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Courting disaster.

On February 14 the Anti-Befamation League of B'nai B'rith (A.D.L.) sponsored a luncheon, one of a series dealing with books of importance to American Jewry. The session was devoted to The Coercive Utopians, by Rael Jean Isaac and Erich Isaac (Regnery Gateway), a recent book which supports the hard right and attacks liberal activists and journalists as "coercive utopians." Erich Isaac told the audience that the authors' prime concern was the security of the state of Israel, and that their attack on groups such as the National Council of Churches (N.C.C.) and the Insitute for Policy Studies (I.P.S.) is justified because those organizations undermine U.S. support for Israel. When asked how such a justification applies to their harsh treatment of Ralph Nader and the consumer protection movement, Rael Jean Isaac responded that Nader's activities undermine freedom, aid socialism and are "pro-Third World," hence hostile to Israel and favorable to the P.L.O.

The book deals only marginally with traditional Jewish issues. What is noteworthy is that its Jewish authors, prominent in hard-core, pro-Gush Emunim circles, have embraced extremist domestic political values and are using the imperative of protecting Israel from hostile policies to attract a new Jewish constituency to the far right. Of course, a number of developments have laid the groundwork for the Isaacs' bold initiatives: the emergence of a sizable neoconservative group of Jewish intellectuals, the affirmative action controversy and a heightened ethnocentricity fueled both by recent Holocaust studies and concerns related to Israel. But the drive to steer the Jewish community rightward is now being accelerated by Jewish establishment forces. For example, Rael Jean Isaac's smear job on I.P.S., first published in Midstream in the summer of 1980, has been widely trumpeted by other journals. It resulted in the temporary suspension of a grant to I.P.S. from the Field Foundation under pressure from board member Morris Abrams, now departed for the greener pastures of the Civil Rights Commission.

One of the leaders in the campaign to court American Jewry for a move rightward, and in the process to revise its civic identity, has been the A.D.L.'s National Director, Nathan Perlmutter, the author, with his wife, Ruth Ann, of The Real Anti-Semitism in America (Arbor House). Published in 1982, this work argues that the primary responsibility of American Jews is the Defense of Israel; that policy decisions seemingly unrelated to Jewish concerns, such as reducing the defense budget, may indeed be more anti-Semitic than open expressions of anti-Semitism; and that hostility between Jews and blacks is the result of black anti-Semitism and not, as is frequently charged, of Jewish insensitivity to racial injustice.

Much of the Perlmutters' polemic centers on the assumption that Jewish voting patterns are undergoing a transformation which was already visible in the 1980 election, when many Jews abandoned their traditional Democratic Party affiliation--a shift that the authors state "may yet swell into a sea change in Jewish voting patterns."

The Perlmutters award high honors to the Christian right for its defense of "Jewish interests"--a code phrase for unconditional support of Israel's expansionism coupled with a rejection of the claims of the Palestinians. This is quite startling when we recall that in the 1950s and 1960s the A.D.L. led the Jewish establishment in attacking and monitoring the ultrarightists. Such A.D.L.-sponsored books as Arnold Forster and Benjamin Epstein's Danger on the Right, The Troublemakers and The Radical Right were followed by the classic--also A.D.L.-sponsored--The Politics of Unreason by Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab. Those books, it must be stressed, were not the result of the A.D.L.'s concern about anti-Semitism alone, but sprang from the conviction that the assumptions and beliefs of the far right are threatening to Jewish values. What could more completely support that conviction that the Reagan Administration's current acquiescence to the Christian right on the issues of school prayer and abortion? The emergence of this alliance has surely embarrassed the Perlmutters, the Isaacs, the Jewish neoconservatives and the Jewish Coalition for Reagan-Bush '84--the Republicans' brainchild for fishing for Jewish votes with the bait of a strong Israel.

The Perlmutters positively gush over Jerry Falwell's embrace of an expansionist Israel and brush aside his barely concealed anti-Semitism ("A Jew can make more money accidentally than you can make on purpose") and that of his associates ("God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew"). To be sure, we are told, the Jews are opposed to the agendas of Christian fundamentalism, but the disadvantages of Falwell's religion "simply do not balance the scale" against his concern for the "security of the state of Israel."

The sharp differences between the evangelical and Jewish eschatological scenarios--in the Final Days, according to Falwell, the "raptured" Christians will ascend to heaven leaving behind those Jews who refuse to convert to the True Faith--have not impaired an alliance devoted to driving the Moslems from Jerusalem's Temple Mount and preparing the site, in the Christian version, for the second coming of Christ, or, in the Jewish one, for the rebuilding of the Temple to welcome the Messiah. An ultimate confrontation is deferred by an unwritten truce under which the participants join forces to suit present needs. Jews are in effect counseled by the Perlmutters to praise the Christian Lord as long as the goyim pass the ammunition to the Israelis.

Ironically, while the Perlmutters draw the line at the Ku Klux Klan, they prefer to ignore the fact that the Klan draws support from their new ally, the evangelical right. In their professed concern about "real anti-Semitism," they ignore the observation made by Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Reform), in an address in November 1980: "It is no coincidence that the rise of right-wing Christian fundamentalism has been accompanied by the most serious outbreak of anti-semitism in America since World War II." The next year, a resolution of the American Jewish Congress Governing Council condemned the evangelical right for its "deliberate manipulation of fear and suspicion as a political program--fear, especially, of the risks and diversity inherent in democracy and freedom. The solution to uncertainty proposed by the Evangelical Right is to wall us within the limits of their religious doctrine. . . . [Their methods] are deeply offensive to the principles of democracy if not to its laws."

The blind commitment to Greater Israel has also led elements of the Jewish establishment to go along with Israel's role, backed by U.S. largesse, as an arms supplier or military adviser to South Africa and other repressive regimes: Iran, Somoza's Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, Guatemala, Taiwan, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia and the Philippines. The A.D.L. was actively involved in justifying Israel's arms sales to Guatemala, the most brutal and repressive regime in Central America. When Israel's role in supplying the great bulk of Guatemala's military equipment was exposed, the A.D.L. leapt into the breach, protesting that Guatemala was being unfairly attacked and that its use of force to crush internal unrest had been exaggerated.

In the case of Nicaragua, the A.D.L. worked with Faith Whittlesey, head of the Reagan Administration's Office of Public Liaison, to develop a campaign accusing the Sandinista regime of anti-Semitism, thus arming the contras with an appealing issue. This well-orchestrated attack charged first, that in 1978 a number of Sandinistas--not yet in power--had burned the doors of a synagogue in Managua; second, that the privately published Nicaraguan sheet El Nuevo Diario had expressed support for the P.L.O.; and third, that Jewish businessmen had been forced to flee the country. The nongovernmental Nicaraguan group that monitors human rights, considered a vigilant, tough outfit, found the charges without merit. The door-burning could not be verified; the second charge, while true, does not constitute anti-Semitism; and as for the Jewish merchants, the fact is that many Somoza cronies from the business community were ousted, including, inevitably, a few Jews. Former U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua Anthony Quainton, in a cable to the State Department, rejected the allegation of anti-Semitism as groundless; he was subsequently replaced.

Those developments did not keep President Reagan from playing the anti-Semitism card. In May he addressed a closed session of Whittlesey's group on the persecution of Jews in Nicaragua. The Israeli right also came through in the person if Knesset member Michael Kleiner, who participated in a different May session of the Whittlesey outreach group. Brought here by the right-wing U.S.A. Foundation and speaking as an official representative of the Herut Party of the Likud bloc, Kleiner announced that the conservative movements of Israel and the United States were united in support of American efforts to bring freedom to Central America and Grenada and charged, inter alia, that the P.L.O. had trained the Sandinistas. His rousing disquisition, later entered in the Congressional Record by an enthusiastic Senator Jesse Helms, raised a question: Was Kleiner's trip a prelude to Israel's continuing the funding of the Nicaraguan contras after Congress had denied additional appropriations for that cause?

Another pillar of what the Perlmutters consider "real anti-Semitism" is affirmative action quotas. The Perlmutters insist that it was not the Jews who abandoned the cause of economic equality (for example, by filing briefs against affirmative action quotas in the Supreme Court). No, it was the N.A.A.C.P. and other black groups that betrayed the cause of racial justice by supporting group remedies (quotas) that are racist.

The attack on affirmative action quotas by influential Jewish leaders (now armed with the sword of a Supreme Court decision) has seriously threatened the relationship between blacks and Jews. And, in the wake of the furor in some Jewish circles caused by Jesse Jackson's comments on Jews and by the Louis Farakhan affair, black leaders have complained that the Jewish opponents of quotas have done nothing to implement their alternative--the recruitment and training of blacks so that they can compete on equal terms in the labor market. It is clear that Jackson's remarks were used by Perlmutter to warn the Democratic Party that it would lose the Jewish vote if it failed to repudiate not only the remarks but Jackson's position supporting both Israel's statehood and the rights of the Palestinians. Perlmutter, who sounded the alarm at an A.D.L. conference of 400 Jewish leaders, countered anticipated charges of racism by pointing out that not all blacks are like Jackson. After all, the Jewish community has applauded "Congressional blacks [who] have been supporters of Israel on important issues." It seems not to have occurred to Perlmutter that affirmative action quotas might be as important to blacks as Israel is to Jews.

Will the issues relating to Israel work the Perlmutters' desired sea change in Jewish voting patterns? Irving Kristol, in a recent article in Commentary, welcomes the possibility. He argues that with the decline of traditional liberalism and the emergence of a new Democratic consensus heavily influenced by blacks and Hispanics hostile to Jewish concerns, the Jews will be left politically homeless and will turn to conservative and neoconservative politics. The Promised Land

We now return to the Isaacs, whom we have kept waiting too long. While the Perlmutters appear to have traveled a born-again route into the groves of neoconservatism propelled by Jewish interests, the Isaacs' views are linked to the ultraconservatism of the 1950s and 1960s. But here, too, as they stated at the A.D.L. luncheon, Jewish concerns motivated their attachment to rightwing politics. In particular, such targets as the mainstream Christian churches, I.P.S. and the peace and nuclear freeze movements, which are prominently featured in The Coercive Utopians, were originally selected as vehicles for expressing the authors' all-out support for Greater Israel and hostility to the P.L.O.

Here we face something new. The traditional paths to the far right have been nativism, morality, fundamentalism, patriotism and antistatist laissez faire. It would seem that the Perlmutters and the Isaacs have cleared yet another path, which raises a question: Is there a new ultraright constituency building among Jews, based on the security of Israel? Certainly their books both assume that Jewish voters can be influenced or controlled to reject traditional liberal Jewish political agendas that have ceased to serve "Jewish interests." In effect, they contend that dissent on many vital issues is anti-Semitism in the soft.

The Isaacs' spectrum of denigration is much broader than the Perlmutters' and more revealing. Since even in the age of Reagan a public attack on the liberalism that dominates our political culture condemns the accuser as much as the target, the Isaacs have shielded themselves by using the epithet "coercive utopians" for liberals active in causes ranging from peace to environmentalism.

As is traditional with attacks on democratic liberalism, the Isaacs' tract is strongly anti-intellectual. We are assured that intellectualism in general is anathema to our democratic system: Americans have always been "balky pragmatists." "Will it work?" is the key question. Secular Jewish intellectuals under attack from the Perlmutters are shafted again by the Isaacs because they have abandoned their religious culture while retaining its "heritage of messianic expectations, which could easily become translated into secular utopianism."

The Isaacs' diatribe against intellectuals mocks the melioristic vision that has always been central to our political life and is reflected in a long series of reforms. This is the sort of anti-intellectualism that fueled McCarthyism and that has consistently marked attacks on reform movements.

The Isaacs' utopians are a special breed, spread out all over the map of liberalism and united by a core deviance: they threaten the status quo, corporate capitalism, the profit system, America's foreign interests and the security of Israel. No flaky luftmenschen, the utopians are said to have a "secret agenda," a goal of "collective anarchism" toward which they march along with the old-time subversive cadres--one can hear Marx and Proudhon whirling in their graves--dreaming of a granola paradise, free of pollution and life-threatening technologies as well as economic and social injustice.

Well, what's wrong with that? Plenty. Unlike the isolated visionaries of far-out utopianism, these utopians have enormous followings whose members remain ignorant of their leaders' hidden agendas. The theme of deception, which holds The Coercive Utopians together, is announced in the subtitle, Social Deception by Amberica's Power Players. Not only are the followers duped about the granola goals of their leaders; they are kept in the dark about intermediate objectives as well. Thus, we are blithely told that "few who rally to the cause of the nuclear freeze know that the groups who created the freeze movement seek unilateral U.S. disarmament and see the United States as the greatest force for evil in the world."

Still, reservations persist. How can the utopians and their duped followers do any harm? After all, every society concerned with self-improvement needs its idealists, and if they have supporters, so much the better. Such a view, argue the Isaacs, merely reflects the success of the utopians' deception. The classic utopains were content to practice politics in the imagination, not in the public forum. But this new breed is "coercive"; they involve themselves in the political process and thus "seek to impose their blue-prints in ways that go beyond legitimate persuasion." These sneaky chaps don't get government jobs like your garden variety nonutopians, they "infiltrate" the government in what the authors call a frightening campaign to establish "the most coercive state system known to man." They promulgate vicious rules and regulations, bring pesky class action lawsuits, write articles for Op-Ed pages, dominate the media and raise large sums to carry forward their campaign. Moreover, they are succeeding. Look at the way they have undermined key initiatives of the Reagan Administration. In short, the utopian is clothed in the mantle of the old-tme agitatorscapegoat who incites and manipulates an otherwise contented population.

And what a coven of crafty coercers the authors have coralled for us! The list includes Bishop Paul Moore, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, media figures Raymond Bonner, Dan Rather, Les Whitten, Walter Cronkite and the late Larry Stern, environmentalists Amory Lovins and Harvey Wasserman, urban activist Saul Alinsky and I.P.S. officers Robert Borosage and Richard Barnet.

The Isaacs are touted by their publisher as objective scholars: both have earned Ph.D.s from reputable universities, both have published books and Erich Isaac is a professor of geography at the City University of New York. But their scholarly credentials heighten our awareness of the passions that dissolve all pretension to objectivity, leaving only hyperbole, omissions of relevant data, outright distortions and plain untruths. The book reads like a hightoned version of works by such worthies of the 1950s and 1960s as Kent and Phoebe Courtney, Dan Smoot, Carl McIntire, Phyllis Schlafly, Howard Kershner, Myers Lowman and John T. Flynn. But, unlike those earlier writings, it is loaded with footnotes which, instead of validating the text's offerings, confirm its bias.

The Isaac enjoy the treatment the utopians have received at the hands of John and Louise Rees and gratefully acknowledge access to the Reeses' files. John Rees--con man, impostor, informer, smear artist, publisher of the anticommunist newsletter "Information Digest"--is the pride and joy of the John Birchers, although his credibility has been questioned by the F.B.I. Rees serves as correspondent for the Birch organ, Review of the News, and once edited the newsletter of Western Goals, the advocacy group founded by the late Representative Larry McDonald. Ree's latest caper involved files stolen from the Los Angeles Police Department's Red Squad. In association with Arnaud de Borchgrave and Robert Moss, he launched "Early Warning," a newsletter of jugular concern. But it would be unfair to ignore John's wife, Louise, who shares with him a life of deception and betrayal, the feminine member of an odd couple benignly called by the Isaac "an extraordinary pari of investigative journalists." (They are not informers or infiltrators, you understand; only utopians inform or infiltrate.) After a stint as an informer, this latter-day Mata Hari went to work for the House Internal Security Committee in the fall of 1973, wearing a wig to shield her identity, and wound up in the office of Representative McDonald.

Both Reeses are extolled by the Isaac as leaders in the fight against utopian advocacy groups, institutes and think tanks financed by left-leaning foundations. Predictably, we are told that the prime offender is I.P.S., the subject of no less than five such attacks, two of which have been effectively dealt with by Aryeh Neier in The Nation [see "The I.P.S. and Its Enemies," December6, 1980, and "An Open Letter To The Times Magazine," May 30, 1981].

After publishing her smear article on I.P.S. in Midstream in the summer of 1980, Rael Jean Isaac presented her conclusions before a group of ultrarightists called the National Committee to Restore Internal Security. She explained to committee members that a number of individuals associated with I.P.S. were active supporters of the P.L.O. and that those activists, who were Jewish, were "working very directly against the interest. . . of the Jewish people."

The isaacs remind us that an understanding of the real dangers posed by the corporations and the media. They pour forth claims about the utopians' influence on the war on poverty, community action programs, ACTION, Vista, the E.P.A. and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The authors are particularly incensed with the utopian foundations that "quite self-consciously use the wealth amassed by virtue of the existing system to overturn it." Even for the Isaacs, the discussion is weird. The Ford Foundation gets its knuckles rapped for its financial support of the 1968 Ocean Hill-Brownsville school decentralization program because that decentralization resulted in conflicts between blacks and Jews. The Rockefeller Family Fund flunks out because it supports antinuclear activites. Both Catholics and Protestants funding utopian projects are duly rebuked, not to speak of corporations that have forgotten which side their bread is buttered on.

The author's credibility is wholly tarnished by the fact that the evidence for their assault on liberal think tanks and foundations draws on the flow of articles subsidized by right-wing think tanks, which are sponsored in turn by sympathetic foundations. One would never know from their book that the network of conservative foundations has greatly expanded during the last two decades. One of many hidden connections here: The May 1981 issue of The American Spectator ran an article by the Isaacs, attacking the mainstream churches, titled "Sanctifying Revolution:

Protestantism's New Social Gospel." The

American Spectator was funded at the time by the Alternative Education Foundation of Bloomington, Indiana (now known as The American Spectator Educational Foundation), and the article draws heavily on documents published by the right-wing Institute for Religion and Democracy (I.R.D.). Also nourished by right-wing funding, the I.R.D. is the offspring of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority, an umbrella organization formed in 1972 by righ-wing ("Jackson") Democrats, which was subsequently taken over by the neoconservatives and by Social Democrats, U.S.A., who, along with conservative evangelicals, dominate the I.R.D.'s board of directors.

In addition to such targets as think tanks and foundations, Ralph Nader's consumer movement, environmentalism, the mainstream Protestant churches and peace activists, the authors are particularly hostile to the media. In the spirit of blaming the messenger for bringing bad news, they insist, with typical extravagance, that "On major topics such as the environment, defense, intelligence and foreign policy, the media serve as a vast sounding board for the utopians, white at the same time suppressing sounds the utopians prefer not to hear." It was the media that did in the C.I.A. while keeping silent about the misdeeds of the K.G.B., stressed human rights violations by South Africa but not by Kampuchea, by South Korea but not by North Korea, by Third World countries friendly to the United States but not those hostile to the United States. It gets worse and worse: the media fail to identify properly their utopian sources and indeed protect them. And what is more disgusting than the media's suppression of the fact that Kathy Boudin's father, the lawyer Leonard Boudin, was friendly with "many Communists and individuals sympathetic to Communism"?

In their hyperbolic attack on the media, the authors replace the Reeses with a new guru: Reed Irvine and his Accuracy in Media (AIM). As someone has flippantly observed, citing Irvine as an authority on media is like consulting W.C. Fields as an expert on child rearing. The only media offerings Irvine approves are those congenial to his right-wing sympathies. A virtuoso Red-spotter, Irvine recently characterized Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum as "an unrepentant Stalinist."

Last November AIM organized a conference entitled "Biting The Hands That Feed Them--Media Bias Against Free Enterprise and What Major Advertisers Can Do About It," in Greenwich, Connecticut, the stamping ground of many of Irvine's Fortune 500 constituents. Urging the audience to place advertising with politically approved media, he outlined procedures for monitoring sponsored programs. Watch out, he warned, for the "partisan leftist advocacy" journalists with their "hidden agendas." (What else?) Echoing those charges at the same conference Rael Jean Isaac denounced the leftist "privileged social elite" (again with "hidden agendas") that dominates not only the media but large segments of society as well, and warned corporations not to cooperate in their own destruction by contributing to evil causes. You Can't Get There From Here

The Perlmutters have supported their claim of a sea change in Jewish voting patterns by pointing to the results of the 1980 election, in which President Carter received only 44 percent of the Jewish vote, a decline of 21 percent from the Jewish turnout for McGovern in 1972. for that reason they assert that Jewish voting preferences in the future will depend on such issues as affirmative action quotas and support for U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East. Liberalism will be rejected if it favors self-rule for the Palestinians, which, the authors tell us, would be antidemocratic.

That forecast is wholly unsupported. To begin with, the decline in Jewish Democratic votes was, in part, attributable to the same disillusionment that influenced the population as a whole to desert the Democrats. In addition, many Jews were offended by Carter's "born-again Christian" posturings. Then, too, the Perlmutters neglect to mention that 17 percent of the Jewish vote went to John Anderson and only 39 percent to Reagan.

It is plain that the trumpeted dawn of a Jewish political right will come as something of a surprise to the Jewish community as a whole and to its leadership. A Commentary symposium in January 1980 on "Liberalism and the Jews" drew fifty-two replies mostly in support of liberalism; there was no indication of a substantial drift from the Democratic Party nor any confirmation for the view that the main danger to Jews and their values comes from the left. Among the respondents, who consisted of Jewish religious and secular leaders, intellectuals and editors, was Nathan Perlmutter who wrote, "The politics of Jews are indeed undergoing marked change, but. . . our loyalty to the liberal policy has been constant." How's that for a sea change?

Two polls conducted for the American Jewish Committee (A.J.C.) by Professor Steven Cohen of Queens College and Brandeis University sharply dispute the sea change thesis. Sixty-six percent of those polled in the 1981 National Survey of American Jews preferred the Democratic Party. Moreover, by clear majorities Jews approved affirmative action (56 percent to 26 percent), the Equal Rights Amendment (73 percent to 17 percent), the employment of homosexuals as public school teachers (67 percent to 23 percent) and government financing of abortions (52 percent to 38 percent). Despite the hostility stirred by Soviet anti-Semitism, the respondents opposed substantial increases in defense spending (49 percent to 35 percent) and cuts in social welfare spending (58 percent to 33 percent). The returns supported the liberal agenda on three issues: capital punishment (72 percent to 19 percent), busing for integration (66 percent to 23 percent) and illegal immigration (75 percent to 12 percent).

A second A.J.C. poll, the results of which were released in September 1983, revealed a deep concern for Israel but a wide divergence of views: Jewish support for "territorial compromise" rose from 31 percent in 1982 to 42 percent in 1983. By 57 percent to 31 percent, the respondents rejected the view that American Jews should not criticize Israeli policy publicly and recorded varying amounts of disapproval for Israeli leaders: Sharon (41 percent), Begin (30 percent) and Peres (16 percent). Both polls suggest that large numbers of Jews are, by the Perlmutters' reckoning, actually or potentially "real anti-Semites"!

The efforts of some Jewish leaders to play the game of ethnic politics--to assume the role of bosses ready to deliver votes in return for policy commitments favorable to "Jewish interests"--were certainly not rewarded in the 1983 municipal elections in Philadelphia and Chicago. In both cities, twice as many Jews voted for blacks as did other whites--despite the fact that the defeated candidate in Chicago was Jewish.

Prominent among the leaders in the campaign to court Jews to change their political preferences are Social Democrats, U.S.A., and their cousins, the neoconservatives. Their strategy is simply to abandon Jewish liberal-humanist values in return for an official hard-line, pro-Israel and anti-Soviet foreign policy. The Social Democrats, with deep roots in Jewish political culture, have long since slighted domestic reform agendas, concentrating instead on attacking communism in all of its supposed forms, domestic and foreign. Without a political following, they have shrunk to what might be called a persuasion with a minuscule formal membership, focusing on influencing policy through a network of the faithful. They have found haven in think tanks (such as Freedom House), The Coalition for a Democratic Majority and the A.F.L-C.I.O.

Jewish neoconservative intellectuals--many of them children of the Jewish Social Democratic tradition--continue to play an outstanding role in this attempted political conversion of the Jews. They have contributed to it with essays in such journals as Norman Podhoretz's Commentary (an organ of the American Jewish Committee), projects and reports for rightist think tanks and publications (such as the Heritage Foundation's Policy Review) and polemics such as Irving Kristol's denunciation of Jacobo Timerman's account of Argentine anti-Semitism. Nor is their role confined to opinion making. In increasing numbers, they have moved into decision-making posts, notably in the field of foreign policy. These intellectuals, for so long content to be outsiders, scornful of politics, have at last become insiders with a vengeance. And in the process of "making it," they are proceeding to enact a new version of latrahison des clercs.

It would be intolerable not to recognize and respond to the traumas suffered by the Jewish people in this country as a consequence of the Holocaust, the treatment of Soviet Jews, the rise of anti-Semitism both here and abroad, and, yes, the emergence of the Christian right on the political scene. But to politicize and exploit the attempts by Jews to heal those wounds and to reassert their Jewish identity--at a time when the solidarity of the Jews as a people is threatened by shrinking numbers, secularization, intermarriage and geographical disperson--will only further isolate them and aggravate their plight.

Beyond those dangers, there is the still unexplored danger of Jewish attacks on mainstream Protestantism. For the first time in our history, Protestant churches are under attack, not only from their historic opponents on the evangelical right but from Jewish groups. It would be detrimental both to Jewish and to Christian interests if Jews contributed to the attacks by the Christian right on progressive Protestants and Catholics. Liberal Christians, on the whole, have supported Israel's right to exist within secure borders. Their opposition to Israel's military aggression and support for Palestinian autonomy are shared by man Jews. Most progressive Christians are enemies of Israel only in the eyes of Israel-right-or-wrong Jews.

The major stumbling block in the way of fruitful dialogue between Christians and Jews is how to live with the reality of the Jewish state. If establishment Jewish organizations such as the A.D.L. limit their interreligious relationships to fundamentalists because of their support for a militarily dominant and expansionist Israel, international understanding, a basic need in the nuclear age, will be seriously threatened.
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Title Annotation:books supporting an ultra-conservative position for American Jews
Author:Donner, Frank
Publication:The Nation
Date:Oct 6, 1984
Words:5088
Previous Article:The king of black pudding.
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