Baltzer, Finkelstein and Chomsky to speak on state of American Jews re Jewish state

Israel/Palestine
on 175 Comments
Jewish American Relationship with Israel
Jewish American Relationship with Israel

This looks interesting. Anna Baltzer, Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky talking about the Jewish-American relationship with Israel being at a crossroads. I sure hope Daniel Gordis, Steven Cohen, and Malcolm Hoenlein come out and ask some penetrating questions.

And speaking of upcoming events, I keep meaning to promote an event that Antony Loewenstein and Ahmed Moor, co-editors of the great new book After Zionism, are doing at the Brecht Forum on September 18. I’m speaking too. Should be fun. I’m going to put up more about this event next week to prime the pump.

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

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175 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    September 7, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Hilarious. Finkelstein and Chomsky don’t even believe in God. It would be like me offering up an “insiders look” at american roman catholicism (read: i aint no believer). This post, the poster and the roster of speakers say more about this issue than I think you realize, Phil my brother. Atheists speaking as Jews! WOW. Unreal. Yes, indeed, the internalization of Zionism is much much much more pervasive than we care to admit.

    In any event, thanks for the notice/announcement – I hope you post vids.

    • pipistro
      September 7, 2012, 4:56 pm

      “…Finkelstein and Chomsky don’t even believe in God.”
      So what?
      It’s supposed to be a talk among US citizens only.
      Including “firsters”, I guess.

    • Keith
      September 7, 2012, 4:58 pm

      DAN CROWTHER- “Atheists speaking as Jews! WOW. Unreal.”

      Surely you are aware that about half of those who identify as “Jews” are what is referred to as secular Jews, and that most of Israel’s Zionist founders were atheists, and that the term “Jew” is not strictly a reference to those who follow the Judaic religion. All three speakers are very knowledgeable on the subject, particularly Finkelstein and Chomsky. Finkelstein recently authored a book on this very topic.

      • Dan Crowther
        September 8, 2012, 8:54 am

        Yes Keith and Co. I am aware; what I find funny/strange/confusing is that apparently I’m the one with the problem, “duh, dan, of course you don’t have to be observant to be an expert on american jewry’s relationship with israel.” Finkelstein’s book relies on poll and anecdotal data, none of which comes from him actually sitting in Temple, and afterward talking to people.

        This isn’t going to be a “state of US Jewry vis a vis Israel” it’s going to be a whitewash, hopefest, with all the “good Jews” listening intently to the high priests of atheistic jewishness. I cant listen to Chomsky and Finkelstein on jewish issues, these cats are off in the clouds. Chomsky still to this day makes a point to differentiate and apologize for “his” zionism, and Norm thinks…… well, who knows what that dude thinks anymore.

    • Kathleen
      September 7, 2012, 6:20 pm

      I have always found this confusing people calling themselves Jews when they are not religious. Have talked with many Jewish friends about this. Phil has talked about this. I grew up in a hard core Catholic family, Irish, French, Polish, Russian. Don’t really identify with any of it much. But the Jewish thing seems to roll between religion, ethnic and a cultural thing. Anyway do not have a full grasp. But Finkelstein and Chomsky know a great deal and Baltzer is catching up. Have heard all of them speak. Finkelstein I so admire because he has been on the front lines of this issue along with some gentiles for a very long time. Before it became far more acceptable to get involved.

      Sounds like it is going to be a great discussion/panel. Hope someone is taping. Hope Norm does not get agitated he is so brilliant when he stays cool and calm.

      • Mooser
        September 7, 2012, 8:18 pm

        “But the Jewish thing seems to roll between religion, ethnic and a cultural thing. Anyway do not have a full grasp”

        Kathleen, are you sitting down? Okay good, I wouldn’t want to be the cause of you hurting yourself. You ready? Okay, here goes, and don’t say I didn’t warn you: People look for advantage where and how they can find it, or create it.
        No, that’s allright, Kathleen, go ahead and sob. I cried when I lost mine, too.

      • MRW
        September 9, 2012, 9:13 pm

        Da’ man.

      • marc b.
        September 7, 2012, 9:09 pm

        I have always found this confusing people calling themselves Jews when they are not religious. Have talked with many Jewish friends about this. Phil has talked about this. I grew up in a hard core Catholic family, Irish, French, Polish, Russian. Don’t really identify with any of it much. But the Jewish thing seems to roll between religion, ethnic and a cultural thing. Anyway do not have a full grasp.

        and you won’t ever have a full grasp kathleen, because the only category that currently encompasses all of the various elastic, conflicting definitions of ‘jewishness’ is the mother of all nonsensical classifications, that being race. that’s the silly, slim thread that ties ethnic poles to ethnic ethiopians, the ultra-orthodox to atheists, anarchists to fascists. and israel is currently the glue holding the whole seething contradictory mess together. in this regard american jews and catholics are in a similar boat: american catholics should tell the vatican to piss off and begin to forge a new identity, and american jews should do the same to zionism. neither can move forward while tethered to autocracies.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2012, 9:44 am

        Indeed. Had no problem leaving the Catholic church asap after leaving home at 18. The horrendous contradictions were in my face. Lived across the street from priest as a kid across the alley from the nuns. But have to say the social and human rights work that the nuns were involved with and encouraged us to participate in left a lasting impression on me and motivates me to this very day.

        Sister Campbell (Nuns on the bus/Obama) spoke at the Dem Convention. She rocked the house. Many of the Notre Dame nuns that taught us were of that stock and were deeply involved with compassion in action

      • YoungMassJew
        September 7, 2012, 11:00 pm

        We had a ginormous discussion on this issue a few months back on Jewish identity. It didn’t end well.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2012, 9:46 am

        Remember that one. Link?

    • W.Jones
      September 7, 2012, 9:00 pm

      I think this is OK, since they refer to themselves as “American Jews”. It would probably sound more “internationalist” to say “Jewish Americans”, as in “Italian Americans,” “Irish Americans,” etc.
      I think it sounds OK to me, though, understanding that they mean it in the sense of a nationality rather than a religion.

      One thing to criticize instead would be that two of them apparently see the system in the Holy Land as similar to Apartheid, and yet apparently downplay or reject boycotts in the former case, which they successfully used the latter case.

      In the former case, Chomsky’s reasoning is that it is unfair to boycott the system in the Holy Land because it is nothing more than a dependent client state. (So one shouldn’t boycott particularly abusive client states?) Finkelstein’s reasoning is that the boycott movement isn’t large enough at this point for him to support. (eg. He calls it just a small cult. So one shouldn’t support a movement because it is too small?)

      Peace

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2012, 9:48 am

        Chomsky’s stand makes me wonder about what he really thinks and feels. Seems to be trying to provide cover for the horrendous crimes of the Israeli government….always pointing at the U.S….they made me do it

      • Philip Weiss
        September 8, 2012, 10:18 am

        I agree KAthleen, I would like to know what ANC thinks and feels about Israel and Jewish identity. He tends to be curt about this subject, because he is a materialist…

      • chris o
        September 8, 2012, 1:24 pm

        No way is Chomsky trying to cover Israeli crimes. It’s quite the opposite as Chomsky is incredibly harsh on Israel. To people like Dershowitz and Abe Foxman etc., he is public enemy No. 1. Chomsky just believes that US policy in this area is in pursuit of its own interest and he dismisses any special power ascribed to the Lobby. He doesn’t believe the tail wags the dog.

      • Keith
        September 8, 2012, 3:45 pm

        KATHLEEN- “Seems to be trying to provide cover for the horrendous crimes of the Israeli government….always pointing at the U.S….they made me do it”

        Noam Chomsky has long been calling attention to the crimes of Israel and the plight of the Palestinians, long before it became fashionable, long before Mearsheimer and Walt. In fact, his early efforts made him a pariah in the organized Jewish community, subjecting him to harsh criticism. Unable to get his op-eds on this topic published, he wrote “Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel & The Palestinians” in 1983 (updated in 1999) to call attention to the situation. A situation, I might add, for which the United States bears considerable responsibility as Israel’s enabler. Furthermore, the situation is not all that different from countless others where the US has supported repressive regimes to achieve imperial objectives. The main difference, of course, is the extent of Jewish-Zionist influence on the imperial decision making process. Nonetheless, this American Zionist influence hardly absolves the US from responsibility for its role in this and other despicable acts.

        From the 1999 edition foreword by Edward Said: “Fateful Triangle may be the most ambitious book ever attempted on the conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians viewed as centrally involving the United States. It is a dogged expose of human corruption, greed, and intellectual dishonesty. It is also a great and important book which must be read by anyone concerned with public affairs.”

      • CitizenC
        September 8, 2012, 3:56 pm

        NC is a materialist—only in this respect. Otherwise his notion of cognitive organs like language, with which we are all endowed, is idealist. On the US-Israel relationship he dismisses politics and ideology and culture and all the things that mediate material interest, so he can bury Zionist influence. For example you find vulgar Marxist claims that “the corporations generally have decisive influence”, which says everything and says nothing.

        There are, even today, important differences among the advanced capitalist states on social and economic policy, the prevalence of single-payer health systems outside the US, for instance. If you acknowledge the cultural and historical factors leading to that outcome, you can also see US policy influenced by Jewish socioeconomic development, arising from distinct American circumstances.

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2012, 6:07 pm

        Seems to be trying to provide cover for the horrendous crimes of the Israeli government….always pointing at the U.S….they made me do it

        No he quite clearly says that the plan to have Bantustans in Gaza, the West Bank, and possibly a small area in East Jerusalem is driven by the leadership of the government of Israel. He also admits that the Lobby is one of the decisive factors when it comes to US policy on things like the illegal settlements, but that other interests are more dominant when it comes to things like the attack on Iran.

        He doesn’t say that the US is making Israel do these things. He says that until you target the US sources of support for Israel’s policies, BDS won’t be effective. I think the same thing applies to the so-called cultural boycott. The media moguls and businesses here in the US and elsewhere in the west aren’t being boycotted, even when they openly conduct fund raisers for the IDF. What sort of message is our acquiescence to that situation sending them?

      • Kathleen
        September 9, 2012, 11:05 am

        I have often heard Chomsky blame the U.S. for Israel’s crimes. Often

      • American
        September 9, 2012, 1:55 pm

        I have no respect for Chomsky as a intellectual, he’s a intellectual fraud, and particularly where it regards Israel because he is dishonest.

        What Chomsky does is take some ‘part truth’ or some ‘example’ about the US, oil, arms industry, etc. and then apply it to ‘E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G’ .
        To every single motivation, every single act, of the US.
        Inserting a ‘part truth’ in a tale you want to weave is an age old trick.

        He created his fame niche by promoting one simple, uncomplicated reason for everything wrong the US does and wrong in the world being US Imperialism. And people who follow him are the kind who like that one simple explanation, just like people who like the uncomplicated explanation that one giant conspiracy runs the world.

        Dollars to doughnuts he sticks to the same old outline:..it’s all he’s got.

        Noam Chomsky and the pro-Israel lobby: Fourteen erroneous theses
        James Petras
        April 6, 2006

        Chomsky’s speeches and writing on the Lobby emphasizes several dubious propositions.

        -The pro-Israel Lobby is just like any other lobby; it has no special influence or place in US politics.
        -The power of the groups backing the Israel lobby are no more powerful than other influential pressure groups
        -The Lobby’s agenda succeeds because it coincides with the interests of the dominant powers and interests of the US State
        -The Lobby’s weakness is demonstrated by the fact that Israel is ‘merely a tool’ of US empire building to be used when needed and otherwise marginalized.
        -The major forces shaping US Middle East policy are “big oil” and the “military-industrial complex”, neither of which is connected to the pro-Israel lobby.
        -The interests of the US generally coincide with the interests of Israel
        -The Iraq War, the threats to Syria and Iran are primarily a product of “oil interests” and the “military-industrial complex” and not the role of the pro-Israel lobby or its collaborators in the Pentagon and other government agencies.

        While in general Chomsky has deliberately refrained from specifically discussing the pro-Israel lobby in his speeches, interviews and publications analyzing US policy toward the Middle East, but when he does, he follows the above-mentioned repertory.”

        (The Fourteen Theses
        (elaborated on in the article at the link)
        http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/pg-fourteen.html)

        There might be some very rare instances of US and Israeli interest coinciding in some action such as the overthrow of the Iran and ushering in the US Shah. BUT …even in that episode, the overthrow of Iran was something the British actually initiated in behalf of their own oil companies operating in Iran and they convinced the US adm to intervene on the basis that Iran had ‘communist’ elements– communist anything being a big concern to the US back then– that would nationalize foreign oil companies and this might spread in the Arab oil countries.

        If Chomsky had to prove his claim on a case by case basis he couldn’t do it.

      • American
        September 9, 2012, 2:22 pm

        One of the most harilious claims Chomsky makes is that Israel ”helps keep down Arab nationalism” for the US interest.
        Resentment of Israel,I/P and it’s other actions is tied to US imperialism in the ME and is one important element that inspires the rise of Arab nationalism.
        Sorry, it just makes me puke that anyone would swallow this guy’s stuff instead of listening to what the Arabs themselves say about the many reasons for their nationalistic ambitions.

        I put Chomsky on Israel somewhere only a small step above the TV God Merchant frauds that preach homosexuals cause hurricanes and earthquakes.

      • W.Jones
        September 9, 2012, 6:00 pm

        Some of the posters here made a good point that Chomsky has spoken out very strongly about Israeli government mistreatment about minorities, being a widely known person regarding his views on the subject. This was true even before he became known for this.

        Nonetheless, those facts do not stop him from having an underlying ethnic-focused ideology. Since he is a very strong anarchist, one can expect that he can have strong criticisms of a government. But that does not also mean he isn’t a nationalist who spent time on kibbutzes.

        To give another example, I could imagine that some people during the time of the civil war might think America should be a generally white society, but they might still reject slavery strongly as a forced system of oppression, regardless of those people’s own preference for their own ethnic kind of society. And in Chomsky’s case, he naturally rejects a Jewish State in the sense that he rejects states in general, not that he rejects having ethnic-based societies. This is my impression. I could be wrong. My guess is that he likes the kind of ethnic clubs and organizations dedicated to anarchism decades ago (I heard there were such), and he would see them as a major basis for an ethnic nongovernmental society in the Holy Land.

        Personally I like Einstein’s idea more that the society should blend continuously with Palestinian elements. Plus, I like to think that America and European regions where Jews have lived for centuries should be their homeland as well, rather than “relocating” entire populations to the Holy Land, unless they really want to and do not displace others…

        But to get back to the point, Finkelstein himself has said Chomsky is a “Zionist” and that he doubts the sincerity of US Likudniks’ own “Zionist” ideology. There was an audio interview on the internet of Finkelstein discussing this and rejecting the idea the NeoCons are “Straussians”.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2012, 7:58 pm

        Chomsky just believes that US policy in this area is in pursuit of its own interest and he dismisses any special power ascribed to the Lobby.

        No, he specifically includes the Lobby as one of the factors that everyone agrees determines US government policy in the Middle East:

        But recognizing that M-W took a courageous stand, which merits praise, we still have to ask how convincing their thesis is. Not very, in my opinion. I’ve reviewed elsewhere what the record (historical and documentary) seems to me to show about the main sources of US ME policy, in books and articles for the past 40 years, and can’t try to repeat here. M-W make as good a case as one can, I suppose, for the power of the Lobby, but I don’t think it provides any reason to modify what has always seemed to me a more plausible interpretation. Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.

        link to chomsky.info
        So he has actually said all along that everyone agrees that the Lobby is one of the factors that determines state policy.

      • American
        September 9, 2012, 10:51 pm

        ”Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.”

        @ hostage

        I thought you were smarter than that. In fact I can ‘t believe you think his ‘cake recipe’ explanation above is any different than his usual meme that the Lobby doesn’t ‘ever’ ..’really’..’actually’..control any decisions….that the US ‘only’ goes along with Israel if it ‘happens’ to fit in with some other–US imperial–corporate-defense industry–elite profit–oil scheme or interest.
        Have you ever heard Chomsky admit to one single instance where the Lobby prevailed over US interest? No, you haven’t.
        Although far better, far smarter, far more inside people than he have provided specific evidence of those incidents.

        Take it from the beginning –what would be Chomsky’s cake recipe reply for why Truman went against US interest as 90% of his advisers and State Department put it, for Israel?
        What was good for the US real interest in any way in 1948 in pissing off the entire Arabian region?And don’t tell me pissant little Israel was envisioned as holding back Russia or Russian influence in the ME cause Egypt went running straight to the Russians for military aid after that and I would die laughing at the idea that the US thought the way to keep oil stability and availability and keep out SU influence on Arab states would be for the US to be behind setting up a Jewish State all the Arab nations were adamantly opposed to.
        What was the dash of this US interest and jigger of that US interest in the Chomsky cocktail that made the US recognize Israel?
        Cause I have read thru every single paper in Truman’s library and every single testimony and oral history of the major officials during that decision period and there is nothing put forth for establishing Israel as beneficial to any US interest…exactly the opposite. Without exception the decision is explained by everyone as US Jewish domestic “political considerations” and interest and pressure on Truman and from congress due to US Jewish interest.

      • American
        September 9, 2012, 11:31 pm

        @ hostage

        There is no quibble over the fact that sometimes the US “executive’ and ‘military’ branch does not go along with Israel..Suez -Bush I- Iran examples.

        The PROBLEM is Chomsky will not admit there are specific instances when the US acts strictly for Israel in ways that do ACTUAL harm to the US economically and or diplomatically.

        What is Chomsky’s cake recipe explanation for the Egyptian free trade zone deal and the US mandatory requirement that to let Egypt maintain it for cotton exports into the US Egypt had to incorporate Israeli supplied products into 12% of their cotton exports?
        That benefited NO ONE but Israel. It hurt Egyptian jobs. It caused Anti American resentment among Egytians. It was 100% PURE US economic strong arming for Israel with no benefit to the US.

        So…’plain that one to me the Chomsky way.

      • American
        September 9, 2012, 11:49 pm

        ‘Noam Chomsky has long been calling attention to the crimes of Israel and the plight of the Palestinians, long before it became fashionable, long before Mearsheimer and Walt. In fact, his early efforts made him a pariah in the organized Jewish community, subjecting him to harsh criticism’

        No one is saying he hasn’t. That’s not the complaint most Chomsky critics have of him.
        It’s that he will not ever acknowledge there are instances where the US has acted solely because of the Israel Lobby for Israel.
        Which means he is either not the expert on US policy motivations he pretends to be or he deliberately downplays or covers for the Lobby.
        So whichever it is …an element of dishonesty about himself and in one area of US policy makes him not acceptable as an authority.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2012, 2:05 am

        I thought you were smarter than that. In fact I can ‘t believe you think his ‘cake recipe’ explanation above is any different than his usual meme that the Lobby doesn’t ‘ever’ ..’really’..’actually’..control any decisions….that the US ‘only’ goes along with Israel if it ‘happens’ to fit in with some other–US imperial–corporate-defense industry–elite profit–oil scheme or interest.

        . . . and I thought you could read;-) I’m just quoting Chomsky’s views verbatim from his website. Everyone else with an opposing view should do same thing, or else we end up arguing against a straw man, not Chomsky himself.

        FYI, I wasn’t brought-up in the same environment, and don’t have any intellectual investment in Marxist, Leninist, Maoist, and similar political dogmas or personal investment in the kibbutz movement. So there are plenty of areas of disagreement. It’s just that I keep hearing other people restate the published positions of Chomsky and Finklestein without providing any sources to back-up those claims.

      • gamal
        September 10, 2012, 7:50 am

        Dear American i am puzzled and interested in your comment, my understanding is that the two main regional opponents of Arab “nationalism” ( more properly the struggle against foreign domination) are Israel and Saudi Arabia, i am a semi Arab, what are Arabs themselves saying.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2012, 11:37 am

        The PROBLEM is Chomsky will not admit there are specific instances when the US acts strictly for Israel in ways that do ACTUAL harm to the US economically and or diplomatically.

        That’s not really the case. He talks about the US using its Security Council veto on Israel’s behalf; the fact that the US and Israel are the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East; and perceptions of the US and its standing in Arab public opinion polls: “Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel, that’s 80 percent; the second threat is the United States, that’s 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent.” and the fact that Arab public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to US policy.
        * http://www.democracynow.org/2011/9/13/noam_chomsky_us_to_veto_palestinian
        * http://www.alternet.org/world/noam-chomsky-why-america-and-israel-are-greatest-threats-peace?paging=off
        * http://www.democracynow.org/2010/11/30/noam_chomsky_wikileaks_cables_reveal_profound

      • marc b.
        September 10, 2012, 7:52 pm

        Chomsky’s stand makes me wonder about what he really thinks and feels. Seems to be trying to provide cover for the horrendous crimes of the Israeli government….always pointing at the U.S….they made me do it.

        kathleen, i had a friend in graduate school who received his phd in applied mathematics at MIT, or some such degree, and his opinion of NC was pretty low. he told me that chomsky’s linguistic ‘theories’ could be reduced to a wet cocktail napkin, an offhand way of stating that they were unscientific. as for chomsky’s politics, materialism some have called it here, my friend was one of a group who had brought a petition to chomsky to sign in support of some sort of grievance brought by low levels employees of the university, janitors or the like, and chomsky stumbled and blathered on about how he was just one man . .. . etc. etc. and politely refused to sign, or so the story goes. cambridge is full of chomskys and laurence tribes, who love the little man in theory, until his messy, dusty life bumps up against theirs. then listen for the crickets . . . or the knives unsheathed behind the scenes, the silent betrayals.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 11, 2012, 1:02 am

        he told me that chomsky’s linguistic ‘theories’ could be reduced to a wet cocktail napkin, an offhand way of stating that they were unscientific.

        actually, from what i’ve heard …linguistics is not known for it’s excitement. in fact it’s supposedly very boring. that is why there are not many famous linguists. but he’s supposed to be a good one. just saying (i am really not qualified to judge) but ‘wet napkin’ is probably how a normal person might react to a ‘linguistic theory’.

      • ColinWright
        September 11, 2012, 1:38 am

        I have to confess I’ve read very little Chomsky.

        However, I also feel that my reasons for refraining are justified. The reasoning in just about everything I have read has been incredibly superficial and seems to consist largely of rhetorical tricks aimed at making the US the villain.

        Not that the US is good — but Chomsky does, nevertheless, appear to be so shallow as to offer nothing worth considering.

        I could be wrong, of course. It’s also possible that Nicholas Sparks novels contain deep spiritual meaning. However, in both cases, I can’t be bothered to look further.

      • seanmcbride
        September 11, 2012, 9:43 am

        ColinWright wrote:

        “I have to confess I’ve read very little Chomsky.”

        Which authors on Mideast politics have you read? Which have most influenced your thinking? Which books on the subject have you read most recently?

        Noam Chomsky’s “Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians”

        http://www.amazon.com/Fateful-Triangle-United-States-Palestinians/dp/0896081877

        is one of the best books on the subject, and it certainly pulls no punches concerning Israel. But I have to agree with Jeffrey Blankfort that regarding the role of the Israel lobby in American politics, Chomsky is evasive and intellectually dishonest (or he has managed to delude himself).

      • ColinWright
        September 11, 2012, 7:11 pm

        seanmcbride says: “…Noam Chomsky’s “Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians” is one of the best books on the subject…Chomsky is evasive and intellectually dishonest…”

      • American
        September 12, 2012, 2:14 am

        @ gamal

        My comment was that Chomsky has (ridiculously) claimed that one reason for US support of Israel is to keep down Arab nationalism in the ME.

        His theory being that the US thinks Arab nationalism will lead to the kind of Arab ‘people’s rule’ in their own interest that would prevent the US from having too much influence on Arab leaders that can be snared by the US largess into promoting US interest above their own common good.

        How he thinks Israel contributes to keeping down Arab nationalism is beyond me…but that is what he has said.

        The US went off the tracks long ago when it started trying to ‘micro manage’ the ME .
        Before then the age old policy of the US was ‘off shore balancing’ for “stability” to ensure no oil disruptions. Off shore balancing meant not letting any one country threaten that “balance” by being too agressive in the region and causing chaos. It also included extending some protection to states like Saudi because even if it was a discriminatory monarchy it wasn’t agressive toward other states and it had all that nice oil.

        It’s a long story of how we got to our present policy and it appears to me that the Obama adm is not really against Arab nationalism…except when it comes to Saudi.
        But decades ago when Israel was introduced into the region and we started supporting it as we do, the ‘balance’ went to literal hell as we armed and financed and strongarmed for Israel and it nuked up.
        IF we were still practicing balance we would de nuke everyone or else let everyone have nukes for mutual deterence balance….that would be the only two balance choices now.

        So I don’t believe Chomsky claim is true or accurate –in the sense that the US evil empire ‘has always been against’ Arab nationalism.

        These days those opposed to” Arab nationalism” in the US are 1) the typical US master of the universe Neocons influenced by –> 2) the zionist who know that if the US doesn’t have control of ME states (thru their leaders) then Israel cannot dominate the ME either.

        My rant on Chomsky is that he seeks to portray US policy now toward the ME as having always been anti Arab nationalism and born and bred US imperalism. That is a flat out historical mispresentation.
        Then he seeks in ‘alternate ways’ to make the US and Israel at least ‘equally guilty” which we are in present actions, but NOT in the days of pre Israel policy— without attributing any US policy changes toward the ME over the past decades to the influence of the Israel Lobby within the US.
        He is not a historian of US FP and any of them could take him apart on the issue.

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2012, 6:02 pm

        “Plus, I like to think that America and European regions where Jews have lived for centuries should be their homeland as well, rather than “relocating” entire populations to the Holy Land, unless they really want to and do not displace others…

        Wow, I thought I smoked some good stuff, but you live in a dream-world.

      • Hostage
        September 12, 2012, 6:44 pm

        But I have to agree with Jeffrey Blankfort that regarding the role of the Israel lobby in American politics, Chomsky is evasive and intellectually dishonest (or he has managed to delude himself).

        I think Chomsky has it about right on corporate or industrial support for Zionism. But I agree that he tends to ignore the role played by Zionist lobbyists, like Dennis Ross, working inside the US government. The Israel Lobby and the government aren’t to blame for Caterpillar, Motorola, or HP corporate policies, although some corporations are Zionist owned or operated affairs. If the I-P conflict was hurting the bottom line, no one would have to twist the arm of most CEOs to be more humane or more profitable.

        Chomsky has never denied that the Lobby is powerful and has victories on things like the settlements due to the backing of their Christian Zionist friends:

        (MR): Are you saying the Lobby isn’t a factor?

        NC No, the Lobby is real. It’s significant. That’s not even a question—neither I nor anyone has ever questioned it. It’s very well organized, it has its victories. But if it runs up against crucial power interests of the state or the corporate sector, it backs off. There is case after case I could mention. But when what the Lobby does more or less conforms to the interests of powerful domestic sectors, then yes, it is influential. That’s quite true of lobbies generally. For example, India’s lobby in the U.S. apparently played an important role in pressuring Congress to accept the U.S.-Indian treaty, which effectively authorized the U.S. to support indirectly India’s nuclear weapons program.

        (MR): But if we go back to some of the things we were discussing earlier, many people would say that where these lobbies are most effective is not specific deals, but in shaping public opinion.

        (NC): Yes, but they’re pushing on an open door, because there are independent reasons why Americans tend towards Israel. Remember, this is a long-standing relationship that goes back long before Zionism. There’s an instinctive identification that’s unique. There’s the American Indian comparison, you know, the barbaric redskins trying to prevent progress and development and attacking innocent whites: that’s Israel-Palestine. In fact, it’s right there in the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, the most libertarian of the founding fathers. One of the charges in the Declaration against King George III is that he unleashed the merciless Indian savages against us, whose known way of warfare is torture and killing and so on. That could come straight out of Zionist propaganda. This is a very deep strain in American culture and history. After all, the country was founded by religious extremists who were waving the Holy Book and describing themselves as children of Israel returning to the Promised Land. So Zionism found its natural environment here.

        (MR): So would you situate the Lobby primarily within the broader cultural background, where Americans look at Israel and recognize themselves?

        (NC): For many Americans, it’s just instinctive that the Jews in Israel are reliving our history. They recognize themselves, and furthermore they recognize the crusaders who succeeded in throwing out the pagans. There’s the analogy to the American conquest of the national territory, the Zionists use this analogy as well, but positively. We are bringing civilization to the barbarians, which is after all the whole core of Western imperialist ideology. It’s very deeply rooted.

        http://www.zcommunications.org/reflections-on-a-lifetime-of-engagement-with-zionism-the-palestine-question-and-american-empire-by-noam-chomsky

      • Keith
        September 12, 2012, 7:09 pm

        MARC B- “…he told me that chomsky’s linguistic ‘theories’ could be reduced to a wet cocktail napkin, an offhand way of stating that they were unscientific.”

        Care for a second opinion? “In 1988, Chomsky received the Kyoto Prize in Basic Science, given “to honor those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual development of mankind.” The prize noted that “Dr. Chomsky’s theoretical system remains an outstanding monument of 20th century science and thought. He can certainly be said to be one of the great academicians and scientists of this century.”
        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0872865371/counterpunchmaga

      • RoHa
        September 12, 2012, 10:15 pm

        “Plus, I like to think that America and European regions where Jews have lived for centuries should be their homeland as well,”

        How about their homelands being the lands where they actually have the homes they live in every day?

      • gamal
        September 13, 2012, 9:54 am

        dear American,
        thanks for the reply i see what you are saying.

        Before i comment just a short aside re Chomsky and linguistics i had to laugh at Ms Robbins and i think marcb’s comments, Annie thinks linguistics is boring, that may be the case if you dont like pure math and formal logic etc each to their own and all, but Chomsky’s insight in regards to generative grammar is an astonishingly wonderful achievement, in one fell swoop he put paid to Behaviorism, a mechanistic version of Human consciousness, B.F. Skinner and Watson et al, for that alone he deserves the gratitude of the world, if your interest is piqued you could try the Managua Lectures, his ideas have been key in the development of AI and in many other fields, precisely because of their profundity, and dare i say beauty.
        http://www.amazon.com/Language-Problems-Knowledge-Lectures-Linguistics/dp/0262530708.

        So much for that.

        i am working and will comment on the rest later, it wont be worth waiting for but, after my meeting i will scribble some notes on to a damp napkin. thanks again.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 13, 2012, 10:17 am

        Annie thinks linguistics is boring

        actually i said i wasn’t qualified to judge and ” it’s supposedly very boring.” iow that is what i’d heard. and i only mentioned it to challenge the notion it was perhaps the subject matter the listener was responding to wrt “a wet cocktail napkin” as opposed to chomsky’s “theories”. iow, if you don’t understand something or have enough knowledge base to make heads or tails of a subject, ones concentration kerplunks. then one is not qualified to even be judging a theory. but obviously it’s not boring to linguists and i didn’t mean to insult anyone.

        fyi, math was always my favorite subject in school, i loved it. there are word people and numbers people and then there are those who excel in both.

      • seanmcbride
        September 13, 2012, 12:19 pm

        Annie,

        As it turns out, linguistics is a very sexy and highly strategic research field that is a key driver of one of the most important revolutions in human civilization — the development of artificial intelligence and the Semantic Web. Linguistics, in combination with various cognitive science disciplines, is seeking to get a formal handle on the mental operations and processes that govern all human thought. It’s a big deal that will powerfully impact the lives of every human being on the planet. Think IBM Watson, Wolfram Alpha, Siri, etc. The fruits of linguistic research will be everywhere.

        Noam Chomsky didn’t get everything right, but he was an important player in moving along this revolution.

        From Wikipedia:

        Chomsky has been described as the “father of modern linguistics” and a major figure of analytic philosophy. His work has influenced fields such as computer science, mathematics, and psychology. He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the Chomsky hierarchy, the universal grammar theory, and the Chomsky–Schützenberger theorem.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky

        (Regarding the conspicuous role of Jews in vanguard movements: Noam Chomsky is good example. He merits a great deal of respect.)

      • Annie Robbins
        September 13, 2012, 2:55 pm

        very sexy and highly strategic research field …Think IBM Watson, Wolfram Alpha, Siri, etc

        ooookay! well thanks for the info. perhaps in my next life that will make lots of sense to me but for now i will concede to being wrong wrong wrong.

      • LanceThruster
        September 13, 2012, 6:52 pm

        I understand your point but still like nuggets such as this that the layman can marvel at –

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorless_green_ideas_sleep_furiously

      • seanmcbride
        September 13, 2012, 11:26 pm

        Annie,

        I wasn’t trying to correct or lecture you — I was just expressing my enthusiasm for linguistics. :)

        Linguistics research, for instance, is the backbone of cutting-edge developments in text and sentiment mining — two technologies which will make it possible to use automated methods to wring meaning from large collections of text (like the entire body of Mondoweiss articles and comments) at lightning speed.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 14, 2012, 2:20 am

        lance, in 1957 the word ‘green’ didn’t have the same connotation it has today (was ecology even a word then?). little did he know how many colorless ‘green ideas’ may furiously twist the sheets this century.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 14, 2012, 2:33 am

        no worries sean, perhaps it’s an IQ thing or a detail thing, or just a lack of comprehension rather than a lack of comprehension ability. how many ways can i say ‘over my head’. but i trust for some people it’s downright fascinating and if i studied it maybe i would agree.

        i recently had a bizarre exchange with a person i thought was trying to manipulate me. but it was very subtle in a complimentary form. but deceptive and it contained an embedded untruth i perceived as a lie tho i had no proof.

        when i found out yesterday he had a phd in linguistics i knew he was setting a trap for me (he knew the implications embedded in his words). i’m not completely clueless. somewhere in my head i’ve got some sense and my instincts serve me well even if i don’t have that other kind, i have a common kind of sense. i know some really smart people who don’t even have that.

    • Hostage
      September 8, 2012, 12:07 am

      Hilarious. Finkelstein and Chomsky don’t even believe in God. . . . Atheists speaking as Jews! WOW.

      In 2010 42% of Jews in Israel were considered secular. So Chomsky and Finkelstein should fit right in. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3890330,00.html

      The American Jewish Identity Survey (2001) revealed that the responses of about 1.1 million persons indicated that they were Jews of No Religion (JNR). If you just can’t stand being disorganized or labelled irreligious, then the members of the Reconstructionist or Humanistic streams of Judaism are allowed to have non-theistic and even atheistic beliefs too.

      FYI, I always noticed that the authors of the Jewish and Samaritan scriptures spent most of their time and effort writing about the ultimate fate of the faithful remnant of Israel. The obvious implication was that the majority of Jews have always been considered contrarians, sinners, covenant breakers, idolators, and non-believers.

      The Jewish disciples of Borochov in the Labor Socialist movement who founded the Jewish State were not particularly religious people either.

      • Dan Crowther
        September 8, 2012, 9:04 am

        Hey if that makes sense to you, Hostage, fine. But it doesn’t to most other people, myself included. In fact, I think its rubbish. And all the historical anecdotes won’t change that. There is something very distasteful about this whole thing, it’s a real cottage industry. “Hey, I’m Jew(ish), listen to me, read my book” and so on.

      • Shmuel
        September 8, 2012, 9:17 am

        There is something very distasteful about this whole thing, it’s a real cottage industry. “Hey, I’m Jew(ish), listen to me, read my book” and so on.

        You’re just jealous, because no one wants to read your book. Send me a copy and I’ll read it – eventually (I promise I’ll put it at the very top of my “unchosen” pile) ;-)

      • Dan Crowther
        September 8, 2012, 9:39 am

        HAHAHAHA!!! Shmuel for the Win!

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2012, 9:49 am

        No connections up line

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2012, 6:06 pm

        “The obvious implication was that the majority of Jews have always been considered contrarians, sinners, covenant breakers, idolators, and non-believers.”

        And who is looking out for us, the bad Jews? We get it from both sides.
        Finally, finally somebody writes something in Mondoweiss about “the Jewish community” which is true.

      • seanmcbride
        September 13, 2012, 12:22 pm

        Jewishness — and Jewish values — are perfectly compatible with atheism, agnosticism, humanism, etc. Who doesn’t know that? Many Jews tend to be epic truth seekers who wrestle with “God” — with the universe, with reality.

      • Citizen
        September 13, 2012, 1:42 pm

        Where do you live, and have lived seanmcbride? I ‘d say that 99.5% of Gentile Americans do not know that Jewish values are “perfectly compatable with atheism, agnosticism, humanism, etc.” You have no clue what most Americans think, hope, believe, if that’s what you think. First, they have no clue at all when you start out with any ism. You live in a bubble.

    • sjabulhawa
      September 8, 2012, 8:55 am

      Considering that the founders of zionism, who spoke for world Jewry, were also atheists, this makes perfect sense.

    • David Samel
      September 8, 2012, 9:45 am

      Dan, I am an atheist and a Jew. My father was born in Poland and my mother’s parents in Romania – still, I feel absolutely no connection with those countries, but consider myself to be Jewish American the way others are Irish American or Mexican American. Since “Jewish” obviously has a religious component as well as an ethnic or ancestral one, I can understand if anyone finds my conception of my identity to be confusing. Still, that’s what I am. Curiously, the Nazis and Israel agree with me. The Nazis would have killed me for my ancestry, and Israel offers me citizenship and privilege over a native population, both regardless of my religious beliefs.
      I also do not think that these three speakers are speaking as “insiders” in the Jewish community, though all three happen to be Jewish.

      • Dan Crowther
        September 8, 2012, 10:13 am

        Samel, I always dig your posts here, and I think (hope) you know I’m not uniquely hostile to jewish identity, I’m hostile to all manufactured identities, I just don’t stop at jewish identity, which I suppose separates me from others. Consistency on these matters invariably ends up offending some folks.

        I know I am supposed to respect your view of Jews you share with the Nazi’s and Israel, but I don’t. The same way I can’t stand when some fourth generation american gets a shamrock tattoo right before St. Paddys. Half of these “Irish Americans” couldn’t even find Ireland on a map, and I would dare guess half of these “jewish americans” know nothing of Judaism, other than when the holidays are and so on.

        Reading your post, as well as others from other jewish cats makes me wonder: What exactly are the objections to Israel? Surely, since Jewishness supercedes religious belief and so on, and is more like a racial identity (according to most here. If your an atheist jew, then obviously “jew” part describes the original form of the being) – why can’t “The Jews” have a state wholly to themselves? Why all the hub-bub? Is it just the violence or the bad press? I really don’t get it.

        The only other thing I can think of is, there is some sort of Christ Complex within Diaspora Jewry, a feeling of “we need to fulfill the role of the old jews, the ones without a non-religious national identity, we need to stay wondering, as it were.” Martyrdom. You know what would solve this? A day trip to Israel. “Israeli” makes so much more sense than “atheist jew”

      • David Samel
        September 8, 2012, 3:25 pm

        Dan, I understand your antipathy to what you call “manufactured identities.” You may wish not to partake yourself, and despite what I wrote, Jewishness is not a big part of my identity, but it definitely is a part, even though I’m not a believer.
        However you feel about it, you should be careful about proposing how other people should see themselves. It’s very easy for Jews, or anyone else for that matter, to object to being defined by others as a real people or a manufactured people. It’s none of your damn business, they would say. To me, it’s the mirror image of those who say the Palestinians are a manufactured people, that they are really southern Syrians or nonsense like that. The Palestinians should be able to define themselves as they wish, and so should Jews.
        You ask an interesting question – If Jews are a distinct community of people, regardless of their actual religious belied, then “What exactly are the objections to Israel? Why can’t “The Jews” have a state wholly to themselves?” But the answer is obvious. To create and maintain their state, they had to embark on conquest, dispossession and forced exile, and quasi-racial discrimination against native-born inhabitants. If the question were whether Jews should have had their own state in an unpopulated area of Argentina or Africa or Alaska, maybe the answer would be different.

        Relatedly, some argue that the Jews of today should not have their own state in Israel because they really are not descendants of the “Jews” exiled thousands of years ago, or because they have no real historical connection to Jerusalem, or whatever. To me, those are losing arguments, because even if they are possibly true, there are a whole lot of Jews who feel this deep attachment. It is far more persuasive, and far less presumptuous, to argue that regardless of history and whether identification with Jewishness is real or mythological, Zionists were wrong to target Palestine and the people living there for the re-birth of their national identity. There were, and are, undeserving victims of Zionism, which disqualifies it as a legitimate movement.
        As I said before, I really understand how the term Jewish atheist appears to be an oxymoron, but most Jews, myself included, see no real contradiction. It’s only when Jews demand special rights and privileges over others that their self-identification as Jews becomes problematical.

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2012, 5:45 pm

        Surely, since Jewishness supercedes religious belief and so on, and is more like a racial identity (according to most here. If your an atheist jew, then obviously “jew” part describes the original form of the being) – why can’t “The Jews” have a state wholly to themselves? Why all the hub-bub? Is it just the violence or the bad press? I really don’t get it.

        Elements of Irish culture have spread far beyond the borders of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day festivities are only one example. Jewish culture made the leap so long ago that it’s much more correct for scholars and historians to talk about Jewish cultures, e.g. “Cultures of the Jews: A New History”, David Biale (Editor), Schocken/Random House, 2002.

        By 1906 there was a Jewish Encyclopedia. It had articles on Socialism, the “Jewish Social Movement in America”, various Socialist papers and magazines of the era. The American cultural milieu was still littered with references to the ancient legends and lore of the Jews reflected in the Tanakh and works by Josephus, Shakespeare, Ginzberg, et al. They were simply the sort of literature that a well educated or well rounded person would encounter. That was the culture of many Jewish families in America and it had little or no connection to narrow Jewish Statist politics. In fact, most Jews were decidedly non-Zionist.

      • YoungMassJew
        September 8, 2012, 7:53 pm

        Dan, it really is pretty simple in my opinion. I don’t think its manufactured, there was a whole East European Jewish culture for over 100 years that sprung up in the shetls and part of it migrated to the U.S. Had it not been for the Holocaust and the tragedy of Zionism the Ashkenazi Jews could have continued to have a secular East European Jewish culture in the Pale of Settlement. To be frank for you, klezmar music, Yiddish theater, Jewish dishes like matzah brei, brisket, etc weren’t a strong part of my culture as an American growing up in the 1900s-2000s, but I am still aware of the tradition and what could have been. And yes I’ve had those meals during the holidays. It’s perfectly fine for you not to want to have anything to do with it, but to completely dimiss it as lacking ethnic/religious value is wrong. Many Italian Americans still have a strong ethnic identity and they came around the same time as the East Euro Jews did to America. Why can’t Jews continue to celebrate their traditions? And no Christ complex.

      • Dan Crowther
        September 9, 2012, 9:35 am

        Not sure if I actually hit reply on Samel’s comment – David, see below.

      • ColinWright
        September 9, 2012, 2:51 pm

        David Samel says: “… To me, those are losing arguments, because even if they are possibly true, there are a whole lot of Jews who feel this deep attachment…”

        Do they? Or is that attachment manufactured as well? For a good forty years, Zionism was a fringe movement that was unable to generate any widespread support in Jewish communities at all. Even today, very few Jews with an authentic choice in the matter have ever chosen to emigrate to Israel.

      • sardelapasti
        September 9, 2012, 6:01 pm

        “there was a whole East European Jewish culture for over 100 years”
        Exactly! So let’s please stop calling it “Jewish” culture tout court, or we are simply feeding into Zionist propaganda that hypothesizes a single Jewish race-and-nation from Goa to Birobidjan, via Addis Abeba.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2012, 1:10 am

        Do they? Or is that attachment manufactured as well? For a good forty years, Zionism was a fringe movement that was unable to generate any widespread support in Jewish communities at all.

        Yes but those Jewish and other ethnic minority “communities” were legally recognized entities under formal treaty agreements in Europe. Here in the United States many were part of a secular Bund-like Jewish Socialist movement or modernized religious movements that rejected the idea he Torah had actually been given to a person named Moses at Mt. Sinai or that people of Jewish ethnicity were a still a nation.

      • ColinWright
        September 11, 2012, 3:30 am

        Dan Crowther says: “Samel, I always dig your posts here, and I think (hope) you know I’m not uniquely hostile to jewish identity, I’m hostile to all manufactured identities…”

        I’ve been reading along here. In general, I think people have been getting too hung up on slotting ‘Jews’ into some neatly definable category.

        But why label it a ‘manufactured identity’? Most identities are ‘manufactured’ — and more, are often more authentic than ‘real’ ones. My common identity with Obama may be ‘manufactured’ — but it’s far more real than his ‘real’ shared identity with some Kikuyu farmer in Kenya.

        Take ‘Indians.’ Well, they’re all Indians, and it would be ridiculous to claim their identity is ‘manufactured’ — and yet they speak hundreds of different languages, look different from each other, etc.

        What I’m saying is you can’t just dismiss Jewishness as a ‘manufactured’ identity. Of course people can make a show of it, use it as a substitute for an authentic sense of self-worth, tend to imply Ashkenazim are the sum whole of the tribe, etc, etc — but nevertheless, ‘Jewishness’ is perfectly real — whether or not you can successfully define it.

        It is, of course, an elusive and relative term, and I’d be the first to insist it’s not an adequate basis for nationhood, but it’s there, and if someone feels he is a Jew, he is, and there’s no reason I can see to denigrate the identity as ‘manufactured.’ Well, yeah, it is ‘manufactured’ — but so are most significant identities. So what?

        You say you are against ‘all manufactured identity.’ Well, the only sense I can make of that is that you are genuinely unaware of your own communal identity, which may not have a label at all, but is nevertheless perfectly real. There is some set of people with whom you will share quite a bit, and others with whom you will share very little — and there’s your identity. Call it what you will. It’s still there.

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2012, 6:21 pm

        “It’s only when Jews demand special rights and privileges over others that their self-identification as Jews becomes problematical.”

        Like the special right and privilege (and it’s a very obnoxious one) of saying “See, I’m Jewish, but I’m not a Zionist” and escaping all responsibility and accounting for Zionism?
        That’s a huge privilege that all anti-Zionist or non-Zionist Jews seem to think they are entitled to. And as long as they are, nothing substantitive will be done, not by the Jewish community, anyway. Why make enemies, especially among your own, over something you’re not responsible for, not gonna suffer for?
        Yes, I know, along with the smarts we have an +15EQ (ethical quotient) which will force us to act.

      • Citizen
        September 13, 2012, 8:25 am

        @ Dan Crowther: “why can’t “The Jews” have a state wholly to themselves? Why all the hub-bub? Is it just the violence or the bad press? I really don’t get it.”

        I guess Dan thinks the Zionists actually settled in, are still settling in, Antartica. Wonder where he got that impression? Not from MW, for sure.

      • Philip Weiss
        September 8, 2012, 10:23 am

        For me religion involves codes and values and the ideas/ideals that give life meaning. Secular Jew is a kind of religion, in that sense; it usually means neoliberal– and also satisfies Mooser’s cynical definition of providing advantage to the bearer. My own code is Integrated Intermarried Jewish American, striving to be posttribal.

      • Dan Crowther
        September 8, 2012, 10:30 am

        Shit, Phil; I’ve seen you lob some softballs to the MooseMan before, but this might take the cake!! :) My man….

      • Dan Crowther
        September 9, 2012, 8:42 am

        David,

        you’re right of course; I know I was a little harsh there, and I don’t want to tell others what to think and so on. One last thing, regarding this passage:

        However you feel about it, you should be careful about proposing how other people should see themselves. It’s very easy for Jews, or anyone else for that matter, to object to being defined by others as a real people or a manufactured people. It’s none of your damn business, they would say.
        ————————————-

        My thing is, when it comes to secular jewish identity, the definitions of it etc., it seems as though it has been defined by “others” – specifically, anti-semites and non religious Jews who wished to change jewishness, jews and so on. You mention the Nazi’s and Israel (Zionists) sharing your definition of “Jew” or jewishness. To me, these definitions, are by definition, hostile. Not only toward Jews but Judaism. I once heard Akiva Orr say: “Jew” before zionism meant following the religion, now in the modern times, it means, a person who would/could be persecuted for being jewish.”(not an exact quote, but I think you get my point). In other words, if the anti-semites say I’m a Jew, I’m a Jew. So, while you are more than correct (and again, I apologize for being gruff) to tell me not to make decisions for others, it does seem as though ” secular jewish identity” has been wholly defined by people who don’t like Jews, and along the way, this view has been internalized, to the point where even guys like you share it. And while you’re not asking for special permissions and aren’t paranoid about anti-semites around every corner, I think its a rather small step from where you’re at, to where some of the whack-a-doo’s are – if that makes sense. It’s a matter of degree rather than a separate way of thinking.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2012, 9:40 am

        it does seem as though ” secular jewish identity” has been wholly defined by people who don’t like Jews, and along the way, this view has been internalized, to the point where even guys like you share it.

        well, you’ve completely lost me now dan.

      • David Samel
        September 9, 2012, 10:21 am

        Dan, no offense taken, and I really appreciate your contributions here. When I talked about the Nazis, Israel and myself sharing something in common, I was trying to be accurate but noting the irony. In other words, Nazis persecuted Jews regardless of whether or not they practiced the religion, Israel privileges Jews regardless, and I consider myself Jewish, even though I obviously reject both the persecution and the privilege. And while I understand your point about Akiva Orr, I don’t think I’ve internalized my identity from antisemitic tropes. I was brought up to feel Jewish and observe the religion (not orthodox) and while the religion part didn’t stick, the Jewish part did. It’s as simple as that. On the other hand, I think that what you describe is a big part of the problem. I do think that fear of persecution, mostly unfounded, is a very important component of the glue that binds many Jews together as a community, regardless of how religious or irreligious they are. It’s not all that different from Americans of very different political and social persuasions being bound by the pervasive belief that we live in the greatest country in the world.

      • Dan Crowther
        September 9, 2012, 10:53 am

        Annie, Read it again; if you read samels original comment, he says he shares a definition of jewish(ness) with nazi’s and zionists. I consider both of these groups to be inherently anti-semitic or anti-jewish. The nazi’s speak for themselves, but zionism was also a solution to a “problem” – namely what to do when you’ve begun to assimilate, cease to be observant and so on. In other words, there was something wrong with “the jews”, it’s incorrect to think of zionism solely as a reaction to external forces.

        If I’ve expressed antipathy here, I think its because I find these matters exceedingly trivial. As noted on a different thread the other day, Gaza is going to be unlivable in 8 years, what the hell are we talking about here? If I’ve offended, please forgive me. But I can’t help but noticing that most of the problems in the world stem from irrational thinking, hocus-pocus and superstition, and I feel obliged to point it out, even in those who I generally agree with. To hold the views expressed here on jewishness is to condone and sanction irrationality, hocus pocus and superstition. Like I tried to insinuate earlier, it’s pretty much impossible for “secular jews” to be consistent – there can’t be a serious criticism of israel from anyone who accepts the notion of racial jewishness. Again, I don’t think many secular jews realize they are accepting the racial definition, but I would argue in practical terms they are. I don’t know if I can write about this any longer..

        THIS REPLY WAS BEFORE DAVID”S LAST< NOT A RESPONSE TO YOUR COMMENT DAVID. Cheers!

      • LeaNder
        September 9, 2012, 12:48 pm

        Annie, Read it again; if you read samels original comment, he says he shares a definition of jewish(ness) with nazi’s and zionists. I consider both of these groups to be inherently anti-semitic or anti-jewish. The nazi’s speak for themselves, but zionism was also a solution to a “problem” – namely what to do when you’ve begun to assimilate, cease to be observant and so on. In other words, there was something wrong with “the jews”, it’s incorrect to think of zionism solely as a reaction to external forces.

        Look Dan, I don’t have much time to look into the troubles you have, but considering your “incipit”, should Chomsky, Finkelstein, Balzer, all of them Jewish, not be allowed to talk about Palestine? Is that what you suggest, they must necessarily be prejudicial? What would be your evidence?

        Give me one reason, why they shouldn’t. Why does it matter that they are atheists? Don’t you defeat your own argument by putting that much stress on this fact?

        It’s you noticing they are Jewish, without even mentioning it. But whatever the core of your argument is, frustration? Why the hell shouldn’t they be allowed to speak about Israel’s politics?

        While I have no problem at all to understand that Hitler and the Nazis would have left traces e.g. in David Samel’s idenity, even without identity politics, aren’t you actually taking your clue from the Nazi’s too, but it is much more easy to find it somewhere out there? You started this thread by writing this:

        Hilarious. Finkelstein and Chomsky don’t even believe in God. It would be like me offering up an “insiders look” at american roman catholicism (read: i aint no believer). This post, the poster and the roster of speakers say more about this issue than I think you realize, Phil my brother. Atheists speaking as Jews! WOW. Unreal. Yes, indeed, the internalization of Zionism is much much much more pervasive than we care to admit.

        In any event, thanks for the notice/announcement – I hope you post vids.

        So American Jews should be kept out of the debate, no matter how much they know about the context, but non-Jewish Americans should be allowed in? Or only the Mondoweiss approved participants should be, everybody else can be reduced to some kind of agent for the Jewish state? Maybe you want to re-write your spontaneous reaction? At least, I am not sure about who is using the Nazi definition of Jewish identiy, you or David Samel?

        I’ll shut up again, don’t worry to answer.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2012, 1:56 pm

        My thing is, when it comes to secular jewish identity, the definitions of it etc., it seems as though it has been defined by “others” – specifically, anti-semites and non religious Jews who wished to change jewishness, jews and so on.

        No, it was originally defined by religious Jews who held that God had given the Torah to Israel (alone) and that only the people of Israel could commit a transgression against the very specific, non-Noahide, commandments. In many cases those were considered capital offenses that would still be punishable today if a proper Sanhedrin existed which could exercise the full powers of government. Sanhedrin 43a et seq. implies that even a Christian might still be considered a bad Jew (who is still liable, at least in theory, to punishment for a most serious transgression).

        If your mother isn’t Jewish and you haven’t converted to Judaism, then you can’t be held liable as a transgressor of many of those same commandments. But a non-religious or non-observant Jew would be punished precisely because he is one: A Jew, although he has transgressed, is still a Jew, i.e. “Israel hath sinned R. Abba b. Zabda said: Even though [the people] have sinned, they are still [called] ‘Israel’. R. Abba said: Thus people say, A myrtle, though it stands among reeds, is still a myrtle, and it is so called.” — Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 44a http://halakhah.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_44.html

        So the idea of a non-religious Jew isn’t necessarily a non-sequitur or oxymoron to some of our more devout brethren. For a range of opinions on the subject see:
        *Daniel Septimus, Must a Jew Believe in God?
        http://www.myjewishlearning.com/beliefs/Theology/God/About_God/Must_I_Believe.shtml
        *What Makes a Jew “Jewish”?
        http://beta.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/45132/jewish/What-Makes-a-Jew-Jewish.htm
        *The Secular Jew’s Place in Halacha
        http://www.daatemet.org/articles/article.cfm?article_id=121

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2012, 2:26 pm

        Like I tried to insinuate earlier, it’s pretty much impossible for “secular jews” to be consistent – there can’t be a serious criticism of israel from anyone who accepts the notion of racial jewishness.

        maybe you’re confused about the characteristics of what it means to be an ethnicity or maybe you consider them ‘manufactured’. i admit i wasn’t really getting a lot of the trajectory of the conversation when i responded to your allegation of “”secular jewish identity” has been wholly defined by people who don’t like Jews” so maybe on some level i do not understand how it makes sense. but when you say “wholly defined” you are not taking into account every individuals self identification, or even my own understanding of ‘secular jewish identity’. so yes i can agree “secular jewish identity” has been defined by people who don’t like Jews” but it’s also ‘defined’ by other people, even people who are not relying on historical information and simply being informed by secular jews they personally know or impressions of secular jews(commonalities) in their community. obviously, secular jews are varied in multiple ways but anyone who self identifies as jewish (or any ethnicity for that matter) then i respect that definition i don’t challenge it. it doesn’t mean every ounce of energy from that person is informed by their jewishness.

        anyway, i think you’re wrong and i think the fact they are making a point of speaking as american jews does have relevance considering the topic and considering the bruha going on over the UC ‘report’ that’s made it’s way to legislation because whether we like it or not there are american jews trying to speak for (and characterize) the whole of the community and silence their critics. therefore it becomes paramount american jews who do not fall in line behind this narrative counter inform.

      • sardelapasti
        September 9, 2012, 2:28 pm

        Leander:
        “So American Jews should be kept out of the debate, no matter how much they know about the context, but non-Jewish Americans should be allowed in?”
        Red herring of the worse sort.
        Of course they should speak and act.
        Only NOT by calling themselves “Jewish” in any way or wise if they are not religious!
        Calling oneself “Jewish” when you are not religious is by definition an expression of nationalism. Worse, nationalism based on a racist “identity”.
        Period. And nationalism based on a fake (and racist) identity is the very essence of Zionism (land theft is merely one more step of the same.) The fact that one speaks Yiddish (which most of these don’t) or that his name is Goldsomething does not entitle him to call himself “Jewish”, except if religious.

      • sardelapasti
        September 9, 2012, 2:38 pm

        Annie:
        “when you say “wholly defined” you are not taking into account every individuals self identification, or even my own understanding of ‘secular jewish identity’”

        Oh, please. The point is that their “self-identification” is objectively and inescapably nationalist and racist. If they are not religious, it only means “born to a Jewish woman”. If they are not religious, they may be as ignorant as rednecks and confuse “East-European Yiddish speaker” with “Jewish” but again, ignorance is not enough to justify inflammatory nationalist statements.
        As for your “own understanding of secular jewish identity”, let’s have a detailed, grounded and reasoned discussion of it instead of feelings.

      • ColinWright
        September 9, 2012, 2:59 pm

        Annie Robbins: ‘well, you’ve completely lost me now dan.’

        Yeah. Are you sure you’re not my long-lost twin sister or something? I keep finding you’ve posted just about what I was just about to post.

        “…” secular jewish identity” has been wholly defined by people who don’t like Jews…” strikes me as a pretty untenable proposition as well.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2012, 3:07 pm

        The point is that their “self-identification” is objectively and inescapably nationalist and racist.

        i’m stepping out of this conversation because either i completely misunderstand what’s being discussed or you’re accusing self identified secular jews as ‘inescapably nationalist and racist’. not all people who identify with an ethnicity are nationalists nor are the words interchangeable. that’s absurd.

        good bye

      • sardelapasti
        September 9, 2012, 4:28 pm

        Annie: “or you’re accusing self identified secular jews as ‘inescapably nationalist and racist’.”

        Yes. For the reasons detailed above, which you don’t discuss.

        “not all people who identify with an ethnicity are nationalists nor are the words interchangeable.”

        That’s correct. When there is some such ethnicity. In this particular case, there is only a common religion (and liturgy) without abolutely any other common cultural or ethnic element for “Jewish”. As repeatedly indicated.

        “that’s absurd.” If you have enough reliable data to prove that, let’s have it and I’ll agree then. Right now, I only see a nationalist-racist identification without any common cultural element.

      • Keith
        September 9, 2012, 6:29 pm

        DAN CROWTHER- “But I can’t help but noticing that most of the problems in the world stem from irrational thinking….”

        Can’t resist one final comment. I recently wrote a mini-essay titled “The Logic of Irrationality.” The bottom line is that most folks are mostly irrational a good deal of time. But there is a logic to it. Due to evolutionary factors, humans have a genetic predisposition to form groups for mutual survival. These significant groups tend to be hierarchical and are united by a unique shared ideology/mythology. To be unique, the ideology/mythology needs to deviate from empirical reality to create an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ psychology. Most of the irrationality we see is the logical extension of irrational ideology/mythology loyally defended by the group members in unifying solidarity. Acceptance of group ideology/mythology is a condition of group membership. As such, a truly rational exchange of politically defining ideas is rare. Usually, we have competing logical defenses of individual and group biases. Implications? There is no ‘rational political man,’ nor is there a ‘rational economic man.’ Hope for the future based upon rational discourse is not encouraging, at least in the short term.

      • Dan Crowther
        September 9, 2012, 8:03 pm

        Thanks for the info Hostage, and your views. good points

        As for the rest of you clowns, David Samel and myself had a discussion between ourselves, we shared differing POV’s, came more or less to an understanding and did it with civility and thought provoking comments (at least thats how I felt) – I have nothing to add to the thread jackers. Piss Off! (Except Hostage, he’s alright with me!)

      • American
        September 9, 2012, 9:15 pm

        “Calling oneself “Jewish” when you are not religious is by definition an expression of nationalism. “>>>>>>

        No, not necessarily.
        I might sub- identify as Southerner, meaning I have some traditions in my life I got from being raised in the social culture of the South.
        So it doesn’t have to mean race.
        I can see a person identifying as Jewish because of his upbringing, keeping certain traditions he has from being raised in a particular enviroment or community even if he isn’t a religious practicing Jew without it being a racial identity.

        Although, I do think the Uber secular zionist do identify as Jews in a racial way and promote Jewishness as a semi racial identity.

      • sardelapasti
        September 9, 2012, 10:57 pm

        “I can see a person identifying as Jewish because of his upbringing, keeping certain traditions..”

        There is no such animal! The only common cultural element between Ashkenazis, Sefardís, Mizrahis, Bukharis, normal European urban Jews, Ethiopians, what will you, is religious and liturgical. Even down to the Biblical Hebrew loanwords. Identifying an undefined “culture” in such a clothheaded, vague, no-way-to-pin-down way is the mark of Hebrew nationalists. Meaning Zionists.

      • RoHa
        September 9, 2012, 11:45 pm

        “I can see a person identifying as Jewish because of his upbringing, keeping certain traditions he has from being raised in a particular enviroment or community even if he isn’t a religious practicing Jew without it being a racial identity.”

        Of course, I would ask, “Why bother? What’s the point?”

      • American
        September 10, 2012, 12:21 am

        @ RoHa

        What’s the point? I don’t know that there is any point. Maybe a guy thinks he’s Jewish cause he has bagels for breakfast, maybe I identify as Southern cause I have grits for breakfast….LOL
        Better question is why does anyone care about someone else’s identity.
        And why should anyone tell someone else what their identity must be.
        Personally I dont’ believe Jews are some kind of semi race group and haven’t seen any proof that would convince me of that, I always viewed Jews as people of certain religion.
        But if a Jew wants to to identify as a Jew because of something other than religion he can, he can even consider himself a different race if he wants to, I don’t really care….as long as he doesn’t employ his racial identity for some harmful idea or purpose like the zionism.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2012, 12:38 am

        Calling oneself “Jewish” when you are not religious is by definition an expression of nationalism.

        The practice is based, at least in part, upon the Talmud. It’s an expression of ethnicity. You wouldn’t argue that Anglo-Saxon people living in the Americas, the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, & etc. are a single nation or nationality. The Jews ceased to be a single nation several millennial ago.

        Worse, nationalism based on a racist “identity”. Period. And nationalism based on a fake (and racist) identity is the very essence of Zionism (land theft is merely one more step of the same.)

        All of the prevalent racial theories were fake, that didn’t stop the US and other governments from adopting commonly accepted wisdom on the subject as a legally binding construct. Until very recently, Jews were considered to be members of a race that required civil rights protections by many countries, including the United States.

      • American
        September 10, 2012, 12:43 am

        “Identifying an undefined “culture” in such a clothheaded, vague, no-way-to-pin-down way is the mark of Hebrew nationalists. Meaning Zionists”…….sardelapasti

        I am pretty sure somewhere out there is a person who calls himself a Jew for whatever reason not racial and doesn’t practice Judaism or give a rip about zionism or Israel.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2012, 2:59 am

        There is no such animal! The only common cultural element between Ashkenazis, Sefardís, Mizrahis, Bukharis, normal European urban Jews, Ethiopians, what will you, is religious and liturgical.

        Those are all examples of individual Jewish national cultures. American Secular or Humanistic Jewish culture also happens to be a valid example of a Jewish culture that you seem to be completely unfamiliar with. Some of us grew-up in secular Jewish households. There are even organized congregations and societies of humanistic or secular Jews, e.g. Society for Humanistic Judaism http://www.shj.org/

        The notion that there are people of Jewish ethnicity who share recent ancestors, holidays, literature, legends, ethics, and liturgy doesn’t require them to subscribe to the narrow statism or nationalism of the Zionists, much less their racial theories.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2012, 4:10 am

        Of course, I would ask, “Why bother? What’s the point?”

        Sentimentality, family tradition, a sense of belonging, a shared community of culture and mutual interest, and a handy social network. The same factors that motivate any other ethnic group to behave in exactly the very same way. I can’t imagine why anyone is getting worked-up about American secular Jews or humanistic Judaism, since we aren’t even a back burner issue in the I-P conflict.

        The court cases that I cited in some of my other comments here do illustrate that there was a degree of structural, legal, racial discrimination in place until the civil rights era of the 1960s. So there was also an element of “us versus them” in these developments. I think that the claim that Jews aren’t a distinct racial or ethnic group is decidedly a product of post-Holocaust guilt. Americans certainly didn’t harbor any doubts about pseudo-scientific racial theories in earlier times and they are still in fashion among some geneticists.

      • LeaNder
        September 10, 2012, 8:36 am

        Calling oneself “Jewish” when you are not religious is by definition an expression of nationalism. Worse, nationalism based on a racist “identity”. Period. And nationalism based on a fake (and racist) identity is the very essence of Zionism (land theft is merely one more step of the same.) The fact that one speaks Yiddish (which most of these don’t) or that his name is Goldsomething does not entitle him to call himself “Jewish”, except if religious.

        sardelapasti, your name triggers in my mind that you either love pasti with anchovies or Sardinian pasti. How comes? I am German, notice, not a German nationalist, and in German anchovies are Sardellen, while a Sardian is a Sarde. I can’t help.

        Now let’s complicate that slightly. If someone misrepresents Cologne, or Catholics genearally, or a German writer, I respond repectively as an inhabitant of Cologne, someone raised as a Catholic, even though I am a non-observant member of that tribe and rather critical of its conservative corners, or as someone raised in German culture, that may in fact know the writer in question, and for whatever reason does not want to see her/him misrepresented. Why am I doing this? Because I am a Cologne, Catholic or German nationalist?

        Period! to copy you.

        What I find highly interesting in the critical reaction towards Chomsky and Finkelstein, is that they are the main targets from hawkish Jewish quarters for decades now too. In Finkelstein’s case, I respect that it may be partly a result of his coinage “cult”, but looking at matters via his his interpretation of Ghandi’s writings, I also think he has a point.

        Of course they should speak and act.
        Only NOT by calling themselves “Jewish” in any way or wise if they are not religious!

        How is that going to work?

        Neither Chomsky, Finkelstein or Balzer, were advertised as Jewish. Go back and read Dan Crowther’s response. Neither of them, as far as I am aware, invented the rules that this is a topic that only can be discussed inside the community, and they do not abey this law … Neither did they invent the rule that you have to show you are Jewish when speaking about this subject, so everyone knows you aren’t “the enemy”.

        But what about the rule, that everyone that happens to be raised Jewish must have a not so outspoken self-interest in matters, since at least theoretically he could move to Israel tomorrow, while Palestinians and we can’t?

        What are you demanding that we all erase the “irrational” or “mystic” parts of our identities , the influence of our mother, the wider family and surrounding we grew up in?

        There were some Jewish Germans and Austrians that tried to move really towards the extreme right wing ideologies, one tried to become a Nazi member and desparately tried to meet Hitler. Obviously this meant a complete erasure of all traces of Jewishness. It didn’t work, it only drove him nuts. But is it possible at all, even from a non extremist perspective? Is it possible to erase all the Hebrew and Jiddish words and texts you encountered as a child? How can I ever erase my mother’s jokes and wisdom that shaped me? No, she can’t be blamed for shaping a Catholic.

        Maybe you reflect on your rule again, and now I’ll shut up for good for a little longer.

      • RoHa
        September 10, 2012, 8:53 pm

        “Sentimentality, family tradition, a sense of belonging, a shared community of culture and mutual interest, and a handy social network.”

        So not much point at all.

        “The same factors that motivate any other ethnic group to behave in exactly the very same way. ”

        I’d ask them the same question.

      • ColinWright
        September 11, 2012, 3:47 am

        sardelapasti: ‘There is no such animal! ‘

        But there is. Even if it doesn’t comprehensively describe the individual, and even if by ‘Jewish’ what is actually meant is ‘Ashkenazi,’ and even if that identity is fractured into a thousand subsets — it’s still real.

        A lot of this has to do with what happens with generalizing about anything to do with people at all. For example, as Tolstoy pointed out, even ‘war’ will comprehend millions of totally different experiences for millions of totally different people. Some went right along through the 1812 campaign as if nothing was happening at all.

        The ‘war’ was nevertheless real. Being ‘Jewish’ is real — however variable and unclear its meaning. I’ll readily grant there may not be much actually linking Phil to your basic Haredim, but to be a Jew nevertheless remains something real — just as the 1812 campaign really did happen.

        I’d say that once we move into talking about more than any one person at any one moment, we immediately leave the realm of hard, specific truth and start entering a land of more and less valid statements — few of which are either completely true or absolutely false. And the more time we cover, and the more people we cover, the more that is the case.

        But the people emphatically remain real. Yes, there is such an animal. What people draw from that fact can be very much open to criticism, but he’s there. As much as anything is there. To argue otherwise is ultimately to claim we are all totally disconnected individuals, changing arbitrarily from day to day, and reacting with each other in utterly random and unpredictable ways — and that’s clearly not true.

      • Hostage
        September 12, 2012, 3:21 pm

        I’d ask them the same question.

        There is a specialized field of science, anthropology, that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind. I’ve noted elsewhere that Australia has spent some of your tax dollars on Jewish Studies already. You might inquire and see if they’ve made any discoveries, besides the motives that I’ve already mentioned;-)

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2012, 6:34 pm

        “well, you’ve completely lost me now dan.”

        Annie, think of it in lioght of what Hostage (brilliantly!) said earlier:

        “FYI, I always noticed that the authors of the Jewish and Samaritan scriptures spent most of their time and effort writing about the ultimate fate of the faithful remnant of Israel. The obvious implication was that the majority of Jews have always been considered contrarians, sinners, covenant breakers, idolators, and non-believers.”

        Man, I rather be “Jewed down” than be out-Jewed, any time.

      • Citizen
        September 13, 2012, 8:30 am

        @ Annie Robbins

        I guess Dan thinks Zionists are anti-semites, jew-haters like the Nazis were?

      • YoungMassJew
        September 15, 2012, 1:22 am

        @ American
        YES!

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 14, 2012, 4:10 am

        David Samel wrote, “I can understand if anyone finds my conception of my identity to be confusing.”

        There are worse things than a little confusion. For me, any confusion that another person’s identity causes me ceases to matter (and can even become interesting/challenging/inspiring) so long as the other person admits that what he is talking about is “my conception of my identity”–in other words an idea that he has chosen for himself. But alas this isn’t always the case. After many years of butting my head against the wall, I eventually realized that many people just don’t share my notion of what an “identity” is. For me it’s a self-idea, or self-image that we choose for ourselves, and thus something we are responsible for. (Sure it may be so deeply ingrained that it’s hard to change–or even to see–but at least theoretically we can always change it.) But for many people it seems to be something more like fate, or genes. And it’s these people, who do not take responsibility for the identities they wear, who refuse to treat it as something they created, that I have trouble empathizing with.

  2. Blaine Coleman
    September 7, 2012, 2:58 pm

    I will hazard a guess that Baltzer, Finkelstein and Chomsky are not going to reject the legitimacy of the Apartheid State. That should not prevent you and me from rejecting it!

    I also guess that Baltzer, Finkelstein and Chomsky will not call for a total boycott against Apartheid Israel. Don’t let that prevent you from demanding a total boycott against Israel.

    Racist states ought to be boycotted until they’re abolished. What is so hard to recognize about that? Do you remember Apartheid South Africa?

    Actually, that total boycott demand, against Israel, is being made loudly and clearly at the University of Michigan campus, and inside its Central Student Government.

    See this news coverage: http://youthanormalization.blogspot.com/2012/09/bds-boycott-israel-protest-at.html

    I have personally alerted Mondoweiss about this important BDS action at the University of Michigan, and I trust they will cover it themselves shortly.

    • Blake
      September 7, 2012, 5:10 pm

      “Racist states ought to be boycotted until they’re abolished.”

      Amen to that.

    • Kathleen
      September 7, 2012, 6:21 pm

      I think Chomsky rejects the Apartheid definition being applied to Israel

      • lareineblanche
        September 7, 2012, 7:31 pm

        I think Chomsky rejects the Apartheid definition being applied to Israel

        Not exactly, he has said that in some ways it’s better than SA apartheid, and in other ways it’s worse. I think he’s right.
        It depends on how broad your definition of “apartheid” is, though.

        While we’re on the subject, as far as the “legitimacy” of any state, I’m pretty sure that Chomsky has said that no states are inherently legitimate. So, this is really a red herring. Israel has no more or less “legitimacy” than any other state because such a thing doesn’t really exist. But these are details.

      • W.Jones
        September 7, 2012, 9:39 pm

        I think Chomsky is actually a non-state anarchist Zionist. It basically means he follows the idea of nationalist anarchist kibbutz communities. Apparently this is enough of an attachment for him to affect his views, in my opinion.

        He has said would no longer refer to himself as a “Zionist” because the meaning of the term in common use has changed so much: ie as a common term it has become so much of an expansionist Statist idea that it is too hard to accommodate his own beliefs on the topic.

        I really don’t want to be judgmental about Chomsky on this, because I myself admire the communal idealistic part of Israel’s early ideology, and because I recognize that in the era Chomsky came out of, Jews were to a large extent an oppressed minority in Europe.

        Chomsky has said the conflict between ethnic nationalism and leftist ideas inherent in this radical nonstate Zionism has never been resolved. I think this applies to Chomsky himself.

        Readers with an egalitarian, internationalist perspective should acknowledge the issue of such bias and take it into consideration without being judgmental.

      • ColinWright
        September 10, 2012, 12:42 am

        W. Jones says: “I think Chomsky is actually a non-state anarchist Zionist…”

        I see a certain hypocrisy in positions like Chomsky’s because thsir exponents must realize there is absolutely no chance that their political ideals will be realized. Ethnic identity isn’t going to go away, nor is government authority, nor is private property.

        At the same time, they find in the professed hope that this will happen grounds for refusing to condemn Zionism. Sure — if we were all about to embark on a stateless anarchy of propertiless and identityless peace, those who had once been Jews could live in what once had been Palestine. Why not?

        …except that as noted, they know perfectly well that this putatively wonderful future isn’t quite upon us just yet. So effectively their position is one of simply refusing to condemn Zionism .

        …but they’re not supporters of Israel. Oh no. They oppose all nationalisms. It doesn’t seem to bother them too much that pending the millennium, Israel will continue. In fact, I suspect them of being quite pleased about that.

        They get to have their fine principles — and Israel too. Isn’t that nice?

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2012, 4:34 am

        I see a certain hypocrisy in positions like Chomsky’s because thsir exponents must realize there is absolutely no chance that their political ideals will be realized. Ethnic identity isn’t going to go away, nor is government authority, nor is private property.

        There’s no evidence that he ever expected that to happen.

        He does say that two states is a logical first step on the road toward a bi-national state (which is a lot of statism for a red blooded anarchist). See Reflections on a Lifetime of Engagement with Zionism, the Palestine Question, and American Empire http://www.zcommunications.org/reflections-on-a-lifetime-of-engagement-with-zionism-the-palestine-question-and-american-empire-by-noam-chomsky

      • ColinWright
        September 11, 2012, 1:19 am

        Hostage says: “…He does say that two states is a logical first step on the road toward a bi-national state (which is a lot of statism for a red blooded anarchist)…”

        Then this confirms my fundamental suspicion — that Chomsky is at a minimum an ‘objective Zionist’ (to borrow the concept of an ‘objective class enemy’ from the Commies).

        He would be for the two-state solution. Anyone intelligent who genuinely wants Israel to survive as a Jewish state would be for the ‘two state solution’ — particularly in the sense that it’s usually proposed these days, which is that Israel gets 80% of the pie and the Palestinians get an Indian Reservation on what’s left. It’s perhaps a small blessing that most Zionists are too dim-witted and fanatical to see this — but that doesn’t mean the remainder aren’t Zionists. They’re just intelligent Zionists.

        I’d be interested to see if anyone can find Chomsky taking a position that implies the disappearance of Israel without also implying the disappearance of nation states in general. My guess is that no such quote can’t be found.

        …and if one seeks to perpetuate a Jewish state in Palestine — whether one explicitly says so or not — then one is a Zionist.

      • W.Jones
        September 11, 2012, 2:36 am

        Colin,

        I am not sure they have thought it out as much as you have, but kudos to you for trying, I guess.

        They simply have an idealistic image of forming ethnic communities that share things in the ideal of the kibbutz. It’s kind of like a monastery, but on a secular, ethnic, democratic basis, rather than a religious and moralistic one.

        I would like to explain this further. Think of native Alaskan communities. Well, it’s a nice idea that they live together and preserve their culture and language in their homeland. So it also seems nice if people of Jewish heritage want to do a similar thing in their homeland too, and it also seems nice if they are getting along fine where they are. Either way seems OK to me.

        This ideal image is very troubling, however, whether you apply it to Alaskans or anyone else when it is acknowledged that there are already a huge number of other native people living there and it is proposed that they should be relocated to another place. I expect Chomsky doesn’t feel this way, but I was very surprised to see that another famous communalist may have.

      • Hostage
        September 12, 2012, 3:36 pm

        I’d be interested to see if anyone can find Chomsky taking a position that implies the disappearance of Israel without also implying the disappearance of nation states in general.

        I can do better than that. He says that he has been in favor of a single bi-national state in Palestine since childhood:

        Quseation: At one time, you urged a single bi-national state as the best solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Do you think such a solution is desirable today? Is it realistic today?

        Chomsky: As to its desirability, I have believed that from childhood, and still do. And at times it has also been realistic. From 1967 to 1973 I wrote about it quite a lot, because during those years it was quite feasible. However, there was virtually no support for it among Palestinians or Israelis; rather, it elicited severe criticism, from doves as well, and in the US, near hysteria. In the same years, a full peace treaty with the major Arab states was also quite feasible, and indeed had been offered in 1971 by Egypt, then Jordan. I have discussed the matter extensively in print, then and since, and won’t try to summarize. In my opinion, had these measures been pursued, a great deal of suffering, death, and destruction would have been avoided. By 1973 the opportunity was lost, and the only feasible short-term settlement was the two-state proposal. That remains true. If that is implemented, perhaps along the lines of the Geneva Accords, the cycle of violence will be ended and reversed. Perhaps in the longer term, as hostility and fear subside and relations are more firmly developed along non-national lines, there will be a possibility of moving towards a federal version of binationalism, then perhaps on to closer integration, perhaps even to a democratic secular state — though it is far from obvious that that is the optimal arrangement for complex societies, there or elsewhere, a different matter.

        — See Justice for Palestine? Noam Chomsky interviewed by Stephen R. Shalom and Justin Podur, ZNet, March 30, 2004, http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20040330.htm

      • Citizen
        September 13, 2012, 8:41 am

        W Jones
        Comparing native Alaskans to a kubbutz?
        The Inuit culture was essentially based on an egalitarian, hunter-gatherer society. They lived at the very edge of human settlement, a place where crops cannot be grown and all sustenance and means of maintaining life itself must come from one’s own cunning, skill and ingenuity

        The land was not owned and was seen to belong to all people and the animals. It was, and still is, however, highly respected.

      • ColinWright
        September 14, 2012, 4:58 am

        W.Jones says: “They simply have an idealistic image of forming ethnic communities that share things in the ideal of the kibbutz. It’s kind of like a monastery, but on a secular, ethnic, democratic basis, rather than a religious and moralistic one.”

        Given the other components of the Zionist enterprise, a castle of the Teutonic Knights might be a more appropriate analogy than a monastery.

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2012, 1:26 am

        I think Chomsky rejects the Apartheid definition being applied to Israel

        His opinion on the subject is subtle. The differences that he mentions are grounded in semantics, not the applicable law. He clearly describes the two situations, i.e, South Africa and Israel, as one of centrally planned apartheid. But goes on to say:

        Apartheid in South Africa meant something different. Apartheid wasn’t [only] Bantustans, apartheid was the arrangement inside South Africa. Bantustans were bad enough, but that was something else, that was caging the population into unviable territories. Like putting Indians in reservations. We don’t call that apartheid. We call it something else.

        http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20040309.htm

        Most legal experts would disagree and call the practice of putting Indians into reservations an example of the crime of apartheid. For example, the UN impaneled a group of independent experts on penal law and they reported that the “Bantustan policy” consisting of the creation of reserved areas for certain groups is prima facie evidence of the crime of apartheid. See Human Rights Commission, Study Concerning the Question of Apartheid from the Point of View of International Penal Law, E/CN.4/1075, 15 February 1972, pages 51 – 52. There are examples of that policy and practice on both sides of the Green Line. The most widely publicized examples involve the inhabitants of the so-called “unrecognized” Bedouin communities and centralized government plans to move them to State-designed reservations, like the seven Bedouin townships in the Negev desert.

      • Kathleen
        September 8, 2012, 9:56 am

        thanks

    • Hostage
      September 8, 2012, 1:44 am

      I will hazard a guess that Baltzer, Finkelstein and Chomsky are not going to reject the legitimacy of the Apartheid State.

      I know for a fact that they’ve all rejected the idea that Israel should be recognized as a Jewish state or the national home of the Jewish people.

      I also guess that Baltzer, Finkelstein and Chomsky will not call for a total boycott against Apartheid Israel.

      Actual quotes and links which show that Baltzer, Finkelstein or Chomsky do not support BDS would be much more helpful than speculation.

      • W.Jones
        September 8, 2012, 3:54 pm

        Hostage:

        Easy: Do a google search for:
        Finkelstein BDS is a cult

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2012, 7:42 pm

        Hostage: Easy: Do a google search for: Finkelstein BDS is a cult

        Finkelstein explicitly stated that he supports BDS in the Barat, Democracy Now, and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) interviews.

      • W.Jones
        September 11, 2012, 2:12 am

        News to me. Thanks for sharing.

        OK. What about his derision of BDS as a cult, though, and why he does not think it works or something like that?

      • Hostage
        September 12, 2012, 5:32 pm

        OK. What about his derision of BDS as a cult, though, and why he does not think it works or something like that?

        He says that BDS will not become a mass movement until it clearly defines its goals. He thinks that should done in-line with existing international consensus and international law. Resolution 242 has been enshrined in international law, by reference in conventions and agreements dating back to the Camp David era. It requires withdrawal of Israeli armed forces, recognition of the right of the State of Israel to exist, and a just settlement for the refugees.

        Many leaders of the BDS movement base their arguments on the laws of occupation as if there are two territorial entities involved. At one and the same time, they’ve signed a Manifesto calling for the recognition of one democratic state, instead of two. They’ve implicitly rejected the acceptability of a rights-based solution to the armed conflict inline with UN SC res 242. Finkelstein says that the BDS movement should publicly admit that fact, and that if they won’t, its a sign of cult-like thinking among the leaders that tends to diminish the mass appeal and impact of the entire movement.

    • Kathleen
      September 8, 2012, 9:51 am

      Put money on Finkelstein agreeing with Carter that what is happening in the West Bank and E Jerusalem reflects an apartheid state. Carter makes this distinction

  3. Mooser
    September 7, 2012, 4:40 pm

    “great new book After Zionism,”

    ‘When the Zionism’s over,
    turn out the lights.’

  4. Binyamin in Orangeburg
    September 7, 2012, 5:14 pm

    I hope Mondoweiss does a story on the hijacking of Richard Silverstein’s web site. Tikkun Olam. It has been down for two days now, and diverts to a rabid pro-Israel server.

    In fact, why don’t you offer Richard the opportunity to post on your blog while he is battling the Zio-hackers.

    • ColinWright
      September 11, 2012, 1:22 am

      “I hope Mondoweiss does a story on the hijacking of Richard Silverstein’s web site. Tikkun Olam. It has been down for two days now, and diverts to a rabid pro-Israel server…”

      The Zionists play dirty pool — and they play to win. Before rushing to congratulate each other on our morality, we might want to reflect that nice guys finish last.

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2012, 6:41 pm

        “we might want to reflect that nice guys finish last.”

        Hate to be the one to break it to you, Colin, but the destruction of Israel is not the aim of Mondoweiss. And if it was, I wonder if they would try to achieve it by making scurrilous, unwarranted and completely unsubstantiated charges.

      • ColinWright
        September 13, 2012, 11:19 pm

        Mooser says: “…I wonder if they would try to achieve it by making scurrilous, unwarranted and completely unsubstantiated charges.”

        Maybe you could answer that. What are you attempting to achieve when you make scurrilous, unwarranted, and completely unsubstantiated charges? Those seem to be pretty much your stock in trade.

  5. ColinWright
    September 7, 2012, 5:15 pm

    I wonder which way Finkelstein’s going to jump?

    It could be comic. What if opinion is perfectly split down the middle? How does he play the iconoclast?

  6. seafoid
    September 7, 2012, 5:57 pm

    “talking about the Jewish-American relationship with Israel being at a crossroads”

    I thought it was at a checkpoint outside Jerusalem.

    • Philip Weiss
      September 7, 2012, 6:32 pm

      good one seafoid

    • ColinWright
      September 7, 2012, 7:14 pm

      We keep coming to these ‘crossroads’ — but we never make a turn.

      Ever been in that situation? Driving with someone, and you know they’re lost, but they just keep going, and going, and going…

  7. seafoid
    September 7, 2012, 5:58 pm

    After Zionism, the return of the Golem

  8. Mooser
    September 7, 2012, 8:38 pm

    “After Zionism, the return of the Golem”

    Stop worrying, seafoid, old buddy, and keep reading Mondoweiss! You to can learn how to wave away 30, 40 even 50 years of Zionism with one paragraph or two about how you’re a changed man, and see it all clearly now (insert standard boiler plate about the right to exist and how there are so many anti-Semites who hate Israel, but you’re not like that…)
    So there you go Seafoid! Do you see any of the distinguished, ethical and highly religious (comes in your choice of religions!) writers on Mondoweiss talking about, oh, an accounting? Or an assessment of their own responsibility? Or maybe sort of approaching the question of why, since they were Zionists for so many years, we should trust their judgement now? Or talking about investigation, indictments, prosecution and restitution? Or consequences? Of course not! Things like that don’t happen to nice people like us. So whadayou worried about? Everything is gonna be all right. Nothing, nothing has happened to the six million Jews who died in the Nazi Holocaust and they’ll be right there if we need them to help get us out of any trouble.
    We’ll come out of it with double cred, baby! You know, it’s sort of like that old joke, where a guy asks another about the two medals he’s wearing, one small zinc one, and a large gold one. “They’re for singing!” he says and points to the little one. So he asks him “What’s the big one for?” To which he replies, looking very proud “For stopping!”.
    You wait, it’ll be just like that. Take courage Seafoid, my man! We are Jews! We aren’t about losing anymore! God has sniffed our burnt offering, and said: ‘That’s good bar-b-que, baby!’

  9. thetumta
    September 7, 2012, 10:04 pm

    I think it boils down to how many people are you willing to murder for the several million citizens of this nuclear armed city-state.

    You should be prepared to answer this question, 80 million Iranians and others or 5 million Israelis?

    Hej!

  10. FreddyV
    September 8, 2012, 8:25 am

    I’d never take anything in if I attended. I’d just fawn over Anna Baltzer.

    Sorry. Had to say it……

    • lareineblanche
      September 9, 2012, 9:31 am

      I’d never take anything in if I attended. I’d just fawn over Anna Baltzer.

      Ha, points for being honest. (and i quite agree, by the way) – I have a similar opinion on Diana Buttu, but we’re getting off topic here…

  11. Nevada Ned
    September 8, 2012, 10:43 am

    While people often speak about “the Jewish tradition”, it’s really two traditions, not one. One tradition is Jewish nationalism (Zionism), now a little more than a century old.
    The second tradition is political agitation against injustice. No history of American liberalism or leftism could ignore the huge role played by American Jews. American Jewish voters are overwhelmingly liberal Democrats.
    So, what happens when these two traditions come into conflict? Example: Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. Some American Jews embrace Israel and abandon their opposition to racism. But others continue their opposition to racism, including Israeli racism. This means opposing Israeli policies.
    That’s what this evening is: three American Jews who are opposed to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

    Everybody know Noam Chomsky, agitating and writing for peace since the 1960’s. The most prominent critic of US imperialism. Author of dozens of books. Chomsky’s essays made the New York Review of Books famous in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, but he’s been banned from the pages of the NYR since some time in the 1970’s. Now in his 80’s. Has a worldwide reputation.

    Finkelstein is a leftist who lost his academic career because of the intervention of the Israel Lobby. He’s a strong critic of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. Now in his 1950’s.

    Anna Baltzer is much younger. She has a book out about her personal experiences in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, documenting the oppression of the Palestinians and helping nonviolent resistance.
    http://www.annainthemiddleeast.com/book/index.html
    She appeared on The Daily Show with Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian human-rights activist.
    The crowd at The Daily Show welcomed her. She had the political smarts to realize that a team (1 Jews + 1 Palestinian) had more of a chance of getting recognition than either one alone.

    I wish I were in the NY area in early October. The three speakers will agree about the main points. I’ll be curious to see if the Israelis send anybody to try to cloud the issues. Also will any Palestinians show up?
    I’ll stay tuned to Mondoweiss.

  12. CitizenC
    September 8, 2012, 12:11 pm

    David Samel, you are not a “Jew” in the Zionist sense, of there being no English or French or German Jews, but only Jews, residing in England, etc, eternally separate and distinct. You are not a member of the eternal, essential Jewish People, but an American of Jewish background. At least that seems your meaning.

    The line is crossed when mere Jewish Amurkins organize as “the Jewish people” and advance a “Jewish view” on Palestine, or anything besides klezmer music, Yiddish, Torah scrolls, and such Jewish or Judaic topics.

    JVP, with which Chomsky is affiliated, constitutes itself as part of “the Jewish people.” My piece “Liberal Citizenship, not Jewish Identity”, discusses some of these matters. It analyzes their minimal Palestine critique– “solutions” discourse; anti-occupation rhetoric; ahistorical law and rights discourse; and the “strategic asset” view of US-Israel relationship–as Jewish privilege and anti-gentilism, like Zionism itself; see Steven Zipperstein’s bio of Ahad Ha’am, cited inter alia

    http://questionofpalestine.net/2012/01/23/liberal-citizenship-not-jewish-identity/

    Chomsky himself declared in his first collection on Palestine in 1974 that there was a Jewish people and it had a sovereign right to settle Palestine. That was reissued in 2003 without qualification. Chomsky retails all the left Zionist fantasies about the kibbutz, rejected by more rigorous, knowledgeable observers like Isaac Deutscher, the Israeli Matzpen, and scholars like Gershon Shafir. Chomsky’s response to Shlomo Sand’s book on The Invention of the Jewish people was to smirk that what mattered was that “Jews believed it,” quoting Ahad Ha’am. Phil Weiss attributed anti-gentilism to Chomsky over his endless quibbling and deprecation of organized Jewish influence on US policy

    So this upcoming event in NY where these leftist, secular “Jews” will tell us about “American Jews and the Jewish state” is unsurprising. They should condemn Zionism, not “the occupation”, and condemn US organized Jewry for their genocidal influence on the last 65 years of US foreign policy on Palestine and southwest Asia, a story still unfolding and ghastlier by the minute. And do so in the name of the Jewish approaches to universalism, classical Reform, Marxist internationalism where Jews were prominent, and what Israel Shahak called the “modern secular Jewish tradition” which he dated from Spinoza. All of which rejected Zionism unequivocally and with equal rigor affirmed liberal principles.

    Instead we will likely get a defense of “secular Jewish identity”, implicit and explicit accusations of anti-Semitism, and the minimal Palestine critique noted. As I’ve said before, this is a stupendous failure, comparable to the “treason of the intellectuals” Julien Benda described in his 1927 book on the climate that led to WWI.

    • Philip Weiss
      September 8, 2012, 12:35 pm

      youre really misunderestimating anna baltzer, in a somewhat prejudicial manner. where is the evidence of her support for Zionism? and let’s be clear, Anna has been going out there and working. oh but she’s jewish!?

      • CitizenC
        September 8, 2012, 2:44 pm

        My remarks were about Chomsky mainly. A related critique could be made of NF, I believe, but he is too obviously influenced by NC, kind of a sorcerer’s apprentice, who makes mistakes the sorcerer avoids.

        I have AB’s book, can’t lay my hands on it. I have the impression she opposes Zionism, but she is a regular on the End the Occ/JVP circuit. Their critique is limited, as I’ve said: “solutions” discourse; ahistorical law and rights discourse; anti-occupation rhetoric; the strategic asset view of US-Israel, mostly; anti-anti-semitism, but no analysis of Zionism, and “Jewish peoplehood” in the US, with its various privileges and perquisites, as racism.

        Many toilers in the vineyard do not grasp the limits of this framework, which they have not constructed, but learned from ideologues like NC and his disciples, and ongoing projects like JVP and End the Occ. AB may go beyond the official limits personally, perhaps without recognizing that there are such limits. But in this event she is in my view lying down with wolves who invented and enforce the limits.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2012, 11:09 pm

        My remarks were about Chomsky mainly.

        Yes and they were an inaccurate description of his positions on the rights of the Israeli Jews and Palestinians vs. those of Jews living in other countries. See Rejectionism and Accomodation (1983) in the Chomsky Reader. http://books.google.com/books?id=BBzHiOfnGAUC&lpg=PP371&vq=&pg=PA371#v=onepage&q&f=false

        I’m a member of JVP and the US Campaign to End the Occupation. I think that your propositions are underwhelming and in more than a few cases, they look a bit far-fetched and contrived. I’ve never engaged in any “ahistoical law and rights discourse”. In fact I insist on basing my arguments here and elsewhere on third-party verifiable sources, which include the official historical documentary records on religious, minority, and women’s rights from the US, UK, League of Nations, and UN archives. If the ultimate goal of the solidarity movement is enforcing the applicable laws and agreements on equal human rights, then the number of states in the region truly doesn’t matter.

        I notice that you use “Jewish” in scare quotes and never offer an analysis based upon the old-fashioned halakhic definition of a Jew. You also neglect US jurisprudence in Ozawa v. United States; United States v. Thind; and the cases leading up to those decisions. The Supreme Court acknowledged the failure of the scientific model of racial determination and accepted an
        explicitly constructed notion of race. It divided the human race into three groupings – Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid – based upon various subjective, irrational perceptions that were a matter of “common knowledge”. This resulted in findings about “non-white Caucasian” races which were not part of the “white Caucasian races”. “Jew” happened to be a legally and socially constructed racial identity for most of US history. Jews are still entitled to bring racial discrimination claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1982: “All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.”
        http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/1982?quicktabs_8=1#quicktabs-8

        Jews can state a § 1982 claim of racial discrimination, since they were among the peoples considered to be distinct races, and hence within the protection of the statute at the time it was passed. They are not foreclosed from stating a cause of action simply because the defendants are also part of what today is considered the Caucasian race.

        See Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb – 481 U.S. 615 (1987) and St. Francis Coll. v. Al-Khazraji – 481 U.S. 604 (1987)
        http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/481/615/case.html
        http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/481/604/case.html

        There is a related 1962 Executive Order that together with the US Code belatedly ended the practice of the FHA and VA of promoting racially restrictive covenants. Although the Supreme Court had ruled that the state courts could not enforce them, in Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948), it did not find that voluntary compliance by sellers, real estate, private banking, or mortgage insurance institutions was illegal. The Court noted that the agreements were directed against Negroes, Indians, Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Mexicans, Hawaiians, Puerto Ricans, and Filipinos, among others. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=334&invol=1

        I believe that Jews have sufficient case law on their side to demand that the the US Commission on Civil Rights treat Jewishness as a federally protected characteristic on the basis of either ethnicity or national origin. I don’t believe that the diaspora satisfies the territorial or spatial criteria to consider the Jews a single “people” or self-determination unit for the purposes of international law. That fact was reflected in the safeguarding clauses of the British Mandate for Palestine that addressed the rights of Jews living in other countries and treaties which dealt with the rights of Jewish national minorities.

        The so-called “Liberal Citizenship” should not exclude secular or humanistic Jews or claim that equal rights will never be possible by employing their particular brand of Jewish cultural universalism. We share the same human condition as other liberal citizens.

      • ColinWright
        September 11, 2012, 1:30 am

        Hostage says: “…I believe that Jews have sufficient case law on their side to demand that the the US Commission on Civil Rights treat Jewishness as a federally protected characteristic on the basis of either ethnicity or national origin…”

        This seems to me to push us further on the slide to the Ottoman vision of the state as a collection of ‘millets’ — religiously and ethnically defined groups, each with specific rights and obligations.

        I have no objection to anyone perceiving themselves as part of any group they please — I’m even very strongly averse to the state interfering in whatever customs these communities wish to have, however bizarre. However, I see no valid reason why the state should recognize any of these collectives in law.

      • Hostage
        September 12, 2012, 4:13 pm

        This seems to me to push us further on the slide to the Ottoman vision of the state as a collection of ‘millets’ — religiously and ethnically defined groups, each with specific rights and obligations.

        LOL! The US government pursued the extra-territorial rights and immunities of its citizens under the Capitulations long after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

        I didn’t even mention religion, just Jewish ethnicity or national origin under the authority of controlling case law. FYI, the US Commission on Civil Rights has stipulated that its jurisdiction in regard to anti-Semitism is strictly limited to discrimination based on ancestry or ethnic characteristics, since it has no authority to investigate religious discrimination per se. That’s why the Office for Civil Rights will not investigate allegations of anti-Semitic harassment unless the allegations also include other forms of discrimination over which the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has subject matter jurisdiction.
        http://www.eusccr.com/Whatiscampusanti-semitism4907.htm

        The UC Berkeley complaint that equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism went over like a lead balloon with OCR and the United States District Court.

      • YoungMassJew
        September 15, 2012, 1:40 am

        CitizenC, I know I’m late to this particular discussion, but Baltzer explicitly states that shes opposes Zionism in her book. True, she doesn’t say the words “I am Anti-Zionist” in the book, but trust me, she does say she opposes it. To me, that means Anti-Zionist. If you oppose something, that means you’re Anti. I don’t have the book with me right now but this weekend I can get the quote if you are dying to know.

      • ColinWright
        September 15, 2012, 3:25 am

        YoungMassJew says: “CitizenC, I know I’m late to this particular discussion, but Baltzer explicitly states that shes opposes Zionism in her book…”

        Yeah, but as examples on this board show, there are people who ‘oppose Zionism’ — except that they support the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine.

      • Hostage
        September 15, 2012, 4:53 pm

        CitizenC, I know I’m late to this particular discussion, but Baltzer explicitly states that shes opposes Zionism in her book.

        LOL! CitizenC isn’t listening to anything that’s being discussed here. That’s especially true if you are actually an anti-Zionist Jew. He’s being deliberately disingenuous about his agenda and claims we’re all trying to establish a Jewish *national* identity. The artless dissimulation in all of his posts on the subject of anti-Zionism and the historical record of Jewish social movements that advocated equal human rights is very striking. That’s especially true in the case of Jews, like Edwin Montagu and Claude Montifiore, who worked in direct opposition to the Zionists in order to safeguard the human rights of Palestinians during the deliberations on the Balfour Declaration and the terms of the Palestine Mandate. JVP is fulfilling the same humanitarian role today, but CitizenC labels discussions about human rights “ahistorical”.

  13. CitizenC
    September 10, 2012, 1:03 pm

    See Chomsky’s remarks in Peace in the Middle East? (1974, 2003 reissue)

    You need to learn what JVP and End the Occ say and think. Read their statements, and see my Liberal Citizenship, not Jewish Identity.

    http://questionofpalestine.net/2012/01/23/liberal-citizenship-not-jewish-identity/

    A “secular Jew” cannot exist in modern conditions as a political and legal category. “Jewish” can be about klezmer music and Yiddish and Judaic religion, but not a political or legal group. Your legal recitation is a pre-modern. Because Jews have been discriminated against as a category, you want to treat them as a special category: “treat Jewishness as a federally protected characteristic on the basis of either ethnicity or national origin,” rather than prevent them from being discriminated against and equal to others. As if such discrimination is the problem, when the world needs protection from Zionism.

    Your thinking leads to the University of California policies on criticism of Israel as anti-semitic, and to European laws against “Holocaust denial”, mere expression, some of it misguided, some of it only critical of Israel and Zionism.

    You state: “The so-called “Liberal Citizenship” should not exclude secular or humanistic Jews or claim that equal rights will never be possible by employing their particular brand of Jewish cultural universalism. We share the same human condition as other liberal citizens.”

    “So called liberal citizenship”! What madness and arrogance. Any “secular and humanistic Jews” who sneer at that are not secular and humanistic but atavistic pre-moderns. Organizing as a political and legal category is not “sharing the same human condition”. It is demanding Jewish privilege, whether in genocidal form, in the mainstream, or in limiting dissent and critique on the left.

    Someone remarked above that you can take the Jew out of the ghetto, but in conditions of freedom and power, he does not want to leave, wants to impose those values on the world. Not from nature or essence, which do not exist, but from free will, a view that is anchored by Zionism and the Jewish state.

    The modern period of Jewish history turns out to be brief and unrepresentative. You are discarding the whole history of the Enlightenment and emancipation, as articulated, in the post-1945 period alone, by figures like Berger, Deutscher, Rodinson, Shahak, the Israeli Matzpen.

    • Hostage
      September 12, 2012, 2:09 pm

      A “secular Jew” cannot exist in modern conditions as a political and legal category.

      The rights of US citizens are determined by the Constitution, the Congress, and the Courts. I noted in my comment above that the Supreme Court ruled in Tefila Congregation and the St. Francis cases that Jews could make claims of racial discrimination under 42 USC § 1982 and § 1983, since they were among the peoples considered to be distinct races, and hence within the protection of the statute at the time it was passed.

      The Congress has subsequently established State Department and US Civil Rights Commission jurisdictions for dealing with the issue of anti-Semitism on the basis of national origin (in the case of persons from Israel), race, or ethnicity. The law applies to anyone of Jewish ancestry or with Jewish ethnic characteristics. The US Commission on Civil Rights “Public Education Campaign to End Campus Anti-Semitism” guidelines explain that:

      It is important to remember that the Office for Civil Rights’ jurisdiction is based on ancestry or ethnic characteristics, since it does not have jurisdiction to investigate claims of religious discrimination per se.

      http://www.eusccr.com/Whoshouldicontact1307.htm

      The government has many programs that deal the the lingering effects of irrational, emotional, and unscientific attitudes and principles concerning race or ethnicity. In many cases those principles were considered “common knowledge” or accepted wisdom by Courts operating in the modern era.

      You need to learn what JVP and End the Occ say and think. Read their statements, and see my Liberal Citizenship, not Jewish Identity. link to questionofpalestine.net

      Look, don’t be condescending. I’m perfectly familiar with the positions of JVP and the Campaign to End the Occupation. I totally disagree with your assertion that a discussion of treaty-based human rights is “ahistorical” or pre-modern. The responsible UN organs claim that Israel and Palestine have continuing legal obligations based upon the protections of “existing” minority rights contained in resolution 181(II). See for example:
      *The discussion under the heading “Right of Return” on page 7 — http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/12090
      *The discussion about the Treaty of Berlin and the safeguarding clauses regarding “existing rights” in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and the UN Partition Plan. See the ICJ Advisory Opinion, paragraph 129 — http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1671.pdf

      FYI, I had already read all 26 pages of Harry Clark, Rediscovering Modernity Liberal Citizenship, not `Jewish Identity’ before I posted my earlier comment.

      You make a number of flawed arguments there, based upon overly broad, and false generalizations. That’s because you aren’t familiar with Jewish ethnic culture, including the basic tenants of Judaism reflected in the Talmud; or more importantly the applicable provisions of the laws and treaties on the subject of the Jews. FYI, its doubtful that most anthropologists would accept the notion that Jewish cultural identity depends upon the elements contained in your narrow definition. There are other cultural ethnic groups, like the Han Chinese, who have widely varied physical characteristics and do not share a common language.

      You accuse others of adopting the Zionist working definition of the term “Jewish”. But you’re actually guilty of rejecting both the Zionist and rabbinical definitions, which do include non-religious and other Jews. For example:

      *”When asked by a member of the United Nations Committee on Palestine whether Jews who had converted to Christianity would still be regarded as Jews, the Chief Rabbi of Palestine replied that even a Jew who had abandoned Judaism for another faith would remain a Jew, although not ‘a good Jew’.” See Thomas D. Musgrave, Self-Determination and National Minorities, Oxford Monographs in International Law, 2000, page 163.

      *Zionist, Moshe Shertok told the UNSCOP Commission that the Jewish Agency did not consider Christians to be Jews. Shertok said “He need not be an active, pious Jew. He is still considered a Jew. But if he converts to another religion he can no longer be considered a Jew.” See Akiva Orr, The unJewish state: the politics of Jewish identity in Israel, Ithaca Press, 1983, ISBN 0903729857, Page 89

      *The entry for apikoros (plural apikorsim) in Joyce Eisenberg, Ellen Scolnic (eds), Dictionary of Jewish Words: A JPS Guide, Jewish Publication Society, 2006 says:

      First used in the Mishnah to refer to a Jew who renounced the Torah.

      –http://books.google.com/books?id=Wu86sK4ZqlgC&lpg=PA7&ots=HTe89V3171&dq=&pg=PA7#v=onepage&q&f=false

      *See also the discussion under the Heading “An Epikoros” in the Soncino Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 99b et seq http://halakhah.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_99.html#PARTb

      *By the 19th Century the United States and other countries had adopted laws and treaties that dealt with Jews as members of the Jewish or Hebrew race. See for example the discussion about the expulsion of Jews from Roumania in the Papers relating to the foreign relations of the United States, with the annual message of the president transmitted to Congress December 7, 1903, page 707 http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1903&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=707

      *Under the terms of the minority treaties, which were part of the public international law of Europe, any person could declare themselves to be members of the Jewish race. The same procedures were adopted by the British mandatory authorities and were used by the provisional government of Israel prior to 1950:

      Articles 74, 106 and 131 of the German-Polish Convention relating to Upper Silesia of May 15th, 1922, establish the unfettered liberty of an individual to declare according to his own conscience and on his own personal responsibility that he himself does or does not belong to a racial, linguistic or religious minority and to choose the language of instruction and the corresponding school for the pupil or child for whose education he is legally responsible, subject to no verification, dispute, pressure or hindrance in any form whatsoever by the authorities”

      –See the references to the rights of Jews in “Rights of Minorities in Upper Silesia (Germ. v. Pol.)”, 1928 P.C.I.J. (ser. A) No. 15 (Apr. 26)
      — Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics report 2010: 42% of Jews are secular http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3890330,00.html

      *Those same civil and political rights of Jews living in other countries were recognized in a safeguarding clause contained in the “Convention between the United States and Great Britain relating to rights in Palestine”, signed December 3, 1924 (aka The Anglo-American Palestine Mandate Convention, 44 Stat.2184; Treaty Series 728).
      http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1924v02&page=203&isize=M
      http://www.justicenow4israel.com/anglo-american.html

      “Jewish” can be about klezmer music and Yiddish and Judaic religion, but not a political or legal group. Your legal recitation is a pre-modern.

      If you’re arguing that groups like The Society for Humanistic Judaism don’t exist, or that secular Jews can’t establish similar political or legal entities under the tax code, you’re simply wrong. Your narrow definitions of ethnicity or modernity are irrelevant, since they’re not grounded in either reality or the applicable law. I’ve already noted that the United States entered into a treaty which legally obligated it to recognize at least one political and legal entity, “The Jewish Agency for Palestine”. It represented non-religious and religious Jews alike. In 1929, an expanded agency was established as a partnership between the Zionist Organization and non-Zionist, public Jewish groups. At the founding conference in Zurich in 1929, half the delegates were representatives of the Zionist Organiization, and half represented the non-Zionist organizations.
      http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Zionism/wzo.html

    • Hostage
      September 12, 2012, 3:02 pm

      “So called liberal citizenship”! What madness and arrogance. Any “secular and humanistic Jews” who sneer at that are not secular and humanistic but atavistic pre-moderns.

      RE Judaism: The Rabbis have been writing about the rules which govern the existence of non-religious Jews in their midst for centuries. They developed a maddening list of dos and don’ts for dealing with us. You’ll get no argument from me that some of the sages were “pre-modern”.

      RE Liberal Citizenship: Non-religious liberal citizens of “Hebrew descent” or “Jewish descent” were legally discriminated against in the areas of property rights, housing, and public accommodations until the Civil Rights Act of 1962 was adopted. US Courts and the US Commission on Civil Rights have repeatedly ruled that the Congress has recognized the right of Jewish citizens to make claims of discrimination on the basis of “race”, “ancestry”, or “ethnicity” for that and other reasons. So “modernity” has nothing to do with it.

      I take it that you don’t agree with that as a matter of fact, a matter of law, or a matter of opinion on the part of millions of secular Jews. But nothing in your essay alters the reality that I’ve just described.

      • CitizenC
        September 13, 2012, 12:13 am

        This discussion is absolute Zionist classic, in the boundless energy, and the 180-degree backward viewpoint. “Hostage” all right.

        The entire thrust of civil rights law is to prevent racial discrimination. You are viewing it exactly backward, using it to establish racial privilege. Here is what you said above:

        The Supreme Court acknowledged the failure of the scientific model of racial determination and accepted an explicitly constructed notion of race. It divided the human race into three groupings – Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid – based upon various subjective, irrational perceptions that were a matter of “common knowledge”. This resulted in findings about “non-white Caucasian” races which were not part of the “white Caucasian races”. “Jew” happened to be a legally and socially constructed racial identity for most of US history. Jews are still entitled to bring racial discrimination claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1982

        “Explicitly constructed notion of race”. This is of course the modern academic view of race as a social construction. The legal usage is to define what cannot be applied. And you want to turn it into a positive category, not to be protected from its application, but for it to be positively sanctioned and privileged. You go from a recitation of civil rights definitions of race, developed to prevent discrimination, to

        I believe that Jews have sufficient case law on their side to demand that the the US Commission on Civil Rights treat Jewishness as a federally protected characteristic on the basis of either ethnicity or national origin.

        As others have suggested, this leads to legal absurdity, like the Univ of California policies, or to European holo-denial laws, which stigmatize mere speech. It also flies in the face of overwhelming Jewish power in the US, and in the world, which gentiles and Jewish dissidents need protection from.

        Read David Landy’s book, which I was discussing, and the references there on the ahistorical quality of law and rights discourse, favored by JVP, as a way of avoiding Zionism and history. Read JVP’s apologetics for Zionism in their “primer”.

        You then go into a series of semi-sequiturs about various definitions of “Jewishness”. Of course I reject rabbinical and Zionist definitions of Jewishness. That is exactly the point. They are pre-modern, but you keep blazing away with all guns, not realizing that your rounds are blanks. You say

        The Chief Rabbi of Palestine replied that even a Jew who had abandoned Judaism for another faith would remain a Jew, although not ‘a good Jew’.”

        The (Orthodox) Chief Rabbi believes in Jewish essentialism, once a Jew always a Jew. This is what I mean by pre-modern, or religious, to be charitable. The Chief Rabbi is entitled to call a converso a “Jew” but he is not, as he used to be in pre-modern Europe, entitled to punish the converted “not a ‘good Jew'”.

        You then cite a Zionist definition. “Zionist, Moshe Shertok told the UNSCOP Commission that the Jewish Agency did not consider Christians to be Jews. Shertok said “He need not be an active, pious Jew. He is still considered a Jew. But if he converts to another religion he can no longer be considered a Jew.”

        But of course Hostage. The Zionists assert that “Jews” of any background are a single nationality. Asking them is beside the point. The same holds for British definitions under the Mandate, which included the Balfour charge to foster the “Jewish national home”.

        You then drag up definitions from the Talmud the Mishnah, as if this has some modern, legal-political import.

        Then you go into 19th European definitions and the minority rights protection clauses of the Versailles treaties. Again you fundamentally misread the import of all this. The point was to secure, not national rights, but cultural rights, like education and services in a native language. National rights were a mixed blessing.

        In the Polish parliament of the 1920s, the Zionists formed a “minorities bloc” with other minorities to press for political autonomy. This was rejected by liberal and socialist Jewish parties, precisely because it defined them apart from the Polish state and society, and led, predictably, to charges that the Jews didn’t want to be Polish, and justified anti-semitism to conservative Poles.

        Cultural rights like language education and public services point to a reality that does not exist in the US today, for Jews anyway. Where it does exist, for Hispanics, there is no talk a Hispanic race for any purpose beyond preventing discrimination, and providing such services.

        You also mention US dealings with the Jewish Agency. The US has never recognized “the Jewish people” as a legal construct; see the Mallisons’ discussion of this and related matters.

        The Society for Humanistic Judaism sounds religious. Forming such a body doesn’t accord some political, national rights to “Jews”, only the liberal right to organize religiously. There’s the Workmen’s Circle, which is secular, and may have legal status as a non-profit org, like any other non-profit. It doesn’t confer political, national rights on its members (though they act as if it does).

        Which brings us to the nub of the issue which you have totally forgotten in your agitation. My objection to JVP is that they organize politically as “Jews”, and adopt a minimal, self-serving critique on Palestine: “solutions” discourse; ahistorical (read Landy) law and rights discourse; “anti-occupation” rhetoric; anti-anti-semitism, but not recognition of Zionist racism; and the strategic asset view of US-Israel relations.

        This is indefensible in modern terms; “Jew” is not a political, national category, cannot be. Their minimal critique is liberal Jewish racism.

        Your prodigious energy in assembling this non-argument confirms to me just how far gone too many liberal Jews are. The modern period of Jewish history was brief and unrepresentative as I said. It’s back to the ghetto, no longer a place of poverty and weakness, but wealth and power.

        But as I pointed out in the Liberal Citizenship article, modern values are still within living memory, in the views of the Jewish members of the New Left, as Arthur Liebman described in Jews and the Left. And are haltingly being rediscovered today, as people try and sober up from Zionism and its US corollary of identity politics.

      • Hostage
        September 14, 2012, 10:26 pm

        My objection to JVP is that they organize politically as “Jews”, and adopt a minimal, self-serving critique on Palestine

        Wrong. JVP shares the aims of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee. Its published national BDS policy specifically addresses the lack of equal rights for Palestinians now living in Israel. I’ve repeatedly identified myself as a member of JVP. I’ve commented here at length on Israel’s legal obligation to provide equal rights to Palestinians. I’ve also pointed out that specific Israeli officials are responsible for committing acts on both sides of the Green Line that satisfy all of the necessary elements of the international crime of apartheid. I’ve supplied citations to treaty body reports and written submissions in the 2004 ICJ Wall case which substantiate that conclusion. No other member of JVP has ever challenged that position or suggested that members are required to check their brains or beliefs about Israel’s wrongful acts of state at the door. Maybe you should familiarize yourself with the rules of the organization and the range of views held by the membership before you go off on these tangents?

        This discussion is absolute Zionist classic, in the boundless energy, and the 180-degree backward viewpoint. “Hostage” all right.

        You’re either not intelligent enough to grasp what I actually said about the role played by the US government in codifying unscientific and irrational public perceptions about race, ethnicity, and ancestry as part of its own official legal construction of individual identity, or you’re simply hell bent on repeating irrelevant talking points about a single non-existent Jewish “nationality”, “Zionism”, and “holo-denial laws”. Those things have nothing to do with the civil rights and human rights laws under discussion here.

        No true advocate of “liberal citizenship’ has any business characterizing laws that simply guarantee equal civil, political, and property rights to members of national ethnic or religious minority groups as an attempt to establish “a privilege”.

        Your attempt to dismiss the need for laws that protect the rights of the individual by making yet another unscientific and irrational appeal to “overwhelming Jewish power in the US, and in the world” is a stereotypical and shop-worn propaganda technique.

        Read David Landy’s book, which I was discussing, and the references there on the ahistorical quality of law and rights discourse, . . . . The same holds for British definitions under the Mandate, which included the Balfour charge to foster the “Jewish national home”. . . . .see the Mallisons’ discussion of this and related matters.

        I’ve read Landy’s book, but it focuses on academic views of race and sociology. In fairness it doesn’t really try to cover all of the aspects of the halakhah, and the Talmud, much less the history and evolution of customary international law with regard to the minority rights treaties and all of the international court cases that I’m discussing here at Mondoweiss. He doesn’t seem to be an expert on the subject human rights law in any event.

        BTW he describes the secular Jewish Socialist movements, like the Bund, as “quintessentially Jewish”. He notes that individual Jews frequently adopt unilateralist ethical creeds, on the basis of their own views of Jewish culture, that aren’t necessarily centered on God or religion at all. You and he can go argue whether that sort of thing is intellectually satisfying, but the law here would make it illegal for anyone to discriminate against those individuals on the basis of an ethnic characteristic; creed (e.g. Tikun Olam); or their ancestry.

        I’ve never said that all Jews belong to a single “nationality”, that’s your straw man. The St. Francis and Tefila Congregation Supreme Court cases dealt with intentional discrimination against individuals “solely because of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics”, not their nationality.

        My comment archive here contains a number entries which oppose the mistaken view that Jews share a single common culture or nationality.
        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/us-to-differentiate-between-personally-displaced-palestinian-refugees-and-their-descendants.html/comment-page-1#comment-456347
        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/09/baltzer-finkelstein-and-chomsky-to-speak-on-state-of-american-jews-re-jewish-state.html#comment-495808

        On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that US citizens of Israeli origin don’t have a perfect right to pursue legal claims of discrimination on the basis of their personal national origin.

        FYI, the late Dr. Mallison, acknowledged that the League of Nations acted on behalf of the international community of its day when it constituted the Zionist Organization as the Jewish Agency – a public body which was a subject of international law. He also noted that it had certain limited powers and purposes that governments had a treaty obligation to respect with regard to the “Jewish national home” and the “Jews of Palestine”. He noted that the United States Government had agreed to accept those terms when it concluded the Anglo-American Convention on Palestine, 44 U.S. Stat. 2184 (1925). See the discussion and footnotes 40 & 42 on pages 92-93 of W. T. Mallison and S. Mallison, The Palestine Problem in International Law and World Order, Longman, 1986.

        Furthermore, Dr. Mallison held identical views to those that I’ve expressed on the historical and legal significance of the minority treaties and Israel’s unfulfilled legal obligations under the terms of the minority protection plan contained in UN General Assembly resolution 181(II). He personally testified about that particular subject to a U.S. Senate Subcommittee. You can read more about that in the comment here which contains links to the primary sources: http://mondoweiss.net/2011/03/weiner-baird-debate-lived-up-to-its-billing.html/comment-page-1#comment-288786

        Cultural rights like language education and public services point to a reality that does not exist in the US today, for Jews anyway.

        I would disagree. American Jews are no different from other Jewish cultures which adapted a foreign language for their own use. English speaking Jews have established their own editions of the ancient texts, established their own Jewish publishing societies, Jewish Encyclopedias, Jewish Dictionaries and Lexicons, & etc.

        In many areas Jews have their own private religious Hebrew schools that make use of the public school district’s services, such transportation and drivers education. There is a burgeoning movement to establish public secular Hebrew Charter Schools. I’ve commented here about the objectionable practice of including Zionist materials in the curriculum, but I don’t have any other serious objections to those sort of publicly supported institutions.

        As others have suggested, this leads to legal absurdity, like the Univ of California policies,

        You are conflating a non-binding resolution with an enforceable university policy. I pointed out at the time, that:
        *The spokesperson for the UC Regents stated that the resolution was unenforceable on 1st Amendment grounds;
        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/california-state-assembly-passes-resolution-equating-criticism-of-israel-with-hate-speech.html#comment-493022
        *The Assistant US Secretary of Education for Civil Rights stated that the Office for Civil Rights will not investigate allegations of anti-Semitic harassment unless the allegations also include other forms of discrimination over which the Office for Civil Rights has subject matter jurisdiction;
        http://www.eusccr.com/Whatiscampusanti-semitism4907.htm
        *The Federal District Court dismissed the case against UC Berkeley which had been based upon the theory that there was an atmosphere of campus anti-Semitism. The Judge ruled that the examples cited were constitutionally protected “pure political speech”.
        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/08/california-state-assembly-passes-resolution-equating-criticism-of-israel-with-hate-speech.html#comment-493333

        I generally support legal sanctions against incitement to commit crimes or hate speech that publicly condones the commission of crimes described in the Nuremberg Charter or the Rome Statute. Those crimes actually target and harm persons or place them at risk on the basis of nationality, race, or ethnicity. But I’ve explained that Holocaust remembrance laws are really not the same thing. The UN Human Rights Council and many legal experts have pointed out that they are a violation of the basic human right to hold an opinion. — http://mondoweiss.net/2012/03/palestinian-and-palestine-solidarity-activists-issue-critique-and-condemnation-of-gilad-atzmon.html/comment-page-1#comment-434120

      • Hostage
        September 14, 2012, 11:57 pm

        The Society for Humanistic Judaism sounds religious. Forming such a body doesn’t accord some political, national rights to “Jews”, only the liberal right to organize religiously.

        You do seem to have trouble grasping the concept of legal entities. Nothing prevents them from organizing a registered lobby and an associated 501(c)(4) organization, like AIPAC , to promote secular Judaism and Jewish social welfare.

        This is indefensible in modern terms; “Jew” is not a political, national category, cannot be. Their minimal critique is liberal Jewish racism.

        I noted above that we’re still talking about a country with laws on the books that explicitly limit the rights of all citizens to those enjoyed by members of the mythical “white” race. Since the government now considers Jews to be “white”, all citizens are entitled to the same rights and privileges that we enjoy.

        Unfortunately, there’s still a need to provide legal protections for the civil, political, and property rights of individuals who happen to be the targets of discrimination on the basis of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics. That applies to Jews and other indigenous national minorities as citizens of the various countries that they inhabit.

        The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) stressed the importance of enforcing existing treaties with indigenous groups, including treaties that secure the rights of ethnic national minorities. I think its very telling that Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States were the only supposedly “civilized” countries which opposed that proposition.

        At the Durban review conference, 182 States from all regions of the world reached a consensus and urged all UN member States to take all necessary measures to implement the rights of indigenous peoples in accordance with international human rights instruments without discrimination. The United States and Israel refused to even participate.

        At the time, the United States was proposing the establishment of a radioactive waste dump in the middle of the Goshute Indian reservation in violation of its treaty obligations. It had already established a military weapons-testing site nearby. It was still detaining hundreds of Muslims, including US citizens, indefinitely without trial under conditions that violated its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. In that connection, the US government had conducted a campaign of forced disappearances and the establishment of a worldwide network of secret prison facilities.

        U.S. government officials had also conducted a propaganda campaign using manufactured evidence about weapons of mass destruction to incite the public and conduct a war of aggression. Our government targeted the Iraqi people and the armed conflict resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands by the most conservative estimates. The government also was constructing a fence on the border with Mexico and adopting more and more onerous laws that permitted racial and religious profiling. Months before the US government killed Anwar al-Aulaqi in a drone attack, I commented on his case here at Mondoweiss and noted that:

        the government can kill you if it suspects you of being suspicious. No one is accountable for explaining how or when your name got added to the kill list. That might reveal sensitive (and faulty) classified intelligence sources and methods like the highly publicized errors found in the TSA no-fly list.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2011/02/a-massacre-committed-by-another-close-friend-and-ally-of-the-united-states.html#comment-282411

        Of course the State of Israel has done all of that and more. So it takes a great deal of hubris to even mention “liberal citizenship” in a pair of countries which are responsible for all of those things.

      • CitizenC
        September 13, 2012, 8:34 am

        BTW Hostage, you are overlooking a major opportunity for Jewish separatism, difference and distinction, the biological, in the form of “Jewish genetics”.

        Just as you cobble together legal distinctions which invert Nazi group persecution to privilege, you shouldn’t overlook the opportunities of superiority afforded by Zionist Jewish geneticists (and savaged by one ex-Jewish geneticist that I know of)

      • Hostage
        September 14, 2012, 3:56 pm

        BTW Hostage, you are overlooking a major opportunity for Jewish separatism, difference and distinction, the biological, in the form of “Jewish genetics”.

        I’ve actually commented extensively on the flaws in those studies. You might want to search my comment archive on that subject before you leap to any more unfounded conclusions, e.g. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/ny-ads-depicting-palestinian-dispossession-are-termed-anti-semitic-by-jewish-community.html#comment-477580

        Just as you cobble together legal distinctions which invert Nazi group persecution to privilege,

        You can keep on trying to spin the Jewish social and political movements to guarantee equal rights for members of national minority groups as one to establish privileges based upon Nazi group persecution, but you only make yourself look like an uneducated jerk when you do that. The practice was already part of the customary public international law of Europe by the mid-19th century and arguments based upon that historical fact aren’t cobbled together. I’ve provided several overviews of that situation here in the past, e.g. http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/ny-ads-depicting-palestinian-dispossession-are-termed-anti-semitic-by-jewish-community.html#comment-475404

      • CitizenC
        September 14, 2012, 5:47 pm

        “You can keep on trying to spin the Jewish social and political movements to guarantee equal rights for members of national minority groups as one to establish privileges based upon Nazi group persecution, but you only make yourself look like an uneducated jerk when you do that. The practice was already part of the customary public international law of Europe by the mid-19th century and arguments based upon that historical fact aren’t cobbled together. I’ve provided several overviews of that situation here in the past, e.g. link to mondoweiss.net”

        Hostage, you’re just repeating yourself. The legal measures pre-1919 were not undertaken to support the *national rights* of minorities. Otherwise they hardly would have been entertained by the multinational empires. The situation in independent Poland after WWI, when minorities could make a national choice, shows the difference. Liberal and socialist Jews opposed the minority bloc in the parliament which fostered national separatism and which the Zionists joined. The minority rights clauses of the Versailles treaty did not secure national rights. The US has *never* accepted “the Jewish people” in international law.

        Again, you are looking exactly backward; you seize on minority status in multinational empires, and definitions of discrimination in US civil rights law, to make Jews into a “people” with national rights, a privilege to be protected, as in JVP’s truncated critique, etc, if not the genocidal program of mainstream organized Jewry.

        Israel’s atrocities are committed in the name of “the Jewish people” and supported by Jewish orgs here in exactly the same way. A Jewish state is obviously incompatible with liberalism. Rejection of “peoplehood” and assertion of liberal principles is the key to challenging Zionism here and in Israel.

        Yet you forsake liberalism for the Jewish Volk, throw the whole heritage of the Enlightenment and emancipation out the window. This is why the “left,” let alone the mainstream, is a total mess on Palestine.

      • CitizenC
        September 14, 2012, 6:21 pm

        The minority rights issue for East European Jews arose because of the concentrations of Yiddish speaking Jews, not the Polonized or Hungarian or Viennese Austrian Jews, who were as acculturated and accomplished as their counterparts in western Europe.

        You are indeed a Hostage, to this history, which you somehow manage to apply to the US. The oppressed denizens of impoverished shtetls like Brookline and Newton and the Upper West Side and West LA are a national minority. What a derangement Zionism is.

      • Hostage
        September 15, 2012, 2:31 pm

        Hostage, you’re just repeating yourself. The legal measures pre-1919 were not undertaken to support the *national rights* of minorities.

        No I’m providing comments and links which demonstrate that JVP is not engaging in an ahistorical discussion of Palestinian human rights. The Zionists and nationalism are your straw man, not mine. I don’t see why you keep trying in vain to claim that my comments advance the notion of a single Jewish people or nation, when I’ve obviously cited scholars and historical sources which say that people of Jewish ancestry and ethnicity represent a variety of cultures and lands.

        I didn’t claim that pre-1919 legal measures protected *national rights* of the Jews and other national minorities. On the contrary, I’ve provided a link and quoted Georges Clemenceau’s aide-mémoire to the Polish minorities treaty which explained that all the inhabitants of that particular territory were being added to the Polish nation, i.e. the Jewish communities of Poland became a Polish national minority. http://www.macalester.edu/courses/intl245/docs/treaty_poland.pdf

        The existing Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Palestine were provisionally recognized as independent nations by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Those communities were merged into a new multinational state called Palestine. The Mandate explicitly stated that there would be a Jewish national home in Palestine, but it also required a nationality law that facilitated “the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews”. The US government had a legal obligation under the terms of Article 30 of the Treaty of Lausanne and Article 7 of the Anglo American Palestine Convention to recognize that new nationality.

        I’ve consistently explained that the individual minority treaties guaranteed equal rights for the various national minorities in the countries that they inhabited, not special privileges. You obviously can’t cite a historical Jewish source who opposed equal rights for Jewish citizens or these minority treaties which served to guarantee them equal rights. The fact that Zionists subsequently moved to subvert the minority blocs and the European Congress of Minorities by advancing their own narrow national separatist agenda in those forums is not surprising, or relevant to our discussion here.

        I’m discussing the broader Jewish objectives and the realist objectives behind the minority treaties. One of the sources that you recommended highlighted those factors. Dr. Mallison devoted the first chapter of “The Palestine Problem” to an international law appraisal of the Balfour Declaration. From the outset he distinguished the negotiating objectives and the competing interests under the numbered headings of:
        1 British Objectives;
        2 Zionists Objectives;
        3 Jewish Objectives.

        Here is an extract which discusses the fact that the Jews intended to protect those pre-1919 legal measures in Great Britain and other countries. But more to the point for our discussion here about JVP, he says that in direct opposition to the Zionists, it was the Jews who acted to protect the rights of the Palestinians:

        3. Jewish Objectives

        The Jewish objectives manifested in the negotiations were humanitarian. Montagu and his associates were, however, realists who recognized that humanitarian ends required juridical means. The immediate objective was to protect the existing equality of rights including the religious freedom of Jews in Great Britain. Zionism threatened the political rights of such Jews through their involuntary inclusion in the claimed “Jewish People ” nationality constituency . The leading British Jews, however, recognized that Zionist nationalism was directed not only at British Jews but at all Jews. One of their central objectives, consequently, was to maintain the existing legal rights of Jews in other states in addition to Great Britain. In their view, the victories won in obtaining emancipation and individual equality in many states could not be surrendered in return for the creation of a Zionist ghetto in Palestine.

        The Jews, in direct opposition to the Zionists, sought to maintain the existing rights of the Palestinians. Because of their full awareness of the historic persecution suffered by Jews, they believed it essential to protect Palestinians in the enjoyment of their rights. The Zionist position that the Palestinians were either a non-people or had no rights worthy of consideration imposed a moral obligation upon the Jews to attempt to protect these people, an obligation which they readily accepted.

        See The Palestine Problem in International Law and World Order, Longman, 1986, page 30.

        He also goes on to discuss the two related safeguard clauses contained in the Balfour Declaration and the preamble of the Palestine Mandate under the headings:
        IV Interpretation of the Meaning of the Declaration page 47
        B. The Safeguard Clauses in Context page 55
        1. The First Safeguard Clause: Palestinian Rights
        2. The Second Safeguard Clause: Jewish Rights

        FYI, those minority rights were placed under the protection of the League of Nations and the new Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ). For example the “Summary of the work of the League of Nations, January 1920-March 1922” noted that the Court would be competent to adjudicate any dispute on that subject:

        There are also, in all the treaties of peace, clauses for the protection of minorities, and disputes regarding the carrying into effect of these clauses are to be referred to the Court. In the draft mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine, the Court’s decision is to be evoked in any dispute.

        — See page 4 http://archive.org/stream/summaryofworkofl00leagiala#page/4/mode/1up

        I’ve already noted that the successor to the PCIJ, the ICJ, actually did include the rights that were placed under international guarantee by the Treaty of Berlin (1878) and the safeguarding clauses contained in the Palestine Mandate and the UN Partition Plan in its legal analysis @ paragraph 129 of the Wall case Advisory Opinion.
        http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1671.pdf

        See if you can cobble together something to dispute the step-by-step historical role played by the Jews or the very traditional role that JVP is still playing today in safeguarding and securing equal rights for Palestinians.

        My other comments here contain links to the British Cabinet paper on Zionism by Edwin Montagu and many other papers on the subject of the deliberations that led-up to the Balfour Declaration, e.g. See CAB 24/30, “The Future of Palestine” (Former Reference: GT 2406), 26 October 1917; CAB 24/4, “The Zionist Movement”(Former Reference: G 164), 17 October 1917; and CAB 24/28 (Former Reference: GT 2263) “Zionism, 9 October 1917.

      • Hostage
        September 15, 2012, 4:17 pm

        The minority rights issue for East European Jews arose because of the concentrations of Yiddish speaking Jews, not the Polonized or Hungarian or Viennese Austrian Jews, who were as acculturated and accomplished as their counterparts in western Europe.

        I’ve provided you with a number of examples of the minority treaties in action wherein the petitioners were so-called acculturated and accomplished Jews seeking equal rights and treatment under the law and the Polish minority treaty.
        Here are the links to:
        *The text of the Polish Minorities Treaty which explicitly addresses the rights of Jewish communities — http://www.macalester.edu/courses/intl245/docs/treaty_poland.pdf

        *The judgment of the PCIJ in “Rights of Minorities in Upper Silesia (Germany v. Poland)”, 1928 P.C.I.J. (ser. A) No. 15 (Apr. 26); — http://www.worldcourts.com/pcij/eng/decisions/1928.04.26_upper_silesia.htm

        *The text of the Petition of Franz Bernhiem to the League of Nations, May 12, 1933 — http://www.ajcarchives.org/AJC_DATA/Files/1933_1934_4_YRAppendices.pdf

        You keep pretending that liberal citizenship will somehow guard against the need for legal remedies in cases where governments or societies deny people their individual rights on the basis of religion, color, ancestry, or ethnic characteristics. In “Federalist 51″‘, James Madison wrote:

        It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but also to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.”

        You are indeed a Hostage, to this history, which you somehow manage to apply to the US. The oppressed denizens of impoverished shtetls like Brookline and Newton and the Upper West Side and West LA are a national minority.

        First of all, the United States did have a Civil Rights Act of 1866, which the Supreme Court applied in the St Francis and Tefila Congregation cases. The US government explicitly agreed to safeguard the existing rights of Jews in other countries, including the US, when it concluded the Anglo-American Convention on Rights in Palestine (1924). The Court noted that it was the intent of Congress to protect Jews from discrimination on the basis of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics. It cited the racial categories contained in the 9th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica and references in the verbatim records of the Congressional debate on the statute itself to members of the “Jewish” and “Arab” races.

        Here’s another example of discrimination against a Jewish person and his family on the basis of “descent” or “ancestry” that required a legal remedy provided by the civil rights statutes we’re discussing here:

        Richard Ornstein, a Jewish refugee from Austria, contracted to purchase a home for his family in the Sand Point Country Club area of Seattle in late 1952. Unknown to both Ornstein and the seller, the property’s deed contained a neighborhood-wide restrictive covenant barring the sale or rental of the home to non-Whites and people of Jewish descent. In spite of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deemed racial restrictive covenants unenforceable in 1948, Ornstein’s case reveals that this ruling yielded little power over the application of these restrictions on the individual level. Daniel Boone Allison, Head of the Sand Point Country Club Commission, approached the realtor negotiating the sale and announced: “the community will not have Jews as residents.”

        Over the next several weeks Allison campaigned to stop the sale by both citing the covenant barring the sale of homes to Jews and by threatening Ornstein with a list of ways intolerant area residents “could” respond to the presence of the Ornstein family in the neighborhood. Despite the willingness on the part of the home seller, despite the support of civil rights activists, and despite the 1948 court ruling, Ornstein eventually became a victim of Allison’s threats and “made it clear that he [had] no intention of moving” into an area that did not accept his presence.

        What happened to Richard Ornstein is part of a long and extensive history of racial restrictive covenants and housing segregation in Seattle.

        http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/covenants_report.htm

        Now if you’ve listened to libertarian government officials, including Senators Rand Paul and Representative Ron Paul, talk about the need to restore the old system of private prerogatives in the areas of home sales, public accommodations, and employment, then it’s utter nonsense to keep blathering-on here about the imaginary safeguards afforded by “liberal citizenship”. See for example: Rand Paul Explains His Family’s Opposition To Civil Rights Act: ‘It’s About Controlling Property’ — http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/01/09/400521/rand-paul-explains-his-familys-opposition-to-civil-rights-act-its-about-controlling-property/?mobile=nc

      • Hostage
        September 15, 2012, 7:27 pm

        The US has *never* accepted “the Jewish people” in international law.

        That does not mean that the US didn’t recognize “Jewish communities” in Palestine and other countries as legal and political entities in accordance with the terms of the Anglo-American Palestine Convention.

        It also does not mean that it has not recognized Israel as “a Jewish state”, e.g.

        The US State Department said Tuesday it supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

        http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/1,7340,L-3968575,00.html

        U.S. House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, released a statement saying

        the law stipulates that the PA government must recognize the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist, among other things. Therefore, in order to implement existing law, the U.S. must end assistance to the Palestinian Authority.”

        The law in question is U.S. Code Title 22, Chapter 32, Subchapter III, Part I, § 2378b “Limitation on assistance to the Palestinian authority”.

        The status of the Jewish “communities” mentioned in the minority treaties really isn’t subject to debate, since the PCIJ ruled that those communities were subjects of international law and provided a standard definition that it used in all of its subsequent cases on the topic. See Greco-Bulgarian Communities (Opinion No. 17) and Minority Schools in Albania (Opinion A/B 64).

        Ernest Gross, a Legal Counsel at the US State Department, wrote an advisory opinion which explained that in the absence of the mandatory or other administration, the law of nations recognized the inherent right of the people of those communities to organize a state and operate government. He also said that it was quite evident that Palestine as a whole was not a single community, as is shown by the fact that the mandatory in 1946 detached the Trans-Jordan from Palestine and gave it independence. He noted that the mandate instrument referred specifically to “communities” in a way that made it clear that Jewish and Arab communities of Palestine were the intended subjects.
        http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1948v05p2&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=960

        I’ve noted on many occasions that the 1st and 14th Amendments would prohibit the establishment of a Jewish state here in America and that the same constitutional limits apply when creatures of the Constitution conduct our foreign affairs. The establishment of “Jewish states” really isn’t something that the Constitution has empowered our government to undertake on the taxpayer’s dime, either in the US or anywhere else in the world. In Reid v Covert, the Supreme Court ruled that the President and the Congress are merely creatures of the Constitution and that they have no authority to do anything overseas that the Constitution would prohibit right here in the United States. Needless to say, nobody would tolerate a statute that required the inhabitants to recognize one of the United States as “the state of the Jewish people” or to grant them superior rights and privileges. It doesn’t make a bit of difference if “the Jewish people” believe that they are part of a religious sect, race, or an ethnicity.

      • CitizenC
        September 17, 2012, 12:18 am

        Hostage, your law library no longer includes the Halakah and the Talmud and Mishna. You have realized that we are talking about the anomaly of Jewish political/national status in the modern age.

        But you still cite Zionist definitions like the opinon of Ynet that 42% of Israelis consider themselves secular Jews. That’s a Zionist definition; their id cards carry those definitions; the validity of that is at issue. In any case you acknowledged that “Jewish nationality” is invalid:

        I don’t believe that the diaspora satisfies the territorial or spatial criteria to consider the Jews a single “people” or self-determination unit for the purposes of international law.

        That is what Zionist ideology and Zionist “Jewish nationality” claim. Thus any “Jew” from anywhere in the world can show up and claim citizenship. Zionist “Jewish nationality” is not only inapplicable in the diaspora but also in Israel. Your citations about eastern Europe don’t show Jewish national precedent; they attempted to protect at most cultural rights; there was no thought of national rights.

        The modern replacement for “Jewish nationality” is Israeli Hebrew nationality, secular and open to all, as Boas Evron has discussed (it had a history when his book came out in 1984).

        It hardly matters that such minority rights in eastern Europe were advocated by acculturated Jews; the whole issue arose because of the millions of Yiddish speaking, often Orthodox Jews, with distinctive dress and other attributes. Your call for US Jews to be recognized as a “protected category” is indeed an attempt to transport concepts developed in east European conditions to the US; you have recreated the ghetto within your own psyche and are proud of it.

        Despite your claim, it is extremely germane that Jewish liberal parties opposed the Zionist alliance with the minorities bloc in Poland, which sought autonomy; it confirms that protecting minority rights was not intended to create national politics. The same holds here for civil rights law; the purpose of identifying in civil rights law categories which were discriminated against, is to give their members equal civil rights, to make all citizens equal before the law, to uphold liberal citizenship.

        One can define liberal citizenship differently from the doctrinaire libertarian kind; noting categories of discrimination does not vitiate the ideal of liberal citizenship. Not does it validate the categories of discrimination for political purposes as you wish to. You cannot defend JVP’s identity politics with such lawyer’s tricks.

        My argument is that secular Jewish identity, in political/national terms at least, is simply Jewish privilege, racism, chauvinism. This is perfectly clear in the case of Zionism, which was ideologically a fraternal twin of racialist anti-semitism, and cooperated with such forces for a mutual solution to “the Jewish question” down to and including Nazism. It was anti-gentile just as the racialists were anti-semites. Zionism is simply the Jewish contribution to right-wing politics and ideology, no more or less.

        It is also quite clear that your secular Jewish politics is simply Jewish privilege, racism, and chauvinism. You claim JVP supports the Palestinian BDS call, but they limit BDS to “the occupation”, in fact the Jewish left in the US invented that distinction, which was not in the original call at all.

        You dismiss Landy’s critique of identity politics as “academic theories”. Landy begins by emphasizing that though his background is Jewish, his role as an activist is more important. Landy is humble and has his Jewishness in liberal perspective. With you and JVP, it’s exactly the opposite. American Jews don’t know what humility is; they burst with arrogance and malignance. Landy uses those “theories” to show the indefensibility of identity politics. You claim he ignores halakhic and other categories, which have no role in modern life except in religious terms.

        You have invented Landy’s remarks about the Bund; he nowhere says it was “quintessentially Jewish”. He says the Bund is part of “diasporic Jewish identity,” the “basis of an identitarian claim”, whose limits he shows. p 48 passim

        You also misread Landy’s discussion of ahistorical rights discourse. See p 138. Beavering away on the library web site for legal precedents does not provide historical context. It’s a way of denying it, denying the existence of Zionism, and its colonial subjugation of the Palestinians, a special case of its fundamental distinction between Jew and gentile. JVP prattles on about “rights” while eschewing critique of Zionism, proferring Beinin’s apologetics instead. Among other critiques of JVP which I adduced, and which you have ignored.

        You echo JVP’s privilege and chauvinism:

        “Your attempt to dismiss the need for laws that protect the rights of the individual by making yet another unscientific and irrational appeal to “overwhelming Jewish power in the US, and in the world” is a stereotypical and shop-worn propaganda technique.”

        Used by propagandists like Avraham Burg.

        “‘World Jewry is a superpower'” composed of “two structures. One is the semi-autonomous American Jewry, which was not here 150 years ago—powerful influence, access to the corridors of power, impact on the culture, and civilization… plus the infrastructure of the community of solidarity and fraternity and support system and education etc and also the sovereignty over there
        in the Middle East.”
        http://mondoweiss.net/2008/12/former-knesset-speaker-describes-american-jewry-as-powerful-influential-structure-built-by-zionism.html

        You cite Humanistic Judaism as if it constitutes legal recognition of a secular Jewish political category. It was started by Rabbi Sherwin Wine at his temple in Birmingham; the 501-c3 activity was religious. HJ is the same old liberal Jewish hypocrisy and chauvinism. I once proposed Norton Mezvinsky as a speaker there, when his book with Israel Shahak came out. The assistant rabbi (a woman, how progressive) didn’t know who Elmer Berger, Norton’s long-time friend and mentor, was. The answer was that they couldn’t have such a “controversial” speaker (an associate of the dread Shahak) without a “balancing speaker”.

        You claim that JVP supports Palestinian rights within the Green Line. I never denied it, I claimed they dehistoricize the issue by not opposing Zionism and its racialist ideology and history. Their critique is minimal and grudging, and full of chauvinism, as I argued. Edwin Montagu did oppose Zionism on principled grounds, realized it was a fundamental attack on liberal conditions. You try and put JVP in the same category as Montagu over his support for Palestinian for rights, which is more lawyering.

        You state that

        The existing Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Palestine were provisionally recognized as independent nations by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Those communities were merged into a new multinational state called Palestine. The Mandate explicitly stated that there would be a Jewish national home in Palestine, but it also required a nationality law that facilitated “the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews”. The US government had a legal obligation under the terms of Article 30 of the Treaty of Lausanne and Article 7 of the Anglo American Palestine Convention to recognize that new nationality.

        You are lying brazenly. See Article 22 of the Covenant, which did not refer to Jews and Palestinians as “independent nations” to be “merged into a multinational state”. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/leagcov.asp
        The text referred to “formerly subject peoples” meaning the inhabitants of Palestine, overwhelmingly Arab at the time. The new nationality to be recognized was not Jewish but Palestinian. Palestine was entitled to sovereign independence, not separate “nations” within it.

        The US has never recognized “the Jewish people” as a legal construct, according to the Mallisons. You cite current US statements acknowledging Israel as “the Jewish state” as if this were anything but political coercion by US Zionism (which has no consequential power in your view). If this has any meaning legally, it is merely that might makes right in law.

        Today on TV a Jewish anchor gushed at Netanyahu, “you’re the leader of the Jewish people!” as he tried to get us into war on Iran. US organized Jewry mobilizes for Israel on behalf of “the Jewish people”. It is perfectly clear that “Jewish peoplehood” the foundation of Zionism, is the source of an inferno of violence. “Jewish peoplehood” is intellectual rubbish. Shlomo Sand’s 2nd book, about the myth of the longing for the land, is due out soon.

        Beyond that, there are universalist traditions, like classical Reform Judaism, the Marxist internationalism in which Jews were prominent, and what Shahak called the “modern secular Jewish tradition” which he traced to Spinoza, which rejected peoplehood categorically, as atavistic and pre-modern. These are clearly the resources with which to oppose Zionism, the polar opposite of the liberal society Jews insist on everywhere but Israel.

        Not to JVP and Hostage! No, the real danger is not Zionism, 9/11 on our shores, and the destruction of the Middle East. The *real* issue is a threat to “Jewish identity” and its perquisites. To the law library! Hostage for the Defense! At least he recognizes that the Constitution would prevent establishment of a Jewish state here. Thank heaven for small favors.

        Last word to you Hostage, as many and often as you like. I’ve wasted far too much time.

      • Hostage
        September 18, 2012, 12:02 am

        Hostage, your law library no longer includes the Halakah and the Talmud and Mishna.

        Speak for yourself. Legal historians and specialists alike still study and refer to the ethical principles and maxims contained in the Talmud or the Halakhah.

        *Supreme Court Justice Scalia has cited the Babylonian Talmud in the dicta of his opinions, e.g. See Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. — http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-22.ZD1.html

        *Supreme Court Justice and secular Jew, Stephen Breyer, spoke about the legal legacy stretching from the Nuremberg Tribunal to present-day efforts to hold war criminals accountable, such as the International Criminal Court:

        “I come here as a judge and a Jew,” . . . Such institutions are “imperfect,” the justice said. “We need only look around today’s world to see that the rights, rules, and obligations that the law sets forth are no more powerful than the human will to enforce them.

        “The Talmud teaches us ‘it is not incumbent upon you to complete the work,’” Justice Breyer said. “’But neither are you free to evade it.”.

        Many Jews here and in other countries opt to utilize Jewish Courts to arbitrate their contract disputes and divorce settlements. The regular courts usually enforce the results of any agreed-upon form of binding arbitration. For the purposes of our discussion here, scholars like Assaf Likhovski, have also documented the fact that “historical Hebrew law” and “new Hebrew law” were an integral part of law and identity in Mandate Palestine too. See for example:
        *Florida Anti-Sharia Legislation May Outlaw Orthodox Jewish Divorces
        http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/03/07/439818/florida-anti-sharia-bill-orthodox-jewish-divorce/
        *Assaf Likhovski, Law and Identity in Mandate Palestine (Studies in Legal History), University of North Carolina Press, 2006, pages 134-139.
        *Religious courts already in use : Jewish courts are in daily use in Britain, and have been for centuries. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7233040.stm

        But you still cite Zionist definitions like the opinon of Ynet that 42% of Israelis consider themselves secular Jews. That’s a Zionist definition; their id cards carry those definitions; the validity of that is at issue.

        No those are the responses of individual secular Jews. They recorded them on questionnaires about their religious preferences from an organ of the government of the State of Israel, the Israeli Central Bureau Statistics. You are making a blanket assumption that all native-born Israelis are “Zionists”, but hundreds of thousands of them have voted with their feet and emigrated to other countries, including the United States. I’ve already pointed out that under our laws they can bring claims of discrimination on the grounds of either their Israeli national origin or their Jewish ancestry and ethnic characteristics – in line with the Supreme Court decisions in the St. Francis and Tefila Congregation cases and the published guidelines of the US Civil Rights Commission. That clearly reflects the intent of Congress, which has subsequently established additional programs that specifically deal with anti-Semitism.

      • Hostage
        September 18, 2012, 12:10 am

        Hostage: I don’t believe that the diaspora satisfies the territorial or spatial criteria to consider the Jews a single “people” or self-determination unit for the purposes of international law.

        CitizenC:That is what Zionist ideology and Zionist “Jewish nationality” claim.

        So what? I’m an American anti-Zionist secular Jew. I don’t accept the proposition that my American nationality negates my ancestry, my family’s ethnic characteristics, our family traditions, my upbringing, or that I should voluntarily forgo legal rights or remedies afforded to other citizens. My being “Jew-ish” is no skin off your back and it definitely hasn’t stopped me from making much more cogent arguments than you have about illegal Israeli policies and practices of aggression and apartheid – based upon historical human and humanitarian rights obligations toward national religious groups, and racial or ethnic minority groups.

      • Hostage
        September 18, 2012, 12:11 am

        Hostage: The existing Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Palestine were provisionally recognized as independent nations by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Those communities were merged into a new multinational state called Palestine.

        CitizenC: You are lying brazenly. See Article 22 of the Covenant, which did not refer to Jews and Palestinians as “independent nations” to be “merged into a multinational state”.

        That is another of your clumsy attempts to re-frame what I said. Part of the Ottoman government reforms in the 19th century was the formal articulation of the existence of a Jewish millet that was equal to the other millets. The confessional communities registered and taxed non-observant Jews according to the halakhah so long as they were born into the communities and didn’t convert to Islam. Many communities had haskamot (agreements) and takkanot (ordinances, regulations) that prohibited or discouraged individual Jews from transferring membership from one Jewish confessional congregation to another. — http://www.geschichteinchronologie.ch/ottoman/EncJud_juden-ottoman12-gemeinden-ENGL.html

        The Jews had already enjoyed limited autonomy over their synagogues, religious courts, schools, communal properties, and secular administrations in Palestine and elsewhere for several centuries. See for example Avigdor Levy (editor), “Jews, Turks, Ottomans: A Shared History, Fifteenth Through the Twentieth Century”, Syracuse University Press, 2002.

        The Allies were acutely aware of the fact that their mandate could not offer the Jewish communities in Palestine or Christian communities in Lebanon fewer rights and privileges than the ones they had enjoyed as Ottoman subjects under the Tanzimat reforms, the Reglement Organique Agreements and the Treaty of Berlin of 1878.

        The Council of Ten accepted proposals from Mr. Nathan Sokolow, acting as a representative of the Jewish population of Palestine, aka the Yishuv. They incorporated several of his proposals regarding unambiguous references to a “National Home for the Jewish people” and the establishment of self-governing institutions in the text of the Palestine Mandate. Dr. Weizmann also made specific requests with respect to immigration and the establishment of Jewish minority schools, where instruction took place in the Hebrew language – in line with the rights of Jews living in other countries under the framework of their own minority treaties. Specifically, the preamble of the mandate stated that the Allies were all in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and the 2nd operative article held the Mandatory responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions.

        *See Sokolow’s proposal from the Minutes of the Council of Ten Meeting in the FRUS: http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1919Parisv04&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=164
        *See Weizmann’s explanation about the meaning of the Jewish National Home and Hebrew schools to US Secretary of State Lansing during the Paris Peace Conference.
        http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1919Parisv04&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=169

        The Supreme Council of the Allied Powers subsequently met at San Remo. It and the Council of the League put the government of Great Britain in charge of implementing its own Balfour Declaration. The representative of the British Government provided the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission with his government’s official interpretation of the intent of the Declaration. It dealt with the Jews and Arabs as separate races and nations. The League accepted those propositions without any objection or reservations:

        The view of His Majesty’s Government as to the intentions of the Balfour Declaration was as follows:

        “His Majesty’s Government and their predecessors, since the obligations of the mandate were accepted, had taken the view, which the tenor of the mandate itself implies, that their obligations to Arabs and Jews respectively were not incompatible, on the assumption that in the process of time the two races would so adjust their national aspirations as to render possible the establishment of a single commonwealth under a unitary Government.”

        link to unispal.un.org

        The League and the British Government both worked for twenty years to establish what they called a “Judeo-Arab self-governing commonwealth”. They definitely viewed the Jews and Arabs as separate nations and races. See for example the Minutes Of The Thirty-Second (Extraordinary) Session of The League of Nations Permanent Mandate Commission, 18 August 1937 at the unispal link above.

      • Hostage
        September 18, 2012, 12:27 am

        “Your attempt to dismiss the need for laws that protect the rights of the individual by making yet another unscientific and irrational appeal to “overwhelming Jewish power in the US, and in the world” is a stereotypical and shop-worn propaganda technique.”

        Used by propagandists like Avraham Burg.

        I actually quoted an American President and expert on constitutional law from the Federalist papers on the need to protect minority rights from the majority, and you respond by citing nebulous propaganda claims from Avraham Burg, former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, and former Chairman of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization. That still doesn’t merit any serious consideration.

      • Hostage
        September 18, 2012, 12:31 am

        You have invented Landy’s remarks about the Bund; he nowhere says it was “quintessentially Jewish”. He says the Bund is part of “diasporic Jewish identity,” the “basis of an identitarian claim”, whose limits he shows. p 48 passim

        Here is what he says on page 48 verbatim. Notice that he did say the Bund was “secular”, “specifically Jewish”, and that he said it can be claimed to be “quintessentially Jewish”:

        Here diaspora Jews are presented as brave and world-directed, proud of their heritage, whereas Israelis are (understandably) narrow, just wanting to flee into a ghetto and negate the past, the Jewish tradition. This ‘standing and fighting in the diaspora’ narrative is a reversal of the common Zionist one of cowardly diaspora Jews going meekly to their deaths during the Holocaust instead of bravely moving to Zion. Sometimes the Jewish Bund is cited as a historical precedent of brave Jews fighting in the diaspora. The Bund was a secular socialist group founded in 1897 that tried to carve a level of autonomy for an independent Jewish voice within the socialist movement in the Russian Empire. Beset on one side by a growing Zionism and on the other by the Bolsheviks, it declined in the aftermath o f the 1905 revolution (Rose 2004). However, Bundism has a resonance beyond the fortunes of this fraction of Russian revolutionary politics; it refers to the whole tradition of specifically Jewish left-wing activism throughout Europe and the USA . Nowadays this revolutionary disruption of Jewish life and thought, by virtue of its death, can be claimed as quintessentially Jewish, and thanks to this reclaimed Jewish authenticity can be put to identitarian work.

      • CitizenC
        September 19, 2012, 1:51 am

        The Bund “can be claimed as quintessentially Jewish, and thanks to this reclaimed Jewish authenticity can be put to identitarian work.”

        Can be claimed for “identitarian” purposes, by those who feel the Bund is “quintessentially Jewish”. The claimers feel it is; not Landy, who finds it insufficient for political obligations; the context is dismantling the adequacy of identity politics, incl that descended from the Bund, part of “diasporic” identity, which he rejects as inadequate.

        The Bund was Yiddish, obviously, but not “Jewish”. It was essentially internationalist. It declined the Autonomists’ invitation to form a Jewish national bloc and rejoined the RSDLP in 1905. Among other points.

        You are trying to grandfather the Turkish millet system into Zionist Jewish nationality. You are the one who is reframing, not me. The Turks adamantly rejected Zionism,and had their hands full with restive nationalities. They weren’t creating another one, nor did the Ottoman Jews want one. They adamantly opposed Zionism, because they saw perfectly that it would disrupt relations with their Arab neighbors. In late Ottoman times religious practice was syncretic; Jews and Arabs celebrated each others’ holidays and venerated the same prophets. The Zionists assassinated one outspoken Jewish opponent in the 1920s. The British, not the Ottomans, invented the “land of three faiths, Christian, Muslim, Jew”.

        Above you reject Zionist Jewish nationality for the “diaspora”. That nationality was no more applicable to the “diaspora” which formed the movement and emigated to Palestine at the time of Balfour and the Mandate: Yiddish, German, English, French, American, etc, and even a few Arab Jews. The clauses supporting the “national home” in the diplomacy of the period were put there at the behest of the Zionists, not at the behest of Palestinian Jews.

        You are trying to create legally the Jewish nationality you admit did not exist. The ambiguous “Jewish national home” was not defined in terms of national sovereignty and Clause 22 of the LoN Covenant was not referring to Jewish Zionist nationality when it referred to “former subject peoples”. The Jews among those peoples rejected Zionism. The “Jews” whom Sokolow and Weizmann represented to the Allies were not indigenous Palestinians, but immigrants whom they wished to constitute as a nationality, a category they made up, which you agreed was fictitious.

        The British had no intention of creating a sovereign nationality or partitioning the country or at the outset and your legal citations do not show that they did. The Balfour Declaration almost didn’t happen, and was almost nullified when it did, because Lloyd George pursued a separate peace with the Ottomans at the same time. After the 1929 Arab uprising the British reversed their commitment to the “national home” as unworkable. That in turn was overruled by the London Zionist lobby led by Weizmann. Ultimately “Jewish” nationality was created by force of arms, coercive diplomacy and power politics in the US in the 1940s. Today “secular Jews” in Israel cannot choose the only valid secular nationality, Israeli, because it has been legally excluded.

        So we have this historical and legal fiction of The Jewish People, conjured up by violence, including that of racialist anti-semitism, of which it was a fraternal twin ideologically, as shown by its own racialist violence, which threatens to culminate in a nuclear holocaust. Zionist Jewish nationality is not a straw man as you claim, but a bloody Frankenstein. Against it we can deploy classical liberal and left values as I’ve said before. Except that people like you stand in the way.

        “My being Jewish is no skin off your back” you say above. But in your political terms at JVP it certainly is. Secular Jewish politics, whether Zionism, or “progressive Jewish”, is just privilege, chauvinism and racism. JVP has a very circumscribed critique on Palestine. The Jewish left, from Chomsky on down, has crippled our capacity to think and act against Zionism in this country and abroad, by burying classical liberal and left values Jews were once dedicated to.

        Now as you so clearly show, they are dedicated above all to themselves, to their identity, difference, distinction, privilege and separatism. Even if the left is honest about “the occupation”—but incorrigibly dishonest about Zionism and its power and catastrophic effects in the US.

  14. W.Jones
    September 11, 2012, 3:30 am

    We were talking about Chomsky’s idealistic views, and I’m sure they really don’t include transfer or anything like that. After all, he is an anarchist and such a strong critic of government force around the world.

    But since we are on the general topic, may I please ask what you think this quote in a 1937 interview with Trotsky means?

    Socialism will open the possibility of great migrations on the basis of the most developed technique and culture. It goes without saying that what is here involved is not compulsory displacements, that is, the creation of new ghettos for certain nationalities, but displacements freely consented to, or rather demanded, by certain nationalities or parts of nationalities. The dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the same community will find a sufficiently extensive and rich spot under the sun. The same possibility will be opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered nations. National topography will become a part of the planned economy. This is the great historic perspective as I see it. To work for international Socialism means to work also for the solution of the Jewish question.

    Is he envisioning a situation where governments arrange for Palestinians, still typically called “Arabs” in the 1930’s, to be relocated out of Israel, who he thinks should ideally consent to it?

    • CitizenC
      September 11, 2012, 4:46 am

      You have to keep this in perspective. Trotsky was a leading figure in the classic debates over the “national question” at the time of the founding congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in Brussels and London in 1903. (The re-founding, led by Lenin and the Iskra group, after the abortive founding in Russia in 1897).

      He strongly supported the majority position on a single unified party for all the Russian empire nationalities, not a federated party as the Bund called for, though the majority position allowed for special language and culture sections, for the Yiddish proletariat and others. The Bund itself was anti-Zionist, and the RDSLP was a fortiori even more so.

      The Communist parties were for various reasons short-sighted about Hitler. Trotsky, who was in exile by then, saw with crystal clarity Hitler’s menace, and proposed before he took power that the USSR invade Germany and crush him if needed. He predicted early on that Hitler would bring war and catastrophe for European Jewry.

      As the 1930s wore on, he changed his position on Zionism, allowing that a territorial respite for the beleaguered Jews would be acceptable. The above remarks date from that period and the impact of Nazism on his views

      Of course, Zionism would not have been a respite if Hitler had conquered the Near East, as he considered and very nearly did. The Italians bombed Tel Aviv twice; Rommel was stopped at El Alamein, 70 miles west of Alexandria. The Germans were deep in the Caucasus at the time, threatening to break thru into Iraq.

      Roosevelt and Marshall and the US war planners had written off the Middle East, thought the British could not hold it, but they did, thanks to unstinting US aid and Churchill’s leadership; he visited Cairo to shake up the British command in the summer of 1942, extraordinarily dangerous.

      And only because of that was Palestine not conquered.

      • W.Jones
        September 11, 2012, 8:05 pm

        Dear Citizen,

        Thank you for your answer, and I hope you will continue to discuss it with me. I want to put it in perspective as you say.

        You tell me three things.
        First, that in the beginning Trotsky was clearly not Zionist and wanted a unified party, not some federation broken up into ethnic groups. I agree with you on this.

        Second, you correctly said that Trotsky changed his views on the subject at the time he gave the quote I mentioned, due to the risk from Hitler’s

        Third, you say that this later view allowed “that a territorial respite for the beleaguered Jews would be acceptable.”
        This idea seems like common sense to me. The problem is that I believe Trotsky said the opposite. In fact, he warned against emigrating to Palestine, because he said it would be a trap, as you yourself suggested. Instead, Trotsky explained that he viewed the creation of an ethnic society in Palestine as dangerous under capitalism because there was too much ethnic strife, and instead he saw the creation of an ethnic state as an ideal Socialist situation.

        In other words, Trotsky said that an ethnic state could not be a real respite, but instead was the ideal situation. I would like to turn your attention to the rest of the interview on: http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/fi/vol06/no12/trotsky.htm

        This is shown by his words:

        The very same methods of solving the Jewish question which under decaying capitalism will have a Utopian and reactionary character (Zionism) will, under the regime of a socialist federation take on real and salutary meaning. This is what I want to point out. How could any Marxist or even any consistent democrat object to this? …The attempt to solve the Jewish question through the migration of Jews to Palestine can now be seen for what it is, a tragic mockery of the Jewish people… The future development of military events may well transform Palestine into a bloody trap for several hundred thousand Jews.

        So to return to my original question, in Trotsky’s ideal, would Socialist governments relocate the Palestinians, whom he generally terms “Arabs”, out of Palestine and they would consent to it?

      • CitizenC
        September 12, 2012, 8:09 am

        Thanks for the link to Trotsky’s article. Joseph Nedava’s Trotsky and the Jews discusses the history of his views. Note this passage:

        The dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the same community will find a sufficiently extensive and rich spot under the sun. The same possibility will be opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered nations. National topography will become a part of the planned economy.

        His rejection of Zionism is more apparent than real, based on its role as a client of Britain and therefore imperialist; under socialism Jews can “reassemble”. “Arabs” will also have that “opportunity”. This is what the binationalists (Buber et al) said also; that federation of Palestine with Transjordan would let Arabs emigrate, those who would object to the immigration of Jews anyway.

        It is internationalist sleight of hand. Note “The very same methods of solving the Jewish question which under decaying capitalism will have a Utopian and reactionary character (Zionism) will, under the regime of a socialist federation take on real and salutary meaning.”

        The question of compulsion is glossed over as “opportunity”; why the “Arabs” would wish to emigrate is not explored as it was not by the binationalists.

        Again, this is the spot he arrived confronting Hitler. By this time Trotsky has long stated that Hitler would annihilate European Jewry.

      • W.Jones
        September 12, 2012, 11:49 am

        CitizenC,

        I agree with these parts of what you said:

        Joseph Nedava’s Trotsky and the Jews discusses the history of his views. Again, this is the spot he arrived confronting Hitler. By this time Trotsky has long stated that Hitler would annihilate European Jewry.

        You wrote: “His rejection of Zionism is more apparent than real“. In other words, he didn’t really reject Zionism after all, because he saw their “migration” as the ideal in a Socialist situation in the Middle East?

        First, I see your parallel between Buber’s idea“that federation of Palestine with Transjordan would let Arabs emigrate, those who would object to the immigration of Jews anyway” and Trotsky’s idea that if the countries of the Middle East were Socialist and had the same goals, then the countries would allow people to migrate between them.

        A big difference though is that Buber thinks the Arabs that move to Transjordan are “those who would object to the immigration of Jews anyway.”
        (A)Don’t you think it is unrealistic to expect that if people object to other people moving into their home country they are going to want to leave? (eg. anti-immigrant groups in California leaving for Canada when 40% of California is hispanic.)
        (B) with Trotsky it sounds way broader and more extreme than just people who disagree. Please correct me about this: Trotsky seems to perceive the Palestinians, called “Arabs” as “scattered” out of their homeland when they are living in Palestine. In other words, they aren’t really from Palestine, they are Arabians from deserts in another country.
        And in his ideal Socialist situation the Arabs should consent to leave Palestine because it’s not their homeland (and not just those who oppose Jewish immigration as Buber proposes).

        Second, if you re-read his article I linked to you will see that Trotsky’s analogy is Birobidjan– the Jewish republic in the USSR. Trotsky asks if Birobidjan is good for the USSR, why should people object to it in Palestine?
        The problem for me is that Birobidjan is not even a bi-national unit like Buber wants, despite the fact non-Jews live there too. Plus, Trotsky views the Palestinians’ home as elsewhere, so it doesn’t look like he would make an exception. Instead, he would have a Jewish homeland in Palestine and an “Arab” one someplace else.

        Third, you mentioned:

        “(A)The question of compulsion is glossed over as “opportunity”;
        (B)why the “Arabs” would wish to emigrate is not explored as it was not by the binationalists.”

        He sees the migration of Palestinians out of their homeland as one of the “displacements freely consented to, or rather demanded, by certain nationalities or parts of nationalities.”
        That is, ideally Palestinians would “demand” to leave Palestine.
        (A) Compulsion: Trotsky said about this: “National topography will become a part of the planned economy.”
        Trotsky’s idea of “planned economy” was that a Socialist society would democratically “plan” what actions it would take. For example, the USSR under Trotsky “planned” to build electrical plants. Here he means that the society would plan these “migrations” and the “scattered Arabs”(the Pals) would “freely consent” to migrate away to their real homeland. It’s like Moscow power plant workers getting assigned to the Urals when a new plant gets built.

        What if the Arabs don’t want to go? Remember, this is an ideal democratic society, so typically everyone is supposed to be on board about the ideal goals.
        So then Society has a new goal of persuading its citizens in a democratic, humanitarian way to achieve “the goal of migration.” One possibility is Jerome Slater’s idea that Palestinians should have been paid off to leave their homes.

        (B) Why the “Arabs” would want to emigrate: For Trotsky it’s obviously because they would want to, just like Jews would. The Palestinans would want to go back home to Arabia because they are “scattered” and would find a “rich spot under the sun.” A Socialist society would make Arabia an attractive place for them. Maybe it would provide special incentives available only to them to make it look nice. It’s like giving Moscow workers bonus pay for moving all the way to the Urals, and the Urals are beautiful after all, with their high hills, like irrigated Arab deserts are pretty. That is, they would be given persuasive advertising too.

        So in conclusion:
        (1) Trotsky sees Palestinians as Arabs who have been scattered to Palestine out of their Arabian homeland, so Palestine isn’t really their homeland.
        (2) His ideal under Socialism is putting Birobidjan in Palestine- a single-national Jewish republic- because Palestine is their homeland.
        (3) He imagines the Palestinians would ideally demand to leave Palestine, and if not would be consensually “assigned” to live elsewhere. This would be like the US government democratically zoning your house for commercial purposes and compensating you enough that you want to leave. Or Slater’s idea that Palestinians should have been compensated to have a non-forced Nakba.

        Please tell me: Do I understand this correctly?

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2012, 6:47 pm

        W.Jones, you are aware that Trotsky died due to the untimely intrusion of an ice-pick into his cartoid artery, and hasn’t been much of a factor in politics since then, right? It was in August of 1940, in case you’re still worrying about that pesky Bolshvik-Menshvik split, or something.

  15. CitizenC
    September 12, 2012, 10:48 pm

    I think you are placing far too much weight on these implications and corollaries and consequences. Trotsky was motivated by his crystal clear (and absolutely correct) understanding of Hitler and Nazism and what they meant for European Jews. I don’t mean that makes his thinking hold up, I merely mean that such attempts are understandable in the circumstances. At least to me.

    • W.Jones
      September 13, 2012, 4:20 am

      Citizen,

      Thanks for writing back. I would like to understand this better, since Trotsky is an important person at least for the radical left. I disagree that “I think you are placing far too much weight on these implications and corollaries and consequences”, and I think Trotsky would too, because theory was important for him, as it is for Marxists. :)

      It’s indirectly true that: “Trotsky was motivated by his crystal clear (and absolutely correct) understanding of Hitler and Nazism and what they meant for European Jews.”
      In the interview, Trotsky says that Nazism changed his view that the solution of the Jewish Question (“a people without a state”) would just be Jews assimilating, and instead he decides that Jews would be a separate group for a long time.
      However, his solution to the threat from Nazism was not that Zionism could be a temporary refuge from Nazism, as Zionists claim it would. Instead, he said the answer was a Socialist revolution, because Palestine would be too dangerous a location under capitalism.
      Then, based on his earlier premise that Jews would not assimilate, he concluded that under ideal Socialism they would get an ethnic state.

      So Yes Nazism motivated his viewpoint, but not in the way it motivated those Zionists who were understandably scared and looking for a refuge. Nazism only motivated him to think Jews would not assimilate. And then once you had an ideal society where there was no longer any more racism let alone Nazism, he saw a single-ethnic state as the ideal, with beautiful “migrations” where the “planned economy” decides the “national topography.”

      OK, I agree with you that “such attempts are understandable in the circumstances.” Sure, it’s understandable that when someone sees someone would be abused he would want the person to be separated. And this understandably could lead to someone seeing the person as inherently “separate” and thus “separation” as ideal even if there was no possibility of abuse at all.

      But how is that any better than the many Zionists who were motivated by the Nazi genocide to leave Europe after the Nazis’ defeat, with idealistic segregationist ideas about “A land without a people[eg “scattered Arabs”?] for a people without a land.”
      The only difference I see is practical: Trotsky thought Zionism wouldn’t work under capitalism, but they both thought it was ideal.

      Please correct me if my evaluation is incorrect. An earlier interview on the topic is: http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1934/xx/jewish.htm

      Regards.

  16. W.Jones
    September 13, 2012, 4:38 am

    Citizen,

    What is troubling for me is not that he found Zionism to be a refuge during racist times, since a refuge is a real way out, but that he considered Palestinians to be “scattered” people who in the ideal situation where there was no danger of racism would be removed.

    OK I get that Bob was hurting Betty. But once you are absolutely certain there is no way for Betty to get hurt by anyone anymore, why does Janet get labeled a “wanderer” and give up an entire apartment building where she lived for 13 years so Betty can have the whole thing forever?

    I mean 13 centuries (7th to 20th centuries) is a long time for someone to be “scattered” in a place they consider home.

    • ColinWright
      September 15, 2012, 3:29 am

      W. Jones: “…I mean 13 centuries (7th to 20th centuries) is a long time for someone to be “scattered” in a place they consider home.”

      Why do you think Palestinians only arrived in Palestine in the seventh century? There’s no evidence there was a major population influx into Palestine at that time.

    • Blake
      September 15, 2012, 10:01 am

      The people of the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and [parts of] Iraq) are known as Arabs because they adopted the Arab language 800 years ago. The people of the Levant have a civilization that is over 5000 years old (Mesoptamia and before that the Phoenicians who created the Phoenetic alphabet which we use now). There is a lot of ambiguity about what it means to be Arab. The only region of the world where the real Arabs are from is the Gulf.

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