Jew and Israeli: Solomon Schechter and Shlomo Sand

Middle East
on 53 Comments

Two figures in Jewish thought make especially clear the artifice involved in the creation of Jewish nationhood — Dr. Solomon Schechter and Israeli historian Shlomo Sand.

Despite their wildly different backgrounds and eras, they both name the startling function that Zionism serves for an otherwise heterogeneous population of Jews spread across many parts of the world.

American Jewish educator Schechter (1847-1915) with reluctance yielded his support to Zionism as a movement that would protect Jewish people in galut — exile — from assimilation.

Shlomo Sand, by Phil Weiss

For ex-Israeli (and self-styled ex-Jew) Shlomo Sand (1946-), author of The Invention of the Jewish People, Zionism is a distorting and alienating delusion that has led Jews to do harm to Palestinians, precisely due to the same mechanisms Schechter counted on to preserve identity.

Among founders in the modern Zionist movement, many major figures embraced Zionism to unify the atomizing population of Jews in the world, especially the Jews of the west — for tribal as much as literal survival.

Much as an unhappy child may fantasize he is adopted, and imagines a set of “real parents” much better than the ones he’s dealt, it was a brilliant strategy to imagine restoring a glorious state — for Jews beset by persecution, temptation, or both.

In 1906, Schechter said that he feared assimilation of Jews, loss of identity, “even more than pogroms.” He wrote that in the Jewish “exile,” the Zionist project could form “the great bulwark against assimilation… an opposing force.”

It is a tragic comedy that much of Palestinian agony can be said to originate in an American Jewish identity crisis. Major funding and skilled organizing of the Zionist project came from American Jews.

(For some American Zionists, such as Henrietta Szold and Judah Magnes, the unifying function of Zionism never came to mean hostility to the rights of non-Jews living in Palestine.)

Shlomo Sand wrote a letter July 23, 2017, to Emmanuel Macron (objecting to Macron’s equating anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism):

The Israeli Interior Ministry counts 75% of the country’s citizens as Jewish, 21% as Arab Muslims and Christians and 4% as “others” (sic). Yet according to the spirit of its laws, Israel does not belong to Israelis as a whole, whereas it does belong even to all those Jews worldwide who have no intention of coming to live there.

If our gaze and thoughts can encompass both Solomon Schechter and Shlomo Sand, what was first imagined and what we’ve done, we see that much of the advocacy of Zionism is of the secondary-purpose variety — to “Zionize” Jews so they keep cohesion as a people — with Palestine as much a utopia as a place in reality.

Paradoxically, acceptance is perceived as the twin menace to Jews of the menace of bloody hostility, “eternal Jew hate.” In a sense, the present situation of the State of Israel is that the State ensures that its Jewish citizens are “safely hated.”

What does it mean that Zionists managed to re-create the feeling of separateness that the Enlightenment and modernity endangered?

Max Nordau complained at the First Zionist Congress, of 1897, that the embrace of the human rights of Jews by the French revolution was loveless, with the formula, “Every man is born with certain rights; the Jews are human beings, consequently the Jews are born to all the rights of man.”

In this manner, the emancipation of the Jews was pronounced, not through a fraternal feeling for the Jews, but because logic demanded it. Popular sentiment rebelled, but the philosophy of the Revolution decreed that principles must be placed higher than sentiments. Allow me an expression which implies no ingratitude. The men of 1792 emancipated us only for the sake of principle.

The French emancipation was of Jewish individuals, weakening Jewish communal identity and authority on personal status issues such as marriage and divorce. Comte de Clermont‑Tonnere’s formulation was, “The Jews should be denied everything as a nation but granted everything as individuals…”

It’s rational to ask, What — if anything — could gentiles have done that would satisfy Nordau? Nothing — only Jews making their own place would satisfy.

The anxiety to only make “Jewish” decisions has consequences. Theodor Herzl’s “discovered truth” was that no matter how civilized the society, Jews would always be the resented outsider, resentment exacerbated when they had success.

However, to the extent that galut Jews are not devoted to the principle of the centrality of Jewish sovereignty, in the Zionist scheme, such as it has evolved, they are defective.

For Schechter, fostering Jewish national feeling should be a reminder of Torah, not in substitution of it.

Israel is not a nation in the common sense of the word. To the Rabbis, at least, it is not a nation by virtue of race or of certain peculiar political combinations. As R. Saadya expressed it, “Ki umateinu eynenah umah im ki betorateinu.” “Because our nation is only a nation by reason of its Torah.” The brutal Torah-less nationalism promulgated in certain quarters, would have been to the Rabbis just as hateful as the suicidal Torah-less universalism preached in other quarters. And if we could imagine for a moment Israel giving up its allegiance to God, its Torah and its divine institutions, the Rabbis would be the first to sign its death warrant as a nation.

Schechter believed that the “brutal Torah-less nationalism” that would come with Zionism could be shed:

All this is a consequence of preaching an aspect of Nationalism more in harmony with Roman and similar modern models than with Jewish ideas and ideals. However, nightmares are fleeting and evanescent—the vision as a whole still remains glorious.

The aberrations will, let us hope, be swept away quickly enough as soon as their destructive nature is realized by the majority of the Zionists whose central ideas should and will remain, God and His people, Israel.

For Sand the rebel, Israeli life now in toto is fairly identical with that nationalism Schechter anticipated.

I am aware of living in one of the most racist societies in the western world. Racism is present to some degree everywhere, but in Israel it exists deep within the spirit of the laws. It is taught in schools and colleges, spread in the media, and above all and most dreadful, in Israel the racists do not know what they are doing and, because of this, feel in no way obliged to apologise. This absence of a need for self-justification has made Israel a particularly prized reference point for many movements of the far right throughout the world, movements whose past history of antisemitism is only too well known.

The logic of nationalism, once begun, is by its nature victorious over softness, respect, or accommodation to the Other. Enemy or vassal are the roles available.

Included in the Herzlian revelation is considerable cult-like contempt for the Jews of the pre-Zionist past. American Rabbi Stephen S. Wise said, “It is not too much to say that when Herzl first loomed upon the Jewish horizon the weak-kneed, the morally inept and the infirm were the masters of Jewish life.”

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) firebrand Wise’s 1929 conception of Zionism as Judaism with dignity, contrasts with someone like Shlomo Sand today — a child of the dream-made-reality that developed who very much wants to separate Jews from Zionist doctrine.

The purpose of Zionism was to accentuate the Jewish identity of diaspora Jews as much as it was a place to go to or be “from.” The world-wide network of Zionist youth organizations are more to make nationalist Jews than to make Israeli immigrants.

For Jews of the galut, in consequence of the Israeli treatment of Palestinian Arabs, the meaning of Jewish identity and its common symbol, the star of David, is causing angst that is welcomed by Zionists, reinforcing the order of the world as Jews versus gentiles.

If Herzl’s premise is that the world is against Jews, maybe the premise is wrong-headed, to the extent that premise pits Jews against the world.

Palestinians and the world are not dealing with a nation, the State of Israel, in any normal sense. They are dealing with a project that aspires to organize how Jews in galut interact with the world. From the Maccabiah Games (“Building Jewish Pride Through Sports”) to Zionist youth camps and lobby organizations, the intent is to encourage a national feeling of Jews, not just Israelis.

Once the idea is established, that an American Jew (for instance) is, while not an Israeli, a member of the Jewish nation, an important mechanism is installed for future use.

The fact that this has become normalized should not blind us to the fact that this was a change engineered in Jewish life. This is a clarifying point about the use of Jewish identity for nationalist purposes. (As long as deep in the heart, The soul of a Jew yearns…)

About Abba Solomon

Abba A. Solomon is the author of “The Speech, and Its Context: Jacob Blaustein's Speech ‘The Meaning of Palestine Partition to American Jews.’” His website is abbasolomon.com

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53 Responses

  1. Mooser
    July 30, 2017, 11:07 am

    “If Herzl’s premise is that the world is against Jews, maybe the premise is wrong-headed, to the extent that premise pits Jews against the world.”

    And is that fair? Shouldn’t we give the world a handicap or something?

    • Paranam Kid
      July 30, 2017, 12:53 pm

      Why? Because the Jews are superior?

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2017, 1:37 pm

        “Why? Because the Jews are superior?”

        And we outnumber the hell out of our opponents, too!

      • Annie Robbins
        July 30, 2017, 1:55 pm

        Because the Jews are superior?

        no, because the supposition that “the world” is against jews already has a handicap (for jews) built into it. the assumption that assimilation is bad, a negative, is contingent on the idea “the world” is negative (vs not contingent on a concept jews are superior). the handicap would be to counter that presumed negative.

      • yonah fredman
        July 30, 2017, 2:14 pm

        assimilation is viewed as a negative, because it involves loss of true self, as in, conforming to a society and denying your essence. imagine, sitting and eating white bread and mayonnaise with your neighbors, but then going home and chowing down on some pastrami on rye, mit a pickle and chicken soup, when the shades are down and nobody knows. the examples of culinary culture is certainly superficial but it might shed light. assimilation is losing one’s connection to the past, to the family, to traditions, to language. this is part of the ideal of a certain brand of americanism, this type of forward into the future and amnesia regarding the past, but anathema to most brands of jewishness or judaism, that idealize continuity on any level. (there is a move towards a new judaism, that downgrades the past.)

        there is a certain element of refusal to totally accept conformity to society involved, of which those in the counter culture would approve, although they would say, join our counter culture and abandon your memories and traditions or put them in a scrapbook and on a shelf. (or on the ash heap).

      • Annie Robbins
        July 30, 2017, 3:21 pm

        while your premise may involve loss of true self, as in, conforming to a society and denying your essence, there’s no mandate assimilating into american society requires any of this. this is brainwashing.

        eating white bread and mayonnaise with your neighbors, but then going home and chowing down on some pastrami on rye

        10’s of millions of americans don’t eat white bread and mayonnaise and millions of americans who are not jewish chow down pastrami and rye, including myself. the majority of food consumed in america is not traditionally american — it comes from people’s traditions, from other cultures, who assimilated.

        assimilation is losing one’s connection to the past, to the family, to traditions, to language.

        there are millions of assimilated americans who have not lost their connection to the past, to the family, to traditions, to language. you act like being american or assimilating requires one to adopt this idea of loss, but it doesn’t. it’s a myth you’ve swallowed. and if there are people, jewish people, who assimilate and eat less pastrami and rye, so what? that does not make them ‘deny their essence’, because maybe ‘their essence’ prefers ice cream or caesar salad to pastrami. the alternative to ones cultural roots is not necessarily white bread. jews come from all over the world and like arabic food and italian food and tacos and chinese food. these culinary delights do not deny jewish essence at all — unless perhaps one is orthodox and eats kosher. but there are kosher restaurants here. one can assimilate and eat kosher at the same time.

        there is a certain element of refusal to totally accept conformity to society involved, of which those in the counter culture would approve, although they would say, join our counter culture and abandon your memories and traditions or put them in a scrapbook and on a shelf. (or on the ash heap).

        some might see refusal to totally accept conformity to society as an american trait. the population of the western states ballooned by people not totally accepting conformity to society — which is why they kept moving west. only in your fantasies does the counter culture say “abandon your memories and traditions”. maybe some of your traditions, like the belief in the necessity of pitting yourself against the rest of humanity, might be worth abandoning anyway, did you ever think of that?

      • amigo
        July 30, 2017, 3:13 pm

        ” imagine, sitting and eating white bread and mayonnaise with your neighbors, but then going home and chowing down on some pastrami on rye, mit a pickle and chicken soup,” YF

        What a racist jerk you are Yonah.

        Some of us gentile folk don,t spend our lives chowing down on White bread and mayonnaise.

        Who would want to have you assimilate “mit ” them.

      • yonah fredman
        July 30, 2017, 4:41 pm

        annie- maybe my comment invited it, but it seems like the only tool nearby where you are is a soapbox and you are incapable of conversation even on a topic other than israel. you are only capable of preaching.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2017, 5:44 pm

        “assimilation is viewed as a negative, because it involves loss of true self, as in, conforming to a society and denying your essence.”

        Oh God, “yonah”, you are so stupid and insulting.
        Jews do not make any decisions on how or how much they want to “assimilate” in the US.

        IT’S NOT OUR CHOICE! The US decided to assimilate Jews, and there’s not a thing we can do about it. (Remember, not everybody was that lucky, and many people are still struggling to get those rights! So we know the US is fully capable of denying them)

        So tell us, “yonah” if you could ‘dis-assimilate’ yourself from the US, which parts would you choose to reject? The protections of the Bill of Rights? Other parts of the Constitution? American contract law? Gonna provide your own police and courts?

        The US doesn’t tell you which church or temple to attend, nor does it regulate how you pray, what you wear, and what you do with your hair. So that’s not an issue, is it?

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2017, 6:11 pm

        “no, because the supposition that “the world” is against jews already has a handicap (for jews) built into it”

        But even with a handicap those don’t seem like good odds.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2017, 6:28 pm

        “while your premise may involve loss of true self, as in, conforming to a society and denying your essence, there’s no mandate assimilating into american society requires any of this.”

        Gee, I was naive enough to think that being assimilated by America gave Jews the freedom to worship as we please, or not, keep our “essence” intact, and enjoy the rights of citizenship to boot.

      • eljay
        July 30, 2017, 6:29 pm

        || yonah fredman: assimilation is viewed as a negative, because it involves loss of true self, as in, conforming to a society and denying your essence. … assimilation is losing one’s connection to the past, to the family, to traditions, to language. this is part of the ideal of a certain brand of americanism, this type of forward into the future and amnesia regarding the past, but anathema to most brands of jewishness or judaism … ||

        So, basically:
        – Assimilation is unacceptable because it affects the true self and essence of Jews.
        – Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine is acceptable because it affects the true self and essence of non-Jews.

        Got it.

      • Mooser
        July 30, 2017, 8:12 pm

        ” assimilation is losing one’s connection to the past, to the family, to traditions, to language. this is part of the ideal of a certain brand of americanism,.”

        Freedom and equality is anti-semetic!

      • RoHa
        July 30, 2017, 9:13 pm

        Yonah, what do you mean by “true self” and “essence”, and how are these things lost?

        (And think yourself lucky that I’m asking. Zen master gamal would whack you with his kotsu.)

      • echinococcus
        July 30, 2017, 10:01 pm

        Fredman:

        assimilation is losing one’s connection to the past, to the family, to traditions, to language.

        I see you’re talking about the Zionist colony in Palestine. The past is canceled, you’re forced to be the “New Jew”, your family is far away, your traditions are all despised and your language is not only discouraged but downright forbidden. You’re doing way better safely ensconced in New York or Florida, where you can keep and cultivate all that without any interference.

      • yonah fredman
        July 31, 2017, 12:59 am

        If i wanted to say that assimilation is a negative I would have written, “assimilation is a negative, because…” instead I wrote, “assimilation is viewed as a negative, because….” Solomon
        Schechter, a man whose career is unfamiliar to me, other than the fact that he has Conservative (Jewish) Day Schools named after him, was the one cited in the article as choosing Zionism, not out of fear of pogroms, but out of fear of assimilation.

        Annie robbins seemed to suggest that the only possible reason for resisting assimilation, (by which i mean acculturation to the point of losing one’s traditional culture and adopting a new culture as one’s own), is if one hates the culture that one is resisting, and i was trying to assert that in fact, the culture one is resisting is besides the point, but the main point is the desire to maintain the traditional lifestyle.

        Two images come to mind. That of a young Native American male plucked out of his traditional society and garb and instead clothed like a white man in suit and tie. And the other is of an African American wearing white shirt and white pants in a room that is painted totally white. (this was a poster from the early 70’s)

        If i would have to point to an act of assimilation that I find offensive it would be Madeline Albright’s parents lying to her, covering up their Jewish background, pretending that they left Czechoslovakia for purely political reasons, whereas in fact they left for reasons of Jewish identity, not their own identity, but the fact that the Nazis identified them as such and that this was dangerous, in fact deadly, to their chances of survival and therefore they emigrated. She rose to the top of her field, and loved the religion that she was raised in, which was some brand of Christianity. It is offensive yet understandable. Offensive because amnesia is offensive and denying one’s roots is offensive. But it is very understandable that Jewishness or Judaism was seen as a handicap, and why handicap their little daughter and their growing daughter, and their grown daughter with extraneous knowledge about her roots, better to begin anew and throw the liability into the ash heap. (or as Marty Feldman as igor said about his hump, what hump?)

        Those who fight assimilation (which is not just a governmental policy, but a sociological phenomenon) are fighting to maintain a tradition, that has its roots in a long history, even if it does not go back to the beginning of time, as in Father Abraham. My own impression is that in the case of the Jews in America, this is largely a losing battle, but only in the big picture, there are many individuals who are able to get in touch with the history and the traditions.

        If one dismisses Judaism as just one more silly worship of a man with a beard in the sky, then I suppose the sooner the better, onto the ash heap, at least from one perspective. Solomon Schechter was not of this school of thought. (I am assuming based upon my knowledge of Conservative Judaism, that…) He was devoted to the maintenance of the Jewish identity, particularly regarding the Torah, and its traditions: its food, (kosher) its holidays (on Saturdays and not Sundays, from sundown to sundown and not any other time demarcations) and its texts, and the language of the texts, and maybe also the language of the previous generations.

        Having read Irving Howe and his description of the disrespect with which his generation of Jewish leftists treated their Jewish roots, I feel that there was something skewed about how that between the wars generation related to their roots. It was only later, in the 60’s when respect for traditions outside of the west began to infiltrate the consciousness of the left, that his generation came to realize that there was some sort of amnesia that was being forced on the Jews by themselves (and also by the expectation called the melting pot, and also the expectation of Americanism, which at that time, but not so much today, idealized treating the past as mere memory whereas the present and the future required a jettisoning of useless thoughts) and that there was something offensive about such a demand and something ignorant and immature about how the Jewish youth who came of age in the 1930’s treated their parents and the world their parents came from and such a denial reminds me of another image, Peter denying Jesus three times before the cock crows.

        The Jews in Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe under the czar, lived largely apart from the society at large, particularly those who lived in small towns, but mobility towards bigger towns and mobility towards destinations outside of Eastern Europe, which was one of the goals that the Czars advisers voiced (one third will emigrate, one third will convert and one third will be killed off). Well this mobility brought this community face to face with modernity and led to a crisis of loss of memory.

        Another image. “Seconds” starring Rock Hudson, about a middle aged man who wants to start over and in order to do so, his death has to be faked in order that his past life can be erased and he can start anew, but he grows nostalgic for the life that he has tossed away, a big no-no.
        Another failure for those that provided a second chance because the amnesia they advocated did not work.

        I cannot say that I agree regarding the idea that Jewishness describes anything about the true self of the young Jewish Americans of the ’30’s, children of immigrants, who wished to dismiss the past and embrace America and all that was new and modern with reckless abandon. I cannot say that they were tossing away anything essential or their true selves. But those who like Solomon Schechter, who decried assimilation, did feel that there was something essential that they were missing. Those like Rabbi Schechter who have spent their lives studying the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud, and the lore and the law and have enjoyed the Shabbat or Shabbos and the cycle of the year and the cycle of life contained in traditional Jewish observance, considered it an enriching experience, and were devoted to the maintenance of those traditions, those rabbis by the nature of their profession and calling, will consider that tradition to be the essence that those youngsters were tossing away, (like Al Jolson tossed away the traditions in order to embrace the Americanism of singing “Mammy” in black face.)

        When I see the Jewish faces thronging to hear and dance to the beat of Benny Goodman, in the 30’s their love for America and for the new, that was the nearest thing to their essence and the fact that their parents wanted them to marry Jewish mates and the fact that most of them for sociological reasons did marry Jewish mates, was merely an accident of circumstance, that 80 years later is rectified by differing sociological circumstance and decrying assimilation is like decrying gravity.

        Still in a discussion of assimilation for someone to come along and say, “oh, if they are resisting assimilation, it must mean that they hate or disdain the host culture”, frankly this is nonsense, because the essence is not the attitude towards Benny goodman, but rather the attitude towards Torah. The ebb and flow of globalization and modernization and the difficulties faced by second generation, that is the children of the immigrants, in immigrant societies today, with its frictions, as evidenced by various violent incidents, reminds us that assimilation is not always as simple and as smooth as certain people claim. It can be quite complicated. And to label the resistance to assimilation as a form of hatred or superiority is myopic, superficial and ignorant.

      • Talkback
        July 31, 2017, 9:50 am

        yonah fredman: “assimilation is viewed as a negative, because it involves loss of true self, as in, conforming to a society and denying your essence.”

        Thank you for reminding me why I quit this cult.

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 10:25 am

        “Two images come to mind, That of a young Native American male plucked… African American…”

        ‘Bury our Jewish hearts at replacement knee, by any means necessary!’ “Yonah X”

      • Annie Robbins
        July 31, 2017, 11:44 am

        mooser, that link is hysterical! i always get a kick out of yonah spinning a long yarn on what he claims i “seemed to suggest”, completely devoid of any example or quote coming from me.

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 11:47 am

        “Thank you for reminding me why I quit this cult.”

        Yes, I see what you mean. Who wants to be talked to death?

        BTW, “Yonah” is very confused between a play, written by Samson Raphaelson, based on his short story “The Day of Atonement” (later made into a film called “The Jazz Singer”.) and the facts of Al Jolson’s life, which are quite interesting.

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 1:02 pm

        “When I see the Jewish faces thronging to hear and dance to the beat of Benny Goodman, in the 30’s”

        Many people don’t know this, but Benny Goodman played Bar Mitzvahs and Jewish weddings for years to perfect his arrangements for general audiences. That’s where the band learned to swing hot and heavy.
        And Yonah is well over a hundred years old, which is why he was able to attend Goodman’s all-Jewish concerts and dances in the 30’s.

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 2:40 pm

        “When I see the Jewish faces thronging to hear and dance to the beat of Benny Goodman, in the 30’s””

        At one of those dances, couples started dancing the “Lindy Hop” and Goodman and the band walked off the stage.

      • jd65
        July 31, 2017, 5:48 pm

        yonah: “assimilation is viewed as a negative, because it involves loss of true self, as in, conforming to a society and denying your essence.”

        Ok. So General Ripper is Israel, Women represent non-Zionist cultures/societies, and Captain Mandrake is the rest of the world? Got it…

      • Mooser
        August 1, 2017, 4:38 pm

        “yonah spinning a long yarn on what he claims i “seemed to suggest”, completely devoid of any example”

        The guy who taught “yonah” to type has a lot to answer for.

    • Citizen
      July 30, 2017, 2:07 pm

      How does Hitler’s premise, that the Jews were against the Gentiles, which he stated in his opening line at his trial in 1923 or ’24, differ from Herzl’s premise? Just asking.

      • john douglas
        July 31, 2017, 9:30 am

        I appreciate yonah’s writing. But the idea that a human being has a “true self” or “essence” based upon some unchosen trait is untenable on its face. First, it is perhaps the most insidious, brutal idea that humans have created. I wonder if any other idea in history has caused more human misery; racism, sexual discrimination, add nowadays discrimination against trans people, nationalist wars, the stupid racialist theories of Nazis and others, slavery. Secondly, it is intellectually indefensible as a denial of individual freedom, of the idea that a person owns his or her own life. Edith Stein joins a Carmelite convent, choosing no longer to be (that is, to “be”) a Jew, dies in Auschwitz and is declared a Roman Catholic saint. It was the Nazis who insisted that she was Jewish despite her choices. John Silber, former philosopher and president of Boston University was once asked how discovering late in life that he “was Jewish” affected his sense of himself. He said it did not, and for him to think that it should would be to adopt the discreditable philosophy of the Nazis.

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 11:03 am

        “I appreciate yonah’s writing. But the idea that a human being has a “true self” or “essence” based upon some unchosen trait is untenable on its face. First, it is perhaps the most insidious, brutal idea that humans have created.”

        That only applies to other people. When has the “true self” or “essence” of the Jews been anything but a benefit to us and the subject of admiration from the rest of the world?

      • RoHa
        August 1, 2017, 5:18 am

        @ John Douglas.

        Well said.

  2. Annie Robbins
    July 30, 2017, 1:50 pm

    The men of 1792 emancipated us only for the sake of principle.

    only? isn’t principle a noble reason. would one say ‘they ended the occupation only out of principle?’

    the philosophy of the Revolution decreed that principles must be placed higher than sentiments.

    of course. systems of philosophical thought are not generally based on sentiment, they are based on principles made up of logic, values and reason.

    edit, i just reread that part about ‘only out of principle’ and think i misread Abba Solomon’s intent/meaning. i should finish the article before further commenting — sorry.

    • Citizen
      July 30, 2017, 2:13 pm

      What is more important, equal justice before the law, or sentiment, love or hate, despise, something emotionally luke warm?

    • Mooser
      July 30, 2017, 7:16 pm

      “The men of 1792 emancipated us only for the sake of principle.”

      When Washington informed that Rhode Island Synagogue in 1790 that Jews would be subject to no disabilities in America, he said almost the same thing:

      “The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. It is not because Jews make the best pastrami-on-rye sandwiches, which is really just a bonus.”

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 11:05 am

        I stuck in the part about pastrami sandwiches.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 31, 2017, 11:45 am

        oh thank you for the clarification mooser, that never would have occurred to me.

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 12:46 pm

        “oh thank you for the clarification mooser,”

        Washington, as everybody knows, had ill-fitting false teeth, and wouldn’t come near a pastrami sandwich. And it would be almost a century until Montana was added to the Union, and a domestic source of floss became available in a little white box which could be sold uptown.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 31, 2017, 2:14 pm

        when you think of pastrami do you ever think of texas? think again! there was “a lot of jewish settlement going on in el paso”! could pastrami have found it’s way to new york via el paso???

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 4:24 pm

        “When you think of pastrami do you ever think of Texas?”

        That is so the title( and first line) of my next Country-Western hit!

    • RoHa
      July 31, 2017, 1:57 am

      I’m sorry, I didn’t realise that it is wrong to emancipate on principles of common humanity.

      Let’s try again. As you were, everyone.

      Now, we’ll emancipate the blacks because they’ve got natural rhythm, and we all like that. We’ll emancipate women because they are just so cute.
      And Jews … hmmn.
      Pastrami and rye is all very well in its way, but it isn’t really endearing. Doesn’t evoke that fraternal feeling that we have for everyone else.
      Can you come up with something else? Couple of good show tunes, maybe?

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 10:39 am

        “Can you come up with something else?”

        Of course! we’re very smart, clever, and good with money. Also make good lawyers and doctors.

      • RoHa
        July 31, 2017, 9:20 pm

        Good with money? Lawyers?

        Endearing, Mooser. Try again.

      • Mooser
        August 1, 2017, 11:42 am

        “Endearing, Mooser.”

        Thank you, “RoHa”. I’m happy just to endear, rather than prevail.

  3. Keith
    July 30, 2017, 5:07 pm

    ABBA SOLOMON- “What does it mean that Zionists managed to re-create the feeling of separateness that the Enlightenment and modernity endangered?”

    A lot of interesting observations in this article. As to what it means, it means that Zionists have managed to turn back the clock to partially recapture the organized Jewish solidarity of Classical Judaism. This is essentially Israel Shahak’s point regarding Zionism as a continuer of Classical Judaism. It should be noted that most Jews rejected Zionism until traumatized by the Holocaust which the Zionists skillfully exploited. It should also be noted that maintaining a separate Jewish identity in a state undergoing blood and soil nationalism with a more-or-less homogeneous non-Jewish population has much different consequences than in a multicultural society. Jewish kinship in a fragmented multicultural society provides power seeking advantages to those Jews partaking of the benefits of kinship. It also is an abuse of multiculturalism. If all of the non-Jewish population developed their tribal instincts, a certain level of sectarian conflict would be inevitable. To succeed, a multicultural society must embrace universalism.

    • RoHa
      July 31, 2017, 2:02 am

      “To succeed, a multicultural society must embrace universalism.”

      But that would exclude those cultures which hold to tribalism, and so be only partly “multi”cultural.

      • Mooser
        July 31, 2017, 10:26 am

        “RoHa” there’s a big difference between a multi-cultural society, and a multi-legality country.
        Try not to confuse one with the other.

      • RoHa
        July 31, 2017, 9:22 pm

        And if a “cultural community” insists that an ancestral legal system is an integral pert of the culture, what then?

    • yonah fredman
      July 31, 2017, 10:45 pm

      Keith- and how to remedy this problem? Might i suggest a boycott of Jewish businesses? Seeing as universalism has successfully pervaded every corner of America, other than the Jews participating in the benefits of the tribe and kinship, there really is no other way to even the scales.

      • Annie Robbins
        July 31, 2017, 10:57 pm

        keith: “To succeed, a multicultural society must embrace universalism.”

        yonah: “Might i suggest a boycott of Jewish businesses?”

        wow yonah, you’re really on a roll today.

      • Keith
        August 1, 2017, 12:54 am

        YONAH FREDMAN- “Keith- and how to remedy this problem?”

        People like you need to engage in introspection to understand your anti-Gentile attitude. A quote for you: “Therefore, the real test facing both Israeli and diaspora Jews is the test of their self-criticism which must include the critique of the Jewish past. The most important part of such a critique must be detailed and honest confrontation of the Jewish attitude to non-Jews.” (p103, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” Israel Shahak)

  4. yourstruly
    July 30, 2017, 11:03 pm

    The author – The present situation of the state of Israel is that the State ensures that it’s Jewish citizens are “safely hated.”

    But as American Jewry more and more disavow Zionism, will “safely hated” hold in Israel?

    And with the Zionist state’s leaders insisting that they represent Jews everywhere, even those who are anti-Zionist/pro-Palestinian, as the resistance to Israel’s enslavement of the Palestinian people grows Zionist Israel well may succeed in in re-creating a world that’s against Jews, not only in Israel but everywhere else. Although this might lead to the realization of Zionism’s founding vision re: Israel, the ultimate safe haven for the gathering in of all Jews, could a Jew really feel safe in a nation that had earned the enmity of the rest of the world? Earned it by way of its enslavement of the Palestinian people and its steadfast refusal to set them free.

    Alternatively, before the above plays out, the U.S. government will have come to its senses about the true nature of the Zionist enterprise, and will no longer play the roll of Israel’s grand protector and benefactor. For this to happen the anti-Zionist/pro-Palestinian movement will have to expand such that it can persuade the U.S. government to support justice for the Palestinian people, whereupon, alone now in the world Israel will have but two options – 1, what with its arsenal of nuclear weapons take on the world en route to Armageddon or (even more likely) a second Masada; or 2, settle peacefully with the Palestinians.

    Which way will it go? I’m confident that the BDS movement will prevail and that Palestine will be free.

  5. RoHa
    July 31, 2017, 2:03 am

    “Israel is not a nation in the common sense of the word.”

    Then it isn’t really a nation at all.

  6. CitizenC
    July 31, 2017, 10:33 am

    Among founders in the modern Zionist movement, many major figures embraced Zionism to unify the atomizing population of Jews in the world, especially the Jews of the west — for tribal as much as literal survival.

    In 1906, Schechter said that he feared assimilation of Jews, loss of identity, “even more than pogroms.” He wrote that in the Jewish “exile,” the Zionist project could form “the great bulwark against assimilation… an opposing force.”

    The purpose of Zionism was to accentuate the Jewish identity of diaspora Jews as much as it was a place to go to or be “from.” The world-wide network of Zionist youth organizations are more to make nationalist Jews than to make Israeli immigrants.

    This is racialism, the insistence that there is some inalienable Jewish essence, difference, distinction, the counterpart of the racialist anti-Semitism that arose at the same time, and with which Zionists made common cause.

    Pinsker’s famous pamphlet Auto-Emancipation! (c 1882) also proclaimed the naturalness and inevitability of anti-Semitism. Herzl used to commune with fellow aficionados of the “Judenfrage” at the “salon” of the anti-Semitic publisher Edouard Drumont. Nazi and Zionist “race experts” consulted each other in the 1930s.

    Everyone has a background. Most people manage to enjoy theirs without destroying the world, or insisting on racialist notions about themselves. It is a short distance from racialism to racism.

    Assimilation is good, healthy, normal, and it is the dominant experience among people of Jewish background—“intermarriage” (miscegnation to Jewish racialists), disaffiliation from organized Jewish society and “Jewish identity”, apart from gestures toward one’s background like everyone else. This describes half to 2/3 of US Jewry.

    The problem is the organized “professional” sector, whose mainstream commissions , by sanguinary reaction or liberal hypocrisy, genocide and the clash of civs, as the “Jewish people” and its state.

    The Jewish left proffers a better way of “being Jewish”, an equivocal critique limited by its fundamental loyalty to the Volk, one which collapses universalism to pure legality. The Volk must obey the law, but short of that liberal institutions can be turned inside out to express racialism, and racism, in the form of “Jewish politics” and other practices.

    We have to recover the foundations of the modern world, to even think about the disasters of Zionism, let alone act.

  7. rhkroell
    July 31, 2017, 4:47 pm

    If you are finding it difficult to unravel Yonah’s argument, the fault lies not in your inability to comprehend a cogently-formulated argument with valid premises and a logcally-sound conclusion. Yonah is cutting and pasting together — in a haphazard manner — different arguments she chooses to employ to identify herself as “Jewish” without clearly distinguishing between what philosophers since Aristotle have differentiated as “accidents” (something contingent) from “essences” (something necessary/essential).

    She attempts to make an essentialist argument by employing “accidentals” in an indiscriminate and arbitrary manner. For example, she implies that she would prefer (as a “Jew”) to chow down a pastrami on rye sandwich at snack time while a typical goy (like Annie or me) would undoubtedly choose to snack on some kind of sandwich made with white bread and mayonnaise [N.B. Goys always trim off the bread crust and slice the bread into bite-sized squares, rectangles and/or triangles when preparing cucumber sandwiches at tea time].

    Essentialists distinguish between properties which are essential to being and those things which are not. For the essentialist, a Jew would cease to be a Jew, for example, if she did not possess that mythical gene which distinguishes her as a Jew. In the Bible, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha that genetic marker is identified as “the holy seed,” something which differentiates YHWH’s “chosen people” from all other tribal peoples and is an absolutely essential component of being a Jewish human being, the “crown jewel,” so to speak.

  8. rosross
    July 31, 2017, 7:00 pm

    More than one business colleague has remarked that the worst people to do business with are Israelis . Anyone but Israelis, whom they do not consider to be Jews, which is not surprising, since as Zionist atheists, many Israelis are not Jewish by any stretch of any imagination.

    There is no such thing as ‘safe’ hatred.

  9. JLewisDickerson
    August 3, 2017, 2:21 am

    RE: Paradoxically, acceptance is perceived as the twin menace to Jews of the menace of bloody hostility, “eternal Jew hate.” In a sense, the present situation of the State of Israel is that the State ensures that its Jewish citizens are “safely hated.” ~ Abba Solomon

    JAMES BALDWIN (1963):

    “By deciding that they were white. By opting for safety instead of life. By persuading themselves that a Black child’s life meant nothing compared with a white child’s life… In this debasement of and definition of Black people, they debased and defined themselves.”

    SOURCE – http://www.essence.com/james-baldwin-quotes#1081624

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