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Diatribe Against America, Jews and Israel The Jewish Press, Omaha,
November 26, 1986 Lenni Brenner, Jews in America Today (Lyle Stuart, 1986). Don’t be misled by a recently issued book bearing the innocuous title of Jews in America Today, published by the reputable firm of Lyle Stuart, Inc. The book is about Jews, about America and about Israel as well. Since it defies any kind of orthodox review, I have no choice but to dip into its pages and let it speak for itself. None of these quotations are taken out of context. They are typical of the contents, the spirit and the message of the volume. On America, the author writes that the US is now known not as the land of the free and the home of the brave, but as “the land of the freak and the home of the knave.” It is a country “overwhelmingly inhabited by apathetic political naifs.” He looks forward to the “final battle” against exploitation and oppression, and is wrathful that the Jews will not be in the trenches fighting that battle on the side of the oppressed. He mourns that they cannot be counted on “in the coming American revolution.” Though he presumably lives in the US, America is in many ways “repulsive to any sensitive person.” On Israel he has much to say. His ideal: to build “support for a democratic, secular Palestine.” How was Israel created? Given half the country in the 1947 partition, the Zionists were not satisfied. “Terror was their weapon to widen the conquest.” The author is proud that a previous book of his will, in his words, always be a “razor at Zionism’s jugular.” He utilizes 15 and more pages to vent his ire at those who reviewed that work critically. Of course everyone who did not like the book was a knave or worse. To him the kibbutzim are “racist institutions,” Hadassah is “politically vulgar,” the “ugly Israelis” are seen as “brash at best, and often untrustworthy hustlers.” Gleefully he heads one section, in bold face, with a quotation from somebody: “Israel draws to it the insane, the fanatics, the extremists.” He hints that he is himself Jewish, but of course, he is far superior to the other Jews, who have “made it [in America] fair and foul, in American ways: slaveholding, slumlording, bribery, etc., as well as sweating and studying.” He has a hang-up on rich Jews, the capitalists, and devotes scores of pages to excoriating them. Even when citing otherwise cold statistics he has a knack of doing so with a nasty sneer and with open contempt for the Jews. He knows how to use pejorative words to create maximum negative impressions. But Jews don’t have to be rich to merit his smearing. The lower East Side, he is happy to report, was characterized by its Jewish white slave traffic and its whorehouses. He tells that American Jews have become masters of the use of bribery. “The shmeer artists are an outcropping of the notorious shtetl mentality.” The author has his heroes, too. They include Vanessa Redgrave and Hafaz Assad, of Syria. Louis Farrakhan’s notorious observations are given ample space. There are 361 pages of this, not counting the index. More typical examples, on women’s rights: “The only way Jewish women can ever get equality with Jewish men is when they unite with the Palestinian masses and replace the Zionist state with a democratic, secular Palestine.” The plight of Soviet Jewry is treated archly. He points out that the first Jew in space was Col. Boris Volynov, who went up in 1969 and again in 1976, whereas America’s first Jewish astronaut, the late Judy Resnick, did not go up until years later! This is apparently supposed to prove something. During the Holocaust the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis, and as a result, there are “six million Jewish skeletons in the closet, skeletons that are now beginning to bang loudly on the door.” I think that even the author will agree that all of the above are fair and accurate excerpts from the book. With such a text, which speaks for itself, who needs to write a review? Normally, this book should have been ignored, but I have given it this much space because it is handsomely produced by a reputable publisher, and because many may be misled by its innocent-sounding title. The author is one Lenni Brenner who, I am happy to say, I never heard of before, though his writings have appeared in Arab Perspectives, and his previous book was lauded by Izvestia. It would appear that his personal philosophy is that of a frustrated Trotskyite who hates the capitalists, mocks the liberals and mourns the disappearance of a revolutionary labor movement, but still dreams of the coming revolution which will smash the capitalist establishment in America and the State of Israel with it.