Financial Times letter: end Jewish myths and save America from its Jewish lobby

14 Dec 2009 by CST

On 4th December, the Guardian published an immediate and complete apology for a letter that had appeared upon its letters page the previous day. CST covered the story, here and here. (The letter, upon close scrutiny, advocated Holocaust Denial. A ‘Google’ search of the author showed that whilst he was not well known, he did have ’previous’ in this regard.)

One week later, on 10th December, the Financial Times published a letter that also required some scrutiny to determine its own troubling meaning. In this instance, its author, Joseph Cari, is - or was - a major player upon the Washington political scene. Indeed, Cari’s letter carried his name and the description, "Past Chairman, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars." The rest of Cari’s CV is also impressive, and his own website describes him as “frequently appearing in the Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, & Beirut Daily Star”

Nevertheless, Cari’s letter clearly shows that he has  worrying views about Jews, Jewish power, and Israel’s Jewish identity. He is welcome to his opinion, but it is very disconcerting that the Financial Times should see fit to publish him. It now remains to be seen if the FT will match the Guardian's behaviour by apologising for having published the letter.

Cari’s letter was prompted by FT’s publication of an article by Tony Judt on Shlomo Sand’s book “The Invention of the Jewish People”. Judt's praise for the book is on the front and back of its dustcover, but it has been criticised elsewhere, including here by CST where we said

...There are many ways, often subtle, in which anti-Israel or anti-Zionist debate can have an anti-Jewish impact. However, a new anti-Zionist book by Tel Aviv Professor of History, Shlomo Sand, remoulds the paradigm: with notions of Jewish peoplehood now under attack in the service of anti-Zionism.

The sense of common lineage, kinship, and peoplehood that Jews around the world share and hold is a fundamental part of their identity...To deny this aspect of Jewish identity - perhaps more accurately to demand that for political reasons it be rejected - is surely to deny or reject something that is essential to our perception of Jewishness itself.

There is of course nothing wrong with genuine historical inquiry about Jews or any other facet of history. But that is neither the core purpose, nor the core impact of Sand’s book. It can be summed up very simply as:

No Real Jews = No Need For a Really Jewish State.

Sand’s book is explicitly about Jews and ideas of Jewishness. Persons commenting upon the book will likely comment about Jews. If they agree with the book, they will likely attack Jews, and Jewish notions of identity, tradition and heritage. They will not employ ambiguous terms such as "Zionist" or "pro-Israel lobby".

So, the Financial Times, having decided to cover Sand’s book, should have been on guard against exactly the kind of letter that they published from Joseph Cari the following day.   

Below, is the letter in its entirety, with my comments on what each sentence actually means:

Washington supports an ideology based on ethnic purity

...Sir, Tony Judt’s column regarding Israel and its ethnic myth outlines a rational analysis of why Israel should have a one-state solution to the conflict over its right to exist (December 8).

- meaning Israel should surrender its Jewish status and become “one state”.

(One presumes that no other country should similarly cease to exist on the basis that its past is mythologised).    

I find it ironic that the US, a country founded on the principal of religious freedom, financially and militarily supports a movement whose ideology is based on the exact opposite: religious and ethnic purity.

- meaning that the American Dream is the moral opposite of the political notion of Jewish statehood, and/or the religious notion of a Jewish return to Zion.

(One presmues that Cari is here expressing the mythologised notion of the American Dream, rather than that physically experienced within recorded history by Native Americans, Americans of African origin etc).  

Is it not self-evident that this reach for religious and ethnic purity was the exact reason the Jewish population suffered terribly throughout history?

- meaning that the supposed non-assimilation of “the Jewish population” is to blame for antisemitism throughout history, and/or that Jews have suffered from antisemitism throughout history because of exactly the traits that they now display.

(Neither interpretation portrays “the Jewish population” positively. The first blames Jews for antisemitism. The second says Jews are now behaving as  their persecutors have done).

Does the Jewish population not understand the hypocrisy and disconnect to this mythical view of Israel?

- again the repeat of the catch-all phrase “the Jewish population”, here in the context of attacking Jews for refusing to acknowledge the supposed biblical and historical foundation myths of modern Israel.

(It is worth considering what impact this would have on the continuation of the Jewish way of life around the world; and as to whether or not all other nations around the world – including the USA – should also address their own foundation myths.)

The American Jewish lobby retains its power in American foreign policy by perpetuating this myth.

- self explanatory: the American Jewish lobby is very powerful in American foreign policy. This Jewish power is reliant upon the lobby’s ability to keep everybody believing the Jewish myths. 

A one-state solution would totally diminish this power.

Joseph Cari Jr,
New York, NY, US
Past Chairman,
Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars

- Remove Israel’s Jewishness and you solve the problem of American Jewish power.

This is not the first time that Cari has gone down this road. His website carries an article from the Beirut Daily Star, describing a speech he gave at the Lebanese American University in Beirut in March 2009. It includes this:

He also has a theory that the powerful Jewish lobby in the US doesn’t want to see an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The Jewish community in the States wants to perpetuate the conflict because that way they are more powerful,” he says, after pointing out that despite making up only 4 percent of the population, Jews make 60 percent of the donations to US politicians. “They keep the conflict going because they are an institutional power,” he says.

He points to how donations are split between the parties.

“The Jewish community is strategic,” he says. “There is support for both sides to ensure they have a seat at the table.” And he warns that if another conflict in the region did erupt, it would be Obama’s “worst nightmare,” because it would distract him from America’s economic woes. “It would force him to spend time on an issue that he doesn’t have time to spend time on right now.”

So, there we have it then. Jews use their money to perpetuate war and further their power. It is not the first time that we have heard such nonsense: but if it is time to stop the myth-making, then perhaps Mr Cari wouldn't mind  if we could start with this one first.


Subscribe to Blog Feed

Blog Archive


Future Updates



“CST is an inspiration for all those working to counter hate incidents and crimes... We have been able to move forward knowing that we have colleagues, friends and allies who are working against hate and prejudice with us.”

Fiyaz Mughal
Tell MAMA project leader