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Jewish substitution and the white gaze

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I’m going to be traveling in days to come but wanted to convey some telegraphic thoughts from the Penn BDS conference of last weekend. A friend said that thankfully identity politics were kept to a minimum, that in the diverse crowd no one held up their identity as a badge, and the conversation was about human rights. While this is true and an achievement, I was as usual attuned to shifts in Jewish life evident at the conference, and here are a few observations.

At Sunday afternoon’s talk by Max Blumenthal and Sarah Schulman, Schulman spoke of the pattern of “Jewish substitution”– the need on the Establishment’s part to seek Jewish voices about the issue. Well, I felt a twinge, because Schulman and Blumenthal were in front of us, both Jewish, and I was about to be on a panel about the media with Blumenthal and Helena Cobban. (And Penn chairman David Cohen and president Amy Gutmann had come out against the conference days before; and the Super Bowl taking place later that day had two teams with Jewish owners; as I insisted at my panel, we make up a significant part of the establishment.)

At my media panel, Amy Kaplan, the great English prof at Penn who participated in the conference despite a storm of contumely and smear, asked the journalists whether the Nakba was ever going to be covered by the mainstream press. “How important is history to reporting events in the present, in the context of trying to get out an alternative view which is suppressed by the mainstream?” she asked.

I said that it was essential that Americans learn about the Nakba, it was great old/new news essential to an understanding of the refugees, and that inevitably the New York Times Magazine would run a Nakba piece but in the form of the emotional water-slide that Blumenthal and I had shot down some years before– the Times would have a young Jew waking up to the crimes committed by the Zionists 64 or 74 years ago, whenever the Times gets round to it. This is not news. Palestinians have known about it for a long time. But that’s the way the media will deal with it. Another Jew in recovery from suppressed memories will discover ethnic cleansing and the early Zionists’ program for a “strong” Jewish majority in the land.

Subsequently a black woman in the audience rose to observe that the same thing had taken place during the civil rights struggle. “We call that the white gaze,” she said, poetically.

I was then aware that my need to fix my own community, to push them toward recognitions, to undo the Israel lobby, to get them out of selfish nationalism, will limit my effectiveness in the Palestinian solidarity movement. That’s OK; I will support that movement and put my shoulder to the wheel. But I took some pleasure– watching a panel on the Jewish response featuring members of Jewish Voice for Peace– hearing Liza Behrendt, a Brandeis graduate, saying that she wants to get Zionists on board with boycotting Israel. Later a friend said that Behrendt was naive, but I saw value in Behrendt’s idea. At AIPAC I have often been struck that here are 5000 or 7000 people in a room acting in some measure out of charity: they are working for people they don’t know on the other side of the world. Now it happens that they are ethnocentric, nationalist and are clapping at racist statements– still they are pouring out energy and money for people they don’t know. And I believe that energy can be shifted.

The mood of the BDS conference was so relentlessly positive, so hopeful, so alive with the concern for human rights, that I see it as inevitable that young Jews will want to align themselves with this program. Some of them may want to come as Zionists, and undo Zionism from inside. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing. The Palestinian condition was created chiefly by Jews. And just as Holocaust evasion ended in a great cultural moment in the 1970s, Nakba denial will also end in a great cultural moment that is coming soon. Young Jews will be thirsting for knowledge of those events, and thirsting to try to repair the damage.

During the conference, I stayed at my mother’s house, and she pressed on me a Soda Stream seltzer-maker she’d bought for my wife. I told her I couldn’t take it; and I thought she was for the two-state solution, Soda Stream is occupying the land the Palestinians were supposed to get. Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb suggested I take it and bury it. But the incident shows how backward my community is, how sunk. I love my mother. I want to help that community redeem itself.

Ali Abunimah said the highlight of Alan Dershowitz’s talk before the conference at the Jewish Federations came when a young Jew said, Yes Israel is a great democracy, etc, etc, but didn’t we throw those people off their land? The right question, Abunimah said; and Dershowitz answered with lies, that there were hardly any Palestinians there, etc. The young man’s question is not going away.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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124 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    February 7, 2012, 11:24 am

    This is the Phil Weiss I came to cherish…… Effectiveness starts with being self aware and a willingness to be critical of yourself, seems to me you got it down my brother. Cheers Phil.

  2. Talkback
    February 7, 2012, 11:35 am

    How deep can the shmock Dershowitz sink?

  3. pabelmont
    February 7, 2012, 11:54 am

    The Dersh: ‘there were hardly any Palestinians there’ .
    OK, young Jewish learner, ask Dersh THIS next chance you get: If there were hardly any Palestinians there (i.e., I suppose, to be ethnically cleansed), then
    [1] why clean those few, and [2] why is Israel so dead-set on non-return if they are so few?

    Actualities: 85% of Arabs became exiles, many of them pushed off at gun-point, 750,000. Legal: neither Balfour nor League’s Mandate nor UNGA-181 gave anyone permission to clear anyone else off of any land; far from it and to the contrary. Actuality: The Palestinian Jews (or the roughnecks among them) decided they wanted a country of their own, were willing to take it by force, became terrorists, chased the British out (British exhausted by the WW-II), then chased the Palestinian Arabs out (They having no arms to speak of and no military training), then fought off the ineffective Arab state armies which came to aid of the locals.

  4. Mooser
    February 7, 2012, 12:09 pm

    “I love my mother. I want to help that community redeem itself.”

    Thank you Phil, for going, with laser-like accuracy, to the very heart of the problem, the very crux of the difference. Why, I think you expressed it even better than Golda Mier did!

  5. LeaNder
    February 7, 2012, 12:32 pm

    but in the form of the emotional water-slide that Blumenthal and I had shot down some years before

    It’s a pity the emotional water-slide isn’t linked, or at least linked to the joint “down shoot”. I wish I knew what you have in mind here.

  6. Mooser
    February 7, 2012, 1:09 pm

    “I want to help that community redeem itself.”

    Ho-kay! I’ve come up with a solution, and like a family trust, redemption is guaranteed! Here’s what we do: Establish a new holiday, a multi-day holiday called Redemption Week, in which Jews all over the world celebrate Palestinian culture and history, and atone for their part in destroying Palestine and its people. This will be a serious holiday, it’ll make Yom Kippur look like a fish-fry.
    And we will establish this Week of Redemption the very year that the last Palestinians have been killed or “transported” and Greater Israel firmly established.
    And don’t worry, Phil, the superior Jewish capacity for redemption which makes this holiday so meaningful will impress the world! And for good measure, any Jew who says “reparation” or “restitution” will have their tongue cut out.

    “I stayed at my mother’s house, and she pressed on me a Soda Stream seltzer-maker she’d bought for my wife.”

    Gosh, maybe I’ve been overlooking a possible therapeutic use for Ziocaine in cases of age-related cerebral deficiency.

    • LeaNder
      February 7, 2012, 2:08 pm

      Good to see you around. ;) I was wondering, should we be worried about Moose? But as my mother keeps saying: Bad weeds grow tall.

    • American
      February 7, 2012, 2:25 pm

      rotflmao…you slay me Mooser.

    • emanresu
      February 7, 2012, 4:56 pm

      “. . . cases of age-related cerebral deficiency.”

      Are you dissing Phil Weiss’s mom?

    • Chaos4700
      February 7, 2012, 9:01 pm

      Hey! Fish-fries are practically a Catholic sacrament, thank you. ;)

    • tellmeall
      February 8, 2012, 10:51 pm

      Oh yeah, that will make up for the Palestinians having their family’s heritage stolen, the Mamilla Cemetary bulldozed, wells poisoned and fruit orchards ravished, should I go on?

      Don’t try to feed me fancy gourmet ‘pate’ when we all know you only brought cat food.

    • tellmeall
      February 8, 2012, 10:53 pm

      That reply under Chaos 4700 at 9:01 was meant for you, Mooser.

  7. American
    February 7, 2012, 1:31 pm

    “Subsequently a black woman in the audience rose to observe that the same thing had taken place during the civil rights struggle. “We call that the white gaze,” she said, poetically. ”

    Whew! I never heard that expression before but she’s right.

  8. emanresu
    February 7, 2012, 2:29 pm

    Beautifully written, Phil Weiss!

    I, personally, will not join the “B” in “BDS.” I feel that non-Israeli Jewish individuals can be most helpful if we acknowledge a cultural connection to the Jews of Israel, though making it clear that we have zero political loyalty to the government of Israel, and try to persuade from within. I would not boycott a distant family member if he or she were behaving disgracefully. And boycotting scholars and artists just because they are Israeli would feel that way to me.

    I would be very receptive, however, to supporting “D” and “S,” proposals, until the occupation ends and the settlements are dismantled.

    • Shmuel
      February 7, 2012, 2:51 pm

      Back by popular demand:

      “13 Reasons Why Liberal Zionists Should Give Guarded Support to the BDS Movement”
      http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2010/04/13-reasons-why-liberal-zionists-should.html

      and

      “To BDS or not to BDS? If You’re a Liberal Zionist, Try TBDS”
      http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2011/03/to-bds-or-not-to-bds-if-youre-liberal.html

      and while I’m at it, Haber’s latest:

      “Pro-Israel and Pro-BDS”
      http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2012/02/pro-israel-and-pro-bds.html

    • Annie Robbins
      February 7, 2012, 2:54 pm

      I feel that non-Israeli Jewish individuals can be most helpful if we acknowledge a cultural connection to the Jews of Israel, though making it clear that we have zero political loyalty to the government of Israel, and try to persuade from within.

      emanresu, i’m a little confused as to what this has to do with not supporting the boycott as there’s nothing about it that doesn’t “acknowledge a cultural connection to the Jews of Israel”.

      • emanresu
        February 7, 2012, 3:07 pm

        Three negatives in one sentence, you’ve got me a little confused too!

        IMO, participating in a cultural boycott does not acknowledge a cultural connection but, rather, severs it. I am not prepared to do that. I also think that if non-Jewish Israelis participate in a cultural boycott, it will reduce our effectiveness in trying to persuade from within.

      • emanresu
        February 7, 2012, 3:52 pm

        delete “non-Jewish Israelis,” substitute “non-Israeli Jews.”

      • Annie Robbins
        February 7, 2012, 7:00 pm

        participating in a cultural boycott does not acknowledge a cultural connection but, rather, severs it. I am not prepared to do that.

        i think you are confusing the individual with state affiliated institutions. severing of a cultural connection to “the Jews of Israel” is your concept and your wording and does not reflect the motives or intention of the bds movement.

        of course, it is still your choice whether to boycott or not. but no sense attributing your decision to misinformation.

      • emanresu
        February 7, 2012, 8:25 pm

        Possibly, but in practice, the work of individual professionals and cultural workers is deeply intertwined with state-affiliated institutions for the basic reason that such institutions are a primary funding source. It is hard for me to determine– in practice, maybe not in theory–who is exempt from the boycott’s “general overriding rule,” that I quoted below–especially since the rule specifies guilt through silence, and guilt until proven otherwise.

        I am a public sector employee, as I noted. My agency has received grants from the Department of Homeland Security, as I noted. Would a PD conference, sponsored by my agency, be an approprate target for a BDS campaign against American war crimes? How about a conference on water desalinization or the development of medicine, sponsored by a state-funded University? How about a ballet performance, where half the troupe are peaceniks, but that is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts? (I believe that the NEA refers to “civic pride” in its mission statement–is that “whitewashing” or “diverting attention.”?) How about boycotting the internet–a product, largely, of the US military? I am unwilling to participate in imposing punitive measures on Israelis that I would not impose on citizens of my own country.

        I do want to make clear, however, in case these sound like the words of an apologist, that I really am appalled by the occupation, the settlements, the recent Gaza horror show, and the use of the alleged security wall to illegally confiscate Palestinian land. As I said, I would be hard-pressed to oppose a reasonable “D” or “S” proposal.

      • Shmuel
        February 8, 2012, 2:12 am

        Possibly, but in practice …

        Now we’re getting somewhere.

        I won’t argue interpretation of the PACBI guidelines with you. Understand them whatever way you like, and if you really care, you can write to them (contact details at the PACBI site) to ask them whatever questions you may have.

        Your original point was that you can’t boycott due to your “cultural connection” and your desire to “persuade from within”. If you don’t like the PACBI guidelines, make your own. Please read the articles by Jerry Haber (Magnes Zionist) I linked to above, about why liberal Zionists should support the boycott (and not just “D” and “S”) at least in part. Another site you might want to visit is http://www.whoprofits.org/

      • Chaos4700
        February 8, 2012, 9:31 am

        that I really am appalled by the occupation, the settlements, the recent Gaza horror show, and the use of the alleged security wall to illegally confiscate Palestinian land.

        Followed by:

        each taunting comment directed at me on MW results in my buying a container of Sabra hummus

        Noooooo, you don’t support the settlements! You only support them economically. Are all Zionists blatantly hypocrites? Good god, how long am I going to be stuck pitching softball in the minor leagues, anyway.

    • Shmuel
      February 7, 2012, 3:06 pm

      I would not boycott a distant family member if he or she were behaving disgracefully. And boycotting scholars and artists just because they are Israeli would feel that way to me.

      That is a misconception of the academic and cultural boycott, which is not individual but institutional. PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel) has never called for the boycott of individuals “just because they are Israeli”.

      I’d link to the PACBI website, but it seems to have been hacked.

      • emanresu
        February 7, 2012, 3:23 pm

        I know, Shmuel, it is restricted to scholars and artists who receive grants or salaries from the Israeli government.

        That distinction does not persuade me. As a public defender, my whole salary comes from the government. Even though I am not a federal employee, my office has received grants from the federal govt., including the Department of Homeland Security. Should I, therefore, be boycotted by persons protesting US government policies? I don’t think so–the connection between my work and the criminal conduct of the US government is too attenuated.

        P.S.: Disagreement aside, I appreciate your comments and they are a major reason for my occasional visits to the MW comments section.

      • Shmuel
        February 7, 2012, 3:46 pm

        it is restricted to scholars and artists who receive grants or salaries from the Israeli government.

        No, it’s not. Grants and salaries are not relevant. The boycott concerns cooperation with institutions (conferences, joint projects, events, etc.), especially for the purposes of “rebranding”. Merely drawing a salary or a grant from the Israeli government does not make anyone a target of BDS.

        The website seems to be back online, so here are a few links:
        “Implementing the Academic Boycott: Individuals vs. Institutions”
        http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1125

        “PACBI Guidelines for the International Academic Boycott of Israel
        (Revised August 2010)”
        http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1108

        “PACBI Guidelines for the International Cultural Boycott of Israel (Revised October 2010)”
        http://www.pacbi.org/etemplate.php?id=1047

        P.S. Thanks, but I don’t see this as a disagreement.

      • emanresu
        February 7, 2012, 4:25 pm

        From your third link:

        “Before discussing the various categories of cultural products and events and as a general overriding rule, virtually all Israeli cultural institutions, unless proven otherwise, are complicit in maintaining the Israeli occupation and denial of basic Palestinian rights, whether through their silence or actual involvement in justifying, whitewashing or otherwise deliberately diverting attention from Israel’s violations of international law and human rights. Accordingly, these institutions (mainly major state and public entities), all their products, and all the events they sponsor or support must be boycotted.”

        It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that the “sponsor or support” phrase encompasses those who draws grants or salaries from the public sector. I note that the guidelines apply the standard of “complicit until proven otherwise,” which an inversion of the traditional burden of proof, and a guilt-through-silence phrase, which is an inversion of the ancient common law rule.

      • Shmuel
        February 7, 2012, 4:40 pm

        Before discussing the various categories of cultural products and events …

        Look at the categories themselves, emanresu, not just the introduction. I repeat: merely drawing a salary or enjoying a grant is not sufficient cause for boycott.

        OK, I’ll spoonfeed:

        Products funded by official Israeli bodies — as defined in category (1) above — but not commissioned, therefore not attached to any political strings, are not per se subject to boycott. Individual cultural products that receive state funding as part of the individual cultural worker’s entitlement as a tax-paying citizen, without her/him being bound to serve the state’s political and PR interests, are not boycottable, according to the PACBI criteria. Accepting such political strings, on the other hand, would clearly turn the cultural product or event into a form of complicity, by contributing to Israel’s efforts to whitewash or obscure its colonial and apartheid reality, and would render it boycottable, as a result.

        I note that the guidelines apply the standard of “complicit until proven otherwise,” which an inversion of the traditional burden of proof, and a guilt-through-silence phrase, which is an inversion of the ancient common law rule.

        It’s not a court of law, but guidelines for political action (with higher and lower priorities and admitted grey areas), and as a rule of thumb, the assumption of complicity on the part of “major [Israeli] state and public entities” is quite realistic. If you would like to cooperate with an Israeli institution you suspect is not complicit, no one is stopping you from looking into it. Nevertheless, specific PACBI-initiated campaigns do include demonstrations of complicity.

    • teta mother me
      February 7, 2012, 3:09 pm

      interested to know, emanresu, if you have ever explored the “cultural connection” of Causasian Europeans and Caucasian Americans to Iranians.

      Most people heap scorn on me when I bring this up — I’ve even been banned for mentioning it — but the linguistic belt for the Indo-European languages extends from Iran and India, through Europe to Ireland and Denmark.

      The first Iranians (Aryans) dwelt on the Sythian plateau and migrated south across the Caucuses to merge with the Elamites and Medianites in present-day Iran.
      skip forward a few centuries
      Cyrus was already a practicing Zoroastrian when he conquered Nebuchadnezzar and liberated the Hebrews — whom Persians called “Yehud” — whom Neb. had taken into exile in Babylon. Cyrus assisted Yehud to return to Jerusalem and rebuild it, providing financial and political support for a little over 200 years. Even so, the great majority of Yehud preferred to remain in Babylon, where at least a remnant remained until about 1950.

      Shorter shorthand version: Iran is the meeting place for Jews and non-Jews; Zoroaster established the prototype for several of the ethical dimensions of Judaism, which was reduced to writing while Yehud was in Babylon under Cyrus, and Zoroaster laid down many of the principles central to Christianity.

      One of the most distressing things about ‘Christian zionism’ is its complete obliviousness to the importance of Iran to Christianity as well as Judaism. In my observation and opinion, zionists took deliberate steps to obliterate Persian -Christian influence in the Old Testament via Scofield bible, and today, Amy Jill Levine is inserting zionist influence in the New Testament.

      It is pernicious. It’s another stealing of culture as devastating as the theft of Palestinian libraries or the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddha. But American Christians are all too eager to see the theft persist.

      Nobody that I know wants to distort Jewish sacred literature or community practice. They are the things that keep a community together. The religious literature and practices of others should likewise be respected and left alone for the adherents of that community to decide and interpret.

      • MHughes976
        February 7, 2012, 4:59 pm

        There’s a book called ‘Towards One World: Ancient Persia and the West’ by Warwick Ball, which I picked up in the SOAS bookshop in London, which is very humane and scholarly and deserves a wider audience. Ball shows incidentally how the pernicious Clash of Civilisations theory is making its way into popular ancient history writing.
        Mind you, I tend to think that religions are too important to be left entirely to their own adherents.

      • Shmuel
        February 7, 2012, 5:02 pm

        Mind you, I tend to think that religions are too important to be left entirely to their own adherents.

        Amen!

      • teta mother me
        February 8, 2012, 10:57 am

        thank you 3X — for the book suggestion (which I, the floorboards, & my budget need like a hole in the head); for mentioning that there’s another Someone out there combatting the Clash of Civilizations crabgrass; and I forget the third one. . .

        Richard Foltz has done some pretty impressive scholarship on Eastern religions.
        Spirituality in the Land of the Noble: How Iran Shaped the World’s Religions

        Religions of the Silk Road: Overland Trade and Cultural Exchange from Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century

        and the 2010 revision of the previous book,
        Religions of the Silk Road: Premodern Patterns of Globalization

        Foltz has shifted somewhat into studies of ecology and environment, deeply inflected with his knowledge of Zoroaster and Islamic religions which, if anybody stopped spewing hate long enough to find out, are quintessentially committed to care for the natural environment. Zoroaster enshrines the elements earth, air, water, and of course, fire. Remember, the Iranian plateau is a very challenging geographic environment, but the people who live there consider it a matter of spiritual character to properly manage their environment and provide for themselves and their families. That’s what is so particularly hateful –and ignorant– about actions intended to starve the Iranian people into submission.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        February 7, 2012, 5:12 pm

        @teta mother me

        … and today, Amy Jill Levine is inserting zionist influence in the New Testament.
        It is pernicious. It’s another stealing of culture …. Nobody that I know wants to distort Jewish sacred literature or community practice.

        Amy Jill Levine appears to be yet another example of the highly aggressive effort by Zionists, over the last half-century, to remake American society in their own image.

        teta mother me, can you shed any light on the role of ever-expanding Jewish Studies programs/departments in American universities (at considerable taxpayer expense) in broadly foisting a Jewish-Zionist worldview on what has been primarily a Christian/multicultural society? Is Amy Jill Levine associated with these programs?

        I admit to being uninformed about the purposes and activities associated with these Judeo-centric programs at such a large number of universities. I do know that most of these same universities would never dream of having programs/departments devoted to ‘Christian Studies.’

      • MHughes976
        February 7, 2012, 6:32 pm

        Amy-Jill was entrusted with the highly sensitive chapter in the 1998 Oxford History of the Biblical World, which is on the whole a very fair statement of traditionalist views, covering the lifetime of Jesus and of Paul. She writes reasonably enough of the difficulties of the subject, remarks on the way that the New Testament reworks ‘Old Testament’ materials and identifies a vein of anti-Semitism, or at least of anti-Jewish caricature, in the New Testament. Maybe her more recent work emphasises Jewish-Christian continuity rather than discrepancy?
        Paul, a notorious stone of stumbling and scandal between Jewish and Christian readers, is treated, I think, as a bit of a hot potato by the OHBW.

      • teta mother me
        February 7, 2012, 7:17 pm

        Thomas Rutherford, thank you for paying attention.

        click here, see Jewish Substitution

      • Thomson Rutherford
        February 8, 2012, 12:09 am

        Amy-Jill Levine, who describes herself as an observant Conservative Jew, is a Professor of New Testament Studies at Vanderbilt University. Here is the link to a 60-minute lecture she delivered recently to a mostly Christian audience at UCSD, entitled “Reassessment of Jewish-Christian Relations.”

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGOobQiRAa8

        In the lecture, she literally glowers at her audience – with resentment, belligerence, and condescension – as she describes how intrinsically anti-Jewish the New Testament “document” is. It is, she suggests, only an inferior re-making of the books of the Old Testament (a name she doesn’t like and wants to replace with some Hebrew term I didn’t catch). She relates a number of ‘humorous’ anecdotes illustrating how ignorant Christians are.

        As a teacher of the New Testament to mostly Christian students, she has several clear messages:

        1. Christianity is inferior to Judaism and was a weak substitute for it. For this and other reasons, the two need to remain completely separate religious traditions and Christians need to leave the Jews alone and stop trying to observe Passover and Hanukkah.

        2. She has contempt for New Testament writers, including Paul (Saul of Tarsus), and regards them as evilly anti-Jewish. She wants more Jews to study the New Testament critically so that they will understand just how anti-Semitic a “document” it is.

        3. Christians need to continue to do penance (ask forgiveness of Jews) till the end of time for their treatment of Jews and their disrespect for Judaism. But nevertheless, like the parallel rails of a railroad track, the two religions will eventually converge in the distance. (Somehow, I get the impression that she thinks that the inferior Christianity will throw off its silly ideas about salvation and divine grace and will merge into the superior Judaism.)

        4. Zionism and aliya are essential aspects of modern Judaism. Accept it.

        It does seem that Nos. 1 and 3 above are contradictory, doesn’t it?

        I wonder how well Prof. Levine’s predominately Christian students accept her patently obvious attempts to weaken and Judaize the tenets of their religion. I also wonder how fully they buy into her proselytizing about Zionism.

      • teta mother me
        February 8, 2012, 5:07 am

        thanks for the link and the precis. I’m listening to Levine’s lectures on New Testament figures and the attitude, tone, and arguments are the same. Mary is described as a Jewish woman who was opposed to Roman authority; Jesus is described as battling for Jewish liberation from Roman authority. The lectures are subtly shot through with zionist revisionism.

        interested to know your thoughts on this comment, Thomson –http://mondoweiss.net/2012/02/faith-based-communities-provide-fertile-ground-for-boycott-movement.html/comment-page-1#comment-423202 Braverman goes to Christian churches and gives speeches about supporting Palestinians. I listened to a talk Braverman gave and heard the statement that “Christians should think long and hard about what in their beliefs makes them think they could do that to Jews,” and “Jesus died fighting to free Jews from the Romans.”

      • teta mother me
        February 8, 2012, 5:58 am

        this video, The Roots of Christian Zionism, provides only a sketchy background on the controlling factors of the Oxford University press. It appears there’s strong zionist influence at Oxford University Press.

        The more light is shed on zionism, the more the whole foundation of the so-called Judeo-Christian project becomes suspect. When I read Levine’s dismissal of the Three Wise Men as “clowns” and “fools” and not wise at all; and considered that undermining of usual Christian beliefs about the Wise Men as “three kings from Persia,” who had followed a star, — Persians were noted astronomers, an essential skill for transiting the deserts and mountains of the Persian empire– in conjunction with Haggai Ram’s writing on “Iranophobia,” the visceral hatred of mizrahim, ‘oriental’ Jews and Persians/Iranian, it occurred to me that Levine was deliberately attempting to complete the erasure of Persia/Persian influence from the Christian bible.

        Zoroaster was the prototype of Judaic ethics and many Christian doctrines. My own experience in an Iranian caravansarie, and Karen Armstrong on Axial Age religion, and Richard Foltz’s writing How Iran Shaped the World’s Religions, are rattling around in my head as I am listening to a series of lectures on ‘Great Figures in the New Testament” by Levine. When Levine was attempting to explain the relationship between Jews and Samaritans, she referred to an enmity reaching back from the time of Jesus, let’s say year 2 CE, all the way back to 700 BC. Levine was reinforcing a 700 year old enmity.
        I also had just become aware that Romans and Persians engaged in warfare along their borders for 600 years, from 96 BC until ~526 CE (dates may be inaccurate; too lazy to look them up). That means that Persians would have been very much a part of the Roman world, and one would expect that Persians would have inflected the Jewish world in 2 CE; Judaism was “born” in a certain sense in Babylon after Cyrus conquered Nebuchadnezzar in ~537 BC. Recall that Cyrus enabled Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild it and supported Jews financially and politically for ~200 years. The majority of Jews chose to remain in Babylon. Relations between those Jews who DID return to Jerusalem and the Jews who had remained there, were very rocky.

        So the situation in Roman Jerusalem in the time of Jesus would have included Jews as part of the Persian empire, Jews as part of the Jewish community in the Roman empire, and some of those Jews would have been battling the Roman empire. This latter group is the root stock of today’s zionists (see here, for example —

        So why is there no mention whatsoever of Persian influence in the New Testament writings?

        Answer: Because Constantine, the Roman emperor, decided what was included and what was excluded from the New Testament canon. The first five or seven councils of the “church” that shaped New Testament beliefs and doctrine to this day, were convened in Asia Minor under Constantine. Naturally, a Roman would have written Persia out of the sacred texts of his new religion, which he had been inspired to install in place of the Mithraism (related to Zoroaster) that his soldiers practiced.

        In a book by Martin Goodman, “Rome and Jerusalem,” the author writes that Jews in the time of Jesus held Cyrus and the Persians in high esteem. However, if the New Testament is as Judeophilic as Levine claims, why did Jews not include more recognition of their long relationship with Persia and its underlying Zoroastrian religious principles, and why was/is Amy Jill Levine so eager to erase the last few vestiges of Persia from the New Testament? As to the latter, I suggest it is because Levine has a political, zionist agenda that seeks to elevate what I have come to understand as “Estherine” Judaism — which is zionism.

        Most Christians who are aware of Esther find it problematic. When I became aware of the text, I found it less than holy-making. Esther’s quest is not just to belong as a welcome minority in the majority community — by all accounts, that was one of the unique characteristics of the Persian empire system: all groups maintained cultural autonomy and respect for their religions and cultures, so Jews were, and still are, a respected minority in Iranian culture. But Esther destroyed the ‘host’ — she had 75,000 Persians killed, and also the 10 sons of the king, as well as the prime minister. Esther reigned as queen to the king whose heirs she obliterated; having already been gifted with half of his kingdom’s wealth, Esther now had authority over all of it. The prime minister’s position was filled by Esther’s cousin Mordecai. The minority now dominated the power and wealth of the empire. Purim is the annual celebration of Esther’s deeds.

        afraid I’ve rambled on — the core question is, Why does Amy Jill Levine seek to erase Persian influence from the New Testament? Is it an expression of mizrahut, that combination of loathing and self-recognition that lies at the core of zionist Jewish antipathy toward Iranians and oriental Jews?

      • teta mother me
        February 8, 2012, 6:15 am

        re “This latter group is the root stock of today’s zionists” —

        this is the link that should have been there, ironically, an article by H. Sacher in Atlantic Monthly in 1919 — A Jewish Palestine

        “THE Zionist movement dates from A.D. 70, the year of the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish State. The Zionist Organization dates from 1897, the year of the first Zionist Congress. The Zionist movement is a longing and striving to restore to the Jewish people normal national life”

        there’s a major discrepancy between Levine’s treatment of the nature of that Jewish group whose rebellion eventuated in the destruction of the temple and that of Martin Goodman, in “Rome and Jerusalem,” all the more intriguing since both rely upon the only source available, the writing of Josephus.

        later

      • Shmuel
        February 8, 2012, 6:57 am

        THE Zionist movement dates from A.D. 70, the year of the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish State…

        In the year 50 BC, after a long struggle, the ancient Gauls had been conquered by the Romans. Others, like Vercingetorix had to lay their arms at Caesar’s feet (‘Ouch!’). Peace reigns, disturbed only by occasional attacks by the Germans (‘Gut! Ve go! So! But ve komm back!), speedily repulsed. All Gaul is occupied. All? No — One village still holds out stubbornly against the invaders; one small village surrounded by fortified Roman camps. All efforts to subdue these proud Gauls have failed, and Caesar asks himself (‘Quid?’) …

        Asterix the Gaul

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 8, 2012, 7:13 am

        “As a teacher of the New Testament to mostly Christian students, she has several clear messages:”

        This stuff is as vile as any Christian supersessionism, and is equally fit only for the trash or the sewer. It think that Schmuley Boteach has a new book which engages in the same kind of religious garbage. As an atheist, I find much to be disgusted by, in both Judaism and Christianity, and find those who don’t see it regarding their own religion as nuts. But at the same time, everyone should learn to keep it to themselves.

      • MHughes976
        February 8, 2012, 8:32 am

        Well, people are entitled to subject other people’s religions, or their own, to a critique, even a harsh critique.
        The idea of Jesus as a militant Jewish patriot, which carries at least the hint that the Christian faith seriously misrepresents the person it claims as founder, isn’t entirely new – for instance, it was advocated during my young days by SGF Brandon, then Professor at Manchester University, and had quite an effect on me.
        There is always the possibility that a polemical writer may say something true or at least interesting. A strictly defensive reaction – ‘my lot aren’t that bad!’ – risks being unreasonable, ie an argument based on having fixed in my mind the very point that I’m trying to prove. That is what I’d say in reply to the fierce attacks made on Sand’s view of Judaism, so I suppose I can’t say different when it comes to Levine on Christianity.
        Which doesn’t mean that every polemic is worth serious attention. We all have to make a judgement about whose arguments we’re going to listen to.

      • eljay
        February 8, 2012, 9:03 am

        >> Asterix the Gaul

        It must be true, because I read about it in a book. :-)

      • LeaNder
        February 8, 2012, 9:07 am

        (a name she doesn’t like and wants to replace with some Hebrew term I didn’t catch)

        Tanakh? Shmuel?
        There is no ultimate “Old Testament” but several variants according to the Christian denomination. So it makes sense to use the Hebrew word.

      • James North
        February 8, 2012, 9:15 am

        Don’t forget Obelix, and the special potion to keep the village concealed from the Romans.

      • eljay
        February 8, 2012, 9:25 am

        >> Don’t forget Obelix, and the special potion to keep the village concealed from the Romans.

        *ahem* The potion gave the inhabitants temporary super-human strength. They used it to defend themselves and their village from the Romans. Obélix didn’t need to drink any of it because he fell into a cauldron of potion when he was a baby, so the effect was permanent.

        It’s a shame people waste their time poring over ancient religious texts when all the truths they need to know (“Ils sont fous, ces Romains!”) are contained in the Astérix tomes. ;-)

      • Tuyzentfloot
        February 8, 2012, 9:28 am

        special potion to keep the village concealed from the Romans.

        Concealed? No there you’re confusing with the smurfs.

      • Woody Tanaka
        February 8, 2012, 9:56 am

        MHughes,

        While I have no problem with academic examinations of any religion, I do have objections to criticism of other religions for purposes of boosting one’s own. If Amy Jill Levine’s purpose is, indeed, to knock down Christianity to boost Judaism, as appears to be the case, that is academically irresponsible and scholarly. But not only that, but it won’t be effective against the Christians because it opens up a can of worms for attacks against Judaism, for which it like any religion is very vulnerable to, given that there are some teachings and scriptures which can only honestly be described as evil. (Indeed, Richard Dawkins’ famous description of God as described in Jewish scripture, if anything, understates the problem.)

      • LeaNder
        February 8, 2012, 10:41 am

        James, I was puzzled as Tuyzentfloot, I only remember Miraculix’ super-power-potion.

      • Shmuel
        February 8, 2012, 10:56 am

        Tanakh?

        Maybe, although – as you point out – there is no single Christian OT equivalent of the Jewish canon (Tanakh – or “24 Books”). I know some Jews prefer to refer to the OT as the “Hebrew Bible”, but that’s not a Hebrew term (and would be awkward in Hebrew). The extra-canonical works (Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha) are traditionally known as the “Sefarim hitzoni’im” (external books).

        She may have used “Kitvei ha-kodesh” (lit. Holy Scripture), although that term often includes the NT.

        The term “Sifrei ha-El” (Books of God) and its Arabic equivalent “Kutub Allah” can also be found in the works of mediaeval Spanish Jewish scholars, but I can’t imagine she would have used that.

      • Shmuel
        February 8, 2012, 11:06 am

        It must be true, because I read about it in a book. :-)

        What I’m wondering though is whether anyone has found an ancient signet ring with the name Sarkozix on it :-P

      • tokyobk
        February 8, 2012, 12:26 pm

        Judaic studies departments, like Islamic studies and East Asian Studies departments, usually get started with private and foundation gifts and they range in quality depending on the university.

        Re this general conversation. Why would’t Jews represent Jesus as something other than a Messiah and in their own cultural terms? Why wouldn’t Muslims see Jesus as a prophet, like , Moses on the way to the last prophet, Muhammad? Why wouldn’t christians see Jesus as the Messiah.

        They are different and sometimes competing faiths with a shared source.

        These arguments could be made relevant to Zionism but predate it by almost two thousand years.

      • marc b.
        February 8, 2012, 12:37 pm

        as she describes how intrinsically anti-Jewish the New Testament “document” is.

        oh lord, another blindingly ignorant supremacist. how would she describe prescribed treatment of ‘the gentile’ in the talmud?

        http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/hl/hl06.htm

        If the ox of an Israelite bruise the ox of a Gentile, the Israelite is exempt from paying damages; but should the ox of a Gentile bruise the ox of an Israelite, the Gentile is bound to recompense him in full.

        Bava Kama, fol. 38, col. 1.

        When an Israelite and a Gentile have a lawsuit before thee, if thou canst, acquit the former according to the laws of Israel, and tell the latter such is our law; if thou canst get him off in accordance with Gentile law, do so, and say to the plaintiff such is your law; but if he cannot be acquitted according to either law, then bring forward adroit pretexts and secure his acquittal. These are the words of the Rabbi Ishmael. Rabbi Akiva says, “No false pretext should be brought forward, because, if found out, the name of God would be blasphemed; but if there be no fear of that, then it may be adduced.”

        Ibid., fol. 113, col. 1.

        If one find lost property in a locality where the majority are Israelites, he is bound to proclaim it; but he is not bound to do so if the majority be Gentiles.

        Bava Metzia, fol. 24, col. 1.

        nice.

      • LeaNder
        February 8, 2012, 12:46 pm

        Sarkozix, not bad Shmuel. By the way Miraculix is Panoramix in the original and for you in Italian.

        Thanks for the comment above. She did use Tanakh, by the way, and she prefers it for the same reason I do. Very, very interesting lady.

      • eljay
        February 8, 2012, 1:16 pm

        >> What I’m wondering though is whether anyone has found an ancient signet ring with the name Sarkozix on it :-P

        “Toc! Toc! Toc!” ;-)

      • teta mother me
        February 8, 2012, 10:15 pm

        no clue who Asterix the Gaul is. Is this a film or comic book character?

      • RoHa
        February 8, 2012, 11:32 pm
      • Shmuel
        February 9, 2012, 3:05 am

        no clue who Asterix the Gaul is

        Just the greatest Gaul who ever lived (sort of), and the father of all true Frenchmen!

      • Shmuel
        February 9, 2012, 3:30 am

        It does seem like she’s back in the Middle Ages, doesn’t it – although the “disputation” is more of a monologue this time.

      • MRW
        February 9, 2012, 5:33 am

        Shmuel, you’re developing Mooser tendencies, you realize that, don’t you?

      • Shmuel
        February 9, 2012, 5:55 am

        Shmuel, you’re developing Mooser tendencies, you realize that, don’t you?

        That would explain the antlers. Or as the Rabbis said, “Where there is no moose, try to be a moose”.

        In all fairness, H. Sachar started it. He presented the Jewish pseudo-history of his youth, and I presented the French pseudo-history of mine (French Astérix were the only comics in my school library – well, there was also Tintin, but I never took to the little Belgian). The only difference is that Goscinny and Uderzo were taking the piss out of “nos ancêtres les Gaulois”, and Sachar is dead (and deadly) serious.

      • MRW
        February 9, 2012, 6:04 am

        Tintin? You didnt like Tintin?!? (I had no clue he was Belgian.) But his hair is all the rage these days.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        February 9, 2012, 6:07 am

        there was also Tintin, but I never took to the little Belgian That’s funny, neither did I. And I ‘ve read a lot of comics. (Tuyzentfloot is named after a comic book character)

        Did you know that Charles de Gaulle was a direct descendent of Asterix the Gaul?

      • Shmuel
        February 9, 2012, 6:15 am

        Tintin? You didnt like Tintin?!? (I had no clue he was Belgian.) But his hair is all the rage these days.

        Maybe an early aversion to colonialism. Besides, precocious baldness runs in my family.

      • MRW
        February 9, 2012, 6:34 am

        Well, truth be known, I never equated Tintin with colonialism, only too-tight pants and bicycles. And even though I grew up speaking French, I had one of those families that looked down their noses at them. All this went over my black-sheep head. I was too stupid to pick up on what I was supposed to hold my nose over. J’aime les Français.

      • MRW
        February 9, 2012, 6:38 am

        What I’m wondering though is whether anyone has found an ancient signet ring with the name Sarkozix on it :-P

        Ask Netanyahu Pere. He’s the master at finding ancient rings.

      • Shmuel
        February 9, 2012, 6:54 am

        Well, truth be known, I never equated Tintin with colonialism, only too-tight pants and bicycles.

        The boy reporter makes a terrific cameo appearance as an ignorant racist who likes to shoot animals, in Joann Sfar’s Le chat du rabbin series (Jérusalem d’Afrique).

      • Tuyzentfloot
        February 9, 2012, 6:54 am

        (MRW:)I never equated Tintin with colonialism,

        then you should read Tintin in Africa, especially the old version. Herge was ashamed of it later on. He learned though. The Blue Lotus is from 1936 and very different.

      • LeaNder
        February 9, 2012, 8:41 am

        Who is H. Sachar, Shmuel?

      • Shmuel
        February 9, 2012, 9:33 am

        Who is H. Sachar, Shmuel?

        Sorry, I meant H. SachEr – as cited by teta mother me, above.

        I presume the author of the article in the Atlantic is Harry Sacher: http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/authors.php?auid=3561

      • john h
        February 9, 2012, 8:04 pm

        reply to teta mother me:
        February 8, 2012 at 5:07 am

        I pricked up my eyes when I found your mention of Braverman, only to find you were linking to my post!

        Thomson hasn’t answered, so what do you think? Are you saying Braverman said “Jesus died fighting to free Jews from the Romans”? If so can you give the link? Thanks teta.

      • MRW
        February 9, 2012, 9:11 pm

        Tuyzentfloot,

        I looked at the pictures. Never really read them, frankly. I was just ribbing Shmuel (although I did grow up speaking French.) ;-)

      • LeaNder
        February 8, 2012, 11:58 am

        Amy Jill Levine is inserting zionist influence in the New Testament.

        teta, I have just listened to Amy-Jill Levine, and I think you seriously misunderstand her. Mind you, I felt a little sorry for the students trying to make notes, since she speaks really fast, but I never liked to takes notes during lectures. Try to listen to her again without treating her as part of whatever sinister conspiracy trying to trick the sheeple.

        Besides are you sure you control the historical space you cover?

      • Donald
        February 8, 2012, 9:08 pm

        Delurking momentarily. I didn’t watch the 60 minute youtube lecture, but Amy Jill Levine’s opinions on how to talk about the I-P conflict are easy to find on the web. Here, for instance, is a pdf file.

        While one should agree with the need to avoid anti-semitic tropes, even a well known concern troll like myself finds her writing problematic. Others who are interested can peruse the link and find examples of dubious assertions put forward under the guise of helping Christians avoid the pitfalls of anti-semitism. (No one who talks about the Arab countries ganging up on Israel in 48 without mentioning Plan Dalet already in progress should be taken seriously.)

        Not that she’s wrong about everything. Some of what she points to really should be avoided. But she seems oblivious to the possibility that insensitivity isn’t limited to one side here and is something that might be found in a liberal Zionist like herself, possibly even displayed in a post like the one I linked above. What I cynically think is going on is a struggle for the moral high ground–Levine recognizes that the settlement policy has to be reversed and in making this point early on she seems to think she’s established that she is Fair and Balanced, while also scoring a point against some imagined reader who was going to assume that all Jews think alike and support Israel no matter what. Gosh, some Israel supporters oppose settlements? Who’d a thunk it? I mean, who besides anyone who’s ever read anything about the subject during the past 30 years. But while acknowledging that Israel isn’t perfect, she wants to make it perfectly clear to Christians criticizing Israel who should be worried about sensitivity and who gets to lecture others about it. Her piece would be more effective if she didn’t mix in her obvious biases with her sensitivity training and if she acknowledged that there’s a constant balancing act here–it’s easy for concern about sensitivity towards one side to become an excuse for insensitivity about the other.

      • teta mother me
        February 8, 2012, 11:34 pm

        LeaNder, I haven’t listened to the Levine lecture that Thomson R. posted on Feb 8 at 12:09.
        My criticism was based on material from a 12-hour lecture series by Levine on “Great Figures of the New Testament.” On NPR I heard Levine discuss her “Jewish Annotated New Testament.” My copy from Amazon arrived yesterday but I’ve only flipped through it. In the NPR discussion she repeated material that’s in the “New Testament” lectures — that the Magi were clowns and fools, not from the Orient, and certainly not wise.

        Yes, Levine does speak very fast; in the lecture series, it’s obvious she is reading — very fast. Following along in the outline book that accompanies the lectures, I noticed that she SAYS different things from what is written, the written word being much easier to validate. And since she’s obviously reading what she speaks, it seems she’s prepared “two sets of books.”

        I noticed this in her discussion of Peter. In the spoken lecture she said

        “The transformation of a headstrong Galilean fisherman into the first leader of the Jerusalem church and, ultimately, according to legend, the first pope . . .”

        but in the written outline she wrote:

        “The transformation of a headstrong Galilean fisherman into the first leader of the Jerusalem church and, ultimately, according to medieval Roman Catholic teaching the first pope . . .”

        To someone with 16+ years of Catholic shooling under belt, to call the establishment of Peter as head of the Church and the foundation of the legitimacy of the papacy a “legend” is a glaring misstatement. That she used different wording in print as compared to spoken word suggests something, but I’m not sure what — or prefer not to say. Throughout the lecture she took delight in calling Peter “rocky.” Not nice. The latter point is a little thing, but it indicates a lack of respect for her audience and for the subject matter.

        Am I “sure I control the historical space I cover?” Heck, I can’t even control my own side of the bed much less 5000 years of historical space. On the other hand, I AM quite sure — based on lectures by Isaish Gafni and reading in David Biale’s “Cultures of the Jews,” that Persians under Cyrus and his successors were the ‘wet nurse’ to Jews, whose myths had not been codified until their exile in Babylon, and whose prophets — they who imparted an ethical character to Judaism — did not emerge until the Babylonian exile. I am also certain that Persia under Cyrus was already practicing Zoroastrianism, and I can point to experts who make the connections between ethical dimensions of Zoroaster and those of Judaism; and the same for connections between certain doctrines of Zoroaster and much later Christianity.
        I am also certain that a majority of Jews remained in Babylon after 537 BCE; that a minority returned to Jerusalem; that Cyrus and successors supported Jews in Jerusalem for ~200 years; that there was friction between returnees and those Jews who never left Jerusalem but struggled to survive in the devastated land Nebuchadnezzar left in his wake — that’s all in the Tanakh.

        What’s not in the Tanakh but is contained in lectures by David Ruderman on history of Jews is that wealthy Jews in Babylon were the “Vatican” of Jews both in Babylon & precincts and, for a time, in Palestine.

        I am also certain that at least two dynasties of Persians battled with the Roman empire over a 6 century period, 92 BC until 627 CE, which, obviously, encompasses the time that Jesus is said to have been born, lived, and died in Bethlehem-Jerusalem.

        Therefore, what intrigues me is a twofold situation: At the time of Jesus, at the origins of Christianity,
        1. The descendants of those Jews who had remained in Babylon, and eventually and rapidly dispersed throughout the Persian empire, were, obviously, part of the Persian empire. Those descendants of those Jews who had either returned from exile to Jerusalem or who had never left Jerusalem were, it would seem, still in Jerusalem and its environs, part of the Roman empire. Persian and Romans were at war, Jews were part of both warring empires. Based on Sachar’s note on the origins of zionism, at least some Jews were simultaneously at war with Rome, culminating in 70 CE. So,

        2. Why is there no mention whatsoever of a Jewish relationship with Persians at the time of Jesus and of the Maccabean rebellion against Rome? In Levine’s lectures, she goes out of her way to erase any hint of Persians — she unwinds an explanation of the “Three kings from the Orient,” which we were always taught meant Persian Magi, that reduced them to clowns, fools, and rather dumb. In Levine’s version of events, not only do Persians and Persian Jews not exist, even the small trace of Persia that did remain in the bible is reduced to ridicule by Levine.
        On the other hand, in “Rome and Jerusalem,” author Martin Goodman observes that:

        “The Jerusalem to which Jesus came at Passover in 30 CE was a glorious city . . .The might of the God of the Jews was patent in the astonishing spectacle of the rebuilt Temple. Roman peace had been good for Jerusalem. The Jews prayed for the well-being of the emperor as they had prayed for other royal benefactors in earlier times, and as they still revered the Persian king Cyrus who had restored their ancestors from the exile over five centuries before.”( p. 552)

        If the Persian king was still significant to the life of Jews 500 years on, why was there no mention of him in the Christian texts that, Levine argues, are so heavily reliant on Judaism? Why is there no mention of Jewish relations with Persians, especially given that Jewish populations still lived in the Persian empire as well as in the Roman empire, and that most surely Romans and Persian crossed paths, at least on the battle field, but more likely in trade and commerce in the long lulls between border wars. Why didn’t Jews seek succor or refuge in Persia, with their coreligionists, from the harassment of Rome?

      • LeaNder
        February 9, 2012, 11:17 am

        thanks Donald, I have to give this up for today on page 11. I surrender to her superior power of interpretation of antisemitism, she clearly uses it fearfully as a killer argument. As you perfectly state above, not that I find some of her arguments not worth considering but it’s the overall hall of mirrors. She is shining a light on her opponents contradictions and biases without the slightest awareness of her own ones.

        How to criticize someone that can constantly shift the historical frame of reference, firmly rooted in the divine covenant on one hand and a collective entitlement for benefits over centuries: like if Jewish Brits were expelled in England in 1290 and never indemnified, how can Palestinians today demand something like that?

        Now I am sure the last paragraph was antisemitic, I don’t have the time to smooth it down. I am irritated but will return to the document, thanks again.

      • LeaNder
        February 9, 2012, 11:20 am

        teta, first sorry for my hasty judgment, sometimes I can’t help. I’ll look into this more closely.

      • LeaNder
        February 9, 2012, 11:35 am

        Throughout the lecture she took delight in calling Peter “rocky.” Not nice. The latter point is a little thing, but it indicates a lack of respect for her audience and for the subject matter.

        Two things come to mind here: Peter – Meaning of Rock and the Rock of Israel.

        How would she like rocky Israel? She seems to consider humor ethnocentric, so while she seems to show wit, she may not find this funny.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 9, 2012, 12:05 pm

        just working my way thru this pdf now donald. came apon this:

        a. What’s missing: a U.N. Mandate; the calls of the Grand Mufti [a Nazi ally] to Arabs to leave their homes temporarily, so that they could gain all the land; the expulsion of over 800,000 Jews from Arab territories; the closure of Jerusalem to Jews until 1967, the attack of multiple Arab nations on the new state in 1948, and so on.

        there’s that word expulsion, applied so liberally when referencing arab jews at the same time as pushing the fled meme and the ‘calls to leave their homes’. hmm.

        and this:

        a. The phrase “occupied the Palestinians’ remaining territories” presupposes that Israel occupied an independent state called “Palestine” and thus fully delegitimizes Israel’s existence.
        b. The statement fails to address what prompted the war.

        a typical hasbara agenda.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2012, 1:38 pm

        Annie, re her use of “expulsion,” and not, depending on who’s activity she was referencing–obvious analogy is “resistance fighter” versus “terrorists.” Remember that once famous painting, “Custer’s Last Stand”? Seems whether Dorian Gray’s image is in the sunlight, or in the closet, depends on who’s home you are in, eh? Something literally romantic about all this–in the popular sense of the word, minimally, e.g. , the stories repeated endlessly on Jerry Springer by young ladies explaining how they were swept of their feet, and then, eventually, found the sordid reality of the former love of their life. Can’t help but think of the former young Zionists of today, who now realize how they were duped before they exerted their faculties beyond their early home and neighborhood conditioning (a la software Skinner). And now, about those, e.g., Brooklyn Jews, born and bred in America, who run off to Israel to become settlers…born within a cocoon within a cocoon?

      • Hostage
        February 9, 2012, 2:31 pm

        How to criticize someone that can constantly shift the historical frame of reference, firmly rooted in the divine covenant on one hand and a collective entitlement for benefits over centuries: like if Jewish Brits were expelled in England in 1290 and never indemnified, how can Palestinians today demand something like that?

        In Nahum Sokolow’s History of Zionism, 1600-1918, Volume 1, Chapter III, the author records the role of Mannasseh Ben Israel (1606-1657) in promoting “The Re-Admission of the Jews Into England”. So it’s only natural for modern-day Palestinians to follow the example of such a great “light unto the Gentiles” and demand their right of return too.

      • LeaNder
        February 9, 2012, 4:18 pm

        Question. If the Persian king was still significant to the life of Jews 500 years on, why was there no mention of him in the Christian texts that, Levine argues, are so heavily reliant on Judaism?

        Answer: Since from the Christian perspective the only relevance of the “old” Testament to the “new” are the hints and revelations about the “Son of Man”, the Messiah who in time would appear in as the Son of God?

        Maybe I do not understand the question. But what part could the Persians play in the gospels? I really can’t see how they would fit in.

        You may be interested Avner Falk’s Psychoanalytic History of the Jews, a real tour de force over centuries, emperors, empires clashing, rising and falling. It’s far too much for me. And I only party understand what the intention of the author may have been, maybe I should ask him?

        Obviously for many, many pages and pages, e.g. like above on the Persians, he can only write about the respective historical figures and not “the Jews”. History was always written about empires and winners, and not the minorities on the borders. I also understand that the Jews pre-enlightenment were not really interested in history. All that counted was already written after all.

      • teta mother me
        February 9, 2012, 9:49 pm

        Hello John H

        It’s in this discussion of his book http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/FatalE

        sorry I don’t recall the time frame. Probably at least 25 min. into the discussion; it was not part of his prepared speech but in the Q&A that he said (something like) “Christians should ask themselves what made them think they could do this” (holocaust?), and after that — maybe near the end of the discussion, stated his belief about Jesus.

      • teta mother me
        February 9, 2012, 10:03 pm

        thank you for thinking about it, LeaNder, and for the book suggestion.

        My view of religion, its history, and the relation of Old and New Testaments is radical. I think it’s as likely that Jesus was a Persian as that he was a Jew. Chris Hedges goes one step further — he notes that there is no evidence other than the bible that a human person Jesus existed at all. I think there’s merit in the argument that the Old and New Testaments are not at all related –Levine’s a posteriori arguments notwithstanding.

        I just read an article on a blog about the Iraq war that argued that truth is much simpler to sell than lies, and that when one lie is told, all of the rest of the argument should be discounted. When someone like Levine tries as hard as she does to drive home her agenda, the “Lady doth protest too much” reaction sets in.

        Having said thank you for the book suggestion, I must say, I put very little stock in psychoanalysis. It’s spider thinking — a web spun from an individual’s inner imagining, without, necessarily, connecting with external reality.

        Pleasure conversing with you; thanks.

      • john h
        February 10, 2012, 2:53 am

        Those Braverman statements were interesting, teta. The one about “Christians should ask themselves” is at 46:27, and the one I found on Jesus at 52:50. What he said there about Jesus was:

        I’ve really gotten into Jesus because…it’s about Jesus being a visionary charismatic social revolutionary who was trying to help Jews of his time, his people, to figure out what to do about the fact that Rome was trying to destroy their society. This is how I see Jesus.

        That’s not what you thought, but maybe that’s also in there somewhere, which I might find when I listen to some more. He also said “I’m not a Christian”, which means I was wrong to have said, in a post or two here, that he is.

        Much appreciated, it clarified for me where he is coming from. I think he is playing an unusual but much needed role that is helpful to Jews, Palestinians, and Christians.

      • LeaNder
        February 10, 2012, 8:10 am

        I think there’s merit in the argument that the Old and New Testaments are not at all related –Levine’s a posteriori arguments notwithstanding.

        teta, as a scientist Levine’s arguments are necessarily a posteriori, or empirical. The problem I have with the statement above is that Levine didn’t invent New Testament studies or it’s traditions. Neither did she invent the idea that Old and New are related. They obviously are.

        You surely can follow the idea that Jesus collected his ideas in countries east of the ME, or originated there. It’s hardly a new theory. After all many, many minds pondered the subject over centuries.

    • Inanna
      February 8, 2012, 2:56 am

      Yeah, I think it’s great to enable my relatives in distant countries when they are stealing other people’s land and committing human rights abuses. Just keep at it username!

      The problem for you is that zionism (to paraphrase Edward Said) does not have the only claim to the land nor is it the superior claim. What Israel is doing in the OPT is only a part of the problem. And it’s the same problem that has been happening since 1947/48. But keep compartmentalizing it – after all that is the only way you can live with yourself.

      • emanresu
        February 8, 2012, 3:57 am

        Actually, it is no problem for me that Zionism did not have the exclusive or superior claim to the land, annani. There are many colonial-settler states in the world, including my own.

        But how can you live with yourself? Don’t you know that I adhere to the following rule: each taunting comment directed at me on MW results in my buying a container of Sabra hummus? And I don’t even like the stuff.

      • Chaos4700
        February 8, 2012, 9:27 am

        But you looooove you some ethnic cleansing, right? Sabra — the hummus of pogroms!

      • marc b.
        February 8, 2012, 1:58 pm

        Don’t you know that I adhere to the following rule: each taunting comment directed at me on MW results in my buying a container of Sabra hummus?

        surely you don’t mean this literally? but assuming that you do, what are your plans for your stockpile of chickpea paste? a vaste column of cultures for mold? flushed down the toilet? the local food bank?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 8, 2012, 2:41 pm

        each taunting comment directed at me on MW results in my buying a container of Sabra hummus

        i just burst out laughing when i read this! it is no problem for emanresu that zionism continues to ethnically cleanse palestine! he doesn’t care if israel is clutching onto last century’s colonialist traditions and dragging them into the new century as long as israel keeps expanding. so what about international law and advances in human rights made as a result of the suffering of those who died in the holocaust! as long as emanresu can store more sabra hummus in the name of slandering his ancestors, so what?

        classic, i will have to send this into http://shitliberalzionistssay.tumblr.com/

      • Annie Robbins
        February 8, 2012, 2:43 pm

        sabra humus, energy for ethnic cleansers.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        February 8, 2012, 2:47 pm

        each taunting comment directed at me on MW results in my buying a container of Sabra hummus?

        That’s an interesting rule. What size container and what does it cost? We’ll need proof btw.

      • marc b.
        February 8, 2012, 2:48 pm

        username’s comments remind me of the female commenter who decided that she was now going to marry within her religion based on the tone of commentary on this site. imagine that! some unknown third party spouting off on a blog was that catalyst for her choice of mates. delusional.

      • marc b.
        February 8, 2012, 3:58 pm

        tuyzenfloot, for every comment username makes on this site, i pledge to buy a jar of lebanese grape leaves. if i get enough, i figure that i can wall paper the family room. what brave step will you take in the battle against zionist babble?

      • Shmuel
        February 8, 2012, 4:11 pm

        tuyzenfloot, for every comment username makes on this site, i pledge to buy a jar of lebanese grape leaves.

        Iranian pistachios are where it’s at!

      • emanresu
        February 8, 2012, 4:30 pm

        In light of the reaction I elicited, I am sorry to admit that, yes, it was facetious.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        February 8, 2012, 4:31 pm

        what brave step will you take in the battle against zionist babble?

        I had in mind something very wicked, namely providing a constant feed of taunting comments and then monitoring the level of irritation of family and neighbors of username as the acquired hummus stock grows completely out of control. Oh and I would prefer to do this in summer.

        [EDIT]Ha! Smoked him right out I did!

      • Chaos4700
        February 9, 2012, 12:43 am

        Don’t bother apologizing, I’m pretty sure we all figured out that you are nothing but facetious. Why count the hairs on a woolly mammoth?

      • MRW
        February 9, 2012, 6:20 am

        I hope you do, annie. It IS classic. (♫ It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to… ♫ … cry if I want to … ♫ you would cry too if it happened to youuuuuu. ♫ )

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2012, 2:15 pm

        emanresu, is it a problem for you that Israel is a settler state (& is still settling on land not its own) that came into official being after WW1, after the Versailles Treaty result, WW2, after the Nuremberg Trials and their progeny, the subsequent revisions in international law? And after the battle of Algiers, and after apartheid S Africa? If not, I see why you justify your POV by saying, “There are many colonial-settler states in the world, including my own “(USA, right?). So, my question is, how does your stance differ from Goering’s at Nuremberg?
        A stance that was not recognized by the Nuremberg court.)
        Further, absent a declared war by our POTUS and/or Congress, or at least, given the current reality, Congress’s resolution funding military attacks on any country, does your POV regarding legal (and moral, ethical?) “treason” depend on who is on the official US terrorist shit list? If so, do you see any problem with the complete lack of transparency and accountability for those individuals who decide who should be put on, taken off, or kept on said US “terrorist” shit list?

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2012, 2:31 pm

        Also, if memory serves, and correct me if I am wrong, emanresu, are you not employed by an independent contractor serving Heimat Security, oops I mean Homeland Security? If so, do you approve of the full powers of this agency? Would you change you mind possibly if Israel or even only the Israeli settlers and their NGO helpers would be added to the official US “terrorist” shitlist? And do you think the current distribution of Homeland Security funds to the myriad of American communities for their protection against terrorists is appropriate? Should 80% or more of those funds continue to go solely to the Jewish American communities when Jews comprise 2% of the American population?

      • marc b.
        February 9, 2012, 2:55 pm

        what is particularly galling about this *ho-hum*, there are other settler states arguments is just what you identify, citizen. israel owes its very existence to international law and the international response to military aggression as political policy, and yet israel’s supporters consistently ignore international law and argue the right to exist on the basis of discredited imperial policies. sorry to say, username, but israel, despite its claims to innovation and novelty, is a dinosaur.

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2012, 3:33 pm

        Yes, marc b. Israel in fact supports Goering, although his POV was dismissed at Nuremberg. Irony is just too heavy.

      • Antidote
        February 11, 2012, 11:19 am

        Chomsky, 1990:

        “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged. By violation of the Nuremberg laws I mean the same kind of crimes for which people were hanged in Nuremberg. And Nuremberg means Nuremberg and Tokyo. So first of all you’ve got to think back as to what people were hanged for at Nuremberg and Tokyo. And once you think back, the question doesn’t even require a moment’s waste of time. For example, one general at the Tokyo trials, which were the worst, General Yamashita, was hanged on the grounds that troops in the Philippines, which were technically under his command (though it was so late in the war that he had no contact with them — it was the very end of the war and there were some troops running around the Philippines who he had no contact with), had carried out atrocities, so he was hanged. Well, try that one out and you’ve already wiped out everybody. ”

        http://www.chomsky.info/talks/1990—-.htm

      • Citizen
        February 11, 2012, 2:05 pm

        Antidote:
        Obama chose not to address neocon war crimes during the Bush Jr regime, and he has since then escalated war in Afghanistan, and it looks like he may attack help Israel attack Iran–depending on whether or not that action is needed to clinch reelection–American history shows a war president’s position is virtually guaranteed. With that in mind (plus the fact all GOP POTUS candidates are to the right of Bibi N except Ron Paul), here’s some added data relevant to the current USA-Israel habit of initiating “preemptive” and/or “preventive” war-a fact that will not be lost on the rest of the world’s power in futuro:

        “Orders to initiate aggressive (as opposed to defensive) warfare, to violate recognized rules and customs of warfare, or to persecute civilians and prisoners are considered illegal under the Nuremberg principles. The Nuremberg Trials required guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but the Anglo-American rules of evidence were not implemented, for example, hearsay was allowed.
        The Nuremberg trials made three important contributions to international law. First, they established a precedent that all persons, regardless of their station or occupation in life, can be held individually accountable for their behavior during times of war. Defendants cannot insulate themselves from personal responsibility by blaming the country, government, or military branch for which they committed the particular war crime.
        Second, the Nuremberg trials established that individuals cannot shield themselves from liability for war crimes by asserting that they were simply following orders issued by a superior in the chain of command. Subordinates in the military or government are now bound by their obligations under international law, obligations that transcend their duty to obey an order issued by a superior. Orders to initiate aggressive (as opposed to defensive) warfare, to violate recognized rules and customs of warfare, or to persecute civilians and prisoners are considered illegal under the Nuremberg principles.
        Third, the Nuremberg trials clearly established three discrete substantive war crimes that are punishable under international law: crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and crimes in violation of transnational obligations embodied in treaties and other agreements.”

        http://www.answers.com/topic/nuremberg-trials

        “In the Tokyo Trials, the United States led; everybody else assisted.
        More important, the charges differed between the two trials. The charter under which the Tokyo court operated gave it jurisdiction only over persons accused of offenses that included the somewhat amorphous ‘crimes against peace,’ although such persons might be charged with other crimes as well. At Nuremberg, ‘crimes against peace’ were only one of several categories of possible offenses. And, while Nuremberg included as defendants certain organizations such as the Gestapo, no Japanese organizations, such as the Black Dragon Society, were charged.
        Moreover, conspiracy to ‘wage aggressive war’ was the heart of the prosecution’s case in Japan. The comparable Nuremberg indictments covered a more logical and broader ground: conspiracy to ‘plan, prepare, initiate and wage aggressive war.’ Another difference that provoked considerable comment was the absence from the dock of any of the zaibatsu, the powerful Japanese industrialists. The Nuremberg indictments had included some of the top businessmen in Germany, names such as Hjalmar Schacht and Alfred Krupp. The decision not to prosecute similar people in Japan rested on the paucity of proof to show that the industrialists had aided and abetted the government in preparing and carrying out wars of aggression.
        Otherwise, the two trials were similar. The Tokyo court also held defendants accountable for conventional war crimes and ‘crimes against humanity,’ much as was done at Nuremberg.
        The Tokyo defendants were the politicians and generals, leading war makers in the eyes of the free world, headed by Hideki Tojo, premier of Japan through most of the war. There were 25 defendants. They were all officials of high rank, among them four prime ministers, four foreign ministers, five war ministers, two navy ministers and four ambassadors. Fourteen had been army generals. Another three were admirals. In broad outline, the defendants were accused, somewhat imprecisely, of conspiring between 1928 and 1941 to wage ‘aggressive war,’ in order to gain ‘domination and control of East Asia.’ As in Yamashita’s case, the prosecution argued that they either knew or should have known of widespread atrocities and did nothing to stop them. Defense counsel (including Americans) asserted that there could have been no conspiracy to make war. Fifteen Japanese cabinets had come and gone between 1928 and 1941. Moreover, the accused had often disagreed among themselves; some had opposed certain decisions of the Japanese leadership; some had opposed the war itself. Where there was neither continuity nor agreement, argued the defense, there could by definition be no conspiracy. It was a powerful argument. The commission rejected Japanese self-defense claims out of hand. Prewar Western measures, said the opinion, were only in reaction to Japanese aggression begun years before. Japan had certainly waged aggressive war against the Western nations, said the tribunal, and had begun it by ‘unprovoked attacks.’ Those killed by Japan in the course of such an unlawful, aggressive war had therefore been murdered. Perhaps more damning, the commission found Japan had consistently violated the laws of war. Only 4 percent of American and British prisoners of war held by Germany and Italy had died during the war. Of those held by the Japanese, a shocking 27 percent had not survived. A good many had been murdered; most had died of disease, mistreatment and malnutrition.

        The only complete dissent came from Radhabinod Pal of India. He had joined the tribunal quite late, after the British decision to grant independence to India. Pal’s long dissent argued that all the defendants should have been acquitted on all counts. Japan had acted in’self-defense,’ he said, ‘really driven to take action.’ The thousands of atrocities had been ‘all stray incidents,’ he continued, along the way attacking the American decision to drop the atomic bomb. Pal’s somewhat vitriolic dissent was generated by his complete commitment to ‘Asia for the Asians.’ In fact, he was a member of the Indian puppet army that served with the Japanese at a time when the vast majority of Indian soldiers remained true to their salt. One of the other judges believed Pal had come to the trial determined to vote for complete acquittal.

        Here are the numbers: 25 men were tried at Tokyo, all convicted; of 22 Nuremberg defendants, three were acquitted. There were 16 life sentences at Tokyo, only three at Nuremberg; but 12 Nazi defendants (including Martin Bormann in absentia) were sentenced to death, as against only five Japanese.”
        http://www.historynet.com/japanese-war-crime-trials.htm

      • Hostage
        February 11, 2012, 5:14 pm

        Obama chose not to address neocon war crimes during the Bush Jr regime

        In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld the Supreme Court struck down Bush’s Executive orders for the treatment and trial of the detainees. The Congress responded by amending the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA) of 2005 with the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2006. http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/PL-109-366.pdf

        The Supreme Court subsequently ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that section 7 of the MCA was unconstitutional because it purported to abolish the writ of habeas corpus — despite the fact that the Constitution permits suspension of the writ only “in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion.” http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/06-1195.pdf

        Unfortunately, the Court did not address Sections 4-6 of the MCA which preempted or amended US treaty obligations regarding protection of civilians, UCMJ procedures for tribunals, definition of torture, grounds for personal claims, & etc. Senator Obama had voted against the MCA, and those provisions were largely repealed after he took office as the President. However those statutes, taken together with the American Service-Members’ Protection Act, still create problems of temporal jurisdiction which make it nearly impossible for the Justice Department to prosecute those responsible or extradite them to other jurisdictions without mounting a legal challenge to the original provisions of the MCA, e.g. the Article 1 prohibition against adopting a law with ex post facto effects.

        The Nuremberg trials made three important contributions to international law.

        Yes, but one of the subsequent developments is the current international consensus against the imposition of death penalties by UN and international tribunals. Nonetheless, the trial and conviction of General Jodl for his role in issuing orders to evacuate the people of a district in Norway and to destroy their houses, plus his role in authorizing extrajudicial killings of civilians for alleged offenses against German troops have direct parallels in similar Israeli practices today. The London Charter defined those actions as war crimes and they are still grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, i.e. murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity”.
        http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/London_Charter_of_the_International_Military_Tribunal

  9. NorthOfFortyNine
    February 7, 2012, 4:01 pm

    Speaking of tapping the “passion of Aipac” (if I can put it that way), look at MJ Rosenberg. There ain’t no religion like that of the converted. Alas, good point. -N49.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    February 7, 2012, 4:19 pm

    RE: “I said that it was essential that Americans learn about the Nakba, it was great old/new news essential to an understanding of the refugees…” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: It is not just Americans who need to learn about the Nakba in order to understand the Palestinian refugees!

    SEE: Why Did Palestinian Refugees Come to Lebanon? ~ by Franklin Lamb, Counterpunch, 1/06/12

    (excerpts) During a workshop at the American University of Beirut last year on the subject of the right to work and to purchase a home for Palestinian refugees, a young business major from the Christian village of Bikerki posed a question that surprised some in the audience: “Why if Palestinian don’t like it in Lebanon do they not go home? Why did they even bother coming here in the first place?”
    “Caroline” was not being antagonistic. Many of the younger Lebanese population are taught in private and religious schools by the various sects using a curriculum including subjects that are heavily politicized and skewed, none more than modern Lebanese history…
    …The current fate of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, living for decades in inhumane conditions worse that any refugees on earth, is primarily the fault and responsibility of those who stole their lands and ethnically cleaned them during the 1948 Nakba. Additionally, the Palestinian refugees’ abject existence is the responsibility of those who have egregiously nurtured the nineteenth century Zionist colonial enterprise with aid and weapons while averting their eyes from the Palestinians Right of Return and the international responsibility to implement international law including many UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338 and UNGAR 194. In addition to the United States and Europe, responsibility attaches to much of the World community.
    They were forced out of 531 villages and 11 cities in Palestine as part of a series of detailed and meticulous ethnic cleansing campaigns…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/06/why-did-palestinian-refugees-come-to-lebanon/

  11. DICKERSON3870
    February 7, 2012, 4:48 pm

    RE: “the incident shows how backward my community is, how sunk. I love my mother. I want to help that community redeem itself.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: My mother was once a fairly intelligent, well-informed individual who could think for herself. But, after years of watching Fox News, her head is now full of mush.
    A couple of years ago I got tired of hearing Fox News talking points about Israel and many other topics issue from her mouth as though she was some kind of twisted “Chatty Cathy” (VIDEO, 01:18). Consequently, I no longer have any contact with her. In essence, we have said our goodbyes.
    Never, ever, again!

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 7, 2012, 5:22 pm

      P.S. To borrow from Loudon Wainwright III (circa 1975): “Sweet nothings, they sho’ mean nothing to me!”
      MP3 sample – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00138ALM0/ref=dm_dp_trk1

    • Thomson Rutherford
      February 7, 2012, 5:33 pm

      Dickerson, this is sad. I am sorry. Something similar happened to me, with one of my sons, whom I had reared in the ‘liberal’ tradition.

    • DICKERSON3870
      February 7, 2012, 9:53 pm

      RE: “My mother was once a fairly intelligent, well-informed individual who could think for herself. But, after years of watching Fox News, her head is now full of mush.” – me, above

      SEE: The Right’s Stupidity Spreads, Enabled by a Too-Polite Left ~ by George Monbiot, The Guardian, 2/06/12

      (excerpts)…we have been too polite to mention the Canadian study published last month in the journal ‘Psychological Science’, which revealed that people with conservative beliefs are likely to be of low intelligence….
      …It is by no means the first such paper. There is plenty of research showing that low general intelligence in childhood predicts greater prejudice towards people of different ethnicity or sexuality in adulthood. Open-mindedness, flexibility, trust in other people: all these require certain cognitive abilities. Understanding and accepting others – particularly “different” others – requires an enhanced capacity for abstract thinking.
      But, drawing on a sample size of several thousand, correcting for both education and socioeconomic status, the new study looks embarrassingly robust. Importantly, it shows that prejudice tends not to arise directly from low intelligence but from the conservative ideologies to which people of low intelligence are drawn. Conservative ideology is the “critical pathway” from low intelligence to racism. Those with low cognitive abilities [like many “seniors”] are attracted to “rightwing ideologies that promote coherence and order” and “emphasise the maintenance of the status quo”. Even for someone not yet renowned for liberal reticence, this feels hard to write.
      This is not to suggest that all conservatives are stupid. There are some very clever people in government, advising politicians, running thinktanks and writing for newspapers, who have acquired power and influence by promoting rightwing ideologies.
      But what we now see among their parties – however intelligent their guiding spirits may be – is the abandonment of any pretence of high-minded conservatism. On both sides of the Atlantic, conservative strategists have discovered that there is no pool so shallow that several million people won’t drown in it. Whether they are promoting the idea that Barack Obama was not born in the US, that man-made climate change is an eco-fascist-communist-anarchist conspiracy, or that the deficit results from the greed of the poor, they now appeal to the basest, stupidest impulses, and find that it does them no harm in the polls. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/07-5

      • Citizen
        February 9, 2012, 2:44 pm

        Dickerson, I don’t disagree with what you say, and I empathize with your loss of your mother due to her mentality–I experienced much the same at a very young age with my father, but, be fair. There is also no pool so shallow that several million people won’t drown you in what they perceive as their entitlements simply because they were born (See Judge Judy, almost any day of the week), and that deficits result from the greed of the poor should be recognized at least to some, or maybe the same extent that those deficits result from the greed of the rich (who employ lawyers to write our IRS code). We have a welfare-warfare affair of state governance. The working poor and low thru middle-middle class pay very disproportionately for both the poor and the rich.

  12. yourstruly
    February 7, 2012, 6:03 pm

    for their own survival christians and other non-jews must shake off their hesitancy to speak out against their country’s unconditional support for israel’s crimes against humanity. after all an iran war will endanger them same as it will everyone else in the world. as for their fear of being called antisemitic for doing so? well, wars and nuclear bombs can wipe you out but words can never kill you.

  13. Cliff
    February 7, 2012, 9:36 pm

    Completely off-topic, but I was watching a video by Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan. She’s talking about Israeli textbooks and the portrayals of Arabs and Palestinians.

    She talks about her father and mother. How her father went in disguise to meet Arafat (one of the first to do so, if not the first). How that was a big risk and a battle he lost because he was railed against by the community. Her parents friends would not speak to them anymore. Her father lost opportunities.

    She talks about herself and how she might have lost her shot at tenure (she does not have it).

    And of course, amidst all this talk of ‘loss’ and sacrifice – you cannot help but think of her daughter. The child she lost.

    This woman reminds me of my aunt. Wise, kind-hearted. Actually, (no offense to my aunt) Nurit is just an angel. Sounds tacky…but I wanted to say that here. I feel bad (Phil might remember) – because I once said something stupid about her like 4 years ago..

    Anyways, carry on. Nurit rocks!

    I’m going to watch some of her lectures on YT before I do some studying for lab tomorrow.

    • Hostage
      February 9, 2012, 2:14 am

      Completely off-topic, but I was watching a video by Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan. She’s talking about Israeli textbooks

      It’s not off-topic at all. Phil predicted that one day soon the New York Times would discover the Nakba and that Alan Dershowitz’s talk before the conference at the Jewish Federations was based upon Nakba denial. Ethan Bronner already introduced Times readers to the Nakba several years ago when he was working as the Education Correspondent, e.g. http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/14/books/israel-the-revised-edition.html

      He reviewed Avi Shlaim, “The Iron Wall” and Benny Morris, “Righteous Victims”. Bronner noted the newly declassified information had been incorporated into the non-mythical narrative of the 20th century history books that Israeli 9th graders began using in 1999.

      Prof. Dershowitz was suitably outraged and went out of his way to explain that after Bronner’s 1999 article had first appeared, Arafat had walked away from generous Clinton-Barak peace offers at Camp David and Taba. He claimed that Benny Morris had finally seen the light and written more critically of the Palestinians. See The Case for Israel, Wiley, 2003, page 246.

      The Times and Ethan Bronner published a retraction when they reviewed Lozowick, “Right To Exist” and Dershowitz, “The Case for Israel”. Bronner explained that the New Historians had an pro-Palestinian agenda; that there had been a stark shift in Israel’s attitude; and that the 1999 9th grade textbooks had been withdrawn. Despite the fact that Dersh was simply recycling Joan Peter’s discredited crap, Bronner praised Dershowitz for his “intelligent polemic” and ability “to construct an argument”.
      *http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/09/books/the-new-new-historians.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
      *Norman G. Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, University of California, 2008, page 17 http://books.google.com/books?id=qc6Tn-C2B5UC&lpg=PA17&ots=keivVobeFI&pg=PA17#v=onepage&q&f=false

      So the World + dog is still waiting for the Times and Bronner to acknowledge the Nakba (again).

  14. Justice Please
    February 8, 2012, 11:59 am

    “I was then aware that my need to fix my own community, to push them toward recognitions, to undo the Israel lobby, to get them out of selfish nationalism, will limit my effectiveness in the Palestinian solidarity movement. That’s OK”

    It’s Okay, because both are noble goals. And it’s good to work for the goal where one is more effective. And with all your witty observations about your own community, I think you are more effective by fixing the Jewish community.

    • Citizen
      February 9, 2012, 3:22 pm

      Justice Please, yes, Phil W seems more effective in fixing his own community, which just happens to be a 2% community within America, which is 98% non-Jewish, where Phil was simultaneously born and bred, and Phil has lived his whole life within the safety and protected freedoms enforced by the larger 98% American Gentiles. Seems it is up to us, the other 98% of America, to join Phil in behalf “truth, justice, and the American way.” But let’s not think for a moment that that the 98% of America can criticize Israel objectively, and question the “special relationship,” without being called jew-haters. Look at what happened when key and influential American gentiles, such as Carter, Mearhsheimer, Freeman, Baird, etc did.

  15. Citizen
    February 8, 2012, 12:19 pm

    The “white gaze?”
    Chickens coming home to roost?
    How about the chickens’ gaze? Werner Herzog chats about it here: http://thedailywh.at/2012/02/07/directors-commentary-of-the-day/

    • MRW
      February 9, 2012, 6:23 am

      What are they going to call the “Jewish gaze” 20 years hence?

  16. Citizen
    February 9, 2012, 3:23 pm

    Maybe they will call it “Custers’s Last Stand?” Or is that the “Humanist gaze?”

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