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Leading rabbi tells Arab ambassador not to ‘shlep’ Kerry’s view of Palestine into discussion of religion and terrorism

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On December 19th the Potomac Institute had a panel on the role of religion in combating terrorism that was broadcast later on CSPAN. There was a lot of Islam-bashing on this panel. Yonah Alexander of the Potomac Institute lumped Hamas and the murderous synagogue attack in Jerusalem in with ISIS. Robert Eisen, a religion professor at George Washington University, said, “We’re mainly speaking about Islamic terrorism,” in which violence against enemies has a “spiritual and transcendent purpose.” Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt also said that terrorism is mostly a Muslim problem in our time.

After 105 minutes, the ambassador of the Arab League to the United States was invited from the audience to speak. Mohammed Al Hussaini Al Sharif said that religion is not a source of violence, state policies foster violence, including Israel’s “occupation.” The Islamic terrorism described by the panel makes it “all the more imperative to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict…This is one of the major causes of instability and insecurity in the region.”

Al Sharif then quoted from the speech by Secretary of State John Kerry on Eid al-Ahda, October 16. Kerry:

As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL coalition, the truth is we – there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to. And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.

Al Sharif said the US had vetoed resolutions for Palestinian self-determination 40 times in the Security Council.

Now, what do you expect the Palestinian to react? Tell me. They resist, and they call them terrorist. If you are under occupation for 60 years, what will happen?

Fuel the Momentum
The ambassador’s comments irritated Rabbi Weinblatt. Weinblatt heads a Conservative congregation in Maryland and is a leading supporter of Israel, the President of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America and former Director of Israel Policy and Advocacy for the Rabbinical Assembly. He said:

I must say that in the course of our discussion today–and we’ve been discussing this issue of the role of religion in combating terrorism– we’ve talked about incidents of terrorism in Sudan and Somalia, we’ve talked about what’s going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve talked about what’s going on in Nigeria and so many parts of the world. I must say, I’m rather offended by the fact that you would even shlep in the Palestinian problem. None of those issues that we have referred to have anything whatsoever to do with the Israeli Palestinian cause. And despite what Secretary Kerry may have said, it’s not relevant to the issues we have discussed today.

I think we should be discussing the role of religion in combating terrorism and not just bringing in irrelevant, tertiary issues that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

I must say I found the rabbi’s comments deeply dismaying. They reflect the inability of the American Jewish leadership to even consider for an eyeblink how Israel’s policies are generating suffering, resentment, resistance, and international condemnation. The Arab ambassador was speaking common sense. But the American Jewish leadership is reactionary on this question. They make John Kerry look like a radical. It is this sort of rigid authoritarian thinking that generates revolution.

 

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

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70 Responses

  1. Kris
    December 30, 2014, 10:48 am

    Jewish rabbis like Weinblatt who try to excuse Israel’s crimes are destructive in the same way as Christian ministers who promote racism, sexism, and homophobia. They promote contempt for their religions.

  2. Whizdom
    December 30, 2014, 11:04 am

    Note the good cleric considers the Israeli Palestinian territorial dispute “irrelevant” and “tertiary” to a discussion of the role of religion in combatting terrorism, and considers even the mention of the topic as a distraction to the purpose of the meeting.
    While the Israeli PM famously and repeatedly states that ISIS=Hamas=Al Qaeda.

    Even the most uncritical observer of ME affairs must acknowledge the mobilization of the Palestinian condition to incite and enrage terror recruitment. Everyone from Kerry to Petreaus to Tony Zinni has stated this plainly for years.

    One may argue, however disingenuously, the degree of contribution of the fact of millions of disenfranchised and stateless Palestinians at the hands of colonial western powers to the unrest of terrorism, but not the basic facts of the association.

    Fool.

    Perhaps the Rabbi would like to speak on the role of religion in reining in the Lehavists and hilltop youth who are increasingly resorting to terror tactics?

    • Stephen Shenfield
      December 31, 2014, 6:38 am

      Osama bin Laden got the idea of blowing up the Twin Towers from watching on TV Israeli bombing of skyscrapers in Beirut. His reaction was: why can’t we do that? He was directly emulating Israel.

  3. seanmcbride
    December 30, 2014, 11:17 am

    On the Judaism/Zionism issue:

    “The ambassador’s comments irritated Rabbi Weinblatt. Weinblatt heads a Conservative congregation in Maryland and is a leading supporter of Israel: “President of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America and former Director of Israel Policy and Advocacy for the Rabbinical Assembly.”

    Question for Rabbi Weinblatt: to what degree did Judaism motivate the terrorist acts of Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir? (Not to mention thousands of other terrorist acts committed by Jewish religious Zionists.)

    Also: to what degree has Judaism motivated Greater Israelism and ever-expanding Jewish-only settlements in the occupied territories?

    • Annie Robbins
      December 30, 2014, 11:54 am

      now that’s chutzpa! can you even imagine the Potomac Institute hosting a panel on the role of religion in combating terrorism and ignoring judaism? heaven help us! anti semitism!

      • hophmi
        December 30, 2014, 12:09 pm

        “Question for Rabbi Weinblatt: to what degree did Judaism motivate the terrorist acts of Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir?”

        Question for Sean McBride: What do two isloated events from more than 20 years ago have to do with Islamic terrorism perpetrated TODAY in Nigeria as perpetrated by Boko Haram, Islamic terrorism as perpetrated TODAY in Syria and Iraq by ISIS, Islamic terrorism perpetrated TODAY in Somalia by Al-Shabab, Islamic terrorism perpetrated TODAY by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and on and on?

        Go ahead, blame it all on the Jews. You know you want to.

      • Mooser
        December 30, 2014, 2:18 pm

        “Go ahead, blame it all on the Jews. You know you want to.”

        Hophmi, you are such a touchy guy. Take it easy!

        Sean isn’t blaming anybody, he’s just giving credit where it is due, and most often, takes Zionist and Jewish organizations at their own word. And uses their own information.

        I’ve never seen Sean say anything, not one thing about Zionism or Judaism that we don’t, and proudly say about them ourselves.

      • Elliot
        December 31, 2014, 7:51 am

        hophmi –
        Israeli Jews today don’t need the spectacular mass murder of Baruch Goldstein. They use terror on a daily basis, killing one or two at a time (see B’teselem’s reports). And the media over here gives regular coverage to your list instead of Israeli (or American) state terrorism.

      • Mooser
        December 31, 2014, 3:27 pm

        “They use terror on a daily basis, killing one or two at a time (see B’teselem’s reports).”

        If I recall, this summer that rate (“killing one or two at a time”) was not considered satisfactory, and Israel went to a full military assault in “Protective Edge”. So Israel pretty much runs the gamut.

      • seafoid
        December 31, 2014, 3:39 pm

        Israel runs the gamut but not the galut and that is the problem now, Mooser, in a kosher nutshell. Those goys are getting very uppity.

      • Mooser
        January 2, 2015, 11:25 am

        ” in a kosher nutshell. “

        All fruits and nuts are kosher. Shells, peels, pits and zest, too.

    • OyVey00
      December 30, 2014, 2:03 pm

      A better question is: To what degree does Judaism motivate Zionism?

      But nvm, Zionism is not a problem. So move on guys, nothing to see here…

      • MHughes976
        December 31, 2014, 8:34 pm

        Already 2015 in the UK. Another year in which I find myself, like Sean, in disagreement – as one who thinks Zionism morally indefensible – with what seems to be majority opinion within Judaism. For a Christian, even a rather sceptical Christian like me, that degree of religious difference is a bit of a pain. However let me not, in 2015 or ever, forget concerning Jewish people the testimony of the Christian text that to them were entrusted the oracles of God. Happy New Year to all on Mondoweiss. Let better things come to Palestine.
        2014 was bad, but I really believe that Mondoweiss has done something to make another onslaught on Palestine more difficult.

    • seanmcbride
      December 30, 2014, 4:15 pm

      All three major streams of the Abrahamic tradition — Judaism/Zionism, Christianity and Islam — seem to be prone to violence against one another — (and against one another *within* each separate stream, among competing factions) — in the name of the absolutist Old Testament God. There is something in that entire tradition that often breeds the worst kind of fanaticism.

      All of the members of these ideological groups are of course are responsible for their own behavior — I wouldn’t blame it on Abraham or Joshua. Religion is often a convenient excuse for running roughshod over cult outsiders in the pursuit of territory, resources, wealth, power, etc.

      • hophmi
        December 30, 2014, 5:15 pm

        I thinking lumping Judaism in with Christianity and Islam in this way is ridiculous. Besides the fact that there are roughly 100 times the number of Christians and Muslims as there are Jews, and besides the fact that Jews have been an object of Christian and Muslim oppression far more than Muslims and Christians have been an object of any Jewish oppression, the scale of human destruction caused by intra-Christian and intra-Muslim wars dwarfs any comparable destruction caused in any intra-Jewish war that I know of in the last 2000 years.

        Other than that, the greatest outrages of the 20th century were carried out in the name of political ideology, and not religion.

      • lysias
        December 30, 2014, 5:43 pm

        Perhaps the small numbers and lack of power of Jews has limited the harm that they could do until recently, but the recent record of Israel surely shows that Jews and Judaism are not immune to the same temptations.

      • oldgeezer
        December 30, 2014, 6:05 pm

        hophmi

        I don’t think anyone is surprised that you think Judaism should get a free pass in any discussion. You didn’t even need to say it really.

      • eljay
        December 30, 2014, 6:12 pm

        seanmcbride: All three major streams of the Abrahamic tradition … seem to be prone to violence against one another — (and against one another *within* each separate stream, among competing factions) — in the name of the absolutist Old Testament God. …

        >> hophmeee: I thinking lumping Judaism in with Christianity and Islam in this way is ridiculous. Besides the fact that there are roughly 100 times the number of Christians and Muslims as there are Jews …

        The number of adherents is irrelevant to seanmcbride’s point.

        >> … and besides the fact that Jews have been an object of Christian and Muslim oppression far more than Muslims and Christians have been an object of any Jewish oppression …

        The proportionality of oppression is also irrelevant to his point.

        >> … the scale of human destruction caused by intra-Christian and intra-Muslim wars dwarfs any comparable destruction caused in any intra-Jewish war that I know of in the last 2000 years.

        And – three for three! – the scale of destruction is also irrelevant to his point.

        Impressive.

      • piotr
        December 31, 2014, 3:55 am

        “the scale of human destruction caused by intra-Christian and intra-Muslim wars dwarfs any comparable destruction caused in any intra-Jewish war that I know of in the last 2000 years.”

        Compared to the respective numbers, Jews had fewer occasions, but sometimes they made most of it. Zealots were killing other Jews, and during Kitos War, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitos_War messianist fanatic committed mass slaughter of non-Jews.

        And now we have prominent Jewish clerics urging armed forces to collect foreskins of the enemies. Informal polls during that time:
        http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Bnei-Akiva-secretary-general-calls-for-blood-of-enemy-subsequently-apologizes-361370
        One Facebook group called Revenge against Arabs has more than 3,500 likes, The People Demand Revenge Now has over 3,600 likes, The People of Israel Demand Revenge has some 5,700 likes, and Bibi, the People Want Revenge has over 4,644 likes.

        A group called Revenge Won’t Bring Back the Boys has 915 likes.

        And it is not like American Jewish clerics did not call for a Holy War.

      • pjdude
        December 31, 2014, 10:44 am

        @ hophmi

        the only reason jews don’t have the same list as christians and muslims is lack of opertunity. there behavior in palestine shows had they the opertunities their list might very well be the longest. your argument is just another very bad attempt to whitewash judiasmism condoning of violence.

        also side note why doesn’t every post have a reply button under it. some post I don’t have an option to reply to.

      • Walid
        December 31, 2014, 10:59 am

        Pjdude, scroll back to the first reply button and use it. For this reply, I had to scroll back to seanmcbride’s post, 6 posts back..

      • yonah fredman
        December 31, 2014, 11:56 am

        Fighting wars is not limited to the Abrahamic religions and in fact is not limited to religions. The wars fought in the name of Christianity seem to be very much against the gist of the New Testament, while its fervor can understandably been transformed into warrior fervor, its fervor in the text is certainly not oriented towards the sword. Judaism on the other hand has laws of war and conquering right there in the text. Islam’s Koran is somewhere between the two, quite clearly influenced by the history of Muhammad, who fought wars.

        Christianity and Islam because of their universalist nature embarked on converting the world at the point of the sword. Judaism is oriented towards a specific land. demarcated quite explicitly in its text, whereas Christianity and Islam are oriented towards the entire globe.

        Judaism’s texts also include the Talmud written after the beginning of the long period of powerlessness.

        The current wars that Israel have fought are not justified by the history of the last 140 years, but certainly a historian who would focus purely on the books and the laws and would ignore the history of the last 140 years would have to be something less than a competent historian.

      • seafoid
        December 31, 2014, 12:20 pm

        “but certainly a historian who would focus purely on the books and the laws and would ignore the history of the last 140 years would have to be something less than a competent historian.” –

        Someone who would expect Jewish ethics to have any influence when Jews have real political power would be a moron.

      • Theo
        December 31, 2014, 1:20 pm

        seanmcbride

        “All three major streams of Abrahamic tradition – Judaism/Zionism, Christianity and Islam….”

        I presume here you mean religions, however Zionism is not a religion, but a political movement, and has little or nothing to do with Judaism, they use the religion to further their agenda! Most jewish zionist are atheists, and hang on, there are millions of christian zionists who will do everything to support the state of Israel, like the ca. 50 million american born again evangelicals waiting for the rapture. You find similar groups in other christian countries, if not in that number.
        Both the christians and the moslems used warfare and mass killings to expand their religions to the so called “non-believers”, zionists do the same, but for land and natural resources, not for spreading the jewish faith. They want it now, not hereafter!

      • seanmcbride
        December 31, 2014, 4:30 pm

        Theo,

        You wrote:

        “I presume here you mean religions, however Zionism is not a religion, but a political movement, and has little or nothing to do with Judaism, they use the religion to further their agenda!”

        This is not true — the leaders of contemporary Judaism and the Jewish religious establishment — members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations — Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist — have passionately embraced Zionism and merged Zionist ideology with Judaism. Examine their public statements on these matters for the past half century.

        I keep coming back to these two key articles:

        “1,350 U.S. Rabbis Denounce the American Council for Judaism” | Jewish Telegraphic Agency http://www.jta.org/1956/05/07/archive/1350-u-s-rabbis-denounce-the-american-council-for-judaism

        “800 Rabbis in Call for Zionist Enrollment on Eve of 5726 New Year”
        http://www.jta.org/1965/09/14/archive/800-rabbis-in-call-for-zionist-enrollment-on-eve-of-5726-new-year

        What is your take on those articles?

        Many progressive anti-Zionists are in a state of weird denial on this issue — just like liberal Zionists are in a state of denial about their bizarre self-contradictions. They need to start coming to grips with the real world.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 31, 2014, 5:04 pm

        They need to start coming to grips with the real world.

        in the real world i inhabit when congress votes 100 to 0 for iran sanctions the president doesn’t want it doesn’t mean all 100 of those senators enthusiastically support the sanctions. it doesn’t even mean they all luke warm support the sanctions. it remains a possibility, in my mind, some of them wanted to keep their jobs and fill their coffers for the next election cycle. some of them owe favors or fear extortion, some of them know their constituents don’t agree but can’t take the risk.

        that’s the real world i live in, not one in which the words in the article you keep coming back to represents the true inner feelings of each signature from 1956, much less represent the sentiments of all the rabbis in america today, which is the implication of you posting this link and article over and over an over (not to mention the times that didn’t pass moderation).

        btw, theo..please keep in mind when sean says “This is not true” he does not mean that it’s untrue that “Zionism is not a religion, but a political movement, and has little or nothing to do with Judaism, they use the religion to further their agenda” what he means is he doesn’t agree with it. he just has a penchant for framing his words as if they were facts vs his opinion. the truth of the matter, imho, is that judaism has very much been used to further the agenda of zionists. and no amount of embracement by religious jews will change the fact that zionism was not birthed in religion or by the religious nor has zionism consumed the religion.

        also sean, i am curious how many US rabbis there were in 1956. and of that total figure how many had jobs or were actively preaching vs studying or otherwise engaged. do you have any figures? and do you know how many there are today or where i might find that out? i googled around but couldn’t find them. do they register somewhere? i’m not asking because i think 1350 doesn’t represent most of the vast majority of US rabbis in 56, i am asking because i am curious if it is the total amount, like the senate vote. thanks.

      • seanmcbride
        December 31, 2014, 5:30 pm

        On the Judaism/Zionism issue, published just two days ago in the Jerusalem Post:

        “Torah is Israeli deed to land, Bennett tells Orthodox gathering”
        http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Torah-is-Israeli-deed-to-land-Bennett-tells-Orthodox-gathering-386053

        BEGIN QUOTE
        The Bible gives Israel the right to the Land of Israel, Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett told an international gathering of rabbis in Jerusalem on Monday.

        One hundred and thirty Orthodox rabbis from 42 countries attended a conference to discuss anti-Semitism and other challenges facing their diverse communities.

        The annual conference, organized by the World Zionist Organization, this year dealt with the theme of “unity of the Jewish people in times of crisis.”

        In a conversation with an Arab diplomatic, Bennett told the assembled rabbis, he was exhorted to support a Palestinian state and replied by taking down a Bible from his shelf and said that he was not influenced by public opinion on the issue.

        “Public opinion isn’t my compass, the Torah is my compass.

        For 3,000 years the Land of Israel has belonged to the Jewish people,” he said.

        The conference was opened Isak Haleva, the chief rabbi of Turkey, alongside Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern.
        END QUOTE

        And the most liked comment on the article, from a Jewish religious Zionist:

        BEGIN QUOTE
        Thank you Naftali for publicly affirming what we Jews for two millennia in Galut have felt. We owe no answers, explanations, nor excuses to the world why, after two thousand years, we are finally home. We were abused by a cruel and hateful world for two thousand years, and now we protect ourselves in our homeland, again. The world cannot break the bond between Hakadosh Baruch Hu, Torat Yisrael, Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael – it’s all one!”
        END QUOTE

        How important are these attitudes in trying to change the attitudes of the Israeli government and the Israel lobby? You be the judge.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 31, 2014, 6:57 pm

        and what, pray tell, would be the purpose of publishing an article in which the information everyone already knows? who doesn’t know bennett and ilk believe”The Bible gives Israel the right to the Land of Israel”???? and what’s the point of publishing the most liked comment? for there is not one person here who doesn’t already know there are millions of religious jews who believe this. not one sean.

        Let us know when you spot some examples.

        if you think i am going to run out and find some leading Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist rabbis will contradict and challenge Naftali Bennett’s claim you would be wrong. you see it is you, not me that believes in and respects the authority of those who define themselves as the authority. i’ve told you this many times and you keep presenting me authority figures as if it refutes something i said. it doesn’t. it’s really a pity you, with all your so-called intelligence, cannot grasp that simple concept, whether you agree with it or not.

      • seanmcbride
        December 31, 2014, 7:23 pm

        Annie,

        The key issue here is this: if progressive anti-Zionists are unable to acquire traction in establishment institutions like the Conference of Presidents (especially with its core religious membership), how are they going to effect a transformation in the attitudes and policies of the US Congress? Are they going to remain bottled up, as the American Council of Judaism has been bottled up for decades? How do they propose to break the logjam?

        This strikes me as an important issue.

        With regard to what’s going on with Naftali Bennett and his supporters, and what makes him tick ideologically — fresh material on that subject strikes me as highly apropos for Mondoweiss — he is a much more influential figure in Israeli politics than Moshe Feiglin.

      • seanmcbride
        December 31, 2014, 7:55 pm

        Annie,

        To make this as simple as possible: do you think the religious belief system of Naftali Bennett, and those who share his views, needs to be effectively challenged or not?

        Keep in mind that the Republican Party is now completely dominated by Bennett’s fellow ideologues, and that even the Democratic Party has been heavily infiltrated by these views (think of Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, Haim Saban, Samantha Power and many others).

        Is this is a peripheral issue or an urgent front burner issue from the standpoint of challenging the Israel lobby?

        And money and ideology are often joined on this front: many of the lead funders of both the Republican and Democratic Parties are religious Zionists — true believers with an ideological agenda.

        I know that Phil Weiss is strongly interested in this issue — otherwise he wouldn’t keep posting lead articles on the subject on his blog.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 31, 2014, 9:05 pm

        do you think the religious belief system of Naftali Bennett, and those who share his views, needs to be effectively challenged or not?…Is this is a peripheral issue or an urgent front burner issue from the standpoint of challenging the Israel lobby?

        sean, i think we have a fundamental chasm between us in terms of how to effectively challenge the adversary. given their strengths in the arenas in which they operate, dominate and control (congress, political parties, jewish religious leaders etc) coupled with the comparative severely limited resources (money, msm access) of pro palestinian advocacy in which pro israel forces operate, dominate and control, i think it squanders resources (money) and energy of activists to compete and engage the adversary in the arenas they dominate and control. an example of this is an analogy i provided at this link and please read the whole comment for a fuller understanding of the scenario i invented:

        for me, already knowing the deep attachment and dedication many american jews feel towards israel, coupled with the urgency i feel, i think an activists time is better spent engaging people who are not hardened zionists.See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/11/favorable-feelings-netanyahu#comment-722704

        i do not think the primary focus of palestinian activism is best spent challenging the religious belief system of Naftali Bennett, and those who share his views. (although it doesn’t mean i would ignore them, they are definitely worth mocking: see screenshots of a meltdown http://mondoweiss.net/2014/12/caroline-european-diplomats and note how i did not choose to engage/challenge her argument/pt, rather i dismissed it/her) the best way to effectively challenge the adversary is to carve out the widest largest arena in which we dominate and they do not and strengthen that arena and those in it. in this way to effectively challenge us, they have to come into our sphere of influence in which they are weakest, and challenge us.

        now, you can argue until you are blue in the face nothing matters if it does not hold sway in congress. but evidence suggests, it does matter. the resources being spent by groups these jewish leaders control (in the hundreds of millions of dollars) to combat palestinian activism on both american campuses and social media is staggering.

        challenging the religious belief system of Naftali Bennett, and those who share his views, is a waste of scarce resources and they do not need to be effectively challenged on those religious beliefs, at the expense of BDS and growing the grassroots, in order to effect change. they need to be exposed for what they are but as i explained in the scenario at the link of my blockquote, trying to change the actions and belief systems of hardened activists (or nationalist religious figures) is probably the biggest waste of valuable resources i can think of. grow the grassroots and empower the grassroots. the wind is at our back right now and it’s the fastest growing movement on american campuses.

        they are not growing because palestinians are challenging the perceived fundamentals of judaism. whereas the other side, hardened zionists including religious zionists are using that very tactic, attacking the fundamentals of islam (as evidence in the main topic of this article above the thread!). i do not believe it is a good idea because i do not believe this is a holy war. zionists have used judaism to empower zionism. by adopting the arena of the adversary – which i believe you have done, you empower it.

        i hope that sufficiently answers your question.

      • seanmcbride
        December 31, 2014, 9:35 pm

        Annie,

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply and careful analysis. And I remember reading your other linked comment when you first posted it — and emphatically agreeing with it.

        Where we may continue to disagree somewhat is that I think by forcing religious Zionists like Naftali Bennett and Ted Cruz to defend their ideological views, by flushing them and their extremist ideas fully out into the open, we may be able to reach and influence the minds of that large majority of Americans you refer to who are not hardened Zionists — including many mainstream Christians and Jewish religious leaders who are on the fence on these issues. I think the war of ideas on this front can work in tandem with other forms of political activism, including BDS.

        I would also emphasize the protection of basic American values and interests in this campaign, as well as Palestinian human and civil rights — most Americans understand the importance of separating church and state, religion and politics.

        In any case, have a great 2015 and keep up the good fight.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 31, 2014, 10:57 pm

        thanks sean. you have a great year too. happy new year. ;)

      • Mooser
        December 31, 2014, 3:30 pm

        “Judaism on the other hand has laws of war and conquering right there in the text.”

        It does? Do you know what that means, Yonah? Why, if we could just apply the same laws we do to war to getting the birth-rate up and the walk-away-down-the-aisle rate down, we could take over the world!

      • seanmcbride
        December 31, 2014, 5:53 pm

        Annie,

        What we do know is that Jewish religious organizations in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations comprise the backbone of the Israel lobby. Their official statements are highly influential in the Jewish world and in American politics.

      • hophmi
        December 31, 2014, 7:27 pm

        As usual, McBride presents his assumptions as fact. Any organization with Jewish in the title becomes a “religious organization.” All “religious organizations” must agree on orthodox Jewish principles as expounded upon by Naftali Bennett. Whether they actually do or not is obviously not Sean’s concern. And if you challenge his assumptions, get ready for his childish nastiness.

      • Mooser
        January 1, 2015, 12:31 pm

        “And if you challenge his (Seanmcbrides) assumptions, get ready for his childish nastiness.”

        Ha! Thought you could insult me on the sly, and get away with it, Hophmi? Dig it, pal, I’ve got the lock on childish nastiness around here, and “seanmcbride’ can, as the saying goes “bust na’ar a grape” in that area. The very idea!

  4. John Douglas
    December 30, 2014, 11:29 am

    Perhaps Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt will organize a conference on the role of religion in combatting Colonialism and invite Ambassador Mohammed Al Hussaini Al Sharif to speak at that conference.

    • hophmi
      January 2, 2015, 11:33 am

      What would be the point of having a Wahabi monarchist speak at an anti-colonialism conference?

      Shimon Peres, who belongs to Israel, a nation that fought off a colonial ruler, the United Kingdom, would be far more appropriate.

  5. Abu Malia
    December 30, 2014, 11:54 am

    “I must say I found the rabbi’s comments deeply dismaying. They reflect the inability of the American Jewish leadership to even consider for an eyeblink how Israel’s policies are generating suffering, resentment, resistance, and international condemnation.”

    I appreciate the point Phil but, maybe, this inability to ponder isn’t some type of psychological or subconscious denial. It could very well be purposeful and well planned in the believe that to give an inch (or allow a rational give and take debate) would bring the whole house of cards down – exposing the anachronistic nature of zionism and the bigotry that undergird it all.

    IOW, this may not be delusion but pure dissimulation!

    thank you Phil.

    • Kathleen
      December 30, 2014, 12:11 pm

      I believe “purposeful and well planned” A often repeated talking point from those who would like to shut down the debate now that it is far more out in the open. Still trying to shut this critical discussion down

  6. Kathleen
    December 30, 2014, 12:06 pm

    Watched that panel discussion. The Rabbi’s effort to shut down the critical point was redongdiculous. You could almost hear the room sigh “oh hear it comes again” Trying to shut down critical issues again.

    Phil on the recent 60 minutes on the Pope, Vatican they (Morley Safer) refers to a 2000 year old Palestinian Coin in the Vatican’s vaults. They show the coin. Oops…more references to historical Palestinians …more leakage

    On a recent Al Jazeera interview with Anne Marie Slaughter on many domestic issues that I totally agree with her on. They went onto discuss, Iraq, Libya, Syria with absolutely no mention of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Total silence by Anne Marie and the interviewer. More silence out of people who know better. The interviewer did call her out when she pointed out Russia’s invasion into Crimea while avoiding the far more costly in life and treasure US invasion of Iraq. An interesting interview

    • hophmi
      January 2, 2015, 11:34 am

      Do you really buy this anachronistic garbage about how the Palestinians of Roman times 2000 years ago are the same thing as the modern Palestinian construct, which dates from 1964?

      • CigarGod
        January 2, 2015, 3:21 pm

        Yeah, pretty much, dude.
        The “star stuff” in both Palestinians and Jews…is all about 13.2 billion years old.
        It’s the exact same star stuff.

      • seanmcbride
        January 2, 2015, 3:43 pm

        Pro-Israel activists don’t want to hear about any of that hippy-dippy star stuff — not when there are so many ethnic and religious enemies here, there and everywhere to ground down into a fine powder. Get your priorities in order. :)

      • CigarGod
        January 2, 2015, 4:50 pm

        Carl Sagan is reputed to have achieved great enlightenment from smoking grass, so I guess since the phrase is his…hippy dippy might be correct…and I’ll be happy to wear the phrase, too.

        Carl: “There is no special ethnic or religious sensibility that applies here,” he said. “In fact, it is the very opposite: the fact that we are all equally threatened has some potential of bringing us together.” Jews, like all other groups, should put preventing a nuclear holocaust at the top of their list of priorities “not because they are Jews but because they are human.”

      • RoHa
        January 2, 2015, 6:47 pm

        ‘The “star stuff” in both Palestinians and Jews…is all about 13.2 billion years old. It’s the exact same star stuff. ‘

        No it isn’t. It has been scientifically proven that the star stuff in Palestinians comes from five-pointed stars. In Jews it comes from six-pointed stars.

      • CigarGod
        January 2, 2015, 7:19 pm

        I knew it…Israelis always get an extra point.

      • eljay
        January 2, 2015, 9:52 pm

        >> hophmeee: Do you really buy this anachronistic garbage …

        I agree: Whether or not the Palestinians of the past are the same thing as the Palestinians of the present, Zio-supremacist Jews did not and still do not have a right to an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine.

        Sometimes you actually make sense.

  7. seafoid
    December 30, 2014, 12:15 pm

    Weinblatt is a very German name. There’s a place near us where we can recycle bottles and one of the containers is called Weisglass, just like Dov Formaldehyde. Ancient homeland my ass.

    • hophmi
      December 30, 2014, 12:23 pm

      “Weinblatt is a very German name.”

      Yeah, and if he had family in Germany say, 75 years ago, they probably would have been brutally murdered.

      • Cliff
        December 30, 2014, 10:09 pm

        Cool story bro

      • Mooser
        December 31, 2014, 3:53 pm

        Cliff, did you get that? Not just murdered, but “brutally”. Oh, and, oh yeah, “probably”.
        But they “probably” would have.

      • CigarGod
        December 31, 2014, 4:17 pm

        Can it be murder…if it was legal?

        Isn’t israel doing all they do…legally?

  8. Kathleen
    December 30, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Phil etc. Anyone know what is going on with Hillary and Flynt Mann Leverett’s website “Going To Tehran?” Last post on October 30th, last comment in November now closed down comment section with no new post. That site is always a regular stop for me and so many others interested in facts about the middle east. Anyone know what is up over there?

  9. Whizdom
    December 30, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Too sad. In an alternative universe, without the anomaly of the Occupation and the Israeli colonialist agenda, Weissblatt may have been considered a positive force, he seems to be a genuinely authentic and caring pastor to his congregation and an active member in the social and political life of his influential congregation and community. I know he could have made many meaningful contributions to a forum like the Potomac Institute’s discussions on religion and terrorism, but, he didn’t have the courage or character to overcome the pressures to uncritically “stand up for colonialism” . Lost opportunity, that.

  10. traintosiberia
    December 30, 2014, 3:55 pm

    The conference neglects the causes and neglects the contexts that typify these conflicts in the areas inhabited by mostly Muslim. It is like picking up a page out of Shekspere ‘s numerous novels and then come out with the statements on the particular novel and on Shakespeare .
    Unfortunately too often this shallow ,intentional,deliberately poor analysis has been the norm rather than exception. There was a context before Libya spiraled in violence. There was a context before Syria and before Iraq entered the darkest histories of 21 st century. Same is applicable to Afghanistan that repeatedly failed as a state over last 30 years . But the rabbi won’t tread on that path . That is too much of an admission and also too much of an obvious reason not to repeat those same activities ( subversion,pre emotive wars,no fly zone creating terrorist outfit ,allowing NED to engage in overthrowing and agitprop ) pre dating the chaos .in future in unaffected areas inhabited by Muslim – Iran or Azerbazian or Malyasia or Indonesia- . But one can’t be so sure that it won’t be tried.

    Somalia is another example . This country was turned into terror field by combined actions of US,Ethiopia,and Uganda . Israel played a major part as it did in Sudan.

    Then there is domino effects . Failed state on the border gives rise to all kinds of social problem and political instabilities to the country next .
    War was in Vietnam but the societies that got screwed were Laos,Cambodia,and for perverted was Thailand .

  11. traintosiberia
    December 30, 2014, 4:03 pm

    Better off Stateless: Somalia Before and After a government Collapse
    By Peter T Leeson
    Department of Economics
    West Virginia University
    JEL: 01,017
    This study tells us how Somali was evolving and could have morphed into a viable pun try if US didn’t start spreading anarchy and creating unrest in the name fighting terror ( Bush2 did it 2006)

  12. amigo
    December 30, 2014, 4:24 pm

    “I must say I found the rabbi’s comments deeply dismaying. ” PW

    Yeah me too.Considering this Rabbi probably believes God gave Israel to the Jews.His defense of Israeli terrorism based on a religious belief makes him look like a blatant hypocrite.

    • seafoid
      December 30, 2014, 4:50 pm

      Most rabbis are hopeless. Judaism is lashed to a traumatised out of control ego maniac with violence issues and the rabbis don’t say anything.

      • Mooser
        December 31, 2014, 3:45 pm

        Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier for the Rabbi’s to sort of submerge on the issue, make supportive noises out of habit while moving away, to re-emerge later as a non-or even anti-Zionist?
        In the meantime, Rabbi’s could start by positioning themselves as non-political, they know strictly from religion, and serving their congregation, and later on, when the climate is right, say something.
        Don’t ask from Rabbis something they can’t give, it’s self defeating.

  13. Atlantaiconoclast
    December 30, 2014, 4:28 pm

    I wonder if it troubles these Jewish leaders, just a little, when they realize that Israel has repeatedly attacked the secular foe of ISIS, has yet to attack ISIS, and has yet to be attacked by ISIS. Is this just a coincidence? How can the pro Israel crowd talk about fighting terror with a straight face when Israel attacks Syria right as its forces of secularism are in battle with the forces of utter savagery?

  14. ritzl
    December 30, 2014, 5:24 pm

    I don’t know if this fits in on this thread, but I caught a rerun of “To the Contrary” about the acceptance of gays in a few Protestant (conservative Protestant) churches. I guess what struck me were the smiling faces/expressions of relief of the congregation members as their churches removed the, I struggle with the right word but…, “stricture” to condemn people not like them.

    Profound, liberating relief, imho. Affecting stuff.

    Perhaps that example applies/might apply to Jewish congregations as well, on this issue. Isn’t letting go of the stress of enforced hatred a good thing?

    Episode blurb: http://www.pbs.org/to-the-contrary/blog/2021/this-week-on-to-the-contrary_lgbt-affirming-churches

    I’ll try to find the video. It teared me up a bit.

  15. CigarGod
    December 31, 2014, 10:26 am

    Cracks me up!
    Kerry says everywhere he went people came up to him and agreed how bad isil was…and told their own horror stories.

    Kerry neglected to mention these folks follow up comment: oh, btw mr kerry…i hear you have a big bag of cash to spread around to those who have a good idea on how to fight isil. I have a plan…can i get some cash to get me started on it?

    Sort of what happens when the money man walks into the room. Flies are smart.

  16. seafoid
    December 31, 2014, 12:20 pm

    I presume shlep is a Hebrew word from the ancestral homeland. From SLP, which means did not live anywhere near in the original aramaic.

    • Theo
      December 31, 2014, 1:33 pm

      Schleppen: a german verb, meaning to drag, haul, tow, carry and lug.
      I love those yidish words, like “gefillte fisch”, it means stuffed fish.

      • seafoid
        December 31, 2014, 3:41 pm

        And schmuck.

        Yiddish seems to have a good few similarities with Swiss German. Is it linked to Alemannic ?

  17. Moto
    December 31, 2014, 6:59 pm

    Israel was created by terrorists using terrorism and continues to exist only by the use of terrorism.

    Israel is a blight unto nations.

    • CigarGod
      January 1, 2015, 1:25 pm

      And before the apologists claim ‘singling out’…or ‘well, sammy (uncle) did it too’, i’ll stipulate all kinds of other nations did the same.

      But, since the nation under examination this time…is israel…lets stay focused on that, shall we?

  18. Qualtrough
    January 1, 2015, 11:01 pm

    All the major religions contain fundamentalist strains that are normally kept in check and on the fringe by the majority of people who just want to lead decent and normal lives. However, political events can alter the ability of the decent majority to keep the fundamentalists in check. I would suggest that the following events have played a huge role in destabilizing the balance in the Islamic world:

    1. The theft from and expulsion of the Palestinians and the fact that any peaceful and/or equitable means of resolving this issue have been consistently shot down by Israel and its supporters.

    2. Western governments destroying just about every secular government in the Islamic world (Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc.) while at the same time supporting Saudi Arabia and turning a blind eye to its spreading its poisonous extremist interpretation of Islam around the world. You can throw in support for murderous governments in Egypt, for anti-democratic government in Bahrain, and so on ad nauseum.

    3. A US media that uniformly demonizes Islam and Arabs at every opportunity to reinforce the view that Arab/Islam = terrorist monsters. I doubt you could count on one finger the number of times a mainstream US film or TV show has presented a positive image of Arabs/Islam, or sympathetically portrayed the plight of Palestinians in the same way that literally hundreds of films and shows about Jews or Israelis have done over the years. This hardens attitudes and leads to support for policies that only strengthen the hand of Islamic religious extremists.

    This list is incomplete, but the idea that the fault lies with Islam and Islam alone is totally disingenuous.

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