The rise of ‘If Not Now’ and the collapse of the pro-Israel consensus

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When Israeli bombs blanketed Gaza in July, the liberal Zionist lobby J Street largely fell in line with the Jewish establishment.  “Our public record throughout the current military confrontation in Gaza has been unambiguous: we support Israel’s right to defend its citizens,” J Street said in a statement.

At the same time that J Street was proving its pro-Israel credentials, former and current members of the organization, most of them affiliated with its campus arm, were throwing themselves into a starkly different kind of activism–one that forthrightly criticized the attack on Gaza and the Jewish establishment that supported the military action. The group they formed, If Not Now, has taken aim at mainstream Jewish leaders, demanding that they take a public stance against the occupation of Palestinian lands. Organizers say they are trying to fill a void in the Jewish community by taking on the official spokespeople of American Judaism that march in lockstep with Israeli actions.

If Not Now quickly became more than just another organization. Much like Occupy Wall Street, If Not Now’s grassroots, social media-savvy messaging has led others around the nation to take up its banner.

“This was a moment, a breaking point where we realized if we don’t do it, nobody’s going to do it,” Yonah Lieberman, a 22-year-old former board member of J Street U, told me while sitting in a Brooklyn coffee shop. The thinking behind If Not Now is that if they can change the Jewish establishment into an anti-occupation force–a herculean task–the situation in Israel/Palestine could shift.

“You have more people who have only seen Israel as an occupying state and are standing up now,” said 27-year-old Kara Segal, another If Not Now organizer.

The rise of If Not Now, a group whose founding members are deeply rooted in Jewish communal life, is just one of the latest signs that dissent on Israel is rising amongst young people. Many young Jews are no longer content with officially sanctioned discussion on Israel.

That rising dissent is leading to turmoil within Jewish congregations and institutions who are becoming increasingly split over the question of Israel. It has caused some leaders, like prominent Brooklyn Rabbi Andy Bachman, to fret about an “understandable abhorrence of the killing of innocents that too quickly shifts to blame, guilt and distance from Israel.”

Many of If Not Now’s public actions have focused on the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the influential umbrella group that voted down J Street’s bid to join them in May. In late July, nine people were arrested during an If Not Now-organized action for sitting in the lobby of the Conference’s office to demand a meeting with the Conference’s president. (Malcolm Hoenlein, the president of the Conference, later called If Not Now’s protest “very insignificant.”) And the burgeoning group of young Jews has held Shabbat and holiday services with a distinctly political tinge, demanding an end to the occupation and reading the names of all those killed during the conflict in Gaza.

Though Operation Protective Edge has ended, If Not Now, which has spread across the country, isn’t letting up. The members I spoke to say they’re in it for the long haul. “We are very serious when we say, ‘if not now, when?’ We emerged in a moment of clear urgency and what we’re doing now is trying to turn this moment into a movement,” Segal said.  (The group’s name comes from a well-known quote from the ancient Jewish sage Hillel, who said: “If I am not for myself, who is for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”)

The religious services the group has held, where many attendees wear black to mourn the deaths in Gaza and Israel, have been filled with Jewish ritual and symbolism. Many participants know each other from various circles of young Jews in New York City, and If Not Now has built on these existing networks to grow. For some of the attendees, it is the first time they’ve engaged with Israel/Palestine, having found a space that is deeply Jewish, yet also critical of Israel and the mainstream Jewish community in the U.S.

“The established, institutional channels are incapable of making the type of changes that are needed,” Max Berger, an If Not Now Organizer who used to work for J Street and is involved with many progressive movements, said during a phone interview.

If Not Now is a novel grouping. But it’s also politically amorphous, which has lead to some grumbles among left-wing Jews eager for more to be done in the wake of the attack on Gaza. The group’s big tent allows Zionists, non-Zionists, anti-Zionists, two-staters and everyone in between to join in. Members of Jewish Voice for Peace and J Street have participated in If Not Now’s actions. But activists more at home with unequivocal Palestine solidarity have also raised questions about the utility of only focusing on Jewish communal institutions.

“We’re excited, and their efforts are a really welcome contribution,” said Alana Krivo-Kaufman, Jewish Voice for Peace’s East Coast organizer, who has participated in If Not Now events. “As JVP, we think that obviously the approach to Jewish institutions is important–that is one of the things we do…But we also need the type of tactics that can put direct pressure on the Israeli government, the U.S. government and on Israeli policy.” For JVP, that is BDS.

If Not Now has spurned collaborating with Jewish Voice for Peace as an organization. I was told that its leaders fear that doing so might place the new group beyond the pale and prevent it from conversing with the Jewish establishment it wants to change.

Segal says that some individual members are wrestling with questions around how to take political action against the occupation, but that “part of those spaces that seem really apolitical or innocuous, perhaps, are about creating a space for people to [show] political courage…It’s really a place to be this bridge for folks who have different views, who come from different backgrounds, all this stuff, but all agree on the fact that the occupation needs to end.”

Meanwhile, If Not Now plans to continue to target Jewish communal leaders and their support for the Occupation, despite the fact that the sense of urgency around the Gaza assault has dissipated. “The occupation itself is a form of ongoing violence,” said Segal, “that needs to be considered urgent as well.”

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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61 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther
    September 10, 2014, 10:58 am

    You gave it away when you say they spurned JVP because it would out them beyond the pale. These cats arent serious at all. “Politically amorphous” hahaha!! Please stop trumpeting these people.

    • Chu
      September 10, 2014, 1:08 pm

      Dan’s correct. They should call themselves ‘this time we mean really it’ (notice they invite Zionists, non-Zionists, anti-Zionists, two-staters and everyone in between to join in.)
      If not now, delicately implies ‘then when’. That’s weak!!!

      Why not a name like ‘No More Israel Pork’.

      • Eric
        September 12, 2014, 6:09 pm

        Totally agree. If Not Now is a kinder, gentler AIPAC that, like AIPAC and JStreet, is opposed to BDS. That won’t help the Palestinians move one millimetre closer to liberation and equality.

  2. Mooser
    September 10, 2014, 11:09 am

    “It has lead some leaders, like prominent Brooklyn Rabbi Andy Bachman, to fret about an “understandable abhorrence of the killing of innocents that too quickly shifts to blame, guilt and distance from Israel.”

    “Too quickly shifts”? I see his point. If they would just wait until the Palestine polity is completely destroyed, with no chance of resurrection, we could all have a correctly timed orgy of regret and self-recrimination together. Some people have no community feeling.

  3. American
    September 10, 2014, 12:15 pm

    O.K.
    But none of the Jewish groups organized around Israel’s issues are going to go full tilt against US support of Israel (and the AIPAC tools in congress)……which is what has to be done.
    They are delusional if they think Israel ‘can be saved’ as long as the US supports all its criminal acts.

  4. P. Nile Schwartz
    September 10, 2014, 12:41 pm

    When did this ‘occupation’ start? In 1937, Husseini testified to the Peel Commission that the Jews owned their land fair and square.

    Why should palestine be Judenrein? That doesn’t seem very enlightened.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 10, 2014, 4:58 pm

      in 1937, “their land” was 6% of Palestine. Is that what you are referring to?

      • P. Nile Schwartz
        September 10, 2014, 11:03 pm

        Actually, per the legal founding documents, the whole of historic palestine actually belonged to the Jews, but in any case the deeds were poured over and legally obtained.

      • gamal
        September 12, 2014, 6:12 pm

        no their real estate was not territory! founding legal documents? eh, the whole of historic Palestine belonged to the Jews, its absurd, insane …what else do the Jews own? the 50 sons of Aegytpos were murdered by the 50 daughters of Europa, so all Europeans should doing life, fucking insanity, deeds pored over god help the genital, poured over what?

        what percentage of the Bay Area is Cuban territory pray? idiotic.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 12, 2014, 6:24 pm

        please link to these alleged “legal founding documents” you’re referencing. better to gauge what degree of delusionary crackpot we’re conversing with

      • talknic
        September 13, 2014, 1:53 am

        @ P. Nile Schwartz “Actually, per the legal founding documents, the whole of historic palestine actually belonged to the Jews “

        Start citing those documents P. Nile, a good belly laugh is quite healthy

        ” but in any case the deeds were poured over and legally obtained”

        Deeds to ‘real estate’ are not the deeds to the ‘territory’ of states. It fact Israel paid NOTHING for its territory!

    • Stephen Shenfield
      September 10, 2014, 5:36 pm

      Why regard Husseini’s testimony as so authoritative?

      Even assuming that up to 1937 all Jewish land had been legally purchased from its previous owners, I would say — yes, the occupation had already begun at that date. Because as a result of these deals with mostly absentee landlords (effendi) the people who had actually tilled the land for unnumbered generations were evicted from their homes and native places, and this was the beginning of the process of evicting more and more Palestinians from their homes and native places — a process later continued by extralegal as well as legal means.

      There is no special reason why Palestine, or any other country, should not have Jewish residents. But there is ample reason for Palestine to keep out Zionists. And the emotional manipulation to which you resort when you use in this very different context a German word associated with the Holocaust is truly shameless.

      • Mooser
        September 10, 2014, 7:03 pm

        Stephen, if your answer hadn’t been both so measured, and so informative, I would have been unable to resist the temptation to throw that “fair and square” back in his teeth.
        Thanks.

        “P.”Nile, indeed. Should have been a “D”

      • P. Nile Schwartz
        September 10, 2014, 10:58 pm

        I’ve seen no evidence that the fellahin were evicted. On the contrary, the primary sources confirm that the Zionists repeatedly encouraged Arab workers to stay put. Obviously, a trend that has increased since the 1940s is the indoctrination of Arabs into neo-nazi Jewhatred (a policy funded largely by the US and EU). Not surprisingly, this policy is horrible for the Arab working class.

        Your post seems to have a theme that somehow the legal purchases from the legal land owners (the effendi) are not valid. And you’ve given no valid reason why Zionists should be kept out of palestine, nor what litmus you would use to differentiate ‘Jews’ from ‘Zionists’.

        How would you explain the fact that Arabs were attacking Jews of the old yishuv, who had lived in palestine for many years, attacks were not limited to the ‘Zionists’? What would motivate these attacks on Jews who had lived in palestine since the 1800s and prior?

      • Mooser
        September 11, 2014, 6:11 pm

        “Obviously, a trend that has increased since the 1940s is the indoctrination of Arabs into neo-nazi Jewhatred (a policy funded largely by the US and EU). Not surprisingly, this policy is horrible for the Arab working class.”

        Well, now we know how overworked the Mondo Moderators are. They must be swamped.

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 10, 2014, 8:23 pm

      ALSO SPEAKING TO THE PEEL COMMISSION IN 1937 WAS “SIR” WINSTON CHURCHILL:

      I do not agree that the dog in a manger [i.e., the Palestinians/Arabs – J.L.D.] has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of American or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.

      AS TO HUSSEINI, SEE – “Christian Zionism: The Root of All Evil?” ~ By Tammy Obeidallah, The Palestine Chronicle, Aug 16 2010

      [EXCERPT] . . . Proponents of Israel will often pander the tired Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini obfuscation in an attempt to connect all Palestinians to Adolph Hitler. Husseini was imposed upon the Palestinians in 1921 by the British Mandate’s first high commissioner, a British Jew named Herbert Samuel. Husseini was selected over the rival Nashashibi candidate and favored by the Zionist Commission. Husseini allied with Hitler to oppose the British, falling into the trap as so many others who have believed “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.palestinechronicle.com/christian-zionism-the-root-of-all-evil/#.Ux5kA_ldV8E

      P.S. HIGHLY REGARDED BY ONE OF THE WRITERS AT+972:
      Lorde: Pure Heroine (Full Album) (Extended ITunes Edition) [VIDEO, 56:55] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-zdlxzCe9A

      JON DOLAN @ ROLLINGSTONE.COM (October 7, 2013):

      New artists in 2013 don’t come any “2013”-ier than Lorde. Ella Yelich-O’Connor is 16, but she could be 25. She sings tough and raps soft. She’s from New Zealand, but she could just as easily be from Tampa or Glasgow or Dubrovnik. On her debut, she’s a tiny-life teenager and a throne-watching pop comer with a sound that recalls the Internet hip-hop of Kitty Pryde, the cold-storage torch pop of Lana Del Rey and the primal self-dredging of Florence Welch, while still sounding strangely sui generis. “Maybe the Internet raised us/Or maybe people are jerks,” she muses on “A World Alone.” She’s a child of the cloud.
      Yet Pure Heroine feels surprisingly real and fully formed, punching through sparse, cushily booming post-hip-hop tracks with vividly searching lyrics about growing up too fast that can seem at once arrogant and pensive. “We’re so happy even when we’re smiling out of fear,” she sings on “Tennis Court.” Songs like the hit “Royals” are foreboding but catchy, hushed but hype. She’s great at dissecting her so-called life (“We’re hollow like the bottles that we drain”) and at evoking the feeling of loving hip-hop even as its impossible fantasies turn you inside out. “Team” is an ode to her friend crew, with a beat that booms like Run-DMC playing from inside a stued animal. But the song feels proudly isolated: “I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air/So there/I’m kind of older than I was when I reveled without a care.” Ball up your fists anxiously at your sides to this shit.

      SOURCE – http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/pure-heroine-20131007

      P.P.S. “P. Nile” is a joke, right? Why don’t you just be ‘up front’ about it and go with “Penile” (i.e., “of or relating to the penis”)? – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/penile

      • Mooser
        September 10, 2014, 9:20 pm

        “Why don’t you just be ‘up front’ about it and….”

        Mr. Dickerson, have you ever chanced to view an amusing TV program called “The Big Bang Theory”?

      • DICKERSON3870
        September 12, 2014, 3:52 am

        I have heard some buzz about“The Big Bang Theory”; I think from either Sam Seder or John Fugelsang (two of my favorite people). I don’t have cable TV (only AT&T DSL and Charter Broadband for the internet), but I did put an good antenna in the attic and the local Turner broadcast station has reruns from 7-8 PM. I watched it for the first time tonight. It’s very clever/witty, and quite hilarious. I may have actually laughed aloud!
        Shelly, I am. I am Shelly! I am! (I am Sheldon without the über-geek affectation.)
        Also, Netflix has 7 seasons on DVDs.

      • Mooser
        September 12, 2014, 11:31 am

        Yes, the fellow who plays “Sheldon” is very funny, but I was thinking of another character on the show.

    • talknic
      September 13, 2014, 1:46 am

      @ P. Nile Schwartz “When did this ‘occupation’ start?”

      According to the Israeli Govt’s official statement to the UNSC of 22nd May 1948, occupation by the State of Israel of territories “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine” …”under the control of the military authorities of the State of Israel, who are strictly adhering to international regulations” was in effect by 22nd May 1948. You can try to deny it, but it’s on the official record!

      “In 1937, Husseini testified to the Peel Commission that the Jews owned their land fair and square”

      They owned ‘real estate’ in the territory of an entity in which they could attain Palestinian citizenship. See Article 7 of the LoN Mandate for Palestine. You can try to deny it, but it’s on the official record!

      “Why should palestine be Judenrein?”

      Good question, why did you ask it? The Palestinian policy is for it to be “Israeli” free. You can try to deny it, but it’s on the official record!

      It’s not uncommon to states that they require citizens to be citizens of the said state rather than illegal aliens illegally settling .

      Your conflating of Jews with Israelis is cute BTW but too typical of moronic propagandists for Israel who think their drivel will never be double checked, especially here. I suggest you either learn some facts, unless it’s against your job brief, or take your stupid shtick elsewhere

      Now here’s a question for you. Why did you lower case “palestine” while upper casing “Judenrein”? Nothing to do with being a bigoted jerk I hope …

      “That doesn’t seem very enlightened.”

      True. It’s quite un-enlightened bullsh*t!

    • traintosiberia
      September 13, 2014, 11:56 am

      hen did this ‘occupation’ start? In 1937, Husseini testified to the Peel Commission that the Jews owned their land fair and square

      Which section of the Peel Commission does refer to the alleged acceptance By Husseini?

    • talknic
      September 15, 2014, 8:16 am

      @ P. Nile Schwartz ” In 1937, Husseini testified to the Peel Commission…”

      Source ? I’ll wait …….

  5. American
    September 10, 2014, 1:08 pm

    This legistation would be a good test of all the ‘liberal’ Jewish groups who want Israel reformed.
    Israel.
    So far the only group to actually get in some politicians faces on Israel is Code Pink. (who just paid Eliz Warren a visit btw, to condemn her support of the Gaza slaughter)
    Who among the other groups will go to capitol hill and confront Kirk and the other I-tools in the US congress……as they let a foreign lobby write US legistation?
    Legistation that not only seeks to control private US companies and commerce for Israel but also demands the EU put the same controls on their companies.

    Pro-Israel Activists Aim To Block Boycott Movement With Legislation
    AIPAC seeks to slow BDS.
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/pro-israel-activists-aim-to-block-boycott-movement-with-legi?utm_term=4k3dxbj#2fu27c5

    snip…..
    The legislation, which has not yet been introduced and has been in the process of being drafted for months, would aim to prevent U.S. companies from participating in the campaign without infringing on Americans’ First Amendment rights to political speech. It would also try to make the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being negotiated between the U.S. and E.U. conditional on whether the E.U. takes action to stop BDS.

    “The biggest provisions would be authorizing states and local governments to divest from companies deemed to be participating in BDS; denial of federal contracts to such companies; and threatening the conditioning of the US-EU free trade pact on the EU taking action to stop BDS activities within its jurisdictions,” said a Republican foreign policy adviser familiar with the legislation. The bill, the adviser said, originated with a top aide to Illinois Senator Mark Kirk and has now been “expanded” by AIPAC, which is working with House and Senate offices on the draft.

    • ritzl
      September 10, 2014, 5:52 pm

      It’s pretty hard to imagine, in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, how any corporation’s “First Amendment rights” can be curtailed by any legislation.

      Perhaps this is an oversimplification, but the Constitutional principle upheld by SCOTUS with Hobby Lobby is that corps have rights too – privately held ones anyway.

      These would-be deniers-of-rights just can’t have it both ways. Looks like they’re going to try anyway.

      • Another Steve
        September 10, 2014, 8:49 pm

        The decision in the matter of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby wasn’t about rights under the Constitution, but rather rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. It wasn’t really a Constitutional principle that was at stake, but a matter of interpreting a Congressional statute. The majority ruled that the requirement that employers provide insurance for contraception was a violation of the RFRA but left unanswered the question of whether it violated the Free Practice clause of the First Amendment.

        The Hobby Lobby decision didn’t hinge of First Amendment issues, but on the interpretation of Congressional Legislation, which should the votes exist, Congress could amend or repeal.

      • ritzl
        September 11, 2014, 2:55 pm

        Thanks Another Steve. You’re right on the narrow legal issue/decision. I shouldn’t try to shorthand this type of complex stuff. Someday I’ll learn that lesson…

        But the background issue, as I understand it, is whether a federal law can override religious preference in a privately-owned entity with public stakeholders affected by that federal law. The Court may not have specifically ruled on the larger First Amendment issue, but the larger rights issue prompted the successful suit.

        So maybe stated another way, and as I understand you to say, the Hobby Lobby decision affirmed that federal law cannot be written such that it overrides corporate sensibilities/rights. I think that makes the Hobby Lobby decision antagonistic to, if not outright preclude, what Israel-via-AIPAC is trying to do on the anti-BDS legislative front.

  6. eljay
    September 10, 2014, 1:30 pm

    That rising dissent is leading to turmoil within Jewish congregations … It has caused some leaders, like prominent Brooklyn Rabbi Andy Bachman, to fret about an “understandable abhorrence of the killing of innocents that too quickly shifts to blame, guilt and distance from Israel.”

    I wonder if Mr. Bachman has ever fretted over the “understandable abhorrence of the killing of innocents that too quickly shifts to blame, guilt and distance from Hamas”.

    • Another Steve
      September 10, 2014, 8:48 pm

      That struck me as a really strange thing do say. How does one abhor the killing of innocents without blaming and finding guilty those who are doing the killing?

      • piotr
        September 11, 2014, 12:14 pm

        Nothing strange about it, if the litmus test for strangeness of an attitude is its frequency. The paradigm is “centrist”. A centrist has to first figure out the reference points, say, AIPAC and JVP, and then calibrates the position. A good way to do it is to start a sentence if “JVP manner” and finish in “AIPAC manner”.

        Another Steve is struck with the observation that it makes no sense, but this mode of thinking is from another paradigm. Sense means nothing to a centrist.

      • piotr
        September 11, 2014, 12:31 pm

        I have to retype my reply. Mondoweiss should frankly post that restoring EDIT for comments requires to hire a computing wizard of unusual power, which requires 10,000 dollars (would it suffice?), and make a fund raiser.

        Nothing strange about Mr. Bachman, if the litmus test for strangeness is the frequency. This is a classic example of “centrist paradigm”. A centrists has to select two points of reference, say AIPAC and JVP (avoiding points that are so far out that should not be even considered) and perform a ritual of “considering and distancing”. This is frequently done by having a sentence that starts, say, in “JVP manner” and ends in “AIPAC manner”. In the example above, the extend of “abhorrence of the killing” is first qualified (to innocent, nothing to abhor when the sinners are killed) and the limited in time to the first part of the sentence. It is not about making sense, a concept which is alien to centrist paradigm, but about spiritual elevation.

        In the centrist mindset, there are two slopes rising from positions at his/her reference points, and he/she strives to occupy the highest spiritual point, where those two lines intersect. The rigid mindset of Another Steve would never allow him to make a living as a priests specifically for people who do not believe in God. He would either try to convert his flock or he would replace the tag “temple” with “activity center”.

      • Mooser
        September 11, 2014, 3:14 pm

        “How does one abhor the killing of innocents without blaming and finding guilty those who are doing the killing? “

        By proceeding in the proper order, with the requisite amount of time allotted each step. After the job is done it will be time to possibly prosecute some of the architects, or operators, maybe. Maybe even put people in jail. Maybe even an Israel-wide orgy of regret and self-recrimination, too. Wouldn’t surprise me at all.
        But first, the job must get done.

  7. EliStern
    September 10, 2014, 1:32 pm

    “If Not Now has spurned collaborating with Jewish Voice for Peace as an organization, fearing that might place them beyond the pale and prevent them from conversing with the Jewish establishment they want to change.”

    I think this part is important. The Jewish prophetic tradition has never been effective when it was hostile to Jewish community solidarity in a bullying, threatening way.

    The prophetic rabbis who marched with MLK didn’t seek to destroy Jewish solidarity, and neither should Jewish activists supporting the “Palestinians”.

    • ritzl
      September 10, 2014, 5:56 pm

      @EliStern- Israel is destroying Jewish “solidarity” (whatever solidarity means), not the other way around.

      This transformation is nothing more than a reaction to the process of Israel/Zionism’s forced exclusion of non-supportive Jews.

      • EliStern
        September 10, 2014, 8:40 pm

        Nonsense. You’re talking about the margins of the Jewish community, like 5-6%. Why pretend the US Jewish community isn’t overwhelmingly standing with Israel?

      • ritzl
        September 11, 2014, 3:19 pm

        @EliStern- Not nonsense.

        A) 5-6% IS exclusion.

        B) That’s only the 5-6% that dare to speak out plainly. What about the additional 20-30% who dare not speak out plainly for fear of what happened to the 5-6%?

        C) It’s a sad truth that the “organized Jewish community” is extremely coercive in contriving “overwhelming” Jewish support for Israel. If they’re not, they’re pro-slaughter either by acquiescence or outright preference. It’s not fair to make such a sweeping statement about a group, but your 95% “overwhelming solidarity” claim opens that door. So my question back to you is why pretend that US Jews (most of whom are normal moral people like most other groups) aren’t growing increasingly restless/offended by the pro-slaughter policies of Israel? I believe they are, but something’s keeping them in the fold, enabling your claim making that claim self-fulfilling.

      • ritzl
        September 11, 2014, 3:25 pm

        Edit (please):

        SHB: C) It’s a sad truth that the “organized Jewish community” is extremely coercive in contriving “overwhelming” Jewish support for Israel. If that support is NOT contrived it means the Jewish community is overwhelmingly pro-slaughter either by acquiescence or outright preference. …

        Still not sure I got it right. Close enough.

      • Mooser
        September 11, 2014, 4:36 pm

        “It’s a sad truth that the “organized Jewish community” is extremely coercive in contriving “overwhelming” Jewish support for Israel”

        They don’t even have to try that hard! Between the “100% rule” and “no Jew counting” they have a built in advantage. This is how I see it:

        Let’s say a Jewish group is 100% supportive of Israel, until, oh, 14 people get disgusted with the Zionism, and leave. Now there’s only, uh (gets pencil and paper), 86 people left. All of whom support Israel. That’s (scratch, scratch, erase, scratch) 100%. Oh, what about those people who left? So who’s counting? In America, we don’t count Jews. We ask Jewish 0rganizations how many Jews there are. So it’ll always add up to 100%.
        And of course, if “open Hillel” can open Hillel up to “Zionists, non-Zionists, and anti-Zionists” I don’t see why it should ever have to drop below 96% support at all.

        Unless there is a visible, obviously and self-proclaimedly Jewish group organized in opposition to Zionism.

      • ritzl
        September 11, 2014, 4:41 pm

        I suspect humor is one of your lesser talents, Mooser. ;)

        Great point!

      • Mooser
        September 11, 2014, 6:58 pm

        And that is where, I think, the “If Not Now” and JVP will end up. And by the time that does happen, it’ll be pretty clear: They don’t want to leave, they will have been forced out. Told to shut up, or go.

    • Mooser
      September 10, 2014, 7:09 pm

      “The Jewish prophetic tradition has never been effective when it was hostile to Jewish community solidarity in a bullying, threatening way.”

      Let me ask you (try and stop me!) this: Has the Jewish community tradition ever been very successful when it was hostile to Jewish Prophetic solidarity in a bullying, threatening way?

      Even the most cursory perusal of our history will show the answer to that question. It hasn’t, and I think you know it, “EliSterrn”

      • Mooser
        September 10, 2014, 7:16 pm

        According to EliStern, Candide was a Prophet.

      • Mooser
        September 10, 2014, 7:17 pm

        Scuse me, edit function, I meant Pangloss.

      • EliStern
        September 10, 2014, 8:27 pm

        “Has the Jewish community tradition ever been very successful when it was hostile to Jewish Prophetic solidarity in a bullying, threatening way?”

        Are you serious? The radical left has been crushed in Israel. And just because every Jewish lefty starts their own non-profit like Jewish Voices For Peace, Young Jewish Proud, If Not Now, Voices of Young Peaceful Jews, Peaceful Jews Now, or whatever else they call themselves, doesn’t mean they make up more than a tiny minority of Jews.

        Right wing Jews don’t get banished from the community. Only lefty so-called prophets.

      • Mooser
        September 10, 2014, 9:28 pm

        Oh, BTW, EliStern, you wouldn’t mind telling us when, and where there was, or is “Jewish community solidarity”?
        Oh, what I wouldn’t give to know where and when this exalted state of “Jewish community solidarity” existed.

        Oh, and I’m not remembering “solidarity” being one of the values we talked about in Religious School. It was talked about a lot in the left-wing events I attend, they’re always talking about “community solidarity”. Are we going leftist now? Glad to hear it.

      • Mooser
        September 11, 2014, 3:17 pm

        Whoops, EliStern never did tell us when and where that big “Jewish community solidarity” existed.

        Gosh, could it be that Zionism is the only “solidarity” EliStern is really concerned about?

      • Mooser
        September 11, 2014, 3:20 pm

        “Right wing Jews don’t get banished from the community.”

        “Banished from the community”? I’m sorry, I need something to hook it up with. Are you talking about how (if the powers-that-be were concerned) an unbelieving or rebellious Jew could be kicked out of the Jewish Ghetto into the not-Jewish world if he acted up? That kind of banishment?

      • Mooser
        September 11, 2014, 6:15 pm

        “The Jewish prophetic tradition has never been effective when it was hostile to Jewish community solidarity in a bullying, threatening way.”

        They say laughter is the best medicine, and I’ve got a funny feeling that if Marc Ellis had any slight aches or pains, he, and quite a few others, are cured now.

  8. seafoid
    September 10, 2014, 1:33 pm

    It’s not so much a void in the Jewish community as a black hole.

    Private eye magazine in the UK in the current issue has 2 letters from Jews on 2 different subjects. One is Jewish ritual slaughter (shechita) and the other is from an IDF apologist who claims that the Gaza death toll was manipulated by the Palestinians, that Hamas killed its own people when bombs dropped short and that the stats are not to be trusted. Rhe guy who wrote about shechita says Jewish law has very strict rules against killing animals for sport.

    Someone, ideally a rabbi, should designate Palestinians as honorary animals so that they can’t be shot just for fun. It would be kosher.

    And what a mess it all is.

    • Mooser
      September 13, 2014, 11:19 am

      “It’s not so much a void in the Jewish community as a black hole.”

      As opposed to the wonderful unanimity and universally high ethical standards we possessed back 19…? Or was it 18….?

      So what would you say was the peak years for us?

      • seafoid
        September 14, 2014, 6:48 am

        It didn’t really matter without Jewish agency, Mooser. If the rabbi and Moshe had a big argument going back years in Vitebsk in the 16th century nobody in London knew about it.

        Now the power factor magnifies it and it means the crash is going to be far worse.
        A lot of the nonsense is on the internet too ie forever. That ‘s also fairly serious.
        eg

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2014/jul/24/gaza-crisis-palestinian-death-toll-passes-700-live-updates
        “Israel’s finance minister Naftali Bennett has given an unapologetic interview to Sky News, accusing Hamas of using their own civilians as human shields, adding that “you fight back – there is no proportionality when you fight terror.”

        Did the Nazis ever put the Shoah in that sort of frame, I wonder . They could have, if Israel can.

  9. DaBakr
    September 10, 2014, 2:28 pm

    hard to believe that a group that won’t buy in to the bds campaign would be touted here.

    • EliStern
      September 10, 2014, 5:12 pm

      Why?

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 10, 2014, 6:29 pm

      SPEAKING OF BDS, EVERYONE SHOULD OPPOSE THE REAUTHORIZATION OF THE IMPORT-EXPERT BANK (I.E., CORPORATE WELFARE), because one of the biggest beneficiaries of the bank is Catepillar, Inc. ! ! !

      SEE: Left and Right Agree; Let Ex-Im Expire ~ by Ralph Nader, CounterPunch.org, 8/08/2014

      [EXCERPT] . . . As a September 30 deadline looms, Congress must decide on whether or not to reauthorize the controversial Export-Import Bank. Established in 1934 by an Executive Order from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Ex-Im bank provides credit to domestic exporters and foreign importers to the U.S. The Ex-Im bank has long been accused of being little more than a corporate welfare fund, mostly for Big Business, by outspoken progressives and conservatives.

      In short, the function of Ex-Im is to subsidize businesses that export American products. The major problem with this agency comes from the fact that a big bulk of Ex-Im funds go to huge, wealthy companies, such as the Ex-Im’s largest beneficiary Boeing, which in 2013 received 30 percent of its loans and guarantees. Ex-Im defenders argue that the majority of its loans go to small businesses that cannot secure financing in the private market, conveniently ignoring the crucial fact that the majority of the money goes to big businesses such as the aforementioned Boeing, as well as other giant corporations like General Electric (10 percent of Ex-Im loans and guarantees in 2013) and Caterpillar (approximately 5 percent).

      Economist Dean Baker, a leading voice on the left against the reauthorization of the Export-Import, puts it best:

      “If the bank backs $80 billion in loans for Boeing, General Electric, or Enron (a favorite in past days), and $20 billion for small businesses, it doesn’t matter that the $20 billion in small business loans accounted for the bulk of the transactions. Most of the money went to big businesses. That is what matters and everyone touting the share of small business loans knows it.”

      It’s also important to note that the Ex-Im Bank is involved in only 2 percent of U.S. exports — the other 98 percent function just fine without its largesse. Thus the expiration of the Ex-Im would mainly affect the profit margins of a handful of big corporations.

      Robert Weissman of Public Citizen explained: “Ex-Im puts the federal government in a role which ought to be filled by private lenders and insurers. It forces taxpayers to bear the risk that should be absorbed by business.”

      Eighty years after its creation, the Ex-Im Bank’s stated mission of boosting American jobs is questionable, at best. And, the Ex-Im’s general lack of transparency and a growing list of allegations of fraud and corruption (as in the recent headlines regarding four Ex-Im officials accepting kickbacks) are additional red flags. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/08/let-ex-im-expire/

    • Mooser
      September 10, 2014, 7:12 pm

      “hard to believe that a group that won’t buy in to the bds campaign would be touted here.”

      It’s not in the least unusual that they would be reported on in Mondowiess. See the “about” page.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    September 10, 2014, 5:41 pm

    RE: “In late July, nine people were arrested during an If Not Now-organized action for sitting in the lobby of the Conference’s office to demand a meeting with the Conference’s president. (Malcolm Hoenlein, the president of the Conference, later called If Not Now’s protest ‘very insignificant’.)”

    GANDHI: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

  11. P. Nile Schwartz
    September 10, 2014, 11:04 pm

    Is hamas a rightwing or leftwing organization?

    • Mooser
      September 11, 2014, 3:29 pm

      “Is hamas a rightwing or leftwing organization?”

      Don’t answer that! I think it’s a trick question. This “Schwartz” guy is a real thinker, a sort of Zionist Jesuit. A real debater and intellectual. A regular yachsen”

      • P. Nile Schwartz
        September 11, 2014, 10:21 pm

        why is it a trick question?

      • Mooser
        September 13, 2014, 8:07 pm

        “why is it a trick question?”

        Oh, maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t, but you better think long and hard before you answer it, if you dare!

      • Mooser
        September 15, 2014, 1:17 pm

        Yup, I thought “P.Nile” wouldn’t dare to answer the question himself. Been two days.

  12. traintosiberia
    September 13, 2014, 11:37 am

    Consensus is collapsing .That is the silent majority.They don’t carry the day however .

    NYT has a one full page ad. CIMMITMENT TO PEACE AND JUSTICE Page -A7 NY TIMES 13th Sept 2014 It is urging people to bridge the dividing lines between Israel and Palestine through music . These people matter.They can shape the opinion of the millions of people or reinforce the existing opinions by one liner and by a simple message as a fact in a short sentence.
    They have done a good job. Even better than Nero who was playing music himself . These guys are asking the Gazan to play the music and to join in the chorus .
    Besides the core message,NYT is also sending a clear message that it is possible to bring all the liars from A to Z in one page and ask the Gazan to build the bridges through art and music. Gazan have the templates they can use while drawing or painting. A lot of Israeli kids drew and painted the wars in gory details for the other kids not that long ago .
    NYT is a partner in crime and it can bank on the principle of intuitive association that consensus or doubt can be marginalized or made to disappear simply by the influences it exerts on the country at so many levels.

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