Details' "The Power 50" list: #3 - The Jew As Lightning Rod

In Details magazine's most recent issue, there's a feature they host annually, "The Power 50" list. This year's rank 3 goes to "The Jew as Lightning Rod" and reads as follows (in the print copy):
"Are you a Jew?" When a marinated Mel Gibson sputtered anti-Semitic remarks at a Malibu deputy late one July night, he poured gasoline on flames that had been building throughout the year 5766. His sputtering—"The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world"—might have seemed merely ignorant, but this and other offenses (the opening of the restaurant Hitler’s Cross near Mumbai; synagogues vandalized from Brazil to Norway to New Zealand) came during an ominous year. The August 2005 ascendance of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier working on a nuclear program, rekindled Jew's power to attract unwanted attention. The ongoing coma of Israel's contentious prime minister Ariel Sharon brought about an uncertain government, vexed by the June kidnapping in Gaza of 19-year-old Corporal Gilad Shalit. In mid-July, the seizure of two Israeli reservists by the Islamist group Hezbollah—bankrolled by Iran, based in Lebanon—sparked a border war. The United Nations’ and Amnesty International’s ensuing rebuke not just of Hezbollah but also of Israel enrages Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human-rights organization: “The world isolates Israel and accuses it of committing war crimes. It’s like 1938 again.” In that light, Gibson’s medieval passions seem particularly sinister. Beware: Drunk men say what sober men only think.
In response, I wrote the following to Details, and posted it as a discussion thread on their forum:
Details' #3 (The Jew as Lightning Rod) on "The Power 50" list couldn't have been more clichéd, less thoughtful, or even less morally responsible. Had they gone with the angle of portraying the disproportionate power that Jews as a minority yield in the media and politics—through the Zionist lobby and by extension the Christian Evangelical contingent—it would have been just as clichéd, but at least more factual. But to portray Jews as the neo-victims is so 60 years ago, willfully blind, and morally bereft. The problem with Details is that they don’t know whether to be serious or eternally tongue-in-cheek. But, alas for the wise-ass kids there, not every thing is kosher fodder for their cheap lazy shots. Jews now, through the state of Israel and their disproportionate influence on US politics and media, are victimizing more people than any other group (should we compare the numbers of victims on both sides in the conflicts they site in their aforementioned entry?). And that is power if I’ve ever seen it! But to ridicule the United Nations’ and Amnesty International’s reports on Israel’s war-crimes for the sake of a cheap far shot for a trivial list such as this is more than morally irresponsible; it is morally bankrupt and reprehensible! And what do they offer for counter argument? A pathetically-themed restaurant in Mumbai and synagogue vandalism (how about we talk about mosque vandalism?). I never had much respect for Details as a source for anything of intellectual value; it was always the entertaining on-the-john rag with cynical homoerotic pieces (and more glossy ads than writing). But even for their low-standards, they have hit a new low with this one. What a shame! Now, I will have to look for another entertaining on-the-john rag with cynical homoerotic pieces (and hopefully more writing than glossy ads)…


At Sunday, September 24, 2006 2:15:00 AM, Blogger John Smith said...

BEFORE YOU CONTINUE READING THIS COMMENT… If you don't care what Israeli readers might think of your posts, please stop reading now and just skip to the next comment.

If you’ve reached this line, I guess you care (or just bored). As an Israeli, I’ve got a secret I want to share with you my friends. Here goes… You can either use the term ‘Jews’ (originally only for religious people believing in the bible, but also ok for us atheists), or you can use the term ‘Israelis’ (for people living in Israel). ‘Zionists’ is a term used in Israel only by comedians doing impressions of terrorists. If you want Israeli readers to keep reading what you have to say with an open mind, I would go with ‘Jews’ or ‘Israelis’. My two cents…

Peace dudes.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 7:56:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Zionism is not an Arabic invention, as it happens. So, no, when I mean "Zionist" I will say "Zionist", because I am aware of the difference between "Jewish", "Israeli" and "Zionist". And if that will make you stop reading, because for some reason you don't want to acknowledge the existence of such a racist movement, then I simply don't care enough to make you read.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 11:58:00 AM, Blogger John Smith said...

To the arch-memory dude,

The conflict (from the Israeli point of view anyway) is about land and security. Not about race or religion. I think you can still ask for your money back for that ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ book you bought on amazon.com for twelve dollars.

Peace dude.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 6:24:00 PM, Blogger hillz said...

leave ur book aside cuse it's not a valid book for many.
what arch meant about the use of these words is that:
- jewish are not all israelis
- israelis doesn't mean that all of them believes in only one state for jews. (refer to the political changes in israel and the history of peace movements).
- For zionism, refer to Theodor Herzl.It's good as well to remind you that there are "anti- zionist" intellectuals that support a Jewish homeland, but not a Jewish state. They add that this view is consistent with the original meaning of Zionism.
- now, if you want to be taken seriously, you can call for the stopping of documentaries productions about that, which have nothing to do by the way with arabs.;)

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 6:35:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

That word changed its meaning through the years. I still support my first comment.

p.s. This rule only applies to non-Jewish people talking about Jews.

Peace dude.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 7:44:00 PM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Thanks for the clarification; right on!

To the John Smith dude,
Don't worry, I would never waste $12 on such drivel (I can think of so many better ways to waste it!). And I agree that the conflict is about land and security, but I think it would be naive (to say the least) to assume that race or religion don't play a (significant) part in it on either side. The fact that the word has changed its meaning through the years does not mean that it is currently meaningless or irrelevant. It is still a potent ideological movement with considerable political sway.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 7:52:00 PM, Blogger Mirvat said...

john smith absolutely not true
the rule applies to many rabbis and intellectuals jews and israeli jews alike. a lot of jewish anti-zionist organizations here in the states as well

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 7:55:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

If you go back and read my first comment again you'll see I'm talking about ISRAELI readers.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 8:28:00 PM, Blogger arch.memory said...

I have to admit to you, Israeli readers--while welcome here--are by no means who I think of as my primary audience on the Lebanese Blogger Forum. So, I am sure you will forgive me for not catering to your infinite sensibilities.
Peace dude.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 8:35:00 PM, Blogger John Smith said...

To arch-memory,

Ok. I respect your decision.

p.s. Since Israelis aren’t your primary audience I would recommend always using 'Zionist Pigs' instead of ‘Jews’ or ‘Israelis’. It draws much more attention to your statements...

Just kidding.
I DO respect your decision.
Keep blogging.
Peace dude.

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 8:50:00 PM, Blogger Maldoror said...


At Sunday, September 24, 2006 8:59:00 PM, Blogger arch.memory said...

JS, very funny! Just kidding.
Thanks, but no thanks. I'll leave that for you to address your audience, who'll probably be much more amused by such caliber of rhetoric.

Maldoror, glad to see you're still around :)

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 9:01:00 PM, Blogger Andrey said...

What is zionism for you? Is it having a jewish state? Even if it is a jewish state next to palestinian arab state? Becasuse for israelis zionism fos a movement that wanted to build a jewish state, and now that it is built, we don't realy understand who are you talking about...

At Sunday, September 24, 2006 9:29:00 PM, Blogger Maldoror said...

Yin3ad 3leik :) Wein hal ghaybe?

At Monday, September 25, 2006 12:16:00 AM, Blogger Emil , Jerusalem said...

Hi , everybody

Mirvat raises here a very interesting topic concerning "jewish anti-zionist organizations" in USA.

I don't know of any non-religious (secular)jewish organization , who completely deny the zionist idea. Of course there are individuals , but not groups.

As to ulra-orthodox jews ( let's say simply - those who wear black suits ) - there is a theological problem in creating a jewish state before tho Messiah comes. So there are 3 attitiudes towards the state of Israel .

A. Those who completely reject the zionist idea in principle and consider zionists as heretics. In US there are Neturei Karta and Sathmar hasids. Their number is less than 30,000, but they are very loud.

B. Most of other ultra-orthodox sects. While still rejecting the zionist idea as a roadmap to Salvation ( Geula ) , in practice they admit , that since there are more than 5 mln. jews in the land of Israel ( Eretz-Israel ) there is a need for a state for jews , serving their everyday needs , but with no linkage to Messiah and Salvation. They have a political party Agudat-Israel , which is represented in Israeli parliament , The Knesseth.

C. Hasids of Lubavich , HABAD . While officially not a part of the zionist movement , its followers in Israel are involved in the settlement activity , serve in the army and are exterme right in their views.

In my view the term "anti-zionist" fits only the group A , which is a small minority , but again - they are very loud.

So it is a right place to ask Mirvat about the affiliation of her working place .

Best regards ,

At Monday, September 25, 2006 12:55:00 AM, Blogger Mirvat said...

a lot of rabbis who speak against zionism (A as you put it) come from a religious belief that jews should not have a state.
i really don't care about this view much because i don't care about religious answers for political problems since this is what started zionism in the first place (this and racism). a lot of people i work with (and by that i mean peace activists), american jews, are completely against the occupation as are a lot of jewish peace organizations like Jews Against Zionism, jews against the occupation, Women Against the occupation, jews for a just peace etc..

At Monday, September 25, 2006 1:07:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

I realize that the most basic definition of Zionism is a movement that wanted to build a Jewish state. Now, where that gets problematic is in the questions that such a basic definition raises, and hence the different types of Zionism. (Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert on Zionism.) And these questions include:
1- What are the geographic extents of this state?
2- By what means is this to be achieved? And at what cost?
One of the most problematic maxims of Zionism is its lack of consideration for the people and the land that were there (and still are) where this state is to be (hence the maliciosly simplistic "A land without a people for a people without a land."). And if you happen to believe that that state has already been built, and that it is a Jewish state next to palestinian Arab state, it so happens that there are a lot of people--Jews and Evangelical Christians, many of them here in the US, and I am sure a lot more in Israel--that don't believe that that goal has been achieved yet, and will stop at no ethical or humane considerations to achieve that religious goal. And it is this more extreme form of Zionism, that has no regards for others, that I find racist and morally reprehensible.

At Monday, September 25, 2006 1:50:00 AM, Blogger Mirvat said...

let's ask what neo-zionism is about shall we? you can't deny it exists and we won't be ridiculed using the term i suspect.

At Monday, September 25, 2006 2:23:00 AM, Blogger Andrey said...

arch.memory : (Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert on Zionism.), Yes, I asked what you see as zionism, and call that way.

We don't care for the whole land of Palestine. 67 borders, I guess. There were talks (by right wingers)about giving areas with high amount of arab population to the future Palestinian state, but the residents of these areas were strongly against it, and even ofended. The main goal is having a jewish state. In my eyes, it means:
(1) Every jew in the world can have Israely citizenship.
(2) Wherever in the world, the jew is hurrased, Israel will protect him.
Being a democratic state, you have to have a jewish majority for that - this is the why jews don't want 1 state, but 2, and this is why the right of return is an Israely nightmare. Now, after seeing the example of your beautifull country, with all the secterian wars, and their cruelty, this nightmare only became more obvious.
And by the way, most of the radicals are living behined 67 borders of Israel, be it in USA, or Palestine. You can't say that all the arabs are evil, while U are living with them.
Mirvat, I don't know what is neo-zionism, heard that today for the first time, I will check it out on the net :)

At Monday, September 25, 2006 3:04:00 PM, Blogger Emil , Jerusalem said...

I would like to reproduce Mirvat’s reaction :

>> a lot of rabbis who speak against Zionism (A as you put it) come from a religious belief that Jews should not have a state.
I really don't care about this view much because I don't care about religious answers for political problems since this is what started Zionism in the first place (this and racism). a lot of people I work with (and by that I mean peace activists), American Jews, are completely against the occupation as are a lot of Jewish peace organizations like Jews Against Zionism, Jews against the occupation, Women Against the occupation, Jews for a just peace etc..

Mirvat , you probably confuse anti-Zionism ,i.e. opposing the existence of a Jewish state as an idea with , let call it anti-occupation forces , i.e. those who oppose the occupation of 1967. I believe you don’t mix them on purpose.

The best example is Meretz political party. Strongly opposing the “occupation” and calling to return to pre – 1967 borders and creating a Palestinian state , this party considers itself Zionist. It regards Feminism , equal rights for gays , and socialist principles as the best implementation of Zionist state with equal rights to Arabs.

But there are also marginals like Uri Avneri , Hadash party , Anarchists against to security fence etc. those reject Zionism in principle . There are even some Jews supporting Azmi Beshara .

So , Jews against the occupation , Rabbis for human rights , Jews for a just peace , Peace now , Women in black – all those aren’t anti-Zionists , but anti-occupation and they don’t reject anyway the right for the Jewish state.

Also it seems that Andrey is a supporter of Israel Beitenu party. You are welcomed at our forum at TAPUZ site.

Best regards ,



At Tuesday, September 26, 2006 4:02:00 AM, Blogger Mirvat said...

zionism in principle is the establishment of eretz israel from nile to ephrates. people against the occupation are in principle against zionism. i think when you say anti-zionism you mean anti-neo-zionism, these groups are not opposed to neo-zionism.

At Tuesday, September 26, 2006 6:52:00 PM, Blogger Andrey said...

Now, what is neo-zionism? 48 borders, or maybe the demographic borders?

At Wednesday, September 27, 2006 6:46:00 PM, Blogger Rhiannon said...

[arch memory]"Zionism is not an Arabic invention, as it happens. So, no, when I mean "Zionist" I will say "Zionist", because I am aware of the difference between "Jewish", "Israeli" and "Zionist". And if that will make you stop reading, because for some reason you don't want to acknowledge the existence of such a racist movement, then I simply don't care enough to make you read."


And I must say, I get a real good laugh when I see the Zionists and Christian Right hugging each other at the podium after another tear-drenching speech about the Holy Land.

My question is this:

What are the Zionists going to do when the Christian Right finally tell them that they must accept Jesus Christ as their Lord Saviour.

I sure hope all those billions that the Christian Right sent to Israel are refundable.

At Friday, September 29, 2006 7:47:00 AM, Blogger Anonymous Conservative said...

Your argument rests not on reason but on cliche. There is a small undercurrent of support for Israel that results from Christian evangelism, but the majority comes from the the fact that Israel is a democracy (often underestimated as it doesn't fit tightly into the narrative) and AIPAC is a remarkably effective lobby. This does not mean that there is some perfidious Jewish influence, as other small ethnic groups such as Armenians also have effective lobbies despite their small size. It is a tribute to organization. I am not belittling legitimate concerns over Israeli actions, as no one understands as much as the Lebanese the perils of living next to a nation who believes, rightly or wrongly, that the only way it can portray strength is to respond to violence with overwhelming force. But in truth Israel is in the language of not a few in the Iranian regime a "one-bomb country," a nation of a few million surrounded by hostile neighbors with roughly fifty times its population. And when so many leaders among that 300,000,000 plus profess an intention to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth, Holocaust or no Holocaust, Jews in Israel are understandably concerned. Throw in a rapidly developing nuclear program in a nation headed at present by the most outspoken of those would-be Hitlers and suddenly that itchy Israeli trigger finger does not seem so difficult to understand. It certainly may be wrong, it is undoubtedly myopic, but it deserves a more comprehensive treatment than vague insinuations about Jewish perfidy and undue influence.

At Saturday, September 30, 2006 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Rhiannon said...

Israel? A democracy? HOW?


• Disregarding international law by occupying other people's land through military force.

• Refusing to comply with hundreds of UN resolutions.

• Racism against Arab Israelis.

• Killing 13 Arab Israelis within a few days, just because there were marches and demonstration in Israel.

• Racism against Black Jews (Flasha). Forcing them to seek medical treatment in separate hospitals; rejecting their blood donations; Housing them in the poorest areas in Israel and never assigning them a key position in the government.

• All political parties in Israel are either based on religious and/or ethnic bases and lack a political base except one or two parties. Like Shas, Russian Jews party, Arabs party and others.

• Minority governments, which are always not able to act, must reach to compensation from the other coalition parties.

• The assassination of Prime Minister Rabin by his own people.

• Transplanting thousands of settlers into the occupied lands of the West Bank and Gaza Strip while their arms are killing Palestinians and confiscating there lands and homes.

• Legalization of the use of torture against Palestinian detainees.

• Implementation of illegal detention for years without fair trial or without bringing charges.

• The demolition of Palestinian homes by hundreds and not granting building permits.

Yes we know the "jewish" settlers are out of the Gaza Strip. But that’s another story.

Your "itchy Israeli finger" needs a good hard SMACK. Your "itchy Israeli finger" has caused and endless tyranny of human suffering like no other "finger" has.

This "wipe off the map" nonsense was another built in caper concocted by the powerful media of the USA/Canada so that Israel and USA soldiers can massacre more Arabs.

AIPAC a remarkably effective lobby? YOU BETCHA!

A nation of a few million surrounded by hostile neighbors with roughly fifty times its population?

Who created this mess called Hostility? Only Israel with the help of Europe and the USA. Stop murdering Arab children and their mothers and maybe the Arabs wont be so hostile. Stop stealing their land and resources and the Arabs won't be so hostile.

Besides, there is no one more hostile to anyone like Israel is to its neighbors - decades of Israeli massacres against Arabs come to memory.

That small undercurrent of support for Israel sings to the tune of billions of dollars ALONE from the Christian Right, annually. That's quite a CHUNK of support.

"I am not belittling legitimate concerns over Israeli actions..."


Well there have been many Hitlers that the Arab people had to suffer: Golda, Menachem, Sharon, Barak, Shamir, Ben Gurion,...I could go on.

There is no Lobby in the world as powerful and formidable, nor as treacherous as the "jewish" Israeli Lobby in North America.


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