‘Make this my dream as well’ — in historic appearance, Palestinian offers one-state vision to a NY temple

US Politics
on 80 Comments

I can’t remember the last time I’ve cried in a synagogue, but last night was truly extraordinary: a suburban New York temple hosted a Palestinian leader making the argument for one democratic state between the river and the sea. And the Jewish audience did not contest his description of human rights atrocities. And his Jewish hosts thanked him for opening their eyes to new ideas.

If there is a glimmer of hope that the American Jewish community can be redeemed from a tragic course, and that the peoples of Israel and Palestine can be freed from a blind alleyway of history, there it was last night, at Temple Israel in New Rochelle.

Mark Rosing, Jonathan Kuttab, and Paul Warhit (l to r) on dais at Temple Israel sanctuary, Nov. 29, 2016

Mark Rosing, Jonathan Kuttab, and Paul Warhit (l to r) on dais at Temple Israel sanctuary, Nov. 29, 2016

The speaker was Jonathan Kuttab, the Palestinian-American lawyer and former PLO negotiator. A stocky, thoughtful man who looks to be in his 60’s and successful, Kuttab does not excite easily, or give ground either. His message was simple. For many years he supported the painful compromise of the two-state solution, but Israeli actions have made that outcome impossible. There are 600,000 settlers, and evacuating 7,000 of them from Gaza was a national trauma for Israel, and today the society lacks the will or ability to evacuate even a handful of settlers from an illegal hilltop outpost.

It is time for the international community to throw itself behind a movement for equal rights for all between the river and the sea, and the right of diaspora Jews and Palestinian refugees to return to the land.

“This is really not an easy conversation to have,” he began. “I don’t think it’s an easy conversation for you, and for me also it is not an easy conversation.”

Our two tribes not only have separate and different narratives, but we also have separate and conflicting ideologies…. We cannot find a way to live together if we continue to hang on to the two ideologies that we started with. We must find a new idea that is worth working towards, and change our ideologies in such a way that acknowledges the other as part of us, as who we want to be… It’s a tall order, I know. But you really must move away from what I call the false view of democracy, which says that if I have 51 percent of the population, I can totally destroy negate crush delegitimize disenfranchise the other. That’s not democracy. The tyranny of 51 percent simply does not work.

Kuttab’s speech was historic because Palestinian voices are excluded from Jewish spaces when they make an argument for the end of a Jewish state. Only the most lukewarm Palestinians are allowed in Jewish halls, if at all; in a signal exhibit of that disgrace, the 92d Street Y in 2011 cancelled the appearance of Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor/author whose three children had been killed by Israeli forces, because the Jewish author who would have “balanced” his appearance couldn’t make the date.

But here was an unapologetic Palestinian speaking of the riches of a binational democracy on a Reform temple dais, in suburban New York. Yes there was a cop outside when the event began, but 80 people listened respectfully.

Kuttab’s views are not what interested me chiefly. It was the Jewish response to him, all the layers of it. All the discomfort and warmth and skepticism and fear. I pray that Kuttab and his one-state co-author Bob Herbst can take this show on the road, to a thousand Jewish spaces. It would be transformational.

Kuttab could not just come out on the altar last night. A member of the temple’s Israel action committee spoke first, warning the gathering about civility and the importance to the Jewish community of engaging new ideas on Israel’s future.

Then Herbst, the civil rights lawyer and member of Jewish Voice for Peace, came up to tell a story about Jewish struggle.

“For many years I was painfully aware of the toll that the Israeli occupation was having on Jewish values… and on America’s standing in the world,” he said. But while he was critical of Israel when speaking to friends and relatives, Herbst kept his mouth shut “outside the tribe.”

That changed for me in 2014 in the wake of the horrific operation in Gaza, Protective Edge.

Herbst came to believe that Palestine is “the Jewish issue of my time, much as the Vietnam war was the issue of my time a half century ago.” And when he educated himself, he arrived at a simple moral understanding:

The most powerful voices, the most persuasive speakers on behalf of Palestinians are Palestinians themselves, and they do not get enough of a hearing here in the United States, especially among Jewish audiences.

Herbst invited Kuttab to the podium. The Palestinian spoke for 45 minutes and then sat down for another 45 minutes of dialogue with two leaders of the temple’s Israel action committee. One, Mark Rosing, was a tall, softspoken bearded man with round shoulders who seemed stunned by what Kuttab had to say. Kuttab had opened “our eyes to an idea that is very new to all of us… an idea that we have never been heard before,” he said, almost marveling.

Paul Warhit, the other interlocutor, had short dark hair and seemed a bit coiled. His son served in the Israeli army, and Warhit said he feels a “visceral” connection to the place. “You said a few things that struck a chord with me,” Warhit acknowledged, including the idea that “both sides down deep wish the other side would go away.” But he knew this was not realistic, and the temple’s Israel action committee is trying to envision different political outcomes.

Warhit questioned Kuttab’s motivation. If he could actually choose, which would he prefer, one state or two?

“I was a proponent of the two-state solution before the PLO,” Kuttab said. But every settlement, every settler, every dunam: it has changed the picture forever. Now settlers must be included in the solution.

And Kuttab stuck to his ideals: “Ultimately in terms of human values I would rather live in a pluralistic multi ethnic multi religious society, enriched” by the presence of different groups. That is “closer to an ideal of the kingdom of god in my theology than the two state solution.”

A man in the audience said, “Your plan is wonderful but it requires a level of trust that I don’t think exists at this point at all.” How many Jews would accept it?

Trust is a great intangible, Kuttab said. “Let me tell you what doesn’t provide trust. Walls don’t provide trust, bridges do.” The societies are more separated than ever, but the ingredients of coexistence do exist. He cited the Haifa fires, where Palestinian firefighters helped Israelis out. And he told a story about a settler who was lost for seven days, fallen in a ditch, and a Palestinian rescued him.

He knows the Palestinian population. “I can tell you a majority of them are less interested in political formulations than facts on the ground. If you give them a state tomorrow, they want to know what that means.” They want rights, freedom of movement, equality, an end to discrimination. Not national symbols.

What about Gaza? Warhit said. “People are suffering, I get it.” But as soon as they get concrete, they make tunnels for Hamas.

Kuttab said Israel should “declare immediately that people in Gaza can go and come freely as they choose.” The blockade actually prevented “everything except weapons” from getting in to the strip.

Warhit brought up the biggest issue of all: Zionism is the answer to the Jewish problem.

I appreciate a lot of what you’ve said and you’re saying, and I like you. The problem I have with the idea of a single binational democratic state is, Jews thorugh the 19th  and 20th centuries have lived in European nations and in Russia and a lot of times things have gone well and then  all of a sudden by the whim of whoever’s in charge, things have taken a turn for the worse, up to the Shoah in the mid-20th century. For so many Jews, that’s why a Jewish state is critical.”

Warhit has “serious problems” with Israeli behavior but: “The idea of a single binational non-Jewish state in my gut is very challenging.”

Kuttab:

I did not say non-Jewish. I said it has to be both Jewish and Arab and I wanted to know what do you need for that state to be Jewish enough for you without negating my identity and my rights as an Arab? I hear what you’re saying. And I want to say, make this my dream as well. Make me go along with that. Make this be part of the new state that I want to be a part of. I will know upfront that one of the attributes of this new state is the openness to any Jew anywhere to come– not only to be able to defend himself but to no longer need to defend himself because he is secure.

Right now he is not secure. Right now he is building so much ability to defend himself that he is in greater danger than ever before– if a 12 year old girl with a pair of scissors provides him with a threat.

Warhit nodded. “That’s a legitimate answer and I accept it.” If he and Kuttab could hammer out the constitution themselves, it might work. But what would happen 50 or 100 years from now. Kuttab spoke of the need for a strong constitution and structures to be in place to guarantee all rights.

Mark Rosing’s skepticism was of a more worldly character. He had recently gone to Israel, he’d been troubled by the climate there. As pleased as he was to have Kuttab in his temple expressing these ideals, he did not see such openness from Israeli Jews. In the age of Trump, countries were looking inside fearfully, mistrusting others.

“There is going to be less and less interest in what’s going on in Israel and Palestine, if there isn’t a voice from within that is  vocal.”

Kuttab turned to Rosing.

“Maybe that’s your job. Maybe if you really care about Israel, you ought to be talking to your people there. What are you guys doing, what do you guys want? How can you ask us for continued support when what you’re doing is not working and cannot work? It’s only digging the problem deeper and deeper… Tell us what you are doing to move beyond the current situation!

“I think just as the Arab world has failed the Palestinians in major, major ways, I think maybe the worldwide Jewish community has failed Israel.”

There was pure silence in the temple.

About Philip Weiss

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

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80 Responses

  1. amigo
    November 30, 2016, 2:59 pm

    Wait until smiley boteach hears about this .There is going to be hell to play.No one is going to de legitimize or destroy the one and only Jewish state.

    Thanks for the article.It makes good reading but given the arrival of Trump and his coterie of zionists and their supporters , who is going to enforce the 1ss.In Northern Ireland the British Gov in cooperation with the Republic took on the task of making the peace process work by pressuring both sides .This does not appear to be marginally possible in Israel.Can you envisage a Palestinian being a member of the “inner circle” or heading up a military brigade.

  2. eljay
    November 30, 2016, 3:16 pm

    Kudos to Temple Israel and to the people gathered within it.

    • Mooser
      November 30, 2016, 6:25 pm

      “Kudos to Temple Israel and to the people gathered within it.”

      Yes! I was looking at the pictures and thinking “that ain’t no storefront. That’s a big Temple!”

  3. Kay24
    November 30, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Israel jolly well knew it would be impossible for the illegal settlers to be moved out of stolen lands, and deliberately built thousands of squatter abodes for these people. The US kept sending them billions to make sure those squatters were comfortable and lived in sturdy buildings over Palestinian stolen lands. Israel keeps doing despicable things while breaking international laws, and expects the world to keep accepting it.

    • b3rkut
      December 2, 2016, 6:55 am

      Stop being a sheep and repeating false facts. The West Bank was won from Jordan in ’67, so how is that palestinian land? One day those people were Jordanians and the next day they were suddenly palestinians? How convenient.

      • Maghlawatan
        December 2, 2016, 9:16 am

        B3rkut I am researching Israeli history and drawing a blank for 1925. Somebody told me there was no Israel in 1925 . This must be antisemitic. Can you provide a map of Israel in 1925 ?

      • Kay24
        December 2, 2016, 10:07 am

        Here are some enlightening facts about the West Bank, which anyway was not mentioned in my comment. I choose to believe the UN and other international bodies rather than hasbara drivel that is regurgitated false propaganda. The West Bank is occupied territory, and we know how the zionists pretends it is all THEIRS. Bad try.

        “In 1967, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the Six-Day War. UN Security Council Resolution 242 that followed called for withdrawal from territories occupied in the conflict in exchange for peace and mutual recognition. Since 1979 the United Nations Security Council,[26] the United Nations General Assembly,[21] the United States,[27] the EU,[28] the International Court of Justice,[29] and the International Committee of the Red Cross[30] refer to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as occupied Palestinian territory or the occupied territories. General Assembly resolution 58/292 (17 May 2004) affirmed that the Palestinian people have the right to sovereignty over the area.[31]

        The International Court of Justice and the Supreme Court of Israel have ruled that the status of the West Bank is that of military occupation.[8] In its 2004 advisory opinion the International Court of Justice concluded that:

        The territories situated between the Green Line and the former eastern boundary of Palestine under the Mandate were occupied by Israel in 1967 during the armed conflict between Israel and Jordan. Under customary international law, the Court observes, these were therefore occupied territories in which Israel had the status of occupying Power. Subsequent events in these territories have done nothing to alter this situation. The Court concludes that all these territories (including East Jerusalem) remain occupied territories and that Israel has continued to have the status of occupying Power.[8][9]”

        Israel does do despicable things and their minions try hard to convince us otherwise.

      • Mooser
        December 2, 2016, 11:33 am

        .” Can you provide a map of Israel in 1925 ?”

        “Mag” you just have to understand that when you bvelong to a conquering religion of 2 billion united people, it only makes sense to believe in the ‘right of conquest’.

        I mean, when has power politics and ‘right of conquest’ ever worked against the Jews? And now there’s mopre of us then ever, and it looks Jewish numbers will be doubling again in the near future.

        Since not a single Zionist has ever bothered to correct the figures, I might as well go to 4 billion. Learn Hebrew everybody.

  4. Mooser
    November 30, 2016, 4:10 pm

    “The problem I have with the idea of a single binational democratic state is, Jews thorugh the 19th and 20th centuries have lived in European nations and in Russia and a lot of times things have gone well and then all of a sudden by the whim of whoever’s in charge, things have taken a turn for the worse, up to the Shoah in the mid-20th century.”

    He said, sitting in a place were the rule of law and non-religion-based equal citizenship made anti-semitism pretty much impotent. (Through all of that Holocaust in autocratic, religiously established Europe and Russia.) And Jews did pretty well, and became whatever kind of Jew they wanted to be.
    But don’t ever, ever let that enter a discussion about Zionism. For some reason, it’s irrelevant.

    • JWalters
      November 30, 2016, 7:05 pm

      Excellent point. Controlling people’s knowledge of history has ALWAYS been a key tactic in controlling people’s thinking, from ancient times. Making a break with this practice will probably require a great face-saving operation, possibly along the lines of Nelson Mandela’s Truth & Reconciliation program. It seems to me people will have to stop thinking they are their ancestors, and realize they are just themselves.

    • Maghlawatan
      December 2, 2016, 4:12 pm

      Palestinians through the second half of the 20th century lived in a Jewish state as vermin and didn’t like it.

  5. AddictionMyth
    November 30, 2016, 4:50 pm

    Great news! The key is to guarantee free speech (and religion, which is the same thing). All other rights spring from that, and defending fundamental rights prevents violence and war. Yes, people really can live together.

    • JWalters
      November 30, 2016, 6:59 pm

      Completely agree! Merely reading this article brought tears to my eyes.

  6. WH
    November 30, 2016, 4:55 pm

    “I think maybe the worldwide Jewish community has failed Israel.”

    Isn’t the reverse truer, considering its selling point is being the very centre of Jewishness?

    • Jasonius Maximus
      December 1, 2016, 4:19 pm

      I like your take better, but sadly, the original is still the more truthful sentiment.

      The Zionist ideal of an ethnically Jewish Israel always was and will never be permanently viable in this region. The demographics of the region alone, even before the establishment of Israel let alone after the cancerous spread of the Settlements and de facto annexation of Judaea and Samaria, make that abundantly clear. It has been, and still is the blindly loyal flow of money and support pouring in from every corner of the Jewish diaspora, coupled with intensive political and lobbying efforts that have allowed the many failures of Israel to continue this long with such impunity.

      No, the majority of the worldwide Jewish community has indeed failed Israel by not keeping the state honest and loyal to its own founding principles. Israel has failed to adhere to the principles outlined in Balfour Declaration, The Partition Plan, its own Declaration of Independence, the Geneva Conventions, the Armistice Agreement and the Oslo Accords. And it is the Jewish Diaspora that have not only allowed it, but encouraged it defended it and helped fund and reward these continued transgressions with blind loyalty based on an untenable tribal based ethnocratic ideology that has no place anywhere the 21st Century.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 1, 2016, 4:39 pm

        de facto annexation of Judaea and Samaria

        the west bank

      • Maghlawatan
        December 1, 2016, 4:56 pm

        De facto apartheid

      • Jasonius Maximus
        December 6, 2016, 10:32 am

        Thanks, Annie. I was using the Zionist term for the West Bank sarcastically and because so many US Zionists view the West Bank as some mythical thing with no borders, whereas every single one of them knows exactly where Judaea and Samaria is on a map in their Hasbara textbooks.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 6, 2016, 11:19 am

        thanks jasonius.

  7. Annie Robbins
    November 30, 2016, 5:16 pm

    wow, what an inspiring article. thank you so much phil. thank you to Mr. Kuttab. thank you to Temple Israel in New Rochelle, to Mr Rosing and Mr. Warhit, and especially to Mr Herbst. all for their openness and generosity. and to the audience, for listening and being part of something that could really change the future.

    i remain hopeful. may goodness prevail.

    • bintbiba
      December 1, 2016, 4:31 pm

      ” i remain hopeful. may goodness prevail. ”

      Aameen to that, annie !

      A lot of good people around and in that Temple that night .

      • Annie Robbins
        December 1, 2016, 4:35 pm

        yeah.. there are good people everywhere, we have to remember that.

      • Maghlawatan
        December 1, 2016, 5:08 pm

        we should also remember that some things are born bad and stay bad

  8. Rooster
    November 30, 2016, 5:20 pm

    “I think just as the Arab world has failed the Palestinians in major, major ways, I think maybe the worldwide Jewish community has failed Israel.”

    So much paradigm-shifting truth in that one statement.

  9. broadside
    November 30, 2016, 5:30 pm

    “I pray that Kuttab and his one-state co-author Bob Herbst can take this show on the road, to a thousand Jewish spaces. It would be transformational.”

    Here he goes again, Phil losing his mind, on cue, this time because, in year 50 of Israel’s occupation, a Palestinian — a Palestinian! Imagine that! — has been invited into a synagogue to tell a whopping audience of 80 Jews what they already know. Hallelujah!

    (Herbst, civil rights lawyer and member of Jewish Voice for Peace: “For many years I was painfully aware of the toll that the Israeli occupation was having on Jewish values…”

    Wow! There’s a progressive Jew for you!!)

    Three letters to the Times responding to Jimmy Carter’s Israel op-ed, naturally all three letter-writers are Jews. Same thing, same message as Phil’s, drummed into the Gentiles’ heads: this is a Jewish issue, Israel’s occupation will end when the Jews say it will end, the cost to America, the cost to Gentiles — the cost to Palestinians!! — be damned.

    I feel like crying too, Phil.

    • JWalters
      November 30, 2016, 7:19 pm

      Your skepticism is well-founded. The powerful financial forces behind conflict will fight claw and fang, simply to stay out of jail. On the other hand, a pebble can start an avalanche. First a bunch more pebbles, then bigger rocks, then boulders.

      • broadside
        November 30, 2016, 10:17 pm

        JW, I think you will find that a pebble has never started an avalanche.

  10. pabelmont
    November 30, 2016, 9:14 pm

    But, sputter, Kuttab is talking to NY Jews, and imagine if 100% of NY Jews (or 100% of American Jews) agreed with him both that 2SS is impossible (due to Israeli negativism — they would not move the settlers off the land) qand also that 2SS (democratic and nicey-nice) is a desirable replacement — what difference would that make inside Israel?

    On 11/29 Jimmy Carter’s op-ed in NYT called on Obama to recognize Palestine, to work for full UN membership for Palestine, and for a UN(SC?) resolution declaring all the settlers present illegally (no word as I recall that the settlements (buildings) were also present illegally and like the wall s/b pulled down). Carter also mentioned the possibility of UN and USA action being eclipsed by a peace treaty. Carter was saying — as I read him — let Obama in the 2 months remaining to him get a start on a DUAL TRACK, moving toward 2SS by coercion while inviting a deal mutually agreeable to Israel and Palestine in place of that coerced 2SS (for instance, some sort of 1SS).

    I’ve been calling for coercion (as has BDS) for many years, and glad to see Carter in NYT more or less calling for the same thing.

    But time is short.

  11. Ossinev
    December 1, 2016, 6:57 am

    “Paul Warhit, the other interlocutor, had short dark hair and seemed a bit coiled. His son served in the Israeli army, and Warhit said he feels a “visceral” connection to the place.”

    Sorry to add a further dash of scepticism but this sums it all up really. I wonder why his son didn`t do his patriotic duty and serve in his own country`s army = the US Army. I would love to hear of or preferably see one of these” patriotic ” Americans being asked the simple question why did you or your son or your daughter serve in a foreign army and not your own nations army. Focusing on that simple fact might open a lot of blinded eyes in America.

  12. Helena Cobban
    December 1, 2016, 11:16 am

    Jonathan Kuttab is a veteran human rights lawyer of great standing in the Palestinian community, and a wonderful, inspiring person. His spouse Beth Kuttab, ditto (but a humanitarian-affairs leader, not a lawyer.) Kudos to this temple for inviting Jonathan to come and share/explore his thinking with the community.

    It is definitely worth noting in any such discussion the deep roots of the one-state ideal in Jewish/yishuv society in pre-Israel Palestine. I hope that Judah Magnes and Martin Buber and their legacy were integral to the discussion?

    • Philip Weiss
      December 1, 2016, 12:32 pm

      Thanks Helena for those bona fides. I did not know his resume, but the guy exudes gravitas. Maybe the Democrats will consult him on ME policy…

  13. genesto
    December 1, 2016, 1:06 pm

    I, for one, want to carry this dream of a single state with equal rights for with me always. It’s much too easy to become a cynical, burned out ex-activist after so many years of bitter disappointment. We need the hope that this story provides to keep going, even as things seem to be getting more grim by the day. Thanks, Phil, for relating this wonderfully inspiring story.

  14. [email protected]
    December 1, 2016, 1:06 pm

    A good talk with views not commonly shared in a Westchester Temple. However, the article itself has views that are problematic. One is that Palestinians just need to be invited into Jewish spaces. As if we are interchangeable from one another. MLK said to judge each other from the content of ones character, not the color of the skin.
    Many Palestinians who support Israeli views, such as “Arabs for Israel” those funded by Christians United for Israel, and additional influential people in the PA, regularly speak to Jewish and American audiences to confirm the prevalent AIPAC style status quo. I wouldn’t mention this in its particulars but since the author wrote his name. Dr. Izza Abuelish , is certainly in this Kosher approved category. He worked for Israel television and was Israel’s voice inside gaza during their “operations”. To share his name and Johnathan Kuttab as if they equally representative Palestinian views is scandalous at least to my Palestinian ears.

    • Maghlawatan
      December 1, 2016, 4:59 pm

      The Israelis murdered Dr Abuel Aish’s kids while mowing the lawn
      Zionism is a sick ideology

      • [email protected]
        December 1, 2016, 6:10 pm

        His children were killed by Israel, but there is more to the story then that. As photos show, his children were next to his apartment window which for anyone who has lived under Israeli occupation is shocking. I’ve lived where Israeli tanks rumbled up and down streets. Us children were instructed to quickly move towards the center of the building. AWAY FROM THE WINDOWS. He let his kids stay near the windows because unlike virtually all other Palestinians, he did not fear Israeli tank fire, he worked for the people who shot his kids. Tank fire and yes, gunfire follow the laws of physics, not politics. It is akin to a parent allowing a child to play on a highway. Neither the child or the car on the highway, nor the parent want anything to happen, but if you play on a highway, bad things will happen. While this story is extremely sad, this person allowing his children in such an unsafe area is a major part of the story. Yes, Israel killed his kids and yes Israel is ultimately to blame, but a responsible parent who didn’t work for Israel TV would have made sure his own kids were in a much, much safer location.

  15. mcohen.
    December 1, 2016, 2:30 pm

    but abbas just announced that 2017 will be the year of an independent palestinian state.
    and here we read about another palestinian negotiator talking about a one state.
    sounds like crossed wire or is it just pressure application.
    israel just bought more f35 jets.jews need to watch out for there brothers in israel and listen less to the devils advocate preaching at the temple.

    • Mooser
      December 5, 2016, 12:29 pm

      “israel just bought more f35 jets.jews need to watch out for there brothers in israel”

      And when Israel uses those “f35” jets on Gazans, you will walk down the street with your chest puffed out, saying “Yeah, that’s us! Anybody got any objections? Huh?”

  16. hophmi
    December 1, 2016, 2:35 pm

    Isn’t it interesting how this message is better received by Jewish communities when it’s not angry, bitter, and focused on telling Jews how bad they are, how bad Israel is, how they have no history in the Middle East, and how everything is hunky-dory for Jews around the world? You should all learn something from that, because this is not the kind of message that Mondoweiss generally promotes.

    • eljay
      December 1, 2016, 3:15 pm

      || hophmi @ December 1, 2016, 2:35 pm ||

      That’s a heckuva speech. So are you and your fellow Zio-supremacists finally going to drop the whole unjust and immoral Jewish supremacism / supremacist “Jewish State” thing and start advocating and supporting a one-state solution with justice and equality for all? Didn’t think so.

      • hophmi
        December 5, 2016, 10:54 am

        No. That’s not what I said at all. What I’ve always said here is that a one-state solution would be a violent disaster, and that I’d seen nothing to convince me otherwise. That, combined with the callousness for Jewish life around the world that I see in the BDS movement, which won’t even accept the reality of worldwide antisemitism, their role in causing it, or the privileged position from which they criticize Israel, makes me reject anyone who advances that cause and gives me reason to fear those who espouse it. I will say that generally, the vitriol is in inverse correlation to the distance of the speaker from the zone of conflict. Palestinians generally aren’t crazy. Their Western supporters tend to be a little nuts.

        Most of you, predictably, won’t take my point about tone, and it reminds me again of how much of this is just childish political posturing for most of you, rather than real action or accomplishment. Most of you would rather yell your heads off than accomplish anything.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 5, 2016, 12:17 pm

        Most of you would rather yell your heads off than accomplish anything.

        actually, you come as close to throwing a rhetorical tantrum as any person here hops. the ceiling is crashing down and you lecture us on tone. how amusing/not.

        the callousness for Jewish life around the world that I see in the BDS movement, which won’t even accept the reality of worldwide antisemitism, their role in causing it

        jewish life around the world? since when have we even discussed “jewish life” in argentina or florida or toronto? what does this even mean? or is criticizing lobbying your idea of “jewish life”? is lambasting Moskowitz, his 1 million to hillary and putting his foot down over the florida dem state chair “jewish life”? is making a mockery of saban’s public denunciation of ellison “jewish life”? the callousness of which you speak is directed at the very characters preventing a two state solution by their constant and bullying one sided support for the apartheid aggressor state of israel. you know that. bds is only about a decade old and you aim to make it responsible for causing “the reality of worldwide antisemitism”. which is absurd. the bds movement exposes what israel does. it’s that exposure making “jewish life around the world” uncomfortable, because what is going on in israel is very ugly and lots of “jewish life around the world” has been supporting that unconscionable situation. but you don’t want that exposed. you want to blame the messenger for screaming fire while the fire is raging. and you go after our tone. you’re a farce.

        What I’ve always said here is that a one-state solution would be a violent disaster

        and yet you’re here aren’t you? you’re not battling it out against the stalwart forces opposed to a palestinian state. the impenetrable lobby, the israel firsters. you’re here dickering away with us, in your mind, the distant speakers from the zone of conflict — Western supporters who tend to be a little nuts.

        don’t you have bigger fish to fry? or is our tone that’s the crux of your problem. because our tone is spreading — because for the most part, we’re just not that interested on how uncomfortable it makes israel’s supporters that israel’s crimes are being exposed. and contrary to whatever insane logic you’re spinning, jewish discomfort over israel becoming exposed is not a sign of anti semitism. everyone feels uncomfortable standing on the wrong side of history, the criminal side. that’s as it should be. it doesn’t mean the messenger is a racist. we’re just holding the flashlight and shining it on you and those like you.

      • eljay
        December 5, 2016, 11:29 am

        || hophmi: No. That’s not what I said at all. … ||

        Yeah, I didn’t think so.

        || … What I’ve always said here is that a one-state solution would be a violent disaster, and that I’d seen nothing to convince me otherwise. … ||

        And yet you Zio-supremacists continue to do everything in your power to ensure that anything resembling a just and fair two-state solution cannot be realized.

        || … Palestinians generally aren’t crazy. … ||

        But according to you Palestinians are:
        – murderous (“The Palestinians have plenty of weapons, which they’ve turned on the Israelis before … “); and
        – violent (” … actual non-violence might actually be helpful to them. The Palestinians have never adopted such an approach.”).

        But at least they’re not crazy.

        || … Most of you, predictably, won’t take my point about tone … ||

        OK, so what tone will cause Israel:
        – to end its on-going, unjust and immoral occupation and colonization of territory outside of its / Partition borders;
        – withdraw to within its / Partition borders;
        – honour its obligations under international law (including RoR of refugees);
        – accept responsibility for its past and on-going (war) crimes; and
        – transform from a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” into a secular and democratic Israeli state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally?

        || … and it reminds me again of how much of this is just childish political posturing for most of you … ||

        Yeah, advocating the universal and consistent application of justice, accountability and equality is incredibly childish political posturing. It’s not nearly as mature as:
        – stamping your feet and demanding a supremcist state of your own because others have one; and
        – claiming that you are entitled to do evil because others are doing evil.

      • Mooser
        December 5, 2016, 12:25 pm

        “No. That’s not what I said at all. What I’ve always said here is that a one-state solution would be a violent disaster, and that I’d seen nothing to convince me otherwise”

        That’s no threat, when you have the population and resources to defend yourself. “Hophmi” for every Zionist who leaves Israel as violence increases 100 more will arrive, under my “two magnitudes” plan for Zionist domination of Palestine!

      • Maghlawatan
        December 5, 2016, 1:32 pm

        Mooser a one state solution would be a disaster. Jewish women would not be allowed sing in public in a one state solution.

    • oldgeezer
      December 1, 2016, 3:50 pm

      @hophmi

      Interesting maybe. Effective? Not at all.

      Decades of polite discourde accomplished nothing. Except for a continuatuon and accelleration of crimes against humanity.

      Make them feel wanted and safe and all their illegal actions will disappear. Yeah right.

      • MHughes976
        December 5, 2016, 1:16 pm

        The present situation is a violent disaster for many people who actually have full human rights and have never deserved what has been done to them. No end is in sight.

    • Talkback
      December 1, 2016, 4:54 pm

      hophmi: “Isn’t it interesting how this message is better received by Jewish communities when it’s not angry, bitter, and focused on telling Jews how bad they are, how bad Israel is, how they have no history in the Middle East, and how everything is hunky-dory for Jews around the world?”

      Isn’t it even more interesting that Israel arrested and expelled him?

      • Maghlawatan
        December 5, 2016, 1:42 pm

        how they have no history in the Middle East

        for about 2000 years they don’t

  17. Connie Hogarth
    December 1, 2016, 2:42 pm

    This is certainly one of the most valuable and moving events that Bob and Howard have managed, and what better venue than the N.R. Temple! Kuttab does bring tears ,with his honesty, decency and breadth of view …and understanding of the immensity of the problem and solution. But such visionaries provide the inspiration to believe that there will be a way to make One State possible…not now, but now is the time to be working at it harder than ever. –Connie Hogarth

  18. mbraverman
    December 1, 2016, 5:21 pm

    Exceptional reporting Philip. “The worldwide Jewish community has failed Israel.” Wow.

    I’m sending this on to EVERYBODY. Including the rabbi of the big Reform Temple here in Portland, with whom I’m talking but am at loggerheads. Including the whole activist community here who testified at City Council hearing yesterday on putting Caterpillar on the no-buy list for the city. The usual suspects from the “organized” Jewish community showed up and disgraced themselves as usual by trying to intimidate and shame the councilors from doing their job of following the city’s SRI rules which eliminate Caterpillar on 5 out of 6 criteria, human rights being only one of them. Screaming anti-semitism, invoking the Nazis, demonizing BDS. It was hideous, as usual. The Jewish community is failing Israel. And its own members. And its standing in the world. I found myself thinking, anti-Semitism? This creates it. Bravo Jonathan, bravo New Rochelle Temple, bravo Mondoweiss. Hope? I dunno, but I’ll permit myself a look at the future.

    “The worldwide Jewish community has failed Israel.” Wow.

    — Mark Braverman

  19. Maghlawatan
    December 1, 2016, 5:59 pm

    I don’t think that Israel will end happily ever after. The Palestinian question has to be sorted out and for the last 20 years Israel has been led on and off by one of the greatest assholes in Jewish history whose sole purpose is procrastination. The moral damage done to the fabric of ISraeli Jewish society is non trivial. Every year it gets worse. There is no equilibrium.

    Very interesting article by Beinart this week where he says Judaism is splitting into 2 dynamic groups. Orthodox for Trump and Young Jews for progressive ideas. ADL and AIPAC and Reform Conserv in the middle. No mans land.

    Nobody really pays any attention to Jewish generational issues-
    but when Israel finally collapses the kids will turn away. Judaism will probably collapse outside a fascist Orthodox rump.

    There’s a price for overdoing it.

  20. DaBakr
    December 1, 2016, 10:27 pm

    It’s not a ridiculous idea by any means. However, it is an idea that will not see fruition of any real one state union for at least twenty and more like forty more years. I would like to think otherwise but wars with Iranian proxy on the north and with Turkey and Iranian supported Hamas” the South there will be more wars within this 2-4 decade period that will have a heavy impact on the outcome of a1ss. Israel no longer lives in a bubble of Arab Muslim hostility. Too many other variables that supersede the Palestinian cause. It will remain relevant but as HRC said in her emails, a potemkin peace is better then no peace.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 1, 2016, 10:38 pm

      I would like to think otherwise but wars with Iranian proxy on the north and with Turkey and Iranian supported Hamas” the South there will be more wars within this 2-4 decade period that will have a heavy impact on the outcome of a1ss

      iow, as long as there’s conflict surrounding israel/palestine israel will use this chaos to keep stealing more land and expanding. hmm, if that’s the case it would make sense, for those who want all the land, to keep fueling conflicts. i think this is a lame excuse. it’s a self fulfilling prophecy of netanyahu’s too…..I would like to think otherwise but…

      • oldgeezer
        December 2, 2016, 1:13 am

        @annie

        Too true. If Israel was in the least bit worried about it’s security it would trying to solidy what it currently holds. The fact is not only that it isn’t doing that but it is attempting to expand it’s territory (illegally) and encouraging more immigration.

        The regional conflicts serves as a smoke screen for those who are ignorant while the rogue state continues on it’s criminal pa9th. It has zero worries of any significant spillover and zero intent of living in peace with ot’s neighbours.

        Somewhere along the line they will claim zero agency, moan about how they were forced, and demand compensation for thejr bad behaviour.

        No double standards hokd Israel to the same standards we deman of others. Nothing less than full sanctions are required.

      • DaBakr
        December 2, 2016, 2:15 am

        @an

        I not sure what you are even implying. The outcome of future war is far too unpredictable to jump top conclusions like you have

      • Mooser
        December 2, 2016, 3:49 pm

        “The outcome of future war is far too unpredictable to jump top conclusions like you have”

        Exactly! Who ever would have predicted that the Jewish population of the world would grow from 180 million to 2 billion? That kind of growth makes so many things unpredictable!

    • Raphael
      December 1, 2016, 11:36 pm

      DaBakr

      I have been thinking that with the election of Trump about America. I did not vote for him; but I read his books, and some about him from one of his writers; that is Jewish. Trump, I think, ironically, will be a great president, for his voters.

      I voted for Clinton. He is a reflection of every American; in many ways. If anything a non-politician in office will be a pleasant diversion from years of infomercials that the public, I’m sure, is bored with. AIPAC’s membership will probably triple; Orthodox synagogues will increase membership by probably, double.

      As a liberal; I did not see much genuine activism in the 80s too the present… in America. As a new citizen of Israel, when I lived there I did see liberalism, anywhere. I never voted Republican, ever. But, they won… and, I think many more American Jews voted him into office; then what the news is reporting.

      But, in the international world; I think it will be bleak. I don’t think Trump has the courage to confront Iran with the Nuclear plant, thing.

      Iran will probably build the Atom bomb off the books; and that news will make Trump billions, if not more, in the futures market. But, day to day, America will look better for the average American.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 2, 2016, 3:16 am

        I don’t think Trump has the courage to confront Iran with the Nuclear plant, thing.

        “,thing”? really? check this out: http://www.businessinsider.com/a-guide-to-proper-comma-use-2013-9

        and then there’s this:

        But, in the international world; I think it will be bleak.

        http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Semicolons.html

        good luck

        your commentary is as illogically disjointed as your punctuation but i’m really not in the mood to school you further at the moment.

      • rosross
        December 2, 2016, 11:17 am

        Iran will already have nuclear weapons. Israel’s aggression in the region, and irrationality, with US backing made it impossible for the Iranians to do anything else. Another own goal, Israel.

      • Mooser
        December 2, 2016, 11:27 am

        “Raphael”, do you know any real people?

        Seduced and Betrayed by Donald Trump

      • Lillian Rosengarten
        December 2, 2016, 12:04 pm

        Da Bakr- Your comment is disturbing as well as distorted and self serving.

      • Mooser
        December 2, 2016, 1:07 pm

        “Da Bakr- Your comment is disturbing as well as distorted and self serving.”

        “Lillian”, we gotta give “Dabakr” one thing – he’s consistent.

      • RoHa
        December 4, 2016, 12:41 am

        Annie, thank you for supporting correct punctuation.

        It probably won’t stop Raphael from sprinkling punctuation marks around at random, but every little effort on the side of the angels will help.

      • Mooser
        December 4, 2016, 11:55 am

        “It probably won’t stop Raphael from sprinkling punctuation marks around at random,”

        The heartbreak of a leaky commastomy bag.

    • rosross
      December 2, 2016, 11:19 am

      Israel is a pariah. The modern world loathes tyrants and Israel is a tyrant. Justice will be done for Palestine because Israel is culturally insane and at some point will try to kill or drive out the nearly six million Palestinians with such carnage that the world will call halt to this horrible experiment in religious bigotry and tyranny.

      • Mooser
        December 2, 2016, 1:12 pm

        “that the world will call halt to this horrible experiment in religious bigotry and tyranny.”

        That’s not much to hope for. I can think of some “horrible experiments in religious bigotry and tyranny” the world didn’t call a halt to. Can you?

  21. rosross
    December 2, 2016, 11:15 am

    From the moment Israel decided it would never allow the Palestinians their own State, because it wanted all of Palestine for itself, it made a one-state solution inevitable. Ironically, the one-state solution is the only just outcome because it makes a theocratic Jewish State, sourced in bigotry, impossible, and as a democracy, the indigenous Palestinians will be a majority.

    All Zionist Israel’s own work.

  22. Lillian Rosengarten
    December 2, 2016, 11:59 am

    I am so thrilled about the Temple Israel Event. May it be the first of many dialogues. I wish I had been able to go. This is hopeful and beautiful. Thank you dear Howard and Bob for making this happen. I applaud you .

    • Mooser
      December 2, 2016, 1:22 pm

      .” May it be the first of many dialogues.”

      And may it prove that organized Judaism is finally catching up to American Jews.
      When dialogues like this start improving the numbers of Jews willing to be associated with organized Judaism (only 10-20% now) all bets are off.

  23. JustJessetr
    December 2, 2016, 2:42 pm

    Hmmm.

    “That’s not democracy. The tyranny of 51 percent simply does not work. ”

    So when he says it, it’s ok with Mondoweiss. When I say almost the exact same thing at the Park Slope Food Coop it’s unacceptable to Mondoweiss.

    Not that I cared one way or another about what MW said because I just moved ahead and got a 75% Supermajority passed. It’s just interesting to note the double standard.

    Democracy wins again!

    • echinococcus
      December 2, 2016, 3:23 pm

      Just a mo, Jesse.

      You mean that’s Park Slope, Brooklyn, that these guys were trying to convert?
      The penny only now dropped –I’m always slow.
      No surprise they got humiliated. Of course you guys will steamroll them.

      What’s so hard to understand about working with the general-American population, not religion-segregated enclaves?

      • JustJessetr
        December 2, 2016, 7:24 pm

        @Annie.

        And why would you believe that report that you quoted? Because she is a pro-BDS supporter and that’s that? You have no evidence to back up what she dropped in your lap. You, as you’ve said in the past, are not a member there and have no idea how things actually work or even what happened. How your source (Naomi Brussels) reported the events is simply not what happened, or at least leaves out the much more important parts. Naomi Brussel is a verifiable liar, and you choose believe lies.

        And no vote was dodged. The Agenda Committee schedules these things when they decide. Nothing underhanded.

        And the vote was legal and done out in the open.

        Once again, you choose to believe lies. You swallow them. Your metabolize them. They become part of you. It’s so easy to see.

      • JustJessetr
        December 2, 2016, 7:25 pm

        @ Echinoccoccus

        Your response is pure gobbledygook and avoids the point I made.

      • echinococcus
        December 3, 2016, 1:48 am

        Jesse,

        Are you the guy with the R-rated tree? No? Well, no harm in asking.

        Anyway, I wasn’t really talking to you.

    • Mooser
      December 2, 2016, 3:46 pm

      “You want to know who helps Palestinians at the Coop? Jesse Rosenfeld does! He worked like hell to bring a new brand of Palestinian olive oil to our shelves.” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/justjessetr/?keyword=olive+oil#sthash.S7ICyOLV.dpuf

      • JustJessetr
        December 2, 2016, 7:26 pm

        @mooser

        I have no idea what idea it is you are trying to get across. But thanks for the shout out.

      • Mooser
        December 3, 2016, 11:42 am

        “I have no idea what idea it is you are trying to get across. But thanks for the shout out”

        You aren’t worried that Jesse T Rosenfeld will get upset that you talk about him in the third person?

    • Annie Robbins
      December 2, 2016, 4:29 pm

      because I just moved ahead and got a 75% Supermajority passed.

      uh, by hook or by crook. we heard about how that was accomplished:

      What happened at the January 2016 meeting was a travesty of democratic procedure. The chairwoman prevented all but one motion to table the 75% supermajority proposal from being presented. She refused to take amendments to the proposal. She first acknowledged that the supermajority proposal is an amendment to the By-Laws of the Coop and thus needs a 2/3 majority to pass. During the balloting , which was quite a chaotic process, with ample opportunity for vote fraud, she caucused with members of the chairing committee and the Board of Directors. She then reversed her decision that this proposal amends the By-Laws and decided that it needed only a majority vote. The vote count was 294 to 192 in favor of the proposal. That is a little more than 60%,, not the 67% needed to amend the By-Laws. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/park-slope-food-coop-holds-vote-aimed-at-staunching-boycott-of-sodastream/#comment-822721

      the coop dodged a vote for months and months and then changed the bylaws in a non transparent voting process. this was to bring about “unity”. doesn’t sound like democracy to me.

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