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American Jews are ‘endangered,’ says Ari Shavit

Israel/Palestine
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The great hope for redeeming American Zionism, Ari Shavit, was on Charlie Rose two nights ago. Jeffrey Goldberg and David Remnick were there, too, as his offensive line, and the three Jewish journalists explained why Israel depends as a national security interest on the support of American Jews.

“Stand by me,” Shavit, author of My Promised Land, said to American Jews, before making this statement:

We must recognize that Jews are endangered. By the way, they’re endangered there [in Israel] and they’re endangered here. Their future is not guaranteed. But if we look that challenge in the eye and work together, I believe we will not only survive but thrive.

This was the last comment on the segment, so Remnick and Goldberg did not respond to it. But it raises a simple question for American Jews: Do you feel unsafe here? I think his statement is preposterous. We enjoy unprecedented power, wealth and prominence. (Channel-surfing took me next to Carl Levin, chair of Senate armed services, on the Senate floor, and then Andrea Mitchell, wife of the former Fed chairman, on MSNBC…). And maybe I’m wrong, but Shavit’s claim must be countered by the honest expression of American Jewish feeling.

Shavit’s statement is ideological. He was stating the (120-year-old) premise of Zionism, the need of Jews for a safe haven, and the premise of the Israel lobby too, that we must support Israel because we are in danger ourselves.

To the discussion.

At minute 33, Shavit says Israel is a heroic project, now facing an existential threat, the occupation, and Remnick echoes him. The New Yorker editor says it’s not just the Israeli elites with an extra passport and one foot out the door.

Remnick: I think also there’s an American issue here. Its traditional and strongest ally has largely been the United States, and a lot of that influence comes from Jewish Americans. And that pressure, that interest is becoming attenuated in certain communities, particularly in secular communities. Peter Beinart wrote about this in his book at great length… On this point I really agree with him. I think you see my orthodox brothers and sisters– and I have relatives in that community– are much more in the Israel right or wrong camp, which is not this book. But a lot of my brothers and sisters, especially younger people and their children, their interest in Israel is not what it was in prior generations, in fact some of them look at it with a measure of embarrassment, which I think is tragic–

Goldberg: Well also fatal for Israel.

Remnick: and a symptom of the cancer of occupation. It’s very hard to feel deeply close to something that is as morally questionable and flawed as this, as much as you might want to think otherwise.

Goldberg: You only have two great Jewish communities left in the world… The American Jewish community is becoming more universalistic, more assimilated, detribalized. Israel… seems to be from an outsider perspective becoming more tribal, more religious, more Middle Eastern… in the negative senses of Middle Eastern, and that can’t hold forever….

The support of the American Jewish community is a national security interest of the United– of Israel. It’s not just a nice thing to have.

Shavit: If I may I’ll take this a step further. And I totally agree with both of you. Totally. The importance of Israel when you go to the core was that it was an attempt to save non-orthodox Jewish civilizations. First to save the Jewish people physically from what happened 40, 50 years later [Holocaust] but  beyond that to save non orthodox Jewish civilization. So the need for progressive Jewish Americans and progressive Israelis to maintain that is existential for both. I mean, progressive Jewish Americans need Israel, but they need an Israel that they can relate to. So in my mind the settlers are really the most dangerous post-Zionists there are–

Remnick: Absolutely

Shavit: They are actually undermining the very essence of the Zionist project. I feel commitment. I want David’s kids and Jeff’s kids to be enthusiastic about Israel, I don’t want them to be embarrassed about Israel. And I feel a commitment as a Jewish Israeli to help them in their struggle to keep their life here as the great American Jewish community, and I want them to stand by me in a sense, and their kids– but to do that the settlements and the darker side of Zionism are the greatest obstacles. They are the ones endangering this relationship. We must get back to a progressive Israel working with progressive American Jews to save this project as a progressive and just project.

Remnick then says that the book is an implicit argument for liberal Zionism, Zionism as a progressive project, and Israel as a place of “great virtues… historic success in many ways.”

Shavit responds by speaking of the opportunities for alliances between the center-left and moderates, amid the “chaos.”

Although a lot of what I describe is harsh…. I really believe in the strength of that nation, and I do believe that although– we must recognize that Jews are endangered. By the way they’re endangered there and they’re endangered here. Their future is not guaranteed. But if we look that challenge in the eye and work together, I believe we will not only survive but thrive.

A few thoughts: Remnick has never been so upfront about the importance to Israel of the “influence” and “pressure” of American Jews, including himself, nor so upfront about his family ties. And Goldberg, saying that the loss of American Jewish support is “fatal,” both affirms Walt and Mearsheimer’s thesis and explains his attack-dog response to it. The interdependence of American and Israeli Jews is the basis of the Israel lobby; and the lobby exists because Jews don’t think that Israel can count on the goyim. And why can’t we count on the goyim? Because we’re endangered.

P.S. The late Tony Judt said it best, 7 years ago:

“Why is the American Jewish community so determined to convince itself that we are living in 1938. Why does the most successful, the most well integrated, the most culturally and politically influential, the most socially and economically well situated Jewish community since the late years of the Roman republic, why is it so worried about the demon of anti-Semitism—more worried than the Jewish community in any other country I know and certainly more worried than Israel itself?”

Why? Because we know that we have incredible power and prominence, and it gives us great fear of a backlash. And because this fear is the basis of Zionism, it must be stoked. Thus, Shavit.

About Philip Weiss

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

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96 Responses

  1. Woody Tanaka
    November 20, 2013, 1:28 pm

    ” The importance of Israel when you go to the core was that it was an attempt to save non-orthodox Jewish civilizations. First to save the Jewish people physically from what happened 40, 50 years later”

    So they can see into the future now??

    “I want David’s kids and Jeff’s kids to be enthusiastic about Israel,”

    And that’s the crux of the “lobby” problem, in my view. Americans should be enthusiastic about the USA, not an alien state.

    • Krauss
      November 20, 2013, 3:21 pm

      Goldberg: Israel… seems to be from an outsider perspective becoming more tribal, more religious, more Middle Eastern… in the negative senses of Middle Eastern, and that can’t hold forever…

      Ah, let’s blame those brown people! We Ashkenazis are not at fault, it’s them Arabs who have corrupted us!

      The Ashkenazis of Israel used to look down on Mizrahis, first as barbaric and then as responsible for the rise of Likud – even if it was Mapai/Labor which gave the go-ahead for the first settlements, including Ariel. Now Goldberg is carrying this tradition onwards, but he blames the surrounding Arabs for corruping the poor white people in Israel. Or maybe he’s still blaming Mizrahis for what has happened, even if anno 2013, Israel is still very much run by European Jews by and large.

      This pathological reluctance to take responsiblity for what you’ve done, and in Goldberg’s case he volunteered to serve in the army which is responsible for maintaining Apartheid, is at the root of Zionism. It’s either the Nazis, or it’s the British or it’s the Arabs fault. Never your own.

      And then, Shavit’s conventionally “liberal” Zionist talking points:

      Shavit: I mean, progressive Jewish Americans need Israel, but they need an Israel that they can relate to. So in my mind the settlers are really the most dangerous post-Zionists there are–

      Shorter Shavit: it’s all the settlers fault. What happened before wasn’t an issue. Hey! Let’s do some more ethnic cleansing and then defend it!

      Shavit: They are actually undermining the very essence of the Zionist project. I feel commitment. I want David’s kids and Jeff’s kids to be enthusiastic about Israel, I don’t want them to be embarrassed about Israel. And I feel a commitment as a Jewish Israeli to help them in their struggle to keep their life here as the great American Jewish community, and I want them to stand by me in a sense, and their kids– but to do that the settlements and the darker side of Zionism are the greatest obstacles. They are the ones endangering this relationship. We must get back to a progressive Israel working with progressive American Jews to save this project as a progressive and just project.

      The last bit is just an indication of the sheer nuttiness and outright delusion you need to maintain to square liberalism, real liberalism, and Zionism.
      Commentary beyond that is really unnecessary. We’re witnessing someone who is mentally shizophrenic, for only that kind of person can utter that sentence.

      Also, Zionism today can be “saved” as a “progressive” project? Maybe we should save the sanity of Shavit.

      Shavit, for all the hype he has received, comes back again and again and again to the same old claptrap. Zionism is a fundamentally “progressive” project. Nevermind the ethnic cleansing. It’s all the settlers fault.

      I wrote a few days ago that the main function of Shavit this year and Gershom Gorenberg in 2011 is to re-affirm these views to liberal Zionists like Remnick or Goldberg. Goldberg’s a Jewish supremacist, so he merely pretends. Remnick has a more real liberal sensibility, but he too needs some soothing so he can sleep at night.
      In other words, their insight is not new. Their role is to repeatedly say the same things over and over again; their role is sociological and psychological. Once you see them in conversation, they just repeat the same things over and over again to each other.

      The world no longer believes them. Their racism is exposed. So now they struggle to even convince themselves much less each other.

      • irishmoses
        November 21, 2013, 8:41 pm

        Another great analysis Krauss. It’s like they (the liberal Zionists) are all sitting around on the deck chairs discussing the weather while listening to the Titanic’s band play Nearer My God to Thee

        I’d be interested in your take on my explanation of why Shavit doesn’t dare answer the question of why the 1948 Israeli war crimes were necessary to the survival of Zionism and the Jewish state. (see my response on 11/21 at 8:15pm to Donald’s response at 4:53pm to my original post at 11:21am.)

        I think Shavit’s admission really exposes the whole Zionist house of cards. Somebody, maybe you, had earlier described his admission as pulling his finger out of the dike.

  2. Justpassingby
    November 20, 2013, 1:47 pm

    Paranoid people.

    Norman Finkelstein reject this nonsense here @ 3:30:

  3. Walid
    November 20, 2013, 1:58 pm

    What Shavit is saying about American Jews being endangered as are the Jews of Israel is questionable since both groups are not in danger, especially the American Jews and if an endangerment does exist, it’s because of Israel’s actions. If we go by the latest poll of 7 or 8 European countries’ Jews published last week in the WSJ and Spiegel, Jews said they are harassed to the point of wanting to emigrate because of how Europeans perceive Jews from the actions of Israel. In the poll of European Jews, twenty-three percent of respondents in the surveyed countries said that at least occasionally they avoided Jewish events or sites. Another 29% have considered emigrating in the past five years. In Hungary, France and Belgium, 40%-48% have considered emigrating. Israel is not helping European Jews and here Shavit is spooking American Jews for some reason or other.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303460004579189560470198236

    and

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/eu-study-fear-of-anti-semitism-rising-in-seven-european-countries-a-932597.html

    • Ecru
      November 21, 2013, 5:21 am

      @ Walid

      That survey is bunk.

      1) It’s about perceptions of anti-semitism not anti-semitism itself.

      2) It was an Internet response survey heavily skewed towards French and UK Jews and those more likely to have an interest in the idea of anti-semitism.

      3) The survey was conducted by IpsosMORI and (very importantly) the Institute for Jewish Policy Research who helped design the survey itself. Would it surprise you to learn that many of the academics at the JPR are based in Israel?

      However if Zionists DO want to leave Europe I’m happy for them to do so, I just ask them to leave their passports behind and NEVER come back!

      One last thing – the vandalism of graves. It’s shameful and horrible but contrary to how Jewish organisations seem intent on portraying it – it’s not limited to Jewish graveyards. I’ve seen graffiti – including swastikas – and broken headstones in other people’s graveyards too. The swastika is an idiots easy shock tactic and doesn’t necessarily mean what people think it means. Even when shamefully daubed on a Jewish grave. In fact in his 1980’s poem “V” by Tony Harrison he specifically mentions a swastika accompanied by “NF” daubed on a “Christian” grave marker in Leeds.

      NSFW btw – rich language.

      • Walid
        November 21, 2013, 6:49 am

        Ecru, what I got from the 2 polls is that Zionists are equating criticisms of Israel as acts of antisemitism, which of course is BS. Zionists are lobbying in several countries to have laws enacted outlawing any criticism of Israel. Last year in France, there were 200 acts against the Jews; acts against Muslims were 396 but you never hear about those. Worldwide acts against Jews were 686, not really a big number in comparison to the world’s population of 7 billions. How many innocent civilians did Israel assassinate during its 3-week Cast Lead rampage?

  4. Jethro
    November 20, 2013, 2:25 pm

    I think when Shavit says that American Jews are endangered, he means secular Jewish culture is endangered by assimilation in America. He expounded on that point a bit more when he was on NPR yesterday. As if that’s better. It’s a huge insult to the other 98% of Americans–something zionists really fail to grasp. A LOT. It’s these types of sentiments that produce a backlash, not necessarily the “power” that American Jews have because there’s something in the DNA of America respects people who are able to rise to the top.

    • Donald
      November 20, 2013, 5:11 pm

      “, he means secular Jewish culture is endangered by assimilation in America. He expounded on that point a bit more when he was on NPR yesterday. As if that’s better. It’s a huge insult to the other 98% of Americans–something zionists really fail to grasp.”

      I don’t feel insulted by this. The problem is the idea that for some utterly mysterious reason, Jewish culture is endangered in America in some way that requires the existence of a Jewish state several thousand miles away at the expense of the people already living there. The Amish don’t want to assimilate and they do just fine in America. They don’t need an Amish state somewhere else to maintain their subculture here, even though once upon a time radical Protestant groups were persecuted by both Catholics and other Protestants. Every religious group to some degree wants to avoid assimiliation if it means people stop participating in the religious life of that community. They all have that problem one way or the other. The bizarre leap that is made by Israel defenders is the way they connect support for Israel with their struggle to maintain a Jewish identity within the US. It doesn’t make sense to me, except to the extent that support for Israel has somehow become what Judaism is supposed to be. I wouldn’t know.

      • Keith
        November 20, 2013, 7:51 pm

        DONALD- “The problem is the idea that for some utterly mysterious reason, Jewish culture is endangered in America in some way that requires the existence of a Jewish state several thousand miles away….”

        I seriously doubt that any of these guys are concerned about Jewish culture. Zionism is primarily concerned with the use of an amalgam of blood and soil nationalism with religious symbolism to recreate and maintain Jewish tribal solidarity endangered by the enlightenment and assimilation. This group solidarity is a key factor in assisting the rise of the Jewish elites to their current lofty status. It is all about power. Any and all threats to Jewish tribal solidarity, hence the Jewish (primarily Ashkenazi) elites’ power and privilege, is phrased as an existential threat to Jewish (tribal) survival, hence, unacceptable to the Ashkenazi intelligentsia

      • pabelmont
        November 20, 2013, 9:29 pm

        What do we mean when we speak of “Jewish Culture”?

        The thing that I don’t get, that does not come through for me from what we-need-to-save-the-Jewish-culture folks say is — what, precisely, is the CONTENT of this “Jewish Culture” which they are at such pains to declare the need to save?

        Is it a definite item? Is it a changeable thing? Has it changed in America over the years? Is it different in orthodox societies than in reform or conservative societies (to say nothing of secular Jewish societies)?

        Is it a memory of Yiddish? Russian-Polish-German cooking? And if it is these things (or MUST HAVE these things), is it in fact preserved in Israel? Or has Israel collected the Jewish bodies but destroyed the Jewish Culture — replacing Yiddish with Hebrew and replacing Russian-Polish-German cooking with Hummus and felafel (those quintessentially Israeli Jewish foods, as Chow Mein is or was a quintessentially American food)?

      • Hostage
        November 20, 2013, 10:52 pm

        is it in fact preserved in Israel?

        No Israel destroys and abhors other Jewish cultures. The Ethiopians were just the latest example of Jews who were forced to “convert” in order to be assimilated. In the process they were forced to abandon their own unique traditions that dated-back to antiquity. See Israel putting end to millenia-old tradition of Ethiopian Jewish priests http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/israel-putting-end-to-millenia-old-tradition-of-ethiopian-jewish-priests-1.407958

  5. pabelmont
    November 20, 2013, 2:41 pm

    ” But it raises a simple question for American Jews: Do you feel unsafe here?”

    Well, that is not quite the right question.

    The right question is: “Can you imagine (sometime) feeling unsafe in the USA but then (thereafter) feeling safe in Israel?”

    Because, if Jews become unsafe in the USA, then The Lobby will become ineffective and American support for Israel will be gone and then Israel will be far more endangered than (if at all) it is today.

    BTW, I think I hear the guys in the conversation above decrying the settlements (and maybe also the occupation) and (almost) asking for them to end — arguing that ending them would be the ethical thing to do which would be a good thing to do not because it is ethical but because it would tend to make Israel more acceptable to young American Jews (who, oddly enough, still have ethical bones in their bodies).

    • ritzl
      November 20, 2013, 4:05 pm

      @pabelmont and Walid

      You both describe the negative circularity/spiral of this “liberal” Zionist thinking.

      PW and Jethro (above) point to a possible off-ramp for that downward spiral, in that it’s not the power and prominence that is at issue. It’s what it’s used for.

      If the use is exclusive, insular, and demonstrably/identifiably zero-sum, that’s a danger. If it’s use is inclusive, both here and in Israel, then it becomes a virtue and an opportunity.

      The opportunity for inclusiveness (here) and healing (in Israel) that libzios have right in front of them (despite all the criticisms) is as profound as their inability to see or grasp it (hence the criticisms). Neither can be overstated, imho.

      FWIW.

      • Jethro
        November 20, 2013, 8:16 pm

        Nailed it.

  6. marc b.
    November 20, 2013, 2:56 pm

    “Why is the American Jewish community so determined to convince itself that we are living in 1938? tony judt

    I don’t think that it is. the evocation of ‘1938’ is used like the term ‘conspiracy theorist’ or the label ‘communist’ has been used. it’s a tactic, a veiled way of telling certain people in certain situations to shut the f*ck up. there may be a few that sincerely fear a future pogrom or holocaust in the US, but that mindset is just short of insanity. ‘1938’ is really a defense of power and privilege and status, and Israel and ‘anti-semitism’ are means of projecting power into the ME, into Europe, into the US Congress. does Shavit mean that Jewish lives are endangered, or his view of a particular, narrowly defined privileged Jewish way of life is endangered? at it’s core this ‘ideology’, if you can even call it that, is deeply narcissistic, implying that a segment of self-defined jews (including shavit and remnik, naturally) have reached a naturally occurring level of influence, a birthright of sorts, and that right is under attack.

    if you look forward, my guess is that the most religiously adherent jews will not change in numbers much over the next 50 years, but the number of those who loosely define themselves ‘jewish’ by ethnicity or culture will continue to have declined. and, of course, we have vigorous head nodding bordering on whiplash when it comes to liberal Zionists blaming the settlers for Israel’s current PR problem. as if settlement hasn’t been an unbroken thread running through Israeli policy since ’48.

    First to save the Jewish people physically from what happened 40, 50 years later [Holocaust] but beyond that to save non orthodox Jewish civilization. So the need for progressive Jewish Americans and progressive Israelis to maintain that is existential for both. I mean, progressive Jewish Americans need Israel, but they need an Israel that they can relate to. ari shavit

    I hate to harp of this point, but this unabated reference to undefinable terms in support of an argument is infuriating. again, what is ‘non-orthodox Jewish civilization’? I really have no idea.

  7. American
    November 20, 2013, 2:58 pm

    ”But a lot of my brothers and sisters, especially younger people and their children, their interest in Israel is not what it was in prior generations, in fact some of them look at it with a measure of embarrassment, which I think is tragic–”…Remnick

    “”Goldberg: Well also fatal for Israel.””

    Remnick and Goldberg ….Two blind mice, two blind mice, see how they run….backwards.
    The Jews will be saved or ‘not endangered’ –here or there or anywhere—exactly by the younger dispora Jewish generation not pledging alleigence to Israel.
    Israel will only be able to save itself when it’s forced to – when dispora and US Jews cant force unconditional support of it from their countries.

    What the Love Israel Lobby is forcing on the US is not going to last forever. If the younger US Jewish crowd doesnt dampen the Lobby then the non Jewish US crowd will when the Lobby drops that last straw on the US.

    For Israel’s survival and for US Jews these people think totally backwards. They do this I am convinced because they are incapable of understanding that non Jews ‘have a say’ in what the Jews ( the Zionist) are doing because the political and national governmental territories they are operating in for Israel also affects non Jews.
    The only acknowledgment of the existence non Jewish opinion and interest regarding Israel and the ‘importance’ of the others different opinion comes out as…..”they’re out to get the Jews” …and it’s ..’us against them,we’re always endangered’……if we oppose or deny them anything on Israel or assert our own different interest.
    If anything destroys Israel or affects the US Jews at home because of Israel I think this inability to recognize other people’s legitimate rights and interest in this.. ..and heeding them…will be what does it.

  8. Ira Glunts
    November 20, 2013, 3:32 pm

    Move over Herzl and Ben-Gurion: Charlie Rose rewrites Zionist history

    The introduction to his Charlie Rose segment claims that the Zionist movement was led by Herbert Bentwich. This is significant because his great grandson, Ari Shavit, is the main guest for this show.

    Bentwich, according to the Wikipedia, was one of the early followers of Herzl and was a Zionist activist in Great Britain. He moved to Israel in 1929 at the age of 74. I do not doubt that Bentwich made a meaningful contribution to Zionism, but to give the impression that he was the man is mind-blowing.

    I know Rose wants to gin up the show and his guest’s importance, but this is going way way too far.

    What a great set up for reflecting of the truthfulness of Rose’s interviewees: Shavit, Goldberg and Remick!!

  9. eljay
    November 20, 2013, 3:32 pm

    >> Shavit: I mean, progressive Jewish Americans need Israel …

    Why do progressive Americans who happen to be Jewish need an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state in Palestine?

    • Krauss
      November 20, 2013, 3:46 pm

      But, but, but… THE HOLOCAUST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!one!

    • bilal a
      November 20, 2013, 6:13 pm

      why fear of a ‘backlash’ ?

      I get the sense that there is a worry that America is changing, the huge power and prominence will disappear once the American population becomes like other populations worldwide. A demographically more Hispanic and Asian population will lose interest in Hollywood-Wall Street culture and economics, and Jews will become one ethnic group among many,not to be privileged by their own wealth and networking, and certainly subject to the same expropriation and redistribution necessary after 6 trillion spent on wars for Israel, much of it funneled into Israeli subcontractors. And of course in the background we’ve had bank and tech fraud , bailed out by ordinary Americans.

      Israel and its domestic partners would not be then scapegoats, they are indeed responsible for much of recent American decline, if only partially, and with the full acceptance of a separate and different, corrupt elite political and economic class.

      Israel is a get out of Jail free card.

  10. Bill in Maryland
    November 20, 2013, 3:41 pm

    Shavit (6:25): “I think it is my moral obligation, as an Israeli, to recognize that we’ve done wrong to our “other”, the Palestinians.”

    Shavit (6:42): “But at the very same time, I think it’s the Palestinians’ moral and reasonable obligation to overcome that trauma because…I describe the trauma in Lydda…[snip]…because there’ve been in history, in recent history, things much worse than Lydda, and I’m not just talking about what “evil” powers did, what the British did in Dresden, what was done to the Czechs in the Sudetes, that’s much worse than Lydda, and yet other people in Europe and elsewhere have overcome it, they did not just keep on lingering on that.”

    But 65 years later, the Nakba and ethnic cleansing in Palestine are ongoing. How sad that Shavit is blind to this, and that the “best and the brightest” American journalists seated at the table don’t call him out on this.

    • marc b.
      November 20, 2013, 5:13 pm

      and besides that, the Europeans really haven’t ”gotten over’ WWII, or more generally the 19th-20th-century notion of nations and ethnicity, which in large measure is what WWII was about. the Czechs and Slovaks broke up a perfectly workable state over real and perceived conflicts between them; Yugoslavia was partly a victim of WWII (and pre-war) European politics and perceptions; there are still Germans complaining about their treatment by the Czechs; European (or formerly) European Jews are still trying to reclaim stolen art objects from whomever; and on and on. I acted as a translator for a joint American-German-Czech shooting competition back in the early 90’s, and WWII was still ‘fresh’ in the minds of many Czechs (even those who weren’t even born until after the war). all it took was a few glasses of beer to come out. European politics is still deeply affected by WWII. I really don’t think shavit has any idea of what he’s talking about. and as you said, there really is nothing to get over, since it’s still going on.

      • bilal a
        November 20, 2013, 6:16 pm

        thats very interesting, but it begs the question, what was WW2 really about if its still ongoing? The Nazis and Mussolini are long gone.

      • marc b.
        November 21, 2013, 9:52 am

        there are many, bilal, not all of whom are paranoid, who see Germany’s re-incorporation of eastern Germany (which Gunter Grass opposed) into a unified state, and its unilateral recognition of the independent states of Slovenia and Croatia, leading to the break up of Yugoslavia, as continuations of its late 19th century-20th century policies.

      • Woody Tanaka
        November 21, 2013, 11:49 am

        “what was WW2 really about if its still ongoing?”

        It was about the role of the nations and the states in the modern world.

      • James Canning
        November 20, 2013, 6:48 pm

        marc b. Surely the Second World War grew out of insane ambition of Hitler to dominate Europe and perhaps the entire planet.

      • marc b.
        November 21, 2013, 9:21 am

        that was part of it, james. I am rereading ‘Bloodlands’ by Timothy Snyder and ‘Orderly and Humane’ by R.M. Douglas, both of which I can’t recommend enough, and the shared theme is of the mass population movements through physical transfer and extermination, beginning in Snyder’s book with Stalin’s mass starvation of millions in the Ukraine, Hitler and Stalin’s attempted extermination of the Polish elite, Hitler’s plan to murder 30 million soviet citizens and the complete destruction of soviet industrial capacity to open up western Russia to German immigrants (an agricultural vanguard of sorts) and then (and this is where Douglas comes in brilliantly) the forced movement of over 10 million so-called ethnic Germans out of Eastern Europe after the war, leading to more mass death. (and what is bizarre – or cruelly ironic – about the allies’ program of expulsion is that the selection process – a huge cluster fuck – was based in large part on the racial/ethnic evaluation of peoples, using similar or often the same standards of pseudo-scientific evaluation implemented by the Nazis. Douglas and others have also gone over the international plans for creating nation states composed of ethnically homogenous populations to help prevent the persecution of minorities – see the Paris Peace Conference). This summary doesn’t do any justice to the topic, but Hitler’s policies couldn’t possibly have been implemented without initial western acquiescence and acceptance of his interest in incorporating ethnic Germans into ‘Germany’, or the coincidence (not exactly the right word) of Stalin’s own grand plans for building the society of the future on the bones of kulaks.

      • James Canning
        November 21, 2013, 2:08 pm

        @marc b. – – You are of course quite right to underline the significance of the gigantic population transfers, virtual extermination of some groups, etc etc during 20th Century, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

        Disasters that grew out of catastrophe of the First World War.

    • Ira Glunts
      November 20, 2013, 5:56 pm

      Bill, you are right on the money here. Breathtaking the chutzpah of this guy. First, why not mention Ramla which suffered the same fate as Lydda and at the same time. Accounts of the expulsion, murdered, torture of 50,000 people usually include both towns. If you include both, you admit it was twice as bad. Then, why stop there. Why didn’t Savit talk about all the refugees who were driven from there homes between 1947-1953? That makes it more than 10x as bad. Third, how about all the explusions since then? There were 200,000 people expelled from the West Bank in 1967. And finally, as you state, how about the ongoing expansion and expulsions. For the oppressor to demand that the victim renounce his victimization is revolting, especially when you simultaneously deny the extent of the victimization.

      This is history “Charlie Rose”style. According the show, Shavit’s grandfather was the leader of the Zionist movement. (See my comment above.)

    • Ecru
      November 21, 2013, 5:23 am

      Wonder how he’d respond to someone telling Jews to “get over” the Holocaust?

  11. Donald
    November 20, 2013, 5:15 pm

    I’ll say one thing in Remnick’s defense. If my memory is correct, he did at one point say that it was a problem that there weren’t more Palestinian voices heard, and I think he might even have observed that there were no Palestinians in the discussion they were having then. No kidding. They couldn’t have gotten away with what tree referred to (in another thread) as a form of subtle Nakba denial if someone like Rashid Khalidi had been present. Goldberg tried to argue that the expulsions occurred after the Arab armies entered the conflict, which is just a lie. There was no one there willing to call out the BS.

    • Philip Weiss
      November 20, 2013, 5:22 pm

      I agree, Donald. Forgot to point that out. Remnick repeatedly referred to leftwing critique of Zionism, to one-state argument; and pointed out the absence of a Palestinian voice in the discussion. And of course he’s published Yousef Munayyer.

    • marc b.
      November 20, 2013, 5:29 pm

      my only response to that Donald would be that remnick is an editor by trade and an intellectual of the status quo variety by nature. he’s attuned to the growing problem of perception and the circle jerk that is the IP debate in America. I also don’t have any doubt that Remnick has as an idea about what sort of critical voice he’d qualify as ‘responsible’, as Chomsky would put it. I’d doubt he’d seriously entertain As’ad Abukhalil (‘angry arab’) as a voice worth listening to for example.

      • Krauss
        November 20, 2013, 5:43 pm

        Again, good points made, Marc.

        Still, I was careful to distinguish Remnick from Goldberg the supremacist so I have some sympathy for him.

        Remnick may be a liberal Zionist but I wrote that without quotations. Some of his reporting has been the best I’ve read in the mainstream media. He has been pushing this conversation much more than most of the Jewish insiders, many of whom are sharing a basic belief that these things cannot be debated because it is dangerous, not just for Israel’s standing in America but also for the Jewish support for Israel.

        I ultimately disagree with Remnick’s political position, but he does indeed deserve credit for pushing the conversation much farther than most people from his Jewish liberal Zionist background. Further, he is the editor of the New Yorker after all, so it carries an increased significance.

        Nevertheless, despite all this, his sycophantic behaviour during the Rose program towards Shavit was embarrassing to watch. He is doing two events with Shavit within the span of just a few days. You kind of get the feeling is he almost romanticizing Shavit, as the personfication of the “real Israel” that never was and was always a figment of the imagination for many Zionists. That Shavit is an ethnic cleansing apologist doesn’t seem to bother Remnick all that much and that in of itself is a blemish on his record that has, recently, been not too bad.

      • marc b.
        November 21, 2013, 9:38 am

        absolutely, krauss. I find remnick sympathetic in a way – he finds ways from time to time to hit the right note for us liberal-lefty types – whereas Goldberg has no redeeming qualities. but, and this is what I think Weiss struggles with, are liberal Zionists of any use in trying to build a better future for Palestinians? or are they worse than useless, as much of a hindrance to progress as the Goldbergs and Dershowitzes? I think it’s the latter.

      • irishmoses
        November 21, 2013, 11:21 am

        I consider Remnick a real stand up guy (for a liberal Zionist) and I’ve been waiting and expecting him to change from thoughtful criticism to outright condemnation. When he published Shavit’s Lydda, 1948 piece, a few weeks back, I thought that moment had arrived. Here he was, using his publication to headline the accurate history of the Nakba, massacres, death marches, ethnic cleansing, etc. On that level Lydda 48 was a real eye-opener, a potential game-changer.

        But there also was a dark side to Shavit’s article, his unsupported conclusion that as horrible as it all was, it was necessary for the survival of Zionism and the Jewish state. I had expected Remnick, and maybe even Thomas Friedman, Jane Eisner, and others to speak up about that outrageous conclusion. Instead, they’ve all bought into it. Remnick’s failure to say anything about it was a real let down for me. It put him clearly in the ring with other liberal Zionist apologists whose main role is putting a nicer face on the reality of hard line Zionism, applying the lipstick.

        Maybe I’m expecting too much. Maybe concluding that the Nakba was neither necessary, nor legal, nor moral is an impossible admission for even liberal Zionists. The absolute drivel from Shavit, Remnick, and Goldberg on The Charlie Rose Show this week would seem to confirm that.

      • Donald
        November 21, 2013, 4:53 pm

        “Maybe I’m expecting too much. Maybe concluding that the Nakba was neither necessary, nor legal, nor moral is an impossible admission for even liberal Zionists”

        I think that most people in the grip of an ideology (Zionism, communism, jingoistic patriotism of any sort, white Southern romanticism of the Confederacy, etc…) find it really difficult to break free all at once. It probably happens in stages and some or maybe most never make it all the way out unless it’s part of a mass movement. Shavit at least had the honesty to say that the Palestinian conflict really begins in 1948 and it was because they were driven out–he may go on and justify it, because he’s still a Zionist, but at least he admitted the Palestinians were the victims of a terrible crime. Most liberal Zionists still claim that 1967 was when it all went wrong, and I still see people elsewhere claiming that the occupation can’t be the reason that Palestinians are angry, and that it must be anti-semitism driving them, because there were terrorist attacks on Israel before 67. It takes someone really determined to be ignorant to argue something like that, but it’s a pretty common trope. Shavit pulled the rug out from under those people.

        But does he go far enough? Nope.

        I was amused/frustrated by Remnick’s claim near the beginning of the Rose show that Shavit’s book was the “least tendentious” of all the books he’s ever read about Israel. The cynical part of me (and I think Remnick deserves both some credit and some cynicism) thinks that’s because Shavit is trying to admit the Nakba but somehow weaken its impact.

        Which brings me to the question others have asked–Why now? Even if one needs the validation of Israeli historians, Benny Morris’s updated book on 1948 came out ten years ago or so, and we’ve known the gist of what happened since the 80’s (and before, if one doesn’t insist on the notion that facts are only facts when some liberal Zionist admits it is a fact.) Like others, I think it’s Netanyahu and the general rightwing drift of Israeli politics–the liberal Zionists realize that the old arguments aren’t working, that Israel is busy discrediting itself to nearly everyone, and there’s that darn internet making it so that anyone interested can quickly find evidence that makes Israel look pretty bad. The three letters that the New Yorker printed after the Shavit piece were all to Shavit’s left–one writer praised him for admitting that the Nakba happened and the other two criticized him for defending it.

      • MHughes976
        November 21, 2013, 6:13 pm

        Admitting to the Nakba yet weakening its impact seems to be the name of the game entirely: indeed nullifying its impact by swaggering around and talking of Necessity in sonorous existentialist tones mixed with sentimentality, as I remember, about his daughter. It’s not less horrible but in a way more starkly terrifying than the various attempts to deny the facts, pretty obvious as those facts are and have always been.
        Shavit and the rest are right, though, in saying that a Nakba was necessary, necessary absolutely, if the Zionist aspiration to a polity recognising the exclusive rights which Zionism claims for Jewish people was ever to be fulfilled. Necessary practically to create a huge majority of Jewish voters, necessary morally make the symbolically crucial point that the Palestinians just have no right to be there except by the generosity that the true heirs to the holy land may choose to accord them.

      • irishmoses
        November 21, 2013, 8:15 pm

        Donald said:

        Shavit at least had the honesty to say that the Palestinian conflict really begins in 1948 and it was because they were driven out–he may go on and justify it, because he’s still a Zionist, but at least he admitted the Palestinians were the victims of a terrible crime.

        The real question to me is how do liberal Zionists justify that terrible war crime. I’m delighted that they now admit it, but that’s not enough. Shavit tries to finesse that question by asserting that the war crimes were necessary for the survival of Zionism and the Jewish state. But that’s an assertion not a justification A justification requires some evidence that supports the assertion. e.g. “The massacres, land seizures, and ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians were necessary if Zionism and the Jewish state were to survive because…” Shavit leaves out the because part, and, after further reflection today, I think I know why. This is no reasonable argument that the actions were necessary or somehow related to the survival of Zionism and the Jewish state.

        Without elaborating in too much depth, the claim of operational necessity simply doesn’t work. By mid-July of 1948, the Arab League forces were outmanned, outgunned, and in disarray. Even the Jordanian Legion forces were on their heels. Glubb Pasha didn’t attempt to defend the Lydda Valley because he was stretched way too thin. Plus, Israel had an agreement with the Jordanians that gave them the West Bank in return for not fighting an aggressive war against Israel which they never did. Moreover, the Hagannah and other Jewish forces were far stronger than the Arab irregulars even during the civil war period from late 1947 to mid-May 1948. Nor did Israel have any valid legal justification for its actions.

        If Shavit and other liberal Zionists (and I believe Shavit is properly placed in their corner) were to admit the Israeli war crimes of 1948 were neither necessary nor legal, they would then have accept the consequences of that admission: that Palestinian refugees must be allowed to return or be adequately compensated, and that per Balfour, League of Nations 1922, UNR 181, etc. Palestinians are entitled to their full civil rights in Israel or any other part of Palestine. Such an admission would also undermine the whole “negotiated settlement” farce, including “settlement blocks”, “land swaps”, “control of the Jordan Valley”, “defensible borders”, the whole nine yards.

        In short, admitting that the Israeli war crimes of 1948 were neither necessary nor legal brings down the whole Zionist house of cards. That’s why Shavit tries to finesse that issue by simply asserting that it was necessary, and that’s why all his liberal Zionist pundit buddies have jumped into his boat.

        As someone said earlier in this thread, Shavit has pulled the finger out of the dike (or leaking boat). Admitting the war crimes puts the whole Zionist charade at risk, and Shavit and his fellow liberal Zionists will may soon go down with the ship.

      • irishmoses
        November 22, 2013, 2:40 am

        Admitting to the Nakba yet weakening its impact seems to be the name of the game entirely: indeed nullifying its impact by swaggering around and talking of Necessity in sonorous existentialist tones mixed with sentimentality, as I remember, about his daughter. It’s not less horrible but in a way more starkly terrifying than the various attempts to deny the facts, pretty obvious as those facts are and have always been.

        Spot-on MHughes976; well said.

        Liberal Zionism reminds me more and more of Hannah Arendt’s observation about the banality of evil. Normal, everyday boring people, just doing their jobs, going to church, but following along, enabling, apologizing for, rationalizing, and minimizing the evil being perpetrated by their tribal elders.

        “The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.”

        A year or so ago I would have thought my comment was over-the-top, that liberal Zionists were sincere, genuine, but now I wonder. Maybe they are just witless enablers, common, decent folks that delude themselves into thinking that it will all work out for the best. No need to be too harsh, too critical. Reading Shavit’s Lydda article, hearing him say it was all really necessary, seeing him and his LZP (Liberal Zionist Pundit) cronies on Charlie Rose do their tsk tsk dance, hearing him pontificate to a fawning Terri Gross, made it all seem so normal, so banal, so easy to accept if you wanted to remain as a loyal member of the liberal Zionist fraternity.

        Scary really. These are bright, thoughtful, articulate, basically decent folks. Makes you wonder whether we are all capable of similar behavior in the right circumstances.

      • Citizen
        November 23, 2013, 11:26 am

        @ irishmoses

        Arendt–need to match up her “banality of evil” with the discussion of Eliot’s “hollow men, stuffed men” and Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness, currently a thread under another article here on MW blog.

        Eichmann was banal, all right; in fact, as alluded to in T. S. Eliot’s famous poem, “The Hollow Men,” he resembled Mister Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s chilling Heart of Darkness — “hollow at the core.” Which did not prevent him from carrying out horrific acts befitting a moral cypher whose only defense was “do not judge me”.

        Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/the_evil_of_banality_comments.html#ixzz2lUEOPmef
        Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

      • irishmoses
        November 23, 2013, 11:46 am

        Citizen:

        Arendt–need to match up her “banality of evil” with the discussion of Eliot’s “hollow men, stuffed men” and Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness, currently a thread under another article here on MW blog.

        Which MW article are you referring to?

    • ritzl
      November 20, 2013, 6:47 pm

      You’re right to be fair to Remnick, Donald. He deserves it.

      It’s hard to understand how he can both note/lament the absence of the Palestinian PoV, and then carry on as if it didn’t much exist. Couldn’t he modestly assume that role in this context? What prevented him from doing so? I’m not flaming Remnick, but there were forces in play in that situation that weren’t very obvious to me.

      The concurrent optimism-pessimism implied by his awareness-avoidance behavior[?] (I really don’t know the right word) reminds me of the same kind of internal contention shown in the final scene of Children of Men. It’s so hard to actually act in the moment.

      • marc b.
        November 21, 2013, 12:08 pm

        great movie. as is ‘gravity’. (he did do that too, didn’t he?)

      • ritzl
        November 22, 2013, 9:13 am

        Yeah, CoM kinda makes you think a little (watch it with some military types…). Looking forward to Gravity.

      • marc b.
        November 23, 2013, 2:17 pm

        and some great soundtrack stuff on CofM. court of the crimson king scene done perfectly. some other great pop stuff woven in: Donovan’s hurdy gurdy man on ‘zodiac’; prime movers strong as I am on manhunter; my bloody valentines sometimes on lost in translation; oh and control, the joy division, great, great music movie.

  12. John Douglas
    November 20, 2013, 6:15 pm

    On the idea that the State of Israel provides a safety valve for American Jews in the event of a pending pogrom on their own shore. Has anyone considered how long the Law of Return would remain in effect, given the politics of today’s Israel, in the face of the immigration of seven million secular, liberal Americans?

  13. James Canning
    November 20, 2013, 6:46 pm

    Jews in Israel are “endangered”? Total cr*p.

  14. piotr
    November 20, 2013, 8:51 pm

    Comment 1:

    Jewish secular culture is endangered in America. ?? It raises a question what is culture, in the same way as we have languages and dialects. Jewish secular culture is a dialect of general American culture. And this culture is quite different now than 50 years ago and very different than 100 years ago. By emigrating to Israel, an American replaces that culture with another that happens to be “Jewish” but is quite different.

    Just observe the characteristic dress. 200 years ago East/Central Europe Ashkenazi had very different dress than 50-70 years later, and for some reason, this 19-th century dress is preserved by many Hassidim (and in a different but similar variant, the Amish). Contemporary “settler” dress seems to be actually close to “sloppy American suburban”, but many settlers are partial to religiously inspired 19-th century style of black garbs with white shirts.

    On other cultural markers, once in Israel the immigrant (olim?) can raise the levels of messianic paranoia much higher than it is possible in USA. What is a standard fare in Jerusalem Post or ynetnews can be also found in “ethnic Jewish press” in USA, but in smaller concentration, plus I suspect that readers take that paranoia much less literally than in Israel. E.g. a fascinating paranoid concept is that “the World does not get it”, being full of “the nations” that just can’t grasp the Jewish wisdom.

    • RoHa
      November 20, 2013, 9:26 pm

      “It raises a question what is culture”

      Sloppy meat broth with bacteria growing in it.

      • piotr
        November 21, 2013, 12:32 pm

        You seem to be a guy who would not tell the difference between Camembert and Brie if his life depended on it. While one can become sympathetic to “When I hear the word culture …, I release the safety on my Browning!”, we should be more open minded. After all, this is a site where we discuss books etc.

        PS. Upon checking, there is no difference between mold/bacteria cultures in Camembert and Brie. It is basically big wheel versus small wheel.

      • Theo
        November 21, 2013, 12:44 pm

        piotr

        I like your reasoning! First you accuse RoHa not knowing the difference between Camembert and Brie, then you discover that there is none!!
        They both taste the same!

      • lysias
        November 21, 2013, 2:20 pm

        I’m someone who avoids moldy cheeses, I could not tell the difference between Brie and Camembert (even though I usually eat other cheeses, like aged Gouda, with my dinner, and I like to think that, as a Ph.D. in Greek and Latin, I am not a barbarian).

      • RoHa
        November 21, 2013, 6:59 pm

        I don’t eat sloppy Froggy cheese at all.
        Of course, being Australian, I am a barbarian.

      • irishmoses
        November 22, 2013, 11:51 am

        Don’t be too hard on yourself. Didn’t Aussies invent the Marmite topped Velveeta sandwich?

      • marc b.
        November 22, 2013, 3:12 pm

        as a Ph.D. in Greek and Latin

        so you’re the one. the only American with a PhD in greek and latin.

        just kidding. my dad spent 8 years of high school and college with daily classes in latin and greek, and half the day of instruction in French. seemed to work for him.

      • RoHa
        November 23, 2013, 12:23 am

        “Didn’t Aussies invent the Marmite topped Velveeta sandwich?”

        Marmite? Ptah!

  15. Qualtrough
    November 20, 2013, 10:05 pm

    The history of the Chinese people in the USA is replete with stories of severe discrimination, including pogroms which saw Chinese communities destroyed and inhabitants killed, discriminatory laws, and laws preventing or limiting their immigration until relatively recent times. I wonder if Americans of Chinese ethnicity spend a lot of time worrying about a return to those days, and also wonder if there are Chinese groups actively persuading them to return to their homeland in China? I am not Chinese, but I suspect that a lot of them would find the idea of China being their homeland quite offensive.

    • mikeo
      November 21, 2013, 4:12 am

      I am half-chinese but born in the UK. My nationality is British, but I’m not really nationalistic about it. There are lots of aspects of my Chinese heritage which are great and which I’m proud of but I don’t feel threatened or personally insulted by people who criticise China’s human-rights record or advocate for Tibetan rights (although my Aunt who lives in Beijing does defend China over these things – using the same sort of whataboutery defence as defenders of Israel). I certainly don’t throw my toys out of the pram and call people racists if they criticise China.

      Many of the Chinese community (even 1st generation) do consider England their home and would be insulted if you suggested a place they had never been was their “homeland”. Mostly they relate to Chinese ethnicity culturally, not nationalistically.

      My grandfather hated the Japanese until the day he died, he was put in a prisoner of war camp and suffered a lot. The Japanese killed 15-20 million Chinese in WW2. I have many Japanese friends and don’t hold them responsible for things which they played no part in…

      • RoHa
        November 21, 2013, 6:13 am

        You are just being sensible. Stop it.

      • lysias
        November 21, 2013, 2:17 pm

        Peter Kosminsky’s Britz is a great TV miniseries about the attitudes toward the UK of British Muslims. (His The Promise is an even better miniseries about the end of the British Mandate in Palestine and Israel today.)

      • irishmoses
        November 22, 2013, 12:18 pm

        I found The Promise on Hulu. We watched the first episode last night. It’s very powerful and seems very balanced so far. I’d say it’s a must see for anyone interested in the I-P conflict.

        Thanks for the tip Lysias.

  16. W.Jones
    November 20, 2013, 10:40 pm

    Speaking of fearmongering:

    Is This Really Happening?
    Obama accedes to Israel’s possible annihilation.
    By Ben Stein

    If that trust [in Iran] turns out to be mistaken, it’s a bad day for Mr. Obama. It’s death for Israel. It’s another Holocaust and the world—except for France—is standing by saying, “Go for it, Iran. We trust you.”

    http://spectator.org/articles/56494/really-happening

    Actually if that trust in Iran turned out to be mistaken, it would be a bad day for Iran too.

    • W.Jones
      November 20, 2013, 10:51 pm

      Stein writes:

      I really cannot believe what I am seeing in the news about the U.S. and Iran. In 2013, less than 70 years after the end of the Hitler regime in Europe that killed half of all of the Jews in the world, roughly half of the Jews in the world are threatened with annihilation again—and the U.S. administration is not only going along with it, but cheering on the possibility.

      • lysias
        November 21, 2013, 2:13 pm

        “Less than 70 years” is supposed to be a short period of time? I wonder whether I, as an Irish-American, ought still to fear the return of Cromwell and the repetition of the Potato Famine, and when it would become unreasonable for me to indulge in such fears.

  17. ckg
    November 21, 2013, 12:21 am

    I don’t think Judaism is alone in America by alienating its progressive youth. Most American religions are increasingly being defined by their conservative adherents. Rather than joining the fight for the framing of their faiths, most of the alienated conveniently withdraw into the secular, abandoning the religious standards to the ever more extreme. We are long past tipping points.

  18. Citizen
    November 21, 2013, 6:52 am

    Shavit: “I mean, progressive Jewish Americans need Israel, but they need an Israel that they can relate to. So in my mind the settlers are really the most dangerous post-Zionists there are–”

    Phil wrote an article here in January of 2008, pertaining to a discussion on the Charlie Rose show about the power of the Israel Lobby–it included the old joke about Israel preferring to keep its 100 US senators, rather than become just another domestic US state represented by only two senators. And it was stated that the settler movement’s power and influence was rooted here in USA, not in Israel: http://mondoweiss.net/2008/01/charlie-rose-br.html

    I don’t believe in irony anymore.

  19. irishmoses
    November 21, 2013, 12:13 pm

    Could someone please tell me how to use block quotes? The brief note at the bottom of the Post Comment box (“You may use these HTML tags and attributes….”) doesn’t make sense to me.

    You might want to expand that note so dummies like me could understand what to do.

    • Woody Tanaka
      November 21, 2013, 12:32 pm

      “Could someone please tell me how to use block quotes?”

      Sure. Before the section you wish to blockquote, you type:

      <blockquote>

      and after the section, you type:

      </blockquote>

      So typing in:

      <blockquote>This is a test</blockquote>

      … will come up as:

      This is a test

    • miriam6
      November 21, 2013, 12:40 pm

      [email protected];

      You asked about how to use blockquotes.

      Click in this link here ;

      http://www.yourhtmlsource.com/myfirstsite/tagreference.html

      The scroll down to the Text Formatting section which contains instructions on how to block quote. The blockquote is the fourth one down.

      I look forward to reading your first block quoted comment!

    • lysias
      November 21, 2013, 2:08 pm

      It’s hard to explain, because if you type the HTML tags unaltered, they’ll just have the effect they are supposed to have, and alter the formatting, instead of appearing as typed in the text.

      So, when I type “

      ” and “

      “, imagine those being typed without the spaces.

      Before the block quote, type the unspaced “

      “, and after it type the unspaced “

      “.

      • lysias
        November 21, 2013, 2:09 pm

        Well, I tried to explain, but my altering of the HTML tags still messed up the formatting. Just goes to show how hard it is to explain what to do with those HTML tags.

    • tree
      November 21, 2013, 3:32 pm

      (blockquote) text (/blockquote)

      but substitute left caret and right caret for ( and )

      for italics its (i) text to be italicized(/i) and for bold text its (b) text to be bolded(/b)
      again substituting left caret and right caret for ( and )

      See here if I haven’t made it clear enough:

      http://html5doctor.com/blockquote-q-cite/

  20. eljay
    November 21, 2013, 12:24 pm

    >> Could someone please tell me how to use block quotes?

    <blockquote> your text </blockquote>

    You can look up HTML tags here.

  21. marc b.
    November 21, 2013, 3:57 pm

    let me see

    it looks like you need to use the pointy quote blocks not the () things.

  22. marc b.
    November 21, 2013, 3:58 pm

    (blockquote)let me see again(/blockquote)

  23. irishmoses
    November 21, 2013, 4:25 pm

    Let’s see if this works:

    George Washington said:

    Now is the time for all good men

    Bingo! It worked.

    Thanks Tree.

  24. irishmoses
    November 22, 2013, 11:37 am

    Wow, what a response:

    Thanks to you all

    • miriam6
      November 23, 2013, 12:02 am

      [email protected];

      Cool!

      Your second (?) blockquote!

      Marvellous!

      Tree and Eljay get a gold star each for offering the most succinct teaching advice – methinks.

      Happy future block quoting to irishmoses and MY1!

  25. Citizen
    November 22, 2013, 4:32 pm

    According to this American Zionist Jewish article, the problem with Shavit is he blames George Bush Jr for attacking Iraq, not targeting Iran, thereby using up the American people’s supply of war fervor on the wrong, along with the Israeli settlers. http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/11/22/the-making-of-a-new-york-times-pundit/

  26. yonah fredman
    November 23, 2013, 12:35 pm

    I think it is clear that the danger to American Jews to which Shavit is alluding is not physical but “group continuity”.

    In trying to assess what it takes for a small group to survive in America, while trying to shed their religion, the odds in fact seem very large. The Orthodox may be wrong on many subjects, but they are right about one thing: It’s not the Jews that kept the Shabbat, but the Shabbat that kept the Jews.

    There are elements to Jewish culture that can be maintained without religion, but they are few and a thin reed to base long range “group survival” upon. First is language. Educated people emphasize languages such as Greek, Latin, French and German in order to maintain their status as educated people. Today global Americans might study Mandarin to be prepared for the role China will play in the future. Locally oriented Americans should study Spanish to prepare for the influx of Spanish immigrants that will surely continue. Jews who are concerned with continuity should study Hebrew. (Yiddish is certainly a language that strengthens connections with things Jewish, but because it does not open the student to the religious texts and because most Yiddish speakers today are religious, Yiddish’s heyday is mostly in the past, rather than in the future, so since I am discussing group continuity I choose Hebrew over Yiddish.)

    But the other elements of group survival that come to mind are merely dilutions of the religion. For example when compiling a list of books that are a major part of Jewish culture, I would emphasize: the Hebrew Bible (and the Midrash) plus Talmud and Halacha. Whereas a list of Bellow, Malamud, Kafka and Roth are key to any educated secular Jew, when I include the Brothers Singer (Isaac Bashevis and his older brother Israel Joseph) it is not only because they wrote in Yiddish, but because many (or most) of their stories revolve around characters for whom the religion was their lifeblood (if only as the target of their rebellion.)

    Behavior on holidays and holy days also is religious in its essence. Avoiding Christmas trees and nativity scenes and crucifixes. Participating in Passover Seders and lighting candles on Friday night. These are the stuff of the nonOrthodox Jewish movements. And they are weak planks vis a vis group survival.

    I have no bold assertions for what it would take for the Jews in America to survive as a group into the future without the religion. I’m sure that others here who were raised away from orthodoxy might have other suggestions. Certainly there is no way to avoid the future and with the advent of the internet even the ultra orthodox are in closer contact with an “outside” culture than ever before.

    On those who see something “wrong” with the desire to maintain this group continuity, I say- balderdash. The old style of Americanism that viewed America as a melting pot is not the current style of Americanism that respects diversity. Few (if any) progressives sign on to the idea of making English the official language in order to discourage the speaking of Spanish. We respect the past and the connections which immigrants from the south of the US have to those they left behind. Obviously the Spanish speakers do not need to fear their group continuity and their use of the language of their mother tongue is more organic than the attempts by Jews to maintain their culture. Yet, if diversity is respected in terms of groups other than Jews, diversity should be respected in terms of the Jews as well.

    • American
      November 23, 2013, 1:13 pm

      “”The old style of Americanism that viewed America as a melting pot is not the current style of Americanism that respects diversity””

      umm,umm…you such a fool.
      The ‘melting pot’ of the ‘differents’ is what made ‘respect for diversity’ possible…the old all for 0ne and one for all that people like you cant grasp exactly because of your ethnic tunnel vision.
      When that concept is gone buddy, the all tribes will be dog meat in the fray.
      We arent too far from that now.

      • yonah fredman
        November 24, 2013, 7:46 am

        American- Maybe I am reflecting the place I live in America: Brooklyn, which is a melting pot, in terms of diverse populations and “all tribes will be dog meat” is totally not in the spirit of Brooklyn. Maybe I’m talking Brooklyn and not America. I don’t know.

  27. irishmoses
    November 23, 2013, 3:48 pm

    Yonah:

    On those who see something “wrong” with the desire to maintain this group continuity, I say- balderdash. The old style of Americanism that viewed America as a melting pot is not the current style of Americanism that respects diversity.

    Respecting diversity doesn’t equate with the abandoning of the American melting pot. Assimilation is one of our great strengths. While we can respect diverse cultures, religions, etc., it is assimilation that has allowed us to inculcate our values, language, and customs across so many diverse groups. We certainly don’t do this perfectly, but it has allowed us to break down some of the class/culture/ethnic differences and conflicts that plague a lot of other democratic countries. The whole melting pot process has allowed Jews to thrive in this country because they were seen as just another one of the many diverse groups that make up the stew of what we call “Americans”.

    Ironically, Shavit may have inadvertently put his finger on a real potential danger to American Jews if he in fact was alluding to the danger of Jews losing their “group continuity”. I think the Jewish religion-based group identity you are referring to has undergone a massive change in this country since the mid-1960s and has morphed into a modern Jewish-Zionist group identity that identifies American Jews closely with Israel. That change could pose a danger to Jews if it takes them out of the American melting pot and into a separate category somehow special and distinct from the rest of us still in the pot.

    It is one thing for American Jews to be a part of the American melting pot, as were Jews through the 1950s. Those Jews enlisted and fought in World War II in numbers far above their percentage in the overall population. Those Jews fought (and a few died) in huge numbers in our civil rights struggle. Those Jews were clearly inside our melting pot enhancing the American stew.

    It is quite another thing for American Jews to create (or have foisted upon them) a new Jewish group identity that identifies Jews as resident-citizens in America but with a true homeland in another country. This new Jewish group identity encourages their sons and daughters to serve in the Israeli army while enlisting at very low percentages in the American military during a time melting pot Americans are fighting two separate wars. This relatively recent Jewish group identity has spawned organizations like Birthright Israel (1999), and a pro-Israel version of Hillel (1988) whose motto is “Wherever I stand, I stand with Israel”. It is a Jewish group identity that permits attacks on American college students and professors who voice reasonable criticism about the policies of a foreign government in the apparent belief that our First Amendment should not apply to those who criticize one particular foreign country, Israel. It is a Jewish group identity that provides tax-free support to the creation of illegal, Jews-only settlements outside of Israel’s proper borders. It is a Jewish group identity that apparently sees nothing wrong in having a powerful lobby whose sole purpose is to promote and protect the interests of a foreign country, often at the expense of the interests of this country, while corrupting this country’s legislative branch.

    This relatively new, Israel-centric Jewish group identity, which now identifies itself as outside the American melting pot, and more and more shows disdain for this country’s interests and values, could well pose a danger to Jews in this country.

    This is nothing inherently wrong in attempting to maintain a specific group identity in this country so long as the policies and practices of that group are consistent with this country’s laws and values. For instance, genital mutilation of young females is obviously a practice that cannot be justified and condoned on the grounds of protecting our cultural diversity. Jews are certainly entitled to attempt to maintain their own Jewish religo/cultural identity, but if it is being done largely to cement a permanent connection between American Jews and Israel then it needs to be examined to see whether that is a healthy goal consistent with this country’s values.

    A caveat or two: I am speaking hear in broad generalities that I believe are largely accurate. However, I am not putting all Jews into the same categories, nor am I accusing American Jews of disloyalty. My main goal is to suggest that Zionism and all its excesses seems to have taken over Judaism and that maybe Jews should take a step back and ask whether that’s really what they intended. In terms of American Jews, maybe they should also reflect on whether their Judaism or Jewish self identity should be so closely attached to Zionism and Israel.

    Difficult questions that Shavit’s Lydda, 1948 article has really brought out of the shadows.

    • MRW
      November 24, 2013, 8:32 am

      I agree with you, Irishmoss,

      This relatively new, Israel-centric Jewish group identity, which now identifies itself as outside the American melting pot, and more and more shows disdain for this country’s interests and values, could well pose a danger to Jews in this country.

      And become a self-fulfilling prophesy. This was what happened in so many other societies before and led to their ouster, which was characterized as persecution.

      American wrote a great post about it here. He quoted from The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History, 2nd Edition by Paul R. Mendes-Flohr, Professor Jehuda Reinharz.

      After the French Revolution the Jews in France wanted to be given a couple of provinces (Provence was one) and a right to be left alone to run themselves within the country without participating in the broader society or being subject to its laws; the rabbis wanted to control the two provinces, and collect taxes for the emperor. The French National Assembly (or whatever it was called) objected, and one noble said:

      “All deliberations on the obvious fact that the rights of citizens granted to the Jews appertain to the Jew’ qua individual’ and not to the Jews ‘qua nation’. Presumably it is the Jew qua member of the Jewish nation who bears all the egregious qualities that evoke the Frenchman’s fears.”

      And this:

      It is intolerable that the Jews should become a separate political formation or class in the country. Every one of them must individually become a citizen; if they do not want this, they must inform us and we shall then be compelled to expel them. The existence of a nation within a nation is unacceptable to our country.

      I’d say this last paragraph sums up how Americans feel about any group seeking to do this here, except for the Indians, who were here first.

      • irishmoses
        November 24, 2013, 4:56 pm

        MRW:

        After the French Revolution the Jews in France wanted to be given a couple of provinces (Provence was one) and a right to be left alone to run themselves within the country without participating in the broader society or being subject to its laws; the rabbis wanted to control the two provinces, and collect taxes for the emperor

        Very interesting book, I read about 70 pages of the part posted.

        link to books.google.com
        The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History, 2nd Edition
        By Paul R. Mendes-Flohr, Professor Jehuda Reinharz

        Are there other books that deal with religious/ethnic groups that strive for separate societies or nations? Mormons seem to be one example. This suggests that the pogroms were not the only motivation for Zionism, and that Jews may have sought an exclusive society well before the 1890s. The question is whether they were seeking it to avoid violence or for other reasons. Interesting topic.

        The thread you linked to (http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/its-time-for-the-media-to-talk-about-zionism.html#comment-520671) is absolutely fascinating, maybe one of the best MW threads ever. A real must-read.

  28. James Canning
    November 23, 2013, 4:02 pm

    I agree with Irishmoss: American melting pot is going strong. Anyone who watches HGTV in the US knows this.

    • irishmoses
      November 24, 2013, 10:13 am

      James Canning said:

      I agree with Irishmoss

      “Irishmoss”? I gather, James, you no longer consider me a rolling stone.

  29. RoHa
    November 23, 2013, 10:09 pm

    “In trying to assess what it takes for a small group to survive in America, while trying to shed their religion, the odds in fact seem very large. ”

    If members of the group do not interested enough to make the requisite effort to maintain it, then it will vanish. And so what?

    “Few (if any) progressives sign on to the idea of making English the official language in order to discourage the speaking of Spanish.”

    But if they do not insist that the children of the immigrants learn to speak English at native speaker level, they are effectively denying those children the right to participate in the highest levels of American society.

    • MRW
      November 24, 2013, 8:38 am

      They need both. English is the official language, or at least I thought it was. But, in my opinion, every kid in this country should not be able to graduate without being able to read, write, and speak: English, Spanish (or another romance language), and Mandarin (or another pictographic language). At a bare minimum. Norway insists on four languages for high-school graduation.

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