I’m all over the place this week.
One. You know, I’m starting to think it might be easier to list all those prominent Jews who are not creeps, pervs or crooks then it would be to list those who are.
Indeed, since the Harvey Weinstein story broke last fall, we’ve witnessed a parade of Jews behaving badly. Consider just the last week or so when it was Jew after Jew in the headlines making a fool of himself, making a mockery of Jewish values.
We had Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic advisor, earning criticism because he resigned because he wasn’t happy about Trump’s tariffs. As many commentators pointed out, Cohn didn’t resign after Charlottesville, when Trump said there are ‘good people on both sides,’ meaning there are good people among those protesting hate and good people among the neo-Nazis inciting hate. Gary Cohn, the Jew, not troubled by Trump’s embrace of neo-Nazis and racists but very troubled by his embrace of tariffs.
We had Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney and the guy who paid $130,000 in hush money to keep porn star Stormy Daniels quiet about her affair with Trump. Cohen set up a phony corporation just days before the election to pay off Stormy so she wouldn’t give us details about seeing Trump in his underwear. And we had one lie after another told by Michael Cohen, Jew, in the context of his unsavory servicing of Trump.
We had Sam Nunberg who went on virtually every cable news show known to man to act like a total idiot, blabber and blather on about how he was going to ignore a subpoena to testify before Robert Mueller’s grand jury. Yes, a Jew bragging about how he was going to ignore the law, very likely making his bold claims while drunk, and then, in the end, testifying after all, thus having lied about his intentions.
We had James Levine, the legendary conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, one of the most famous musicians in the world, being forced out by the Met after 40 years due to his “sexually abusive and harassing conduct.” Seems that Levine, for decades, sexually attacked vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, abusing one young man after another, using his power and position to take sexual advantage, including doing so to a teen near Ravinia, where Levine served as musical director.
And we had Richard Meier, one of the most prominent architects in the world, accused by several young women of having harassed them over decades, walking naked in front of them, forcing them to pose naked for him, grabbing them inappropriately, throwing them on his bed, and more.
Literally almost every day it seems the headlines and cable shows are full of news about famous Jews acting in direct opposition to everything we are taught about Jewish ethics, morals and values. Don’t know how much it’s going to take until the Jewish community starts to take this cancer within us seriously and really look at why it is happening, why so many Jews are acting as they are.
Two. I pointed out right after the Harvey Weinstein story broke, how the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had given Harvey its highest honor, and which had received more than $100,000 in donations from him, had shamefully refused to even consider rescinding that award. It truly baffled and disgusted me that they would not take the simple and powerful step to strip him of its highest honor, something so many other organizations had done, making it clear he was not someone worthy of being honored.
To this day, Wiesenthal has not rescinded its honor and not given up the money Harvey gave them. How shameful their behavior is was brought into very stark relief recently when, much to its credit, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum rescinded a human rights award it gave to Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the former political prisoner and democracy activist and now the civilian leader of Myanmar.
The museum said it is taking back the Elie Wiesel Award given in 2012 because of what it calls Aung San Suu Kyi’s failure to oppose the ethnic cleansing and possible genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.
“We had hoped that you — as someone we and many others have celebrated for your commitment to human dignity and universal human rights — would have done something to condemn and stop the military’s brutal campaign and to express solidarity with the targeted Rohingya population,” read the museum’s letter to Aung San Suu Kyi.
The letter charges that her party “has instead refused to cooperate with United Nations investigators, promulgated hateful rhetoric against the Rohingya community, and denied access to and cracked down on journalists trying to uncover the scope of the crimes in Rakhine State.”
Now Aung San Suu Kyi is a much more amazing person than Harvey Weinstein. She was placed under house arrest for 15 years for opposing the country’s military dictatorship. She was internationally celebrated during that time as a pro-democratic icon.
And yet, even so, because she has failed to speak out and oppose the country’s military campaign against the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority in Myanmar, the Holocaust Museum has stripped her of the honor they had given her.
Surely if the U.S. Holocaust Museum can rescind its honor to Aung San Suu Kyi, then the Simon Wiesenthal Center can rescind its honor to Harvey. But while the Holocaust Museum acted courageously and did the right thing, the Wiesenthal Center continues to act abominably. Shame on them and especially shame on them now that the U.S. Holocaust Museum has shown the Jewish world how a Jewish organization is to act.
Three. They are the three stooges of Jewish communal life. Abe Foxman of the ADL, Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America and Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Abe, Mort and Malcolm. Moe, Larry and Curly.
Thankfully, Abe finally finally retired a year or so ago, bringing to an end his overheated rhetoric about how anti-Semitism today is like anti-Semitism in 1939, his exaggerated scare tactics used to justify the ADL’s existence and help its fund-raising.
While Mort is still going strong, praising Steve Bannon, opposing anything that might bring peace to the Middle East and doing all he can to kiss the tushie of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson who has said if Israel stops being a democracy, it’s okay with him, we did get some good news about Malcolm. He announced he is retiring. Free at last, free at last, thank G-d Almighty the Jewish community will soon be free of Malcolm Hoenlein.
It is hard to exaggerate the damage he has done or how he has destroyed a once valuable and honorable organization. The conference was co-founded by the great Chicagoan Philip Klutznick to be the voice of American Jewry to the U.S. government.
Malcolm didn’t understand that being the voice meant giving voice to all Jewish voices, to fairly representing all American Jewish points of view. Malcolm was a far right winger and so all he did was push the right wing agenda, tried to make it seem that all of American Jewry was in lock step with Bibi and his right wing nutjobs. Malcolm, who was supposed to represent all of American Jewry, instead ignored half of American Jewry, ignored the diversity of American Jewry, tried very hard to silence any voices he did not agree with and so gave a distorted view of the American Jewish community to the American government and indeed to governments all over the world. Good riddance to him.
Four. I will give Jack Kostis credit for having the guts to use his name. He seems to be missing a Jewish soul, but he does have guts.
I get a lot of hate mail and almost all of it is unsigned, from big mouths without the courage to identify themselves. But when Jack wanted to hate on me, he let me know who he was.
What bugs me so much about what Jack wrote to me is that it so typifies the Jewish world today. Namely if you see being Jewish differently than another Jew, if you believe things that another Jew doesn’t, then you need to destroy them, call them names, dismiss them.
Here was the first email I got from Jack. Referring to two recent columns I wrote critical of Bibi and the Israeli government, Jack wrote, ‘if the subject of your last two articles shows anything to me, it is the fact that you should go to work for Al-Jazeera. Apparently your view of Jews who do not meet your supposedly high standards is no better than that of Arabs.”
So because I don’t agree with the policies of the Israeli government on say deporting 40,000 African migrants who came to Israel fleeing for their lives or because I pointed out that the Israeli police have recommended that Prime Minister Netanyahu be indicted on several criminal counts, that makes me just like the Arabs, just like a writer for Al-Jazeera.
Jack followed that up with another email in which he called me “a Jewish self-proclaimed writer who seems to hate Jews.” So first a petty shot sbout me being a ‘self-proclaimed’ writer, after 40 years of being a Jewish journalist, and then, much worse and more odious, he says I seem to hate Jews.
I don’t see things as he does and so he decided that means I seem to hate Jews.
I wish I could write Jack Kostis off as a nut, but the sentiments he expresses are way too common among way too many Jews. If a Jew is not like you, he must hate Jews. If he is at all critical of the government of Israel, he’s just like an Arab.
When I see all the crooks, pervs and creeps among us, I wonder what has happened to the Jewish people. When I see how the Wiesenthal Center clings to its honor of Harvey Weinstein, I wonder what has happened to the Jewish people. And when Jack Kostis can say someone who has devoted his life to Jewish journalism and the Jewish community is someone who seems to hate Jews, I wonder what has happened to the Jewish people.