My shiksa friend sees the crisis

on 131 Comments


Dozens of top Israeli rabbis sign ruling to forbid rental of homes to Arabs

An academic friend, who will only identity as “your shiksa friend”:

If Jewish and American rabbis don’t come out strongly against this what are us goyim to conclude?

This is not just one nutjob, it is DOZENS of TOP rabbis. And it is not like this rabbis’ letter has occurred in response to a proximal threat – almost no Jews have been harmed by Palestinians for YEARS now (yet many thousands of Palestinians have been harmed (or killed) by Jews). In fact the restraint of Palestinians in recent years is astonishing: they have remained nonviolent  in the face of ever-accelerating theft of land, house demolitions, imprisonment of nonviolent peace activists, etc. This nonviolence cannot last. Are these rabbis trying to force a violent reaction? 

It is true that we do not have a perfect society here either, that we have crazy Christians who espouse hateful views, and that we are about to give major tax benefits to the rich while many people remain in dire poverty, including lots of people living just a few miles from me. But this kind of systematic institutional racism in Israel seems to be simply beyond anything decent people would or should tolerate anywhere. Why aren’t more American and Israeli Jews speaking out against this?
OK these are all rhetorical questions, you do not have to answer. But I am finding it harder and harder to play nice with Israelis, and I am seriously considering full BDS including academic boycott. (What other options are there?)

Later my friend passed along the following email she received showing that the racism is not going unanswered in Israel. Original spelling preserved for purposes of entertainment:

באנו חושך לגרש


הבוקר פורסם מכתב עליו חתומים עשרות רבנים שקובע שחל איסור הלכתי חמור על מכירה או השכרה של דירות וקרקעות בארץ ישראל למי שאינו יהודי. בנוסף נכתב במכתב הרבנים כי אדם שנוהג בניגוד לפסק ההלכה – עשוי להיות חייב בנידוי.

צעד כזה, של עשרות עובדי מדינה בכירים, אינו יכול לעבור!

זוהי מתקפה פרועה על בסיסה הדמוקרטי של המדינה ופגיעה אנושה בנורמות הבסיסיות ביותר של חיינו כאן. הגזענות הרבנית היא חרפה ליהדות וסכנה לישראל.


תנועת “סולידריות-שייח גראח” קוראת לכולם, חילונים ודתיים, להצטרף אלינו במחאה ובקריאה לפיטורים מיידים של כל חותמי המכתב.


ההפגנה תתקיים מחר, 8.12, בשעה 17:00 ברחבת בית הכנסת הגדול בירושלים, ברחוב קינג גורג.

הסעה תצא ממסוף אלעל, רכבת ארלוזרוב, ת”א, בשעה 15:30.

לפרטים והרשמה להסעה: 0546236609


This morning, a letter signed by tens of Rabies, was published forbidding people to rent or sell apartments to non-Jews.

We will not stand silent in the face of such racism!!!


Tomorrow, 8.12, we will protest in front of the big synogoge in Jerusalem (King George St.) at 17:00.

Transportation from Tel Aviv will leave arlozerov station at 15:30.

For information call 0546236609.

131 Responses

  1. Mooser
    December 7, 2010, 11:16 am

    “OK these are all rhetorical questions, you do not have to answer.”

    No, of course Phil does not have to answer. Of course not! No, to answer this question is the reason Phil permits “eee”, Jonah, Hophmi, Witty and the rest to infest the place.
    So I expect an answer, and no doubt it’ll be just as good as the “only good Indian” explanation for Israel’s intransigence. Or at least as worthy of discussion.

    • Mooser
      December 7, 2010, 11:18 am

      BTW, Phil, can’t you get that Pally-hag fired? You don’t see the utility of an antosemitism charge in this case? It’ll be a snap!
      Always remember, Phil, when you talk to Gentiles, wear a wire!

      • pabelmont
        December 7, 2010, 12:23 pm

        When you talk to rabbis, it would seem, wear a wire!

  2. Mooser
    December 7, 2010, 11:21 am

    Since none of the Ziocaine addicts have started their rant yet, let me save Mondoweiss some bandwidth and condense their answers into a sure-fire principle:

    Anyone who finds any people in any situation more sympathetic than “the Jews” is an anti-semite. Case-closed.

  3. Citizen
    December 7, 2010, 11:30 am

    Well, Phil, you could have your shiksa friend ask your older and authentic childhood pal, Richard Witty. She needs to learn about the limitless bounty of Israel’s right to self-govern as Israel; she must also internalize that she is one of the billions of humans on this planet who might start a pogrom against the Jews at any moment, if not now, than axiomatically later, presumeably by her child if she has one, or her grandchild, or whenever. Israel cannot depend on the good will of any shiksa–actually, maybe, Phil, you could pass the baton to your wife and they could discuss how to best approach Mister Witty to get the real deal Jewish-American Zionist spiel. Perhaps they could meet at an old Waspy club, same for a game of white tennis. Is she an understated blonde woman?

    • Richard Witty
      December 7, 2010, 12:29 pm

      Please, have her call.

      Phil has my phone number.

      • Mooser
        December 7, 2010, 4:48 pm

        Oh yes, Witty, you are just the guy to set her straight! Between your grasp of the facts, your ability to express yourself clearly in simple plain English, and your personal charm, she hasn’t got a chance.
        You would be well-advised to make it clear you are already married, if that is the case. There are enough broken hearts in the world as it is.

      • Richard Witty
        December 7, 2010, 6:23 pm

        I’m a human being with an ear, a heart, and a different perspective than the radical.

      • Mooser
        December 7, 2010, 7:30 pm

        Yeah, but this woman seems to have a grasp of the facts. Against that, tyour entire phony Jewish schtick is helpless. And I don’t want to shock you, but not everybody is looking for a guru.

      • Mooser
        December 7, 2010, 7:31 pm

        “and a different perspective than the radical.”

        And a whole line of phony and meaningless BS, too.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:09 am

        A man that does not believe and act always in universal application of his fundamental moral principles is not a radical, that’s true. And you fit the bill. Double standards fit most people very well.

  4. MarkF
    December 7, 2010, 11:31 am

    Yikes, doesn’t this make you cringe??

    From the article:

    “Their way of life is different than that of Jews,” the letter stated. “Among [the gentiles] are those who are bitter and hateful toward us and who meddle into our lives to the point where they are a danger.”

    The rabbis also urge neighbors of anyone renting or selling property to Arabs to caution that person. After delivering the warning, the neighbor is then encouraged to issue notices to the general public and inform the community.

    “The neighbors and acquaintances [of a Jew who sells or rents to an Arab] must distance themselves from the Jew, refrain from doing business with him, deny him the right to read from the Torah, and similarly [ostracize] him until he goes back on this harmful deed,” the letter reads.

    • Jim Haygood
      December 7, 2010, 12:31 pm

      Glad you provided these quotes from the article, to illustrate the pure Jim Crow racism expressed by these rabbis on the public payroll.

      It would be inconceivable in the US for public officials to advocate not renting to a particular ethnic group. It’s against long-established state and federal law to do so. But in Jim Crow Israel, where segregation of housing and schools is a way of life, rank ethnic discrimination has the force of law behind it.

      It isn’t necessarily the role of the US to tell Israel how to reform its racist society. But it’s sure as hell our duty to stop subsidizing Israel’s odious legal apartheid to the tune of $3 billion-plus a year.

      Israel tramples and spits on American values. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton can no longer get away with claiming ‘shared values’ with the ethnic supremacist state of Israel.

    • Mooser
      December 7, 2010, 4:50 pm

      “Yikes, doesn’t this make you cringe?? “

      That Witty thinks he is a good spokesman for Zionism or Judaism?
      I don’t know if “cringe” is strong enough. Just thinking about it makes me do the “fretful porpentine” thing.

    • Citizen
      December 8, 2010, 6:13 am

      Who said this in the 1930s: “Their way of life is different than ours. They are bitter and hateful towards us and meddle into our lives to the point they are a danger.”

  5. eljay
    December 7, 2010, 11:34 am

    >> In fact the restraint of Palestinians in recent years is astonishing: they have remained nonviolent in the face of ever-accelerating theft of land, house demolitions, imprisonment of nonviolent peace activists, etc. This nonviolence cannot last.

    AHA!! Palestinian non-violence cannot last! See?! Arabs want to kill Jews, plain and simple! “Remember the Holocaust!”

    Well, that’s what I would believe if I were a Zio-supremacist “humanist”.

    • Antidote
      December 7, 2010, 4:45 pm

      Good catch, eljay. Also the thing about the US not being a perfect society. The laws are great, the reality – not so much. Wasn’t that Helen Thomas’s point about the First Amendment? Well, you can’t single out Israel, which is, as the Zionists endlessly point out, the only true democracy in the ME, just not perfect. Nobody will deny there is free speech in Israel. You’d die in Muslim countries if you attack religious authority. Hamas wouldn’t have any of it. Israelis, be they Arab or Jew, can bitch about these and other rabbis as much as they want without getting into any trouble. And they do.

      Why single out the rabbis, though? There’s nothing new or unusual in their claim that Palestine belongs to the Jews, and the Arabs have to leave or submit to their rule. Sure they have rights and vote, but not to the extent that they wield significant political power, or can live and built wherever they want in Israel, as Israelis. The rabbis only spell out clearly and unambiguously what has been going on ever since the Zionists took over control. The outrage is hypocritical.

      Yes, it does make one cringe, but the reality is not that different in North America or Western Europe. Try to find a place to live as a Muslim, a black or native American, among others, and get back to me.

      From the article:

      “Their way of life is different than that of [Jews] us”, say the Israeli rabbis/Americans/Germans/French…..

      “Among [the gentiles] Muslims [blacks, natives] are those who are bitter and hateful toward us and who meddle into our lives to the point where they are a danger.”

      Be honest: Why do Americans and Europeans support Israel and not Arabs/Palestinians? Because they are like us, and they don’t launch terrorist attacks against us. They terrorize Arabs and Muslims, just like we do. Hey, we’re all Zionists, and Zionists rule America and Europe.

  6. eee
    December 7, 2010, 11:48 am

    I am against the letter and its message, but what your shiksa friend should conclude is that she is a confused American who judges things using her very different conceptual framework. An Arab who sells land to a Jew in Jerusalem or Hebron is considered a traitor and is liable to get killed. That is the middle east.

    To be very clear, two wrongs do not make a right. The Rabbi’s letter is wrong. They should be reasoned with and asked to reconsider. But in an atmosphere of zero trust, these things take time.

    A perfect way to put this in an American context is what is happening in Oklahoma with the Sharia law:
    link to

    Now, this is the reaction of people who have not gone through the second intifada and seen their children blown up on a daily basis by suicide bombers on buses going to school or waiting line to get into a club.

    If you expect the Israeli public to be better than the US public, you are being unfair. BDS is not the solution. It will only aggravate the problem. The solution is trust building. This will however take many years and a lot of patience. BDS will just build mistrust between the communities and will aggravate the situation. When you think about it, what the rabbis are asking for is BDS of the Arab community. Obviously they are wrong, but so are BDS calls in the other direction.

    • Pamela Olson
      December 7, 2010, 12:29 pm

      Look, I’m from Oklahoma. My people, on the whole, are simple, insulated people who believe whatever they’re told as long as it doesn’t make them look like a [insert racist, sexist, or homophobic term here]. Not pretty, I know. But Israelis are brainwashed, often to the point of violent psychosis, all the while aided and abetted by the American government and appeased by people all over the world like you. Totally different ballgame.

      And the fact that you compare BDS — a non-violent strategy to counter horrifically violent and racist policies — to openly racist laws by fanatical rabbis who claim to represent Jewish values (while people like you run interference and say idiotic things like, “Well, people in Oklahoma do stupid things, too”) is just, well… it shows exactly how seriously anyone should take you.

      Like Jon Stewart said this week, when Glenn Beck said something outrageously moronic and Jon started to put on the Glenn Beck glasses and do an impression, then stopped suddenly, “You know what? It’s just not worth it anymore.”

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 1:02 pm


        Take a deep breath. Netanyahu just completely condemned the letter. It is not law or anything like that.

        Now, stop generalizing about Israelis. The Israeli public (surprise, surprise) is not different than the Oklahoma one. It is just you are happy give “your people” a pass while holding Israelis to ridiculous standards. Same ballgame exactly, people all over are basically very similar on average.

      • Pamela Olson
        December 7, 2010, 2:06 pm

        I am neither holding Israelis to ridiculous standards (it’s ridiculous to condemn a society for Jim Crow-level racism and even worse violence?) nor giving “my people” (which I said tongue-in-cheek, if it’s not obvious) a pass.

        You, however, are trying to use the sins and blindness of Okies to give racist rabbis — who hold positions of authority all over Israel — a pass. As an Okie with a deep knowledge of the Holy Land, this offends me on multiple levels.

      • Potsherd2
        December 7, 2010, 4:58 pm

        Wait until the rabbis are arrested for incitement. Keep waiting. And waiting. And waiting …

      • Antidote
        December 7, 2010, 5:46 pm

        “Take a deep breath. Netanyahu just completely condemned the letter. It is not law or anything like that.”

        Of course it’s the law of the Jewish state that Jews are superior to Arabs. You don’t kick people out of their land and homes if you think they are equal. The trick is to have laws that say one thing, and facts on the ground that give the lie to the law. Netanyahu condemned the LETTER of the law but not the SPIRIT of this law: DO it, by all means, but you can’t SAY it. The rabbis, like Lieberman, are just more honest, and that shocks other Israelis and their supporters around the globe. This is from Haaretz today:

        “Racism originated in the Torah,” said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. “The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted.”

        Speaking at the National Bible Contest for adults, Netanyahu emphasized that such declarations are not acceptable in Israel.

        “Such things cannot be said, not about Jews and not about Arabs. They cannot be said in any democratic country, and especially not in a Jewish and democratic one. The state of Israel rejects these sayings.”

      • MHughes976
        December 7, 2010, 6:19 pm

        What an interesting and puzzling exchange!
        Not everyone would think that ‘the land of X for the people of X’ is a racist statement in itself, much depending on how ‘the people of X’ is interpreted. Does Netanyahu himself really not believe and proclaim, as the rabbi does, that ‘the land of Israel is for the people of Israel’, meaning people who are Jewish? Does Netanyahu – speaking at a Bible contest! – claim ex-officio religious authority or does he mean that, whatever Jewish religious values may be, secular ‘democratic’ values trump them?

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:20 am

        Re: “Netanyahu condemned the LETTER of the law but not the SPIRIT of this law: DO it, by all means, but you can’t SAY it.” There’s another recent article on this blog that couches this mentality in terms of being credulous or not. It’s about how its author was brought up as an American Jew, taught via local Jewish leaders in his community. About what they didn’t teach him directly, but only indirectly.

    • Light
      December 7, 2010, 12:58 pm

      “The solution is trust building.”

      eee, the problem won’t be solved by sitting around the campfire and singing songs together. The problem is the legal, political and military structure of Israel. The Israelis are the ones walking around with assault rifles, grabbing land and raiding homes on a daily basis. The Palestinians cannot do squat without a permit from the Israelis.

      “An Arab who sells land to a Jew in Jerusalem or Hebron is considered a traitor and is liable to get killed”

      Yes, this is wrong but the Palestinians have seen what happens to the land when it is sold to Israelis. It becomes a segregated gated community.

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 1:29 pm


        Part of the problem is the “legal, political and military structure of Israel” and the other part of the problem is the legal, political and military structure of Palestinian society.

        I agree that problems will not be solved by sitting around camp fires and singing songs. Negotiation is the only solution that will not lead to violence. But negotiations will not succeed unless there is some trust. For example, how can you convince the Israeli public to allow the Palestinian state control of its air space, especially after 9/11 unless there is trust?

      • eljay
        December 7, 2010, 1:52 pm

        >> But negotiations will not succeed unless there is some trust. For example, how can you convince the Israeli public to allow the Palestinian state control of its air space, especially after 9/11 unless there is trust?

        Right, because 9/11 was a terrorist act on Israeli soil carried out by Palestinians. My gawd, but you really do lack common sense!

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 2:12 pm

        Be serious. 9/11 is an example of a terrorist attack that would be quite feasible against Israel if Palestinians had control over their own air space. Surely, if they had control over their own airspace during the second intifada, wouldn’t they have used such tactics?

      • annie
        December 7, 2010, 2:20 pm

        you be serious eee. this reminds me of those question ‘would approve of torture if someone was just about to blow up the world and you thought you could stop it’. just because 9/11 happened is no reason to set standards based on the big ‘if’.

      • Pamela Olson
        December 7, 2010, 2:20 pm

        But if Israel has control over its own airspace (and the Palestinians’), what’s to stop them from perpetrating another war-crime-riddled Gaza turkey shoot?

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 2:27 pm


        Terrorist attacks against Israelis are not hypothetical. Israelis remember well the second intifada.

        By the way, what is the difference between using a missile and using a jet? And why would Hamas use one and not the other?

        You can belittle our security issues as much as you want, but that will not make them go away nor will it convince us to change our minds.

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 2:29 pm


        How is your question relevant? This is exactly my point, that the Palestinians have to trust us not to attack them and we have to trust them not to attack us. That trust does not exist today on either side.

      • MarkF
        December 7, 2010, 2:31 pm

        You’re justifying the strangulation based upon a reaction to the strangulation.

        But if you insist on using 9/11 for pretend, then lets.

        1) No troops on Saudi soil, no Iraqi sanctions, no unlimited support for Israel, no 911.

        2) No settlers, no occupation, no intifada.

        Way too simple, I know, but you get the drift.

      • eljay
        December 7, 2010, 2:35 pm

        Once again, I cannot understand why eee is permitted to blatantly troll on this site. To suggesting that the courtesy-of-Israel, open-air prison that is Gaza is the best that Palestinians could muster with a free society is slanderous. To suggest that granting a free Palestine control of their own airspace would amount to 9/11 on Israel is slanderous. Despite his efforts to disguise them as civilized discourse, eee is proving once again that he possesses bigotry and hatred instead of common sense.

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 2:45 pm


        Please do not distort what I am saying.
        A Gaza like entity is the likely outcome, not the best the Palestinians can do. And yes, a 9/11 attack on Israel is a possible outcome if Palestinians have control over their own air space. Is it sure to happen, no. But it is a possibility that cannot be ignored by any responsible Israeli government.

      • Light
        December 7, 2010, 2:47 pm

        Israel has the 4th largest army in the world and terrorizes Palestinians on a daily basis. There are hundred of checkpoints in the West Bank that exist not for security but solely to make life miserable for Palestinians. MarkF said it best. Israel justifies the strangulation based upon the reation to the strangulation.

        “That which is hateful to you don’t do to your neighbor”.

      • annie
        December 7, 2010, 2:47 pm

        This is exactly my point, that the Palestinians have to trust us not to attack them and we have to trust them not to attack us. That trust does not exist today on either side.

        that might all be well and good if millions of people were not in limbo for decades while that ‘ trust’ develops eee. don’t be disingenuous. obviously it is not merely a matter of trust, the settlements demonstrate it is very much a matter of colonizing all the land under the guise of needed security.

      • Citizen
        December 7, 2010, 2:48 pm

        Eljay, you gotta remember, eee is a Jewish Zionist: all goys are fungible. We just went over his mindset a day or so ago on this blog. Go see.

      • eljay
        December 7, 2010, 2:58 pm

        >> Eljay,
        >> Please do not distort what I am saying.

        I am not distorting what you are saying. You are very clearly demonstrating your bigotry by painting the Palestinians as incapable of managing their affairs, and as a people devious and hateful enough to use their new-found freedom to attack Israel.

        In light of all that Palestinians have suffered at the hands of Israel and hateful Zio-supremacists such as you, and in light of the fact that their humanity permits them to come to Israel’s aid in times of crisis (such as the recent fire), your slanderous comments – poorly disguises as polite discourse – are an offense to anyone with common sense, which you very clearly do not possess.

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 2:59 pm


        You know very well that settlements are only part of the issue. You cannot undo the bad blood and prejudice on both sides with a wave of the wand. I am not being disingenuous.

        Look, no Israeli government will grant Palestinians control over their air space in the next few years no matter how much BDS you employ. The memory of the buses and clubs and restaurants blowing up is too vivid in the minds of Israelis to allow that. The BDS will just enlarge the trust gap and delay any solution.

      • annie
        December 7, 2010, 3:02 pm

        Any unilateral solution (on either side) will most likely lead to the Palestinian state looking like Gaza……Now, stop generalizing about Israelis.

        we’re supposed to not generalize about israelis while eee informs us israelis will likely continue w/the same failed policies. maybe he doesn’t think it’s such a failed policy because israel isn’t suffering over it. what’s a little poor public opinion got to do w/anything.

        they can just create another ‘action network’ and slather more lipstick on the (apartheid) pig. someday somehow it might occur to israel to start actually acting nice as a form of self preservation.

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 3:24 pm


        So your position is that you know better than us Israelis about our security issues. Ok, you have a right to your opinion, but you are not going to convince many Israelis.

      • Shingo
        December 7, 2010, 3:25 pm

        “Israel justifies the strangulation based upon the reation to the strangulation.”‘

        The rapist justifying the murder because the victim fought back and he had to defend himself.

      • kapok
        December 7, 2010, 3:29 pm

        would…if You need to cut down on the subjunctives,chumley. Israel strafes and rockets where ever they please. No ifs about it.

      • Potsherd2
        December 7, 2010, 4:59 pm

        Terrorist attacks by Israel against Palestine are certainly not hypothetical! Israel should be disarmed, then they can talk about disarming Palesting.

      • annie
        December 7, 2010, 8:04 pm

        So your position is that you know better than us Israelis about our security issues. Ok, you have a right to your opinion

        no, that is not my ‘position’. my position is that just because israel thinks it is ok to take drastic measures like what it is doing in gaza doesn’t make it right or acceptable. there are little things like international law to consider.

        to follow tour train of thought would it also be acceptable to transfer all the palestinians out of the occupied territory because because israel think it needs to for security? the bottom line is not ‘what israel needs’. israel is not so special it gets to do whatever it wants over and over and over.

        but you are not going to convince many Israelis.

        and this is how the world repairs itself, by convincing radicals they are wrong thru negotiations? not the last time i looked.

      • Potsherd2
        December 7, 2010, 8:12 pm

        Israelis are insane and can’t be convinced into sanity. They must be forced.

      • RoHa
        December 8, 2010, 5:09 am

        “This is exactly my point, that the Palestinians have to trust us not to attack them and we have to trust them not to attack us. That trust does not exist today on either side. ”

        So give the Israelis control over Palestinian air-space, and the Palestinians control over Israeli air-space.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:23 am

        Eee, you forgot to tell us about what the Israel regime did to the Palestinians that finally led to the intifiada.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:26 am

        The BDS wand waved over apartheid S Africa.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:32 am

        Convincing Israelis is irrelevant. Convince the average American by getting the facts to him or her, drip by drip in light of the MSM muzzle. Cut off the freebie tap. Israelis will then convince themselves.

    • Citizen
      December 7, 2010, 2:41 pm

      Eee, you sound just like Ronny Reagan. That was the same excuses he use to use in public to maintain the status quo of the Apartheid S Africa regime. “They need more time, look how long it took for the USA to rid itself of Jim Crow. Be patient.” Of course he was firmly against the BDS movement against S Africa at the time. Again, for the same reasons. (Reagan is also the leader who galvanized the tax-cutting movement domestically, the same one mirrored now in the USA–he never dreamed his back room borrowers working to make up the federal income loss would turn his country, for the first time in its history, into a huge stunned debtor with no out except to borrow more from China, seemingly forever while it lasts.)

  7. yourstruly
    December 7, 2010, 11:51 am

    Palestine today brings back memories of the Algerian War of Liberation as depicted in the film, “The Battle of Algiers”. Specifically, those final scenes where the French military are celebrating their having wiped out what they believe to be the last rebel resistance, whereupon, shortly (actually it was a year or two) thereafter, the scene shifts to the Algerian masses rising up in the streets of Algiers and proclaiming their independence. Let’s see, two million West Bank + 1.5 million Gazan + 1.2 million Israeli Palestinians = 4.7 million Palestinians, which raises the question as to what the satellite photos of the mass uprisings that are about to erupt will look like on our electronic media. Imagine, 5 million people (joined worldwide by how many tens of millions of their supporters), standing, chanting, singing, waving the Palestinian flag. Irresistable? Count on it!

    • eee
      December 7, 2010, 12:14 pm


      I understand what you are aiming at, but in my opinion you are portraying the same optimism that Bush and Rumsfeld had about what would happen in Iraq after Sadam was taken down. In fact, your use of Algeria as an example is telling. The history of the place after the French left does not leave room for optimism regarding Palestine.

      The correct model to consider is Gaza. That is basically how an independent Palestinian state as you envision will most likely look like.

      • Pamela Olson
        December 7, 2010, 12:30 pm

        Your hatred and ignorance never fail to astound.

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 1:09 pm

        Hatred and ignorance? Please. Take a big breath. Do you really think Algeria is good model for the Palestinians to follow?

        Any unilateral solution (on either side) will most likely lead to the Palestinian state looking like Gaza. We already have one clear precedent, Gaza. Any solution that does not put an end to the conflict or is not accepted by both sides will lead to the continuation of violence and to the radicals leading the way.

      • yourstruly
        December 7, 2010, 2:03 pm

        Only in its spontaneity and in the unity of the Palestinian people will a free and liberated Palestine follow the Algerian model. What kind of Palestine after liberation will depend upon the goodwill of Palestinians, but as long as the former settlers can adjust to equal but not superior status, there’s every reason to believe they’ll be welcome. The Euopean (mostly French) settlers in Algeria were incapable of making tjat adjustment so they returned to France. We’ll find out if racist Israeli settlers (every Israeli Jew except for those who actively support justice for Palestine). And watch for the Arab/Islamic peoples in the surrounding states to be energized by the spectacle of millions of Palestinians rising up en masse, such that, puppet governments will go down like bowling pins, one after another. Why will this happen now when it didn’t before? Because the moment is ripe, that’s why?

      • bijou
        December 7, 2010, 2:05 pm

        Please spare us these ignorant racist spewings. I am sorry for being harsh, but what you are saying is absolute hogwash. Gaza has been destroyed by many years of deliberate and machiavellian de-development by the state of Israel. It is the way it is today purely because of malicious policies bent on its destruction. Surely you can’t argue that a territory which hasn’t been allowed to control whether cookies or coriander can enter its limits for the last 4 years is solely responsible for its fate? These assertions are utterly without any basis whatsoever. The same holds true of all of your other examples. Iraq was subjected to years of horrific sanctions and an all-out destructive war, including deliberate assassination campaigns against all its top intellectuals and widespread torture, not to mention destruction of all its national assets. Surely you cannot be serious in expecting its post-destruction phase to be even remotely functional?

      • Pamela Olson
        December 7, 2010, 2:08 pm

        “Any solution that does not put an end to the conflict or is not accepted by both sides will lead to the continuation of violence and to the radicals leading the way.”

        Agreed. And Israel won’t agree to a two-state solution based on international law. So where does that leave us?

      • marc b.
        December 7, 2010, 2:24 pm

        Take a deep breath.

        take a big breath.

        yes, p-olson is just hysterical! calm down, woman, and let eeee explain it to you calmly, scientifically. if the palestinians take any ‘unilateral’ steps to become an independent state, such as having open elections, by way of example, then israel will bomb the sh*t out of them. action . . . reaction. see, no need for breathy emotion at all. just as predictable as chemistry lab. oh, and, what the medieval rabbis said is not such a big deal, because . . . there are racists in other countries! (eeee has a helpful list of other problems that take precedence over the i/p conflict. it’s about 50 items long. so once n.korea, global warming, sexism in afghanistan, over-fishing of yellow fin tuna, etc. are dealt with, then perhaps it will be permissible for the unwashed masses to discuss israel.)

      • bijou
        December 7, 2010, 2:32 pm

        A recommended reference on the deliberate Israeli de-development of Gaza. First published 1995, newer editions available.

      • Pamela Olson
        December 7, 2010, 2:34 pm

        I guess he’s right. OK, you work on North Korea, I’ll take global warming, and let’s talk again in twenty years, k? :)

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 2:35 pm


        Whatever each side believes, and let’s not argue about that, there is only one solution, negotiation. So it leaves us with only one option, to negotiate.

        I believe most Israelis would support a two state solution once trust is rebuilt.

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 2:39 pm


        Take a deep breath also and face the facts. Gaza, good or bad result?
        While Israel has been able to ween itself from the cheap labor coming from the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian economy to prosper must be integrated with the Israeli one. A unilateral Palestinian action, will mean an economic disaster for them. That is even without any war.

      • Pamela Olson
        December 7, 2010, 2:52 pm

        Yup. And I’m sure that, while that trust is being built (how, exactly?), you’re just fine and dandy watching Palestinians live in ghettos with their land and homes ACTIVELY being stolen and settlers running over Palestinian kids and burning down people’s olive groves with no repercussions, subject to Israeli violence any time they so much as march against this unjust treatment.

        You’re just fine and dandy waiting, waiting, waiting while Israel takes and takes and kills and kills.

        You’re probably eating popcorn while you watch.

      • kapok
        December 7, 2010, 3:07 pm

        We already have one clear precedent, Israel

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 3:09 pm


        Trust takes years to build. For example, why was the military rule of Arab Israelis abolished in 67 or so? Because trust was built between the Arab citizens and the state. There are no shortcuts. And you are perfectly right that the situation is not symmetric and that Palestinians are suffering more. That does not mean there is another option to building trust.

      • Citizen
        December 7, 2010, 3:11 pm

        Pamela, you must have missed this blog for the last week or so; eee firmly established himself as a person who does not recognize international law. Just as Israel has been doing, he has unilaterally deligitimized the UN, Geneva, the whole matrix of international law, including the ICC. Unfortunately, the US is following suit–just as if Uncle Sam had never tried the Germans (and retroactively at that). Goering and Pol Pot, amongst others, are quite happy with eee and Israel’s take. Didn’t you know international law is for the goyhim? You know, like the Okies? Just ask those good subject rabbis off the record.

      • Light
        December 7, 2010, 3:52 pm

        Do you actually believe the stuff you write? Where is this Palestinian state supposed to exist. What Israel has proposed and continues to propose are little reservations surrounded by barbed wire with the border, airspace and natural resources controlled by Israel. That is not a state.

      • marc b.
        December 7, 2010, 3:56 pm

        that’s ridiculous. the Palestinian economy could prosper through unhindered trade with Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Russia . . .. The Palestinian economy doesn’t need to be ‘integrated’ into the Israeli economy, whatever that is supposed to mean, in order to thrive. The lesson Israel is continuing to make is that it will not permit Palestine to normalize its economic relations with any country if Palestine has the temerity to act independently politically.

      • Potsherd2
        December 7, 2010, 5:00 pm

        No, there is not going to be any “negotiation.” That path has been closed off by Israel and Palestine will unilaterally declare its independence, just as Israel did in 1947.

      • Antidote
        December 7, 2010, 5:02 pm

        “Do you really think Algeria is good model for the Palestinians to follow?”

        Do you think France is a good model for the Algerians to follow? Ask Algerians in France how they like it there, and how they are treated.

      • annie
        December 7, 2010, 8:11 pm

        Whatever each side believes, and let’s not argue about that, there is only one solution, negotiation.

        do you mean wrt israel? obviously not, were you asleep during cast lead? the occupation is certainly not limited to negotiation. israel acts unilaterally all the time sans negotiation.

      • Citizen
        December 7, 2010, 2:59 pm

        Eee, your analogy misses yourstruly’s main point perfectly–you do that so often here it’s a regular pattern. Bush-Rumsfeld neocons were/are a Neocon-PEPy top-down fantasy affair, the final scenes in the Battle of Algiers shows a factual bottom up affair.

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 3:14 pm


        My analogy is apt. Both the neo-cons that believed “democracy can be brought to Iraq” and the romantics that believed that kicking the French from Algeria would create a democratic and successful state there were terribly wrong.

      • piotr
        December 8, 2010, 2:33 am

        It was not about the Algeria but about France. Can a democratic nation engage in decades of a dirty war and retain democratic ethos?

        Of course, to some this is exactly the bonus of such a situation. Democratic ethos is for sissies. This is why pro-Israel neocons and the southern wing of GOP were such a good fit. WOT can undermine democratic institutions? Excellent! And Mussolini wannabes from NYC loved the idea as well.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:37 am

        So, how do you feel about the way S Africa turned out, eee? Nowadays, its far from perfect. Better to have left the former regime alone? Please tell us.

      • Sumud
        December 7, 2010, 9:31 pm

        The correct model to consider is Gaza. That is basically how an independent Palestinian state as you envision will most likely look like.

        If a Palestinian state resembles Gaza in any way shape or form it will be because that is the zionist fantasy of Palestinian “independence” looks like: the imposition of conditions identical those in Gaza. From the embassy cables, Netanyahu waxes lyrical about his ideal Palestinian state in April 2009 (cable id: 09TELAVIV936):

        The only
        limits on Palestinian sovereignty would be elements that affect Israel’s security. A Palestinian state must be demilitarized, without control over its air space and electro-magnetic field, and without the power to enter into treaties or control its borders. Netanyahu concluded that he and opposition leader Tzipi Livni “only disagree about the name,” i.e. the two-state solution.

        That’s a pretty accurate description of current conditions in Gaza, the first of the bantustans. I envision authentic independence for a Palestinian state: militarized (ie. able to engage in self-defense) and in control of it’s sea- and air-pace, electromagnetic spectrum, borders and the ability to enter treaties, just like any other sovereign state.

  8. optimax
    December 7, 2010, 12:28 pm

    Jung would say this Rabbi is projecting his own thoughts onto those of his enemy. It would then read:

    “Our way of life is different than that of Gentiles,” the letter stated. “Among [the Jews] are those who are bitter and hateful toward you and who meddle into your lives to the point where we are a danger.”

    Stop ethnic warfare today! That goes for everybody.

  9. marc b.
    December 7, 2010, 12:39 pm

    This morning, a letter signed by tens of Rabies, was published forbidding people to rent or sell apartments to non-Jews.

    tens of Rabies? sounds dangerous. not to worry, though. i’m sure that the best scientific minds in israel are working on a vaccine.

  10. mikeo
    December 7, 2010, 12:40 pm


    If the correct model is Gaza then who will play the current role of the Israeli state in sealing all borders/airspace/trade etc?

    • eee
      December 7, 2010, 1:05 pm

      It is not the “correct” model. It is a most awful model. But any Palestinian state that comes about through unilateral action on either side will most likely look like that.

      • eljay
        December 7, 2010, 1:43 pm

        >> eee December 7, 2010 at 12:14 pm
        >> … The correct model to consider is Gaza.

        >> mikeo December 7, 2010 at 12:40 pm
        >> If the correct model is Gaza then who will play the current role of the Israeli state in sealing all borders/airspace/trade etc?

        >> eee December 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm
        >> It is not the “correct” model. It is a most awful model.

        Yes, it is a most awful model, and not one that any person with a modicum of common sense would use as a model of a future and free Palestinian state. Which explains why you chose it.

      • eee
        December 7, 2010, 2:14 pm

        You insist on not using common sense in interpreting what I say. I do not choose this model for the free Palestinian state. It is a very bad model. However, if either side acts unilaterally and the agreement in not negotiated, that is how the Palestinian state will look like.

      • eljay
        December 7, 2010, 6:26 pm

        >> You insist on not using common sense in interpreting what I say.

        Why, troll, should I have to interpret what you say when your own words are so damningly clear?

        >> eee: “The correct model to consider is Gaza. That is basically how an independent Palestinian state as you envision will most likely look like.”

        No amount of common sense – which you clearly lack – will make your words any less offensive.

      • annie
        December 7, 2010, 8:18 pm

        if either side acts unilaterally and the agreement in not negotiated, that is how the Palestinian state will look like.

        spare us. israel constantly acts unilaterally all the time. what are you even talking about. what you really means is if palestinians step out of line and do anything without permission israel will tie the noose tighter. the thing is eee that is all israel knows how to do w/palestinians, that’s all they’ve ever done is tie the noose tighter and they’ve never negotiated anything with palestinians that has represented israel giving up one inch. so what good is waiting to negotiate with fraudsters. you heard netanyahu in that leaked video, they went into oslo intending to tank it and set up more theft. why would anyone trust them? bds all the way.

      • Citizen
        December 7, 2010, 3:14 pm

        They use to say that about the S Africa apartheid corrals too.

      • Citizen
        December 7, 2010, 4:06 pm

        Eee, that’s precisely why we need BDS, same as Apartheid S Africa did, despite the fact for many it did not turn out perfect.

  11. Richard Witty
    December 7, 2010, 12:42 pm

    There are Torah reasonings the conflict with the logic the “Rabbis letter”.

    The two that play most in mind is the question of:

    1. Who is and who is not a Jew? As 10 of the 12 tribes disappeared, and Jewishness is halachically defined as “if your mother was a Jew, then you are a Jew” + those that convert. If every subsequent family had a single child, the number of Jews would decline rapidly, 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2 of 1/2, etc.

    But, if the average family size was greater than 1 child (most non-western families), then approximately 1/2 of the descendants would be female, thereby conveying their Jewishness on and on, mostly invisibly.

    So, in the modern world, although it is obvious that those that practice Judaism outwardly are almost all Jews, it is nearly impossible to state that any other living person is not in fact Jewish.

    2. That title to property is NOT lawfully taken by force per halacha. It must be purchased and at a fair price (not an opportunist price). The Torah precedent is the purchase of land by Abraham for the burial sites of Sarah and his descendants (even after the promise of land to his descendants had been made by God, if that is verifiable). And, I believe that the subsequent burial site of Rachel was also purchased, not just taken.

    There is a sadly widespread view that Torah grants title to the land from river to sea. MANY rabbis, otherwise intelligent people, have adopted.

    Skepticism is NOT one of the features of religious ideology. People believe those that they have invested with the mantle of authority. The term “rabbi” before one’s name is compelling, especially if respected by others for really any topic.

    The same exageration of authority occurs with the name “professor”. I’m a former professor of accounting. That should authorize my comments on Israel, don’t you think?

    • Shingo
      December 7, 2010, 3:39 pm

      “Skepticism is NOT one of the features of religious ideology.”‘

      Nor is it a feature of Zionism.

    • Citizen
      December 7, 2010, 4:00 pm

      Judaism as practiced and preached does not take a proactive approach to conversion like Christianity does. Hence the number of converts is small. Most Jews are Jews by birth, by trace back to a Jewish mother. The religion and biology have always been strongly linked. Atheism and agnosticism are irrelevant in this domain. Thus, Judaism is an ethnic-specific religion–not a universal religion by definition. A tribal phenomena. A portable culture if you will, according to some reform rabbis. Does this concoction warrant the conclusion that ” it is nearly impossible to state that any other living person is not in fact Jewish?”
      “Nearly impossible?” I wouldn’t go so far, but that’s me. Perhaps Witty is only thinking of visual presentation? Even there, there is a matter of probabilities, sometimes proven right, at least as much as proven wrong. “Nearly impossible?” What is he trying to argue in the context of this particular blog thread? Anybody have a clue? That Curb Your Enthusiasm has gone main-stream with its old episodes? Is this the crisis Phil’s shiksa friend sees? The ethical rules of halacha he describes–are we to use them as a template to analyze the current American housing crisis and how we got there? Again, anybody have a clue? Surely he’s not talking about Israeli real estate law and practice, or The Gentleman’s Agreement, is he?

      • Richard Witty
        December 7, 2010, 6:36 pm

        The introduction to daily prayer is the invocation:

        “I take upon myself the mitzvah (commandment) to love thy fellow-man as myself”.

        If you speak to some orthodox, the term “fellow man” is towards Jews, not necessarily towards all humanity. Many interpret the requirement, the commitment, universally, not tribally, even as they are committed to Torah and are much much more comfortable living with those that think and act familiarly.

        I counter the argument by some that the mitzvah must apply to all, as one cannot tell whether one’s neighbor is a “fellow man” or not even by the definition of Jews as “fellow man”, and if its offensive to God to harm a Jew, lets be on the safe side.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:41 am

        Yeah, Witty, somehow your being on the safe side gives me no feeling of security. I was not born a Jew, nor do I care to convert to be safer.

      • Antidote
        December 8, 2010, 1:11 am

        “Judaism as practiced and preached does not take a proactive approach to conversion like Christianity does. Hence the number of converts is small.”

        ‘Proactive approach’ is a bit of an understatement, citizen. Chavez went crazy on the Pope and called him a Holocaust denier when Benedict described the activities of the Christian missionaries in South America in similarly mild terms. The Christians may have more converts, but the number of survivors wasn’t great during earlier historical periods among those who didn’t see the light. That’s what happens when monotheism becomes political and spiritual heir to a diverse empire with a variety of eclectic deities and religious cults. Spreading Christian brotherhood and unity came at a price. Not unlike spreading American freedom.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:47 am

        True, Antidote. And remaining insular comes at a price too, right? Yet there are those who strenously advocate this too.

    • Mooser
      December 7, 2010, 5:00 pm

      Go tell it to the Israeli’s Witty, go tell it to the Israelis!

      Frankly, I think those Jews who have suffered, died and risked their children’s future on their stake in the Holy Land know a hell of a lot more about Judaism then you do.
      When you go and fight for Zion, you can have a say in what Judaism is. Until then, shut up.
      As for me, I see know reason why I shouldn’t believe those Rabbis who are right in the heart of the Jewish Holy Land. God will guide their hands to write the truth and their mouths to speak it.
      And if He occasionally guides their hands to their noses to pick out a big Kosher booger and guides their hand to their mouth after that, who are we to question His ways?

      • Psychopathic god
        December 7, 2010, 7:05 pm


      • eljay
        December 7, 2010, 7:07 pm

        >> As for me, I see know reason why I shouldn’t believe those Rabbis who are right in the heart of the Jewish Holy Land. God will guide their hands to write the truth and their mouths to speak it.
        >> And if He occasionally guides their hands to their noses to pick out a big Kosher booger and guides their hand to their mouth after that, who are we to question His ways?

        If this site offered a selection of “emoticon” icons, I’d offer up a couple of “thumbs up” to this post of yours. As it is, the best I can do is:
        LOL!! :-D

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:50 am

        “Mission accomplished,” the leader said. Jews are as naive as Gentiles.

  12. yourstruly
    December 7, 2010, 1:01 pm

    These racist rabbinical dictates merely demonstrate that the atavistic religious leadership has to be replaced. After all, ultra-orthodoxy aside, how many Jews have read even a word from the torah, how many Jews believe in a god, what percentage of Jews attend religious services? Who will replace these relics from the past? Jewish secular humanists aspiring as best one can to the you are I, I am you, we are one, that’s who. Where does this belief come from. From the collective history of humankind, that’s where.

    • Mooser
      December 7, 2010, 5:04 pm

      “Who will replace these relics from the past?”

      Please, don’t worry. I agree this atavistic religious leadership has outlived its usefulness. But don’t worry, Israel has a whole legion of purely secular ethno-fascists to replace them, and an entire generation of ignorant, mis-educated and emotionally damaged people to follow them. After all, you’ve seen “eee” posts, haven’t you? For that kind of ignorance you don’t need Rabbis.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:52 am

        Hey, the Christians are doing as well in maintaining there ignorance as a trophy. Hagee stew anyone?

  13. piotr
    December 7, 2010, 2:43 pm

    I do not know who has the correct interpretation of Judaism: the learned Rabbis who excomunicate Jews renting to Arabs (call them edict rabbis), or Richard Witty and some odd-balls like Rabbis for Human Rights (call them RfHR rabbis).

    I say odd-balls because they seem to be a minority. So perhaps they are the heretics, and the edict rabbis represent the right path, the orthodoxy. Does it matter? Yes, because Jews are defined, in part, by their religion, and the government of Israel is, in part, theocratic.

    As an agnostic, I cannot resolve the question of what interpretation of Torah and Talmud is correct. I bet that there is a ton of quotes that can be made by either side of the dispute. A religion is a living thing, however, and is defined by its theologians and adherents. My interpretation does not matter.

    The religion of the edict rabbis is a dark cult. It prescribes mean acts to non-believers, including murder and mass desctruction. It restricts moral precepts to the welfare of the tribe. This religion does not deserve tolerance. Are pogroms advisable? No pogroms are, but perhaps sanctions? Make donations “material support of terrorism”, and thus punishable? That may be a stretch, but designs in this direction could be advocated.

    To the degree that Israel is a theocratic state, with rabbis on the payrol and rabbis edict controling many aspects of life and policy, we need to know what is the religion of that state. The dark cult of edict rabbis or a more tolerant version of RfHR? I am afraid that RfHR have a scant impact on the State of Israel. And many aspects of policies of the State of Israel are totally incomprehensible if we are ignorant of their spiritual source: Judaism of the edict rabbis.

  14. piotr
    December 7, 2010, 2:55 pm

    eee observed that “edict rabbis” were condemned by the prime minister.

    Well, it does not quite resolve the issue. Netanyahu does not have the religious authority. What is the opinion of the top theocrats, like Yosef Ovadia? Do they excomunicate edict rabbis as heretics?

    On the other hand, RfHR Judaism is branded as heretic, its conversions are invalid. And policies like “Judaization” of Negev and East Jerusalem follow edict rabbis much closer than RfHR. Or turning Gaza into a combination of a zoo, hunting preserve and garbage dump for unwanted Goyim.

    • Citizen
      December 7, 2010, 4:16 pm

      Yep. As Witty says, there’s conflict to be found in the Torah on the issues discussed here; as well, there’s conflict to be found in the Talmud, which appears to me a sort of borrowed Socratic method gone insane. It is important to know whether a powerful state subscribes mainly to a particular form of any religion in practice or de jure. Check out the Sunnie versus Shia states. Check out the attempt to isolate some Islam from other Islam in positing terrorism. Check out Hagee/Scoville with King James version. They raise diffferent practical political implications that are dire. Religion is frightening when armed economically and/or economically.

      • Citizen
        December 7, 2010, 4:19 pm

        correx: Sunni, “when armed militarily and/or economically”

    • Mooser
      December 7, 2010, 5:07 pm

      “eee observed that “edict rabbis” were condemned by the prime minister.”

      Now isn’t that convenient! And since when haven’t religious “leaders” been used to promulgate politics which politicians can’t espouse publically? Haven’t you been watching the actions of “Evangelical” Christian leaders in the US? To name a current example.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 6:55 am

        Those evangelical Christian leaders–I rather watch anything else.

    • Potsherd2
      December 7, 2010, 7:10 pm

      The religious authority isn’t the point. It’s the legal authority.

      The rabbis need to be arrested for incitement. Laws have to be passsed against discrimination, and enforced. Landlords discriminating need to be arrested and heavily fined.

      And the riot police need to act forcefully against the mobs that will protest all this. Those large concentration camps will come in handy.

  15. Richard Witty
    December 7, 2010, 3:42 pm

    The rabbis’ interpretation is new.

    Prior to the formation of the state of Israel, the promised land was an ideal, not a material place.

    I had two disillusioning experiences in 1986 when I went to Israel, the “holy land”, and to visit my “guru”. It was that they were not ideal, but flesh, fallible, human, only vibrant in the way that they claimed to be IF they followed through on the very difficult responsibility of what it meant to be chosen.

    And, both failed grossly.

    The question when one confronts that an ideal isn’t currently what is proposed, is whether to reject or to commit and seek reform.

    And, the reform occurs in EVERY scale that one lives, starting with one’s most intimate relations (person to God/All/One, person to one’s self, person to intimates and family), and including all of one’s relations (business, community, political relations).

    There is no humane way to confront the rabbis except by their own language, references and authority. The fear of denying and/or opposing God, and the fear of denying and/or opposing Torah is stated as a primary Jewish religious motive. (The other is the love of God and Torah).

    So, if there is any possibility of error in discerning what is God’s will, I would hope that rabbis would undertake a great inquiry, rather than a great assertion.

    I am actively articulating my theme of “how do you know that x isn’t legally a Jew?” sincerely (not as a trouble-maker) among the proselytes that I know personally. It obviously causes some discomfort on their part, and conflicts with the rabbi’s letter.

    It can’t be propaganda. My skepticism is my means of finding what is God’s will (that term does have meaning to me, in the setting of “all my relations”). I undertake regular prayer, Torah study, self-inquiry to learn.

    I am concerned with the seeming bifurcation between deep and sincere prayer life juxtaposed with a less than deep ethical life that I’ve encountered in virtually all fanatic cults that I’ve encountered.

    • Mooser
      December 7, 2010, 5:10 pm

      “And, both failed grossly.”

      No! You don’t say? I wonder how on earth that happened? Why, it doesn’t seem possible! Must have been a fluke, if I were you, I would just ignore it and fasten my hopes and my moral agency on the next savior who comes around, it’s sure to work out this time.
      Remember Witty, people are capable of the most awful betrayals! I mean, Phil never bought the Chomsky-on-tape set, did he?

    • Citizen
      December 8, 2010, 7:01 am

      Witty, what do you mean by “God?” What do you mean by that noun’s will in the setting of “all my relations?” BTW, weren’t all regligions once viewed by the majority as fanatical cults? Is there something more hypocritical in a traditional religion or a cult?

  16. MHughes976
    December 7, 2010, 4:51 pm

    People of other religions will have to conclude that there is a dark, discriminatory streak within Judaism. They (we) need to remember that there are dark streaks within all traditions of thought, religious and other. And around all of these there is always a penumbra of people who wouldn’t quite go that far but for the sake of a quiet life would not Speak Out. We can only hope that the brighter streaks become more dominant, though it looks as if things are going the other way.

  17. olive
    December 7, 2010, 5:14 pm

    Something tells me that if these Rabbi’s were Muslims, they would be all over the Daily Show and the Young Turks.

  18. wondering jew
    December 7, 2010, 5:43 pm

    There are many dark strands existing in Orthodox Judaism and a few strands of light as well and efforts to emphasize the strands of light and interpret Halacha (Jewish law) in the direction of the strands of light is a process which will take time, which obviously does nothing about the acts and words spoken from the viewpoint of darkness in the meantime. Today on Israeli radio I heard Doniel Hartman in a short interview expounding the strands of light point of view and condemning the rabbis (of darkness) as representing their political views as pure Halacha, whereas in fact Halacha in this case is much more pliable than the rabbis (of darkness) would have one believe.

    I no longer observe Halacha, no longer believe in the divine origin of the Torah and am all too aware of the darkness point of view and the struggle that those who do observe Halacha but wish to build upon the strands of light point of view will have to battle in order to build a better future. Those who do not observe Halacha must also battle the negativity of those rabbis and it is no easy task.

    (I realize that the Palestinians have no reason to trust Israel, particularly the current government and I realize that to outsiders the 6 years that have passed since the death of Arafat which have been reasonably quiet regarding violent acts against Jews seems like a long time, to most Israeli Jews the second intifadeh was just yesterday and there is minimal trust. I have no idea how to build a trust that has never really existed. Certainly the background noise of rabbis who emphasize the dark strands of Halacha is a dismal place to start. May the beginning of a new moon and the lighting of candles at this dark time of year allow us a sliver of hope even if there is no rational reason.)

    • Richard Witty
      December 7, 2010, 6:53 pm

      There is light in Torah, and light in prayer.

      The figurative interpretation of both Torah and prayer, is the war within a person’s soul. (That is similar to the interpretation of the Bhavagad-Gita as an internal war, and not the literal historical war.)

      With the relevance of physical Israel now, there is the discontinuity of potentially regarding the land, the temple site, and regarding the people as worship of a thing, an idol. At most a means to an end, and even that is very questionable.

      The metaphor and the instructive are still respected scales of Torah interpretation.

      It is necessary though religiously, to be prepared to put Torah into practice in fact, and not just the imagined warring parts. I’m personally very impatient with the invocation of “remember what Amalek did to you” combined with the fantasy speculation of x people as Amalek.

      That IS what gives a fanatic, the permission to murder.

      Just as anyone could be a Jew halachically, anyone (including observant Jews) could be descendants of Amalek in some legal manner.

      What do you do with that? Kill and risk violation of the commandments, or love and risk personal and collective harm?

      • Richard Witty
        December 7, 2010, 6:54 pm

        I say, Love, but with some boundaries.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 7:06 am

        Well, that cleared it all up nicely. You mean like Israel’s boundaries?

      • Richard Witty
        December 8, 2010, 7:43 am

        Personal boundaries, though obviously the agreement to actual political boundaries is important unfinished business.

    • Mooser
      December 7, 2010, 7:45 pm

      “I have no idea how to build a trust that has never really existed.”

      It’s just baffling, isn’t it, Wondering? It’s just so hard for me to imagine not trusting the people who turned you out of your homes and murdered your people! What the hell is wrong with those people? Oh well, they’re Arabs, you know, very different from you or I, don’t you know.
      What is especially galling is that no progress will be made even after you and Witty have declared you don’t agree with the edict! How fricking stubborn can these Levantines be? I mean, Wondering Jew said he didn’t approve, shouldn’t that be enough?
      Wait a minute Fredman, I have an idea! Why don’t you tell your family on the settlements to tell the Arabs how you feel?
      I mean, if after that no trust can be built, why, I say nuke the little bastards! If they don’t trust you, I don’t trust them!

      Isn’t that funny, how Witty and Wondering (funny, I don’t think they are either of those) always do this: Whenever there’s a post about religious or political extremism is Israel, they always, without fail, post a comment saying “But I don’t think that!” as if that makes it all right. Even tho, of course, we have lot’s of comments from them showing that they indeed do. Oh well, they tried.

    • Mooser
      December 7, 2010, 7:48 pm

      “May the beginning of a new moon and the lighting of candles at this dark time of year allow us”

      “We have arrived at Unction Junction, the home of the philosopher Cant! All abored! All abored!”

      Tell me, Wondering, do the Gentiles swoon when you talk like that, or does it work on Jews. I’d be afraid to try it, but then again, I haven’t got the chutzpah inherent in a good ziocaine high.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 7:08 am

        Hallmark likes it.

    • annie
      December 7, 2010, 8:34 pm

      to most Israeli Jews the second intifadeh was just yesterday and there is minimal trust. I have no idea how to build a trust that has never really existed.

      the bottom line is it isn’t fair to wait until the oppressors trust to make change. sometimes you have have to move forward and do what’s right. everybody has reasons to mistrust. if the situation were reversed and it was israeli jews living for decades in camps and living under a brutal blockade and inhumane conditions everyone and their brother would be condemned for accepting this structure needed to remain in place until the 2 sides trusted eachother, and you damn well know it.

      “but we don’t trust jews and I have no idea how to build a trust and therefore let’s light some candles and ponder on that lack of trust for another few decades or whenever it is palestinians trust jews, then we will set them free”

      oh yeah, that makes all the sense in the world/not.

    • annie
      December 7, 2010, 8:52 pm

      i’m sorry wj, i realize i expressed myself wrt my frustration over your lack of solution although you’re not responsible for a solution more than the rest of us.

      i’m just finding this trust thing difficult to maneuver around. if it was all a matter of building trust it seems rather obvious those who wanted all the land of israel under israel’s control might aim to break down any chance or hope for trust as a means to that end. iow, building trust is not necessarily something that palestinians have that much control over.

      there’s no evidence this separation of people will build trust. trust is sometimes built by people working together against all odds. there needs to be an outside influence imposing solutions. israel is acting like an impertinent spoiled child and the first rule in parenting is to set boundaries.

      • wondering jew
        December 7, 2010, 10:02 pm

        I respect your general attitude and so I will be honest with you. There is a time for prayer and a time for action and in this circumstance the action needs to be taken by the United States and Barack Obama.

        I don’t know if you’ve been following the I/P conflict long enough to be aware of two names in Israeli opinion pages: Zeev Schiff and Yossi Alpher. I once said that if I were Prime Minister I would choose Schiff to be my Defense Minister and Alpher to be my Foreign Minister; that is that I would want to have both around me to help me reach my decisions and Schiff was the more defense oriented of the two and so he would whisper in my right ear (so to speak) and Alpher in my left ear. Schiff died a few years ago and there is no one who has replaced him for the cautious side of the equation and recently Alpher has reached the conclusion that Israel will not end the occupation on its own and thus he has moved into the group that calls for outside pressure to force an end to the occupation. He called this a very painful conclusion and indeed it must be for him. (He is older than me and an expert and thus has devoted most of his life to defense of Israel, so my pain is certainly much less than his and I follow him, not blindly, but almost like a disciple follows a leader. I feel unsure because I lack the balance that a Schiff would have provided, but nonetheless I’m just an individual and so I feel a bit freer than a prime minister and endorse what he has to say.)

        link to

        In what can only be described as a balancing act he feels the fact that the PLO has progressed in establishing institutions of statehood (primarily security) means that by next fall they will come to the UN looking for recognition and the US must play it right, not giving into Israeli demands for a veto, but not getting too far ahead of the curve either and thus using the UN as a means to turn the conflict into a state to state negotiation and thus to make the conflict negotiable.

        The title of the article is “Still not too late to change course” and although it is certainly much more solid than my prayer (which is a type of desperation), it certainly seems like a very difficult maneuvering necessary by the United States.

        Here is a paragraph that gives some insight into his thinking that the UN route is an opportunity.

        “An opportunity, because creation of a Palestinian state by the UN could, if handled intelligently, turn the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a state-to-state negotiation over borders, security, water and the fate of settlements, with the deal-breaking issues of refugee right-of-return and “who owns the Temple Mount/Harem al-Sharif” postponed and put into proportion. Israel could leverage its readiness to contemplate this scenario into real strategic advantages in its relations with the US and even with several Arab countries, while Washington could leverage its readiness not to veto such a solution in the Security Council into major Arab concessions to Israel. The PLO appears to agree to postpone the deal-breaking issues unilaterally and cease holding the entire process hostage to them, in a way that it cannot be seen to be doing at the bilateral level.”

        There are people who are doing the heavy lifting of actually trying to figure out a path out of this mess and Yossi Alpher is one of them and I advise you and all those who are serious students of the conflict to read this article and to follow his comments.

      • annie
        December 7, 2010, 11:24 pm

        thank you very much WJ, i will definitely read your link. i am very open to alternate forms of engagement. thanks again for taking the time writing such a thorough post.

      • annie
        December 7, 2010, 11:47 pm

        that’s a friggin awesome link WJ. it deserves front page coverage. Yossi Alpher eh, never heard of him before.

        But all this will become a major crisis if the US, bowing to Israeli demands, ends up vetoing this two-state solution, thereby prompting tension with the Arab world and a new outbreak of Palestinian violence. Or if Washington withholds its veto without prior coordination with Israel, thereby deepening Jerusalem’s isolation and international de-legitimization.

        There are people who are doing the heavy lifting of actually trying to figure out a path out of this mess and Yossi Alpher is one of them

        y’know, at the bottom of my heart i do believe there are good people in israel who want a fair solution to this. people who really are trying. i’ve said time and again zionism is not my target. if you can make it work somehow i’d be down with it. the problem w/zionism is it’s seemingly endless brutal appetite and the exclutivity factor. but i think there are good zionists who just want to live in peace and have a jewish state. i don’t agree with them (the need for it) but that’s not my priority. my priority is finding a solution.

        All this is far too little. But it’s not too late, if only someone in Washington wakes up.-

        i agree, it is washington. we have the power and the knowhow, we just have to apply. obama would have to massively jeoprodize his second term but it would be sooo worth it. i’m just hoping there are enough people in israel (like others keep saying there are) who would ease this along. it can be done WJ. it can even be done w/massive trade offs wrt settlers and ror. it can absolutely be done we just need to uproot this standstill mentality both in DC and in israel. we need to move it forward and now is the right time.

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2010, 7:13 am

        How to do this, Annie, in Washington? Too many Sheldon Adelsons leave their tracks there. No Phils at all there.

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