Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ami Kaufman Lights a Fire

I do not believe that Ami Kaufman is a self-hating Jew. Nor do I believe that he is a traitor to Israel, an anti-Zionist or any of of the usual expletives that are supposedly thrown toward Jews who dare to step outside of AIPAC's party line. Based on his posting history, it is clear that Mr. Kaufman is what we might call a "J Streeter," in other words someone who criticizes Israel only because he wants it to be better than it is. We also know that he is no blind ideologue, in the past he has strongly criticized the Palestinians and their supporters when discussing the 2002 Ramallah lynching and the one state solution. Which in some way makes his latest article on the Huffington Post all the more troubling. Not because of the article itself, but of the reaction that it received.

Racism is a problem in Israel. There, I said it, you cannot say that I did not. And it seems like recently it has been amplified, most notably in the "racist rabbis" declaration and their current government's issues with illegal immigrants. This bothers Mr. Kaufman quite a lot and he decided that it would be the subject of his latest article. The trouble is that it is difficult to tell where his honest opinion and ends and the dramatics begin; his article is loaded with emotional "gotchas" like:
"I can't get away from it. Every place I go, everything I read, everything I watch -- it's always there. The racism is always there....This isn't the place I grew up in. Where is that place? Where did it go?...I'm actually really, really scared."
We know from Mr. Kaufman's other writings that he can sometimes be dramatic. Now, I don't live in Israel so I don't know whether it is really as bad as Mr. Kaufman is making it sound. But clearly this issue is affecting him deeply and he needed to get it out there. But I am sure that when he wrote it he was of the mind that this was an issue that Israel needed to deal with pronto, for the purpose of making Israel a better society.

Now do you think that the Huffington Posters reacted the same way? Of course not:

Now do you think when Mr. Kaufman sat down to write this article, do you think he thought: "I want to convince my audience that Israel is an undemocratic theocratic racist terrorist apartheid state?" Probably not, and yet that is exactly the response that his article receives. Not measured criticism. Not understanding that this upswing of racism is a problem that must be solved. Just blind rage.

In many ways this article and responses demonstrate quite well the problem faced by pro-Israel Jews that we are and I assume Mr. Kaufman is. When we don't criticize Israel, we are accused of being "blind, brainwashed religious zealots who are blindly obedient to Israel and/or AIPAC." But when we do criticize Israel, our words are used a springboard for those who hate Israel to stand upon and preach their rhetoric. So what are we to do? Which path should we take? Talk about a true no win scenario.

If Mr. Kaufman reads these posts and realizes the response that his criticisms of Israel receives, and he chooses to write less of them because he doesn't like how his words are being used, who loses in the long run? Of course, I am assuming that Mr. Kaufman would disapprove of comments like those above.

Click the link below to read some more of the comments from the thread.

"I have a feeling that Israel is going to have its Tree of Liberty watered fairly soon... the bad part is that the government WANTS this to happen, so it can jump back on the Holocaust bandwagon (most people don't give a shit about what the Germans did to a generation of people who died years ago, it doesn't give you the rights to do equally horrible things to your opponents today) by playing the "look at we poor Jews constantly being persecuted" card. Israel isn't being persecuted for being Jewish, it is being persecuted for being an undemocrat­ic illegitima­te theocracy built on terrorism, intimidati­on, and wanton imperialis­t aggression­. Most Arabs also see Israel as simply a more permanent version of the imperialis­m they have faced for centuries from Europe. The Crusader Kingdoms last 200 years in that exact spot, this time the new crusader kingdom simply calls itself Jewish instead of the Christian.­.. that is how the Arab world sees it.
a friend of Israel is no friend of mine"
"The mentality of having your women not marry outside your own people is not unique to Jews or Israelis. People meet at universiti
­es, work, parties etc, and things happen, people fall in love. And Parents fear of their daughters going against their culture and falling in love with someone who isn't of her own tribe, is present and real in many cultures. Other cultures, nationalit­ies have this mentality, including Palestinia­n. BUT, the mentality that an ARAB or the OTHER, is drooling and conspiring to come after the girls to take them away. Um, yeah that is uniquely Israeli."
Israelis are not all sociopaths - some are still effected by the national Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome of having ethnically cleansed Palestinians over the last number of decades
Well I didn't have to grow up too much further to really understand that these men never get it over it - and Israel hasn't either. Israeli violence towards Palestinians has deeply affected the culture but for many the shocking awareness of it and resultant guilt has been manipulate­d and channeled into pure raw racism - courtesy of the state and many dedicated apologizer­s
Is is a surprise that a culture that has been actively ethnically cleansing Palestinia­ns for decades now, teaching their children that this is NORMAL, would start to exhibit just the kind of blind racism that Israel now demonstrat­es? Absolutely not - the only thing that would be surprising is if it didn't and the whole lot had become completely sociopathi­c
Israeli racism makes perfect sense
"Israeli racism makes perfect sense
Indeed, it is a prerequisite for their crimes. Dehumaniza­tion of Palestinia­ns is needed to keep their sanity and humanity. If for a second, they looked at them as human or realized that they were not really entitled to the land they stole, Zionism would breakdown. So racism needs to be perpetuate­d for Zionism's survival."
"The racism and bigotry described is to be expected in Israel. it is the result of decades of Israel being engaged in ethnic cleansing, land theft, and vicious attacks on its' neighbors."
"tribalism is so iron age. time to evolve and get over tribes and your own precious little ego there...."
"yes we are a jewish state...
and a theocracy."
"You mean like being born?They [Palestinians] are as much victims as those murdered by the Nazis"
"End of Zionism = Peace."
"Zionism=rascism, pure and simple. They embraced the Falange ,created after Gemayel took a trip to Nazi Germany in the 30s, and as fascist as they come, these pals of Ariel Sharon.Naz­is through and through, and best buddies with the Zionists,"


  1. "We know from Mr. Kaufman's other writings that he can sometimes be dramatic." I agreed with his latest article (obviously) but that's part of the problem with all of his writing. His article about the Ramallah lynching, the one I seem to recall pro-Israel people on the site agreeing with, was just as laden with emotional imagery designed to override your brain. Which is why when he's working for your side of the fence, be that pro-Israel or pro-peace/Palestinian/whatever the appropriate terminology is lately, you love the article and have a strong response and when you don't agree you want to clock him for being so fervently over the top in his writing. I understand his articles are usually or always opinion pieces but there is something irritatingly melodramatic about his writing.


  2. Zach - I will point out the difference between the view of Ami Kaufman and that of the anti-Zios that deserves your attention and its a critical one. Kaufman maintain Israel is a flawed society but its problems can be solved. In contrast, the anti-Zios see Israel as an evil country that needs to be wiped off the face of the earth. That is the difference between the two viewpoints and the rage it triggered on the HP.


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