Hostages to Zionism

Israel/Palestine
on 247 Comments

The popular uprising in Egypt that unseated President Hosni Mubarak, together with Al Jazeera’s January 23rd release of the “Palestine Papers,” have produced if not an earthquake, then certainly seismic rumblings in the ground supporting Israel’s control of the West Bank (from within) and Gaza (from without). The plight of the Palestinians is not what motivated Egyptians to take to the streets – yet the complicity of the Mubarak government with the siege of Gaza certainly stuck in the craw of the Egyptian people. Similarly, the Al Jazeera revelations that negotiators for the Palestinian Authority had effectively ceded East Jerusalem to Israel and relinquished the right of return for Palestinian refugees would have only reinforced Egyptians’ conviction that the promised Palestinian State has been a snare and a delusion perpetrated by the U.S.-Israel-Jordan-Egypt alliance.

It is a sure bet that any spillover from Tahrir Square into the streets of Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus or Bethlehem will be quickly repressed by the Palestinian Authority. But the future of the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza as well as the millions of Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories and throughout the world does not rest with the actions of the client government installed in Ramallah. Rather, the fate of these people –as well of the close to eight million citizens of Israel, is been held hostage to the assumptions and requirements of political Zionism. More than territory and borders, the issue of demography is the key to this conflict. The question of return of refugees has been a red line for Israelis because the introduction of so many non-Jews would spell “the end of Israel.” And so it would, as long as its future is tied to the Zionist idea of a Jewish state. But recognition is dawning that a just and equitable sharing of the territory will mean, not the end of Israel, but its only hope for a future. The release of the Palestinian Authority documents is a further sign that the path to peace requires a confrontation with Zionism itself as a political enterprise. But even within the progressive camp, this realization has been slow in coming. When Peter Beinart’s “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” appeared in the New York Review of Books in June 2010, it caused a considerable stir: here was a young Jewish intellectual boldly challenging the human rights record of the State of Israel. But Beinart’s subject was not Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Rather, he was addressing the failure of the American Jewish establishment to successfully promote Zionism as a viable political program. The piece opens with this declaration: “Saving liberal Zionism in the United States—so that American Jews can help save liberal Zionism in Israel—is the great American Jewish challenge of our age.” To this Jewish American, this is an astonishing statement, and it is tragically off the mark. 

Born in the heady years after the establishment of the state, I grew up believing that Israel was the key to Jewish survival. But I would suggest that preserving Zionism is not the challenge facing Jews today. Rather, our task is to rescue Judaism from an ideology that has hijacked the faith, continues to fuel global conflict, and has produced one of the most systematic and longstanding violations of human rights in the world today. Despite its romantic attachment to the idea of the “new Jew” — a Jew liberated from the powerlessness and humiliation of the ghetto — in reality Zionism has served to keep Jews trapped in an isolationist, exclusivist past. We must challenge a historical narrative that has yoked us to a theology of territoriality and tribal privilege. We must acknowledge how deep is the hole we have dug for ourselves in the pursuit of our national homeland project.

But it is not for the Jews alone to resolve this crisis. Rather, the grim prospect of Israel spinning rapidly into rogue state status challenges people from all faiths and nationalities to confront sectarian and particularistic strivings wherever they hold the political process hostage.

This is not the challenge that being thrown down by Beinart, however. Instead, he is proposing that rather than questioning the legitimacy of Zionism, we shore it up. Beinart never considers the possibility that Zionism itself is a flawed ideology. Instead, he operates on the assumption that if only Zionism could be implemented in its true democratic and liberal spirit, meaningful change could be created and things would work out. “Yes, we have erred, we have strayed,” — so goes the argument – “but because we are heirs to a liberal, humanistic tradition, we can make this work — and our work deserves to be crowned with success.”

According to Beinart, bad actors have sabotaged the noble enterprise. The problem, he maintains, lies with overtly racist politicians like Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who proposes transfer of non-Jews (and who recently pushed through the Knesset the targeting of Israeli human rights organizations for special investigations), and ex-cabinet minister Effi Eitam, who wants Arabs out of Israeli politics. Here we have the classic straw man maneuver – very much like progressive Israeli and non-Israeli Jews blaming the “radical fringe” of the settler movement for Israel’s human rights abuses and the “mistake” of the occupation. But settler depredations, permanent occupation of Palestinian lands, brutal suppression of popular resistance, racial laws governing loyalty and land ownership, and de facto second class citizenship for Arabs in Israel are not accidents or unfortunate deviations from Israel’s democratic agenda. The government of Israel is doing precisely what a Jewish state has to do to maintain its Jewish character. Ethnic cleansing and military control of a subject population (also known as Apartheid) have emerged as the only means to address the threat to Israel’s continued existence as a sovereign Jewish state. The abhorrent concept of the Arab “demographic threat” is embraced in Israel by racist demagogues and centrist politicians alike. The sobering truth is that for Israel the line between racist demagoguery and government policy has all but disappeared.

But for the Jewish progressive, the idea that Zionism itself is the problem is unacceptable. A different enemy must be found — and Israel’s fundamentalist Jewish establishment presents itself as the most convenient. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party is the poster child for those who bemoan Israel’s threatened descent into fascism. Last October Jewish voices the world over issued horrified condemnations when a group of Israeli rabbis, backed by Yosef, issued rulings against renting to non-Jews. Even the Anti-Defamation League’s arch-conservative Director Abraham Foxman weighed in against the “hateful and divisive ideas” of these religious leaders. Lamenting Shas’ growing boldness and influence, Beinart warns against this threat to Israel’s “liberal and democratic order.” The point, however, bears repeating: Shas and Israel’s other religious parties are not unfortunate byproducts of democracy – rather, they are firmly entrenched in Israel’s political structure. Despite its initial conflict with political Zionism, Jewish fundamentalism has shown itself to be frighteningly compatible with the goal of building a Jewish state. 

Quoted in a recent article in New York Jewish Week, Beinart expresses concern that his children may have to choose between “blind support” of Israel and their liberal values. But as Jews – and Americans — we do have to choose. Accepting Zionism as a workable, sustainable political program is a kind of blindness. It calls for a striking lapse in critical thinking and the jettisoning of fundamental humanistic principles, and it leads to the political dead end in which we find ourselves today. Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah,” (“The Hope”) embodies the Zionist dream and ethos: “The hope of two thousand years, to be a free nation in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” This yearning is understandable and it is powerful. But I would propose to Beinart and those progressive Jews who cling to this dream that they replace it with one more in tune with the trajectory of history, which points away from nationalism, and certainly from ethnic nationalism. Zionism held a kind of desperate logic for the Jews of 19th century Europe, and seemed valid in the historical and ideological context of the time – but it is wrong and unsustainable today. Only when Israel itself, and the Jewish community that supports it, can begin to let go of these anachronistic strivings can we turn ourselves to the task of recreating Israel as a political entity truly committed to democratic and liberal principles. The late and deeply mourned Tony Judt got it exactly right in his NYRB piece back in 2003: “The problem with Israel, in short, is not—as is sometimes suggested—that it is a European ‘enclave’ in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a “Jewish state”—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded—is rooted in another time and place.”

In his recent book, The Icarus Syndrome, A History of American Hubris, Beinart warns against “pushing ideas further and further, until, like a swelled balloon, they burst.” We have arrived at that bursting point. The end of Zionism will not be the disaster that so many Jews – and some Christians — fear. Rather, it will open the Jewish people to a future where the Other is embraced, rather than back to a past in which armies are mustered, walls are built, and enemies, real and imagined, are vilified and attacked. “Saving” Zionism by trying to make it into something it is not takes us in precisely the wrong direction.

Mark Braverman is author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land, Synergy Press, 2010. His blog is “The Politics of Hope.”

About Mark Braverman

Mark Braverman serves on the Advisory Board of Friends of Sabeel North America and is National Program Director for Kairos USA. He is the author of A Wall in Jerusalem: Hope, Healing, and the Struggle for Justice in Israel and Palestine, Jericho Books, 2013.

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247 Responses

  1. MRW
    February 14, 2011, 9:13 am

    Wonderful.

  2. James North
    February 14, 2011, 9:22 am

    This is a terrific post. One of the most powerful lines is:

    But settler depredations, permanent occupation of Palestinian lands, brutal suppression of popular resistance, racial laws governing loyalty and land ownership, and de facto second class citizenship for Arabs in Israel are not accidents or unfortunate deviations from Israel’s democratic agenda.

    • David Samel
      February 14, 2011, 4:09 pm

      Amen, James. That sentence is the crux of the article. Lieberman, Eitam, and Yosef may be an especially ugly side of Zionism, but they are Zionism taken to its logical extreme rather than corruptions of a noble ideal.

  3. eee
    February 14, 2011, 10:21 am

    The usual Utopian discourse which has almost zero support among Israeli Jews.

    The trouble with Utopians is that they never lead from the front. If you are against nationalism, why aren’t you for making the US and Mexico one country? The Utopians always want to test their ideas on someone else. Would you support making Gaza part of the Egyptian state? Isn’t Palestinian nationalism an anachronism also?

    • Potsherd2
      February 14, 2011, 11:14 am

      We KNOW that justice has almost zero support among Israeli Jews. This is the problem.

      It’s like saying “Integration has almost zero support among Southern whites,” so give up on it. “Ending apartheid has almost zero support among South African whites,” so it’s a lost cause.

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 11:21 am

        “Justice”, like in Sudan, will take the form of two separate states.
        The situation in Israel/Palestine is like the situation in Belgium, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Sudan, Indonesia/East Timor. And the remedy will be like in those cases, the creation of multiple countries.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 11:50 am

        Sudan wasn’t a country formed by Eurocentric colonists hell-bent on eradicating all native life. Needless to say, comparing the acts of wild-eyed, violent, immigrant colonists with a presumed divine mandate to create an ethnocracy and make non-Jews into second class citizens, doesn’t really have a current analog in Europe.

      • talknic
        February 14, 2011, 12:14 pm

        eee February 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

        “The situation in Israel/Palestine is like the situation in Belgium, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Sudan, Indonesia/East Timor. And the remedy will be like in those cases, the creation of multiple countries”

        That was done when Israel declared..the problem now is, that Israel fails to recognize it’s borders. The one’s it recognized May 22nd 1948 and June 15th 1949 in statements to the UNSC. link to wp.me

      • eljay
        February 14, 2011, 12:27 pm

        >> That was done when Israel declared..the problem now is, that Israel fails to recognize it’s borders. The one’s it recognized May 22nd 1948 and June 15th 1949 in statements to the UNSC.

        Uh-oh, you’ve asked for it now! Prepared to be assaulted by “common sense” and San Remo! ;-)

      • fuster
        February 14, 2011, 12:59 pm

        “….hell-bent on eradicating all native life.”

        you really have to cut back on the bilious and nonsensical parts of your comments, they cheapen the better things that you have to say.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 1:20 pm

        I’d bet five bucks that fuster is another sock puppet, if I could. What do you say, YoYo?

      • fuster
        February 14, 2011, 2:35 pm

        well, buck up, maybe someday you’ll have five dollars to bet.
        maybe if you do all your chores real well, you can ask for a bigger allowance.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 4:57 pm

        What I wouldn’t give to have the chance to compare IP addresses on the back end and confirm that you really are the same ugly troll we’ve come to know and love.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:03 pm

        “Justice”, like in Sudan, will take the form of two separate states.

        Yeah, I’m sure Israel is going to let the Palestinians vote for independence and get it.

        But you deserve credit for admitting that Israel stands in the way of justice.

        The situation in Israel/Palestine is like the situation in Belgium, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Sudan, Indonesia/East Timor.

        Yugoslavia and Indonesia/East Timor required international peace keepers and or NATO involvement. Is that what you';re proposing?

      • pjdude
        February 14, 2011, 10:22 pm

        Um no the siuation is nothing at all like like those. these were states that were created by combining independent territories together that than had friction. Palestine is one where foriegn people with no right to the territory came to take land to create a state that had never existed.

    • Chaos4700
      February 14, 2011, 11:32 am

      I wasn’t aware that basic human rights constituted “Utopian discourse.” Are you suggesting that in order to be a Zionist Jew, one must pilot armored bulldozers and F-16s laden with cluster bombs?

    • Citizen
      February 14, 2011, 12:42 pm

      Eee, a state is the particular legal governing apparatus over a piece of land with set borders that are recognized by the world community, including by legal contracts and treaties as between states.
      A nation is all the inhabitants of that specified land, an aggregate of all its recognized citizens. The US and Mexico are two separate such states, and Egypt is another separate state. Gaza is not such a separate state. This current situation is not Utopian; it’s simply obective reality. Your first premise is a red herring because nobody is against nationalism. Nobody here is arguing in favor of turning the world into Antartica, a natural piece of land with no such self-governing regime and no such nationality. Israel is a state with so specified borders, those it declared itself in 1948 on 57% of the former mandate Palestine, quickly rubber-stamped by the UN majority on condition subsequent those that fled due to dread would be ASAP allowed to return, and the Israeli nation is composed of those denizens thereof– all properly Israeli citizens. Internal second-class citizenship is regressive, whether involving a largely homogeneous nation, such as Egypt, or significantly less so, for example, the former S Africa, or Israel; and settling a selected portion of its citizens on land separate from Israel per se is illegal under current international law and by the consensus of all states in the world–except Israel, the perpretrator.

      • eljay
        February 14, 2011, 1:33 pm

        >> Citizen @ February 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm

        Nice summary of facts, Citizen. It’s a shame that eee’s hateful, Zio-supremacist mind will filter all of it out and conclude only that you hate Jews and wish to destroy Israel. He refers to these mental powers of his as “common sense”.

    • Shingo
      February 14, 2011, 6:00 pm

      The usual Utopian discourse which has almost zero support among Israeli Jews.

      It’s not Utopian is as basic and real as it gets. The argument that Israeli Jews don’t agree is about as meaningful as asking if Nazi’s agreed with Nuremberg.

      If you are against nationalism, why aren’t you for making the US and Mexico one country

      Did you miss the argument made by Tony Judd? And who in Mexico and the US wants that anyway?

      Isn’t Palestinian nationalism an anachronism also?

      You Hasbarats need to make up your mind. Doesn’t your Hasbara state that Palestinian nationalism only 40 years old?

    • Mark Braverman
      February 16, 2011, 5:28 pm

      Many Palestinians I know are not big on Palestinian nationalism. They see it as a response to occupation and ethnic cleansing. They are not wild about the idea of a state. It’s just what they see as the solution that’s on the table (or was, sort of, not really, but that’s another topic).

  4. robertjprince
    February 14, 2011, 11:04 am

    thanks Mark Braverman.

    as for `eee’s comments: cheap shot and inaccurate, bordering on nonsense.

    • eee
      February 14, 2011, 11:16 am

      Ok, prove me wrong, where else except in Israel are anti-nationalists campaigning for abolishing the national state? Are you guys campaigning to keep Belgium one country? Are you campaigning to reunite the former Yugoslavia? The former Czechoslovakia? Are you against the result of the referendum in Sudan in which 99% voted for partitioning the country?

      If history shows us anything, it is that the one state solution is the anachronism.

      • Philip Weiss
        February 14, 2011, 11:19 am

        i’ve always had a soft spot for partition eee, for this reason, because of warring groups. but the partition ideas here are very unfair and strike me as leading only to more violence. basically 90 percent of the territory to one group, and the other territory in chunks.

      • Kathleen
        February 14, 2011, 12:36 pm

        Phil this is ot but heard a few MSM folks whisper about the conflict between the State Dept (Clinton/Wisner I believe ) and Obama about the message to Mubarak. Not many folks talking about this

      • Philip Weiss
        February 14, 2011, 12:37 pm

        ok but i dont know about that galt, gotta write what i know about

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 12:42 pm

        Phil,

        Partitions do some times lead to war but even more so can be said about one state solutions that not one of the nationalities involved wants.

        Israel cannot force a solution on the Palestinians. But neither can the Palestinians or anyone else force a solution upon the Jews. What is required is an historical compromise with which none of the sides will be happy with but accept it as the least worse option. As to what the compromise is, it is naive to think that what happened in the last 60 years and the relevant strengths of the parties will not influence it.

      • Philip Weiss
        February 14, 2011, 12:52 pm

        if more of The Jews, including many Israelis, stop believing in the necessity of a Jewish state and start preferring democracy to unending war, it will have quite an effect on the outcome. This is why I always ask my American Jewish freinds, do you believe you need a Jewish state to retreat to in case the weather turns, as Herzl once put it? Why dont you live there now then? How’s it going on w. 96th street for you? And if the fear is some looming wayoff antisemitism, well is it fair to warehouse a large piece of land against that day and deny the rights of the people born on its soil to return there? (let alone what you’re doing to my country’s foreign policy)

      • talknic
        February 14, 2011, 1:09 pm

        eee February 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm

        ” Israel cannot force a solution on the Palestinians. But neither can the Palestinians or anyone else force a solution upon the Jews.”

        We got our solution. Our very own Homeland State of Israel, declared on all our behalves May 14th 1948 “within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947″ according to the Israeli Government on May 15th 1948.

        “What is required is an historical compromise”

        What is required is that Israel adhere to the Law and it’s own obligations according to it’s own statements and stop expecting the Palestinians to accept anything less than their full, legal and legitimate rights under the Laws Israel obliged itself to.

      • annie
        February 14, 2011, 1:35 pm

        eee, just read this @ in embedded

        All studies indicate that support for the democratic system in Israel is fading. A democracy can’t exist against the people’s will. The Knesset identifies the trend and is busy legislating anti-democratic and racist laws. Demographic changes show that the three groups who object to democracy are growing rapidly: the ultra orthodox, national-religious, and secular-fascist (who are lead by Libermann). The rest of the Israeli public is indifferent to these developments and will not fight them effectively. Israel might continue calling itself a democracy but de-facto it will cease being one.

        The alleged Chinese proverb and curse, ‘May you live in interesting times,’ is in my book a blessing. Show me one person who doesn’t want to experience history in the making and I’ll show you a unicorn in a zoo near you.”

        What is required is an historical compromise with which none of the sides will be happy with but accept it as the least worse option.

        something tells me you are missing ‘history in the making’. there’s simply no evidence right now israel is anywhere near a ‘historical compromise’. while world events and perceptions are moving in one direction israel’s trajectory seems bent on the other. under those circumstances it seems likely the framework your logic i operating thru is in need of adjustment.

      • Richard Witty
        February 14, 2011, 1:37 pm

        I think the onus is the other way. The single state proposal is a revolution. If there is a compelling need for revolution, that is genuinely best for all parties, then so be it.

        If there is an approach that is more just than the revolution proposed, and that is close, then flirting with revolution is a cruelty.

        You nurture the assumption that nationalism and democracy are incompatible.

        I liken it to having a body. I cannot be universalistic so long as I prefer my own personal safety to another’s. (I am such a wimp that I actually do defer to others’ safety, with limits. But, a change for me happened when I had children, when my own health was a means to fulfill my responsibility to others, more than just self-interest.)

        The 6 million Jews in Israel now, are mostly comprised of children and grandchildren of refugees, refugees from post-war Europe, and refugees from the mostly Arab diaspora.

        THEY determine if they need a Jewish state, and they have overwhelmingly determined that they do, and desire it. You don’t. You don’t have to.

        You stating that American Jews should object to Israel’s right to exist as it is, is intrusive, offensively so. Its beyond questioning for yourself, and it is beyond questioning to what extent the US should ally with Israel.

        The willingness to impose one’s own ideology onto others, is what characterized neo-conservatism.

        It is up to Israelis to determine how they will associate and live.

        That there is a progressive political approach that allows Israeli Jews to self-govern and allows Palestinians to self-govern should be the groove, the road.

        We are talking about what we are working towards. Your complaint that the current Israeli regime carves up Bantustans is a different question than the one of what you are working for.

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 1:45 pm

        Phil,

        You are asking your Jewish friends an unfair and irrelevant question. The Jewish state as a refuge for Jews is just one reason for its existence. Plus, if suddenly things change, and the US becomes a little dangerous for Jews, would you suddenly change your mind and say that a Jewish state is important?

      • Citizen
        February 14, 2011, 3:02 pm

        Eee, wasn’t the UN recognition of the self-declared state of Israel forced upon the whole Arab world, and most specifically upom the native Palestinians, who weren’t even represented in the vote? The swing vote was coherced by the US and, partnering Australia if memory serve, by pressuring their respective tiny hostage “states,” which were totally economically dependent on them. So too, the US could easily today coherce Israel into a solution that would satisfy the Palestinians. If the US so stepped forward, the EU and other influential entities and states, including the UN Sec Council (all but the US favoring condemnation of Israeli settlements right now), would back it up. Israel is not exactly powerful like the USSR was in 1945. The result would be nobody important would hate the USA and the Middle East would be more balanced, a win for everyone around the world. Until the US so step forward, and backs it up with real public threat of dropping aid to Israel and dismantling the matrix enmeshment constituting the “special relationship,” nothing that really needs to will change.

      • kapok
        February 14, 2011, 3:09 pm

        The Jewish state as a refuge for Jews is just one reason for its existence.

        What’s another?

      • eljay
        February 14, 2011, 3:33 pm

        >> … if suddenly things change, and the US becomes a little dangerous for Jews, would you suddenly change your mind and say that a Jewish state is important?

        And what if things don’t change, and the US doesn’t become a little dangerous for Jews, would you suddenly change your mind and say that a Jewish state is not important? No, of course not, because that scenario doesn’t provide the sense of victimhood necessary to justify the illegal and immoral activities being carried out in the name of Zio-supremacism.

      • Sumud
        February 14, 2011, 3:44 pm

        Plus, if suddenly things change, and the US becomes a little dangerous for Jews, would you suddenly change your mind and say that a Jewish state is important?

        You mean like Iraq suddenly became dangerous in the early 1950s when the Mossad started bombing synagogues? Watch out Phil.

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 3:53 pm

        The US cannot coerce Israel to accept a solution just as it can’t coerce the Palestinians who are much weaker to accept a solution. You are living in a dream world. Dropping the aid will only make the US position weaker.

      • wondering jew
        February 14, 2011, 3:55 pm

        Phil, why pick the number 90% when a nice round number like 80% is much closer to the actual number and would make your statement much nearer to the truth (11% nearer to the truth) than your original statement?

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 4:00 pm

        “What’s another?”

        The Jewish state mainly exists because there are enough Jews that want it to exist. It is as simple as that, and if you don’t like it, that it why we have the IDF so that all you can do about it is not buy Israeli products in the supermarket and write letters to your representative.

      • annie
        February 14, 2011, 4:01 pm

        if …. US becomes a little dangerous for Jews, would you suddenly change your mind and say that a Jewish state is important?

        you mean if some arab equivalent of of marty peretz (or wait, do we even have any arab publisher/pundits who are racist scumbags) were to suggest jews weren’t worthy of first amendment and the right was demonstrating against building synagogues in nyc and popular papers like the nyt and wapo were hosting editorials seriously wondering about jewish houses of worship?

        it may interest you to know many ethnicities in this country have burdens to cross due to racist fundies propped up by powerful lobbiests…..like aipac for example.

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 4:11 pm

        Annie,

        Come on, this is so ridiculous. Israel has a strong and vibrant democracy and 60% or so of people define themselves as secular. The national religious are certainly democratic and the Lieberman supporters are no less democratic than your 100 million evangelicals. The Ultra Orthodox are roughly the same percentage as they were 60 years ago because so many of them leave this way of life and become either secular or national religious. The anti-democratic changes you talk about, if they ever happen and I very much doubt it, will take generations. And in any case, you are falling into the same trap that you accuse others, you are blaming Israelis of being unfit for democracy while ignoring our 60 year track record.

      • kapok
        February 14, 2011, 4:54 pm

        I know you’re self-righteous assholes with lots of guns, but that’s not a reason-for-existence.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 4:55 pm

        Plus, if suddenly things change, and the US becomes a little dangerous for Jews, would you suddenly change your mind and say that a Jewish state is important?

        The only scenario in which that becomes at all likely is a major rift between the US and Israel due to some particularly heinous and/or nefarious act by Israel. In which case, Israel would be the LAST place that American Jews would want to go for safety. Without a big brother, Israel is just a highly armed but still quite tiny bully. If it pisses off its benefactors as well its really the worse place for anyone to be. That’s the problem with being the bully on the block, IDF or no IDF.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 4:59 pm

        If you’re such a strong and vibrant democracy, eee, why is it necessary to keep out the Arab families you drove off with guns and land mines and such? I’d guess you’d have to be secular, considering Israeli culture habitually covets thy neighbors goods.

      • piotr
        February 14, 2011, 5:13 pm

        Hm. Usually, when there is a compelling reason for a revolution it is manifestly not good for “all parties”. French Revolution was not good for Bourbons and the Third Estate alike.

        Concerning the issue of Israel, surprisingly many “defenders” claim that if you deny Israel to do A, B, C etc. you effectively deny her the right to exists (and go to the rank of “objectively anti-Semitic”). And the list of A, B, C etc. is a list of horrors.

        There are 3 responses. One is that the horrors are unnecessary and Israel should exist without them, not least, for her own good. Hence the dream solution is “good for everybody”.

        The second response believes that the horrors are necessary or at least, unavoidable in the political system of Israel, and then we conclude that we have to get rid of A, B, C etc. and Israel besides.

        The third response is to find A, B, C the most beautiful aspect of Israel. We are the New Jews!

        I appreciate that Witty is a Zionist dissident, basically, sharing with the rest of us the label “Islamists and Leftist”, but I respectfuly disagree with claims like “It is up to Israelis to determine how they will associate and live”. There are some universal norms, even if only hypocritically upheld, and there is no reason to object less to Israeli abuses than to Iranian abuses or Syrian. E.g. in 21sth century we can do better than dispatching assassins left and right.

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 5:42 pm

        “I know you’re self-righteous assholes with lots of guns, but that’s not a reason-for-existence.”

        The major reason the Jewish state exists is because we want it to exist. A large enough number of Jews want a state and therefore it exists. Why is that so difficult to understand? There is really no more reason required. The US exists because most of its citizens want it to exist. Same with Israel.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 5:55 pm

        The major reason the Jewish state exists is because we want it to exist.

        So everything that Israel entails — the Lavon affair, USS Liberty, Rachel Corrie, Operation Cast Lead, Operation Wrath of God, the theft of land by force of arms — that’s something that you want, explicitly. Hundreds of villages erased, hundreds of children slaughtered, hundreds of tons of trade goods and relief supplies confiscated… you want that.

        Thanks for the confirmation. Duly noted.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:11 pm

        What is required is an historical compromise with which none of the sides will be happy with but accept it as the least worse option.

        First of all, why not a referrendum where everyone in the region gets to vote on a 1 or 2 state option?

        Secondly, given that Israel has all the cards and 100% of US support, how do you expect a historical compromise to come about?

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:19 pm

        If there is an approach that is more just than the revolution proposed, and that is close, then flirting with revolution is a cruelty.

        Cruelty is how Israel was created. Are you suggesting Israel be dismantled?

        You nurture the assumption that nationalism and democracy are incompatible.

        Ethnocentric nationalism and democracy are incompatible. indeed.

        THEY determine if they need a Jewish state, and they have overwhelmingly determined that they do, and desire it. You don’t. You don’t have to.

        Except that there are 500,000 outside that Jewish state who have no regard for the people who’s land they’ve stolen. And yes, we do have to.

        You stating that American Jews should object to Israel’s right to exist as it is, is intrusive, offensively so.

        Bu there is nothing intrusive or offensive about military occupation, ethnic cleansing, home demolitions and mass murder, so long as you “hold your nose” and remember that it’s for a “good in the world”.

        The willingness to impose one’s own ideology onto others, is what characterized neo-conservatism.

        You mean as insisting that everyone recognize Israel as a Jewish state? I guess that explains why neo-conservatives are obsessed with Israel Witty.

        It is up to Israelis to determine how they will associate and live.

        Within Israel’s 1948 borders yes and that includes the Arab population.

        We are talking about what we are working towards.

        Who’s we? Certainly not the Israeli leadership (Kadima and Likud)

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:23 pm

        The Jewish state as a refuge for Jews is just one reason for its existence.

        Except that the presence of the majority of the world’s Jews outside of Israel (64 years after it was created) kinda debunks the idea that a refuge is needed.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:26 pm

        The US cannot coerce Israel to accept a solution just as it can’t coerce the Palestinians who are much weaker to accept a solution.

        False.

        The Palestinian Papers prove that the US did in fact coerce the Palestinians to accept a solution.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:28 pm

        It is as simple as that, and if you don’t like it, that it why we have the IDF so that all you can do about it is not buy Israeli products in the supermarket and write letters to your representative.

        The reason you have the IDF is because the Israeli lobby has corrupted and compromised Congress to give it to you. The IDF after all, is simply a massive pile of hardware that Israelis operate.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 6:32 pm

        wj,

        Phil, why pick the number 90% when a nice round number like 80% is much closer to the actual number and would make your statement much nearer to the truth (11% nearer to the truth) than your original statement?

        90% is a much closer number to the actual percentage of land controlled and “owned” by Israel. 78% of Mandate Palestine is the part claimed within the green line, but Israel is also in control of nearly half of the West Bank with its settlements, and, as Phil said, the rest of the territory is “in chunks”.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:37 pm

        Israel has a strong and vibrant democracy and 60% or so of people define themselves as secular. 

        But the 40% who don’t control the place. There are not 100 million evangelicals in the US (more like 20 million) but they are lunatics, so I appreciate your admission that Israel is run by mad men.

        you are blaming Israelis of being unfit for democracy while ignoring our 60 year track record.

        No one is ignoring your 60 year track record eee.  Your 60 year track record is 60 years of ethnocentric, apartheid fascism that is becoming increasingly worse.

      • Ellen
        February 14, 2011, 6:44 pm

        The Ultra Orthodox, and specifically of Haredi Judaism, is the fastest growing religious group in the world and in the US and UK much larger than 60 years ago. And estimated, even by Israeli demographers, that before 2050 the Israeli majority will be mostly Haredi Ultra Orthodox. For those who do go beyond the very Orthodox way of life, they pay a high price of rejection from community and family. Few leave.

        This development brings ongoing and rapid change to the nature or even sustainability of Israel’s “strong and vibrant democracy.”

        (Do you get that language “strong and vibrant” out of a manual?)

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 7:53 pm

        Good point Ellen,

        The rise of the Haredi will create a huge burden on Israeli society, as before long, there will be one Israeli worker for ever 4 Haredi on welfare.

      • dbroncos
        February 14, 2011, 9:05 pm

        “…it is beyond questioning to what extent the US should ally with Israel.”

        Questioning our alliance with Israel is exactly what Americans should be doing. The alliance damages our moral credibility vis-a-vis Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians and it undermines our national security by encouraging resentment and violence against Americans. What does Israel offer the US? A ‘never again’ refuge for concerned Jewish Americans? This seems to be the central nugget of the alliance and the justifications for it are thin especially since ‘never again’ is never mentioned in connection to legitimate Palestinian grievances.

      • MRW
        February 14, 2011, 9:27 pm

        Plus, if suddenly things change, and the US becomes a little dangerous for Jews, would you suddenly change your mind and say that a Jewish state is important?

        After 400 years, things are going to get “a little dangerous for Jews” in the US? Why? What could Jews possibly do now to provoke that?

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 10:06 pm

        …it is beyond questioning to what extent the US should ally with Israel.

        Good point dbroncos.

        It might be instructive to ask Witty to elaborate as to what he believes the extent that this alliance should be. Evidently, he hasn’t heeded George Washington’s warning about foreign entanglements.

      • pjdude
        February 14, 2011, 10:30 pm

        the last worst option is what you oppose. the least worst option is creating what should have been in the first place what those you have atatcked and stolen from wanted in the first place but wasn’t good enough because your religion wasn’t given special fake rights. a secular democracy with one person one vote.

      • Mooser
        February 15, 2011, 11:26 am

        “The Jewish state mainly exists because there are enough Jews that want it to exist.”

        Good old “eee”; he’s always got a good word for the Nazis.
        Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to accept the fact that when enough people don’t want the Jews to exist, away we will go.
        Considering the numbers, I might as well give up now.

        I must admit, there is considerable amusement value in “Jews” like “eee” who can’t even conceive (except in the most phony rhetorical way) a state of Jewish powerlessness, or even equality.
        You just keep on making those Jewish soldiers, “eee” we’ll win yet…. Oh sorry, I forgot the Ultra-Orthodox are exempt from military service.

      • Mooser
        February 15, 2011, 11:30 am

        “there will be one Israeli worker for ever 4 Haredi on welfare.”

        Don’t worry, all those haredi (including Witty’s boy) will be shock troops in the Israeli Army! I mean, who could stand an onslaught from sharp cheder. (Hmm, gotta work on that one)

        Yup, I bet those haredi make up the backbone of the Israelui Army, the crack troops!

      • Mark Braverman
        February 16, 2011, 5:25 pm

        I agree with your argument, Phil. Here’s how I covered that in my book:
        “I am a Jew born at the midpoint of the twentieth century. I don’t need to be lectured about anti-Semitism. Psychically, as a Jew, I have a packed suitcase under my bed and an eye ever watchful for the anti-Semitism present in Western civilization that, under the right conditions, can turn from latent to virulent. But I am unwilling, on the chance that I might someday need a refuge from discrimination or outright physical danger, to support the continued building of a militarized, expansionist state that is doing more today to fuel anti-Semitism than to construct a solution to it.
        But let us grant that anti-Semitism is on the rise on a global basis. Let us even set out that it is deep-seated anti-Jewishness, and not sixty years of dispossession and ethnic cleansing, that is the cause of outbreaks of violence against Israelis by Palestinians. Even if this were all true, is the solution to build a hideous wall that steals land, blocks commerce and agriculture, and cuts families and communities in half? Is the solution to train your sons and daughters to hate and fear an entire people and to order them to invade their cities, villages, and homes, to humiliate and debase them in front of their children, and to terrify those same children and rob them of a future in their own land? Can anyone believe that this is an answer to anti-Semitism?”

      • Hu Bris
        February 16, 2011, 6:04 pm

        “You mean like Iraq suddenly became dangerous in the early 1950s when the Mossad started bombing synagogues? Watch out Phil.”

        Yep, . . . .watch out Phillink to salem-news.com

        ICTS International, the security screening company at Schiphol, was founded by former members of Shin Bet, Israel’s civil security agency, and Israeli executives in charge of El Al security. ICTS had already proven its expertise in mounting this type of operation.

        In December 2001, Richard “The Shoe Bomber” Reid “slipped through” ICTS security at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

        Huntleigh USA, an ICTS subsidiary, shared responsibility for security at Logan International Airport in Boston where hijackers for two of the four 911 jets “slipped through” airport security. It gets better.

        The Crotch Bomber told U.S. authorities that radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki counseled him on the incident. Born and raised in New Mexico, Al-Awlaki moved to Yemen in 2004 after advising the two 911 hijackers who trained in San Diego. He also advised U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan who is charged with shooting 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009.”

        ICTS International, also provide services at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport and Sheremetyevo International Airport

        watch out indeed

      • talknic
        February 17, 2011, 3:47 am

        Philip Weiss February 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm

        ” This is why I always ask my American Jewish freinds, do you believe you need a Jewish state to retreat to in case the weather turns, as Herzl once put it? Why dont you live there now then?”

        You might also point out to them that: in his lifetime, Herzl could have lived anywhere in Palestine. Oddly, he didn’t ever live there. Now he’s buried outside of Israel’s actual sovereign territory, in Palestine.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 11:34 am

        Maybe if your state wasn’t built on principles of ethnic cleansing and racial superiority, kind of like the Third Reich was, you wouldn’t be having this existential problem.

        Next time you want a state of your own, don’t shoot children. That’s my advice.

      • Kathleen
        February 14, 2011, 12:34 pm

        ouch the truth hurts if people have a conscience

      • Citizen
        February 14, 2011, 12:49 pm

        So, eee, you view with equal disfavor such precedents as the abolishment of nationalist Nazi Germany and the former apartheid S Africa ? If not, why not?

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:07 pm

        If history shows us anything, it is that the one state solution is the anachronism.

        OK eee, so why not put it to a vote? Have all the people in Palestine (Israel proper and OT) vote in a referendum.

        What do you think the outcome would be?

      • pjdude
        February 14, 2011, 10:28 pm

        your failing to see something probably intentionally. all of those situations are all PEOPLE ALREADY LEGALLY INSIDE OF A PIECE OF TERRITORY. the problem in palestine is their was only one people palestinians who than had an outside group in a large section of the jewish faith who demanded a partitian. the two things your trying to equivocate are entirely different scenarios.

      • andrew r
        February 14, 2011, 11:14 pm

        You left out that South Africa reunited as one country after the apartheid regime tried to split it apart with the bantustans. Also, partition is an excuse for transfer.

        Maintaining Israel as a Jewish state is full of logistical pitfalls that frankly can’t be overcome without crimes against humanity. The patter about historical compromises both sides have to learn to live with is just so much static and noise. The Zionist movement has been unsavory all along. The Palestinian effort to get back in their country is not.

  5. kungfujew
    February 14, 2011, 11:25 am

    Yawn. While I admire Braverman’s cosmopolitan vein — a global governance free from sectarianism — and his voice for Palestinian equality, I think he’s expecting Jews and Israelis to give up nationalism before everyone else. Personally, I also think nationalisms of all stripes are repugnant, and so Braverman’s arguments seem unduly naive given the stringent ethnic identities of the globe, much less the Middle East and the Palestinians specifically.

    For example:

    Accepting Zionism as a workable, sustainable political program is a kind of blindness.

    This statement is only possible if we’re to agree that all ethnic nationalisms — Palestinian nationalism included — as workable, sustainable political programs are blindness. Which is an absurd proposition, since the Palestinians in the territories that I count as dear friends are fierce nationalists.

    Shas and Israel’s other religious parties are not unfortunate byproducts of democracy – rather, they are firmly entrenched in Israel’s political structure.

    As is Hamas in Palestinian governance, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Yet I’m not hearing calls to re-merge the former Ottoman Empire into the one-state solution.

    • annie
      February 14, 2011, 11:59 am

      “Shas and Israel’s other religious parties are not unfortunate byproducts of democracy – rather, they are firmly entrenched in Israel’s political structure”.

      As is Hamas in Palestinian governance, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

      yet the US doesn’t designate shas as a terrorist organization or condemn israel for including them in the governing body. we don’t reject their rise as the result of elections and ban them or blockade israel and starve the people for electing them.

      • kungfujew
        February 14, 2011, 1:04 pm

        Seems Shas needs to buy some rockets and machine guns first.

      • annie
        February 14, 2011, 1:49 pm

        you crack me up. they are embedded in the governing body. our government gives them billions every year for much more sophisticated weaponry than rockets and machine guns.

        wake up.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 5:00 pm

        Why, when they’re wielding white phosphorous mortars, F-16s, Merkavas and armored bulldozers?

      • Cliff
        February 14, 2011, 5:28 pm

        why does shas need to become an underground army when they can realize their militaristic aspirations by joining the IDF?

      • annie
        February 14, 2011, 6:31 pm

        it appears kungfu’s kick was blocked by a reality check.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:43 pm

        Why would they need rockets and guns when they praticslly control
        The IDF?

        Of course, if they wanted rockets and guns, the US would happily oblige.

      • Citizen
        February 14, 2011, 1:12 pm

        All David Duke really wants is a white Christian nation within US borders. That demography still constitutes at least 62% of all Americans despite the changing complexion resulting from changes in our immigration laws in 1965. But he’s willing to settle for partition, same as the South was a century earlier. Where does eee live? Where does Phil live? Where does Dick Witty live? In the face of all this rampant nationalism being talked about here, should all white Americans be rethinking MLK’s message? What’s best for the whites?
        Is that what’s best for the Jews? Maybe they should take seriously our political leaders’ conviction that the US and Israel have the same values? Not to mention Glen Beck’s looming caliphate…

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 2:01 pm

        The point is that the majority of whites in the US do not see themselves as a national group. If they do develop a national identity in the future, then watch out. The Jews and the Palestinians speak different languages, have different cultures, different histories and have been at each other’s necks for 100 years. Just like the Flemish and Walloons in Belgium but with additional bloodshed. Just as Belgium or Sudan will not be one state neither will Mandatory Palestine. Nazism, MLK and South Africa have nothing to do with this. They are just not relevant to the discussion.

      • Citizen
        February 14, 2011, 3:23 pm

        And if the American whites do develop a national identity in the future, by your logic we know you’d be ok with that, right? It took awhile for the significant majority of white Christian Americans to shed their former concept of who was a real American, and what it meant to be an American. If you applaud that accomplishment, you must logically applaud all those who now ask the same of Israel, especially since US taxpayers enable Israel. But you don’t. You want to retain a double standard, which you see as what’s “best for the Jews.” If Americans ever get fully informed about Israel and what it has done, and does in the name of Jews around the world and the name of values identical to America’s, how long do you think Israel will be a safe haven for you or your opinion will be held as respectable here any more than David Duke’s is now?

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 4:15 pm

        “And if the American whites do develop a national identity in the future, by your logic we know you’d be ok with that, right?”

        You cannot stand in the way of self-determination. If a national identity emerges, how are you going to undo that? Maybe I will like it, maybe I won’t but surely I will accept it, because the will of 200 million people is not something I can dismiss.

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 4:22 pm

        Well, for starters, most people don’t see David Duke wanting a White Christian nation in a country where White Christians face no threat, never have historically, and compromise 62 percent of one country among many with large Christian majorities the same as the world’s single Jewish state, created after a Holocaust in which Christian Europe allowed six million Jews to be murdered in a world where there are about 1/10 of one percent as many Jews as Christians, in a neighborhood where neighboring states have repeatedly threatened to wipe out that state, worrying about maintaining a Jewish majority.

        And most people, particularly those who know the history of multiethnic states of the kind utopian one-statists propound, believe that the one-state solution will turn Israel into Yugoslavia, or another post-colonial mess like the artificial states of Africa.

        So the bottom line is, we Jews are not willing to die for your misgotten utopian dream.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 5:02 pm

        The point is that the majority of whites in the US do not see themselves as a national group. If they do develop a national identity in the future, then watch out.

        You missed the bus by several decades. They did see themselves as a national group, but for the most part that feeling has passed. Its a good thing. Very freeing. You should try it.

      • kapok
        February 14, 2011, 5:04 pm

        we Jews

        We?!? You need to find a quiet place with a comfortable chair. Sit down and give your head a shake and consider the possibility, as remote as that may be, that you just might be out of your ever-lovin’ mind.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 5:08 pm

        So the bottom line is, we Jews are not willing to die for your misgotten utopian dream.

        Speaking in your self-appointed role as President of The Jews, right? You really need to stop speaking as if you are the sole spokesman for all Jews. Hint: You aren’t. Not even close.

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 5:32 pm

        “Speaking in your self-appointed role as President of The Jews, right? You really need to stop speaking as if you are the sole spokesman for all Jews. Hint: You aren’t. Not even close.”

        My views are more representative of Jews than yours are. And you’d have them die on the altar of a one-state solution.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 6:06 pm

        My views are more representative of Jews than yours are.

        I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself. And I’m sure that you don’t really speak for anyone but yourself either, although you keep wrapping yourself in the one and only spokesman cloak.

        And you’d have them die on the altar of a one-state solution.

        And here I thought you claimed that Jews were so much smarter than everyone else. So now your position is that Jews are incapable of figuring out how to treat everyone with justice and equality? They can’t figure out that treating others like dirt in “the name of the Jews” might be less than a winning strategy? Bigotry really isn’t very intelligent, hophmi. And its a big fail waiting to happen.

      • pjdude
        February 14, 2011, 10:48 pm

        where the hell as an ISraeli jew do you get to come off talking about self determiantion. Your country is founded on the denial of that right. IF you seriously believed in self determiantion( which you don’t you believe in a corrupted version of it that is my sticks bigger gimmie now) you’d support the dissolvement of Israel the return of the victims of its crimes and the palestinians finally getting a say in the political staus of their territory

      • pjdude
        February 14, 2011, 10:50 pm

        first off your showing you bigotries in blaming all of christian europe.

        lets ignore the biggies because I doubt you’d be capable of admitting what they did to try and protect jews. so lets go for perfect clear example

        just what in the hell did you expect Luxumberg to do against germany?

    • Woody Tanaka
      February 14, 2011, 12:06 pm

      “This statement is only possible if we’re to agree that all ethnic nationalisms… as workable, sustainable political programs are blindness. ”

      Why? Not all ethnic nationalisms are colonial ethnic nationalism, as Zionism is.

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 4:23 pm

        Oh, so it’s the colonialism you’re against?

        I await your call for the eradication of America.

      • Cliff
        February 14, 2011, 5:25 pm

        The United States isn’t colonizing anything. Israel is.

      • Cliff
        February 14, 2011, 5:27 pm

        Here’s a better analogy, if Israel enslaved the Palestinians, and we were abolitionists, you’d say ‘so you’re against slavery? I await your call for the eradication of America.’

        The same function exists. Slavery in America has ceased to exist. Colonialism in America has ceased to exist. Israel CONTINUES to colonize. It continues to steal land and resources. Etc.

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 5:45 pm

        “The United States isn’t colonizing anything. Israel is.”

        The US colonial project is over, was successful, and goes unchallenged.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 5:50 pm

        No one’s calling for the “eradication of Israel”. We’re calling for it to be a country of all its citizens equally, the same thing we want the US to be. If neither country is capable of striving for equality, then neither should continue to exist in its present form. The US has shown some capability so far, Israel has shown none.

      • Donald
        February 14, 2011, 5:59 pm

        “The US colonial project is over, was successful, and goes unchallenged.”

        True. The white folks even got so confident they gave the Native Americans the right to return, rather than forcing them to stay on the reservations.

        Now in fairness, if there were 200 million Native Americans forced to stay inside 22 percent of US territory, with around 200 million white folk running around on the other 78 percent (and stealing chunks of the remaining 22), then we’d be a lot closer to the Israeli situation. And I’m not at all confident we white folk would handle it any better.

      • Potsherd2
        February 14, 2011, 6:26 pm

        The US colonial project is over, was successful, and goes unchallenged.

        And acknowleged and repented of.

        Israel is still colonizing unrepentently.

      • talknic
        February 17, 2011, 10:16 am

        hophmi February 14, 2011 at 5:45 pm

        ” The US colonial project is over, was successful, and goes unchallenged”

        It’s over because it WAS challenged. It was challenged by the Indians, Mexico. It was over by the time the US LEGALLY annexed parts of Mexico.

    • Donald
      February 14, 2011, 12:29 pm

      I suspect ethnic nationalisms of any sort do contain the seeds of intolerance and can become justifications for atrocities. I’m not sure that’s really all that controversial, except when it comes to Zionism, where the reality of it clearly demonstrates that it has been intolerant and a Jewish state was only achieved via ethnic cleansing. But for some reason in the US one isn’t supposed to say this in mainstream circles.

      • kungfujew
        February 14, 2011, 1:17 pm

        So if we’re fine-dicing national aspirations, then certainly we can say that Jewish nationalism shouldn’t be colonial, but not that Jews shouldn’t have one.

        To revisit the thrust of my question: I’ve seen little evidence that Palestinian nationalism is any better (or any worse, which is my truest belief) than Zionism.

      • annie
        February 14, 2011, 2:03 pm

        So if we’re fine-dicing national aspirations, then certainly we can say that Jewish nationalism shouldn’t be colonial, but not that Jews shouldn’t have one.

        i’m not a fan of ethnic nationalism period. no i do not think jews need their own nationalism, palestinians either. i’m a fan of the melting pot. i also don’t think the mormons need a separate nation.

      • Citizen
        February 14, 2011, 3:27 pm

        Aw come on, annie–the melting pot has been replaced by the multi-ingredient salad. Ask all those Jewish American groups who are knee deep in the battle against assimilation.

      • annie
        February 14, 2011, 4:06 pm

        nah, try as they may the kids today were weened on mlk’s milk. the faces in the cities and on tv are ethnically blended. it’s beautiful and it aint turning back. that’s the face of america and i like it.

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 4:26 pm

        “the faces in the cities and on tv are ethnically blended.”

        America is better today than it was 40 years ago. But just about every major urban center in this country is still pretty segregated. As is TV.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 5:04 pm

        I don’t suppose you’re refering to “Seinfeld?” Or “Friends?”

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 5:10 pm

        So if we’re fine-dicing national aspirations, then certainly we can say that Jewish nationalism shouldn’t be colonial, but not that Jews shouldn’t have one.

        To revisit the thrust of my question: I’ve seen little evidence that Palestinian nationalism is any better (or any worse, which is my truest belief) than Zionism.

        So why not have an Israeli nationalism, embracing both Jew and Palestinian in equality. Isn’t that the better route to go?

      • annie
        February 14, 2011, 2:06 pm

        But for some reason in the US one isn’t supposed to say this in mainstream circles.

        exactly. we’re not supposed to mention ethnic nationalism is the antithesis of the american way of life, of MLK’s america and mine.

      • wondering jew
        February 14, 2011, 4:08 pm

        Although Tony Judt’s experience was in Europe, I think the example of America is a poor one regarding the world’s tendencies towards nationalism. The United States because of its constitution and its history of slavery up to and including its history of undoing slavery contains an ideal of one nation under god indivisible. There are other societies which struggle towards a post national point of view, but I do not think it is yet predominant on the planet. Do you think China is post nationalistic? Do you think India is post nationalistic? My impression is not. If so, then the two largest countries are not post nationalistic, where does this: “it is part of the past” attitude come from, if not from an America-centric attitude? It is not part of the past, not in the Middle East and not in the majority of the world. If it is your ideal that is great. But don’t pretend that your ideal already exists.

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 4:21 pm

        Of course ethnic nationalism is antithesis to the American way of life:
        e pluribus unum

        But you are closest allies are ethnic nations like the European ones, the Japanese state, the Korean state and the Jewish state. And the rising power in the world is China, a national ethnic state if there ever was one.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 5:16 pm

        And the rising power in the world is China, a national ethnic state if there ever was one.

        You do know that China has multiple ethnicities, right? The majority are Han Chinese but there are over 50 other ethnicities recognized in China.

        What’s wrong with an Israeli nationality, one that encompasses ALL the citizens of Israel instead of just one select group?

      • wondering jew
        February 14, 2011, 6:18 pm

        Morphing from a Jewish identity (nationality) to an Israeli nationality is something that some Israelis have already accomplished but would certainly take a few generations.

      • RoHa
        February 14, 2011, 7:50 pm

        “Morphing from a Jewish identity (nationality) to an Israeli nationality is something that some Israelis have already accomplished but would certainly take a few generations.”

        The others had better get on with it then.

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 15, 2011, 9:09 am

        “What’s wrong with an Israeli nationality, one that encompasses ALL the citizens of Israel instead of just one select group?”

        Because Zionism requires racism.

  6. Taxi
    February 14, 2011, 11:38 am

    Put your ears to the mideast ground and you will discover the people there are still resisting the initial ’48 partition.

    In fact mideasterners are still grieving and angry about this imposition on them by the west.

    All of them believe that historic Palestine is Arab. And all of them want it back.

  7. annie
    February 14, 2011, 11:42 am

    fantastic article Mark Braverman.

    i especially appreciate the inclusion of progressive jews turning away from ethnic nationalism, the notion of which seems particularly unamerican to me.

  8. Elliot
    February 14, 2011, 11:53 am

    Great piece.
    I’d like to reinforce Braverman’s point about how Effi Eitam speaks for the mainstream. Effi Eitam was the first Orthodox (read: settler) to reach high command in the Israeli army’s combat corps. His rise, was the result of the growing integration of settlers in the armed forces and military-political establishment. The disproportionate number of settler officers combined with the national Israeli project of settling the West Bank paved the way for his elevation and the standard post-military, political career.

    The Israeli establishment chose to integrate, normalize and elevate Messianic settlers such as Eitam and secular racist settlers such as Lieberman. They articulate the attitudes that others also hold but try to airbrush away.

    • eee
      February 14, 2011, 12:48 pm

      Should evangelical Christians not be allowed in the US armed forces? If a person wants to serve his country, why should anyone care about his religious or political views? Arabs that want to serve in the IDF do so also and there are many Arab officers.

      • Ellen
        February 14, 2011, 1:13 pm

        Some Jews are Arab.

        Your question is a false comparison. The Evangelical Christian movement does not violate any laws in their activities, as much of the Settler does movement violate Israeli laws. And more and more they are becoming a threat to the Israeli state within.

        ““If Netanyahu continues the freeze, we would see it as a declaration of war,” said Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika. “We would do everything possible to topple the prime minister,…”

        link to jpost.com

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 3:18 pm

        “Some Jews are Arab.”

        Let’s stop playing this stupid game. The Jews from Arabia living in Israel don’t consider themselves Arab. People have the right to choose an identity for themselves, and they choose to be Israeli first.

        “Your question is a false comparison. The Evangelical Christian movement does not violate any laws in their activities, ”

        You must have missed the scandal at the Air Force Academy a couple of years ago.

      • Potsherd2
        February 14, 2011, 4:56 pm

        The Jews from Arabia living in Israel don’t consider themselves Arab.

        Then why do they call themselves “Arab Jews?”

      • annie
        February 14, 2011, 5:19 pm

        i don’t think they do that much potsherd. but that will change one day imho. i recommend With thunderous resolution and intention, I say I am ‘Mizrahi’! by Asaf Shalev.

        check out the description of his grandfather.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 5:22 pm

        The Jews from Arabia living in Israel don’t consider themselves Arab. People have the right to choose an identity for themselves, and they choose to be Israeli first.

        Speaking as the sole spokesman for all Jews again, hophmi? You really should look around. Not every Jew views the world with the same jaundiced eye that you have. There are plenty of Arab Jews in Israel who self identify thusly.

      • Ellen
        February 14, 2011, 7:06 pm

        Huh, not the Arab Jews I know. And how about the Jews of Iraq (an ancient cohesive community and most now in Israel) who proudly consider themselves Arabs. Or the Mizrahim from what is now called Yemen. I know, I know the idea is difficult for Zionists. But Zionism is an enterprise that has really little to do with Judaism.

        As for the scandal at the AF Academy of Evangelicals overstepping their boundaries. Another false equivalency. And besides there have been severe and still ongoing consequences into that.

        If interested:

        link to pluralism.org

      • hophmi
        February 15, 2011, 8:16 am

        Hey, if an Israeli Jew wants to call him or herself an Arab Jew, more power to them. Israel was there when the Arab countries showed their love for these people by expelling them and stealing their property.

      • Cliff
        February 15, 2011, 8:27 am

        That’s BS, hophmi. A blanket statement that you better back up.

      • Mooser
        February 15, 2011, 11:32 am

        Israel was there when the Arab countries showed their love for these people by expelling them and stealing their property.

        Mondoweiss, where comment protection is extended to all liars, time-wasters and bigots.

      • talknic
        February 14, 2011, 1:15 pm

        eee February 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm

        “Should evangelical Christians not be allowed in the US armed forces?”

        Are they ILLEGAL settlers?

        “If a person wants to serve his country, why should anyone care about his religious or political views?”

        …or criminal tendencies and intentions

        “Arabs that want to serve in the IDF do so also and there are many Arab officers”

        Arab Jews or non-Jewish Arabs….BTW what’s ‘many’? 1? 2? 3?

      • talknic
        February 14, 2011, 1:22 pm

        eee February 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm

        “Should evangelical Christians not be allowed in the US armed forces?”

        Lemme see… The ILLEGAL settlers should not even be in “territories occupied”, it is the job of the IDF to actually send ‘em packing back to Israel lest they or their families become collateral in an area where the occupied have a right to armed resistance against their occupier. (the GC’s are there to protect ALL civilians)

        These ILLEGAL settlers in the IDF are gonna to send their families packing? Right?

      • Citizen
        February 14, 2011, 1:23 pm

        By law, all Israeli citizens are subject to conscription. The Defense Minister has complete discretion to grant exemption to individual citizens or classes of citizens. A long-standing policy dating to Israel’s early years extends an exemption to all other Israeli minorities (most notably Israeli Arabs). However, there is a long-standing government policy of encouraging Bedouins to volunteer and of offering them various inducements, and in some impoverished Bedouin communities a military career seems one of the few means of (relative) social mobility available. Also, Muslims and Christians are accepted as volunteers, even at an age greater than 18.[27]
        From among non-Bedouin Arab citizens, the number of volunteers for military service—some Christian Arabs and even a few Muslim Arabs—is minute, and the government makes no special effort to increase it. link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Citizen
        February 14, 2011, 1:43 pm

        Estimates of the number of Muslims in North America range from a little over one million adults to seven million adults and children. link to religioustolerance.org
        There’s about six million Jews in the USA.

        The number of Muslims in the U.S. military is hard to estimate. Estimates vary from 4,000 to more than 12,000. Armywide, Qaseem Uqdah, a former Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who heads the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council in Washington, D.C., counts upwards of 15,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and Coast Guard members. (The average age of U.S. Muslim troops is 21, Uqdah said. Most are married, with one child.) link to seattlepi.com
        How many Jews are in the US military? As of 2003, two-tenths of one percent. link to aztlan.net

        BTW, In 1988 the Israeli intelligence corps and the air force remained closed to minorities. In recent years, several Druze officers have reached ranks as high as Major General and many have received commendations for distinguished service. It is important to note that, proportionally to their numbers, the Druze people achieve much higher—documented—levels in the Israeli army than other soldiers. Nevertheless, some Druze still charge that discrimination continues, such as exclusion from the Air Force, although the official low security classification for Druze has been abolished for some time. The first Druze aircraft navigator completed his training course in 2005. link to en.wikipedia.org
        104,000 Druze live in Israel, where they occupy a privileged status compared to other minorities. link to mfa.gov.il

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 3:28 pm

        Aztlan.net is a hate site; it is not a reliable source.

        For example,

        link to aztlan.net

        And I deeply resent the implication that my people are any less patriotic than anyone else. That’s as antisemitic as it gets.

      • annie
        February 14, 2011, 4:04 pm

        fine. How many Jews are in the US military? i’m sure there must be some data about that. the israel lobby is big on polls.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 6:12 pm

        It’s not that all Jews are less loyal to the United States, hophmi, or that being Jewish breeds disloyalty. It’s merely that Zionist Jews have willingly displaced their loyalties. There are plenty of Jews (I wish it were a majority, but still…) that do not pledge foreign allegiance to Israel like you do. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this thread, you yourself are a perfect example of what Zionism does to displace loyalty.

      • Ellen
        February 14, 2011, 7:17 pm

        Sounds like projection. Your projection about “your people.”

        Having said that, I don’t think one can make any conclusions really about anything citing statistics of how many from one group or another wind up in the military.

        If any at all, perhaps only that the military generally has a larger proportion of volunteers from less privileged groups in US society. It is a way up and out.

        As a group, Jews may not need the ticket.

      • pjdude
        February 14, 2011, 10:57 pm

        its not an implication a lot of jews put Israel before the US and that’s not patriotic

      • Psychopathic god
        February 16, 2011, 5:46 pm

        i was reading quickly and thought the first sentence read, “by law all israeli citizens are subject to contraception.”

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 1:25 pm

        From zero to straw man in sixty seconds. Kindly explain to us why it should be illegal for an Arab in Israel to marry, and bring home, a spouse from occupied Palestine. That’s rather more relevant, being a real life example, then the manufactured one you’re propping up, eee.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 6:56 pm

        Evangelical Christians are free to participate, but not in the service of their faith. It is against regulations to use their position to evangelist.

      • pjdude
        February 14, 2011, 10:58 pm

        and yet its doesn’t stop them

  9. Elliot
    February 14, 2011, 1:27 pm

    How many Arabs combat generals are there in the IDF?
    Zero.
    How many Arab government ministers launched their careers in the IDF top brass.
    Zero.

    I’ve heard anecdotally that US Airforce pilots trend toward Fundamentalist Republicans. It sure would explain a lot.
    The US just had a fundie Christian president and his presidency is widely acknowledged as a disaster.

    But the US still has a Constitution and the blue states. And, thanks to the other half, Bush was discredited and we’ve got a sane leader now.
    When d’you think Israel is planning to kick out Messianic, racist Judaism?
    Who’s waiting in the wings to take over?
    Israel handed the Zionist baton over to the settlers in the 70s. They’re still not ready to undo that.

    • Philip Weiss
      February 14, 2011, 1:41 pm

      Thank you Elliot for presenting these important facts

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 2:16 pm

        There have been several Arab combat generals in the IDF throughout its history.

        You may not like Messianic Judaism, but its supporters get to vote like anybody else in a democracy. Bush was elected to TWO terms. He was not defeated in any presidential election. And in the last election, the Republicans with the help of the Tea Party took over the House of Representatives. The number of Americans who think Obama is a Muslim and not an American citizen is astounding. Your supreme court just recently allowed unlimited corporate support to politicians. And yet you are preaching to me? Get your head out of your rear end.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 2:56 pm

        And how many of those Arab generals were entrusted with such tasks as invading Gaza or the Sinai? How many Arab generals have had control of white phosphorous and cluster bombs?

        Actually, I’d like to know some specific examples of these generals and what they were responsible for in the IDF. For real. Enlighten us, eee.

      • Citizen
        February 14, 2011, 3:42 pm

        Our heads are not in our rear, eee. What makes you think Phil or any of us here are not criticial of Americans who think Obama is a Muslim, or that our SCOTUS made a good 5-4 decision equating corporations with actual individual American human citizens? We think it was a horrible decision and worsens the already poisonous US political campaign system. Quit your outright lies and quit trying to divert the subject. I assume by you saying “your supreme court” your supreme court (such as it is, that is, not supreme, it’s decisions constantly ignored by the rest of the Israeli government) lies in Israel. BTW, the Tea Party platform ignored foreign policy; now that it has some representatives in our government, I’m looking forward to more people than Ron Paul’s son to address the need to seriously change our foreign aid policy and let Americans know both sides of the aisle represent a singular War party. Ron Paul himself, and Dennis Kucinich will lead the way.

      • Antidote
        February 14, 2011, 4:36 pm

        “There have been several Arab combat generals in the IDF throughout its history.”

        Numbers? Sources? And even if so: what does this prove or disprove? There were plenty of Jewish generals in Hitler’s Wehrmacht. Does that mean Jews had equal rights in Nazi Germany? Don’t think so.

        link to kansaspress.ku.edu

      • Avi
        February 14, 2011, 4:38 pm

        eee February 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm

        There have been several Arab combat generals in the IDF throughout its history.

        So now Arab=Druze=Bedouin?

        It’s funny how when it suits Israel, the Druze are a special, separate sect of their own, but when it suits its pundits, the Druze are suddenly transformed into Arabs. Well, which are they? Druze or Arabs?

        Incidentally, care to provide specifics regarding your claim of “several” and “throughout history”?

      • Cliff
        February 14, 2011, 5:23 pm

        Who are these Arab generals? Who are these several Arab whatevers in the IDF, in general? Lets see some evidence.

      • Potsherd2
        February 14, 2011, 5:39 pm

        Druze and Bedouins

        Arab Generals in the IDF include Major General Hussain Fares, commander of Israel’s border police, and Major General Yosef Mishlav, head of the Home Front Command and current Coordinato­r of Government Activities in the Territorie­s.Both are members of the Druze community. Other high ranking officers in the IDF include Lieutenant Colonel Amos Yarkoni from the Bedouin community, a legendary officer in the Israel Defense Forces and one of six Israeli Arabs to have received the IDF’s third highest rank.

      • Avi
        February 14, 2011, 6:41 pm

        Other high ranking officers in the IDF include Lieutenant Colonel Amos Yarkoni from the Bedouin community

        The irony, of course, is that “Amos Yarkoni” is a Jewish Israeli name, not Arab.

        So, Lt. Col. Amos Yarkoni had to Judaize himself to fit into the exclusivist military.

        I won’t be surprised if he had actually converted to Judaism, as well.

      • Elliot
        February 14, 2011, 10:19 pm

        Druze and Bedouins

        Arab Generals in the IDF include Major General Hussain Fares, commander of Israel’s border police, and Major General Yosef Mishlav, head of the Home Front Command and current Coordinato r of Government Activities in the Territorie s.Both are members of the Druze community. Other high ranking officers in the IDF include Lieutenant Colonel Amos Yarkoni from the Bedouin community, a legendary officer in the Israel Defense Forces and one of six Israeli Arabs to have received the IDF’s third highest rank.

        Thanks Potsherd.
        To be more accurate, I should have said “Palestinians.”
        I met Fares years ago. He’s done his entire career in the Israeli Police and Border Police. Border Police is considered separate to the standard military and has a disproportionate number of Druze servicemen. I don’t remember seeing service in that unit on the resumes of any Chiefs of Staff.
        If Fares goes into politics after retirement, he’ll get the “Druze seat”. He certainly won’t be on the career trajectory of Barak, Sharon, Ya’alon, Vilnay, Mitzna or even that junior officer, Netanyahu.

      • Citizen
        February 14, 2011, 3:31 pm

        Phil, please see the additional facts in my subsequent comment. Thanks.
        And note that eee has ignored them all in his subsequent comment.

      • Richard Witty
        February 14, 2011, 10:51 pm

        Are you joking Phil, “facts”?

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 11:00 pm

        Are you joking, nothing but a baseless snipe and pointless intimation from Witty? What a shocking turn this discussion has taken.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 11:03 pm

        Don’t ask Phil if he’s joking Witty. It’s rude for a proven liar who makes up his own facts to make such accusations.

      • talknic
        February 15, 2011, 11:08 am

        Richard Witty

        “Are you joking Phil, “facts”?”

        So refute them. Like this….How many times have you heard the notion that Israel has no borders with Palestine? The fact is, Israel’s borders were declared, recognized by the International Community and confirmed BY THE ISRAEL GOVERNMENT in statements to the UNSC BEFORE Israel was accepted into the UN and BEFORE Israel made any claims to territories beyond the actual extent of it’s sovereignty.

        link to avalon.law.yale.edu
        link to unispal.un.org
        link to mfa.gov.il

        On May 15th 1948 the extent of Israel’s Sovereign territories were clearly defined in the Israeli Government’s official announcement of the Declaration for the Establishment of the state of Israel.

        On May 22, 1948 the Israeli Government confirmed it’s frontiers in correspondence to the UNSC

        By May 11th 1949 Israel had already been recognized by the majority of the International Community of Nations according to the Israeli Government statements of May 15th & May 22nd 1948 “within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947,” .

        On 11 May 1949 Israel was accepted into the UN as a UN Member State as recognized, “within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947,”

        On June 15, 1949 the Israeli Government again confirmed it’s frontiers in correspondence to the UNSC

        On the 31st Aug 1949 Israel made it’s first official claim to territories beyond the extent of it’s sovereign frontiers AFTER IT’S BOUNDARIES WERE RECOGNIZED

        Consecutive Israeli Governments have been LYING to it’s own citizens for 62 years, LYING to the media, LYING to anyone willing to believe them and stupid enough not to check everything they say

        May 15, 1948 Letter From the Agent of the Provisional Government of Israel to the President of the United States,
        “MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: I have the honor to notify you that the state of Israel has been proclaimed as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law. The Act of Independence will become effective at one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time.” Also available as PDF from the Truman Library

        May 22, 1948 The reply of the Provisional Government of Israel (S/766) to the questions addressed to the “Jewish authorities in Palestine” was transmitted by the acting representative of Israel at the United Nations on May 22.

        Question (a): Over which areas of Palestine do you actually exercise control at present over the entire area of the Jewish State as defined in the Resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947?
        “In addition, the Provisional Government exercises control over the city of Jaffa; Northwestern Galilee, including Acre, Zib, Base, and the Jewish settlements up to the Lebanese frontier; a strip of territory alongside the road from Hilda to Jerusalem; almost all of new Jerusalem; and of the Jewish quarter within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The above areas, outside the territory of the State of Israel, are under the control of the military authorities of the State of Israel, who are strictly adhering to international regulations in this regard. The Southern Negev is uninhabited desert over which no effective authority has ever existed.”

        June 15, 1949 Israel-s position on its frontiers VOLUMES 1-2: 1947-1974
        “As for the frontier between the State of Israel and the area west of the Jordan which is not included in Israel…”

        Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907 Art. 42 SECTION III
        “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised. “

        —–

        These territories, acquired by war, have never been legally annexed to Israel. As Stephen M. Schwebel – ex Judge of International Court of Justice explains, a state cannot ‘acquire’ territory by war. It can however attempt, failing the peaceful solution of a UNSC Chapter VI resolution, ‘restore’ it’s own sovereign territory by war, under Chapter VII. Israel has never had to restore any territory.

    • Psychopathic god
      February 14, 2011, 2:39 pm

      I drag out Mitchell Bard so often he’s going to think I like him — in this video link to c-spanvideo.org at about the 58 min mark a member of the audience asks, “Will American Christian zionists support us?”
      Bard had just explained that Israel had exhausted plans to send Arabs to other neighboring states, and also that 2-state was DOA, but that Palestine was making moves to unilaterally declare a state. Then, the question: Will Christian zionists support us against that eventuality?

      The deeper implication is based on the history: some of zionism’s earliest ideologues planted the seeds that created the Christian Zionist movement in the US; Christian zionism has as much a relationship to mainstream Christianity as zionism has to Judaism — none. Both are political entities created by very wealthy Jewish ideologues some 100 years ago.

      Non-Jewish Americans and Christians have got to reclaim their political sphere as well as their religious sphere — a state based on moral values and a religion based on the morals of Jesus — just as surely as Jews have got to reclaim their moral bearings and religion.

      Americans/Christians have the harder row to hoe — we must somehow extricate zionism from our nation without harming our Jewish friends, family, and neighbors, who may or may not even be aware of zionism.

  10. Terianne
    February 14, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Not only are Jews hostage to this tenacious fairy tale, but as is the whole world.

    The cognitive dissonance of lefty Jews is unconscionable. Wake the fuck up.

  11. Les
    February 14, 2011, 1:58 pm

    Kudos to Mark Braverman for the remarkably succinct summary of the critical issues, which I have happily shared with others across cyberspace. That this piece is as well so remarkably up to date is a measure of how far forward the debate has moved.

  12. Psychopathic god
    February 14, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Mark Braverman, I’m looking forward to meeting you at the “End the Occupation” conference in DC on Mar 5-7, 2011.

    This essay is powerful, and a very effective second step in unwinding zionism. In order to fully unwind zionism I think it is necessary to actually dig around the foundations of the ideology and discover the real agenda that zionism’s major movers and shakers had in mind. You will have to confront zionism’s financial and political roots–and be prepared for the same destabilizing whiplash — that you explained as your experience when you realized that Yad Vashem was designed as an emotional tool for indoctrination (I heard you discuss “Fatal Embrace” on C Span; don’t know what you meant when you said, “—and it was ok.” What was “ok?” Was that just a rhetorical flourish, or did you acquiesce to the indoctrination, or did you forgive zionism for the emotional manipulation of Yad Vashem? Which? What?)

    That foundation is much deeper than merely settlements that started after the 1967 war, or even the holocaust in 1945. And the agenda is not merely plunking a “demographic majority” of Jews on a particular plot of land in an exotic country; powerful zionist ideologues had — and have — much grander ambitions. Stuart Levey is a key figure to watch.

    ’til March 5 —
    PG

    • Mark Braverman
      February 16, 2011, 5:14 pm

      Thanks PG, looking forward to meeting you.
      “It was OK” means that it was OK to have crossed that Rubicon, to have committed the sin of comparing the Jews to the Nazis, to have made the “obscene comparison,” etc. I had crossed what was, for me, having been reared as I was, that psychological barrier. It turned things around for me. So I meant it was OK for me to have done that, crossed that line. Not that the manipulation was OK. It was not OK. It is not OK.
      So if that was not clear, then I guess I am guilty of having used a rhetorical flourish.

    • annie
      February 16, 2011, 9:28 pm

      thanks so much for the link pg, i’m watching it now. it’s excellent, i rec.

  13. Avi
    February 14, 2011, 4:34 pm

    Mark Braverman is truly a braver man.

    Jews in the United States need to undergo a paradigm shift in their thinking.

    Directors like Steven Spielberg need to stop the emotional blackmail that which they implement in movies like Schindler’s List. Allow me to elaborate; after a gut wrenching story about people who survived the Holocaust, Spielberg concludes the movie by transitioning from black and white to color — hence, from misery and anguish to hope and safety — and from a group of refugees in Europe to a group of immigrants in Israel. He then bombards the senses and emotions with Ha-Tikvah in an effort to strengthen the bond, the emotional connection and the belief that Israel is needed to prevent another Holocaust.

    The Jewish community in the United States and around the world continues to be subjected to such strong Pathos and emotional blackmail.

    • eee
      February 14, 2011, 4:45 pm

      The fact is that the worst attack on Jews since the founding of Israel occurred in New York where between 400 and 500 Jews died on 9/11.
      link to answers.google.com

      Is the US really that safe for Jews? It is you that has to undergo a paradigm shift.

      • Potsherd2
        February 14, 2011, 4:54 pm

        Yeah, right, eee. The pilots of the planes painted a big Y on the backs of every Jew in the WTC and deliberately bombed only the designated targets. It wasn’t an attack on the goyim, who don’t matter, regardless.

        Jews live in the same world as everyone else and have to share in the common dangers. Jews were killed in the latest blizzard, too. Blizzards are antisemitic.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 4:54 pm

        Isn’t it wonderful that eee considers the attack on 9/11 an “attack on Jews?” Never mind that 2,600 other people died, well, those were non-Jews. And we’re not worth a Jewish fingernail, as one of your famous leaders put it, right, eee!

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 5:04 pm

        “Isn’t it wonderful that eee considers the attack on 9/11 an “attack on Jews?”

        Isn’t it wonderful that you know very well that isn’t what he says, but you twist it to make it sound like Jews are only for themselves?

      • Cliff
        February 14, 2011, 5:22 pm

        The fact is that the worst attack on Jews since the founding of Israel occurred in New York where between 400 and 500 Jews died on 9/11.
        link to answers.google.com

        Is the US really that safe for Jews? It is you that has to undergo a paradigm shift.

        Uh, thats what he said. Then he asks, ‘Is the US really that safe for Jews?’

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 5:27 pm

        You’ve already said you wouldn’t risk your life for American ideals, hophmi. I can’t speak for Mr. Weiss or Mr. Horowitz, Norm Finkelstein, Ana Balzer, etc. But you and eee? You guys are in it for yourselves.

        Zionism forces Jews to turn their backs on Jewish concepts of morality and justice. You (and other ethnocentric greedy land barons) won’t fight for those, no. But you will fight for a summer home in Jordan River Valley. Or like eee said previously, that Sinai is looking pretty juicy now that Egypt is in turmoil.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 5:34 pm

        Isn’t it wonderful that you know very well that isn’t what he says, but you twist it to make it sound like Jews are only for themselves?

        So what’s YOUR interpretation of eee calling 9-11 an “attack on Jews” instead of an attack on Americans or New Yorkers? What if someone called it an “attack on Christians”? Wouldn’t you find that offensive? Be honest.

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 5:47 pm

        “You’ve already said you wouldn’t risk your life for American ideals, hophmi. I can’t speak for Mr. Weiss or Mr. Horowitz, Norm Finkelstein, Ana Balzer, etc. But you and eee? You guys are in it for yourselves.”

        Stick it in your ear, chaos. I never said that, and I resent the implication.

        “You (and other ethnocentric greedy land barons) won’t fight for those, no. But you will fight for a summer home in Jordan River Valley.”

        Stick that in your ear, too, because I never said anything like that either. Go away.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 5:50 pm

        Actually, you did, and frankly, I think some day you should answer for turning your back on the country of your birth.

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 5:51 pm

        The clear meaning of what eee said was that because 400 to 500 Jews died on 9/11, and no comparable sum has ever died in a terror attack in Israel, it was the bloodiest day for Jews in recent memory. It is obvious that he is not trying to cast 9/11 as an attack on Jews.

        Other than that, the most bloody day for Jews in recent memory is the 1994 attack on the JCC in Buenos Aires, which most certainly was directed at Jews.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 6:01 pm

        So 500 Jews were killed by mostly Saudi terrorists and that’s why over a million people in Gaza must be sieged and starved and deprived of purified water and medical facilities? Oh, gosh, yes, I can see why Israel needs to bulldoze Palestinian homes, to protect Jews from terrorist acts happening hundreds or thousands of miles away.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 6:08 pm

        Why don’t you care about the five times as many non-Jewish Americans (Muslims included in that…) who were killed? Why does that still not factor into your thinking, hophmi? Oh wait, already answered I suppose.

      • tree
        February 14, 2011, 6:14 pm

        It is obvious that he is not trying to cast 9/11 as an attack on Jews.

        Even though he used those very words “attack on Jews”. Now you are posing as not only the spokesman for all Jews but also as the sole interpreter of statements made by individual Jews. Maybe we should all just sit back and let you tell us what we all think and mean. Or better yet, why don’t you give up this pretense to being the one and only “all-knowing” Jew.

      • eljay
        February 15, 2011, 11:26 am

        >> Now you are posing as not only the spokesman for all Jews but also as the sole interpreter of statements made by individual Jews.

        Being eee is a sad situation; being his apologist – especially when his words are unambiguous – is even sadder.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 4:56 pm

        Also, you’re very obviously and painfully dodging having been called out farther up the thread. Fleeing so soon?

      • Avi
        February 14, 2011, 5:10 pm

        eee February 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm

        The fact is that the worst attack on Jews since the founding of Israel occurred in New York where between 400 and 500 Jews died on 9/11.
        link to answers.google.com

        Is the US really that safe for Jews? It is you that has to undergo a paradigm shift.

        You seem to be on a streak of irrelevancies and false analogies today. No, you’re right. Israel has been safer for Jews, because as everyone has seen, stealing land from Palestinians, killing them, demolishing their homes and cramming them in ghettos has no consequences.

      • eee
        February 14, 2011, 5:34 pm

        If ever a terrorist group gets a nuclear weapon, it will most likely be used on a major US city.

        During the cold war, clearly the US was more dangerous for Jews than Israel. The major cities were under a threat of nuclear attack which almost happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

        Yet still you maintain Israel is more dangerous. Oh well.

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 5:40 pm

        A terrorist group has gotten a nuclear weapon. Just ask Vannunu.

      • ToivoS
        February 14, 2011, 6:32 pm

        Yet still you maintain Israel is more dangerous.

        Look at the historic trend line.

        1) In 1948 Israel declares war on the Arab and moslem world that predictably would last many generations if not centuries.

        2) They settle 80% of all Jews in a small area called greater Tel Aviv — a size that can be measured in a few atomic bomb blast radii.

        3) Now the kicker — they introduce atomic weapons into their unending war! Didn’t they learn that old lesson — he who lives in glass houses should avoid rock fights.

        But at one level I agree with you — Israeli Jews (at least of Western origins) will not perish in such an atomic war. They will know, probably better than anyone else, when it is time to run. That is how the Zionist dream ends.

      • Avi
        February 14, 2011, 6:46 pm

        eee February 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm

        If ever a terrorist group gets a nuclear weapon, it will most likely be used on a major US city.

        Wow, talk about a stretch. More nonsense and fear-mongering.

        Funny how Israel and its defenders keep warning of all those hypotheticals, all those IFs, meanwhile it is the only country that’s actually causing physical, political and economic damage to the people of the region. Why? Because Israel loves friendly dictators.

      • Elliot
        February 14, 2011, 7:02 pm

        eee:
        Yet still you maintain Israel is more dangerous. Oh well.

        Who are you trying to convince?

        Ask the people who vote with their feet.
        The Jews who move from the US to Israel are not fleeing danger – past, present or future. They go for all sorts of reasons but not that.
        Official Israel (Hasbara talking points and the mainstream media) does not recognize what Israelis know very well. All those Israelis who, even if they don’t flee to California, make damn sure they have a nice, 2nd, European passport, just in case., Israel is a dangerous, unpleasant place. The risks and and unpleasantness outweigh the Mediterranean climate, the meaningfulness of the Zionist narrative and the coziness of the all-Jewish environment.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2011, 7:08 pm

        If the US was more dangerous than Israel during the cold war, then why were there more Jews in the US than Iarael – as is the case today?

      • Antidote
        February 15, 2011, 2:09 am

        “During the cold war, clearly the US was more dangerous for Jews than Israel.”

        Just curious: do you think Pollard should be released and granted a safe haven in Israel?

      • hophmi
        February 15, 2011, 8:05 am

        There are more Jews in Israel than in the US, actually.

      • hophmi
        February 15, 2011, 8:07 am

        “1) In 1948 Israel declares war on the Arab and moslem world that predictably would last many generations if not centuries.”

        Israel did not declare war on either one of these groups. That’s BS.

        “2) They settle 80% of all Jews in a small area called greater Tel Aviv — a size that can be measured in a few atomic bomb blast radii.”

        80% of all Jews? What are you smoking?

        “3) Now the kicker — they introduce atomic weapons into their unending war! Didn’t they learn that old lesson — he who lives in glass houses should avoid rock fights.”

        It’s called defending yourself.

      • talknic
        February 15, 2011, 11:01 am

        hophmi February 15, 2011 at 8:07 am

        “Israel did not declare war on either one of these groups. That’s BS.”

        A preemptive war is started by the preemptor. Plan Dalet was a preemptive war.

        “It’s called defending yourself”

        Hasn’t worked (it’s illegal to have or use WMDs BTW) , why have ‘em?

      • Chaos4700
        February 15, 2011, 11:17 am

        If Israel ever uses nukes, hophmi, it’s game over and the world will never forgive Zionism. Ever.

      • eljay
        February 15, 2011, 11:17 am

        >> ToivoS: 3) Now the kicker — they introduce atomic weapons into their unending war! Didn’t they learn that old lesson — he who lives in glass houses should avoid rock fights.
        >> hophmi: It’s called defending yourself.

        Ah, yes, the old “when we do it, it’s self-defence; when they do it, it’s terrrrrrrr” argument.

      • pjdude
        February 15, 2011, 5:07 pm

        Israel did not declare war on either one of these groups. That’s BS.

        declaring a state on land in their territories thus denial them their right to self determiantion is not a declaration war than what is?

        It’s called defending yourself.

        how is an agressor getting a new shiny weapon defense??? Nothing Israel has ever done is about defense because the entire state was built on declaring war against the palestinians

      • Antidote
        February 14, 2011, 5:23 pm

        9/11 was an attack on Jews? Americans were safer on that day than Jews? I guess we need a safe haven for Americans. And Muslims, and whatever national/ethnic groups where killed on that day in the towers. Where do you suggest they go? Mars?

        A familiar strategy though. It’s like illustrating the suffering and murder of Jews in Nazi Germany and WW II with pictures of the liberation of Dachau and Buchenwald. The overwhelming majority of inmates in those camps (and all camps in the Reich) were not Jewish, and yet the mountains of corpses and half-starved survivors are systematically employed to illustrate the suffering of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust and push the case for Zionism and Israel. Empathy for non-Jews? Acknowledgment of their suffering? No way.

      • MRW
        February 15, 2011, 2:06 am

        TripleE,

        Where did you get that figure of between 400 and 500 Jews died on 9/11? From that link you provided? The responder to the question about how many Jews died wrote: The exact number is not known, since official record-keeping does not list the religions of the victims.

        18% of those who died that day were Jews? (Official total 2819.) Around 500 of the total were foreigners (no Israelis, mind you).

        The hyperbole and grandstanding of this victimization statement is not only inaccurate but repellent, especially to the memory of all who died that day. You ought to be ashamed of yourself: “The fact is that the worst attack on Jews since the founding of Israel occurred in New York where between 400 and 500 Jews died on 9/11.”

        Is there a suffering on this planet that you won’t co-opt?

    • hophmi
      February 14, 2011, 4:54 pm

      “Directors like Steven Spielberg need to stop the emotional blackmail that which they implement in movies like Schindler’s List. Allow me to elaborate; after a gut wrenching story about people who survived the Holocaust, Spielberg concludes the movie by transitioning from black and white to color — hence, from misery and anguish to hope and safety — and from a group of refugees in Europe to a group of immigrants in Israel. ”

      Typical. The cut is to the people Schindler saved and their descendants walking together as a group to put rocks on his grave, which happens to be in Israel. And the song on the soundtrack is Yerushalaim shel Zahav, not HaTikvah. And during the time the survivors are putting rocks on the grave, the soundtrack is the theme from the movie. It’s too bad that all you see behind survivors putting rocks on the grave of the person who saved them is “emotional blackmail.”

      • Chaos4700
        February 14, 2011, 5:08 pm

        Germany was forced to pay billions of dollars (equivalent) to Israel so that Holocaust survivors there could be relegated to eating dog food from tins while the money went into buying tanks and armored bulldozers.

        Israel has nothing to do with saving Holocaust survivors and everything to do with taking land and treasure from a people who were (and remain) largely defenseless and without a military of their own.

      • Avi
        February 14, 2011, 5:16 pm

        You’re right about Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold).

        But, you’ve actually corroborated my point. After all, if Spielberg wasn’t going for that connection between the Holocaust and Israel, then why even mention Jerusalem? Why play a song that glorifies Jerusalem? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.

        And if anyone doubts my point about the transition from refugees to immigrants, then perhaps you can explain why people coming to lay stones on a grave have to walk side by side down a hill as though they are throngs of escaping refugees arriving at the shores of the promised land.

      • hophmi
        February 14, 2011, 5:39 pm

        “But, you’ve actually corroborated my point. After all, if Spielberg wasn’t going for that connection between the Holocaust and Israel, then why even mention Jerusalem? ”

        Because Schindler is buried there? And because a lot of the Schindler Jews live there? Just a guess.

        “And if anyone doubts my point about the transition from refugees to immigrants, then perhaps you can explain why people coming to lay stones on a grave have to walk side by side down a hill as though they are throngs of escaping refugees arriving at the shores of the promised land.”

        Because Spielberg wanted a wide shot of the Schindler Jews walking together to symbolize Stern’s comment “There will be generations because of what you did” and shooting them from afar was Spielberg’s way of achieving it?

      • Avi
        February 14, 2011, 6:52 pm
        hophmi February 14, 2011 at 5:39 pm

        Because Schindler is buried there? And because a lot of the Schindler Jews live there? Just a guess.

        Aha. You must be an alien from Mars, because the symbolism with which you’re familiar seems to be in direct contradiction with what humans here on earth have come to share. When I see an image of a baby crying on a woman’s shoulder, I immediately think she’s the pedophile kidnapper. Yeah. That’s it. Bullseye.

      • hophmi
        February 15, 2011, 8:10 am

        I’m from Mars?

        You project, pal. You want to see a political imperative behind anything and everything. Sometimes a group of Holocaust survivors is just a group of Holocaust survivors.

      • Chu
        February 15, 2011, 11:56 am

        Avi, you hit a sore spot when you called out Hophmi’s favorite film. He knows the soundtrack and all. He derives his strength though films like this. Dont mess with Spielberg…

      • annie
        February 15, 2011, 3:06 am

        i just saw people and it was beautiful. i thought the black and white to color represented memory and the past transitioning to life today in the present. i thought the use of them walking in a long line was effective because instead of just a mass of people (which is how we see the past) the line represented a continuation that keep on going, and they came and came and came and it was very effective. it represented an incredible appreciation to this man who they were honoring. each body walking.

        it is a miracle, every life. it is a great thing these people lived. every life is precious.

        someday there will be a movie about palestine and maybe they will walk these children whose parents and ancestors have died and suffered atrociously. and maybe it will honor those who have dedicated their life to bringing them freedom. and i will not call it emotional blackmail because real life is emotional. survival is emotional. i won’t cut myself off from reality even if the soundtrack is politically motivated.

        there are wonderful incredible people living today because people survived the holocaust. that’s emotional. there are also wonderful incredible people who died because of zionism. that is emotional. the holocaust lives, it lives in palestine. we have to find a way to reconcile and to end this cycle. cherishing and appreciating every life, and that’s emotional.

      • Psychopathic god
        February 16, 2011, 6:38 pm

        in one of his movies that spielberg did in black and white –anne frank, maybe–he does one shot, near the end, of a jewish girl in a red coat. In a documentary called, “Imaginary Witness,” Spielberg explains that he did that spot of bright red deliberately, to focus on the guilt of Christians (in some way that I’ve forgotten the rationale for — not that hating Christians needs any rationale . . .)

      • annie
        February 16, 2011, 9:02 pm

        i didn’t know spielberg did a movie about anne frank. but there was a girl in a red coat in schindler’s list. they have a section about it @ wiki. they quote spielberg and source Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust:

        “America and Russia and England all knew about the Holocaust when it was happening, and yet we did nothing about it. We didn’t assign any of our forces to stopping the march toward death, the inexorable march toward death. It was a large bloodstain, primary red color on everyone’s radar, but no one did anything about it. And that’s why I wanted to bring the color red in.”[19]

    • annie
      February 14, 2011, 5:32 pm

      i don’t know avi, i liked that movie. i’m sort of over fictionalized make believe holocaust stories but that story wove important true historical events w/the result of the future by seeing all the relatives of the people he saved.

      i liked the movie. i don’t think it needs to be made 1000 times over but i thought it was important. it was also how i introduced my son to the holocaust. kids relate to movies, it made it real for him.

      • wondering jew
        February 14, 2011, 6:26 pm

        Regarding Schindler’s List the music of Yerushalayim shel Zahav had definite Zionist implications and I think Spielberg was trying to balance that out when he made the film “Munich”, to show that he could be judgmental vis a vis Zionists vs. Palestinians.

      • Ellen
        February 14, 2011, 7:35 pm

        Munich was a terrible movie. Munich was no story. We know governments and institutions do very bad things to protect their interests . It was like we were supposed to be so shocked that even Israel is just as rotten as every other state.

        The pattern and tactic of targeted assassinations of real or perceived or anticipated enemies has been in place by Zionist since before the establishment of the Zionist state. So that is a little bit unique to Israel.

      • annie
        February 15, 2011, 2:30 am

        the music of Yerushalayim shel Zahav had definite Zionist implications

        maybe to a jew. i don’t know that song or the meaning of it. there were probably lots of cultural aspects of the movie that flew right past me. layers upon layers of them perhaps.

      • annie
        February 15, 2011, 2:40 am

        ps, the vast majority of the people who’ve watched the film are not jewish. it’s likely my perceptions were shared by many. i just saw all these descendants at the end of the movie. israel didn’t save them, zionism didn’t save them either. schindler did.

      • Avi
        February 15, 2011, 4:38 am

        annie February 15, 2011 at 2:40 am

        i just saw all these descendants at the end of the movie. israel didn’t save them, zionism didn’t save them either. schindler did.

        In the last scene, the camera shows viewers Schindler’s grave while the song Jerusalem of Gold is playing in the background.

        So, Schindler is dead. That much is clear. The question that arises then is who’ll replace him? The inevitable conclusion the director wanted audiences to reach was that Israel was to be their savior, their protector.

        In addition, annie, don’t take this personally, but if you were Jewish, such a connection to Jerusalem (thus by extension to Israel) would have been instinctive for you.

      • Elliot
        February 15, 2011, 7:02 am

        Munich was a terrible movie.
        Thank you for saying that. I agree!
        There was this scene early on where one of the more sinister goons on the assassination team shows up after a killing to hide the evidence. Why did the killer run away in such haste when this guy had all the time in the world to clean up. Nice of the police to give him that space. The whole thing lacked basic credibility.
        And the dull repetition of killing after killing. Boring.
        I can’t speak about much more of Munich: I walked out.

      • hophmi
        February 15, 2011, 8:13 am

        “The question that arises then is who’ll replace him? The inevitable conclusion the director wanted audiences to reach was that Israel was to be their savior, their protector. ”

        No, that’s YOUR conclusion. As Annie said, most people who saw the movie are not Jewish. And yet again, you’re wrong. Yerushlaim shel Zahav plays during the scene of refugees walking in Poland. During the scene at Schindler’s grave, the theme of the movie is playing.

      • annie
        February 15, 2011, 1:11 pm

        no worries avi i don’t take it personally at all. as i previously mentioned in my 2:30 am post there were probably lots of cultural aspects of the movie that flew right past me.

        i see what you mean about spielberg’s intentions (and concede you are likely correct). i can also better understand how if one was jewish it could operate as a form of emotional blackmail.

        wrt the question that arises about who will replace schindler i can honestly say the thought didn’t even cross my mind. i don’t think it is uncommon for a non jew not to think in those terms. i don’t think of israel as saving jews, at all. so the thought just never occurred to me. why would it? i cannot think of one jew israel has ever saved. and i don’t think in terms of who will save jews in the future. the narrative of israel saving jews just doesn’t have any currency with me.

        consider this entire aspect of the film may have been completely lost on non jews (again, the vast majority of spielberg’s audience). my son’s a film editor now, he remembers so many details about films he’s seen years ago. so i called him. i ask him what he thought of the end. his response did not reference israel. so i ask him, “any recollection of the importance of israel, jerusalem”.. a very flat “no, none whatsoever.”

        i think it is very likely 98% of this kind of brainwashing only works on jews. that said, thank you for this exchange. i regard it as a powerful film about mankind and i’m sure it resonated in more powerful ways for the jewish community.

      • sherbrsi
        February 15, 2011, 7:00 pm

        I don’t believe that Avi is looking into something too deep. Spielberg has made no secret of his own Zionist credentials, what with that comment about fighting/dying for Israel.

        In another movie of his I saw, The Terminal, you can also see the Israeli flag clearly positioned to be visible in the background in several close-up shots of the actors. It’s obvious that he is expressing his support of Zionism through his work, sometimes subversively so like in that movie (which had nothing to do Israel or Zionism).

      • Psychopathic god
        February 16, 2011, 6:41 pm

        i think it is very likely 98% of this kind of brainwashing only works on jews

        and candidates for/occupiers of political office.

      • Avi
        February 14, 2011, 7:05 pm

        annie,

        I wasn’t talking about the importance of the movie or the story. I’m talking about the emotional blackmail that is used to make the connection between the Holocaust and the necessity of Israel as an exclusively Jewish AND Zionist state.

        Once that emotional connection is established, once a person starts to think with his/her emotions instead of logic, then there’s no need to examine Zionism, Israel or the concept of a Jewish State. That’s the point of my comment.

        And it’s no different than faith, belief. If one believes that there is a god, then one needs no proof, needs no evidence and need not worry oneself with logical reasoning.

      • annie
        February 15, 2011, 2:24 am

        I’m talking about the emotional blackmail that is used to make the connection between the Holocaust and the necessity of Israel as an exclusively Jewish AND Zionist state.

        i guess that wasn’t something on my radar when i watched the movie (which i saw a few times years ago). in fact i don’t recall even thinking much about israel at the end other than the awareness his grave was in israel. perhaps if i saw it again after years of being an activist i might have more of an awareness or sensitivity to your reaction. my recollection at the end was the miracle of all these descendants because of the survival of their ancestors. in fact i recall thinking many of them must have flown in from the states for the finale. zionism wasn’t anything i noticed or the promotion of israel per se.

        i’m working from memory here. i could be wrong but i just do not recall israel (or zionism) being promoted in the film.

        i have no wish to debate it that was just my perception as i recall it. i could be wrong.

    • MRW
      February 15, 2011, 2:12 am

      Great comment, Avi: February 14, 2011 at 4:34 pm

  14. ToivoS
    February 14, 2011, 5:04 pm

    I agree with most people here that “liberal zionism” is an oxymoron. It is an ideology that cannot survive its internal contradictions. It is why the ultra right in Israel logically has the better argument. Basically, if you accept Zionism you better be prepared to engage in perpetual war and oppression in order to protect it. But I still cannot criticize Beinhart for his views. I see him and people like him on a path where justice eventually triumphs over Zionism. It is asking too much for them to accept Braverman’s thesis in one full swoop.

    • tree
      February 14, 2011, 5:57 pm

      It is asking too much for them to accept Braverman’s thesis in one full swoop.

      Perhaps so. Baby steps are better than nothing. But so many people are suffering while baby steps are being made. That’s so frustrating. The logic is so clearly against their attachments but still they cling. Its like deprogramming cultists.

      • MHughes976
        February 15, 2011, 12:01 pm

        If baby keeps lisping ‘Naughty policies, lovely principles’ he may never grow up.

  15. Shingo
    February 14, 2011, 5:52 pm

    A brilliant piece Mark. It’s hard to imagine a better explanation and argument.

    And the summation of liberal Zionism cuts right to the bone.

  16. wondering jew
    February 14, 2011, 6:13 pm

    The full quote is “My country right or wrong: when right, to keep her right; when wrong to put her right.”
    This may be the effect of what Mark Braverman advocates in terms of policy, but in terms of mindset he advocates. “my country right or wrong when right to keep it right. when wrong to abandon her to the whims of history that she has brought to bear upon herself.”

    It is possible to listen to the Hatikva’s “to be a free nation in our land in Jerusalem” and assert that it is impossible to be a free nation when another nation is unfree as a result of your “freedom”. And thus turn the search for justice into a search for real freedom and fulfillment of the dream. Instead Mark Braverman asserts the unsalvagable nature of Jewish nationalism, which therefore we must turn our backs on.

    • tree
      February 14, 2011, 6:41 pm

      wj

      This may be the effect of what Mark Braverman advocates in terms of policy, but in terms of mindset he advocates. “my country right or wrong when right to keep it right. when wrong to abandon her to the whims of history that she has brought to bear upon herself.”

      Two points.

      Number one, Mark Braverman is an American. His country is the US, not Israel.

      Number two, here is his biography posted at the Amazon.com with regards to his book.

      Mark Braverman is a Jewish American with deep family roots in the Holy Land. Trained as a clinical psychologist and a pioneer in developing innovative approaches to crisis intervention and recovery from trauma, Mark now devotes himself full-time to the cause for peace in historic Palestine. In his work he focuses on the role of religious beliefs and theology in the current discourse and the function and future of interfaith relations. Mark is a cofounder of Friends of Tent of Nations North America. He serves on the advisory board of Friends of Sabeel North America and on the Board of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA. He is the author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land.

      In terms of mindset, it seems that Braverman is not “abandoning” Israel but seeking to help it find the right path.

    • RoHa
      February 14, 2011, 9:59 pm

      “the unsalvagable nature of Jewish nationalism, which therefore we must turn our backs on.”

      And why not?

      • MHughes976
        February 15, 2011, 12:31 pm

        ‘My country right or wrong – if right…’ etc. is an expanded version by Senator Carl Schurz in the 1870s of a military toast composed by Stephen Decatur half a century earlier. Decatur’s version is a call for unconditional loyalty – though it is preceded by the hope that the country will always be in the right it makes clear that being right is not essential for loyal service. Schurz completely transforms the meaning, making it a call to change the way you behave in the light of whether you think your country’s government is doing right or not. Schurz was a 48-er who had fled Germany after the failed revolutions, to fight on the winning side in the American Civil War and to have a distinguished political career. You could say that Decatur stood by what he said but that Schurz, at any rate in his German phase, did not entirely do so. His story seems to show that sometimes people of patriotic instinct – the 1848 revolutions had a strong patriotic component – have to give up on ‘their’ country and find another.

    • Mark Braverman
      February 16, 2011, 5:07 pm

      What is wrong with turning our backs on nationalism? Or, better question, what do you mean by that? If by “turning my back” on “nationalism,” you mean rejecting a particular political ideology as catastrophically flawed, then yes, that’s right. It does not mean that I am turning my back on the people who are being disadvantaged by their government’s (and it’s nongovernmental allies, e.g. the Israel Lobby). On the contrary, I am looking out for them, wanting something better for them.

      • wondering jew
        February 16, 2011, 8:04 pm

        Mark Braverman, You are allowed to turn your back on nationalism and adopt a different ideology. But 1. You are not only justifying your own behavior but selling it to others and 2. It may be confusing for those who follow in your steps. Odds are that those who dump Jewish nationalism on the ash heap of history will find themselves surrounded by people advocating other forms of nationalism. And if that is the case, they should be advised that nationalism has many forms and that Jewish nationalism has many forms and that there is no intrinsic need to quit Jewish nationalism.

        As far as the salesmanship issue, there are many who are not willing to buy into your rejection of nationalism and you will have to find some way to win over those who reject your specific ideological route. Unless you are only concerned in staking out your own position and justifying it rather than salesmanship, but this does not in fact seem to be your position.

      • Chaos4700
        February 16, 2011, 8:17 pm

        There are plenty of forms of nationalism out there that don’t conscript its citizenry and order them to drop bombs on hospitals, WJ.

    • Mark Braverman
      February 16, 2011, 5:09 pm

      What is wrong with turning our backs on nationalism? Or, better question, what do you mean by that? If by “turning my back” on “nationalism,” you mean rejecting a particular political ideology as catastrophically flawed, then yes, that’s right. It does not mean that I am turning my back on the people who are being disadvantaged by their government’s (and it’s nongovernmental allies, e.g. the Israel Lobby). On the contrary, I am looking out for them, wanting something better for them.

      • MRW
        February 16, 2011, 9:48 pm

        Good for you, Mark.

  17. NimaShirazi
    February 14, 2011, 7:07 pm

    As many have already written, this is indeed an excellent piece.

    Please forgive my blatant and embarrassing self-promotion, but I thought a lengthy article, which I wrote in Sept. 2010, may interest those on this thread. Inspired by the then-much-publicized Israeli theatre boycott of a new stage in the West Bank colony of Ariel, the piece broadens into a wider analysis of BDS, Zionism itself and how – as Mark Braverman perfectly spells out here – so-called “liberal Zionists” have it all wrong. The problem is not that the nobility of Zionism is getting side-tracked by some unsavory, racist, discriminatory, and even militaristic elements, but rather that Zionism itself requires and promotes those very elements as inherent aspects of its own ideology. Without ethnic cleansing and land theft, there is no Zionism.

    Enjoy.

    The Thin Green Line: It’s Not Just the Settlements (or the Occupation), Stupid!

  18. Mooser
    February 15, 2011, 11:38 am

    And Mondoweiss again plays the part of a co-dependent in ziocaine addiction!

    • Mooser
      February 15, 2011, 11:39 am

      I’m not talking about the articvle, of course. Just the comment section.
      Oh well, I hope it does some good, anyway.

      • Chaos4700
        February 16, 2011, 8:19 pm

        I know, really. I think I’m understanding why you don’t post as often as you used to, Mooser, and sometimes I wonder whether its worth it. It seems like HOURLY we have the same disproven garbage posted here, over and over and over again. So much for truth in moderation.

  19. Chu
    February 15, 2011, 11:59 am

    Mark,
    I watched you on CSpan a few months back during your book reading.
    What will it take for others to see through your eyes and change internally?

    • Mark Braverman
      February 16, 2011, 5:01 pm

      Chu,

      All it takes is for Israel to continue to do what it’s doing, and for our government to continue to support that. It becomes more and more obvious to more and more people how wrong it is, how destructive to Israel itself (if you want to argue that way), and how detrimental to US interests (if you want to argue that way, and I think we have to argue all those ways). I see people changing all the time. It will take a lot more people, however, and an organized effort at the grassroots to bring this into the political process. I am focussing increasingly on the American church — ecumenically, that means evangelicals as well, and they are not a monolith and powerful pastors, important academics, and lay leaders are on board, and that will be a tipping point — to provide the spiritual and human energy to power this movement to scale the monumental political barriers to changing US policy on Israel. It’s a big job — but it’s happening. As Christians get over their reluctance to (or terror of) saying anything that could be perceived as anti-Israel (which thanks to the State of Israel and its institutional partners here is almost universally seen as anti-Semitic), this movement will continue to pick up momentum.

      Mark

      • MRW
        February 16, 2011, 7:13 pm

        Mark Braverman,

        As Christians get over their reluctance to (or terror of) saying anything that could be perceived as anti-Israel (which thanks to the State of Israel and its institutional partners here is almost universally seen as anti-Semitic)

        What I fear is a sudden ‘getting over’. Americans unleash a fury when they feel fooled. The ADL has not thought this out clearly.

        As you write, it is happening.

      • Mark Braverman
        February 17, 2011, 8:22 pm

        Which is why we need to be on this, now, and with a focused, intelligent discourse. I too am afraid of anti-Semitism, and am not naive about it. And the longer this orgy of Jewish ethnic nationalism goes on and is supported, the greater the risk. But the Christians that I encounter in the churches, denominational organizations, and ecumenical bodies are not anti-Semitic and are not susceptible to this, and anti-Semites are not steering the ship of American mainstream Christianity, or, for that matter, the evangelical center and left. These are the heads that must prevail.

      • annie
        February 16, 2011, 11:23 pm

        phenomenal. i just finished watching the cspan link (thanks pg) and i am blown away. blown.

        you are certainly worthy of your heritage mr. braverman. brave indeed.

  20. Theo
    February 16, 2011, 9:06 am

    Had a lot of fun reading these comments, Witty and eee as always sticking to their standpoint, until it became a pissing contest.

    As young boys we had those pissing contests, when we got older it became mine is bigger than yours …..

  21. internationalcause
    February 16, 2011, 11:15 am

    So what’s wrong with saying the Zionists who came from Europe to Palestine in the 19th century were colonists? Nothing. It was the Age of Colonialism after all. The U.S. was founded as a colony and we non-natives drove the natives off their land by any means necessary. Likewise, as bad as Israel’s admitting to its colonial past might be, it’s far preferable to highjacking and adopting Hitler’s Big Lie fable about Jews being a separate race or people as fact. And it’s far, far better than allowing Yahoos to threaten us with worldwide incineration.
    Gerald Sherian
    C.A.U.S.E.
    Citizens All United to Suppress Extremism

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