Open letter to Rabbi Susan Talve from St. Louis Jews

Activism

Editor’s Note: Since Mike Brown was shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014, solidarity between the Black Lives Matter and Palestine movements has become an increasingly central tenet of both struggles. Rabbi Susan Talve is a well-known progressive St. Louis rabbi who has become nationally acclaimed for her work in Ferguson, among other things. However, Rabbi Talve has also been an outspoken pro-Israel advocate during this same period — including inviting AIPAC to speak at her synagogue during Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer –and increasing her Zionist advocacy in recent months, sparking controversy. As local politics with national implications reach a breaking point, St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace issued this open letter.

Dear Rabbi Talve,

The Mishna calls Aaron, the first Israelite high priest, “Ohev shalom v’rodef shalom / a lover of peace and a pursuer of peace.” We know, as Jews, that it is not enough simply to want peace. Peace must be pursued. The Bible uses the same word to command us to pursue justice. We know that peace, however much desired, cannot be achieved without justice. In recent days, your reputation for being a pursuer of peace and justice has been called into question and this has made us question our own relative silence. We write to you today in full awareness of and gratitude for all of the work you do on behalf of peace and justice in our community and beyond. We write to you specifically because of your values and because we can no longer patiently sit by as you defend the oppression of Palestinians at Israeli hands. This hypocrisy tears at our local community and ripples painfully far beyond it. We write you in hopes that our Jewish community can come together to work for Black and Palestinian liberation.

Rabbi Susan Talve

Rabbi Susan Talve

We are Jews who, like you, have been on the streets supporting justice for Mike Brown and actively working within our communities to end white supremacy and dismantle structural oppression. We commend your courageous and outspoken stand in support of Black struggle and many other social justice issues.

We are also Jews who stand with the indigenous people of Palestine who have been oppressed for more than 65 years by Zionist policies that privilege Jews over Palestinian Muslims and Christians, including near-daily assassinations, mass incarceration without charge, torture of children, collective punishment, demolitions of families’ homes, destruction of farmers’ olive groves and livelihoods, indiscriminate bombings, tear-gassing of entire villages, segregated roads and legal systems, and denial of access to holy sites, to name just some of Israel’s myriad apartheid policies.

For more than a year, we have struggled to reconcile your righteous stand on challenging U.S. domestic racism with your stated commitment to Zionism and defense of  Israel. We have reached out to you, met with you, heard your requests to wait, and to give you more time and to understand how hard it is for you to reconsider your stance on Israel. We found hope when you opened your synagogue to an event by St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace and in the positive response to our words by many of the members of your congregation. We have wanted to trust — and still want to believe — that you too can be an ally in challenging Israel’s system of racial oppression, which is itself a form of white supremacy, as you challenge white supremacy here in the U.S.

As we have waited, we have witnessed our Palestinian comrades’ distress in movement spaces, forced to bite their tongue to protect you from discomfort and accountability. They have been unimaginably patient, doing everything to stand with Black struggle and not make this about Palestine. We too have bitten our tongues, avoiding writing this letter again and again. Tragically, your admirable actions in Ferguson have served as a shield for you, as you continue to justify Israeli state violence.

We are writing today because our choice to protect you, to give you time, to give you the benefit of the doubt, has placed the burden on Palestinians and Black leaders to voice and grapple with the painful ways you have brought Zionist oppression into this beautiful movement, in incidents that have remained largely hidden. We write today because to whitewash the lived alliances between Ferguson and Palestine is to silence the very voices we seek to hear.

Days after Mike Brown was shot, as the tear gas was falling on Ferguson, as Palestinians were tweeting their solidarity with protesters, you hosted a presentation in your synagogue by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (aipac.org), the racist, right-wing, hawkish organization behind the U.S. sending billions in military aid — fighter jets, missiles, bullets, tear gas — to Israel to use against the Palestinian people. You traveled in Israel with this organization as Israel mercilessly rained bombs down on Gaza for more than 50 days last summer, killing more than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians — more than 500 of them children, some just months old. During this agonizing assault, you sent letters back to your congregants and followers blaming Palestinians for their own deaths and praising the Israeli army. You committed yourself to “defend Israel against her enemies” while cautioning those critical of Israel that it was “impossible and dangerous to take sides.” When St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace members brought flyers to counter AIPAC at your synagogue, we were removed by security and you explained that there were security concerns related to everything happening in Ferguson and the New Black Panther Party.

When the Missouri History Museum tried to remove Palestinians from a “Ferguson to Ayotzinapa to Palestine” event after pressure from the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), we reached out asking you to stand with us against censorship of Palestinian narratives and you refused, explaining “I am the JCRC.” When organizers of the same event held a vigil to mourn state violence, our friend Murad told a difficult, heart-wrenching story about his friend being killed by an Israeli soldier before his eyes and dying in his arms. It brought deep pain to Murad and our entire community when you reacted by saying: “What do we have to learn from the Palestinians — to strap bombs to ourselves?”

After these painful moments, we asked you to join us in the difficult work of challenging Zionism and white supremacy in ourselves and in our community. You have said it is too hard: “Let the younger generation do it.” This fall, like so many seasons before, we have watched Palestinian friends murdered, their children robbed from them in the middle of the night, fathers taken away for torture with no chance of a fair trial. Murad, whose story you dismissed, recently led a funeral procession for the 12th time as he buried his dear cousin, shot in his own town by an occupying Israeli soldier.

How much longer can we wait for you?. We have privileged your timeline and comfort over our friends, over real people losing real family members to real violence perpetrated by our people, Jewish people, in our name and with our complicity. Yet your behavior demonizing Palestinians and whitewashing Israel locally has only increased, turning what should be safe spaces for all people of color into contradictory ones, drawing wedges where there were none. We feel we have hit a wall.

At a march last month calling on St. Louis to resettle Syrian refugees, while every other speaker stuck to the point at hand, you instead used your time to magnify Israel’s medical treatment of Syrian refugees, presenting Israel as heroic and unappreciated without any mention that Israel’s treatment of refugees is notoriously abysmal. Israel resettles African refugees in prisons and has refused to resettle a single Syrian, let alone any of the millions of Palestinian refugees it has forced into exile — including many being slaughtered in Syria and those living in St. Louis, protesting on the streets of Ferguson, denied from returning to their actual homes simply because they are not Jewish while you travel back and forth to Israel effortlessly.

In a recent newsletter for your congregation, you wrote how Palestinians’ fear of Israeli takeover of the Al Aqsa mosque comes from unfounded rumors, presenting Palestinians as irrational — without mentioning the actual statements by members of the Israeli cabinet calling for the destruction of the mosque and the frequent acts of political and religious theater carried out by fundamentalist Jews on that site. In the context of the occupation and Israeli intransigence on issues connected to Jerusalem, Palestinian fears are grounded in lived experience. Their anger at being barred from worship at their holy site is righteous.

We were troubled by your Thanksgiving-Hanukkah letter last week drawing a parallel between supporting Black protesters in Ferguson and supporting Jewish Israelis, mentioning Palestinians only in reference to attacks on Jews and again portraying them as angry and confused without just cause. We find the parallel between Jews in Israel and African Americans misleading and offensive. While Jews still face some true antisemitism and a history of oppression, Jewish Israelis, especially white Jewish Israelis, enjoy vast privilege in their own state, defended by a powerful military and police force, while Palestinians struggle for their basic rights in the face of systematic exclusion and oppression. We can of course express deep concern for Israeli victims of violence, but to do so without a power analysis and attention to the broader context, we only perpetuate the system that gives rise and meaning to that very violence.

Your letter was all the more troubling for failing to acknowledge the alliance between activists in Ferguson and Palestine. You reference individual Palestinians opposing your positions on Israel but ignore that solidarity from Ferguson to Palestine has become a central tenet of the movement in St. Louis. Because Israeli and U.S. state oppression are deeply interconnected. Tear gas used against protesters in Ferguson is the same used daily on Palestinians. Israeli police proudly train U.S. police in population control tactics, and vice versa. State-sanctioned killings and systemic racism play out in our city, as well as in occupied Palestine. Let us strive to support and be in allyship with those most affected by oppression. We cannot pick and choose from among oppressed and occupied communities; we must support all those who struggle against white supremacy and state violence. Ferguson to Palestine is not a slogan; it is the lived reality of Black and brown communities.

We understand that many may be confused by this letter given that you have many times expressed a desire for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. But to talk about peacemaking, reconciliation, and balance between Israelis and Palestinians without an analysis of power, racism, and institutional oppression is as misplaced in discussing Israel/Palestine as it would be in discussing Ferguson. As someone fiercely committed to justice, will you join us in standing in solidarity with Palestinians working to actively dismantle and end all Israeli policies that privilege Jews over non-Jews? Will you hold yourself accountable to Palestinians, whose liberation is interlocked with our own humanity as Jews? Will you speak truth with us to Jewish institutions like the Jewish Federation, JCRC, and the Anti-Defamation League that support and help maintain these policies that render true peace and reconciliation impossible?

Your Hanukkah letter talks about the uncomfortable “breach” we must all step into. As a leader in the progressive Jewish community, we invite you to join with us in stepping into a different breach — one where your hopes and dreams for Israel collide with the brutal realities of Palestinian oppression. Let us struggle together to reach the other side.

St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace

Organizations and individuals can sign on in support of this letter here.

About St. Louis Jewish Voice for Peace

We oppose all forms of racism and bigotry, including Israel's oppressive policies. We seek freedom, justice, & equality for Palestinians -- and all people. https://www.facebook.com/stljvp

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61 Responses

  1. Blownaway
    December 3, 2015, 3:06 pm

    A nice letter destined to be ignored because when it comes to the tribe there is no principle. To expect otherwise from a selective progressive is naive

  2. Michael Rabb
    December 3, 2015, 3:20 pm

    Step into the breach: Today Zionism and the State of Israel now lie at the very heart of Jewish life.  Most synagogues display the flag of Israel in the sanctuary, most congregations say a prayer for For the Jewish state every sabbath, they collect money that distributes through the political action network of AIPAC in support of Israel, and rabbis throughout the USA rally Jews to “stand with Israel” in bombing the civilian population in Gaza.

    So many Jews, even if unaffiliated officially to Zionism, have supported it, and continue to support it in its aims. Indeed, almost all the organised Jewish establishments throughout the world, in Israel, Europe and North America have used, and continue to use their power, influence, and, most importantly, their moral prestige, to support Israel in its oppression the Palestinians. 

    • niass2
      December 7, 2015, 8:22 am

      and many do that while not fully grasping that they are doing it. Thus the immediate dismissal of the concerns. It is not like someone can read the newspaper to find out what is going on, as the papers are full of nonsense since Tom Brady won another game. Supporting Israel is very boring though, and seen as geeky in many quarters.. Its not the cool kids doing it. ISIS and Israel needs to reform, not Islam or Muslims. Last time I lived with Muslims the worst thing they did to me was offer me food and water when I was hungry and thirsty.

  3. Philip Weiss
    December 3, 2015, 3:32 pm

    I agree entirely. That is why Jewish reform is so needed. (When people are demanding that Islam reform; we must clean up our own house)

    • Emory Riddle
      December 3, 2015, 3:49 pm

      Jewish reform most likely will have to come from outsider pressure.

    • Steve Grover
      December 3, 2015, 9:10 pm

      Weiss sez:
      “That is why Jewish reform is so needed.”
      How do you know? You discovered you were Jewish when you decided you hate Israel.

      • Mooser
        December 4, 2015, 1:37 am

        “How do you know? You discovered you were Jewish when you decided you hate Israel.”

        Oy Gevalt, unt ah ratchet rench, “SteveGrover”, I could suffer an acute plotz when I think about it!
        Is any people more beset by phonies, kapos, self-haters, mosers (one “o” thank you. My name has two.) heterosecular out-marryers, and even homosecular people.
        You know what our problem is, “Steve”? We’re too nice! We trust too much. Out pops a kid, a male child, they take one look at him, he’s so cute, so they bris ’em, welcome to the tribe, little guy, and he grows up to “discover he’s Jewish when he decided to hate Israel.”
        I hate it when that happens.
        We could fix that problem easily. Why give away our identity and membership in the tribe so cheaply? I think circumcision should be denied to young men until they have proved their fidelity to Judaism and Zionism. Then, and only then, should the great honor be offered.
        And those who are not worthy will be forever marked!! Or I guess, unmarked, I guess.

      • Elisabeth
        December 4, 2015, 5:41 am

        “Heterosecular & homosecular”!!!!
        I will introduce those terms in Dutch. They are brilliant.

      • Mooser
        December 4, 2015, 11:19 am

        “I will introduce those terms in Dutch.”

        Most likely the terms were made up by the same dummy who coined the term “Ziocaine”. I don’t know who he stole them from, but I’ll Google them, and find out.

      • Dutch
        December 4, 2015, 11:45 am

        [How do you know?]

        Phil wrote a couple of thousand articles on this topic. Maybe you missed them all, but the stupidity for this lies completely on your side.

      • niass2
        December 7, 2015, 8:51 am

        Exactly, that’s why i did it and do it. I love hating myself, and everything my Jewish parents taught me about right versus wrong has no effect on any of this. I also killed myself the day jerry garcia died. Listen, Grover, go be in a cartoon if you keep that name. Otherwise I challenge you to a cream puff war. That way no one gets hurt.

    • a4tech
      December 5, 2015, 2:42 am

      Only closet racists who have no real intentions of good will towards “Muslims” are calling for Islamic reform, in order to make them more palatable to their sensibilities and supposedly higher culture in the increasingly globalized world. Muslims on the otherhand have continously called out the appropriation of our religion as means for power by those who are not Islamic in faith nor in practice. We do not, and have not, and will not in a thousand years demand reform of our religion and its central tenets who we know in our hearts to be right and just eternally.

      It’s interesting to see however, the opposite scenario among Jews and Christians where the followers themselves are rejecting their tenets and calling for theological reform, therefore vindicating the ideals of Islam as being the only true religion, where these individuals are hoping their own faith to aspire towards.

      • a4tech
        December 6, 2015, 2:56 am

        Mooser, the evidence is there right in the open. Intellectual Jews and Christians are rejecting their theology and holy books. Phil himself is rejecting Judaism as it was thought to him. If I’m not mistaken, I think Annie is a staunch atheist due to her disagreement with the tenets of Christianity.

        Which is really no surprise because as Muslims, we have long held the belief that if the Judaism as preached by Moses was not corrupted by the false believers, God wouldn’t have sent Jesus or Mohamed to deliver his message again and again. I applaud Phil’s realisation of the state of his religion, and hope he will eventually find the true religion, whichever that may be, that he longs to be part of.

      • Mooser
        December 6, 2015, 11:11 am
  4. Rusty Pipes
    December 3, 2015, 5:55 pm

    Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King wrote “A Letter From a Birmingham Jail” and “Why We Can’t Wait” to Liberal White Religious leaders. JVP tells this Liberal Zionist rabbi that they have waited too long and made too many excuses for her in this letter from Ferguson to Palestine.

  5. pabelmont
    December 3, 2015, 9:02 pm

    On Palestine, a rather old movement in the USA, called something like “ecumenism” was supposed to be a coming-together of many churches and synagogues (and Mosques) with a view to promoting mutual understanding and tolerance through talk and dialog. When I experienced this movement in the 1980s, it appeared that it was, at least in part and from the viewpoint of the rabbis, a mechanism for suppressing talk about Palestine (because how could there be tolerance of Judaism if Israel were to be criticized? Indeed! The very idea!)

    Looks to me as if the good rabbi is still playing that game. She’s all for human rights, even for Black Americans, but draws the line at Palestine and draws the conversational line at talking about Palestine even if it stops other elements of “tolerance” or of “haman rights” or “civil rights” in its tracks.

    The thing that needs to be done, therefore, is for JVP et al. to go to the church leaders who want to support Black Lives Matter, and other similar, and tell them that it is OK to add Palestine (as the BLM folks want to do) and explain patiently how the rabbis are (mostly) trapped by BIG MONEY (AIPAC et al.) into supporting Israel and opposing Palestinian rights. They have a lot of good energy, but also have PEP.

  6. MaxNarr
    December 3, 2015, 9:34 pm

    Zionism is Judaism. There is no difference.

    • Kris
      December 3, 2015, 9:59 pm

      @MaxNarr: “Zionism is Judaism. There is no difference.”

      Actually, Zionism is to Judaism as the Aryan Nations is to Christianity. There are HUGE differences.

    • RoHa
      December 3, 2015, 10:30 pm

      “Zionism is Judaism. There is no difference.”

      The core idea of Zionism is “We matter and you don’t,” said, not only to the whole Arab world, but to the human race in general.*

      The fruits of Zionism, of this exclusivity and rejection of humanity, have been murder, ethnic cleansing, oppression, and unending lying. Zionists are the enemies of mankind.

      And since you say that Zionism is Judaism, you (and not I) have just declared that Jews – followers of Judaism – are the enemies of mankind.

      (*MHughes’ version: ‘the belief that Jewish people, and they only, have an inherent right (now commonly called birthright) to a share of sovereignty in the Holy Land; others having that right only by the grace and generosity of the true heirs’)

    • jd65
      December 3, 2015, 10:36 pm

      After reading MaxNarr’s comment “Zionism is Judaism. There is no difference,” a reflex rimshot sounded in my head. Good stuff…

    • talknic
      December 3, 2015, 10:47 pm

      @ MaxNarr “Zionism is Judaism. There is no difference”

      Zionism covets the property of others http://wp.me/pDB7k-l5#israels-intentions – Judaism forbids it.

      Zionists lie and make false accusations http://mondoweiss.net/2015/12/advocate-bernardino-killings#comment-813382 – Judaism forbids it.

      • pabelmont
        December 4, 2015, 8:48 am

        MaxNorr sez “Zionism is Judaism” and talknic has the nerve, the colossal nerve!, to object by reference to ancient (and he suggests forgotten-by-Zionists) teachings of Judaism!

        Talknic: have you considered that Judaism has “moved on”, severed its connections with the holy books? Just a thought! But maybe not!

        Now here’s a conundrum: Some believe that God gave (or promised to give) a lotta land in M/E to “the Jews” (or some such). And others believe that God gave 10 commandments to “the Jews” (or maybe to mankind as a whole) and that one of the commandments was “Thou shalt not steal” and another one or two were “Thou shalt not covet * * *.

        OK. which commandment is stronger, clearer, more universal, etc.? If all mankind believes that “Thou shalt not steal” is universal and a strong moral/ethical rule, God-given (if they believe in God that is); and if mankind generally believes that the “God promised land in the M/E to somebody or other” is weaker, tendentious, uncertain, never happened, etc. — or that it was a promise to do something in the future and the promise has not YET been kept, the gift not YET made by God — well, in that case, where does that leave Zionists?

        Just a fact check: Before 1948, most orthodox Jews (you know, the Jews who actually cared about what the Bible says and what the rabbis taught) believed and taught that the return of the Jews to Zion was a business for God to manage and was so holy a work that mankind — meaning Jews — were forbidden to do that work or even to pray for God to do it. They were staunch anti-Zionists in those days. That was then. In the meantime either the Bible or the rabbinical teaching has changed, at least for many orthodox Jews, and many now seem enthusiastic Zionists. Or something. But not Neturei Karta.. Some people, at least, have inflexible principles.

        Anywat, many Jews just do not care what non-Jews think! After all, “the Jews” obviously own the Bible because they refuse (most of them) to eat pork and shrimp, as the good book sez, and non-Jews (other than Muslims) do eat pork and shrimp, evidently not following the Bible. so who cares what anybody else thinks about the Bible?

        Where it leaves them is that if they believe in and rely on God’s promise and believe the gift was made and is permanent, then they can take all the land because it was already theirs! It’s not theft!

        And if they don’t believe in God or don’t believe in the promise or don’t believe the land was ever given, then they can ignore the other Biblical stuff (Bible schmible) and in particular ignore “Thou shalt not steal”.

        Easy either way!

        And if one or more tribes of American Indians believe that their Gods “gave” them chunks of American land, then that belief by them should require USA to return the lands! Sure thing. But not unless they also have guns.

        Zionists started with guns (Deir Yassin, etc.). Not God’s promises. After all God helps those who help themselves. And what does God have to do with it anyhow?

      • talknic
        December 4, 2015, 2:15 pm

        @ pabelmont ” have you considered that Judaism has “moved on”, severed its connections with the holy books? Just a thought! But maybe not!”

        The common sense tenets of Judaism remain my guide and continue to serve me well, even as a devout atheist

    • Mooser
      December 4, 2015, 1:07 am

      “Zionism is Judaism. There is no difference.” “MaxNarr”

      Shorter “MaxNarr”: ‘I hope Jews in Europe and America are attacked because of Israel’s actions, oh gosh, that would be great!’

      “Zionism is Judaism. There is no difference.”

      And if Jews anywhere refuse to conform with this dictum, and give Zionism their all, Judaism will, uh, uh, not send them a Hannukah card!

    • diasp0ra
      December 4, 2015, 7:55 am

      @Max

      If it helps you sleep at night. The sizable amount of Jewish anti-Zionists and those who simply don’t care would like a word with you.

      That is the logic of ISIS and Al-Qaeda, who claim that they are Islam and everyone who says otherwise is not a real Muslim.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2015, 10:37 pm

        “If it helps you sleep at night. The sizable amount of Jewish anti-Zionists and those who simply don’t care would like a word with you.”

        And of course “MaxNarr” (same as all the others) will say ‘So what, then they’re not Jews anymore, we don’t need ’em!’

        Because Zionism and Judaism has a magical property, viz. the fewer people that are in it, the more exclusive it is, the less popular it is, the more powerful it becomes! There’s nothing else in the world like it!

    • Sycamores
      December 4, 2015, 8:30 am

      i wonder if anyone besides a Zionist said “Zionism is Judaism. There is no difference.” would that person be class as anti-Semitic?
      talk like this puts the innocent into harms way. much the same way to equate all Muslims to jihadist extremists will cause Islamophobic attacks.

      I’m not calling Max a fascist but to group everyone into a community and to ignore the individual freedom of choice has fascist connotations.

    • Boo
      December 4, 2015, 10:18 am

      Max(imum) Narr(Keit), q.e.d.

      • Theo
        December 4, 2015, 1:24 pm

        Boo

        I just can´t help it, but it is Narr-heit!!!

    • yonah fredman
      December 4, 2015, 10:53 am

      Zionism was born in a specific place (Eastern Europe and to a lesser degree in Central Europe) at a specific moment: The late nineteenth century. The drama given to the movement by Herzl and the opportunity provided by World War I when things were in flux gave them the incredible triumph of the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate. Zionism succeeded in establishing a state due to further historic opportunities provided by the hatred towards Jews of the 20’s and 30’s in Poland and Germany in particular to grow (the Jewish population of Palestine) in size from 85,000 in 1920 to 400,000 in 1940. That hatred, as we know, created not only that population explosion (via immigration rather than reproduction), but the momentum of the Holocaust. Many who otherwise would have dismissed the movement as unrealistic or unnecessary were faced with a reality that pushed the doubters into the belief in the necessity.

      To equate Zionism with Judaism is to equate a moment in history with a reconstitution of an ancient and long lived religion. In fact that religion was suffering from its inability to adjust to modernity and nationalism which is what Zionism is was latched onto as the answer to that crisis. The combination of the physical threat and destruction of the mid 20th century was added onto the spiritual confusion of the collapse of religion as an organizing principle of Jewish identity.

      Of course Jewish nationalism was different in two ways from other nationalisms: it did not have the usual connection to a land and there was another people that did have the usual connection to the land. It required colonialism: as in: population from elsewhere and imperial bayonets to accomplish its goal.

      The single mindedness required to establish a state under the given conditions required a stubbornness towards the cruelty accomplished against the Palestinians and a stubbornness in regards towards criticism from others. It also required a strategy of aligning with at least one of the great powers in order to accomplish its goals.

      I don’t think that MaxNarr’s simplistic equation of Judaism and Zionism or the responses of some of the commenters here reflect anything near the nuance needed to give the birth of Zionism a fair appraisal or analysis.

      I accept that the damage done to the Palestinians has been grievous and that the manipulation of the needs or the systems of the great powers (most recently America and its corrupt campaign finance driven Congress and to a lesser extent campaign finance driven presidency) has produced distortions in policy. But to assess its existence without recognizing the circumstances of its birth is to distort history and to delve into the swampland of hatred that is the birthplace of much of the thinking in this comments section.

      • Mooser
        December 4, 2015, 2:02 pm

        Shorter “Yonah”: ‘MaxNarr, we can say that to each other, but don’t say it in front of the Gentiles! Give ’em some kind of sob story instead’

      • talknic
        December 4, 2015, 2:08 pm

        @ yonah fredman

        Antisemitism was an “opportunity” AMAZING!!!

      • Philemon
        December 4, 2015, 10:24 pm

        yonah fredman:

        “Of course Jewish nationalism was different in two ways from other nationalisms: it did not have the usual connection to a land and there was another people that did have the usual connection to the land. It required colonialism: as in: population from elsewhere and imperial bayonets to accomplish its goal.”

        What a guy!

        I can’t even begin to express my admiration for someone who fears yuletide logs, or anything remotely resembling them, like a fireplace with a fire in it, or the verboten assimilation of anyone marrying anyone else out of love because their children might be, what was it? Maybe 85% NonJewish?

        Anyway, what a guy!

      • yonah fredman
        December 5, 2015, 1:07 am

        talknic- I have asserted before and I reassert now, that the early Zionists were prophets. Herzl and Pinsker saw the writing on the wall and they wished to prepare a cure for the disease that was coming their way. So from the perspective of the founders of Zionism, they read Europe’s disease at that time with clarity and vision. To the Zionist movement in the 20’s and 30’s, this increase in population which was due to 2 factors, Jew hatred in Europe and closed doors (slightly ajar doors) in America due to the depression and the fear of commies and immigrants in the 20’s pushed the population from 85,000 to 400,000. Yes, to Ben Gurion and his desire to establish a state, this was an opportunity.

      • Kris
        December 5, 2015, 1:14 am

        This is a good summary, Yonah:

        Of course Jewish nationalism was different in two ways from other nationalisms: it did not have the usual connection to a land and there was another people that did have the usual connection to the land. It required colonialism: as in: population from elsewhere and imperial bayonets to accomplish its goal.

        The single mindedness required to establish a state under the given conditions required a stubbornness towards the cruelty accomplished against the Palestinians and a stubbornness in regards towards criticism from others.

        In short, you say: Zionist Jews invaded Palestine and drove the Palestinians from their homes so that Jews could take those homes for themselves. Then the Zionist Jews, through cruelty and disregard of international law and basic human decency as understood by the major world religions, have continued to steal Palestinian land and oppress the Palestinians in order to have a “state.” You go on to admit to the grievous harm that Zionist Jews have done both to the Palestinians and to Israel’s major benefactor, the U.S.

        The part I don’t understand is your last sentence,

        But to assess its existence without recognizing the circumstances of its birth is to distort history and to delve into the swampland of hatred that is the birthplace of much of the thinking in this comments section.

        Why would the cruel and unlawful behavior of the Zionist Jews earn them anything but hatred?

      • yonah fredman
        December 5, 2015, 1:18 am

        Any Jew who wants to celebrate Christmas is welcome to celebrate it. Any Jew who wants to hide their own Jewishness from their children is welcome to do so. Any jew who wants to get baptised and accept Jesus as their savior is welcome to do so. Any Jew who wants to embrace Islam or Hinduism is welcome to do so as well. (i’m quite sure Islam has no conversion ceremony and I have no idea about Hinduism.)

        The dynamics of assimilation and the ideology of assimilationism have books and books written about them and to condemn me because I react to the facts of assimilation with some degree of ambivalence and react to the proposed disappearance of the Jewish people (as a group) as a tragedy rather than the outright apathy advocated by Phil Weiss is no reason to cast me as some Scrooge or Grinch. I know how tough it is being a Christmas deprived kid watching tv in a Christmas dominated culture and Adam Sandler deals with that difficulty in his way and I deal with it in my way.

        But the newly returned haters of mondoweiss comments section deal with me in their own way.

      • talknic
        December 5, 2015, 10:19 am

        @ yonah “Herzl and Pinsker saw the writing on the wall and they wished to prepare a cure for the disease that was coming their way”

        Herzl and Pinsker could have in their life times immigrated to Palestine, attained legitimate citizenship, bought land and settled, they didn’t bother. Herzl’s family didn’t bother either.

        ” To the Zionist movement in the 20’s and 30’s, this increase in population which was due to …”

        Encouragement to immigrate to Palestine by the people who in 1897 planned to colonize Palestine and who loaned many of them the money to immigrate

        “Yes, to Ben Gurion and his desire to establish a state, this was an opportunity”

        David Ben Gurion – memoirs 1970, p. 36. “For many of us, anti-Semitic feeling had little to do with our dedication [to Zionism]. I personally never suffered anti-Semitic persecution. Płońsk was remarkably free of it … Nevertheless … it was Płońsk that sent the highest proportion of Jews to Eretz Israel from any town in Poland of comparable size. We emigrated not for negative reasons of escape but for the positive purpose of rebuilding a homeland ”

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2015, 12:35 pm

        “it did not have the usual connection to a land “

        It didn’t even have the usual nationalist connection to the people either, but heck, they didn’t let a little thing like that stop them.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2015, 12:43 pm

        “Any Jew who wants…/… I have no idea about Hinduism.”

        Horseshit, “Yonah”. If we weren’t desperate, absolutely desperate to keep every possible male within the Jewish fold (no inverted pun intended) we wouldn’t mutilate their genitals in a distinct way immediately after birth. Maybe you don’t care, but somebody sure as hell does.

        And BTW, “Yonah” if you are so sanguine about letting Jews convert to any other religion, what’s the minimum number of Jews we must have to keep our present arrangements (economic and social advantage, the Zionist project, etc) afloat.
        I sometimes get the distinct impression that Zionists think that as there are fewer Jews, the total amount of Jewish power remains constant, in fact, it leaves even more for each one of the remainder. I doubt that is true.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2015, 1:08 pm

        “because I react to the facts of assimilation with some degree of ambivalence”

        How many times do I have to tell you, “Yonah”? If you want to drop your US citizenship, and become un-assimilated, YOU will have to write to Washington DC and get the process started. Or are are you hoping for Nuremberg laws to help you out?

        And this is America, “Yonah” you can dress or do your hair anyway you want.

        (sorry about 12:43, NECY)

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2015, 1:51 pm

        ” I know how tough it is being a Christmas deprived kid watching tv in a Christmas dominated culture and Adam Sandler deals with that difficulty in his way and I deal with it in my way.”

        ‘Christmas Angst is here!
        Carols beat my ears!
        And the blight,
        of Christmas lights
        Brings up all my fears.’

        (You’re a good grief, “yonah fredman”)

      • RoHa
        December 5, 2015, 7:24 pm

        “the early Zionists were prophets. Herzl and Pinsker saw the writing on the wall and they wished to prepare a cure for the disease ”

        “Lessee now. We’ve made ourselves unwelcome in Europe, and I forsee that we’ll soon be unwelcome in the USA. The only other part of the world that exists is Palestine. Let’s go there and behave in a way that will make us really unwelcome.”

        Might be a good idea to give up listening to prophets.

      • Sibiriak
        December 5, 2015, 10:02 pm

        RoHa: “Lessee now. We’ve made ourselves unwelcome in Europe…”

        ———————

        Right. And exactly how did they make themselves unwelcome in Europe?

    • Marnie
      December 5, 2015, 12:07 am

      Only in YOUR head, hummus for brains.

    • RockyMissouri
      December 5, 2015, 1:54 pm

      BALDERDASH!!

    • niass2
      December 7, 2015, 8:57 am

      I am not sure about that, but I don’t really care. Religions are SO boring. I read the Koran once and found it to be just as boring as the Jewish thing. This is why both my wife and I hid in the bathroom during most of our respective Hebrew School experiences, one at Brandeis, other in Somerset. I agree with karl Marx.

  7. Philemon
    December 4, 2015, 10:34 pm

    Per Yonah: “… antisemitism is a dangerous and hardy disease amongst some nonJews.”

    Yep! What a guy!

    • Philemon
      December 4, 2015, 10:45 pm

      “The single mindedness required to establish a state under the given conditions required a stubbornness towards the cruelty accomplished against the Palestinians and a stubbornness in regards towards criticism from others. It also required a strategy of aligning with at least one of the great powers in order to accomplish its goals.”

      Ain’t that sweet. I’m assuming this is Yonah’s swan song because I can’t see the ethnic cleansing apologist coming out of this one squeaky-clean.

    • Philemon
      December 4, 2015, 11:03 pm

      “I accept that the damage done to the Palestinians has been grievous …”

      Yonah, say it like you mean it.

    • yonah fredman
      December 5, 2015, 12:45 am

      philemon- disappears for three months and now reappears. don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2015, 1:02 pm

        “don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

        Why don’t you give us a chance to find out, “yonah”? How can I miss you if you won’t go away?

      • yonah fredman
        December 5, 2015, 3:01 pm

        mooser- You’re a shtunck.

      • Kris
        December 5, 2015, 4:47 pm

        Mooser, don’t forget this one:

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2015, 5:32 pm

        “don’t forget this one”

        Never.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2015, 8:08 pm

        “mooser- You’re a shtunck.”

        Maybe.
        But on the other hand, there’s very little doubt you are “yonah fredman”.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2015, 8:39 pm

        “mooser- You’re a shtunck.”

        It’s too schtunky in here? Here’s what you do! Gimme some air!

      • Philemon
        December 5, 2015, 8:46 pm

        Thank you, Kris. That was damn fine.

  8. niass2
    December 7, 2015, 8:45 am

    The rabbi saysjk: “What do we have to learn from the Palestinians — to strap bombs to ourselves?” I say to her” What do I have as a person born as an American Jew have tolearn from the organized r Jewish Community? I say as the band the Who Said: Were not gonna take it, never did and never will. I am talking about MY Generation. And if they don’t get it they can all just fff fade away…….. Why is MY generation rejecting Judaism. Zionism nd even basic Judaism is definitely seen as fanatical in my household of Conservative Jews. We are not insane. We know what hate looks like, and some of our relatives are good at it. Hating people they have never met and never will. I say as a Jew I am not raising my child to be Jewish precisely because of people like this Rabbi. She makes me queasy, pretending to be a good person, some of the time. That is not what I have in mind for my child’s mind, to be colonized by people who don’t know anything, have rarely left their states, and think God is on their side. Religion is worse that alcohol. I should know. people like her can’t be appealed to, she is full of stuff, and it is not anything to appeal to. A Semi Moral Weakling with a weird robe. That is what a rabbi is, after all. Judaism didn’t even use to have Rabbis. She ain’t god. There is nothing there. I assure u of that. Don’t bother. She is a rabbi, and not one like my cousin, who actually is COMPETENT morally to be one. God knows all this, but it is waiting to tell us until later, maybe umm, in 2069, at Woodstock 2. Until then You’d better get back Truckin On. See you on the 27th in SF. God may be there.

  9. Ossinev
    December 7, 2015, 11:13 am

    As a (nearly) lifelong practising atheist and at the risk of being accused of being a self loathing or self denying atheist I secretly hope that there is a hell and that there will be plenty of room to accommodate all of world`s loathsome Zionists and their even more loathsome hypocritical supporters in the West.

    • Philemon
      December 20, 2015, 10:24 pm

      “I secretly hope that there is a hell…”

      Yes, it’s called “Israel”!

      Ossinev, I understand and sympathize. However, eternal punishment for being deluded or psychologically impaired, which is most of ’em, seems a bit excessive. And frankly, the more cold-blooded and seriously psychopathic ones obviously don’t believe in any hell for them; I doubt they’d notice they were there due to their actions when alive because that sort of person doesn’t have a conscience. They’d just complain a lot about the lack of creature comforts in the hereafter. For them, the most sensitive spot is their wallet.

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