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

Newclench

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  • Millions disenfranchised in Israeli vote due solely to ethnicity and geography
    • Annie, according to your logic Israel 'likes' all the Palestinian political parties in the Israeli parliament. Which is super not true.
      According to your logic, Palestinians in the PA/Gaza have been unable to vote for parties that Israel does not like, such as Hamas. Super not true! Palestinian political parties that have stood in elections include the PFLP and Hamas, and Israel couldn't do a damn thing.
      I think.... you are conflating things.
      Please consider that as flawed as things are, Palestinians do have a history of voting in free and fair elections, as certified by international election bodies, both in Israel and the PA. Yet you seem averse to honoring the choices of those voters and seeing them as legitimate. That's a very extreme position.
      and
      Name two Israeli Palestinian political leaders who have been jailed as a political leader in the recent past? (Two because, well, something did happen with the former head of Balad, but he fled and his party seems to be alive and well. No jail time though.)

    • 1. How would you write this story when the Palestinian Authority has an election? Should Israelis demand the right to elect the Palestinian leadership?
      2. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have had the right to Israeli citizenship for many years, allowing them to vote if they so choose. (Yes, it is complicated...) But in general, the national consensus was to NOT exercise that right. Are you suggesting that this is a strategic mistake, and Palestinian residents should hurry up and get citizenship so they can vote?

  • Lapid could help form new Netanyahu coalition, experts say
    • There was much talk about a strong decline in the Arab vote; this seems not to have happened, which is good. Witness the growth of the 'Arab' parties to twelve seats in the current Knesset. If the Palestinian citizens of Israel were to vote as Haredim or the settlers do, there could be 15-18 Palestinian MKs from Arab or Jewish-Arab parties.

      At some point, the Zionist left and center left will have to include these forces in a future coalition if they are to have any hope of governing. This political leverage for internal changes in Israel is as important as external leverage. Moreover, the external pressure should be closely coordinated with the leaders of these political parties.

      For all the problems with Palestinian politics and leaders, there is one thing we can say for sure. Palestinian citizens of Israel had a chance to vote for their leaders and they used it to pick the ones they picked. That democratic choice deserves our respect and support. There's a nice and probably healthy mix of socialist, nationalist and Islamist forces at play. Here's hoping they find more ways to work together and earn political victories with the hand they've been dealt.

  • What left? The rightwing bloc is over 100 Knesset seats -- Derfner
    • 18 seats out of 120 for the left? That's better than the US Congress, where only one person (Bernie Sanders) belongs to a party that is left of the Dems, who are still engaged in war (etc.).
      I'm rooting for Hadash to get five seats. Win or lose, someone should write about the amazing Nabila Espanioli.

  • 'Anti-Zionist chic'
    • The Herzl thing and an internationalized Jerusalem - that has real potential. I hope someone picks up on that for some fun. Launch it with some street posters at the next GA or WZO or Jewish Agency conference.

  • How 20 tents rocked Israel: Palestinians take the fight to their occupiers in Bab al-Shams
    • A great action. But this: "So instead, it was left to a group of 250 ordinary Palestinians to show how the idea of a "state of Palestine" might be given practical meaning."

      Calling Abir Kopty and M. Khatib "ordinary" is a baffling statement. Extraordinary feels much more appropriate.

      There really is no limit to what can be accomplished in this way.

  • '5 Broken Cameras' and 'The Gatekeepers' nominated for Best Documentary Oscar
    • Justice, I'll admit to stirring, but not to 'just' stirring it. I'll also admit to not caring for BDS in particular - it's just a wide range of tactics that sometimes poses as a movement, and in so doing creates a problem.
      There is a movement for the recognition of Palestinian rights, for equality in Israel, independence for Palestine, and of course for peace. Proponents of BDS are part of this movement, and so are some opponents of BDS. The most sensible faction lies in the middle, carefully avoiding BDS movement talk while supporting specific campaigns when and where useful.
      I remember conversations about excellent Israeli films (including Ajami), but beyond that the entire 'Other Israel' film festival in New York. And in those conversations, the most stringent pro-BDS folks uttered precisely the kind of nonsense that would result in the boycott of 5 Broken Cameras. The Davidi recognizes this fact in his public statement following the Oscar nomination.
      The EI post is an example of pilpul, the legalistic explication of a principal to draw a dividing line that is otherwise quite hidden. It only needed to be written because my question above is fair and obvious.
      If the next Israeli-Palestinian co-production is non political, or less political, or expresses a politics less pure, how will it's inclusion or exclusion from the boycott be explained?

      Again, great film. What a thrill if this production actually wins!

    • I don't understand why this film isn't being boycotted. I was reviewing the discussion around Ajami from a few years ago, and it seems that 5 Broken Cameras violates the PACBI rules in a similar manner. It was funded in part by an Israeli state institution, the success of this film reflects well on the Israeli film industry, it showcases a Palestinian violating the the call against normalization by working with an Israeli - one with financing from the Israeli state.
      See here: link to usacbi.org

      If this film is NOT addressed by the cultural boycott.... at the very least we should hear a revision of the rule express by the link. A Palestinian working with an Israeli and getting Israeli state financing and being showcased as an Israeli film? Saying that this should not be the target of a boycott seems to be an example of carving out exemptions for political convenience.

      In short, the difference in the BDS's movement response to Ajami and 5 Broken Cameras show something inconsistent. Though surely some pilpul can explain how they shouldn't be lumped together.

      (Great film of course. Hope it wins and has a strong impact.)

  • Exchange on anti-Sephardi racism on the left
    • "Contemporary Judaism has fully embraced Zionism and Jewish nationalism."
      The problem with this statement is that all of Judaism coexists at the same time - ancient and modern. "Contemporary Judaism" has no trump card in deciding what future currents will look like.
      Whatever future Judaism looks like, it will trace a lineage to ancient times, picking and choosing, making ethical choices and prioritizing according to existing conditions.
      The versions of Judaism that see Zionism as a tragedy (as opposed to merely a crime) are likely to thrive, but they won't simply replace whatever Zionist inflected Judaism becomes. There will probably be versions that descend from both.

  • Endless 'debate over two-state solution' is cover for the real story, annexation of West Bank
    • "I've noticed the same thing, from rightwingers and even liberal Zionists..."
      So... the Palestinian political forces, including the PLO, the PNA, Fateh, Palestinian People's Party, Hadash, Tajamu, and others - are they rightwingers or liberal Zionists?

  • Shlomo Sand on Zionism, post-Zionism, and the two-state solution
    • Again with the presumptions and "apparently." Mooser, you insist on a kind of Stalinist denunciation for what I don't say, as though some code of morality has been violated for lack of my attention.
      Working together has nothing to do with being nice Mooser, a subject you are quite the specialist in. It's about shared interests. What you are clearly not an expert in is the art of reading comprehension. You will not find anything I've ever put in writing suggesting that I support the Zionist project - or if I have, it is the same kind of Zionism that Shlomo Zand is guilty of. You know, the kind that no actual Zionist would recognize.
      What a strange way of showing solidarity - some folks decide they aren't Zionists anymore, but there is Mooser, broom in hand, ready to neatly return them to the Zionist pile lest they mess up his neat little categories.

    • Israel as a country should be based on Israeli citizenship with no discrimination of Palestinian citizens whatsoever. Jewish ethnocracy is a terrible evil - for the Jews, along with Palestinians.
      That is Sand's position, is the position of Israel's left (including the three mostly Arab political parties in Knesset), and my own.
      An Israeli identity makes Israel into something that is not 'A Jewish State', but merely a state with lots of Jews. This might be hard for you to understand but... Some Jewish Israelis consider the Palestinian minority in Israel to be brothers and sisters, comrades, allies, and of course fellow citizens deserving of full civil rights.

    • It sounds like you actually believe that the Israeli government is motivated by concern for the welfare of it's citizenry, and this explains the saber rattling against Iran.
      I think Israeli ruling circles are 'afraid' about the loss of hegemonic power that enables them to dictate terms to others in the Middle East. Certain sectors of Israeli society have been leaving in greater and greater numbers for years, but it is not, and will never be a kind of 'depopulation' that changes the balance of power or results in some kind of new alignment in Israeli society.

      This is a case where the fake, overblown fears of some Israelis are matched wholeheartedly with the unrealistic hopes of Israel's detractors.

    • 1. It is false that more than 50% of Israeli Jews hold dual citizenship. 60% of Israeli Jews come from Muslim countries that did not provide this option.
      2. Forcibly expelling native born Israeli Jews from Israel to another country.... sheesh. You'd think we've learned better than to engage in that behavior, no? For all the comparisons to South Africa, so few realize the centrality of the ANC ideology as expressed in the Freedom Charter.
      3. The percentage of Israeli citizens residing outside of Israel is comparable with countries like Mexico and Morocco. High compared to most OECD countries, but not by any order of magnitude, and well explained by the facts that Israelis have recent immigration experience, and often were immigrants themselves to Israel before leaving again.

      link to fmep.org

    • You put in parenths what you think I mean but don't say. And in this we have the big reveal: you invent opinions to demolish and assign them to a real person who said no such thing.
      It's not only dishonest - no shortage of that - but it's the kind of ideological mudslinging you just love to make fun of when others do it. That makes you the worst kind of hypocrite - simultaneously inventing, denouncing, and misleading.
      Here's a hint though, if ever you choose to escape the paper bag trap you put yourself in: just read what I wrote. No need to invent anything: not my opinions, not the Jewish people, not Eretz Yisrael.

    • If only the Jews of 1948 could have known about 1968!

    • I'm with Sand here. I support an Israel where Jews no longer have a privilege over non-Jews. When we get that far, all the rest should be easy peasy.

    • 1. If you really really can't understand why Jewish victims of the Holocaust might have been uncomfortable living in Germany or taking German compensation.... then I guess you just have to give in to the mystery of it all. It makes perfect sense to me.
      2. Sand's parents were communists. At the time they came to Israel, the socialist world welcomed the creation of Israel, there was a vibrant socialist movement and a Jewish-Arab communist party represented in the Knesset.
      3. Really? You don't get why a Jewish Holocaust survivor might see the newly created state of Israel as a reasonable place to immigrate to?

      War does terrible things.

    • "I justify the existence of Israel not because of historical right, but because of the fact that it exist today and any effort to destroy it will bring new tragedies. Besides, Zionism created a new Israeli nation that has a right to exist."

      It's amazing how many people will champion Sand without understanding that this is the implication of all that he writes. Championing "Israeli-hood" is a very productive form of resistance to Zionist ideology.

  • Roots of Resistance: The visitors
  • In Honor of Titans
    • I've been looking forward to the 'festivities' commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Intifada for some time, after figuring out last year that it would be coming up. (That's probably the wrong word though.)

      The Palestinian commentary should rightly be on the Palestinian actors, their stories and the lessons to be drawn for today. For myself, the Intifada is intertwined with my own history as a refusenik; the group I belonged to formed itself in the 1986-87 period, publicized itself in September, had the first member conscripted in November, and then *bang* the Intifada breaks out.

      Allow me to share that when this happened, the political environment I was part of in Israel was ecstatic. We were so happy that 'the news' had less to do with what Arafat was up to, and more about what Palestinians under occupation were doing. Happy that the protests were largely nonviolent (on the Palestinian side) making it easier to make the immorality of occupation clearer to Israelis.

      At the time, it was possibly to graduate from an Israeli high school and not quite get what the "West Bank" or "Occupied Territories" meant, as a decade of Likud rule had erased the Green Line from the education system. The Intifada changed that.

      I've got a lot of memories from those years. Visiting Beit Sahour, East Jerusalem and Gaza with solidarity organizations. Clandestine meetings with 'shabiba' young activists in hilltops not far from Jenin. Learning for the first time, as best I could, about the differences between the PFLP, the DFLP, the (currently named) Palestinian People's Party and Fateh.

      One of my strongest memories is being locked up in Atlit prison, which was mostly for Israeli military prisoners, but had been transformed so that it was not a concentration camp for Palestinian prisoners. The sheer numbers had overwhelmed existing systems. As a prisoner, I spent a few days taking food to Palestinians. Every chance I got I whispered - I am with you! That was why the guards took me off that detail.... I'm sure it's mostly fantasy, but what if news of refuseniks was helping Palestinian morale?

      It has been 25 years, and a lot has changed. But Palestinians are not free in Palestine, they are not equal in Israel, they are still the refugee nation. And tonight is Hanukkah, when Jews celebrate our ancient struggle for national liberation against the Greek empire then in power. How can we celebrate this special time without a deep sense of shame at the ironic role reversal? We are the Greeks. The Palestinians are the Maccabees.

      My concluding thought is that what is most precious about Judaism and the Jewish people need not fear Palestinian liberation. At this point, Palestinian liberation is the one vital and missing ingredient for our long term future, which I say as both a Jew and an Israeli. Happy Hanukkah, my Palestinian friends. Congratulations on the victories of the first Intifada. May its promise be complete in our day. Amen.

  • Jonathan Cook on liberal Zionism
    • FYI, the Labor Party is not Mapam. It was allied with them electorally for some years (1959-1984 I think) but even then - it was not the Labor Party.

  • Avnery-- leftist, and 89-- warns of the 'natural increase' of Arabs threatening Jewish majority
    • Avnery is one of the best most authentic peace champions in the Middle East, never mind Israel. Which is why he gets along so well with Palestinians, from Arafat to grassroots Fatah and Hamas leaders. Attacking him for not being pro-Palestinian enough is kind of crazy. Why would you want pro-Palestinian Israeli peace leaders? If Israelis are going to make peace it will be because it is in their own interests, don't you think? Do you imagine that peace will be imposed on Israelis by a leadership that is against the Israeli interest?

  • ‘It’s time for Palestinians in Israel to stand firm against the Bantustan plan of Oslo’: An interview with Awad Abdel Fattah
    • Any evidence for this statement: "Look at Dov Chenin [the sole Jewish legislator in the parliament for Hadash]. He is unapologetic about supporting the Jewish character of the state. He sees no problem with that."

      I know him pretty well, and can't imagine him saying or doing anything in line with that statement.
      Then again, this whole interview feels like an anti-Hadash screed, part of a campaign to win voters over from their nearest rival, and the party that Azmi B'shara came from. Would be cool to see an interview with Mohammed Barakeh or something to balance this out.

  • US silent as thousands go on hunger strike in Turkey for Kurdish political rights
  • Following Abbas statement on right of return, Palestinian youth in Lebanon call for end to Oslo and the Palestinian Authority
  • 'A vision seen in a dream': A leading religious Zionist's 1956 call for the Palestinian refugees to return
  • Comeuppance for Netanyahu? No, he might run against Obama-- and increase daylight between countries
    • My impression is that a phrase like this was once a more natural part of intra-Jewish discourse, but that it is fading a bit and now provokes a certain sensitivity.
      If the "World Zionist Organization" were being founded today it would not have that name. They would instead call it "The Federation of Zionist Communities" or some such. "The Jewish Agency" would be named something in Hebrew, forcing all the diaspora Jews to pronounce it poorly.
      As a Jew, I don't like the phrase "world-Jewry" but I don't assume that someone using it has bad motives. There is no such thing; what we have are "world Jewries."

  • Brazil’s barbarians at Israel’s gate: South American Israel lobby tries to shut down World Social Forum on Palestine
    • Shmuel... I'm glad Palestine is part of the WSF process. I'm disappointed that it is not equally open to different parts of the political world who support Palestinian rights, including two staters, folks who do not see BDS as the primary form of support, and others. The movement for Palestinian rights should, at all times, but one that runs a wide gamut of Palestinian political representation. This group seems to come from a specific corner, and they seek to define what is politically correct as part of an ongoing political struggle taking place inside the movement.
      and
      I'm sure that the folks giving the WSF a hard time are in fact, Zionists. But knowing that is true and sounding like those other folks did in that statement above are not the same thing.
      But you know what? I'm sure we agree that folks who support Israel's occupation should not be welcome. And we probably agree that political representatives of Israel's occupation enforcing parties (such as Labor or Kadima) would not be welcome. But that still leaves a much wider tent that seems to be in play at the moment.

    • The way the words 'Zionist', 'Zionism' and 'Zionists' are used is off-putting. Makes the text look like a screed as opposed to a defense of free speech. I wonder if that's a Latin American thing.

      That said, one interpretation seems to not have occurred to folks. That the sober folks in Rio Grande do Sul who are not Zionists and actually support the World Social Forum process are just the teensiest bit off-put by the strident tone of some of the organizers, and this makes it easier for them to bend in the direction of 'the Zionists' instead of standing up to them.

      And this is the political challenge: to find positions that folks as far left as Brazil's Worker's Party will want to defend with great vigor, instead of taking a few steps beyond that. I wonder if the rejection of a religious dialogue is connected to that. Why unite your opposition with your closest friends?

  • On the unbearable lightnness of (not) being Israeli
    • I became aware of Arabs as 'the other kind of Israeli' pretty early on. My mother encouraged me in this. I attended various programs in school that brought Jews together with Arabs (we traveled in both directions, I hosted and was hosted). I joined a 'Jewish-Arab' youth movement. I joined a 'Jewish-Arab' political party. For me, Israelis are both Jewish and Arab, but also folks who are neither.
      What's interesting is that both racists on the pro-Israeli side and opponents of any kind of Israeli identity come together in agreement that Palestinian citizens of Israel are somehow less 'Israeli.'

      Support human rights and equality? Insist on the full inclusion of Palestinian and other non-Jewish citizens within the Israeli polity.

  • 'NYT' op-ed equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism relied on Nasrallah quote that is in all likelihood a fabrication
    • I don't think you'll see some kind of 'explicitly' anti-Zionist denomination. It's more that groups of liberal observant Jews will form a large minority or majority in certain locations, enough to stand apart from the 'typical' nonsense around Israel.
      But they won't be waving explicit anti-Zionist flags around, and they won't stop affirming a sense of peoplehood with Israeli Jews, even as they walk back theologically and politically from supporting a racist Israel. And really, that's what you want; an alternative leadership ready with a Plan B, not some bridge burners no one would listen to.

    • Going after someone for anti-Semitism when there is such thin factual evidence makes it all the harder to fight the real incidences of anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world. It is a huge strategic error that ultimately has the effect of making it easier for the read Jew haters to thrive.
      and
      When Arabs and/or Muslims in frontline conflict zones with Israel fall victim to anti-Semitic tropes and language, there is something despicable about linking it to the legacy of European anti-Semitism instead of the modern Arab-Israeli conflict. Beyond anything else, there is a vicious ant-Arab racism at play here that underestimates the political, historical and religious awareness among Arabs. As if they are clueless about the discourse of 'the new anti-semitism' and what it means for the culture of resistance, etc.

      For all the folks actually concerned about improving the image of Jews and Judaism in the Middle East - first step is to de-link it to the Israeli national project. Our survival might depend on it - just as it did with the fall of the 2nd Temple.

  • Omar Saad, a Druze-Palestinian musician from the Galilee, refuses Israeli military service
  • If only it was just one tweet: One activist's experience in the 'Our Land' Facebook group
    • Great post Beka.
      Today in Palestine is good to remind us that non-Palestinian supporters of Palestinian rights are NOT at the center of that struggle.
      And
      I wonder about that 'vote/poll' done a few days ago here, where something like 14 commenters posted in support of Greta vs. 4 who were against. Suggesting that despite all the evidence of Greta's poor judgement, the comment section here is dominated (and dominated) by folks with similar poor judgement. Not that it's personal, but I'm often struck by the viciousness of attacks on things I've said (well, not really - attacks are usually on me, regardless of what was said) only to find my sentiments echoed at the top from Phil and others.

      What a strange disconnect.

  • Free Gaza's Col. Ann Wright disinvited from Swedish Boat to Gaza
    • FWIW, I think this is crazy too. I'm not a fan of AW, I've got bones to pick with the boats to Gaza movement.
      And yet....
      Fucking boats to Gaza is a great solidarity action. I still remember the 'almost' ship that was supposed to leave Cyprus for Israel in 1988. I guess.... it is such a great action, it is so useful for the movement, that it seems worth it to treat AW this way. Hrm. There's a line between careful and WTF, and for me, this kind of crosses it.

      I've done nothing for the various Gaza ships. But I've been to Gaza, been friends with Gazans. It is so awful there, and so awful what the Israelis, Egyptians and the Quartet have allowed it to become (with some help from Palestinian factions and mis-steps.)

      I hope the Swedish ship makes it and does good service to the movement.

  • Israeli film 'The Gatekeepers' brings truths about occupation that Palestinians are vilified for saying
    • "As if the messianic settlers who plotted to blow up the Dome of the Rock are all that different from the messianic settlers who built Jewish-only communities in the Galilee."

      Do you really not understand the differences here? Just for starters, do you think Jewish only communities in the Galilee are somehow different than those in the center, coastal region or the Negev?

      If you argue that Dome of the Rock terrorists are 'not so different' than boho suburbanites looking for 'quality of life' then you are strengthening some very extreme factions in this debate. Would you also argue that Palestinians who blow up civilians are 'not so different' than those who do not? And which camp exactly would be strengthened by that argument?

  • Green Party pres'l candidate misses crucial political opportunity by not talking up democracy in Israel/Palestine
    • Dear Jill Stein: having won your party's nomination on the basis of your own hard work, vision and proposals, you are guilty of not adhering sufficiently to the platform of your party. Please ditch any of your opinions and priorities that do not conform to that platform!

      Better she should follow the much Green-er ideas of the German Green Party and their international aid foundation, the Boll Foundation. They do great work in Israel and Palestine.

  • No room for racism in a movement working for equality and freedom
    • Such is life in the trenches! Be well.

    • Annie, opponents of a two state solution are dominated by religious fundamentalists of various stripes who seek to subjugate the 'other.' One staters on this site represent tiny minority of all one staters.
      You remind me of Trotskyist supporters of the Soviet Union in the 30s and 40s. In this analogy, the Israeli settlers, supporters of expelling Jewish Israelis and supporters of Palestine as Islamic Holy Waqf land represent the pro-Moscow Communists. They are the 'real' one staters, the ones with the most credibility, numbers, and political power on the ground.
      "We want one state too, but we mean something entirely different than those other folks who say they want one state!"

      But that is said with kindness or sadness, not malice. I usually/mostly support two states, but just like you, I don't mean the kind of two state solution that those "other well known folks" support, I mean the good kind of 2SS, where everyone gets equal rights, including the right to self determination.

    • Annie, you and I probably agree that Israel's behavior not only increases anti-Semitism around the world, but even absent that - the Israel project looms as one of the greatest dangers facing the Jewish people.

      That is very different than supposing that Israel itself is the origin of anti-Jewish feelings in the world today, or that victims of anti-Jewish bigotry should point the finger at Israel instead of the actual perpetrators.

      I'm a big fan of Arendt - without subscribing to everything, of course.

      and yeah - my not addressing the point either really is meta. I appreciate you for catching that. It was intentional, precisely to demonstrate what is so darn irritating about it.

      This whole mess points to one thing: even a whiff of anti-Semitism is enough to derail important Palestinian solidarity work; on those grounds, the gatekeepers and standard bearers are correct to diligently weed it out, in good times and bad.

      Ali Abunimah, who I do not agree with, represents a smart new breed of activist. He is promoting the one state idea with an eye towards both constituencies, and for that reason is establishing bona fides as a strong opponent of anti-Jewish feeling, even when it puts him at odds with 'his own' community. I think he is terribly unrepresentative of the one state community (the majority of one state supporters are Jewish, Christian and Islamic fundamentalists), but if he WAS representative, it would make a real difference.

    • I have never done such a thing. You are either lying about me or confused. Show it or it never happened.
      You must be taking seriously the false/lying assertions that I'm a Zionist. Best not to trust the shrill hysterical voices here in the swamp.

    • What an empty, hollow response. Someone says something you don't like... must use insider jargon to discredit the person! No sense responding to the point!
      Typical. Both for all too many folks on this site, but also just generically typical for extremist partisans in general, who nearly always prefer ad-hominem attacks and name calling. Using words like 'hasbara central' or 'Zio-bot' is quite the same as throwing around 'Islamo-fascism.' An excuse to wave around slogans and depress thought.

    • Hear hear. Stay tuned to be accused of Zionism!

    • Good for Phil, Adam and so many others for doing what's right. This post, and the others on this issue, exemplify an interesting divergence between the content of the posts and the commenters. Commenters are to the crazy of actual authors more often than not. (Wrong to call them more left, more right, more pro this or pro that.)

      The vile, meanspirited, extreme voices that chime in whenever standards of decency are upheld do nothing to support the movement for Palestinian rights. If anything, they are an embarrassment.

  • Growth, Unity, and Victories: Reflecting on a year of accomplishments since the first national SJP conference
    • Why are they calling last year's conference the first "National SJP Conference"? I think I attended a national SJP conference at OSU in 2003. But I guess I didn't if last year's was the first one.

  • 8 former board members of Free Gaza Movement deplore anti-Semitic messaging
    • Pretty sure you are inventing stuff. I've never argued that the Palestinian cause should be "off the J14 agenda." My understanding is that the J14 movement included a wide diversity of views of agenda, including that of some Palestinian citizens of Israel and well known activist groups that do solidarity work with Palestinians.

      That said, again, I'm not a Zionist. Do you know what that word means? Do you think Ali Abunimah is a Zionist too?

    • I love it. Opinions so far on this post showing the audience of MW running far afield of the founders of the ISM. This exemplifies the sad and self defeating margins of what could be a movement for justice in the Middle East - knee jerk support of anyone, anything, as long as in some way it is anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and often enough anti-Jewish.
      What a disgrace.
      Good for these former board members and Ali Abunimah for standing up on this.

  • The privileging of Jewish American voices on the issue is rooted in racism
    • "Zionism is not about settler vs Arab in Palestine, but Jew vs gentile everywhere. The Jewish people, the basic Zionist premise, commissions Israel’s crimes, here and in Palestine."

      In other words, justice for Palestine isn't about what some Jews have done in the Middle East, but existentially about the nature of Jews, Jewish thought and practice through the ages.

      Phil, you taking notes here? Any concerns at all?

    • Next up: telling progressive Christians and Muslims to stop it as well. Somebody call Jim Wallis and set him straight! We certainly wouldn't want anyone expressing their Christian identity through progressive politics, right?

      I call bs on this. Religious freedom is all about manifesting your religious politics. And it's all about the state not adopting them.

  • The crisis of the Israel lobby
  • Walt, Munayyer, and Mearsheimer offer one state scenarios, and my response
    • I agree with most of your comment. Though.... I think you don't need every man woman and child. A lot can be done with smaller numbers. The trend in that direction is a source of hope.
      And
      Demanding that others feel your pain isn't really a good strategy. Better they should feel your strength.

  • It's not about religion, says Gregory Harms. I say it is
    • Quibbles.
      A few peoples that hoped for a state, were promised a state, or even had one, briefly, include the Kurds and the Maronites, both falling in the French/English Mandate zone.

      What we call Islamic fundamentalism is indeed a modern thing, but tracing it back to Zionism feels quite unhistoric and un-geographic.
      - The cyclical desire for a return to an older or more pristine state of religious faith is not a modern phenom. It occurs in all faiths to a greater or lesser extent. Sure, the modern incarnation of political Islam in the Levant has a relationship to Zionism, but.... absent Zionism, why would anyone suppose that Islamism would therefore not exist?

      The demographic core of the Muslim world is not... Arab. Islamic fundamentalism, as expressed today, owes at least as much to local circumstances in Iran, Afghanistan, India/Pakistan, Malaysia, Chechnya and on and on.

      One of the driving forces in the Islamist revival is Wahabism. There is no credible link demonstrating that Wahabism's emergence and spread can be linked to Zionism.

      Finally, Islamism was counter-posed against secular nationalism. The very idea of reviving an Arab led Caliphate was in opposition to modern Arab nationalism. So argue if you will, that the fading military/secular/nationalist regimes of Libya, Syria, Iraq, Democratic Yemen, etc. are related to the influence of Zionism. But Islamism? That is what came to the fore after the nationalists turned into a spent force, ideologically bankrupt and resting on foreign helpers and oil money to stay in power.

  • How the Jewish establishment's litmus test on Israel fuels anti-Muslim bigotry
    • This is a good description of the situation. Kudos to groups like JFREJ and JCUA that serve as a bridge, working with the mainstream Jewish community when and where possible, and also with partners that mainstreamers might reject.
      And a big hug to Debbie Almontasr, an amazing bridge builder in her own right. She's the kind of leader that can really make a difference - which is partly why she drew so much fire from the right wing nuts.

  • The conversion of Joel Kovel (Part 2)
    • His inclusion of the need for spirituality is very important. I'm glad he found it. For me, the Jewish stuff works and I was born with it, but there's a closeness to any person with some sincere religious faith that doesn't come into play when it's just politics.
      and
      There's something about the modern era, with people choosing religions they were not born into, and sometimes going back again that is enriching and important. It's hard for many Jews not to attach fear to this process, but we are getting as good as we give. The margins of faith traditions where there's a lot of touching and mixing are the most exciting spiritual places these days.

  • On charges of anti-Semitism and Palestinian solidarity activism
    • And you wish to support them in this? My preference is to oppose it.

    • "My concern is that some might easily read that excessive focus on the Jewishness of Israel (as opposed to Israel's position in the world as nation-state) as anti-Semitic."

      Bingo. And every time it happens, supporters of the occupation are pleased, because they use it to demonstrate that the fight isn't about Palestinian rights but about Jewish concerns over safety and well being all over the world.

  • Boycott advocates hope that Red Hot Chili Peppers will call off Monday nite gig in Tel Aviv
  • Death by chocolate: Selling war with Iran to Israelis one ad at a time
    • The Iranians reserve their humor for more important things.
      Like the Holocaust!
      link to en.wikipedia.org

      But yeah, let's condemn the warped sense of humor of the producers of a sweet hazelnut paste produced in Israel. And Cleese. Frowny frown time!

      As others here have noted, the humor makes Israeli leaders look weak and pathetic.

    • Is no one getting that the officers in question are obviously depicting a foreign, non-Israeli military?
      This is a joke at the expense of a grim reality: that what Israel does is constrained in large part by US permission.

  • Discussing life 'after zionism' in Israel/Palestine
    • "It’s less known that most Israelis continue serving in the IDF reserves until 45 years of age, often in the occupied territories, so a continual connection to the conflict is there every year. "

      This is seriously false. I'm a little saddened to see such a statement thrown around casually - the kind of misinformation that adds to cynicism and skepticism about a non-Zionist narrative.

      While I'm not sure about the numbers, I vaguely recalling that less than half of all Jewish men in Israel ever complete the required three years of military service. Even if every single one of them was doing reserve duty, and it always included some service in the OT, that would still be less than a quarter of all Israelis.

      To understand the real numbers, listen to the 'reservists movement' who complain about the unfair distribution of the burden of security. (What I would call the burden of maintaining the occupation.)

      A more accurate view is that Israel is successfully turning the occupation into an elite occupation done by a smaller and smaller number of people, who represent a shrinking fraction of the Israeli population, even as the numbers of settlers grows. This is part of the normalization and invisibilization of occupation. IF ONLY every Israeli adult male had to spend a month doing occupation, we might see more resistance to it, as was the case during the first and second Intifada.

  • A Lynching in Jerusalem: Anatomy of Jewish racism
  • Israel's lone soldiers: Come for the perks, stay for the war crimes
    • Colin, I was agreeing with you. No one disputes this. The point is that not being a Zionist merits none of the sturm and drang that is often given to it nowadays, but Mooser or the ADL.

    • You sound hateful and belligerent. All that is necessary for one to not be a Zionist is to reject the Zionist premise: that a modern sovereign Jewish state in Palestine is a remedy to the alleged problem of Diasporic Jewish existence. This is an utterly boring proposition, held by the vast majority of secular and observant Jews prior to the middle of the last century.

    • Again, you and your misconceptions. I wasn't born in Israel. But keep on demonstrating how little you understand. Or for that matter, making blanket statements about 'Israelis.' I wonder if you know just how many Israelis are Palestinian Arabs.

    • Good job Mooser! You've really torn me a new one.
      (I was a refusenik, class of 1988. Drafted to the IDF. Spent two months in military prison. And I'm not a Zionist.)

    • snip
      One member of Aluf Stone told Chandler that American-born former IDF soldiers "don't belong in U.S. veterans' groups and networks, as they didn't [all] serve in the American military."
      snip

      Interestingly, Veterans for Peace folks told me they'd love to have me as a member, on the basis of my service in the Israeli army. I never took them up, but I appreciate the work of that great organization.
      The MSM always ignore VFP when they speak of veterans groups and networks. Don't let them get away with it.

  • Rabbis for Human Rights says Israeli mob's attack on Palestinians violates Jewish values
    • Ha. Halacha, to me, is definitely on the side of prohibiting Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Viewed as a question with many centuries of debate behind it, I'd say it remains unresolved.
      Certainly, folks like me think using God as a real estate agent is despicable. What's worse, it reduces holy texts to literal truth.

    • "Judaism’s Halakha does in fact make a distinction between two classes of human beings"
      This is false.
      1. To say that 'Halacha states that...' is already a warning flag. What is meant by halacha is a compilation of many conflicting opinions, some with a great deal of buy in, and others that are mentioned, but generally ignored/refuted/sidelines, within the texts themselves.
      2. Most Jewish commentators, past and present, are pretty clear that all human life is sacred, and there is lots of proof text making it clear that this sacredness is not divided up between Jews and non-Jews. We are all 'in the image of god.'
      3. Here are there are some pretty atrocious things that have emerged in Jewish tradition. The Habad/Lubavitcher innovations seem positively evil to me in how they distinguish between Jews and Gentiles. The Kahanist, far right, settler affiliated madness of the folks who authorized Rabin's murder is even more wacko. And attacking these kinds of things, specifically, makes sense. There are other things, more ancient, that look awful to moderns us. But picking and choosing the stuff that looks the worse and portraying it as 'halacha says that... ' or 'Judaism asserts that' is a time honored misleading way to smear Jews. It is how anti-Semites justify the blanket statements they make about Jews. It is how anti-Semites pretending to be horrified at Zionism in particular link age old tropes about how what some Jews are guilty of today is only a manifestation of age-old deficiencies embedded in the DNA of Judaism.

      But you sort of gave that all away by referring to barbaric traditions. Because barbarians are the original subclass, from Greek times, people lucky to be slaves of empires who might civilize them along the way.

      What a stupid stupid distraction from the more important business of addressing the lynch mob in Jerusalem. But that's what you get when you take atrocities committed in Israel and use them to support a far more broad thesis that applies to Judaism and Jews in general.

    • Ranjit, attacking a specific Jewish doctrine would be great. go after the strains within Judaism that promote Jewish supremacy; they certainly exist. As they do in other faith traditions.

      Attacking all of it, in principle, is an endorsement of bigotry. To do so on the thread that follows a statement by Rabbis for Human Rights is just perverse. Has it occurred to you that RHR's interpretation of Halacha on recent events is widely accepted?

      That said, again, super classy. Christians and Muslims have had their faith attacked and maligned, unlike those Jews, who got a 20th Century pass. So let's go there! Cuz three wrongs surely make a right.

      Extremism and bigotry are self reinforcing. They all feed off each other.

    • Ha ha, oh yes, I see. You are making a funny while suggesting that perhaps Jewish law and tradition are actually in favor of random, unprovoked attacks on people. Ha ha, yes, examples like this must surely cast aspersions on all Jews, or all Jews who observe religious precepts, and a tragedy like this merely brings it out in stark relief.

      Good one. Way to reinforce the idea that the comments section on this site are home to Jew hating intolerance and the peddling of mocking assertions about Judaism.

  • One apartheid state, with liberty and justice for Jews only
    • "But for the faux liberals—the JStreet types—this will be uncomfortable indeed, as playing pretend has been their stock in trade."

      Horsefeathers. As if J Streeters aren't quite clearly aware of this kind of stuff. They know about it, and oppose it, and are actually liberals. Suggesting that perhaps they didn't know about this right wing zaniness is a suggestion backed by prejudice.

      One of the foremost biographers of the settler movement is Gershom Gorenberg, author of 'The Accidental Empire' and other books. And he's appeared more than once at J Street forums.

      If you think J Streeters aren't liberal, just ask a leftist.

  • Netanyahu seeks war with Iran so he can ethnically cleanse the West Bank -- Machover
  • Travels with a former Zionist in Israel and Palestine, part 2
    • maggie, the post is a fine one. Phil and Bill reflect a lot of my own feelings. I wish Phil's caution when speaking about others was emulated by his fans.

    • "Ad hominem attacks are desperate measures."
      And a hallmark of many of the most prolific folks on this site.

  • The crisis of Jewish identity
    • "There is a profound denial inside my community of the horror of the occupation, and its irreversibility."
      Denying the horror of the occupation requires a kind of blindness.
      But insisting on its irreversibility demands the ability to predict the future. Who can say Phil? These two denials are not of the same category.
      Things are pretty bleak right now, but they don't unbleak themselves when you insist on predicting an unknowable future. There's enough about the present to worry about.

  • Announcing a new partnership between Mondoweiss and Salon
  • NY assembly member urges censorship of maps ad, citing offense to 'a multitude' of Jewish orgs
  • Congressman with ties to Netanyahu calls J Street 'anti-Semitic'
  • Ash responds to critique of Finkelstein on BDS
    • "intention of ceasing to spread disinformation about BDS."
      Really? You think F is consciously intending to mislead others? This is the dark hole one always digs when hypothesizing the motives of others.
      I think you (and others) are trying to tear down Finkelstein himself as a way of undermining his actual positions. It's a cheap way to 'win' an argument. But then again, it is hard to know what lies in someone's heart.

  • Beinart signals shift to cultural Zionism, away from need for a Jewish state
    • Saying there is a Jewish nation does NOT make anyone a Zionist. This is a fallacy promoted both by some Zionists and some anti-Zionists.

  • Exile and the Prophetic: Chosen/Kairos
    • Thank you Marc.
      I've followed you (a teensy bit) since you first came to my attention in Tikkun magazine. It matters that you are clearly committed to a vision of Jewish peoplehood that addresses Zionism critically but doesn't descend into 'Jewish eliminationism' or the desire to flee from all that baggage we carry.

  • Evelyn Garcia welcomes a debate on US Middle East policy -- not smears and misrepresentation and hate mail
  • Some 'Peace Now' faithful dispute its claim that divestment will stoke 'global anti-Semitism'
    • You need help! Here goes:
      "An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it.[1] Ad hominem reasoning is normally described as a logical fallacy,[2][3][4] more precisely an informal fallacy and an irrelevance.[5]"
      link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Giggle. It's come to this: Avi making comments on my behalf so he can poke fun at them and make personal attacks.
      Silly Avi, there's plenty to write about without inventing stuff!
      Avi can attack the leadership shown by JVP and Gush Shalom all he wants in their efforts to focus on specific, strategic targets that highlight the occupation. I'm still a fan.

  • Burston calls for 'quiet revolution'-- give Palestinians the vote
    • Hrm. So are you advocating expulsion, or just stating for the record that you think they can stay, but without any rights?
      and
      The counterpart to 'Palestinian Arabs' is not 'Zionists' but 'Israelis' or 'Israeli Jews.' Many of whom are not Zionists, or even Jews.

    • Democratic Israelist. I like it. Would love to see a truly democratic Israel alongside a truly democratic Palestine.
      No matter how Israelis sort it out, it shouldn't be at the expense of a Palestinian state in which decisions can be made without Israelis calling all the shots. Or even half of them.

  • 'Americans for Peace Now' says Presbyterian measure could stoke 'global anti-Semitism'
    • Ah, so you are criticizing Winer and the JVP? Why not spell that out so folks can understand what you are getting at? I think they are being very effective, but if you disagree, spell it out.

    • Glad to see Winer and JVP making the distinction so clear, that the moment calls for targeting the occupation specifically. Smart people making good choices that lead to victory. More evidence that the 'all or nothing' approach is extremist and counter productive. Which is why APN is trying to hard to conflate the two. Let's not help them.

  • Introducing 'Exile and the Prophetic': a new feature from Marc Ellis
    • "The central [concern?] facing us as Jews is justice for and reconciliation with the Palestinian people."
      Absolutely true, especially when done by Jews, for Jewish purposes related to a concern for a Jewish future. Justice and reconciliation for Palestinians is precisely a "Jewish" concern that relates to our communal and spiritual health, in Israel and around the world. (And many other things besides....)
      As a famous quip goes, don't come come and help because you feel sorry for someone, but because you know your interests are intertwined. Jewish liberation requires Palestinian liberation.

  • Breaking: Presbyterian Middle East and Peacemaking committee votes to divest from CAT, Motorola and HP; full plenary to vote later this week
    • Actually... some of this is new information for me. I always thought the Jordanian laws applied to Jews, not Israelis. I'm glad to hear that this isn't the case.
      But then reading the links above, I see it's not entirely correct. The intent of the Jordanian laws, and the Palestinian national movement all through the mandate years, was to stop the purchasing of land by Zionist Jews, to stop the immigration of Zionist Jews, to stop the settlement of Palestine by Zionist Jews.

      I think it's funny that respecting this impulse puts me in the category of a hasbarist for some folks. Obviously, Palestinians don't want Zionists or Jews living among them, which explains what happened in Hebron during the mandate and in Jerusalem during the Jordanian occupation.

      It explains why the word for "Israeli" in colloquial Arabic in the West Bank and Gaza is "yahoodi". And it's fine, really. There is no recognized community in 2012 of "Palestinian Arab Jews" though good folks like Haim Hanegbi certainly qualify.

      It's fine because... in a venn diagram of the conflict, the circle representing "Zionist in Israel" very nearly covers the circle "Jew living in Israel". As it happpens, I'm not a Zionist. But it's seems pretty silly to somehow deny that there is a conflict with "Jews" on one side and "Arabs who are Palestinian" on the other. And that the latter seek distance from the former, as opposed to proximity. Again, a perfectly reasonable impulse under the circumstances.

    • "No major Palestinian political entity has ever demanded “Jew free zones.” Come back with less hasbara b.s. when Israel recognizes Palestinian rights to live in their land of origin or even to a Palestinian state."

      Is this really a statement you want to stand behind? Makes me wonder if you are familiar with the certain documents of certain major Palestinian political entities. Or certain Jordanian laws that apply to the West Bank related to the ability of Jews to buy property.

      I'm not arguing about the significance of such things, but you are on shaky ground asserting that they don't exist. Palestinians have a long history of not wanting Jews to live nearby, and there are quite valid reasons for that desire. I'm inclined to honor it, at least to a certain extent, which is why dismantling all the post-67 settlements feels like a moral demand.

  • Artwashing
    • Too funny. Years ago, going to places like Hebron to paint over racist graffiti was something left wingers did.

  • Foxman in American translation
    • Of course, during the 40s and 50s large numbers of people left the party precisely because they couldn't stomach the USSR crap. That is happening with Israel. One could argue that J Street is the Trot splinter.

  • Circumcision deaths are a legalized non-scandal
    • Can you show any statement I've ever made agreeing with Zionist ideology? We can use link to en.wikipedia.org as a reference point. More baseless smears. How appropriate for a thread attacking Jews for performing circumcision.

    • Ah yes, the Zio-supremacists like MJ Rosenberg, below....

    • You conflated circumcision in general with the far less common, ultra orthodox practice. In doing so, you unite everyone who respects or practices circumcision, with a special focus on Jews, thus helping to protect the ultras. At the same time you expose this site to a serious charge of antisemitism. Finally, you come off as sounding like the existence of legal circumcision leads to the death of babies, which comes awful close to saying that primitive Jewish rites kill babies. That's a blood libel, wholly unjustified by the facts.
      You also make your other work so much easier to dismiss. Expect references to your book to include critics referring to this post and your opposition to Jewish ritual as part of your motives for Palestinian solidarity.
      Gol atzmi if there ever was one. For you and this site.

    • Wow. So.... now this site is hosting attacks on circumcision? That represents a certain kind of er, broadening of MW's agenda. Part of me wants to connect attacks on circumcision to traditional anti-Jewish hatred. But never mind that.... Do you really want to pick a fight with a billion Muslims? For what?
      This gives credence to folks who look for evidence showing that MW crosses the line from vigorous advocacy for Palestinian rights and into a bias against Jews as Jews, regardless of their political position.
      But those folks should take note; far more Muslims that Jews will be offended by efforts to condemn circumcision.
      (The baby cocksucking shit of course is crazytown; but wtf has that got to do with Palestine?)

  • Military dictatorships are good for Israel
    • Jim, I think you misunderstand what Heilman wrote, either willfully or through genuine ignorance. As you quote above:
      "Egyptian military’s anti-democratic moves may benefit Israel"

      Has it occurred to you that Heilman is a pretty smart guy who understands things at least as well as you? He's being entirely clear: Egyptian military dictatorship is perceived by the Jewish community as good for Israel, thus throwing out any semblance of support for democracy in the Arab world. What a stinging indictment of the Bibi/Sharansky effort to blame the lack of peace on the absence of democracy in the Arab world. Surely everyone remembers that line of argument, which resulted in the elections that brought Hamas to power.

      Your article should be rewritten as a love letter to the new straight talk from JTA reporters concerning Israeli real-politik. I sure hope it continues. Nowhere in the article does Heilman express his own opinion on the matter.

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