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Red Diaper Babies

“Red Diaper babies” is a term often heard in the Jewish community referring to the descendants of Jews who had left the tribe beginning in the late 19th century for the greener pastures of Marxist utopian universalism.  Joanna Graham is the most frequent red baby contributor to the Berkeley Daily Planet, but there are others.  She is typical of Berkeley’s anti-Israel scene in her claim to be Jewish, when in fact these people are actually Marxists, Trotskyites, or related radicals, mostly descended from an early generation of Marxists.  Here some history is in order.  Prior to World War II, there were three major strains of European Jewish anti-Zionists.  There were assimilationists who felt that Jewish particularism should be forsaken for the benefits of European hoch cultur.  These people were given up by their highly cultured non-Jewish neighbors, and for the most part they perished in the ovens.  There were the ultra-orthodox, who believed that the establishment of a secular democratic Israel was a blasphemy which should never precede the arrival of the messiah.  They too mostly perished in the ovens.  And there were the communist Jews of Eastern Europe and Russia, who believed in a new Universal Man.  They mostly perished in the gulags and the purges.  The rump survivors of all three anti-Zionist strains found their way to America and brought their philosophies with them.  Berkeley, as the mecca of American radicalism, seems to be the nexus of the Communist strain of anti-Zionism.  These people are noisy and they are organized.  But they have no national footprint whatsoever, and, even in Berkeley, these Jews represent only a tiny minority of the community at large.  Almost every one of Graham’s anti-Israel pieces in the Berkeley Daily Planet contains words to the effect “I am a Jew, and here is why I hate Israel.”  Although she readily concedes in the Berkeley Daily Planet that she is the child of assimilated Jews, and was not brought up Jewish, only from the SF Chronicle do we learn that she is in fact a Marxist.  Perhaps because she was never brought up a Jew, she does not know that Judaism is an affiliation and not a race.  True, there is a presumption that if one is born a Jew then that is what one is.  However, anyone is free to opt in through conversion, or to opt out by converting to something else, like Catholicism or Marxism.  One is also free to simply assimilate away, as in the case of Graham’s parents.  Converts to Judaism are called “Jews by Choice.”  We know two former presidents of Berkeley Synagogues who are Jews by Choice, as well as one Berkeley rabbi.  Good Catholics come in many flavors, and some are highly critical of their Church.  However, once a Catholic, or his parents, leaves the Church, perhaps to become a Mormon or an Evangelical, he or she loses the right to attack Catholicism as a Catholic, but is free to do so as a non-Catholic.  This is an important distinction.  Graham trots out her extremely tenuous connection to Judaism precisely because she knows that her anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric is made much more powerful by the claim.  In effect, she is saying, “if a good Jew like me can be an anti-Semite, then it is alright for you to be one too.”  It is a sham perpetrated by her and by others like her in Berkeley.


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