web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Coffin’s Mideast Conformity


Media-Monitor-logo

William Sloane Coffin Jr., the left-wing Presbyterian minister who gained notoriety in the 1960’s for his militant antiwar stance and his association and identification with radicals of every stripe while serving as chaplain at Yale University, died April 12 at age 81. The coverage in the mainstream media was almost uniformly laudatory – as it invariably is for those who establish themselves as outspoken critics of the United States.

But contrary to the hagiographic obituaries (“fighter for the powerless,” “champion of the downtrodden,” etc.) and his longstanding popularity with academic leftists, Coffin was a man of absolutely no influence in the corridors of power. For the final 40 years of his life was widely viewed as the kind of naïve, self-styled “revolutionary” cleric lampooned so mercilessly by writers like Tom Wolfe and the late Malcolm Muggeridge.

Coffin was an archetype of the religious leader who viewed the world through the prism not of the Bible but of whatever was new and exciting in the pages of The Nation, Mother Jones, and other hard left publications.

When it came to the Middle East, Coffin was as drearily predictable as others of his ilk. In a 2004 interview on Beliefnet.com, he lamented that “the poor rabbis have a problem being critical of Israel because the congregations don’t want to hear it so much.” And he immediately followed that up by implying that U.S. Jewry pulls the strings of American foreign policy: “The only people who could save the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are American Jews. If they said to Bush, ‘We have to change,’ that would be it. But they’re not saying it audibly, and not in concert, that’s for sure.”

Coffin’s mindset was even more transparently on display in an interview, also in 2004, with Catholic New Times. The following statement is so offensive on so many levels – its condescending tone toward Jewish suffering, its confident assumption that Israel is obviously in the wrong, its clumsy but nevertheless offensive comparison of Israel with the pre-Civil Rights South – that no commentary is required:

As goyim (non-Jews), we have to be very sympathetic to a kind of persecution complex, a paranoia on the part of Jews. When a good WASP says “No problem,” the Jew says “There’s always a problem” (laughs). So, I am very sympathetic to the suffering. However, it is possible that the oppressed long to be oppressors or they naturally react that way. I attack Sharon and his policies in the name of Judaism as I understand it. It is anti-Judaism and to think that we must be uncritical, that’s terrible. So many Jews who know better refuse to criticize Israel and I say to them, “why don’t you speak up because every time I do I am called an anti-Semite.” It’s a little bit like a southern white in the 1950s being against segregation. Israel seems to latch on to loyalty and those who do criticize them are written out. No one will touch them.

Coffin’s Middle East views were of a piece with the major American liberal Protestant denominations, which almost without exception assumed an increasingly hostile tone toward Israel in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War and which nearly four decades later were leading the charge for divestment and other anti-Israel actions.

On July 7, 1967, not a month after the end of the Six-Day War, the executive committee of the liberal National Council of Churches released a statement lambasting Israel for the “unilateral retention of lands she has occupied since June 5.”

Also on July 7, 1967, in a letter published in The New York Times, Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen, former president of Union Theological Seminary, the academic centerpiece of liberal Protestantism in America, made the equation between Israelis and Nazis that in due time would become all too familiar:

All persons who seek to view the Middle East problem with honesty and objectivity will stand aghast at Israel’s onslaught, the most violent, ruthless (and successful) aggression since Hitler’s blitzkrieg across Western Europe in the summer of 1940, aiming not at victory but at annihilation.

Coffin may have fancied himself an iconoclast, but on Israel, at least, he was a hidebound conformist, echoing the hostilities of his ecclesiastical elders.

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Coffin’s Mideast Conformity”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Steve Emerson, author, journalist and terrorism expert.
Haaretz Smears American Terrorism Expert with Political Hit Job
Latest Indepth Stories
Map of Syria-Turkish border area, pinpointing Kurdish border town of Kobani, just taken by ISIS terror forces Oct 7, 2014.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

The Rosenstrasse area of Berlin, where Jewish husbands of non-Jewish German wives were held.

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Guess who's behind the door?

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Assemblyman Hikind talks with a group of Israeli solders.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

William Safire

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/coffins-mideast-conformity/2006/04/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: