Jews without Israel

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
on 391 Comments

This post originally appeared September 6, 2013 on Corey Robin’s blog.

In shul this morning, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the rabbi spoke at length about the State of Israel. This is more surprising than you might think. I’ve been going to this shul since I moved to Brooklyn in 1999, and if memory serves, it’s only been in the last two or three years that the rabbi has devoted at least one of her High Holy Days talks to Israel.

Throughout the aughts, Israel didn’t come up much in shul. During flash points of the Second Intifada, you might hear a prayer for Jewish Israelis or nervous temporizing about some action in Jenin or Gaza. But I can’t recall an entire sermon devoted to the State of Israel and its meaning for Jews.

That’s also how I remember much of my synagogue experience as a kid. Don’t get me wrong: Israel was central to my Jewish education. My entire family—my five sisters, my parents, and my grandfather—visited there with our synagogue in 1977. Several of my sisters, as well as my parents, have been back. The safety of Israel was always on my mind; I remember spending many a Friday night service imagining a terrorist attack on our synagogue, so short seemed the distance between suburban New York and Tel Aviv. I wrote about Israel in school essays (I actually defended its role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre). I had a strong feeling for Israel (or what I thought was Israel): a combination of hippie and holy, Godly and groovy, a feeling well captured by Steven Spielberg in Munich.

But for all of Israel’s role in my Jewish upbringing, I don’t remember my rabbi talking about the state all that much. In fact, the only time I remember him bringing it up was in 1982, not long after Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. This was the first time that I became aware of international criticism of Israel. I had known, of course, about Arab and Palestinian opposition to the state, but in the world of American Jewry, that was all too easy to dismiss. The 1982 invasion, however, was especially controversial and brought Israel intense criticism from across the globe. Or at least sufficiently intense that I noticed.

Our rabbi—Chaim Stern, who edited the prayer book that’s now used at Reform synagogues across the country—was wry and erudite, not given to hot pronouncements. But something in the air that year stirred him to defend the State of Israel against its many critics. I’ve forgotten most of what he said, but one comment stuck with me: Israel should be allowed to be a normal state. We shouldn’t demand of Israel that it be a nation above others; we should let it be a state among others. Stern didn’t mean what many of us would now take that statement to mean: that Israel should be held to the same standard as other states, particularly states that claim to be liberal democracies. He meant that it should be free to hunt and kill its enemies. Just like any other state.

But aside from this one instance, my memory of my rabbi is that he was relatively silent on the topic. Israel was so much a part of the moral and material fabric of our lives that it didn’t require elaborate sermons and defenses or justifications. It (or an image of it) was something we lived rather than something we were lectured about.

And that’s how it had mostly been at the shul I now attend in Brooklyn. Until about two years ago. I remember the rabbi first taking up the topic in earnest in 2011 (or was it 2010?), almost apologetically, saying that we in the shul had been too quiet about Israel. It was time to talk. And by talk, she meant defend. Israel was under attack, politically and ideologically; its status in the culture could no longer be taken for granted. We had to speak up on its behalf. I remember wondering at the time whether she wasn’t responding to some specific call from other rabbis, a sense that Israel was beginning to lose control of the conversation not just internationally but in the US as well.

But what’s become clear to me since then—and this morning’s sermon confirmed it—is that it’s not the goyim the rabbis are worried about; it’s Jews. And not merely anti-Zionist, middle-aged lefty Jews like me but also younger Jews who are indifferent to Zionism.

In her talk this morning, the rabbi cited a statistic: where 80 percent of Jews over 65 feel that the destruction of the State of Israel would be a personal tragedy, only 50 percent of Jews under 35 feel the same way. I have no idea if this is true or what study it’s based on (this article in Tablet cites the same statistic), and admittedly it’s a high (and kind of weird) bar upon which to hang and measure support for the State of Israel. But my anecdotal sense is that there is something to it. Earlier this year, I had a drink with a 20-something journalist who’s Jewish. He said most Jews his age didn’t think or care all that much about Israel. Where Jews my age had to work toward our opposition to Israel—overcoming heated criticism and feelings of betrayal from friends and family—Jews his age, he suggested, could simply slough off the state as if it were so many old clothes.

But what most stood out for me from this morning’s sermon was how nervous the rabbi was about bringing up the topic. After talking a bit about how Israel felt to her as a kid (her memories are much like mine), she said that nowadays it seemed as if one couldn’t have a conversation with another Jew about Israel without fearing that it would explode into an argument. So fraught is the topic, she said, that many of us have opted not to talk about it at all. An uneasy silence had descended upon the Jewish community—an anxious modus vivendi in which we don’t agree to disagree but agree not to discuss—and it was this, more than anything, that worried her.

Now there are many reasons why a Jew would be made nervous by such a silence. Jews like to pride themselves on their tradition of argument and internal dissent. For every two Jews, three opinions, and so on. (That’s often not been my experience of Jews and Judaism, but it’s certainly a part of our sense of ourselves). Judaism, moreover, is not a religion of inner lights, of atomistic individuals who do their own thing. Ours is the religion of a people, a people with a rather insistent sense of collectivity. We do not shuffle into private confessionals; we declare our guilt publicly and communally. On Yom Kippur, we recite all the offenses we have committed against God and to each other (my personal favorite is “stiff-neckedness”). Individually, we may not have committed all of them, but that doesn’t matter. Somewhere, someone in the community did, and we’re all responsible.

But the rabbi wasn’t concerned about the conversation about Israel for these reasons. Something else seemed to be bothering her. If Jews can’t speak to each other about Israel, how can they defend the state to the rest of the country, much less the world? If defenders of Israel can’t make the case to the Jewish people, to whom can they make the case? Instead of issuing a call to arms, the rabbi pleaded for civility: let’s learn to speak to each other with mutual regard and respect, not to demonize each other simply because we take different positions on the State of Israel. Though she framed this as a universal injunction, I suspect she was speaking more personally. It seemed as if she felt like she had been demonized for her support for Israel (which is not, I should hasten to add, uncritical support but probably something closer to Peter Beinart’s liberal Zionism). And not by Arabs or the French, but by other Jews, perhaps even Jews in her own congregation.

I know how she feels. Though I grew up in a Zionist family, my position on Israel began to shift during my last years as an undergraduate in the late 1980s. In my junior year, I studied at Jesus College, Oxford. On the one hand, the experience solidified my identity as a Jew. Growing up in suburban Westchester, I never felt marked as other, as exotic or alien or strange. But at Oxford I did (I remember visiting a friend’s family over the Christmas holiday. Upon my arrival, the first thing they remarked upon was my being Jewish. It was as if they had been talking about it for weeks, wondering what they would do with this Jew once he crossed the threshold.) I came away from my year in England not only more identified as a Jew but also more interested in being Jewish.

On the other hand, that was the year of the Intifada, which set me on a path of questioning the State of Israel. When I returned to the States, I heard Edward Said speak on campus. I was mesmerized (anyone who had the privilege of hearing Said on Israel/Palestine knows what I’m talking about).

Coming out of these experiences, I recommitted myself to Judaism while rejecting Zionism. I learned how to be a Jew without Israel.

My break with Israel didn’t happen all at once. It was a process, but it did have an end point. In the summer of 1993, I was in Tennessee with my then-girlfriend, who was doing dissertation research there. Toward the end of the summer, I bought a copy of Said’s The Question of Palestine and read it in two days. As we drove back to New Haven, all hell broke loose. She was Jewish and at the time a firm if critical believer in Israel as a Jewish state. I began the car ride by voicing some tentative criticisms, but the conversation quickly escalated. It ended with me declaring that no child of mine would ever step foot in the State of Israel (I was kind of melodramatic in those days). We didn’t speak for a week.

That was my last experience of really getting into it with another Jew over Israel. I learned my lesson. I kept quiet. For about a decade and a half. The topic was simply too painful. I would only talk about it with ideologically sympathetic friends (and a couple of my sisters, who had come around to the same position as me) or with non-Jews. I couldn’t bear the feeling that I was being disloyal to the Jewish people; it was as if I had turned my back on my own family. I didn’t change my position; I just didn’t publicize or push it.

But something has changed in the last few years. The BDS movement has made great strides, critics like Ali Abunimah provide thousands of followers on Twitter with a constant stream of vital information we wouldn’t get elsewhere, books like Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby (whatever you think of its thesis) have blown open a topic long considered taboo, and respected voices in the mainstream media like Glenn Greenwald (and before him, Tony Judt) have made it possible for Jews to speak our minds on the topic. Now my little tribe within a tribe is more vocal, and suddenly it is our opponents who feel like they have to be careful around us and not vice versa.

I don’t want to overstate things. The pro-Israel forces still have an iron grip on the conversation in Congress (not to mention the expenditures and actions of the American state as a whole); critics of Israel are still vulnerable on college campuses; and lock-step support for Israel is still a requirement for mainstream respectability in most of the mainstream media.

I also wouldn’t want to make too much of a few sermons at my shul in Brooklyn, which despite being Conservative is politically progressive. I suspect the conversation in other shuls is rather different.

Still, if what my rabbi says is any indication, something may be happening in the Jewish community. If we look beneath the world of AIPAC and high politics, if we pay attention to the everyday conversation and its unspoken rules of discretion, we may be seeing a subtle shift in manners and mores that portends something larger and more fundamental.

I don’t know what that something larger is, or will be, and despite what Montesquieu and Tocqueville taught us, the politics of politesse is just that. Even so, for the first time in 20 years, I’m hopeful.

Shanah Tovah.

About Corey Robin

Corey Robin teaches political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin and Fear: The History of a Political Idea.

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391 Responses

  1. seanmcbride
    September 8, 2013, 11:58 am

    Corey,

    Coming out of these experiences, I recommitted myself to Judaism while rejecting Zionism. I learned how to be a Jew without Israel.

    But the worldwide Jewish religious establishment — the official authority on Judaism — has fully embraced Zionism and merged Jewish ethnic and religious nationalism with Judaism.

    Your thoughts?

    Committing yourself to Judaism these days means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism — unless you belong to a fringe Jewish religious group like Neturei Karta.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 8, 2013, 1:33 pm

      Committing yourself to Judaism these days means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism — unless you belong to a fringe Jewish religious group like Neturei Karta.

      that’s just the way you see it sean, but others don’t. for one thing judaism is not confined by a Jewish religious establishment. and “worldwide” implies there are no practicing jews outside this ‘establishment’ (sans your caveat).

      all it takes is one person like corey to commit himself to judaism while rejecting zionism to disprove your theory, and i’m sure there’s many others besides corey.

      • seanmcbride
        September 8, 2013, 1:50 pm

        Annie,

        We continue to miscommunicate on this subject for reasons that are entirely mystifying to me.

        I have never denied that many religious Jews are not are embroiled or enmeshed in Zionism or Israeli politics — a relatively small minority of them are even passionate anti-Zionists.

        What I have argued, and continue to argue, is that the leading organizations within the Jewish religious establishment (see the membership list of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations) have strongly promoted the belief that Judaism and Zionism are joined at the hip — elements of a single ethnic and religious nationalist ideology — and that their efforts have played an extremely important role in indoctrinating many religious Jews into Zionism.

        What’s to argue? Shouldn’t these facts of life be obvious?

        Until that belief system is chipped away at, the Israel lobby is going to remain enormously powerful in American politics.

        I would love to hear Corey Robin’s thoughts on this subject — he is obviously a thoughtful person (and he has an academic background in intellectual history).

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2013, 2:15 pm

        mystifying? sean, just for the heck of it let’s imagine corey is not familiar with your comment history. i think we’ve run into these communication issues before over your framing. i’m not saying you’ve denied anything, i mentioned what your framing/wording implies, at least to me.

        when you write ‘Committing yourself to Judaism …. means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism’ the way i read that statement, is that is directly contradicts corey’s statement.

        can you both be right? can corey commit himself to judaism and still reject zionism? or not. because as you say, if committing yourself to Judaism …. means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism, then it would seem both cannot be right.

        What’s to argue? Shouldn’t these facts of life be obvious?

        since you brought up facts, what leading organizations do, and how they indoctrinate, is not the same as stating an idea (Committing to Judaism= committing to Israel/Zionism) as fact.

        so just for clarity, is this your idea, or a fact:

        Committing yourself to Judaism these days means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism — unless you belong to a fringe Jewish religious group like Neturei Karta.

        hope this dissipates some of your mystification, it’s really not that complicated. and i’d love to hear Corey Robin’s thoughts too, i hope you don’t think my seeking clarification will somehow prevent him from responding to you, for that is not the case, nor my purpose.

      • seanmcbride
        September 8, 2013, 2:38 pm

        Annie,

        Sorry, I am still somewhat mystified.

        This is the essence of my thoughts behind my comment for Corey:

        Which branches of Judaism currently repudiate the ideological and political linkage of Judaism with Zionism? Are you a member of one of those groups — or perhaps pursuing the study of Judaism without any organizational affiliation? What actions do you think might be effective in weaning mainstream Jewish religious organizations away from Zionism? What do you think explains the grip of Zionism on the minds of many or most Orthodox, Conservative and Reform leaders?

        If this discussion is inappropriate for Mondoweiss, feel free to pursue it here:

        link to friendfeed.com

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2013, 2:48 pm

        i’m just commenting as a person sean, a singular individual and i will be departing for the rest of the day shortly so i’m sure others will share their ideas as well. but i can’t figure out why you’re mystified. can you answer my question? maybe we can sort it out:

        so just for clarity, is this your idea, or a fact:

        Committing yourself to Judaism these days means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism — unless you belong to a fringe Jewish religious group like Neturei Karta.

      • seanmcbride
        September 8, 2013, 3:56 pm

        Annie,

        This statement makes sense to me:

        Committing yourself to Judaism these days means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism — unless you belong to a fringe Jewish religious group like Neturei Karta.

        Contemporary mainstream Judaism is passionately Zionist, even when some members of that establishment dissent from particular Israeli policies.

        Non-Zionist or anti-Zionist groups within the Jewish religious world are in a decided minority — with little impact on the affairs of the Jewish establishment (religious or secular).

        This doesn’t strike me as a controversial statement.

        I will be happy to be corrected by Corey or anyone else here if I am mistaken.

      • Citizen
        September 8, 2013, 4:17 pm

        @ Annie Robbins
        I think seanmcbride is just echoing Mr Robin, who says there’s a difference between Gentiles, especially Western Christians and secular ones, and Jews. The difference is between people like yourself, who operate totally as individuals, and any Jew, who operates in the Jewish environment he was born and bred in, which values the collective more than the individual. That’s why it’s so hard for any born Jew to fight Zionism in today’s general Jewish environment, which remains highly pro-Israel right or wrong. True, Robin says this is changing as to younger American Jews because they’ve been more assimilated to individualism, the American way. But the established PTB have not changed, and they are leading us into a war on Syria, then on Iran. If you watch the JINSA panel on CSPAN today, it’s really obvious.

      • Hostage
        September 8, 2013, 4:19 pm

        Which branches of Judaism currently repudiate the ideological and political linkage of Judaism with Zionism?

        To answer your question many Jewish congregations don’t take marching orders from their own Rabbis, let alone the self-important “Major” organizations. The Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council includes Zionists, non-Zionists and anti-Zionists from Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist streams.

        I’ve pointed out before that Rabbi Elmer Berger was an Anti-Zionist Reform Jew who was also the head of one of those Jewish organizations. Phil and Jack Ross have devoted several articles to the subject here in the past. I’ve also pointed out that the Pittsburgh Platform of the Reform movement discredited the idea that Jews are required to support a Jewish nation state in Palestine on any divine or religious bases.

        The subsequent statement in the Columbus Platform that there is an obligation of all Jewry to aid in upbuilding Palestinie as a Jewish homeland has always been a non-sequitur that was patently political in nature. It wasn’t rationalized or grounded in either the movement’s theology or its ethics. It’s still a political linkage, that isn’t an essential element of Judaism.

      • seanmcbride
        September 8, 2013, 4:31 pm

        Hostage,

        Ok: we’ve got one name so far in the quest for Jewish religious organizations that challenge the Jewish establishment on Israel and Zionism:

        Wikipedia: Jewish Voice for Peace
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        To the best of my knowledge JVP has had little impact on the Israeli government, the Israel lobby or the Jewish religious establishment. Sheldon Adelson or Haim Saban could buy all their assets with pocket change.

        Let me be clear: in no way am I trying to denigrate or ridicule the heroic efforts of JVP members and supporters — I am just trying to be realistic about their relative power vis-a-vis the Jewish establishment.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 8, 2013, 5:05 pm

        Annie writes, “i can’t figure out why you’re mystified …”

        Oh come on Annie. This ban on the use of collective nouns gets boring. Obviously there can be individuals who both call themselves “committed to Judaism” and who also oppose Zionism. Anyone can call themselves anything they want.

        But if you agree with Robin that Jewishness is clearly marked by “a rather insistent sense of collectivity” (to put it mildly), and since roughly 95% of that collectivity not only supports Zionism but has made it the very cornerstone of their identities, then it seems to me it’s perfectly legitimate for sean to point out just how remarkable Robin’s conversion is and to wonder how it was done. Trying to square Jewishness with anti-zionism is after all what Phil’s site is basically all about.

        (Two quick asides: watch out for people who switch back and forth between talking about “Jewishness and Jewish identity” and “Judaism.” While sometimes it can just be the result of lazy thinking, it’s usually part of a shell game and an attempt to justify what can’t be justified by wrapping it in the robes of religion. Second: notice that Robin makes clear that his idea of Jewishness is based on a feeling of “otherness”, of being apart from non-Jews. This is pretty standard stuff for the modern secular Jewish self-identity and while it’s not exactly the same thing as the ideology of Zionism, you’ll have to admit it’s not unrelated to it.)

      • MHughes976
        September 8, 2013, 5:18 pm

        I think it’s clear (from books like Jacqueline Rose’s ‘Question of Zion’ for instance) that there’s no logical necessity for a believer in Judaism, however committed, to be a Zionist and that until quite recently the majority were not Zionist at all. However it does seem that as of now there’s a massive majority within Jewish religion -whether you think of individuals or of organisations – for Zionism, presumably with all the usual shades of opinion from hardline to liberal. So it must be very hard not to feel at least somewhat alienated from Judaism, as Judaism is now, if you can’t accept Zionism – the Joel Kovel problem, perhaps. This brings a non-religious element into the relationship between different religions, which is unpleasant, as the Church of Scotland found out recently.

      • Sibiriak
        September 9, 2013, 1:17 am

        PeaceThroughJustice:

        Trying to square Jewishness with anti-zionism is after all what Phil’s site is basically all about.

        (Two quick asides: watch out for people who switch back and forth between talking about “Jewishness and Jewish identity” and “Judaism.”

        It follows, then, that squaring Jewishness with anti-Zionism is not necessarily the same as squaring Judaism with anti-Zionism.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 6:59 am

        Hostage,

        Ok: we’ve got one name so far in the quest for Jewish religious organizations that challenge the Jewish establishment on Israel and Zionism:

        The oligarchy of zillionares that prop the so-called Jewish establishment aren’t theologically inspired, can’t deliver the Jewish vote, and don’t care what the grass roots think about their agenda in any event.

        You and CitizenC have wasted a lot of our time here bitching about the mere existence of Jewish organizations like JVP. Now you’re complaining that you want more of them? I gather that Annie thinks there is something wrong with that picture. If you are looking for Jewish organizations and leadership why ignore B’tselem, Yesh Din, Peace Now, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and opinion makers like Tony Judt, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Kushner, Anthony Lowenstein, Ed Asner, Mandy Patinkin, and for that matter the Jews who write or support Phil, Adam, Max, Allison & etc. right here at Mondoweiss?

        You must be aware of the fact that the surveys show the majority of young persons of Jewish descent aren’t active in religious organizations and that they don’t financially or politically support the so-called “major” Jewish organizations either. Judaism is like any other form of spirituality. It’s based upon individual personal beliefs, not on political front groups. All the surveys show that young Jews are alienated by Israeli policies and these Zionist organizations that you are so concerned about. They may influence Dick and Jane, but they don’t sway Jewish public opinion on Israel or impact the Jewish vote so much.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 7:08 am

        I am just trying to be realistic about their relative power vis-a-vis the Jewish establishment.

        I think the Jewish vote for Obama in the last election, despite the best efforts of Netanyahu, Adelson, et al on behalf of Gingrich, Romney, or anyone else illustrates the power of the Jewish establishment. Most Jews, like the rest of the population, oppose the current effort by the same “Jewish establishment ” to intervene in the civil war in Syria.

      • Theo
        September 9, 2013, 9:28 am

        @seanmcbride

        By reading that article in Wikipedia on the JVP I noticed that all founding members were females. According to many, this world would be a better place if the majority of politicians and heads of governments were woman, we would have less wars and strite.
        On the other hand Margaret Thatcher, Indira Ghandi and president of Sri Lanka with a name one can never remember, were not very peaceful and waged wars without remorse.

        I second your observation that there are very few jewish organisations that really fight zionism and they are mostly ineffective and totally ignored by Israel.
        This is a jewish blog and put your hand on your heart, if it came to an attack on Israel by UN forces, including troops from the USA, to free Palestina, how many of you would approve such action?

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 9:29 am

        Hostage,

        You and CitizenC have wasted a lot of our time here bitching about the mere existence of Jewish organizations like JVP.

        This is a false statement. I’ve praised JVP for its courage and heroism. I have also remarked, factually, that JVP and groups like it have exerted very little influence on the Israeli government, the Israel lobby and the Jewish religious establishment.

        Try comparing the budget of AIPAC and the ADL with that of JVP — and AIPAC and the ADL are merely the tip of a vast pro-Israel organizational network.

        Wikipedia on how “the mainstream Jewish comunity” views JVP:

        The Jewish Bulletin of Northern California wrote in 2003 that “the mainstream Jewish community has viewed A Jewish Voice for Peace [sic] as a group of radical Jews who air dirty laundry by criticizing Israel when the Jewish state is under attack. Some go as far as to label the members self-hating Jews.”

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Betsy
        September 9, 2013, 9:31 am

        @Citizen — it is a stereotype of “Western Christians” to describe as “totally” individualistic. For instance, within Christian communities over past half century, there have been repeated waves of wrenching struggles to balance collective identities against a call to stand against what is wrong in the collective (e.g., for mainline Christian churches — this has meant struggles against imperialist “America-first” militarism vs. anti-war; gay rights; ‘gradualism’ in racial justice vs. civil rights movement, etc). There is a constant struggle in most faith traditions between collective feelings/identities & the scary process of taking a stand. The nature of ethics & morality is that there’s a constant need for renewal & reform — & usually the reform comes in the form of lonely “voices crying in the wilderness”. To frame this as a uniquely “Jewish” issue is problematic. As Marc Ellis keeps reminding us — there is the strong tradition of the lonely prophet who stops worrying about tact & social acceptance. I think that Corey Robin & others are beginning this conversation — but if it gets framed as a particularly Jewish problem — it could reinforce a kind of Jewish exceptionalism — as if this is unique — when in fact it’s one of the most widespread tensions in any faith community. It’s built into religion — and gets framed in diverse ways, with some foregrounding on side or the other, at different times. The question of individualism in “the American Way” is a separate question…from what’s happening in “Western Christianity” right now.

      • German Lefty
        September 9, 2013, 10:21 am

        According to many, this world would be a better place if the majority of politicians and heads of governments were woman, we would have less wars and strite.
        Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Christine O’Donnell …
        Although I am a woman and consider myself a feminist, I don’t think that women are any better than men.

        if it came to an attack on Israel by UN forces, including troops from the USA, to free Palestina, how many of you would approve such action?
        My vote would depend on what the Palestinians want. Israel was built on Palestinian land. Therefore, an invasion of Israel would require Palestinian approval. Invading land without the permission of its rightful owners would be aggression. As a pacifist, I am against aggression.

      • AlGhorear
        September 9, 2013, 11:17 am

        Interesting comment, PeaceThroughJustice. It helped clarify some things in my mind. But I still can’t make the illogical leap that Sean does when he says ” Committing yourself to Judaism these days means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism — unless you belong to a fringe Jewish religious group like Neturei Karta.”

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 11:28 am

        AlGhorear,

        But I still can’t make the illogical leap that Sean does when he says “Committing yourself to Judaism these days means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism — unless you belong to a fringe Jewish religious group like Neturei Karta.”

        The logic here is elementary and solid: the mainstream Jewish religious establishment (including Reform Judaism) has embraced Zionism and folded it into Judaism.

        Perhaps Corey Robin is affiliated with a non-mainstream branch of contemporary Judaism that opposes Zionism. I would love to hear his thoughts on this subject.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 11:40 am

        Hostage,

        You and CitizenC have wasted a lot of our time here bitching about the mere existence of Jewish organizations like JVP.

        This is a false statement.

        Let me straighten you out then. I found it remarkable when you claimed that CitizenC had produced “a wealth of documentation” to support the proposition that there was no basis for the existence of a secular Jewish identity. His assertion was pretty easily refuted from Talmudic sources and the Jewish Publication Society of America. It also illustrated that you had made up your mind without bothering to even read the material he cited. link to mondoweiss.net

        I confronted CitizenC with verbatim citations from my old mentor Dr. Mallison on the key role played by Anti-Zionist Jews in insisting that the drafts of the Balfour declaration be amended to safeguard the rights of non-Jews, and Jews in other countries, because I happened to know that CitizenC had utterly mischaracterized Mallison’s position on the role of the minority treaties. Mallison testified to the Senate that Israel’s claim to territory was based upon its compliance with the terms of a minority treaty. They aren’t an anachronism from a by-gone age as CitzenC would have you believe.

        He also made a bogus claim with respect to the alleged difference of opinion between Rabbi Elmer Berger and Noam Chomsky on the factors that influence foreign policy and the role of the Jewish Lobby. I quoted a portion of an essay written by Berger on the subject which illustrated that CitizenC was misusing his own sources.

        More importantly, I provided documentary evidence from treaties ratified by the United States, including the Palestine Mandate Convention, and Supreme Court decisions which established that various Jewish ethnic minority groups were, and still are, legally recognized. Jewish ethnicity is thus a federally protected characteristic under all of the key US civil rights legislation, whether they are considered “a people” or not. FYI, minority groups in this country, including the Jews, only obtained equal opportunities and treatment by being pushy and going to Court early and often. The legislatures usually acted begrudgingly or belatedly to codify landmark Court decisions.

        I’ve also cited a number of books and articles about the role played by non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews in defending the rights of other ethnic minorities throughout much of Europe and the Ottoman Empire as part of what they perceived to be a traditional Jewish social or charitable mission. If you find fault with that movement, it only proves that no good deed ever goes unpunished.

        When CitzenC tried to misuse David Landy’s book and Miko Peled’s book and lectures as the basis for his diatribes about the JVP, I pointed out that both men have actually praised the work of our organization and that Landy had acknowledged the historical contributions of secular and social Jewish political movements, contrary to CitizenC’s claims.

        In fact, CitizenC almost never produced a single citation about “Jewish identity politics” that failed to distort things or mislead the reader about the views of the original authors. A lot of your comments tend to create the impression that you feel Judaism or Jewish identity should be taboo.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 11:48 am

        Hostage,

        Let me straighten you out then. I found it remarkable when you claimed that CitizenC had produced “a wealth of documentation” to support the proposition that there was no basis for the existence of a secular Jewish identity.

        That is not my belief at all: I think there is a plentiful basis for a secular Jewish identity based on Enlightenment streams of thought. Albert Einstein is a perfect example of a secular Jew — there are many others.

        My main point in that debate was that Zionism — including secular Zionism — has been heavily influenced by myths, symbols, themes, memes, etc. from ancient and rabbinical Judaism. See, for instance, the writings of Max Nordau.

        With regard to the details of your debate with CitizenC, I’ll have to review them with I find some time. I think that you both you and CitizenC are exceptionally strong thinkers.

        Main point: I hold JVP in high respect. To suggest otherwise is to make a false statement.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 12:32 pm

        @Annie, Shalom: This is a personal message to you. Please, don’t publish it:

        [edit: see here: link to mondoweiss.net ]

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 12:45 pm

        Oh come on Annie. This ban on the use of collective nouns gets boring.

        if there were a ban on it you wouldn’t have read it here.

        But if you agree with Robin that Jewishness is clearly marked by “a rather insistent sense of collectivity” (to put it mildly),……then it seems to me it’s perfectly legitimate for sean to point out just how remarkable Robin’s conversion is and to wonder how it was done.

        actually i was responding to the very first comment in the thread ptj. for your review: link to mondoweiss.net

        this is the comment that started the conversation, and the way i read it there’s nothing in there about sean pointing out just how remarkable Robin’s conversion is or wondering how it was done. the comment was a statement, unflorished by ‘it seems to me’ on ‘imho’. sean’s question to corey began with ‘but’, referenced ” the worldwide Jewish religious establishment — the official authority on Judaism” and then claimed judaism “means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism” (which is directly opposed to corey’s personal contention) w/the caveat “unless you belong to a fringe Jewish religious group like Neturei Karta.

        the implication/suggestion of equivalence w/Neturei Karta noted.

        i only speak for myself in these threads, so my querie doesn’t represent a ‘ban’, but how anyone can find my point ‘mysterious’ is frankly beyond me.

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2013, 12:58 pm

        “My vote would depend on what the Palestinians want. Israel was built on Palestinian land. Therefore, an invasion of Israel would require Palestinian approval. Invading land without the permission of its rightful owners would be aggression. As a pacifist, I am against aggression.”

        ROTFLMFAO. You’re a pacifist, but you’d support a military attack on Israel if the Palestinians wanted it.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 9, 2013, 1:16 pm

        “ROTFLMFAO.”

        Still haven’t mastered that whole “reading for comprehension” thing, I see, eh, hoppy?

      • German Lefty
        September 9, 2013, 1:29 pm

        You’re a pacifist, but you’d support a military attack on Israel if the Palestinians wanted it.
        It couldn’t be regarded as an attack. It would be helping the Palestinians defend themselves against the Zionist land thieves.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 1:56 pm

        German Lefty,

        Although I am a woman and consider myself a feminist, I don’t think that women are any better than men.

        # female hawks and pro-Israel activists

        1. Anne Bayefsky
        2. Caroline Glick
        3. Cheryl Halpern
        4. Danielle Pletka
        5. Debbie Schlussel
        6. Dianne Feinstein
        7. Hillary Clinton
        8. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
        9. Jane Harman
        10. Jennifer Rubin
        11. Kimberley Kagan
        12. Laurie Mylroie
        13. Madeleine Albright
        14. Meyrav Wurmser
        15. Michele Bachmann
        16. Miriam Adelson
        17. Mona Charen
        18. Nancy Pelosi
        19. Pamela Geller
        20. Paul Dobriansky
        21. Rita Katz
        22. Samantha Power
        23. Sarah Palin
        24. Shoshana Bryen
        25. Susan Rice

        1. Madeleine Albright argued that the deaths of a half million Iraqi children as the result of US sanctions were “worth it.”

        2. Hillary Clinton threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran during the 2008 election campaign.

        3. Susan Rice and Samantha Power are spearheading the campaign to go to war against Syria.

        All four of them are “liberal Zionists” and “humanitarian interventionists.”

        Some hoped that feminism would present a challenge to the brutal warmongering of testosterone-driven males. No such luck.

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2013, 2:43 pm

        “It couldn’t be regarded as an attack. It would be helping the Palestinians defend themselves against the Zionist land thieves.”

        Pacifist: “a person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable.”

        not “a person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable except when it’s used to defend Palestinians.”

      • Cliff
        September 9, 2013, 2:59 pm

        Zionist: someone who justifies rape, murder, ethnic cleansing, propaganda, censorship, discrimination against non-Jews in Israel/Palestine

        i.e. hoppy

      • German Lefty
        September 9, 2013, 3:05 pm

        Pacifist: “a person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable.”

        Read here: link to en.wikipedia.org
        “In contrast to the non-violence principle stands the non-aggression principle which rejects the initiation of violence, but permits the use of violence for self-defence or delegated defence.”

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 5:19 pm

        But I still can’t make the illogical leap that Sean does when he says ” Committing yourself to Judaism these days means committing yourself to Israel and Zionism — unless you belong to a fringe Jewish religious group like Neturei Karta.”

        i can’t either alghorear, because it’s not logical. note how he just morphs the meaning into “mainstream Jewish religious establishment”, or whatever. sean never actually walks back anything he says, at least not that i’ve ever observed.

      • ziusudra
        September 10, 2013, 4:07 am

        Greetings Sean, Annie, Citizen, Hostage
        Now that Socialism in Russia has disappeared, can a Russian still be a Russian w/o being a socialist?
        Can’t we be democratic Americans w/o imperialsim?
        Can’t anyone of Judasim be pro Israel w/o being a Zionist?
        Aren’t the Germans Democratic today w/o being Nazis?
        No group of people need to idenify with an ideology,
        especially, imperialism, nazism, socialism for oneness.
        PS Israel has today, a state, the first time since their last short
        period of autonomy in Hasmonean rule from 164BC to 63BC
        betw. the Macedonian & Roman Empires!
        What have they done with this Chance?
        They brought their fears of Europe with them. They lived
        in Ghetti from 70AD to 1945AD & they wish to exist along
        that line. You cannot be a Democracy & not expect wandering
        Mankind to enter into your compound.
        Ideologies & religions are not compatable.
        ziusudra
        PS Can one of Judaism be a true Zio w/o living in Israel ?

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 5:24 am

        What I have argued, and continue to argue, is that the leading organizations within the Jewish religious establishment (see the membership list of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations) have strongly promoted the belief that Judaism and Zionism are joined at the hip

        The last time I checked, it was perfectly okay for members of the Reform Movement to condemn Israeli/WZO settlement policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Their leadership has done that, e.g.:

        America’s largest Jewish movement, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), has formally adopted a resolution that publicly denounces Israel’s decision to increase settlement activity, “especially in the E-1 area”.

        – See Chemi Shalev, “Union for Reform Judaism denounces Israel’s decision to expand settlements”, Haaretz, Dec. 4, 2012 link to haaretz.com

        So I’m waiting for you to acknowledge that the largest of those 51 “Major” Jewish Organizations is really NOT joined at the hip with everything that passes itself off under the label of Zionism.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 6:20 am

        To the best of my knowledge JVP has had little impact on the Israeli government, the Israel lobby or the Jewish religious establishment. Sheldon Adelson or Haim Saban could buy all their assets with pocket change.

        Nonetheless, JVP is still here and those other organizations and individuals have spilled oceans of ink promulgating propaganda against us and our positions. By way of comparison, the spending and programs of the government of Israel and its mogels on US campus hasbara have been disasters by their own admission. So we must be doing something right. BTW, what are your people or organizations doing to impact Israel and has anyone else ever heard from them?

        Our chapters and campus organizations have been very successful in support of the efforts of the BDS movement and Israeli Apartheid Week activities that have raised public awareness. We’ve certainly had more success than Obama, and he has thousands of nuclear weapons and a trillion dollar budget.

      • seanmcbride
        September 10, 2013, 9:24 am

        Hostage,

        I think JVP, working with a fraction of the resources enjoyed by the mainstream Israel lobby, has done amazing work — one JVP member is worth more than 100 mainstream Israel lobby members in terms of impact. Perhaps David will eventually beat Goliath in this battle — but it’s an uphill struggle. The opposition is fabulously wealthy, well-organized and highly motivated.

        One can envision a possible future tipping point in which a critical mass of mainstream Israel lobby members figure out that JVP has the better analysis of what is going on in the world — and then the political situation could suddenly flip. So you may win down the line if you don’t give up.

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 11:13 am

        “1. Madeleine Albright argued that the deaths of a half million Iraqi children as the result of US sanctions were ‘worth it.’”

        That was how the interviewer formulated the question, not what Albright said. Albright said the sanctions were worth the price; there is always a human toll with economic sanctions. Responsibility for the deaths of Iraqi children hardly lies with the United States as much as it lies with those Iraqi leaders who chose not to heed the UN Security Counsel and those who designed the economy to be completely reliant on oil. These were UN sanctions, not US sanctions.

        “2. Hillary Clinton threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran during the 2008 election campaign.”

        Nonsense. She said that if Iran attacked Israel, the US could totally obliterate it, not that the US would, and certainly not that the US would in the abstract. I assume most of us agree with that statement.

        “3. Susan Rice and Samantha Power are spearheading the campaign to go to war against Syria.”

        “All four of them are ‘liberal Zionists’ and ‘humanitarian interventionists.’”

        Yep. They do seem to all believe that the United States should respond when enemies mass murder their civilians. Power was certainly right about Bosnia and Kosovo. The real question is why the leftists do not seem to think anything need be done.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2013, 11:31 am

        >> Yep. They do seem to all believe that the United States should respond when enemies mass murder their civilians.

        I like how the phrasing – “when enemies mass murder their civilians” – spares the U.S. the need to respond to mass murders committed by its friends – such as Israel – or by the U.S. itself of their own or of foreign civilians.

        That said, you omitted a phrase from your comment: “They do seem to all believe that, when it suits its purposes to do so, the United States should respond when enemies mass murder their civilians.”

        It’s less noble-sounding, but more accurate.

      • Donald
        September 10, 2013, 11:56 am

        “I like how the phrasing – “when enemies mass murder their civilians” – spares the U.S. the need to respond to mass murders committed by its friends – such as Israel – or by the U.S. itself of their own or of foreign civilians.”

        Hophmi is a good example of a certain type of unreflective, morally inconsistent, self-serving “liberal”. For anyone tempted to swallow his excuses for the Iraq sanctions, Joy Gordon’s book and website provide an antidote–

        Invisible War

        Can anyone imagine hophmi excusing sanctions on Israel that increased mortality rates and impoverished the country on the grounds that all the responsibility for the suffering fell on Israel for not treating the Palestinians justly? Hophmi would never dream of using this sort of fatuous reasoning to justify a cold-blooded policy of destroying a country’s economy and hurting innocent people in Israel’s case, because when all is said and done, humanitarian liberal interventionists of this sort have double standards on moral responsibility and they are willing to do to “enemy”civilians what they would never excuse if it were done to Westerners. .

      • seanmcbride
        September 10, 2013, 12:08 pm

        “Humanitarian interventionism” is often a cover for sociopathic aggression and predation. The contemporary Democratic Party has spawned and nurtured quite a few of these sociopaths — call them neoliberals, liberal Zionists, whatever. An alarming number of them are women (Susan Rice and Samantha Power are the latest examples). Much of the time there is the appearance that they are being cattle prodded forward by the Israel lobby.

        Of course there is nothing new about mass murder being committed by passionate leftists in the name of progressive idealism — review the deeds of the Soviet Union and Communist China.

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 12:22 pm

        “Hophmi is a good example of a certain type of unreflective, morally inconsistent, self-serving “liberal”. For anyone tempted to swallow his excuses for the Iraq sanctions, Joy Gordon’s book and website provide an antidote–”

        And, another personal attack from someone without a good argument.

        100,000 people have died in Syria. The leader of Syria is a dictator whose dad also murdered tens of thousands of his own people. The country is allied with a US enemy. The regime is supported by a terrorist organization.

        So stop the whataboutery. The issues are not remotely similar.

        “Can anyone imagine hophmi excusing sanctions on Israel that increased mortality rates and impoverished the country on the grounds that all the responsibility for the suffering fell on Israel for not treating the Palestinians justly”

        I can’t imagine crippling economic sanctions on a democratic country that is a US ally, so it’s not a very good question. These were UN sanctions.

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 1:46 pm

        “‘Humanitarian interventionism’ is often a cover for sociopathic aggression and predation.”

        Is this an argument? It’s also a philosophy that the international community has a responsibility to act when heads of state kill their own people in large numbers.

        So typical of the way Sean simply attaches an inflammatory label to something and calls it an argument.

        “Much of the time there is the appearance that they are being cattle prodded forward by the Israel lobby.”

        And then says the Jews are responsible for it. Humanitarian interventionism probably came into full flower in Kosovo. That was not “cattle-prodded forward by the Israel lobby.”

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 3:07 pm

        The country is allied with a US enemy.

        The US is not at war with Iran. In fact the US and Iran are still operating an arbital tribunal in the Hague, so that the US can pay-off Iran-Iraq war era claims to oil companies for its attacks on the Iranian oil platforms. BTW, that’s the result of an ICJ decision against the USA.

        These were UN sanctions.

        That doesn’t mean they are legal. In the Bosnia genocide case, Judge Elihu Lauterpacht affirmed a preliminary objection (paras 98-107 on Pages 64-71) which held that the Security Council arms embargo was illegal and exceeded the organ’s authority under the Charter. He said it had, in effect, required the other member states to assist in Serbia’s genocidal activities, while denying the Bosnians the ability to exercise an inherent and customary right of self-defense. link to icj-cij.org

        P.S. All of this “enemy” bullshit and constant talk about striking Iranian nuclear facilities is patently illegal. FYI, the State parties that authored and adopted the Non-Proliferation Treaty recognized that threats to national security, like the ones made by Israel and the US against Iran, justify the proliferation of weapons. That fact is acknowledged in the terms of Article X of the Treaty:

        Article X
        1. Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.

        It is in the international interest to keep Iran in the NTP, and to stop the threat or use of force in violation of the UN Charter by either Israel or its supporters in the US.

      • AlGhorear
        September 10, 2013, 3:22 pm

        Nonsense, hophmi. Albright was asked if the price of 500,000 dead Iraqi children was worth the sanctions.

        Below is the transcript and video of the 60 Minutes Interview:

        Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

        Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

        Youtube video of Albright interview

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 3:37 pm

        Exactly AlGhorear, Albright never said anything about 500,000 children or accepted the premise that the United States was responsible for their deaths. Leslie Stahl said it, and Albright, clearly understanding that the question was about whether it was worth sanctioning Iraq even though there were collateral consequences.

        You guys are every bit as good as Fox News is taking these things out of context and repeating it to yourselves so often that they become fact to you.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 3:45 pm

        Humanitarian interventionism probably came into full flower in Kosovo.

        Yes but the actions of NATO forces apparently couldn’t withstand any scrutiny. Their ministers promptly asked for, and received, immunity from criminal prosecution. Why do you suppose the Security Council and the ICTY agreed that sort of impunity was necessary? We know that national courts have found the same peacekeepers responsible for the deaths of innocent people through dereliction. How do we rule out intentional crimes without any inquiries? i.e. link to nytimes.com

        One of the earlier comments here reminded me of the time that Madeleine Albright defended UN peacekeepers who opened fire on unarmed demonstrators in Sudan, killing many women and children. She said they were associating with a few gunmen who were in the crowd. I guess we can thank God she wasn’t in charge of security in Dealy Plaza when Kennedy was assassinated or there would have been a much higher body count.

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 3:48 pm

        “Why do you suppose the Security Council and the ICTY agreed that sort of impunity was necessary?”

        Probably because it would have been obscene to prosecute them for trying to stop a genocide, rather than the Russian ministers who were willing to allow it to continue in the name of Slavic pride.

      • Donald
        September 10, 2013, 4:24 pm

        “And, another personal attack from someone without a good argument…So stop the whataboutery. The issues are not remotely similar.”

        Hophmi, if you want to talk about Syria then talk about Syria, but you were the one who was defending the cruel and murderous sanctions on Iraq and that’s what I jumped on. If yo want to restrict your discussion to Syria then perhaps you could, you know, restrict your end of the discussion to Syria. I know, logic and all that, not your strong point.

        And your defense of the sanctions continues to demonstrate that you have no grasp of the basic moral issues. In sanctioning Iraq as cruelly as we did, we inflicted great harm on innocent people living under a dictatorship, on the theory that this would pressure Saddam or even topple his regime. But the people who were actually hurt, and quite intentionally so, were innocent.

        In the case of Israel, which as you say is a democracy, the people choose the the governments which impose the cruel policies, so there is actually more of a case to be made for sanctions on a country like Israel than there is a country like Iraq. Not that I would support anything so draconian as what was done to Iraq in the 90′s being done to Israel or anyone else–it was barbaric, and I’m sure that if there is a future for humanity the historians a century or two from now will look back at the reasoning that you and other sanctions supporters use with the same bemused distaste that we feel when we read the rationalizations of 19th century Americans as they mistreated the Native Americans. At best we try to put ourselves in their shoes, make allowances for the prejudices and bigotries of the time–presumably future historians will say “Well, many of the so-called liberals of the early 21st century were strangely blind to the ugliness of some of the policies they supported. But that’s how people were back then.”

        And if you actually cared about the issues, hophmi, you would know that the US did everything in its quite considerable power to make the Iraqi sanctions harsh and cruel. But you don’t care. You really don’t give a crap.

      • German Lefty
        September 10, 2013, 4:30 pm

        In the case of Israel, which as you say is a democracy, the people choose the governments which impose the cruel policies, so there is actually more of a case to be made for sanctions on a country like Israel than there is a country like Iraq.

        Exactly!

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 4:36 pm

        “In sanctioning Iraq as cruelly as we did, we inflicted great harm on innocent people living under a dictatorship,”

        It’s interesting that you believe sanctions made children starve, but that you want to inflict the same program on Israel.

        “But the people who were actually hurt, and quite intentionally so, were innocent.”

        That was the price Saddam was willing to pay to stay in power.

        “In the case of Israel, which as you say is a democracy, the people choose the the governments which impose the cruel policies, so there is actually more of a case to be made for sanctions on a country like Israel than there is a country like Iraq. ”

        That’s pure nonsense. You’re basically arguing that if people elect a government you don’t like, they deserve to starve. Saddam Hussein was in power for 35 years. It was not just because he was unpopular.

        “Not that I would support anything so draconian as what was done to Iraq in the 90′s being done to Israel or anyone else”

        But you support those who do.

        “And if you actually cared about the issues, hophmi, you would know that the US did everything in its quite considerable power to make the Iraqi sanctions harsh and cruel. But you don’t care. You really don’t give a crap.”

        Save your high horse moralizing for someone who cares. You pick and choose just like everyone else does.

      • Hostage
        September 11, 2013, 6:30 am

        Greetings Sean, Annie, Citizen, Hostage
        Now that Socialism in Russia has disappeared, can a Russian still be a Russian w/o being a socialist?

        If you check the comment archives, you’ll see that I fully support equal human rights for indigenous Jews, including the right to marry whoever they choose and live together in Palestine/Israel. Other than situations like that, I don’t support the idea of alien Jewish immigration. I have no problem with the pie in the sky variety of religious Zionism which posits a Divine in-gathering one day. But I don’t approve of this atheistic irredentist bullshit based upon dislike or hatred of Gentiles, even when it has a veneer of religiosity.

        P.S. I have no problem with the idea that Israel has a right to exist, but only on condition that it can fulfill the obligations contained in the minority protection plan and the revenue sharing plan and economic union contained in UN resolution 181(II).

      • Hostage
        September 11, 2013, 6:53 am

        Probably because it would have been obscene to prosecute them for trying to stop a genocide,

        That doesn’t pass the giggle test. The Nuremberg principles don’t contain any exceptions that permit one country to fight war crimes and crimes against humanity by employing forces that commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.

        FYI, it took the ICJ 14 years to reach a decision in the Bosnian genocide case, but it concluded that Serbia wasn’t pursuing a policy of genocide. Why would it be “obscene” to prosecute those members of the NATO forces who were responsible for committing violations of the laws and customs of war against Serbs on that account?

      • Hostage
        September 11, 2013, 6:57 am

        Hophmi there is nothing being taken out of context here:

        Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

        Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

        You’re a walking, talking Hasbara disaster and failure who doesn’t know when to quit.

      • eljay
        September 11, 2013, 7:31 am

        >> That was the price Saddam was willing to pay to stay in power.

        And yet you complain when Israelis are killed, even though that’s the price their government is willing to pay to continue with its 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder. Interesting.

        >> That’s pure nonsense. You’re basically arguing that if people elect a government you don’t like, they deserve to starve.

        And yet that reasoning is sound enough for Israel when it comes to Gaza and Hamas. Interesting.

      • Theo
        September 11, 2013, 7:42 am

        hophmi

        “100,000 people died in Syria”.
        First of all, a great number of them were killed by the rebels, not by the government forces, so according to you should we bomb both Assad and the rebels?

        “The leader of Syria is a dictator whose dad also murdered tens of thousands of his own people”.
        On the other hand israelis are bloody old fashioned colonists and would you care to discuss how many thousands of palestinian did you kill since 1947?
        I make a bet the number is a multiple of the dead in Syria.

        You want Syria attacked for having chemical weapons, although Israel has both chemical and nuclear weapons, doesn´t allow any inspection by the UN and used chemical WP in Gaza!

        So according to you, to be fair, we should bomb both Syria and Israel to diminish their ability to use those weapons.
        Do you agree with this arrangment?
        Or do you think Israel has rights that is not available to other nations?

      • seanmcbride
        September 11, 2013, 11:34 am

        Hostage,

        Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

        Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

        Thoughts on Albright’s glib response to Lesley Stahl’s question about the effects of the Iraq sanctions:

        1. Reminiscent of acts of biblical genocide.

        2. Reminiscent of the Soviet/Stalinist use of mass starvation to crush its opposition in the early 20th century.

        3. Her views are shared by most neoliberals in the Democratic Party — she is still a respected figure among her fellow Democrats.

        4. Pro-Israel activists have been prominent in defending or trying to explain away Albright’s response to Stahl.

        5. Americans have been intensely conditioned over decades now to accept and embrace these acts of brutality. It has been repeatedly drilled into their heads by the mainstream media that Arab and Muslim leaders are the reincarnation of Hitler. (Neoliberal John Kerry is following that propaganda script in the current crisis with Syria.)

        6. Prediction: American political figures with Albright’s profile will probably succeed in committing major acts of mass murder against Israel’s enemies in the future — probably on a far greater scale than anything we have seen to date and possibly using WMDs (including nuclear weapons). Hiroshima and Nagasaki will serve as the precedent and model.

      • hophmi
        September 11, 2013, 12:46 pm

        “That doesn’t pass the giggle test.”

        It does in the real world where decisions are based on political considerations, and not international law.

        “FYI, it took the ICJ 14 years to reach a decision in the Bosnian genocide case, but it concluded that Serbia wasn’t pursuing a policy of genocide. ”

        The court found that a genocide took place. Its highly controversial findings on Serbian complicity were justly castigated by Antonio Cassese and others.

      • hophmi
        September 11, 2013, 2:13 pm

        “Thoughts on Albright’s glib response to Lesley Stahl’s question about the effects of the Iraq sanctions:”

        “1. Reminiscent of acts of biblical genocide.”

        Oh gawd. How so, exactly? The kids who died in Iraq died as an indirect result of the sanctions regime, which was trying to curb Saddam’s military capabilities. I’m not aware of anyone who said “you shall kill every Iraqi.”

        “2. Reminiscent of the Soviet/Stalinist use of mass starvation to crush its opposition in the early 20th century.”

        Weren’t the numbers on that one, I don’t know, way way different? And wasn’t the express purpose to actually starve people?

        “3. Her views are shared by most neoliberals in the Democratic Party — she is still a respected figure among her fellow Democrats.”

        Well, in the Democratic Party, and most other places, people don’t take her words out of context to suggest that she thought the deaths of Iraqi children were OK, or that she accepted the premise that Americans were responsible for them.

        “4. Pro-Israel activists have been prominent in defending or trying to explain away Albright’s response to Stahl.”

        Oh, bull. Anyone honest person can understand what the question was, and what she was responding to. Pro-Arab activists have, for a very long time, tried to distort what she said in much the same way anti-Al Gore activists tried to suggest that Gore was taking credit for inventing the internet. Pretty much no one outside the left-wing fringe adopts the pro-Arab understanding of what Albright said.

        “5. Americans have been intensely conditioned over decades now to accept and embrace these acts of brutality.”

        Which ones? We’ve also been conditioned to reject them, as we did in Bosnia and Kosovo.

        Other people on this earth accept plenty of brutality and disease and starvation and murder without intervening or caring. No one conditioned America to be much different.

        ” It has been repeatedly drilled into their heads by the mainstream media that Arab and Muslim leaders are the reincarnation of Hitler.”

        No, it hasn’t, and most Americans don’t believe that.

        “Prediction: American political figures with Albright’s profile will probably succeed in committing major acts of mass murder against Israel’s enemies in the future — probably on a far greater scale than anything we have seen to date and possibly using WMDs (including nuclear weapons). Hiroshima and Nagasaki will serve as the precedent and model.”

        You’re a piece of work, Sean. This is typical of your disingenuous antisemitism. You take a quote out of context. You throw in words like “biblical” and “pro-Israel” to subtly suggest that the UN sanctions regime was just another project of pro-Israel Jews. And then you say it will get worse because pro-Israel Jews are all mass murders.

        Let’s see if you respond. You usually don’t when someone questions your assumptions.

      • Hostage
        September 11, 2013, 3:38 pm

        It does in the real world where decisions are based on political considerations, and not international law.

        I was talking about a decision made by the Prosecutor and rulings thereafter from the bench of the ICTY regarding evidence of NATO crimes, like a strike against a bridge as a passenger train was crossing it, the bombing of a refugee convoy near Djakovica, and the targeting of the Serbian television building in Belgrade.

        Contrary to your claim, the Judges and the Prosecutors always claimed to be “stupified” by accusations that the Tribunal had become “politicized”. link to wesleyclark.h1.ru

        Of course that’s utter nonsense because Bush always demanded immunity as a precondition to renewing the mandate of the peacekeepers, e.g. US demands immunity for its peacekeepers link to theguardian.com

      • Donald
        September 11, 2013, 7:48 pm

        “It’s interesting that you believe sanctions made children starve, but that you want to inflict the same program on Israel.”

        Wrong, and you show that you know you’re lying a few sentences later when you quote me and respond with–

        “Not that I would support anything so draconian as what was done to Iraq in the 90′s being done to Israel or anyone else”

        But you support those who do.”

        Goodness, hophmi lies again. There is zero chance of Israel being subjected to the sort of sanctions imposed on Iraq and if there were I would oppose them.

        Basically, hophmi, you don’t have a moral leg to stand on, so you use insults and try to claim that my position is the mirror image of yours. But you’re the one who cavalierly supported the sanctions on Iraq, whereas if there was a serious chance that BDS would be imposed in a similarly draconian way I’d be opposed.

        “You’re basically arguing that if people elect a government you don’t like, they deserve to starve. Saddam Hussein was in power for 35 years. It was not just because he was unpopular.”

        What a surprise. Hophmi lies again. I pointed out that if one did want to impose sanctions on an entire people, which I think is wrong, it would be more defensible, but still wrong, to impose them on people who voted for the government that cruelly oppresses another people, and not on innocent Iraqis suffering under a dictator. The fact is, though, that in either country there would be large numbers of innocents (children if no one else) who would suffer and die under the policies you supported.

        “Save your high horse moralizing for someone who cares. You pick and choose just like everyone else does.”

        You don’t care. You justify this to yourself by pretending everyone is as hypocritical on these issues as you are. It really doesn’t take much for someone to be your moral superior on these issues–they just have to oppose policies that deliberately increase mortality rates, whether Iraqi or Israeli. You’d like to think everyone is in the gutter with you. Sorry, not everyone is.

      • Donald
        September 11, 2013, 7:59 pm

        “Americans have been intensely conditioned over decades now to accept and embrace these acts of brutality. It has been repeatedly drilled into their heads by the mainstream media that Arab and Muslim leaders are the reincarnation of Hitler.”

        Most Americans barely know what is being done in their name. Some would embrace it if they knew, because of that conditioning, and some would be horrified, but would find it hard to believe.

        The real masters of doublethink are the educated types who know (or could know if they bothered to check) that the sanctions were meant to hurt innocents, as a means of pressuring Saddam, and who then turn around and say it is all Saddam’s fault because he wouldn’t obey orders. (It was fine when he was killing civilians with gas and other methods when we found it useful.) None of them would accept similar reasoning by terrorists aiming at Western civilians as a means of pressuring our governments. But it’s the same reasoning.

      • miriam6
        September 12, 2013, 1:15 am

        Donald@:

        Most Americans barely know what is being done in their name.

        Donald , can the American public REALLY be as ignorant as you would have others believe?

        I don’t buy your excuses

        The American public are still blissfully unaware according to you despite ALL the evidence in the American media over the past decade+ about the effects of America’s wars in Iraq etc. ?

        According to Donald, the American public are clueless and therefore innocent of all blame , but, by contrast the Israeli public are completely aware of EVERYTHING bad thing the Israeli government has ever done, therefore making Israelis fully culpable unlike the ignorant -of- America’s- bad -actions – American public whose ignorance according to Donald makes them entirely innocent , that is, with the exception of Hophmi

        That apparently is Donald’s moral stance and excuse for lambasting the Israelis, but excusing the American public’s continuing support of bad American policies.

        You are ever so critical of Hophmi over a sanctions regime imposed on Iraq twenty odd years ago and yet , in the here and now finds a whole raft of polls done in June this year that show Americans STILL support the use of drone strikes abroad even after more than a decade on after 9/11

        Plenty of time for Americans to become aware of all the evidence in the media that shows how many innocents have been killed by American drone strikes.

        MOST Americans for example , by a clear majority of around 65% , continue to SUPPORT American drone strikes abroad which have killed at least 4,700 people to date.

        A wave of recent polls show a majority of Americans support overseas drone strikes against terrorist targets.
        June 4, 2013 AT 5:36AM

        A Monitor/TIPP poll found 57% of Americans favor the current level of drone strikes targeting terrorists in foreign countries, such as Al Qaeda. Nearly a quarter supported the increase of drones overseas, while 11% supported scaling back drone use.
        June 4, 2013, 1:55 a.m.

        A recent Pew Global Attitudes Project poll that surveyed 21 countries found that while most condemned U.S. drone attacks abroad, the U.S. was one of three where a majority didn’t. The poll showed 62% of Americans supported drone use; 28% disapproved.
        June 4, 2013, 1:59 a.m.

        A Gallup poll from March also found nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed supported drone strikes abroad.
        June 4, 2013, 2:07 a.m.

        link to cir.ca

      • Cliff
        September 12, 2013, 5:39 am

        There are no polls that test American’s general knowledge of the Israel/Palestine conflict.

        Only opinions. Opinions like ‘do you support Israel versus Palestine’ or ‘do you support neither’ or ‘do you believe America should be more even-handed’.

        Once again, miriam666, you FAIL.

      • Donald
        September 12, 2013, 11:45 am

        “I don’t buy your excuses

        The American public are still blissfully unaware according to you despite ALL the evidence in the American media over the past decade+ about the effects of America’s wars in Iraq etc. ?”

        Actually, miriam, you make some very good points here. I’ve never been sure what ordinary Americans know–from personal experience, some don’t know anything while others stick their hand in the sand and others come right out and defend our worst policies knowing full well what they are.

        If you think I’ve got some deep investment in the innocence of the American people you’ll have to find someone else to argue with, because I find your arguments fairly persuasive.

        I know where this fits in your general view–Americans are hypocritical and have no right to criticize Israel, but again, that misses the point. Israel and the US do the same things and the US supports Israel while it does them, so both should be criticized by Americans. I know of some people who would be a fair target of your critique–the Obamabots,some of whom criticize Israel but defend Obama’s drone strikes. It’s a weird illogical position that they come to because they’re partisan Democrats or in love with Obama or both. You can find some like that at other blogs–I haven’t seen any here.

      • Donald
        September 12, 2013, 12:00 pm

        Now one thing I don’t get in your case Miriam is your interest in American crimes. Virtually every commenter here EXCEPT the ones who defend Israel would agree with your condemnation of American foreign policy, yet invariably you go after the people who criticize Israel and start preaching to the choir, as though everyone here is a fan of Obama’s drone strikes or Bush’s invasion of Iraq or the sanctions on Iraq, etc… Again, the only people who frequent the comment sections here who would defend Obama’s drone strikes or Bush’s invasion or the sanctions on Iraq, etc… would be some (or all?) of the regular Israel supporters, yet you never seem to jump on them. Why is that?

      • American
        September 12, 2013, 12:22 pm

        @ miriam6

        You’re a fool to beleve every poll that comes down the pike. Polls are commissioned—someone pays pollesters to do these polls and frequently whatever group that does gets the results they want so they can ‘advertise’ the results. Pew and Gallup both –with good reason–have been accused of squewing poll questions to get the right answers.

    • tokyobk
      September 8, 2013, 1:46 pm

      Please introduce me to this official authority on Judaism some time, I have some questions I need answered.
      This is the style over at Jihad Watch too, there they say the same kind of thing about Islam.

      In fact, most of religious Judaism rejected secular Zionism at its inception, so the “these days” part is significant.

      IMO, Jews without Israel is fine as long as Jews in Palestine is fine.

      • seanmcbride
        September 8, 2013, 2:08 pm

        tokyobk,

        Is it or is it not a fact that the leading organizations representing Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism in the contemporary era have been using Judaism to buttress their ideological and political arguments for Zionism?

        Anyone who reads the Jewish press, and who knows how to use Google, knows for a fact that this is the case. No other factor is more important in explaining the grip of Zionism on the contemporary Jewish establishment — for many Jews, Zionism is literally a religion, with all the irrational emotion that brings with it. Their minds are not open to rational discussion and debate.

        I’ve encountered this mindset repeatedly in arguments about Israel — we’ve all encountered that mindset among many Zionists right here in the comments section of Mondoweiss.

        Why are many critics of Israel evasive and shifty on this subject?

        I am not opposed to Judaism, and think it will long outlive Zionism. I find many positive elements in Judaism. But Judaism currently is being misused and abused by the Jewish establishment (NOT all religious Jews).

      • tokyobk
        September 8, 2013, 2:27 pm

        What you write above is true but in your first statement and in others you take two additional steps.

        1) You say this is the official authority. No its not.
        2) You say to commit Judaism means to engage Zionism. No it doesn’t.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2013, 2:31 pm

        Why are many critics of Israel evasive and shifty on this subject?

        just off the top of my head, maybe many critics of israel don’t know much or anything about judaism and culturally for many of us it’s considered offensive or rude to question or insult or make generalizations about others religious affiliations? but just because people do not respond to you doesn’t necessarily mean they are evading you. often times my comments on these threads do not elicit any response.

        also sean, your question assumes your premise is right. if it’s not and someone questions it are they being shifty? is it ‘evasive’ to question your premise or not discuss your ideas inthe framing in which you’ve introduced them? by labeling your potential detractors as evasive or shifty how is that not an ad hominem?

        plus, i’d like to point out your caveat descriptor: “fringe”. that’s not a very empowering word and it could very well be the case that MW has a fair amount of readers who do take judaism seriously and do not self identify as zionists. so calling them ‘fringe’, well dis-empowering. the point of that is what?

        whereas, the topic, to discuss the indoctrination of zionism/nationalism embedded with intent via synagogues..a worthy topic indeed.

      • seanmcbride
        September 8, 2013, 2:47 pm

        tokyobk,

        I know far too much about Judaism to think it is directed by a centralized official authority — what I have said is that the leading Jewish religious organizations worldwide have passionately embraced Zionism — from different schools of thought within Judaism. That’s the issue under discussion.

        And I have also stated clearly many times that many religious Jews are not Zionists.

        Let’s try to focus on what is really being said here — or perhaps that topic is far too hot to handle.

      • seanmcbride
        September 8, 2013, 2:56 pm

        Annie,

        whereas, the topic, to discuss the indoctrination of zionism/nationalism embedded with intent via synagogues..a worthy topic indeed.

        That is the only topic I have tried to open up with my comments on this subject.

        Any claims that I have tried to characterize all religious Jews in a particular way are simply false — I fully acknowledge that there is great diversity all across the Jewish secular *and* religious spectrum.

        In any case, I would be curious to hear Corey Robin’s thoughts on your paragraph quoted above — your succinct statement gets to the heart of the matter — thanks for composing it.

        What especially interests me are the practical politics in this controversy: is there any chance that dissenters from Zionism within Judaism will be able to exert any influence on the views of the current Jewish religious establishment and leadership? Does Corey see any movement in that direction? That establishment strikes me as being incredibly powerful — virtually impregnable. Am I wrong?

      • tokyobk
        September 8, 2013, 2:58 pm

        seanmcbride: “But the worldwide Jewish religious establishment — the official authority on Judaism “

      • seanmcbride
        September 8, 2013, 3:11 pm

        tokyobk,

        That statement is open to misinterpretation:

        rewrite:

        “But the worldwide Jewish religious establishment — the official authority on the leading branches of Judaism”

        There are separate and diverging authorities within the Jewish religious establishment (just as there are within Christianity and Islam), but the Jewish religious establishment as a whole has passionately embraced Zionism and merged it with Judaism.

        Would you care to address that point — which is my only point? What are the political implications of this state of affairs? Where is this going?

      • seanmcbride
        September 8, 2013, 3:36 pm

        tokyobk (and Corey),

        Can you name any Jewish religious organizations or groups that are dissenting from the support for an American war against Syria by the Jewish establishment — the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (which includes the Jewish religious establishment)?

        I know that many Christian groups are dissenting from that policy — including the Roman Catholic Church and many Christian evangelicals.

        Names?

      • Citizen
        September 8, 2013, 4:31 pm

        @ seanmcbride
        Phil Weiss himself has agonized here on his blog over how frustrating it is to
        be an individual, rather than a mirror of Jewish collective response as ingrained in American Jews by its own Establishment powers. He’s written quite a few short stories about his own experiences with this situation right here on his blog. I don’t know why Annie ignores this. According to her own statements here, she was born and bred to be a true individual with no acute religion or ideological premises. Phil, in contrast, has often said the contrary as to his upbringing. Mr Robin echoes Phil Weiss as to his upbringing, not Annie Robbins.

        The more major practical point (not root origin point) is all three agree now on what is best US foreign policy regarding the Middle East.

      • tokyobk
        September 9, 2013, 12:51 am

        If your point is that non and anti-zionist jewish groups are smaller and less powerful than zionist Jewish groups you are correct. But you and anyone else with google or twitter can find prominent anti-war Jewish voices. We are having a conversation on a site established by such self-identified Jews.

        You take additional steps and insist this defines Jewry and there is where you are wrong and would still be wrong even if 99% of Jews were professing Zionists (which they are not and the number is decreasing by all accounts)

        Please take a look over at Jihad Watch for some insight into how the same arguments are used to create an immobile, static and eternally oppositional Islam.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 7:49 am

        Can you name any Jewish religious organizations or groups that are dissenting from the support for an American war against Syria by the Jewish establishment — the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (which includes the Jewish religious establishment)?

        The URJ is still conducting a survey of their congregations on the subject of the President’s call for intervention in the Syrian civil war.
        link to rac.org

        So you’re engaging in a false generalization with regard to representation by the Conference of Presidents.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 9:08 am

        tokyobk,

        You take additional steps and insist this defines Jewry and there is where you are wrong and would still be wrong even if 99% of Jews were professing Zionists (which they are not and the number is decreasing by all accounts)

        Your statement is false: I haven’t tried to define “Jewry” any way other than to say it is highly diverse.

        What I have said is that the contemporary worldwide Jewish establishment (including the Jewish religious establishment) has worked hard to define Judaism in terms of Zionism and Zionism in terms of Judaism — it has merged the two ideologies into a single ethno-religious nationalist belief system.

        And its propaganda efforts have been highly successful: most of the world now believes that Israel and Zionism = Judaism.

        Dissenting groups within the Jewish world (like JVP) have been powerless to exert any meaningful influence on the Israeli government, the Israel lobby and the mainstream Jewish religious establishment with regard to the propagation of these beliefs.

        What I foresee is a possible coming catastrophe for Judaism on the level of what happened in 70 AD. What do you foresee?

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 9:37 am

        Hostage,

        So you’re engaging in a false generalization with regard to representation by the Conference of Presidents.

        The Washington Post:

        link to washingtonpost.com

        Many of the United States’ most influential pro-Israel and Jewish groups on Tuesday backed the Obama administration’s call for military action in Syria, putting strong momentum behind the effort to persuade reluctant lawmakers to authorize a strike against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

        The stances mark a new phase in the debate over how to respond to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, setting in motion a robust lobbying effort on Capitol Hill — powered in part by the memory of the Holocaust and how the Nazis gassed Jews.

        After a period of conspicuous silence on the issue, major groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS OF MAJOR AMERICAN JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS called for bipartisan consensus Tuesday around the use of force.

        “Those who perpetuate such acts of wanton murder must know that they cannot do so with impunity,” the conference, which represents 52 national Jewish agencies, said in a statement. “Those who possess or seek weapons of mass destruction, particularly Iran and Hezbollah, must see that there is accountability.”

        So I’m the bad guy for pointing out what the mainstream media are reporting about the role of the Conference of Presidents in agitating for an American war against Syria?

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 9:59 am

        So I’m the bad guy for pointing out what the mainstream media are reporting about the role of the Conference of Presidents in agitating for an American war against Syria?

        No you are the guy who keeps saying that Jewish religious movements, like the URJ, are represented by the Conference of Presidents. In fact, they don’t have a policy position on this and many other controversial policy issues. In this case, the URJ headquarters staff are still busy surveying rabbis, synagogue presidents and social action chairs after the Conference of Presidents has taken a position on Syria. So Reform Judaism is not represented by the Conference on this issue.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 11:07 am

        Hostage,

        No you are the guy who keeps saying that Jewish religious movements, like the URJ, are represented by the Conference of Presidents.

        Yet another false statement from you, Hostage — I didn’t say that.

        What I have said repeatedly is that the worldwide and mainstream Jewish religious *establishment* (in general, overall) over decades has worked tirelessly to conflate Judaism with Zionism — and you have failed to rebut this clearly factual assertion.

        By the way, I looked up the Wikipedia entry on Union for Reform Judaism and discovered this:

        The URJ Camp & Israel Programs is the largest Jewish camping system in the world, comprising 13 summer camps across North America, including a sports specialty camp, teen leadership institute and programs for youth with special needs. Campers observe Shabbat, engage in programming about Jewish values and history, and partake in recreational activities including athletics, creative arts and color war. Many of the camps have long provided the opportunity for high school aged campers to travel to Israel during the summer.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        At the official URJ page for these programs one notices, among other things:

        Taglit-Birthright Israel:
        URJ Kesher is an official provider of ten-day Taglit-Birthright Israel trips. This program is 100% free and is open to anyone who is Jewish, age 18-26, and who has never been to Israel on a peer program.

        link to urj.org

        Contemporary Reform Judaism has merged Judaism with Zionism.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 12:14 pm

        Hostage,

        Side note: I spent two summers as a kid at a Jewish summer camp on a music scholarship (and I’m not Jewish) — it was a great and memorable experience. And it is probably one of the reasons I feel totally comfortable with all styles of Jewish communication — including full-throttle argumentative styles.

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2013, 1:11 pm

        “or many Jews, Zionism is literally a religion, with all the irrational emotion that brings with it. Their minds are not open to rational discussion and debate.”

        LOL, ie, they don’t agree with your arguments, Sean, and you are not a person who is into rational discussion or debate either, as evidenced by the fact that you throw a hissy fit whenever someone dares to challenge your assumptions.

        “Why are many critics of Israel evasive and shifty on this subject?”

        Which one? Do religious organizations use Judaism to buttress their arguments for the Jewish state? Yeah, of course. They have also used Judaism to buttress their argument for why America is a great country. And no one is denying it, Sean, so your assumption is, as it often is, wrong.

        Also wrong is the notion that because Jews use Judaism to buttress their argument for a Jewish state, Judaism and Zionism are the same thing or irretrievably interlaced. You could use the principles of self-determination to defend Zionism, the principles of national sovereignty, historical arguments, legal arguments – there are many available. You can also use appeals to the emotions, as virtually everybody who promotes a cause does.

        I’m not aware of a time in history where whatever the majority religion is in a country hasn’t been used to buttress the argument for a nation-state – Christianity has certainly played that role in the United States and in Europe (here, it was used to defend slavery and in Europe it was used as a basis for slaughtering non-Christians), and we all know how Islam is used and abused in Muslim states.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 2:56 pm

        Hostage,

        No you are the guy who keeps saying that Jewish religious movements, like the URJ, are represented by the Conference of Presidents.

        Yet another false statement from you, Hostage — I didn’t say that.

        Your September 8, 2013 3:36 pm post said that the Conference of Presidents includes the Jewish religious establishment. It challenged everyone to name any Jewish denomination that differed from their position on the war in Syria:

        tokyobk (and Corey),

        Can you name any Jewish religious organizations or groups that are dissenting from the support for an American war against Syria by the Jewish establishment — the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (which includes the Jewish religious establishment)?

        From what I’ve always heard, the Birthright Movement hasn’t gone over like gangbusters among the large number of assimilated and intermarried Reform Jews. Most people know that the Government of Israel doesn’t employ the same eligibility requirements as Birthright does in determining the “personal status” of Jews. That’s a big problem for about of half of the members of the Reform movement, e.g. See the discussion here: link to half-jewish.net

        The fact that Phil, Allison, or Reform Jews visit Israel, doesn’t mean that they support its racist or illegal policies. The same thing applies to people who support religious or cultural Zionism and equal rights for the inhabitants of Palestine or Israel. That has always been part Judaism, but it has nothing whatever to do with issues of Jewish statehood, dominating other indigenous ethnic communities, or support for a flood of alien Jewish immigration.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 7:53 pm

        Hostage,

        Regarding the Zionist agenda of contemporary Reform Judaism:

        article; Shlomo Shamir; The new leader of Reform Judaism: A Zionist and lover of Israel; Haaretz; April 28, 2011

        link to haaretz.com

        Reuben Jacob (Richard) Jacobs, known to all as Rick, will only take up the position of president of the Reform Movement in the summer of 2012. But the report of his appointment as head of the largest denomination in American Jewry – estimated to be some 1.5-million strong – sparked a wave of praise and compliments.

        But the rabbis who lead the movement believe that Jacobs’ decisive advantage in the contest for the position, which pitted him against seven other rabbis, was his reputation as a Zionist activist who insists on nurturing close ties with Israel. In that, they say, Jacobs will continue the vision of current president Eric Yoffie, who placed Zionism at the head of the Reform Movement’s list of priorities, making it an issue of central importance. During his term, Yoffie concentrated on two things: expanding the circle of Torah study and the values of Jewish tradition among members of the movement, and strengthening the centrality of Zionism in Reform discourse.

        Rabbi Jacobs, 55, who speaks fluent Hebrew, firmly maintained in a conversation last week that he is first and foremost a Zionist and a lover of Israel. And to leave no room for doubt, the rabbi emphasizes that his love for the Jewish state and his loyalty to it operate on an emotional and fundamental level, independent of anything and uninfluenced by the nature or policy of the country’s leadership.

        In a sermon he delivered last Yom Kippur and that was disseminated in the community, Jacobs firmly declared that if you love Israel, you must support it and stand at its side without asking questions.

        There is no indication whatever that Reform Jewish leaders are working to delink Judaism from Zionism — quite the opposite.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 8:36 am

        There is no indication whatever that Reform Jewish leaders are working to delink Judaism from Zionism — quite the opposite.

        Unless of course you acknowledge that URJ has condemned expansion of the settlements including any new ones in the E1 area of Jerusalem.

        So there’s Zionism and then there’s Zionism – and it isn’t necessarily the same thing.

      • seanmcbride
        September 10, 2013, 9:17 am

        Hostage,

        Regarding the merging or delinking of Judaism with Zionism:

        Unless of course you acknowledge that URJ has condemned expansion of the settlements including any new ones in the E1 area of Jerusalem.

        I understand and acknowledge that URJ has expressed dissent from some Israeli government policies (including the settlements) — and I applaud it in expressing that dissent.

        But there is a much larger issue in play here than arguments about specific Israeli policies — and that is the fusion of Judaism and Zionism into a single ethno-religious nationalist ideology, which the URJ has promoted, along with all the other Jewish religious organizations within the Conference of Presidents.

        Most religious Jews now associate Judaism with a passionate loyalty to Israel and Zionism — they have been heavily indoctrinated into that belief.

        I think this trend in the intellectual and cultural history of Jewish civilization will be disastrous: universalist religions that become anchored down and circumscribed by a particular nation, government and piece of territory in time and space are asking for huge problems. All it takes is one bad government or regime to discredit or take down the religion.

        Try this thought experiment: imagine Roman Catholicism being exclusively defined by Italian ethnic nationalism and circumscribed by its association with the nation of ethnic Italians and the Italian government. What influence would it have on the world and how long would it last? Imagine if Silvio Berlusconi were viewed by himself and the world as the leader of “the Roman Catholics.” It would be a joke.

      • American
        September 8, 2013, 2:49 pm

        “IMO, Jews without Israel is fine as long as Jews in Palestine is fine.”

        well there’s your problemo tokyo……cause the world and now maybe some Jews dont think what Jews in Palestine consider “fine for themselves” is all that fine for anyone else.

      • German Lefty
        September 9, 2013, 3:35 pm

        Jews without Israel is fine as long as Jews in Palestine is fine.

        Great!

      • eljay
        September 9, 2013, 5:36 pm

        >> tokyobk: Jews without Israel is fine as long as Jews in Palestine is fine.
        >> GL: Great!

        +1.

  2. seafoid
    September 8, 2013, 12:36 pm

    Maybe Israel can sell wars of soi disant self defence to erez amrika . Selling apartheid of self defence is beyond it. The gulf between US and Israeli jews can only widen.

  3. Danaa
    September 8, 2013, 12:57 pm

    Good piece, Corey. Perfect for Rosh Hashannah.

    I do tend to agree that something has been happening in the past two years; that based on a couple of my own personal experiences plus my readings that indicate a intensifying sense of anxiety about israel. On a recent visit to NYC for a family member i was asked (well, ordered) to not bring up israel – good or bad – in any company, no matter how large the temptation. I said that’s not fair as Israel is part of my history. The reply was that there just may be a few more bits of history i could draw on, if need be. Besides, I could make things up, right? why not have things happen – if happenings are to be recounted – in say, Russia, or Sweden? surely, a little imagination might make the stories even better, and who’s to tell anyways? But what of the political message(s) buried in the stories? Ah, they said, that’s the point, may be it could be wrapped in russian politics or something so people won’t realize it’s actually about Israel until at least a year has gone by and dinner, in any case, was saved.

    like the rabbi in Corey’s congregation implied, the topic of israel has become a toxic subject among Jews. Everyone knows israel did not quite turn out as hoped and is, at the very least, something that not everyone can feel proud about. All of this indicates that the schism in the jewish community is, in fact happening, if most of it is still underground. But as this post indicates, the rumblings that come from deep within are a portent of things to come. It won’t be too long before it breaks above the surface.

  4. American
    September 8, 2013, 1:04 pm

    Hope is good. But it’s slow.
    The Zionist and Israel buzz saw is moving faster, time is not on the Other Jews side.
    I have no suggestions to offer, just saying—–history is probably already writ on Israel.
    Well, maybe one suggestion, pray for a miracle.

    • seafoid
      September 8, 2013, 4:45 pm

      Last year’s Storm Sandy that hit nyc was influenced by carbon emissions from 15 years ago, not last year’s. There are way more storms to come. It is the same with Israel. There is not going to be a miracle.

      • MRW
        September 8, 2013, 5:45 pm

        Oh jeezuss, seafoid. Carbon emissions from 15 years ago?

        Read the bible. Storms are caused by temperature gradients or temp differences in fronts. What happened with Sandy happened in 1955/56:
        “Severe and Hazardous Weather: An Introduction to High Impact Meteorology”
        by Bob Rauber, John Walsh, Donna Charlevoix

      • RoHa
        September 8, 2013, 10:49 pm

        “Storm Sandy that hit nyc was influenced by carbon emissions from 15 years ago”

        And the empirical evidence for this is …. ?

  5. Citizen
    September 8, 2013, 1:19 pm

    “… it’s not the goyim the rabbis are worried about; it’s Jews.”

    Am I the only one who finds this tidbit annoying in that the US is 98% goyim? A very significant percentage of everyday Americans are against a strike on Syria for many reasons, including rational distrust of our government and what it says, especially since 9/11, Iraq War, and the Big Bank bailout, etc., and concern about the cost of war with Syria in our very bad economic times where both main parties are cutting the safety net from a myriad of welfare programs, and also has to the apparent lack of any Plan B if Assad decides he’s in a war to the death with US/Israel, even if Kerry keeps telling them no war is being planned in Plan A, which is just a memo to Assad to shape up.

    The number is growing by the day, the number of those 98% of American goys duly noting how loud the “pro-Israel” lobby is being, urging the US spend its treasure and blood to teach Assad a lesson, and some of them have even figured out the lesson is directed at Iran–to the net benefit of nobody except Israel and the US military-industrial complex Ike warned us about, along with our congress critters indebted to AIPAC.

    • tokyobk
      September 8, 2013, 2:02 pm

      You make the assumption (obviously) that a majority of Jews support a strike in different numbers than non-Jews. I am not so sure. As Prof. Cole points out, the Muslim community is also split.

      link to juancole.com

      BY the way, Jews are everyday Americans, right? or no?

      • Danaa
        September 8, 2013, 2:43 pm

        tokyobk, however you choose to cast it, the people out front pumping up a bogus case for strikes, are jewish. Wherever muslims are (and i didn’t read juan Cole’s piece0 it’s a red herring. many establishment moslems are by definition ‘exile” groups. many were pumped with AIPAC type money or seduced with think tank jobs. rank and file moslems are divided because many have a dog in the fight and figure they stand to win depending which side prevails.

        BTW – are those establishment jews (or empire jews, as marc Ellis refers to them) everyday Americans? really? may be we should take a vote?

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 3:46 pm

        “tokyobk, however you choose to cast it, the people out front pumping up a bogus case for strikes, are jewish.”

        Obama is Jewish? I always suspected it, especially when he became a Nobel Prize winner:-p

        ” rank and file moslems are divided because many have a dog in the fight and figure they stand to win depending which side prevails. ”

        Are there rank and file Muslims? I assume you mean the average American Muslim. In that case, the average American Jew is probably not in favor of the attacks either.

        You know, this whole Syria thing really explodes all the myths you people traffic in. It explodes the myth that AIPAC easily can get whatever it wants in Congress, regardless of what Americans think. It explodes the myth that the Conference and AIPAC ask and receive from those in power; it is exactly the opposite here, because the President asked AIPAC for help. It also explodes the myth that AIPAC is simply acting in Israel’s interest; here, it’s lobbying at the request of the American commander-in-chief, not at the behest of any Israeli leader. As every article on the issue has pointed out, AIPAC did not want to get involved on this issue. They didn’t have a strong position either way, and they did not want people like you blaming the Jews for a war like you unjustly did last time. There is little in this for them; they lose, and they look weak, they win, and they get blamed.

      • American
        September 8, 2013, 3:31 pm

        ”BY the way, Jews are everyday Americans, right? or no?”

        Some sometimes yes, some sometimes no…is probably the best answer when it involves Israel.
        I saw the Forward’s Jane Eisen’s editorial telling US Jews to get out and ‘support ‘the strike on Syria. …….2000 yrs of tribal cohesiveness and 65 years of holocaust conditoning will mean some of them will do that unquestioningly…especially the oldies…some others wont.
        So yes Jews (in general terms) are different from average Americans when it comes to Israel issues……most Amercans have no ‘emotional’ investment in Israel like they do.
        Just as Cory pointed out the difficulty Jews have in discussing the realities of Israel even among themselves ..
        And dont go off on one of those ‘whiffs of anti semitism’ things for pointing this out, this is just how it is on things related to Israel.

      • Citizen
        September 8, 2013, 4:56 pm

        @ tokyobk
        I’m just saying, as Mr Robin does, that the Jewish Establishment supports a strike on Syria. It’s all over the news. While the significant majority of average Americans do not, as polled, which is also all over the news. Anybody can easily see this. I don’t know why you ask if Jews are everyday Americans, yes or no. They are 2 % at most of Americans. Why don’t you check out Jewish blogs and organizations as to whether or not they see eye to eye with 98% of the USA–and whether or not the 98% of American Gentiles see eye to eye with them. You can start with “the silent holocaust” theme re assimilation of American values, OK?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 2:52 am

        I’m just saying, as Mr Robin does, that the Jewish Establishment supports a strike on Syria. It’s all over the news. While the significant majority of average Americans do not, as polled, which is also all over the news.

        ok, but while the significant majority of average Americans do not, our own president does. if i am not mistaken, what tokyo is saying is that what you’re referencing as ‘the jewish establishment’ often does not represent american jews. he said You make the assumption (obviously) that a majority of Jews support a strike in different numbers than non-Jews. so in this instance when you speak of the jewish establishment and ‘the significant majority of average Americans ‘ , are you including american jews in this ‘significant majority of average Americans’? because lots of american jews are average americans. or are you gluing all american jews to this ‘jewish establishment? and if so why?

        i ask this because we’ve got a significant portion of the american establishment (like clinton, pelosi, obama, mcCain, grahm..etc etc) who are not jewish who also are in conflict with ‘the significant majority of average Americans’. so what’s up with assuming most american jews want to attack syria? could it be american jews, like american non jews , are not interested in a world war? this assumption that american jews generally merge w/the establishment could be overwrought. i might be wrong, it’s just a thought.

      • tokyobk
        September 9, 2013, 4:01 am

        Thank you Annie for your points.

        And actually there is wide debate about this among many communities including the Muslim and Arab community. So the dyad of Jews and Americans does not work here regardless of what the professional lobbies are arguing for.

        I think btw assimilation is a wonderful two way street and has made both Jewish and non-Jewish communities more vibrant and more interesting.

        But yes, the construction (real) Citizen and (real) American favor which is constantly that Jews are apart from the 98% has a whiff of antisemitism to it whether done by Jew lovers or Jew haters.

      • Citizen
        September 9, 2013, 4:30 am

        @ Annie Robbins
        I didn’t mean to imply all or even most Jewish Americans support a strike on Syria. Glue? I’d say in addition to it being all over the news that the Jewish Establishment is engaged in a full court press supporting Obama’s strike on Syria, and all the Establishment Gentiles such as those you named on both sides of the aisle are partnering with them. AIPAC glue is very sticky in Washington, DC. It doesn’t stick as well in the hinterlands–as the polls and calls to congress folks have been bearing out. We have YES, NO percentages in the polls, but they are not broken down as between hinterland Gentiles and hinterland Jews.

        See Danaa’s snapshot comment of September 8 at 2:38 PM.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 4:45 am

        that Jews are apart from the 98% has a whiff of antisemitism to it whether done by Jew lovers or Jew haters.

        the accusation, or primary focus, on anti semitism wrt to this impression of separateness is not helpful for eradicating this misperception. that’s because it’s primarily perpetuated by those who wish to coral and browbeat jews, and speak for all jews. most americans could not even identify a jew in a group of nons. iow, the main culprits, by this definition of ‘ that Jews are apart’, are jewish extremists. so, do you really want to go there? constantly hammering on about anti semitismis not going to solve this problem. it’s like a wall of accusation and guilt which the main culprits are offered a get of of jail free card.

        we’re operating in an arena in which some ‘average’ people (who might consider themselves exceptionally bright) think american jews who follow basic tenants of judaism while rejecting zionism are ‘fringe’ at a time when the the zionist regime feels threatened by the prospect the american jewish youth are turning against zionism (not a fringe group). iow there are strong powerful forces at work w/the intention of convincing the american public american jews are separate/unique. under these circumstances, accusations of anti semitism are circular and self perpetuating.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 5:03 am

        Glue? I’d say in addition to it being all over the news that the Jewish Establishment is engaged in a full court press supporting Obama’s strike on Syria

        i completely agree citizen.

        I didn’t mean to imply all or even most Jewish Americans support a strike on Syria.

        perhaps i thought you implied that by ommisson. when you spoke of the 2% as well as the 98%…i’m not sure how accurate it is to divide americans by ethnicity wrt who belongs in the 29% who support attacking syria. i don’t know how helpful that is. what’s clear to me is the lobby wants us to attack syria. and they are pressuring the jewish community to be unified and speak in one loud voice. but it’s not that clear to me the american jewish community are following their establishment leaders. just like it’s not so clear to me any americans are following their establishment leaders.

        this could be an opportune time for all americans to challenge the establishment. so it’s not helpful to label american jews who do that as ‘fringe’ when they are part of an overwhelming part of the american populace who oppose this horrendous intervention. we (anti war)need to unify/mobilize/empower eachother, not separate or identify by sub-ethnicity groups within american culture.

      • Citizen
        September 9, 2013, 6:33 am

        @ Annie Robbins
        I agree. I sure hope people keep pestering their congress critters and the WH to stop Obama-McCain strike on Syria.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 9:19 am

        Annie,

        this assumption that american jews merge w/the establishment could be overwrought. i might be wrong, it’s just a thought.

        I don’t think that the Jewish establishment speaks for all Jews, but if *most* Jews disagree with that establishment why haven’t they created an effective organizational network which *does* speak for them?

        Also, if there is public confusion about Jewish views on these matters, much of the blame needs to be squarely placed on the Jewish establishment, which relentlessly blares to the world that there a single “Jewish people” — “the Jews” — and that it speaks for that monolithic people. The public statements of member organizations of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations are loaded with this kind of strident “collectivist” language (to get back to the all-important collectivism issue, which was raised by Corey Robin).

        By the way, the official leadership of the worldwide Roman Catholic community — the Vatican no less — has clearly stated its opposition to an American attack on Syria — as have many Christian evangelicals.

      • American
        September 9, 2013, 10:25 am

        “and (real) American favor which is constantly that Jews are apart from the 98% has a whiff of antisemitism to it whether done by Jew lovers or Jew haters.”…tokyo

        Well, there you go again.
        No one said Jews were ‘apart’ from the 98%..or ‘constantly’ apart from the 98%.
        What was said was that *on Israel* US Jews are *generally* different from the 98% *on Israel*—more involved and care more about it than the 98%.
        No one said *All* Jews.
        No one said *Most* Jews are for strike either.
        Some might be for or against because of Israel, some be for or against on other general principles.
        What was also pointed out was that the Jewish establishment, lobby, whatever you want to call it, is supporting the strike and like Jane Eisen at the Forward, are calling for other Jews to support it.
        Tell me somethng tokyo, if you werent Jewish and didnt have the I am Jewish and you’re a anti semite thing to insult people with, what would you use then?
        I’m guessing you would find something regardless.

      • Betsy
        September 9, 2013, 10:33 am

        @seanmcbride — the mainline churches are coming out against strike on Syria (it’s not just evangelicals). Here’s the Presbyterian (USA) statement last Thursday — link to pcusa.org

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 9, 2013, 11:14 am

        Meanwhile the Union of Reform Judaism wants to conduct a survey before publicly taking a stand. (Not wanting to get burned a second time for supporting a war for Israel.)

        (Results due out 4:00 pm EDT tonight, September 9. Any bets on which way they’ll go? Hostage and TokyoBK seem confident they’ll oppose but I wonder.)

        link to rac.org

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 11:35 am

        Betsy,

        the mainline churches are coming out against strike on Syria (it’s not just evangelicals). Here’s the Presbyterian (USA) statement last Thursday

        It’s impossible not to notice that while much of the Christian establishment (including the Vatican) has been quick to oppose an American war against Syria, the Jewish establishment has decided to promote that war with maximum lobbying — clearly with the interests of Israel and Zionism in mind.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 11:48 am

        I don’t think that the Jewish establishment speaks for all Jews, but if *most* Jews disagree with that establishment why haven’t they created an effective organizational network which *does* speak for them?

        Because most people outside the Beltway speak for themselves and don’t create organizations to speak on their behalf.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 11:52 am

        Hostage,

        Because most people outside the Beltway speak for themselves and don’t create organizations to speak on their behalf.

        The organizational network of the Jewish establishment reaches deeply into localities, large and small, all across the United States (and beyond) — it is certainly not circumscribed by the Beltway. A bit of social science could turn up all the hard numbers with regard to the geographical distribution of Jewish political funding and activism on behalf of Israel.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 11:53 am

        Hostage and TokyoBK seem confident they’ll oppose but I wonder.)

        link to rac.org

        I’m not a prophet. I always try to avoid making any such predictions. In this instance I merely pointed out that they are not represented in the position already taken by the Conference of Presidents.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 1:35 pm

        Hostage,

        Which of the 51 members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (the American Jewish establishment) have come out in opposition to an American war against Syria?

        Those 51 Jewish organizations are listed here:

        link to conferenceofpresidents.org

        Some Jewish organizations (including non-CoP Jewish organizations) that have played a prominent role in agitating for this war so far: ADL, AIPAC, AJC, CoP, ECI, Forward, JCPA, JINSA, NJDC, RJC, Simon Wiesenthal Center, WINEP.

        (WINEP is not officially a Jewish organization, but it is an appendage of AIPAC, which is a member organization of the Conference of Presidents.)

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 2:11 pm

        A bit of social science could turn up all the hard numbers with regard to the geographical distribution of Jewish political funding and activism on behalf of Israel.

        How do you determine hard numbers for persons of Jewish descent that aren’t organized or part of the Zionist system or the federations? Give us an illustration. There’s still no way that they can claim 6 million American Jews as participating members or financial supporters.

        I’ve pointed out myself that the Jewish Federations were always instrumental in taking-up collections for the old and new Yishuv in Palestine, even before WWI and that they were also exploited for the promulgation of Zionist political propaganda and desiderata. That relationship continued after 1948, and the Entente, e.g. link to jta.org

        I’ve also pointed out that nowadays the federations and campus Hillel are openly staffed and funded by agents of the government of Israel, e.g. a Shaliah (messenger) is a Jewish legal emissary or agent according to halakhic tradition. See
        * Jewish Youth Challenged to Combat Anti-israel Propaganda on Campus
        link to jta.org
        *Community Shaliach Jewish Agency for Israel link to jafi.org
        * The World Zionist Organization Department for Diaspora Activities’ staff operates throughout North America
        link to izionist.org

        But we’ve had articles and comments here which explain that those efforts have been a dismal failure, by their own accounting.
        * The new anti-Semitism, and the campaign to silence American critics of Israel link to mondoweiss.net

      • Betsy
        September 9, 2013, 2:17 pm

        @ seanmcbride — yup – altho’ it’s not smart — e.g., the interests of Israel would be much better served with peace-making.

        Re/ them Presbyterians, I must say that when I brought this issue up, during our prayers this Sunday in church — many folks looked at me with scared looks, like I’d opened up something they’d rather not hear about. (I’m in a VERY conservative part of the country). But, afterwards, several individuals came up to profusely thank me. It felt like I was forcing a “coming out” process, breaking a taboo. This despite the fact that I was mostly reading the words of the church’s top leader! The collective pressures to not speak about this stuff are huge in many faith communities — in the Presby church the national ‘establishment’ is far more informed & committed on this issue than many rank & file.

      • Walid
        September 9, 2013, 3:07 pm

        “I’ve also pointed out that nowadays the federations and campus Hillel are openly staffed and funded by agents of the government of Israel” (Hostage)

        I saw a TV documentary today describing how Israel is the only country in the world where a ministry of education works so closely with a ministry of defense. It described how military staff and especially ex-military are hired to teach in schools where students from a very young age are inculcated in the military mindset with school visits to miltary bases. The documentary from Israeli footage showed 7, 10 and 12-year olds climbing aboard Merkavas or artillery batteries with an uniformed miltary guide explaining how these equipments worked. The interviewer asked the students with which branch they would enlist when they get older and what was their purpose and a couple of students answered it was to kill Arabs with one of them saying the number he wanted to kill was 80. It included photos we all saw before of the 12-year old girls that had been taken to a base during the 2006 war where they autographed shells destined to be shot into Lebanon. The last part that I didn’t understand very much was about how the military is now also involved into the religious schools. In short, it was about brainwashing the kids from a very early age to develop a military and warring frame of mind, which explains the paranoia that prevails in Israel and why the mistreatment of Palestinians by the military is taken so lightly by everybody.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 9, 2013, 3:14 pm

        “How do you determine hard numbers for persons of Jewish descent …”

        Hostage, with all respect, I notice that when it suits your purposes both you and TokyoBK will slip into the Nordau/Nazi definition of Jewishness — a matter of bloodlines/genes/race. You’re entitled to think of things this way of course but you should be aware that it isn’t the way most of the gentiles on this site use the term. To them Jewishness is a choice, not genetic fate. It’s a matter of which aspects of our pasts we choose to construct our self-identities around, and which aspects we choose to regard as more accidental.

        So when Citizen discusses the behavior of the Jewish community, he’s talking primarily about those people who have chosen to make “being Jewish” a central part of their identities.

        (Remember when Christopher Hitchens “became Jewish” and his brother didn’t? It’s a choice.)

      • Danaa
        September 9, 2013, 4:12 pm

        walid – do you happen to have a name and/or link to the Documentary? I would be interested. Got my own info but could use updating – especially the part about the military penetration into the religious school system. That, I know, is a relatively recent development (am assuming you meant the ultra-orthodox system, not just the national religious, or observant, which has always been the case).

        not sure what the documentary shows, but I agree that disdain for Arabs as basically an inferior life form – whether or not explicitely stated – is a common theme in the education system. there are many ways to do that with children but the most obvious trick is to avoid showing anything positive about arab history, culture and lifestyles. the less humanizing, the better.

        Which is a trend resisted by not a few pieces of israeli literature and movies. of course, those works will be watched /read by only a small subsystem and there you have it in a nutshell – the relatively few vs the all too many. An especially dangerous trend among the religious who are generally not exposed to much movies/book/art.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 4:31 pm

        but if *most* Jews disagree with that establishment why haven’t they created an effective organizational network which *does* speak for them?

        and if *most* americans disagree with aipac’s push to bomb syria why haven’t they created an effective organizational network which *does* speak for them?

      • Walid
        September 9, 2013, 5:06 pm

        Danaa, it was on Mayadeen and made up mostly of Israeli footage with people being interviewed in Hebrew subtitled in small type Arabic hard to make out. The Arabic part consisted mostly of a Palestinian commenting between the different reports in Hebrew. It’s in 2 episodes with the first showing a blackboard and the second a white-haired Israeli man that speaks in Hebrew throughout the documentary. Interviews are all in Hebrew. Hope this will be of use to you:

        link to almayadeen.net

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 5:07 pm

        Hostage, with all respect, I notice that when it suits your purposes both you and TokyoBK will slip into the Nordau/Nazi definition of Jewishness

        Correction: I always use the consensus legal definition of Jewish ethnicity found in the minority treaties and the laws of various nations. Those conventions of international law are something that we still have in common with Nordau and the Nazis.

        They are based upon bloodlines/genes/race. Some employ the halakhah to determine personal status. That criteria is also based predominately on matrilineal bloodlines, rather than the actual religious belief or practices of the individual concerned. 40 percent of the Jews in Israel are secular and do not obey Jewish religious laws. I’ve commented on that fact before and have explained at length that there are no other agreed upon criteria.

        link to mondoweiss.net

      • tokyobk
        September 9, 2013, 5:51 pm

        PTJ I have no idea what you are talking about and neither do you.

        I believe any one who calls themselves Jewish (for whatever reason) is Jewish.

        There are genetic clusters within that group (ashkenazic is a meaningful term when looking at for example disease patters) but this is hardly what Jewish means which from the beginning has always been a collection of tribes and converts.

        When Citizen says Jew he means the stiff necked interloping 2% that subverts the will of the pure 98% (even when in fact among that 2% there is the same range of ideas as within the 98%).

      • tokyobk
        September 9, 2013, 6:11 pm

        I don’t insult people with that generally because most people on this issue are not anti-semites.

        I believe your and Citizen’s construction of Jewish and other things you have written has the whiff of antisemitism and when I see it, I say so. You may be perfectly nice people with generally good intentions.

      • marc b.
        September 9, 2013, 6:21 pm

        I notice that when it suits your purposes both you and TokyoBK will slip into the Nordau/Nazi definition of Jewishness — a matter of bloodlines/genes/race. You’re entitled to think of things this way of course but you should be aware that it isn’t the way most of the gentiles on this site use the term. To them Jewishness is a choice, not genetic fate.

        actually, peaceTJ, speaking as a gentile, I have no idea what it means to be ‘jewish’. I do know there is a small subset of self-identified jewish people who are exploiting that identity for personal political and economic gain. there is another small subset, which overlaps, to an extent, with the exploiters, who define Jewishness in terms synonymous with race. neither group is particularly appealing in my opinion, but they certainly don’t represent the majority of self-identified jewish persons. TokyoBk says that anyone who calls her/himself a jew, is a jew, the easiest of choices. I wouldn’t go that far. but it is a pretty elastic identity.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 9, 2013, 6:27 pm

        “I always use the consensus legal definition of Jewish ethnicity found in the minority treaties and the laws of various nations.”

        I know you do, Hostage. (That’s why I posted.) The information I was trying to communicate to you is that not everyone shares your definition.

      • Danaa
        September 9, 2013, 6:33 pm

        Annie, there is no American organization pushing this morally reprehensible push to bomb people other than AIPAC +Establishment jewish orgs and individuals, including it’s coterie of neocons, a couple of christian zionists-de-jour and a host of harvard-trained shills. The latter include a smattering of house-moslems and christians, usually embedded within “exile’ groups (people like elizabeth O’bagy come to mind, or the washington DC offshoots of that justly disreputable “Syrian” observatory in London, or that oh-so-human group known as “Human” Rights Watch, with a rather not-so-humane looking director by the name of Kenneth Roth, who I just saw the other day).

        Oh yes there are the famous American Saudi groups (including all of what, 2 individuals?) or a some American iranians and most importantly some American aerospace companies, reputed to be working behind the scenes for a strike for pure profit reasons, but unfortunately not seen or heard much from.

        As for Americans, opinions run somewhere between 9 and 7:1 against. Now those Americans may include jewish people and certainly progressive groups coming out against this punitive operation” include many jewish people in their ranks.

        The problem is AIPAC is, by its name, a shrill and openly extremist pro-israel group, the country that most analysts believe is behind this push to “degrade’ Syria and throw it into chaos all along (lame denials notwithstanding), teamed with that other bastion of human rights Saudi Arabia. AIPAC is basically out there – in force – advocating something that is expressly against the interests of the American people. It doesn’t do to ignore that this is first and foremost a jewish group, a very-in-your-face group, one that is recognizable as such.

        Are there nice jewish people too (I don’t consider anyone involved with AIPAC “nice’ any more than any other cult member)? sure. but my recommendation is to get out there in front beating the drums right now, Or else, the impressions left behind will be what they are. On one side Americans. On the other? israel + super=pushy/aggressive lobby arm. Not a good set-up, I’d say.

        Around where i live people are already noticing. I make it a point to speak clearly about where i stand on this Syria issue and sure ain’t with the Polosi/Feinsteins of this world. Now that’s been making republicans out here quite happy. they might even let it slide that i have any slight connection with AIPAC-like traitors (which is what i call them sometimes. Easy kudos. Why not?).

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 7:55 pm

        danaa, i really can’t think of anyone who has dedicated more time exposing aipac as the staff here. of course i think aipac should be exposed. perhaps you missed the meaning of my post. i didn’t bring up ‘most jews’, sean did when he asked but if *most* Jews disagree with that establishment why haven’t they created an effective organizational network which *does* speak for them?

        my point is, aipac, being a huge american problem, is my problem too. (obviously) so why not asked (like i did):

        and if *most* americans disagree with aipac’s push to bomb syria why haven’t they created an effective organizational network which *does* speak for them?

        (‘they’, being most americans, as opposed to ‘jewish americans’) now if you, speaking as a jew, think you have more responsibility creating an effective organizational network which *does* speak for you, more than me…just answers sean’s question. why haven’t you created an effective organizational network which *does* speak for you?

        because i’m a part of this site, and think it’s fairly effective in spreading the word. but still we’re no match for aipac (not yet anyway!). we clearly don’t have that kind of money or msm access.

        do you think, as a jew, you have more responsibility stopping aipac than me? because i happen to think if we stand around labeling anti zionist jews as ‘fringe’ it’s really not going to be a very effective way to motivate anyone. in fact, it doesn’t sound like ‘kudos’ to me, it sounds like a heavy hammer.

        and another thing, this comment about ‘most jews’ was relayed to me in response to ” this assumption that american jews merge w/the establishment could be overwrought. i might be wrong, it’s just a thought. ”

        so argue it’s not overwrought danaa, if that’s your pleasure. but i happen to know a few other american jews who are not down w/the establishment view of bombing syria. i’d rather empower those voices, not shrink them thru ‘fringe’-like messaging.

      • Danaa
        September 9, 2013, 8:27 pm

        Annie, I know quite a few jewish people who are not only not down with AIPAC but pretty much hate all it stands for. Most progressive jews for example – or those who belong to progressive groups – despise AIPAC, not just because it’s another twisting, churning Lobby in Washington, but specifically because it taints them in the eyes of their fellow Americans and forever they have to answer for its actions.

        I certainly don’t doubt this site, and you in particular, carry not a tiny drop of water for AIPAC or even AIPAC-Lite, like J street et al. So many good commenters here who took stand on this issue many, if not most, Jewish.

        I don’t even doubt that most American jewish people have little to do with AIPAC and many may not even know what the heck it is.

        But that’s not the problem I was pointing out. The problem is what people see out there, on MSM channels and media. And what they see is AIPAC and some rather unpleasant sounding people speaking for it. Not many people are familiar with MW or MJRosenberg or Peter Beinart. They see what they see. And Aipac is out there, in full force, acting like the shrill shills that they are. making themselves unpleasant. Pushing for things no one wants. Suspected of lying through their teeth.

        That’s the image. And it unfortunate. And it taints me as well with an invisible brush that we know is unfair. And that sucks and i doubt i’m the only one annoyed of being lumped with idiots. Kind of like some astute republicans got lumped with Donald Trump and the squirrel on his head. I recall how irate some people i know got at the time (even as some were digging the dagger deeper. hey those were innocent days…).

        I was merely suggesting that some high profile people, known to be jewish, get out there pronto and pitch for the other side. Where are they all? grayson alone just doesn’t cut it, does he (as great as he is)?

        Don’t get mad at the messenger now, OK?

        PS correction to my post above: “those Americans INCLUDE many jewish people…” (minus the “may” – just haste, no slip)

      • American
        September 9, 2013, 8:29 pm

        tokyobk says:
        September 9, 2013 at 6:11 pm

        I don’t insult people with that generally because most people on this issue are not anti-semites. >>>>>>

        So just Citizen and I are anti semites huh? I notice there are a quite a few Jews who say the exact same things , much more critical actually——but Citizen and I are anti semites because we are gentiles isnt that it?:
        You’re a bigot who hides behind being Jewish.
        Yep you’re just an ordinary bigot, no different than any other racist.

      • seanmcbride
        September 9, 2013, 8:34 pm

        Annie,

        danaa, i really can’t think of anyone who has dedicated more time exposing aipac as the staff here. of course i think aipac should be exposed.

        It’s important to keep in mind that the Israel lobby is much greater in scope than AIPAC. AIPAC is just one of 51 organizations in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which includes, among many other organizations, these groups:

        1. Association of Reform Zionists of America
        2. Central Conference of American Rabbis
        3. Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
        4. MERCAZ USA, Zionist Organization of the Conservative Movement
        5. Rabbinical Assembly
        6. Rabbinical Council of America
        7. Religious Zionists of America
        8. Union for Reform Judaism
        9. Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
        10. United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
        11. Women of Reform Judaism
        12. Women’s League for Conservative Judaism

        One shouldn’t overfocus on AIPAC — it’s just the tip of the iceberg. This entire political network and machine needs to be viewed, analyzed and understood whole.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 9, 2013, 8:55 pm

        narc b. writes: “I have no idea what it means to be ‘jewish’”

        That’s because we use the word in so many different ways. Obviously, as TokyoBk says, the most important way is when people choose it as a label for themselves. As a self-identity, “Jew” can mean at least three different things–

        1. Someone who practices the religion of Judaism (i.e., who is religious in the sense of believing in a purposeful supernatural Creator, and who tries to live out the Creator’s intentions as depicted in Judaism).
        2. Someone who happens to have had an ancestor who called himself “Jewish”, but who identifies as just a human being.
        3. Someone who has made “being Jewish” the center of his self-identity, prioritizing it above the other aspects of his humanity.

        It is this third category which is the most relevant one in discussions of the Israel lobby in the US.

      • RoHa
        September 9, 2013, 9:48 pm

        ” the whiff of antisemitism and when I see it, I say so ”

        Forget about that. Look for the whiff of falsehood, and tell us when you see that. It is truth and falsity that are important.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 11:37 pm

        gee sean, where would i be without your timely reminders.

      • yrn
        September 10, 2013, 1:19 am

        “Someone who has made “being Jewish” the center of his self-identity, prioritizing it above the other aspects of his humanity.”
        This is usually used by Jew Haters and in antisemitic sites….

        A Jew is someone who belongs to the Jewish people and it’s says it all.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 5:46 am

        One shouldn’t overfocus on AIPAC — it’s just the tip of the iceberg. This entire political network and machine needs to be viewed, analyzed and understood whole.

        Agreed, but you are glossing over the fact that some of the largest, like URJ have adopted resolutions that condemn the expansion of settlements. Others have faced years of flagging membership and declining revenues. See $5 million budget hole is latest woe for Conservative synagogue group link to jta.org

        AIPAC only has 100,000 Jewish and Christian members. It might speak for the right-wing governments of Israel, but there’s no evidence it can deliver the Jewish vote or that it represents Americas 6 million Jews.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 7:26 am

        “I always use the consensus legal definition of Jewish ethnicity found in the minority treaties and the laws of various nations.”

        I know you do, Hostage. (That’s why I posted.) The information I was trying to communicate to you is that not everyone shares your definition.

        So you ought to understand that when we discuss “the Jews” or being “Jewish” here we have to address the union of various legally, but ill-defined sets of “Jews”. If you were aware of that fact, I fail to see why you are acting surprised or complaining that we sometimes slip into the Nordau/Nazi definition of Jewishness, when that’s always going to be completely unavoidable.

        As for people not sharing the agreed upon historical definitions that resulted from international treaties and national legislation, are these dissenters going to rewrite history or deal with the reality? There is an old maxim which says that you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

        If you live in the United States or many other countries, your government ratified treaties which formally recognized a Palestinian Jewish ethnic group and their national home. Deal with it. That same treaty recognized the rights of Jews in other countries. The US and other governments had by that time ratified many other treaties which recognized and protected the rights of other national Jewish ethnic groups. That sort of thing has continuing legal consequences today.

        So, just as surely as night follows the day, all of those very historical Jewish national and Jewish ethnic groups can be considered valid federally protected characteristics under the applicable US anti-discrimination laws. That fact was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb – 481 U.S. 615 (1987) link to supreme.justia.com

        In every case that I’m aware of that formal recognition was based upon race, ethnicity, and national origin, not on religious observance. In the 19th century, persons of Jewish descent in Europe and the Ottoman Empire were usually registered at birth under a Jewish “nationality” by operation of the public laws. That practice continued up until WWII. For example, in Czechoslovakia, adult Jews were considered to be Jewish by nationality even if they lacked knowledge of a Jewish dialect or membership in the Jewish religious community. Their status was guaranteed by the official interpretation of Article 128 of the Czechoslovak constitution of 1920 and the clauses on minorities in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. link to yivoencyclopedia.org

      • eljay
        September 10, 2013, 7:41 am

        >> A Jew is someone who belongs to the Jewish people and it’s says it all.

        No, it doesn’t say it all at all, especially since Zio-supremacists on this site have frequently referred to those Jews who don’t support Zio-supremacist as “not real Jews” (or words to that effect).

        So, please, do tell:
        - How, precisely, does one go about “belonging to the Jewish people”?
        - Who decides whether or not a person “belongs to the Jewish people”?
        - Can a person choose not to “belong to the Jewish people” but still be Jewish?
        - Can a person who “belongs to the Jewish people” have his belonging terminated against his will?
        - It has been repeatedly asserted that a Jew can be an atheist, because “Jewish” is not bound by religion. But it has also been asserted that a Jew cannot be a Christian or a Muslim because “Jewish” is bound be religion. In order to “belong to the Jewish people”, is a person bound by the Jewish religion or not?

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 11:19 am

        “One shouldn’t overfocus on AIPAC — it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

        It’s most of the iceberg. AIPAC’s job is to lobby Congress. The Conference covers the Executive Branch, which has made up its mind already. The organizations on Sean’s list might take a position on a hot-button issue, but they generally do not get involved in lobbying.

        “This entire political network and machine needs to be viewed, analyzed and understood whole.”

        There’s no lack of understanding here; it’s been analyzed many times, and is fairly-well understood. I think a ten-year-old should have no trouble understanding how lobbying and political coalition building works.

        JJ Goldberg wrote about all of it in “Jewish Power” in the 1990s. Little has changed since then.

      • seafoid
        September 10, 2013, 11:59 am

        Hoph

        Lobbying is so normal yada yada.

        Why does the Israeli side need so much money in DC ? Any spin that can reassure me? Because it looks like deep corruption from the outside.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 12:14 pm

        I think a ten-year-old should have no trouble understanding how lobbying and political coalition building works. JJ Goldberg wrote about all of it in “Jewish Power” in the 1990s. Little has changed since then.

        JJ Goldberg said the Jewish political establishment was in trouble, had an uncertain future, and was out of touch with its so-called constituents. If he said the same things on MW you’d have called him a member of the fringe.

        Most people agree that Mearsheimer and Walt have done a good job of moving the conversation along and calling into question the idea that the two countries have similar aims or should pursue ideologically driven Zionist policies.

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 12:24 pm

        “Why does the Israeli side need so much money in DC ? Any spin that can reassure me? Because it looks like deep corruption from the outside.”

        Why does the AARP?
        Why does the NRA?
        Why does big business?
        Why does anyone?

        You have a political position to advance, you usually try to build an operation to advance it. That’s not corruption. It’s political lobbying. You’re welcome to organize the opposition.

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 12:25 pm

        “JJ Goldberg said the Jewish political establishment was in trouble, had an uncertain future, and was out of touch with its so-called constituents. If he said the same things on MW you’d have called him a member of the fringe. ”

        He did say that, and he was somewhat right. But he also said that the power of AIPAC was vastly overstated.

        “Most people agree that Mearsheimer and Walt have done a good job of moving the conversation along and calling into question the idea that the two countries have similar aims or should pursue ideologically driven Zionist policies.”

        Who is most people?

      • Danaa
        September 10, 2013, 12:56 pm

        Hostage, condemning expansion of settlements is the easy part. has URJ taken a position on the settlement enterprise in general, as in stating the need for it to be scaled back? have they taken a position on the unilateral annexation of east jerusalem and the dispossession of its indigenous inhabitants in favor of all-encompassing greed?

        More questions: what was URJ’s position with regard to the murderous attacks on Gaza and the slaughter of children there?

        the displacement of bedouins in favor of rapacious private interests and ever crueler state confiscation of property?

        Or, more generically, the 1967 borders?

        Sean’s contention was generic – that Judaism, especially in its secular version, but partly the religious one two – was folded into the tent of zionism. If URJ – with all the Tikkun olam talk cannot bring itself to condemn egregious violations of human rights in the territories, acquired by cconquest, then what’s left of the vaunted jewish values?

        Actually, come to think of it, seeing what all these jewish people are peddling at the moment – mayhem and death – should I take those as part and parcel of Jewish values? followed by individuals clearly lesser than yourself, are those values, at their base, the least bit universal? and if, as seems to be the case, they are only universal-when-convenient (again with you and like-minded aside for a moment), what is secular Judaism left with other than allegiance to a country hell bent on being a very bad actor? oh and lots of theoretical talk about “humanitarianism” and grand sounding ‘fellowship of men”. just no acid tests please, or it’ll crumble, like a house of cards, with a joker in the deck.

        You may be one of the last Lamed-Vav Tzadikim for all I know, roaming the earth in search of justice prescribed by law. A fine Jewish value indeed, were it only followed by more. This value ascribed to no doubt by all 36 of you in any generation – some known, some not – tirelessly showing the way out to an unheeding multitude. Indeed you have brought light to many of us in the limited audience here, jews and not, on many occasions. I do believe you have thus more than earned the right to advocate on behalf of those more miscreant jews in front of god when the time cometh. Alas, we really need at least another 25 now – I can count only to 20, no matter how hard I try (yes, i know they are supposed to be hidden – but isn’t there a saying about justice needing to be seen to be effective?).

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 3:29 pm

        Hostage, condemning expansion of settlements is the easy part. has URJ taken a position on the settlement enterprise in general, as in stating the need for it to be scaled back?

        I’m simply giving credit where credit is due. You couldn’t get me to join a Reform congregation at gun point, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual;-)

      • RoHa
        September 10, 2013, 7:37 pm

        eljay,
        “is a person bound by the Jewish religion or not?”

        Now you’re the one being reasonable. Stop it at once.

      • Theo
        September 11, 2013, 7:55 am

        Annie

        All those persons you mentioned above, (Obama, Pelosi, Clinton, McCaine, etc.) were bought by and are in the pockets of zionist organisations like AIPAC and take their marching orders from Israel, therefore you certainly cannot consider them to be “average americans”.

        May I ask you the following: would you agree that AIPAC and many similar jewish organisations are agents for a foreign power and should be registered as such?

      • eljay
        September 11, 2013, 9:19 am

        >> Now you’re the one being reasonable. Stop it at once.

        Sure, as soon as I get a definitive explanation of what “Jewish” / “belongs to the Jewish people” means, how it works and why it requires the existence of an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state in Palestine.

        It shouldn’t be too hard for the *eees to put their heads together and come up with something clear, concise, consistent and universal…right?

      • hophmi
        September 11, 2013, 12:52 pm

        “No, it doesn’t say it all at all, especially since Zio-supremacists on this site have frequently referred to those Jews who don’t support Zio-supremacist as ‘not real Jews’”

        You’re making it up, at least with regard to me. I have noted, many times, that anti-Zionist Jews tend to have few, if any, Jewish affiliations, and thus, are simply using their Judaism as a prop for their politics. It has nothing to do with the religious question of who is a Jew.

        ” How, precisely, does one go about “belonging to the Jewish people”?”

        Your mom’s Jewish. In Reform Judaism, it can be either parent.

        “Who decides whether or not a person “belongs to the Jewish people”?”

        No one.

        “Can a person who “belongs to the Jewish people” have his belonging terminated against his will?”

        No.

        ” It has been repeatedly asserted that a Jew can be an atheist, because “Jewish” is not bound by religion. But it has also been asserted that a Jew cannot be a Christian or a Muslim because “Jewish” is bound be religion. In order to “belong to the Jewish people”, is a person bound by the Jewish religion or not?”

        Yes. I don’t see how you can be part of the Jewish people without being Jewish.

        I feel like we’re having a George-Washington’s-White-Horse discussion here.

      • eljay
        September 11, 2013, 2:43 pm

        >> You’re making it up, at least with regard to me.

        I didn’t specify a single Zio-supremacist. If you haven’t said it, that’s good. But your co-collectivists have been very clear on the matter.

        >> eljay: How, precisely, does one go about “belonging to the Jewish people”?
        >> hophmi: Your mom’s Jewish. In Reform Judaism, it can be either parent.

        Okay, so, “belonging to the Jewish people” is not a religious thing. All it takes is being born to a Jewish woman…or to a Jewish man. Got it.

        >> eljay: In order to “belong to the Jewish people”, is a person bound by the Jewish religion or not?”
        >> hophmi: Yes. I don’t see how you can be part of the Jewish people without being Jewish.

        This contradicts your earlier assertion (see above). And it doesn’t explain why Jewish atheists – who have shunned their god and their faith; who are not bound by the Jewish religion – nevertheless “belong to the Jewish people”.

        Although your explanation is concise and clear, it’s not consistent or universal.

        But I do appreciate the effort.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 11, 2013, 3:27 pm

        “I feel like we’re having a George-Washington’s-White-Horse discussion here.”

        No, you’re just refusing to see the inherent contradiction in your responses. You say all it takes to belong to the Jewish people is to have a Jewish mother, but then later say, in essence, that you must also be of the Jewish religion, which would prove your first answer to be false or, at best, incomplete.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 11, 2013, 10:20 pm

        theo, All those persons you mentioned above, (Obama, Pelosi, Clinton, McCaine, etc.) were bought by and are in the pockets of zionist organisations like AIPAC and take their marching orders from Israel, therefore you certainly cannot consider them to be “average americans”.

        i agree. here’s how i referenced them: we’ve got a significant portion of the american establishment (like clinton, pelosi, obama, mcCain, grahm..etc etc) who are not jewish who also are in conflict with ‘the significant majority of average Americans’.

        what i posited was these establishment figures are working against the will of the majority of the american public, wrt attacking syria.

        would you agree that AIPAC and many similar jewish organisations are agents for a foreign power and should be registered as such?

        many, and absolutely people who work for aipac should be required to register as agents of a foreign government. and i know many american jews who are not in the elite, part of ‘the establishment’ or any jewish organizations. although i have not taken a survey i doubt any of them want the US to attack syria. i don’t personally know many american jews who are ‘close to israel’ or have even been there.

      • RoHa
        September 11, 2013, 10:36 pm

        “Can a person who “belongs to the Jewish people” have his belonging terminated against his will?”

        No.

        But it looks like they did that to Spinoza.

        “In order to “belong to the Jewish people”, is a person bound by the Jewish religion or not?”

        Yes. I don’t see how you can be part of the Jewish people without being Jewish.

        So “atheist Jews” aren’t really Jews, and Spinoza stopped being a Jew when his beliefs divagated from Judaism. The excommunication was a formal declaration of his non-Jewish status, not the instrument that created that status.

        So why is he so often called a Jew, now?

        “ How, precisely, does one go about “belonging to the Jewish people”?”

        Your mom’s Jewish. In Reform Judaism, it can be either parent.

        “Who decides whether or not a person “belongs to the Jewish people”?”

        No one.

        Hold on. You just laid down a criterion for belonging. Surely anyone who knows that a person satisfies that criterion can then decide whether or not that person belongs to the Jewish people. The answer to the second question should, then, be:

        “Anyone who can check the parentage of the person in question”.

      • RoHa
        September 12, 2013, 10:20 pm

        It looks to me as though Jewishness is similar to nobility.

        1. A noble father is sufficient to make one noble. A Jewish mother is sufficient to make one Jewish.
        (Nobility, however, can decline through the cadet branches. If all the firstborns live and reproduce, the second son of the second son of the second son of the second son of an Earl probably will not get a mention in Burke’s Peerage. Jewishness does not decline in this way.)

        2. A commoner can be ennobled by Royal decree. A Gentile can become Jewish by conversion.

        But there seems to be some uncertainty about reversing the process.

        3. A nobleman can become a commoner by renouncing his title. From what hophmi has said it would seem that a Jew can become a Gentile by renouncing the Jewish religion. But the talk of “atheist Jews” suggests that is not sufficient. Perhaps our reluctant Jew has to renounce all connection with “the Jewish people” for that.

        4. A nobleman (whether noble by birth or decree) can be stripped of his nobility by Royal decree, and so become a commoner against his will. hophmi tells us that a Jew can not be stripped of his Jewishness by others, but the Dutch Jews seem to have thought that is exactly what they were doing.

    • Danaa
      September 8, 2013, 2:38 pm

      I agree that Syria has really brought things out to the fore. It;s basically AIPAC and establishment jews against most Americans. can anything have ever been clearer?

      • MRW
        September 8, 2013, 5:47 pm

        I know. It’s delish.

    • Don
      September 8, 2013, 3:53 pm

      I usually like what you have to say, Citizen. And today is no exception.

      But it would be much easier to read your comments, I think, if you ceased waging a one man war against punctuation.

      The above comment is supposed to be amusing…

      • Citizen
        September 9, 2013, 4:36 am

        @ Don
        Gee, is it that bad? Do you mean it’s punctuated badly or not enough? Or both?

  6. Balfour
    September 8, 2013, 3:02 pm

    While I appreciate the difficulty of Mr. Robin’s discussing Israel amongst fellow Jews and how his personal journey of exploration has allowed him to ultimately self identify as being “Jewish without Israel” his private journey has come at a heavy cost to the non-Jewish American citizens who have been extorted by pro-Israeli forces to pay the financial, diplomatic and physical costs of supporting a religious, nationalist Jewish state. The emotional difficulty Mr. Robin describes of thinking counter to his own kind is no different than individual Germans, Boers or Southern Americans questioning the hateful practices practiced by their respective ethnic groups. Yet while Mr. Robin remained publically silent about his private concerns and practices of the state of Israel his silence also allowed pro-Israeli political forces in the USA to claim to speak in his name and create the public perception that Jews, and Israel are one and the same thing and that the self appointed members of the American Jewish establishment speak for all American Jews. This distortion of fact has grown unchecked to such a degree that any public, open discussion of current U.S./Israel relations has become a taboo subject in American politics and society.

    I wish you a Happy New Year, Mr. Robin, and I hope at Yom Kippur you reflect upon the ramifications of keeping silent amongst fellow ethnic brethren and please also reflect upon the condition that pro Israeli forces who do not represent the American Jewish community in the United States are openly lobbying Congress and the President to begin yet a third American war on behalf of Israel in the last 11 years.

    • Citizen
      September 8, 2013, 5:00 pm

      @ Balfour
      JINSA was on CSPAN today, pushing for war on Syria as prelude to war on Iran.
      Remember Colin Powell’s concern about JINSA? But now that POTUS is Obama, he seems to have forgotten his angst.

    • MHughes976
      September 8, 2013, 5:47 pm

      The KJV Isaiah verse ‘I have long time holden my peace…now I will cry like a travailing woman’ comes to mind. The context hints effectively at the pain and danger involved.

      • Balfour
        September 9, 2013, 7:57 am

        MHughes976: I also think of the prophetic Martin Niemoller verse that begins “First they came for…”

  7. piotr
    September 8, 2013, 3:39 pm

    “He meant that [Israel] should be free to hunt and kill its enemies. Just like any other state.”

    Very salient observation, Corey. The times change, now even USA may fail in a hunt on an enemy:

    “Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife,” Schumer said in a scathing statement.

    “Each day Roadrunner is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife in our back”, Wile. E. Coyote told reporters.

    By the way, of 3000 years of Jewish history (give it or take a few hundred years), most of it was without any state, and this is precisely the reason that Judaism survived: that it was not tied to any particular territory. In the same time, a very large number of small nations and cults vanished, and quite a few of them were exterminated. Why Reform Jews would tie their religion to a state is beyond me, particularly a state that finds their religion invalid and inferior. It fits into a theory that “everyone is an S or an M”. National Zionist Orthodox: S. Reform: M.

    • MHughes976
      September 8, 2013, 6:09 pm

      The idea of normality including that right to pursue and kill is terrifying.

      • Citizen
        September 9, 2013, 4:44 am

        @ MHughes976
        Yeah, it is terrifying, and yes, Corey’s very salient observation.

  8. eljay
    September 8, 2013, 3:50 pm

    >> If Jews can’t speak to each other about Israel, how can they defend the state to the rest of the country, much less the world?

    No-one – not even Jews – should defend a state as a supremacist state.

    >> It seemed as if she felt like she had been demonized for her support for Israel …

    If she supports Israel as a supremacist “Jewish State” rather than as a secular, democratic and egalitarian Israeli state – a state of and for all Israelis, equally – her demonization is not undeserved.

  9. just
    September 8, 2013, 4:55 pm

    I’m sorry that some Jewish people are disassociating themselves from Israel as it has evolved (or, more properly) devolved, but I understand it. Many people from all over the world have chosen to or dream of emigrating from places where there really is no freedom of thought or expression, and where one group is favored over another. Those places where little or no justice is done.

    Judaism itself is a honorable and great religion. As are other religions. It is man/woman who corrupts them and uses them as a shield for their own horrendous deeds and retaining or gaining power & wealth.

    • German Lefty
      September 8, 2013, 6:07 pm

      Judaism itself is a honorable and great religion. As are other religions.

      Seriously? You think that being superstitious is honourable?
      The most positive thing that I can say about Judaism (or any other religion) is that at least it’s not inherently harmful, whereas Zionism is inherently harmful.

      • Citizen
        September 9, 2013, 4:52 am

        @ German Lefty
        I tend to agree. Look at the activity of the latest Pope. I wonder how many of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics admire him, and how many consider him a fool. Are there any other ideologies besides Zionism you find inherently harmful?

      • German Lefty
        September 9, 2013, 3:39 pm

        Are there any other ideologies besides Zionism you find inherently harmful?

        Ethnic nationalism in general.

      • Theo
        September 11, 2013, 8:03 am

        “Ethnic nationalism in general”.

        I would add the following: fascism, communism, racial hate, (like the KKK) and national egoism, like “we are the greatest nation on Earth”!

    • ritzl
      September 8, 2013, 7:29 pm

      I don’t know if it’s so much a question of evolution or devolution. To me it’s about the more mundane question of how it has come to be fully understood.

      Not sure Israel could have or would have been different given the effect of the Holocaust and its philosophical and geopolitical origins. As Mr. Robin said, I don’t know what that means in larger terms.

    • RoHa
      September 8, 2013, 10:07 pm

      “I’m sorry that some Jewish people are disassociating themselves from Israel as it has evolved (or, more properly) devolved, but I understand it.”

      I am sorry that any Jewish people ever associated themselves with Israel. Israel was evil in conception and evil in creation, and is evil in conduct.

      “places … where one group is favored over another.”

      Israel is one of those places.

      ” Those places where little or no justice is done.”

      Israel is an injustice.

    • RoHa
      September 8, 2013, 10:07 pm

      “Judaism itself is a honorable and great religion.”

      What makes a religion great?

      • just
        September 8, 2013, 11:12 pm

        There is more good in “religions” than there is bad.

        Religion was brought by humans & for humans as a means to control the base impulses of insane humans.

        I happen to believe that no humans are better than other humans. Those humans with delusional, majestic & self- imposed power seek to vanquish those that don’t muster to our will are US.

        Nature weeps.

      • Citizen
        September 9, 2013, 4:56 am

        @ just
        I’m not sure if religion has been a net plus or minus for humanity. Personally, I view “God” or “G-d” as a metaphor.

  10. MRW
    September 8, 2013, 5:49 pm

    Corey Robin,

    I enjoyed your piece and tracing your internal travel. Made infinite sense to me, and I am not plagued by the questions you are assaulted with above. I thought it was crystal clear.

    • Citizen
      September 9, 2013, 5:01 am

      @ MRW
      Yes, it was a fine, courageous piece of persistent introspection and searching for wider truth(s).

  11. rensanceman
    September 8, 2013, 5:53 pm

    It is understandable why Jews are disenchanted with Zionist Israel. The morality of the Jewish state is antithetical to the precepts of Judaism. Israel denigrates Judaism. How is it possible to “heal the world” when the people of Gaza are allowed a measured number of calories per day by their brutal Occupiers, or when white phosphorous , depleted uranium munitions, and cluster bombs are unleashed on a captive and unarmed population? Those who know what is happening on Palestine are justifiably enraged. They ask if the true soul of Jews is represented by Israel. Jews of conscience should not be silent and these inconvenient truths should be discussed, otherwise the arc of history for the Jewish state slopes downward.

  12. German Lefty
    September 8, 2013, 6:12 pm

    I remember the rabbi first taking up the topic in earnest in 2011, almost apologetically, saying that we in the shul had been too quiet about Israel. It was time to talk. And by talk, she meant defend.

    That made me laugh! Also, it reminds me of German Jews. The vast majority of them are Zionists. This makes me wonder why they keep living in “enemy territory”.

    • Citizen
      September 9, 2013, 5:11 am

      @ German Lefty
      Have you ever had the chance to ask one why he or she lives in “enemy territory?” Do you guess any probable reasons why? Is Israel their hobby horse, meant for play, not real life as they wish to live it? Do they look at Israel as an insurance policy, a back door in case of fire? If memory serves, compared to Jews from Poland, Eastern Europe, for example, most German Jews escaped Nazi Germany to Israel and the USA, etc.

  13. pabelmont
    September 8, 2013, 6:30 pm

    So people are being asked whether for them ” the destruction of the State of Israel would be a personal tragedy”.

    Wrong question was clearly asked, as, of course, the Zionists wished it to be wrongly asked. How about “changed” instead of “destroyed”? For Israel is changing daily, and not, in my opinion, for the better, but changing, surely. How do Jews (and others, if any, who care) feel about that?

    What if Israel became (oh horrors, I seem to hear) truly democratic, allowing full citizenship to all (including all non-Jews) who live under its military control (at least both sides of the green line, at most also the refugees who are EXCLUDED by Israel’s military? What then? And so on?

    Try getting these fearful rabbis and others to answer THESE questions. And talk honestly about all kinds of CHANGES happening within Israel.

    • MRW
      September 8, 2013, 8:40 pm

      I agree with Ritzl. Great comment, and observation. The word “destruction” in the sentence you cite implies, insists, no change is allowed.

      So people are being asked whether for them ” the changing of the State of Israel would be a personal tragedy”.

    • Sibiriak
      September 9, 2013, 1:40 am

      pabelmont:

      What if Israel became (oh horrors, I seem to hear) truly democratic, allowing full citizenship to all (including all non-Jews) who live under its military control (at least both sides of the green line, at most also the refugees who are EXCLUDED by Israel’s military? What then? And so on?

      With full citizenship etc. Israel would cease to exist, literally.
      What would remain? Not the name; not the flag; not the national anthem. Not Zionism; not the “national home” for the Jewish people envisioned in the Balfour declaration. Not the “Jewish State” envisioned in the U.N. partition plan. Not the political, economic, or social structure. Not the IDF. What about the “changed” entity would remain so that it would make any sense to still call it “Israel”?

      • Citizen
        September 9, 2013, 5:16 am

        @ Sibiriak
        Actually Balfour declaration’s description of the intended “Jewish Homeland” includes specifically, full rights for the native non-Jews within it.

    • Theo
      September 9, 2013, 9:51 am

      @pabelmont

      “Try getting these fearful rabbies and other…..”

      Those fearful rabbies cannot allow any intelligent discussion on judaism, because their livelyhood depends on having the flock kept together!
      Look at other religions like roman catholics and protestants in Europe, their flock is smarter now, they are leaving the church in great numbers, cutting into the amount of silvers they are able to collect.
      Religions are, and always were, great business opportunities. Priests always lived in luxuary and were a power to be reconned with.

  14. ritzl
    September 8, 2013, 7:30 pm

    Great comment, pabelmont.

  15. fnlevit
    September 8, 2013, 8:10 pm

    Israel is viewed favorably by most Americans and ranks as the eighth “most favored” country, according to a Gallup poll released last week. Israel was viewed by 71 percent of those surveyed in a “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” light, among its highest rankings in the ten year history of this particular Gallup poll.

    link to timesofisrael.com

    • Shingo
      September 9, 2013, 12:25 am

      Israel is viewed favorably by most Americans and ranks as the eighth “most favored” country

      Which is pretty pathetic, considering that:

      1. The leaders in Washington keep insisting it’s America’s most important ally
      2. That Israel enjoys no positive approval ratings in any other country in the world
      3. Israel was only viewed in a “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” light when compared to the Palestinians.

      • Theo
        September 9, 2013, 9:56 am

        The MSM, television and our politicians are brainwashing this nation since 50 years, repeating the same untruth.
        Was it not Göbbels who said: “if you keep repeating a lie for a long period people will think that it is the truth, if you later tell them the truth they will call you a liar.”

    • amigo
      September 9, 2013, 5:32 am

      “Israel is viewed favorably by most Americans and ranks as the eighth “most favored” country, according to a Gallup poll released last week. Israel was viewed by 71 percent of those surveyed in a “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” light, among its highest rankings in the ten year history of this particular Gallup poll.”Prof,(???)fnlevit.

      Whoopsie doo -doo.

      Now let,s see what the rest of the thinking world thinks.

      “BBC poll: Israel among world’s least popular nations
      The annual BBC World Service poll finds Germany most popular; only countries less popular than Israel are North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.”

      link to haaretz.com

      Keep up the self deception prof.

      “Illusion is the first of all pleasures.” Oscar Wilde.

      • German Lefty
        September 9, 2013, 11:50 am

        Israel among world’s least popular nations

        On page 29 is the detailed chart for Israel:
        link to worldpublicopinion.org

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2013, 1:13 pm

        Whoopdy-do. Iran is last on the list.

        If Germany were subjected to daily media coverage of its treatment of the Turks, it would be where Israel is too.

      • Shingo
        September 9, 2013, 3:19 pm

        Whoopdy-do. Iran is last on the list.

        Yes, and that is without a having the media and countless poitical leaders in it’s pocket. If it had anything like Israel’s spin machine at it’s beck and call, it would fair far better than Israel.

        If Germany were subjected to daily media coverage of its treatment of the Turks, it would be where Israel is too.

        Wishful thinking. The treatment of the Turks is not even close to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

    • German Lefty
      September 9, 2013, 12:21 pm

      @ fnlevit
      I took a screenshot and uploaded the chart just for you:
      link to img9.imageshack.us

  16. Nevada Ned
    September 8, 2013, 8:14 pm

    Corey Robin, thanks for your thoughtful and honest piece.

    You come from a family that was more attached to Israel than most American Jews today: you visited Israel several times as a youngster. Most American Jews never visit Israel, they’re more likely to visit France or Italy.

    Your disillusionment with Israel happened after a long trajectory, influenced by Edward Said, Mearsheimer/Walt, Ali Abunimah, Tony Judt, Glenn Greenwald and others.

    One hopeful thought emerges from your account: American Jews are likely to be more receptive to appeals for a combined Jewish/Palestinian political effort. Not all, but at least some American Jews, and an increasing number in the future.

    After all, the values of American Jews include opposition to racism. (Consult any history of the struggle against racism in the US). And Israel contradicts those values every day, and in a big way. Some of the sharpest and most articulate critics of Israeli policy are Jewish, after all.

  17. joer
    September 8, 2013, 9:51 pm

    Religion-not just Judaism – seems to be about money and power. And it seems to attract more than its share of perverts, especially for such a godly institution. And when it gets down to the actual practices, they usually seem either pointless or ridiculous to me, unless things get scary…but every once in a while I think I must be missing something, and I look into Judaism, which is where my roots are-sort of-it just seems too close to Zionism for me. For instance, when the internet first came out, I looked up the Kaballah and I found a site that explained it in easy to understand terms, and I could see why Madonna was so enthralled by it. Then I looked to see who published the web site-and it was a settler group from Hebron. And I thought to myself, no matter how interesting the insights the Kaballah might be to read, these settlers do nothing but study it and they act like a–holes. And on Forward.com, they had this app to find a New Year service close to where you live-and when I looked to see who put it up there, it was Birthright Israel. I don’t like the feeling I’m being tricked into supporting a political ideology I disagree with by doing a benign activity like attending synagogue.

    • NorthCascadian
      September 8, 2013, 11:15 pm

      I keep searching for the public “ex-Jews” or maybe the “recovering Jews”. Humans that realize these highly partisan religions are not for them. I know plenty of “recovering Catholics” They seem to be getting along fine, no one ostracizes (at least that I have witnessed) them for “waking up to humanity”. When a human wants to be a Buddhist that is all it takes, let this religious/tribal thing go, wake up and into humanity, people are great here.

      • joer
        September 9, 2013, 8:54 am

        Maybe you should look up “wandering Jew”. Whatever you call people who have Jewish parents or grandparents and don’t participate in any Jewish activities, I think there’s a lot more of us than those who have following Jewish traditions as a big priority in their life. I don’t even know how a poll could measure a trend like this. But where are all these wandering Jews? Well, forget about that recovery rhetoric. Start with Jews For Jesus, then maybe the Communist Party, then try your locar ashram or punk rock show, basically anywhere. Although Phil and AIPAC disagree on much, they seem to agree that you don’t count as a Jew if you don’t belong to some organization with Jewish in the title and make a point of announcing you’re Jewish at least 43 times a day.

  18. MahaneYehude1
    September 9, 2013, 3:36 am

    Dear Corey,

    Thank you very much for your nice article. Since we are in the middle of ten days of repentance, in which each one of us have to do Heshbon Nefesh with himself, I think your article comes just in time.

    Corey, it was very interesting to read about you and your family. I hope you won’t care if I tell you little about mine. I must say in advance that I am not an educated man, have bad English and bad ability to express my self like you did in your nice article. Hope you don’t care.

    My parents were born in Kurdistan, North Iraq. Later their families moved to Baghdad. The Jewish community of Iraq was considered the most ancient Jewish community in the world apart from the Eretz Israel Jewish community. Jews were integral part of Iraq, especially after they received full emancipation from the Ottomans. They took part in all fields of life and most of them were in the elite of the society: education, medicine, finance systems, businesses and even in politics, as a members of parliament and positions like Finance Minister (1920-1923). In those years no one of them was involved in Zionist movement and my father told me that they even didn’t hear this term.

    The end of the Jewish community starts in 1933, fifteen years before the creation of the state of Israel, fifteen years before the Palestinian Naqba. Many Jews experienced discrimination and their properties appropriated. In 1941, Several Iraqis groups, leaded by the pro-Nazi leader Rasheed Ali Al-Kilani, brutally attacked the Jews of Baghdad with no reason, only because they were Jews. In this attack, called Farhud, about 200 were killed (my grandparents knew several of them), thousands injured, houses and synagogues were burned and many fled to other countries. Since then their life was under constant threatening, children were bitten sometime to death, women bodies became cheap and many of them were brutally raped (Taali, Ya Yahudia, Anikek!!). No body protect them, no body care about them.

    In 1951 came the final destruction of the Jewish community in Iraq. All of them left their homes, businesses, stores, hotels etc. and became helpless refugees. They came to the newly born state of Israel. My parents were among them.

    Thanks for reading
    Wish you Shana Tova and Hatima Tova

    • just
      September 9, 2013, 5:12 am

      You certainly have loads of ” humility” MY. “I must say in advance that I am not an educated man, have bad English and bad ability to express my self like you did in your nice article. Hope you don’t care.”

      Your English is quite fine– in fact, it reads perfectly American English- like. You’ve said that you are a “simple potato seller”– do you grow the potatoes that you sell in the market? Where is your farm?

      Shana Tova to you.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 10:32 am

        @Just: thanks for the compliments. It is not humility – I always worried that my English is bad and people hardly understand me. But I take your word and if you say it perfect – I glad.

        No, I am not a farmer and don’t grow potatoes. I receive them from my supplier, a Palestinian from Sur Baher, East Jerusalem. If it is important to you, I can ask him where he buy them.

        Shana Tova

    • eljay
      September 9, 2013, 8:02 am

      >> In 1951 came the final destruction of the Jewish community in Iraq.

      What happened to Jews in Iraq is a gross injustice. The remedy to injustice against Jews is justice for Jews, NOT Jewish terrorism and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands in order to create an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine.

      >> You’ve said that you are a “simple potato seller”–

      “[S]imple potato seller” seems like better way to get the same old information across more effectively: While (some) readers might approve of verbal confrontations with aggressive propagandists like yrneee, miriam6eee, OlegReee and others, and accept the facts presented by the debunkers, they may reject similar confrontations with a humble-sounding “simple potato seller” and choose to accept his message instead…despite the fact that he’s selling the same potatoes as are the *eee’s.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 10:44 am

        @eljay: I don’t agree with you that people accept my message since I am a potato seller. I received a lot of replied from many readers that didn’t agree with me and didn’t accept my messages. Please, don’t compare me to other readers here that I don’t know. I represent my self only and I am here to bring different voice to MW.

        “Potato Seller” means I met thousands, if not not tens of thousands, Palestinians, talk with them and learn to know them better. Thousands conversations with them, visiting their homes, working with them shape my views on the I/P conflict. I learned that both peoples here are victims of the blindness of our and their leaders, I learned that the Palestinians are not the same, I learned that most of them want peace with Israel and not instead Israel, I learned that many of them want to be integral part of the Israeli society, I learned that we can solve their and our refugees problems – I learned and still learning.

        Thanks

      • eljay
        September 9, 2013, 11:16 am

        >> @eljay: I don’t agree with you that people accept my message since I am a potato seller. I received a lot of replied from many readers that didn’t agree with me and didn’t accept my messages.

        I’m not talking about the commenters, I’m talking about the readers.

        >> … I learned and still learning.

        I hope one day you will learn that there is nothing just or moral about supremacism – not even Jewish supremacism.

      • RoHa
        September 9, 2013, 8:50 pm

        ” I learned that most of them want peace with Israel and not instead Israel, I learned that many of them want to be integral part of the Israeli society,”

        And yet you still reject the idea of a single unified state in Palestine where Jews, Muslims, and Christians – Arab and non-Arab – have equal rights.

    • amigo
      September 9, 2013, 8:45 am

      MY, when are you going to back up your claims with “credible and traceable sources”.

      Otherwise your posts are just full of the regurgitated rantings of a Zionist apologist supremacist.

      BTW, where do you farm???.

      Occupied Palestine , ???.

      I just want to be sure “your “spuds don,t end up on a plate with my corned beef
      and cabbage.I would not want to be contributing to war crimes or helping to provide a means of living to an illegal settler thief.

      You do understand that , don,t you.

  19. Shingo
    September 9, 2013, 4:15 am

    Several Iraqis groups, leaded by the pro-Nazi leader Rasheed Ali Al-Kilani, brutally attacked the Jews of Baghdad with no reason

    I know you admit to being poorly educated MY, but you really have to stop with all these lies. Rasheed Ali Al-Kilani wanted to kick the British out of Iraq – and understandably so. The British had other ideas so they incited violence in Iraq to create a excuse for intervention and their ongoing presence. They removed Kilami – illegally of course – and when Kilai was reinstated as leader, they intervened.

    Among those activities, was implicating the Jews of Iraq as being in bed with the British. The pro-British supporters aimed to bring about an ethnic war in order to give the British army a pretext to intervene.

    The Gurkha unit, composed of Indian soldiers from that ethnic group, occupied Basra’s el-Oshar quarter, a neighborhood with a large Jewish population. The soldiers, led by British officers, began looting. Many shops in the commercial district were plundered. Private homes were broken into. Cases of attempted rape were reported. Local residents, Jews and Muslims, responded with pistols and old rifles, but their bullets were no match for the soldiers’ Tommy Guns.

    Afterwards, it was learned that the soldiers acted with the acquiescence, if not the blessing, of their British commanders. The British goal clearly was to create chaos and to blacken the image of the pro-nationalist regime in Baghdad, thereby giving the British forces reason to proceed to the capital and to overthrow the al-Kilani government.

    Also, Jewish terrorists were caught setting off bombs against Jewish targets in Baghdad, to incite the Jews to flee to Israel. It was all orchestrated rom Israel of course and it worked perfectly.

    I know you are probably ignorant of this historical record, but you really should educate yourself before spouting nonesense on this forum.

    • Citizen
      September 9, 2013, 5:26 am

      The humble guy probably was born and grew up in Brooklyn.

      • Citizen
        September 9, 2013, 5:50 am

        He claims he’s a Zionist Israeli potato seller in a Jerusalem market. Will he respond to Shingo’s remarks on his contextual version of Iraqui Jewish history?

        If memory serves, his past comments suggest lots of Palestinians serve in the IDF. This appears to conflict with facts asserted elsewhere, e.g., here: link to en.wikipedia.org

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 11:20 am

        @Citizen: Thanks for the compliment. I learn that my English is not bad as I thought. I was born in Jerusalem, live in Jerusalem and will die here.

        Shingo remarks very resemble to Naqba deniers remarks. i don’t understand what the purpose of all these remarks. Jews were persecutad in Iraq, no matter the reasons, interests and politic behind, the same as a Palestinian that lost his home doesn’t care what King….. told to PM….

        Your memory half served: I said and repeat – Palestinians always join the IDF voluntarily. In the last two years their number increased dramatically especially Christian Palestinians. You can check by yourself the reasons. Here is one Christian Palestinian girl joins the IDF:

      • Shingo
        September 9, 2013, 3:22 pm

        Shingo remarks very resemble to Naqba deniers remarks.

        No they do not, they are historically accurate and point out that Jews were victmized by the British as well as Arabs in 1941.

        Jews were persecutad in Iraq, no matter the reasons

        True, but you originally claimed there was no reason for that persecution, which you have to admit was a false claim.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 5:17 pm

        Dear Mr. Shingo,
        I told the story about my parents and the Iraqi Jewish community not in order that you attack me. I wrote this story mainly to Corey Robin to explain her, in my way, why we, the Jews, need Jewish state and why we returned to our homeland. I didn’t mention refugees, Nakba, conflicts or such. You, among others, took my story, smashed it, extracted any sentence and word and turned all the debate to the way convenient to you. I sure that most, if not all, the readers and commentators here are clever enough and understood my point. The way you replied is little heartless and show you have no ability to sympathize with others when it not stand with your agenda.

        I can guess how your next reply will look like. You will take my sentence: “why we, the Jews, need Jewish state and why we returned to our homeland..” and say “but apartheid, but supremacist…”.

      • German Lefty
        September 10, 2013, 4:39 am

        @ MahaneYehude1
        I told the story about my parents and the Iraqi Jewish community [...] to explain her, in my way, why we, the Jews, need Jewish state and why we returned to our homeland.

        I really wonder why there are refugees who find it perfectly acceptable to make other people refugees. Victims of persecution shouldn’t start persecuting others, because they know how unjust this is.
        Also, Corey is a guy.

      • amigo
        September 10, 2013, 8:00 am

        “why we, the Jews, need Jewish state and why we returned to our homeland..” and say “but apartheid, but supremacist…”.” MY1

        You are learning–slowly but, it is progress.Keep up the good work.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2013, 8:20 am

        >> … I wrote this story … to explain … why we, the Jews, need Jewish state and why we returned to our homeland.

        1. You didn’t need a supremacist “Jewish State”, you needed justice in your homeland of Iraq.
        2. You didn’t return to your homeland of Iraq, you emigrated to a supremacist “Jewish State” situated in a geographical region that was the homeland of the Palestinians.

    • tokyobk
      September 9, 2013, 6:17 am

      You are contextualizng expulsion, which is what people do when they want to deny the Nakba.

      • Walid
        September 9, 2013, 8:34 am

        “You are contextualizng expulsion, which is what people do when they want to deny the Nakba.”

        Expulsion, tokyobk, you are doing the denying here. Mostly everything I’ve read (by 5 or 6 Iraqi Jews) said that most had left voluntarily to make their aliyah or were coerced by Iraqi shysters in the government that were in cahoots with the Zionists to steal their properties being left behind. Operation Ezra & Nehemiah started a full 3 years after Israel’s declared statehood and ended in the 4th year. Had the Iraqi Jews been expelled, it would not have taken 4 years to throw them out of the country.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 9:08 am

        @Walid: Correct, I agree with you!! No body came to the Jewish home, knocked the door and said: “Go Out!!”. No. But when you constantly persecute people, kill them, injured them, take their properties, rape their women, beat their children, discriminate them – you push them out!! They all left and ALL their properties were stolen by the Iraqi government. The fact that Ezra & Nehemiah operation took about one year doesn’t change nothing – They were refugees. My parents came with small suitcase and found shelter in the newly born state – the Jewish state of Israel.

        You know better than most of us that the Naqba continued more than a year. This can’t change the fact that the Palestinians are refugees – exactly like the Arab Jews refugees.

      • eljay
        September 9, 2013, 10:07 am

        >> … This can’t change the fact that the Palestinians are refugees – exactly like the Arab Jews refugees.

        Both groups are refugees. Both groups are entitled to return to their homes and lands. Neither group is entitled to use terrorism and ethnic cleansing to create an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state.

      • jon s
        September 9, 2013, 10:39 am

        Jews from Arab countries are not refugees. Since 1948 there’s no such thing as a Jewish refugee.

      • talknic
        September 9, 2013, 10:41 am

        MahaneYehude1 ” They all left and ALL their properties were stolen by the Iraqi government”

        Oh I see. Absentee property laws only apply when it’s Israel taking Palestinian properties. But when Jewish property is frozen it’s theft …. right?

        BTW I wonder why Canon Andrew White was trying to persuade Jews to leave Iraq in 2009?

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 10:50 am

        @jon S: Right!! that’s the reason why I always write “were refugees”. I think that in any future solution of the Palestinian refugees problem, the politician must bring solution to the Jewish Arab (former) refugees and their years of suffering.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 10:57 am

        @talknic: sometimes I wonder whether you read my comments carefully. Here again a paragraph I wrote in my one of my comments:

        Compensations: As I wrote earlier, I want justice to all refugees. I think the Palestinians refugees need justice. My solution is that Israel will not destroy the settlements and would give the houses to the Palestinian refugees in addition to full compensation for their properties and for years of suffering. I also want justice to all Arab Jews refugees forced to leave their homes. Justice to all refugees must be done.
        link to mondoweiss.net

      • eljay
        September 9, 2013, 11:12 am

        >> Jews from Arab countries are not refugees. Since 1948 there’s no such thing as a Jewish refugee.

        Sorry, MY1, it looks like jon s has debunked your claim. :-(

      • Shmuel
        September 9, 2013, 11:18 am

        I think that in any future solution of the Palestinian refugees problem, the politician must bring solution to the Jewish Arab (former) refugees and their years of suffering.

        Why the linkage MY1? Do you hold Palestinian refugees responsible for the suffering of Mizrahi Jews? Why should their suffering be prolonged or their rights continue to be denied — until the just claims of Mizrahi Jews against third parties are satisfied?

        Despite your “generous offer” of houses on the settlements (note: no right of return to Israel proper), the fact that you link a resolution to the Palestinian refugee problem to compensation of “Jewish Arab (former) refugees” (classic hasbara, btw), makes me suspect that your “offer” is somewhat less than genuine.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 1:01 pm

        @Shmuel: the linkage is just because the Arab countries also responsible for the Palestinian refugees, beside the responsibility of Israel, which I admit.

        About 750,000 Palestinians fled from their homes in the Naqba during the war in 1948. The estimated number of world refugees in the last century is more than 50 millions. All of those refugees and their descendants were settled and have citizenship, living in dignity and raise families.

        One reason (there are many) the Palestinians are still refugees is because Arab countries and the P leaders wanted them to remain refugees. They prevented any solution and kept them refugees only to use them against the state of Israel. Since Arab countries and non-aligned states, have majority in the UN, they voted for several laws that aimed to keep the problem. For instance, only Palestinian refugee status is inherited. So, less than 1 million refugees became today more than five.

        In addition, many Arab countries prevent the Palestinian from citizenship. A Palestinian refugee can’t receive Egyptian citizenship if he marries Egyptian, in contrary to other nationalities. This is an example of law that Arab countries apply on Palestinians in order to keep them refugees. The consequence is that until today most of the refugees living in poor camps, in poverty and with many restrictions.

        My solution, that Israel will not destroy the settlement houses but give them to the refugees in addition to full compensations, is genuine and honest.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 1:35 pm

        One reason (there are many) the Palestinians are still refugees is because Arab countries and the P leaders wanted them to remain refugees. They prevented any solution and kept them refugees only to use them against the state of Israel.

        my no, they did not prevent any solution. it was israel that prevented the best solution, a return to their land. btw, this reminded me of some of your comments:

        I got trained by the Jewish Agency, how to take things that people say and make a “salad” out of them, like a mix, in order to appear more just. The consulate and the Jewish Agency brought us experts like Neil Lazarus, Ben-Dror Yemini. If someone starts to ask you “why do you put the children of Gaza in the world’s biggest prison camp?” you tell them “Thank you for your question, sir, but that is not the issue: what about the children in Sderot?” They assumed that anyone who’s in this room with them doesn’t need the basis of the “why” but only the “how” to know how to spin the subject around.

        link to 972mag.com

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 1:48 pm

        @Annie: Sorry, I never wrote this comment and never wrote in 972mag web site. Check my profile.

        Look, Annie, I am not from any agency. I am here only to bring other voice. If you think I interrupt the debate here, no problem to me to quit. I don’t want to make people angry.

      • Walid
        September 9, 2013, 2:21 pm

        “One reason (there are many) the Palestinians are still refugees is because Arab countries and the P leaders wanted them to remain refugees”

        Annie, Mahane never got around to understanding why. One way they could have stopped being refugees would have been to have Arab states naturalize some of them and this is where Palestinian leaders got in the way out of fear of jeopardizing the overall RoR. Lebanon naturalized about 100,000 Palestinians.

      • German Lefty
        September 9, 2013, 2:28 pm

        I don’t want to make people angry.

        Oh, really? Then why are you denying Palestinians equal rights?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 2:38 pm

        MY, I never wrote this comment

        sorry for the misunderstanding. when i said ‘this comment reminded me of some of your comments’ i meant the salad, mixing it up part. like this:

        This can’t change the fact that the Palestinians are refugees – exactly like the Arab Jews refugees.

        this is a false equivalence because it is most definitely not exactly the same as jews from arab countries. we’ve discussed that a lot on these threads, over and over actually, and recently on this thread:
        link to mondoweiss.net

        more examples: link to mondoweiss.net

        Lara Friedman’s Exploiting Jews from Arab Countries and Ben White’s A new hasbara campaign: Countering the ‘Arab Narrative’ both provide excellent overviews of the campaign. It began in earnest in 1975, with the founding of the World Organization of Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC)–”as a deterrent to block claims harbored by the Palestinian national movement”.

        Yehouda Shenhav explains how the term “Jewish refugee”, pertaining to Mizrahi Jews, first originated in an article titled, Hitching a ride on the magic carpet:

        meanwhile, this is a grown up debate. which of course doesn’t exclude you from using point scoring techniques or offering to quit for the upmteenth time (which i find rather amusing).

        but don’t pretend it’s not completely off topic to drag iraqi jews into this thread like hasbrats have done over and over and over and over for years here. it’s a little salad tossing, that’s how it reads to me, that’s all. and let’s not pretend like it’s not an active israel government hasbara campaign. you wanna argue that’s just a coincidence, have at it. but we’ve all heard this so many times your insertion of this (OFF)topic into repeated threads will probably be seen for what it is, a professional thread jack.

      • Cliff
        September 9, 2013, 2:50 pm

        MahaneYehude1

        You aren’t bringing any ideas we haven’t already heard.

        You are a liar and a racist. I asked you repeatedly to substantiate your SLANDER that Israeli Jews marry thousands of Muslims.

        You still haven’t been able to provide any single iota of evidence.

        And in your last exchange with Shmuel, you displayed your shallow nationalistic and cult mentality by ‘preaching’ to Shmuel the virtue of reading all sides (which you haven’t) whilst denying the validity of Shmuel’s argument (without providing a counter-argument).

        It was the equivalent to sticking your fingers in your years and shaking your head, saying ‘Nananananana’.

        You have nothing to add to the discussion because you know nothing.

        In response to the FACT that Israel is an apartheid State, you puke forth the TYPICAL Zionist propaganda that because 1 Arab serves (not literally before you go off on a nonsensical tangent about how it’s actually 2! Arabs and not 1) in the IDF, that THAT is ‘proof’ Israel isn’t a racist settler-colonial State.

        In other words, you are like EVERY OTHER Zionist commentator here who rehashes hasbara talking points that have been long-debunked.

        It’s intuitive too – like, we do not need to be anti-/post-Zionist to recognize the fallacy of your arguments.

        If you say ‘No, it’s not Apartheid’ – because a small number of Arabs do not fit the pattern of reality, it’s simply not ENOUGH evidence. Not enough evidence to undermine the argument we put forth.

        It’s the exception that an Arab here and there is not treated like dirt or subjected to racial hatred and discrimination.

        It’s the RULE that Israel is an apartheid State.

        And the rule does not require 100% criteria @100% consistency.

        No situation is perfect in that regard and I’m sure there are historical analogues.

        Many PA reps. live well but they do not represent the experience of most Palestinians.

        You are illogical and dishonest and a TROLL.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 9, 2013, 2:52 pm

        @Walid: I wonder why readers here take always one or two sentences that are convenient to them and discuss on them. I wrote a relatively long comment. I can also choose one sentence from my comment and do the same: “They (Arab countries) prevented any solution and kept them refugees only….” – When I say “any solution” it can be any solution that nations solved other refugees problems, not assimilation in Arab countries and evaporation of the problem.

      • Shingo
        September 9, 2013, 2:59 pm

        No body came to the Jewish home, knocked the door and said: “Go Out!!”.

        That is what the Jews did to the Palestinians in 1947 to the present day.

        But when you constantly persecute people, kill them, injured them, take their properties, rape their women, beat their children, discriminate them – you push them out!!

        Israel is doing that too, but there is no evidence that there was any systematic program of carrying out these abuses, unlike what Israel is doing.

        They were refugees. My parents came with small suitcase and found shelter in the newly born state – the Jewish state of Israel.

        Most immigrants after WWII arrived at their destinations with small suitcases – they didn’t call themselves refugees.

        You know better than most of us that the Naqba continued more than a year. This can’t change the fact that the Palestinians are refugees – exactly like the Arab Jews refugees.

        Your analogy doesn’t apply. The Naqba was a systematic program of ethnic cleansing – often carried out at the barrel of a gun – whereas the Jews in arab states – with the exception of Egypt – were not driven out.

        Shlomo Hillel, a government minister and an active Zionist in Iraq, adamantly opposed the analogy:

        “I don’t regard the departure of Jews from Arab lands as that of refugees. They came here because they wanted to, as Zionists.”

      • Annie Robbins
        September 9, 2013, 3:00 pm

        I am not from any agency.

        perhaps you are not aware professional hasbara operatives NEVER self identify as such. you want to be believed? contact the covert ops operating out of the PM’s office,the israel project, and all the other zionist orgs that provide us with a constant stream of operatives, and tell them to have their operatives come out of the closet. then your claim might be more compelling.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 9, 2013, 3:05 pm

        “One reason (there are many) the Palestinians are still refugees is because Arab countries and the P leaders wanted them to remain refugees.”

        This is disingenuous. It’s like a criminal whose been ordered to pay restitution to his victim but hasn’t blaming his rich uncle for not paying the debt.

        The israelis caused this crises with the Nakba and all your rhetoric is aimed at doing is doing is attempting to avoid the truth — that your suggestion, at heart, is that these Arab states are at fault because they did not assist in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian nation by creating circumstances whereby the nation would, in essence, disappear by assimilating into the surrounding Arab nations.

        If you want to suggest that these countries have not provided sufficient support and services for them, fine. If you want to suggest that they should have made it so that Palestinians would become Egyptians and Jordanians, Lebonese and Syrian, so as to eliminate the Palestinian people and aid the israelis in their slow-motion genocide, you’re crazy.

      • German Lefty
        September 9, 2013, 3:09 pm

        I want justice to all refugees. I think the Palestinians refugees need justice. My solution is that Israel will not destroy the settlements and would give the houses to the Palestinian refugees in addition to full compensation for their properties and for years of suffering.

        So, you want to bribe Palestinians into perpetual exile… Why don’t you support a right to return? According to international law, all refugees have a right to return.

      • Shmuel
        September 9, 2013, 3:12 pm

        MY1,

        You haven’t answered my question. At best you have made a case for the (partial) responsibility of Arab countries toward the Palestinian refugees, but you have not explained why the rights of Palestinian refugees should be contingent upon the rights of displaced Arab Jews.

      • Walid
        September 9, 2013, 3:49 pm

        Woody, there is a bit of truth in what he said about Palestinian leaders but he never got around to finding out why. Of course, there were Arab states that wanted no part of naturalizing Palestinians, such as the Gulf countries, while there were others open to the idea at one point of time or other. Lebanon naturalized about 100,000 but mostly because it needed the numbers to rectify its demographic imbalance, especially after the civil war. It was in the process of naturalizing another 200,000 or so when it was told by the Palestinian leadership to stop the process as it could jeopardize the overall RoR. Today it has become impossible to go ahead with this naturalization project as it’s opposed by various groups in the country that are afraid of losing whatever demographic edge they have should the 200,000 or 300,000 Sunni Palestinians get naturalized. But if any Camp Palestinians were to be asked if he’d prefer naturalization or to go back to Palestine, almost 100% would answer that they’d prefer to go home to Palestine. As you and Shingo said, the guilty party that dispossessed the Palestinians is Israel.

      • Shingo
        September 9, 2013, 3:53 pm

        the linkage is just because the Arab countries also responsible for the Palestinian refugees, beside the responsibility of Israel, which I admit.

        No they are not. Israel created the refugees when Israel drove them from their homes and refuses to allow them to return.

        Israeli apologists like to pretend that Israel had the moral high ground because it took the Arab Jews in, but the fact is that Israel needed them and conducted widespread programs to encourage these Jews to migrate to Israel. As Ben Gurion said, without widespread immigration, the Zionist project would fail. It needed to achieve a Jewish majority and could only do this by mass immigration of Jews and ethnically cleansing Palestinians.

        It’s false to claim that 750,000 Palestinians fled from their homes in the Naqba during the war in 1948,when most were driven out directly by Zionist forces under threat of murder.

        All of those refugees and their descendants were settled and have citizenship, living in dignity and raise families.

        False.

        1. They were not all settled and
        2. They do not all have citizenship and
        3. They do not all live in dignity

        One reason (there are many) the Palestinians are still refugees is because Arab countries and the P leaders wanted them to remain refugees.

        That’s simply an Israeli BS trope. Israel agreed to allow all these refugees to return as a condition of it’s admission to the UN. UNGA194 states that Israel is obliged to allow them to return to their homes. Israel agreed to these terms when it was admitted to the UN.

        Since Arab countries and non-aligned states, have majority in the UN, they voted for several laws that aimed to keep the problem.

        Absolute rubbish. What possible reason would the non aligned states have for preventing any solution and keeping them refugees only to use them against the state of Israel? After all, were it not for the non aligned states, Israel would never have been admitted to the UN.

        My solution, that Israel will not destroy the settlement houses but give them to the refugees in addition to full compensations, is genuine and honest.

        Good solution but Israel won’t do that. The other thing missing from your solution if granting Palestinians independence and self determination.

        is inherited. So, less than 1 million refugees became today more than five.

        In addition, many Arab countries prevent the Palestinian from citizenship. A Palestinian refugee can’t receive Egyptian citizenship if he marries Egyptian, in contrary to other nationalities. This is an example of law that Arab countries apply on Palestinians in order to keep them refugees. The consequence is that until today most of the refugees living in poor camps, in poverty and with many restrictions.

        My solution, that Israel will not destroy the settlement houses but give them to the refugees in addition to full compensations, is genuine and honest.

      • tree
        September 9, 2013, 7:00 pm

        For instance, only Palestinian refugee status is inherited.

        This is another falsity, promulgated to imply that Palestinian refugees get some benefit that all other refugees do not.

        From the UNRWA website:

        Questions raised about the passing of refugee status through generations stem from a lack of understanding of the international protection regime. These questions serve only to distract from the need to address the real reasons for the protracted Palestinian refugee situation, namely the absence of negotiated solution to the underlying political issues.

        UNHCR’s Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for determining Refugee Status provides in paragraph 184: “If the head of a family meets the criteria of the definition, [for refugee status] his dependants are normally granted refugee status according to the principle of family unity.”

        In effect, REFUGEE FAMILIES EVERYWHERE retain their status as refugees until they fall within the terms of a cessation clause or are able to avail themselves of one of three durable solutions already mentioned — voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement in a third country.

        Also, Chapter 5 of the UNHCR publication, Procedural Standards for Refugee Status Determination under UNHCR’s Mandate is very clear that in accordance with the refugee’s right to family unity, refugee status is transferred through the generations. According to Chapter 5.1.2 “the categories of persons who should be considered to be eligible for derivative status under the right to family unity include:” “all unmarried children of the Principal Applicant who are under 18 years.”

        Chapter 5.1.1 makes it clear that this status is retained after the age of 18. It states “individuals who obtain derivative refugee status enjoy the same rights and entitlements as other recognised refugees and should retain this status notwithstanding the subsequent dissolution of the family through separation, divorce, death, or the fact that the child reaches the age of majority.”

        In addition, UNHCR typically cites a Palestinian refugee population number in their State of the World’s Refugees reports: see as an example this document. This makes clear that the practice of registering descendants of refugees is not disputed.

        link to unrwa.org

        The website goes on further to state:

        During a meeting of its Standing Committee in March 2008, UNHCR informed that “at the end of 2006, over half of the 9.9 million refugees worldwide were living in exile in protracted situations.”

        It noted that “The 10 largest populations living in protracted situations were: 1. Over 1 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, 2. Nearly 1 million Afghan refugees in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 3. 350,000 Burundians in the United Republic of Tanzania, 4. 215,000 Sudanese in Uganda, 5. 174,000 Somalis in Kenya, 6. 157,000 Eritreans in Sudan, 7. 132,000 Angolans in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 8. 132,000 refugees from Myanmar in Thailand, 9. 128,000 Congolese (DRC) in the United Republic of Tanzania, 10. 107,000 Bhutanese in Nepal.”

        The meeting was further informed that there had been a substantial recent reduction in numbers of refugees in protracted situations because the durable solution of voluntary return to their countries had been achieved. The minutes record “the substantial decrease in the number of refugees in protracted situations can be attributed to a handful of major repatriation operations in recent years. In 2005 and 2006, more than 1.8 million long-term refugees returned to their country of origin, more than a million of them to Afghanistan alone. Substantial numbers were also repatriated in Africa, particularly Angola, Burundi, Liberia and Sudan.”

        The UNHCR Global Appeal for 2010 and 2011, Finding Durable Solutions estimated that about 1.2 million UNHCR refugees would return to their homes, during that period. These figures attest to the fact that voluntary repatriation is the “preferred choice” for refugees.

      • talknic
        September 9, 2013, 11:51 pm

        MahaneYehude1
        “About 750,000 Palestinians fled from their homes in the Naqba during the war in 1948. “

        Some from the territory that became Israel and some from territory “outside the State of Israel” link to pages.citebite.com . All from territory under Israeli control at the time link to pages.citebite.com

        Only those who actually lived in territory link to unispal.un.org that became the State of Israel 00:01 May 15th 1948 have a right to return to Israel as it was proclaimed, asked to be and was recognized ..

        ” as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947, and that a provisional government has been charged to assume the rights and duties of government for preserving law and order within the boundaries of Israel, for defending the state against external aggression, and for discharging the obligations of Israel to the other nations of the world in accordance with international law. The Act of Independence will become effective at one minute after six o’clock on the evening of 14 May 1948, Washington time” link to trumanlibrary.org

        “The estimated number of world refugees in the last century is more than 50 millions. All of those refugees and their descendants were settled and have citizenship, living in dignity and raise families.”

        Nothing is too low for an illegal settler. Any garbage. No matter how false or easily discredited. In this day and age of the internet, people can check on the bullsh*t people like you insist on posting link to unhcr.org

        “One reason (there are many) the Palestinians are still refugees is because Arab countries and the P leaders wanted them to remain refugees”

        There is only one reason. Israel illegally refuses to recognize their LEGAL rights.

        “They prevented any solution and kept them refugees only to use them against the state of Israel”

        Israel has refused to adhere to the law and grant them their legal rights. Blaming the Arabs is nonsense. The Arab states have generously hosted Palestine refugees for 65 years, even changed their legislation to accommodate and preserve the LEGAL RIGHT and Palestinian wish to return to their homeland.

        “Since Arab countries and non-aligned states, have majority in the UN, they voted for several laws that aimed to keep the problem. “

        Problem with your theory. The laws were formulated before many Arab states or the UN existed link to unispal.un.org . The laws and conventions were later refined and codified under the UN which has always had a MAJORITY of non Arab states. Simple maths is an area where illegal settlers have an epic fail.

        ” For instance, only Palestinian refugee status is inherited.

        Nonsense. The only exception is where the host country grants automatic citizenship for people born in that country. Otherwise a person born to a refugee is also refugee and they do not necessarily have RoR as lineal descendants if they never lived in the country of their parents.

        Lineal return is up to the country of return. For example Germany allows lineal return of Jewish folk, even though there are no actual Jewish refugees, having all taken up or being citizens of other states, they’ve long ago lost any refugee status.

        “So, less than 1 million refugees became today more than five”

        The Palestinian demand for RoR to what became Israel, is under UNGA res 194 of 1948. The UNRWA definition to which you’re ignorantly referring, DID NOT EXIST in 1948 when UNGA res 194 was adopted. Furthermore, the UNRWA definition does not extend to final status link to unrwa.org

        According to the definition used for UNGA res 194 link to unispal.un.org only those who actually lived in the territory that became Israel have a RoR to Israel, no lineal descendants.

        In 1948 people with a legal RoR to what became Israel had a life expectancy of about 45 yrs. Simple maths tells us that 65 years later, the majority of people who had a RoR to Israel are DEAD!

        “In addition, many Arab countries prevent the Palestinian from citizenship”

        The Palestinians don’t want citizenship they’d rather return. BTW Israel prevents their return and prevents Palestinians from gaining citizenship even if they marry an Israeli.

        ” A Palestinian refugee can’t receive Egyptian citizenship if he marries Egyptian, in contrary to other nationalities. This is an example of law that Arab countries apply on Palestinians ..”

        From past experience, you couldn’t support ANY of the drivel you wrote, why should anyone believe you in this instance?

        “The consequence is that until today most of the refugees living in poor camps, in poverty and with many restrictions”

        Same as the majority of refugees world wide, except the Arab states have allowed and apart from assistance fromUNRWA helped Palestinian refugees build houses, connected electricity, water, sewerage, built roads

        “My solution, that Israel will not destroy the settlement houses but give them to the refugees in addition to full compensations, is genuine and honest”

        You’re an illegal settler who posts complete garbage. The fact that you expect anyone to believe anything you write is simply AMAZING! Never the less thanks for the opportunity of showing genuinely honest readers just how full of bullsh*t an illegal settler can be

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 12:14 am

        @eljay: No, he didn’t debunked nothing. Arab Jews were refugees but no more thanks to the Jewish state of Israel.

        I always speak on the position of Arab Jews as refugees using “was” and “were”.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2013, 7:38 am

        >> @eljay: No, he didn’t debunked nothing. Arab Jews were refugees but no more thanks to the Jewish state of Israel.

        In an earlier post, you stated: ” … the Palestinians are refugees – exactly like the Arab Jews refugees.”

        I fail to see the similarities, given that:
        - Palestinians are refugees while Arab Jews are not;
        - Palestinians are still waiting to return to their homes and lands, while Arab Jews have abandoned their homes and lands and chosen to settle in a supremacist “Jewish State” that i) created the Palestinian refugee problem and ii) has colonized most of Palestine.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 8:03 am

        @talknic:

        If I ignore for a moment from the dirty parts of your comment, which are unnecessary, I admit that I learn from you new thing, but I need clarification:

        I stated that only Palestinian refugees position is inherited while other refugee groups – not. You wrote the following paragraphs:

        The Palestinian demand for RoR to what became Israel, is under UNGA res 194 of 1948. The UNRWA definition to which you’re ignorantly referring, DID NOT EXIST in 1948 when UNGA res 194 was adopted. Furthermore, the UNRWA definition does not extend to final status link to unrwa.org
        According to the definition used for UNGA res 194 link to unispal.un.org only those who actually lived in the territory that became Israel have a RoR to Israel, no lineal descendants.
        In 1948 people with a legal RoR to what became Israel had a life expectancy of about 45 yrs. Simple maths tells us that 65 years later, the majority of people who had a RoR to Israel are DEAD!

        To tell you the truth, I read it many times and it is new to me. If I understand, you say that only a man that left Palestine has RoR but not his children? Do I understand correct? If yes, what we talking about? Assuming your calculation wrong, and let’s say 100,000 refugees from 1948 still alive. If I remember good, Israel offered in the past in one negotiation, to allow RoR to 50 or 100 thousands (don’t remember exactly).

        I am waiting your clarification before continue commenting here because it is very important to me. Please, send clarification (don’t bother with my personality, leave it for other time).

        I do thank you in advance

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 8:07 am

        @eljay: I want my parents home!!!

      • Shmuel
        September 10, 2013, 8:27 am

        MY1: I want my parents home!!!

        Please feel free to pursue that with the Iraqi government and any relevant international bodies. More power to you. But (again) what on earth does that have to do with the Palestinian refugees?

      • eljay
        September 10, 2013, 8:31 am

        >> @eljay: I want my parents home!!!

        In my opinion, your family is entitled:
        - to have returned to you what was taken from you, or to be given fair compensation in lieu; and
        - to live as equal citizens in your homeland (in your case, Iraq).

        Similarly, the Palestinians are entitled:
        - to have returned to them what was taken from them, or to be given fair compensation in lieu; and
        - to live as equal citizens in their homeland (in their case, whatever part of the geographic region of Palestine they were originally from).

      • eljay
        September 10, 2013, 8:49 am

        Correction to my previous post:

        In my opinion, your family is entitled:
        . . .
        - to live as equal citizens in your homeland (in your case, Iraq Israel; perhaps in the case of some of your family, Iraq).

        (I re-read your original story and, as I understand it now, you were born in Israel, not in Iraq.)

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 9:09 am

        @Shmuel: Both sides have the same responsibility in creating the Palestinian refugees problem. About Israel – you are the expert. Arab countries, by refusing to accept the partition plane, by declaring war on state of Israel and fought together with the Palestinians, have also responsibility and must take part in the solution. You don’t expect countries that fought several wars against us and declared that the wars goal is “liberation of Palestine” (Although I know it is only declaration and had other goals) to sit in aside when Israel reach agreement. One major event of this conflict is the final destruction of Jewish communities in Arab countries and the arrival of Arab Jews refugees (then) to Israel leaving all behind. Please, don’t say their is no connection between the two refugees groups. The solution must include all the problems created by us, by the Palestinians and by Arab countries. That is my position and I have nothing more to add.

        Thanks for the recommendation. I already sent email to the Israeli embassy in Baghdad.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 9:17 am

        @eljay: Although we don’t agree, I appreciate your sincerity. We can bedate without militancy. My goal is peace and no more than peace.

        Indeed, I was born in Jerusalem, live in Jerusalem and will die in Jerusalem.

      • German Lefty
        September 10, 2013, 9:34 am

        I was born in Jerusalem, live in Jerusalem and will die in Jerusalem.

        Huh? I thought you want your parents’ home?

      • ritzl
        September 10, 2013, 9:34 am

        @MY1 What in eljay’s and Shmuel’s question makes it so hard to answer?

        Why does what happened to Iraqi Jews have anything to do with what Israel did to the Palestinians and subsequent, legitimate Palestinian rights and claims in Israel?

        The answer is either, “It doesn’t. Palestinian claims are valid and should be addressed.” or, “I live in a house/on land of an ‘absentee’ Palestinian landowner [who lives in a camp a couple of km away]. My kind of case is special and/or complicated. It is tied to an unresolvable whole. Oh well…”

        I think you don’t believe in the first, but to directly say the second betrays your reasonableness act here.

        Personally I think you check too many Israeli talking point (hasbara) boxes with wild exaggerations masked by calculated folksy-ness to be a real person. Palestinian potato vendors (too water intensive)? A lot of your comment times are right in the middle of when a stall operator would be setting up and operating. Kurdish? You’re just a whole string of improbabilities. But hey, I could be wrong about all of that. If so, my bad.

      • Shmuel
        September 10, 2013, 9:44 am

        OK, let me break this down. You (MY1) believe that:
        1. Israel bears some responsibility for the plight of the Palestinian refugees (but not of Arab Jews – you might run into some trouble over that one).
        2. Arab countries (such as Iraq) bear some responsibility for the plight of the Palestinian refugees and of their respective (former) Jewish citizens.

        All that I can logically conclude from this is that Palestinians are entitled to compensation for their property in Israel (perhaps houses on settlements in the WB – in a kind of exchange), as well as some kind of moral damages from the various Arab governments for their respective roles in creating/perpetuating the refugee problem.

        I’m missing 2 things:
        1. Where is the responsibility of the Palestinian refugees for the plight of Arab Jews? If they are not responsible, why would you deny them their rights until third parties have agreed to compensate fourth parties for other injustices?
        2. How could Arab governments possibly be expected to allow Palestinians to return to their homes (in Israeli-controlled territory) or to compensate them for properties over which they have no control and from which they have not benefited in the years that have passed since 1947-48?

        Thanks for the recommendation. I already sent email to the Israeli embassy in Baghdad.

        Tasteless, MY1, very tasteless.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 9:46 am

        @German: Please, don’t be naive with your questions. People demanded from Germany compensations and still live in Israel. As Palestinians want their homes or compensations – we do too. Kapish!!

        Thanks for the correction of “him” instead of “her” – it was the only mistake in the sentence. all the rest correct.

      • German Lefty
        September 10, 2013, 9:50 am

        Both sides have the same responsibility in creating the Palestinian refugees problem. Arab countries, by refusing to accept the partition plane, by declaring war on state of Israel and fought together with the Palestinians, have also responsibility and must take part in the solution.

        Bullshit! Arab countries or any other foreign countries had no right to decide about Palestinian land. Only Palestinians can decide about their land. They were unjustly expelled by the Zionist invaders. This means that the Zionists created the Palestinian refugees. Therefore, it is the Zionists’ obligation to solve the refugee problem by acknowledging the refugees’ right to return.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 10:10 am

        @ritzl: Look, replies on personal attacks against me are behind my abilities, since I receive many replies and try to answer them as seriously as I can without running from any issue on the table. I declared and repeat: If I interfere here and I am unwanted guest, just say so. MW exist before MY1 and will exist after MY1. One reader wrote me that from time to time one like me (pro-Israeli Zionist) enters MW, writes his Hasbara and than disappear. I really can understand why they disappear. Each second reply is a personal attack, Why? Don’t want me, just say so!!

        You never know who is behind the computer. How old I am? What about work half day (after several decades) and be replaced by one of my family member works with me? What is your problem with Kurdish origin (I born in Israel, Al-Hamd Li-Allah)? Look, if all readers will hold one point of view, I think no real debates will be here. Want it? Ask it!!!

      • eljay
        September 10, 2013, 10:22 am

        >> My goal is peace and no more than peace.

        It’s a pity that your goal does not also include justice, accountability and equality.

      • German Lefty
        September 10, 2013, 10:35 am

        People demanded from Germany compensations and still live in Israel. As Palestinians want their homes or compensations – we do too.

        Germany paid and still pays compensation. Additionally, Germany grants ALL German-Jewish refugees and ALL their descendants the right to return to Germany.
        I expect the same from Israel with regard to Palestinian refugees. NOT right to return OR compensation, BUT right to return AND compensation.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 10:41 am

        Arab countries, by refusing to accept the partition plane, by declaring war on state of Israel and fought together with the Palestinians, have also responsibility and must take part in the solution.

        You can’t say that the partition plan created an obligation for others, and ignore the fact that the Zionists had already begun to alter the terms of the plan by force and to ethnically cleanse the region before the Arab States ever entered Palestine.

        During the People’s Council meeting on the eve of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, the members discussed a request from New York that the new provisional government make “The return of the Arab population of the Jewish State to their homes” the first order of business. link to books.google.com

      • eljay
        September 10, 2013, 10:56 am

        >> Look, if all readers will hold one point of view, I think no real debates will be here. Want it? Ask it!!!

        That sounds good, but you’re not the first person who has issued the “want it? ask it!” challenge, only to “dodge it” / “side-step it” / “gloss over it” / “deflect from it” when faced with a specific question from someone who wants a specific answer.

      • Theo
        September 10, 2013, 1:11 pm

        MY

        “I wonder why readers here always take one or two sentences….-”

        Very simple, if you find a dead cockroach in a terrible soup, you complain about what disturbs you the most.
        In your case it is not the soup, but the dead bug!

      • talknic
        September 10, 2013, 9:01 pm

        @ MahaneYehude1

        “Both sides have the same responsibility in creating the Palestinian refugees problem.”

        The Arab states didn’t dispossess Palestinian refugees. Israel did by its refusal to allow any RoR. All civilians have a right to flee the violence of war and a right to return.

        “Arab countries, by refusing to accept the partition plan..”

        Irrelevant. The Jewish Agency itself said “The setting up of one State was not made conditional upon the setting up of the other State” http://pages.citebite.com Israel was declared and recognized “as an independent republic within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947″ link to trumanlibrary.org
        States are required to keep to their borders.

        “by declaring war on state of Israel “

        No such declaration exists. The Arab states invaded “Palestine” link to mfa.gov.il

        They had a legal right to attempt to expel foreign forces (Jewish/Israeli) from what remained of Palestine after Israel was declared independent of Palestine

        ” Please, don’t say their is no connection between the two refugees groups. “

        What is the alleged connection? Answer honestly.
        Did the Palestinians expel Jewish folk from the Arab States? NO.
        Did the Palestinians suspend Jewish folks’ properties in the Arab States? NO.
        Did the Palestinians vote for the leaders of the Arab States? NO.
        Did the Palestinians negate Jewish folks’ refugee status by granting citizenship in a new country? NO

        Did Israel/Israelis expel Palestinians from both Israel and from territories “outside the State of Israel” link to pages.citebite.com ? YES link to pages.citebite.com
        Did Israel/Israelis confiscate non-Jewish and non-Israeli properties and territories? YES
        Did Israelis vote for the leaders of the Israeli Government? YES
        Did Israel negate Jewish folks’ refugee status by granting citizenship? YES

        “I already sent email to the Israeli embassy in Baghdad.”

        Oh really…..Propagandists for Israel really are quite stupid

        link to science.co.il

        You just keep on stepping in it…

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 11:44 pm

        @talknic: I agree with all your facts and claim.

        Still waiting: link to mondoweiss.net

        Don’t ignore

      • gamal
        September 11, 2013, 5:10 am

        “Al-Hamd Li-Allah” have you ever heard anybody say that? looks weird what does it mean? i (take that RoHa) think you are fluent in English, it was an error to write the above. Any one who has ever heard it said can write it phonetically near perfectly, no one leaves out the all important back vowel that allows it to flow out nicely as yet another crusader kingdom bites the dust, the only point at which your very effective mask slipped the character took over in a stupidly mechanistic way, just because you cant write English doesnt mean you cant hear Arabic, sloppy really, I (wont happen again) would dock you a coffee break, you are of Kurdish Jewish origin, nice hasbarorigin, very effective, you are the rhetorical uberantiarav . Luk Tim

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 11, 2013, 7:34 am

        @Gamal: Thanks. I wrote it this way only because I assume most people here don’t speak Arabic and wanted them understand the meaning is like “thank G-d”. writing phonetically, Alhamdilillah, wasn’t sure people understand. If it is really offended you, ps accept my apologies. Arab Jews also used it in daily life as well as Arabs use “Baruch Hashem” while talking Hebrew. It is the same G-d for all of us.

        BTW, “Gamal” instead of “Jamal” because you are Egyptian?
        All the rest of your comment was unnecessary.

      • Hostage
        September 11, 2013, 7:58 am

        @talknic: I agree with all your facts and claim.

        Still waiting: link to mondoweiss.net

        Don’t ignore

        There are precedents in customary international law for repatriation of the descendants of refugees. The Jews of German descent are a prime example. In addition, representatives of your own government have agreed on several occasions to negotiate terms for their return. In international law agreements must be interpreted in good faith – and above all – they must be kept.

      • Theo
        September 11, 2013, 8:33 am

        German Lefty

        In addition tens of thousands of old jews from the Sovietunion came to Germany and receive a large retirement income, well above what the average german has, although they have nothing to do with that land and never paid a penny into the pot!!
        I personally found appartments for several of them, the rent being paid by the german taxpayers.

      • talknic
        September 11, 2013, 8:37 am

        MahaneYehude1 “If I ignore for a moment from the dirty parts of your comment, which are unnecessary”

        Your fabrications are unnecessary and judging by the words you use, your poor grammar appears to be fabricated as well

        “If I understand, you say that only a man that left Palestine has RoR but not his children?”

        A person, man woman or child, who actually lived in the region, has a right to return. The definition used for UNGA res 194 is very clear link to unispal.un.org It does not include people who did not live in the region of return

        “let’s say 100,000 refugees from 1948 still alive”

        Life expectancy in the region in 1948/50 was 45 yrs. 65 years has passed. They were all children in 1948. They are all absolute minimum, 65 years of age and older.

        Let’s say their parents were a minimum of 16 yrs old in 1948. If they have survived, they would now be between 82 yrs old. However the life expectancy of a Palestinian refugee born today is only about 73 yrs. So the chances that any parents from 1948 still survive is about NIL.

        The odds that 100,000 of 700,000 lived to be older than 65 are about NIL. My intuitive guess is in the vicinity of 20,000 to 30,000.

        “Israel offered in the past in one negotiation, to allow RoR to 50 or 100 thousands (don’t remember exactly)”

        Exactly where did they offer to allow return? To Israel as it was declared and recognized “within frontiers approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution of November 29, 1947″ ??

        OR

        To Israel and non-Israeli territories “outside the State of Israel” Territories that have never been legally annexed to Israel.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 11, 2013, 9:07 am

        @talknic: Thank you very much. I always thought that when Palestinian representatives talks about RoR they mean that anyone from the 5-7 million refugees today could return if he wishes to accept his RoR. So, I really appreciate your clarification and again, I admit, I learn from you new information I didn’t know. If RoR is only, according to your assumption, up to 30 or even 50 thousands, I personally, don’t see any problem. Israel could absorbed them all.

        Both documents you linked are from 1948. Well, I really don’t remember, but I sure that Israel offered in one negotiation to accept the refugees inside Israel (not OT). I can’t find the source so give me time. Hostage also wrote “In addition, representatives of your own government have agreed on several occasions to negotiate terms for their return”.

        BTW, talknic, I don’t need any fabrications – I am really not English speaker and live in Jerusalem, Israel. Let’s wait until peace come to meet in Jerusalem or Ramallah, which I prefer. Tx.

      • Talkback
        September 11, 2013, 10:18 am

        MahaneYehude1 says: “I stated that only Palestinian refugees position is inherited while other refugee groups – not.”

        UNWRA Spokesman Chris Gunness:
        “All refugee communities, whether those under the care of UNRWA or UNHCR, have their refugee status passed through the generations while their plight remains unresolved. Refugees in Kenya administered by UNHCR are a good example. In this regard, the accusation that UNRWA uniquely perpetuates the Palestine refugee problem is ignorant of international refugee law and practice.”

        MahaneYehude1 says: “One reason (there are many) the Palestinians are still refugees is because Arab countries and the P leaders wanted them to remain refugees.”

        No, the only reason is that the Zionist Junta of Palestine wants to keep them segregated and denationalized to maintain a regime dominated by (a minority of) Jews. And that is one way (there are many) to commit the crime of Apartheid.

      • talknic
        September 11, 2013, 12:40 pm

        @ Hostage

        Re – Lineal descendants born outside the country of return. It is my understanding that;

        A) In some instances automatic citizenship is granted to a child born in a country that may be hosting the parent/s link to numbersusa.com

        Having citizenship by birth, they’d not have refugee status link to pages.citebite.com

        B) Germany passed legislation beyond the basic requirement in that
        1. It grants the right to Jewish folk who have taken citizenship in a country other than that of return and no longer refugees (ibid)
        2. The lineal descendants of those non-refugees

      • miriam6
        September 11, 2013, 11:16 pm

        Theo;

        although they have nothing to do with that land and never paid a penny into the pot!! says Theo indignantly

        What a nerve you have

        The aforementioned old Russian Jews may never had anything to do with that land (Germany) but YOUR predecessors certainly DID have much TOO MUCH to do with the country (Russia)those old Jews came from.

        The invading Germans murdered over 2 million Jews and the Russians themselves lost 26.6 million lives fighting to remove your predecessors’ Nazi army from Russian territory

        What is more YOUR country, – not Russia , the country that probably suffered more than any other from Nazi brutality , benefited from Allied nations help to rebuild Germany , ultimately leaving Germany the leading economic power of Europe, whilst Russia remained in ruins

        So really, all in all , as a German you have no reason whatsoever to whine about those old Russian Jews spending their last years in Germany

        Also, I daresay your whole penny in the pot business was amply covered by all the possessions the Nazis stole from the Jews it murdered (even including the Jewish victims gold teeth)

      • Hostage
        September 12, 2013, 6:37 pm

        Re – Lineal descendants born outside the country of return.

        There probably should be an attempt to obtain an advisory opinion on the subject. Israel has agreed on several occasions to negotiate a just settlement that would permit at least some of them to return.

        Germany passed legislation beyond the basic requirement

        I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. The Germany Constitution restored citizenship to those who it had persecuted and denationalized and their descendants. They were treated as if they had never been deprived of their citizenship in the first place:

        Restored Citizenship

        Information on obtaining/re-obtaining German citizenship for former German citizens and their descendants who were persecuted on political, racial or religious grounds between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945

        Article 116 par. 2 of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) reads:

        “Former German citizens who between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945 were deprived of their citizenship on political, racial, or religious grounds, and their descendants, shall on application have their citizenship restored. They shall be deemed never to have been deprived of their citizenship if they have established their domicile in Germany after May 8, 1945 and have not expressed a contrary intention.’

        link to germany.info

        In fact, the Germans recently decided to compensate Jews whose freedom of movement had been violated by the Vichy regime acting as its agent. The German efforts to compensate surviving family members, make full restitution, and pay reparations are powerful evidence of the sense in the international community that a customary obligation exists regarding descendants and the corresponding state practice regarding treatment of that category of refugees.

        In some instances automatic citizenship is granted to a child born in a country that may be hosting the parent/s link to numbersusa.com

        That’s true of course, but not usually a factor with regard to the bulk of the Palestinian refugees living in UNRWA camps. Some refugees are displaced citizens of Jordan, but Palestine was part of a federal union with Transjordan for many years during the conflict. The Geneva Conventions and Refugee Convention both reflect customary law and provide protections for persons who are internally displaced, stateless, or outside their country of origin, country of nationality, or country of habitual residence.

        The US and Israel have blocked attempts to survey the refugees and their descendants to find out their individual preferences. Informal surveys have indicated that the majority may opt for compensation and resettlement elsewhere.

      • German Lefty
        September 13, 2013, 9:07 am

        So really, all in all , as a German you have no reason whatsoever to whine about those old Russian Jews spending their last years in Germany

        miriam6, what are you talking about? As far as I know, Theo is an “Ami”. That’s German for “US citizen”. Besides, it’s not okay to attack people for their citizenship or for things that previous generations did. Why should present generations of Germans pay for crimes they didn’t commit?

        What is more YOUR country

        That’s really offensive. Nazi Germany is definitely not MY country. It was a different German state, which I only know from history books and whose society had very different values from my society.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 13, 2013, 11:11 am

        “What a nerve you have”

        And in one post, miriam’s racism is laid bare.

      • Shingo
        September 9, 2013, 8:41 am

        You are contextualizng expulsion, which is what people do when they want to deny the Nakba.

        No, I am making the clear distinction between what happened to the Palestinians and the Jews of Arab states.

        For example, I would never compare the Nakba to the Holocaust, even though many thousands of Palestinians were murdered by the Zionist gangs. That is not contextualizing the Nakba, it’s pointing out the clear differences between the two events.

        Pointing out that that British themselves incited and carried out some of the violence is pointing out a historical reality.

      • German Lefty
        September 10, 2013, 11:18 am

        I would never compare the Nakba to the Holocaust

        Comparing and drawing certain parallels is fine. However, equating would be incorrect.

      • tree
        September 9, 2013, 8:13 pm

        You are contextualizng expulsion, which is what people do when they want to deny the Nakba.

        No, when people want to deny the Nakba, they lie about what happened, such as making the longstanding Israeli claim that the Palestinians left at the insistence of Arab leaders, rather than as a result of planned Zionist violence, forcible expulsion and violent and deadly denial of Palestinian refugees’ attempts to return to their own homes.

        What happened to Iraqi Jews in 1950-51 was not expulsion. To say that is not to excuse what happened, but is instead a refutation of a lie. If someone said that Japanese-Americans interned by the US during WWII were sent to death camps, that would be a lie, and to correct such a lie would not be to unfairly diminish the injustice of that situation, but to speak truthfully. Likewise, if someone were to insist that Josephine Baker, and other black expatriates, were expelled from the US, that too would be a lie, and to correct it would not be either a denial of the discrimination she and other blacks had to deal with in the US, nor a diminishment of that oppressive discrimination. Its simply stating the truth.

        I agree with Walid here. What you are doing is a form of Nakba denial, tbk. By overstating what happened to Iraqi Jews you are seeking to diminish the gravity of what happened to the Palestinian refugees when the two are not comparable in circumstance and severity.

        And MahaneYehude1 has repeated several falsities about Iraqi Jews, which I would go into in greater detail if I was in easy reach of my library of books, but at present I am traveling. If I get a chance later on I will cite references, most of them from Iraqi Jews themselves.

        Suffice it for the moment to say that Iraqi Jews did not have their homes expropriated in 1933. Many of them were part of the upper class elite, and Jews were represented in the Iraqi Parliament and in the Iraqi government up to the creation of Israel, and the forcible dispossession of the Palestinians. And the Wathba (Uprising) in 1948 was a more significant event to most Iraqi Jews (and other Iraqis) than the Farhud. I’m betting that MY1 doesn’t even know what the Wathba was, nor does he know that the Iraqi government compensated Iraqi Jews who lost property to rioters in the 1942 Farhud, or that rioters in Basra attacked the shops of both Jews and non-Jews alike. Iraqi Jews were barred from government jobs but they did not have their schools closed down, nor was there widespread violence against them. Iraq originally prohibited any Iraqi Jew from traveling to Israel, but faced continual pressure from the British and American governments and American Jewish organizations to legalize Jewish emigration, which resulted in voluntary citizenship revocation law. The organizing of lists of those who chose to leave were totally in the hands of Zionist emissaries and not the Iraqi government, and the government of Israel lied continually to the Iraqi Jews, organized the dismissal of the Chief Rabbi, who was anti-Zionist, and replaced him with a Zionist, and and helped create a climate of fear by setting off bombs in Jewish centers. There were certainly push factors, including the then current questioning of the loyalty of Iraqi Jews and the discrimination in government against them, as well as the government’s anti-communist laws, which, while not targeted specifically at Jews, discouraged those Iraqi Jews who were leaning communist. And there were certainly pull factors, encouraged by Israel. It was not an expulsion.

      • RoHa
        September 9, 2013, 9:46 pm

        “or that rioters in Basra attacked the shops of both Jews and non-Jews alike.”

        But only the shops of Jews matter.

      • miriam6
        September 11, 2013, 8:25 pm

        Tree@;

        And the Wathba (Uprising) in 1948 was a more significant event to most Iraqi Jews (and other Iraqis) than the Farhud.

        Really?

        How so?

        There were only the most minimal consequences and involvement therein for Iraqi Jews – other than the involvement of The League Against Zionism , an organisation led by Iraqi Jewish Communist party members.

        However those Communist Jews were only a tiny minority

        Why on earth drag this diversionary red herring about a Communist uprising into the matter of the persecution , on account of religion and ethnicity , and subsequent ethnic cleansing of Iraqi Jews?

        The Wathba was a Communist protest movement against the British and there is no comparison at all with the Farhud , which was an anti – Jewish pogrom

        Also the ‘compensation’ you mention was too little and came too late

        Tree said;
        And there were certainly pull factors, encouraged by Israel..

        What a distortion of the truth.

        Push factors facilitating the later ethnic cleansing of Iraq’s Jews were already there well before 1948 and shortly after the demise of the Ottoman Empire after WW1

        In fact , once Iraqi Jews had lost the protection afforded them by the Ottomans their insecurity of what was to come was already evident as EARLY as 1918 and subsequently borne out by their later persecution and more immediately that of the 600 Circassians massacred in 1933.

        Finally , why on earth are you seeking to whitewash the responsibility that the Iraqi government and also OTHER Arab governments had to protect their Jewish citizens?

      • Talkback
        September 12, 2013, 8:23 am

        miriam6 says: “Finally , why on earth are you seeking to whitewash the responsibility that the Iraqi government and also OTHER Arab governments had to protect their Jewish citizens?”

        I wouldn’t whitewash this. But I also wouldn’t whitewash the responsibility that the Israeli goverment had to protect their Nonjewish citizens. But they denationalized the majority and their descendents and keep them expelled to maintain a regime dominated by Jews which is Apartheid. The Arab states on the other hand don’t need to keep Jews expelled and denationalized so that a minority regime can ‘survive’.

      • Hostage
        September 12, 2013, 8:53 am

        The memo recording the State Department’s conversation with Israeli Ambassador Teddy Kolleck about Iran establishes that the government of Israel was responsible for the earlier mass exoduses, including the one from Iraq. We know from other sources that they did that by worsening the conditions and recruiting Sayanim, like Eli Cohen or Naeim Giladi, to assist in black flag operations.

        Thanks to the 30-year declassification rule, it’s a matter of public record that the government of Israel instigated deliberate exodus from the Arab and Muslim states as part of its state building program. Here is one example:

        Ingathering of Exiles
        At the close of the interview I asked Kollek to tell me frankly whether Israel planned to start the ingathering of 70,000 Jews from Iran along the lines of the ingathering from Iraq. I said that so far as I knew, the level of anti-semitism in Iran was not abnormally high and I thought the friends of Israel, including the United States, would not favor a deliberately generated exodus there.
        Kollek replied that there was a school of thought in Israel which believes that when a nationalistic government of the Mossadegh type comes into power sooner or later they turn against their minorities and this has caused consideration to be given to the Iranian Jews. He did not believe, however, that efforts would be made to bring them to Israel unless the situation generally deteriorates. There could be no doubt that the need of the Roumanian Jews to come to Israel is far greater than the need of the Iranian Jews.
        I opined that the Iraqi operation had been bad for Iraq. I said that I hoped the Iraqi Government would not disenfranchise the Jews who had elected to remain Iraqi citizens. Kollek argued that short range, Iraq may have lost some skills, but he thought that long range it is “better for a country to be homogeneous” as would be the case if all of the Jews left Iraq. I asserted that homogeneity of population is not always a good thing and pointed with pride to the fact that the United States is in no sense homogeneous. Kollek’s only answer was “The United States is different.”

        – Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs (Jones), Secret [WASHINGTON,] August 2,1951.
        Subject: Israel’s Concern Re Peace With the Arabs and Other Matters.
        Participants: Mr. Theodore Kollek, Embassy of Israel and Mr. G. Lewis Jones, NE, Foreign relations of the United States, 1951. The Near East and Africa, page 815 link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

      • miriam6
        September 12, 2013, 4:25 pm

        Hostage@:

        Your comment is most mysterious

        Exactly which false flag operation is the fantasist Naeim Giladi supposedly recollecting?

      • miriam6
        September 12, 2013, 5:09 pm

        Hostage@;

        Of course I meant black flag operations not false flag..However, Naeim Giladi’s allegations your comment refers to have been subsequently debunked.

        See the full rebuttal Posted by bataween here: link to jewishrefugees.blogspot.co.uk

      • Hostage
        September 12, 2013, 5:13 pm

        Your comment is most mysterious

        There’s nothing mysterious about the comment at all. We all know that Israel had a corps of assassins. Jewish undercover units, called “The Arabists of the Palmach” or Mista’arvim [literally, "Arab-pretenders"] who carried out black flag operations. We also know that the Zionist Executive authorized bombings against targets, like the S.S. Patria, where Jews were bound to be terrorized or sacrificed merely for propaganda.

        Naeim Giladi wrote a book about the situation in Iraq and explained that Zionists were behind a terror bombing campaign there, just like the one carried out in Egypt by Zionists against US and western targets during the so-called Lavon Affair.

        I take it that you don’t find the conversation with Kolleck regarding the State of Israel being ultimately responsible for the mass exodus from Iraq mysterious. Maybe you can explain why you fail to mention Israel’s role in all of your shreying about responsibility for the plight of these Iraqi Jewish refugees? Please remember to mention that Israel recruited Jews, like Galidi, Eli Cohen, and the team members in the Lavon Affair and used them in enemy territories as spies, fifth columnists, and for pre-planned state building efforts disguised as in-gathering of refugees.

      • miriam6
        September 12, 2013, 5:15 pm

        Hostage@:

        As for this so-called conversation with Teddy Kollek, Kollek is essentially right that despotic regimes do eventually turn against their minorities and that they can’t be compared to the US!
        At the time this conversation took place there must have been fear that the same fate would befall the Iranian Jews as befell the Iraqis, but Mossadegh’s coup was thwarted and there was no major Jewish exodus until the Ayatollahs took power in 1979.

        Which only proves that Israel does not determine whether and when these exoduses take place, the regimes do.

      • talknic
        September 12, 2013, 5:26 pm

        @miriam6

        It is NORMAL for countries at war to expel or inter possible 5th columnists. Israel was at war in Palestine, “outside the State of Israel” link to pages.citebite.com .

        The Arab states had a right to A) invade Palestine in order to attempt to expel Jewish forces “outside the State of Israel” B) expel and/or inter possible 5th columnists while at war with Israel.

        The Jewish state encouraged Arab Jews to lose their refugee status by taking up Israeli citizenship. They and those who took up citizenship in other countries, have no RoR.

        “meaning that today around 20% of the Israeli population today is Arab”

        More idiotic nonsense. Hundreds of thousands who were once refugees from ARAB countries are Arab Jews

        Israeli propaganda really is pathetic!!!

      • miriam6
        September 12, 2013, 6:09 pm

        Hostage@;

        More on the debunked anti Zionist theories you are attempting to pass off as the truth;


        For years anti-Zionists have maintained that the Zionist underground in Iraq had planted bombs aimed at Jewish targets to cause or hasten the Jewish exodus in 1950 -51. Now evidence published in Haaretz by Tom Segev – an Israeli ‘new historian’ – vindicates the official Israeli line that Iraqi Muslims, not Jews, threw the deadly bomb at the Masuda Shemtov synagogue in January 1951 which killed four Jews and injured 10

        link to jewishrefugees.blogspot.co.uk

        Read the Tom Segev article here;

        link to haaretz.com

      • Annie Robbins
        September 12, 2013, 6:43 pm

        miriam, this is an allegation based off a widows words, and they are not definitive that they didn’t carryout the bombing in question..

        Now, a recent publication is shedding new light on the mystery. The revelations come from Yehuda Tager, an Israeli agent who operated in Baghdad, was exposed and spent about 10 years in prison there. According to Tager, the bombing of the Masuda Shemtov synagogue was not carried out by Israelis, but by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, at least one activist from the Zionist underground, Yosef Beit-Halahmi, did apparently carry out several terror attacks after the arrest of his comrades, in the hope of proving to the Iraqi authorities that the detainees were not involved in these actions. This is the first time someone involved in the episode is confirming that members of the Zionist underground did commit bombings in Baghdad.

        The interview with Tager, now 83, appears in a new book by the British journalist Arthur Neslen, titled “Occupied Minds.” Tager quoted a conversation he had with Beit-Halahmi’s widow: “She said she had asked him (if he had thrown the bombs) and he had replied that if a bomb was thrown while we were in prison, it would have proved that it was not us who bombed the Masuda Shemtov. She implied that he, on his own initiative, without orders from Israel, did it in order to save us.”

        Ehud Ein-Gil, deputy editor of Haaretz Magazine, who came across this information, called up Tager and the latter confirmed the version of events depicted in Neslen’s book. But when he appeared before the Mossad’s commission of inquiry in 1960, Tager did not tell this part of the story. Ein-Gil asked him why.

        iow, just because he carried out attacks while his cohorts were in jail to prove they didn’t do it, doesn’t mean they didn’t do it.

      • Hostage
        September 12, 2013, 6:47 pm

        Hostage@;

        Of course I meant black flag operations not false flag..However, Naeim Giladi’s allegations your comment refers to have been subsequently debunked.

        That’s hardly more convincing than the stories that supposedly debunked Jewish Agency responsibility for the bombing of the Patria and the State of Israel’s role in the bombings carried out in Egypt.

        You are still not acknowledging what the Israeli Ambassador had to say about the role played by the State of Israel in initiating the exodus of Jews from Iraq and other countries.

      • seanmcbride
        September 12, 2013, 7:51 pm

        miriam6,

        There is no good reason to believe a word that Yehuda Tager says about anything related to the Masuda Shemtov bombing — he is almost certainly lying — this Tom Segev article has the look and feel of flimsy hasbara on its face.

        What are your thoughts on Operation Susannah (the Lavon Affair)? Operation Trojan? The USS Liberty attack?

        Why has Israel become so closely associated in the public mind with false flag ops? Google [israel false flag] to receive a flood of hits on the subject.

        The latest suspicions about Israel revolve around the Unit 8200 “intelligence” which reportedly has served as the basis of the highly questionable claim that Assad was behind the recent chemical attack. That evidence is so thin that Obama, Kerry and the US government are afraid to discuss it out of concern that it will immediately be ripped to pieces.

      • RoHa
        September 12, 2013, 10:39 pm

        “this is an allegation based off a widows words”

        Does that make it more or less trustworthy than an allegation based on a widow’s words?

      • Hostage
        September 13, 2013, 9:42 am

        Miriam you are still failing to address the fact that the US government was talking to the ambassador about Israel’s plans to initiate another “deliberately generated exodus”. As usual, your comments here are blatantly dishonest and evasive.

    • jon s
      September 9, 2013, 10:02 am

      I’m repeating an earlier comment of mine on this issue, in support of MY1′s account:
      Iraq effectually forced the Jews to leave:
      - the 1941 pogrom, known as the the “farhud” traumatized the community.
      - Iraq’s intervention in the 1948 war brought anti-Jewish incitement to a fever-pitch.
      -The Iraqi regime took steps to make life in Iraq impossible for the Jewish community: they were dismissed from the civil service , boycotted economically, bank accounts were frozen , access to public facilities, including schools and hospitals – denied. Then the regime declared that the Jews could leave, within a one – year deadline, while relinquishing their property. In this situation the Jews scarcely needed “encouragement” (in the form of bombings ) to leave. It was pretty clear that they had to.
      -Initially the Iraqi goverment demanded that the flights evacuating the Jews touch down in Cyprus , in order to maintain the fiction that they are not enabling immigration to Israel. In the later stages the pretense was dropped and flights arrived directly from Iraq to Israel.

      I would add that Rashid Ali al-Kilani was not only anti-British, he was pro-Nazi.
      After his defeat in Iraq he fled to Nazi Germany, where he joined the Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini , and was received personally by Hitler.

      In anticipation of Yom Kippur, wishing G’mar Hatima Tova to all.

      • talknic
        September 9, 2013, 10:27 am

        @jons It’s normal for countries at war to expel or inter possible 5th columnists. E.g., the US, Australia, the UK expelled and interred Japanese and Germans in ww2. Unlike Israel, it’s also normal to release and/or allow their return at the end of hostilities. Also unlike Israel they didn’t raze the homes of possible fifth columnist suspects.

        Furthermore Israel prohibits by 1948 LAW, the entry of Israeli citizens and residents into the territories of hostile states. 5th columnists expelled from Arab States and fleeing to Israel were forbidden by Israeli law from returning and prevented by Israeli law from praying in the West Bank while it was under Jordanian sovereignty.

      • jon s
        September 9, 2013, 3:28 pm

        Talknic, Are you justifying the disgraceful and racist persecution, especially of Japanese-Americans, during WW2? By the same measure, it would be “normal” for Israel to expel or inter the Israeli Arab population in time of war, as potential 5th columnists.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 9, 2013, 3:54 pm

        “By the same measure, it would be “normal” for Israel to expel or inter the Israeli Arab population in time of war, as potential 5th columnists.”

        Well, it would normal for israelis to do this. They kept these people under military rule until a short time ago and continue to officially discriminate against them to this day. What it would not be is “moral.” Of course, the israeli government and society has never treated its Palestinian population morally.

      • Shingo
        September 9, 2013, 4:09 pm

        By the same measure, it would be “normal” for Israel to expel or inter the Israeli Arab population in time of war, as potential 5th columnists.

        …so long as they then allowed them to return after the war, which ended in 1948.

      • Hostage
        September 9, 2013, 4:22 pm

        Talknic, Are you justifying the disgraceful and racist persecution, especially of Japanese-Americans, during WW2?

        Japanese-Americans were not enemy civilians. But Japanese civilians in the United States were fair game – and still would be under the terms of the 4th Geneva Convention.

      • talknic
        September 10, 2013, 12:02 am

        jon s s “Are you justifying the disgraceful and racist persecution, especially of Japanese-Americans, during WW2?

        No, I was pointing out that it is NORMAL to inter or expel possible 5th columnists during a war.

        “By the same measure, it would be “normal” for Israel to expel or inter the Israeli Arab population in time of war, as potential 5th columnists”

        Correct. However, Israel razed their homes. villages, farms and unlike the US, UK et al, has never allowed their return either to the territory that became Israel or to any of the territory that remained of Palestine after Israel was declared independent of Palestine link to wp.me

        BTW your own weird criteria begs this question. Are you justifying the disgraceful and racist persecution, especially of Palestinians and Palestinian Israelis, during the 1948 Israeli war on Palestinian?

  20. hophmi
    September 9, 2013, 11:00 am

    There isn’t much in this article that is accurate.

    No one prevented Corey Robin, or any other Jew, from criticizing Israeli policy in the past, and there has never been a shortage of Jews who have done so. There are a number of Jews, just about all on the radical left, who have created a sort of victim narrative for themselves of a past world in which, they say, they were “silenced” and unable to speak on Israel. Sadly, in doing so, they’ve internalized many of the antisemitic tropes of past, placing the American Jewish community at the center of world affairs, and using the language of antisemites to describe their own community, claiming that Jews are so financially and politically powerful that they deserve to be criticized collectively, in language that would never, ever be tolerated for other minority groups in this society.

    “The pro-Israel forces still have an iron grip on the conversation in Congress (not to mention the expenditures and actions of the American state as a whole)”

    No group has an “iron grip” on Congress, and the debate over the last couple of weeks over Syria shows what a lie that is. Anti-Zionist forces will do everything to deny the basic fact that the American people generally support pro-Israel policies over pro-Palestinian policies by a factor of about 8 to 1, and pro-Israel groups simply marshall that support to achieve a political objective. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped Corey’s friends at Mondoweiss and elsewhere from claiming that Jews who support these policies are dually loyal and that groups like AIPAC are a fifth column acting on behalf of a foreign agent.

    One wonder how “pro-Israel forces” maintains an “iron grip” on the “expenditures and actions of the American state as a whole.” What does that mean, Corey?

    “critics of Israel are still vulnerable on college campuses”

    This is part of the victim narrative. The truth is that it’s exactly the opposite. It’s pro-Israel forces who are vulnerable on college campuses, where pro-Israel speakers are regularly heckled and shouted down, their lectures jammed by pro-Palestinian students who walk out and refuse to listen to any perspective that is not their own, and in some cases, are threatened with physical violence and are thus unable to speak.

    In a country where the Middle East Studies Association is overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian, and not bashful about it, the idea that they are ones who are vulnerable is aberrant nonsense.

    ” and lock-step support for Israel is still a requirement for mainstream respectability in most of the mainstream media”

    Again, this is bull. There are many critics of Israel in the mainstream media. They are not, however, generally supportive of the BDS position, which is essentially the one-statist perspective. So they are in “lock-step support of Israel.”

    The notion that rabbis are reluctant to talk about Israel because of the BDS movement is something of a conceit. It is true that in a few places, like Corey’s Park Slope congregation, rabbis are reluctant to face the shrill voices of BDS advocates, who like nothing better, it seems, than to dump on liberal Zionists, who make up the vast majority of these communities. If Mondoweiss is any example, and if last year’s campaign by them to boycott Israeli products at the Park Slope co-op is any example, they’re simply people who are difficult to deal with, generally closed-minded to any perspective besides their own, and openly dismissive of those pro-Palestinian Jews who think the way forward is to work with the Palestinians to achieve a two-state solution. That was my experience with BDSers at last year’s panel on the issue at Congregation Beth Elohim. Most of them were completely unwilling to engage in dialogue with liberal Zionist Jews, and quick to dismiss the work of those who had devoted substantial parts of the their lives to helping Palestinians build their state.

    In most other places, the failure of rabbis to regularly address the subject of Israel is actually a reluctance to offend Jews on the hard right, who are the BDSers biggest beneficiaries, and like BDSers, also shrill and closed-minded. But in most congregations, there is no reluctance at all.

    • Shingo
      September 9, 2013, 3:43 pm

      No one prevented Corey Robin, or any other Jew, from criticizing Israeli policy in the past, and there has never been a shortage of Jews who have done so.

      And the fete of those Jews who have done so speaks for itself. Just ask Norman Finkelstein.

      There are a number of Jews, just about all on the radical left, who have created a sort of victim narrative for themselves of a past world

      You must be thinking of the IDF, AIPAC and Stand with Us.

      No group has an “iron grip” on Congress, and the debate over the last couple of weeks over Syria shows what a lie that is.

      No, that proves that the iron grip might be weakening, not that it never existed. Unfortunately for you, not everyone here has such a short term memory that that have forgotten the macabre displays and the Hagel and Power confirmation hearings.

      Anti-Zionist forces will do everything to deny the basic fact that the American people generally support pro-Israel policies over pro-Palestinian policies by a factor of about 8 to 1, and pro-Israel groups simply marshall that support to achieve a political objective.

      That’s grossly dishonesty Hop and you know it. You are pretending that the 8:1 factor is some happy accident, when in fact, it is the product of the stranglehold Israel and it’s lobbies have over the issue. The fact that this phenomenon does not exist in any other country in the world illustrates this perfectly.

      This is part of the victim narrative. The truth is that it’s exactly the opposite. It’s pro-Israel forces who are vulnerable on college campuses, where pro-Israel speakers are regularly heckled and shouted down

      Whereas Israeli critics are denied platforms altogether when donors threaten to pul funding if those speakers are allowed to speak. Or when BDS resolutions are voted down buy a single veto or the intervention of boards who over rule the wishes of the student body.

      And you have evidently never heard of resolutions in California likening all criticism of Israel to anti semitism.

      Pathetic Hop, truly pathetic.

      They are not, however, generally supportive of the BDS position, which is essentially the one-statist perspective. So they are in “lock-step support of Israel.”

      False on all counts.

      1. There is very little criticism on the media of Israel, which is why it is such big news when it appears
      2. BDS is not a one-statist perspective.

      generally closed-minded to any perspective besides their own, and openly dismissive of those pro-Palestinian Jews who think the way forward is to work with the Palestinians to achieve a two-state solution.

      What a grossly dishonest assertion!! It is the Palestinians who came up with BDS, so pro-Palestinian Jews who think the way forward is to work with the Palestinians to achieve a two-state solution would be open to BDS as an option.

      J Street is not pro Palestinian Hop.

      Most of them were completely unwilling to engage in dialogue with liberal Zionist Jews, and quick to dismiss the work of those who had devoted substantial parts of the their lives to helping Palestinians build their state.

      Sorry, but this doesn’t hold water. J Street claims to want a 2 ss but opposes all means of achieving this outcome other than maintaining the status quo.

      As we have all come to realize, there is no such thing as Liberal Zionist Jews. One cannot be Liberal and be a Zionist, so one can hardly blame the BDSrs for not wanting to waste their time listening to these ethnocentric racist supremacists trying to convince the world that they know whats best for the Palestinians.

      We’ve been listening to Liberal Zionists for decades Hop, and what we have come to realize is that Liberal Zionists are just like right wing Zionists, but much less honest,

      • hophmi
        September 9, 2013, 4:19 pm

        “Whereas Israeli critics are denied platforms altogether when donors threaten to pul funding if those speakers are allowed to speak”

        How many times has this actually happened? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University. Pro-Palestinian speakers lecture on college campuses literally all the time. So I’m curious as to how many times this has actually happened.

        ” Or when BDS resolutions are voted down buy a single veto or the intervention of boards who over rule the wishes of the student body.”

        So, when BDS resolutions are voted down (as they have been in most cases), it’s an example of pro-Palestinian students not having a voice on campus?

        “And you have evidently never heard of resolutions in California likening all criticism of Israel to anti semitism.”

        I have. I know of no instance where it actually stopped pro-Palestinian students from speaking. The only possible example I can think of is the Irvine 11, who were justly arrested for trying to disrupt the lecture of a pro-Israel speaker and deny others the ability to hear him at all.

        “1. There is very little criticism on the media of Israel, which is why it is such big news when it appears”

        There is plenty, just not the type you want. The NY Times prints op-eds critical of Israel all the time, and criticizes Israeli settlement policy in its editorials frequently. I’ve debunked this myth many times now.

        “2. BDS is not a one-statist perspective. ”

        OK, whatever you need to tell yourself. It’s a perspective where most of the adherents are one-statists.

        ” It is the Palestinians who came up with BDS, so pro-Palestinian Jews who think the way forward is to work with the Palestinians to achieve a two-state solution would be open to BDS as an option.”

        Again, whatever you need to tell yourself. There is no one who believes that BDSers would be happy with a two-state solution.

        “J Street is not pro Palestinian Hop.”

        Yes, actually, it is. You don’t need to be a BDSer to be pro-Palestinian. I don’t consider you pro-Palestinian. You do much more harm than good.

        “We’ve been listening to Liberal Zionists for decades Hop, and what we have come to realize is that Liberal Zionists are just like right wing Zionists, but much less honest,”

        You don’t understand nuance; that’s ok. There’s always online classes.

      • Cliff
        September 10, 2013, 10:03 pm

        hoppie said

        You don’t understand nuance; that’s ok. There’s always online classes.

        hoppie speaks from experience – he must take a lot of ‘online classes’

      • talknic
        September 11, 2013, 1:40 am
  21. Citizen
    September 9, 2013, 12:46 pm

    Back to Corey Robins’s very short romansbildung, here’s another coming-of-age short story, this time from a young Israeli female: link to 972mag.com

  22. Betsy
    September 9, 2013, 3:26 pm

    the comments in reaction to Dennis Ross piece in the WashPo — are mostly GREAT! Suggests a sea change in American understanding & attitudes link to washingtonpost.com;

  23. Annie Robbins
    September 9, 2013, 4:09 pm

    cory, thanks for your really interesting article. it reminded me of and article phil wrote in may “US Jews are so ‘polarized’ over Israel they can’t talk about it to each other, ‘Jewish Chronicle’ reports”

    link to mondoweiss.net
    http://thejewishchronicle.net/view/full_story/22504337/article-Felson–Civility-on-the-Israel-debate-is-an-issue-that-must-be-addressed?instance=secondary_stories_left_column

    there’s another article we wrote at MW last spring about this, or some other program, designed to talk about israel within the setting of synagogues. i can’t find the other article. but both addressed ‘civility’ in talking about israel.

    i got the sense from reading them there was a lot of concern in the direction discourse was going and these programs were designed to reel in the troops.

  24. NickJOCW
    September 9, 2013, 4:53 pm

    It’s not just AIPAC and Zionists, there are leaders all over who have expressed support for an attack on Syria though, frankly, I don’t think any single one of them has been honest about their real motives, which are anyway not all the same. What has become obvious is that their populations are overwhelmingly opposed to the business of launching such military adventures and their opposition reflects a much broader distrust of political leaders across a wide range of current economic and social issues. Putin faces this political reality just as much as Obama. Now suddenly we have the notion from Russia and Assad that Damascus relinquish its entire chemical arsenal into international hands.

    link to latimes.com

    I have heard it suggested the proposal was cooked up between Obama and Putin. Heaven knows if that is so but it would be pretty genial if it were, and it couldn’t have come about at all but for Obama announcing a scarcely characteristic decision to wait for Congress to return from holiday to debate his proposed attack. Were this to become the face saving solution, the only real losers would be…

  25. piotr
    September 9, 2013, 5:27 pm

    “Anti-Zionist forces will do everything to deny the basic fact that the American people generally support pro-Israel policies over pro-Palestinian policies by a factor of about 8 to 1, and pro-Israel groups simply marshall that support to achieve a political objective.”

    It begs the question which particular pro-Israeli policies are approved by the majority of Americans. For example, support of the expansion of the settlements is disapproved by the majority, but that question is rarely placed in polls. Supports of attacks on countries that AIPAC wishes to be attacked is probably low even among American Jews and very low among the general population. Suppose that there was a poll with such questions: our Secretary of State visited a meeting of EU countries. What should be his priority:

    * coordinating trade issues according to American economic interests

    * trying to get European support for an attack of Syria

    * trying to convince European countries to abandon even very feeble sanctions of Israeli entities engaged in settlements in the occupied territories

    As American officials are busy with imperial and Zionist priorities, bread and butter issues that may interest Americans (like jobs) take the back burner. Actually, when they negotiate trade issues they concentrate on topics with scant impact on jobs, like securing royalties for drug companies and Microsoft, or not giving asylum to Snowden.

  26. tokyobk
    September 9, 2013, 8:49 pm

    link to fcnl.org

    Faith Leaders (Including Jewish Groups) No War In Syria

    • Ellen
      September 9, 2013, 10:09 pm

      Jewish groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, The Shalom Center, but no Jewish faith leadership or mainstream Rabbinical groups. I can imagine there are some Jewish faith groups who do not want to see war against Syria. Why do they not speak out?

      • tokyobk
        September 9, 2013, 10:44 pm

        Rabbi Arthur Waskow. Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rabbi Rosen are all faith leadership, no? As for mainstream, the mainstream leadership in the Jewish community has been pro-attack. The numbers of Israeli’s who support the attack is something like 67%. My guess is the Jewish community in the US is divided equally. Americans in General are about 56% against attack in Syria.

        As I have expressed here before I think the facts should always be taken as they are but when one defines a community by a segment, even the dominant groups, it helps a static essential definition when faiths and communities are always dynamic and should be encouraged. This way of looking at communities is the underpinning of Islamophobia such that when a progressive Islamic group takes a position but more conservative elements within the faith – AND – critics without write it off as a “private” Islam counter to the -real- faith.

        Most religious Jews opposed a secular state of Israel when it was founded and many conservative, reform and assimilated American and European Jews did as well, and there is no eternal or essential reason why Judaism and Zionism need to be linked regardless of how it serves the interests of those who (from self promotion or external derision) want to keep Jews as an isolated and ahistorical (changing) entity.

      • PeaceThroughJustice
        September 9, 2013, 11:09 pm

        “and there is no eternal or essential reason why Judaism and Zionism need to be linked”

        Apart from anti-assimilationism.

      • Danaa
        September 10, 2013, 12:48 am

        tokybk, you are behind the curve about the polls. They moved – 6 polls released today from pew to ABC to NCC etc. They are all pretty consistent with about 2:1 against and the No opinion inching to 60-65%. As the analysts all confirm, the undecidedes are breaking towards the No column.

        Percentages are similarly lopsided in other countries, the only exception being israel – where it’s 2:1 for a little bombing fun.

        In congress too, the lines are shifting with the Nos gaining sharply in the house – one count has the No’s at over 240 now and the yes’s actually dropping to below 30%, probably as more progressive caucus members are making their opinions known.

        In the senate it’s a toss-up about 26 to 20 for the Yes column and numerous undeclared.

        The break-up becomes interesting when one looks at the districts with lots of jewish voters. those – as best I could tell – are all yes’s or leaning so.

        My personal opinion is that if there was a poll taken of just known jewish people (not sure how that would work), it would be about 50-50. Still significant divergence from American population as a whole but not monumentally so. The only other demographic group that’s all for bombing are – Cuban American. Heard that on the grape vine. I won’t venture to estimate how many jewish people out there are in acute distress ….

      • NickJOCW
        September 10, 2013, 7:54 am

        One should also bear in mind that just because you don’t vote against something doesn’t automatically mean you are in favor of it.

  27. seanmcbride
    September 9, 2013, 9:14 pm

    Looking at the signers of this letter: mostly leading Christian organizations; no member organizations from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (or from the mainstream Jewish establishment).

    There is no indication here that the Jewish religious establishment has joined forces with the Christian establishment to oppose a Syria War. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    This letter hammers home the main point I’ve been trying to make all along.

  28. yonah fredman
    September 10, 2013, 12:40 am

    Professor Corey Robin’s article is interesting. (Any relation to Professor Irwin Corey?) But two notes: What is the essence of American Jewish support for Israel depicted in Spielberg’s “Munich”? I only saw it once and have no idea what Professor Robin is talking about. Minor point.

    Major point: Robin writes: “Coming out of these experiences, I recommitted myself to Judaism while rejecting Zionism. I learned how to be a Jew without Israel.”
    Since Mondoweiss picked this quote for the headline, it deserves comment. I am not sure how one can be a Jew without Israel, that is without caring about the Jews in Israel. It can be argued that Zionism is dangerous to the Jews in Israel and in the long run some nonZionist political arrangement would be best for the Jews in Israel. But I truly cannot figure out how one can be Jewish without caring about the Jews in Israel.

    (Of course there is enough material and concepts bandied about in Tanach and Talmud to establish some religion that really is divorced from caring about the Jews of Israel, or at least caring no more about the Jews of Israel than any other human group on the planet. But this is not Judaism. This is the distilled essence of Judaism divorced from one essential element of Judaism, that is caring about other Jews. Anti Zionism might be caring about the spiritual, moral health of the Jews of Israel or it might be caring about the long range physical health of the Jews of Israel, but if you don’t give a hoot about the Jews of Israel, or no more than you give a hoot about other humans, then there seems to me to be something missing from your Judaism. Marc Ellis, MW’s resident authentic Jew, never claims to be apathetic about the Jews of Israel, he merely views them from a conscience point of view or from a long range point of view rather than from an imperial point of view or a short term point of view. That is a different perspective on care, but still caring. (Tough love is still love.) But the apathy towards Israel, (which is not apparent in Robin’s other words, except for this specific phrase that I quoted, but is apparent in the words that he quotes from the 20 something Jew) is apparently an abandonment of Judaism, and an imagination of a new Judaism, new and improved (maybe), but no longer the Real Thing. Paul of Tarsus offered such a new and improved “new covenant” a few thousand years ago and the result was a new religion. Is this what is being proposed?)

    • talknic
      September 10, 2013, 6:54 am

      @yonah fredman “if you don’t give a hoot about the Jews of Israel”

      The State of Israel hasn’t given a hoot about the Jews of Israel.

      Its provisional Government 1st robbed Israeli Jews of a constitution and consequently robbed Israeli Jews of ever having a constitutionally elected Government.
      Lied to Israeli Jews about Israel not having borders.
      Then lied to Israeli Jews about having borders that are in fact no more than Armistice Demarcation Lines.
      Encouraged Israeli Jews to illegally settle between Israel’s actual borders and the Armistice Demarcation Lines.
      Encouraged Israeli Jews to illegally settle over the Armistice Demarcation lines.
      Encouraged Israeli Jews to break GC IV which is to protect all civilians, including those of the occupying power from the highly likely violent consequences of occupying another people.
      Encourages Israeli Jews to engage in deceitful attempts to justify illegally usurping non-Jews from non-Israeli territory.

      Judaism survived without Israel. Without stealing other folks territory, without the deceit and lies. The establishment of the State of Israel has done more to drive a wedge between us than any other event on our history.

    • eljay
      September 10, 2013, 7:22 am

      >> But the apathy towards Israel … is apparently an abandonment of Judaism, and an imagination of a new Judaism, new and improved (maybe), but no longer the Real Thing.

      According to y.f., “Real Thing” Judaism requires interest in / concern for a supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel. Anything else is either the abandonment of Judaism or the creation of an ersatz Judaism.

      Interesting.

      When and by whom was he appointed Chief Jew?

      • yonah fredman
        September 10, 2013, 5:32 pm

        eljay- i meant to infer by my comment that one can be anti Israel or pro Israel (as regards its political system) , but one cannot be apathetic towards the Jewish population of Israel.

    • Hostage
      September 10, 2013, 9:43 am

      Since Mondoweiss picked this quote for the headline, it deserves comment. I am not sure how one can be a Jew without Israel, that is without caring about the Jews in Israel.

      It should be really simple for the Jewish people, Israel, to get along just fine without the land that used to be Eretz Israel. After all, our founding myth, the Torah, ordains that Israel will be exiled from it and dispersed among the nations. Only political Zionists question that status quo which has prevailed and served as the natural state of affairs for generations.

      • yrn
        September 10, 2013, 10:06 am

        ” It should be really simple for the Jewish people, Israel, to get along just fine without the land that used to be Eretz Israel.”
        Well I have read some stupid arguments, but this gets to higher grounds.
        Looks like once you don’t cut and paste you are the most pragmatic, realistic and up to date in Mondowiess.
        Get back a 150 years, you might be relevant then for discussions.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 2:27 pm

        Get back a 150 years, you might be relevant then for discussions.

        We can go back as far as you want. The sort of bellicose pride and militarism exhibited by the state of Israel has always preceded some great calamity. The majority of your Jewish co-religionists have never lived in that country and have always been content to live elsewhere. That’s just as true today as it was in the days when Ezra and Nehemiah tried to lend religious credibility to their mundane Persian mandate.

        Zionists talk about restoring the glory of the Second Commonwealth, but it was a predictable disaster by all accounts that ended ignominiously in the Bar Kokhba revolt. According to Jewish tradition, the Shekinah had never rested on the Temple of Cyrus. The Maccabees were viewed as pretenders and usurpers to the mythical throne of David who introduced a number of antinomian-like innovations in the Jewish law. For example the community treated Yom Kippur like a festive occasion – almost like Valentine’s Day – not a day in which the soul is supposed to be afflicted, e.g.:

        The daughters of Jerusalem would go forth, dressed in white, and dance in the vineyards – “And what did they say? – ‘Young man! Raise your eyes and behold what you choose for yourself ” (Ta’an. 4:8).

        Compare that with Vayikra – Leviticus – Chapter 23:27-30 especially 29 “For any person who will not be afflicted on that very day, shall be cut off from its people.” It’s easy to see why a multitude of devout Jews chose to go on living elsewhere.

        It’s only a matter of time for a country that engages in perpetual war to bleed its economy dry or be subjugated by a greater power.

      • hophmi
        September 10, 2013, 2:40 pm

        “The majority of your Jewish co-religionists have never lived in that country and have always been content to live elsewhere. ”

        Whatever. A plurality do live there, and Zionism never posited that all Jews had to live there.

        “Zionists talk about restoring the glory of the Second Commonwealth”

        Which ones? It’s not been a trope of today’s Zionists, certainly. Most Zionists talk about a state, and that’s about it.

        “It’s only a matter of time for a country that engages in perpetual war to bleed its economy dry or be subjugated by a greater power.”

        Uh-huh. The latest thing here is the “matter of time” nonsense. There will always be naysayers. I’d say it’s more likely that the Arab states don’t survive, than the Jewish state.

      • Hostage
        September 10, 2013, 4:21 pm

        Whatever. A plurality do live there, and Zionism never posited that all Jews had to live there.

        The fact is that Jews who rejected the idea of an obligation to live in Palestine were labeled non-Zionists. They weren’t even allowed to work for the Jewish Agency prior to 1929 because the Zionist Congress explicitly rejected any such proposal.

        Even if they promoted immigration by others, they were still called non-Zionists, unless they embraced the obligation to eventually move there themselves. The whole raison d’etat of political Zionism was that Jews could only live in peace and security in their own state and that all Jews have an obligation to build-up the country despite any sacrifices or hardships that might entail.

      • yonah fredman
        September 10, 2013, 5:36 pm

        Hostage- Do you have a Jewish prayerbook, aka siddur, in your home? If not borrow one and study the Shmone Esreh (the 18 or 19 blessings that are the backbone of the three daily Jewish prayers.) Then come back to me when you’ve done so and then repeat to me how simple it is to disregard the concept of ingathering of the exiles. I suppose I am referring to the Orthodox prayer book, I don’t know what the Reform Shmone Esre looks like.

      • Hostage
        September 11, 2013, 6:41 am

        Hostage- Do you have a Jewish prayerbook, aka siddur, in your home? If not borrow one and study the Shmone Esreh (the 18 or 19 blessings that are the backbone of the three daily Jewish prayers.)

        Yes, that’s why I know damn good and well that Weizmann, Ben Gurion, and Jabotinsky were enemies of God and were not on a Divine mission. Try to get some clue and learn the Torah yourself.

    • Donald
      September 12, 2013, 4:50 pm

      “What is the essence of American Jewish support for Israel depicted in Spielberg’s “Munich”? I only saw it once and have no idea what Professor Robin is talking about.”

      Robin said this–”I had a strong feeling for Israel (or what I thought was Israel): a combination of hippie and holy, Godly and groovy, a feeling well captured by Steven Spielberg in Munich.”

      I can’t be sure, since I never even got around to seeing “Munich”, but Asad AbuKhalil (The Angry Arab blogger) ripped into the movie for, among other things, depicting the Israeli assassins as sensitive conscience-stricken people ambivalent about what they were doing. The old shooting and crying meme, I gather. I don’t know if that’s fair to the movie, but that sounds sort of like Corey’s summary in the sense that in some Hollywood renditions Israel is “cool”. (I started to go off on a tangent about how one could see that in the liberal fantasy show “The West Wing”, but will refrain.) Ironically, I think I remember some rightwing critics of “Munich” criticizing it for the same reason, though from a rather different POV. They thought it was weak and liberal and stupid to show Israeli agents feeling conflicted when they killed the agents of evil.

      • marc b.
        September 12, 2013, 5:15 pm

        one of the remarkably silly things about ‘Munich’ is the conscience angle. in one scene, the assassins are rushing about in bug-eyed, mouth agog slow motion to prevent a bomb from being detonated after the child daughter of one of their targets unexpectedly returns home to retrieve a book for school or some such artifice. thankfully the agents saved her and were able to blow her father to smithereens moments after she left. what this narrative conveniently leaves out is that the assassins did murder at least one person erroneously, a Palestinian waiter in Europe somewhere I believe, who had nothing to do with ‘Munich’. I must have been getting a popcorn refill when that scene played in the fillum.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 12, 2013, 10:42 pm

        Yeah, those things were there. If you can disconnect from those things, as a film it’s a fairly well made film, a little bloated (this is late Spielberg, after all, so bloat comes with the territory) with some good performances. But it should get criticized from both sides, Spielberg and Kuchner tried to address a controversy without taking a side.

  29. MahaneYehude1
    September 10, 2013, 10:20 am

    Since many personal attacks and dirty language toward me, I lost my abilities to respond seriously to each one of you. these attack “drain my juice” and actually, prevent me to discuss seriosley with others. I will take break for several days and will return if atmosphere will be change. I do thank to all who wrote seriously without any personal attack against me. I promise I will reply to each one of you in other time since I never running from any issue or debate.

    Shalom from Israel.

    • marc b.
      September 12, 2013, 5:19 pm

      Since many personal attacks and dirty language toward me, I lost my abilities to respond seriously to each one of you.

      i’m sorry mahane, but I am the Vatican’s legal representative for this site, and if you want to strike a ‘Jesus Christ pose’ you either have to convert or pay a user’s fee.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 12, 2013, 10:32 pm

        LMAO. marc b. wins one internet!!

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 13, 2013, 4:51 am

        @Marc B: Thank you very much Marc for your great offer!!! You know, we are in the evening of Yom-Kippur, a day we fast 28 hours. Now, when you offered me to convert, it is great opportunity to me to convert and forget about the fasting.

        This remind me nice joke (Hope people will take it with smile):

        A Jewish Financial genius was a General Director of the Central Bank of Ireland. One day, the PM asked him to be the Finance Minister of Ireland. The man agreed but then the PM told him “only small problem…I don’t know if my voters will love the fact that you…you know…not a Christian Finance Minister. Could you and your wife, please, convert?”. The man, now minister, agreed again.
        After a year as a minister, he told the PM:
        -”Look, my conscience kills me and I can’t stand it. Do you care if we convert back to be Jewish again”. The PM said “OK, do it but, please, be silent”.
        The minister returned home “Darling, surprise, we can convert to be Jewish again!!” “Are you crazy” said his wife “one week before Passover!!! No way!!!”

  30. Shmuel
    September 10, 2013, 11:03 am

    I will take break for several days and will return if atmosphere will be change… I never running from any issue or debate.

    But that is exactly what you are doing. I’m not justifying personal attacks, but where did you think you were commenting? You came in with both hasbara guns blazing, hoping to teach that bunch of “Israel-haters” at MW a lesson, and you weren’t welcomed with open arms. Surprise surprise.

    • MahaneYehude1
      September 10, 2013, 11:32 am

      @Shmuel; This is exception reply only because I appreciate you and you are not among those attackers: I had a long debate with you. I did all my best to answer all your questions and was ready to continue the debate. I think I have good answers and explanations to you. The problem is that it became impossible. It starts in the first day when I called Islamophobe after wrote several claims that later were confirmed by readers with Muslim names (although they won’t admit they confirmed me) and continue with every second comment. If it is more convenient to people here think I run from question (after replied to tens or more than hundred not easy questions) and not because the cloudy atmosphere – no problem at all. But the atmosphere here really cloudy.

      I didn’t came here to teach “Israel-haters”. No, you are wrong. I am here to bring other voice and show people that behind the line there are human-beings. I didn’t expect open-arms, but people can be polite although not agree with me (see Walid comments as paragon).

      One thing that is hard to me here is that most people attack you but don’t bother theme self to write any solution to the conflict after I wrote my solution many times. I wonder whether they don’t write their solution because it conflicts human rights and western democratic values. I hope I wrong.

      Any way, I like debating you.

      • German Lefty
        September 10, 2013, 2:18 pm

        I am here to bring other voice
        We already know the other voices and we don’t like them. That’s why we are here and not on some Zionist website.

        I am here to show people that behind the line there are human-beings.
        Yes, Zionists are human beings who refuse to treat Palestinians like human beings.

        most people attack you but don’t bother theme self to write any solution to the conflict after I wrote my solution many times.
        Well, most people here agree with the BDS goals:
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        I wonder whether they don’t write their solution because it conflicts human rights and western democratic values.
        Bullshit! The Zionists are the ones who don’t respect human rights and democratic values.

      • Shmuel
        September 10, 2013, 2:41 pm

        I did all my best to answer all your questions and was ready to continue the debate. I think I have good answers and explanations to you.

        You could have answered the questions I actually asked or related to the arguments I actually raised, instead of answering questions of your own choosing and telling me I should broaden my horizons. You still can.

        I am here to bring other voice and show people that behind the line there are human-beings.

        I’m all for the other voice and seeing human beings, but that is precisely what your comments have failed to bring to the discussion. It’s like your voice is not your own and interaction with you is not with another “human being” but with a manual of talking points. Being polite is not enough.

        Should you ever feel like having a real conversation (or “debate”, if you prefer), remember that your exile is self-imposed. You may still get insulted, but at least there will be some point to your commenting here.

        Zay gezunt un shtark, as they say in Kurdistan.

      • German Lefty
        September 10, 2013, 2:56 pm

        Zay gezunt un shtark

        Or as we say in Germany, “Sei gesund und stark.”

      • Shmuel
        September 10, 2013, 3:00 pm

        Or as we say in Germany, “Sei gesund und stark.”

        I didn’t know Germans spoke Kurdish ;-)

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 3:18 pm

        @Shmuel: If you really think that “It’s like your voice is not your own and interaction with you is not with another “human being” but with a manual of talking points”, so why you enter debate with me? why you let me sitting hours, writing my views to you, take you seriosley, checking each word of your comments in the web dictionary to understand you well and replied to you? Why you didn’t tell it from beginning so I can stop the conversation with you? If I think about it now, it was unfair.
        It was my filling too that I speak with “manuals” when I interact here with many readers (supremacist…apartheid…). Many people here know each UN resolution against Israel and can find facts from the 1930′s in Basra, Iraq, but have no ability to check facts like the destruction of Christian communities in Arab countries, and worse, can’t express little sympathy without connection to Israel. They choose to ignore the increasing number of Arabs join the IDF. My feeling is that people here always turn the debate to way convenient to them.
        You may say it is self-imposed exile, but in such atmosphere it is very hard to do serious debate.

        “Sein gesunt” I say to most readers here I believe from US and know little Iddish. If you want to bless me in my parents language you can start with “Ilaha Natiruch” (“ch” the 20th Hebrew letter) or “Ilaha Shamiruch”. That’s makes sense.

        Sein Gesunt und Stark!!

      • Shmuel
        September 10, 2013, 3:35 pm

        If you really think that “It’s like your voice is not your own and interaction with you is not with another “human being” but with a manual of talking points” … Why you didn’t tell it from beginning so I can stop the conversation with you? If I think about it now, it was unfair.

        That’s pretty funny. What part of “hasbara”, “propaganda”, “talking points” and “you haven’t answered my question” didn’t you understand?

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 3:41 pm

        @Shmuel: What about my second paragraph?

      • Shmuel
        September 10, 2013, 3:54 pm

        What about my second paragraph?

        Are you serious? You just repeated the same talking points you’ve been harping on from the very start.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 4:07 pm

        @Shmuel: OK, I understand. Just let me tell you my feeling. I felt and feel that you didn’t start the debate with me with open mind in order to learn new ideas but to “I will show him who is stronger”, something childish, if I speak in delicate way. Any way, I do thank you and others for strengthen my views about my country and about our justice.

        @talknic: I am still waiting your answer about RoR. Please, don’t ignore.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2013, 6:27 pm

        >> … I felt and feel that you didn’t start the debate with me with open mind in order to learn new ideas but to “I will show him who is stronger”, something childish, if I speak in delicate way.

        What you’re saying is that you came into the debate not to learn but rather, by speaking “in a delicate way”, to try to convince someone else to accept your “new ideas”…which are no different than Zio-supremacism’s old ideas.

        Fail #1.

        What is truly childish is being upset that people who believe in justice, equality and accountability – among other positive values – are not willing to abandon those beliefs simply because you “speak in a delicate way”.

        Fail #2.

        And although you have the power of “simple potato farmer” behind you, you’ve met your match in Shmuel’s firmly-inquisitive, yet polite approach.

        Fail #3.

        So much for “You want it? Ask it!”

        Fail #4.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 10, 2013, 11:36 pm

        @eljay: Your reply is another proof for my claim about the level of this forum.

        Solution, please? Solution, any one? Solution, please Shmuel?

      • Shmuel
        September 11, 2013, 4:30 am

        Solution, please? Solution, any one? Solution, please Shmuel?

        Utopian or pragmatic? Let’s start with the pragmatic: Stop talking about solutions and focus on current suffering, oppression and injustice. If and when the stronger side is serious about affording the weaker side a minimum of dignity and humanity (hint: attempts to stop the abuse and right some of the greater wrongs, like the theft of resources in the WB and E. Jerusalem, would be a good indication), there will be plenty of time to discuss solutions.

      • eljay
        September 11, 2013, 7:49 am

        >> Solution, please?

        Sure. At a minimum…

        Israel must:
        - halt its occupation and colonization of Palestine;
        - withdraw to within its / Partition borders;
        - honour its obligations under international law;
        - be held accountable for its past and on-going (war) crimes;
        - enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace;
        - respect the existence of a law-abiding, secular, democratic and egalitarian Palestinian state; and
        - work to transform itself from a supremacist “Jewish State” into a secular, democratic and egalitarian Israeli state – a state of and for all Israelis, equally.

        The Palestininans must:
        - create a secular, democratic and egalitarian Palestinian state – a state of and for all Palestinians, equally;
        - respect the existence of a law-abiding, secular, democratic and egalitarian state of Israel within its / Partition borders;
        - be held accountable for their past and on-going (war) crimes;
        - enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

      • talknic
        September 11, 2013, 8:47 am

        @ MahaneYehude1

        “I am still waiting your answer about RoR. Please, don’t ignore.”

        link to mondoweiss.net

        BTW I am still waiting for your links… link to mondoweiss.net “or any above claims I can send credible links or sources.”

      • eljay
        September 11, 2013, 10:07 am

        >> Sure. At a minimum…

        Please note that I wrote my proposed solution in a delicate way. Because you have an open mind, I trust that you will accept it and not try to show me who is stronger.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 11, 2013, 4:58 pm

        @Shmuel: acceptable!! as one that want peace I can’t be against, and as I stated many times, I don’t have problem if Israel won’t destroy the houses but give them to the Palestinians. I hope you won’t oppose if I add to your, that when Israel will show positive steps toward the Palestinians, the Palestinians also sign cease fire for a period to give some quit days to both sides. I think we can agree on the above, but our main disagreement will be the next steps: The character of the state of Israel, Two states solution, the RoR and the Arab countries responsibility. But, as you say, we have time.

        I didn’t want to end with you in not nice way before Yom-Kipur, so again Gmar Hatima Tova to you.

      • miriam6
        September 11, 2013, 6:09 pm

        The Palestininans must:
        – create a secular, democratic and egalitarian Palestinian state – a state of and for all Palestinians, equally;
        – respect the existence of a law-abiding, secular, democratic and egalitarian state of Israel within its / Partition borders;
        – be held accountable for their past and on-going (war) crimes;
        – enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

        Christ on a bike!!!!!!!!

        I am breaking my own rules here but unfortunately given that no other commenter has chosen to pull you up and question you about your ridiculous notion that the Israelis must accomplish egalitarianism something NO human nation state on earth has achieved its obviously left to me to carry out that onerous job

        When you are done with your absurd condescending sanctimonious lecturing of the Palestinians and Israelis on creating these mythical , unattainable egalitarian states perhaps you would finally like to tell us

        EXACTLY WHERE ON EARTH DO THESE IMAGINARY OFT QUOTED BY YOU EGALITARIAN SOCIETIES ACTUALLY
        EXIST ON THIS PLANET???

        The answer is NOWHERE on this planet !

        There is NO such egalitarian nation state on this earth

        You keep harping on and on insanely about something egalitarianism that doesn’t exist in any nation on this planet

        (or perhaps only on the alien planet you clearly inhabit)

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Shmuel
        September 12, 2013, 2:10 am

        I hope you won’t oppose if I add to your, that when Israel will show positive steps toward the Palestinians, the Palestinians also sign cease fire for a period to give some quit days to both sides.

        Not violating international law and human rights is not a “concession” and requires no quid pro quo. If Israel starts treating the Palestinians like human beings and respecting their rights, however, I’m sure it will go a long way to defusing violence by Palestinians. For a signed cease fire, I think Israel would have to do better than that, but that would be up to the Palestinian leadership.

        Character of the State of Israel: The character will reflect the character of its inhabitants, and will undoubtedly be varied. As for the political system: equality before the law and equal allocation of resources to all citizens. Presuming a 2ss, Israel will finally have the opportunity to become Israeli “like France is French”.

        Two states solution: If it is the result of true and honest negotiations and serves the interests of both sides, fine. One state, three states, a federation, a confederaation, no-state anarcho-socialism — all fine as long as they are the outcome of true and honest negotiations.

        RoR: All Palestinian refugees (as defined by the UNHCR) have the right to return to their former homes (if possible) or the vicinity of their former homes, and to compensation. The modalities of implementation must be (sincerely) negotiated. Palestinian scholars such as Salman Abu-Sitta have already done feasibility studies, and Palestinian representatives have proposed a phased return (negotiated), based on a clear plan for economic absorption, etc.

        Arab countries responsibility: To be negotiated directly between Israel and the countries in question. Obviously, those countries will also have the right to address Israel’s responsibility on an entire range of issues. Palestinian refugees cannot be held hostage to the outcome of these negotiations.

        We have time. We may, but the Palestinians don’t. What I meant by “plenty of time” is that until the principles of negotiation are changed, it is pointless to talk about “solutions”, and once they are changed, finding a solution will not be that difficult.

        Gemar hatimah tovah.

      • eljay
        September 12, 2013, 7:22 am

        >> miriam6 @ September 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm

        You sure do babble a lot. But I knew you’d come back to me. ;-)

      • eljay
        September 12, 2013, 7:24 am

        >> Character of the State of Israel: As for the political system: equality before the law …

        Advocating equality can only mean one thing: You’re trying to woo miriam6 away from me! ;-)

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 12, 2013, 7:37 am

        @Shmuel: As a regular citizen in democratic state, I have no power to decide for solution but have small power: my vote. I use my vote and try to convince others vote to Israeli party which supports my views:

        Your first paragraph: I agree and also add that both sides have to respect the international laws. I am sure, that good will of both sides, by respecting the int law and stopping the mutual hostilities, will be the first step toward peace.

        Character of the State of Israel: The dream of most Israelis is that Israel will be like all nations and will be treated as such. Since Israel does efforts toward equality (maybe not enough for you) although we are in a state of war and experience many hostilities, I absolutely sure that when walls will fall and the fear disappear, we will see a nature process toward full equality. One principle of the character of my state, that I and most Israelis won’t withdrawal, is Israel being a refuge for the Jewish people*.

        Two States Solution: I support two states solution. I think most Israelis will respect any outcome of honest negotiations, as we did when we signed peace with Egypt and Jordan.

        RoR: I was against the RoR since I thought, like many Israelis, that the PA representatives mean RoR to the refugees and their descendants which estimated up to 7 million. I learned from talknic that the RoR will not be applied on descendants. My government already offered to absorb 50 or 100 thousands refugees so I don’t see any obstacle. Descendants can return to the independent Palestine state.

        Arab states and Israel responsibility: My though life teaches me to be practical man and not play with words or semantics. If you think there is no connection between the two waves of refugees, I don’t care two separate negotiations, as long as the consequences will satisfy all victims of this conflict. AS must take responsibility to the Arab Jews refugees and their suffering (Maabarot) and the expenses of Israel to absorb them. They have take responsibility to wars they declared and their consequences such as creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. In parallel, Israel must also take responsibility for wars and damages in the AS, for creating the Palestinian refugee problem and their suffering. Since Israel is economically stronger, I should help the future Palestine.

        *Our history and my family experience teach me that the persecutions against the Jewish people are cyclic. Israel will remain always the refuge and home to the Jewish people. This is not to say that the Jews in Israel have to be benefited. All citizens of Israel will be equal before the law, but all have to accept that Israel is the Jewish state and as such offers refuge to any Jew in danger. This is my main principle and the main Zionist movement principle – Israel is the home of the Jewish people!

      • German Lefty
        September 12, 2013, 2:13 pm

        eljay, please stop flirting with miriam6. I am getting jealous.

      • eljay
        September 12, 2013, 3:08 pm

        >> eljay, please stop flirting with miriam6. I am getting jealous.

        Entschuldigungen, Fräulein. :-)

      • miriam6
        September 12, 2013, 3:18 pm

        eljay@;

        LOL!

        I am beginning to suspect we have a bitter and frustrated ‘relationship’ vaguely reminiscent of that of poor Martha and George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? …

        Watch this clip , it is funny

        You are proving a bit of a distraction for me right now.

        I have a number of other comments I need to write and post for moderation before this thread closes down

      • miriam6
        September 12, 2013, 3:30 pm

        GermanLefty@;

        LOL!

        Don’t worry girl

        eljay’s just a big tease!

        I am sure eljay has room enough in his (dis?) – affections for us both

        Anyway it’s nice that people can be a bit light-hearted and have a laugh once in a while rather than constantly slinging vitriolic comments at each other..

      • eljay
        September 12, 2013, 3:56 pm

        @ miriam6 and GL: I’m happily-married, so you’re both quite safe with me. ;-)

        @ miriam6:
        - I’ll watch the clip this evening – thanks.
        - There’s plenty of room in my affections for people who consistently advocate for justice and equality (among other positive values).

      • German Lefty
        September 12, 2013, 4:25 pm

        Anyway it’s nice that people can be a bit light-hearted and have a laugh once in a while

        Well, the Palestinians don’t have much to laugh behind the Wall of Shame. Right?

        your ridiculous notion that the Israelis must accomplish egalitarianism something NO human nation state on earth has achieved

        Of course, perfection doesn’t exist. However, we should still strive for it. As Che Guevara said, “Let’s be realistic, demand the impossible.”
        The problem with Israel is that it doesn’t even try to achieve equality. Israel’s goal is as much inequality as possible between Jews and Palestinians. And that’s unacceptable.
        For normal countries, perfection means equality. For evil countries, such as Israel, perfection means inequality.

      • libra
        September 12, 2013, 5:21 pm

        GL: Of course, perfection doesn’t exist.

        Surely the GDR must have been close? How else could you pine for an old Marxist like Che?

      • Shmuel
        September 13, 2013, 5:34 am

        I learned from talknic that the RoR will not be applied on descendants.

        That is Talknic’s opinion, based on a reading of UN Resoution 194 as applicable only to those who were already refugees at the time (as opposed to family members who acquired refugees status later, based on the principle of unity of the family).

        Allowing the refugee problem to literally die off or insisting that 80-year-olds must hobble home alone doesn’t strike me as a very reasonable or just position, or one consistent with UNHCR definitions and policies.

        Israel will remain always the refuge and home to the Jewish people.

        At least Talknic is consistent and doesn’t believe that Jews who have never lived in Israel have the automatic right to settle there. You, on the other hand, seem to believe that being a descendant of Jews (or a Jew by choice) from anywhere in the world affords the right to settle in Israel, but being the daughter or granddaughter of a Palestinian refugee, who was born and raised in that very land (in a specific place, with specific memories, specific properties and specific documents) — and ethnically cleansed from it!– does nothing of the kind.

        This is my main principle and the main Zionist movement principle – Israel is the home of the Jewish people!

        See my previous comments on ethnocracy.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 13, 2013, 5:51 am

        @Shmuel: OK, I read your reply carefully. I already noted my principles and beliefs and have nothing more to add. I think we both remain divided. Any way, although tough, it was nice to “meet” you. From my side, I will continue my efforts for peace and reconciliation.

        Shalom from Jerusalem.

      • Shmuel
        September 13, 2013, 6:02 am

        From my side, I will continue my efforts for peace and reconciliation.

        Without seriously addressing the refugee issue and finding a “just and lasting solution” (also considering the wishes of the refugees themselves), kalam fadi.

        Shalom from Jerusalem.

        Shalom shalom ve’ein shalom.

      • Theo
        September 13, 2013, 6:56 am

        eljay

        It is an insult today to call a female a Fräulein in Germany.
        Frau is proper, regardless if married or not.
        If you want to be real nice call her a grädige Frau.

      • MahaneYehude1
        September 13, 2013, 6:58 am

        @Shmuel: I let you say the last word in this “conversation” to make you Mabsoot and won’t continue. The Basta is closed!!!

      • Cliff
        September 13, 2013, 7:12 am

        MahaneYehude1,

        Thank you for your politely engaging with Shmuel.

        Nevertheless, this dialogue has proven what a shallow, fascist and hypocrite you are (which was what we ALL knew from the very beginning).

        As I said earlier, you have nothing to add. You are a settler.

      • German Lefty
        September 13, 2013, 8:49 am

        Surely the GDR must have been close? How else could you pine for an old Marxist like Che?

        Just because I like that particular quote from Che doesn’t mean that I pine for him or approve of everything he did.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 13, 2013, 11:14 am

        “Surely the GDR must have been close? How else could you pine for an old Marxist like Che?”

        You might say that one is a fool not to find much in Che to detest and dislike, but I would say that one has to be a bigger fool not to find something to love and admire in Che.

    • yonah fredman
      September 10, 2013, 5:46 pm

      No, Shmuel. I have not been reading the Machane Yehuda debate, so I don’t know his specifics. But this comments section is between 33% and 50%, a festering sore of obnoxiousness, obtuseness and cruelty. Maybe that’s the general ether ethic and I am used to the street corner in New York where there is a higher ethic of live and let live. But this comments section has a handful of denizens that are truly creme de la creme obnoxious. It is commendable to aim to focus on the 50% to 67% that is reasonable, but it is not surprising that humans also react to the 33% to 50%.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 11, 2013, 1:28 pm

        “I am used to the street corner in New York where there is a higher ethic of live and let live. ”

        And if half of New York was holding the other half as peons without human rights, and had for 3 generations, based solely on their ethnoreligious background, no doubt those who would want justice for the oppressed would be called “a festering sore of obnoxiousness, obtuseness and cruelty” by the oppressors or those who spoke for them.

      • Citizen
        September 12, 2013, 5:51 am

        @ Woody Tanaka
        Looks like NYC mayoral race indicators suggest just that.

      • Ludwig
        September 11, 2013, 1:35 pm

        I totally agree with Yonah. It should be possible to have a spirited debate without personal attacks and cruelty.

      • Woody Tanaka
        September 11, 2013, 3:20 pm

        “It should be possible to have a spirited debate without personal attacks and cruelty.”

        And it should be possible for the Palestinians to live in their own land free of oppression. The zionists make that impossible. In light of that reality and compared to that, someone saying something nasty to a zio here is a matter of absolute insignificance, to the point of almost literal non-existence. It is horrific hubris for yonah to make such a complaint, in light of the horrific oppression that zionism is creating as we speak.

      • Talkback
        September 12, 2013, 8:31 am

        I agree with Yonah and Ludwig.

        Leave the personal attacks and cruelty to the occupier and his junta.

      • Cliff
        September 12, 2013, 3:43 pm

        Wondering Jew,

        It is absolutely predictable and disgusting of you and other Zionist trolls to complain about the lack of civility with which anti-Zionists engage with you (Zionist trolls).

        How about you invest your energy in stopping the on-going colonization of Palestinian land and the violation of their basic human rights?

        Instead of devoting your life to being a real-life concern-troll.

        It’s so strange that you care about how we react to your banality of evil.

      • miriam6
        September 12, 2013, 5:55 pm
  31. German Lefty
    September 10, 2013, 3:08 pm

    I didn’t know Germans spoke Kurdish ;-)

    Thanks, Shmuel. That made me laugh.
    How on earth can Yiddish speakers believe that Palestine is their home country? Totally deluded people!

    • Talkback
      September 12, 2013, 8:42 am

      Not deluded, if they were citizens of Palestine (including their Israeli descendants).

  32. RudyM
    September 11, 2013, 5:58 pm

    I just glanced at this book. Not sure it’s really worth anyone’s time. Yes there is a chapter on Israel and some typical dancing around the issues on some of the other pages in the book that deal with Israel:

    link to amazon.com

    The book is bullish on Birthright Israel, the existence of which it seems to consider a revelation to its potential readers, which makes me wonder who the target audience is supposed to be (seeing how it seems to mostly have blurbs from rabbis, who I’m assuming already know about Birthright Israel).

    Calls for authenticity a renewed focus on community, prayer, learning, social justice, Israel travel and cultural participation as ends in themselves, rather than as mere instruments to some other end. To get the best results, just do the right thing.
    Professor Steven M. Cohen, Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion and Berman Jewish Policy Archive @ NYU Wagner

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