NYT obit of rabbi left out his urging Sharon: ‘Very simply, wipe them out’

Israel/Palestine
David Hartman

The late Rabbi David Hartman, photo at the Hartman Institute site, by David Rubinger

A couple of weeks ago the Presbyterian church published an important report on the conflict, titled, “Zionism Unsettled” that says that the ideology of Zionism must be taken on in order to resolve the conflict. “The fundamental assumption of this study is that no exceptionalist claims can be justified in our interconnected, pluralistic world.”

The report includes some shocking quotes from the late Rabbi David Hartman, which appeared in the Washington Post in March 1, 2002, at the height of the Second Intifada, when he urged Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to be more brutal:

“Which population in the world would allow itself to be intimidated and terrified as this whole population is, where you can’t send your kid out for a pizza at night without fear he’ll be blown up?” said David Hartman, a rabbi and philosopher who runs a think tank in Jerusalem. “The frustration is, ‘Sharon, we thought you’d show our power.”
“Let’s really let them understand what the implication of their actions is. . . . Very simply, wipe them out. Level them.”

Hartman died a year ago. He had high status in the American Jewish community. He founded the Hartman Institute, which has a liberal Orthodox reputation; his son Donniel now heads the institute and speaks at J Street (and says Israel lives in a “difficult, crappy neighborhood”).

Here is Jodi Rudoren’s obituary for David Hartman in The New York Times from last February: “Rabbi David Hartman, Champion of an Adaptive Judaism, Dies at 81.” These excerpts characterize the admiring nature of the piece:

A charismatic teacher and prolific author, he encouraged students to question tradition and urged people of different backgrounds and ideologies to pore over Jewish texts together, a practice more common in his native United States than his adopted country.

“At the center of his thinking was a kind of counter-religious idea, where religious life is a life of affirmation, not a life of denial,” said Moshe Halbertal, a professor of philosophy at Hebrew University and Rabbi Hartman’s former son-in-law. “If human life is not denied by the force of revelation, but it’s actually a participant in revelation, then human life has to come to its full fledge, with its moral convictions, with its encounter with the world.”..

“He was a public philosopher for the Jewish people,” said Michael J. Sandel, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard who has written about Rabbi Hartman’s work. “As Maimonides drew Aristotle into conversation with Moses and Rabbi Akiva, so Hartman renovated Jewish thought by bringing the liberal sensibilities to bear on Talmudic argument.”

Jonathan D. Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, described the Hartman Institute as “a little island of pluralism amidst a sea of what was often religious fanaticism,” but noted that “he had to establish his own institutions precisely because, unlike Soloveitchik, he was not really welcomed” by Israel’s religious establishment.

The obituary includes one comment about Palestinians:

What is happening today with religion is more dangerous than what’s happening with the Arabs — the Arabs want to kill my body, the Jews are killing my soul,” Rabbi Hartman said in a 2011 interview with the Israeli daily Yediot Aharanot.

But that’s all. And so: The Presbyterian Church feels that Americans should know about Hartman’s exterminationist recommendations to Ariel Sharon, but the New York Times ignores them. Imagine a Palestinian making such a recommendation — how his obituary would read.

The average American who relies on the American mainstream press is not getting anywhere near an accurate picture of what Israel is in 2014. Most Americans don’t have a lot of hours every day to search out the truth about Israel on alternate websites and European sites. They rely on the media, understandably, and they’re consistently being misled. This is why Max Blumenthal’s book is indispensable: it’s a long and detailed, and necessary, corrective to the warped perspective in the press.

P.S. The Times of Israel has attempted to defend Hartman from the quotation in the Presybterian church’s report.

[The report] claims that liberal Orthodox educator Rabbi David Hartman advocated the wholesale slaughter of Palestinians: “’Let’s really let them understand what the implication of their action is,’ he said of the Palestinians. ‘Very simply, wipe them out. Level them.’”

But a glance at the 2002 Washington Post article from which the quote was taken makes it obvious that Hartman was talking about Palestinian terrorists, not the civilian population at large, as “Zionism Unsettled” wrote.

Here is the fuller context to Hartman’s comments in the Post article:

Three options [of Israeli response to the Second Intifada] are mentioned most often.
One is to intensify attacks on Palestinians. Within Sharon’s hardline Likud party, and among many centrist Israelis as well, there is broad support for escalation, no matter what the diplomatic consequences for Israel or the likelihood of casualties.
A number of senior military officials have also been pressing for tougher action on the ground, including deep invasions of Palestinian-held territory, to arrest suspected militants and break up what Israelis call the “terrorist infrastructure.” The assaults Thursday on refugee camps in Jenin and Nablus fit into that perspective. Backing for such a strategy is widespread among not only hawkish politicians but also some of Israel’s leading intellectuals.
“Which population in the world would allow itself to be intimidated and terrified as this whole population is, where you can’t send your kid out for a pizza at night without fear he’ll be blown up?” said David Hartman, a rabbi and philosopher who runs a think tank in Jerusalem. “The frustration is, ‘Sharon, we thought you’d show our power.”
“Let’s really let them understand what the implication of their actions is. . . . Very simply, wipe them out. Level them.”

Donald Johnson points out: Personally I don’t think Hartman literally meant exterminate all the Palestinians either–I think he was urging the usual Israeli tactic, where they use indiscriminate firepower without caring who dies. It’s exterminationist rhetoric, but what I think he actually meant was “bomb and shell and kill and don’t worry about the civilians and show them who is boss” and not literally “kill all of them”. In other words, he was advocating war crimes, the sort of thing Sharon was famous for and he’s disappointed that it hasn’t been done on the scale he’d like to see, though of course more Palestinians than Israelis were dying all along. It wouldn’t occur to the great philosopher that Palestinians would have more provocation for urging Arafat to “wipe them out. Level them”. The Presbyterian study guide got it right. Hartman doesn’t use the word “terrorists”. And even if he did, Israelis always claim they are killing “terrorists” when they start bombing. Hartman was urging Sharon–Sharon–to be more brutal.

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79 Responses

  1. hophmi
    February 14, 2014, 10:30 am

    “I think he was urging the usual Israeli tactic, where they use indiscriminate firepower without caring who dies.”

    No, he wasn’t. He was talking about Palestinian militants, the people who perpetrate terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and carry arms.

    “The Presbyterian study guide got it right.”

    No, it didn’t. It simply took his quote out of context.

    • Cliff
      February 14, 2014, 1:15 pm

      Your apartheid colonial army kills 10 times the number of children. 5 times the number of civilians in general.

      The Jewish State has always butchered more Palestinian civilians and children and wreaked terror and havoc on that society and societal infrastructure – than the Palestinian terrorists have against the Israelis.

      So it makes more sense that he was urging the use of the Israeli tactic and philosophy of terror and destruction.

    • Hostage
      February 14, 2014, 3:24 pm

      “The Presbyterian study guide got it right.”

      No, it didn’t. It simply took his quote out of context.

      He was still advocating a war crime. I’ve commented on several occasions that two wrongs don’t make a right and that neither side can legally justify attacks on civilians as reprisals on the basis that the other side has targeted civilians. None of the international criminal tribunals accept tu quoque arguments or allegations as a valid defense against criminal prosecution.

    • talknic
      February 15, 2014, 7:15 am

      @ hophmi “He was talking about Palestinian militants..”

      Irrelevant. It is illegal to declare that no quarter will be given. I.e., you can’t even say it, let alone carry it out.

      ” the people who perpetrate terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and carry arms.”

      Strange, the IDF memorial site tells us MORE Israeli military have been targeted, injured and killed than Israeli civilians.

      Furthermore, in a war there is collateral on BOTH sides. Successive f&*^wit Israeli governments have PURPOSEFULLY placed Israeli civilians in danger by encouraging and assisting them to illegally settle in Occupied Territories, contrary to the GCs which were adopted to protect ALL civilians including the citizens of the Occupying Power from becoming collateral.

      What sort of a moronic government purposefully endangers its own citizens and what sort of morons support them?

  2. Hostage
    February 14, 2014, 10:51 am

    “The frustration is, ‘Sharon, we thought you’d show our power.”
    “Let’s really let them understand what the implication of their actions is. . . . Very simply, wipe them out. Level them.”

    Donald Johnson points out: Personally I don’t think Hartman literally meant exterminate all the Palestinians either–I think he was urging the usual Israeli tactic, where they use indiscriminate firepower without caring who dies.

    It’s fascinating to talk about “them” as if governments can accurately identify the responsible parties. But that’s seldom the case.

    Even if you are targeting combatants, it’s a crime to carry out a massacre. You have to allow for the possibility of surrender and taking persons into custody if they decide to lay down their arms or have no means of defense. Article 23 of the Hague rules explain that “it is especially forbidden” …” To declare that no quarter will be given.” — link to avalon.law.yale.edu

  3. David Samel
    February 14, 2014, 11:04 am

    Personally I don’t think Hartman literally meant exterminate all the Palestinians either–I think he was urging the usual Israeli tactic, where they use indiscriminate firepower without caring who dies. It’s exterminationist rhetoric, but what I think he actually meant was “bomb and shell and kill and don’t worry about the civilians and show them who is boss” and not literally “kill all of them”.

    Donald, I think that’s a most succinct and accurate description of not only Hartman’s suggestion, but Israeli policy on innumerable occasions. It serves both offensive and defensive purposes. First, it visits indiscriminate punishment on Palestinian (and sometimes Lebanese) civilians in the reprehensible (and unrealistic) hope that surviving civilians will blame Hamas or Hezbollah, etc., rather than Israel, for their misery, and will exert pressure on those organizations to stand down. Second, it allows Israel to deflect blame by claiming that it is aiming at terrorists who are cowardly hiding among civilians. Israel also creates a false duality in which it is either legitimately targeting terrorists or intentionally seeking to maximize civilian casualties; since it could have killed more, it must be entirely free from fault. This is what happened in Lebanon in 2006, Gaza in 2008-2009, and many other times. Israel coldly calculates how many corpses it can get away with. The Goldstone Report showed that it was reaching the limits of the international community’s tolerance in 2009. In 2002, Hartman was merely recommending that the number be raised.

    • Donald
      February 15, 2014, 9:54 am

      David– Very good summary. The claim that they are innocent because they could have killed more is particularly ingenious–of course by that logic, there are very few governments that couldn’t absolve themselves of human rights violations.

  4. American
    February 14, 2014, 11:19 am

    “The fundamental assumption of this study is that no exceptionalist claims can be justified in our interconnected, pluralistic world.”

    Thats the crux of it all.
    I do not think that Israel/Zionism can maintain the exceptional claim forever.
    What will happen when its worn out and gone?….thats all its had to trade on.
    Even with the political money they have pumped into buying government’s politicians they still had to have that exceptional claim for the politicians to be able to cover themselves in their sell outs.

  5. amigo
    February 14, 2014, 11:19 am

    I am a non practicing Catholic with very little respect for where my religious leaders have lead their congregation but I have never heard any of my religious leaders spouting such blatant hatred and incitement.

    And this racist so called religious man does this with impunity at least on this planet.I hope he is in hell, atoning for his sins.

  6. thetruthhurts
    February 14, 2014, 11:30 am

    “israel lives in a crappy neighborhood” yup, that’s what happens when the effluence flows in.

  7. seafoid
    February 14, 2014, 11:56 am

    Look where wipe them out IDF nihilism has left Israel. Hezbollah was the result in Lebanon. Gaza is still there, a stain on Hasbara. Hartman and son are a warning of the dangers of mixing religion and warmaking.
    Israel has failed because Judaism doesn’t do power competently.

  8. Krusty
    February 14, 2014, 12:00 pm

    “The average American who relies on the American mainstream press is not getting anywhere near an accurate picture of what Israel is in 2014. Most Americans don’t have a lot of hours every day to search out the truth about Israel on alternate websites and European sites. They rely on the media, understandably, and they’re consistently being misled. This is why Max Blumenthal’s book is indispensable: it’s a long and detailed, and necessary, corrective to the warped perspective in the press.”

    An honest question: do the Authors understand how this comment could be construed as anti-Semitic?

    The idea that there is a mainstream proclivity to block out anti-Israeli screeds touches upon the old Jewish Media Control anti-Semitic slur. It also flies in the face of common sense, when Tom Friedman has been castigating the Israeli government of late, Omar Baghouti received space in the Times, and BDS + the Occupation have received far more mainstream media traction in the last month as a result of SodaStream/ScarJo than they did in the previous 8 years combined.

    There’s a legitimate argument which I support against expanding West Bank settlements. Palestinians deserve a state. Hartmann’s mendacious recommendation should have been mentioned in the obit but instead Hartmann (an influential voice) is painted as a Labour-supporter and peacenik likely because it may help stir some support for that cause.

    Arguing that there is a mainstream media blackout (particularly considering the connotations and where most minds immediately go), even when there is a quote which should have been mentioned, is reckless, feckless and generally self-delegitmizing. Attack specifically, not so broadly.

    • seafoid
      February 14, 2014, 1:12 pm

      There is a media blackout. Brecht spent years showing people that what happens all the time doesn’t happen by accident. The tragedy of Judaism today is that Zionism conforms to so many of the old tropes.

    • Donald
      February 14, 2014, 2:10 pm

      Interesting response krusty but I disagree. Unfortunately I’ve also come down with something, and am going to crawl back to bed. Maybe some others will respond.

      Apologies to others as well, as I’d like to respond to some of the other comments.

    • marc b.
      February 14, 2014, 3:46 pm

      that’s preposterous. the effect of the ‘media’ is broad and collective. it’s you who’s inverted the calculus. the two examples you provide that a rigorous, open, objective debate exists even undermine your argument. friedman’s recent castigation of the GOI doesn’t represent a fundamental criticism of Israeli interests (the maintenance of Jewish prerogative in Israel and effective control of the OT), it’s a tactical maneuver in response to recent minor, but worrisome PR successes of BDS. and how does his light, tactical criticism stack up against decades of war drum beating? it’s the sheer volume of his stenography and piss poor analysis that’s significant, not his belated, superficial wink to decades of objectively bad conduct by the Israelis. as for Barghouti, that’s the exception that illustrates the rule as you prove yourself. (so BDS has received more attention in the last month than in the prior 8 years? how does that support your position that there is no filter, internally imposed or otherwise? it took some imbroglio over a starlet’s whoring to bring BDS into the public’s consciousness.) with all due respect to seafoid, it’s a strawman argument that there is a ‘media blackout’, suggesting complete censorship of a particular viewpoint. that’s not how commercial news and neoliberalism work. there was a media study conducted after the first gulf war I believe, and it concluded that there was an absolute negative correlation between the number of hours of TV news watched, and objective knowledge of facts on the ground, not that the objective facts went completely unreported, but that the nonsense narrative of the DoD and others was overwhelmingly represented in MSM news coverage. so, for example, most people can now regurgitate verbatim the MSM talking points about the ‘Iranian nuclear weapons program’, which is repeatedly referred to, but yet does not exist, or recite evidence of Saddam Hussein’s connection to 9-11, also fictional.

    • HRK
      February 14, 2014, 6:10 pm

      Krusty,

      It’s not uncommon for people to be biased (consciously or otherwise) toward their own ethnic interests, particularly when their ethnic identity is strongly held. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot: If all of the Jewish reporters/editors/advertisers/subscribers of the NYT and other major American media sources were replaced with Palestinian Americans, do you think that the reporting on this subject would be the same or different? If different, in which direction from the today’s status quo: pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian? To me, the answer is so crazy-obvious it’s almost funny even to ask the question.

    • Donald
      February 15, 2014, 11:01 am

      “An honest question: do the Authors understand how this comment could be construed as anti-Semitic?”

      Good lord, that never occurred to anyone. In all the years people have been writing and commenting here, the notion that criticism of press bias could be construed as antisemitic–well, who would have seen that coming?

      Seriously, of course people understand that any criticism of Israel or of pro-Israeli bias in the press or of AIPAC will be construed as antisemitism. The “respectable” position in the US is this–Zionism was a noble cause and Israel was conceived as a democratic Jewish state , but they went off track after 1967 with the settlement policy. People who pointed out that Israel was in many respects a settler colonial state and the settlement policy was a natural extension of what created Israel in the first place were kept out of the discussion. The NYT sometimes implied that people with such views were leftist European anti-semites, but they almost never allowed their readers to see such views firsthand. The one exception was that they would print, once in a long while, the work of Edward Said. But he could be dismissed as, you know, Palestinian and “controversial”.

      But that’s changing. In recent years the NYT has opened up , because of the Internet and also because of people like Jimmy Carter and Walt and Mearsheimer.
      With the internet the NYT has lost its power as a gatekeeper. Twenty years ago if you wanted to read something critical of Zionism, not just post 67 Israeli policy, you could go to a bookstore and buy something by Said, Finkelstein, Chomsky, Hirst, or Robert Fisk, if you were lucky and the bookstore happened to carry something by those authors. Your local library might or might not carry such books. Or you could read far left magazines, which might occasionally carry something that stepped outside the mainstream consensus. At any rate, such views were marginalized, and yes, I think that was the intent. That’s how politics works, you know, and not just with the I/P conflict. People try to make views they oppose seem bizarre and outside the limits of what any sensible person could believe.

      But the NYT seems to be smart enough to realize they can’t play the role of gatekeeper anymore. So yes, Omar Barghouti got a column. And today Mark Oppenheimer wrote a piece about religious Jews who are anti-Zionist. Your Thomas Friedman example is less relevant, because what that illustrates is that liberal Zionists are terrified that the Israeli right is going to lead Israel off a cliff.

  9. Cliff
    February 14, 2014, 12:03 pm

    The NYT is the Israeli Pravda, except HERE in the United States of AMERICA.

    Why? Because Zionism/Jewish colonialism is dependent on the powerful nations of the world for support.

    American Zionist Jews write the NYT when it comes to Israel and they write FOR OTHER American Zionist Jews.

    That is their audience. Not non-Jews like me who couldn’t care less about Israel.

    • DaBakr
      February 14, 2014, 3:05 pm

      “NYT is the Israeli Pravda”

      Hysterical. Except if you ever bothered to read what pro-Israel pro-Zionists have to say about the times. The NYT is UNIVERSALLY condemned by both pro-Palestinian, pro-BDS and pro-Zionist, pro-Israeli groups and individuals as being HIGHLY biased in favour of the ‘opposition’. Just two of many examples? Mondoweiss and CAMERA are both equally critical of ‘biased’ NYT coverage.
      While I personally have lost most of the respect I had for the NYT of the past I have to smile when I think-if both sides hate the times so much and are sure its coverage is biased then they must be doing SOMETHING right. Think about that

      • Cliff
        February 14, 2014, 3:56 pm

        No it’s NOT hysterical.

        Your SUPERFICIAL comparison is hysterical.

        It’s the equivalent of saying that both sides in the Israel/Palestine conflict have committed violence. True statement but shallow and not honest.

        A statement can be factually true (‘both sides blah blah’) but dishonest.

        So in the above example, Israel clearly kills more civilians and destroys more civilian infrastructure – by a WIDE MARGIN. And it’s because of the power dynamic.

        Similarly, you and lunatics, like CAMERA, think the NYT isn’t pro-Israel enough.

        That doesn’t mean it’s the honest truth (hinging on the superficial statement that ‘even the pro-Palestinian or pro-Israel side hates the NYT).

        What it means is that CAMERA is a crazy pro-settler organization.

        MW is anti-Zionist or post-Zionist.

        And the NYT is undoubtedly Zionist. So CAMERA (and you) think the NYT should be more Zionist. MW thinks the NYT is just Zionist.

        That’s it. Nothing complex about it. It’s just human nature.

        Now, if you want to get into specifics then do it. Do it, instead of issuing your lameass equivocations.

      • DaBakr
        February 14, 2014, 6:08 pm

        Right. Specifics like….The NYT is pro-Zionist compared to what? PressTV? Mana? AlAhkbar? Okay. I’ll give you that. I will even give you there are radically pro-Zionist rags that are totally anti-Palestinian but they are not the NYT.
        And as far as “the honest truth”? That statement in itself (besides the oxymoron) is ridiculous as nobody that I know of (with any sense of proportion or humour)has the absolute ‘honest’ truth. Its fine if you want to believe that the NYT is “more” pro-Zionist then pro-Palestinian but you wont win any debates with logic like that. You will find plenty of average middlebrow Jews who will tell you that the NYT is ‘more’ pro-Palestinian. So Im not going to go over camera’s extensive report since you believe they are are bunch of “lunatics” anyway. Suffice to say, the feeling from them may be mutual. And THAT (yes, capitals, m.b.) was my point to begin with.

        And MB-you want to quibble with the colloquialism that when two radically opposed pov’s both agree on mutually exclusive pov’s, I will cede to you that with out any sense of humour about things yes- you could technically be right. Its just a fact that both sides hate the times. End of discussion. Sheesh. What a small point to address anyway.

      • Cliff
        February 15, 2014, 12:26 pm

        And as far as “the honest truth”? That statement in itself (besides the oxymoron) is ridiculous as nobody that I know of (with any sense of proportion or humour)has the absolute ‘honest’ truth.

        Something can be true but dishonest.

        I gave an example: saying both sides in the Israel/Palestine conflict have killed civilians.

        True but dishonest. Israel kills 10 times more children and 5 times more civilians (from the 2nd Intifada until 2007; doesn’t take into account Cast Lead). The general point is that Israel kills way more civilians and destroys way more civilian infrastructure.

        Since you cite CAMERA and since you are posing these superficial comparisons, then of course you won’t be able to understand how something can be true but dishonest.

        That is what I mean by the HONEST truth. The honest truth is truth with context and substantiation.

        The NYT is Zionist. It’s main Israel/Palestine-issue writers are Zionist or Israeli or have ties to Israeli society or have kids in the IDF or sat on settler organization board of directors/committees. Or blah blah blah.

        This is not some contentious issue except among the crazy right-wing pro-settler organizations like CAMERA or StandWithUs.

        You refer to ‘middle brow Jews’ who think the NYT is pro-Palestinian. Who are they? Did you personally do a report on the subject? What historical context is there that can legitimately support your conjecture?

        None. Total bullshit once again. You are Zionist. Your ethnoreligious community is largely Zionist (or loudly Zionist) – and in America, Zionists often try to out-hate the Palestinians among one another.

        I’m sure we can shift the political spectrum to change what constitutes ‘middle brow’ too. Everything is essentially subjective. There is no morality. Killing disabled, blind, babies could be justified as well according to your logic.

      • Hostage
        February 15, 2014, 12:43 pm

        The NYT is pro-Zionist compared to what?

        For starters, in comparison to it’s own coverage during the Mandate era and prior to the Six Day War. Today most of its regular authors are Jewish and they routinely incorporate Zionist ideological talking points in their columns. That didn’t used to be the case. Geez, your use of pilpul to try and reframe the issue is really infantile.

      • ritzl
        February 15, 2014, 5:15 pm

        @Cliff- There is an old saying that “Statistics never lie, but statisticians do.”

        Great points.

      • marc b.
        February 14, 2014, 3:57 pm

        no, the assumption that two opposing groups are ‘equally critical’ of NYT coverage does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that it must be doing SOMETHING right. (what is it with these screechers and the CAPS obsession?) for argument’s sake, it’s only evidence that they are both critical of NYT coverage, in equal measure. that’s it. end of logic lesson.

  10. lyn117
    February 14, 2014, 12:05 pm

    In the second intifada Israelis were firing right & left at Palestinian civilians months before Palestinian militants began sending bombers into Israel.

    In other words, the whole Palestinian population could not send its kids out without fear of being shot and killed, long before the reprisal suicide bombings (I’m not trying to justify them). They are the ones being intimidated. If Hartman thinks that Arabs are trying to kill all Jews (“wipe them out”), which he probably did, then his call to wipe out the Palestinians is basically the same thing. I.e., I think he did literally mean to say exterminate the Palestinians.

  11. Sumud
    February 14, 2014, 12:18 pm

    Recall that for every 1 Israeli child that died in the ten years from when the second intifada started, Israel killed more than 10 Palestinian children.

    Recall that over the course of 22 days in Gaza during 2008/2009 Israel killed nearly double the number of Palestinians as Israelis were killed over 15 years of suicide bombings.

    Israeli action in the occupied territories cannot be considered self-defence.

    “Which population in the world would allow itself to be intimidated and terrified as this whole population is, where you can’t send your kid out for a pizza at night without fear he’ll be blown up?”

    “Let’s really let them understand what the implication of their actions is. . . . Very simply, wipe them out. Level them.”

    Hartman is nothing less than a supremacist thug.

  12. thetruthhurts
    February 14, 2014, 12:23 pm

    one of the singular greatest things i’ve ever read on mondoweiss, or anywhere ,about the problem with israel, is “the average american who relies on the american mainstream press is not getting anywhere near an accurate picture of what israel is in 2014. most americans don’t have alot of hours everyday searching out the truth about israel…”
    this is the frontline in the “battle for american minds” in the overall “war” of the palestine/israel catastrophe
    any great and well respected military strategist and historian will tell you the most important tactic in winning a war is to “capture” the minds of the people.
    and, most assuredly, the satanic zionists have done that in america.
    my hat, and everybodys’, who demands truth and justice for the palestinians anywhere, should be off in saluting the brave and courageous stand of the presbyterians against this titanic, seemingly inpenetrable force of the zionist enstrangulated US mass media.
    i just hope it’s not a stand like custer’s.

    • ritzl
      February 14, 2014, 1:18 pm

      Great comment, thetruthhurts. Agree. Going back to the other day, and my comment/opinion about “acceptable avenues” of expression on this issue, the Presbys are leading the way in finding them via their thoroughly deliberative, contemplated, inclusive interfaith, years-long process in assembling and articulating the facts and moral issues.

      Emphatic ditto on “hat’s off” to them.

    • DaBakr
      February 14, 2014, 3:15 pm

      So…when YOU or MW criticize the NYT as being a pro-Israeli mouthpiece its because it is. Its the ‘truth’. But when pro-Israeli/Zionist organizations like CAMERA*, EofZ or others criticize the NYT as being totally biased in favour of the Palestinians or BDS the claim is part of a Zionist conspiracy ? Great reasoning.

      I don’t particularly like the NYT but I certainly can not accuse it of never giving space to either the pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian sides. I am not that obtuse.

      *camera has a long expose and list of many articles they have monitered over the pst year or more where they claim the reporter either editorialized or the op-ed pieces did not give any space for a rebuttal. You can read for yourself if so inclined. I make no judgement wether the NYT is slanted one way or the other but I will make a judgement that BOTH sides in this conflict feel the NYT is entirely slanted towards their opponents. That in itself says a lot.

      • Cliff
        February 14, 2014, 3:44 pm

        CAMERA is total bullshit.

        And yes, people – as in everyone – judge things from their point of view.

        So sure, I bet you Zios and organizations like CAMERA think the NYT is like B’Tselem.

        How about instead of talking about the literally SUPERFICIAL parallels between us and you – just talk about the VALIDITY of the different point of views.

        So yes, the NYT is pro-Israel. The framing of it’s Palestinian narrative plugs is still pro-Israel – except it does give the occasional platform to the Palestinian POV. But then it ‘balances’ it with the pro-Israel voice right away.

        And since it’s by definition, pro-Israel, then that ‘balance’ is pointless. It’s superfluous.

      • Hostage
        February 14, 2014, 6:50 pm

        CAMERA is total bullshit.

        I’ll say. They can’t even publish an honest “About” page:

        CAMERA takes no position with regard to American or Israeli political issues or with regard to ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

        link to camera.org

      • amigo
        February 15, 2014, 11:53 am

        Hostage, here is an example of how wide camera,s position goes.A newspaper in a tiny country like Ireland apparently rates attention.

        “Irish Times: “Leading and Shaping” Public Opinion Against Israel

        A CAMERA Study”

        Read all about it here!!!.

        link to camera.org

      • ritzl
        February 15, 2014, 5:24 pm

        Well, there’s a quintessential spit-take (actual in my case), if there ever was one. “…no position…” Hilarious.

        Thanks for the belly laugh.

      • DaBakr
        February 14, 2014, 8:04 pm

        “camera is BS” What is Ma’an? What is UNHRC? What is Haaretz? PressTV RTtv, The Guardian…all garbage pos rags. BDS is a paid for by EU contributions in the 100s of millions of euros with orginization that has feeder groups like Jewish Voices for Peace and other seemingly ‘credible’ (laughably credible) becasue of their inclusion of the word ‘Jewish’ to spread their hasbara on as many US and Euro college campuses as they can. They have been quite sucessful in some ways and yet their constant complaint is that AIPAC-euphemistically referred to as the ‘Jewish’ lobby does exactly the same thing for its constituents as does BDS and MWeiss. It advocates. It solicites money. Grow up. Of course it is ingrained into the American congress. Americans generally love Israel and israelis love Americans. But no more influence then the REALLY big lobbies-Lawyers pac, the gun pac, Arms pac or the insurance pacs and the big Pharma and Agro pacs.
        The conflict in Israel is never going to be solved by shrill shreiking voices. If anything you help the cause of keeping Israel firmly in control of the territories. In the real world, and regardless of how Israel has accomplished the feat of arming and defending itself from attack-it will not bend to pressure to cede territory without a guarantee that any treaty it signs will be upheld thru political changes in the WB/Gaza, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. Its really as simple as that. What once was a regional conflict between Arab and Israeli is NOT going to be solved by honing in on the victims of both Arab and israeli oppression as the main point that will bring peace. This is why BDS will ulimately fail. You simply can not push or force a people who are barely unified (but who come together immediately in times of crisis) to give up geographic territory that theoretically would be a peaceful border but in light of the ci=urrent ME political scene offers no guarantee that ANYONE-not the US, NATO, the UN (lol) or some combination thereof could control the forces of change that are stirring as we speak.
        Some complaint that israel waited too long to make a deal. I can see how some would see things this way although again-as an implacable foe-the Palestinian leadership is just as guilty. Be that as it is-I don’t see anything except interim agreements for the foreseeable future until the region-including Iran who picked its fight with israel-not the other way around-settles down and into a more predictable routine. Even if that routine includes a nuclear Iran. BDS, to me, is like curing one chiken pox from itching while dozens of others remain inflamed. It might feel morally superior to some that bds addresses some wrongs but it makes no political sense. Machiavelli was not an inherently evil man. Thise ehat have read his work in Italian know there was a tone of irony throughout his Prince. He believed in the Republic as a superior form of governance. His main theme being the distinction between real politics and the ideal in implementation. I don’t know a nation in the ME that is close to being ideal and therfore a solution will almost surely be a combination of reality and some idealism.

        I think the biggest problem I detect with commentary on this MW site is the belief that the solution to the conflict is one that MUST be ideal for the Palestinians and so-frikkin-what about those ‘ frkkn -zionist-nazi-scum’. Isn’t that the gist of the commentary here, sweet as it may sometimes sound? At least thats the overall tone I pick up on when I read comments and threads here. As if the irony of BDS’rs turning the ubiquitous phrase ‘nazi’ on its head to connect it with ‘zionist’. A brilliant idea but utterly stupid tactic.

      • Cliff
        February 15, 2014, 12:31 pm

        @DB

        Yes CAMERA is bullshit. So is StandWithUs, so is the ZoA. So is the ADL. So is AIPAC.

        I’m not going to read all your inane drivel. Just the first few sentences.

        I have a point of view. So do you. So it’s my point of view, that YOUR point of view is bullshit. That the organizations your reference, like CAMERA – are bullshit.

        I am sure you could believe the same for me and the groups I refer too. Go ahead and say the UN is antisemitic and singles poor little Israel out. Go ahead and straw-man BDS as attempting to equate Israel w/ Nazi Germany.

        I acknowledge that you could do those things. I disagree with their validity and veracity (OBVIOUSLY).

        Welcome to the world, where not everyone agrees with you. Got anymore gems of wisdom, Ziobot?

      • Hostage
        February 15, 2014, 12:34 pm

        I think the biggest problem I detect with commentary on this MW site is the belief that the solution to the conflict is one that MUST be ideal for the Palestinians and so-frikkin-what about those ‘ frkkn -zionist-nazi-scum’.

        I think the problem with your comments is that they are shop-worn propaganda talking points. The comments here usually say that the solution to the armed conflict has to comply with the pre-existing rules of international law that states have used since the Nuremberg era to govern their mutual relations. Zionist racial exceptionalism doesn’t comport very well with the laws applicable in the modern era. If that sort of commentary bothers you, no one is forcing you to stay. You sound like you’d be better off commenting in the hasbara echo chamber at Elder of Zyion.

      • Hostage
        February 15, 2014, 1:51 pm

        “camera is BS” What is Ma’an? What is UNHRC? What is Haaretz?

        Since you asked, none of those other entities is a tax-exempt US charitable organization that violates the IRS code by devoting substantial resources to activities that encourage or defend Class A felonies and war crimes. See Activities That Are Illegal Or Contrary To Public Policy link to irs.gov

      • American
        February 15, 2014, 7:49 pm

        DaBakr says:
        February 14, 2014 at 8:04 pm
        >>>>

        Babble, babble babble, bs….AIPAC like any other lobby, Americans love Israel, Iran picked this fight with Israel, cant force Israelis,yadayadayada.
        Read one troll, read ‘em all.
        Old hasbara.

      • Sumud
        February 15, 2014, 10:28 pm

        DaBakr –

        BDS is a paid for by EU contributions in the 100s of millions of euros with orginization that has feeder groups like Jewish Voices for Peace and other seemingly ‘credible’ (laughably credible) becasue of their inclusion of the word ‘Jewish’ to spread their hasbara on as many US and Euro college campuses as they can.

        The EU funds BDS to the tune of 100s of millions does it?

        Pls supply some reliable sources to support this claim.

      • RoHa
        February 15, 2014, 11:52 pm

        CAMRA, on the other hand, is a valuable organization that has done sterling work for the benefit of humanity.

      • Shingo
        February 14, 2014, 7:51 pm

        So…when YOU or MW criticize the NYT as being a pro-Israeli mouthpiece its because it is. Its the ‘truth’.

        It is the truth when they are repeating pro Israeli BS, acting as stenographers for Netenyahu, pushing every lie about Iran nukes, Iraq WMD, pushing for strikes on Syria, reporting about the IP conflict while usually making no mention of the occupation or settlements.

        It is when Jewish reporters are able up malign BDS as anti Semitic, while not even mentioning the fact that Iran and Gaza are under infinitely harsher sanctions or blockade.

        It is when chief editors based in Jerusalem, while having sons serving in the IDF, and still get away with claiming no conflict of interest.

        Add to that the fact that being Jewish appears to be mandatory for the position of chief correspondent from Jerusalem, it’s safe to say they are pro Israel.

        As for CAMERA, the NYT has always buckled to any complaints from CAMERA without question, while brushing off criticisms from Palestinian quarters.

        I don’t particularly like the NYT but I certainly can not accuse it of never giving space to either the pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian sides. I am not that obtuse.

        We get if Hasbarat. So long as the NYT gives space for one pro Palestinian article to every ten pro Israeli screeds, that means they are impartial. Great reasoning.

        camera has a long expose and list of many articles they have monitered over the pst year or more where they claim the reporter either editorialized or the op-ed pieces did not give any space for a rebuttal.

        We have read them, and their complaints are invariably some attack on an article for using a phrase like “occupied” rather than “disputed”. We are also familiar with his CAMERA registers it’s complaints – by mobilizing it’s huge mail out list to flood the NYT’s in boxes with complaints.

        I make no judgement wether the NYT is slanted one way or the other but I will make a judgement that BOTH sides in this conflict feel the NYT is entirely slanted towards their opponents. That in itself says a lot.

        That says nothing. There are crack pots in the US I have spoken to who regards Fox News as liberal. Max Blumenthal has written about Zionists that are so right wing they consider even Jordan to be part of Israel. These crack pots would label Netenyahu are left winger. Does that mean he’s centrist because liberals consider him right wing?

      • ritzl
        February 15, 2014, 5:56 pm

        @Shingo- Didn’t “The Nation” just recently offer up this very defense (at least they responded to the questions as they had to do to maintain their cred as a left-leaning and/or universalist mag) in its rebuttal to to criticisms of multiple Alterman denigrations of Blumenthal and/or their lack of Palestinian voices in the I/P debate? That they had published a [very] few Palestinian-authored articles in the past and therefore considered themselves to be inclusive on this issue.

        I guess my perception/point being that even on “the left” what DaBakr is saying seems to be the accepted/prevailing thought. So thanks to you all, including DaBakr, for exposing the flaws. Again. The/any larger audience needs this.

      • DaBakr
        February 15, 2014, 6:49 pm

        well, Since you say that what I wrote seems to be the accepted norm on both the left and right of the pro-Israeli position and Cliff says that there are both “honest truths” and “dishonest truths” and that everything I cited was a case of “dishonest truth” while Shingo and Hostage claim that it is the absolute ‘truth’ that orgs like Camera and EoZ are total BS while making no mention of the lack of journalistic standards at orgs like Ma’an and even the outrageous subversions of truth that Haaretz has had to apologize or admit to in the past year. I am a little confused about what y’all consider to be important about ‘truth’ I think what your saying is to y’all-truth is only the truth when it supports an anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist and sometimes ant-Jewish position. While truth to me is merely an illusion and its only a “dishonest truth” (George Orwell has NOTHING over you folks here at MW) And Shingo tells me that I should ‘get over’ the fact that my point of view is not respected here and I should go to a place like EoZ to spout off because its obvious that the regulars here want to play in their own sandbox without anybody to bother them with ‘dishonest truth’. I am leaving here with a totally newfound appreciation for clarity and the new anti-Zionist definition of ‘truth’. Welcome to a preview of the world post-Zionism.

        (p.s. please don’t insult your own mediocre mindsets by telling me I should find another ‘hasbara’ gig. I had to look the whole hasbara thing up a few weeks back even though I know exactly what hasbara means in hebrew. If you really belive the IDF pays people who have some free time to read political blogs-i have a bunch of unhappy Palestinian sodastream workers (NOT PA officials pretending to be SS employees) who want to tell you how bad it is working at SS.

      • Hostage
        February 15, 2014, 10:22 pm

        while Shingo and Hostage claim that it is the absolute ‘truth’ that orgs like Camera and EoZ are total BS while making no mention of the lack of journalistic standards at orgs like Ma’an . . .

        You can’t even talk about journalistic standards and CAMERA or EoZ in the same sentence.

        I am leaving here with a totally newfound appreciation for clarity and the new anti-Zionist definition of ‘truth’.

        Please do leave. You have no appreciation for truth if you are citing EoZ or CAMERA as reliable sources.

      • American
        February 14, 2014, 10:16 pm

        CAMERA?..are you serious.
        They are the lowest (and stupidest) thugs on the totem pole.
        They use to have a wanted poster section for college professors that were anti Israel….pure sleeze.

  13. Boomer
    February 14, 2014, 4:44 pm

    I am very impressed by “Zionism Unsettled.” It is very well done, and very welcome. I learned about it here and recently received my copy. As someone who grew up in one of the mainline Protestant denominations (not Presbyterian), I see it as a noteworthy step. A number of Protestant clergy and lay persons have spoken out over the years about the role the U.S. plays in perpetuating the problems in Israel/Palestine. The Quakers and others have done notable work. Even so, the churches–apart from Christian Zionists–have mostly remained wary of getting involved, for the obvious reasons. Perhaps this publication marks a change in that regard.

    I don’t know any of the people involved in producing “Zionism Unsettled,” and I can’t speak for them. But I credit Mondoweiss and other Jewish voices with helping to create space for Americans to speak honestly about this, even those Americans who are not Jewish. I hope that “Zionism Unsettled” reaches a wide audience. (Thus far, from what I see via Google News, it seems to have been mentioned mostly in the Jewish/Israeli press, mostly with negative assessments.)

    As for David Hartman, what I know of him I know from hearing an interview Krista Tippett did with him. It was recently rebroadcast: link to onbeing.org My reaction was mixed. His language and ideas often were elevated, noble, appealing. Yet, when Tippett asked about the Palestinians, his response struck me as muted, muddled, morally and logically inconsistent with the best of his own thought. At the same time, Tippett’s respectful, even deferential attitude seemed typical of the attitude toward Israel assumed by most of Protestant America. I don’t fault her as an interviewer. She does not see her program as a combat like BBC’s “Hard Talk,” and that is fine. She has a different role, and does it well. But it is time for Americans to be less deferential to oppression of Palestinians that is enabled by financial, diplomatic, and military support from the U.S.

  14. yonah fredman
    February 14, 2014, 10:02 pm

    At the height or depth of the intifada, it was quite natural for Jews who lived in Jerusalem or for Jews who felt a strong affinity to the Jews who lived in Jerusalem to express their powerlessness in various ways. Of course Hartman as a leader is not just a Jew, but a leader. But the intifada and its bombing of pizzerias was quite cruel and elicited many emotions some that found expression in speech. Those who had no emotions involved at that moment are hardly in the spot to criticize those whose emotions found expression in speech.

    • The Hasbara Buster
      February 14, 2014, 10:32 pm

      The sadistic blockade of Gaza, in which shoes or clothes have been blocked from the Strip for up to 3 years, is also cruel, and the Gazans’ powerlessness in the face of it also found expression in speech against Israel or, in many cases, the Jews. I don’t see the New York Times understanding the complex psychology of it all. I see the NYT understanding rabbi Hartman, but depicting the occasional antisemitic outbursts of individual Gazans as the product of hate and indoctrination, rather than of Israel’s actions.

    • Cliff
      February 14, 2014, 10:36 pm

      how many pizzerias were bombed

    • seafoid
      February 15, 2014, 1:53 am

      Powerlessness such an interesting victim word. Not happy with 30k gdp per head and all of the land. Supremely confident about their right to holy war, as long as the war is short and none of their nice boys do the dying, . They have never understood the Palestinian issue. They have been strung along by the IDF for so long.

      They were actually powerless to stop the YESHA madness but that is a different kettle of gefilte fish.

      • yonah fredman
        February 15, 2014, 2:26 am

        seafoid- I was talking about the 2nd intifada. If you do not wish to discuss it, then why do you even respond. Oh, yes. You like to hear yourself talk.

      • tree
        February 15, 2014, 3:59 am

        I was talking about the 2nd intifada.

        Well, actually you were making excuses for eliminationist talk by Israeli Jews (and American Jews as well, if they had any “affinity”). Do you do the same thing for Palestinians, who suffered much earlier and much greater powerlessness, death and rampant destruction? A million bullets fired by the IDF in the first month alone, Palestinian cities and towns besieged by tanks and attack helicopters, hundreds killed, most of them non-combatants, months before the first Israeli in a pizzeria had to worry about his safety. All on top of 33 years of belligerent occupation topped by a “peace process” that turned into an Israeli process that only worsened their situation long before the 2nd intifada began. Any sympathy for that kind of “anger” if a Palestinian leader, or even any Palestinian, uttered such words about Israeli Jews? Your excuse making is so profoundly hypocritical, can’t you see?

      • yonah fredman
        February 15, 2014, 6:16 am

        tree- When did you start following the Palestine Israel conflict?

      • tree
        February 15, 2014, 6:29 am

        I had some vague knowledge probably from the late 1990’s. Seriously, from the very start of the 2nd intifada. And my sister was living in Jerusalem at the time.

        It started me reading. I’ve got a whole library of books from all time periods, most of them by Israelis, but also some by Palestinians and some by outside parties. The web isn’t really enough to get the full picture.

      • yonah fredman
        February 15, 2014, 7:00 am

        tree- If Hartman was still alive and I was a journalist, I think it would be appropriate to ask him about the quote and give him a chance to clarify whether he was reacting in the moment, or if he still agreed with the emotions that he was expressing. I do not think that the quote should have been included in his obit.

        I have been following the Middle East conflict intensely since I first went to school in Israel in 72. There have been many low points from my perspective: the Yom Kippur War was the lowest, the Rabin assassination probably second. There have been some low points from my perspective where the victims were not Jewish: Sabra and Shatila, and Baruch Goldstein’s murders are the first that come to mind. I understand that my perspective is one sided for the most part (that I understand Hartman’s reaction and would not accept a similar reaction from a Palestinian). The 2nd intifada was a low point for most Jews who lived in Jerusalem. I don’t think that comments made in reaction to the 2nd intifada needed to be included in a man’s obituary.

      • seafoid
        February 15, 2014, 5:28 am

        I was too, WJ/YF.

        Zionists will never ever have psychological security as long as the Palestinians are treated as Untermenschen.

        And all the moaning about the Dolphinarium -.Can’t even go for a pizza. How many people in Gaza have ever gone for a pizza ? Do they ever teach unintended consequences in Yeshiva? Did Cast Lead make it all better ?

        I’ll talk whenever you want. But leave the hasbara at the door.

      • yonah fredman
        February 15, 2014, 6:15 am

        seafoid- When did you start following the Israel Palestine conflict? I think you’ve stated that once upon a time you parroted the hasbara party line, but then you wised up. Could you clarify the timing of this?

      • seafoid
        February 15, 2014, 1:57 pm

        Yonah

        I remember my parents talking about Sabra and Shatila.
        Started reading up about it in 1991.
        I remember a magazine article about the Shoah from maybe 1983.
        Went to Bir Zeit for 6 months in 2000.
        Started broadcasting about it that October.

        What about you ?

      • seafoid
        February 15, 2014, 2:20 pm

        BTW WJ I never parroted hasbara. I was aware from early days of how the Palestinians were shafted. Listened to a lot of Zionist PR via the TV I suppose but it never seemed to get any better for the Palestinians.
        I spent quite a lot of time on guardian.co.uk between 02-08 jostling with a hasbara wallah called HansSchouten who insisted that YESHA was temporary and that Israel would give it up when the time came. That’s where I learnt most of the hasbara points.

      • Sumud
        February 15, 2014, 1:54 pm

        But the intifada and its bombing of pizzerias was quite cruel and elicited many emotions some that found expression in speech. Those who had no emotions involved at that moment are hardly in the spot to criticize those whose emotions found expression in speech.

        – – – – – – – –

        Powerlessness such an interesting victim word.

        Indeed.

        During the second intifada Israelis experienced just a small amount of the pain and suffering of the sort Israel has been doling out to Palestinians for more than half a century.

        They didn’t like it.

        Yonah appears to be rationalising hate speech and you aren’t allowed to criticise unless you had a “strong affinity” for the victims or “emotions involved at the moment”, whatever that means.

        Yonah you had better let CAMERA and MEMRI know their work is redundant, whatever unpleasant dreck they manage to translate or mistranslate and market as Palestinian incitement is OK – undeniably Palestinians have been treated cruelly, en masse.

        Hate speech FTW! (This isn’t a jews-only privilege you’re talking about is it…?)

    • Donald
      February 15, 2014, 9:32 am

      “Those who had no emotions involved at that moment are hardly in the spot to criticize those whose emotions found expression in speech.”

      As it happens, some of us lived in or near NYC on 9/11. I remember the shock and the feelings of paranoia–like many Americans at the time, I wondered if there were going to be more attacks from sleeper cells in the near future–but at least some of us didn’t react the way Hartman did. We didn’t all call for turning the Mideast into a parking lot. Many Americans did, however, which helped set the political stage for the Iraq invasion.

      What Hartman said and felt was a normal human response, but as you admit, it’s not what one expects from a supposed moral leader. Hartman was often quoted in the NYT, starting with David Shipler I think and then Thomas Friedman. You get the gist of it in the Times obit, where he says that the “Arabs” are trying to kill my body but only Jews can kill our souls. Classic shooting and crying. And it’s so damn shallow. “The Arabs” are trying to kill his body. Doesn’t that feed into the narrative that the Palestinians are all terrorists trying to kill him just because he’s Jewish? It wasn’t that surprising that he’d react to Palestinian terrorism with a call for Sharon to be more brutal. You can see signs of bigotry even in his allegedly wise moments.

      I looked up the NYT obit for Edward Said. link

      Said was a much more important figure and has a much longer obituary. And they go into almost every accusation made against him, including the ridiculous episode where he was criticized for throwing a rock in the direction of an Israeli watchtower. They present his side, but they also present the side of those who thought he was an apologist for terror, and a bad scholar and so on. I don’t have a quarrel with this–it’s part of the history of Said’s life– but if they are going to do this with a Palestinian critic of Western imperialism, couldn’t they also have mentioned some criticism of David Hartman from the pro-Palestinian side?

      • yonah fredman
        February 15, 2014, 10:30 am

        Donald- 9/11 was one morning. If New York had been subject to a slow drip drip drip of casualties, New York would not have reacted as casually as Rabbi Hartman. New York would have gotten up and walked to the other part of town (assuming that the other side of town represented the source of the drip drip drip) and you’d have needed the national guard to stop the harm to whomever was causing the drip drip drip. Hartman only spoke words about what the army should do. He did not lead a mob to the other side of town.

        9/11 was an intense time and the intifada was an intense time.

      • yonah fredman
        February 15, 2014, 10:44 am

        Said was a major international figure. Hartman was small potatoes in comparison.

      • seafoid
        February 15, 2014, 5:52 pm

        The Hartmans are way out of their depth

        Here is junior talking through his arse
        Assad is pure evil. Zippy in Cast Lead was a decent human being….

        link to hartman.org.il

        Reflections on the Evil at Our Doorstep
        12.06.2011, by Donniel Hartman share this article: [Share on Facebook] [Share on Twitter] [Send to a friend] [Printable version]
        By DONNIEL HARTMAN
        “When we witness instances of extreme evil, human nature often moves us to classify such individuals as crazy. Through this classification, we try to separate ourselves from them and classify the evil as the exception and the decent as the rule. In this way we are also able to maintain our myth of stability, which requires a belief that the people around us can be expected to live by a minimal moral code. Stability requires predictability and the removal of radical evil from the calculation. I have been thinking about radical evil these last few weeks as the stories of the ever-increasing barbarism of the Assad regime have been penetrating our consciousness through the news and the Internet.”

        link to hartman.org.il
        “Since the meteoric success of Avigdor Lieberman and his party, Yisrael Beteinu, and the steady increase in racist rhetoric and anti-democratic opinions amongst Israeli Jews, I have been struggling to understand. What is happening in Israel? Why is it becoming xenophobic? Why are we deviating from the well-trodden path of our tradition and our people which teaches the fundamental equality of all human beings created in the image of God and the responsibility to treat with compassion and dignity all those who come to reside within our community? The lessons to be learned from our history, and the Jewish legal obligation to turn our past into a catalyst for becoming advocates of the downtrodden, are known equally to us all.”

        More at

        http://www.wtf.co.il

      • Donald
        February 15, 2014, 11:23 am

        Nobody in the aftermath of 9/11 thought that this was the end. There were uniformed guys walking around Grand Central Station with automatic rifles. (I never understood what the heck they thought they’d do with such weapons if a terrorist showed up. Grand Central isn’t the ideal place to open up with a rifle unless you want to shoot about 15 innocent bystanders). When I visited my fiancee in Brooklyn you could smell the smoke from the WTC site a couple of miles away.
        3000 dead in one day and two landmark buildings (which I used to see every time I crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge) gone–it was like living in a bad made-for-TV movie about some futuristic terrorist attack. I can’t say for sure, but I think the shock was worse than smaller drip-drip terrorism. NYC used to have a murder rate of 2000 per year. Not terrorism, but NYC in its worst days suffered more from its own criminals than Israel did during the 2nd intifada. My wife saw a fistfight that escalated into an attempted shooting at her local subway stop in those days. A friend of mine was robbed in his local (and affluent) neighborhood. The fear after 9/11 was worse. That’s why some people lost all sense of morality and were in favor of bombing anyone and everyone in the Middle East. Another friend of mine wanted to nuke Afghanistan.

        So again, Hartman’s reaction might be a normal human one, but it doesn’t say much for him as a moral leader. Though if he ever apologized for it afterwards, I’d respect him for that.

      • American
        February 15, 2014, 12:25 pm

        I’d like to remind everyone that the leadership of the US Military as well as many other level headed FP experts–as well as a lot of public—said that 911 should be treated as “exactly what it was”–a singular terrorist attack—-that should be handled with limited special forces ‘surgery” not as a call to war and ‘ full military invasions of countries” that might have ‘cells’ of ALQ within them.
        In fact the CIA said that there were ‘only’ some 200 ALQ operatives in Afghan. Furthermore they said ALQ was ‘fluid’ and could easily move their low tech operations from country to country and attract recruits and recreate their cells anywhere…which is what they did.
        The only thing you can call the route the US took on the GWOT is Stupid.

      • Hostage
        February 15, 2014, 1:13 pm

        Donald- 9/11 was one morning.

        Correction: the World Trade center had already been attacked using a truck bomb, the USS Cole had been bombed, and the US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi had been bombed.

      • seafoid
        February 15, 2014, 5:47 pm

        Yonah

        Do you know the meaning of the word “intifada”? It means “throwing off”. the intifada was tense because the Palestinians wanted to throw off the Israeli Jewish boot and the Israeli Jews didn’t want to.

        There was a second intifada because the first one didn’t work.

        And there will be a third one.

      • tree
        February 15, 2014, 1:57 pm

        “The Arabs” are trying to kill his body. Doesn’t that feed into the narrative that the Palestinians are all terrorists trying to kill him just because he’s Jewish? It wasn’t that surprising that he’d react to Palestinian terrorism with a call for Sharon to be more brutal. You can see signs of bigotry even in his allegedly wise moments.

        I was going to bring up this very point earlier but got sidetracked on other threads. That comment is just as damning as the demand that Sharon “level them”, meaning the Palestinians. He didn’t say “Arab terrorists” or “militants” were trying to kill him, he said “Arabs”. There’s no reason to think that he only meant to “level” the militants in 2002, since he makes clear that on a visceral level he thought all Palestinians wanted to murder him, and he said that in 2011.

        I’ve encountered this psychology personally, and its a projection erected to excuse one’s own un-reasoned hatred and bigotry. There was an incident at a meeting of an organization I belonged to 10 years ago. There was a featured speaker who was an Israeli (Jewish) human rights worker, talking about her work. The majority of the attendees were either Jewish (including some Israeli ex-pats) or of Palestinian or other Arab background, pretty equally divided by number, along with a smattering of Americans of other flavors. Most of the attendees were also friends of each other and some were very close friends, across all ethnicities. The meeting was open to the general public and there was one particularly memorable guest who stood up and flat out said that he wanted to kill all Arabs because all Arabs wanted to kill him and his family. Here he was in a room with dozens of Arabs on intimate terms with Jews and yet he still was convinced that all Arabs everywhere, all X billion of them, wanted to kill him personally just because he was Jewish. Suffice to say that that he was allowed to speak and left none the worse for wear, but it was an illuminating display of the power of projection, and the inability to see that your own thoughts are no less murderous than the ones you claim to condemn in the “other”.

        In Hartman’s case, it was believing that all Palestinians were terrorists that wanted to kill him, so it was perfectly acceptable in his mind to mete out the same kind of punishment, despite the fact that he was supposed to be some kind of moral leader. The Washington Post article in which Hartman made his demand for eliminationist actions starts off with the mention of the reserve officers letter, signed by Israel officers who refused to serve in the occupied territories anymore to “dominate, expel, starve and humiliate” the Palestinians. This is in the very same period of the 2nd intifada that Hartman made his desire to “wipe out” the Palestinians known. The reserve officers who signed that letter had a much more moral outlook than the “universalist” (Rudoren’s description) Hartman, and they managed to have it in the same thick of the intifada. How moral is a man who can’t keep his morality when it is tested by his emotions?

        Off-topic: Hope you are feeling better Donald.

      • Donald
        February 15, 2014, 6:02 pm

        Thanks tree. It seems to have been a 24 hour virus.

        Great posts, btw, here and in the other threads.

      • Hostage
        February 15, 2014, 7:00 pm

        I was going to bring up this very point earlier but got sidetracked on other threads. That comment is just as damning as the demand that Sharon “level them”, meaning the Palestinians. He didn’t say “Arab terrorists” or “militants” were trying to kill him, he said “Arabs”. There’s no reason to think that he only meant to “level” the militants in 2002, since he makes clear that on a visceral level he thought all Palestinians wanted to murder him, and he said that in 2011.

        True enough. In many criminal jurisdictions you are required to interpret the evidence in the light most favorable to the defendant. In this example, it still constitutes a case where an American-Israeli rabbi engaged in incitement to commit acts that violate a prohibition contained in Article 23 of the Hague Convention of 1907. That’s a Class A felony in the USA, i.e. 18 U.S. Code § 2441 – War crimes link to law.cornell.edu

        Advocating the physical destruction of even a “part” of an identifiable group, like the “Arabs”, violates the prohibition against incitement to commit genocide contained in Article II of the international convention. There was no shortage of complaints about massacres during the second intifada. In 2000 the UN Commission on Human Rights forwarded a report through Kofi Annan to the General Assembly and Security Council on “widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Israeli occupying Power, in particular mass killings and collective punishments, such as demolition of houses and closure of the Palestinian territories, measures which constitute war crimes, flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and crimes against humanity.” — See E/CN.4/RES/S-5/1 19 October 2000 link to unispal.un.org

    • RoHa
      February 15, 2014, 11:47 pm

      “Those who had no emotions involved at that moment are hardly in the spot to criticize those whose emotions found expression in speech.”

      Very convenient. Words spoken in a tense time cannot be criticised (at least by people who were not tense at the time). I’ll make sure that I find tension in every time, and so make everything I say free from criticism.

    • puppies
      February 16, 2014, 2:42 am

      @Friedman – A state entity that starts an all-out war of landtheft and extermination against a civilian population, and does not end it in 68 years and counting, is consciously putting its own civilian population at risk (admitting that it has any civilians.) This is a war, not some cricket game. So if you have any problem about casualties go cry at your Israelian government. Let them end the war against the Palestinian people before you spout nonsense. As for monsters like “leader” Hartman, the injustice is that he died in his bed.

  15. HRK
    February 14, 2014, 10:35 pm

    Yonah,

    There is something to what you’re saying, and we should always keep in mind that people speak in a particular context and that they might have something else to say that comes across as quite different in a different context.

  16. mcohen
    February 15, 2014, 1:16 am

    link to en.m.wikipedia.org

    The High Commissioner established the authority of the Orthodox Rabbinate over the members of the Jewish community and retained a modified version of the old Ottoman Millet system. Formal recognition was extended to eleven religious communities, which did not include the non-Orthodox Jewish or Protestant Christian denominations.

    “Zionism unsettled” is old news and,got left out from the begining including the reform jews
    the real business was concluded by the league of nations not the UN.

    • Hostage
      February 15, 2014, 5:11 pm

      the real business was concluded by the league of nations not the UN.

      Repeating old bullshit doesn’t make it true. Immediately after the mandate was terminated, the Israeli Courts ruled that Israel was a successor in interest of the mandate; that Israel did not inherit any obligations under the mandate; and that rights owed to others under the mandate came to an end when it was terminated.

      The UN terminated the LoN mandate, and with it the right of Jews not yet living in the country to move to Arab Palestine. It also granted the Arabs living in the Jewish state protection against deportation and expropriation of their homes and properties. The Jewish Agency and the Government of Israel “accepted” those explicit terms of resolution 181(II). FYI, the Permanent Court of International Justice advised in the Treaty of Lausanne case that resolutions of the Council of the League of Nations, like the Mandate, were merely recommendations that only became binding when all of the parties concerned agreed to “accept” them. The Court also noted that any time a matter is submitted to an international body for a recommendation, that act is tantamount to granting the organization in question the power to decide the question. The Zionist Organization certainly did put the Jewish question and the question of Palestine to both the LoN and the UN.

      Ben Gurion and the Jewish agency included demands for the termination of the LoN mandate to the UN General Assembly. They even demanded a trusteeship administered directly by the UN during the UNSCOP hearings. link to unispal.un.org

      The now senescent decision on the Corpus Seperatum was a legally binding determination on trusteeship. You can’t claim the UN or any arbiter only has the right to make determinations that you like.

  17. Castellio
    February 15, 2014, 1:36 am

    Hartman believed in collective punishment. As do many who support Zionism. It is precisely that fact which the NYT always whitewashes.

    You can try to justify collective punishment if you wish.

  18. yonah fredman
    February 15, 2014, 2:25 am

    seafoid- see above.

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