The article is entitled “Just because you’re Jewish, it doesn’t mean you’re right”, and opens with the statement that “There are people who seem to think that if a certain kind of view is held by a Jew, this gives it special authority… The fact that someone happens to think something as a Jew, or to hold the same opinion as a Jew, is neither here nor there in establishing its cogency.” Are Norm and Eve criticising the attempts by their Engagenik buddies to suppress criticism of Israel, or their assumption that goyim (except for reliable “friends of Israel”) have no moral authority to speak on the Middle East, because criticism of the Israeli state is a sure sign of anti-Semitism? No, they are not. As is par for the course with the Euston crowd, their strictures do not apply to themselves.
What the article seems to be about – and the tautologies and logical leaps don’t make it easy to follow – is that Norm and Eve are worried that the IJV people, because they are Jewish and vocally so, will be taken seriously when they have a dig at Israeli policy. This involves a lot of meandering around hypothetical questions of whether it is possible for a fierce defender of Israel to have a clearer view than a fierce critic (Norm and Eve do not say so, but they strongly imply the fierce Zionist to have a priori a clearer view); the issue of whether critics of Israel are succumbing to goyishe social pressures (although Norm and Eve disclaim the term “self-hating Jew”, here it is in essence); that critics of Israel are obsessed with striking a high moral tone (concern with Jewish morality takes second place to tribal solidarity); and that nobody can legitimately criticise Israel without giving pre-eminence to Israel’s security concerns.
While Norm and Eve put some effort into psychoanalysing the IJVniks, they skirt around the main point. That is, Israel claims to represent the entire Jewish people, and bodies such as the Board of Deputies – a self-perpetuating oligarchy – are usually assumed by the goyim to represent British Jewry in toto, although at least 90% of British Jews couldn’t tell you how the Board of Deputies is elected. It would make sense, then, for Jews who object to Israeli policies to say, “Not in my name”. This is precisely what annoys Norm and Eve, hence their designation of the IJVniks as “Self-Appointed Jews”, their apparent euphemism for “self-hating”.
For a serious look at what Norm and Eve really mean, it is worth returning to the Open Letter to Jews for Justice for Palestinians co-signed by Norm, Eve and Shalom Lappin last August. This is more revealing in that its language is less diplomatic, JFJFP being a less respectable body. The most striking thing is that Norm, Eve and Shalom rip into their antagonists for claiming that Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians violates traditional Jewish values. Of course, it depends which brand of traditional Jewish values you mean. One might expect Norm, for instance, to identify with the universalist humanism of Karl Marx or Rosa Luxemburg.
But no – our scientific materialists, who I am certain rarely darken the doors of a shul, cite as a moral and political authority the fucking Talmud! Specifically, they harp on some dictum of Hillel’s from Pirke Ovos about Jews who “separate themselves from the community”. Vos nokh? Is Norm growing a beard? Is Eve shaving her head and putting on a sheytl? Where do these jokers, who have no serious connection to the religious or cultural life of the Jewish community, get off telling other Jews that they have separated themselves from the community?
The answer of course is the Israeli state, the ersatz religion of many Jews who have abandoned Judaism. According to this standard, by siding with those oppressed by fellow Jews, a Jew does not fulfil a basic moral obligation but, in breaking tribal solidarity, “separates herself from the community”. Thus we have the full implication of Norm and Eve’s “Self-Appointed Jew” – those Jews who deviate a millimetre from what the Engagenik milieu determine to be legitimate criticism of Israel – and that’s a very narrow spectrum indeed – forfeit their right to be called Jews. Meanwhile, atheists of Jewish background can assert their membership of the “community” by obeisance to the Zionist golden calf.