Van Jones Does Gershom Scholem One Better

Van Jones to Cornel West:

Do you think that you’ve shown enough love toward President Obama?…Where is the love for this president?…You’ve got the first black president, and where is the love? I understand the critique, but where is the love?”

It’s like what Gershom Scholem wrote to Hannah Arendt in response to Eichmann in Jerusalem:

There is something in the Jewish language that is completely indefinable, yet fully concrete — what the Jews call ahavath Israel, or love for the Jewish people.  With you, my dear Hannah, as with so many intellectuals coming from the German left, there is no trace of it.

Only classier.


  1. Jesse Freeston September 25, 2013 at 10:11 am | #

    I met Miguel D’Escoto, liberation theology priest and former foreign minister for the Sandinistas, on his last day as President of teh UN General Assembly. September 11, 2009. He said something like this:

    “You can only criticize those that you love. If there’s no love, you will naturally exaggerate and your attempt will already be a lost cause.”

    I see no sign of exaggeration on teh part of Cornel West. As he said in response to the quote from Van Jones above:

    WEST: I would say that I have a righteous indignation for any politician who uses the legacy of Fanny Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King Jr. to promote neoliberal policies that generate privatized education, that use drones that kill innocent people, innocent children, that side with Wall Street. Larry Summers, God bless him. God bless him. Is he tied to Wall Street more than Main Street? God love him.

    KRISTOL: You know him better than I do. I don’t know a lot about Larry.

    WEST: It’s not a hatred. It’s a matter of looking at the evidence.

  2. Glenn September 25, 2013 at 10:19 am | #

    Van Jones, member of the black misleadership class, can be read as saying, “You’ve got a black president, what else do you want? jobs, homes, educational opportunity?” All in the face of the decline of black wealth.

  3. Larry Houghteling September 25, 2013 at 7:33 pm | #

    Maybe I’m thick, but what’s your point, Corey? I don’t get it. That Obama doesn’t get enough love? That Hannah Arendt should have loved “the Jews” more? Both?

    Hannah Arendt was bitterly criticized in the 60s when “Eichmann in Jerusalem” came out. It’s fair to say that she has won that argument. Do you imagine any other outcome in this criticizing-Obama example?

    Or are you simply pointing out that both Van Jones and Gershom Scholem are BS’ers?

    • Corey Robin September 25, 2013 at 7:34 pm | #

      Come on, man, what do you think?

      • Larry Houghteling September 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm | #

        It’s all too subtle for me.

  4. BarryB September 25, 2013 at 7:44 pm | #

    I suppose when the CUNY administration called in the police to beat up and arrest anti-Petraeus demonstrators recently, that was really just tough love.

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