web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Goldmann’s Questionable Quote


Media-Monitor-logo

Shakespeare had it right: the evil that men do indeed lives after them. Case in point: Nahum Goldmann, who served in a variety of Jewish and Zionist organizational leadership posts from the 1920’s through the 1970’s (he died in 1982).

Despite the decades he spent in the arena fighting for Jewish causes, Goldmann was a notorious wild card who mistook his own often idiosyncratic views for the Wisdom of the Ages and who had a penchant for criticizing Israel vociferously and publicly (in fact, the more public his forum, the more vociferous his criticism).

In his 1978 book The Jewish Paradox – a manifesto of wrong-headed thinking about Jews, Israel and the Middle East – Goldmann unloaded a bushel of shockingly obtuse and naïve statements, a number of which are given loving prominence in articles on pro-Arab and neo-Nazi websites. By far the most notorious is the following eyebrow-raising statement Goldmann claims was made to him by David Ben-Gurion in 1955:

…. Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does it matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: We have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?

Now, it could be that Ben-Gurion said, word for word, exactly what Goldmann attributed to him. But all sorts of red flags should pop up since (a) there is no independent verification of the quote; (b) the statement jibes perfectly, in tone and sentiment, with Goldmann’s own oft-expressed views; (c) Goldmann waited some 23 years to make it public; and (d) Ben-Gurion, conveniently dead for five years at the time of the book’s publication, was in no position to acknowledge or deny Goldmann’s veracity.

But none of the above prevented the historian Benny Morris from mentioning the quote in his new book 1948: The First Arab-Israeli War or David Margolick from citing it in his New York Times review of Morris’s book.

How Machiavellian and self-centered an individual was Nahum Goldmann? In a 1978 article in New York magazine, Sol Stern reported that Goldmann had traveled to Washington to urge Carter administration officials to “break the back” of the Israel lobby, “plead[ing] with the administration to stand firm and not back off from confrontations with the organized Jewish community as other administrations had done.”

In his 1987 book The Lobby, a decidedly unfavorable look at how the organized Jewish community influences U.S. Middle East policy, Edward Tivnan elaborated:

[Carter] and his men could not quite believe their ears. Goldmann had devoted his long life to Zionism, had been a major player in the “Jewish lobby” since the Truman Administration, had, in fact, invented one of the lobby’s most effective players, the Presidents’ Conference, and here he was actually arguing that his own brainchild, the Presidents’ Conference, had become a “destructive force” and a “major obstacle” to peace in the Middle East. Goldmann contended that despite the flak the White House would get in the beginning, eventually, if the Israelis compromised and a peace settlement were reached, Carter would emerge as “the hero of the Jews.”

The proposal was riddled with an irony that was probably beyond the people in the room. Goldmann had created the Presidents’ Conference to prevent the kind of dissent among American Jewish leaders that he himself was now demonstrating. The raison d’etre of the group was to present a united front to the White House on Middle East matters. But, of course, that was back when Goldmann’s friends were running Israel.

Now that [Menachem] Begin was running the Jewish state, Goldmann was willing to do anything to undermine his policies – including destroying his own pressure group….

In The Jewish Paradox Goldmann wrote: “The Israelis have the great weakness of thinking that the whole world revolves around them” – a monumental act of projection and a far more fitting epitaph for Goldmann himself, a man who time and again showed himself to care considerably less about Israel than about his own standing and reputation, and whose grotesque ego made him willing, even eager, to undermine Israel whenever the nation or its leaders failed to conform to his expectations and preferences.

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 “Goldmann’s Questionable Quote”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The beheading of British aid worker David Haines, Sept. 14, 2014. The terrorist standing beside him threatened that his fellow British aid volunteer, Alan Henning, would be next if UK Prime Minister David Cameron doesn't relinquish his support for the fight against ISIS.
British Muslims Plead for ISIS to Free Captive Alan Henning
Latest Indepth Stories
Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

Arnold-Fine-091214

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

For too long the media and international community have been preaching that “Palestinians” bear no responsibility for the consequences of their decisions and they are passive victims of the conflict.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Charles Krauthammer

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

Presidential-Seal-062014

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.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/goldmanns-questionable-quote/2008/05/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: