Bret Stephens equates anti-Zionists with white nationalists in the ‘New York Times’

US Politics

Here is a clever but repellent variation of hasbara, or propaganda for Israel: New York Times columnist Bret Stephens equates Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) with white nationalists.

In “Steve Bannon Is Bad for the Jews,” Stephens sets out to condemn the Zionist Organization of America for welcoming Steve Bannon to its gala the other night. Why? Because Bannon is an anti-Semite… just like JVP. Here’s Stephens’s logic:

[W]hen a far-left group such as Jewish Voice for Peace makes common cause with someone like Linda Sarsour — the Palestinian-American activist who advocates the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state and publicly praised a convicted terrorist — it disqualifies itself as an advocate of any Jewish interest save its own. To deny Israel’s right to exist, as U.N. Secretary General António Guterres noted in April, is “a form of modern anti-Semitism.”

It also means that when a right-wing Jewish group such as the ZOA chooses to overlook Bannon’s well-documented links to anti-Semitic white nationalists, it puts itself on a moral par with JVP

Notice the sequence. Stephens says that JVP’s support for Sarsour is the same as Steve Bannon’s support for white nationalist Richard Spencer. So if you think Palestinians are human beings with equal rights to live in their own homeland, you are the same as neo-Nazis. That is racist.

It is also brilliant, PR-wise. You frame JVP as so bad that when you say white nationalists are bad, you say they are as bad as JVP.  So JVP becomes the standard of badness against which to measure just how bad neo-Nazis are. While many commenters at the Times criticize Israel in the comments, nobody mentions this unfair jab at JVP.

And Bret Stephens gets away with it. Why? Because he is in the New York Times op-ed stable (along with many other Zionists, some of them liberal). The Times would never dream of publishing an anti-Zionist, say Ali Abunimah, or Marc Ellis, or Jonathan Ofir, on a regular basis, to point out how badly Zionism has worked out for non-Jews in Palestine.

Sadly, Stephens has good company in his assertion that denying “Israel’s right to exist” is anti-Semitic. This claim is repeated everywhere in mainstream forums. It would be OK if people meant it the way that Norman Finkelstein does: Israel has the same legal right to exist as any other state. But the phrase elides the question of its right to exist as a Jewish state, which is what Israel supporters mean when they say, “deny Israel’s right to exist.” And what that entails is that Israel had the right to expel the Palestinians, and has a right to maintain a Jewish majority today by limiting the freedom of Palestinians.

We probably need a social revolution for people to recognize the nakedly-racist claptrap they are echoing when they use the phrase “Israel’s right to exist.” This includes well-intentioned people who really don’t mean something evil by asserting the rightness of “Israel’s right to exist”, but have never given two seconds of thought to its implications.

Stephens’s aim here is to maintain establishment support for Israel. This is getting to be a hard job. He has to discredit the greatest threat to that bipartisanship, the surging view inside the Democratic Party that Zionism is a problematic ideology– which has gained currency in part because of Richard Spencer’s assertion that white nationalists only want what Zionists achieved for the Jews. Stephens warns:

If Israel is going to retain mainstream political support, it cannot allow itself to become the pet cause of right-wing bigots and conspiracy theorists.

So he needs to take out two threats to that mainstream support: “the woke-left” and “the alt-right.” This is a new twist on classic hasbara, explaining Israel to the U.S. But it is the same old story in the end: Palestinians don’t deserve equal rights.

About Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson

Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson are NY writers and regular contributors to this site

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104 Responses

  1. eljay
    November 16, 2017, 3:27 pm

    … [W]hen a far-left group such as Jewish Voice for Peace makes common cause with someone like Linda Sarsour — the Palestinian-American activist who advocates the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state … — it disqualifies itself as an advocate of any Jewish interest save its own. …

    This is amusing seeing as how it comes from a Zionist who – by making common cause with people who advocate Jewish supremacism, colonialism and “necessary evil” – disqualifies himself as an advocate of any Jewish interest save his own.

    Anyway, Ms. Sarsour is right: Religion-supremacist “Jewish State” has no right to exist. No state has a right to exist as a supremacist state of any kind.

    … To deny Israel’s right to exist, as U.N. Secretary General António Guterres noted in April, is “a form of modern anti-Semitism.” …

    Denying Israel’s “right to exist” would at most be a form of anti-Israelism.

    • Bont Eastlake
      November 16, 2017, 8:47 pm

      Israel wouldn’t have any reason to exist if it weren’t for white nationalism. Jews have always been able to visit, migrate, and live happily in the Levant including in Jerusalem ever since the Islamic conquests in the 7th century. Many Jews did so and many didn’t, far preferring their lives in Europe, Russia, Iraq, Morocco and wherever else they found themselves in.

      Palestine is no magical land where water taste sweet or dirt taste like chocolate. Its like any other land where you have to respect the laws and the nature for the sustenance it brings for you and your family. Indigenous culture of the Palestinians lived in harmony with the land, and among themselves for thousands of years before Zionist came and raised mischief and havoc. Those thousands of years of living by the rules, the laws of the land, the laws of nature, is what gave them the right to continue living on Palestine. Not nationalism, not Islam and not Arab chauvinism.

      When the land itself welcomed them and provided for them, and made them live blissful lives generation to generation, what right did Zionists have to chase the Palestinians from their homeland? Now Israelis are finding themselves trapped in a prison of their own making. Sad.

    • JWalters
      November 17, 2017, 3:07 am

      eljay, good points.

      Stephens also wants to highlight “Bannon’s well-documented links to anti-Semitic white nationalists”. But he ignores the founding Zionists’ equally “well-documented links” to the German Nazis. Following Stephens’ logic, we would conclude the Zionists put themselves on a “moral par” with the Nazis.

    • Lillian Rosengarten
      November 17, 2017, 12:46 pm

      This is crazy, there is nothing more to say. Another ignorant voice , makes the NY Times complicit. But that’s not news. Of course now it is “illegal”to criticize Israel. It is also illegal to protest and he US has become a disgrace and ongoing nightmare!

  2. Ossinev
    November 16, 2017, 4:13 pm

    Fascinating to watch these American Israeli Firsters twisting themselves in Hasbara knots in their “defences” of their ancient , current and forever homeland. BDS must be giving them sleepless nights and, in the case of the likes of Decrepit Dersh`s new found buddy Bannon, severe headaches.

  3. festus
    November 16, 2017, 5:06 pm

    The fact of the matter is white nationalism is Zionism for (white people).

    • hophmi
      November 17, 2017, 12:07 pm

      What is Arab nationalism? Is that white nationalism for Arabs?

      Don’t mix up Nazis with the Jews they persecuted. It seems to be a tried and true radical leftist tactic.

      • Donald Johnson
        November 17, 2017, 1:44 pm

        The problem with any form of nationalism comes about when the nationalism becomes a justification for human rights violations. This happened with Zionism very early on.. I can point this out without dragging the Nazis into it.

      • festus
        November 17, 2017, 4:32 pm

        So the Nazis harmed only Jews in your mind?

        This assertion seems a tried and true tactic by radical right wing Judaism.

      • RoHa
        November 17, 2017, 10:23 pm

        “Don’t mix up Nazis with the Jews they persecuted.”

        But the Jews that the Nazis didn’t persecute seem to mix themselves with Nazis.

  4. marc b.
    November 16, 2017, 5:14 pm

    Did you see that sequence?

    good god. such brilliance. the enemy of my friend’s enemy’s friend is . . . bad.

    And Stephens gets away with it. Why?

    because no one pays attention to brett bleepin’ stephens. he’s on a soap box preaching to hundreds, if not an even thousand. and see the equally dim and myopic mediocrity beinart working the other side of a narrow aisle, on the self-love that dare not speak its name.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/11/reflections-of-an-affirmative-action-baby/545774/

    White men from fancy schools advanced quickly at The New Republic because that’s who the owner and editor in chief, Marty Peretz, liked surrounding himself with. He ignored women almost entirely.

    oh, pete, what a hoot. but all that changed when he arrived, right?

    I’d like to say that when I became editor, I fundamentally changed all this. But I did not. Yes, I hired women, including for senior editing jobs. Yes, I made some effort to cultivate writers of color. But, for the most part—like all the white, male, Ivy League editors who preceded and succeeded me—I perpetuated the culture in which I had thrived. That culture was both subtle and pervasive: The absence of women and people of color in senior editorial jobs was intertwined with the magazine’s long-standing, jaundiced view of the African American and feminist left. Had I challenged that culture more emphatically, I would probably not have become editor in the first place.

    those dastardly white men. anyway, good for you, you aren’t qualified for much, if qualified is to mean anything, i agree, so why don’t you shut the f*ck up and let someone else have the floor?

  5. Jerry Hirsch
    November 16, 2017, 5:17 pm

    Phil, what is your opinion? Do the Jews have a right to their own state in their indigenous homeland?

    • JosephA
      November 16, 2017, 8:16 pm

      Jerry,

      Your question is so loaded, it might as well be a gun.

      A Jew born in France is indigenous to France, not Palestine. A Catholic born in Uruguay is indigenous to Uruguay, not the Vatican nor Palestine. A Muslim born in Russia is indigenous to Russia, not Saudi Arabia nor Palestine.

      The only people indigenous to Palestine are Palestinians, you imbecile!

      • festus
        November 17, 2017, 4:34 pm

        Jews from Poland, Russia, Germany, etc. have a “right of return” to the Middle East.

        The people who had been living there for many, many generations have no such right.

        Simply amazes me that anyone, never mind the vast majority of Jews, buys into this.

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 18, 2017, 12:26 am

        JosephA, then by your logic, every child born of Palestinian Arab parents outside of Israel /Palestine is indigenous to the country of their birth and has no right of return to Palestine.

      • John O
        November 18, 2017, 4:14 pm

        @Jerry Hirsch

        By your logic, every Jew born outside Israel is indigenous to the country of their birth and has no right to live in Palestine.

    • eljay
      November 16, 2017, 9:37 pm

      || Jerry Hirsch: … Do the Jews have a right to their own state in their indigenous homeland? ||

      Geographic Palestine is not the “indigenous homeland” of “the Jews” – people all over the world, citizens of homelands all over the world, who have chosen or who choose to adopt the religion-based identity of Jewish.

      A “Jewish State” is a religion-supremacist construct. No state has a right to exist as a supremacist state of any kind.

      So, no, “the Jews” are not entitled to a “Jewish State” in geographic Palestine.

      (And, yes, I know that you didn’t ask my opinion.  :-) )

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 18, 2017, 1:48 am

        Eljay, Theodore Herzl, the father of Zionism was an atheist. His lack of religious belief didn’t remove his Jewish identity. Jews are an ethnicity determined by a common ancestry, just as the Arabs are.

        As a distinct ethnic group, the Jews have the right to self determination. To seek self rule in their native lands. Just like the Catalonians, the Armenians, the Kurds, and the dozens of other ethnic groups worldwide.

        Proof of the Jew’s middle eastern ancestry is contained in their DNA. That you choose to ignore this scientific fact is a common ploy among the Palestinian Arabs and anti Zionsts. This denial is based on self deception. Imaginary facts like the mass Khazar conversion are created to reinforce the opinions of these people who are either too ignorant or too lazy to verify they are false on their own.

      • Keith
        November 18, 2017, 11:50 am

        JERRY HIRSCH- ” Jews are an ethnicity determined by a common ancestry….”

        No they are not. Claiming a common ethnicity for Ethiopian Jews and Ashkenazi Jews is ludicrous. Sure, all humans share similar DNA which proves nothing except that we all belong to the same human family. So when are you going to start acting like it, rather than regurgitating your false claims of Jewish indigenous tribal rights to stolen land? And need I remind you that the “right” of self determination was referring to the right of Third World people to be free of Western colonialism. A right which you have twisted to imply a “right” of Westerners to impose colonial rule! What chutzpah! What consumate BS! A quote for you:

        “A two thousand-year-old claim would be laughed out of any secular court — all the more so for the Ashkenazi Jews who comprise the main body of Zionists and have little discernible link to the ancient inhabitants of Palestine.” (P36, “Overcoming Zionism,” Joel Kovel)

      • eljay
        November 18, 2017, 12:03 pm

        || Jerry Hirsch: Eljay, Theodore Herzl, the father of Zionism was an atheist. His lack of religious belief didn’t remove his Jewish identity. … ||

        His Jewish identity is religion-based. It did not require him to be religious.

        || … Jews are an ethnicity determined by a common ancestry, just as the Arabs are. ||

        Non-Arabs can become Arabs by undergoing a religious conversion? That’s a new one.

        || … As a distinct ethnic group, the Jews have the right to self determination. To seek self rule in their native lands. … ||

        Geographic Palestine is not the “native land” of all people in the world – citizens of native lands all over the world – who choose to adopt the religion-based identity of Jewish. It’s self-deception to believe otherwise.

      • lyn117
        November 18, 2017, 12:32 pm

        @Jerry Hirsh
        If European Jews wanted to “return” to their “indigenous” place of origin, that would be now Northern Turkey, not Palestine. As determined by genetic studies, see https://academic.oup.com/gbe/article/5/1/61/728117

        You can count Turkey as part of the Middle East, but the origin of modern Jews, by and large, isn’t Palestine. And absolutely, they’re largely from the Khazarian conversion circa 8th century CE

      • RoHa
        November 19, 2017, 4:22 am

        “As a distinct ethnic group, the Jews have the right to self determination. To seek self rule in their native lands…”

        There are at least four claims here.

        1. The Jews are an ethnic group.
        2. Ethnic groups have at least one right.
        3. This right is the right of self-determination, which I interpret as the right to establish a state.
        4. And to establish it in “their native lands”.

        I’ll let everyone else deal with the first, and MHughes deal with the second.

        In respect of the third, I have presented a set of arguments to show that it is false. Do you have any arguments to support it? If not, we can justifiably regard it as a self-serving fiction.

        And do you have any arguments to support the fourth? For that, you will have to clarify “their native lands”. Literally, that would mean the lands they were born in, but it is pretty clear that you think that Palestine is the native land of Jews born in Poland and Argentina. But if you mean “the land their ancestors were born in”, you have to decide which generation of ancestors. As Mooser points out, it seems that all our ancestors came from part of Africa.

        That claim seems, at this stage, to be doomed.

        Have you got anything better to offer?

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 19, 2017, 1:13 pm

        Keith, your denial of DNA evidence that clearly shows a genetic link between the various Jewish groups is baseless. You haven’t shown a shred of evidence to support your claim.

        Here’s mine.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3032072

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 19, 2017, 1:17 pm

        Eljay, ask Phil if he is a Jew based on belief or by descent. Maybe you’ll take his word for it.

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 19, 2017, 1:21 pm

        Lyn117,

        Genetic studies prove the Khazar theory is a myth.

        Elhaik’s work supporting this theory has been thoroughly debunked. He had no Khazar DNA to compare to so he substituted Armenian and Georgian DNA instead.

        Flawed science equals flawed opinions.

        http://forward.com/news/israel/175912/jews-a-race-genetic-theory-comes-under-fierce-atta

      • Annie Robbins
        November 24, 2017, 5:18 pm

        Elhaik’s work supporting this theory has been thoroughly debunked.

        where? because your forward link neither “thoroughly debunked” his thesis nor linked to one that did. furthermore, it came 3 years after the “Rhineland hypothesis” you linked to, and as such, didn’t even reference elhaik’s theory. quoting one leading researcher in “jewish genetics” as saying “He’s just wrong” is not thoroughly debunking. in fact, the only mention of “bebunk” in the forward article is this:

        Elhaik, an Israeli molecular geneticist, has published research that he says debunks this claim.

        in order to scientifically debunk something you have to do research on it, reference it, and compare statistics.

        He had no Khazar DNA to compare to so he substituted Armenian and Georgian DNA instead.

        excuse me, he was doing comparative research of non jews from the exact region, and since there are no longer khazars, there is nothing wrong with substituting the native peoples of the region. nor does the forward article or anyone else claim Elhaik work was compromised due to this substitution.

        it’s one thing to dismiss the work of a geneticist, it’s another to claim it has been “debunked”, with no source whatsoever.

        Elhaik research directly referenced and utilized the statistical data in the study you linked to. one cannot “expose the falseness or hollowness of” a scientific theory by merely claiming it’s false. whereas this is a graphic example of a comparative study: https://academic.oup.com/view-large/figure/89425791/evs119f2p.jpeg/Missing%20Link%20of%20Jewish%20European%20Ancestry%3A%20Contrasting%20the%20Rhineland%20and%20the%20Khazarian%20Hypotheses

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 19, 2017, 2:02 pm

        RoHa, the right of self determination is one of the major principles contained in the U.N charter.

        Chapter 1, Article 1, part 2 states that purpose of the UN Charter is: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”

        Where is this set of arguments you say you presented against this cornerstone of international law?

      • eljay
        November 19, 2017, 7:59 pm

        || Jerry Hirsch: Eljay, ask Phil if he is a Jew based on belief or by descent. Maybe you’ll take his word for it. ||

        I’ll take Phil’s word that he either:
        – underwent a religious conversion to Judaism; or
        – is descended from someone underwent religious conversion to Judaism.

      • Mooser
        November 20, 2017, 11:59 am

        ” the various Jewish groups”

        “Various Jewish groups”? How many, exactly? Considering the diversity of the “various Jewish groups” we know about, you just opened Judaism to the entire world in that “various” and “groups”.
        BTW, for all this blather about DNA you have never told us exactly how many Jews there are and who they are. Certainly DNA can do that, can’t it?

        “Jerry”, you do understand that all of this ‘genetic linkage’ is not like the “DNA evidence” used in criminal trials and paternity disputes, don’t you?

      • Mooser
        November 20, 2017, 12:16 pm

        “Eljay, ask Phil if he is a Jew based on belief or by descent. Maybe you’ll take his word for it.” “Jerry Hirsch”

        Gee, I’ve noticed that those two things are often present together, in varying proportions and relations. Very surprised you didn’t know that, “Jerry”.
        Most of the time “descent” means the circumstances you’re born into.I don’t think Phil spent hours peering at his DNA looking for the answers.

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 21, 2017, 1:11 am

        Eljay, why is option three so hard for you to accept? Geneticists are quite accepting of the evidence of ancestral descent imprinted in DNA.

      • eljay
        November 21, 2017, 8:20 am

        || Jerry Hirsch: Eljay, why is option three so hard for you to accept? … ||

        I don’t know what “option three” is, but I have no problem accepting that Phil either:
        – underwent a religious conversion to Judaism; or
        – is descended from someone underwent religious conversion to Judaism.

        I don’t know why that’s so hard for you to accept.

      • Mooser
        November 21, 2017, 3:45 pm

        ” Geneticists are quite accepting of the evidence of ancestral descent imprinted in DNA.”

        And “geneticists” are the ones who determine who gets what land, and how they act on it?

      • Kaisa of Finland
        November 21, 2017, 5:29 pm

        Sorry, I am confused.. Who’s DNA are we talking about here?? What did the DNA tests of the Palestinians show?? How close “ancestral connection” to “the land” did they have?? I want to see their results!!

      • Keith
        November 24, 2017, 3:14 pm

        JERRY HIRSCH- “Keith, your denial of DNA evidence that clearly shows a genetic link between the various Jewish groups is baseless.”

        Yes, and who could deny the “research” of the Nazi scientists proving the existence of the Aryan race? Jewish Zionist geneticists in Israel and elsewhere earn a good living lending a scientific verneer to Zionist racism. I am not a geneticist, but your study seems biased from the get-go. Rather than utilizing a representative cross section of the Jewish populations sampled, Jews “were included only if all four grandparents came from the same Jewish community.” In other words, they sampled those most likely to provide the results they were looking to find. And then they excluded others who didn’t measure up. After all of this, their conclusions about the Ashkenazi Jews? “Along this axis, Europeans were closest to Ashkenazi Jews, followed by Sephardic, Italian, Syrian, and Middle Eastern Jews.” Which tells you what? Human beings share a lot of common DNA. And I seriously doubt that Askenazi genetic researchers will ever claim that Askenazi Jews are genetically closer to Ethiopian Jews that to European non-Jews. Why don’t you check it out?

        Getting back to the basic issue, European Jews had no right to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians natives to the land. The Torah/Bible is metaphysical mythology. And this biased genetic research is primarily evidence of racism similar to the Nazis. Blood and soil nationalism is a racist construct to the core. And Zionism is a response to changes in the political economy, not some 2000 year old longing.

      • Mooser
        November 24, 2017, 6:05 pm

        “Jerry Hirsch”, why are you trying to convince people Jews are the most in-bred people in history? There’s no reward for that.

    • RoHa
      November 17, 2017, 1:59 am

      “Do the Jews have a right to their own state in their indigenous homeland?”

      No. No ethnic/religious/occupation/hobby group has per se a right to a state anywhere.

      Insofar as any group can have a right to a state in a particular territory, that group is all the people normally and legitimately resident in that territory. This does not imply that such a group automatically does have a right to a state in the territory.

      • hophmi
        November 17, 2017, 12:06 pm

        “No ethnic/religious/occupation/hobby group has per se a right to a state anywhere.”

        Says the guy who lives in the country of Australia, who successfully perpetrated a genocide against its indigenous population in the world where there are literally dozens of Muslim states.

        Oh well. Much easier to persecute the Jews the West hounded out than to take responsibility for your own country’s crimes.

      • Mooser
        November 17, 2017, 2:18 pm

        “Says the guy who lives in the country of Australia, who successfully perpetrated…”

        “RoHa” has never, ever claimed there was some kind of “right” to commit that genocide.

        You, “Hophmi”, seem very concerned that Israel should get all the genocide it has a “right” to.

      • John O
        November 17, 2017, 4:24 pm

        @hophmi

        And Muslim states have what exactly to do with the colonisation of Australia?

      • RoHa
        November 17, 2017, 6:55 pm

        “No ethnic/religious/occupation/hobby group has per se a right to a state anywhere.”

        ‘Says the guy who lives in the country of Australia, ‘

        Irrelevant. If it is true, it does not matter who says it.

        “who successfully perpetrated a genocide against its indigenous population ”

        Irrelevant. Australian crimes do not give ethnic groups a right to a state.

        “in the world where there are literally dozens of Muslim states.”

        Irrelevant. The number of Muslim states does not give ethnic, etc., groups a right to a state.

        “Much easier to persecute the Jews the West hounded out than to take responsibility for your own country’s crimes.”

        Irrelevant. Neither my attempts to persecute Jews (not easy at all) nor my alleged evasion of responsibility give ethnic, etc., groups a right to a state.

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 18, 2017, 1:56 am

        RoHa, since the Arabs conquered the land of Israel in the 7th century, their descendents, the Palestinian Arabs by your definition are not legitimate residents. What should we do with them?

      • Donald Johnson
        November 18, 2017, 11:20 am

        If the 7th Century conquerors expelled any of the local residents, they should be allowed back in. This is going to be tricky, going back dozens of generations and trying to figure out exactly whose ancestors were involved and how compensation should be awarded. It’s going to be even worse going back to the various atrocities described in the Bible and figuring out who should get what. And many of the residents probably stayed in place, maybe converting to new religions.

        This reference to things which happened 1300 and over 2000 years ago is so exactly like the Palestinian issue. I mean, who could even tell who had Palestinian ancestors in the distant days of 1948, 1967, or yesterday?

        Btw, the logic of your position is one of two things. The first is that people with some sort of claim should be allowed to live in Palestine, no matter how far back in time it might be. So you support a Palestinian right of return and a democratic one state solution for everybody. The other possibility is that you mean one particular group has exclusive claim to the land. Gosh, I wonder which it is?

      • RoHa
        November 18, 2017, 5:44 pm

        “RoHa, since the Arabs conquered the land of Israel in the 7th century, their descendents, the Palestinian Arabs by your definition are not legitimate residents. ”

        The Palestinians are mostly descendants of the people who lived in Palestine before the Arab conquest. They are called Arabs because they took to speaking Arabic.

        But aside from that, I haven’t given a firm definition of “legitimate residents”.

      • MHughes976
        November 19, 2017, 10:12 am

        I think that Spain decided a few years back to offer citizenship to any descendant of the Jewish people expelled in the days of the Catholic Kings. This became difficult to do meaningfully, partly because there can be on,y a few who can prove beyond question that they are qualified and partly because the number of people who actually have at least one relevant ancestor must be enormous and would include many whose families have not practised Judaism for centuries.
        My idea – don’t know what RoHa would think of this – of a legitimate resident is someone living in a country and contributing to its economy/political life or qualifying for a place in its social security system. This would be so provided that the person is not reasonably regarded as having destructively superior loyalties elsewhere or as having entered illegally or violently in circumstances not yet resolved by treaty, amnesty or the general consensus of humanity. I’d add people in anomalous situations whose expulsion could not be contemplated humanely.

      • catalan
        November 19, 2017, 1:18 pm

        “I think that Spain decided a few years back to offer citizenship to any descendant of the Jewish people expelled in the days of the Catholic Kings. This became difficult to do meaningfully…,” mhughes
        It is actually fairly easy to prove meaningfully for legal purposes. Here on Mondo people often engage in abstract logical acrobatics, seeking of absolute moral truths, pseudo scientific genetic debates, etc. In civil law, a much simpler standard applies, what a reasonable person would think. So I very much qualify as a Bulgarian Jew. My family name is Catalan, my grandparents spoke Ladino and it is a matter of general agreement that the Bulgarian Jewish community has Spanish origin. All this search for absolutes makes for a good logical game but in practical terms everyone knows who is a Sephardic Jew. I didn’t take advantage of the offer because by the time it was made I was already an American citizen. But were I to go to the Spanish embassy, they would immediately understand the heart of the matter. My religion is of no consequence in this, it’s just a thing you know in your gut. As a philosopher you tend to seek complexity when none is needed.

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 19, 2017, 2:20 pm

        RoHa,

        “The Palestinians are mostly descendants of the people who lived in Palestine before the Arab conquest. They are called Arabs because they took to speaking Arabic.”

        Do you have evidence of that? You do realize that Rome and it’s successor, the Byzantine Empire had colonized the land for over 600 years. It was then a Greco-Roman province with a Jewish minority.

        Genetic evidence also shows the Palestinian Arabs to be in the same gene pool as the Saudi Arabians, just as would be expected by the historical evidence of the Arab expansion during that time period.

        https://qph.ec.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-e7274c91049cad57c0e84d13dbe831d7-c

      • RoHa
        November 19, 2017, 9:11 pm

        That looks like at least a good start to pinning down the notion of a legitimate resident, though I think there are probably a few ways of being a legitimate resident.

        Income tax offices usually have a few ideas about residency. Of course, they want to extend it as far as they can.

        https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/International-tax-for-individuals/Work-out-your-tax-residency/

        (And perhaps you could favour Jerry Hirsch with your ideas about group rights.)

      • Mooser
        November 20, 2017, 12:08 pm

        .” So I very much qualify as a Bulgarian Jew. “ “Catalan”

        I agree. Your conversion to the Universalist-Unitarian Church, and your disparagement of Jewish “priests” can be dismissed as a youthful indiscretion.

    • Mooser
      November 17, 2017, 11:29 am

      “…their indigenous homeland?”

      ROTFLMSJAO. Hey “Jerry”, as only one example, think how big the African diaspora is. Some reason why we are owed what they aren’t?

    • Mooser
      November 17, 2017, 11:59 am

      “Phil, what is your opinion?Do the Jews have a right to their own state in their indigenous homeland?” “Jerry Hirsch”

      Uh-oh! Mondo is toast. “Jerry Hirsch” knows the power, the irresistible power, the validity and the power inherent in the words “indigenous homeland”. Once you get them singing “This lovely land is mine”, you’ve got ’em.

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 18, 2017, 2:18 am

        Mooser, the evidence proving the Jew’s 3,000 year habitation of the land of Israel has been thoroughly documented. Your feeble attempt at humor does nothing to disprove it.

      • Keith
        November 18, 2017, 11:17 am

        JERRY HIRSCH- “Mooser, the evidence proving the Jew’s 3,000 year habitation of the land of Israel has been thoroughly documented.”

        There are two problems with your claim. First, it isn’t true. The Ashkenazi Jews who founded Zionism had zero physical association with Palestine. Second, your statement reeks of the “Blood and Soil” ideology that motivated Nazi Germany and is highly suggestive of why Zionism reminds so many of that dark past. Perhaps that explains much of current Israeli behavior?

        JERRY HIRSCH- “Your feeble attempt at humor does nothing to disprove it.”

        Jeez, and I thought that Mooser’s comment was funny! Also, he highlights your hasbara attempt to label Eastern European Jews as “indigenous” to Palestine. Typical Zionist dishonesty and yet another example of why meaningful discussion is simply not possible with you guys.

      • Mooser
        November 18, 2017, 2:00 pm

        “Mooser, the evidence proving the Jew’s 3,000 year habitation of the land of Israel has been thoroughly documented.”

        A land inhabited by large grey creatures carrying trunks, a herd of irrelevance.

      • lyn117
        November 18, 2017, 8:41 pm

        @Jerry Hirsh

        So what if a small minority of the population of “the land of Israel”* remained Jewish and continued to live in Palestine for the last 2000 years (Judaism didn’t exist 3000 years ago), while everyone else in the place converted to Christianity or Islam or some other sect? It does not give Jews from Europe any claim to “the land of Israel”* or any right to expel the vast majority of people who had lived there for up to 10000 years, simply because their ancestors had converted to another non-Jewish religion.

        *If by “the land of Israel” you mean the mythical place described in the bible, if it ever existed, it hasn’t existed for well over 2000 years because the tribe of Israel (if it ever existed) hasn’t existed for well over 2000 years. If you mean the present-day “land of Israel,” meaning the state of Israel’s defined territory, that didn’t exist until 1948. So either way, your claim that Jews have existed in the “land of Israel” for 3000 years is just zionist mythology.

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 19, 2017, 2:28 pm

        Keith,

        “The Ashkenazi Jews who founded Zionism had zero physical association with Palestine”.

        Genetic evidence says otherwise.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3032072

      • Annie Robbins
        November 27, 2017, 1:42 pm

        Genetic evidence says otherwise

        iow, your 2010 link says otherwise, but here’s another interesting 2017 link from frontiers in genetics that misterioso linked to (here: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/11/legitimacy-mentions-jerusalem/comment-page-1/#comment-898353 ). i recommend:

        https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fgene.2017.00087/full

        p.s. jerry, i noticed you failed to respond to my comment challenging you on your “thoroughly debunked” allegation.

      • eljay
        November 20, 2017, 9:12 am

        || Jerry Hirsch: … the evidence proving the Jew’s 3,000 year habitation of the land of Israel has been thoroughly documented. … ||

        People living in geographic Palestine (there is no “land of Israel”) have held all sorts of identities throughout the millennia, including Jewish (or, if you prefer, “the Jew”). This does not grant to either…
        – the inhabitants of geographic Palestine; or
        – citizens of homelands all over the world who share similar identities,
        …the right to establish one or more supremacist states in geographic Palestine.

    • hophmi
      November 17, 2017, 12:08 pm

      According to Phil, they don’t even have the right to hold powerful positions in American society unless they’re willing to put up with antisemitic attitudes like his.

      • John O
        November 17, 2017, 4:28 pm

        @hophmi

        Citations? Examples? Hyperlinks? Evidence?

      • JWalters
        November 17, 2017, 8:52 pm

        Your calling Phil “anti-Semitic” is supported by no evidence, and is a slanderous slur. The anti-Zionist Jews are ultimately saving the reputation of the Jewish community from being thoroughly trashed by the ignorant arrogance of the Zionist Jews.

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2017, 4:53 pm

        “Citations? Examples? Hyperlinks? Evidence?”

        “Hophmi” gives us all the evidence here, in his diagnosis of Phil’s Jewish self-hatred,, which gave us a chance to understand Phil’s affliction, even tho we must condemn it.

    • Peter in SF
      November 18, 2017, 5:22 am

      Jerry, your question “Do the Jews have a right to their own state in their indigenous homeland?” essentially asks Phil whether or not he agrees with Jewish blood-and-soil nationalism, which Bret Stephens says Zionism is not. So if Phil answers “yes” to the question, does that mean he must not be a Zionist?

  6. Emory Riddle
    November 16, 2017, 6:27 pm

    I see comments on the similarities between white nationalism and Zionism are verboten here on MW.

    • Citizen
      November 16, 2017, 9:55 pm

      Hey Riddle, type in “richard spencer” in the Mondoweiss search box

  7. yonah fredman
    November 16, 2017, 10:11 pm

    Bret Stephens, despite his NYT bullhorn, is not trying to influence the Democratic Party; he is trying to influence Israel supporters and dissuade them from being chums with Steve Bannon. He is saying, You (Israel supporters) and I are on the same side, we both support Israel’s right to exist (with all that it implies), that still does not allow you to associate with Steve Bannon. The right wing is just as dangerous as the left wing. (he is talking to those who agree with him regarding the left wing.)

    • Donald Johnson
      November 17, 2017, 12:24 am

      That’s true—Stephens represents the neocons and mainstream Republican warmongers ( I am not being snarky there) and they don’t trust Trump or the alt right. They don’t trust Trump because he is unstable. Even warmongers want someone stable in charge. They don’t like the alt right because they tend to be antisemites.

      And yes, he is talking to people who think you can’t support Palestinian rights unless you are an antisemite.

    • Mooser
      November 17, 2017, 11:25 am

      “The right wing is just as dangerous as the left wing.” “yonah”

      Oy gevalt, such a challenge it must be for Israel, to stick with its moderate, middle-of-the-road course, with both lefties and rightniks trying to drive it into the ditch.

    • Philip Weiss
      November 17, 2017, 1:40 pm

      he’s in the nyt, a generally liberal publication. this just shows how liberal zionism and rightwing zionism are two sides of the same coin. today jeremy burton of jcrc decries antisemitism of right and left, just like Bret. PS David Brooks calls himself a classic liberal.

  8. LHunter
    November 16, 2017, 10:33 pm

    Nothing clever about Bret Stephens or his argument.

    JVP and Linda and her lot are demanding equal rights for all regardless of race, religion ……..
    Zionists and Bannon are not making any such demands

    Thankfully the world is tiring of convoluted “clever” arguments or slick marketing / PR campaigns all aimed to deceive / dupe the audience.

    If you believe the life of a Palestinian is less valuable than the life of a Jew you are a racist pig. If not, what choice do you have other than to support equal rights for Palestinians in Israel or anywhere else.

  9. Qualtrough
    November 16, 2017, 10:53 pm

    Eliminate Israel as a Jewish state? He says that as if that is a bad thing? What’s so bad about the goal of an Israel that truly treats all resident within its borders as equal under the law, regardless of religion?

  10. Marnie
    November 16, 2017, 11:32 pm

    Bret Stephens is only good at advertising his white privilege 24/7 and tops it off with his jewish privilege. He makes me ill. However, the more he talks the more he sounds like Steve Bannon or Richard Spencer, so I’d agree that there’s no sunlight between white nationalism and zionism. He’s talking loud and saying nothing, like someone else.

    • hophmi
      November 17, 2017, 12:09 pm

      So we’re allowing violent memes directed toward Jewish writers here now, I see.

      • RoHa
        November 17, 2017, 10:21 pm

        Would you object to violent memes being directed towards non-Jewish writers?

      • Marnie
        November 19, 2017, 12:48 am

        Bret Stephens is a writer? And is there more than one of him? And all this time I just thought he was a very unsuccessful comedian.

  11. Marnie
    November 16, 2017, 11:43 pm

    Substitute white nationalist with zionist – it works without a hitch.

    • hophmi
      November 17, 2017, 12:10 pm

      Amazing, Marnie, that you would post a clip of a white nationalist rally where the marchers said “The Jews will not replace us” to exhibit your violent antisemitic attitude.

      Why is Mondoweiss such a magnet for degenerate antisemites?

      • Marnie
        November 19, 2017, 12:25 am

        Thanks hophni! Leave it to you to miss the entire point.

      • Jerry Hirsch
        November 19, 2017, 2:37 pm

        hophmi, excellent point!

      • Marnie
        November 20, 2017, 9:10 am

        hophni delivers another scathing cry of antisemitism (323 results found) and you back him up with the power of a steaming bowl of milquetoast. Way to go team ZioS#%$! BDS doesn’t stand a chance against the two of youse!

  12. Kay24
    November 17, 2017, 6:26 am

    So who can be shocked that that Robert Melendez, that staunch supporter of an occupation, and land grabs, has got Jewish American billionaires to pay those pesky legal bills? Israel makes sure their scoundrels in Congress are well taken care of, and this is not the first time Melendez has been in hot water either.
    Ironic that an alien nation makes sure they have the right amount of votes in Congress.

    Pro-Israel Billionaires From Both Parties Aid Menendez’s Defense Fund

    “Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who was indicted in April on corruption charges, raised nearly $1.6 million for his legal defense fund in the second quarter of the year, including from some of the country’s most prominent pro-Israel billionaires, according to a disclosure report filed this week.

    Though Mr. Menendez is a Democrat, his legal fund has attracted support from political donors in both parties who take a hawkish view of Israel’s security. The New Jersey senator has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, and its often-troubled relationship with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire who is a prolific donor to Republican groups, gave $10,000 to Mr. Menendez’s legal trust, as did Mr. Adelson’s wife, Miriam, who is a physician.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/16/nyregion/pro-israel-billionaires-from-both-parties-aid-menendezs-defense-fund.html

  13. Boomer
    November 17, 2017, 7:20 am

    Thanks for reading and analyzing this crap. It’s a dirty job, and I’m not gonna do it. But it’s good that you do.

  14. john douglas
    November 17, 2017, 10:26 am

    Jerry. If the Jews of Europe are correct to include first century, Judean Jews in their “we”, and if it is correct that first century Jews were were expelled by Romans, and if a land that a “we” lived in centuries ago legitimately belongs to every present member of that “we”, and if that “we” has the legitimate right to expel the “non-we” who have lived there for centuries, then the Jews of Europe would have the right to expel the Arabs living in and around Ur, and the people of Crete would have the right to expel anyone living in and around Philistia., including any actually indigenous Jews who had made war against and expelled them.

    • Jerry Hirsch
      November 18, 2017, 2:35 am

      John, your understanding of Arab and Jewish descent is flawed. Both claim the same Father, Abraham.

  15. hophmi
    November 17, 2017, 12:03 pm

    “The Times would never dream of publishing an anti-Zionist, say Ali Abunimah, or Marc Ellis, or Jonathan Ofir, on a regular basis, to point out how badly Zionism has worked out for non-Jews in Palestine.”

    When are you going to drop this false line? There have been plenty of anti-Zionist op-eds in the NY Times in the past three years. Abunimah is quoted all the time.

    • Donald Johnson
      November 17, 2017, 1:53 pm

      There are no regular far left or antizionist columnists in the NYT. They have centrist liberals, conservatives and far right columnists like Stephens. Even apart from the Israel Palestine conflict the NYT has always been unbalanced in this fashion.

    • Mooser
      November 17, 2017, 2:29 pm

      “There have been plenty of anti-Zionist op-eds in the NY Times in the past three years.”

      But in spite of Google and the NYT’s site, none of the names or dates of those “anti-Zionist op-eds” (I.I.T.L.) occur to you?
      Certainly one of our ever-watchful Zionist organizations would have a list of them.

    • Peter in SF
      November 18, 2017, 5:43 am

      Hophmi, even if you are correct that “There have been plenty of anti-Zionist op-eds in the NY Times in the past three years”, you should know that’s not the same as “publishing an anti-Zionist, say Ali Abunimah, or Marc Ellis, or Jonathan Ofir, on a regular basis”.

      “Abunimah is quoted all the time.”
      This didn’t seem correct to me, so I looked it up and found that you’re right, he’s been quoted five times in the past three years:
      https://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch/?action=click&contentCollection&region=TopBar&WT.nav=searchWidget&module=SearchSubmit&pgtype=Homepage#/ali+abunimah/from20141117to20171117/

  16. genesto
    November 17, 2017, 1:20 pm

    My response to liberal Zionists that demand of Palestinians acknowledgement of Israel’s right to exist – meaning, of course, as a Jewish state – is simple. I ask if they would be willing to sign a document formally acknowledging the US’ right to exist as a Christian country. Of course, they would not. Then, I ask, how could you expect the same of the Palestinians, thereby formally relegating themselves to second class citizen status in the Jewish state.

    No self-respecting Palestinian nor American Jew would do either! Case closed!

    • JustJessetr
      November 17, 2017, 9:00 pm

      My guess is you would be in the same quandry if presented with a document that said Muslim states have a right to exist.

    • Jerry Hirsch
      November 18, 2017, 2:41 am

      Genesto, why the continual conflating of Judaism with Jewish identity on Mondoweiss? Jewish identity is based on ancestry, not religious beliefs.

      • Mooser
        November 18, 2017, 12:58 pm

        ” Jewish identity is based on ancestry, not religious beliefs.”

        “Proof of the Jew’s middle eastern ancestry is contained in their DNA.”

        “John, your understanding of Arab and Jewish descent is flawed. Both claim the same Father, Abraham.”

        “As a distinct ethnic group, the Jews have the right to self determination. To seek self rule in their native lands.”

      • gamal
        November 18, 2017, 5:50 pm

        “Both claim the same Father, Abraham.”

        No, we cling to Hagars’ skirt, Egyptian woman, rough handed and dark eyed.

  17. James Canning
    November 17, 2017, 1:53 pm

    Complete nonsense from Bret Stephens.

  18. Ossinev
    November 17, 2017, 2:32 pm

    @Hophmi
    “Says the guy who lives in the country of Australia, who successfully perpetrated a genocide against its indigenous population in the world where there are literally dozens of Muslim states”

    Just an obvious point but one you you may not have thought of being so engrossed in the Hasbara whataboutery script. Check your screen and you will see that we are in the year 2017.
    Not 1850 .You can double check this on your digital watch ( digital get it !!) if you so wish.

    BTW did you accidentally skip through a couple of pages in your Hasbara script whilst in the throes of whataboutery fever. WTF is the link between the 19th Century (another hint) colonisation of Australia and the fact there are “literally dozens of Muslim states” in the world.

    You should really get out more. A bit of fresh air might do you the power of good.

  19. JustJessetr
    November 17, 2017, 4:43 pm

    I think Stephens made a brilliant connection. I hope it offends you on a very deep level. Just like you hope it offends Jews in general when you equate Israel with White Nationalism.

    Here’s hoping Stephen’s comparison becomes mainstream.

  20. Atlantaiconoclast
    November 17, 2017, 11:21 pm

    The irony is that Richard Spencer has never advocated for the kind of an ethnostate that Israel has become, able to kick out the other with impunity.

    Jewish privilege prevents people from seeing how Zionism is no better than White nationalism.

    • Jerry Hirsch
      November 19, 2017, 2:50 pm

      Atlantaiconoclast, Israel has had seventy years to ethnically cleanse all the Palestinian Arabs, instead they make up 20% of their population.

      In comparison, the Arab countries of North Africa and the Middle East ethnically cleansed 99% of the Jews after 1948. What were the Arab leaders thinking? Where did they expect 850,000 Jews to settle?

  21. Kay24
    November 18, 2017, 10:58 am

    That Jared Kushner sure is working hard to achieve peace in the ME. Apparently the Trump administration, has threatened to shutter the Palestinian office in DC, if they they don’t enter into serious peace talks. No threats thrown at our buddy of course, no threats of stopping the billions in aid, or warnings about the continuation of building illegal settlement, which are detriment to any peace initiatives.
    Honest brokers eh? Once against the victims in this conflict are thrown under the bus.

    Palestinian official balking at US ‘extortion or pressure

    “The Trump administration has put the Palestinians on notice that it will shutter their office in Washington unless they’ve entered serious peace talks with Israel, U.S. officials said, potentially giving President Donald Trump more leverage as he seeks an elusive Mideast peace deal.

    The Palestinian foreign minister denounced the U.S. move as an attempt at “extortion.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/trump-administration-takes-step-closing-plo-office-51240480

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has determined that the Palestinians ran afoul of an obscure provision in a U.S. law that says the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission must close if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians. A State Department official said that in September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas crossed that line by calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis.

    • JosephA
      November 19, 2017, 10:11 am

      If only the ICC or other international organizations had the spine to investigate Israel’s crimes against humanity, and the dedication to follow through with the consequences (sanctions, criminal prosecution, etc).

      • Kay24
        November 20, 2017, 6:38 am

        Even if they had the spine, the US will block it., veto it, or threaten the other nations to not vote for it. The US keeps giving billions of dollars in aid, and the deadliest weapons, for Israel to “defend” itself from home made rockets and stones. The US is complicit in all of Israel’s crimes, including the occupation, and the land grabs. The outrage you see from the US when Israel
        announces thousands more illegal settlements is false, because US funding must be helping build squatter land, and the “outrage” is simply an act.

  22. Atlantaiconoclast
    November 19, 2017, 6:25 pm

    I wish everyone here would focus like a laser beam on Jewish privilege. Maybe then we could win for once. Jewish privilege is the only reason the Palestinians never win.

  23. JLewisDickerson
    November 20, 2017, 2:05 am

    RE: “If Israel is going to retain mainstream political support, it cannot allow itself to become the pet cause of right-wing bigots and conspiracy theorists.” ~ Stephens

    SO: Israel should not take advantage of the zealous support of “right-wing bigots and conspiracy theorists”, but it is perfectly kosher for Bret Stephens to take advantage of said “right-wing bigots and conspiracy theorists” to smear JVP. *

    * RHETORICALLY ASKED (WITH SEVERELY PURSED LIPS) : “Well, isn’t that special?”** (frequently followed by “How con-VEEN-ient!”)

    ** ANSWER: I’d say its more like “too clever by half”, Church Lady.***

    *** WIKTIONARY:

    ■ too clever by half – https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/too_clever_by_half
    English
    Adjective
    too clever by half
    (idiomatic, of a person, plan, theory, etc.) Shrewd but flawed by overthinking or excessive complexity, with a resulting tendency to be unreliable or unsuccessful.
    ▲ quotations
    • 1890, Henry James, chapter 47, in The Tragic Muse:
    [H]e had a damnable suppleness and a gift of immediate response, a readiness to oblige, that made him seem to take up causes which he really left lying, enabled him to learn enough about them in an hour to have all the air of having converted them to his use. . . . He was at all events too clever by half, since this pernicious overflow had wrecked most of his attempts.
    • 1914, E. W. Hornung, chapter 8, in The Crime Doctor:
    The poor devil was too clever by half, and made a big mistake for each of his strokes of genius.
    • 1993 March 21, Robert Dallek, “Roosevelt Unbound,” New York Times (retrieved 26 July 2012):
    Historians generally agree that Roosevelt was too clever by half, and that he miscalculated badly in assuming that he had the political muscle to alter the size of the Court.
    • 2011 April 28, David Prosser, “Did Barclays’ own executives see the bank coming?,” The Independent (UK) (retrieved 26 July 2012):
    Still, the thing about being just a little too clever by half is that it tends to catch up with you.

    P.S. (I.E., PARTING SHOT)
    RE: “How con-VEEN-ient!”
    QUERY: Cognitive dissonance much, Bret?

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