Celebrating Israel’s birthday, ’2 luminary philosophers’ to explore whether Zionism and liberalism are ‘complementary identities’

Last week, five Jews debated the question of Whether Israel could be Jewish and democratic in a downtown New York synagogue dedicated to the LGBT cause. We covered it thoroughly; the thrust of the panel was that liberalism and Zionism are very difficult if not impossible to reconcile.

(A member of the Peace Now board held out a “glimmer of hope” that a Jewish state can yet be democratic; while a founder of Jews for Economic and Racial Justice said that 65 years of concrete actions show the concept doesn’t work.)

Well this weekend, a very different Jewish panel gathers in a Jewish space uptown. At the Jewish Community Center in celebration of Israel’s birthday, two liberal Zionists, Michael Walzer and Moshe Halbertal, are sure to argue that Israel can “navigate” the shoals of ethnocracy and that Zionism and liberalism are “complementary identities.” The event is being livestreamed here.

Here’s the announcement at the JCC and the David Sonabend Center for Israel:

Israel Forum: Zionism and Liberalism–conflicting values or complementary identities?

Can you be a liberal and a Zionist? How does Israel navigate its identity as a Jewish Democratic State? The Israel Forum is proud to present luminary philosophers Professors Moshe Halbertal and Michael Walzer in a conversation about Israel, nationalism, liberalism and religion, moderated by Jane Eisner, editor in chief of the Forward. Refreshments will be served. In collaboration with and funded by UJA-Federation of New York.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 127 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. RJL says:

    Mr. Weiss, could/should such a forum take place that debates a future Palestinian state being democratic, secular, with an arab majority, heavily Muslim, yet allowing a large Jewish minority to live, as equals, under its wings? Would you consider debating even why a Palestinian majority would accept any Jews as “equal” citizens, given the ferocious hatred held by the majority of them towards Jews, for centuries? How about a discussion detailing a limited history of 90 years of arab Palestinian attitudes, and treatment of, Jews living amongst them (like under the Mandate), and how that predicts cooperation and mutual respect in this one state? If such a discussion is off limits, let alone to a two-sided debate, then why place such emphasis on the “failures” of Israeli democracy? How do you seriously countenance any South African style democracy, one predicated on no vengeance to the former ruling minority (the ANC made it clear they didn’t want white flight), in a Middle East that not only is suffering turmoil, but has largely become Islamist, hostile to Christians, proudly prevents Jewish residency (including Jordan)in most countries (excepting Morocco; the few left in Egypt are very old), and publicly promotes the vilest anti-semitic tropes, the Protocols of Elders of Zion being the least upsetting? You know, one-sided displays of anti-zionism don’t do justice to a site dedicated to embracing a full throttled “war of ideas”-and maybe proposing some concrete solutions, not wishful thinking-about the Middle East, and Israel.

    • Philip Weiss says:

      I dont see this item as a one-sided display of anti-Zionism, though yes, I’m dubious about the philosophers’ ability to square that circle…
      And as for your musings, the Jewish state exists and has a track record. If and when a more fair regime replaces it, please count on me to stand up for equal rights inside it.

      • Bumblebye says:

        Just this minute heard that bbcR4′s flagship political prog “Any Questions” will be at Columbia University next Thurs – unless its pre-recorded on Wed (something to do with O’s first 100 days again). Don’t know who the panellists will be, the chair is Dimbleby. Wonder if any MWers could get in there to ask pertinent questions wrt I/P and the visit?

      • OlegR says:

        IE.
        In the unlikely case where a one state has substituted Israel
        and Jews int that imagined paradise will start getting the same treatment as other Me minorities we can expect Philip to write the same passionate articles on your blog like you do now.
        Moihel Toives Philip.

    • ryan-o says:

      RJL, does not the 1988 PLO declaration of independence consider Palestinian Jews as Palestinians? I’m not sure what the definition is and whether it extends to descendants or not, but you did say any Jews.

      I think detailing a limited history of Palestinians attitudes toward Jews would be a great idea. Any reason why 90 years? How about 100 years which would include the events leading up to the mandate rather than exclude them? Or how about 135 years so we can start toward the actual beginning? You’ll find that Jewish Palestinian views (as in the indigenous population that were Jewish) didn’t exactly see the Zionists as “equals”. The feeling was mutual including very loud resistance to proposing things like Operation Magic Carpet. In those early days, the European Zionists themselves didn’t view “Asiatic” Jews as equals either.

      You got a source for your “ferocious hatred held by the majority of them towards Jews, for centuries” remark? Sectarian religious issues including violence occur all over the world, but it’s a fact that Jews and Muslims got along much better than say non-Christians did in Europe. Especially in Palestine under the Ottomans (going back to the 16th century). Your remark is historically baseless although to be fair many others think this was the case, that this has been going on for centuries even though it has been going on for only a little over a century. Largely it isn’t even about religion, that’s just a superficial excuse.

    • seafoid says:

      “Would you consider debating even why a Palestinian majority would accept any Jews as “equal” citizens, given the ferocious hatred held by the majority of them towards Jews, for centuries?”

      Go on, habibi. Give us the facts. Back up the hasbara with something from the reality based community.
      Palestinian Jews weren’t the ones sent to the gas chambers.
      And it’s been obvious for 65 years that Israeli Jews love to procrastinate regarding the acceptance of Palestinians as equal citizens.

    • David Samel says:

      RJL, you talk about the “ferocious hatred held by the majority of [Palestinians] towards Jews, for centuries” as if it is common knowledge. To the contrary, I have always heard that relations between Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Palestinians were reasonably good until the Zionist plan to create a Jewish State with large-scale Jewish immigration from Europe became widely known. Are you unable to think of any reason why the native Palestinians, even the Jewish ones but certainly the Christians and Muslims, might have opposed such a scheme, other than Jew-hatred? And you do realize that the Zionist plan treated both Christians and Muslims equally, that is, as unfortunate impediments to a Jewish State.

      You also talk about the difference between Israel and “South African style democracy, one predicated on no vengeance to the former ruling minority (the ANC made it clear they didn’t want white flight).” Actually, South African whites dreaded the end of apartheid because they were afraid of vengeance from blacks, who comprised more than 80% of the population. And I’m quite sure there was a great deal of hatred among many blacks. When apartheid ended, whites were relieved when leaders such as Mandela counseled reconciliation rather than vengeance, but whites had no guarantees of that beforehand.

      It seems to me that Israeli Jews are in a much stronger position than South African whites were. If they give up their position of supremacy and domination in favor of equality, they still will be about half the population rather than less than 20%. They are in the best position now to negotiate guarantees of their safety and security, but the price they must pay is acceptance of equality. Israeli Jews will never know permanent peace and security as long as they insist on supremacy over non-Jews. You talk about the one-state solution as if it were a pipe dream that could never be realized because of irrational Jew hatred, when in fact peace will never be achieved as long as one people insists on the right to rule over another. That’s the real pipe dream.

    • ferocious hatred

      i think it’s really sad a comment like this is allowed to be posted here. it’s not enough we have to endure and fend off constant accusations of hatred from israel’s supporters, but now it is the “ferocious hatred” of the oppressor’s victims. is there no place on the web to be free of this form of disrespectful hasbara strawmanning?

      apparently not.

      • seafoid says:

        It is SUCH a historical tragedy that so many Palestinian Jews lived in peace and mutual respect with their Muslim and Christian neighbours for so long without ever knowing that they were oppressed and hated and subject to the most vile calumnies. But this was due to their own ignorance, the Mizrahi lowlifes (even if they did keep spotlessly clean kosher kitchens).

        Little did they know that they would have to wait until 1948 for their historic reality to be revealed to the world . And for Hebrew to be revived with Yiddish providing the sounds. Teghogh. Teghogh . Isghael

      • Daniel Rich says:

        @ Annie Robbins,

        Q: i think it’s really sad a comment like this is allowed to be posted here.

        R: I can’t find anything wrong with a person expressing his or her thoughts/feelings/emotions. It’s good for anyone to see what others think or have to say, regardless whether I dis/agree with the ideology behind it.

        Furthermore, this particular kind of rhetoric [ferocious hatred] only emphasizes the sad state of moral corruption this person finds him/herself in.

        If banned, such thinking cannot be exposed.

        • I can’t find anything wrong with a person expressing his or her thoughts/feelings/emotions.

          daniel, RJL described palestinians as having “ferocious hatred held by the majority”, in my book that is not describing ones feelings or emotions. it’s an ad hominem racist comment. just like alleging ‘the majority of Jews held ferocious hatred’ is accusatory slander. couching it in the form of a question, as a given, as in ..hey daniel, given the ferocious hatred of the majority of jews, would you consider a debate on why we should ever trust them? doesn’t lesson the inherent racism.

          for me, that is not helpful discourse. if we had a totally free comment section that would be one thing, but we don’t. that kind of racism directed at palestinians or jews, as a culture, historically, is grotesque hate speech.

        • Daniel Rich says:

          Hi Annie,

          Sorry for sidetracking the topic at hand.

          Q: that kind of racism directed at palestinians or jews, as a culture, historically, is grotesque hate speech.

          R: It sure is, but is hate, wrapped in a more subtle wording not likewise distorting the truth to the extent that it has become unrecognizable? Ask yourself this: do you want me to sanitize/filter/moderate information before it reaches you or do you want to be able to decide for yourself what you want to read/watch/listen to? A while back Phil banned his longtime friend for being a nuisance [and I still think that was a wrong thing to do], but it is my opinion that ‘we’ should not silence the voices of those we disagree with. We’re all grownups here, can’t we deal with situations like that as adults? If a person can’t or won’t engage in a civil debate, s/he becomes white noise to me and I ignore it.

          end of rant.

        • is hate, wrapped in a more subtle wording not likewise distorting the truth to the extent that it has become unrecognizable?

          personally, i don’t know that much about hate, as i can’t say i’ve actually ever experienced it. mostly when i hear about hate in the threads it is cowardly, framed in such a way as to accuse others of hatred. people rarely speak of their own. accusing an ethnicity of hatred is a basically claiming the hearts of an entire people are decimated. at least 99% mentions of hate on the threads are made by people accusing others of hatred.

          anger is different than hate.

          Ask yourself this: do you want me to sanitize/filter/moderate information before it reaches you

          that would depend on what you’re thinking.
          or do you want to be able to decide for yourself what you want to read/watch/listen to?

          not really understanding the ‘either or’ here. i don’t have the option of deciding for myself what you post. as i stated earlier if we had a totally free comment section that would be one thing, but we don’t.

          for the ‘being a nuisance’ comment. you’re speculating, aren’t you?

        • Cliff says:

          Daniel,

          I apologize in advance for not reading your entire comment – but only caught the mention of Phil’s ‘longtime friend’ who’s no longer commenting here.

          If you read blogs like 972+ or Steve Walt’s blog at FP, you’ll see why it had to be done. Same intolerable distracting spam.

      • a blah chick says:

        Unfortunately, this is how these people see the world. We (the non-Jewish world) are out to get them. That we have not acted upon our inner genocidist is because Israel is there to put the fear of God into us.

        It really is a sad and pathetic way to go through life.

      • Shegetz says:

        Is there no place on the web to be free of this form of disrespectful hasbara strawmanning?

        Nope, sure isn’t. In fact, I’d venture to say that it’s at the core of hasbara central. It’s projection par excellence

        Israel is the only country in the world where I can read comments on the major news websites rejoicing over the deaths of busloads of children. I don’t pretend to believe that you can’t find people like this everywhere, but if so then all the other forums at least have the decency to moderate such pure spite.

        So, any time I need a reminder of how utterly vicious and cruel Israelis can be I just cruise on over to The Jerusalem Post. Also don’t kid yourself that they don’t moderate the posts there and you just caught a few bad ones. They moderate rather diligently there I believe, but their interest seems to be in curtailing other forms of speech that are somehow (?) less appropriate for their readers.

        It’s very instructive to see what vanishes and what remains. Speaks volumes. Read too much though and your respect for humanity in general might decline as you discover new lows for the species.

        A shower, afterwards, may also be required.

        • Shegetz, i commented there a couple times, i had to join discus (i think that’s what they called it). when i returned all the comments had been removed but the (outrageous and racist) responses to them remained. then i got emails informing me all the responders were ‘following’ me on discus! i have not used the service since or commented there again. what is the point!

        • Hostage says:

          It’s very instructive to see what vanishes and what remains. Speaks volumes. Read too much though and your respect for humanity in general might decline as you discover new lows for the species.

          You have to keep in mind that most fundamental human rights admit no derogation or exceptions. They apply to everyone, including racists. Annie is only saying that expressing hatred for others isn’t recognized as one of those fundamental human rights.

      • dimadok says:

        Have you lost any sign of shame, Annie? There is a ferocious hate and there was- do you know that a couple days ago was the anniversary of Fogel family butchered by two no-good low life’s ? And what a surprise – they are Palestinian. Oh the awe, the shock… While you and other sympathize with Palestinian cause, you forget that killings of Jews are personal also. And you are trying to sell the one-state bollocks to us, Israelis who saw blood, tears and vile hatred indeed? You are delusional and indeed make all this a very sad situation.

        • Cliff says:

          Dimadok

          How many Palestinian civilians has Israel killed since 2000?

          How many Israeli civilians have the Palestinians killed since 2000?

          How many children? Both sides.

          You and other Israeli propagandists get a lot of mileage out of the Fogel murders, but they are in no way indicative of the Palestinian ‘response’.

          Whereas, everyday of the occupation and colonization of Palestine is violent and facilitates violence.

          You Israelis already control the Palestinians’ daily life and you’ve got the gall to lecture Annie about the 1SS?

          The Palestinians are the indigenous population of Israel/Palestine – not world Jewry.

          You stole their homes and their land.

          Native Americans weren’t pure innocent angels. There are no angels. Scalping could be an analogy to the propaganda/hasbara context of Zionists screeching about suicide bombing and Palestinian terrorism (a BLIP – compared to the constant Israeli violence of the occupation and the massacres like Gaza 08).

          You get all riled up over the Fogels but couldn’t care less about the 300-400 Palestinian children butchered by your country in 2008.

          And your fellow Zionists think Irgun was not a terrorist group (which it was, and was absorbed into the Israeli mainstream).

          You are a nation of terrorists and thieves (rapists) lecturing your victims (the raped).

          All your concern about Jewish suffering is magnified beyond it’s reality because you are a racist and colonist and live a tribal existence (your entire life).

        • Hostage says:

          There is a ferocious hate and there was- do you know that a couple days ago was the anniversary of Fogel family butchered by two no-good low life’s ?

          Oh please. The Fogel slayings were covered in several articles here. No Palestinian officials or militias were connected. In any event, we all know that the homicide rate in the occupied territories is still heavily stacked against the Palestinians, not the Israeli settlers. FWIW, most of us have lived in US cities with much higher murder rates than those experienced by Jews in the occupied territories.

          If Israeli civilians are dumb enough to move their families into enemy occupied territory during a decades-long war of choice, then they will occasionally experience crimes like everyone else. The last time I checked, the murder rate among Jews living there is many times higher, i.e. most murders of Jews in Israel and Palestine are the result of Jew-on-Jew violence.

        • American says:

          dimadok says:
          April 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm
          + Show content
          Have you lost any sign of shame, Annie? There is a ferocious hate and there was->>>>>>>>>>>

          If they don’t hate you they probably should.

          Massacres and the Conquest of Palestine

          The passing of the partition resolution in November 1947 triggered the violence that State Department and Pentagon analysts had predicted and for which Zionists had been preparing. There were at least 33 massacres of Palestinian villages, half of them before a single Arab army joined the conflict.[146] Zionist forces were better equipped and had more men under arms than their opponents[147] and by the end of Israel’s “War of Independence” over 750,000 Palestinian men, women, and children were ruthlessly expelled.[148] Zionists had succeeded in the first half of their goal: Israel, the self-described Jewish State, had come into existence.

          The massacres were carried out by Zionist forces, including Zionist militias that had engaged in terrorist attacks in the area for years preceding the partition resolution.[149]

          Descriptions of the massacres, by both Palestinians and Israelis, are nightmarish. An Israeli eyewitness reported that at the village of al-Dawayima:

          “The children they killed by breaking their heads with sticks. There was not a house without dead….One soldier boasted that he had raped a woman and then shot her.”[150]

          One Palestinian woman testified that a man shot her nine-month-pregnant sister and then cut her stomach open with a butcher knife.[151]

          One of the better-documented massacres occurred in a small, neutral Palestinian village called Deir Yassin in April 1948 – before any Arab armies had joined the war. A Swiss Red Cross representative was one of the first to arrive on the scene, where he found 254 dead, including 145 women, 35 of them pregnant. [152]

          Witnesses reported that the attackers lined up families – men, women, grandparents and children, even infants – and shot them. [153]

          An eyewitness and future colonel in the Israeli military later wrote of the militia members: “They didn’t know how to fight, but as murderers they were pretty good.”[154]

          The Red Cross representative who found the bodies at Deir Yassin arrived in time to see some of the killing in action. He wrote in his diary that Zionist militia members were still entering houses with guns and knives when he arrived. He saw one young Jewish woman carrying a blood-covered dagger and saw another stab an old couple in their doorway. The representative wrote that the scene reminded him of S.S. troops he had seen in Athens.[add footnote]

          Richard Catling, British assistant inspector general for the criminal division, reported on “sexual atrocities” committed by Zionist forces. “Many young school girls were raped and later slaughtered,” he reported. “Old women were also molested.”[155]

          The Deir Yassin attack was perpetrated by two Zionist militias and coordinated with the main Zionist forces, whose elite unit participated in part of the operation.[156] The heads of the two militias, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, later became Prime Ministers of Israel.

          Begin, head of the Irgun militia, sent the following message to his troops about their victory at Deir Yassin:

          “Accept my congratulations on this splendid act of conquest. Convey my regards to all the commanders and soldiers. We shake your hands. We are all proud of the excellent leadership and the fighting spirit in this great attack. We stand to attention in memory of the slain. We lovingly shake the hands of the wounded. Tell the soldiers: you have made history in Israel with your attack and your conquest. Continue thus until victory. As in Deir Yassin, so everywhere, we will attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou has chosen us for conquest.”[157]

          Approximately six months later, Begin (who had also publicly taken credit for a number of other terrorist acts, including blowing up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing 91 people) came on a tour of America. The tour’s sponsors included famous playwright Ben Hecht, a fervent Zionist who applauded Irgun violence[158] and eventually included 11 Senators, 12 governors, 70 Congressmen, 17 Justices, and numerous other public officials.[159]

          The State Department, fully aware of his violent activities in Palestine, tried to reject Begin’s visa but was overruled by Truman.[160]

          Begin later proudly admitted his terrorism in an interview for American television. When the interviewer asked him, “How does it feel, in the light of all that’s going on, to be the father of terrorism in the Middle East?” Begin proclaimed, “In the Middle East? In all the world!”[161]

          link to councilforthenationalinterest.org

        • dim, unfortunately we all are quite familiar with israeli interrogation techniques. given the fact the gov of israel immediately responded to the attack (within a day) by stealing previously coveted palestinian land and giving it to the settlers, i have a more nuanced view of who committed that attack, starting with ‘follow the money’. so you will get no traction from me (none what so ever) with the new constant hasbrat ‘fogel coding’ which has now replaced ‘pizza parlor’. none. what.so.ever.

          besides, it’s racist even implying all palestinians are responsible for those brutal killings. so take your fogel fogel fogel mantra and try it on someone else.

        • K Renner says:

          ha, ha, ha, oh wow.

          You show as much “ferocious hatred” as anyone.

          I wonder how the settler Fogel family felt about the murders and abuse directed towards the Palestinians in the West Bank?

      • +1. It’s just a rant, a diatribe of mendacious allegations and hasbara, not worthy of a response. It’s a waste of time, and clogs up the board.

      • Qualtrough says:

        I am just so damn tired of Zionists telling me how Arabs/Palestinians/Muslims are evil and how I should fear/hate/dislike them. This brings to mind an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm from Season 8 that I recently watched. In a nutshell, the Palestinians patronizing a Palestinian chicken restaurant were characterized as possessing a deep and abiding hatred of Jews, to the point that they applaud en masse when Larry David prevents a Jewish friend wearing a kippah from entering the restaurant. That entire episode would be worthy of discussion here, if it has not already been so.

    • talknic says:

      RJL ” Palestinian state being democratic, secular, with an arab majority, heavily Muslim, yet allowing a large Jewish minority to live, as equals, under its wings?”

      Debated, offered under the Mandate for Palestine. Offered again and again. Refused again and again by the Zionist Federation who chose to have separate Jewish State, to then illegally usurp non-Jews, to illegally acquire non-Israeli territory. Chosen to lie, chosen to endanger Israeli civilians in “territories occupied”. Chosen perpetual war as long as Israel has military forces in Palestinian territory

      “given the ferocious hatred held by the majority of them towards Jews, for centuries?”

      History doesn’t support your theory. For centuries Jews stayed in Palestine. Diaspora Jews could have and did immigrate to and buy land and live in Palestine in peace …. until the Zionist Federation began its full scale colonization project in the early 1900′s

    • K Renner says:

      Care to explain how you know of all this “ferocious hatred” on the part of the Palestinians?

      Or how you magically know that everyone in the Middle East is hostile to Christians?

      Or how you magically know that the people of the Arab nations to a person all “hate the Jews”?

      I’d actually like to hear how you’ve deduced all of this information. If you can tell me without making grotesque Islam-hating and Arab-hating generalizations then I’ll wire you some prize money.

    • Sumud says:

      Would you consider debating even why a Palestinian majority would accept any Jews as “equal” citizens, given the ferocious hatred held by the majority of them towards Jews, for centuries?

      We got a live one here. Not only must Palestinians accept the theft of their land and nation, the looting of their property and 80% of them being made refugees – and this is just from 1947/8/9 – they must also love their oppressors.

      Here’s the thing RJL – even if the “ferocious hatred” you attribute to Palestinians was real, it still doesn’t justify the Nakba and all the other ongoing atrocities that Israel is perpetrating against Palestinians.

      If you haven’t manage to entirely strangle your conscience you need to take that on board and come to terms with it, because your tired old hasbara about hatred doesn’t convince anyone, and I suspect, not even you.

    • Ellen says:

      RJL states, “given the ferocious hatred held by the majority of them towards Jews, for centuries?” Yet another utterly false meme.

      The facts do not support that wacko statement. To the contrary. Jews have traditionally enjoyed an even protected and high status in Muslim societies, especially in Palestine — more so than in European Christian societies, starting in the later Middle Ages.

      There were no conflicts among Jewish, Muslim and Christian Palestinians …then came along the Euro Zionist project with claims over a people.

      Myths such as “ferocious hatred” are needed to build fear and “hate” where there was none Before Zionism, BZ.

    • Joe Ed says:

      “…given the ferocious hatred held by the majority of them towards Jews, for centuries”. “…largely become Islamist, hostile to Christians, proudly prevents Jewish residency (including Jordan)in most countries (excepting Morocco; the few left in Egypt are very old), and publicly promotes the vilest anti-semitic tropes”.

      These are simply false statements

    • Talkback says:

      RJL says: “Would you consider debating even why a Palestinian majority would accept any Jews as “equal” citizens, given the ferocious hatred held by the majority of them towards Jews, for centuries?”

      They used to babysit each others childrens, before your type arrived on the scene and declared to take over land and also the mind of Jewish Palestinians whose majority was antizionist for good reasons. Even today the PLO defininition of a Palestinian includes Jews (and their paternal descendants) who lived there before the “Judeninfiltration” (Hertzl). And please – don’t talk about equality, while your Apartheid Junta keeps people expelled and denationalized to maintain a Zionist regime and wants to be recognized as a “Jewish state” allthough “Jewish” is as less a citizenship as “Aryan”.

    • Hostage says:

      Mr. Weiss, could/should such a forum take place that debates a future Palestinian state being democratic, secular, with an arab majority, heavily Muslim, yet allowing a large Jewish minority to live, as equals, under its wings?

      You only need to read the comment archives. Several years ago I started posting regular comments here explaining that both Palestine and Israel have supplied declarations to the United Nations in line with the requirements of the minority protection plan contained in resolution 181(II). Time and again I’ve explained that those rights were placed under the protection of the United Nations Organization.

      I’ve also pointed-out that the term “Palestine refugees” in resolution 194(III) applied to both Palestinian Arab refugees and about 17,000 Palestinian Jewish refugees that were displaced during the 1948 war. All of those persons have the same right of repatriation or compensation + a constitutional guarantee to equality under the law.

      If Israel and its supporters hadn’t prevented Palestine from becoming a UN member state, it would be on the receiving end of Universal Periodic Reviews of its human rights record, just like the Israelis and the other UN member states.

    • Danaa says:

      RJL, the vilest and most ferocious hate speech against jews is most commonly found in israel. representing views usually held by other Jewish israelis. Also, when it comes to vicious murders, you’ll find the vast majority of the worst kind are jew-on-jew, including, but not limited to a large number of mafiosi, such as the Abutbul clan and the Russian “families”.

      What I wonder about is why comments such as RJL’s not considered hate speech. I agree with annie – this one is dripping with vitriol towards non-Jews, including peddling disgusting tropes against Muslims, who are apparently hated with a passion by ones who consider themselves members of a certain other religion. far be it from me to call for banning anyone, but I think a comment such as RJL’s should be properly tagged as hate speech, and treated with the disdain it deserves.

  2. Les says:

    Is the wrong question being posed? If Zionism, which requires Israel’s subjugation/occupation/ethnic cleansing/slow or fast genocide (take your pick) of the Palestinians, succeeds, can/will Judaism survive?

  3. Citizen says:

    I’d like to see “two luminary philosophers” explore the fact the lone superpower’s messiah, President Obama, is advocating putting America’s poor, fixed income retirees on a cat food diet to pay for the 1% and their banks TBF, and this 1% obviously includes Jewish citizens of Israel, who get a per capita average of $500 per annum free check from Uncle Sam. Obama’s not advocating ending the cap on Social Security tax, which would cure “entitlement” cost problems for decades, nor is he advocating diverting the largest chunk of our foreign military aid, which goes to Israel, to home aid for our own impoverished citizens. More on Obama’s recommended diet for our seniors: link to counterpunch.org

  4. piotr says:

    What is the meaning of the term “liberalism”?

    If I understood well a lecture of Chomsky, it may mean a manner of political control over the population that puts more emphasis on media manipulation than outright displays of power. But this is rather vague, or overly broad. To discuss the issue of “Zionism and liberalism” one would need to offer some examples of “not liberal”.

    E.g. what restriction on the institution of marriage are consistent with liberalism and which ones are not?

    I suspect that RBJ understands the question as “can Zionism be consistent with muddled wishy-washy thinking characterized by futile attempts to please everybody”, which does not have any good answer except “yes, but why one would wish for such a thing”, so he uses the occasion to say something nasty about the Arabs

  5. American says:

    ”The Israel Forum is proud to present luminary philosophers Professors Moshe Halbertal and Michael Walzer in a conversation about Israel, nationalism, liberalism and religion, moderated by Jane Eisner, editor in chief of the Forward”

    In other words—come watch our orgy of pilpul ….while we discuss the question that the whole world already knows the answer to.

  6. tokyobk says:

    In fact its no straw man but a fundamental question to a One State solution.

    Everyone wants an internet free of pushback which is how words (that also have true instances) like “antisemitic” and “hasbara” are employed as conversation enders.

    Liberal racism that ascribes all good and bad to the West and exempts “natives” from moral responsibility, fear of contributing to an Israeli narrative, fear of being labeled a liberal imperialist, also stifles this inquiry.

    When Omar Barghouti was at Yale he mentioned that the fear of Jews as a minority was irrational. He gave the United States and France as an example. He did not mention any state in the Middle East. (I am aware of varying records from tolerant to cleansing here, though find parsing expulsions to be distasteful).

    How minorities were and more importantly are are treated in this part of the world is relevant but generally this is an important question. The whites of South Africa needed to be shown that they were free to remain as equals though not as conquerors.

    I would go further, imo Palestine will flourish if Tel Aviv high tech and the gay pride parade endure. That is a practical as well as a moral statement. If the Palestinians as a majority chose to behave like Amin to the Indian community or Mugabe to white farmers that might be their choice as a majority but the world would have the right to judge and I think the results would be the same.

    • Donald says:

      I think it’s legitimate to worry about what a 1SS would be like and to set lines regarding what one would or would not support, but only after making it quite clear that in no way whatsoever does this justify the actual state of affairs now.

      The same could have been said about apartheid South Africa and in fact was–I frequently heard people warn back then that if blacks got the vote it would be “one man one vote one time”. Of course Zimbabwe hasn’t turned out that well. Algeria after the French left had a bad human rights record and fell into another civil war in the 90′s. In no way did this justify white colonial rule.

      If you and RJL are raising this issue out of a sincere desire to see a democratic 1SS then that’s one thing, but it’s pretty clear RJL isn’t. I also think it’s legitimate for 2SS supporters to say that they favor a 2SS because they are afraid a 1SS would degenerate into all-out sectarian war or some other horror, so long as the fear of this is not some racist excuse for saying that Muslims or Arabs can’t be trusted to run a democracy. Israel is essentially running a 1SS right now–remind me again who is in charge?

      • Sibiriak says:

        Donald:

        I also think it’s legitimate for 2SS supporters to say that they favor a 2SS because they are afraid a 1SS would degenerate into all-out sectarian war or some other horror, so long as the fear of this is not some racist excuse for saying that Muslims or Arabs can’t be trusted to run a democracy. Israel is essentially running a 1SS right now–remind me again who is in charge?

        Excellent post.

    • Frankie P says:

      @Tokyo Ben K,

      “I would go further, imo Palestine will flourish if Tel Aviv high tech and the gay pride parade endure.”

      What a ridiculous statement!! Do you feel that maintaining the high tech industry and gay community in Tel Aviv are issues even remotely on the radar of a people whose land, homes and water are being stolen? a people whose movement is curtailed? a people who are NOT afforded equal treatment in the distribution of government services? a people who are shot or beaten for speaking against the injustice? You rail against the word “hasbara”, and yet you practice it at every turn. If the Palestinians as a majority in the future choose to treat Jewish Israelis less fairly than brothers, would it surpise you in light of the treatment they have received? Additionally, you fail to mention that the world has a right to judge the REAL, CURRENT Israelis as well as your projection of how future Palestinians may choose to behave. The world is judging the Israelis more and more severely, and unless the behavior of Jewish Israelis changes, the judgement and subsequent consequences will become harsher and harsher.

      FPM

      • Sibiriak says:

        Frankie P:

        If the Palestinians as a majority in the future choose to treat Jewish Israelis less fairly than brothers, would it surpise you in light of the treatment they have received?

        Removing the “for centuries” part of RJL’s statement and its implied accusation of irrational Jew-hatred–a coverup of vast Zionist crimes–your argument provides a more rational basis for RJL’s underlying point.

        • Frankie P says:

          @Sibiriak,

          Please note that I do NOT condone or recommend that the future Palestinian state seek revenge or retribution for the wrongs perpetrated, shot, beaten, and dropped onto them these 65 years. I simply point to a notion that has permeated human affairs for thousands of years; it’s been codified, acted out and expressed in any number of proverbs, sayings, and literature: you reap what you sow.

        • RoHa says:

          The tragedy in these sort of cases is that the individuals who reap are not always those who sowed.

    • sardelapasti says:

      tokyobk – “fear fear fear fear…”
      Can it already! Invaders have no rights, period. No one gives a rat’s ass about your baseless fears and if they were based on any reality that wouldn’t change the fact that no Zionist invader is entitled to anything or has any right to decide the future of Palestine, and this also includes the local-born invaders in the absence of a decision by a really sovereign Palestine.

      • MHughes976 says:

        I agree that it would make nonsense of the idea of rights if you could gain them by force which you had no right to use, ie illegitimate force, as used by invaders and marauders. By contrast, force used to regain things wrongfully taken is sometimes legitimate. Also, there are some rights which you don’t lose by wrongdoing, in particular the right to be treated as humanely as possible – ie we don’t have the right to disregard the humanity of people who have done wrong. That is because ‘to err is human’, as the cliche says, and the humanity of people who have done wrong is still there.
        On the level of self-interest people who have emerged, as I’d like to think that the Palestinians will emerge, from a period of conflict have an objective interest in cooperating with former rivals, even with former oppressors, to avoid endless trouble. That seemed to be the majority view in South Africa.
        On the other hand we could recall Xenophon’s character who remarks that the helots would willingly have eaten the Spartans raw. Water doesn’t flow uphill. Oppression doesn’t fail to generate mutual fear and hatred, the more the more it continues, though how these emotions will work out and whether they will be dissipated in some new dawn we can’t know while the dark night continues. This is anything but an argument justifying the longer continuation of oppression, of course.

        • sardelapasti says:

          Hughes – All of that, and some. It does make sense, yes, but first things first: One first establishes what exactly is the situation as to rights, and works for it. Independently of what would make the most sense or would be more humanitarian etc. Only then come your considerations, and they would need a fully sovereign Palestine to approve them.

        • MHughes976 says:

          Quite so. People say ‘forget absolute justice’ but let’s remember it always.

  7. RoHa says:

    “luminary philosophers Professors Moshe Halbertal and Michael Walzer”

    Walzer I know. Halbertal I* have never heard of before. He might be brilliant and luminary, but, if so, his light is hidden under a bushel. He is certainly not a major figure – or even a visible one – in Western philosophy. The bibliography in his Wikipedia entry suggests he is more a theologian than a philosopher.

    He is not mentioned in the Philosophical Lexicon. http://www.philosophicallexicon.com
    But, surprisingly, neither is Walzer.

    (Nor am I, but no-one has ever referred to me as luminary. Actually, hardly anyone has ever referred to me.)

    (*Ph.D. and retired lecturer in philosophy in US and Australian universities.)

  8. talknic says:

    Would they be having this dialogue if Israel had stayed within its borders instead of illegally acquiring non-Israeli territory?

    • pjdude says:

      I don’t understand why you differentiate between land Israel stole after it decleration of “independence” with before. as a class A mandate when it ended the sovreignty reverted to the palestinians as a whole to the entirity of palestine. you argument rest all its ok to declare other entities territory yours. I understand the pravtical reasons for doing so but legally not so much? it seems like an effort to placate Israel for its crimes.

      • talknic says:

        @ pjdude “I don’t understand why you differentiate between land Israel stole after it decleration of “independence” with before”

        A state bears no responsibility for what happened prior to its existence. Nor is it responsible for itself coming into existence. It is obligated to the Rights and Duties of States, UN Member or not.

        Israel asked to be recognized and was recognized only by the boundaries of UNGA res 181. That hasn’t legally changed in 64 years.

        ” as a class A mandate when it ended the sovreignty reverted to the palestinians “

        As Article 7 of the LoN Mandate confirms link to wp.me

        BTW The often misused Lauterpacht/Scwhebel (and Herzog) maintain a state may “restore” by war its sovereignty over territories “acquired” illegally by war by another state. link to wp.me A right Syria has yet to claim under Assad. Interesting times ahead if the Assad regime should fall.

        And contrary to the Hasbara, the West bank did belong to another state when Israel became the Occupying Power. It wasn’t under the rule of Jordanian military occupation. It was annexed by agreement with the Palestinians and under Jordanian sovereign rule. link to wp.me The west Bank was a part of a UN Member state (1955 – 1967) .

        “..you argument rest all its ok to declare other entities territory yours”

        I don’t think it’s OK. A majority recognized Israel whether one likes it or not, fair or not, that state does now exist and ought be held to its word and the obligations it undertook to become a UN Member State.

        Israel has created a situation where it can no longer afford to adhere to the law, it would be sent bankrupt for decades attempting to pay just reparations and the cost of relocating its citizens. All that investment in illegally settled towns, settlements, in Jerusalem, all those lucrative building contracts wasted. All those investors duped.

        It’s only option to avoid being finally seen as a failed state is to circumvent the consequences of the law by plea bargaining with the Palestinians. It is Israel who must negotiate.

        • pjdude says:

          ???? so in your humble opinion its perfectly legal to declare parts of a sovreign territory as yours and not have be a land grab? I’m sorry but that’s bullshit. if Israel’s land grabs for territory are illegal than its decleration of conquest (declreration of independence) are illelagal as well. or do you feel simply because they claimed such territories they belonged to them? I think you forget the as a class a mandate sovreignty was held in trust the moment the mandate ended palestine became a sovreign territory with the right to keeps its lands intact. at no point have you answered the question I asked why do you feel ISrael’s decleration of territory was legal despite being sovreign palestinians territory as recognized by the mandate?

          again you talk about how anything outside of Israel decleration is illegal but inside legal again you have repeatedly stated Israel decleration of independence as if was a claim of territory theirs legally it wasn’t. there is a huge difference between acknowledging an illegal act that you can’t change but to pretend it is legal as your doing is kind of insulting and sets a dangerous precedent for all the other thugs of the world.

  9. Nevada Ned says:

    Walzer and Chomsky are enemies from way back.

    In 1984, the New York Review of Books ran a review of Chomsky’s The Fateful Triangle: Israel, and US, and the Palestinians. The book covers Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and Israel’s massacre of Palestinians and Lebanese at Sabra and Chatila refugee camps. The massacre of up to 3500 people was condemned by the UN General Assembly as “an act of genocide”.

    Chomsky’s book was reviewed in the NYR by Avishai Margalit, a dovish Israeli professor. Margalit’s article is behind a pay wall at NYR.

    The review prompted a long letter by Chomsky, rebutting Margalit’s review. Chomsky’s letter can be found here

    The paragraph in Chomsky’s letter about Walzer reads as follows:

    Margalit’s preference for personal impressions over the public record serves him poorly when he turns to my discussion of those he calls “fellow travelers,” in particular, Irving Howe, Michael Walzer, and Martin Peretz. He writes: “I do not at all like what he has to say about the first two,” and expresses his wish that they had much more influence than they do. I had little to say about them beyond quoting their words, and I am not surprised that Margalit does not like these words. I find it hard to believe that he wishes that their views had more influence: for example, Walzer’s explicit support for the Lebanon war (“I certainly welcome the political defeat of the PLO, and I believe that the limited military operation [sic] required to inflict that defeat can be defended under the theory of just war”; September 8, 1982) and his advocacy of transfer of Israeli Arab citizens (the problems of those who are “marginal to the nation” can be “smoothed” by “helping people to leave who have to leave,” in a 1972 book edited by Irving Howe and Carl Gershman; the idea that the indigenous population should be transferred has deep roots in the Zionist left, as I document). Note that Walzer goes beyond the position of right-wing extremists such as Hanan Porat, who restricts this proposal to West Bank Palestinians (“Israel can help by buying their land or giving them economic assistance to leave”).

    That’s right, folks: Michael Walzer in the past has endorsed Israel’s “transfer option” (completion of the ethnic cleansing of 1948). Naturally Walzer is embarrassed when Chomsky quotes Walzer’s own words back at him. It speaks volumes about the atmosphere surrounding any criticism of Israel back in 1984, even mild criticism. Walzer is widely praised as a humanist etc etc., and colleges and university class routinely assign Walzer’s book on Just and Unjust Wars. Yet Walzer endorsed Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and defended it as a Just War.

    Just for the sake of completeness, I note that Walzer also endorsed Israel’s 2008-9 bombardment of Gaza refugee camps. [See Finkelstein's This Time We Went Too Far].

    It’s been almost 30 years since the NYR donnybrook (which also included a letter from Edward Said and another from Walzer). Chomsky was very isolated back then. He has a lot more support now, in my opinion, in part because of the books by Walt/Mearsheimer and by Jimmy Carter, as well as Palestinian activism. While in 1984 the NYR ran Chomsky’s long letter, they did not (and still do not) run any articles authored by Chomsky. The NYR has run articles critical of Israel (by Tony Judt, for example), but Chomsky himself is blacklisted.

    • Eva Smagacz says:

      So Waltzer is on record as a supporter of action of ““helping people to leave who have to leave” .

      I have an urge of running Mr. Waltzer tarred and feathered out of his place of abode, while a crowd of people (a la Marty Peretz at Harward) urge him on his way with chants of “Racist! Racist! Racist!”

      Do I have his philosophical support to do so?

      • Miura says:

        Israel Shahak had the number of Walzer when he wrote:

        A chief deceiver in this case, and a good example of the power of the deception, was Martin Buber…[n]or was Buber alone in his attitude, although in my opinion he was by far the worst in the evil he propagated and the influence he has left behind him. There was the very influential sociologist and biblical scholar, Yehezkiel Kaufman, an advocate of genocide on the model of the Book of Joshua, the idealist philosopher Hugo Shmuel Bergman, who as far back as 1914-15 advocated the expulsion of all Palestinians to Iraq, and many others. All were outwardly ‘dovish’, but employed formulas which could be manipulated in the most extreme anti-Arab sense, all had tendencies to that religious mysticism which encourages the propagation of deceptions, and all seemed to be gentle persons who, even when advocating expulsion, racism and genocide, seemed incapable of hurting a fly–and just for this reason the effect of their deceptions was the greater.

        As an example of Walzer’s ethnocentric “mysticism” see this piece of work that is brimming over with coded apologetics of Israeli actions and after all the high-minded moralizing somehow non-Jewish citizens of that society end up “excluded from the world of moral concern”. One of these non-Jews, Edward Said wrote:

        …all in all Walzer is at ease with himself and always has been been. In 1972, for example, he argued that in every state there will be groups ‘marginal to the nation’ which should be ‘helped to leave’. Saying that he had Israel and the Palestinians in mind, he nevertheless conducted this discussion (that coolly anticipates by a decade Kahane’s bloody cries of ‘they must go’) in the broadly sunny and progressive perspectives of liberalism, independence, freedom from oppression.

    • Obsidian says:

      “The book covers Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and Israel’s massacre of Palestinians and Lebanese at Sabra and Chatila refugee camps. The massacre of up to 3500 people was condemned by the UN General Assembly as “an act of genocide

      Uhh..Christian Arabs massacred the refugees at Sabra and Chatila.

      Uhh.. Israel intervened after seven year of Lebanese civil war. A civil war in which Palestinians played a major role. Upwards of 80,000 Lebanese and Palestinians had killed each other before Israel entered Lebanon.

      • Another bit of zionist revisionism. The IDF collaborated with, and facilitated the massacre of helpless refugees, by the Phalangists.

        ” By noon on 15 September, the Sabra-Shatila camps had been surrounded by the IDF, which set up checkpoints at the exits and entrances, and used a number of multi-story buildings as observation posts. Amongst them was the seven-story Kuwaiti embassy which, according to TIME magazine, had “an unobstructed and panoramic view” of the camps. Hours later, IDF tanks began shelling the camps.[25]

        According to Linda Malone of the Jerusalem Fund, Ariel Sharon and Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan[27] met with Phalangist militia units and invited them to enter the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, claiming that the PLO was responsible for Gemayel’s assassination.[28] The meeting concluded at 3:00 pm 16 September.[25]

        An hour later, 1,500 militiamen assembled at Beirut International Airport, then occupied by Israel. Under the command of Elie Hobeika, they began moving towards the camps in IDF supplied Jeeps, following Israeli guidance on how to enter the camps.

        In 1982, a UN commission chaired by Sean MacBride concluded that Israel bore responsibility for the violence.[12] In 1983, the Israeli Kahan Commission, appointed to investigate the incident, found that Israeli military personnel, aware that a massacre was in progress, had failed to take serious steps to stop it.”

      • Hostage says:

        Uhh..Christian Arabs massacred the refugees at Sabra and Chatila.

        The Israeli government’s Kahan commission report concluded that Defense Minister Ariel Sharon “bears personal responsibility” and that the IDF was responsible, since it held and occupied the area in question.

        • Obsidian says:

          Robert Maroun Hatem, Elie Hobeika’s bodyguard, stated in his book, From Israel to Damascus, that Hobeika ordered the massacre of civilians in defiance of Israeli instructions to behave like a “dignified” army.–Hatem, Robert, From Israel to Damascus, Chapter 7.

          Hatem blames Hobeika and Hobeika’s secret ally, Syria, for the massacres.

          Belgian senator, Vincent Van Quickenborne, who visited Hobeika just before his death, told Qatar’s satellite television network al-Jazira on January 26, 2002, that Hobeika had specifically stated that he did not plan to identify Sharon as being responsible for Sabra and Shatilla (IMRA, January 27, 2002).

          Later in life, faced with threats from within Lebanon, Hobeika sought out and received asylum from….. Syria!

          link to telegraph.co.uk

        • Obsesseive, how convenient that you ignore the overwhelming evidence of Israeli collusion, and quote from a book by an author with no credibility, a book full of contradictions, false dates and allegations which are unsourced. There are no sources or corroborations for any of the fantasy in the book, which is more likely the author’s attempt to portray himself as a secret agent with a political agenda. And as for the Telegraph – a zionist, right wing newspaper. Fail. Again.
          Of course the words of a schoolboy fantasist are always preferrable to the many investigations and eye witness accounts.

        • K Renner says:

          Yeah, no. Everyone knows that Israel essentially condoned the massacre.

      • K Renner says:

        Phalangists who had military support from the Israelis and indirect support in conducting the massacre. There also is the issue of command responsibility- if Israeli forces knew of the Phalangist intent to commit the massacre, which they did, it would be their moral obligation to prevent the massacre from happening.

      • Cliff says:

        Uhh..Israel butchered around 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians in that war.

        Uhh..Israel allowed the Phalangists to massacre Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camp.

        ON the night of Sept. 16, 1982, the Israeli military allowed a right-wing Lebanese militia to enter two Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut. In the ensuing three-day rampage, the militia, linked to the Maronite Christian Phalange Party, raped, killed and dismembered at least 800 civilians, while Israeli flares illuminated the camps’ narrow and darkened alleyways. Nearly all of the dead were women, children and elderly men.

        link to nytimes.com

        In Tel Aviv, Mr. Draper and the American ambassador, Samuel W. Lewis, met with top Israeli officials. Contrary to Prime Minister Begin’s earlier assurances, Defense Minister Sharon said the occupation of West Beirut was justified because there were “2,000 to 3,000 terrorists who remained there.” Mr. Draper disputed this claim; having coordinated the August evacuation, he knew the number was minuscule. Mr. Draper said he was horrified to hear that Mr. Sharon was considering allowing the Phalange militia into West Beirut. Even the I.D.F. chief of staff, Rafael Eitan, acknowledged to the Americans that he feared “a relentless slaughter.”

        [...]On the evening of Sept. 16, the Israeli cabinet met and was informed that Phalange fighters were entering the Palestinian camps. Deputy Prime Minister David Levy worried aloud: “I know what the meaning of revenge is for them, what kind of slaughter. Then no one will believe we went in to create order there, and we will bear the blame.” That evening, word of civilian deaths began to filter out to Israeli military officials, politicians and journalists.

        At 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 17, Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir hosted a meeting with Mr. Draper, Mr. Sharon and several Israeli intelligence chiefs. Mr. Shamir, having reportedly heard of a “slaughter” in the camps that morning, did not mention it.

        The transcript of the Sept. 17 meeting reveals that the Americans were browbeaten by Mr. Sharon’s false insistence that “terrorists” needed “mopping up.” It also shows how Israel’s refusal to relinquish areas under its control, and its delays in coordinating with the Lebanese National Army, which the Americans wanted to step in, prolonged the slaughter.

        Mr. Draper opened the meeting by demanding that the I.D.F. pull back right away. Mr. Sharon exploded, “I just don’t understand, what are you looking for? Do you want the terrorists to stay? Are you afraid that somebody will think that you were in collusion with us? Deny it. We denied it.” Mr. Draper, unmoved, kept pushing for definitive signs of a withdrawal. Mr. Sharon, who knew Phalange forces had already entered the camps, cynically told him, “Nothing will happen. Maybe some more terrorists will be killed. That will be to the benefit of all of us.” Mr. Shamir and Mr. Sharon finally agreed to gradually withdraw once the Lebanese Army started entering the city — but they insisted on waiting 48 hours (until the end of Rosh Hashana, which started that evening).

        Continuing his plea for some sign of an Israeli withdrawal, Mr. Draper warned that critics would say, “Sure, the I.D.F. is going to stay in West Beirut and they will let the Lebanese go and kill the Palestinians in the camps.”

        Mr. Sharon replied: “So, we’ll kill them. They will not be left there. You are not going to save them. You are not going to save these groups of the international terrorism.”

        Mr. Draper responded: “We are not interested in saving any of these people.” Mr. Sharon declared: “If you don’t want the Lebanese to kill them, we will kill them.”

        Mr. Draper then caught himself, and backtracked. He reminded the Israelis that the United States had painstakingly facilitated the P.L.O. exit from Beirut “so it wouldn’t be necessary for you to come in.” He added, “You should have stayed out.”

        Mr. Sharon exploded again: “When it comes to our security, we have never asked. We will never ask. When it comes to existence and security, it is our own responsibility and we will never give it to anybody to decide for us.” The meeting ended with an agreement to coordinate withdrawal plans after Rosh Hashana.

        By allowing the argument to proceed on Mr. Sharon’s terms, Mr. Draper effectively gave Israel cover to let the Phalange fighters remain in the camps. Fuller details of the massacre began to emerge on Sept. 18, when a young American diplomat, Ryan C. Crocker, visited the gruesome scene and reported back to Washington.

        Years later, Mr. Draper called the massacre “obscene.” And in an oral history recorded a few years before his death in 2005, he remembered telling Mr. Sharon: “You should be ashamed. The situation is absolutely appalling. They’re killing children! You have the field completely under your control and are therefore responsible for that area.”

        • Lebanese Witness who was to Testify Against Sharon is Blown Up
          Bombed remains of Elie Hobeika’s vehicle, detonated by remote-control

          Elie Hobeika, a key witness in the Sabra-Chatila war crimes case being pursued in a Belgian court against Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, was blown up outside his house in Beirut on Jan. 24, 2002, together with three bodyguards and a civilian bystander. The car-bomb was the work of professional assassins in the employ of Mossad, the Israeli secret service. The explosion occured two days after Hobeika agreed to give evidence against Sharon in Belgium. Hobeika had met Belgian Senators Josy Dubie and Vincent van Quickenborne in east Beirut, agreeing to be a witness at any trial of Sharon for the Sabra and Chatila massacre.

          Belgian lawyers seeking to indict Sharon expressed their “profound shock” at Hobeika’s murder. “Mr Hobeika had several times expressed his wish to assist the Belgian inquiry on the massacres at Sabra and Chatila,” a statement from the Belgian lawyers said. “His determination to do so was reported widely on the eve of his assassination. The elimination of the key protagonist who offered to assist with the inquiry is an obvious attempt to undermine our case.”

          Marwan Hamadeh, the Lebanese minister for refugees stated,”My initial evaluation is that of course Israel doesn’t want witnesses against it in this historic case in Belgium…” Israeli Prime Minister Sharon dismissed the charges: “I am simply saying, from our point of view, we have no link to this subject at all, and this is not worthy of a comment,” Sharon told reporters.

          from taxi’s links link to mondoweiss.net

        • Obsidian says:

          @Annie

          ” The car-bomb was the work of professional assassins in the employ of Mossad, the Israeli secret service.”

          Proof please.

          I

        • You want ‘proof’, despite posting scurrilous and false allegations which happen to fit in with your agenda? Pass the sick bag.

        • Obsidian says:

          Annie made an allegation and I asked for proof. You should ask as much from her.

          Justicewillprevail said that ‘Cobra’ has no credibility. While Cobra is an evil man, I cannot agree that having served as Elie Hobeika’s personal bodyguard, Cobra ‘has no credibility’.

          Quite the contrary.

        • i didn’t make an allegation, i posted someone elses. here, enjoy wiki, this stuff is not a secret: link to en.wikipedia.org

          In June 2001, Chibli Mallat, a left-wing Maronite lawyer, filed a case against Ariel Sharon in Belgium under a law that allowed foreigners to be sued for crimes against humanity. Just before his death, Hobeika publicly declared his intention to testify against Sharon about his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacre in the Belgian court. Josy Dubié, a Belgian senator, was quoted as saying that Hobeika had told him several days before his death that he had “revelations” to disclose about the massacres and felt “threatened”. When Dubié had asked him why he did not reveal all the facts he knew immediately, Hobeika is reported to have said: “I am saving them for the trial”. At a news conference, he said, “I am very interested that the [Belgium] trial starts because my innocence is a core issue.”[3]

          and then it says Perpetrators

          A group, Lebanese for a Free and Independent Lebanon, issued a statement after the assassination, claiming responsibility for the killing of Hobeika.

          but try googling “Lebanese for a Free and Independent Lebanon”, it’s some front name for…an entity that doesn’t exist. i don’t know why you’re trying to defend the mossad,everyone knows they assassinate people and lie about it, not too controversial. and now that i’m bothering to respond ..what’s this: Later in life, faced with threats from within Lebanon, Hobeika sought out and received asylum from….. Syria!

          later in life? i don’t think so. anyway, it’s hard to have much sympathy for the guy, sounds like he could have been a cia/mossad tool.

      • Djinn says:

        You’re aware that even an Israeli investigation found Israeli culpable for the massacres right?

        You’re aware that the IDF set up perimeters and policed them so people fleeing had nowhere to go right?

        You’re aware that the IDF lit the area up like a Christmas tree allowing the Phalangists to slaughter men, women & children more efficiently right?

        You’re aware that the IDF watched the whole thing and made absolutely no attempt to end it right?

  10. seafoid says:

    I think there needs to be a discussion about what Zionist insanity in erez israel means for non Zionist jews in Galut. I just walked past an ashkenazi cultural centre in Zurich. There was one very prominent thug style security dude pacing around while ordinary folks left the building.
    That is no way to grow kids up. I never see the local Hindu temple going all shin bet.

    • Ellen says:

      seafoid, those dudes are there whenever the weather is good or there are holidays. You probably know the large Jewish community in Zurich is quite strong and secure, and has always been so.

      The Shin Bet goons in Stadt teil Enge are there to create a false climate of fear. Such tactics for group control, especially with so many children in the community, is unecessary and in essence weak and sad.

  11. Citizen says:

    Liberal Zionism at age 65: Fantasy versus Reality: link to 972mag.com

  12. Egbert says:

    This sort of thing should not be banned. They expose themselves so perfectly by doing this. Let ‘em ‘Bring it on’.

  13. aiman says:

    Always enjoy Phil’s take on anything to do with Walzer. Mondoweiss blows the bubble of myths and discomfits composed “luminaries” with straightforward facts and reflections.

  14. Citizen says:

    I’d say this might be pertinent to this subject and this blog:

    For the Jewish progressive discourse, the purpose behind pro-Palestinian support is clear. It is to present an impression of pluralism within the Jewish community. It is there to suggest that not all Jews are bad Zionists. Philip Weiss, the founder of the most popular progressive pro-Palestinian blog was even brave enough to admit to me that it is Jewish self -interests that stood at the core of his pro Palestinian activity.

    Jewish self-love is a fascinating topic. But even more fascinating is Jewish progressives loving themselves at the expense of the Palestinians. With billionaires such as Soros maintaining the discourse, solidarity is now an industry…

    link to counterpunch.org

    • Sibiriak says:

      Citizen:
      link to counterpunch.org

      [Atzmon:] For the Jewish progressive discourse, the purpose behind pro-Palestinian support is clear. It is to present an impression of pluralism within the Jewish community. It is there to suggest that not all Jews are bad Zionists.

      Here we get to the heart of things. Atzmon doesn’t find *anything* genuinely valuable and ethical in Jewish progressive discourse. He sees it as *entirely* self-serving to Jewish group interests. But in fact there IS pluralism within the Jewish community and not all self-identifying Jews really are bad Zionists in their core. There really are anti-Zionist Jews who hold to both universalist values and some kind of group identity–in tension, no doubt, but not necessarily insurmountable contradiction.

      Atzmon doesn’t see how someone like Phil W. can genuinely have multiple overlapping identities and motivations, none of them necessarily primary, overdetermining his beliefs and actions.

      On the other hand, there ARE more than a few fake
      Jewish progressives who really are tribalists through and through. Atzmon’s error is to assert the part is the whole.

      • Citizen says:

        @ Sibiriak

        Your comment is well-taken.

        Especially this part: “Atzmon doesn’t see how someone like Phil W. can genuinely have multiple overlapping identities and motivations, none of them necessarily primary, overdetermining his beliefs and actions.”

        Phil believes that he has a responsibility to recognize that Jews have arrived in the power structure of the US in the same way WASPs once were. He believes that with power comes responsibility to all impacted by that power. Hence, this blog. Personally, I think Phil upholds the highest moral/ethical values of being both Jewish and American. He trusts that America will not let him down for doing so. That’s why he’s anti-Zionist.

  15. Citizen says:

    I guess that at that stage, Weiss started to feel irritated or even trapped, for he somehow turned sour, saying : “Primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap to me.”

    But, I reminded Weiss that “self-interest” and “Jewish self-interest” had been his own words, quoting to him his initial reaction to Nahida’s post — indeed, Weiss had actually said, “I believe all people act out of self-interest. and Jews ..like myself — are concerned with a Jewish self-interest.

    I suggested to Weiss that I can live with inconsistency — I also offered him the opportunity to feel free to change his words, or amend his narrative to suit his ‘new line’ ( in which he had stated that “primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap”).

    I did feel , however, that Weiss should at least be made aware of the contradictions in his own words: after all, one can either argue that “Jews act out of Jewish self-interest” or, one can contend that to be “primarily concerned with Jewish interests is a stupid trap.”
    Yet, one cannot have it both ways, and one cannot hold these two views simultaneously, unless an explanation is offered.

    But I guess that I asked for too much : Weiss didn’t want to address the contradiction, saying, “( I ) Disown none of them,” explaining to me his opinion that “foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a little mind.

    link to gilad.co.uk

    • Nevada Ned says:

      Citizen, I don’t know you can be so sure of Phil Weiss’ motivations and thought processes.
      I’ve never met Phil Weiss, and can’t get inside his head.

      Judging by his writings on this blog, Weiss is a supporter of freedom, equality and justice, and an opponent of racism and oppression. (Not controversial so far…) But he thinks Palestinians are people, who are entitled to human rights (a controversial position!), which brings him into conflict with Israeli policy.

      Phil Weiss is one of a small but growing number of American Jews are willing to face up to the realities of Israeli policy without flinching, evasion, or hypocrisy. I hope that the number will continue to grow. The Mondoweiss website provides a valuable service. Phil and his comrades deserve our support.

      • Frankie P says:

        @Nevada Ned,
        While this is absolutely true,

        “Phil Weiss is one of a small but growing number of American Jews (who) are willing to face up to the realities of Israeli policy without flinching, evasion, or hypocrisy. I hope that the number will continue to grow. The Mondoweiss website provides a valuable service. Phil and his comrades deserve our support.”

        your challenging of Citizen as “be(ing) so sure of Phil Weiss’ motivations and thought processes.” is a misrepresentation. Citizen is actually quoting words that Phil said in a discussion with G. Atzmon. Apparently I was not the only one who was extremely surprised to read these words, and I feel that discounting the motivation for any person’s actions is a grave error.

        FPM

      • Citizen says:

        @ Nevada Ned

        Are you addressing me personally, when you say “I don’t know you can be so sure….”? Or are you addressing Atzmon, whom I quoted? Or do you simply mean a generic you akin to “one” or “anyone”?

    • American says:

      @ Citizen

      Everyone has some self interest and some have group interest—some much more so than others.
      But in Zionist there is real sickness to it—-they don’t appear to feel their ‘self interest’ is truly ‘satisfied’ unless they can keep other people ‘below’ them, lesser then them in almost every regard…whether it’s exaggerating their accomplishments or claiming their suffering is ‘unique/worse than others.
      I’ve known a few rare people over the years who got no satisfaction in attaining anything, didn’t really ‘enjoy’ their success, what they ‘enjoyed’ was beating someone, causing someone else to lose something…..that’s the only thing that made them ‘feel good’ about themselves. It really is a sickness.

    • Eva Smagacz says:

      Citizen,

      Try not to get yourself banned from here.

      For all I know Oscar Shindler could have been motivated by notion of “pure German” sense of humanity or he could have had hots (a la Ahasureus) for a Jewish girl he was caught kissing .

      People, including Phil, should be judged for what they do, and for consequences of their actions. And you can’t but admire how Phil threw the conversation about Zionism wide open to non-Jews.

      • Citizen says:

        @ Eva Smagacz
        I thought, since all I did was quote Atzmon discussing his interview with Phil, and that Atzmon said in one of the two pieces (both of which I hot linked) he has come to recognize Phil’s courageous POV and the special importance of this blog, that neither Phil nor Adam would find I had crossed some red line justifying banning me from this blog, which I have supported since 2007, both with cash and by personally helping Phil
        for free for months when this blog had a less sophisticated monitoring platform/system. I think my devotion to this blog and admiration for Phil’s work is obvious, but I guess not. I do judge people by their deeds, not their creeds, and Phil Weiss is very high up on my list of courageous, good people. I think he held is own with Atzmon and the interview between them speaks for itself. I was only the messenger here. It never hurts to question all of one’s motivations–Phil has done it here, repeatedly over the years.

    • citizen, i guess i don’t see the contradiction. at least not from what you’ve provided here. one can believe all people act out of self-interest. and Jews ..(like phil— who are concerned with a Jewish self-interest) could also feel maintaining jewish self interest as ones primary interest is a ‘stupid trap’. where’s the contradiction?

      i act out of self interest in my life too, but sometimes other priorities become more important. usually tho there is a synchronization, what it best for all involved also benefits my self interests.

      • Citizen says:

        @ Annie Robbins

        I agree with what you say. Phil’s the one who ended his interview by (if memory serves) quoting Emerson’s,” A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” So, I think the issue between them came down to who was looking at part of his motivation foolishly? I’m reminded of the part played by court fools in Shakespeare Era drama. What court? Eh?

        • no, phil didn’t end the exchange.

          At that point, I felt that it would be the right time to disengage, and to leave Weiss alone, just before things got further out of control.

          so citizen, i feel that it would be the right time to disengage, and to leave you alone, before you loose control

          ;)

          these are rhetorical devices, silly.

        • Citizen says:

          OK, sorry, I shouldn’t have relied on my geezer memory. It’s true that Atzmon said at that point (When Phil quoted Emerson), he felt that it would be the right time to disengage, and to leave Weiss alone, “just before things got further out of control.”

          So you aped Atzmon to disengage with me. But you added a smiley and the comment that “these are rhetorical devices, silly.”

          Sorry, I admire and respect you Annie, and I nearly always agree with your articles on MW and your comments on this blog, but I don’t know what you reference by “rhetorical devices, silly.” What, tell me. Thanks. It was not my interactive interview, but Phil’s and Atzmon’s. Again, I was merely the messenger, bringing the message here since I thought we here all are interested in what Phil says outside this blog, about issues he’s presented on this blog, and anything anyone says about this blog–even Atzmon.

          I don’t know why you suggested I might lose control. Control of what?

        • citizen, i didn’t mean i was going to disengage, i was just putting you on the other end of a comment like that. and i don’t think you sounded anymore ‘out of control’ than phil sounded. but i don’t think atzmon was referring to himself being out of control when he wrote “just before things got further out of control.”

          “further out of control” implies something/someone is already out of control..iow, he was claiming phil was out of control. just like i suggested you were out of control. (only a rhetorical device to make my point, i do not think you are out of control)

          p.s. resorting to rhetorical devices is silly, in my mind, because they are so easy to spot if one is familiar w/them.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Annie Robbins
          OK, I think you are correct here. Yes, Atzmon was claiming Phil might be going out of control–I am beginning to think, Atzmon was amazed by Phil–you may be right in suggesting, if I’ve read you right, that Atzmon needed to digest what Phil said more fully, knew it, and ended the interview. I still think it’s not a bad thing to discuss any degree of “tribal” identity and compare it with those who more so only mostly identify with “humanity.” I also think this is an on-going inner debate with folks around the world, most especially those folks in America in and EU, and, maybe S Africa.

        • Cliff says:

          I really love that Emerson essay:

          No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it. A man is to carry himself in the presence of all opposition as if every thing were titular and ephemeral but he. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions. Every decent and well spoken individual affects and sways me more than is right. I ought to go upright and vital, and speak the rude truth in all ways….

          What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

          The other terror that scares us from self trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.

          But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this monstrous corpse of your memory, lest you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then?

          A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Out upon your guarded lips! Sew them up with packthread, do. Else if you would be a man speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.

          I don’t understand why Aztmon was concerned here with ‘consistency’.

          There is no overarching rule, except to say that tribalism can be good and bad (extremes).

          And Phil’s reasons seem reasonable. Realistic.

        • I don’t understand why Aztmon was concerned here with ‘consistency’.

          cliff, thanks so much for the quotes. my impression reading the article (albeit i have very frequent interactions with phil so that impresses on my reading/interpretation of the article) is that phil enters into it with an open mind, he’s not a person who is afraid of his own thoughts. (in fact he posted this article with a link and apology wrt one offensive reference) gilad initiated the encounter with a particular goal in mind which he stated at the beginning.

          i have not read very much of atzmon’s but my understanding is he has strong views on jewish identity and so he heard only the parts of what phil was saying that served his own preconceived ideas. and perhaps atzmon was (or is) limited by those ideas(of his own) to be able to hear the fluidity in phil’s views. he found his ‘aha’ moment, what he was looking for, astounded almost by what he perceived as an ‘admission’ by phil, although anyone who knows phil knows he’s an open book talking about this kind of stuff, always exploring so i didn’t get the impression phil was ‘admitting’ anything, anymore than i am ‘admitting’ (rhetorical code for conceding) anything to you here.

          it was when atzmon tried to pin down phil on this primarily thing, phil said..nahhh, that’s stupid…that’s not me. and that didn’t fit with atzmon’s theory (the one he claimed phil had earlier ‘confirmed’), hence instead of accepting phil’s ideas as a whole, he chose to label phil’s ideas as contradictions. (people with theories like consistent affirmations to buttress their theories) hence phil’s response was perfect, even flippant. he wasn’t out of control, he just sensed atzmon was trying to set him up (and while that may have not been atzmon’s intent, he did go on to write the article employing a slew of rhetorical devices indicating he was trapping and had trapped phil). but just reading the words sans all atzmon’s framing, the evidence of ‘contradiction’ is not there. the only thing phil’s ideas contradicted was atzmon’s theory. that’s likely why “Aztmon was concerned with ‘consistency’”, otherwise he would have to admit his theory didn’t apply, at least not wrt phil.

        • RoHa says:

          “so he heard only the parts of what phil was saying that served his own preconceived ideas.”

          Something all of us are prone to, even when we are trying to overcome it.

    • citizen, reviewing your link i wonder why anyone, in an email exchange, would interpret “Primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap to me.” as [" started to feel irritated or even trapped, for he somehow turned sour"]?

      what is sour about saying that? and how does it contradict what he said earlier? it just sounds logical to me. from a personal standpoint advocating for human rights is in my self interest. it is in everyone’s self interest. and if someone asked me if ending the occupation was in my self interest i would say ..yes, i have a concern for my self interest.

      then, a person such as yourself or atzmon could then write an article claiming i was “brave” and “honest” by “admitting”….”bluntly” my “core” interest was self motivation. now how is that framing not the setting of a trap?

      if you agree there is a contradiction, then do you also think there is a contradiction between saying “i like to eat healthy food” and “healthy food is not my primary interest?”

      atzmon’s intention was to prove his own point (likely acting in his own self interest) which he construed in his followup column. but his premise, that phil was contradicting himself, isn’t clear to me at all (btw, when a writer says ‘clearly’ don’t mistake that for clarity). just because atzmon offered for phil to retract his words (merely a further implication there was a contradiction, while offering no proof) doesn’t mean there was anything worth retracting there. and responding by saying “Disown none of them” doesn’t prove there is any kind of contradiction.

      i think if people want to make the case it’s not in their self interest to end this occupation (jews or otherwise) they should speak up. but there’s nothing wrong with advocating and supporting equal rights for all concerned out of self interest. ultimately, most people act in ways that serve what they perceive to be in their self interest. and there’s nothing really ‘brave’ about saying that.

      • Citizen says:

        @ Annie Robbins, I’m sorry, did you just tell me you listened to the Atzmon-Weiss interview exchange? If so, I don’t follow your logic. Please clarify. Thanks.

        • Citizen says:

          @Annie Robbins
          Again, did you listen to the Atzmon-Weiss interview? You corrected me in that it was Atzmon that cut off the interview. My bad. But you didn’t otherwise respond to my comments. Maybe Phil really gave a heavy zinger to Atzmon by quoting Emerson. It’s arguable. Logical consistency may not be best how to handle the subject matter. Atzmon withdrew–apparently he did not have to.

        • i didn’t listen to it, i read it(atzmon wrote he emailed phil, i assumed it was an email exchange). atzmon offered for phil to retract his words:

          I suggested to Weiss that I can live with inconsistency — I also offered him the opportunity to feel free to change his words, or amend his narrative to suit his ‘new line’ ( in which he had stated that “primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap”).

          phil never said his primary concern was Jewish self-interest. phil said:

          I believe all people act out of self-interest. And Jews who define themselves at some level as Jews — like myself for instance — are concerned with a Jewish self-interest. Which in my case is: an end to Zionism. A theory of political life based on altruism or concern for victims purely is doomed to fail.

          phil didn’t say “jewish self interest” was at the “core” of his activism. my interpretation of this particular quote is that the core is Which in my case is: an end to Zionism.. but that is subject to interpretation. the only time phil used the word core was:

          yes I feel some core ‘Id’** and this makes me think in the end, that dialogue with you will not help ME because I am interested in frying different fish.

          atzmon used a number of rhetorical tools making his pt, one being “admitting that it was indeed ‘Jewish self-interest’ that he himself was ‘concerned with’.”

          saying one is concerned with ‘a jewish self interest’ is not that big a deal. but when you frame it (as atzmon did) with ‘admit’ and ‘indeed’ and write it up with words like ‘primary’ and ‘core interest’ it tells another story. atzmon had a hammer (agenda) and he said “Weiss confirmed what many of us have been saying for a very long time”…well, if that was the case why all the rhetorical flourish? has atzmon been saying “all people act out of self-interest” for a very long time? no, he’s obsessed with proving a point about jewish self interest and therefore when phil says, sure, i’m concerned with a jewish self interest he writes it up as; admitting indeed jewish self interest.

          when phil stated “identity is multi-factorial” and “I feel American before I feel Jewish” what it means is his self identity is not exclusive, nor is his jewish identity primary. one could easily state ending apartheid is in america’s self interest. but atzmon wanted to extract his own theory out of phil, to confirm his own point, and claimed that is what phil had done by claiming there was an inherent contradiction in phil’s ptv (there isn’t) and asking phil if he wanted to retract (phil didn’t and why should he?). atzmon ended the conversation (or email exchange) by claiming things were getting “out of control”, they weren’t out of control by my reading of it. they were just getting out of atzmon’s control because phil wasn’t agreeing to his framing. phil called him on it by saying ““primarily concerned with Jewish interests seems a stupid trap”, and it was a stupid trap. that doesn’t mean phil was trapped or fell for it. but that didn’t stop atzmon, who wrote: “just before things got further out of control.”? wtf.

          maybe we just read it differently.

        • it just took me awhile to write it up and i got a phone call citizen.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Annie Robbins
          Get back to me when you listen to the interview. Thanks.

        • citizen, i didn’t see it posted at the link. where do you ‘listen’? obviously i read the article, i’ve been quoting from it. i don’t think an audio exists, at least i have not heard it referenced until today.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Annie Robbins
          I agree with you that Phil was not trapped by Atzmon in any sense other than saying he, like all humans, are at least partially motivated by self-interest. And I agree with you that sometimes self-interest has an altruistic side. I am not Ayn Rand or Pam Gellar. Nor am I Atzmon.

      • Danaa says:

        annie, citizen, I just noticed this exchange here and got my ears all perked up. Can’t say I paid much attention to said “contradiction” at the time, perhaps because contradictions – real or implied – is what I breath. But then, looking at this quotation from Gilad, I noticed (probably because of a theme that preoccupies me these days) the extreme “Israeliness” of Gilad in holding forth so resolutely, beating down the point of “self interest”. Or rather, it was that in juxtaposition to Phil’s own inclination to finesse and straddle divides between issues – something we often see on this blog, to the apparent confusion of some and merriment of others.

        My contention is that Israelis may become “ex” and may indeed gravitate to a place that stands in direct opposition to the xenophobia and excessive “ethnic” self-interest in which they were raised. But they still find it hard to leave a point well enough alone, especially if it requires learning to live with, or even embracing nuance in points of view as expressed by others (even as they demand recognition of nuance as applied to themselves). By contrast, someone like Phil (generalizing now) has had to learn a quality I’d call (for lack of another word) “balance of the spirit” which, when turned on , say in a conversation, can become a ‘spirited balancing act” between faintly or fairely oppositional points of view. I think that allegiance to balance comes partly from “being American” and, partly through personal inclinations, that are tuned to nuance, the two kind of reinforcing each other. i am not sure Gilad would be able to process (at least not right away) the “being American” part, simply for not living in America.

        Note: i know I am presuming by projecting on Phil – though he makes a rather good canvass to project things on (i mean check out this blog!). However, I don’t think I am projecting much when speaking of “Israeliness”. That is the quality that, IMO, can lead to the coining of somewhat ill-sitting terms, such as “Jewish-ness”. Being an Israeli means that one can forget that hyphens tend to get lost on the way from here to there. Something which an American would of course, know, jewish or otherwise.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Danaa
          Thanks for offering your insight–I value your opinion very highly–I don’t think I ever disagreed with your take on things discussed here, and I think this discussion is very important, which is, with you standing in for the whole of us regulars here, why I brought Atzmons’s interview with Phil here to MW. I did it because I trust regular MW readers more than any other internet source regarding the subject matter for which Phil dedicated this blog. Nuance is everything. You maybe right, if I read you accurately, that Atzmon, having come so bravely far from his early conditioning as an Israeli Jew, has yet further to go in understanding American nuance. whether it’s Phil’s, for example, as a self-identified Jewish-American, or, e.g., Annie R, as a non-Jewish American.

          Is it possible that Atzmon was trying to get at an ultimate apathy (tension?) between any tribal identity and simple human identity? I’m not sure that “Is it good for the Jews?” is the same as, is it good for all humanity? Are you?
          I hope I’m not crossing the MW red line here. Perhaps those questions can be conflated? In a sense, it’s like asking, if all our chosen, than none are chosen?
          Seems to me every individual human by virtue of being born human, is chosen to give due respect to all other humans, and visa versa. Is that a problem here? I see it that all humans have the same chore. Distinctions regarding the heavy load seem to me to be counter-productive.

        • Bumblebye says:

          I have similar thoughts about Gilad. I muse about the impact of pilpul on his philosophizing. I also think he’s something of an ‘outlier’, and very well known, the type of outlier who provides space for others to stretch further and demand a bit more simply because they’re not him. I’d liken him to Peter Tatchell, an Aussie who now is a Brit, who was a serious outlier on gay issues for many years, very high profile, very controversial, but without whom things for the lgbt community may not have moved quite so far quite so fast – his existence made room for others to demand more than they had a bit less stridently than he did, while seeming much more ‘reasonable’ than him – certainly something/one tipped the balance, and things began to move much faster in the lgbt rights department in the UK.

        • citizen, re:chosen, one of the things phil said in the interview was

          I end up in the end inevitably and predictably at some site trashing Jewish religion, to which I have very little connection

          i interpret this to mean he’s not interested in a religious chosen conversation surrounding jewish identity. some people may think it’s ingrained as some sort of superiority claim for all jews, or something. i don’t think that’s a conversation phil wants to have, or course i could be wrong because i have never asked him. but i think it may be related to what he goes on to say:

          though yes I feel some core ‘Id’** and this makes me think in the end, that dialogue with you will not help ME because I am interested in frying different fish.

          so what kind of different fish? phil already stated his desire for “an end to Zionism,” which one can assume is atzmon’s goal too, so if they are going about it in different ways are the different ways the fish? Nahida was trashing jvp. i don’t think phil has a problem with jvp or self identifying as jewish. i think jvp is doing a great job and iplan on attending their national meeting next weekend. and while Nahida claims, as do many atzmon supporters (i don’t know about atzmon because i have not read enough of his stuff) groups like jvp seek to ‘control’ all pro palestinian activism, it’s not my experience.

          i think atzmon has issues with people not who are religious self identifying as jews, or something. i don’t think that’s really a discussion they want to have here repeatedly or otherwise. it’s offensive to many people and it becomes an obsession. i don’t think one can make generalizations about jews like that without stepping on a lot of toes. and i don’t think that’s necessarily about group think, albeit it probably includes some group think, i think many individuals find it offensive. and my own personal philosophy (which i have discussed at length with RoHa), is that people should be able to self identify however they want.

          i think it’s also worth considering that there are probably quite a few secular jews who just don’t know that much about the religion they are aligned with. so a blog like mondoweiss might have to invest in having moderators who do know. religion is personal to people, so having endless conversations around tenants of judaism ..maybe they don’t think it’s the direction they’re interested in taking the conversation, wrt their activism.

          but there are lots of blogs that discuss that stuff, why not have the conversation there?

        • You maybe right, if I read you accurately, that Atzmon, having come so bravely far from his early conditioning as an Israeli Jew, has yet further to go in understanding American nuance.

          it’s not just american ‘nuance’ it’s jewish non israeli nuance. atzmon’s theories are about all jews, are they not. but he’s originating from an israeli lens. he uses a lot of rhetorical tools, takes people’s words out of context, comes to conclusions by plastering his theories on out of context quotes. it seems like he has a tad obsession with phil. not sure what that’s about.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Annie Robbins

          Maybe. I don’t think Atzmon has any obsession with Phil. It was merely that Phil was the first Jew he encountered at play anywhere near prominently public in the I/P Conflict & US “special relationship” arena that admitted he was not totally altruistic in his heavy support for the Palestinians’ situation and support for the US disconnecting itself from rubber-stamping Israeli policies and conduct. I really think you need to Atzmon’s book, The Wandering Who. I also suggest you read Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and The Rise Of The Jews, by Lindemann.

        • citizen, i think you need to ask atzmon why he’s too afraid (rhetorical device, he probably doesn’t have the interest or time to deal with the feedback) to open a conversation about this topic on his blog. ask him why he doesn’t offer a free exchange of ideas instead of writing posts critical of anti zionists without hosting engagement on his own site. have you even thought about that? and if this is a topic that interests you why don’t you start a blog for all the people who think it’s so cutting edge? and that 2 year old link you left down thread to the garnelironheart.blog with 4 comments? i’m really not getting what’s so “case in point” or compelling about that article, at all.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Annie Robbins
          “… some people may think it’s ingrained as some sort of superiority claim for all jews, or something. i don’t think that’s a conversation phil wants to have, or course i could be wrong because i have never asked him.”

          Actually, Phil has stated he was raised in a very close-knit scientific family that had a sense of Jewish superiority, and that, growing up until he went to college, being Jewish was the main thing he was vis-à-vis the world. Plenty of being such Jewish, nothing about Judaism.

        • nothing about Judaism

          exactly. it wasn’t biblical as i recall. granted there are fundies and others who are into this thing, but that doesn’t mean it permeates the reality of every jewish person or there’s any universal continuum about what it means. albeit it’s obviously an obsession for some people obsessed with jewish identity.

          btw, i noticed you had no response to my comment about atzmon hosting this conversation on his site. doesn’t that make some kind of sense since him and his followers are all over this like flies on sh*t? i don’t get why he doesn’t just host the conversation he wants to have on his blog. any conceivable idea why he doesn’t?

        • Citizen says:

          @ Annie Robbins
          No, I don’t. His blog is not an open conversation (although he’s open on a lot of YouTube videos). It’s only his own articles, with no way of responding from his website other than by sending an email. As a somewhat related issue regarding the free flow of (non-abusive, non-personal attack) information, I don’t know if Atzmon is banned from commenting on this blog, do you?

        • Eva Smagacz says:

          Isn’t Gilad a musician first and philosopher second? Running a blog, like Mondoweiss, is a full time job.

        • exactly, so why should we double our load hosting the conversation he wants to have? it’s not like we aren’t backed way up w/moderation as it is. i’m totally not getting why one of his followers doesn’t open a blog where you guys can all discuss his theories.

        • not that i know of citizen, but i don’t know. this isn’t really the format to hash out atzmon. he uses his blog to trash phil and then would want to come debate it with people here? that seems weird. but if you emailed him he would probably email back, i don’t see why not. this is the conversation he thinks is important so it seems odd he’s not into hosting it. it would be one thing if phil was writing about atzmon or his ideas, but he’s not. besides, imho he’s fabricated stuff about phil to make his point. he wrote a whole post pretending phil had all of a sudden converted to the position of saying the media should talk about zionism, as if he has not been saying that for years. and then pats himself on the back for saying it and phil can “join with the rest of us”. us? atzmon doesn’t even host this conversation, which doesn’t even require moderation, he could just open his comment section up. it’s a silly one upmanship on his part that no one here (certainly not phil, adam or MW) took seriously. everyone who’s been reading this blog for years knows what phil thinks about the media/lobby/and zionism. so phil writes yet another article about it (can there be too many) and atz acts like he’s hit the motherload.

          he should move on and the people who want to talk about his ideas should find a little home for themselves where he can join them when he wants to talk to his followers. i just don’t get why MW should host this stuff after his trashing of phil (regardless of all the ‘brave’ lingo/rhetorical crap), but that’s just my opinion. i have no idea where phil or adam are with this stuff. that is all i have to say. ciao on this topic for me.

        • Citizen says:

          It’s easily arguable that Phil’s blog and Atzmon’s web site (when he’s not writing or giving notice about his primary interest, modern jazz) and book are devoted to the politics of jewish identity. The difference is that Phil has an open comment functionality. Big difference. Atzmon may be more open than Phil in his jazz, which is appreciated by the whole world, but Phil is more open than Atzmon in his views on “being Jewish” and what that means for both Jews and the rest of us in this world.

  16. Citizen says:

    @ Annie Robbins
    You are on point wrt the interview (debate) between Phil & Gilad. It is all about what identifying as being “Jewish” means in the context of being “Chosen.” Despite all of Phil’s written agony here about being brought up as a Jew in America, and about his own attempts to do a Nakba (“shrugging off”) about that to reach more universalism, I don’t recall Phil ever waxing on here, on his blog, specifically, about what identifying as being a member of the “Chosen People” means to him. Atzmon is more clear on this subject. If you have never read his book, The Wandering Who, given your activity here, I myself wonder, why?

    You recommend: “…but there are lots of blogs that discuss that stuff, why not have the conversation there?”

    I reply, because this blog is more open than any other to where the rubber meets the road when it comes to identifying with being Jewish or not, and what each has to directly say to “the other” regarding the US “special relationship” with Israel, not to mention what this means for the wider world in a very practical sense, e.g., negative impact on Palestinians daily, negative impact on poor US taxpayers even though they mostly don’t know it, and negative impact on US state moral/ethical power in the world.

    So, a key issue in the under current of the interview between Phil and Atzmon is–Atzmon’s obsession: how does being Jewish relate to being a universal humanist?
    It’s hard to keep this issue totally separate from the Jewish religion–case in point: link to garnelironheart.blogspot.com

    • I don’t recall Phil ever waxing on here, on his blog, specifically, about what identifying as being a member of the “Chosen People” means to him.

      well gee citizen, phil already said he didn’t know much about religion, so why would this obsession with chosenness so many people have be shared by phil? maybe he just thinks it’s the kind of stuff religious people make up to control the masses. like a church saying you can’t get to god without christ (via their church, natch). people who are not religious don’t tend to think about religion that much.

      because this blog is more open than any other to where the rubber meets the road when it comes to identifying with being Jewish or not, and what each has to directly say to “the other” regarding the US “special relationship” with Israel…………

      maybe there are two groups of people, those who think the rubber meets the road w/israel/palestine over religion, and ones who do not. i’m in the latter group. are you jewish? i can’t remember. you should go visit sean’s blog, he loves talking about judaism and he’s totally open.

      how does being Jewish relate to being a universal humanist? It’s hard to keep this issue totally separate from the Jewish religion

      why? only if one conflates it’s hard being jewish secular. i think what we have here is a fundamental issue wrt accepting there are some secular jews who are as non religious as other secular people. and i guess that pisses some people off because we’ve heard many people here accuse phil (and mooser) of not being ‘real’ jews and then we’ve got the anti zionists side with the same accusation. why not just let people self identify however they want? i just have no problem with the idea of non religious people who self identify as jewish. it’s none of my business. what should i care?

      i have not read wandering jew because (shock of shock) i don’t have an obsession with jewish self identity. i am aware how many polls have been taken and how many jews are obsessed with this topic, but alas, this has escaped me. i feel confident there are plenty of people obsessed with this one ethnic group, but i’m not an activist to dissect jewish personhood. i’m more interested in freeing palestine and don’t really see how analyzing secular anti zionists serves that purpose. besides there are too many books written by palestinians i have not gotten around to reading. i’m behind on my booklist.

  17. yrn says:

    And two days ago Atzmon writes about Phil…… looks like he has a lot to say about Phil

    “For the Jewish progressive discourse, the purpose behind pro-Palestinian support is clear. It is to present an impression of pluralism within the Jewish community. It is there to suggest that not all Jews are bad Zionists. Philip Weiss, the founder of the most popular progressive pro-Palestinian blog was even brave enough to admit to me that it is Jewish self -interests that stood at the core of his pro Palestinian activity.

    Jewish self-love is a fascinating topic. But even more fascinating is Jewish progressives loving themselves at the expense of the Palestinians.”

    link to gilad.co.uk

    • that’s amusing since phil never said the “core” of his activism was jewish self interest. i feel sorry for atzmon. he keeps coming back to his theory about phil, maybe he’s jealous.

      and there was nothing particularly brave about what phil said, it’s exactly the sort of stuff he writes about all the time here which is why this blog is so successful. i mean i suppose it’s brave what he does but he’s used to it i assume, i know i am. and this repetitive application of the verb, to ‘admit’, implying conceding, submitting, accepting..it shows a real weakness in atzmon’s person. i do wonder if he employs this kind of ‘psycho logic’ throughout his writings in other areas. it’s sad and a convoluted self oriented way of positioning oneself as the more dominant. i’m starting to understand why people have such an aversion to him and that is something i have not fully comprehended before. i’m sure other people have other reasons, but the rhetorical crutches and twisting of others words isn’t an admirable characteristic. i think he may be more comfortable with black and white. i’m more of a rainbow thinker.

      • Citizen says:

        @ Annie Robbins

        Well, Phil has stated, once he got into it, he felt blogging demanded transparency about what he cared about, Jewish identity. That’s why he left the Observer to run his own blog. He pursued Jewish identify politics
        involved in 9/11, Iraq War, AIPAC, Palestinian situation, etc. And he’s still doing it. That’s the fish he’s frying. I conclude Atzmon will eventually rethink his blanket castigation of all Anti-Zionist and progressive Jews as merely being mainly out for their tribe. His interview with Phil probably started that ball rolling. I bet Phil read The Wandering Who…