On Jewishness and criticism of Israel

US Politics

The children of the wealthy, the enlightened, the rabbis—
They call the Hebrews to Zion.
We’ve heard this old story before, from our enemies:
“A ghetto for the eternal Jew!”

One could be forgiven for mistaking these lines for a foray into recent debates over alleged anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party or in the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). The lines, however, come from the 1901 poem “In Zaltsikn Yam” (“In Salty Seas”) by the great Yiddish writer S. An-sky. An-sky dedicated the poem to the General Jewish Labor Bund, and after it was set to music, the poem became one of the Bundists’ best-loved anthems (although the verse in question is not usually sung). It is an outstanding work of philo-Semitism. And it is resolutely anti-Zionist.

An-sky’s reasons are clear: he and other supporters of the Bund were developing a vision of Jewish identity that insisted Jews had a place in Europe and wherever else they were in the world. They were formulating a role for Jewish struggle within an internationalist labor movement that called for universal emancipation. They sought rights and revolution for Jews in cooperation with non-Jews, wherever they all were. The Zionists’ call for Jews to emigrate and concentrate on their particular, national liberation directly contradicted the vision of the Bund.

I like to think that if I had been alive in 1901, living in the shtetl of (some of) my ancestors, I would have joined the Bund. But it’s hard to say. I might have added myself to the hundreds of thousands of other Jews in Eastern Europe who joined the Mensheviks or the Bolsheviks or (my favorites in retrospect) the Socialist Revolutionaries. Or I might have gone the way of much of the Feinberg family and emigrated—not to Zion but to the melting pot of New York (the term “melting pot,” let’s remember, was coined by disaffected Zionist Israel Zangwill, who now dreamed of assimilation), where I could have become a reader of the socialist daily Forverts, the city’s premier Yiddish-language newspaper and, in its heyday, one of the most widely read newspapers in the United States. None of these decisions—including the one to jump into Zangwill’s melting pot—would have required giving up Jewishness.

Today, making an analogous decision—rejecting Zionism—makes it very hard to play a part in Jewish communal life. The world contains millions of secular Jews who do not identify with the currently existing Jewish state. But for many it’s hard to find any community or organization in which to express non-Zionist conceptions of Jewishness.

Yes, I am troubled by persistent anti-Semitism in the world. But I am also troubled by the damage done to Jewishness when Jewish identity is collapsed into support for Israeli policy, and when accusations of anti-Semitism are wielded as a tool for silencing debate. What I found so compelling about Jewish history is the wealth of ideas that have emerged surrounding what Jewishness can be. That wealth is lost when name-calling replaces debate, and when a single, tendentious version of Jewishness renders itself impervious to criticism.

But it’s not only a matter of Jewishness in general. The hypersensitive defense of Israel is not good even for Zionism. Zionism has played its part in the rich history of Jewish debates over the meaning of liberation. (And what else is Judaism but a long-running debate over the meaning of liberation?) When An-sky wrote “In Zaltsikn Yam,” Zionism was associated with the wealthy supporters of Theodor Herzl, whose dreams centered on the formation of a Jewish state sponsored by the great Western powers. But these political Zionists were later eclipsed by Labor Zionists who believed that the Jewish community should be rebuilt from the bottom up on the basis of new, more egalitarian social relations. There were revisionist Zionists who fought ruthlessly for the creation of a strong Jewish nation-state; but there were also anarchist Zionists, for whom the settlement of Israel meant the creation of communal structures like kibbutzim that could render state organization obsolete. There were Zionist chauvinists who were interested purely in the defense and power of Jews, but there were others, like Martin Buber, who saw Zion as a meeting place of peoples and saw Jewish liberation as inseparable from the liberation of Arabs and all the peoples of the Middle East.

No doubt, all of these tendencies have been filled with contradiction from the outset, and it’s an open question whether any of them ever had much chance of unqualified success, if by success we mean the long-term establishment of a fair, prosperous, and peaceful society for all people living in Palestine. Still, when I think it over again, I realize that if I had left my ancestors’ shtetl a hundred years ago, I might well have given into my utopian and adventurous inclinations and gone to join the idealists in Zion. Yet today, as Zionism becomes identified with support for Israeli policy, it becomes difficult for an internationalist Jew—a Jew who sympathizes with all the wretched and uprooted people of the earth—to identify with Zionism.

Nevertheless, Israel does maintain at least one aspect of Jewish heritage that is disappearing elsewhere: in spite of a general narrowing of its political landscape in recent years, it remains a place where Zionism is much more avidly debated than in other places, where the issue is posed as a simple yes-no question, a matter of all-or-nothing “support for Israel.” Within Israel, competing Zionisms still coexist alongside lively criticism of Israeli policy and of the Zionist project itself. Outside of Israeli, this imaginative pluralism tends toward a one-dimensional argument between defenders of a monolithic “Israel,” who ignore or strategically overlook Israel’s internal differentiation, and critics of a similarly monolithic “Israel,” who are uninterested in the complexities of the Zionist idea—in no small part because their opponents have tried so hard and so successfully to identify current Israeli policy with Zionism as such, and to identify any criticism Zionism with the hatred of Jews.

Jews have long been identified as a people of the book. The book in question is a collection of stories and critical reflections upon those stories, and Jewishness develops through the continuation and enrichment, and occasional inversion and negation, of this critical tradition (or, we might say, through the continual “critique of critical criticism,” to borrow a phrase from world history’s second-most-famous Jew). Of course, as with any cultural tradition, Jewish tradition comes in many forms, some of which have closed themselves off to criticism and seem determined to freeze their worldview in sets of principles established decades or centuries ago. But the Jewish identity that I—and maybe a few others like me—care to identify with is a confrontation with non-identity, and it lives on only with criticism.

About Joseph Grim Feinberg

Joseph Grim Feinberg is an anthropologist and social theorist working at the Czech Philosophy Institute in Prague. His articles and essays have appeared in Jacobin, Le Monde diplomatique (German Edition), Socialism & Democracy, Against the Current, Pravda (Slovakia), and elsewhere.

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59 Responses

  1. Ossinev
    July 28, 2016, 1:00 pm

    “Within Israel, competing Zionisms still coexist alongside lively criticism of Israeli policy and of the Zionist project itself ”

    Still not looking full on in the mirror.

    I`m afraid at this sounds very much like a case of “look at us JSILis , we are a normal healthy Western type democracy – we have open debate about what we do and whether we should be doing it”. Meanwhile in the Occupied Territories and Gaza this “lively criticism” converts to SFA. The IDF jackals continue to rip apart the Palestinian carcass.

  2. Talkback
    July 28, 2016, 3:13 pm

    So which version of Zionism was the one in which an immigration of Jews and settling in Palestine was not enforced against the will of the country’s majority whose decision on the matter would have been respected?

    • RoHa
      July 28, 2016, 10:23 pm

      The one that didn’t happen.

      • Mooser
        July 29, 2016, 2:30 pm

        Israel… it remains a place where Zionism is much more avidly debated than in other places”

        They also serve, who stand and kvetch.

        And there seems to be a big debate about martial rape, and extra-judicial executions, too. Book-ish people like to debate, I guess.

  3. jd65
    July 28, 2016, 6:51 pm

    @ Talkback: So which version of Zionism was the one in which an immigration of Jews and settling in Palestine was not enforced against the will of the country’s majority…?

    The mythical one? The self-serving, tortured “soul searching” and hand wringing over the supposed differences (some real, some not so much…) between the Zionists camps and how if only the compassionate, universalist version of Zionism had won out always makes me cringe. The above article is, imo, less cringe worthy than most. But it still feels, to me, like there’s that equivocation in there that lets Zionism off the hook for the massive tragedy of Israel. It reminds me of some folks in the Solidarity Movement (JVP & Campaign To End The Occupation) who use “Non-Zionist” instead of “Anti-Zionist” to describe themselves and there position. It’s part of why I left JVP.

    My assumption is that the argument in favor of using the term non-Zionism, or even “Liberal-Zionism,” over the term anti-Zionism is that historically there have been different strains of Zionism and that they had different goals, practices, ethics, etc.; ie: Cultural Zionism, Religious Zionism, Christian Zionism, Practical Zionism, Political Zionism, Messianic Zionism, etc… So I further assume that a “non-Zionist” believes that some forms of Zionism were acceptable, but not others.

    But there’s Zionism in theory, and then there’s Zionism in practice with its results “on the ground,” if you will. Whatever “strains/forms” of Zionism a “non-Zionist” may believe was the righteous one (I’m waiting for the “Compassionate Zionism” political party candidate to emerge…), the Zionism that has emerged as the undeniably dominant version for a very long time now is the version which occupies Palestine, is political and nationalist in nature, discriminates, murders, etc. The “political vs. cultural” competition within Zionism is over. The political/nationalist form won.

    And whether there was ever a truly clear, total separation between these two basic conceptualizations of Zionism is debatable. As early as 1914, Horace Kallen wrote about practical and political Zionists, “there can be no ‘cultural center’ without a political center.” For someone as prominent in the Zionist movement as Kallen to write such a thing, as early in the movement as he did, is instructive. My understanding is that there are many other people, events, and quotes that argue toward the idea that the “political” and “cultural” versions of Zionism were never quite so very separate and unique from one another in practice. The romanticization of the early Zionists and kibbutzim as a group of agrarian, open society sweethearts is in line with other types of mythifications of the creation of Israel. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but this is what I’ve come to understand.

    • silamcuz
      July 28, 2016, 11:49 pm

      . It reminds me of some folks in the Solidarity Movement (JVP & Campaign To End The Occupation) who use “Non-Zionist” instead of “Anti-Zionist” to describe themselves and there position. It’s part of why I left JVP.

      You do you but I honestly find it hard to comprehend why would you leave JVP for merely a disagreement on terms used in activism. Why not just suggest the board to use anti-Zionism instead? Anyways, JVP is one of the leading progressive groups in the nation that is not only championing Palestinian rights, but one of the very few groups that are winning while doing so. As such, you leaving the group is more of a loss on your part, than to JVP.

      • jd65
        July 29, 2016, 4:14 pm

        Thanks for the response silamcuz. And I don’t disagree w/ anything you’ve said. Especially my leaving being no loss for JVP. Understatement of the century :)

        A couple quick things: First, I did mention my issue of the term “non” vs. “anti” to a couple of the more active organizers in my area. And while it was a good conversation, I did not get the impression that they had any inclination to spend energy on changing that terminology. Second, that single term was in no way the only reason I left JVP. There were many others. If interested in my detailing of these other reasons, go here and read from the top of the page (On Leaving): http://thepalestineconflict.blogspot.com/p/blog.html

        I also happen to have a relatively shitty life (no money, no car, no house, etc). For a long time now I’ve spent nearly all of my free time scraping to get by, looking for work, working at things that don’t pay, not letting go of my desire to be a musician, etc. And that is basically no one’s fault but my own. But this leaves no time or energy for activist work. Honestly, this is probably just as big a reason for my leaving JVP than any of my other, imo, legitimate reasons I wrote about. Actually doing the work of an activist takes time, energy, & resources. I have comparatively very little time, resources, and increasingly less energy (gettin’ older don’tchya know?). However, I pledge to you now that when I hit the lottery, I will rejoin JVP. Oh boy, won’t they be so excited :)

      • Mooser
        July 29, 2016, 10:04 pm

        “Silamcuz” are you a member of JVP ??.

        Which chapter, BTW?

      • echinococcus
        July 30, 2016, 7:30 pm

        Mooser,

        That must be Chapter III: “The Best Way to Destroy Resistance is From Within”

      • silamcuz
        July 31, 2016, 8:12 am

        “Silamcuz” are you a member of JVP ??.

        Which chapter, BTW?

        Well, I’m not Jewish lol. Why would I intrude into the sacred safe space designed for progressive Jewish folks when there are so many other avenues for expressing my own thoughts and ideas?

        I am also not white btw, which make me more appreciative of a person’s natural desire to be among people most alike with them, when participating in radical activism. [..]

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2016, 12:35 pm

        “Why would I intrude…”

        At this point, I usually just link to a video of a cuckoo-clock striking noon.

      • jd65
        July 31, 2016, 1:30 pm

        @ silamcuz:

        “Silamcuz” are you a member of JVP ??.

        Which chapter, BTW?

        Well, I’m not Jewish lol. Why would I intrude into the sacred safe space designed for progressive Jewish folks when there are so many other avenues for expressing my own thoughts and ideas?

        I am also not white btw, which make me more appreciative of a person’s natural desire to be among people most alike with them, when participating in radical activism. [..]

      • Annie Robbins
        July 31, 2016, 5:15 pm

        jd65:

      • jd65
        July 31, 2016, 5:45 pm

        @ Annie: Classic…

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2016, 11:36 pm

        That “Talking Heads” tune must be from the Mondo Moderation Suite Mix-tape.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 1, 2016, 12:05 am

        mooser, go to 20:30 — that one’s for you.

    • jd65
      August 1, 2016, 1:36 am

      In 1983, the year before the Stop Making Sense tour, I was a freshman at SUNY Plattsburgh and got to help the crew set up for the Heads show later that night. It was an intensely fun concert. Completely amazing band they were. Tina!

      • Annie Robbins
        August 1, 2016, 4:13 am

        i went to their concert during that tour (backstage passes!) in SF — amazing incredible. i even recall what i wore — is that weird or what? i have it on vinyl btw. just heard it over and over last weekend during the finally at a party in my kitchen, the kids put it on (my record player) and we danced. crazy — it’s as good today as it was then — burning down the house. and my favorite (not on this version) is:

        Out of all those kinds of people
        You got a face with a view
        I’m just an animal looking for a home and,
        Share the same space for a minute or two
        And you love me till my heart stops
        Love me till I’m dead
        Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
        Cover up the blank spots
        Hit me on the head
        Ah ooh

        omg — amazing fun

      • jd65
        August 1, 2016, 11:41 am

        Annie:

        i went to their concert during that tour (backstage passes!) in SF — amazing incredible. i even recall what i wore — is that weird or what?

        Weird? I guess that would depend on what you were wearing ;)

  4. RoHa
    July 28, 2016, 10:25 pm

    “But the Jewish identity that I—and maybe a few others like me—care to identify with is a confrontation with non-identity, and it lives on only with criticism.”

    Anyone care to tell me what this expression of navel-gazing actually means?

    • echinococcus
      July 29, 2016, 1:46 am

      It does sound like hatched by one of the nouveau philosophers, doesn’t it –let’s say Bernarr-‘ungry Lévy (the one, I am sure, who drove you to Gallophobia)? You a philosopher –and unable to recognize genius when it jumps at you?

      • RoHa
        July 29, 2016, 10:24 pm

        No-one is driven to Gallophobia. It is the natural condition of mankind. Even the French themselves would be Gallophobes had they not been steeped in unnatural practices since infancy.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2016, 1:03 pm

        “Even the French themselves would be Gallophobes had they not been steeped in unnatural practices since infancy.”

        “RoHa”, in France every Frenchman knows his language from “A” to “Zed” (Of course the French never care what they do, actually,
        As long as they pronounce in properly.)

      • RoHa
        July 30, 2016, 10:27 pm

        Yes, speaking French is, perhaps, the most persistent of those unnatural activities. Others have, at various times, been:

        Eating snails, croissants, and runny cheese
        Listening to Charles Aznavour and Serge Gainsbourg
        Wearing berets when not in command of a tank
        Allowing Jaques Tati to make films
        Foucault and Baudrillard

        No end to the vileness.

      • Froggy
        August 1, 2016, 11:58 am

        Merde !

      • Mooser
        August 1, 2016, 1:38 pm

        “RoHa” I know all that, and don’t care. Two films, “The Guns of Cherbourg” and “The Two Rochefort Cheescakes” make up for all that and lots more.

        “Yes, speaking French is, perhaps, the most persistent of those unnatural activities”

        Then why can’t the English learn to set a good example for people whose English is painful to your ears? (The Scotch and the Irish can bring you close to tears.) There are even places where English- completely disappears! Why in Australia, they haven’t used it for years!

      • echinococcus
        August 1, 2016, 2:44 pm

        RoHa,

        As a doer of most villeynies and abominations listed, I would certainly not have found the courage to protest, were it not for the horror of your last line. Rather dishonor than accepting Foucault, Baudrillard or any such Rosbif sympathizers.

      • Mooser
        August 1, 2016, 5:16 pm

        “Rather dishonor than accepting Foucault, Baudrillard or any such Rosbif sympathizers.”

        The Rosbif of Olde England notwithstanding (and from I’ve heard, it’ll withstand anything except TNT or a pick-axe.) I’m trying to muddle through Mircea Eliade’s” “History of Religious Ideas”

      • echinococcus
        August 1, 2016, 8:36 pm

        Don’t do that, Mooser! Rumanian theological musings can drive anyone crazy, especially if in French, the language most inappropriate for spirituality and such. Should have been written in Modern Hebrew.

      • RoHa
        August 1, 2016, 9:16 pm

        Mooser, I cannot forgetMr. Hulot’s Holiday.

        I was at a loose end, so I wandered into the cinema to see this piece. At first I thought I ha inadvertently subjected myself to a tedious art film, an exploration of the alienation and despair of inauthentic existence. But part way through, the true horror of it dawned on me. This was supposed to be comedy. I have tried, with limited success, to blot out the memory of the sheer awfulness that followed. Suffice it to say that a sadder and a wiser man I rose the morrow morn.

        “Then why can’t the English learn to set a good example”

        One does wonder why the English can’t teach their children how to speak. It might be because they recognize that anything, no matter how debased, is better than French.

      • RoHa
        August 1, 2016, 9:19 pm

        echinococcus:

        Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard,

      • echinococcus
        August 2, 2016, 1:58 am

        RoHa,

        No fair. These three names were below the belt.

      • Mooser
        August 2, 2016, 12:18 pm

        “Mooser, French cinema was soured by Mr. Hulot’s Holiday.”

        When I was young, my parents tool me to see Francois Truffaut’s “Small Change” and I loved it, subtitles and all.

        And I can’t help what happened to Michel Legrand after he got involved with Streisand.

        “Echin”,
        I can get through most stuff if I sound out each word, but the Eliade can be friggin opaque! And it’s a translation, too.
        Very efficacious bedtime reading. Right to sleep and weird dreams of Eleusinian mysteries and orgiastic cults.

      • RoHa
        August 2, 2016, 8:14 pm

        Sorry, echinococcus. My unenthusiasm got the better of me.

  5. DaBakr
    July 28, 2016, 11:45 pm

    so, An-sky was a gifted, ideological , idealistic workers leaning fool who thought jews would blend in (and what? disappear?) as if that is the ultimate goal

  6. tony greenstein
    July 29, 2016, 8:23 am

    As regards different Zionisms. It reminds me of when Ben Gurion asked the binationalist Zionist Martin Buber whether he had immigrated to Palestine with the support of or against the wishes of the indigenous Arabs.

    The fact is that even the most enlightened Zionist has settled the country against the wishes of the indigenous population.

    • Mooser
      July 29, 2016, 10:28 am

      “The fact is that even the most enlightened Zionist has settled the country against the wishes of the indigenous population.”

      “Tony”, if the Palestinians don’t know what’s good for them, the Zionists can’t help it.

    • echinococcus
      July 29, 2016, 12:01 pm

      Thank you for the reminder, Tony.

      I suppose there is one exception, though: the documented offspring of the 5% or so of Jewish Arab Palestinians who were local in 1897, when the hostile intent of the Zionists was declared. A few of these descendants are brainwashed Zionists, too.

      At any rate, whoever settles against the wishes of the local population has only one right: to evacuate, period.

  7. Raphael
    July 29, 2016, 8:37 am

    As a dual citizen of Israel and the US… I consider the reasons for my Zionism to be rooted in both the land of Israel (because I’m now a new citizen) and in the spiritual side of Zion, or Jerusalem (not being actually in the land by living there)…but, I am a Zionist nevertheless… because of my election as a Israelite, and, because my ancestors where Jewish, and, also, my faith in God (the spiritual Zion).

    I generally though became a Zionist as a survival tool to survive in this age of the twenty first century too counter anti-Semitic tactics. But my faith in God is that of a Catholic.

    But, my role as a Zionist constantly changes, that is why I’m happy I became a citizen, of Israel.

    I recommend that left wing activists move to Israel. The first natural thing to do is to make aliyah; it being a relatively simple process of filling out a simple form, and being able to prove that you have at least one grandparent that is Jewish. I’m not a left wing American Jew. I’m a anarchist liberal Zionist half Jew.

    If people on the left want to affect world opinion…and US opinions about Israel; they need to understand the differences between US Judaism and Israeli Judaism, and the best way to do that is to move there. I’m not technically Jewish because my mother is not Jewish; but it was a wonderful experience for me to be able to see how my great grandfather prayed, when he was living in the US when he was the president of a Orthodox synagogue.

    The similarities where the synagogue is in the US and the Jewish community at the time living in a Jewish neighborhood, around the synagogue… and the similarities in how that community in the US is like how Israel is today, at least in the part I was living in is reborn in the country of Israel.

    • Mooser
      July 29, 2016, 10:32 am

      “I generally though became a Zionist as a survival tool to survive in this age of the twenty first century too counter anti-Semitic tactics. But my faith in God is that of a Catholic.”
      “But, my role as a Zionist constantly changes, that is why I’m happy I became a citizen, of Israel.
      I recommend that left wing activists move to Israel.”

      ” I’m not a left wing American Jew. I’m a anarchist liberal Zionist half Jew.”

      ROTFLMSJAO!!!! Mostly, “Raphael” you are full of crap.

      • eljay
        July 29, 2016, 11:58 am

        || Raphael: … I generally though became a Zionist as a survival tool to survive in this age of the twenty first century too counter anti-Semitic tactics. … ||

        And the kid who was bullied in high school figured that the best survival tool in this age of the 21st Century to counter bullying tactics was to become a serial rapist and “self-determine” himself in women.

        Hateful and immoral minds think alike.

      • gamal
        July 29, 2016, 12:08 pm

        yes meet Simalcuz’s brother Simulacrum

      • Mooser
        July 29, 2016, 12:30 pm

        “And the kid who was bullied in high school figured that the best survival tool in this age of the 21st Century”

        Is to join up with 200 million Zionist Jews.
        Let somebody try to bully 200 million Jews and see what happens!

        “yes meet Simalcuz’s brother Simulacrum”

        Yes indeed, “gamal”!

    • Mooser
      July 29, 2016, 2:24 pm

      “The similarities where the synagogue is in the US and the Jewish community at the time living in a Jewish neighborhood, around the synagogue… and the similarities in how that community in the US is like how Israel is today, at least in the part I was living in is reborn in the country of Israel.”

      Wow, that’s some “Jewish neighborhood” where the Rabbinate usurps the power of the US and local civic government. And enforces Jewish segregation? I musta missed out on that phase in assimilation.
      Did the Synagogues in those wonderful Jewish neighborhoods draft the kids?

    • Marnie
      July 29, 2016, 2:48 pm

      Too much weird information ‘Raphael’ and lay off the pipe, eh?

      This isn’t Jewcy, uh, you got lost on the world wide web. And as far as being the antichrist, you should keep that one on the down low.

    • jd65
      July 29, 2016, 7:13 pm

      Hey Raphael:

      As a dual citizen of Israel and the US… I consider the reasons for my Zionism to be rooted in both the land of Israel (because I’m now a new citizen) and in the spiritual side of Zion, or Jerusalem (not being actually in the land by living there)…but, I am a Zionist nevertheless… because of my election as a Israelite, and, because my ancestors where Jewish, and, also, my faith in God (the spiritual Zion).

      I generally though became a Zionist as a survival tool to survive in this age of the twenty first century too counter anti-Semitic tactics. But my faith in God is that of a Catholic.

      But, my role as a Zionist constantly changes, that is why I’m happy I became a citizen, of Israel.

      I recommend that left wing activists move to Israel. The first natural thing to do is to make aliyah; it being a relatively simple process of filling out a simple form, and being able to prove that you have at least one grandparent that is Jewish. I’m not a left wing American Jew. I’m a anarchist liberal Zionist half Jew.

      If people on the left want to affect world opinion…and US opinions about Israel; they need to understand the differences between US Judaism and Israeli Judaism, and the best way to do that is to move there. I’m not technically Jewish because my mother is not Jewish; but it was a wonderful experience for me to be able to see how my great grandfather prayed, when he was living in the US when he was the president of a Orthodox synagogue.

      The similarities where the synagogue is in the US and the Jewish community at the time living in a Jewish neighborhood, around the synagogue… and the similarities in how that community in the US is like how Israel is today, at least in the part I was living in is reborn in the country of Israel.

      Back in high school, when I was a young, idealistic, scrappy nihilist who always saw the good in things, we used to go to Synagogue every Saturday morning. Back in those days, I had a passion for Jewish involvement in social justice work and the folk music movement so closely associated w/ that work. Since our temple was quite progressive, they allowed me to bring my boom box to play my Slayer cassette tapes along with the services.

      Looking back now, I can see how Israel, Jewish social justice work, and the folk music/Slayer/Pantera nexus all combined to create my current uniquely Pro-Palestinian, leftist activist work against BDS. My friends used to tell me, “Greg, don’t ever give up on that progressive dream of building walls to give people that look similar a sense of hope, security, and cockeyed optimism!” I’m proud to be able to show my friends that I have, indeed, never given up.

      I’ve recently made aliyah and now live Israel, the only democracy in the middle east. My work mainly centers around bettering the wall near the Wi’am Israel Conflict Resolution Center where the local Israelites show endless appreciation for having our protective wall/shield/fence so close to their headquarters. Every day they tell me how warm, safe, and free they feel because of the work done by myself and countless other selfless evangelical jewish lutherans. Semper Fidelis!

      • Talkback
        July 31, 2016, 4:12 am

        d65: “… the only democracy in the middle east.”

        ROFL. What about Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon, Kuwait?

        And Israel is as “democratic” as Apartheid South Africa.The only difference is that South Africa always had a black majority and its Apartheid therefore needed to keep them all away from voting while Israel made sure that it has a Jewish majority by expulsion of Nonjews and only has to keep these expelled Nonjews from voting.

      • jd65
        July 31, 2016, 1:35 pm

        @ Talkback:

        d65: “… the only democracy in the middle east.”

        ROFL. What about Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon, Kuwait?

        Really? You didn’t get that I was mocking Raphael? I thought it was completely obvious. Or maybe you did “get it,” and I’m misunderstanding you response? Oh well. I guess that’s the internet for ya…

    • Misterioso
      July 30, 2016, 6:55 pm

      Raphael

      Do some basic overall historical research using unbiased, scholarly, well documented and duly foot-noted sources.

      If you do, you will realize – as are ever increasing numbers of Jews around the world – that Zionism is racism, Zionism is theft, Zionism is fascism.

  8. Ossinev
    July 29, 2016, 9:39 am

    “I’m a anarchist liberal Zionist half Jew”

    Don`t fret too much. I expect there is an ointment out there somewhere.

    • Mooser
      July 29, 2016, 12:27 pm

      ““I’m a anarchist liberal Zionist half Jew” “Raphael”

      Cool! Now let’s hear who an “anarchist liberal Zionist half Jew” favors politically:

      “About the only promising Dem I see is Debbie Wasserman Schultz… I hope she runs for President in 2020; if Clinton does not win.” -“Raphael” : http://mondoweiss.net/recent-comments/#sthash.Xk54W3Ih.dpuf

  9. Mooser
    July 29, 2016, 12:13 pm

    “I like to think that if I had been alive in 1901”

    You would be 115 years old today. And really, there’s no denying it.

  10. gamal
    July 29, 2016, 12:53 pm

    “and maybe a few others like me—care to identify with is a confrontation with non-identity, and it lives on only with criticism.”

    embrace the non-identity, and then save all that energy you are wasting on “criticism” of a rickety mental construction for something useful.

    you are turning Jewish identity in to a pointless maze,

    where is the Jewish Rumi or Loa Tzu.

    “the things of this world are generated from “presence”
    presence is generated from non-presence” daodejing

    non-identity is the height of heights like god,

    “this world that is made out of our love for Emptiness” by Rumi is quite advanced good still and yes i am a raving anti-identite.

    • Mooser
      July 29, 2016, 2:16 pm

      “where is the Jewish Rumi or Loa Tzu.”

      Oh, that’d probably be Rabbi Hillel.
      He knew what made Shammai run, as I recall.

      • gamal
        July 29, 2016, 4:47 pm

        i’ve met them, not fraudster like Forer, but once you overcome your selfhatred you will realize we aren’t anything to be better than anyway,

        this is really for you unlike that embarrasing stuff with the slackness dj lady saw, beautiful english subs, listen to a drug stained mouth give you a kiss on the lips right from god

        (he plays a weird little organ thing like the ilen pipes i have seen them heard them but no one knows what they are, like the ilen pipes, repetition is holy)

        it is forbidden to be chaste here, just like Hillel said

        https://youtu.be/N5eTGCTxoTQ

      • gamal
        July 29, 2016, 6:11 pm

        “but once you overcome your selfhatred”

        i’d like to point out that while a surfeit of alcohol may have caused me to be idiotic, whatever i say i mean nothing as you pointed out with JonS, but as a rare poc(kemon) ( and thus an oppressed person who personally has no answer to my circumstances and am awaiting Tarzan and the elephants) you may want to check your app rather than tell me off, sorry, but you know i have heard gossip self-hatred and all, good kosher gossip, i may be available Arabs are very cheap nowadays, chinese are the status symbol.

        i am alluding myself into a bit of a state.

    • RoHa
      July 29, 2016, 10:39 pm

      So you think he is talking about something like anattā (anātman, 無我) and suññatā (śūnyatā, 空)?

    • jd65
      July 29, 2016, 10:46 pm

      @ gamal:

      embrace the non-identity, and then save all that energy you are wasting on “criticism” of a rickety mental construction for something useful…

      you are turning Jewish identity in to a pointless maze…

      and yes i am a raving anti-identite…

      where is the Jewish Rumi or Loa Tzu[?]

      Indeed. And speaking of “anti-dentite,” I don’t know about Rumi, but a year ago I uploaded a Seinfeld bit that I see as a pretty serious comment on “personal identity,” and it’s still funny as hell. And maybe Chappelle’s similar identity bit makes him Lao Tzu?

      Seinfeld Identity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-QdGCpB_tQ

      Chappelle Identity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7FUsV7lUMY

  11. Ossinev
    July 30, 2016, 11:47 am

    Came across this wonderful gem recently. Listen to this doombrain Brooklynite immigrant do the brainwashed Hasbara routine on the occupation:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uiawy6QxK2E

    The young interviewer I think is clearly struggling not to say “Do you realise that you are spouting absolute crap. I am really pissed off having to listen to it”

    Loved the bit about 1922 and the “Jews” being given all of Palestine as a Jewish homeland and the Russian “Jews” who have not fully converted. And especially love his local ancestral accent.

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