‘I am not your goy’ — chaos at a liberal Zionist conference

US Politics
on 59 Comments

Last Sunday five mostly-liberal American Jewish groups held an all-day conference in New York on “Israel at a crossroads on the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War,” and it was chaotic.

Every few minutes the speakers contradicted one another. The head of the Reform Jews said that BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions targeting Israel) was poison, and then the Forward columnist said that we have to invite in Jews who support BDS.

The rightwing Israeli ambassador Dani Dayan made an argument for annexing the West Bank by saying that in 1967, “the Palestinians, the Arabs set the rules of the game: the winner takes all by force. And we won, thank god.”

Then the one Palestinian invited to the conference said that Palestinians don’t think in terms of winner-take-all, they don’t play poker, and this too:

“I am not your goy. I’m not willing to play the role of the foreigner in your country. It is also my country.”

Then a liberal Israeli rabbi pleaded with the American Jews not to listen to the rightwing ambassador, and she said she wasn’t sure if we really need a Jewish state.

Then the head of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs said he didn’t agree with the Israeli rabbi about a Jewish state. “We have every right to be here, and we’re going to fight for it,” he said, just like the Israeli “pioneers” fought to build the state 50 years ago.

He lives in Gaithersburg Maryland, by the way.

There was chaos in messaging from start to finish of the conference, and if I can extract any lesson from it, it is that older establishment liberal Jews aren’t ready for the new discourse of Israel and they are freaked out about what young Jews are saying. Peter Beinart’s crisis of Zionism of 2013 is now four years old, and we are starting in on the chaos of American Zionism. (It couldn’t come a minute too soon, but I will try not to editorialize.)

The establishment speakers all basically acknowledged that they had played the Israel hand too hard, and it was driving the young away. Four speakers on that theme:

David Bernstein of the JCPA, from Twitter

David Bernstein of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs explains why no dissent has been allowed:

For a long time, I think for many good reasons by the way, the mainstream Jewish community would not take an adversarial stance toward an Israeli government policy. We would toe the line and we did so because we felt, and this is an argument that I’ve heard over the years and that I’ve made myself as well, that there was so much anti-Israelism out there that somebody had to be an advocate for Israel. Somebody had to help make sure that America remained a buffer between Israel and against the scourge of hostility that it faced literally everywhere else in the world. It forced us to have to stifle our own doubts and our own disagreements with Israeli policy.

But is that still serving us, and can we connect with younger Jews if that remains? Do we need to diversify?… Can we start to have this conversation around Israel in ways that don’t destroy us, in ways that don’t pull us apart?

Rick Jacobs, the head of the Union for Reform Judaism, says the no-dissent policy has been “catastrophic” for American Jews:

I think a lot of young Jews in particular are told not to bring all their core Jewish values to the [Israel] issue. That the existential physical issues are so grave that we have to actually be willing to fudge on Jewish democracy issues. I think that this is catastrophic not only for Jewish identity but for the health and well being of North American Jewish community and frankly for the U.S. Israel relationship…

When [millennials] hear a Jewish community that won’t even use the word occupation, it raises a question. For me– 50 years– I also have the joy of Jerusalem’s reunification. I am part of organizations that are celebrating that and simultaneously addressing the pain of the occupation. If we fail to articulate that as Jewish communal leaders we are I think very actively pushing millennials farther and farther from Jewish life.

If we say as some have said, that settlements have nothing to do with any peace process, have nothing to do with the infrastructure for a future peace process, we are simply deluding ourselves, and I think young people have great antenna. They hear that, they turn off.

Rabbi Ayala Ronen Samuels, from her Facebook page

Rabbi Ayala Samuels, an Israeli liberal, somewhat desperately urged US liberal Jews to take control of the relationship, away from the likes of rightwing Israeli ambassador Dani Dayan. She began by explaining that the old model was that Jews in Israel were on the forefront of Jewish existence, so: “We do and you pay.”

And the model that “we do and you pay” made perfect sense. That model has collapsed. It collapsed for me as much as I hope it collapsed for you…. We have to develop a much more egalitarian model– equal, why? Because when Israel does something it influences Jews in the Diaspora as well….  The state of Israel today– Mr. Dayan has spoken very nicely, very self assuredly about how we’re doing fine. “I feel moral. I feel I do the right thing.” Well OK, it is good that someone has confidence like I had when I was 9 years old on Kibbutz Shamir that I was doing the best thing for the Jewish people. He feels the same now. But ask people what the influences are of what’s happening in the [settlements in] Judea and Samaria? What ways does it influence the existence, the life of Jews around the world? Because if you are part of the Jewish people, and you think Israel is the state of the Jewish people… it has to include the conversation of our responsibility to Jews around the world. And so it has to be a dialogue. And therefore I’m inviting you to voice your opinion, not only vis a vis the occupation…  but also regarding life in Israel. You’re liberal Jews. Are you? So do you care about liberal Judaism? So let us know, the minority of liberal Jews in Israel, that you are behind us, your support us. When you meet our leaders, you will tell them, you care about liberal Jews in Israel.

J.J. Goldberg of the Forward described how Israel became the new religion of American Jews in ’67:

In 1967 the organizations that had acquired all of that clout [from leading the civil rights movement] began applying it to defending Israel. The galvanization was of a leadership and an involved core. For much of the community, they were no longer in the business of representing American Jews, they were in the business of defending Israel… [Israel] has become the new torah, the new Judaism. It used to be if you kept kosher you kept shabbos, you were Jewish. Now it doesn’t matter what you do on Saturday as long as you support Israel….

The transformations that turned the Jewish community from a liberal, optimistic outward-looking community into an inward-looking suspicious  nationalistic community all happened in 67…

Then he said that young Jews aren’t learning “any real facts” about Israel from their teachers:

Research now shows that the Palestinians who left Israel in ’47 and ’48– some were fleeing because they were urged, a far larger number were fleeing because a war was going on and they wanted to get out of the way, and a considerable number were kicked out. I remember growing up and being taught the kicked-out thing was a lie. It took me a lot of years to find out it actually was true. When kids think Israel only does good and that the other side is at fault entirely for what goes wrong, then they come up against the arguments on campus and they don’t have an answer. They discover that they didn’t learn any real facts.

I hope it is clear from all these statements how retrograde the U.S. Jewish establishment is, and what an impoverished conversation exists about Palestine inside the U.S. Jewish community. Goldberg noted that the Jewish establishment is trying to blacklist J Street for being mildly critical of Israel, and meantime Jewish Voice for Peace, which is “anathema” to the Jewish establishment, is growing by engaging young people on Israel– critically.

Then a young woman got up from the audience and said she was with J Street and she had heard in an earlier panel that 65 percent of young Israeli Jews and Palestinians have racist views of one another, and is that true? “Do we believe those statistics? It’s frightening to think that racism is really that common!”

She’s stumbling toward enlightenment. Her teachers didn’t give her any real facts. As we say here often, the Jewish community is going to be recovering from the Israel relationship for a long time.

P.S. The comment about I’m not your goy came from Mohammad Darawshe, the director of a co-existence center in Israel. He is about as conservative a Palestinian as you are going to meet, he even accepts Israel as having a Jewish character. But he said that he bridles when well-meaning rabbis come up to him and say the Torah teaches Jews to be kind to the goy among them.

I am not your goy. I’m not willing to play the role of the foreigner in your country. It is also my country. It’s not the Torah that’s the reference point for our relationship. It is not the Jewish nature of the state that is supposed to manage our relationship, it’s the Declaration of Independence, and the 5 basic laws that guarantee individual rights and collective rights for Arab citizens, for any minority in any normal state. You need to outgrow your Judaism when you deal with Israel– to focus on the Israeli nature of the state of Israel. You cant think of Israel on archaeological or archaic terms or just through your personal ethnic religious identity.

As for the rabbi who said that she wasn’t sure if Israel needs to be a Jewish state, that was Ayala Samuels. While saying she is a Zionist because Israel represents “the first time in more than 2000 years that Jews have a chance to have their own public space and run their own life as a community,” including creating laws about the sabbath, she said she was no longer sure that she had the only right answers and that she was “the forefront of something.”

This plainly irritated David Bernstein of the JCPA (and Gaithersburg), who said, “I don’t think that there’s any value of questioning the very right of the state of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Thank goodness, the pioneers didn’t either…. We have every right to be here, and we’re going to fight for it.”

Bernstein had himself introduced the topic. He said:

I remember talking to a Jewish studies professor, whose kid went through Jewish day school through twelfth grade as mine did and she was saying that  she was a little disturbed. Her daughter called her from Israel during her senior year trip to Israel and she said, “Mom I really love it here, but I don’t understand why a religion needs a state.” … She had not yet seen and understood herself as a Jew, as a part of a people, as being part of a nation. Her understanding of Jewishness was confined by the vocabulary of being a religion.

Sure sounds like the American Jewish leaders who have done such a solid job of supporting whatever Israel does for the last 50 years should start listening to the kids.

About Philip Weiss

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

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59 Responses

  1. AddictionMyth
    June 15, 2017, 3:45 pm

    I’m embarrassed by some of things I’ve said due to the brainwashing about Israel, but overall I have to credit ‘the establishment’ for teaching me core Jewish values, e.g. fairness and curiosity and a bunch of other things I’m no longer even consciously aware of but nevertheless made us who we are. This was a monumental achievement. We have ourselves quite a mess to clean up, but I’m confident we can do it. Actually I think the biggest obstacle at this point is that lots of people are still fixated on the prospect for war. Gotta get over it.

    • Mooser
      June 15, 2017, 4:16 pm

      ‘Notice, Watson, how deep the parsing has sunk into the blubber!’

    • JWalters
      June 15, 2017, 8:18 pm

      Just want to mention that I grew up in a non-Jewish, non-religious home, and fairness was a top priority. I never thought of it as a “Jewish” value. Glad you were taught about it though. And very glad you were able to think your way out of your brainwashing – that is a real achievement. I appreciate your speaking up.

      • Citizen
        June 16, 2017, 4:59 am

        I also grew up in a non-Jewish household and fairness was a top priority, and, as well, curiosity was encouraged, (along with, e.g., education and working for the things you wanted). I never thought of fairness as a unique or special “Jewish” value either, but I learned in my mid-twenties that Jewish people prided themselves on their traditional high sense of social justice.

  2. yonah fredman
    June 16, 2017, 1:37 am

    Progressive Zionism has viewed the occupation as temporary, but 50 years is hardly temporary. American Zionism, besides suffering from the hypocrisy of living elsewhere, suffers from the cognitive shock of expressing criticism, and finding themselves aligned with those who have an animus towards Jews. Believing in democracy yields: how can we criticize those elected in democratic elections and also: how can we support the deprivation of the right to vote of millions? There are plenty of contradictions and discomforts.

    The Democratic Party is the locus where this gets played out for real. As long as campaign contributions are the lifeblood of senators and congressmen, there is enough pro Israel money and that is what counts. This makes the sentiments of well meaning grass roots democrats, even if they are Jewish, quite secondary. The real money is contributed by those who support Israel through thick and thin and this equivocating crowd, in which I include myself, really does not contribute the big bucks. if democrats can learn to support themselves without depending on big contributors that would make a difference. But til today, the Sanders’ campaign has been the exception rather than the rule.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 16, 2017, 11:37 am

      American Zionism…. finding themselves aligned with those who have an animus towards Jews.

      yonah, this idea seems sort of plopped down in a paragraph between 2 other ideas it is unconnected with. or if there is a connection you didn’t make it. is there a reason it’s there aside from just reminding us all an animus towards jews exists in the (expanding) segment of the american public who have a problem with israel/settlements? those you reference with an animus towards jews, are a small relative minority, a minor fraction. by continually referencing and highlighting them out of context it seems as though you are placing them in the center, the center in which everything revolves. why? is it to repel “american zionism” away from taking a clear look at the crimes of the occupation? what does anti semitism have to do with coming to terms with what’s going on over there in 2017?

      Believing in democracy yields: how can we criticize those elected in democratic elections and also: how can we support the deprivation of the right to vote of millions?

      do you mean how can we simultaneously hold 2 contradictory thoughts, the 2nd of which exposes the lie of the first?

      if democrats can learn to support themselves without depending on big contributors that would make a difference.

      they can support themselves with millions of small donors, that is not the issue. but it won’t stop the mega donors running their preferred candidates. what it takes is voters rejecting those candidates like they did with clinton. and it may take loss after loss (to the winning gop) for those donors and the establishment dems who are slaves to israel and the lobbies, to realize the voters are not with them.

      ultimately i don’t believe it’s about progressives raising more money, because the big donors can raise those stakes every time as it appears they have unlimited funds. it means rejecting (in the vote) pro israel candidates across the board regardless of how “progressive” they are on other issues. it means putting anti war/pro palestine at the heart of the democratic party. it means making the party go left or abandoning the party altogether until they (establishment dems) realize they cannot win another election without the left. it means accepting and putting up with the extreme right, white supremacists and trump as rulers instead of accepting dem politicians who support subjugating, oppressing, imprisoning and killing palestinians — full stop.

      But til today, the Sanders’ campaign has been the exception rather than the rule.

      obama won and he did it with the support of the majority of the left flank of the party — who (i think) believed he would be pro palestine and anti war, anti killing muslims. i think the internet has changed the landscape of fundraising.

    • yonah fredman
      June 16, 2017, 1:11 pm

      Annie- I am reacting to my digital environment: the mw comments section which has a much higher percentage of animus than the general pro palestine population, I presume. I speak for a small demographic, of a specific age and background, with strong Jewish roots. Both Phil’s parents are jewish, so he is just as Jewish as me, but at this point Harvard is where he was born again. To those with deep roots, there are visceral knee jerk reactions to “goy” in the headline. ( and to norm finkelstein attributing the attack on the uss liberty to some deep seated animus to the nonjew, for example.) When jvp speaker talks about zionism and judaism, sounding like someone writing a book report from the cliff notes, and gets jvp applause, I wince, whereas someone whose religion is Harvard really is alien to the sentiment and the discomfort.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 16, 2017, 2:14 pm

        ok, it seems like you’ve now thrown a lot of other stuff into the mix yonah.

        mw comments section .. has a much higher percentage of animus than the general pro palestine population, I presume

        just saying, we know you hold these views as you continually inform us about it. but what i’m pointing out is that just plopping it the middle of an otherwise possibly constructive thought progression adds to the confusion. like say, Progressive Zionist viewing the occupation as temporary but 50 years is hardly temporary… plus the contradiction of believing in democracy but having millions deprived a right to vote — places these zionists aligned with those who have an animus towards Jews, which makes them uncomfortable. well yes it likely does as a matter of fact. but one would imagine there are so many more allies on the left to join forces with. it’s not all about the mondoweiss comment section — unless you make it so. this is a systemic problem facing the american zionist community and it doesn’t come from anti semites or the comment section. it comes from a supposedly temporary occupation pushing into it’s first century and the realization by practically everyone w/common sense you can’t have a democracy when 1/2 the people are not represented. so a focus/alarm on anti semitism might be better served as to how this (israel’s occupation/lack of democracy) fuels anti semitism and how israel is the cause of that.

    • Mooser
      June 16, 2017, 1:23 pm

      “Both Phil’s parents are jewish, so he is just as Jewish as me, but at this point Harvard is where he was born again”

      You got Phil dead to rights here “yonah”! Everybody knows that Harvard started out as a Christian divinity school!

      “Annie- I am reacting to my digital environment:”

      Yup, I am right. When Haaretz blogs, JPost, Israel Times and even the Forward blogs and even the Zionist Facebook pages are done with them, they come here, the easiest place in the world to be a Zionist! Where everybody is “yonah’s” Goy.

  3. JosephA
    June 16, 2017, 2:17 am

    Thanks for reporting on this event. It gives a glimmer of hope.

  4. Peter in SF
    June 16, 2017, 5:19 am

    Every few minutes the speakers contradicted one another.

    It’s great, isn’t it? Much more interesting than conferences where the speakers all agree with each other and you don’t have to make up your own mind.

    There was chaos in messaging from start to finish of the conference,

    You make it sound like a bad thing. Give the organizers credit for not choosing a set of speakers with consistent “messaging”.

    Then a young woman got up from the audience and said she was with J Street and she had heard in an earlier panel that 65 percent of young Israeli Jews and Palestinians have racist views of one another, and is that true? “Do we believe those statistics? It’s frightening to think that racism is really that common!”

    What was the audience reaction? Most of us on this site wouldn’t be able to stop ourselves from bursting out in laughter.

  5. Ossinev
    June 16, 2017, 7:22 am

    Always good to know that more and more American Jews especially the younger ones are removing the Zionist blinkers and realising that Zionist Israel is basically a fraud constructed on lies hypocrisy and ingrained racism.

  6. James Michie
    June 16, 2017, 9:08 am

    A far better headline for this piece: “I Am Not Your Ni**er”! After all, Zionist Israel is known for its brutality, racism, genocide, ethnic cleansing and Palestine land-theft in longstanding persecution of its “neighbors”, the Palestinians. And isn’t this the way the colonists of America and all that followed have treated Native Americans and other people of color? Perhaps something all of us to ponder.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 16, 2017, 11:49 am

      A far better headline for this piece: “I Am Not Your Ni**er”!

      only if you want to tell a palestinian how to think and speak, because the headline was a quote. in the context of the rest of the quote (see 2nd to last blockquote above re: torah and “not willing to play the role of the foreigner in your country”) i believe goy was the best choice of words for the headline. but for ‘best clickbait’, you’d be right!

    • Mooser
      June 16, 2017, 12:37 pm

      “A far better headline for this piece…”

      You Mr. “Michie”, deserve a ticket for jay-walking. There’s no shortcut. Use the intersection, and wait until the light turn green.

  7. WebSkipper
    June 16, 2017, 10:50 am

    Danny Danon perpetuates the LIES about the 1967 War. Many, if not most, know by now that Israel started that war, deliberately and with aforethought. But then he goes on with the sophomoric hasbara line that “we won it, fair and square.” This is unbecoming an official representative of a state. (But then again, I guess Abba Eban kind of set the standard for THAT, didn’t he?)

    The rightwing Israeli ambassador Dani Dayan made an argument for annexing the West Bank by saying that in 1967, “the Palestinians, the Arabs set the rules of the game: the winner takes all by force. And we won, thank god.”

  8. druid
    June 16, 2017, 11:58 am

    my sentiments esactly

  9. Annie Robbins
    June 17, 2017, 12:02 pm

    did anyone else notice the t-shirt uses the same font as the newyorker magazine? i don’t think this was a coincidence, i think it was a (smart) branding choice.

  10. Yitzchak Goodman
    June 18, 2017, 3:13 am

    But he said that he bridles when well-meaning rabbis come up to him and say the Torah teaches Jews to be kind to the goy among them.

    I think Phil confused the word “ger”–“stranger”–with the word “goy.” The familiar teaching is to be kind to the “ger.” “I’m not your ger. I’m not willing to play the role of foreigner…” makes sense. “Goy” turns the sentence into nonsense.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 18, 2017, 4:39 am

      “Goy” turns the sentence into nonsense.

      please explain. how would it be nonsense if the meaning was foreigner instead of goy? what is the difference? do you mean jews might be foreigners in israel? ger/goy what difference does it make?

      • gamal
        June 18, 2017, 8:09 am

        “what difference does it make?”

        its just Jesuitical casuistry

      • Yitzchak Goodman
        June 18, 2017, 10:37 am

        He goes on to say he doesn’t want to be considered a foreigner in his own country. Ger means foreigner or stranger and there is a familiar teaching about one: “And if a stranger sojourn with you in your land, you shall not wrong him…you shall love him like yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34) Goy, by contrast, means nation. God tells Abraham He is going to make him a “goy gadol”–“great nation”–but using the word to mean one person is slang otherwise. So Darawshe is saying he always “bridles” when someone quotes the verse about loving a stranger, a ger. He says “I’m not a stranger–it’s my country.” Clear?

      • Mooser
        June 18, 2017, 12:45 pm

        “Yitzchak” are you from the Society? Should we be calling you Father Goodman?

        “I support Israel against its enemies. I don’t label myself a “Zionist,” but it won’t matter in these parts.” http://mondoweiss.net/profile/yitzgood/#sthash.OAcWKSHm.dpuf

        Nice to see you again Padre.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 18, 2017, 3:18 pm

        So Darawshe is saying he always “bridles” when someone quotes the verse about loving a stranger, a ger. He says “I’m not a stranger–it’s my country.” Clear?

        although i could be mistaken my hunch is that this exchange was recorded so this (whether phil was “confused” or misinterpreted darawshe) could all be a moot point. that said, unlike goy, ger is not a commonly known term in the english lexicon, so it’s unlikely, when speaking english to an american audience, darawshe used the term ger. that is just my opinion.

        now, to my point, my earlier question. regardless if “goy” means nation, it also has another common (arguably more common) usage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goy

        Long before Roman times it had also acquired the meaning of someone who is not Jewish.[6] It is also used to refer to individuals from non-Jewish religious or ethnic groups; when used in this way in English, it occasionally has pejorative connotations

        in my question, “what difference does it make?”, i meant isn’t the common understanding of stranger — non jew? or goy? or are there any non jews recognized as non strangers in the “land of israel” in the torah?

        i think he meant, i am not your servant, your lessor being, your stranger, “your goy”, or anything like that….. You cant think of Israel on archaeological or archaic terms or just through your personal ethnic religious identity.

        what is the difference between ger(stranger) and non jew (goy) in israel? nothing! any difference? are there any jewish “strangers” in israel, according to the torah?

      • gamal
        June 18, 2017, 3:33 pm

        “different diachronic strata”

        aha

        “the english lexicon”

        “it also has another common…usage”

        i see got it, what it is is the diachronics of it all, Annie is lexically up to the minute and can thus communicate with other beings and Yitz is lexically rigid, anal but has been awfully clever sadly we will never know what the fuck he is on about, because you musn’t cross the streams.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 18, 2017, 3:54 pm

        sadly we will never know what the fuck he is on about, because you musn’t cross the streams.

        i think i know what he is on about — t’would be this:

        “Goy” turns the sentence into nonsense.

        whereas, it’s not nonsensical in the least! it’s perfectly clear what he meant unless one completely ignores what the common usage of goy means and somehow insists he is saying ‘I am not your nation. I’m not willing to play the role of the foreigner’ — which would be a rather ridiculous statement to make in the context of the point Darawshe is making!

        whereas goy in the context of yoni’s “different diachronic strata….the Jewish idealized relationship between the Jew and his hulking non-Jewish servant” makes perfect sense.

    • YoniFalic
      June 18, 2017, 1:40 pm

      Ger means convert as well as stranger, and really does not fit the context of the article.

      I have certainly seen responsa which were written by Western Polish rabbis and in which a Jewish arendator was cautioned to treat his goyim decently and not like animals.

      Especially in the period before the Chmielnicki Rebellion there seems to have been some awareness that the greed and rapaciousness of the arendators was going to ignite an explosion.

      Describing a non-Jewish woman as the shiksa of a Jewish man is still a fairly common usage among Jews. My father calls Ivanka Jared’s shiksa.

      The male gender version in which a Jewish woman’s non-Jewish hunk is called her shaygetz is less common, but one definitely heard Leonardo Dicaprio described as Bar Rafaeli’s shaygetz.

      The idea of Jewish possession (and exploitation) of a non-Jew (goy, goya, shaygetz, or skiksa) is deeply embedded in E. European Jewish culture.

      Wexler points out that goylem/golem almost certainly does not come from Hebrew g-l-m but develops from a Slavic root word like holomek (servant, house servant) or holemy (strong/strong man) or golem’ (gigantic/giant). (Note that g/h often interchange in Slavic languages or among different diachronic strata of the same Slavic language.) The tale of the golem thus represents the Jewish idealized relationship between the Jew and his hulking non-Jewish servant.

      We do find at times that German Rabbis recommend (as a way to achieve moral excellence) that Jewish merchants treat non-Jews fairly as they would treat the Jews with whom they deal, but I doubt how seriously the advice was taken when I read the complaints from Hessian peasants or Saxon non-Jewish butchers of the 19th century.

      • Yitzchak Goodman
        June 18, 2017, 4:02 pm

        Ger means convert as well as stranger, and really does not fit the context of the article.

        Ger, shortened from “Ger Tzedek,” has come to mean convert. My point is that it is the exact word used in the familiar biblical verses, much beloved by “well-meaning Rabbis,” about loving a stranger because you were strangers in Egypt. A Jew is enjoined to “love him like you love yourself,” but the contrast between stranger and native-born remains in the wording of the verse. So it makes sense for a “well-meaning rabbi” to quote it with no suggestion of inferiority, but still irk a Palestinian.

  11. Yitzchak Goodman
    June 18, 2017, 4:13 pm

    Phil even says “the Goy among you.” The verse from Leviticus is sometimes translated in English with the phrase “the stranger among you.” That would be ger , not goy, even though both words are one-syllable words beginning with a g-sound. That’s why I characterized “I’m not your goy” as nonsense. Darawshe, according to Phil, didn’t merely say I’m not a Goy, but not “your Goy.”

    • MHughes976
      June 18, 2017, 4:39 pm

      This rather obscure verse in Leviticus became, of course, central to the interpretation of scriptural ethics offered by the theological movement that became Christianity.

      • Yitzchak Goodman
        June 18, 2017, 6:02 pm

        This rather obscure verse in Leviticus

        It isn’t obscure in the Jewish world, especially not in the liberal Jewish world.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 18, 2017, 5:43 pm

      ok, i see your point yitz. but could you answer my question? what is the difference between a stranger and a non jew (goy)?

      • Yitzchak Goodman
        June 18, 2017, 6:00 pm

        ok, i see your point yitz. but could you answer my question? what is the difference between a stranger and a non jew (goy)

        The point of using the word ger, I guess, is that the person is with us, “among us”–we have ethical obligations towards him. In halachah a Ger Tzedek is a convert, while a Ger Toshav (“Toshav” is something like “resident,” one who dwells) is a non-Jew who accepted to not worship idols and who dwells in Israel. Goy has been commonly used for a long time for non-Jew, as everyone has been pointing out, but it isn’t used that way in classic texts in the singular. It is used in the plural to mean Gentiles collectively–the nations of the world– and thus not departing from the meaning nation. See the second psalm.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 18, 2017, 9:08 pm

        The point of using the word ger, I guess, is …

        never mind. i totally get it you’re going to keep discussing “ger” and evade any discussion or understanding of what he said or meant. ciao.

      • YoniFalic
        June 18, 2017, 7:08 pm

        YG is giving us some pilpul.

        In the standard commentary (RASHI), Leviticus 19:33 ger refers to convert (ger tzedek).

        In the standard commentary (RASHI), Leviticus 19:34 gerim refers to resident aliens (gerim toshvim).

        Together the two verses tell born Jews not to mistreat converts as inferior to born Jews.

        Note that some scholars have argued that a ger toshav is an intermediate stage in becoming a ger tzedek and that such is RAMBAM’s usage. I have not researched the issue.

        In Modern Israeli Hebrew ger only exists in the meaning convert.

        Here is the archetypal videoclip — thanks to SHAS.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8D2O71jUZU

        In case it’s not obvious the bride mixes Russian and Hebrew. The groom is a stereotypical N. African Jewish Arab.

        [Note that Karaite Jews use the term ger to refer to a person in the process of converting to Karaite Judaism. Upon completion of conversion, Karaite Jews do not refer to such a person as a ger.]

    • Keith
      June 18, 2017, 9:17 pm

      YITZCHAK GOODMAN- “That’s why I characterized “I’m not your goy” as nonsense.”

      Your contention that the correct statement is “I am not your ger” is nonsense. I am not your foreigner? I am not your goy is a reference to a Sabbath goy who performs service for his Jewish employer (master?) during the Sabbath, usually within the employer’s dwelling. Frequently based upon hints rather than direct instruction. Somewhat analogous to a house Negro. I am not your goy means I am your equal, not your servant. This is how I took it, particularly since the next sentence specifically says “foreigner” which would be redundant with “ger.” I might add that I can see no reason for your insistence upon “ger.”

      • YoniFalic
        June 19, 2017, 8:57 am

        כל הכבוד

        I should have mentioned the expression shabbesgoy/שבת גוי.

  12. Yitzchak Goodman
    June 18, 2017, 9:46 pm

    Together the two verses tell born Jews not to mistreat converts as inferior to born Jews

    Those are interesting Rashis, but a Ger Toshav is a non-Jew.

  13. Yitzchak Goodman
    June 18, 2017, 9:50 pm

    i totally get it you’re going to keep discussing “ger” and evade any discussion or understanding of what he said or mean

    Of what Darawshe meant? I said he was irked by the citation of a teaching that was meant as very egalitarian and lofty, but still pictured him as non-native. I don’t think I’m evading anything. Ask whatever you want that’s relevant.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 19, 2017, 3:59 pm

      I said he was irked by the citation of a teaching that was meant as very egalitarian and lofty, but still pictured him as non-native.

      i think you’re missing the point. when Darawshe said “You need to outgrow your Judaism when you deal with Israel– to focus on the Israeli nature of the state of Israel” what does he mean? does he mean we need a discussion of ger vs goy? i don’t think so, quite the opposite.

      first of all, very clearly the israeli state does not love the stranger, they do not love the non jew. they do not love palestinians as they love themselves. this is the meaning of “It’s not the Torah that’s the reference point for our relationship.” you can just throw all that stuff right out the window.

      your insistence on discussing ger and the meaning of this phrase, is at the expense of understanding what Darawshe is saying. clearly, “not your goy” means not your servant. not your foreigner, “It is also MY COUNTRY. ” he says.

      and when he says It is NOT the Jewish nature of the state that is supposed to manage our relationship that is exactly what he means. and what do you do? you give us a tutorial on the nature or meaning of ger. you understand he was “irked by the citation of a teaching” so what do you do? double down on the discussion of the citation. try “outgrowing” your judaism to focus on the Israeli nature of the state, not the “jewish nature”.

      You cant think of Israel on archaeological or archaic terms or just through your personal ethnic religious identity — got it? and this is what i mean by saying it’s irrelevant whether he says non jew or stranger because they have the same meaning! unless you care to posit there are jews who are considered (by other jews) strangers in israel then it means non jew. listen to his words, the entirety of what he is saying. it’s not all about you and wherever it is you want to take the discussion opposite of what he is saying (like a discussion of people in the conversion process). you’re pulling a pilpul on us and we all know it.

      p.s. is there a reason you are not using the available reply functions in relation to the comment you are referencing? you’ve already started got 6 or so subthreads on this one article.

      • Yitzchak Goodman
        June 19, 2017, 8:44 pm

        i think you’re missing the point. when Darawshe said “You need to outgrow your Judaism when you deal with Israel– to focus on the Israeli nature of the state of Israel” what does he mean? does he mean we need a discussion of ger vs goy? i don’t think so, quite the opposite.

        I think he makes a relatively limited point at first, and then the perspective broadens as he goes on. It’s a fairly common thing in human discourse. Sorry if that last sentence sounds like Yoni.

        your insistence on discussing ger and the meaning of this phrase, is at the expense of understanding what Darawshe is saying

        I don’t think it is at the expense of understanding him. Remember, he is responding to someone he describes as “well-meaning,” someone who is trying to be sympathetic to his own point of view–and failing in his view. I keep discussing the word ger because a whole army of people seem determined to misunderstand what I am saying. I don’t think it is the most Earth-shattering point that was ever made, but I am convinced I’m right. The teaching about loving a stranger is absolutely ubiquitous in sermons by liberal Rabbis that touch on the IP conflict. I can’t think of anything that rivals it. Darawshe is described as displaying a kind of weariness over something constantly quoted to him. What else could it be? Nobody is going to call him a goy in a derogatory sense to his face.

        is there a reason you are not using the available reply functions in relation to the comment you are referencing? you’ve already started got 6 or so subthreads on this one article.

        No reason. Cyber-clumsiness. I realize I didn’t respond to everything you wrote. I like small points. People think everything has to be a grandiose pronouncement. Sometimes little things are very telling.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 20, 2017, 2:21 am

        I think he makes a relatively limited point at first, and then the perspective broadens as he goes on. It’s a fairly common thing in human discourse.

        this is your answer as to what you think Darawshe meant by “You need to outgrow your Judaism when you deal with Israel– to focus on the Israeli nature of the state of Israel”. another comment by you “at the expense of understanding what Darawshe is saying”.

        ciao.

      • Keith
        June 20, 2017, 10:23 am

        YITZCHAK GOODMAN- “The teaching about loving a stranger is absolutely ubiquitous in sermons by liberal Rabbis that touch on the IP conflict.”

        This is the classic comment of a Zionist/imperialist. We are good because we believe ourselves to be good. Our actual behavior as indicated by empirical reality is irrelevant, at worst a temporary deviation from our noble selves. Forget about the discrimination, humiliation, siege, checkpoints, prison wall with remote controlled machine guns, the helicopter gunships, the F-16s, the tanks and artillery, “mowing the lawn,” etc, instead look at what liberal Rabbis say about loving a stranger! Imperialist Americans tell themselves this all of the time. It is part of the white man’s burden to perform foul deeds while feeling noble. And no amount of empirical reality will cause you to deviate even slightly from defending Israel against its enemies. And anyone who criticizes Israel is an enemy. Israel uber alles! We hear you, Herr Goodman.

      • Mooser
        June 20, 2017, 12:34 pm

        “YITZCHAK GOODMAN- “The teaching about loving a stranger is absolutely ubiquitous in sermons by liberal Rabbis that touch on the IP conflict.”

        And “liberal Rabbis” run Israel? Who knew?

  14. Yitzchak Goodman
    June 18, 2017, 9:52 pm

    YG is giving us some pilpul.

    What’s with the constant insults?

    • YoniFalic
      June 19, 2017, 9:04 am

      YG is making “excessively subtle distinctions” (the definition of E Euro pilpul) to distract from the bigotry, racism, and superciliousness that characterize far too many people of E Euro fake “Jewish” background as they pretend to be progressives or decent human beings.

      I have to give my parents and my grandparents credit for never hiding or obscuring their bigotries.

      • Yitzchak Goodman
        June 19, 2017, 11:36 am

        YG is making “excessively subtle distinctions” (the definition of E Euro pilpul) to distract from the bigotry, racism, and superciliousness that characterize far too many people of E Euro fake “Jewish” background as they pretend to be progressives or decent human beings.

        Remind me again why Mondoweiss has moderation?

      • Mooser
        June 19, 2017, 3:28 pm

        “Remind me again why Mondoweiss has moderation?”

        To make sure nobody says anything worse about Jews than what we say about anybody else.
        They are very strict about that.

  15. Yitzchak Goodman
    June 19, 2017, 11:46 am

    I am not your goy is a reference to a Sabbath goy who performs service for his Jewish employer (master?) during the Sabbath

    See the sentence in the post: “But he said that he bridles when well-meaning rabbis come up to him and say the Torah teaches Jews to be kind to the goy among them.”

    Where does the Torah teach that exactly in reference to a “Goy”? I say it is a reference to the familiar teaching about loving a stranger with “goy” substituted for “ger.” According to my view, Darawshe’s reply matches what he is replying to. The phrase “goy among them” from the post especially suggests this. Hager hagar besocham.

    • YoniFalic
      June 19, 2017, 3:53 pm

      I am not sure we can fault Mohammad Darawshe for not having a specific Torah reference.

      After all, “Torah” can refer to all of traditional Jewish learning, which Darawshe only experiences in the form of Zio invader brutality of the sort that I meted out to Palestinians when I was an IDF soldier.

      Of course, Zios reduce all of Jewish learning to the technique of nitpicking when someone tries to point out the elephant of Jewish racism, chauvinism, and superciliousness.

      • Yitzchak Goodman
        June 19, 2017, 8:29 pm

        I am not sure we can fault Mohammad Darawshe for not having a specific Torah reference

        I wasn’t faulting him. I assumed he used the right word and Phil heard “goy.”

        Of course, Zios reduce all of Jewish learning to the technique of nitpicking when someone tries to point out the elephant of Jewish racism, chauvinism, and superciliousness.

        I’m a fervently Orthodox Jew. We usually don’t consider ourselves to be Zionists. Maybe that has nothing to do with whether one is a “Zio” or not. And fighting “superciliousness” begins at home. Hint, hint, hint….

      • Mooser
        June 20, 2017, 12:37 pm

        .” I assumed he used the right word and Phil heard “goy.”

        And you managed to know all this without being there? Amazing.

      • Mooser
        June 20, 2017, 1:03 pm

        “I’m a fervently Orthodox Jew. We usually don’t consider ourselves to be Zionists. Maybe that has nothing to do with whether one is a “Zio” or not.”

        I’m so happy someone is here who can clear up those troubling and persistent rumors of Jewish involvement in Zionism.
        Or “fervently Orthodox” involvement, at any rate.

    • Keith
      June 19, 2017, 4:10 pm

      YITZCHAK GOODMAN- “See the sentence in the post: “But he said that he bridles when well-meaning rabbis come up to him and say the Torah teaches Jews to be kind to the goy among them.”

      Yes “goy” not “ger.” Gentile not foreigner. Treating the non-Jewish (goy) Israelis as fellow citizens and equals is their right, not some “kindness” bestowed by the dominant Jews upon subservient “goys.” First you said that Darawshe said “ger” which Phil misreported as “goy.” Now you claim that Darawshe said “goy” but really meant “ger.” You apparently are trying to obfuscate how Israeli Jews act towards non-Jews (goyim) in Israel.

      • Yitzchak Goodman
        June 19, 2017, 5:10 pm

        Sigh. Phil’s post uses the word “goy” twice, once when mentioning the familiar Torah teaching and once when mentioning Darawshe’s reaction to it. If you substitute ger for goy it makes more sense because (A) Phil’s wording echoes the way it is usually rendered in English (the stranger among you) and (B) because Darawshe’s reaction specifically focuses on the contrast between a sojourner, however ethically he should be treated, and native-born, which Darawshe is complaining is a category that he should not be excluded from. That is my entire point as I have been trying to make it all along.

    • Ohm
      June 29, 2017, 10:37 pm

      Well that settlez it.

      Where do I get my official ” I’m not your GER” mondoweiss t-shirt because I seriously want one now!

      What makes it so great is that everybody will immediately get what it means.

      That, and I may start a band called “Goyim’s Teeth”

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2017, 12:00 pm

        “Where do I get my official ” I’m not your GER” mondoweiss t-shirt because I seriously want one now!”

        Wow, that’s more demand than I ever got for my “Jews Sui generis” lapel-buttons.

  16. jon s
    June 23, 2017, 5:25 am

    I can’t resist adding the “Goy’s Teeth” scene from the Coen Brothers fim “A Serious Man”:

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