Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 768 (since 2010-07-16 14:37:21)


Showing comments 768 - 701

  • New York coalition tries, and struggles, to politicize free Israel trip for legislators
    • Coming from you Mooser, that's a compliment! As if trolling isn't your primary function these days....
      Why you are practically speechless. Have you no compliments for the timing of this action? Or support for calling Leslie Cagan's words "nonsense"?

    • snip -
      Amin Husain, a member of the Direct Action Front, told me that the criticism of the disruption from fellow activists like Cagan was “nonsense” because they would have been called anti-Semitic anyway.
      -- snip

      Ah, Amin Husain you old coalition builder! Part of me suspects you have no idea who Leslie Cagan actually is.
      It is impossible to understand how hard it is to oppose Israeli policies without also understanding how awful the radical edges are at actually doing politics. Yes, there are more people willing to listen to Palestinian rights advocates. But then this sort of shit happens and it all goes to hell.
      And let's not forget the competing stories of assault from the Barclay's Center last year involving the same Front.

      If only this energy was hitched to a political strategy capable of winning something. WIN STUFF is actually a good name for a better strategy.

      Given all the anger at Bibi among Democrats, why not pressure folks like Charlie Rangel to boycott his upcoming Congressional speech, following in the footsteps of John Lewis? That might actual work, since Rangel has no more elections to run.

  • Avraham Burg's Israeli vision, and French passport
    • Avram Burg has officialy thrown in his considerable personal reputation behind Hadash, the only 'Jewish-Arab' party that is defined as such from the beginning and in it's official founding documents.

      link to

      Looking forward to the trolls denouncing Burg for this move, because moving from the Zionist left to the non-Zionist left isn't nearly enough for some folks.

  • A Knesset without Arab parties?
    • These days when I think about the MW community, this is precisely what comes to mind: a perfectly reasonable comment pointing out some factual or logical error, followed by an utter troll, seemingly in defense of... what? The original error? The Palestinian cause?
      I mean.... the article's errors reflect quite poorly on the author and the site's mastery of the subject matter, which has a bearing on the merits of the editorial perspective.

      I do hope the parties merge, though I wish Israeli could have a unified party of the left that included Hadash and some other entity (Yosef Burg? Meretz?) that would represent the largest overlap of a venn diagram of Jewish and Palestinian voters. Bringing them together would be a real step forward for promoting social change in Israeli society. (The other Arab parties don't have a large enough Jewish constituency, and the other Jewish parties don't have a large enough Arab constituency.)

  • Why I confronted Gregor Gysi
    • I'm not sure what I would do. But I know what I wouldn't: confront a leader of the the German Left Party in a Parliamentary bathroom. Or even someone from another party.
      Just to be clear, I don't think MB or DS deserve to be threatened. But this 'in person hassling' of an aging commie.... keerist. That's a pretty deep end of the diving pool!
      How about folks pick on actual supporters of the Israeli occupation? Far away from toilets?

      And Mooser, the comparison was over picking fights with politicians in the bathroom, not with having to hire bodyguards. The might all be brave, targeted heroes, but some heroes stay out of bathroom fights. Because they have more dignity.

    • Once a leader of one of the most left, most pro-Palestinian political entities in Europe is stalked and harassed in this way, you have to wonder just how nutty the whole scene actually is.
      MB and Sheen are certainly journalists with a lot of expertise. At the same time, Gideon Levy and Amira Hass don't find themselves in this kind of situation, corning an old man in a bathroom!
      This is because they are more professional and politically savvy.
      Everyone has something to learn.
      I can't think of a parliament in the world where this kind of stalking would be tolerated. Imagine the outrage, if some right wing doofus followed Haneen Zuabi into the restroom!

    • You think Gysi is a Zionist? Then the word has no meaning.

  • Allegations of anti-Semitism used to cover up anti-Palestinian hate crime in Brooklyn
    • Kudos to Jewish Voice for Peace for their role here - engaging in responsible political action and denouncing violence.
      Here's the first press release they sent out over this incident:
      link to

      Submitted by Naomi Dann on Wed, 10/08/2014 - 1:58pm

      *Statement amended October 20th*

      Further information regarding the incident at Barclays Center on 1010/7/14 has revealed that a Muslim woman carrying a Palestinian flag was assaulted at the Nets/Maccabi game and is pressing charges. A suspect was apprehended in conjunction with the assault on Mr. Petlakh, and the incident is no longer being investigated as a hate crime.

      October 8th, 2014. Jewish Voice for Peace deplores the violent incident at last night’s NY Nets and Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball game at Barclays Center. We send our sympathies to Leonard Petlakh, who was assaulted at the end of the game and suffered a broken nose and lacerations requiring stitches. The details remain unclear and we support a full investigation into this incident to determine what happened.

      JVP-NY members gathered outside the game to protest the fundraiser held by the Friends of the IDF at the stadium before the game. JVP members held signs and handed out flyers expressing the view that honoring the IDF only a few weeks after Israel’s attack on Gaza has ended contradicts our values as Jewish New Yorkers. We were there as part of a large coalition of organizations who were all committed to non-violently protesting this event.

      JVP-NY member Pam Sporn gave an eyewitness report of the protest:

      “The police had us behind a barricade on the sidewalk, while many people aggressively waving Israeli flags were in front of Barclays yelling at us and making rude gestures. Several times the police used a bullhorn to tell them to back up. The protest dispersed at 8 PM. Before we left, a police official said to us, "Thanks for making our job easier." I don't think he would have said that if someone from the protest had attacked someone. However, while a small group of us were leaving the area, a group 3 young men with Israeli flags harassed us and said that we “need Israeli dick.”

      If something happened after the game, which would have been several hours after the protest ended, it had nothing to do with us or the demonstration.”

      While the details of this incident are unclear, we reiterate our commitment to non-violence and express our horror at the injuries that Mr. Petlakh suffered. We hope to know soon the full details of what happened.

      We reaffirm our steadfast opposition to all forms of bigotry, violence and hate, including anti-semitism, anti-arab hate, and misogyny.

  • Gaza war gives rise to new Jewish group targeting Jewish institutions that support occupation
    • As someone who was part of this group's first action, I can tell you it was refreshing how many were making snarky references to both J Street AND the hard core BDS folks.
      These are sane, progressive Jews who know Israel and the OT, the Jewish community, and themselves. As I experienced them (I guess I'm one of them) they would be denounced endlessly on this site if they expressed themselves.
      Reading Phil's optimistic report, I feel like paraphrasing on his behalf:
      "Dear group that would be savaged by the insane choir on my site for failing to fully endorse BDS or repudiate Zionism: Good job!"

  • Florida Congresswoman sides with Israeli police over her own brutalized teenage constituent
    • Tree is the tone policeman who must shame all other tone policemen. It's 100% hypocrisy.
      "how dare you object to a nuance that I find perfectly reasonable!"

  • Reform Jews offer no proposal to end occupation, says Jewish Voice for Peace
    • "They were all cleared of whatever moral opposition to YESHA existed a long time ago by donor pressure and careerism."
      If you think the Reform movement is pro YESHA than you are quite ignorant of Reform movement politics.
      Unless YESHA donors and funders are happy spending their way to stuff like this:

      The NRA is America’s curse. And the settlements are Israel’s NRA
      link to

  • The American father insists that Israel is an egalitarian society, his daughter disagrees
    • Why would you write "while pretending that they are culturally indebted to no one."?

      Do you really think Israelis aren't aware that they borrow things from Palestinian, Arab or Islamic culture?
      Here's an utterly Zionist source describing the direct borrowing from those cultures. I learned of this stuff in grade school, which is how I knew to find it.
      link to

      Hebrew speaking Israelis use plenty of Arabic words in casual conversation, and no one is confused about where those words come from. (Finjan, wadi, shabab come to mind. The last is used in particular by ultra orthodox folks to refer to wayward youth who skip class.)

      I suppose you might be forgiven if you meant that some non-Israeli lovers of Zion had no idea where falafel comes from, but that's not what was written here.

      Anyway, the seepage of culture from the margins to the center is kind of universal.

  • BDS is the only means of ending the occupation -- Derfner
    • The modern history of BDS begins with the launch of a boycott of settlement products in 1995, initiated by Gush Shalom, a group that strongly supports a two state solution.
      The Palestinian led-effort began years later. Derfner is on solid ground when he engages in 'two-stater BDS.'

  • South African radicals wanted to kill Paul Simon for violating boycott -- Steve Van Zandt
  • Don't destroy our dream-castle Israel! (Why the Jewish establishment shut out J Street)
    • Maybe the rejection is irrational. But Occam's Razor would suggest that this is a more complicated answer, and less likely to be true. Making assumptions about the motives of others' - how do you like it when that happens to you?
      J Street represents a particular camp in the Jewish world, one opposed by the right wingers and by the Palestinian solidarity movement. Trying to flatten everything into a 'this or that' dichotomy is, aside from anything else, quite undemocratic. Can't there be 3 camps? Or 5? Or 10? Keep in mind that J Street and say, the Palestinian Authority, are broadly aligned with each other. Right wing Jews are opposed to that alignment. So are left wing solidarity activists.

  • Peace Now board member jokes about owning a SodaStream
    • 1. "APN’s milder criticism of the occupation in general." That's just a strange thing to say. Can you support, perhaps with a quote, that APN is somehow 'less critical of the occupation' than.... ??? What does that even mean? Less hyperbolic use of language?
      If there is one thing about APN folks should agree with it is that they oppose the occupation, unreservedly.

      2. I've seen many many pantloads of 'humor' on this site, quite a bit of it from commenters being despicably cruel to others. And when the unfunny, mean spirited, cruel humor flows from the more extreme to the less extreme, it passes muster. But when it comes in this one instance from the less extreme to the more extreme, suddenly, 'whoa, dude, not a laughing matter!'
      Feels a little hypocritical, as though the pump is primed to denounce APN for something, anything, and then this came along so 'gotcha!'

    • She's making fun of the Jewish community's anti-BDS obsession - for Purim.
      The holiday where we commemorate our own attempted genocide with humor.
      There's something utterly humorless about twisting that into 'the occupied territories are just a joke.'

  • 'Netanyahu is a Nazi': Scenes from an Orthodox anti-military draft protest in Jerusalem
    • "...secular-nationalist Economic Minister Naftali Bennett"
      The author has such a good, knowledgeable tone throughout. But not knowing that Bennett is Orthodox, as is his party, sends the message that she isn't quite fluent in Israeli politics yet.
      link to

  • Israeli leftwing party embraces settlements on occupied land
    • Shame on you both.
      You make an assertion "So people in both the Labour Party and Meretz think it’s cool to circulate a list of their illegal settlements" turn it into an inflammatory title "
      Israeli leftwing party embraces settlements on occupied land" and insert a bizarre conclusion: "are sharing a map of Kibbutzim on stolen Palestinian land, including illegal settlements on occupied West bank land, and taking pride in it."

      It's just insane. This FB page, which isn't even the main page of Meretz, posts a graphic and you use that one data point to demonstrate that the party has made a complete about face from opposing settlements to 'taking pride' in them?

      This is shallow and beneath you, Phil. Maybe not Ofer, who I don't know, but come on. Not because I give two shits about Meretz, but because intellectual dishonesty doesn't actually serve a good cause.

      The reality is much less nefarious. A relatively small number of kibbutzim are outside the Green Line in occupied territories. The vast majority of those were settled by Labor, not Mapam. Then the movements merged for economic reasons. And yes, there is a historic connection between Mapam kibbutzim and Meretz. So we have a weird situation where the unified kibbutz movement has a few stray entities which are settlements and a historic link to one third of the historic Meretz coalition.

      Meanwhile, Meretz is as opposed as ever the settlement project, and some junior staffer repeated a pro-kibbutz image showing where they are all located to foster some kibbutz pride.

      It would be pointless, but at least not misleading, to simply attack the entire kibbutz movement for being on stolen Palestinian land. (Pointless, because most of Israel is on such land, not the kibbutz movement in particular.)

      This is just another political attack on two staters using a very flimsy excuse, and asserting falsely that they aren't even against the occupation.

  • Israeli rap warns vulnerable Jewish women about seductive, dangerous Arab men
    • There is no doubt in my mind that DAM routinely attracts more fans and sells more records than whatever 'rapper' helped make this video. So in that sense, DAM is more representative of Israeli hip hop.
      Subliminal is, sadly, more representative than DAM. I'd like to change that by supporting the progressive hip hop community there, instead of suggesting that this racist video is part of hip hop culture.
      Regarding crowd-sourced music production, your comment makes me think you don't understand the music industry. That said, it's great to see DAM keep on keeping on.

    • Sure, make an enemy of hip hop fans. That'll help liberate Palestine!

    • So, it is really strange that Phil, David, and Max are referring to this as Israeli hip hop. Yes, this is a racist video by a racist organization in Israel. But no, this is not representative of a stream of Israeli popular culture. (The racist sentiments might be representative of the Kahana-ist mindset, but those folks are not hip hoppers!)
      Impugning Israel's hip hopers like this makes as much sense as me using a radio jingle for getting rid of bed bugs and using that to make an assertion about an American musical subculture.
      The Palestinian-Israeli group D.A.M. is much more representative of Israeli hip hop than this video, artist unknown.
      Sometimes it feels like in the pursuit of a catchy headline or finger jab, all kinds of tricks are used that make an informed ready feel cheated.

  • Smarting at Israeli's reception, Florida school says students must not interrupt a 'lawfully invited' speaker
    • Woody, your rule has nothing to do with behavior at events, you realize that, right? Sounds like you wish the US government would prevent certain people from being able to speak in the US. Again, how would you phrase that in general terms so that it only applies to your opponents?

    • Just out of curiosity, how would you state your preferred rule or mode of behavior using affirmative language?
      Would it be something like: The right of protestors to disrupt or silence speakers shall not be infringed. This includes use of human voices, clapping, non-amplified noisemakers and instruments, and any visual prop that can be held by one person, but excludes amplified sound, cloth banners held by more than one person, or the blocking of exits.

      It would be helpful to contrast this university's policies with the appropriate alternative, so we can advocate for it across the board.

      That said, I have a concern that such an affirmative policy might be used against a variety of groups that we here might actually agree with.

  • Palestinian activist Abir Kopty: Oslo should go, the peace process serves Israeli interests
  • Exile and the Prophetic: Barghouti's warning - the alternative to two states is 'persistent conflict' without any middle ground
  • At pricey Chicago fundraiser, Obama calls three leaders of J Street his 'cabal'
  • Ben Ami on ethnocentrism, the blown Arab Peace initiative, and the 'war of races'
    • This is sad to say, but many Jews do think this. Is it most? Not sure. Definitely far from 100%. And there are lots of nuances. More older than younger. More of the fundies and ultras than the secular or liberally Jewish. More in Israel than the U.S.
      I agree that it is paranoid, delusionary and destructive. But please consider, it is also a perfectly natural outcome, a form of national PTSD. There should be room to... pity these folks, not just condemn them.
      In a similar way, one reason I support Palestinian rights despite the fact that many are a bit extreme (I'm not painting all Palestinians with that!) is because a) the cause is just, but also b) who wouldn't become extreme when subjected to so much injustice! It is a wonder that so many Palestinians are as forgiving and tolerant as they are, and a testament to the real possibilities for peace that still exist.
      Our world views should be wide enough to embrace all of that.

      Glad to see more Israeli leaders coming to grips with their own pathology. Shame that it seems to happen after they leave office.

  • Chas Freeman on Israel's self-inflicted existential crisis
    • Dude, relax.
      "Judaism is a religion distinguished by its emphasis on justice and humanity"
      That's just a commonplace platitude that is appropriate and valid for all religions. It's also true that most religions have a dark side (e.g., the Crusades).

      It is probably true that many modern Jews have a belief that for a time, they were more moral than their gentile neighbors. This is a common idea in oppressed societies. But this idea has always been vigorously contested inside the Jewish community, and today mostly fundamentalists and especially conservative Jews would espouse it. Liberal Jews would recoil in horror at such naked ethnocentrism.

      That said Zionism seems like a strange contradiction, in that it asks liberal Jews to accept some very un-liberal values. it's true; and despite the lag in time, liberalism is winning, leading to a relative decline in the liberal Zionist constituency. (And the growth in conservatism and assimilation among American Jews.)

  • Half of Israel's eligible youth don't enlist-- and ranks of 'gray resisters' grow
    • Pretty sure the singular for 'Shiminstim' is 'Shminist' and not as the author states.
      More significantly, I think this article misses some important context.
      One of the policy debates in Israel for years now has to do with the inflation in the number of available conscripts, the sufficiently high number of volunteers to elite units and positions, and the high cost enlisting soldiers who offer little value. As a result, some talk about Israel moving in the direction of the US, with a larger core of professional soldiers and a smaller number of enlistees.
      So looking at the number of 'non-enlistees' in isolation from the total number of enlistees might gloss over the fact that reducing the draft serves Israeli military policy. The people not being drafted are of marginal value, like the Haredim or folks with a lower socio-economic status.
      In the past, the IDF saw itself as having a social mission of helping to integrate society and offer opportunities to youth who might otherwise join the underclass. This has weakened over time, part of the general decline in equality and social solidarity among Jewish Israelis.
      Celebrating folks not enlisted as a sign of something seems misguided to me. The real metric is and should be folks who explicitly refuse. It's good to celebrate those who do, but worth thinking about how the numbers from this movement's inception do not show anything like a year after year increase.

  • Israel cracks down on American travel to West Bank by requiring tourists to obtain military permit
  • The etymology of anti-Semitism
    • I find it astounding that after Massad's definitive and scholarly article, that anyone would even think of referring to Palestinians as 'Semites.' It's bankrupt nonsense. The title of the cartoon had me thinking, finally, someone who explains that the word 'Semitic' was originally an etymological term! Alas no.
      That said, obv. the use of the term anti-Semitism to refer to critics of Israel probably increases the number of Jew haters without doing a thing to protect Israel.

  • Beinart's challenge, Beinart's fear
    • I do not fear that Palestinians will rush to impose Sharia in a unified Palestine. That said, a question should have an answer.
      In traditional Islamic jurisprudence, there isn't really a wall between religion and state affairs. The status of non Muslim groups would not be equal in the eyes of the law. Right wing Islamophobes talk of this all the time. "Dhimmitude."
      A larger problem has to do with those in Israeli or Palestinian society who do not want religious law to govern personal status issues, which tend to discriminate against women, those in mixed marriages, or those who dissent from their nominal religion (as in the case of Reform Jews).

  • Diaspora Jews must speak out against the Israeli Law of Return
    • You seem to have conflated individuals and groups. All Jews are no more responsible for anything to any greater degree than all Muslims are responsible for anything.
      Jewish unity is as mythological as Islamic unity (etc. I don't mean to 'pick' on Muslims obviously.

    • Demanding that Jews do anything is morally the same as demanding that Muslims or Arabs do anything.
      Rejecting the law of return
      Rejecting the use of terrorism

      Both suggest a collective responsibility for the sins of individuals and institutions. Both are wrong. At most, it might be legit to direct some attention to Jews who implement the law of return to emigrate to Israel. But why bother? That's one group unlikely to care what Sam Bahour thinks.

  • Palestine and the Left
    • Everything about this article is excellent and a breath of fresh air. The willingness to critique and understand, the historical perspective, the openness to doubt, the sober and knowledgeable authors, the sheer intelligence.
      It stands in such contrast to much of the blathering that passes for left discourse. Jacobin is a serious effort, which doesn't mean I agree with all of it. The seriousness is in tone, respect for one's audience, intellectual roots. Regardless of one's perspective, it's a model for how to public, edit and write on difficult issues.

  • Fear of democracy in the Jewish community
    • JJ Goldberg "...called on anti-Zionists to help change the American Jewish community by working inside it, so as to broaden its diversity."
      Excellent advice. There are a lot of anti- and non-Zionist Jews in America, some of them are active participants and leaders in traditional settings like synagogues and charitable nonprofits. All power to them.

  • Meet Nathan Blanc, Israeli conscientious objector
    • Good for him! May he be strong and get through this in good health.
      New Profile has been saying that the refusenik movement has been growing for many years. My impression is that it's actually been a tiny trickle with statistically very small bumps, though one could divide the history of conscript refusal into before/after the 2nd Intifada. Anyone have numbers?

  • Israeli army captain assaults valiant protester Ezra Nawi
    • "of whom there will one day be stained glass window portraits in synagogues"
      What a lovely sentiment. Something to look forward to!

  • The most rational political course in Israel is also the most immoral -- Noam Sheizaf
    • Absolutely. Nice to see the crucial role of Hadash mentioned. They are indeed the only real Jewish-Palestinian coalition with a mass base, and that's worth something.

  • Gaza takes NY (we're talking hummus and seafood)
    • Tanoreen is an amazing restaurant. It's far out in Bay Ridge, but well worth the visit. It's a destination.
      In particular, you can order fresh knafeh done well as a desert.
      (The Gaza recipe sounds like a great idea - sharing Palestinian culture is a great way to advance understanding.)

  • Israelis flock to Berlin-- some for 'multicultural vibe'
    • A few points Phil and Hophmi.
      1. This story is ten years old. Well, new for this journalist from Al-Jazeera, but an old story. Reporting non-news as news is not a hallmark of journalistic quality. Here's a random recycled item from 2008: link to

      2. There is a brain drain in Israel, but much like the anglo emigration from apartheid South Africa, it isn't at a level that would cause any damage to the Israeli economy. The main causes of outmigration are cost of living, better opportunities abroad, adventure seekers, etc. I'm someone who left Israel in disgust, and I know plenty others, but we're a small fraction of the Israelis who have left.

      3. The real challenge to Israel and Zionism is more subtle. The Zionist idea is that Israel is the Jewish state, a home to all Jews who desire it. A magnet that would exert influence over Jews qua Jews. But we have an elite constituency that grew up in Israel who reject this logic with open eyes and the benefit of years of indoctrination telling them otherwise. The question a sci-fi writer might tackle would be: what is Israel down the road in the absence of these folks? Probably just 'more' of what it is now, which will increase out-migration for all the reasons that cause it now.

      4. One of my friends served in the army the full three years, including in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. He is a political centrist. And he left Israel with PTSD symptoms that took years to tease out and address. Many of those who left have escaped the cause of their PTSD without needing or wanting to understand the political implications of it all. It's enough to be away from all those triggers. This is one of the ways that the conflict exerts a powerful undertow that harms the quality of life and resiliency of Israeli society, no matter what the leaders and champtions say. And why ending the conflict - really ending it, not managing it - is such an imperative for anyone cares about our friends and relatives who are still there.

  • Colonizer as lender: How Liberty Square and Bab al-Shams spring from similar roots
    • Annie, we aren't far apart. But I think it's more helpful to support the folks we support as an alternative to invisibilizing them, which is what Strike Debt has done.

    • "Although these “occupiers” proclaimed their solidarity with a global movement against austerity and debt, Palestinian voices and grievances were not welcomed."
      It would be more accurate to say that J14 in Israel represented a vast cross section of Israeli society. This includes those who felt that social struggle would be harmed by 'politicization' or addressing the Occupation. But is that it?
      The J14 movement also included many groups, individuals and political party associated people who addressed the occupation, racism within Israel, and the social struggles of the Israeli-Palestinian population.
      These links below (which don't necessarily represent my own opinions) demonstrate that J14 was a movement that was very broad, expanding event to include a tent on Rothschild that addressed the Naqba in a creative and fruitful way.
      link to
      link to

      It's right and proper to criticize Israel and Israelis for what they do, and to a lesser extent, for what they don't do and should. But J14 was a time of experimentation and hope, diversity and transformation. Strike Debt could have made the same points in support of the portion of J14 that agrees with them, instead of going negative and falsely portraying all of J14 as monolithically against addressing Palestinian voices and grievances.

      A shame.

  • 'J Street' leader hints that 2013 is make-or-break for two-state solution
    • One part that baffles me: why do you think Palestinians desire to expand their historic and proud nationality so that it will encompass millions of Jews from other places? Hundreds of thousands of Russians who aren't even Jewish?
      No matter what the state is called, 'Palestinian' will be a nationality derived from shared history and language, not legal citizenship. That's why Israeli Arabs are nonetheless 'Palestinian', and many Jordanian citizens identify as Palestinian.
      This notion that somehow millions of Jews in Israel become 'Palestinian' is as realistic as thinking that millions of additional Palestinians become 'Israeli.'
      Equality and justice are important values - but they do not map to a single political outcome.

  • In Jerusalem, even the dentist lets you know who's in charge
    • I didn't deny the discrimination. I mentioned it. In your eagerness to "sew a kit" for me you repeatedly fail at basic reading comprehension.
      How about this: find a way to stop pretending to read my mind, and in return, you'll not look silly for making shit up.

    • I think you captured an everyday slice of Israel that affects almost everyone. This kind of bureaucratic insanity reminds me of so much... dealing with the army, police, mas hachnasa, bituach leumi, driver's licence people, interior ministry for getting a passport, and all the rest of it. It's hard if you don't share a language, and (no question) worse if you are Arab seeking service in places that assume 'Jewish' is the norm. Glad your child got what she came for.

  • When loving Israel is a social credential
    • Ridiculous. The reason people talk about Jews being at the forefront of the civil rights movement has to do with the ethnic breakdown of participants in Freedom Summer, or the ethnicity of the whites who were in SNCC, or the way that American Jews are the only white ethnic group to give solid majorities for Democrats in proportions totally out of line for other white Americans.
      So today you find American Jews taking pride in this history (and sometimes the high Jewish presence in the early labor movement) and it bothers you?
      Going past Zionism in the Jewish community is EXACTLY a process of taking pride in our values and legacy, and understanding how Israel's behavior is a threat to that.

  • Brian Lehrer finds '5 Broken Cameras' 'extremely shocking' and wonders if Palestinians have abandoned two-state solution
    • This is evidence that documents like 5 Cameras do a wonderful job of penetrating minds. Something about the nature of this discourse needs to be understood and replicated. Really heartwarming to see Lehrer show this openness.

  • The wisdom of the late Akiva Orr
    • He was a really great guy. I don't know who the 'next' Akiva Orr is, but he'll have these qualities: respect for others, sense of humor, and a clear view of the entire situation, without blinders for your own team's flaws.

      The book Peace, Peace and there is no Peace is a masterpiece.

  • Eric Alterman's bias revealed as he warns against the 'red menace' of BDS
    • tree, I think the passionate fringe of toxic, bile spewing solidarity activists play a dual role that is rarely addressed. The guard the flame, but they also keep others away.
      Complaining about my complaining here brings to mind the old joke, where one person shouts angrily "I am not being defensive! Stop picking on me!"
      That said, it's much better to address the sin as opposed to the sinner. Good point.

    • Alterman was a bit over the top. But coming from the choir at Mondoweiss, isn't that a bit of the pot calling the kettle black?

      Where this post does a real service is recognizing that there is room for a fruitful debate over some of the thornier BDS related issues. Not the kind of debate where politically correct folks rally to defend the right line (yeah, that's a well known part of "Stalinism") but to create that wider space of democratic contestation where people might not agree all the time, but they see themselves as broadly in the same camp.

      That kind of Stalinist behavior is promoted by some liberals, who endorse the exclusion of JVP or BDS or whatnot, even if they also ident,ify the Israeli state as the primary guilty party at this stage of the conflict. And it is promoted by folks here, who are eager to draw those sharp, razor tipped lines designed to keep on the outside not only Zionists of all stripes, but even non, post, or anti-Zionists insufficiently doctrinaire. (cf the bile hurled at Chomsky, Finklestein, and even Sand.)

      The urgent and necessary cause of protecting Palestinians needs everyone who can contribute - even including some opponents of BDS.

      My circle of trust would include anyone who has ever participated in solidarity work in places like Bilin, AND those of similar opinions. That's what a successful large tent looks like. The commentariat over here would likely happily reduce those numbers. Can you imagine the sneering condescension of Mooser or Avi to a hapless Meretz supporter on the way back from inhaling teargas on a Friday?

      Alterman could have done a better job with his thesis if he had used the comment section at EI and here to make his point. It often feels like the peanut gallery at a Moscow show trial.

  • Bloomberg backs Brooklyn College over BDS event as another official withdraws funding threat
    • Brilliant. You don't have to be a fan of BDS to realize that the NYC politicians were essentially going totally nuts, counterproductively. I bet the next time Nadler's CoS tries to do this kind of thing, she gets an apologetic 'not this time.'


  • Why I'm for boycott
    • Phil writes: "I have avoided all discussion here of cultural and academic boycott, anti-normalization measures, and the desire some have expressed to transform Israel with a flood of returning refugees, to revolutionize 1948."

      That's a wise decision. By doing so, you make a lot of sense that might otherwise be tarnished.

      A program for ensuring a desirable Jewish future begins with ending the oppression of Palestinians and transforming the relationship. Our future is mortgaged to the Palestinians at this point, and redeeming that note is the Jewish task of the 21st Century.

  • If you were a Palestinian Israeli, and your polling place looked like this--
    • This is not how most polling stations are. They tend to be in schools. I wonder if this is an Embassy.
      Most Israeli Palestinians actually do vote.
      Feels like a strange way to address the problem of state symbols in Israel.
      (Which should be changed to reflect both peoples.)

  • Election Day in Jerusalem: Deciding to vote, boycott or rebel
    • Talknic, just to correct one major error you are making...
      Many countries, including the US, grant citizenship to the children of citizens born overseas, even if they do not return to the US to claim it.
      Germany offered (maybe still does) citizenship automatically to Germans from other states (Russia, Croatia) and has done so for a long time. Germany, Poland and a few other countries give citizenship to the children of folks affected by the Holocaust whose ancestors were from there (and possibly others - not sure.) I know quite a few holders of European passports who never lived there and don't speak the right language.

      But never mind the recent stuff. Consider how European countries granted citizenship rights to religious minorities in the Middle East. This is how generations of Russians, Greeks, French and others were born and died in cosmopolitan parts of the Ottoman Empire without ever even visiting the country of formal citizenship.

      Territory and citizenship are certainly linked, but you are clearly misguided about how the extent. And it's a good thing! Once a Palestinian state becomes free of all Israeli control, one suspects that many Palestinians living around the world would want to become citizens of that country - even if they never move there. Even if they have another citizenship. Even if they are only one half, or one quarter Palestinians ancestry. And that would be a good thing.

      On a final, ludicrous note, are you truly suggesting that Israel's 1948 borders are somehow in doubt with regards to international law and international recognition? What a laughable proposition. It reminds me of utterly strange Israeli twistings of international law, like when they claim settlements are legal. Settlements are indeed not legal according to international law. But the '48 borders of Israel are indeed quite settled. Where that not the case, how could we possibly campaign for the labeling of goods from the Occupied Territories for boycott purposes, as many worthy folks have been doing in Europe and elsewhere for years?

    • Annie - I have nothing but respect for the political choices of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. They are choosing not to integrate into the Israeli polity. This desire to not be part of Israel.... makes perfect sense.
      Inshallah, some day the occupation will end and Palestinians in Jerusalem will be citizens in a Palestinian state, free of Zionist control and equal in every way to Israel in matters of sovereignty.

    • If Israel did not have the right and the power to change it's laws of citizenship, what would be the point of applying pressure to rectify the legal injustices?
      You'll find nothing I've written ever defending the state of Israel's discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens. Implying that I think so suggests a lack of understanding.
      Every so often (well every day) there are some staggering lapses in logic here. Everyone who thinks states aren't in charge of citizenship laws, raise your hand, and state for the record the name of the alternative legal structure that is in charge.

    • Talknic, being a 'resident of Israel' is a legal status AND a reference to where someone lives. I was using that phrase in the legal sense, as 'registered as a resident of Israel.' This is a status enjoyed by many folks inside and outside of the Green Line, and includes both citizens and non-citizens.
      Regarding what Israel has the right to offer.... are you seriously suggesting that states do not have the 'right' to determine who gets to be a citizen? As pointed out numerous times, many states routinely offer citizenship to folks who are not resident in their own territory. It goes back a long time. If you weren't aware of this before - now you are!

      Finally, I may disapprove of Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem (and other parts of the WB nearby) but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. The denial of rights to Palestinians living in the annexed parts is a serious human rights violation; the position of Palestinian and Israeli hr orgs is to demand the fulfillment of those rights, as opposed to denying that an annexation has occurred. (cf, HaMoked)

    • Nice to see Hadash recognized as a non-Zionist party on Mondoweiss!
      It is true that East Jerusalem Palestinians mostly occupy a strange limbo where they are residents of Israel but not citizens. But - legally speaking, they can ask for citizenship at any time and become voters. Thousands have done so. I think - does anyone have more info? that it was once easier to do than it is today.

      It's worth noting that East Jerusalem Palestinians, for the most part, decline to pursue citizenship for political reasons, despite the obvious legal benefits. So are they not voting by conscious political choice, or because Israel is discriminating against them in this matter?

  • '5 Broken Cameras' plays NY and Tulsa, 'Gatekeepers' makes NPR
    • We should care about the impact of media on Israeli public opinion for the same reason that MLK Jr. cared about using nonviolent tactics. Because victory - any victory - involves a transformation of both the victim and the victimizer into a new relationship. It's one thing to recognize that YOU don't want to do that work, and another to denigrate that kind of activity in general.

      Both movies are great. Both should be mandatory for every Israeli. Wouldn't it be great if they provoked real soul searching and an openness to new ways of thinking?

  • The only hope to upend the political landscape in Israel/Palestine -- simultaneous uprisings between the river and the sea
    • Nice to see a graduate of Hadash Youth here! Excellent analysis and a productive line of thought. Whatever change we see in Israel and Palestine, it will include large sections of both populations or it won't happen.

  • Millions disenfranchised in Israeli vote due solely to ethnicity and geography
    • Excellent demonization there. Not that I'm protesting your conclusion.

    • You seem to have avoided answering my question while... responding to my question.
      “Are you suggesting that this is a strategic mistake, and Palestinian residents should hurry up and get citizenship so they can vote?”
      This is a fun question because... if the topic is a complaint that Palestinians can't vote, and there exist a group of Palestinians who actually can vote but choose not to, then the thesis is problematized. (ugh to crit studies!)
      If those Palestinians who could vote but choose not to are behaving this way because there is a strong national consensus endorsing such a view, that what we have is a well articulated Palestinian position calling for NOT VOTING in Israeli elections if you are from outside '48 Israel.

      My inclination is to respect that position, while the original post suggests it is mistaken. The contradiction is simple: most Palestinians outside of Israel do not want to belong to the same entity as Israelis and jointly elect their representatives together. Disagree if you like, but don't make it sound like a Zionist position.

    • Mooser, your scenario seems outlandish. In most post conflict societies, from South Africa to the Balkans to post dictatorship Latin America to post Socialist Eastern Europe, the longed for 'day of judgement' never really happens that way. After all, everyone still has to live together.

      Which isn't to say a complete uprooting of the old order never happens. Witness Cambodia, Zimbabwe, East Timor, and that old standby, Algeria.

    • Mndwss, it's not so offensive. I disagree with the emphasis on 'voter disenfranchisement' as opposed to 'occupation that must end.'
      We live in a time of story wars, and some folks are changing the story of 'Palestinians under occupation deserve to be free and living under Palestinian sovereignty' into another story where 'all of Palestinian is indivisible, Israelis and Palestinians should be citizens in the same entity with equal rights.'
      I prefer the first story because I think it is a more effective frame for the goal of Palestinians living without being dominated by Israelis.

      Using nifty turns of phrase to make your point instead of actually making your point is a way to win an argument without having to have it. Supporters of occupation do this. Everyone does it. It's reasonable to poke holes in it.
      It is not offensive, just.... propagandish. Unhelpful.

    • Um.... Israel never annexed Gaza. It did annex the Golan and East Jerusalem. FWIW.

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