Change of plan

Israel/Palestine
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A couple weeks ago I got in a bit of hot water, and then my wife got in it.

She has an outdoorsy friend who invited us to a garden party in our town. I didn’t know anyone there, but at the end of the party I was in the kitchen talking with an earnest woman about my issue. She said she felt inhibited about speaking out. I told her she wasn’t anti-Semitic if she wanted to engage on it, we needed her engagement; and then I told her what a Spanish woman who works for the UN said to me the last time I was in Jerusalem. “People back home ask me what is the peaceful resolution of this conflict. Then you come here and you see, there is no peaceful resolution.” I said, It’s a desperate situation over there, please get involved.

Just as I said that a darkhaired woman who I hadn’t talked to said, “My friends and family over there don’t feel desperate at all. They like it. Except when the rockets come in to Sderot.”

I was paralyzed for an instant, then said, “Those people in Gaza don’t have any rights.”

“Oh yeah– they don’t have any rights,” she said sarcastically, and walked away.

I mumbled, “I guess I should have been more sensitive.” Her husband refused to shake my hand.

A couple days later our host called my wife and said that the other guest was upset about me and my website. My wife said maybe we should get together and talk about it. She came into my office to ask me when we could get together. I said I wasn’t interested. My wife said, She’s a local artist, and she’s not well informed, you should talk to her. I said that wasn’t true. I told my wife about when I first went to the occupied territories, on a trip with a bunch of Israelis with Breaking the Silence, and after a Palestinian showed us a video of settlers throwing rocks at schoolgirls, I said to an Israeli guy, What do Israelis think about this? He said, They don’t know. And a woman from Machsom Watch who was on the trip turned on him angrily and said, “They don’t want to know.” I told my wife, This woman is very well informed in her way. She doesn’t want to know.

My wife decided to have tea with her and talk about it. She brought maps of Palestinian dispossession and a backgammon set she’d bought for $25 in Bethlehem in 2010. She had thought Bethlehem was a prison, surrounded by walls, and the people there were making handicrafts the way prisoners make license plates. She wanted to show the woman.

Three hours after the car left I saw my wife back on the patio, having a glass of wine and a cigarette. She was upset. She said, You were right. The woman was well informed and didn’t want to hear what my wife had to say. She thought the Palestinians in Bethlehem had themselves to blame. She said, Why is your husband so obsessed with this issue?

My wife said, “Who knows. I’m obsessed with gardening, Sharon’s obsessed with birds. My husband’s obsessed with the Middle East. Who can explain these things.”

I keep thinking back to when I said, “Should have been more sensitive,” and I’m embarrassed about that. It shows how I curb myself in a Jewish audience. I hadn’t known there was anyone Jewish at the party, I’d spoken freely. Then a Jewish woman confronted me and I tightened up.

I told this story the other night at Brecht Forum when Antony Loewenstein and I spoke about the book he and Ahmed Moor edited, After Zionism. My essay in the book is about the constraints on the Israel conversation inside the Jewish community and my determination to break those constraints because my community has such power over the discourse on this matter. But after the incident with the darkhaired woman, I began agreeing with people who have said to me, You spend too much time worrying about that community. It’s a waste of time. They don’t want to know. I love many Jews, and they have an important role to play in the movement for Palestinian freedom, but it’s a waste of time to go into the Jewish community and organize when you’re dealing with such ignorance. Consider that even Peace Now, which has worked for years against the occupation, has to include in its messaging respect for the statement, “God gave us the land,” because it’s dealing inside the Jewish community. 

Joseph Dana talks about this issue in his essay in the Loewenstein/Moor book. There are lots of great Israelis involved in the nonviolent protest movement inside the West Bank. But they’re a fringe of the collective: “[a]t the core of the conflict remains the Zionist dilemma… the need of the Jewish population of Israel to adhere to an exclusivist national ideology.” Dana says the ballgame is upping pressure in the international community.

I want to spend more time talking to Americans period. The recent uprising against the Jerusalem plank at the Democratic convention shows that liberal Americans are getting hip about this issue. The recent politicization of the Iran attack by Netanyahu was also helpful; it put the matter on our front pages, it allowed Obama to come out more strongly against war, because he knows that the American people are deadset against it. Barbara Boxer told Netanyahu to mess out; so did a former ambassador in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. These are the people my wife should be bringing that backgammon set to.

One reason I spent time in the Jewish community was compassion. I thought I could help to save my own group by giving them the news. I worry about people losing their lives. I think about the community I grew up in and try to imagine a way to get out of the current situation without anyone else dying; and I imagined that if I could convince American Jews that some Jewish kids in Israel won’t die if they would just wave the wand and declare, We don’t need a Jewish state, they’d wave that wand. I think that’s an illusion. There’s little I can do to end that belief, and at some level I’ve given up caring.

About Philip Weiss

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

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  1. Walker
    September 22, 2012, 11:10 am

    Phil, good luck to you.

  2. Annie Robbins
    September 22, 2012, 11:12 am

    incredible phil. for me, the target audience has always been the other 98%. they don’t have so many barriers/hurdles to cross over. we’ve just been silenced by programming, acceding our opinions to the sensitivities of the jewish community convinced this is primarily ‘their issue’ when it is anything but. you’re an american first, you have the wisdom and understanding to move mountains far beyond any isolated niche you may have carved for yourself within the jewish community. the challenge is the masses. i loved reading change of plans.

    • libra
      September 22, 2012, 8:15 pm

      annie: incredible phil. for me, the target audience has always been the other 98%.

      Then we must have been reading different web sites because Mondoweiss has always been a largely Jewish conversation with mainly Jewish posters. Many of whom seem to assume they have a predominately Jewish audience. In many ways I think that’s part of its strength. But if you wanted to appeal to a larger non-Jewish audience you would certainly not have Professor Ellis posting everyday (though judging by comment numbers perhaps our prophet has limited appeal to a Jewish audience as well).

      If Phil is really serious about a change of plan then I too look forward to hearing about what changes will be made at Mondoweiss, assuming that it remains his main vehicle to communicate to his audience.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 22, 2012, 11:41 pm

        i’ve made this argument in these threads many times piotr. i almost got in a boxing match w/jerry slater about it once too. it’s crazy to pander to the sensitivities of 2% of our population when making foreign policy decisions.

      • ColinWright
        September 23, 2012, 12:33 am

        libra says: “…Then we must have been reading different web sites because Mondoweiss has always been a largely Jewish conversation with mainly Jewish posters…”

        Well, I’m a strong believer in original sources, preferably as contemporary with the event in question as possible.

        Here’s Phil, quoted from the above.

        “…I want to spend more time talking to Americans period…”

        Of course, he could be jes’ funnin’ us. What do you think?

      • Sumud
        September 23, 2012, 1:20 am

        Then we must have been reading different web sites because Mondoweiss has always been a largely Jewish conversation with mainly Jewish posters.

        When you say posters I’m not sure if you mean the authors of the article or people in the comments section. I’m not jewish and have never felt myself part of a minority in the comments section, at least.

        Thinking back several years to Nakba Day I do recall having a whinge that Phil had no Palestinian authors posting articles on that day, of all days – critical voices missing.

        MW has expanded it’s base in terms of diversity quite a bit since then. It’s on a good track.

        I think Phil’s post is more of a personal moment but it will be interesting to see if or how MW evolves as a consequence.

        • Annie Robbins
          September 23, 2012, 8:54 am

          i’m not jewish either sumud. there are many regulars here who are not jewish and anyone who reads our contributor list can see we have many contributors who are not jewish.

        • libra
          September 23, 2012, 9:14 am

          Sumud, I completely agree with what you say here. I was referring to article authors, definitely not the comments section. And it was more an observation than a complaint. The essence of Mondoweiss is that editorially it gives a (largely) Jewish perspective on issues relating to the Middle East balanced by a very open and diverse comments section. That combination is what makes it so interesting and informative to me. I hope any evolution is through editorial direction and focus within that overall framework.

        • Annie Robbins
          September 23, 2012, 10:16 am

          i am not sure how to respond libra. i don’t give a jewish perspective because i am not jewish (and i’ve written over 400 articles here). when i read alex’s articles why would it occur to me he’s informed from a ‘jewish perspective’? what about allison’s? how are adam’s posts ‘jewish’?

          link to mondoweiss.net
          link to mondoweiss.net
          link to mondoweiss.net

          as an example let’s take the first article on top of adam’s list:

          link to mondoweiss.net

          The new AIPAC spokesman seems to have run the political gamut during his career and perfectly compliments the organization’s political coalition. Marshall Wittmann has worked for Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Leadership Council, John McCain, the Heritage Foundation and the Christian Coalition.

          how is that a ‘jewish’ perspective? aipac is a concern to all americans because of their power in washington, therefor what they do is, or should be, a concern to all of us. it just so happens he quotes JTA, but might that be because JTA is the only one publishing this information about aipac? why would that be? JTA probably has no qualms about being accused of anti semitism where as when MW repeats it, we’re ethnocentric or something. and if a msm non jewish news publication wrote about it they might be called out by foxman and goldberg. but aipac should be scrutinized as if it the most powerful FP lobby influencing congress, because it is. this is not ‘from a jewish perspective’.

          it seems to me the only author on staff here who delves heavily into the jewish perspective is phil.

          and did you notice the reaction to maureen dowd’s column about neocons and iraq? yet when the forward, in the same week, publishes an article about bernard lewis’s birthday link to forward.com titled “Neocons Gather To Fete Iraq War Godfather Bernard Lewis” the goldberg troops are completely silent. why is that? and why would my observation of that hypocrisy be considered “jewish?”

          i can resent there’s a whole lot of discourse that relates to my country, my taxes, our foreign policy i am not suppose talk about, i am being programmed, like other americans, to ignore. to be silent. i see what happened to dowd because she is not jewish. but this entire arena we are discussing is not a “jewish issue” anymore than israel pushing us to attack iran is a “jewish issue”. the war in iraq was not a “jewish issue”.

          these are american problems and we better start getting all americans talking about it without fear of being accused of anti semitism. israel is an american problem, not merely a jewish problem (or a palestinian problem for that matter) in the least. human rights violations are a global issue, and the watering down of international rights should be a priority for everyone.

        • libra
          September 23, 2012, 11:27 am

          Annie, surely Mondoweiss is what it says it is:

          Mondoweiss is a news website devoted to covering American foreign policy in the Middle East, chiefly from a progressive Jewish perspective.

          And I think its editorials do indeed come from largely from a “progressive Jewish” perspective. That’s sets the editorial tone – which in many cases is much more political than religious – into which everything largely fits. It’s certainly not the perspective I come from but it does make the site interesting and informative. But if I was to change anything, it would be to make it open to a much broader political spectrum.

          I really doubt that Mondoweiss is the best vehicle to directly engage with or lead the 98% non-Jewish population. What I think it is best doing is challenging Zionism both within the Jewish community and non-Jewish fellow-travellers in elite circles (Allison Deger’s recent article on Dr Stanton being a great example) in a public manner. In other words to act as a trailblazer in bringing what has been a quiet internal conversation out into the open, for others to then pick up and run with.

          That plays to its strengths though I think with more focus it could achieve much more.

        • MRW
          September 23, 2012, 12:20 pm

          I second your sentiments, annie. (I don’t think libra was knocking you, but that’s another discussion I will pass by.)

          It is unacceptable that there are two sets of rules about who is allowed to say what and when, and who has to apologize because of a history none of us participated in. The injection of Israeli issues into American political and national discourse has become perverse and obscene. If Netanyahu gets his way, add dangerous and horrible.

          The most lethal line in The Forward article you link to is

          Still, though a military strike on Iran wasn’t the right answer in his view, Lewis conceded: “It may come to that.”

          It may come to that? It may come to WWIII because of Israeli paranoia and lack of statesmanship, it’s inability to view itself as part of the international community with a responsibility to maintain world peace?

          Bernard Lewis, who in that article is now trying to claim he was against the Iraq War (burnishing his creds?), has become a vile 96-year-old. It may come to that? It would be the consequence of what he set in motion in the early 1990s, and for which he should be reviled not feted.

        • Annie Robbins
          September 23, 2012, 1:06 pm

          ok libra, i will concede you may be correct although i suppose i just view things from my perspective which is not jewish so when i read most of the posts here they do not strike me as specifically jewish ethno centric in their focus. the threads on the other hand…often are.

          I really doubt that Mondoweiss is the best vehicle to directly engage with or lead the 98% non-Jewish population.

          for me it is the best vehicle to communicate to the most people efficiently about what i see happening on a grander scale over there. there are many people who read the blog who are not jewish and as far as potential growth is concerned, i still think the biggest untapped potential is the 98%.

          other than that, outside of investing in my own soapbox, i’m not sure what vehicle would provide more exposure for dialogue. it seems to me any place online israel/palestine is discussed it is inundated with pro israel activists.

        • libra
          September 23, 2012, 3:02 pm

          MRW: I second your sentiments, annie. (I don’t think libra was knocking you, but that’s another discussion I will pass by.)

          I certainly wasn’t knocking annie or her contribution to MW which certainly broadens its perspective.

        • Philip Weiss
          September 23, 2012, 10:31 pm

          i greatly appreciate this comment, annie

        • Annie Robbins
          September 23, 2012, 10:45 pm

          i appreciate you phil. forever.

    • American
      September 22, 2012, 11:44 pm

      “far beyond any isolated niche you may have carved for yourself within the jewish community”……annie

      I agree. Phil would be great at talking to non Jewish American audiences who would be much more open to his message and not have the built in defensiveness of the Jewish groups. Also his being Jewish would not matter to American groups like it matters to the Jewish ones when a Jew criticizes them or Israel or Isr-USA.
      So maybe he has been going at this backwards…instead of working on Jews he could work more on the non Jews and position himself as a kind of Jewish leader for or of the non Jewish Israel -I/P movement. Where many Jews may treat him as the Jewish sunk at the party, with non Jews his being Jewish would be a positive, he would be treated as a authority on the subject. It would be powerful.

    • Citizen
      September 23, 2012, 12:06 pm

      @ Annie Robbins
      I think you are projecting, in the Freudian sense, your own motivations on to Phil at least a tad too much. Phil said:

      ” I imagined that if I could convince American Jews that some Jewish kids in Israel won’t die if they would just wave the wand and declare, We don’t need a Jewish state, they’d wave that wand. I think that’s an illusion. There’s little I can do to end that belief, and at some level I’ve given up caring.”

      Phil did NOT say, “I imagined that if I could convince Americans, Jewish or otherwise, that American kids (98% of USA are not Jewish, and more than 98% US soldiers are not Jewish) won’t die, and Americans would not waste their tax payor treasure (Again the 98% Gentile, 2% Jewish) and the USA’s former reputation as the humanist model, the sole balanced broker in this World.

      One may guess that Phil was intentionally tailoring his argument to the target: American Jews. No wonder he is ready to give up in either case. Even if Phil gives up, those of us who care about America’s highest humane ideals, and about the World, can not give up.

      Problem is, where will we go if Phil give up? We will be dismissed (although we are part of the 98%, not the 2%), to the outer fringes occupied by Kevin Macdonald?

      Must we repeat the endless historical cycle?

      BTW, my sister, who is very educated, very aware, also thinks I am too obsessed with the I-P situation. Then again, she’s a L Ron Hubbard fan, and my brother, who also knows intimately the Jew-Gentile thing in all its everyday glory as a practicing lawyer in NYC, could care less–He’s old like me, and both of these siblings think I am obsessed like Phil is, and similarly, wasting my time.

      Just thought I’d give a Gentile version of Phil on the same subject, in case anybody was interested.

      • American
        September 23, 2012, 1:45 pm

        “”also thinks I am too obsessed with the I-P situation. “…Citizen

        We here are all obsessed by it for various reasons…one being for some of us, who know way too much about it, it’s such a damn “aberration” in every way from how we think of human rights and justice and what the US involvement in this should be.
        And we are more even more obsessed by it every day that goes by because from the first day we recongized it for what it is, we also recongized the US government also knows exactly what it is and doesn’t care, it’s too corrupt to care …our government is now a ‘blood for political money’ government.
        If that doesn’t make people obsessed it should.

        • seafoid
          September 23, 2012, 4:13 pm

          I think it’s great sport. You know they aren’t going to be able to pull it off in the end. And it will be so seismic.

        • Citizen
          September 24, 2012, 12:56 am

          @ American
          I think Jesse Ventura just wrote a book analogizing the Demos and Repubs to Bloods and Crips.

      • Joe Catron
        September 23, 2012, 11:50 pm

        Then again, she’s a L Ron Hubbard fan

        In what sense? Some of his fiction’s not half-bad.

  3. radii
    September 22, 2012, 11:31 am

    israelis know full-well the path they’re on – that they ethnically-cleansed out over 700,000 people and stole their land and now have their boot firmly on the neck of those who remain and fear greatly that if they ever let it up they’ll suffer for their crimes … that is the default … the only way to change course in israel is if a critical-mass of U.S. jews compel the change upon israel – the will have to impose the change by seizing power from israeli jews … it is that simple … there are some signs that US jews are beginning to do this with their rock-solid support of Obama and demographic statement (the young peeling away from israel) … but just as the civil rights marchers proudly marched headlong into vicious mobs so too do those of us who are determined to shift israel from its current course of apartheid and state-murder need to proudly and openly state our views to all and weather the blowback … the fury will die down and the vicious mob will evaporate over time … when the facts are on your side it is all the easier to be resolute … now, at a social function it is a choice to discuss religion, politics or sex

    • Annie Robbins
      September 22, 2012, 2:02 pm

      the only way to change course in israel is if a critical-mass of U.S. jews compel the change upon israel

      because the opinion of the 98% means nothing? sorry, radii..i couldn’t disagree with you more.

      • ColinWright
        September 22, 2012, 2:38 pm

        Annie Robbins says: “the only way to change course in israel is if a critical-mass of U.S. jews compel the change upon israel

        because the opinion of the 98% means nothing? sorry, radii..i couldn’t disagree with you more.”

        Radii’s position really is unrealistic and unreasonable on a number of scores.

        • radii
          September 22, 2012, 3:56 pm

          by nearly all accounts the jews in israel are more right-wing, more entrenched, and hardening their positions – so there is retrograde movement regarding any peace deal

          … the opinion of the world has never mattered to zionists because israel has so skillfully manipulated the US to be its protector at the UN, in the field, and through its control of the US Congress (and all that money that flows forth to israel because of that control) so despite a little pat on the back-of-the-hand by Obama and his foreign policy and defense/intelligence team on attacking Iran now on Bibi’s timetable the US is still a reliable big dog to place in front of any attacker

          so there is no will within israel for things to change, there is no means by which that change can come about within or outside of israel … so that leaves …

          American Jews – they are the one and only fulcrum upon which change can pivot … sorry if people don’t like it, but once a critical-mass of American Jews comes to the conclusion that it is in the best interests of American Jews and all Jews everywhere that israel change its course, it won’t

        • Annie Robbins
          September 22, 2012, 4:15 pm

          so there is no will within israel for things to change, there is no means by which that change can come about within or outside of israel

          i don’t agree there is this .

          American Jews – they are the one and only fulcrum upon which change can pivot

          so, you think even if the vast majority of the american public want change in i/p zionists… through its control of the US Congress can prevent that? forever? aren’t you attributing power to ‘american jews’ they don’t have over the public. it’s only the silence of the american public that allows congressional servitude to go unnoticed or unmentioned. if the masses weren’t silent we’d see change, obviously. the lobby knows that which is why they put so much effort in silencing the masses thru accusations of antisemitism.like this: link to abqjournal.com

          oh interesting, it appears the article has been redacted from the link except for the opening paragraph.lucky i saved it

          FOSNA Philosophy Just Anti-Semitism

          By Sam Sokolove / Executive Director, Jewish Federation of New Mexico on Fri, Sep 21, 2012

          As the Sept. 15 Albuquerque Journal article detailed, Friends of Sabeel in North America will be holding a “Justice & Peace in Palestine and Israel” conference in Albuquerque later this month. What the article failed to convey, however, is that while Sabeel hides behind a language of peace and reconciliation, FOSNA – listed by the Anti-Defamation League as one of “The Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in America” – actively promotes a rejection of Israel as a Jewish state.

          An integral part of the global anti-Israel Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement, Sabeel promotes the idea that Zionism is based on a false reading of the Bible and that it stands for injustice and in opposition to God.

          In addition, Sabeel often compares the Palestinians to the crucified Jesus, and Israel to his murderers, alluding to the ugly deicide charge against all the Jewish people. Examples include referring to Israeli actions with deicide language such as “The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily” or “Israel has placed a large boulder, similar to the stone placed on the entrance of Jesus’ tomb. This boulder has shut in the Palestinians.”

          Amy-Jill Levine, a professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, has called such Sabeel statements “recycled anti-Judaism that depicts Israel as a country of Christ killers.”

          Sabeel conferences are notorious for featuring speakers who vilify Israel and routinely lift the voices of anti-Zionist Jews as a means to disingenuously suggest that they bring Christians, Jews and Muslims to the table. They continually reject almost all mainstream Jewish voices, including progressive or dovish Zionists.

          When the Jewish Federation of New Mexico and Jewish clergy first became aware of the FOSNA conference last summer, we also learned that friends in the interfaith community had been approached to serve as conference sponsors. Given the positive history of interfaith relations between Christians and Jews in Albuquerque, it was our responsibility to offer a mainstream Jewish perspective on this conference.

          As a result, it was heartening to garner the support of friends like the New Mexico Conference of Churches and Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. John who distanced themselves from FOSNA in demonstration of sensitivity to Jewish community concerns and civic discourse.

          Characterizing these conversations as “bullying” and “harassment” is profoundly incorrect, but an expected part of the BDS campaign. We are confident that other church representatives who have lent their endorsement to the Sabeel conference will come to recognize the one-sided, inflammatory and destructive nature of the movement.

          To be sure, the Jewish community of New Mexico is in no way monolithic, and many of us often vocally criticize the policies of Israel’s government. However, the overwhelming majority of Jews in New Mexico and around the globe recognize Israel as a miraculous return of our homeland after a 3,500-year exile, and a vibrant, if young and imperfect, democracy for people of all religions within a region surrounded by intolerance and brutal dictatorships that conspicuously escape Sabeel and BDS scorn.

          The conflict in the Middle East is about finding a peaceful path to establish two states for two peoples, not about preventing a group from exercising its right to self-determination.

          There are appropriate and meaningful forums for interfaith discussion on all issues pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that engender dialogue and increased understanding. Sadly, Sabeel’s commitment is not to promoting this goodwill, but instead to spreading vicious propaganda to assault Israel’s legitimacy.

        • ColinWright
          September 22, 2012, 5:52 pm

          radii says: “American Jews – they are the one and only fulcrum upon which change can pivot …”

          American Jews can simply be ignored. Their support for Israel is often qualified, and they make up only 2% of the population to begin with.

          Furthermore, even if one grants the validity of the most extravagant fantasies concerning their power and influence, that power and influence is in turn dependent on the acquiescence of the great gentile unwashed. Change gentile opinion in America, and it won’t matter what Jews think.

          Finally, I will point out that America is not the only country in the world — and much less of a power than it used to be. It may be entirely sufficient if everyone else starts to boycott Israel. Will we still stand by her if that becomes the case? Won’t the opposition of so many others let the cat out of the bag right there? How will the unexamined assumption that ‘Israel is good’ withstand that?

        • Annie Robbins
          September 24, 2012, 3:12 am

          no, american jews can’t be ignored. that is ridiculous. many are amongst the leaders in our movement for the sheer fact so many have stepped up to the plate. think arithmetic. and yourstruly brings up the point It’s as if the 98% don’t have the capacity to think & reason for themselves, meaning of course, we do. there are activist of every shade in our movement, every ethnicity. but who exists outside our movement we do not even know about, the ones who agree with us? who are silent? well they are not silent if someone asks them their opinion. like at the dem conference. this is an untapped market for activism. these are people who already are informed and agree with jimmy carter, love jimmy carter, but are not focused on i/p. for fear or for other reasons.

          let’s think of i/p activist leaders in our movement who are not jewish or palestinian and have not been accused of anti semitism. hardly any. in fact i can’t think of any off the top of my head.

          the hasbrats are organized but we have the numbers. we just need to hear their voices more often, like in that jerusalem vote.

    • yourstruly
      September 23, 2012, 12:41 pm

      so with the Zionist entity and the Israel lobby pressing hard for an Iran war, until such time as there’s a critical mass of Jews on our side, are those of us opposed to said war supposed to refrain from reaching out to the 98% of Americans who are not Jewish? What, pending the realization of a critical mass of the 2% of Americans who are Jewish, information that pertains to the survival of all life on earth must be withheld from 98% of the american people? It’s as if the 98% don’t have the capacity to think & reason for themselves, and how’s that for a put down?

  4. Les
    September 22, 2012, 11:46 am

    Watering down your message to any person or group, avoids its clarity. You make it clear that Zionism is not Judaism. That is an essential first step to making it clear to Jews, however religious, that Israel’s Zionism is not just a threat to Judaism but the very real enemy of both Judaism and of Jews everywhere in the world.

    • yourstruly
      September 22, 2012, 12:40 pm

      exactly!

    • ColinWright
      September 22, 2012, 5:57 pm

      Les: “Watering down your message to any person or group, avoids its clarity. You make it clear that Zionism is not Judaism. That is an essential first step to making it clear to Jews, however religious, that Israel’s Zionism is not just a threat to Judaism but the very real enemy of both Judaism and of Jews everywhere in the world.”

      Don’t worry about whatever equations others choose to make between Judaism and Zionism. When we were fighting Naziism, were we at pains to make it clear there was a distinction between German identity and Nazi identity? If any Jews want to continue to associate themselves with Israel, it’s their funeral. We should no more fret about converting American Jewish Zionists than we were desperate to sway members of the German-American Bund.

      Let them worry about making the distinction. I’m gentile, and think Israel is evil. Those who associate themselves with Israel are therefore defenders of evil. What their religious identity is is not my concern.

      • tear-stained uzi
        September 24, 2012, 12:41 am

        Colin:

        Don’t worry about whatever equations others choose to make between Judaism and Zionism. When we were fighting Naziism, were we at pains to make it clear there was a distinction between German identity and Nazi identity?

        And are you proud of that? Most people are familiar with the despicable treatment meted out to Japanese-Americans during WWII, but similar civil rights violations were experienced by German-Americans, including internment, violence and property confiscation [link]. Doesn’t it bother you when Zionist bigots refer to all Palestinians as “terrorists?”

        If any Jews want to continue to associate themselves with Israel, it’s their funeral. We should no more fret about converting American Jewish Zionists than we were desperate to sway members of the German-American Bund. [my emphasis]

        I’m used to your comments having a certain … bluntness … to them, but this seems especially ill-considered. If I wasn’t certain of your bona fides, I’d wonder if you weren’t some kind of uber-hasbara Jedi-troll, inserting a nasty little artifact to be unearthed at some later date by the Anti-Semitism Police when they’re out looking to discredit Phil/Mondoweiss.

        • ColinWright
          September 25, 2012, 6:15 pm

          tear-stained uzi says: “…If I wasn’t certain of your bona fides, I’d wonder if you weren’t some kind of uber-hasbara Jedi-troll, inserting a nasty little artifact to be unearthed at some later date by the Anti-Semitism Police when they’re out looking to discredit Phil/Mondoweiss.”

          Well, as a matter of fact, I refuse to let considerations of what Stalinists of any stripe might find influence what I post. I always try to say exactly what I think.

          More generally, I think that while on the one hand, there is something to be said for refraining from pointlessly alienating everyone who doesn’t think exactly as you do — and I may indeed sin in that direction — on the other hand, it is a mistake to attempt to compromise with one’s clear opponents.

          Obama fell for that one. In the end, they let you keep the pickle and take the sandwich. There’s a lot to be said for laying out one’s 100% position and letting them figure out how to placate you.

          I’ll stick to my guns here. If Jews want to support Israel, I feel no need to somehow appease them. They’re like anyone else. They’re associating themselves with evil. I’m inclined to grant their motives are somewhat more understandable than those of some of the wretched vermin who find Israel so gratifying — but that does nothing to justify the position itself. Israel is morally indefensible, always was, and necessarily always will be, and I fail to see why I should pretend otherwise.

        • ColinWright
          September 25, 2012, 6:37 pm

          tear-stained uzi says:

          “And are you proud of that? Most people are familiar with the despicable treatment meted out to Japanese-Americans during WWII, but similar civil rights violations were experienced by German-Americans, including internment, violence and property confiscation [link]. …

          Not only am I not proud of it, I never said anything in defense of it.

          I said that we certainly didn’t worry about the sensibilities of anyone who chose to identify with Imperial Japan or Nazi Germany — nor do I see why I should fret about the feelings of anyone who chooses to identify with Israel. Israel is evil, and it is indeed their own funeral for whoever chooses to identify with her. Even if you’re Jewish, it’s not okay. Somewhat more understandable — but still definitely not okay. Like taking out a Klan membership on the grounds that it’s a family tradition.

          “…Doesn’t it bother you when Zionist bigots refer to all Palestinians as “terrorists?””…”

          Sure — and I have never identified all American Jews as Israel supporters, nor all Israel supporters as Jews. In fact, I’m the guy who insists upon the reverse. I argue that most American Jews only support Israel reluctantly, and the main strength of American support for Israel lies not among Jews, but among Christian Zionists.

  5. seafoid
    September 22, 2012, 11:54 am

    It depends how corroded support for Zionism is. When it all goes to pot there will be so many Jewish fence sitters who turn around and say “we knew this would happen all along”.

    The Zionist side has a lot to lose. Of course there will be hostility. And there is the cult angle. Imagine taking on the Scientologists.

    But the Zionists can no longer command the automatic support of young Jews so long term they are doomed.

    One very encouraging sign is what is going on in the liberal Jewish community in Israel. They are moving out of Jerusalem. Many are wondering if it is worth staying in Israel. The situation is not stable.

    Keep plugging away. It could collapse sooner than you think.

  6. Ramzi Jaber
    September 22, 2012, 11:54 am

    Thanks Phil to you and your wife. You touched my heart.

    We need to keep educating folks in the US without the fear of being intimidated by AIPAC or being shunned by some Jews since most Jews in the US do support a 2-state solution; it’s critical to israel’s survival. Our education of folks in the US will greatly accelerate as more non-white minorities (e.g. hispanics/latinos) start to take their place in the US political debate.

    A State of Palestine born through US’s global leadership, moral convictions, principled policies, and courage of action (all elements that I truly feel the US and its citizens still believe in and have) will go a long way to re-estabish US’s credibility in the world, particularly the non-christian non-white world, as a fair and just player that wants to lead the world to a better 21st century.

  7. Sumud
    September 22, 2012, 12:04 pm

    This dark-haired woman lashed out at you because you disturbed her conscience and she didn’t like it. Shooting the messenger.

    Her family in Sderot are living on the land of what was a Palestinian village demolished in 1948, Njad. Stolen land. Palestinian’s possessions looted, and their houses and villages flattened. An attempt made to erase any evidence of their existence, as much to ease the conscience of the newly minted Israelis, as to prevent return. It isn’t working.

    Rockets from Gaza have killed 22 people in Israel in a decade. Meanwhile about 3000 people in Gaza have been killed by the IDF since 2005 alone, more than 6000 across all the OPTs since 2000.

    Gazan’s live in a man-made ghetto because of Israelis. Half Gaza’s arable land is off limits because of the Israeli-imposed buffer zone. Children are malnourished in Gaza because of Israelis. No fresh water because of Israelis.

    FFS – Rafael (and probably others too) are using Gazans as human guinea pigs to test their weapons systems on, it’s just a tiny step away from Dr Mengele.

    I’d like to transplant this woman to live in Gaza for a few months and see how she likes it. She’d change her tune pretty quickly.

    I applaud your decision to step away Phil, because there’s lots more like her, and they’re toxic.

    It’s none of her damn business WHY you’re obsessed with Israel and Palestine. Just be aware that people like that will HATE you because you are stirring their conscience, and their carefully constructed justifications for the horror Israelis like her relatives visit on Gaza.

    • tear-stained uzi
      September 24, 2012, 1:06 am

      Really great, powerful comment!

      I applaud Phil, too, and this amazing community. What an important, essential project it is — obviously, it’s a labor of love.

      But personally, I hope Phil doesn’t give up talking to Jews. Everyone comes to this issue from an individual perspective, a spectrum of views — even Zionists — and those attitudes vary over time. Right now, that woman’s heart is hardened against the non-Zionist view. Maybe she’ll never change; maybe she’ll move to the West Bank and set fire to some family’s olive trees.

      On the other hand, maybe she’s having trouble falling asleep tonight.

      • Sumud
        September 24, 2012, 12:09 pm

        Thanks t-s u.

        I hope Phil doesn’t give up talking to jews either. It’s important work and more selfishly I love to read his articles about his encounters and thoughs and opinions, it’s his most compelling writing I think.

        As for the dark-haired lady, you’re right: she may go either way – ‘price tag’ settler terrorising Palestinians or ardent anti-zionist. Maybe she’ll go quiet on the issue and distance herself from her relatives. It’s messy – it requires courage.

        I hope one of her friends has called her up and said “that awful Philip Weiss has written an article and I think it’s about you…”

  8. yourstruly
    September 22, 2012, 12:22 pm

    phil, there is a way that supporters of justice for palestine can influence Israelis, but it’s not by appealing to them to look at the conflict from the Palestinian perspective because, alas, most of them consider the Palestinian to be less than human. Instead, to direct our energies at educating the public to the fact that our government’s unconditional support for the Zionist entity is the reason “they” (the Arab/Islamic world) hate us, and that the road to a just and peaceful world starts with a popular movement that successfuly pressures our government into ending its special relationship with Israel, the better to force said entity to change its ways. As for the sensibilities of Israelis &/or Jewish-American Israel firsters; what, rather than upsetting those who fan the flames that could engulf us all, one is to refrain from helping put out the fire? After all, compared to the personal (not to mention the collective) return from contributing to the betterment of the world, what significance being labeled a self-hater? Might not one look upon those words as a badge of honor?

  9. Donald
    September 22, 2012, 12:29 pm

    “I keep thinking back to when I said, “Should have been more sensitive,” and I’m embarrassed about that. It shows how I curb myself in a Jewish audience.”

    You were being sensitive. What you’re talking about is the emotional blackmail that is intended to make you become insensitive to the Palestinian side. She wasn’t just asking for sensitivity to the Israeli victims of violence or she wouldn’t have sneered at your statement that the Palestinians lack rights.

    Obviously you realized that later, after the social embarrassment wore off.

    • eljay
      September 22, 2012, 8:24 pm

      >> You were being sensitive. What you’re talking about is the emotional blackmail that is intended to make you become insensitive to the Palestinian side. She wasn’t just asking for sensitivity to the Israeli victims of violence or she wouldn’t have sneered at your statement that the Palestinians lack rights.

      Well said, Donald.

  10. MRW
    September 22, 2012, 12:47 pm

    @Phil,

    You’re not alone. Dr. Steve Pieczenik made the same decision and he’s now reaching hundreds of thousands. [This is an Alex Jones show where he manages to keep his interruptions to what for him is a minimum. I find Jones' hyperbolic and hyperventilating voice so grating that I can only tune in once or twice a year when sold on why I should.]

    The country is ready for a discussion. There is a lot of pent-up resentment that the anti-semite label is used to silence the discussion, and a lot of knowing looks in a room of Gentiles—a whole new code base—when a woman like the one that confronted you does her speechifying. Screechifying.

    There was a time a decade ago when you couldn’t get me out of business or first class. I flew all around the world. In fact, I did an around-the-world because of circumstances the week of 9/11. Now I’m a motor hound. I won’t fly unless I need to get to someplace like Buenos Aires or Stockholm. Now I drive everywhere. I hit small towns, and make a bee-line for the local dives where I can still smoke, drink, and eat in one place. Since I’m a lover of the interstices, I listen to the crawl of the ground, the pulse. And it has changed radically in the last two years.

    Years and years ago, Connie Rosenblum (way before she became editor of the NYT Arts section or was it the Sunday Style?) told me she visited an A-List NYC journalist at home. She wouldn’t say who it was, except that the guy was a biz legend, an untouchable. She was shocked to see stacks and stacks of Mother Jones and National Enquirers/supermarket tabloids on the floor, given his beat. At the time Mother Jones was fringe, a window cleaner. She was incredulous. How can you read this stuff! He told her, and I paraphrase, ‘I read everything. I need to know the pulse of the nation, and you do too. You ignore it at your peril’.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, there was another piece to that. This guy knew Reagan was going to win in 1980 because he could see it happen in the National Enquirer two years beforehand.

    • RudyM
      September 22, 2012, 2:41 pm

      Yeah, Alex Jones covers some of the same things that interest me, but I find him embarrassing (and frankly consider him controlled opposition of some sort–he’s awfully friendly to Zionists, specifically). Anyhow, from Pieczenik’s website: “StevePieczenik Alex Jones just pulled me off his 1:30 show today. He was intimidated by the very people we talked about. no worries, truth will prevail.”

  11. Blake
    September 22, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Perhaps you clammed up because you were OVER sensitive. Personally speaking in that scenario I would have probably done the same but you really have nothing to be apologetic about. You are a noble man Mr Weiss because you care for the downtrodden and oppressed. Nothing to be ashamed of. All noble qualities. You have an amazing wife as well.

  12. tommy
    September 22, 2012, 1:15 pm

    Confronting nationalist ideology within a community is unwelcome, unappreciated, and elicits hostility despite being based on humanist reasons, or even the ethics of that community. Opposing the invasion of Iraq and condemning the obedience of the troops resulted in similar retreats to the refuge of nativism. Compounding the issue are the economic and political forces manipulating this behavioral tendency to foment support for oppression that in no way can be deemed to be in the best interests of that community.

  13. bintbiba
    September 22, 2012, 1:39 pm

    @Ramzi Jaber
    Very well said!
    I second your thoughts
    I too am always touched by Philip’s words and deeds.

  14. American
    September 22, 2012, 1:55 pm

    It’s the old saying Phil…’you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’.
    Ideally what you need for yourself is some kind of protective bubble wrapping around your feelings and emotions to operate within. Where any difference in Jewish and non Jewish relations and intercourse, and being pleased or wounded or disappointed by any are equal or don’t matter. You just say what you say and who you are and let the chips fall where they may with no apologies.
    That’s all you can do….you gotta be the Happy Warrior to survive this endeavor you have taken on.

    The Happy Warrior
    link to bartleby.com

  15. traintosiberia
    September 22, 2012, 2:30 pm

    This site has promoted an open discussion that is unprecedented and is extremely important but it could not have happened without Philip Weiss and without his wife standing behind him.

  16. Kris
    September 22, 2012, 4:40 pm

    It’s because of people like you and your wife, Phil, that the day is coming when apologists for Zionism will be the ones who will feel socially awkward when truth is spoken about Israel’s crimes. I think it’s the way it was in Texas in the early 60′s, when it seemed as if suddenly it was not okay to be openly racist any more. But we know that the change was not “sudden” at all: it was the result of years of patient work. Like yours.

    You really are a light in the darkness.

  17. DICKERSON3870
    September 22, 2012, 7:34 pm

    RE: “A couple weeks ago I got in a bit of hot water, and then my wife got in it. She has an outdoorsy friend who invited us to a garden party in our town. . . ” ~ Weiss

    AN EARLY AUTUMN EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE sponsored by the makers of new Ziocaine Über-Xtreme®: It’s guaran-damn-teed to blow your effing mind!™

    I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
    A chance to share old memories and play our songs again
    When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name
    No one recognized me, I didn’t look the same
    CHORUS
    But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
    You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself . . .

    Ricky Nelson: Garden Party 1985 [VIDEO, 03:58] – link to youtube.com

    P.S. LYRICS SOURCE – link to lyricsdepot.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 22, 2012, 11:47 pm

      P.P.S. “AMERICAN MASTERS” PBS DOCUMENTARY:
      No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, 2005, NR, [two parts of approximately 2 hours each; approximately 4 hours total]
      This exhaustive film biography is a moving tribute to rock legend Bob Dylan by acclaimed director Martin Scorsese, featuring never-before-seen footage, rare concert performances and intimate interviews with members of the musician’s inner circle.
      Cast: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Mavis Staples, Peter Yarrow, Bob Johnston, D.A. Pennebaker, Al Kooper
      Director: Martin Scorsese
      Netflix format – 2 DVDs or streaming (until 9/26/12)
      • Netflix DVD listing – link to dvd.netflix.com
      • Netflix streaming – link to movies.netflix.com
      • Internet Movie Database – link to imdb.com
      No Direction Home: Bob Dylan Trailer (2005) [VIDEO, 01:47] – link to youtube.com
      PART ONE IS ALSO ON YouTube: Bob Dylan Documentary – No Direction Home (part 1) [VIDEO, 1:53:13] – link to youtube.com
      [ Part 2 was taken down due to copyright infringement. ]

    • seafoid
      September 23, 2012, 3:32 am

      That’s a great link, Dickerson. I found this alongside it.

  18. DICKERSON3870
    September 22, 2012, 8:13 pm

    RE: She [the zealot] said, Why is your husband [Phil] so obsessed with this issue? My wife said, “Who knows. I’m obsessed with gardening, Sharon’s obsessed with birds. My husband’s obsessed with the Middle East. Who can explain these things.” ~ from Phil’s post

    MY COMMENT: I can! I can! I can!
    Firstly, when Phil was a very young tyke, his mother made him look at his poop before she flushed it (pursuant to what she had read in some trendy, new book on parenting/child rearing).
    Secondly and thirdly, Phil listened to the music of Bob Marley whilst reading books written by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky.
    Consequently, our poor, pitiful Phil has a “brutal compulsion for the truth”!
    DEAL WITH IT! ! !

    P.S. ONE (THERE ARE A NUMBER OF OTHERS) OF THE REASONS I AM “OBSESSED” WITH “THIS ISSUE”: I remember one particular Six Day War joke that was told by a high school classmate of mine (not one of my friends, who were much less chauvinistic) during my senior year (the year following the Six Day War). Actually, to be more accurate, I only remember the gist of the joke at this point.
    As I recall it, there was a (school?) bus load of Egyptian children somewhere in the Sinai. The punchline was that the mighty Israeli military virtually vaporized the entire bus full of Egyptian children. [Riotous laughter here, excepting me.] There wasn’t a single survivor! [Ha, ha, ha!]

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 22, 2012, 11:12 pm

      P.P.S. A FEW EXAMPLES OF OTHER PEOPLE CURSED WITH A “BRUTAL COMPULSION FOR THE TRUTH” (RELATIVELY SPEAKING):
      Galileo
      I.F. Stone
      Kierkegaard
      Spinoza
      John Pilger
      Einstein
      Glenn Greenwald
      Chris Hedges
      Mike Malloy
      Naomi Klein
      Max Blumenthal
      Seymour Hersh
      Peter B. Collins
      Amy Goodman
      These are just some people that happened to “pop into my head” this time. At another time, completely different exemplars of a “brutal compulsion for the truth” might occur to me.

      • DICKERSON3870
        September 23, 2012, 6:03 am

        P.P.P.S. A FEW MORE EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE CURSED WITH A “BRUTAL COMPULSION FOR THE TRUTH” (RELATIVELY SPEAKING):
        Howard Zinn
        Marc Ellis
        Mordechai Vanunu
        Daniel Ellsberg
        Uri Geller Avnery
        Amira Haas
        Ira Chernus
        Norman Finkelstein
        the people at +972
        Richard Silverstein
        Jacobo Timerman
        Robert Parry
        Sinclair Lewis
        Tennessee Williams
        Walker Percy
        M.L.K. Jr.
        James Baldwin
        Lars von Trier
        Ingmar Bergman
        These are just some people that happened to “pop into my head” this time. At another time, completely different exemplars of a “brutal compulsion for the truth” might occur to me.

  19. Exiled At Home
    September 22, 2012, 8:16 pm

    Phil,

    This is great. I’ve long believed the conversation needs to break away from the Jewish margins, where, as you note, people do not want to know.

    I spend most of my time discussing this with average, uninformed Americans. And, it’s been a successful, though tumultuous, endeavor.

    One note of importance: I’m not in the slightest bit a supporter of the Obama administration, and view his administration as completely unresponsive to the needs of progress and back-bone in Israeli-Palestinian discourse. However, Netanyahu has inexplicably made Obama a target of his ire. Which is good. Obama has such a cult of personality surrounding him that Netanyahu’s insulting behavior has awakened Obama’s base. I work with several politically engaged guys who are ardent supporters of Obama. They have never been especially interested in the Middle East, nor conscious enough, or willing, to criticize Israel. Yet, I have seen an awakening recently, and they are quite pissed of with Netanyahu, his meddling in the election, his war-mongering over Iran. They’ve openly expressed their anger of late, and have touched on the issue of American unwavering support for Israel, and Netanyahu’s disrespectful insolence. The conversation is moving inward from the margins, in large part because of Obama’s cult of personality. For once, a good thing.

  20. MRW
    September 22, 2012, 10:07 pm

    Listen to your wife. She has good instincts.

  21. Keith
    September 22, 2012, 10:41 pm

    PHIL- “My friends and family over there don’t feel desperate at all. They like it. Except when the rockets come in to Sderot.”

    “I was paralyzed for an instant, then said, “Those people in Gaza don’t have any rights.”

    Is this a joke? Seriously. At this stage of the game, if you don’t have your talking points down better than this, perhaps you should pull the plug.

    • W.Jones
      September 23, 2012, 12:17 am

      Gaza is a fine talking point, and I think the Goldstone report shows alot of their rights are denied.

      • seafoid
        September 23, 2012, 6:57 am

        Look at what the IDF says about Gaza. All the stuff about poverty is just LIES

        link to idfblog.com

        • ritzl
          September 23, 2012, 7:14 pm

          The NYT reports that Gaza has less p/c GDP as Haiti (h/t Joe Catron).

          But despite these increased economic opportunities, the report by the United Nations office in Gaza says the situation is worse now than in the 1990s and due to deteriorate further as the population surges to 2.1 million over the next eight years. The United Nations report found that gross domestic product per capita was down (to $1,165 in 2011 from $1,327 in 1994, adjusted for inflation) and unemployment up (near 30 percent over all now, and much higher for women and young people).

          link to nytimes.com

          Haiti p/c GDP from the CIA factbook:

          link to cia.gov

          The IDF BS at that link is akin to saying that there is no hunger in the wealthiest of cities/circumstances – NYC, US. There is (IIRC, a 30% food insecurity rate). The highly selective/designed to mislead IDF/hasbara pix are completely meaningless (other than, as you posed them, as total disinfo).

        • seafoid
          September 24, 2012, 4:16 am

          The IDF argument is nonsense. If there is one supermarket in Port au Prince then there can be no poverty in the city, in the eyes of the IDF.

    • proudzionist777
      September 23, 2012, 2:32 am

      Phil didn’t engage this woman regarding her friends and family in Israel. He shut her down by switching the subject to Palestinian rights in Gaza.

      I’ve just moved to central Israel and all I’ve seen here so far is ordinary people, Jew and Arab, trying to earn a living and relax when there’s time. That’s it.

      Most Israelis, man and women, who have done their compulsory military service within the past 40+ years, are aware of what’s happening in the Occupied Territories.

      • ColinWright
        September 23, 2012, 4:44 am

        proudzionist777: “I’ve just moved to central Israel and all I’ve seen here so far is ordinary people, Jew and Arab, trying to earn a living and relax when there’s time. That’s it.”

        How many of your neighbors are Palestinians?

        • proudzionist777
          September 23, 2012, 6:40 am

          I live in Israel. All my neighbors are Arabs.

        • Annie Robbins
          September 23, 2012, 8:48 am

          All my neighbors are Arabs.

          all your neighbors? what town in central israel do you live in?

        • seafoid
          September 23, 2012, 9:07 am

          “I live in Israel. All my neighbors are Arabs”

          Palestinians, surely. Or are your neighbours Bahraini or something ?

        • seafoid
          September 23, 2012, 9:11 am

          what town in central israel do you live in

          link to haaretz.com

          “The country comes to a complete standstill from sundown on the eve of Yom Kippur (this year – Tuesday, September 25) until sunset the following day. Cars are forbidden on the roads (apart from the occasional emergency vehicle) and TV and radio stations are dark, save for a handful of foreign cable channels.
          Without land or even air traffic, a captivating silence descends over most of the country.Keep in mind that during Yom Kippur absolutely everything is closed: grocery and convenience stores, restaurants, and coffee shops. Make sure you stock up on any needed supplies in advance. The only exceptions are Arab villages where business continues as usual. ”

          Isn’t this wrong in a pluralist democracy? If Palestinians live in Netanya or beside PZ should they have to stay in for Yom Kippur?

        • ColinWright
          September 23, 2012, 4:15 pm

          Put it this way then. How many Palestinians live within 100 yards of you?

        • proudzionist777
          September 23, 2012, 5:54 pm

          Are you insane? Arabs do whatever they please on Yom Kippur. Okay. Maybe the malls are closed but the mall owners are entitled to open and close their businesses as the see fit. No?
          When all the Jews in Israel stop whatever they’re doing for a two minute of silence on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Arabs cruise on the highways doing what the please, which bothers nobody.

        • ColinWright
          September 24, 2012, 1:43 am

          I had the impression Israel usually imposed massive closures in the West Bank et al to help the Arabs celebrate the Jewish holidays.

          …sort of a display of power. Let ‘em know who’s top dog, right?

          oh and by the way, you seem to have missed my question.

          How many Palestinians live within a hundred yards of you?

        • tree
          September 24, 2012, 2:47 am

          I had the impression Israel usually imposed massive closures in the West Bank et al to help the Arabs celebrate the Jewish holidays.

          Yup. And then there’s what happened in Acre (within the green line) in 2008.

          On October 8, 48-year old Tawfiq Jamal got into his car with his 18-year old son and a friend, and set out for the house of his relatives, the Shaaban family, who lived as of then in a new, predominantly Jewish neighborhood on the eastern edges of Acre. A walled city on the sea, mainly famed in the West for having served as the CENTCOM of the crusading Richard the Lionheart, Acre is today a `mixed` Israeli town, inhabited by Jews as well as Arabs like Tawfiq. That day, he was on his way to pick up his daughter, who had been helping the Shaabans prepare cakes for a wedding scheduled for the following week. He insists that he drove slowly and quietly, with his radio turned off. It was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, one of the holiest days of the Jewish religious calendar, on which the streets of Israel`s Jewish cities and towns customarily empty of traffic. After he parked his car at the Shaaban home, a group of Jewish youths attacked Tawfiq and chased him inside. For the next few hours, a mob besieged the place, and as rumors spread that one of its inhabitants had been killed, Arab youths poured out of the city`s old casbah ghetto, some reportedly to come to the rescue. On their way back home the youths proceeded to break a number of windows in Jewish shops.

          The next day over 1,000 Jewish residents took to the streets. By the time things had calmed down, one week later, 14 Arab families had been chased from their homes on Acre`s eastern outskirts, their houses fire-bombed. Five houses had been burned to the ground, 80 shops and 30 homes damaged, over 100 cars had had their windows and chassis smashed and numerous people, both Arabs and Jews, had been injured. The events came to dominate the news in Israel over the extended Jewish holiday season, as the national media refocused lenses otherwise turned on Israel`s outer borders with the West Bank and Gaza. While journalists and politicians noisily argued over What Had Happened and What Should Be Done, however, keener observers may have noted a curious dissonance in the debate. Not only were these questions not necessarily asked in that order, but in many ways they also seemed to be subjects of two entirely different discussions. In this dissonance lies the key to understanding Israel`s Yom Kippur upheavals.

          link to kibush.co.il

        • ColinWright
          September 24, 2012, 2:59 pm

          “…How many Palestinians live within a hundred yards of you?”

          Funny that. prd has failed to answer my question twice now. He managed to misconstrue it when I initially asked it in a vaguer form — but has ignored it when I expressed it precisely.

          Would it be unreasonable to assume that none of prd’s new neighbors are Palestinian?

        • W.Jones
          September 24, 2012, 9:28 pm

          Colin:
          “I had the impression Israel usually imposed massive closures in the West Bank [on] the Jewish holidays.”
          Yes, this is just a fact. It is every year for many years now. One of the latest “security” excuses for doing this was that Palestinians were complaining about new settlements being built, and that this must mean there are heightened concerns.

          I guess something new just happens around that time. You know, throw a checkpoint here, build a settlement there, some Muslim religious person says they disagree with the decision, so close down the place for a week. You know the drill.

        • ColinWright
          September 25, 2012, 5:54 pm

          Sure enough: from today’s Haaretz:

          “IDF, Israel Police, and Magen David Adom prepare for the 25-hour Yom Kippur fast; IDF imposes closure on West Bank…”

          Palestinians always get to help celebrate Jewish holidays!

        • proudzionist777
          September 26, 2012, 5:12 am

          @Tree

          “This was a provocation. An Arab driver arrived in a Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur with blaring music, and refused to leave when asked to by local residents. We believe he was intoxicated. This was a deliberate act,” Galilee Police spokesman Ch.-Supt. Eran Shaked said.

          BTW. Three Arab homes were damaged by fire. Five Arab homes were not burned to the ground.

          BTW. I thought arab Acco was famous for probably being the only city to withstand a seige by Napolean Bonaparte.

        • Izik
          September 26, 2012, 6:21 am

          “Isn’t this wrong in a pluralist democracy? If Palestinians live in Netanya or beside PZ should they have to stay in for Yom Kippur?”

          They don’t have to stay in, Arab, Jews and Christians. can do whatever they want on Yom Kippur.

        • seafoid
          September 26, 2012, 7:33 am

          From wiki

          “Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei. According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a book, the Book of Life, on Rosh Hashanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero).”

          *There are ongoing difficulties with the definition of bein adam lechavero especially bein adam leAravim and bein adam lepalestinians . The solution is to decide that Palestinians are not human.

          What a mess the whole thing is. Shut down the occupied West Bank so that ***s can atone for their sins. It is an infinite loop of sin and degradation and forgiveness and sin and degradation and forgiveness and sin and

        • Izik
          September 26, 2012, 12:10 pm

          Are you suggesting that Israel restricts Palestinian movements between cities during Yom-Kippur because of a demonic religious motivation? That’s ridiculous.

        • seanmcbride
          September 26, 2012, 12:24 pm

          Izik,

          Which ethnic nationalist movements around the world do you care about other than your own?

        • Woody Tanaka
          September 26, 2012, 12:48 pm

          “Are you suggesting that Israel restricts Palestinian movements between cities during Yom-Kippur because of a demonic religious motivation? That’s ridiculous.”

          No, what is ridiculous (and demonic and evil and twisted and foul) is israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement at all in their own land.

        • tree
          September 26, 2012, 1:44 pm

          “This was a provocation. An Arab driver arrived in a Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur with blaring music, and refused to leave when asked to by local residents. We believe he was intoxicated. This was a deliberate act,” Galilee Police spokesman Ch.-Supt. Eran Shaked said.

          And

          They don’t have to stay in, Arab, Jews and Christians. can do whatever they want on Yom Kippur.

          …are seriously at odds with each other. Maybe you guys should get your stories straight.

          Besides the fact that the quoted policeman was not there, and is taking the words of the Jewish teens that attacked Jamal over Jamal’s insistence that he was not speeding nor was his radio on, its obvious that in this case the Israeli Palestinian citizens of Acre could NOT do what ever they wanted on Yom Kippur. Jamal and his son, after they stopped in front of their relatives house, were attacked with stones by Jewish teens for, at the worst, driving too fast with his radio blaring, and at the least for driving, period. Or perhaps in this instance even the driving was a pretext for the attack; shouting “Death to Arabs” tends to give the impression that one has highly negative feelings about Arabs regardless of whether they are driving on Yom Kippur or not.

          The disturbances began after a Palestinian resident of Acre drove into the eastern, predominantly Jewish neighborhood around midnight on Wednesday, 9 October, during the observance of the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday. This prompted a violent reaction from Jewish residents and soon, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported, “Police warded off hundreds of Jewish rioters, chanting ‘death to the Arabs,’ and trying to storm the city’s main road” (Jack Khoury, Nadav Shragai and Yoav Stern, “Acre sees worst violence in years as Jews and Arabs resume clashes,” Haaretz.com, 9 October 2008, update of 21:29). As word spread of the attack on the driver, Arab youths came to the scene.

          According to Acre resident Tawfiq Jamal’s own account, he drove with his son and a friend, at around 11pm in order to pick up his daughter from the home of relatives where she had been helping prepare baked sweets for a wedding. When they arrived, according to Jamal, “I asked my son to take the baking dishes out of the car and proceeded to walk [toward the house] when [the Jews] suddenly began hurling stones at us” (Sharon Roffe-Ophir, “Arab motorist: I narrowly escaped lynch in Akko,” Ynet, 9 October 2008).

          Jamal described how he and the two young men narrowly escaped a lynching. He strenuously denied accusations he had been drinking and deliberately started the incident by playing loud music. Acre police commander Avraham Edri confirmed much of Jamal’s account, telling the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee that:

          “When my officers arrived at the scene, they had to handle 300-400 people who had already lifted the driver’s car in the air. Our first mission was to prevent casualties. We released the driver from the mob and helped him into an apartment nearby … My staff served as a barrier between him and the excited mob; the policemen were hurt but not one civilian was injured” (“Acre driver apologizes for incident,” The Jerusalem Post, 12 October 2008).

          Speaking before the Knesset committee on 12 October, Jamal apologized for driving into the Jewish area and said he had “made a mistake.” Despite this, Israeli police arrested Jamal for “harming religious sensitivities, speeding and reckless endangerment,” and remanded him in custody (Jack Khoury, “Police arrest driver who sparked Acre riots for ‘harming religious sensitivities,’” Haaretz, 13 October 2008). There were no reports of arrests specifically for the attempted lynching of Jamal and his companions.

          Violent clashes between Jewish and Palestinian residents continued for several nights as police intervened with riot control methods including water cannon. According to Israeli police, many Arab Palestinian families had to be evacuated and about a dozen of their homes were set on fire.

          In the end, 54 people — Jews and Arabs — were arrested, about 100 cars and several dozen shops were damaged. Several minor injuries were reported. While Jews and Arabs took part in the violence, on 12 October, on the third day of the disturbances, Major-General Shimon Koren, commander of Israel’s Northern District police, said the riots had been instigated by Jews (“Police official says instigators of Akko riots Jewish,” Ynet, 12 October 2008), and, “The majority of rioters causing disturbances in [Acre] are Jews” (Sharon Roffe-Ofir, “Northern District police commander: Majority of Akko riots [sic] are Jews,” Ynet, 12 October 2008).

          link to electronicintifada.net

          Rather ironic that the Jewish teens thought that driving on Yom Kippur was a “provocation” but stoning people on Yom Kippur is entirely kosher.

      • Sumud
        September 23, 2012, 5:30 am

        I’ve just moved to central Israel and all I’ve seen here so far is ordinary people, Jew and Arab, trying to earn a living and relax when there’s time.

        What is your point?

        Whenever atrocities are being committed there are always ‘ordinary people… …trying to earn a living and relax when there’s time’ close by.

        Israel is no different. A war crime is a war crime. Wilful ignorance is not an excuse.

        • proudzionist777
          September 23, 2012, 6:45 am

          There are crimes and human rights violations being committed all over the Middle East. Why do you single out Israel and willfully ignore the other violators?

        • David Samel
          September 23, 2012, 9:04 am

          pz777: There are crimes and human rights violations being committed all over the Middle East. Why do you single out Israel and willfully ignore the other violators?

          Why do you single out Israel and refuse to defend other countries’ crimes and human rights violations? Don’t you think Assad needs a defense while others “demonize” and “delegitimize” him? Or do you refuse to defend him simply because he’s “Arab” and you are racist? And yes, I’m kidding, but only half. The serious point is the absurdity of your complaint.

        • proudzionist777
          September 23, 2012, 10:59 am

          I really don’t know what is happening in Syria and this blog certainly does nothing to inform. It appears to be a religious, secterian civil war where Assad kills more people but loses territorial control.

        • mikeo
          September 23, 2012, 11:14 am

          Ha ha. Good one DS!

        • Sumud
          September 23, 2012, 12:00 pm

          Why do you single out Israel and willfully ignore the other violators?

          Is that your point or are you just grasping at straws now?

          Obviously the latter, since you started off with a whine that Phil didn’t engage with this woman who arrogantly dismissed him, and now you’re talking about other events across the Middle East.

          For the record:
          – which country is responsible for creating and maintaining the largest population of refugees in the world?
          – which country is in violation of more UN resolutions that any other country in the world?
          – which country is undertaking the longest military occupation in modern history?

          Does that answer your question about what makes Israel worthy of unique attention [in my mind]?

        • Walker
          September 23, 2012, 12:13 pm

          There are crimes and human rights violations being committed all over the Middle East. Why do you single out Israel and willfully ignore the other violators?

          Because:
          1) Due to our total support of Israel, the US is partly responsible for Israel’s crimes.
          2) That puts at risk in large areas around the world.

          Now take a hike, troll.

        • ColinWright
          September 23, 2012, 4:18 pm

          proudzionist777: ‘Why do you single out Israel and willfully ignore the other violators?’

          Because we helped to create Israel and are now more or less solely responsible for her continued support and survival.

          We’ve been through this before. I’m sure many seventeen year old boys in Richmond have done all kinds of awful things. I concern myself primarily with my son’s behavior. It’s him that I’m responsible for.

        • proudzionist777
          September 23, 2012, 5:42 pm

          The United States helps all the Persian Gulf States, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc.

          So where is the criticism of these war criminals and human rights violators. BTW. The United States did zero to help Israel until post Six Day War.

        • ColinWright
          September 24, 2012, 1:47 am

          proudzionist777: “So where is the criticism of these war criminals and human rights violators. BTW. The United States did zero to help Israel until post Six Day War.”

          Ahem. Without us, Israel would never have come into being.

          But you’re right. It would be a heck of an improvement if we went back to the attitude we had before the Six Day War. Come to think of it, it would be good if Israel went back to the position she had before the Six Day War — or maybe even to her legal boundaries.

          Think that’s in the cards? Israel obeying international law? Actually honoring her commitments?

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 23, 2012, 8:26 am

        “Phil didn’t engage this woman regarding her friends and family in Israel. He shut her down by switching the subject to Palestinian rights in Gaza.”

        Bull, pudracist. These friends and family in Sderot are living on land ethnically cleansed by the isreaeli Jews pushing the Palestinians into Gaza, where they are corralled in a giant concentration camp. The fact that you call this “switching the subject” is exactly the pathology the post is about.

        “I’ve just moved to central Israel and all I’ve seen here so far is ordinary people, Jew and Arab, trying to earn a living and relax when there’s time. That’s it.”

        Yeah, and if Hitler won the war, the German population in Eastern Poland would, too, be ordinary people, trying to earn a living and relax when there’s time. Genocide and ethnic cleansing is so mundane after the fact.

      • David Samel
        September 23, 2012, 9:22 am

        pz777: Phil didn’t engage this woman regarding her friends and family in Israel. He shut her down by switching the subject to Palestinian rights in Gaza.
        Phil didn’t shut her down. She could have explained why she thought the anguish of her Israeli friends and family over rockets in Sderot [do they really live there?] is of paramount concern, and Phil could have responded by saying that Gazans suffer a million times worse. In this same thread, pz, you “switch the subject” by complaining about the focus on Israeli “crimes and human rights violations” to the exclusion of those of other countries? Are you admitting to trying to “shut us down”? Your silliness doesn’t even rise to the level of ordinary hypocrisy. Why do you bother?

    • Donald
      September 23, 2012, 1:59 pm

      “At this stage of the game, if you don’t have your talking points down better than this, perhaps you should pull the plug.”

      Phil runs a great blog, but when caught off-guard in a social setting he didn’t give the perfect response. Lots of us are like that on all sorts of issues. We’re not all instant polished debaters under all circumstances.

      • Keith
        September 23, 2012, 6:18 pm

        DONALD- “Phil runs a great blog, but when caught off guard in a social setting he didn’t give the perfect response.”

        What’s this, another joke? Norman Finkelstein has lately been severely criticized on this website. Do you think that Norman would have been caught off guard? How about Jeffery Blankfort? Max Ajl? My focus is on the global political economy, Palestine a side issue. Yet, I like to think that I could have done better. Sderot? Oh, do your friends and family live in Sderot? According to Michel Warschawski, Sderot is just a talking point to justify current policy. Not long ago, no Israeli gave two shits about Sderot, something of a backwater. I suspect that few Ashkenazi would be caught dead in Sderot. The point being that I am surprised that Phil literally got caught off guard, that he doesn’t have a mountain of facts and effective talking points at the ready. He should, and if he doesn’t, he needs to get up to speed fast. Harsh? Perhaps, but there is little to be gained by being a half-assed advocate.

        • Cliff
          September 26, 2012, 11:38 pm

          I don’t think Phil wanted to turn the garden party into a ‘war of ideas.’

          He may have realized he was picking his battles and it was better to ignore the converted Zionist. I mean, the woman’s husband wouldn’t shake Phil’s hand.

          Phil wasn’t even talking to her – he was talking to someone else and the Zio butted in.

          Notice how mudracist666 lacks reading comprehension due to Zio-blinders and immediately accuses Phil of proselytizing.

          You can’t have sincere dialogue with insincere people.

          Would you try to engage hophmi or Izik or gulag-g in real life? No. You would – of course – shut them down, Norman Finkelstein style, with the facts. That’s a different kind of dialogue. In my opinion, it’s – strangely – an intervention!

          But to do that at a garden party would be bizarre and really, the Zionists on the scene would simply twist it to their advantage saying, ‘why bring politics into blah blah (even though the Zio instigated it with her indignant interjection).’

        • Keith
          September 30, 2012, 6:57 pm

          CLIFF- “Would you try to engage hophmi or Izik or gulag-g in real life? No. You would – of course – shut them down, Norman Finkelstein style, with the facts.”

          You got that right! Facts and ridicule! Of course, I’m sure that Phil would be sufficiently polite, not at all like abrasive old me.

          “But to do that at a garden party would be bizarre and really, the Zionists on the scene would simply twist it to their advantage….”

          Better to sound like a no-nothing who evades the issue that was raised? Of course you are not going to change the Zionist woman’s mind, but Phil probably lost some credibility with interested bystanders. Phil should be very knowledgeable at this stage of the game and be able to anticipate comments somewhat and respond with educational facts for the benefit of all listeners. This “rockets on Sderot” crap should be easy to demolish for the benefit of the uninformed. At the least, Phil needs to sound like he has his shit together. For comparison, from an interview with Noam Chomsky:

          CHOMSKY: Well, just to go back a bit to June 2008, when a ceasefire was reached between Israel and Hamas, the dominant force in the Gaza strip. Right after the ceasefire there were no missiles at all fired by Hamas at Israel. The missiles don’t amount to much. They are kind of home-made missiles.

          LEZAMA: They never even make it to Tel Aviv.

          CHOMSKY: The missile launches from Hamas stopped altogether during that period, even though Israel didn’t observe the ceasefire. Part of the ceasefire was that Israel was supposed to stop the siege. Still, no Hamas missiles. You can read that on the official Israeli government website. In November 2008, the day of the presidential election, Israeli military forces invaded Gaza and killed half a dozen Hamas militants. Well, that was followed by a missile exchange for a couple of weeks in both directions. Like always, all the casualties were Palestinian but there were some Hamas missiles, followed by a much heavier, far bloodier response from Israel. This leads us to mid-December 2008. At that point, Hamas offered to renew the ceasefire. Israel considered the offer, rejected it and decided instead to invade and attack Gaza. That is Operation Cast Lead, which started on December 27, 2008. It was brutal and murderous.
          link to counterpunch.org

  22. Elliot
    September 22, 2012, 11:23 pm

    Phil – I know what you mean about not caring. Of course it matters very much for the future of Palestine what Jews think and yes, it is also about saving the soul of the Jewish community.
    But I think that your strategy with focussing on Mondoweiss while trying to avoid unnecessary stress with Jewish bigots is a good one.
    The stronger the voice of reason is outside the Jewish community, the harder it will be for Jews to build a wall around their position. The way to change the community is not by slogging it out with Jewish bigots but by applying pressure from without. I’m with you in not caring, unless you’re lucky enough to be around open-minded Jews – particularly younger ones – who haven’t yet locked themselves into a mental ghetto.

  23. David Samel
    September 22, 2012, 11:30 pm

    Interesting story, Phil. Regarding your sensitivity or lack thereof, this woman saw no need to show the slightest sensitivity to what she knew was a concern you took seriously. She was deserving of no more consideration than she showed you. Why should she feel any more free to speak her mind than you are? Easy for me to say, but when confronted in person, I probably would have reacted similarly. But don’t feel bad — your website reaches a much larger audience and has a lot more influence than any personal encounter you might have.

    Your story reminded me of one of my own. About 10 years ago, I had a long discussion about this issue with a non-Jewish friend who knew nothing about it. He thought I sounded quite reasonable and persuasive, but I warned him to be careful when bringing up the subject among other Jewish friends. A few weeks later, he told me that he had dinner with his Jewish neighbors, who were otherwise “very liberal,” and when he brought up my arguments, the discussion got so heated that the woman told him they could no longer be friends. He was truly traumatized. Such is the nature of this issue. I think there is nothing wrong with being “sensitive” to the extent of understanding that people you encounter might get very emotional, and that it is preferable to state your views calmly and reasonably, but if others decide to shun or even hate you for your honestly held views, that’s on them.

  24. wes
    September 22, 2012, 11:34 pm

    Phil you need to sell up and move to israel.go amongst the tribe and convince them with righteous deeds.talking the talk in america far away from the rockets is just hyprocisy your just another internet jockey.once israel has fallen we will be at the mercy of the powers that be.

  25. W.Jones
    September 23, 2012, 12:16 am

    “She had thought Bethlehem was a prison, surrounded by walls, and the people there were making handicrafts the way prisoners make license plates.” So true.

    And Phil, isn’t that a funny picture- a lady comes asking you for advice about an issue because she is afraid of upsetting people, and then a person overhears who is the kind of person the lady was afraid of?

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 23, 2012, 8:42 am

      W.Jones, That’s exact true, isn’t it? I think that there are a hell of a lot of non-Jewish people in the US who abhor what israel is doing but don’t say anything because they have no interest in having this conflict with Jews in America.

  26. ColinWright
    September 23, 2012, 12:35 am

    wes says: “Phil you need to sell up and move to israel.go amongst the tribe and convince them with righteous deeds…”

    I couldn’t disagree more. Going to Israel is voting with your feet.

  27. W.Jones
    September 23, 2012, 12:38 am

    Phil,

    In my mind, if you know a storm is coming, it is worth warning everyone in a town, and if people are trapped in a storm, it is worth telling all the rescue workers about it. So it makes sense that you need not and probably should not limit yourself to one audience unless for some reason you need to. In fact, it makes sense that you may want to address everyone.

    Of course it also makes sense that you can direct yourself to a certain audience if you want to. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. Maybe if you do a good enough job it will have some effects, and anyway maybe you feel more comfortable with a certain group of people, etc. It’s really what you feel like doing.

    The Lord keep you.

  28. proudzionist777
    September 23, 2012, 1:49 am

    @Phil

    You get invited to a garden party and start proselytizing? Wow.

    • ColinWright
      September 23, 2012, 4:41 am

      proudzionist777: “You get invited to a garden party and start proselytizing? Wow.”

      Particularly if one is American, there’s something to be said for that. The alternative is to remain silent.

      • proudzionist777
        September 23, 2012, 6:52 am

        Phil has a influential blog which he uses quite effectively to air his views. He doesn’t need to bring his politics to a garden party. Many would consider that boorish. Where does the politiking stop, Colin?
        Weddings and funerals?

        • Kris
          September 23, 2012, 11:27 am

          Gosh, “proud”zionist, you make me feel young again! You sound just like my racist neighbors in Houston when I was a teenager in the early 60′s!

          Like you, they thought it was boorish (they said “tacky”) to mention civil and human rights at a party. Or at any time, really. Besides, they knew that our “nigras” were perfectly satisfied with their place in our society–at the bottom, scrubbing the floors and hauling out the trash. In fact, we loved our “nigras,” and even gave them our discarded clothes and the leftovers from our Thanksgiving dinners!

          It was race traitors (people like Phil) and outside agitators (Yankees like, say Michael Schwerner), who were stirring up trouble down heah, despite the fact that there were much worse problems in other parts of the world!

        • Woody Tanaka
          September 23, 2012, 11:54 am

          “He doesn’t need to bring his politics to a garden party. Many would consider that boorish.”

          Nonsense. He was having a conversation with someone who wanted to talk about the subject. What was boorish, pudracist, was the zio-female butting in.

          “Where does the politiking stop, Colin?”

          Phil wasn’t politicking, he was having a conversation when the woman complaining about fire-crackers from Gaza stuck her nose where it didn’t belong.

        • ColinWright
          September 23, 2012, 4:33 pm

          “…Many would consider that boorish. Where does the politiking stop, Colin?
          Weddings and funerals?…”

          It would depend on the degree of evil, of course. If one thinks that something genuinely evil is taking place, and that we are all complicit in it as long as we are silent, then it becomes incumbent upon us to speak out whenever it seems useful to do so.

          Would you have regarded it as tactless to say something about the Holocaust at a Munich garden party in 1942? Presumably many did feel that way — do you sympathize?

        • proudzionist777
          September 23, 2012, 6:02 pm

          The Civil Rights movement was won in the streets of places like Birmingham and Selma, not at garden parties.

          I ask you. Where does the politiking end? At weddings and funerals? Answer please. Honest answer.

        • tree
          September 23, 2012, 7:16 pm

          Why ask Phil? Why not get the name of the woman who interupted the conversation and question her “boorish” behavior?

          If you find “politicking” so boorish, then you must be upset with the woman who inserted herself into the conversation Phil and the other women were having on a subject they both were interested in talking about, right? Because if you are not, then you are simply once again showing yourself to be a big hypocrite. Which isn’t the least bit surprising, of course.

        • ColinWright
          September 23, 2012, 8:03 pm

          proudzionist777: “The Civil Rights movement was won in the streets of places like Birmingham and Selma, not at garden parties…”

          That sounds good, but it’s actually a very debatable point.

          If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, was there a sound? If the police dogs had attacked the demonstrators — and everyone had agreed it was a good thing they had — would the demonstrations have accomplished anything?

        • Kris
          September 23, 2012, 8:22 pm

          “The Civil Rights movement was won in the streets of places like Birmingham and Selma, not at garden parties.”

          Seriously, “proud”zionist, how old are you? Like every other human rights movement in history, the Civil Rights movement was propelled forward by millions of small acts, including conversations at garden parties, as well as by big acts like violence and demonstrations.

          In the case of the Civil Rights movement, all of these acts together created the momentum that resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

          Similarly, Phil’s conversation at the garden party is one of the millions of small acts that are helping create the momentum which will result in justice for Palestine. Sure, there are large events, too, like Israel’s murder of peace activists like Rachel Corrie, and Israel’s massacre of the defenseless Palestinian families trapped in Gaza, to say nothing of Israel’s leading role (now in the news again) in the massacres at Sabra and Shatilla, etc., etc., etc. There are all the Palestinian demonstrations of steadfastness, humility, and courage, as well as all the demonstrations of arrogance and cruelty by the Jewish Israelis. There will be the uproar when Palestine is finally a non-voting member of the U.N. and brings charges against Israel in the International Court of Justice. Large and small, each of these acts is important.

          Raindrops become a stream, streams become a river, and the rivers become a sea. It seems to me that Phil is a person who actually lives by his faith, and that is why he has the courage to speak out on behalf of the powerless.

          Micah 6:8– He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

          Pretty much the opposite of everything Israel has ever done. Phil is a person who has taken this to heart, and that is why what seems like “politiking” to someone like you probably looks more like seeking justice and mercy to Phil. Weddings, funerals, 4th of July parades, whatever–there is not a second in any day when it is not appropriate to seek mercy and justice and speak out on behalf of the oppressed.

    • MRW
      September 23, 2012, 12:26 pm

      You get invited to a garden party and start proselytizing? Wow.

      Which is what you do here.

  29. proudzionist777
    September 23, 2012, 2:17 am

    Phil. You’re not obsessed with the Middle East. You’re obsessed with Jews using force against Arabs. You are as willfully ignorant about the use of force by Arabs against Arabs as American Jews and Israelis are ignorant of ‘your issue’.

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 23, 2012, 8:29 am

      pudracist, so what? Since the middle of the 19th century virtually all of the use of force by Jews against Arabs has been in the service of the criminal theft of Palestine — one of the greatest crimes against humanity in the last thousand years. That is something to be obsessed about.

  30. seafoid
    September 23, 2012, 3:38 am

    Phil- Maybe you just need a response at the ready when this situation comes up. Some saying by the Baal Shem Tov or a line from the Torah would do.

  31. DICKERSON3870
    September 23, 2012, 4:10 am

    RE: “A couple weeks ago I got in a bit of hot water, and then my wife got in it.” ~ Weiss

    THIS SHOULD MAKE Y’ALL FEEL BETTER (A CONSOLATION PRIZE OF SORTS, LOL):
    Oslo, August 31st, 2011, NR, 91 minutes
    This psychological drama follows a day in the life of Anders, a recovering drug addict who travels to his old stomping grounds of Oslo for a job interview. While there, he must confront his past as well as his plans for a new life.
    Director: Joachim Trier
    Language: Norwegian (English subtitles)
    Netflix format: DVD and streaming
    • Netflix DVD listing – link to dvd.netflix.com
    • Netflix streaming – link to movies.netflix.com
    • Internet Movie Database – link to imdb.com
    • Trailer – Oslo, 31. august (Oslo, August 31st) [V IDEO, 02:12] – link to youtube.com

    P.S. THE EARLIER FILM: Reprise (2006) – link to dvd.netflix.com

  32. ColinWright
    September 23, 2012, 4:47 am

    “…“Oh yeah– they don’t have any rights,” she said sarcastically, and walked away.

    I mumbled, “I guess I should have been more sensitive.” Her husband refused to shake my hand…”

    Think how well this must work on someone who is less committed or more socially desperate. It could make you toe the line pretty quick.

  33. DICKERSON3870
    September 23, 2012, 5:25 am

    RE: “A couple days later our host called my wife and said that the other guest [the pro-Israel zealot] was upset about me and my website.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Well ain’t cognitive dissonance a bitch?!?!

    • SEE: “COGNITIVE DISSONANCE & DEFENSE MECHANISMS”link to mondoweiss.net

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    P.S. RE: “One reason I spent time in the Jewish community was compassion. I thought I could help to save my own group by giving them the news.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: I think this is a very important mission in its own right (apart from its having any potential or not for improving the I-P situation). Unfortunately, it is extremely time consuming, the resistance encountered is very difficult to overcome and very different approaches need to be used as compared to the approaches that will be used more generally in regards to the I-P issue.
    Nonetheless, I think it is very problematic for the Jewish community’s views on the I-P situation to be too far out of sync with the views of the general population. This might also be true (but probably to a lesser degree) for the “Christian Zionists”.

  34. Darcha
    September 23, 2012, 7:47 am

    Congratulations! I think it’s high time that people truly realize that this is not a fight to win over the hearts and minds of Zionist-minded folks. The point is to shut them down and shut them up, to make them afraid to spew their nonsense for fear of castigation, derision and ostracism. It is to shout to the world that the emperor has no clothes, that Zionism is racism. That is the real drip-drip-drip effect of Mondoweiss on the 98%: a growing source of real information on the emperor’s sartorial condition. When ya got ‘em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.

    • MRW
      September 23, 2012, 12:28 pm

      Nothing like the pain of removing one short-hair to focus the mind. ;-)

    • ColinWright
      September 23, 2012, 4:56 pm

      Darcha says: “…Congratulations! I think it’s high time that people truly realize that this is not a fight to win over the hearts and minds of Zionist-minded folks…”

      Yeah. I tend to see it as a matter of shifting everyone a bit.

      The Zionists need to become seen as extremist nutters — and to be made to feel that way. The ‘well, Israel is a Western democracy…’ types need to be shaken in their assumptions. The uncommitted need to be brought to realize that yes, Israel truly is an abomination. Those already convinced need to be encouraged to act.

      You’re not going to get prdzionist777 to realize he’s part of Sauron’s army. You can, however, make him feel he’s the one who has to bite his tongue in mixed company. Make being a Zionist rank somewhere around having erotic feelings about ducks.

      • ritzl
        September 23, 2012, 7:36 pm

        Well said CW. In these settings, that’s the shift that needs to happen.

  35. Ellen
    September 23, 2012, 5:09 pm

    Phil, invite the lady from the party and others like her to visit Bethlehem. And if she refuses (especially after your wife took time to meet with her ) she and others can never say they “just did not know.”

  36. wes
    September 23, 2012, 5:57 pm

    phil

    let me tell you a story

    i attended a jewish school ,very zionist,everyone was encouraged to go to israel after graduation
    i arrive in tel aviv and check into a cheap hotel on hayakon st ,18 years old and excited to be in the holy land-i decided to take a walk on the beach after dinner ,it was dusk and i wanted to enjoy the sunset
    as i was walking along on the beach ,i hear a sound to my left, by the wall ,a tsss tsss,i see a woman beckoning to me so i walk over wondering
    what is this about ?
    she then offers her services for 20 shekels and i stand there.
    absolutely stunned
    a jewish prostitute —-cannot be…in the holy land..the land of the forefathers ….what the hell…what will the rabbi say ?
    i turned around and quickly walked off mumbling a small prayer to keep me on the square

    moral of the story

    its all holy until you involve other people

  37. Matthew Graber
    September 23, 2012, 9:00 pm

    Tomorrow, I have the first meeting for my book group. We have about 20 people from the Philadelphia chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace reading Judith Butler’s “Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism”.

    Phil, there are so many cracks right now in the hegemonic facade of Zionism in America. Whether its Judith Butler’s book, or Max Blumenthal speaking this coming week about “The Death of Liberal Zionism”. The J Streeters are in an incredibly precarious position, and it feels as though many are trending towards BDS.

    I feel as though I’m an eternal skeptic. But Phil, through this site in particular, the conversation is being pushed to the fore.

    Let’s keep pushing.

    • Philip Weiss
      September 23, 2012, 10:23 pm

      thanks Matthew, for optimism, and I’d be really interested to hear what y’all have to say about that…

  38. Joe Catron
    September 24, 2012, 12:17 am

    Bravo, Phil! I “like” this very much.

    Now if you’ll only take your realization that “There’s little I can do to end that belief, and at some level I’ve given up caring” to its natural conclusion and ban Zionist trolls like proudzionist777 from the comments section, I’ll do the Snoopy dance in happiness.

  39. YoungMassJew
    September 24, 2012, 1:12 am

    Don’t you ever give up Phil! I’m confident that my generation can expose Zionism for the racism and ethnocentrism it is. Yes, I’m the minority, but we’re waking up to the danger and more and more young Jews feel compelled to speak out against this danger to Jews, expecially the Palestinians, and the American economy via the Lobby and its funneling of $$ to Israel at the expense of the average American.

  40. Stateless American
    September 24, 2012, 10:31 am

    I’ll tell you one of Phil’s post that most shocked me–it was when he when he wrote about Amy Winehouse. What the hell is writing about her for? I asked myself–then realized, Oh, it’s because she’s Jewish. Nothing about Whitney Houston. I find that disappointing (although I’d prefer he wrote about neither of them here).

  41. Darcha
    September 25, 2012, 11:08 am

    The other day I quite by accident hit upon Sinead O’Connor’s Saturday Night Live October 1993 ‘War’ performance where she—Gasp!—tore up a picture of the Pope while calling him a force of evil. This made her a Bad Person (TM), and right-thinking people like Madonna felt free to say that if the bitch wants to bring her nutter protests somewhere, she should learn that there are limits. It was only two years later that information finally started to get out about the sexual abuse of children in the Irish Catholic Church. It was TEN years later that ‘Magdalene Sisters’ film came out detailing what Sinaed, a Magdalene herself, had gone through. I think we all know that, if her 1993 performance were to take place now, it would be received with widespread understanding and the critics would have been wise to STFU.

    This stuff turns on an historical dime folks, and Sinead had no fear of alienating anyone. Rather, she called it like it was.

    It is, of course, no surprise that she’s on the right side of this one: link to youtube.com

    • Citizen
      September 25, 2012, 2:50 pm

      @ Darcha
      In essence, O’Connor is an artist in the deeper sense, while Madonna is a show girl. You can guess which one dyes her roots, and which one exposes them.

  42. sandhillexit
    September 25, 2012, 8:53 pm

    Phil, what I wanted to say at the Brecht Forum was “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.” I love America like most of us who have a realistic sense of what our family prospects were in Europe before the wars. American civic ideas are worthy of striving toward, worth teaching. What’s more, you cannot tell an American woman that there is no such thing as progress. Look to Title9 if you want to see the revolution. I do not want to see women in veils, with mental blinders. Your issue, your obsession, has become central to understanding what is happening to America.

    I was happily trusting that globalization and economic prosperity would slowly but steadily resolve the problems of the ME, helped by the physical distance, the blessing of sunshine and the passage of time, from Europe, its grey winters, its dark history. I had great faith in the ethics at the heart of Judaism. However, in the last decade we have seen a pivot, with the ME version of crazy-making altering our laws and our civil rights and our safety. What you research and bring forward is profoundly important to THIS country, now. It is impossible to have a clear sense of what is happening without reading here, reading British newspapers, reading between the lines. Thank you for your courage even when it hurts your mother’s heart. I think you are patriot in two countries.

  43. iResistDe4iAm
    September 29, 2012, 10:50 pm

    “They don’t know” -vs- “They don’t want to know”

    Young Zionist: a young impressionable Zionist who doesn’t know.
    Lapsed Zionist: a former Zionist who doesn’t know and doesn’t care.
    Ex-Zionist: a former Zionist who knows enough that when faced with a Hobson’s choice, checked his/her Zionism instead.
    Anti-Zionist: an ex-Zionist with a conscience who knows, and wants to know why.
    Liberal Zionist: a progressive Zionist who should know, but for the sake of loyalty or plausible deniability, chooses or pretends not to know (aka. Progressive Except on Palestine).
    Conflicted Liberal Zionist: a progressive Zionist who knows but regrets knowing, and is conflicted by the endless complications.
    Right-wing Zionist: a conservative Zionist who doesn’t want to know, and thinks nobody else knows other than the victims (who don’t count) and anti-Semites.
    Fundamentalist Zionist: an ultra right-wing Zionist who doesn’t know and wouldn’t care if he/she knew, but still believes in the miracle of “a land without a people for a people without a land”.

  44. Citizen
    October 2, 2012, 1:43 am

    ‘…. at some level I’ve given up caring.”

    Let’s not be boorish while attending the good wife’s social party up the block. Just remember there may be a neoNazi or old-time Afrikanner there, or two. Those brown sand monkey folks across the world will live while you are taking a time out—give it a rest, Phil. You’re only human, and so is your wife!

  45. mtorres
    October 8, 2012, 5:03 pm

    SO glad to see this from Mondoweiss! I remember what Mark Braverman said at Sabeel Seattle several years ago when asked about how to engage the Jewish community in this struggle; “You must not wait for us. You must go on without us, for we will only hold you back.” Many of us had learned that lesson many years ago, but it’s hard to convince most people that Palestinian freedom must be achieved with or without the assistance and/or permission of Jewish people. Good to hear it from “within the tent”.

    Strongly recommend longtime activist Kathy Christason’s article “Offending Valerie” as she relates this tale in more detail – a tale to which many who work for Palestinian freedom can relate. There’s always one more reason to spend time dealing with yesterday rather than examining honestly what’s happening today.

    And then the irony, of course, that a huge proportion of people doing this work ARE Jewish, without the need to spend time on yesterday. While we must never forget that history, we must focus our work today on ending the suffering that that history is now used to justify.

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