It is almost laughable. The organized Jewish community, which claims to
be worried about young Jews defecting in droves, just cannot help itself
from doing things that drive Jews (not just young ones) away. Between
supporting Netanyahu, advocating for war with Iran and maintaining the
occupation, and keeping silent as Israel evolves into a theocracy, it
also is in the business of preventing debate on all these things and

The latest is this. Phil Weiss reports that the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York has banned an appearance by New Republic journalist, John Judis, who has written a book
challenging the conventional wisdom about why President Truman
recognized Israel. The book argues that Truman recognized Israel in 1948
not because he was a fervent Zionist but because it was May of an
election year, he was trailing in the polls and he was heavily lobbied
by Zionists to do so. Shocking, right. Who would think that politics
would enter into a decision like that?

The museum (a museum, for heaven’s sake) has decided that this kind of
talk will not be permitted in its historically sacred halls. After
scheduling a talk by Judis, it cancelled it. (Obviously, after heavy
pressure from its donors who, like most organizational donors, are great
scholars who own many books).

Weiss asked the museum’s official spokesperson why the event was
cancelled. She said (this is not a joke):  “I looked into the situation
and here is our comment: We were interested in the book. We considered
it, but were concerned that the controversy would overshadow the
content. Therefore, we decided not to move forward with the event.”

The controversy? What controversy. The book is brand new and has barely
been reviewed yet. The spokesperson means that some donor called and
complained or, worse, the museum anticipates that some donor will

This is a museum banning historical discussion.

Of course, we are all accustomed to bans on free discussion at Jewish
venues. Peter Beinart ended up giving talks at local delicatessens and
the like because the censors kept him out of synagogues and Jewish
centers,  His book became a huge seller and a major force anyway. But
still. It’s the principle.

The organized Jewish community has lost its mind. Pretty soon, any
institution under any kind of Jewish auspices will have to abide by
speech limits set by the Jewish 1%. The 92nd Street Y already
does. (It will not allow any Palestinian to speak unless balanced by a
Jew). Brandeis wouldn’t permit President Carter to speak without a
simultaneous rebuttal by Dershowitz. Pretty soon, Mount Sinai hospital
will check what books patients are sneaking into their sick rooms.

Here is the craziest irony. Most of the censors are liberals. They
welcome discussions on U.S. racism, imperialism, unjust wars and the
like. They love panel discussions criticizing U.S. indifference to the
Holocaust. In fact, I never heard of a Jewish institution banning a
discussion on any matter relating to the United States because it is

But Israel!  Oh Lord no. Because the government of the State of Israel,
its policies and its official history is our Holy of Holies. Okay, I
shouldn’t say “our” because there is no “our” anymore. By “our” I mean
the millionaires and billionaires who run the community.

No wonder the organized community is going down the tubes. Soon we will
need a museum just to remind us what it was. And that is probably a good