I can’t recall former American intelligence officers saying good things about Israel. Whether it is Ray McGovern, Phil Giraldi, Robert Baer or Michael Scheuer, they all say that American foreign policy has been hijacked by the Israel lobby to the detriment of long term American interests. Intelligence officers can’t forget the 1967 attack on the USS Liberty, the Jonathan Pollard espionage, and the continual industrial and political espionage conducted by the Israelis. They don’t see this as the type of behavior you expect from an ally. They got angry having their advice ignored as the U.S. made decisions based on internal politics rather than national self-interest, so now that they are free to write what they want, their hatred for Israel jumps off the page.
Israel Shamir seemed like a kook in the Tabletmag article. I wonder why Ron Unz publishes him? Unz hates the neo-cons and has no sympathy for Israel.
The LA Weekly wrote in 1999:
When Ron Unz’s mother, a politically active left-wing schoolteacher from Los Angeles, was in her mid-20s, she met an older professor from the Midwest on a flight to Israel. He seemed odd, eccentric even, but clearly brilliant, too, and Esther-Laio Avrutin decided, after he‘d visited her several times when she’d returned to L.A., that she would a have a child with him. When Esther-Laio wrote to her lover to let him know about her pregnancy, the letter was opened by the professor‘s wife — the existence of this wife came as startling news to Esther-Laio — and that ended any possibility that, her sister says, they would be married. Esther-Laio’s decision as a single woman to bear Ron by a married man she‘d picked out largely for his brainpower rocked her own family.
Israel tends to have a similar role in the Jewish heart that Christ plays for Christians and therefore it is often out of bounds for rational discussion in the United States.
Here’s more from the 1999 LA Weekly article:
After Ron was born in the fall of 1961, Esther-Laio moved back in with her parents and stopped working. During Ron’s infancy, his mother suffered a series of illnesses — colds and other viruses. Ron was a troubled baby, allergic, as it turned out, to his mother‘s milk. Esther-Laio grew depressed and had trouble sleeping. She worked only occasionally, and after her father fell ill too, she applied for welfare. Throughout Ron’s childhood, the family stayed afloat thanks to the safety net then provided by the welfare state.
Although it‘s all a little fuzzy — ”It was a long time ago,“ Unz says — he remembers his great shame about being different, especially about not having a father living at home. His mother, he recalls, was quite candid, open about the decisions she’d made and the reasons she‘d made them.
Esther-Laio’s parents, working-class Jewish immigrants from Russia, were scandalized, though. ”There was massive turmoil“ at the time of Ron‘s birth, says Esther-Laio’s only sibling, Rivko Knox. ”My sister is very bright, very creatively bright, and she thinks of new ways to do things. Ours was a very Orthodox household, and she would get into big arguments with my parents. She would turn on the lights or the radio on the Sabbath, defy their rules. My sister detests rules.“
Both decisions — to have a child outside marriage and to go on welfare — were abominations to her parents, Ron and his aunt both remember. ”They thought that she had behaved very foolishly and improperly,“ Unz recalls. ”There was an awful lot of skirmishing.“ Some of the insults had to do with politics. Esther-Laio was pro–free speech, pro–civil rights and anti–Vietnam War. His grandfather ”came from a very politically liberal New Deal type of background — I imagine he never voted for a Republican in his life — but he and my mother clashed over political issues a lot during the 1960s, because he was very pro–Hubert Humphrey, pro–Lyndon Johnson, pro–Vietnam War, and she was on the other side.“
The sharpest, most sustained exchanges centered on Ron himself. ”The circumstances of my birth,“ Unz says coolly. ”That was the main thing they argued about.“ The conflicts raged loudly, constantly, in the tiny house on a ridge in working-class Tujunga. There were only two bedrooms, and the walls were paper-thin. ”Certainly it was never violence or anything like that,“ Unz adds. A moment later, he muses, as if to take the sting out: ”What people regard as standard in family life has changed in 30 years. When you watch some of the old TV shows from the 1960s . . . the ongoing level of bickering and quarreling was considered normal and standard.“
Unz met his father only twice while growing up, the first time at a playground when he was about 4. It was an unemotional, businesslike meeting. His father seemed ”tall and old.“ Between two brief childhood visits and his attendance at Ron Unz‘s graduation from Harvard College, he had no contact at all with his son. (The elder Unz declined to speak for this story. ”I don’t want to discuss it, and I don‘t want my name in the newspaper,“ he said.)
Raised in a household with strong-willed adults, Unz was pulled in contrary directions. His grandmother took him along to synagogue with her, and he even learned enough Hebrew to be bar-mitzvahed. But he never embraced religion and didn’t really identify with his Jewishness. He also went along with his mother — to demonstrations against the Vietnam War and precinct-walking for Democratic nominee George McGovern during the presidential campaign of 1972. ”It‘s all a little fuzzy, it was a long time ago,“ Unz says again. ”When my mother took me on those anti-war marches carrying a candle, it was just sort of ’I want you to come with me, because we‘re fighting the evil Vietnam War.’“
Unz sank into a vivid imaginary life. He learned to distance himself from adult passions, listening mutely as his mother and his grandparents argued. He became a secular person unattached to the fierce religious and political views of his parent and grandparents.
This may explain Unz’s distaste for religion, Israel and things Jewish.
Is Richard F. Unz, professor emeritus of engineering at Penn State, Ron’s father? No. This article says his dad’s name is Hilel Unz, “an Israeli [physicist] who settled in the United States”.
Here’s the obituary of Hillel Unz, physicist 1929-2011:
Graveside service for Hillel Unz, 82, Lawrence, was held at B’nai Israel cemetery, Eudora, on Sunday, Aug. 28.
Mr. Unz died Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
He was born Aug. 15, 1929, in Darmstadt, Germany, the son of Moshe and Rivka Unz.
He moved to Haifa, Israel, with his family in 1932 and graduated from the Reali High School, Haifa, in 1947.
Mr. Unz served in the Israeli Defense Forces during the Israel war of Independence (1947-1949).
He received his Bachelor of Science in electronics in 1953 from the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa. He received his Master of Science in 1954 and his doctorate degree in 1957, both from the Electrical Engineering Department, University of California, Berkeley.
He moved to Lawrence in 1957. Since that year he had been on the staff of the electrical and computer engineering department at Kansas University, first as an assistant professor, and since 1962 as a full professor of electrical engineering. He retired after 40 years in 1997. In the following years he continued his research.
He married Ruth Adam in 1960. They had three children. They divorced. He married Carolyn J. Graham in 1975. They divorced.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Maya.
Survivors include a daughter, Tali Unz, California; and a son, Danny Unz and wife Ariela, Lawrence and their children, Alon, Amir and Eyal.
Ron Unz does not get a mention in any of Hillel Unz’s obituaries.