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Portman’s move puts pressure on liberal Zionists to take a stand

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It’s hardly surprising that rightwing Israel supporters are hurling invective at Natalie Portman for her refusal to attend a prize ceremony in Israel because Prime Minister Netanyahu was to share the stage, and she is distressed by Israeli “atrocities” in Gaza. The Israeli-born actress has betrayed the Jewish “family.” She is aiding anti-Semites. She  has “absurd, uninformed, inaccurate, dangerous views on Israel”– Portman, who helped Alan Dershowitz write The Case for Israel 15 years ago and recently directed a movie of an Amos Oz novel.

More interesting is the divide among liberal Zionists over Portman’s decision to boycott the ceremony. Jane Eisner of the Forward accuses Portman of seeking to “salve her conscience” and “escape social opprobrium” by turning away from the country, rather than engaging it by going to the ceremony and speaking her mind.

Eisner’s concern is that Portman has given permission to other liberal Zionists, who have been weathering “social opprobrium” in leftwing circles because of their support for Israel, to turn away.

That is the real impact of Portman’s bravery; she has put pressure on other liberal Zionists who are critical of the Netanyahu government to take action against him. No wonder her move has been embraced by many on her left who support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Ron Kampeas reports at JTA that Portman’s action “has resonated like no similar statement in decades.” And though the Israeli government is going haywire, with ministers accusing Portman of borderline anti-Semitism, liberal Zionists feel that there is hope for a leftwing Jewish nationalism after all.

Jill Jacobs, the director of T’ruah, a rabbinical human rights groups, said Portman provided relief from the squeeze that liberal Zionists feel from both sides.

Debra Shushan of Peace Now enthuses that Portman has renewed the left in Israel politically:

““While the far left and right are bent on mischaracterizing Portman’s stance as BDS, we take her at her word. Natalie Portman is more dangerous [to Netanyahu] than the BDS movement because she can’t be dismissed as an anti-Zionist Israel hater.”

But other liberal Zionists are plainly uncomfortable with Portman’s stance because it isolates Israel. Jane Eisner’s advice — swallow your outrage and stand up to Netanyahu personally — is indistinguishable from neoconservative Josh Block (link) or “progressive” Hen Mazzig.

Jerry Haber writes at Facebook that Portman will sort out the real liberal Zionists from the pretenders:

[T]he real split that is occurring is not between liberal Zionists and leftwing anti-Zionists — that’s old news — but between liberal Zionists and liberal Zionists. We may start talking soon about the Portman litmus test, If you are critical of the Occupation but disturbed by Portman’s cancellation because of how it may be interpreted by others, then you qualify as a illiberal liberal Zionist. If, however, you are cheering her decision lustily and don’t give a hoot for the interpretations, you qualify as a truly liberal Zionist. Or: if you condemn unequivocally the IDF’s conduct in Gaza over the last few week, then you are truly a liberal Zionist. If, on the other hand, you are uncomfortable about the conduct but don’t like others outside the tribe criticizing it, you are an illiberal liberal Zionist. 

So Portman is setting the bar for other liberal Zionists, to actually strike a blow against Israeli atrocities. Mairav Zonszein:

Just imagine the possibilities if more and more famous and privileged Israelis and American Jews refused merely to cooperate with the racist and violent leadership

I imagine that the pressure is most intense on centrists like Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street. He has to cover both flanks, the Jane Eisner/Tzipi Livni diehard Zionist flank, and all the young Jews in his organization who are clamoring for real pressure on Israel. He has been only mildly critical of the Gaza shootings. Now he supports Portman even as he seems to want her to engage openly with the Israeli government:

Natalie Portman has every right to listen to her conscience and express her concerns when it comes to the current policies and direction of Israel and its government — concerns that are shared by so many American Jews and supporters of Israel around the world.

Instead of responding to her decision with indignation, Israeli officials and supporters of Israel should respect this right and encourage Portman to speak out openly and honestly.

Further, they should think seriously about why a prominent and proud Israeli-American might be so distressed by the situation in Israel today

Another centrist, Michael Koplow of the Israel Policy Forum, expresses keen sympathy with Portman as a lover-of-Israel; and warns the country’s leaders, you aint seen nothin yet.

There is this incorrect notion among many Israelis that American Jews who are turned off from Israel either are inveterate Israel haters, or are so disconnected from Israel and Judaism that it doesn’t really matter… The Natalie Portman saga is the ultimate cautionary tale, because it demonstrates just how wrong this is…

If the Israeli govt thinks this will just go away, or it can just be waited out, and that there will be no longterm consequences for its relationship with American Jewry or for American support for Israel, then they are ostriches with their heads in the sand

Zack Beauchamp sees the same future. At Vox, he observes that the tensions between young liberal American Jews and Israel are “boiling over.”

This is why prominent Israeli politicians — who are, notably, right-wing — have called for her citizenship to be stripped, or tried to marginalize her as somehow anti-Semitic. They worry, not without cause, that she’s a harbinger of future conflict between Israel and its most important international ally…

So long as Israel continues its rightward drift, incidents like this will almost certainly become more and more common.

I would go further and say that recent events– Gaza, the Jerusalem embassy, and the jailing of Ahed Tamimi for eight months for slapping a soldier — have caused many young American Jews to want out of Zionism. At J Street I heard such a person call for “delegitimization” of the idea of a Jewish state. By taking action, and risking a lot personally by doing so, Portman will inspire a lot of these young people to confront the so-called leaders of the Jewish community. Once again, the non-Zionist group IfNotNow is leading the liberal pressure inside that community.

 

About Philip Weiss

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

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87 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    April 25, 2018, 5:29 pm

    ” Jane Eisner of the Forward is upset. She accuses Portman of seeking to “salve her conscience” and “escape social opprobrium” by turning away from the country, rather than engaging it by going to the ceremony and speaking her mind.”

    Eisner wants Portman to act like a (good, obedient child of Israel (in this case confounding the State with the People so to speak) and not act like a good and principled citizen of the world. Eisner wants the I/P mess to be and remain a problem for Jews alone — ignoring the Palestinians of course.

    Portman says that Israel (and herself) exist within the greater world, and that greater world matters, and Israel better get with the world’s program. Eisner says, no, no, no, Israel need only get with its own program.

    All of which shows us how unlovely tribalism can be, and suppose Germany had NOT lost WWII, what then? Would the completion of the holocaust, in that case, have been hunky-dunky? But Israel means to win in the I/P and so far it is winning, hands down.

  2. Yonah Fredman
    April 25, 2018, 5:37 pm

    Liberal Zionist Americans are the particularly group that is under scrutiny. Apparently, if members of this group do not openly condemn Israel in the sharpest terms for its handling of the situation with Gaza, then people like Jerry Haber are going to confiscate from them the right to call themselves liberal Zionists. Which of course is “silly”.

    Is Jane Eisner a liberal Zionist? Actually she’s not, because of her position at the Forward she must play referee between various emotions and pulls and she is trying to satisfy as many people as possible at once.

    If one opposes the occupation but winces when they see “If not now” with its protests, does that make that person no longer a liberal zionist? Does the knowledge that the status quo has sunk its roots deep into the reality to the point where Abbie Hoffman tactics raise questions rather than seem to offer a path to the future, in other words conservativism regarding street theater, does that make them no longer allowed to call themselves by the name liberal?

    There are many in the liberal zionist camp who feel that BDS is a worse threat than the occupation, who see those who hold hands with Omar Barghouti as adversaries and enemies, does a worldview that includes pessimism regarding the utility of alliances with such people, does that mean they can’t be called liberal?

    • Donald Johnson
      April 25, 2018, 9:01 pm

      “There are many in the liberal zionist camp who feel that BDS is a worse threat than the occupation, who see those who hold hands with Omar Barghouti as adversaries and enemies, does a worldview that includes pessimism regarding the utility of alliances with such people, does that mean they can’t be called liberal?”

      They can be called anything. All sorts of people call themselves “ liberal” these days. But if someone actually thinks BDS is a worse threat than the occupation, they obviously have contempt for Palestinian rights. If they can’t condemn the killing of unarmed protestors in sharp terms, then they have no respect for Palestinian lives. But sure, they can call themselves liberal if they want.

    • Annie Robbins
      April 25, 2018, 11:45 pm

      yonah, dershowitz calls himself a liberal. heck, tons of people call themselves liberals. clearly, the action of calling for a boycott, or not purchasing a product that entrenches the occupation even further, doesn’t bother you as much as generations of people with no rights, snipers targeting and killing people with no punishment whatsoever. people living with 3-4 hours of water a day if that, children getting picked up in the middle of the night, tortured and imprisoned and the list goes on. but heck, it makes you feel warm inside to refer to yourself as liberal. i could care less if, like dershowitz, you want to call yourself a liberal yonah.

      then people like Jerry Haber are going to confiscate from them the right to call themselves liberal Zionists. Which of course is “silly”.

      i’ll tell you what’s silly — thinking calling yourself liberal is a “right” that could be “confiscated”. there’s no right to it, people self identify however they want. which doesn’t mean much if other people think you’re a hypocrite, or an illiberal liberal (what harber said).

      a loose definition of liberal is “open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.”

      wrt israel, and zionism, what “new behavior” are you open towards? what traditional value do you discard? how you define yourself has no meaning for me if it’s in contradiction to my experience of you, you can’t make other people accept your definition as their truth. iow a person can claim they are loving provider as they beat their wife. they might believe it, their wife might even believe it, but what i will see is a wife beater.

      • RoHa
        April 26, 2018, 1:26 am

        But will you see a liberal wife beater?

      • Maghlawatan
        April 26, 2018, 9:16 am

        When did you start to beat your wife liberally?

      • Yonah Fredman
        April 26, 2018, 3:52 pm

        In 2003 the geneva initiative was signed by yossi beilin and yasser abed rabbo, Palestinians who agree to this initiative are widely regarded as traitors. Jewish Zionists or israelis who agree to this are widely regarded as fools by the mainstream of Zionism.

        I accept the beilin abed rabbo pact. I accept the offer of ehud olmert as well. (i believe the beilin abed rabbo pact is slightly more generous to the palestinians than the olmert offer and the olmert offer was a take it or leave it kind of offer, whereas the beilin offer was offered by a nongovernment private citizen)

        i do not fault abu mazen for the failure of the peace process since 2008, but instead fault netanyahu.

        my zionism is practical and practically speaking the occupation is a major problem.

        since the status quo is opposed by yossi beilin, i assume backing the yossi beilin pact is a “new behavior”.

        i favor talking to hamas so as to establish a modus vivendi regarding gaza. I see that as doable. I do not regard the west bank as easily solved as this modus vivendi with gaza that i favor. this is not the status quo. this would be a new behavior.

        I would add that when i talk openly to the right wing (and “centrists”) of my family they regard me with suspicion and decide not to discuss politics with me because i am too dovish and they wish to avoid screaming at the friday night table. when i communicate with many of the characters here in the mw comments section, i do not reveal my dovish side, but reveal my support for traditional values: as in: the survival of Israel as a Jewish state.

      • eljay
        April 26, 2018, 5:02 pm

        || Yonah Fredman: … I would add that when i talk openly to the right wing (and “centrists”) of my family they regard me with suspicion and decide not to discuss politics with me because i am too dovish and they wish to avoid screaming at the friday night table. when i communicate with many of the characters here in the mw comments section, i do not reveal my dovish side, but reveal my support for traditional values: as in: the survival of Israel as a Jewish state. ||

        Whether it’s “right wing”, “centrist”, “dovish” or “traditional values*”, Zionism is all about Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine.
        ________________
        (*I wasn’t aware that traditional Jewish values included supremacism, territorial greed, colonialism and (war) criminal behaviour. You learn something new every day.)

      • Mooser
        April 26, 2018, 5:34 pm

        “I would add that when i talk openly to the right wing (and “centrists”) of my family they regard me with suspicion and decide not to discuss politics with me because….”

        “Yonah” is fighting a battle of wills, and doesn’t want to lose a battle, let alone the war.

      • gamal
        April 26, 2018, 5:38 pm

        “i am too dovish and they wish to avoid screaming at the friday night table. when i communicate with many of the characters here in the mw comments section, i do not reveal my dovish side, but reveal my support for traditional values: as in: the survival of Israel as a Jewish state”

        you might find gender fluidity less exhausting, you man of many guises, you hustler of “traditional values” to the vicious avantgard, you manage to convey your pathology really vividly.

      • Yonah Fredman
        April 26, 2018, 9:44 pm

        gamal- 1. i sometimes wonder what my zionism would be like if a branch of my family had not survived WWII being saved by zionism. i had four grandparents: one grandfather’s family reached america intact. one grandmother lost everyone. a second grandmother lost only a mother and two half siblings, a second grandfather only lost one brother due to his other siblings and parents moving to palestine, which was made possible by zionism.

        2. I was raised very zionistic. i could have been a settler. missed it by about half a foot.

        3. some of my favorite moments have been in jerusalem and if someone told me i would never see jerusalem again it would be a real blow.

        4. i imagine if there had been no zionism that the jews would have been an excellent ally for the muslim arab diaspora. this might just be imagination and it can never be proven.

      • gamal
        April 26, 2018, 10:14 pm

        you ever heard of Kisa Gautami, shit has gone down will continue to go down why be a prisoner of it,

        honestly you surprised me, you a funny guy but i don’t doubt your anguish that at least is apparent in all you write, but what is the Zionism of Jew who doesn’t live in Israel?

        I am always impressed when someone refuses to be provoked well done really you take care, you self tormenting nutter, take care of yourself don’t punish it.

      • RoHa
        April 26, 2018, 10:38 pm

        Maghlawatan, I don’t beat my wife liberally. Any beating I do is logical, grammatical, and socialist.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

        “some of my favorite moments have been in jerusalem and if someone told me i would never see jerusalem again it would be a real blow.:

        You would make a very poor Palestinian refugee, Yonah.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2018, 12:29 pm

        ” but what is the Zionism of Jew who doesn’t live in Israel?”

        To Israel, it’s everything. The political and financial support of Zionists in the diaspora is critical to Israel.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2018, 12:34 pm

        “some of my favorite moments have been in jerusalem and if someone told me i would never see jerusalem again it would be a real blow” ‘yonah”

        Gee, “yonah”, if Jerusalem was an international open city, like it was supposed to be, what would prevent you from visiting? It would be a tremendous tourist and pilgrimage attraction.

    • eljay
      April 26, 2018, 8:43 am

      || Yonah Fredman: … There are many in the liberal zionist camp who feel that BDS is a worse threat than the occupation … ||

      Well, duh. There isn’t a single Zionist – “liberal” or otherwise – who wants to see an end to Jewish supremacism in/and a religion supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel. Ending the occupation poses no threat; BDS – with its call for RoR and full equality for all Israelis – does.

    • LHunter
      April 27, 2018, 7:13 pm

      It’s really amazing – strike that – startling that intelligent people are arguing over the extent that someone is a racist while the very group they proclaim to belong to is murdering innocents. Put another way, instead of doing all they can (Zionist Jews) to prevent death and torture of innocents by Zionist Jews they are preoccupied with the scale or depth or commitment or slant each ZionistJew has to Zionism. It’s really quite maddening.

      Let’s think this through using Nazis instead of Zionists – can you even imagine being part of or listening to or reading about a conversation/discussion between Nazis during the holocaust about whether certain Nazis are liberal or centrist or illiberal without wanting to shout out – who cares, youre all racist pigs!!!!!

      • Maghlawatan
        April 28, 2018, 3:13 am

        Great call. Cognitive dissonance is at the core of Zionism. Anyone who DARES to object to the murder of women and children is classified as a “Jew hater”. This strategy means criticism is taboo. It means dissent and alternative views are verboten. It means impunity. It means there are no limits. It means Zionism cannot self correct. And ultimately it will mean collapse .

      • echinococcus
        April 28, 2018, 4:10 am

        … instead of doing all they can (Zionist Jews) to prevent death and torture of innocents by Zionist Jews they are preoccupied with the scale or depth or commitment or slant each ZionistJew has to Zionism. It’s really quite maddening

        Maddening? Why, this is exactly what they are supposed to do. They are Zionists, so they are supposed to support “death and torture of innocents” (and divers other means to the same ends), not “prevent” that. Their bitching about who does better the “death and torture of innocents” is perfectly logical. Looks like it’s time, my friend, to shed unfounded delusions about the residual humanity of Zionists.

      • LHunter
        April 29, 2018, 10:08 am

        Maghlawatan – hypocrisy or cognitive dissonance – perhaps both.

        echi – I may be delusional – I keep thinking I can reason Zionists away from Zionism – point out the glaring hypocrisies to reveal their racist views – I’m starting to think this is futile.

      • echinococcus
        April 29, 2018, 12:42 pm

        Hunter,

        If Zionists were amenable to reason, i.e. able to put logic before dumb emotion, they would not be Zionists. That’s why one must hit them where it really hurts: the emotional shock might either pull them away or make them suicidal.

  3. Philip Weiss
    April 25, 2018, 8:57 pm

    There are many in the liberal zionist camp who feel that BDS is a worse threat than the occupation — Yonah
    I’m not a liberal Zionist, but I’d ask IfNotNow and J St U and Peter Beinart this question. I think they’d all say: the occupation. If you really think the answer is BDS, no– I don’t see how you can call yourself a liberal.

    • Yonah Fredman
      April 25, 2018, 11:52 pm

      To Donald Johnson and also Phil Weiss:
      Is Efraim Halevy a liberal Zionist? https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/MAGAZINE-a-former-spy-chief-is-calling-on-israelis-to-revolt-1.5444271
      He talks pragmatism, what i like to call game theory, not liberalism.

      I agree that attention to BDS as a battle to be waged rather than attention to the occupation as the struggle of our generation is as good as any an indication of what one’s priorities are in their Zionism. But you seem a bit doctrinaire, regarding a doctrine that is not yours.

      I think that each liberal zionist expresses himself (herself) based upon a level of knowledge plus experience negotiating social circles of agreement and disagreement. You would condemn him because of his illiberal position, but in fact because he is to the left of his community, he has arrived at his point of view through thought and independence and even though much of his position still reflects his social circle, to the degree that he defies his social circle, this political stance has been hard won.
      Maybe he is of no use to your cause unless he speaks in the exact tone that you demand. But just in terms of curiosity if not in terms of communication, there is a lack in such a demand.

      • Donald Johnson
        April 26, 2018, 8:48 am

        No time to read your link right now, Yonah, but I have long noticed that there is a very wide range of people who call themselves liberal Zionists. The basic definition is that they say they favor a 2ss. But on one extreme this is just lip service and they wouldn’t lift a finger to inconvenience any Israeli not even the most rabid settler. At the other extreme you have people who condemn Israel’s behavior as harshly as this blog does and who favor boycotts, but still think a 2ss is best so they are still Zionists. And there is everything in between.

        That is just an observation anyone can make whatever one’s own stance happens to be.

      • eljay
        April 26, 2018, 8:56 am

        || Yonah Fredman: … I think that each liberal zionist expresses himself (herself) based upon a level of knowledge plus experience negotiating social circles of agreement and disagreement. You would condemn him because of his illiberal position, but in fact because he is to the left of his community, he has arrived at his point of view through thought and independence and even though much of his position still reflects his social circle, to the degree that he defies his social circle, this political stance has been hard won. … ||

        I surprised to see you risking the wrath of your fellow Zionists with your bold assertion that moderate – or “liberal” – anti-Semitism is acceptable as long as the anti-Semite has “arrived at his point of view through thought and independence and even though much of his position still reflects his social circle”.

  4. Citizen
    April 26, 2018, 6:06 am

    Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, now in Palestine – Mondoweiss https://shar.es/1LNTXq

  5. JLewisDickerson
    April 26, 2018, 6:55 am

    RE: “then you qualify as a illiberal liberal Zionist.” ~ Haber (who is a very good writer)

    MY QUESTION: Why would you not qualify as an (as opposed to ‘a’) illiberal liberal Zionist?

    Illiberal democracy
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ~
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illiberal_democracy
    An illiberal democracy, also called a partial democracy, low intensity democracy, empty democracy, or hybrid regime,[1] is a governing system in which, although elections take place, citizens are cut off from knowledge about the activities of those who exercise real power because of the lack of civil liberties. . .

    The Rule is Not “A” Before Consonants and “An” Before Vowels
    By: Brian A. Klems | July 27, 2012

    Many people adhere to a belief that you use the article “a” before words that begin with consonants and “an” before words that begin with vowels. But that isn’t the rule, and it’s important to avoid this rookie mistake before turning over your manuscript to agents and editors.

    The real rule is this: You use the article “a” before words that start with a consonant sound and “an” before words that start with a vowel sound. For example, He has a unique point of view on the subject and talked about it for an hour. The “u” in “unique” makes the “Y” sound—a consonant sound—therefore you use “a” as your article, while the “h” in “hour” sounds like it starts with “ow”—a vowel sound.

    SOURCE – http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/a-before-consonants-and-an-before-vowels-is-not-the-rule

  6. CigarGod
    April 26, 2018, 10:09 am

    Liberal is about as meaningless as Progressive.
    Progressive Except Palestine is the same as Liberal Except Palestine.
    Liberal Except Anti-war.
    Liberal Except Black Lives Matter.
    Liberal Except Wall Street Prosecution.
    Liberal Except Anti-austerity.
    Liberal Except Torture.
    Liberal Except Native Americans.
    Liberal Except Big Phrama.
    Liberal Except Whistle blowers.
    Liberal Except…

    Go ahead, keep adding to the list with all those big liberal positions our elected representatives champion every day.

    • gamal
      April 26, 2018, 11:56 am

      CigarGod that is a manifesto I feel I could wholeheartedly support it’s so risk free, calming like a political opioid, Liberalism it leads to harder stuff.

      • CigarGod
        April 26, 2018, 8:01 pm

        You got it, Gamal.
        It is a label on your hat, jacket, purse, your automobile, the swoosh on your sneakers.
        You’re packaged just right.
        There is a spring in your step, your posture is better when you carry the mark.
        You don’t have to actually march, write a letter, make a phone call, carry thru on your boycott and certainly not risk tear gas or a truncheon.
        Your label just means you you could sweat if you wanted to: Just Do It!
        Imaginary sweat is the same thing as real sweat.
        Imaginary ethics are the same thing as real ethics.
        Parroting doesn’t make you Parrot…

      • gamal
        April 26, 2018, 8:59 pm

        “Parroting doesn’t make you Parrot…”

        I Parrot because I feel that best expresses my engagement with life.

        Liberalism like a game of Twister you will end up with your head up someones arse, possibly your own but not necessarily.

      • CigarGod
        April 26, 2018, 10:43 pm

        Ha!

    • LHunter
      April 29, 2018, 4:03 pm

      Liberal except liberal

  7. Maghlawatan
    April 26, 2018, 10:23 am

    https://www.haaretz.com/1.5031960

    The real problem is that the Israeli left is an artificial, even a false, left. It lacks every one of the instinctive responses that are identified with the natural left – standing with the weak, the oppressed and the working poor against the strong, and against the state itself. The natural left does not accept the injustices and exploitation inherent to capitalism, it is repulsed by the neoconservative term “compassionate conservatism,” and even when it does not have an immediate comprehensive alternative it clings by the skin of its teeth to the principles of the welfare state. In the political arena, the natural left is always suspicious of the government and those in power, of their intentions and their statements. On the other hand, the Israeli left is horrifyingly conformist and lacks courage, and those who do not have courage have no future. Moreover, a real left thinks that other people also have rights that are worth defending. It is therefore incapable of viewing the destruction in Gaza with indifference, and it is nauseated by the official explanations. In a broader context, had Labor believed that all humans are equal it would not have begun the settlement enterprise the day after the Six-Day War. Had the left genuinely wanted a two-state solution it would have adopted it years ago, and the entire region would look different today

  8. Steve Grover
    April 26, 2018, 1:49 pm

    Phil sez: “Portman’s move puts pressure on liberal Zionists to take a stand”

    The stand they take is with Israel. Agreeing or disagreeing with Natalie Portman is nothing more than a minor disagreement. The agreement is in Standing With Israel.

    Check out the Yom HaAtzmuat celebration at North Shore Congregation Israel. In particular read what the young Rabbi Wendi Geffen says. The Jewish Communities support for Israel just gets stronger when JVP and other Israel hating groups wage their hatred directed at Israel.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/glencoe/news/ct-gln-north-shore-congregation-israel-celebration-tl-0426-story,amp.html

    • Maghlawatan
      April 26, 2018, 5:02 pm

      My mother drunk or sober

    • Mooser
      April 26, 2018, 5:28 pm

      “Steve” here we go! Survey says…

      • Steve Grover
        April 27, 2018, 12:40 pm

        Mooser, thanks for giving me the opportunity to rub it in a bissele more.

        Since in quite a few your in excess of 30,000 comments here on MW you talk about Reform Jews. If you actually check out the attached article to my original comment and scroll through the photos you will see several female Rabbis some Reformed and some Conservative. All of them are younger than Brant Rosen and all of them lead much, much larger Congregations. They are all pro-Israel and speak out against BDS and teach the youth in their Synagogues to Stand With Israel.
        The Celebration of Israels 70th took place at North Shore Congregation Israel which is a Reformed Synagogue where Rabbi Wendi Geffen is the Rabbi. Also present and participating was Reformed Rabbi Karyn Kedar of Bnai Joshua Beth Elohim of Deerfield. Also present and participating was Conservative Rabbi Debra Kamin Newman of Am Yisrael. Debra Kamen Newman just became President of The Rabbinic Assembly of Conservative Judaism. Also present and participating is Conservative Rabbi Annie Tucker of Beth Hillel in Wilmette. Did I mention that these are enthusiastic pro-Israel, Zionist and charismatic Rabbis of large Synagogues that serve a large number of youth.

        Then there is the openly Lesbian Rabbi Rachel Weiss at Jewish Reconstructionist Center that replaced Brant Rosen. She has brought Zionism back to JRC.

        This anecdotal survey says me and my fellow Jews are Zionists and steadfastly PRO-ISRAEL!
        So Gut Shabbos Mooser!

      • RoHa
        April 28, 2018, 3:43 am

        “This anecdotal survey says me and my fellow Jews are Zionists and steadfastly PRO-ISRAEL!”

        Since the hallmarks of Zionism are, as Inbound39 says, ethnic cleansing, genocide, land theft and apartheid. racism and blatant discrimination, this is a strong condemnation of your fellow Jews.

      • Sibiriak
        April 28, 2018, 8:33 am

        RoHa: …this is a strong condemnation of your fellow Jews.
        ——————

        Not to mention the hundreds of millions of non-Jewish Zionists and steadfast supporters of Israel.

    • Kathleen
      April 26, 2018, 11:52 pm

      Portman’s stand is ultimately in support of Israel. She sees what is happening.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 27, 2018, 11:48 am

        BDS is also in support of Israel. Because it is the only way to stop it destroying itself.

      • mondonut
        April 27, 2018, 12:32 pm

        @Maghlawatan “BDS is also in support of Israel.”

        War is Peace
        Freedom is Slavery
        Ignorance is Strength”

      • Kathleen
        April 27, 2018, 3:13 pm

        https://bdsmovement.net/what-is-bds

        Overview

        Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

        Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

        BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. Eleven years since its launch, BDS is having a major impact and is effectively challenging international support for Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism.

  9. Ossinev
    April 26, 2018, 6:31 pm

    @YF
    “my zionism is practical and practically speaking the occupation is a major problem”

    So to be clear then the occupation for you is not a moral problem but simply a practical problem ?

  10. Yonah Fredman
    April 26, 2018, 9:15 pm

    Ossinev- to be clear, the anthem of Jewish nationalism includes the line ” to be a free nation (am) in our land.” Leaving aside “our land”, freedom for one while oppressing the other is not true freedom, so it is also a philosophical bind not just practical. But the primary mode of navigation, like a canoe in rocky waters, is avoiding capsizing, which is practicality, aside from the vision that lies quite a bit away.

    • Mooser
      April 26, 2018, 10:10 pm

      “yonah”, just think, if Phil Weiss hadn’t started Mondoweiss, nobody would know that Zionism is all about you.Has he ever once thanked you?

    • inbound39
      April 27, 2018, 2:19 pm

      A good Captain avoids rocky and treacherous waters and points the vessel to waters that give ample room between the keel and the sea floor or riverbed thus protecting all aboard. Zionists believe in placing their vessel in the most difficult path available and wonder why it is so hard going. I do wonder how, when Zionism hallmarks are ethnic cleansing, genocide, land theft and apartheid. racism and blatant discrimination, anyone can possibly take part in those actions liberally and do it with a clear conscience when it means committing to behaviours they did not like being visited on themselves. I am sorry but to me Liberal Zionism makes absolutely no sense unless you are setting a course to lay smoke in order to obscure your true position.

      • Yonah Fredman
        April 27, 2018, 4:01 pm

        Powerlessness- the inability to protect your children from rioters, marauders, oppressors and murderers, is a fault. It is natural, human and self respecting to overcome powerlessness.

        There are those here who propose disbanding as a means of self protection. This is a former of cowardice and this too is a fault.

        To seek power thus is natural.

        In a world of nations, nationalism is the most obvious means to eliminate powerlessness. And this is the basis of zionism.

        Nations, since time began, observe no morality, other than self interest. Nations do not forswear violence, rather violence and nationhood are inextricably tied together.

        With the victory of the allies in WWII, the winning armies decided to attempt to avoid a repetition of such blood shed, by imposing rules, particularly on nations smaller than themselves.

        Once the Jews rejected powerlessness, and chose nationalism as their means to self protection, the realm of morality became a lesser value than power.

        To impose moral values upon nations is an unnatural fit.

        Because Israel was established in a location where wars could be expected, the expectation of imposing morality on the project became an especially difficult fit.

        Liberal zionism attempts to accept the nationalist project in a specific place, but wishes to somehow combine morality with the project. As I said, it’s an awkward fit.

        The conquest of the West Bank in 67 resulted from the abdication of King hussein to the forces that wanted to participate in nasser’s folly and as a result he lost the west bank.

        How long can you rule a people against their will in our modern world. Mosher dayan’s answer: 50 years.

        And that is why it is a practical question rather than a moral question. Once you have chosen power over powerlessness, you have chosen practicality.

        Those of you born in powerful nations, I doubt the sincerity of your espousal of powerlessness.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2018, 5:07 pm

        “Once you have chosen power over powerlessness, you have chosen practicality.”

        And given Jewish numbers, and the Jewish situation, choosing “power” only makes sense.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2018, 5:47 pm

        “yonah” usually when a people or nation is oriented toward surviving by power, the first prerequisite is power and control over your own people. Which Judaism does not have.
        Any talk of Jews choosing “power” is ridiculous, if they don’t start by having power over Jews. And where, at this time, are they going to get that?

      • eljay
        April 27, 2018, 6:00 pm

        || Yonah Fredman  April 27, 2018, 4:01 pm ||

        The hypocrisy is predictable. The whataboutism is lame. And the deliberate undermining of international laws and human rights and the protections they are meant to afford all people – including Jews – is disturbing.

        I don’t understand why Zionists insist on hating Jews so much.

      • Mooser
        April 27, 2018, 6:18 pm

        “Powerlessness- the inability to protect your children from rioters, marauders, oppressors and murderers, is a fault”

        “Yonah”, I know how it is, you try and protect the kids, you do the entire “A Boy Like That” scene from WSS, but they marry the Gentile anyway.

      • Mooser
        April 28, 2018, 12:29 pm

        Shorter “yonah”: ‘Zionism is a triumph of the Jewish will to power!’

      • Mooser
        April 28, 2018, 12:46 pm

        “To seek power thus is natural.”

        Uh, “yonah”, dear, you better go have a talk with Rabbi Michael Davis.

        “yonah” a lot of things may be “natural”, but that doesn’t make them Jewish, by a long shot.

      • Annie Robbins
        April 28, 2018, 1:18 pm

        To impose moral values upon nations is an unnatural fit.

        Because Israel was established in a location where wars could be expected, the expectation of imposing morality on the project became an especially difficult fit.

        Liberal zionism attempts to accept the nationalist project in a specific place, but wishes to somehow combine morality with the project. As I said, it’s an awkward fit.

        are you suggesting the myth of the iof being “the most moral army on earth” originated as a dictum from liberal zionists?

        and, are you using the holocaust, this “powerlessness”, as an excuse for a society accepting/excusing/approving of snipers shooting protestors like fish in a barrel? are there no limits to your imaginary excesses yonah?

      • Mooser
        April 28, 2018, 6:39 pm

        “are there no limits to your imaginary excesses yonah?”

        Somebody grab the Zioxone and give him a shot, “yonah’s” ODing on pilpuls again.

      • Yonah Fredman
        April 28, 2018, 8:55 pm

        annie- Yeshayahu Leibowitz was a Zionist, and I’ve seen nothing written or spoken by him condemning the nakba. but after the state was established he spoke strongly and morally to oppose actions that were wrong. his opposition to the occupation after 67 is famous. the upshot of his opinion seemed to be: the occupation will destroy Israel’s moral compass.

        His involvement in Israeli society as gadfly and rebel is conceded, and so it seems acceptance of zionism can be combined with attempts to rein in destructive impulses that we have seen since 67.

        i am not prime minister nor defense minister and i did not make this decision of how to handle the crisis of the picnics and kite flying in gaza. But the immediate crisis is merely the epiphenomenon and I choose to focus on the deeper gaza crisis. I share the mainstream (pro Israel) low opinion of hamas, i think their philosophy is tainted and negative, but nevertheless watching the situation in the 10 or 13 years since the partial withdrawal from gaza, i have reached the conclusion that practically speaking, israel should establish a modus vivendi regarding gaza through negotiations with hamas. the current bibi lieberman phase is marked by opposition to this idea. this opposition is expressed not through seeking a modus vivendi, but seeking regime change in gaza, to be achieved partially through pressure and isolation. and thus the crisis that has pushed us to this situation. i may be wrong, but i think israel should accept hamas and negotiate with hamas regarding gaza.

        meanwhile the “real” show is up north vis a vis hezbollah, lebanon, syria, iran and russia. (real- from a chessboard perspective that is the real game and gaza is just noise.)

        one cannot equate avigdor lieberman and yeshayahu leibowitz, though they are/were both zionists. the willingness to be an angry prophet condemning the occupation, that is the legacy of yeshayahu leibowitz. but let me just say that i do not choose lieberman either, but i choose Ephraim Halevy, quoted above. reading that article that would require seriousness.

      • Yonah Fredman
        April 28, 2018, 9:07 pm

        Here’s the Ephraim Halevy interview, my definition of practicality.
        https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/MAGAZINE-a-former-spy-chief-is-calling-on-israelis-to-revolt-1.5444271

      • Annie Robbins
        April 28, 2018, 9:36 pm

        thanks yonah, i’ll check it out.

      • Maghlawatan
        April 29, 2018, 8:38 am

        Leibowitz was a visionary. In ancient times he would have been a prophet. They were often sidelined, as he was. Enabling the occupation still means brainwashing Israelis. Leibowitz came up with the term “Judeo nazi” and it still fits.

      • Mooser
        April 29, 2018, 1:47 pm

        ” but i think israel should accept hamas and negotiate with hamas regarding gaza.” “yonah fredman”

        Gee, “yonah”, you found the limits of that Jewish power (4:01 pm, above) pretty quickly, huh?

  11. JLewisDickerson
    April 26, 2018, 11:24 pm

    RE:“If the Israeli govt thinks this will just go away, or it can just be waited out, and that there will be no longterm consequences for its relationship with American Jewry or for American support for Israel, then they are ostriches with their heads in the sand.” ~ Michael Koplow of the Israel Policy Forum

    MY COMMENT: I might say they are ostriches with their heads surrounded by an impenetrable iron wall topped off by a penetration-resistant iron dome (courtesy of their ever-indulgent Uncle Sam)!

  12. Kathleen
    April 26, 2018, 11:50 pm

    The light bulb finally went off in Portman’s head in regard to Israel’s latest atrocities committed against Palestinians and somehow did not go off in response to all of the other atrocities Israel has committed against Palestinians during Portman’s adult life is odd. However so important that that light finally went on. Demonstrates she has her humanity intact.

    “Just imagine the possibilities if more and more famous and privileged Israelis and American Jews refused merely to cooperate with the racist and violent leadership”

    • RoHa
      April 27, 2018, 8:22 am

      I’m confused. Did the bulb go off or on? If it went on, she understood. (As in cartoons.) If it went off, she stopped understanding.

      • Jethro
        April 27, 2018, 1:09 pm

        @Roha.

        “Went off” can sometimes mean “was activated.”

      • Kathleen
        April 27, 2018, 3:15 pm

        “activated”

        “a light bulb goes off/on. chiefly US, informal. ◊ When a light bulb goes off/on (in your head), you suddenly understand something or have a great idea. After thinking about the problem for several days, a light bulb went off in her head, and she knew how to solve it.”

      • echinococcus
        April 27, 2018, 6:55 pm

        Strange. You otherwise sound very familiar with the different dialects of English.

      • RoHa
        April 28, 2018, 4:16 am

        “Went off” can usually mean “was activated” in cases where the action is a single, short, and frequently violent action. There is an idea of the thing being poised for action.

        Bombs, guns, fireworks, and flashbulbs go off.

        When the action is typically continuous, “go on” is the usual term for the beginning of the action. It applies to things like light bulbs, televisions, and air conditioners.

        E.g.The light went on upstairs.

        When the action stops, “go off” is used.

        E.g.Hey! The light just went off! And the TV!

        To say “a light went off” indicates to me that the illumination stopped. But what happens in cartoons (and they are the ultimate arbitrators of reality) is that the light goes on, and illumination starts.

        (Alarms are an interesting exception. The alarm system is “on” when it is ready to make the noise. When it starts making the noise, it goes off, and this can continue for far too long. It is the sudden violence of the onset of the noise that leads us to say it “went off”.)

        So saying “a light went off” and following it with ” so important that that light finally went on” just leaves me confused.

        If “a light went off” is equivalent to “a light went on” in American speech, all hope is lost.

      • Sibiriak
        April 28, 2018, 7:41 am

        Jethro: “Went off” can sometimes mean “was activated.”
        ———————————————-

        If you feel like a bomb went off in your head, it could be a terrifying realization.

        Or it could be Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS):

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploding_head_syndrome

        Or maybe a stroke:

        https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/27/the-bomb-that-went-off-in-my-head

      • Mooser
        April 28, 2018, 12:32 pm

        “You otherwise sound very familiar with the different dialects of English.”

        Dialects? “RoHa” would rather hear a choir singing flat! No one taught them “take” instead of “tyke”!

      • echinococcus
        April 28, 2018, 12:56 pm

        RoHa,

        By all means keep your dialect. No one is objecting (as long as we can see the words in writing.) On our side, we’ll go on with ours but only if it ceases to distress you.

      • Mooser
        April 28, 2018, 12:59 pm

        “If “a light went off” is equivalent to “a light went on” in American speech, all hope is lost.”

        There even are some places where English completely disappears!

      • Jethro
        April 28, 2018, 7:32 pm

        @Roha.

        Ok, last thing from me on this topic.

        To say “a light went off” indicates to me that the illumination stopped.

        I get this, but to indicate that the illumination stopped in the US, we would say either “the light went out” or “the light turned off” (even though the better form of the second expression is “the light was turned off”).

        I’m not saying these are pleasing usages. I’m just saying they are in usage, along with “a light went off in her head.” And we all know that for good or bad, English evolves.

        However, I’ll go to my grave before I use “they” as a gender-neutral, singlular pronoun.

      • gamal
        April 28, 2018, 8:09 pm

        ” “Went off” can sometimes mean”

        If an English Muslim fundamentalist invites you” to go off” round the field, it would be sensible to get him/her to clarify exactly what they have in mind

      • Mooser
        April 29, 2018, 3:03 pm

        “The bulb went on, the bomb went off”

        By Jove, I think he’s got it!

      • Kathleen
        May 3, 2018, 1:57 pm

        What a go around about “light bulbs” being turned on and off. The point is that Portman has finally stepped up to the plate. Uh oh I opened the door again.

  13. Ossinev
    April 27, 2018, 7:02 am

    @YF

    “Ossinev- to be clear, the anthem of Jewish nationalism includes the line ” to be a free nation (am) in our land.” Leaving aside “our land”, freedom for one while oppressing the other is not true freedom, so it is also a philosophical bind not just practical. But the primary mode of navigation, like a canoe in rocky waters, is avoiding capsizing, which is practicality, aside from the vision that lies quite a bit away”

    Lots of fine words and a cute metaphor but no clear answer.

    Is the occupation moral or immoral ?

  14. Yonah Fredman
    April 27, 2018, 9:37 am

    The mere fact of a military occupation is not immoral. The mere fact of a civilian occupation (where the occupied do not have the right to vote and other rights) is immoral. The practical facts of the occupation are immoral.

    • eljay
      April 27, 2018, 10:35 am

      || Yonah Fredman: The mere fact of a military occupation is not immoral. The mere fact of a civilian occupation (where the occupied do not have the right to vote and other rights) is immoral. … ||

      So…according to Zionist “logic”, there’s nothing immoral about a foreign government…
      – destabilizing Israel and effecting regime change;
      – expelling from it countless civilians (who, once gone, are technically not “occupied”);
      – massacring civilians deemed to be not-innocent* (who, once dead, are technically not “occupied”); and
      – giving to the remaining civilians – those actually under occupation – “the right to vote and other rights”.

      Careful what you wish for, y.f.
      ___________________
      (*According to Zionist jon s, this is an acceptable practice.)

    • Mooser
      April 27, 2018, 6:48 pm

      “Yonah Fredman: The mere fact of a military occupation is not immoral”

      Sure, “eljay”, haven’t you noticed that everybody compares the Israeli occupation to the post WW2 occupation of West Germany and Japan?

      • eljay
        April 27, 2018, 9:09 pm

        || Mooser: Sure, “eljay”, haven’t you noticed that everybody compares the Israeli occupation to the post WW2 occupation of West Germany and Japan? ||

        So…theZionist occupation and colonization of Palestine and the establishment of a “Jewish State” in the greater part thereof are all part of a humanitarian Zionist plan to help restore:
        – order in Palestine; and
        – Palestine to Palestinians.

        Huh. I must admit that the subtleties of their plan escaped me.

      • echinococcus
        April 27, 2018, 10:20 pm

        So Jonas believes that Palestine invaded and militarily occupied Zionistan in 1897 just like the Nazis invaded and occupied Europe. Also that China and Korea invaded Japan. I suppose that next on the history lesson menu is something even better by Johnny S –the professional history teacher.

  15. Ossinev
    April 27, 2018, 1:25 pm

    @YF
    “The mere fact of a military occupation is not immoral. The mere fact of a civilian occupation (where the occupied do not have the right to vote and other rights) is immoral. The practical facts of the occupation are immoral”

    Still slightly skirting round the edges Yonah.

    The IDF occupied as military invaders by definition do. The” immorality” kicks in 100% when civilians from the occupying state create settlements in the occupied territory and are supported and protected in setting these up and maintaining/expanding them by the occupying army:
    https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/faq/occupation-faq-051010.htm

    So no ifs/buts is the Israeli occupation of the West Bank moral or immoral ?

  16. Rusty Pipes
    April 27, 2018, 11:03 pm

    Rather than putting the pressure on Liberal Jews to speak up, I think that Portman’s actions and words takes some pressure off Liberal Jews to remain silent, especially beyond inter-Jewish dialogue. Initially, Portman did not want to speak out on specifics, she just wanted to avoid going to Israel at this time. It was the actions of hardliners trying to force her back into line that motivated her to clarify why she wasn’t going — a public statement that backfired on the Brand Israel optics of the award ceremony. So maybe more Liberal Zionists will be emboldened to say publicly that they are horrified by the IDF’s actions toward nonviolent protesters in Gaza.

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