How to define a robust Jewish chat

After a wonderful day in upstate New York with leading American Jewish dissident writer and blogger Phil Weiss – a generous, warm-hearted, critical yet optimistic man – I left feeling strangely empowered. Despite all the attempts by the Zionist lobby and its courtiers, the horrendous reality in Palestine is becoming clearer to the world by the day. Jews who refuse to toe the blindly pro-Israel line are growing in number and public strength. More and more mainstream commentators are openly recognising the need for Israel to give up its addiction to the settlement project. If not, the Jewish state is finished. Simple as that.

We’re only warming up.

Here’s Phil’s report on our insightful meeting:

I saw Antony Loewenstein, the Australian activist, yesterday. His new book on the Blogging Revolution comes out today. A few strong impressions:

Medium height, dark haired, very animated face, informal and Australian manner. Straightforward, personable. Silver earring in left ear. German/Austrian Jewish roots. Atheist.

An only child of two only children, he’s extremely independent thinking. Maybe the most independent thinking person I know in this area. Unapologetic. I discern a psychological root: he has his parents’ encouragement in his work. He went to work for the Sydney Morning Herald just a few years ago, what for anyone else would be a plum job, the sort of job I myself have kissed a lot of butt to have; but Antony chafed in the traces and soon went out on his own. Is now a leader of Jewish anti-opinion in Aussie and has an int’l reputation. Good on ya mate. Just published a book on internet censorship.

His analysis is grim. He thinks that Israel has swallowed the occupied territories. Sat down to dine on them by policy and design and with relish (and not accidentally!) 40, 60 years ago. Now they are in Israel’s stomach. Won’t be removed without major catastrophe, possible civil war and certainly not without American interference, which is unlikely to happen.

I answered him again and again with the Rahm Emanuel ameliorative reading. That a new consensus is emerging, of 2 states now. And Obama is going to get behind this with his wiles, and Hillary Clinton. Loewenstein reads the Clinton appointment in a far darker light, and sees nothing really changing. I have a different theory of history. It says: You can’t stay in one spot forever. Things change gradually gradually, and then they change abruptly. We’ve been having gradual change for a while. Now it’s going to be emphatic.

One area of disagreement I had with Loewenstein. He says that Mearsheimer/Walt went too far in ascribing Iraq war to Israel lobby in any real measure. He is somewhat leftish in his belief that oil and American power played crucial roles. Many people share Loewenstein’s view. The Nation, I think Jerry Slater, too. Myself I am agnostic as to all the Iraq causes, which the historians will be exhuming for decades, but believe that any effort to discount center-right Jewish intellectual/financial power in American society doesn’t serve journalism; it mystifies a real, true, new element in Establishment life. Loewenstein is covered in the Aussie press. Anti-Zionists get no ink in the American press whatsoever.

Damn I wish I’d said to Loewenstein: Here you are in the States; what do you make of the fact that 3 out of 4 faces on the President’s page of Council on Foreign Relations report are Jewish? Why did Obama give Hillary power? Why did he have to? What true significant faction do she, Summers, Emanuel and all the other centrists he has empowered represent – to the insult of his progressive base which is nowhere represented? Where are Chuck Hagel and Robert Pape – great realist statesman, scholar. But he was a houseguest, and I didn’t berate him.

Loewenstein did say that the Israel lobby was not going to sign on to 2 states because peace would put them out of business. We were sitting at the fireplace. I said, And what will it do for us, Antony? He winked. Bad for our careers!

I drove him to the train in the rain. En route he said that no one in the States is fully aware of how our reputation has fallen. The leadership in liberal ideas is global now, per his new book. The U.S. is dragging knuckles behind, with state -sponsored torture and imperial adventure. He laughed that I had Commentary magazine in the car. Then he said, with joy, that our side has the esprit de corps. It’s like an insurgency, and the mainstream has lost the ability to counter it effectively, and doesn’t know what to do. And the insurgency keeps getting numbers…