A friend of my mother, who survived the Holocaust by posing as a Pole, came close to inadvertently revealing herself by the way she mopped the floor. Working as a cleaning woman in Nazi headquarters, she would mop the room from the far corner to the door so that she would not have to walk back over the newly cleaned floor. When her fellow cleaning women, who were used to mopping themselves into a corner, noticed this, they exclaimed, ``Oh Wanda, you work just like a Jew."
Envy of Jewish brains has always been one element of traditional anti-Semitism. Fortunately, Jewish genius has now contrived a cure for at least this aspect of anti-Semitism: act like idiots.
At Camp David, Ehud Barak – he of the 170 IQ – became perhaps the first democratically elected leader in history to voluntarily endanger his country’s very existence. Indeed the entire Oslo process, during which almost the entire Israeli chattering class chose to ignore the fact that the Palestinians had never renounced their aim of a Palestine from the Jordan to the Mediterranean has done much to dispel the myth of Jewish brainpower.
Now a new Frank Luntz poll of American Jewish opinion reveals that not all the dumb Jews came to Israel. Most comment on the poll has focused on the fact that American Jews now say they would vote for George W. Bush over Al Gore 43% to 39%. That is indeed a sea change from last November when Bush garnered only 20% of the Jewish vote.
Still that figure puts Jewish support for Bush about 30 to 40 points behind the rest of the country. And one suspects that were Bill Clinton, who over eight years cajoled and sweet-talked Israel to the brink of destruction, were still in the equation, American Jewry would flock to him rather than Bush, who instinctively recoiled from a hyperactive American policy that dramatically increased the number of Jewish terror victims and brought Israel closer to war with her neighbors.
But what really caught my eye was the following finding. When asked to assess the performance of various cabinet members, 79% of the Jews polled give high marks to Secretary of State Colin Powell and 76% give high marks to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
That result constitutes a perfect example of what John Keats called negative capability – the ability to hold mutually exclusive ideas in one’s mind at the same time. Powell and Rumsfeld have been at constant loggerheads since day one of the Bush administration, it is impossible that both are doing a good job.
The beginning of the American campaign in Afghanistan bogged down over Powell’s obsession with coalition building. Only when Rumsfeld’s Defense Department took over running the war in Afghanistan and let the Northern Alliance take over Kabul, did the Taliban crumble.
Defense and State have furthered clashed over the next stage of the war on terrorism, with Defense eager to remove Saddam Hussein from power and State concerned that America’s ``allies" will not support a war on Hussein.
Powell’s focus on coalition-building proved a disaster for Israel. State Department spokesmen obstinately refused to acknowledge any connection between Israel’s response to the terrorism directed at it and America’s response to Osama bin Laden. Those who brought down the Twin Towers were ``trying to destroy societies" while suicide bombers in Israel had ``political issues that needed to be resolved," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.
By pushing Israel for further concessions after September 11, Powell gave credence to the claim of anti-Semites that American support for Israel was the proximate cause of September 11.
One suspects that the high marks for Powell among American Jews are as much a function of his skin color as his policies. A man of his obvious intelligence and accomplishments does not need that kind of liberal patronization.
Whatever the explanation, the high grades for Powell suggest that Israel ranks low on the priorities of American Jewry. And coupled with the high marks for Rumsfeld, the support for Powell reflects an inability to think clearly.
Anti-semites take note. There is no reason to envy us.