the streets of Jerusalem.

The phantom establishment is rootless; it has no links to a people or to a religion. Its aims are destructive and like all destructive forces, it carries its own futility with it.

American Jews should contend with them, but should not be too impressed by them. Their kind has been at it for generations and, despite all the venom and fury, the boycotts and screeds, have made less of an impression on Israel than a single Jewish family in the hills of Shomron.

The phantom establishment is money and words. There is no blood in its veins or heart in its chest. It does not go on the way that the Jewish people do because it is not of them, only against them. When its anger is spent and its letters are signed, the children will play on in the streets and roads, the hills and fields of Israel, neither knowing nor caring that there was once a Jane Hirschmann, a Mrs. Noel A. Buckner, a Rachel Brown Cowan or a Rebecca Vilkomerson that sought to do them harm.


  1. Dear Daniel, you must have been inwardly steaming while writing about these Jewish Israel haters. Pls correct the below:
    Cowan, Lippman and Matalon had also all signed up as
    Every few weeks ...(passage).......2x

  2. What makes these leftards Jews? They wouldn't be caught dead doing the Jew thing. They belong to an exclusive club where being Jewish is only for comic effect.

  3. Anonymous23/2/14

    I lived in Central Brooklyn in the 1970s, and I knew many Jews who enlisted in the (Israeli) army, raised money for Mogen David Adam, who kept their money in Bank Leumi Israel, and who in general were visible, vocal supporters of the Jewish State.

    When I lived in Newton, MA in the 1980s it was very different. Anti-Israel Jews were all over the place, at least they were anti-the actually existing Israel, as opposed to Tikkun Olam Israel.

    Are these two groups of Jews from different places? What explains the gulf between them?

    When the trains were leaving for the East, the Germans certainly did not appreciate the distinction.

  4. I no longer employ the term "liberal Jews" when referring to Americans who are leftist and classify themselves as Jewish.

    I cannot consider any American who supports anti-Israel politicians who advocate anti-Israel policies as a "Jew" or "Jewish". One cannot separate "Jewish" from Israel; one cannot advocate for the destruction of Israel on one hand and be a proud "Jew" on the other.

    One cannot talk out of both sides of his mouth.

    Thus I have taken to using the term "liberal Americans of Jewish descent (or heritage)" when referring to those are of Hebraic lineage but who place primary importance on a woman's right to kill the unborn or on passing laws to change the weather while advocating outreach to Palestinian terrorists, Iran, Hamas, and the Taliban.

    In the 2012 Presidential election, according to American Thinker "Only 4 percent of the Jewish vote thought that for them Israel was the most important factor, and only 20 percent thought it important at all."


    I regret the loss, but people like that are not Jews. They are godless secularized "liberal Americans of Jewish descent" who truly don't give a damn about Israel.

  5. The "coming out party" of Independent Jewish Voices consisted of non-practicing Marxist Jews who were notorious for hating Israel, the UK, industry, facts, mirrors and human civilization announcing that loudly in a letter that was covered by their media friends.

    The spirit of self-destruction, the strong abhorrence for one's birthright and legacy is not alien to my mind, but it is sad to my spirit.

  6. Anonymous23/2/14

    Everybody knows by now that leftism equals elitism wrap up in a speech of egalitarianism. That is why it attracts so many immature fellas, such as rich teenagers, aging celebrities in the business of ‘culture aka provocation’ and every kind of narcissistic creatures. Come on, don´t let your jewish-ness, or christian-ness ruin the party, maybe a torrid affair with some emirati sheik… How daring, wow¡
    I smell an academy award.

  7. They're not Jews so much as people who have Jewish ancestors. Once you recognize that, their Jew hatred isn't any different from anyone else's.

  8. Indeed, that's all they are. They are no more Jewish than they are American.

  9. Anonymous23/2/14

    Beautiful concluding paragraph


  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Somehow these American-Jewish-Anti-Israeli-Stooges seem to be ashamed of their Jewishness. My advice: Show some pride in Israel, the only Democracy in the whole of the Middle East, and then some!

  12. Anonymous23/2/14

    Yasher koach, Daniel. Nice piece.

    I have a number of non-Jewish friends and relatives, most of them devout Evangelical Christians, who sometimes ask what I make of the secular, anti-Israel, anti-Torah Jew. I tell them that these people are my brothers and sisters and that I am obliged to love them, but that they suffer from a woeful lack of education. Anyone whose Jewish identity is limited to lox and bagels, Seinfeld, and voting Democrat is obviously not practicing Judaism, but those poor lost souls who comprise such a large number of American Jews really don't know that. You can go back to Meir Kahane's "Why Be Jewish?" for the causes, but by the time he was writing it was already too late for a majority of our co-religionists in America. I don't have any answers, but until I raised my three now-adult sons to be proud, G-d-fearing Orthodox Jews, I was the last in my entire extended family. And maybe that's the only answer we need.


  13. Anonymous23/2/14

    What do these generic Jews have in common with Palestinians, that they feel such sympathy for them ? Do they have no knowledge of the historical events that led to the current state of affairs.? And why does Obama, a man of almost no accomplishments and suspicious patriotism treat the brilliant and accomplished Netanyahu with such obvious disdain ?
    I fully acknowledge the superficiality of my questions, not having studied the subject in depth as some here may have done, but I don't understand the resentment of a country that may be out last, best hope against unspeakable chaos.

  14. lightbringer, that is the only answer that matters

  15. Anonymous23/2/14

    "...the Spindizzy is a fictitious anti-gravity device imagined by James Blish for his series Cities in Flight. This device grows more efficient with the amount of mass being lifted, which was used as the hook for the stories—it was more effective to lift entire cities than it was something smaller, such as a classic spaceship."

    Not so much Science Fiction as Science Fantasy, with the Spindizzy Blish has come closest to our age.

    We have Cities in Fright.

    The larger the congregation, the further and faster from reality they can spin ... dizzy.

    Famously, Blish had Manhattan as the central plot mechanism for one of his un-Earthed tales.

    It would seem that he had worked the same cocktail circuit as above -- and may have blow a fuse.

    Perhaps Bruce Charlton's "Clever Sillies" have taken over these "Nod People" ... for flight from fact and history seems to be of their essence.


  16. Anonymous24/2/14

    I don't understand these people; I don't understand why they hate Israel, and I don't understand why they hate America.

    What actuates their malice?

  17. Kol Bo Gary24/2/14

    The left is the left, regardless of location. The most illogical, incomprehensible thing is that such "Jews" exist in Israel!

  18. Anonymous26/2/14

    Brilliantly written Mr. Knish. Those "Jews" are nothing but "f*rts in a wind storm" to me.

  19. why am I not surprised that Alan Alda's wife is an idiot?

    Idiots that believe such things as a story I saw recently on tumblr (standwithpalestine.tumblr.com), where they claimed a 26 year old palestinian man was killed while gathering "gravel" to sell from his little cart.

    I have to wonder if this "gravel" was actually rocks to throw at IDF soldiers...


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