Chanes Critiques ADL & Judis Book

Chanes Critiques ADL & Judis Book

Jerome Chanes (

We report on two new articles by Jerome Chanes, our board’s resident scholar on antisemitism (the author of three books on the subject) and Zionist history.  This is from “Who’s Anti-Semitic? Maybe You?“, his NY Jewish Week article on the Anti-Defamation League’s new survey of global antisemitism:

. . . there is a basic ambiguity in the responses. A respondent who answered “Probably True” to six questions has been just fine on five. Yet that person is “infected” with anti-Semitic attitudes.  . . .
. . . No fewer than five questions (out of 11) in the ADL index are “Jewish power” questions. But the way in which the “Jewish power” question is asked makes all the difference. It should never be asked the way the ADL asks it: “Do Jews have too much power…?” Ask it that way, and you will always get high numbers, and the data will tell us very little. The “Jewish power” question ought always be asked contextually: “Which of the following groups have too much power?” followed by a list of religions and ethnic groups and other entities — Arab oil nations, the media, labor unions, Jews, Asians, Blacks, the Catholic Church, Hispanics, WASPs, the banks. When asked in this way, Jews consistently fall way down the list, at 8-10 percent, rather than the 25-34 percent in the ADL survey. 
I have problems with the “Jewish power” question. My own sense is that, with respect to “Jewish power,” people are not anti-Semitic, they are anti-power. The issue is power, not Jews. People think that many groups have too much power.  . . .

Last week, The Forward published his review of Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict by John Judis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) (Feel free to compare it with our exclusive reviews by Paul Scham and Thomas Mitchell.)  This is from Jerry Chanes’s closing paragraphs:

. . .  John Judis does deserve credit for reprising in well-written detail a difficult period of history. But the “Truman-and-the-Jews” story was admirably told some years ago by Allis Radosh and Ronald Radosh in “A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel,” an impeccably-researched book that—to the eyes of this aficionado of crime thrillers—reads like a suspense novel. The point of “Genesis,” in stark contrast to the Radoshs’ careful history, is that Truman’s recognition of Israel was not triumph but tragedy, tragedy because Truman yielded to Zionist pressure in not following the lead of his State Department establishment who urged a pro-Arab policy.  . .  .

One can be an ardent Zionist and be a passionate defender of Palestinian rights and an advocate of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But not, it seems, to John Judis, as it appears from even a cursory reading of “Genesis”: Zionism was a mistake then; the State of Israel is yet a mistake—and it was Truman who was buffaloed into supporting the Zionist enterprise.  . . .  Israel has problems, serious problems, some of them existential problems. But Israel was established, has thrived and has had numerous achievements and accomplishments. Israel was not some kind of historical mistake.
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By | 2014-05-29T11:11:00-04:00 May 29th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

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