Tony Greenstein | 12 November 2012 | Post Views:

Jewish Chronicle ‘Review’ Says More About Zionist McCarthyism than Tony Lermans Book

Tony Lerman – former member of Jewish establishment and author of new book

Daniel Hochhauser – hack Zionist academic for hire

My suspicions have been confirmed by sources within the JC.  The hack ‘review’ by the Hochhauser hired gun of Tony Lerman’s book, was commissioned over the objections of the JC’s Literary Editor, Gerald Jacobs, who is by all accounts spitting blood.  Pollard himself is held in almost universal contempt by staff – no mean achievement given that anti-Zionists aren’t exactly welcome in JC circles!  Pollard, who used to employ his talents in the service of Britain’s largest porn operator, Richard Desmond, has decided that the Zionist movement is more deserving of his dubious services.  Meanwhile the JC’s circulation follows an inevitable trajectory – downwards.  The paper which at the turn of the century had a circulation of over 40,000 now has barely two-thirds of that figure.

Circulation                  Date

30,436                                1.1.09.-30.6.09.
31,556                                1.1.10.-30.6.10
28,330                                1.1.11.-30.6.11


There is a long tradition of compliant academics using their expertise in their own field in order to justify authoritarianism and dictatorship.  Perhaps the most infamous example was the former lover of Hanna Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Professor of Philosophy and later the Nazi appointed Rector of Freiburg University.  There are unfortunately only too many examples of anti-Semitic academics who have lent their support to dictatorships and authoritarian governments.  Prime amongst these have been doctors and I don’t’ merely talk of the infamous Mengele but those who have lent their expertise in the service of torture and abuse of human rights. 

It is clear, from his slavish support for Israel – right or wrong – that Daniel Hochhauser fits comfortably into the second category, that of doctors for human rights abuses, since he has said and done nothing about Israel, the state that he acts as a propaganda spokesman for. 

Martin Heidegger – Author of Being & Time – Rector of Freiburg University & Nazi Party member – put his academic reputation at the service of the State

As it happens I’ve just been asked to review Tony Lerman’s ‘The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist’ by Pluto Press.  I haven’t finished it yet, so it’s difficult to make an overall judgment, but from the two-thirds I’ve read so far, I can say this.

It is an extremely interesting account of the journey from youthful socialist Zionist idealist to someone disillusioned with how Zionism actually turned out.  His misgivings about socialist Zionism – whilst not articulated in terms of their class contradictions or their antagonism to the Arabs – nonetheless proved to be true.  His account of the role of the Kibbutzim in particular leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the context in which they operated, but I will leave that to my review!

I would probably have some disagreements with Tony on the question of a Jewish diasporic identity or even whether it is possible in today’s age.  Nonetheless I respect his position, which is that it should be a separate identity from that of Israel and meaningful in its own right.

But Tony is above all a free-thinker, willing to challenge Zionist nostrums such as that ‘anti-Semitism’ is a growing threat and bogey and is now manifest, in its ‘new’ variety in anti-Zionism.  That anti-Semitism is continuing to grow.  That Israel is the centre of Jewish identity (the Jerusalem Program of the Jewish Agency).  He is someone who I would be quite happy to debate with and share a pint with afterwards.  He was a speaker at the founding conference of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods.  As far as I’m aware he’s not a supporter of BDS but he is willing to enter into debate.

All of this is anathema to Zionist activists today.  The job of Jews in the Diaspora is nothing more than cheerleaders of the Israeli state.  Their sole purpose to glorify and whitewash Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, to connive in the rewriting of history.  Instead of it being accepted that there is a large Jewish community now in Israel which should have no particular primacy and which has an obligation to come to terms with the Palestinians, by accepting that it is the Palestinians, not Jews, who have a right of return, Jewish communities abroad have effectively become Israeli colonies.

Of course to the anti-Semites, people like the now-discredited Gilad Atzmon, it is the other way around.  Jews outside Israel control Israel and Israel is merely an instrument at their disposal (it is another way in which Atzmon mirror’s Hitler’s own argument in Mein Kampf that a Jewish state would be a state of swindlers at the beck and call of ‘international Jewry’ – although he became a supporter of sending Jews to Palestine and nowhere else from 1933-39).

Unsurprisingly Tony Lerman opposes the misuse and abuse of the term ‘anti-Semitism’ when applied to those who are not anti-Semitic.  Because, in his own words, it drains the term ‘anti-Semitism’ of all meaning.

It is a sign of how low the Jewish Chronicle has sunk under its present editor, Stephen Pollard, that instead of commissioning a considered and proper review, critical no doubt, he has employed one Daniel Hochhauser, a Professor Medical Oncology to do a ‘review’.  Now I confess to knowing nothing about medical ontology and clearly Hochhauser knows nothing about Zionism and anti-Semitism, apart from whatever fables he learnt at his granny’s knee.  I doubt he knows that Arabs in Israel have lost half their land since 1948 and are not allowed to build outside the remnants of what they owned, or that a deliberate decision was taken not to industrialise Arab villages (not one Arab city has been created in that time) or that half of Arab villages are ‘unrecognised’ or that Arabs receive lower welfare benefits than Jews. Maybe he does but isn’t letting on. 

Maybe he isn’t aware that the leader of the Yisrael Beteinu Party, Avigdor Lieberman, has now joined Likud, whilst still avowing the ‘death to the Arabs’ sentiment of his party members.  Or maybe he doesn’t care about that either or that Jerusalem Day is celebrated by thousands of settlers marching through Jerusalem chanting ‘death to the Arabs’ or about the genocidal content of the Torat HaMelech by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira which hundreds of rabbis have endorsed.

Instead of taking up the debate on Jewish identity and where Jews will be in the next half century, Hochhauser launches into a bitter personal attack.  He has nothing to say about the fact that a distinguished Jewish academic (not ‘career bureaucrat’ as described in the opening paragraph) an acknowledged expert in anti-Semitism, was hounded out of his job as Director the Institute of Jewish Policy Research by conservative Jewish capitalists like Stanley Kalms and before him by Thatcher’s guru, Sir Alfred Sherman from the IJA.  He has nothing to say about Zionist McCarthyism in Britain today. 

Unsurprisingly Lerman describes what happened through his own personal experiences.  Hochhauser finds this difficult to understand, indeed he finds the whole book distasteful, speaking of Lerman’s ‘pedestrian prose and turgid accounts of the many symposia, conferences and lectures in which he participated make the book a difficult read.’

Perhaps Hochhauser found the book difficult to read (or comprehend), in which case the learned doctor should have stuck to his, no doubt, light reading on medical oncology and handed the task to someone more capable and enlightened.  But that would have defeated the whole purpose of the ‘review’ – which was essentially a hatchet job.

Indeed the whole of the ‘review’ (I put it in quotes because it is really an attack on the messenger, there is little about the message) has a political purpose.  There is only a cursory mention of Jewish identity when this concept runs through the whole book.  It is reduced to one quote “What is peoplehood anyway? Just another con-trick on the part of the Jewish Agency and Zionist bodies”. Is this not a valid question?  Does Hochhauser have anything original to say?

Hochhauser seems to find the Jewish Quarterly episode, how he was forced out as editor of an unusual and innovative Jewish cultural periodical for having printed an article, with which he disagreed(!) by David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialists Group a strange one to include.  But of course the deliberately ignorant and blind Hochhauser sees, speaks and hears no evil in McCarthyism of the Zionist variety.  Literally he is like the 3 monkeys but there is no wisdom in his observations, merely bile.

Hochauser describes Tony Lerman’s ‘intense bitterness’ at how he was treated.  In fact Tony describes what happened in extremely neutral terms.  What is surprising is the lack of bitterness.  Nonetheless it would not be surprising if he was bitter at his outrageous treatment.  And guess what ‘Lerman frankly admits that he used invitations to meetings as “opportunities… to influence the direction of Jewish organisational life”. If so, why should he not be held to account for views differing radically from those of the majority of the Jewish community? The plaintive tone of the book is unjustified.’

Hochhauser may be a medical expert but he is a fool otherwise.  A Zionist fool but a fool.  It is normally accepted that academics and others will use meetings, seminars and debates to advance their ideas.  They are not therefore ‘held to account’ for them.  They do not have to justify holding their positions.  That is why the good doctor Hochhauser is (probably) tenured – precisely in order that academics can indeed make contributions to the academic life of their institution without being held to account or faced with the loss of a job.  That Hochhauser is incapable of understanding this demonstrates that, as is often the case with senior academics, they know a lot about their subject matter and nothing about life outside their discipline. 

Hence why the Israeli Medical Association has never spoken out about, and acted upon, the complicity of doctors in the torture of Palestinians.   No doubt that too is a subject that is taboo for Hochhauser.

If the Jewish Chronicle had any regard for its own (previous) reputation, it would commission another review, this time a serious review.  But under the editorship of former Daily Express editor Stephen Pollard that would indeed be a miracle.

Tony Greenstein

Communal courtier of controversy A former youthful idealist explains his disenchantment with Zionism, by Daniel Hochhauser, November 9, 2012 [email protected]

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