The Star of David is fair game

Israel/Palestine
on 66 Comments

It happens with steady regularity: an artist, performer or demonstrator displays or uses a Star of David to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, and various Zionist, Jewish and Israeli pressure groups condemn the artist as an anti-Semite, thus deflecting attention from the occupation. One of the most notable examples of this phenomenon occurred when former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters displayed an inflatable pig emblazoned with a Star of David during a concert in 2013.

Roger Waters's flying pig with Star of David

Roger Waters’s flying pig with Star of David

The argument that the use of the Star of David in such contexts is evidence of anti-Semitism seems simple: the Star of David has been a symbol of Judaism for centuries, and any deprecatory depiction of it in works of art or in demonstrations necessarily represents hatred or fear of Judaism or Jews.

The flaw in this argument is that the Star of David is not merely a religious symbol but a national one as well, as it is the central constituent of the flag of the State of Israel. By using the Star of David thus, Israel has made the Star its de facto symbol, especially since the official emblem of Israel, the Menorah, is relatively unknown outside of that country. It is therefore no surprise that it is the Star and not the Menorah that is usually used to symbolize the state of Israel in the worlds of art and politics.

For the sake of fairness let us note that it is not only the Star of David that enjoys dual significance as a religious and a national symbol. The cross, with its many variations, is used on flags of numerous countries and is therefore a legitimate target for critics of these countries and their policies. A critic of Sweden may desecrate a yellow Nordic cross without being accused of anti-Christian sentiments and an opponent of Scottish nationalism may use a saltire similarly. Those who use religious symbols for nationalist causes run the risk of having these symbols used or mocked by those who have no axe to grind with the religion or its followers.

Still, one might argue that those wishing to criticize Israel should use its flag as a whole—a blue Star of David between two parallel bars of the same color—rather than the Star by itself. After all, how hard is it for an artist to draw two parallel lines? This might have been a legitimate argument had it not been for Israel’s use of the solo Star of David on (for example) the Israeli Air Force’s coat of arms and in the “kanfey tayis” (aviation wings), the coveted pin worn by IDF pilots. More disturbingly, Israeli Air Force aircraft such as the F-16 and F-15 fighter jets and the Apache attack helicopter display a solo Star of David on their wings and bodies, and when these killing machines take flight and bomb civilians in Gaza, they do so as representatives of the symbol they flaunt. As the Israelis have made the Star of David into martial insignia, it is only fair that critics of IDF atrocities be allowed great artistic license when using the Star in cartoons and performances. I find it sadly amusing that so many in the Zionist camp are distraught over an inflatable plastic pig bedecked with a Star of David but not over mass murders by fighter jets festooned with the same symbol.

Furthermore, once we consider who is being represented by the Israeli flag, the Star of David becomes not only a permissible but an appropriate target for critics of Israel and its policies. Roughly one-quarter of Israeli citizens aren’t Jewish, yet the soldiers occupying the Palestinian territories, the pilots bombing Gazan neighborhoods, and the Shin Bet agents torturing Palestinian detainees are overwhelmingly Jewish (a small percentage are Bedouin, Druze, Circassians and Christians, and these are rarely given “important” duties requiring a high security clearance). To use the Israeli flag in cartoons and demonstrations is to target the Israeli population as a whole, but it is largely the Jewish majority that supports the occupation, that votes for the likes of Netanyahu and right, and that is engaged in “hands-on” oppression in the Palestinian territories, and I doubt anyone believes the occupation would have lasted had Arab parties had a majority in the Knesset. By using the Star of David, a critic of Israel’s policies conveys the message that it is largely Jewish Israelis and not Israelis at large who are to blame. And there is nothing anti-Semitic about drawing attention to that fact.

None of this implies that the use of the Star of David is always justified, for the Star is routinely used in overtly anti-Semitic cartoons and works of propaganda alongside other anti-Semitic stock characters and symbols (e.g. a smiling Jew with a long nose). My point is simply that use of the Star of David is not always unjustified, and that in the context of criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians it is very often appropriate.

Besides, if Israelis and their supporters are really so concerned about the use of their vaunted religio-national symbol by critics and detractors, let them worry about ending the occupation first. When the Star of David stands for humanist values and not for oppression, its use in artistic works will diminish and it will be far easier to distinguish the anti-Semites from the rest. Until then, let that Star be an object of contempt.

About Or Amit

Or Amit is a freelance writer living in Dresden, Germany.

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66 Responses

  1. hophmi
    September 8, 2015, 2:24 pm

    “let that Star be an object of contempt”

    So does this mean that it’s OK to use the crescent in criticism of Muslim countries and Islamic extremists since many Muslim countries include the crescent on their flag? I challenge you to print on this blog a piece by a Muslim who supports letting the Crescent be an object of contempt.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 8, 2015, 5:17 pm

      hops, where is the crescent used on weapons and aircraft? because if it is then it is fair game when criticizing actions by that entity.

      • pabelmont
        September 8, 2015, 5:26 pm

        Annie and Hophmi, In the case that someone is particularly seeking a “visual” to use to castigate the Israeli armed forces (or the “we took Palestine vi et armis in 1945-50 and we’re proud of it and proud of our warriors and proud of our warrior state” armed aspect of Israel), using the symbol (SoD) that Israel itself uses on its airplanes seems particularly appropriate.

      • Mooser
        September 8, 2015, 5:30 pm

        Hophmi, I wish every weapon with the Star-of-David emblazoned on it was just like you. Then nobody would be afraid. The only time you don’t fire blanks is when you aim at your own foot.

      • RoHa
        September 8, 2015, 7:36 pm

        Annie, quite a few countries use a version of the star and crescent on their military aircraft. Each version would then be fair game when criticising actions by that country.

        We might want to suggest that a more generalised version would be fair game for those who want to criticise Islamic extremists. (Just as Muhammad is currently fair game for cartoonists.) However, it does not seem that the Islamic extremists have the same level of support from Muslims as Israel has from Jews, so I do not think it is appropriate.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2015, 7:41 pm

        (Just as Muhammad is currently fair game for cartoonists.)

        no it is not “just as” because muslims do not use images of mohammed.

      • RoHa
        September 8, 2015, 7:47 pm

        True, Annie. But the “Just as” refers to “fair game”, and is not equating pictures of Muhammad with the Star of David.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2015, 7:51 pm

        i don’t believe it’s fair game. when adherents of a religion uniformly use a religious symbol as a symbol when they kill people then it becomes fair game for their critics to use it as a symbol when critiquing that killing also. can you see the difference? muslims do not use the image of mohammed — at all. so taking part in a religious sacrilege to purposely offend is not the same thing in my estimation.

        it’s a different topic altogether. arguments could be made for or against, but not as being equivalent to a star of david analogy.

      • RoHa
        September 8, 2015, 8:26 pm

        Annie, I’m agreeing with you. I see the difference.

        The “Just as” means (a) the images are fair game for criticism (but not that the criticisms are the same sort of criticism) and (b) people get upset about it. That’s all.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2015, 8:35 pm

        ok, i should have been clearer tho. instead of writing taking part in a religious sacrilege to purposely offend is not the same thing in my estimation.

        i should have written: taking part in a religious sacrilege to purposely offend is not “fair game” in my estimation.

      • echinococcus
        September 8, 2015, 9:58 pm

        No need to have it on weapons. In view of the many (and ongoing) huge acts of massive aggression in Turkish history, the star and crescent emblem is the target of a lot of hate and acts of symbolic disfigurement.
        Also note that the Turkish Nazi party (MHP) proudly displays a Turkish version of the swastika made of 3 moons.
        Of course all kinds of nationalist symbols will attract hatred and attacks.

    • tree
      September 8, 2015, 5:34 pm

      The Roger Waters flying pig not only had a Star of David on it; it also had a Crucifix, a Crescent and Star as well as a hammer and sickle, a dollar sign, a Mercedes symbol, a McDonald’s sign and a Shell Oil sign.

      I can find no internet link to any objection to the Crescent and Star or to the Crucifix that were illuminated on the very same Waters’ flying pig.

      https://www.facebook.com/notes/roger-waters-the-wall/an-open-letter-from-roger-waters/688037331210720

      • RoHa
        September 8, 2015, 7:44 pm

        Anti-McDonaldsism is a growing problem all over the world.

        http://fortune.com/2015/04/22/mcdonalds-restaurants-closing/

        But Phil pays no attention to this issue.

      • pabelmont
        September 9, 2015, 9:26 am

        Jews (or some of them, some of their self-anointed “leaders” often big-bux men) have got in the habit of objecting loudly to what they describe as antisemitism. These people have enormous machinery in place to complain. But no-one else has the habit, the machinery, or the political acumen (the complaining is a pro-Israel political act IMO). Thus there is no loud outrage about the use of the “$” symbol, etc.

    • tokyobk
      September 8, 2015, 7:12 pm

      The better analogy would be between the Star of David and the Shadah, the Islamic confession, which has appeared on many Islamic flags, such as the ISIS black standard and the green field for Saudi.

      But its also said by normative Muslims everywhere as a matter of religious worship.

      In both cases, imo, one should do as the author suggests and be very clear.

      When cartoonists use “Allah hu Akbar” meaning — this is what terrorists say, they are being derogatory to the religion and its adherents.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2015, 7:21 pm

        but a cartoonist mocking isis — why not use the term Allah hu Akbar? it’s what isis says. is it racist to use the term to mock isis? has anyone been accused of being islamophobia mocking isis? it’s only when someone accuses anyone else using the term as being defacto supporters of terrorism where it therefore becomes racist. that would be the equivalence of saying any usage of the star of david is racist. that’s not being alleged.

        correct me if i am wrong. but i can understand if muslims are offended by isis using this term and doing what they do in the name of allah. but this is different than cartoons with derogatory images of muhammed, isn’t it?

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2015, 7:37 pm

        tokyobk, your comment reminds me: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/islamic-isis-flags-black-banners-hamas

        Over the summer, a New Jersey resident was pressured to take down a black flag bearing the shahada, or Islamic declaration of faith (“There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God”) after someone reported it to the Department of Homeland Security. The Jersey man had flown the flag for 10 years, and insisted (correctly) that it had nothing to do with ISIS. The ISIS flag features the shahada, but most flags with the shahada on them are not ISIS flags.

        when people are pressured to remove their stars of david and get reported to homeland security for wearing or displaying them then there could seemingly be a equivalent comparison. but no such thing will happen here.

      • tokyobk
        September 8, 2015, 7:47 pm

        Yes, there is not exact -political- equivalence between poking fun in a sweeping way at Jews and at Muslims.

        I was speaking of the moral equivalence.

        Its actually not that hard. Just be specific. If a cartoonist lampoons Israel the Star of David may be included just as a cartoon with ISIS may have Allahu Akbar or a Shahada flag.

        The point is whether the Star or Shahada also represents normative Islam and Judaism, which they do, and that does, imo, give a satirist or critic some responsibility.

      • tokyobk
        September 8, 2015, 7:49 pm

        Annie–

        And by the way, there are places where Jews are pressured by social reality not to openly display their Judaism such as wearing a Star of David or Kippah.

        Is that because Israel uses the same star on its jets. Many here would probably say yes, that wearing a Star in the bannlieues or Malmo is dangerous because of Gaza.

        You have said this kind of thing […] is low on your priority list of human right, but it is nonetheless true.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 8, 2015, 8:11 pm

        tokyobk. yes well in a country where the parliament has outlawed insignia or garments displaying a religious allegiance at schools and those delivering public services as an “affront to the secular French Republic” isn’t this sort of public ‘pressure’ to be expected? i said it could never happen in this country. obviously france is a different story.

        it’s called push back.

      • RoHa
        September 8, 2015, 7:54 pm

        “The point is whether the Star or Shahada also represents normative Islam and Judaism, which they do, and that does, imo, give a satirist or critic some responsibility. ”

        And this brings in the distinction I wanted to draw above.

        If we regard the symbols as representative of the religions, then I do not think either should be used in anything other than criticism of the religions.

        However, if we regard the symbols as representative of the followers of the religions, then we have to ask how much support Israel/ISIS gets from the followers.

      • Mooser
        September 8, 2015, 8:42 pm

        “normative Islam and Judaism” “tokyobl”

        Neither of which you can define, so as usual, you are just going around in circles.
        If I want to now what “normative” Judaism, I would go straight to the Chef-Rabbi in Jerusalem. And I’d probably get a free lunch, an excellent Kosher meal, while he explained it. And I’ll likely cry into my canapelach, when I see how abnormative I am.

      • echinococcus
        September 8, 2015, 9:47 pm

        tokyobk,

        If the Zionists weren’t the last remaining dangerous antisemites in the world and idf they had any respect for the Jewish religion, they wouldn’t use either the star or the menorah as an inhuman shield.
        Meaning that the few non-Zionist religious Jews are collateral damage –as they say wherever Zionists shoot.

      • tokyobk
        September 9, 2015, 12:57 am

        Mooser–

        By normative I am simply distinguishing the practices that all adherents of a faith agree on — for example in Islam the fundamentals of proclaiming the shahada, charity, prayer or in Judaism, that the Torah is a foundational text, from a particular practice that may or may not be a part of the faith. The Sta of David is taken as a symbol of Judaism by all Jews. The shahada is universally accepted as the Islamic credo. Therefore normative.

        There is nothing in Judaism that says you must emblazon the SoD on a fighter jet or any other military equipment.

        Cartoonists and critics should simply be careful and respectful.

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2015, 11:19 am

        “By normative I am simply distinguishing the practices that all adherents of a faith agree on”

        A “belief” is not the same thing as a “practice”. Not by a mile. So, as I know little about Islam, please, tell me what are the “practices” which all Jews practice? (But Thank God we are all Kosher and agree on out-marriage!)
        And as far as your “they all believe” this or that, that seems pretty tendentious to me. We can’t see what people “believe” but we can see what they do.

        BTW, “tokyobk” who or what is you authourity on what “normative” Judaism is?
        Whether it’s belief or practise?

        “There is nothing in Judaism that says you must emblazon the SoD on a fighter jet or any other military equipment.”

        And gee, there is nothing that says you mustn’t emblazon a Star of David on military equipment. So why the hell should cartoonists respect the Star of David when we don’t

        “tokyobk, you can’t ask more from other people than we can ask of ourselves. Yes, I know, that’s not right, they owe us. But it’s not a fair world.

      • CigarGod
        September 9, 2015, 7:36 pm

        Many people wonder how I became a God. Well, pretty much how I became a Rabbi. I went on the internet, filled out a short form, enclosed $20 bucks and dropped it in the official box. Eventually, I got back a rolled up piece of parchment that said I was. The God route was pretty much the same, except I got 20 rolled up magic smokers. Every month they send me 20 more.

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2015, 1:09 pm

        “Cartoonists and critics should simply be careful and respectful.”

        Oh, I get it! So we can show a cartoon of an Israeli military jet with a a Star-of-David rocketing children, but the jet better not be limned with a sneer on its face, or G-ddamn it, a big nose!

      • tokyobk
        September 9, 2015, 3:01 pm

        Mooser —

        While I would not be surprised in the least if on Planet Mooser Jews prayed from a Sanskrit text revealed to their prophet Joseph Smith, facing Helsinki, on Earth there are actually a few practices (yes, beliefs is a bit trickier) that distinguish each religion. Islam is the easiest in this regard as it has five practices that every Muslim accepts as defining Islam.

        All Jews accept the Torah as the founding Jewish text and the Talmud as the Jewish oral tradition. All Jews accept Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Hannukah as Jewish holidays.

        The relevant point is that all Jews accept the Star of David as a symbol of their religion. So, while it can be symbol of the IDF (Thanks Israel for muddying these waters) it is also the normative symbol of Judaism.

        I suppose again on your home planet Jews also wear small Thor’s Hammers and Poseidon tridents around their neck (its not as cool when the chest hair stick through though — no frame) but again I am just talking about Planet Water here.

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2015, 4:19 pm

        “All Jews accept the Torah as the founding Jewish text and the Talmud as the Jewish oral tradition. All Jews accept Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Hannukah as Jewish holidays.

        The relevant point is that all Jews accept the Star of David as a symbol of their religion.”

        Thanks “tokypobk”. Now I know what “all Jews accept”. And you say those are “normative”? Okay!

    • talknic
      September 9, 2015, 1:50 am

      @ hophmi //“let that Star be an object of contempt”//

      In context /”When the Star of David stands for humanist values and not for oppression, its use in artistic works will diminish and it will be far easier to distinguish the anti-Semites from the rest. Until then, let that Star be an object of contempt “/

      “So does this mean that it’s OK to use the crescent in criticism of Muslim countries and Islamic extremists since many Muslim countries include the crescent on their flag”

      Do they have the crescent emblazoned on their human slaughtering equipment?

    • eljay
      September 9, 2015, 3:30 pm

      || hophmi: So does this mean that it’s OK to use the crescent in criticism of Muslim countries and Islamic extremists since many Muslim countries include the crescent on their flag? … ||

      Israel refers to itself as the “Jewish State” and uses the SoD as a non-religious*, national symbol. I don’t see any problem with using that symbol to criticize the nation.

      Similarly, I don’t see any problem with using the crescent to criticize any nation that refers to itself as an “Islamic State” and uses the crescent as a non-religious, national symbol.
      ____________________
      (*When they’re not reducing it to just a religion, Zio-supremacists love to point out that Jewish is so much more than a religion: It’s a tribe, a culture, an ethnicity, a people, a nation and a civilization.)

    • Gardenia
      September 10, 2015, 12:52 am

      The Star of David is fair game. It is not a religious symbol. It is a political symbol, chosen by Theodor Herzl in 1882 as the symbol for Zionism, not Judaism. Prior to that it was commonly used in pagan faiths as a symbol for reproduction and copulation. It is no different then the choice of the swastika by other political movements. That symbol, prior to being used by the National Socialist Party, was a pagan symbol for the sun and strength. For those marginalized by zionism and the Jewish supremacy it promotes and upholds via its laws and actions, the Star has the same impact of disgust on non-Jewish people who understand what it stands for as the swastika has on Jewish people and gypsies, or the confederate flag to African Americans. The crescent is the symbol of Islam just as the cross is of Christianity. You’re comparing apples and oranges here. The star is not in the same class, despite popular misconceptions.

      • eljay
        September 10, 2015, 7:31 am

        || Gardenia: … The crescent is the symbol of Islam just as the cross is of Christianity. You’re comparing apples and oranges here. The star is not in the same class, despite popular misconceptions. ||

        Fair enough, but my point stands. And I would even say that whether or not the symbol is used in a non-religious way is irrelevant – what matters is whether or not it’s used as a national symbol.

  2. Tchoupitoulas
    September 8, 2015, 2:29 pm

    For more on this, see Judy Mandelbaum’s 2010 Salon article, “Is the Star of David the new swastika?”

    Time was when Nazis used to slather swastikas on synagogues and Jewish businesses to prepare the local population for expulsion or much worse. It’s sad that this sort of behavior persists around the world, as a new study by Tel Aviv University shows. But it’s even sadder to see Israelis regularly defacing Palestinian property with Stars of David with equal glee and with what appears to be the same brain-dead mindset.

    The article link, here:

    http://www.salon.com/2010/04/15/star_david_swastika_open2010/

    • Kay24
      September 8, 2015, 6:04 pm

      Unfortunately, because of Israel’s own actions, the ongoing occupation, illegal settlements, and the long list of crimes, the Star of David is symbolic of Israel, and is a reminder of it’s crimes.

      Is it fair game? Most definitely YES. Just like the American flag is burnt by people mad at us for attacking it, killing civilians with drones, interfering in their affairs, and being responsible for the deaths of thousands, Israel’s flag represents the war crimes detested by the world. The Jewish terrorists puts the star of David on burnt and destroyed Palestinian homes, or leaves it as their trade mark on anti Arab graffiti. So if these terrorists use that sacred star to bring focus to their horrendous crimes, it is fair game for those victims to use that very Star to voice their anger.

      Israelis have to deal with the consequences that results from their violent crimes. They are not as special, as they like to think they are. You use a religious symbol to inflict harm on others, perpetrate crimes and use it as your signature logo, you are disrespecting that symbol yourself, using it to advertise just who you are, and that you are resorting to such crimes. The world will eventually associate that symbol with your never ending crimes. No point whining about it, when you bring it on yourself.

      • inbound39
        September 9, 2015, 3:18 am

        I do not recall any Israeli troops since Israel’s inception fighting alongside American or British Troops.

  3. JLewisDickerson
    September 8, 2015, 3:03 pm

    RE: “I find it sadly amusing that so many in the Zionist camp are distraught over an inflatable plastic pig bedecked with a Star of David but not over mass murders by fighter jets festooned with the same symbol.” ~ Or Amit

    SEE: “Israel’s Defense Chief OK’s Hundreds of Israeli Deaths”, By Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.org, 11/11/11

    [EXCERPTS] “If we take out the Iranian nuke facilities, sure, they’ll strike back at us,” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said yesterday. “But if every American stays in their home when the Iranian rockets start falling, well, it will be uncomfortable. It won’t be a picnic. But we won’t have 220,000 Americans killed. Not even 22,000. So let’s stop the fear-mongering. We’ve got vital interests to protect.” . . ,

    No, of course Panetta didn’t say that. It would be unimaginable. But Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak did say much the same thing in a radio interview just the other day.

    . . . An essential motive of Zionism from its beginning was a fierce desire to end the centuries of Jewish weakness, to show the world that Jews would no longer be pushed around, that they’d fight back and prove themselves tougher than their enemies. There was more to Zionism than that. But the “pride through strength” piece came to dominate the whole project. Hence the massive Israeli military machine with its nuclear arsenal.
    But you can’t prove that you’re stronger than your enemies unless you’ve also got enemies — or at least believe you’ve got enemies — to fight against. So there has to be a myth of Israel’s insecurity, fueled by an image of vicious anti-semites lurking somewhere out there, for Zionism to work. Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran has gradually risen to the top of Israel oh-so-necessary enemies list. Iranophobia is rampant in Israel, as one Israeli scholar writes, because “Israel needs an existential threat.”
    Anyone who has grown up in Israel, or in the U.S. Jewish community (as I did), and paid attention knows all this. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/11-2

    P.S. ALSO SEE – “Iranophobia: The Panic of the Hegemons”, by Ira Chernus, Tikkun Magazine, November/December 2010
    LINK – http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/iranophobia-the-panic-of-the-hegemons-3

    P.P.S. ■ A Problem of Self Image (Mysh) from Richard Silverstein’s Tikun Olam site

    • JLewisDickerson
      September 8, 2015, 3:07 pm

      P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “Three Myths of Israel’s Insecurity And Why They Must Be Debunked”, By Ira Chernus, TomDispatch.com, 4/17/2011

      [EXCERPTS] Here are the Three Sacred Commandments for Americans who shape the public conversation on Israel:

      1. For politicians, especially at the federal level: As soon as you say the word “Israel,” you must also say the word “security” and promise that the United States will always, always, always be committed to Israel’s security. If you occasionally label an action by the Israeli government “unhelpful,” you must immediately reaffirm the eternal U.S. commitment to Israel’s security.

      2. For TV talking heads and op-ed pundits: If you criticize any policies or actions of the Israeli government, you must immediately add that Israel does, of course, have very real and serious security needs that have to be addressed.

      3. For journalists covering the Israel-Palestine conflict for major American news outlets: You must live in Jewish Jerusalem or in Tel Aviv and take only occasional day trips into the Occupied Territories. So your reporting must inevitably be slanted toward the perspective of the Jews you live among. And you must indicate in every report that Jewish Israeli life is dominated by anxiety about security.

      U.S. opinion-shapers have obeyed the Three Commandments scrupulously for decades. As a result, they’ve created an indelible image of Israel as a deeply insecure nation. That image is a major, if often overlooked, factor that has shaped and continues to shape Washington’s policies in the Middle East and especially the longstanding American tilt toward Israel. . .

      . . . Ironically, that myth gets plenty of criticism and questioning in the Israeli press from writers like (to cite just some recent examples) Merav Michaeli and Doron Rosenblum in the liberal newspaper Haaretz, and even Alon Ben-Meir in the more conservative Jerusalem Post. In the United States, though, the myth of insecurity is the taken-for-granted lens through which the public views everything about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Like the air we breathe, it’s a view so pervasive that we hardly notice it.

      Nor do we notice how reflexively most Americans accept the claim of self-defense as justification for everything Israel does, no matter how outrageous. That reflex goes far to explain why, in the latest Gallup poll matchup (“Do you sympathize more with Israel or the Palestinians?”), Israel won by a nearly 4 to 1 margin. And the pro-Israeli sentiment just keeps growing.

      Our politicians, pundits, and correspondents breathe the same air in the same unthinking fashion, and so they hesitate to put much pressure on Israel to change its ways. As it happens, without such pressure, no Israeli government is likely to make the compromises needed for a just and lasting peace in the region. . .

      . . . If American attitudes and so policies are ever to change, one necessary (though not in itself sufficient) step is to confront and debunk the myth of Israel’s insecurity.

      ● Three Myths in One

      Israel actually promotes three separate myths of insecurity, although its PR machine weaves them into a single tightly knit fabric. To grasp the reality behind it, the three strands have to be teased apart and examined separately.

      Myth Number 1: Israel’s existence is threatened by the ever-present possibility of military attack. In fact, there’s no chance that any of Israel’s neighbors will start a war to wipe out Israel. . .

      . . . Myth Number 2: The personal safety of every Jewish Israeli is threatened daily by the possibility of violent attack. In fact, according to Israeli government statistics, since the beginning of 2009 only one Israeli civilian (and two non-Israelis) have been killed by politically motivated attacks inside the green line (Israel’s pre-1967 border). Israelis who live inside that line go about their daily lives virtually free from such worry. . .

      . . . Myth Number 3: Israel’s existence is threatened by worldwide efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state. . .

      ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175380/tomgram%3A_ira_chernus%2C_the_great_israeli_security_scam/#more

  4. DaBakr
    September 8, 2015, 4:49 pm

    lol. a little obtuse today?

    ok. so the star is “fair game”. Lets do an experiment. Hoist a flying pig with a Jewish star on it over Munich Paris, or Manchester and see how violent the reaction is. Then raise a pig balloon with the Islamic crescent and see what happens. Then watch the left go into coniption fits explaining why the two things are completely different

    • tree
      September 8, 2015, 5:41 pm

      Sweetie, the flying pig in question had all 3 Abrahamic religious symbols on it, not just the Star of David. Only the Star of David on the pig received any vocal condemnation. So please explain how the 3 things are completely different and only the Star of David is found offensive, and also explain how you were completely clueless to the fact that the flying pig balloon had both the Crucifix and the Crescent and Star on it.

      • DaBakr
        September 8, 2015, 6:24 pm

        @tr
        probably because I have never attended a Roger Waters event. (though to be fair-I never attended a PF event either. My mother-in-law tried to push that on me 35 yrs back but it never appealed to me.)
        If true-about the pig having an Islamic crescent as well-I stand corrected. But my point remains: using the star as a target is no different then using the crescent (which is on many nations flags representing the religious nature of those states). Then again-I am not opposed to using the star to represent both Israel and the Jews so the conflation of the two comes with the territory. People get wholly too sensitive about these matters. Some even shamefully prone to violence.

      • Kay24
        September 8, 2015, 6:33 pm

        We shall all wait eagerly for DB’s response to a great comment like yours. Heh.

      • CigarGod
        September 8, 2015, 7:33 pm

        “Sweetie”
        Confection Perfection.

      • Mooser
        September 8, 2015, 10:29 pm

        “People get wholly too sensitive about these matters. Some even shamefully prone to violence.”

        I know exactly what you mean, “Dabakr”! Why I’ve heard it said that some of the people who viewed that Jewish Star left by the perpetrators, on the burnt-out house where three people were murdered got very upset. Some people are just over-sensitive.
        And of course, you, “Dabakr” aren’t “sensitive” about the Star-of-David being used that way, as the calling card of murderers.

  5. YoniFalic
    September 8, 2015, 7:27 pm

    I just read Romanelli’s Travail in an Arab Land. He was an Italian Jew, who traveled in Morocco in late 18th century. His book was published in 1796. He felt he had to explain the 6 pointed Star of David/Seal of Solomon because his European Jewish readers might be unfamiliar with it.

    In the 17th century the hexagram was associated with Shabtai Tzvi. Consequently, pious Jews have historically rejected it as a symbol of Judaism.

    As I understand, the crescent is not so much an Islamic symbol as an Ottoman symbol borrowed from the Byzantine Empire. In recent times Islamic fundamentalists have avoided symbolic use of the crescent.

    • eGuard
      September 9, 2015, 4:33 am

      In recent times Islamic fundamentalists have avoided symbolic use of the crescent.

      Also, never ever, did millions of muslims in Spain or Indonesia use the crescent as symbol for their religion.

      Note that the symbol moved from (Ottoman/Turkish) state symbol into religious symbol in places. The opposite direction of the sixpointer.

  6. echinococcus
    September 8, 2015, 9:39 pm

    This is again Zionist-excusing stuff. The second that star of David was used on the flag of the illegitimate invader Zionist entity it became fair game. It became a symbol of colonial invasion and genocidal action.
    Particularly insidious the usual litany by tokyobk: of course there is a common-sense need to avoid ostentating any generally offensive symbols, no matter if they have been “just religious” for a long period. Would you have walked in the streets of London or New York with a big swastika on your breast, under the pretext that you belong to a peaceful Hindoo sect? Let’s not be absurd.

    • inbound39
      September 9, 2015, 5:01 am

      In this day and age it would be inviting trouble to wear a Star of David T shirt in Europe or anywhere else like it…Australia,New Zealand. Israeli citizens are not well liked……..for obvious reasons.

      • echinococcus
        September 9, 2015, 1:48 pm

        Inbound,

        At any rate whoever gets a reaction has earned it: the likelihood of any non-Zionist provocatively exhibiting such a symbol is nil. That’s why I’m calling bs on Tokyobk.

  7. Mooser
    September 8, 2015, 10:23 pm

    “In the 17th century the hexagram was associated with Shabtai Tzvi. Consequently, pious Jews have historically rejected it as a symbol of Judaism.”

    Ah, good old Shabtai Tzvi.. The patron Saint of Zionism. No wonder they adopted the hexagram.

    • echinococcus
      September 9, 2015, 12:41 am

      If Zevi is the patron saint of Zionism –or even if he is somehow revered or respected by Zionism, the Zionists should convert to Islam, PDQ.
      No more dissing of Muslims anywhere, and perhaps they would also (if they really respect Zevi, of course) as good Muslims also joint the movement to liberate Palestine.

    • Citizen
      September 9, 2015, 6:17 am

      Geez, I had to look him up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabbatai_Zevi

      I need a drink.

      • CigarGod
        September 9, 2015, 10:42 am

        Great story, isn’t it?

    • YoniFalic
      September 9, 2015, 7:25 am

      Hitler was probably more successful than Zionists in making the Star of David a symbol of Judaism. Robert Graves claims the Swastika was a decoration on the 2nd Temple while the hexagram is a common Germanic hex sign. I certainly saw many on barns in Pennsylvania.

  8. talknic
    September 9, 2015, 1:33 am

    A blue star appears to be associated with the Zionist Movement‘s State of Israel, rarely representative of Judaism.

  9. Marnie
    September 9, 2015, 3:17 am

    “The flaw in this argument is that the Star of David is not merely a religious symbol but a national one as well, as it is the central constituent of the flag of the State of Israel.”

    How is the star of David a religious symbol? How can it be a religious symbol and be a state flag? It’s more idolatry than anything else and the worship is not of God but of human beings who call themselves Jews. There is no God in the zionist state except zionism which is, among other things, self-worship and aggrandizement. Am pretty sure when Moses found the burning bush it wasn’t accompanied by a stupid flag with a magen David on it.

    I also feel crosses are idolatrous, especially with a Jesus figure on it. It seems Muslims are the only people who do not practice idolatry (at least idolatry as I see it).

    • Elisabeth
      September 10, 2015, 5:52 am

      Dutch Protestants used to call Catholic crucifixes ‘execution scenes’
      :-)

  10. pabelmont
    September 9, 2015, 9:39 am

    Off topic, but people have been using the phrases “normative Judaism” and “normative Islam”). What’s a “norm”? Can it be new or must it be old? (Is state-of-Israel as worshipped idol a new norm? What about other idols? money?)

    Well, I am no theologian or historian of religion. But it appears (to some) that the “norms” of “religion” are less clear than many adherents (that is, people claiming to hew to the religious line) would imagine and do often claim.

    Case in point: does Catholicism traditionally (that is, anciently) forbid abortion and/or define life as beginning at conception?

    Many Christians would say so. At least one historian does not agree and offers long argument in support of his position. Certainly makes you wonder if the religionists are “rolling their own” (that is, inventing fresh new religious tenets and calling them traditional).

    See: “Invented Traditions: No, Christianity doesn’t forbid Abortion” at http://www.juancole.com/2015/09/traditions-christianity-abortion.html

    • eljay
      September 9, 2015, 10:27 am

      || pabelmont … Certainly makes you wonder if the religionists are “rolling their own” (that is, inventing fresh new religious tenets and calling them traditional). … ||

      What’s this? People creating and/or interpreting religious scripture to suit their purposes?! Say it ain’t so! ;-)

    • Mooser
      September 9, 2015, 11:56 am

      “Certainly makes you wonder if the religionists are “rolling their own” (that is, inventing fresh new religious tenets and calling them traditional).”

      Please don’t be absurd, “pabelmont”! If people did that, G-d would be angry (can’t dispute that, He’s made it pretty G-ddamn clear what he thinks of that kind of thing in the Scriptos.)
      Frankly, it would be a G-ddamn blasphemy for people to do that!!

      • Mooser
        September 9, 2015, 1:27 pm

        Besides, it’s not “normative” to do stuff like that.

  11. Mooser
    September 9, 2015, 1:19 pm

    “alongside other anti-Semitic stock characters and symbols (e.g. a smiling Jew with a long nose).”

    Why can’t I smile? It rains a lot here

  12. Elliot
    September 10, 2015, 8:02 am

    In relation to the discussion about appropriating Jewish religious symbols for the Israeli state, the cushion in the article’s link to “kanfei tayis” shows the Commander of the Israeli Air Force pinning pilot’s wings on new pilots at their graduation ceremony . The cushion the general is carrying is embroidered with a tassle. Very fancy for informal, rough-and-ready Israel. Looks to me like it’s taken straight out of a synagogue ritual covers of holy objects: the Ark, the stand for reading the Torah and so on.

    https://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=664&q=amud+velvet+cover+magen+david&oq=amud+velvet+cover+magen+david&gs_l=img.3…22476.26786.2.26994.15.14.1.0.0.0.130.1424.9j5.14.0….0…1.1.64.img..39.7.722.bCaIJsz5_BQ#imgrc=iLrDAA9X9vazGM%3A

  13. Elliot
    September 10, 2015, 8:06 am
  14. edwardm
    September 11, 2015, 12:39 pm

    A Jain “swastika”
    https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4062/5168849957_734ecdf84f.jpg
    Navajo “swastika”
    https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7436/8729919729_a2df68fed7_z.jpg
    An ancient symbol generally meaning “well being” among other things.
    But now we naturally associate it with the Nazis.
    Keep it up Zionists! Before long your precious star of David will be in the same category.

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