This Thursday, September 11, Naomi Wolf and I will be debating the question, “Is Israel guilty of genocide in its war against Hamas?” at the Manhattan Jewish Experience on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Naomi is a friend of mine. We both have history at Oxford. She earned her degree as a Rhodes scholar and I served as rabbi to the students for 11 years. Naomi reached out to me for a book she was writing and having been a fan of her work I greatly enjoyed making her acquaintance. She subsequently attended Shabbat dinner with my family. Naomi’s books have raised important issues, particularly in the realm of women’s rights and social justice, which is why I was shocked when I learned that Naomi was involved in a blood libel against the State of Israel with false and shocking allegations of a Palestinian genocide.
I, in turn, responded that in all her condemnations of Israel Naomi manages to virtually omit all mention of the brutal attacks and true genocidal ambitions that Hamas has toward the Jewish state and the Jews. Naomi in an interview later said that she never meant by her words that the Jews didn’t need a Jewish state. I challenged her to a public debate and she graciously accepted.
We’re all free to choose our own friends, but let’s brief the good rabbi on the Rhodes Scholar with whom he broke bread.
Most recently, Ms. Wolf publicly sided with that pestilence known as Occupy Wall Street:
Oops! Wrong movement, wrong picture.
Could they be more smug? Wolf has speculated that the long overdue crackdown on the Occupy movement was a government conspiracy, and on this I think she’s right: a conspiracy of the government to do its job and uphold law and order. The Occupy camps were incubators of disease, crime, filth. Never mind their symbolism (empty and bogus to my way of thinking), their dismantling and sterilization was way, way, way past time.
Wolf also once described Al Gore as an alpha male, but I think this is a misunderstanding: he’d ballooned up to the size of Alpha Centauri was her point (as has she, it might be noted, as have many of us).
I’ll leave aside her feminist views. I am generally favorable toward feminism in the abstract, less so toward today’s feminists and its modern practice. Too often the only issue is abortion, which we have repeatedly shown is harmful to women and minorities.
No, if Rabbi Boteach is not familiar with Naomi Wolf’s politics, we’ll leave him one more example, which should clear up the matter:
In The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, Wolf takes a historical look at the rise of fascism, outlining 10 steps necessary for a fascist group (or government) to destroy the democratic character of a nation-state and subvert the social/political liberty previously exercised by its citizens:
Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
Create secret prisons where torture takes place
Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens
Set up an internal surveillance system
Harass citizens’ groups
Engage in arbitrary detention and release
Target key individuals
Control the press
Treat all political dissidents as traitors
Suspend the rule of law
The book details how this pattern was implemented in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and elsewhere, and analyzes its emergence and application of all the 10 steps in American political affairs since the September 11 attacks.
Right practices, wrong presidential administration. Let’s take a look:
Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy: The Tea Party.
Create secret prisons where torture takes place: Every day Gitmo stays open is a betrayal of his promise to close it.
Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens: The IRS.
Set up an internal surveillance system: The NSA.
Harass citizens’ groups: The IRS and the FEC.
Engage in arbitrary detention and release: The FBI’s treatment of James Rosen.
Target key individuals: See most of above.
Control the press: When not with the press’ own complicity, by stealth and by force.
Treat all political dissidents as traitors: See IRS above.
Suspend the rule of law: Making and amending law without Congress.
Hope this helps, Shmuley. Wolf’s adoption of Hamass is part of a pattern, not an aberration.