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Total number of comments: 1050 (since 2009-08-02 18:11:12)


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  • Schumer and Dems outdo Trump at AIPAC-- there's no peace because 'Palestinians don't believe in Torah'
    • As always, I am late to the party, but couple of comments anyways:

      1. I don't think the real issue here is young jewish people's estrangement from israel. Yes, that is an "issue' to the AIPAC crowd and to the likes of Schumer, but I see a much larger cloud hovering over the entire country AND the threat to the American constitution and its democratic institutions that the pro-israelites zealot lobbies represent.

      Let's say it like it is (for once): AIPAC is hate-mongering, bigoted and outright racist institution. It is there to corrupt the American governance system through its myriad of sub-lobbies using a combination of threats, entreaties and bribes.

      In that, it is more like a traditional MAFIA like organization, using very similar tactics, even if they specialize in character, assassination (rather than the more physical elimination techniques the Mafia preferred).

      Which leads to the obvious question: why is it even legal to allow an AIPAC conference where its main message revolves around sowing hatred and monger for wars against some "un-washed' citizens of select countries who failed to appreciate the "Torah" (what's that anyways? can Schumer explain please?).

      Why is it even permitted for American lawmakers to speak at their conference? why is the racism and bigottry tolerated from the participants? what would we say if Schumer etc. spoke at a Big Pharma conference advocating drug monopolies and unleashing more opioids upon the population? would he get positive press of any kind?

      And would it be OK for the likes of Schumer - or paul Ryan - or any Republican - to speak in fron of the KKK conference? would they be OK parading with the equivalent of white hoods through the streets of DC, holding torches and calling for the lynching of Iranians, lebanese, or Syrians or palestinians?

      2. The fight as it is shaping up is not about the hearts and souls of younger jews but for the heart and soul of the US, where free speech has constitutional protection. Just a couple days ago Blumenthal was speaking about the effort to silence Al-Jazzerah (and not just him). Several red states passed first-amendment-baiting laws against BDS. Schumer is calling effectively for a mcCarthyist witch hunt against BDS supporters from all angles, jews and otherwise, through a congress passed law that'd curtail free speech. Yet, most democrat establishment types, if not all, are silent about this.

      All this is taking place against a background of extreme Russophobia whipped up mostly by Democrats. And therein lies a still greater danger.

      So, younger jews, who mostly track with progressive ideas (call it "Bernie-like" for now) are moving away from the democratic establishment. Along the way, strange friendships between left and right are being struck. tense friendships, to be sure, but something like embryonic alliances that focus on economic justice and anti-interventionism before identity issues. I have been witnessing strange things lately across the land. A peculiar openness on the part of those on the Right we used to despise. An even more peculiar tone-deafness on what we once called "left". I followed some of Carlson Tucker's recent programs, and am shocked - shocked! - at how "progressive" he sounds on some issues (of course not all. And not always, but some sure beats the none we see from the usual quarters).

      Into these new fissures the Israeli and Jewish lobbies step. Along the way, as they descend ever faster into the pit where ethics go to die, they are becoming legitimate targets for populists from both sides of the aisle. Not because they are regressive., which they are. But because they have become entirely identified with establishment politics, big money and corruption of the government through lobbies that care only about their own narrow interests. It is not hard to convince some right leaners (who are not of the Christian zionist ilk) that AIPAC is Big Israel, just like Big Pharma, and Big Agro and Big MIC (Military-Industrial Complex).

      I have raised the question of AIPAC in some quarters and find ithe responses are not as negative or quick to draw guns - or quick to withdraw - as was true before. I would raise some obvious questions: how would we feel if, say, a Japanese American lobby group that is dedicated to keeping parts of Korea Japanese, came and held a conference in DC, and rained fire and brimstone upon those hapless non-shinto believing Koreans who refuse to accept Japanese ancestral rights in the Korean peninsula (which they are reputed to have if one goes back far enough. The reverse is true too, but never mind that)?

      Many more such comparisons can be thought of - from Africaans who are descendants of the boors, to Turks who seek to explain why Armenians just had to be driven out and why it was not a genocide, because they say it wasn't. Like the palestinians in '48, them Armenians just upped and left. Why was it Turkey's fault that many died on the way? the high mortality rate is simply the result of there not being a UN refugee support organization, so there. Besides, it's against Turkish Law to even mention Armenian "genocide, so anyone who does is anti-Turk

      I run these comparisons by people sometimes (when I get the chance, and always after dinner...when people are less inclined to jump up and down. I, of course, am always so inclined....). It seems to me that some headway is being made, though of course, my respondents are not erudite, all-knowing east coast know-it-alls, so perhaps to them it's just musac (never mind that. Subliminal stuff works!).

      OK, comment got too long. Stop here - take up another day.

  • Jared Kushner's swift rise and long, long fall
    • Well said. As I.Hunter pointed out - this kind of corruption and nepotism are signs of an Empire in decline. happened in Rome too. If Trump is a Nero, are we still waiting for Caligula?

      Alas, unlike Rome, this particular Empire has enough weapons to take the entire world down with it, as it goes through its paroxyms of self-destruction.

    • from Wikipedia:

      "Before 2016, Kushner was a donor to the Democratic Party.[13] He serves on the boards of Touro College, Stern College for Women, Rabbinical College of America, and the United Jewish Communities.[25] Kushner has donated to Harvard University, Stern College, the St. Barnabas Medical Center, and United Cerebral Palsy.[25] He contributed to the funding of two schools, Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, in Livingston, New Jersey, and named them after his parents.[2][25][26] Kushner Hall is a building that is named after him on the Hofstra University campus.[27] The campus of Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center is named the "Seryl and Charles Kushner Campus" in honor of their donation of $20 million.[28]

      In August 2015, Kushner donated $100,000 to Donald Trump's Make America Great Again PAC, a super PAC supporting Trump's 2016 campaign for the presidency.[29] Kushner and his wife also hosted a reception for Trump at their Jersey Shore seaside mansion in Long Branch.[30]".

      Edit; my bolds.

    • The sordid history of Kushner senior (Jared's dad) was brought up above. It reminded me of someone else whose son found a fine Shiksa, daughter of a president to marry. That someone was also a convicted felon who served quite a bit of time in jail for graft, racketeering, tax evasion and what not.

      Similar criminal background - almost too similar. Corruption of the father, to be "cleansed" by the pedigree of the daughter-in-law. Here they are managing to marry their semi-competent, spoiled sons upward into WASP "royalty". And in the process receive the blessing of presidents and power brokers throughout the upper echelons of the Empire. .

      Makes one almost yearn for good old-fashioned protestant ethics values.

      BTW, I do happen to think the parallels are almost too weird to be considered accidental**. Though no, its not any Cabal I am suspicious of. More like a glitch in The matrix (it's like a line of code "leaking from one sub-routine to another). Either that or someone(s) are just having a belly laugh at our expense.

      Just like the Trump card was. Entertainment, though may be we - all of us - are just 'collaterals" who laugh and cry at the same time.

      **PS wasn't it Einstein who was reputed to say that "coincidence is god's way of staying hidden"?

    • Arby, nice collection of links. Glad to see you added the Elizabeth Vos article. It laid out the case well, especially vis-a-vis The Intercept.

  • Israeli journalist who called for unspeakable acts against Ahed Tamimi tries, and fails, to backpedal
    • Excellent point. That's typically how it is. In Hebrew palestinians are a low form of "human". But if you dare expose the Hebrew lingua cesspool of racism, then you are at fault for causing trauma.

    • I suspect people who read Hebrew, like Jonathan, have had more than a belly-full of the vile things being said on Israeli media outlets and social media. To most israelis Caspit's suggestion of "things that can be done in the dark" is definitely tame, and many unabashedlty connect the dots in their own postings to their circles of similarly minded "friends' and spell out those "things done in the night".

      I keep thinking that someone(s) could do a great service to the world by offering weekly collections of the translated pieces from the great minds of Israeli FB, Twitter and Walla users. Lets just say that calling palestinians "dogs" and "worms" is the least of the names they get called (no insult meant for dogs or worms in this context, of course). I reckon that such an exercise will go long ways towards helping the Israelis to "clean-up" their language, at least in public, after a few weeks. For those israelis who relish shooting out their vilest "feelings" into the ether space, the effort it'd take to keep one's language under control would by itself be a fine punishment.

  • The never-ending crisis of Zionism
    • Keith:

      I would argue that Zionism was/is a significant contributor to turning Jewish social reformers into militaristic supporters of empire and war if sold as “humanitarian” intervention.

      I think you are onto something here, on a deeper level than usually discussed. The transmutation of a positive social impulse into its near-opposite through an alchemy that involves a secret ingredient - in this case - zionism, is a process that most humans are oblivious to. That's because people can be so clever with words that they can successfully wrap empty space in a package that uses smart sounding verbiage as colorful packaging material to mask the fact that the content has been hollowed out. It is then that the medium becomes the message, so all it takes is mastering the medium to garble any message at all.

      It is also possible that some people, through centuries of endless practice of theological sophistry about the nature of god, or Talmudic wisdoms,have become naturally adept at packaging thin air to make it appear substantial. the trick is to make the process and the end one and the same, by selling sophistry as the height of rationality.

      So it is not so difficult for the social justice warriors to turn overnight into occupation/regime change advocates. Just as it is not so hard for modern day israelites to wrap themselves in the flags of the old rapaciously aggressive Israelites while denying the essence of that aggression, claiming both piety of purpose and purity of arms. heck, the old testament did just that, so it's hardly a stretch to rinse and repeat for the consumption of modern sensibilities.

      PS took too long to reply - hope you'll still catch the drift (the draft?) though it be long after hannukah now.

    • Unfortunately, secular zionism is in a state of symbiosis with religious zionism. That's because the first cannot stand without the second. Which is why, as time goes on, more and more of the jews of Israel will turn religious, even as they deny it.

      Why is jerusalem yours? ask a zionist or an Israeli. And they'll answer: because we had a long history there. But so did the Palestinians, you may say. To which they'll reply, but it was ours first. But how do you know it was yours 3000 years ago? because the tanach says so, comes the reply. Which is where religion intersects with the secular to become one not-so-holy ideology.

  • The Chanukah of fire and occupation (is not about ancient times)
    • the closest modern day analogy to the maccabbees are the Taliban in Afganistan. Just like the Maccabbees the Taliban are a zealot military-religious fighting force, holy warriors so to speak, who are extremely intolerant of other religions and are totally committed to fighting an invading culture. The US, through its occupation force and alliances with the equivalent of Assyrians and other local tribes recepetive to "helenization", is tnot unlike the conquering Greeks, who also sought to introduce a more modern culture into a highly illiberal and socio-economically inferior Judean peasant-like population.

      Indeed, based on all I read, the Jews of the then-Judea were very much like the current day Afganis - economically backward, spiritually insular, religiously intolerant and riveted by various tribal conflicts. They did not approve of artistic depictions, statues or dance. Not even songs, other than devotional ones.

      To celebrate Chanukah is like celebrating a Taliban victory - a momentary one. Indeed, i could never figure out what was so wonderful about that old Judea and I remember being rather repelled, as a school kid, by the brutality of the practices of the Hashmonaim (who later became a de-facto dictatorial power over Judea, a totally corrupt one). Sure, the Maccabbees were a warrior culture, and like all such, very radical - religiously and militarily. Not much into taking prisoners either.

      I now think that the religious extremism of some warrior cultures - be they hamas or Taliban - can be best understood when considering the context of having to fight against a vastly superior force, especially one that seeks to colonize both militarily and culturally.

      When i grew older and started to read more broadly, without having to put everything through the extremely narrow filter of israeli myths, I came to see Helenization as an attempt to unit diverse people under a more tolerant (give or take), more secular and more liberal umbrella. Sadlly for the hellenizers they also subscribed to something like a Neoliberal version of economics - a catch-all-you-can type, that deepened rather than lightened existing inequalities.

      In any case, as a child in israel, i would not sing any Chanukkah songs. I said I didn't like to and couldn't sing (not without some truth). Sometimes i would step out from the circle of singers, or put my head down in class so no one will see I don't sing. Still I remember that in 6th or 7th grade I choreographed a victory dance for Channuka using the wedding march music. I liked warriors so I had my dancers dressed with shields and helmets. very Greek looking. I caught my then teacher looking sideways at me, seemingly perplexed. That's all I remember of him - that puzzled look. That and visiting him once in a rehabilitation clinic after he was wounded in one war or another.

      There was However no one to talk to about the stirrings I felt against zealotry of any kind. Or about this feint - but growing - aversion to the whole Chanukkah concept based on idolizing an extremely intolerant and xenophobic streak of fanaticism, candles or no candles. Kids need symbols and feasts, but my child's concerns were waived off as, well, childish.

      I now think they were anything but. May be it was vague foreboding of a dark future that the stories of the Maccabbes exploits conjured. Too vague to put into words. I just knew I didn't want to sing those silly songs.

  • Anti-Christianism
    • WEll, there has to be some nuance here when it comes to what we define as neoconservatism. Generally regarded as a stated desire to reshape the Middle East and/or other regions in Israel's image. So yes, on the face of it, neoconservatism which supports and approves interventionism seems to indeed be on par with zionism, digging a little deeper will reveal a schism, with positions on a kind of a spectrum (just like autism). There are many Jews in the US who consider themselves "zionist" only in the sense that they support Israel but relatively narrowly. And while such professed zionists may indeed possess views that do not exactly uphold Palestinian rights, not all of them agree that the US should engage in fights on behalf of Israel.

      Be they a fight with words, as is now directed against Iran, or a fight with weapons and logistics as was done to Syria, the zionist subset of jews is not all of a cloth. Even many of those much derided - justifiably - as "liberal zionists" (Ie zionists on the so-called neoliberal/liberal left) disagree with making Iran a boogey-man or with the CIA's/US military not so covert actions in Syria. Not that they would go so far as to cheer Assad or anything, but many jewish zionists are, in fact, against the out-of-control defense budget and/or so-called "humanitarian" interventionist adventurism. Of course, many of those could still be classified as "Empire jews"; it's just that they are not always on the same side when it comes to the Empire acting on behalf of or in coordination with Israel.

      So, I am just being careful here with my verbiage, because precision matters. That's what I called Giraldi out for. May be he got exasperated or something (can't blame him), but he should know that a few caveats can make a big difference. Especially in defending against deliberate misinterpretation. I mean, it's not like he is a mere commenter on a blog, right?

      PS Needless to say I have little patience with zionists of all stripes, be they neo-this or neo-that, because by and large to be a zionist means to hold Palestinian rights as something separate from and/or inferior to human rights. That because to a zionist, by definition israeli Jewish rights trump everyone else's rights, whether they acknowledge that or not (many won't, as we all know, because they have such beautiful souls, as they display sometimes on these very pages, etc. etc.).

    • I didn't know Giraldi was fired from The American Conservative. I read that article at the time and knew he is asking for trouble.

      The real trouble is that he was not entirely wrong, just lacking nuance. Not a good idea to lump all Jews into one basket, as a majority are as far from neoconservatism as most of us are. The problem is, as many pointed out before, that a small but influencial minority, did manage to hijack America's foreign policy by making alliances with the Deep State and with Christian zionists (who basically bring up the rear).

      That being said, Giraldi was careless and did not put in the appropriate caveats. These days, it's dangerous to point out that America's foreign policy in general is teetering partly because all the Realpolitik guys were banished (and yes, it was mostly guys) and that was done primarily at the behest of an Israel grown blind to its own best interests.

      To see someone like Kushner, a thoroughly unqualified fellow by all accounts and a novice on just about everything, running around making mistake after mistake, yet winning praise from israel, is truly a sad sight. Do people really expect the world to not notice he is an orthodox jew? just watch this to get a taste of how the "great" Saban really feels about all the machers trying to stir up the pot:

      One gets the feeling that what really annoys Saban is that Kushner was too wet behind the ears to know he has to stack the deck with a couple non-Jews. As it stands, his team is way too visibly Jewish.

    • Com'on eljay - the entire old testament is the story of women "given" unto men. Such was the custom among the ancient elite. But be fair, that's just bible talk, and we may be unfair to said Asenath. For all we know she may have liked Joseph well enough and successfully manipulated her father to agree to "give" her hand in marriage. Heck, to take a page from the Book(s) of Mooser "there are them who giveth and there are them who taketh, but it's all relative, and that which is given often ends up taking the store".

      In any case, you may be guilty of anthropomorphising - projecting modern day sensibilities on people long gone, who may or may never have existed. next we'll take all these guys - the Abrahams, and isaacs and Jacobs and Josephs to the cleaners for sexual harrassment. And no small amount of pedophilia, surely. Me, I'd just like to inquire what said Asenath's age really was. For all we know she may have been 12 or 30, and was "regifted".

      Oh and then there's that: Joseph may never have been anything other than a nice story to tell the children. Them Babylonian Jews who wrote the bulk of the old testament sometime in the5th-6th century BC, were an imaginative lot.

    • Keith, I agree with your reading, especially this:

      Trump skillfully (and dishonestly) capitalized on working people’s disenchantment with the Wall Street

      Trump won partly because many Democrats did not care for the packaged establishment candidate they were presented with, like a gift that keeps on not giving. Some did not vote at all (numbers were down in key states lost by Dems); some voted green and some left the president box a blank.

      In addition, the Democrats completely failed to gauge the mood of a public that was seriously disenchanted by a candidate so compromised by corruption that even a barely qualified, rather distasteful candidate like Trump seemed better.

      Trump is now president partly because of the rigging and probably outright fraud committed in the Democratic primary, which by all rights, Sanders should have won. Had he done so we would now be knee deep trying to help Sanders fight the Deep State, instead of running around frothing at the mouth over some hogwash Russia "collusion" fairy tale.

      That on the Democrat side. On the Republican side, they just closed rank around Trump because many believed he could actually "drain the swamp". Alas, it looks like the swamp, in the person of paul Ryan and the Intelligence agencies are draining him.

      People who think it was about identity issues are out to lunch and should not be surprised when they lose the next election. The electorate - as in the 95% who are not part of the ruling class + enablers - is extremely disgusted with the Empire, the out-of-control military budget and the steady decline of jobs as well as America's reputation.

      I speak to many right wingers and not a few Evangelical Christians, where I live. I second Phil's comment about the diversity of their opinions. I'd hardly classify them all as narrow-minded, racist, brain-dead apparitions as the coastal elites seem to do. Many are thoughtful people and many are very good people - even if they do go to church and believe in Jesus. I hate to admit it, but these days, I am having far better conversations with these Republican/Libertarian people than with die hard democrats, who I seem to have lost in some pit of mush where they still mourn the loss of Hillary, and fight the ghosts of a made-up "Russia, Russia" thingy, while failing to see the reasons for the dems failures.

      Trying to talk to democrats about the mistake of abandoning the working class is like engaging in a slogfest in the middle of a blizzard.

  • Israel will get 'more understanding' from Trump's negotiators because they're all observant Jews, Sharansky says
    • Sorry, catalan, but BDS is the best thing that hapened to israel in a long time. The reasons for that may be a bit complex for you or for the simpleton Sharansky.

      You are wrong BTW about the reasons I don't like Sharansky. It's his looks, not his ideas. Of course, like the picture of Dorian Gray, sometimes the looks come to reflect the ideas, in time, all in good time. He reminds me of a weasel, just not my favorite, alas. There, see how politically incorrect I can be?

      If you dislike this blog so much because of something BDS, you are either a masochist for visiting and being pained over and over, or just so lonely that even our company is better than nothing. You do know that one can find really cheap rates on cruises these days, right? holler and I'll give you a link. And don't knock 'em till you try 'em. Some modern cruises offer political discussion circles - it could be fun, you know....real people and all that --

    • I think that indeed, the Israelis are feeling pretty confident these days. They are ever so more comfortable with a Republican administration, and even more so with one not known for its brain power (Trump is known for many things. But braininess is not one of them). Generally, they are delighted to be rid of Obama, who was, to them, one of "those" black people. Whom they don't trust. And rarely respect.

      But, as always, Israelis are fond of counting their chickens before they hatch. Trump is a two-edge sword, never mind Jared kushner. Oh,, sure, Trump will let Jared ratchet up some "peace plan", just as he let him play lovey-dovey boy with MBS, the new clown prince. But then, as we may all know by now, the best plans sometimes go awry. They sure did in Syria, didn't they? and Qatar? a poor move perhaps?

      I don't know what will happen in the next few weeks or months. But yes, trump thinks he can wheel and deal his way out of anything. Alas his son-in-law is not exactly the brainiset in the bunch and by now, perhaps good ol' Trump - who has street smarts if not sharp intellect (over-rated anyways) may be figuring that out.

      So, Sharansky thinks he - they - got an Ace in the Hole in the person of the Clown Prince. And the desperation of a KSA that was not able to bring tiny little Yemen to its knees, Billions of warfare materiel notwithstanding. Of course the reasons for KSA's desperation is another story for another day, but for now, desperation is what holds Israel and KSA together. Like peas in a pod, they sweat together. One can only wonder why (hint: the name starts with an 'R').

      In any case, silly Sharansky should think a little more about those Americans with Kippas. People know them around here (here being the US which Sharansky knows nothing about). They are a rather changeable lot, last i heard. here today, there tomorrow. Me thinks he should not be quite so comfortable (you know, butter on which side of the bread, etc).

  • Draft-dodger Tzipi Hotovely comes out as an anti-Semite
    • There is no belief that Jewish people are damaging to the society where they live, quite the contrary.

      Actually, there is a version of that belief - in Israel, of all places. Where many (especially any and all in Hotolevy's camp) voice the strongly held belief that the sizable (exact number is unknown) part of the Jewish population that leans left (i.e., consider Palestinians to be humans) are indeed damaging to the society in which they live. As in VERY damaging.

      A cursory perusal of social media posts and comments by Israelis will bear the truth of this kind of deeply held sentiment. Calling "the lefties" trash, traitors and haters of Jews and Israel is the least of the names they get called., names usually stated quite casually without caveats or subtleties - when in Hebrew. No need to dress up that turkey when speaking in the secret tongue. After all, it's not like >99% of jewish Americans can read it with any kind of fluency. Hotolevy's pages are especially well-littered with comments hurling epithets at Jews that might have embarrassed some Nazis, back in the day. I mean, Hebrew IS a colorful language, and israelis pride themselves on being, well, direct.

      Ergo, anti-semitism it is - in Israel - perhaps the most openly anti-semitic country in the world.

      Hotolevy's real crime? she made her pronouncements in English, a language with which American Jews are apparently quite familiar. Thus breaching the ultimate taboo - being honest in the wrong language.

  • 'Facebook' ads are way more important than the children we slaughter in some poor country
    • Well said, Donald. It needed to be said too. Especially these days, when a groping by some political figure gets far more attention than collusion with or even the outright order of murdering people willy nilly in other parts of the world (I have Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Syria in mind, for starters).

      I can't get over the fact that GHBush is accused of the crimes of groping but not the crime of bombing people into dust. War crimes don't matter because they happened to other people in parts of the world we don't care about. But inappropriate touching or groping - assuming it took place - even decades ago - now that's a major crime.

      Same twisted moral standards with Bill Clinton -

      Not belittling the victims of inappropriate behavior on the part of powerful people. Only questioning how we rank different levels of victimhood, and how we exclude so many from even being viewed as victims, oftentimes, because it was the US's policies that generated the victims in the first place.

      But that's how it's always been with Empires. Dehumanize others living on the edges of the Empire, but god help the gropers inside the Empire.

      Well, that's why the Romans referred to those germanic tribes as barbarians. In other words, fair game. In due course, it was of course the "barbarians" and the vandals who swept into Rome, but not to worry - the US is still way away from that.

  • The Clinton scandals entailed violent threats against people who knew about his sex life
    • I moved on to more important heresies

      Did you ever!

      A lot can and will still happen on the way to killing the king. Though I agree, the House of Clinton is on its way down. The only question is how many will it take thrashing about on its way to perdition. For the Dem Party this will prove costly.

      And there was a high price to pay for the schadenfreude theatre, because we now have a clown king to deal with. Which would be funny were it theatre rather than real life.

      Where is Shakespeare when we need him?

  • 'American Jews are losing it bigtime' -- Netanyahu gov't official slams '80 percent' assimilation rate
    • yonah, when have you become so reasonable? this is actually not a bad statement:

      This blog is devoted to the clash between American ideals, including fairness and democracy, with the current state of Zionism and with the very idea of Zionism

      Ok, so now i'll pick at the pieces:

      1. I would probably replace "fairness" with "justice", meant in the sense of upholding human rights, in a universal sense.

      2. it's not only the "current' state of zionism that this blog addresses. As you go on to state, it is indeed the very concept of ethnic nationalism that zionism embodies that is seen as standing in direct opposition to the American "melting pot" ideals.

      3. on that 'devoted' part: what you didn't mention is that a very big part of this blog is dedicated to witnessing and commenting on the plight of the people who are the oppressed ones, even as their oppressors go on and on about "assimilation" and "continuity". I see several posts every week on those "other" people (I think they are referred to as "Palestinians"). May be you missed those?

      Later you mention the blog's antipathy towards 'continuity of the Jewish people". You may have a point about this though I'd call it more of an indifference than antipathy. Also, it's a bit of a generalization, as not all who speak up here are antipathetic or even indifferent.

      Still, I do think this could be a point of discussion, this continuity business. It's not spoken of much, one way or another, except in context of various Israeli efforts to "preserve the Jewish race".

      I think for many people this 'continuity" thing should be stated differently for them to take an interest. For example, I wouldn't mind seeing a discussion about "Jewish ideals" as opposed to "Jewish people" who many times don't even carry forth the ideals, or at least a big chunk of them.

      This BTW, is where there'll be a big difference between discussion in America and discussion in israel. because for israelis "Jewish ideals" means quite simply "love for the Jewish people". If you have an issue with the people, even those like Hotolevi, then you are guilty of loving enough". In America, OTOH, such a discussion would take on a more abstract tone, probably veering off to a discussion about "Jewish values" something that Israelis have not much use for ( they prefer something more concrete, like "love").

      Of course, the real problem I see is that all such discussions are quite immaterial in so far as the current sad state of the Palestinians is concerned, both in israel proper and in the occupied territories. Jews arguing with other Jews about 'continuity", "values" and "ideals' must smack of theological disputes even as the Plaestinians' ship is being taken down, board by board, continuity, ideals or values notwithstanding.

  • My journey away from Zionism
    • Well said, genesto. I agree with the part about impatience from different quarters. It is, I think, sometimes difficult to imagine for those who have never been part of a cult-like inculcation from early childhood, what it's like for those who try - as adults to escape the bounds of their programming.

      To grow up in Israel for example, is to buy wholesale into an entire mind-frame and view of the world that becomes deeply embedded into the brain, even as it develops. Indeed the programming of children is very effective - as we know from countless examples. And the process of de-programming involves not only questioning aspects of one's identity, but the acceptance of estrangement from friends and family to whom one was close once. Which is why not many do escape and of those who do, the escape is never really finished - it's a life-long process.

      I have seen many people who are either Jewish or ex-Israelis - or even still resident israelis - who are accused at one point or another of being "gatekeepers". That is Atzmon's favorite labeling of anti-zionists, and as you probably know, this kind of "impatience" did not always serve him well. Truth is, not everything can or should be lumped under the "gatekeeping" rubric. I see people accused of that sometimes rightly, sometimes not so much. Many individuals just continue to struggle against their own boundaries while straddling a rather thin line. Also, in Gilad's particular case - and may be others I don't know or heard about - there's the danger lurking of the pendulum swinging too far. In the process of undoing personal programming sometimes one excises too many healthy parts as well, which I think is something that could have happened to him (though he won't agree, I am sure).

      I can also understand the exasperation of say, Palestinians and non-Jewish solidarity activists who have to go through any number of wickets to "prove" they are not "anti-semitic" (whatever that is). That while watching the Jewish people who are at various stages of post-zionist discourse, still go through those navel-gazing exercises ad-nauseum. You know the To-be-or-not-to-be stuff which you can witness on this very thread. And of which I am sometimes guilty myself (though at least I know it....).

    • I loved the whole Zionist ethos, I loved the whole militarism thing. But it was only because I was brainwashed. You can’t really expect much dissent from people who were brainwashed from when they were kids, especially not when they still are kids.

      This says it all, for most of us, who carry a lifelong puzzle about how could we ever believe the "ethos". And not just believe but buy it wholesale, like a self-evident truth. This is a question I once posed to Avigail Abarbanel, when I was confounded by my own acceptance - as a child and a young adult - of the Israel myth, given that I rebelled against much else, and early on.

      How can one make what seemed like radical departures from the mainstream yet be a conformist at the same time to the ruling ideology?

      Avigail's answer - from the viewpoint of a psychologist - was probably the best I had: even as a child, and even as an already rebellious child, one knows - and recognizes - consciously and subconsciously - that there are red lines. Lines that if crossed, can result in the kind of expulsion that no child dares risk. So, someone like me could question much of what they were taught, and still remain just within the borders.

      In high school I was quite fond of taking out pages from the Tanakh book that we were forced to study daily (and which bored me to tears), and fashion them into paper airplanes, while complaining bitterly that the pages were too thin, so the planes didn't fly far enough (not to worry, my just as boring Hebrew and jewish literature books (which were so uninteresting in my then view as compared with world literature) made for much better planes - they could reach the teacher's desk from the back row which is where I was relegated to due to excessive noise making). But even such a student, one who kept receiving a near-failing grade in citizenry and promptness, never asked the obvious question: how come all those Arabs just upped and left? I - along with just about everyone else - probably even Gideon levy when he was young, accepted that those "Arabs" (as we referred to the '48 exiled residents) were not 'as attached" to their homes as we were. Ergo, why ask questions?

      So, the "rebel" is tolerated, as long as they rebel within the allowed parameters.

      My own experience cause me to take quite an interest in stories of people who escaped cults. It's funny how complicated the internal de-programming process is. It's never actually completed. Even after so much time, I am still expunging bits and pieces where I find them, sometimes buried quite deep.

      And Offir's Kibbutz background is very interesting to me as well, since nowhere was the zionist myth, in all its secular glory , plated so deeply, as in the Kibbutz's socialist dreamscape. After all, the Kibbutz was - and may still be - viewed as the epitome of the zionist experience - it's best and brightest.

      You can hope that as adults they may develop some critical angles, but really, only few do so.

      Emphasis on "Few". Indeed.

  • The Russia influence story just crashed into the Israel influence story
    • jackdaw - in Singer's mind - his two passions - israel and money - are one and the same. One begets the other. The first lays the highway that siphons money (tax payer's and private) from the Empire's heart to its unruly outpost, and the second needs to be protected from any tax-grabbing government, so more will be left over to fund the first.

      On another level, people like Singer and Addelson are the kind of Oligarchs now in charge of US policy, just as their fellow oligarchs are nearly completing their ascendancy in israel. When both israel and the US are gavel-to-gavel plutocracies, then the final unification of the 0.1% can begin in earnest.

      The only remaining question is whether the Chinese plutocrats (now rising in the east) will be willing to wheel and deal, or whether they'll form their own -trans-pacific oligarchy that can then fight the club Singer belongs to - the Atlantic oligarchs.

  • American Jewry and Israel, unbound
    • where would Jerry have the Jewish people, from Israel and Brooklyn, return to (paraphrasing), “… they are the indigenous people of of Ur (Abram’s home town) … Let them return to their native homeland (Kuwait). The base from which the Jewish expansion began in 1900 BCE.”

      Cute. I like. Didn't think about that one. I mean, this kind of heritage (and as we know the Tanakh is proof enough. Just ask the Christian zionists!) should give the modern day Israelites a serious stake in Kuweit's oil.

      BTW, are you sure that's where Ur Kasdim was? I thought there was some controversy about the exact location (I mean, it's not like the bible provided the GPS coordinates).

    • Keith, I was kind of trying to do justice to the israeli viewpoint here, which basically views Jewish Americans as "freyers", ie, suckers. There is little respect from that part of the woods even for them who give the biggest bucks. That's just they way it is.

      Naturally, from the Jewish American viewpoint, they may well see things differently, and perhaps they even believe themselves to be in control. My point was that they are not. They are the tail that wags the dog. Where Israel goes they have little say over (yes, I know that many of the settlers hail from the great US of A, but once they are in israel, they do whatever they please, no matter how it might affect the ones "left behind"). As a result, I believe there are many Jewish Americans, including those who are various levels of zionist, who may cringe, just a little, at the kind of country israel is becoming.

      There is a reason I generally stayed away from the word "zionist" It's a different lens through which to view things. Not that I disagree with what you say, or with Israel Shahak in this context.

      An aside: there are those in israel who will also disagree with my take. Many there believe that American money has a corrupting influence on Israeli politics, and yes, they point to the support Netanyahoo got as a specific example.

      Point is, the relationship between Israel and its primary supporters in the US is like a distorted prism. Depending which angle you view it from the picture may be different. But my main point remains - no matter which angle you choose, israelis, on the whole have a dim view of most American jews, including the richest of the rich (whom they kind of despise all the more). That attitude of barely concealed contempt is true even for the settlers who just yesterday were American citizens themselves. Doesn't take long to take on the Israeli attitude, which pretty much looks down on everyone else out there. Whether they fear them or not.

      Yet another angle is how much Israelis actually worry about losing the support of America, including the new generation of Jewish Americans. They really do lose sleep over that. Yet strangely for the most part they won't process that their own arrogance may eventually beget the very estrangement they fear.

  • 'The Siege' gets US premiere at last, in blow to 'Israeli propaganda machine'
    • hophmi, may I introduce to you a nice blog called Mondoweiss? talks a lot about israelis. Some even write there. Almost all are presented as human beings. Flawed ones, here and there, but quite human. You should really read it sometime.

      Also, do you accept invitations for guest appearance on comedy shows? can I contact your agent?

  • The problem with Miko Peled's 'Holocaust: yes or no'
    • As usual, to me these discussions seem to be more evocative of a theological dispute rather than anything substansive. people parsing the 'true" meaning of Peled's 4 word throw-away sentence, part of a paragraph delivered in a speech - he must be a lucky man indee, to draw this kind of careful attention!

      The argument Ofir seems to be making is "be careful and don't give ammunition to the Lib zionists" The argument Peled seems to have waded into appears to be something like "are there or should there be limits to free speech?" (just trying to boil things down to the basics).

      Now I see no way for reaching a consensus on either side. As someone in the habit of "speaking from the hip" I'd say that the Lib Zios, like the true blue Zios, and/or the arch-zios, need no excuses whatsoever to appeal to some throw-away sentences to interpret ill-intent. After all, the euphemism known as the dreaded "anti-semitism", whatever that is, will be found even among the most artfully delivered expressions anyways, givenenough microscopes. In any case, the high priests of liberal zionism, people like, what's his name, Freedland?, are as practiced in linguistic contrivances as Israel's illustrious archaeological experts are at finding Judaica evidence in very artefact they dig out from anywhere. Trying to herd all speakers, especially those for whom English may not be their mother's tongue, into some kind of a linguistic and contextual straight-jacket will only serve to get us an ever -diminishing pool of speakers from which to choose. At the end all there'll be left are the linguists, and may be not even them.

      So yes, this argument of "watch your language! bears be there" is something that can only beget rites of counting just how many devils can safely dance on a pin (answer: more than one, if they be good dancers).

      But as to Peled's wading into the "how free should free be" well, that's another can of worms that the wise would better stay away from. There's no way one does not get trapped in a muddy swamp full of hungry alligators just waiting for a chance of an evening meal. One becomes prey the minute one gives in to the temptation of providing a single example. Basically, no, there are no safe examples to give (OK, I'll bite - how can I resist? here's one: "The genocide of the Indians beget the great country of America. Was it worth it? discuss.....").

      I realize this kind of debate may make sense in the English context, what with Corbyn rising (hooray!), a history of sectarian in-fighting going back to Henry the VIII's (which may be what led to this apparent fondness for semanticism of "ism"s), and yes, the spectre of Atzmonics (an interesting phenomenon all on its own - something akin to dread of the nightwalkers. Note to self: need to look more into this some day). It may also appeal to the subset of Americans that still miss their debate clubs (I didn't get to be in one, ever!). But does any of it make any difference to events on the ground in a Palestine being carved up as we speak?

      I imagine the [unstated] response of an arbitrary palestinian, may be someone stuck in a Gaza bread line, or lost in a crowd milling through a west bank checkpoint (who may be reading this debate on his/her mobile, having just finished going through the latest Weinstein disclosures). Thoughts such as: say what? could Peled or Ofir get me through this checkpoint a little faster if I say I agree with all they say, and which one shall I choose? Is this debate a sign that our water allotment going to be reduced again? or, better yet, this anti-semitism business - should really look into that some time - wonder if it's like a Zika virus, or that Lyme disease I've been reading about. May be it's something chronic, or is that just one of those conspiracy theories Americans are always into?

      Me, I always try to imagine, if only for a moment, that [imaginary?] lost-in-place Palestinian, as I [desperately] attempt a half-way decent come-back to one or more of those really well-articulated points made by my betters above, failing miserably. It kind of helps dispel, if only for a second, the cloud of disconnect that keeps hovering over everything, casting an ever-darkening shadow.

  • Watch the cathartic Vietnam documentary
    • I wholeheartedly agree with Phil's take on this series. I too was absolutely riveted, even though I knew (from reading, not experience) that much was left out and that some perspectives got the short end of the stick, especially the imperialist machinations that got Americans involved in the first place. It was the totality of the human experience that got me, the utter helplessness by so many in the decision making machinery who knew it was all for naught, yet could do nothing about it. McNamara's about-face got to me for some reason because I was so comfortable for the first 3 installments fingering him as a villain. How we need a villain! and then suddenly, as if a switch was thrown, he flipped. Actually, more like woke up. I thought of how he lived the rest of his life. His nightmares. The stories he told himself. His descent into political irrelevance. A victim of sudden insight, I almost felt sorry for him, despite his critical role in upping the ante on the military involvement, his serious strategic and tactical blunders, the insistence on "body Counts".

      Which was the second thing that got to me - those "body counts" as a "measure of success. What that did to those who had to assemble the lists. The tendency to inflate and conflate civilians with soldiers. The bodies themselves. Unknown, shown only as corpses. Mere numbers for military planners. I don't care what the critics - illustrious experts they all must be - I, as one who wasn't there when it all happened, found this effective. It connected from then to now. It can't have not made an impression on those who watched the whole series because it was a theme.

      The Moghe story was indeed powerful, one man's life. Lost for nothing. So were Mosgrave's and several others' commentaries. The veterans on both sides who became philosophers as a way of coming to terms with what happened.

      But more than anything, the series brought to life the absolute senselessness of it all. The military planners gigantic failures completely under-estimating and understanding their 'enemy". The misery of the soldier grunts capturing hill after hill just to leave it. Capturing a hill for nothing. Losing half the platoon for nothing. Killing hundreds of Vietnamese in the process for nothing. the Vietnamese holding on - just to make a point that they will hold on, knowing no doubt they'll lose that hill and take on stageering casualties in the process. It was one Alamo after another for the NVA. It was losing by winning for the Americans tasked with taking these targets. One could go on.

      But there are a few positives too - the Americans who flocked to the streets raging and demonstrating against the war. Whatever else one can say - it was effective. Street action changed the war's conduct and influenced decisions. There was power in the people.

      But then also the Vietnamese. The unbelievable resistance they put up. It wasn't just communist ideology or communist brainwashing that drove individuals to help keep the Ho Che Min trail open against all odds. It was commitment to something I can only call "resistance". Communism, as an ideology does well of course in co-opting the spirit of people. But that should not take away from the spirit those people showed. The many women who drove the trucks down that trail (I didn't even know so many women participated actively in the war effort for north Vietnam) set against the dearth of women among the American invading army. As we now know, so many years later, the spirit did survive, even communism's worst excesses, even Drezden like bombing runs. These people were bloody resilient, and that did come through just fine.

      And finally, that last segment, Part 10 - was really tear inducing. After so much has gone down and so many died and so many lives destroyed and a country brought to complete ruin, here we are, 50 years or so later, and Vietnam is a thriving tourist destination. And hard core communism gave way to ca Vietnamese version of capitalism with central planning. No different that countless other countries in the world. The Vietnamese would have nver allowed themselves to be taken over by Chinese. As the showed when they actually fought them later. And more than anything - the graciousness of a people who survived hell, several invasions, civil war and horrific deprivation, yet everyone who visited Vietnam (I know over 10 people now who went on tours of Vietnam as tourist. ) cannot but go one about the warmth, welcoming spirit and good will of the people who live there. They can't stop raving and all would love to go back. Of course, the country is quite beautiful and the Vietnamese people quite enterprising. But it appears they also have the gift of being able to forgive, even after the appalling cataclysm the previous generation went through.

      The Vietnamese people somehow persevered after endless trials and tribulations. They still have the spirit of a still fiercely independent people. We, in America, did not. We still have the ever hungry Empire beast to feed, the military planners go on making the same kind of strategic mistakes that come from refusing to understand what and who they are up against, we are more torn apart than ever, we are still relitigating a civil war, whose wounds keep opening up afresh. And our young people seem to have turned off. Our music gone to monotone, the songs belted out with more sound effects than heart, and our movies are, well....another time about those. We are an Empire in decline and Vietnam may have signaled just the beginning of the long descent that all Empires must go through.

      These are some of the thoughts I had as I watched each episode, some parts twice. Glad to hear there are many critics, but heck, the series was effective plenty in its own, no-doubt imperfect, way. It may have been too shallow about some facts for some people's taste, but it was not emotionally shallow, at least for those willing to watch with intent. And it made me think a new about things I haven't thought about for a long time, if ever. For which I am always grateful.

  • Rightwing campaign against Jewish exec who called for exposing Nakba seems likely to fail
    • Annie, I am afraid you are right about "organized Jewry" being essentially captive to israel, no matter what the latter does. When israel is proven to be an apartheid state, they are behind it; if Israel openly starts to practice ethnic cleansing (as opposed to the kind they are doing now - creepily), they would be behind that too; and if Israel were to bomb every structure to smitherins in Gaza, killing 100's of 1000's "organized Jewry" would find reasons to "justify" that, if not cheer them outright (insert sad face here). And when israel goes all theocratic outlawing the Americans' reform and conservative congregations altogether, "organized Jewery" would turn the other cheek. So all this we already know. The only question remaining is - If there is an all out campaign to outlaw BDS and perhaps even jail those who dare as much as utter the words, where would "organized jewry" stand? well, I say that, about half of "the organized ones" would be silent as lambs while a third would be busy finding constitutional justifications for just such a course of action. Never mind the remaining 20% - may be they'll stop being so organized? greater miracles have happened.....

      What is the matter with "organized Jewery" is the question that people should be asking, just as someone once asked "what's the matter with Kansas?".

      Because if they don't, the next question will be "what's the matter with Judaism that it beget such organizations"?

      As for speaking for most Jewish Americans, of course they don't. Unfortunately, they do hold sway over many of the largest donors to political and academic causes. And therein lies the problem. You can't fire these organizations, even if they don't speak for you. Not if livelihoods and careers depend on the largess of donors.

      And though I am glad the organized ones - through their selected frontmen/women - were not able [yet] to drop Myers to his knees, they still win more than they lose. Especially in a country where private donations grease just about every wheel.

      So, keep worrying.

  • Lessons from Finkelstein: a response to Seth Anderson
    • Tony leaves us with a call for…a mass movement from below.

      This is indeed a bit vague - more like begging the question than giving an answer.

      But, given Greenstein's arguments about the powerlessness of International law when all the Western, and much of the Middle eastern - world is held captive to a single Empire, one that's completely intertwined with the infrastructures of zionist ideology, the meaning of the vagueness is actually clear, and he does say it, in fact, in a few places.

      basically, it's no use waiting for International law to exact justice because the law itself is administered according to the whims of one Empire, in which zionism is embedded both by hook and by crook. IOW, the "International Law" as it is presently conducted is mostly an empty academic construct that serves only to assuage the guilt felt by some members of The Empire. Waiting for this "Law" to deliver either justice or solutions to deep international problems is something academics do by definition, as they debate the merits ever so capably.

      Greenstein's answer is not so hidden, even if it is not entirely realistic - for palestinians to get their day in court, the Empire that must fall first from its power pedestal. because it is The Empire that props up the racist ideology known as zionism, giving it teeth, preventing effective challenge. As for the "movement from below" this clearly alludes to masses of people rebelling against the existing power structure. The really relevant questions are therefore when and how are such masses to be cobbled together.

      Of course, the answer to that is not exactly hopeful, especially as everywhere we look The Empire - now turning itself over to the Corporate State - is flexing its muscles through wars and economic pressures and propaganda everywhere. Yet we know that declining empires do just that - they first become extremely arrogant, they overreach, and then they fall. We just don't know ahead of time what the inflection point is. Therefore, we must be prepared for when the time is right.

      And this is where BDS comes in - not as a movement that can bring rights and justice to palestinians overnight - but as a challenge to the power structure. Not only to Israel. Not only to "organized/established Jewery" which is fighting it tooth and nail. But to the entire existing power structure of Empire itself. An Empire which depends on various legalistic distortions to get its way, then claims to have done its evil deeds through the "power of law", so they can't possibly be evil. BDS is a people's revolt, just as occupy was. Our job is to see to it that it doesn't get easily squashed as occupied was and continues to grow - both above and under the ground (underground is what BDS has to do in Israel already).

  • Two Chicago pols break over BDS, as U.S. Jews divide over Israel
    • Keith - that's a great article - it really does a lot to show off people like warren, Booker and Franken as the faux progressives that they are. I heard that Elizabeth warren actually spoke in favor of the military increase by Trump in Afganistan. Wome,n rights, something, think that once there was a movement to draft her to run for the presidency!

      Also Misterioso, thanks for the link to Narwani's article. Haven't had a chance to read it all yet, but I found some interesting nuggets there.

    • What's the relationship between the kotel and Herod's wall?

  • Going veg
    • The best of Phil Weiss. Much to enjoy in this reading .....

      When it comes to Israel/Palestine: the political is personal, and the personal political.

  • The United State of Israel and Palestine
    • David, I back echinococus on needing some back-up for that elusive hope. Specifically, while there's some pressure from outside (empahsis on "some"), the pressure from the inside is practically non-existent. So you know a few good good people in Israel. So do I. And we all read Gideon levy and Amira hass and Yossi Gurvitz and jeff halper and breaking the Silence and most of the writers on 972. That all adds up to far fewer than even 10-20% of the Jewish residents of israel, if we include the silent supporters. Of those, half will probably go along with some degree of ethnic cleansing, if it is packaged "nicely", and if the world could somehow be made to swallow it. That leaves less than 10%.

      MY estimate is even more pessimistic. Judging by israeli social media (some of which I consult now and then - in Hebrew - I'd guess there are perhaps 100,000 people from among all the jewish residents who actually care for some long term and equitable solution to Israel/Palestine and are willing to pay the price (eg, withdrawing from post '67 borders). And of those not even half are willing to put themselves on the line by writing, putting comments on line, participating in rallies, supporting Palestinian solidarity, supporting BDS and/or bringing court cases where needed (the lawyers among them).

      So there you have it - the "pressure" from the inside is pretty paltry, one would say. And that is the problem. There really is no other problem.

      What we need are solutions to the problem of absence of hope. Violence in the form of an intifada is, IMO, a non-starter, for various reasons. So, at this time, the battle must take the form of resistance, be it through the solidarity activists (both israeli and foreigners), through Palestinian civil society (definitely NOT the PA), and of course by spreading BDS as far as possible, especially in an expanded vigorous form that will indeed delegitimize the Israel experiment in its currently toxic form. At least until such a time they show willingness to join the civilized world. Until that time, solutions can be proposed and immediately be put on the shelf for consideration as soon as there is someone to talk to on the israeli side. About anything. let me know when you find a suitable governmental entity to talk with.

      You had nothing to say, BTW, about my estimated $1T price tag for refugees wanting to settle elsewhere. I forgot to add - America will have to take in I'd say at least 100,000 as compensation for their vicious Israel-supporting, occupation promoting policies. It's only fair.

    • David, I am not as opposed to the ideas you advocate because the concept of One State Two Nations has been on the table for a long while (in one form or another), and there were a few wover the years who also felt this could, in principle (if not on every detail) represent an acceptable solution. Personally I like the model of England and Scotland even though many Scots are lately agitating for parting ways (as are the Venetians and the Catalans, but we'll chuck that to the vagaries of that malformed EU creature ). But having said that, I will take you to task for one tacit assumption underlying your entire premise, namely that Israel, as it is now is a rational entity. One that can be negotiated with. One that understands concepts of enlightened self-interest. One that cares about the institutes of civilization and international law. One that cares for humans outside its own narrow definition of "preferred humans". Or, for that matter, one that cares about the opinions and feelings of the world outside its borders.

      Unfortunately, that's not the case. You are far more likely to get rational debate with Palestinians than with Israelis. The palestinians may well disgree fiercely with one or another of your propositions (some more emotionally than others) but the israelis , for the most part, will go balistic at any suggestion of any kind of compromise or granting of equal rights to Palestinians within their union, however that union is defined. If you were dealing with sane people then conversations about what, where and how can be had. I had many of those myself over the years, including with select israelis. Who then turned out to be in such a dire minority that whatever agreements or disagreements we might have had meant as much as a Fata Morgana in the midst of shifting sand dunes.

      The reality is that israelis want the west bank - or most of it. And they want it minus the palestinians, or with minimal number of them. They not only want it but many believe that eventually they can have it and get the world to accept it as a fait accompli. They are working hard towards accomplishing that goal, using Gaza as a preferred model. And the people who turned Gaza into a horrific ghetto and are basically trying to figure out how to disgorge its inhabitants one way or another while the world doesn't notice, those people will not even go as far as to consider the first two sentences in your proposal. They feel they don't have to. And besides, they want what they want so there.

      One point regarding the RoR. You say:

      After 70 years of denial of their right to return, the most just solution of the Palestinian refugee problem would be for them to be given huge sums of money, by Israel, to enable them to settle in any country of their choice willing to take them.

      This can only happen AFTER the RoR is accepted as a principle. IOW, Israel has to acknowledge that, in principle, the Palestinians have the right to return, and once that's agreed, practical aspects of how to go about it can be discussed. The idea of offering substantial compensation can of course be entertained once the principle is established. I once calculated the compensation, using as a figure of merit the sum offered the settlers who left gaza, and came up with something just over $1T, if most of the refugees chose to take the money and run. These sums are interesting because one could, for example, offer reduced compensation to those who elect to return to israel, which can "sweeten the pot". Ah, if only we were talking tachles!

      Wouldn't it be nice if we could sit and talk relative sums of money? give or take on who pays it? and to how many? and who goes where?

      Well, in an ideal world where we deal with sane people who are not wrapped in their toxic ethnic/religious supremacy cloaks, we could indeed discuss such things. But the country you are talking about, Israel, is in the midst of collective psychosis, so first we may need to put them on some serious meds. Getting them to take the meds is something none of us, here or anywhere else, has figured out how to do. And without the necessary medications and, of course, serious counselling and rehab, unfortunately all proposals are doomed to remain academic exercises.

      Anyways, it's an interesting detailed thesis you put forward. A worthy effort, IMO, though one might quibble with "some" details (which I would absolutely do, if I thought it'd make a difference. Like the Areas A, B and C - these are Israeli inventions, meant to keep the sheep in their holding pens, so I would not even agree to these classifications, for starters, unless we agree to also divide israel into Areas A, B, C and the rest of the alphabet soup).

    • irishmoses, my comments often cross into that new realm of auto anti-semitism 😀 so there....

    • Any solution that addresses RoR should first and foremost accept the principle of RoR. Once that is accepted (and good luck with that) manners of practical excution can be discussed.

      For myself, I did always feel that a very substantial compensation for those who want it is a possibility, as part of a comprehensive package, but with emphasis on "substantial". In my book, at least as much as the settlers who left Gaza got (check out the numbers and you'll see we are talking A trillion $ or more in toto).

      However, as I first mentioned before anything at all can be discussed RoR must be accepted as a right. In my estimation, the chances that israel could ever be brought to a point of even offering an apology, much less accept the principle, are about as good as reversing global warming. IOW, there's a small chance. A vanishingly small one. Though that tiny chance can be increased if the pressure on israel increases. like, a lot.

    • This is really great information, misterioso. Keep it up! some of us are suckers for good references (because we are lazy bums?).

  • As many as 1 million Israelis have left for the U.S.
    • Well, irishmoses, it ain't over till the fat lady sings, as they say. Yes, the near future for palestinians does not look promising at the moment. But neither is Israel's, not when you take into account that this country is well on its way to being a theocracy coupled with ultra-right nationalism. I commented above on what the numbers look like for israel - the Demographic trends point to an absolute majority of religious and ultra-religious before 2025. With the haredis reaching 25%. With them living mostly on some kind of welfare assistance that's a large chunk of very very backward, under-educated and reactionary segment for the country's economy to carry. Add to that the Arab population at 20-22% which is also not doing well economically due to extremely discriminatory apartheid like rules, and of course a very large part of the Mizrahi who are still struggling economically, and you get a country where fewer than 30% will carry the full economic burden.

      Also as I pointed out and Keith elaborated on, israel now has just about the highest inequality of any country among the OECD. This inequality index is getting more and more skewed, even as the run of the mill young persons struggle to get adequate housing and other basic necessities.

      So it'll be a combustible combination that spells ultimately, something more like a failed state than a "start-up" nation. A very dangerous one, I should say. If you read today's story on MW from Ofir about Bennett's insidious plan to crypto-insert "Jeiwsh" "values" into secular schools, you can see where this increasing religiosity trend is going. With over 35% of israelis wishing the could leave (per recent poll), many will do just that even as the ones they leave behind will be the more religious and less productive ones. As the religious gain power and infringe on education, freedom of speech, democratic institutions etc. the seculars - who don't want to leave - will no doubt fight back.

      One of my past predictions was that in a few years some strange and unexpected alliances will start forming. Including potentially, alliances between the educated Jewish seculars and the more educated Arab seculars. There may be new parties. It is, in fact, possible that many seculars will come to regard Arabic people who are not too religious and/or christians as less of a threat and more of a natural ally than their fellow jews who have kind of gone nuts with too much religiousity.

      Under this scenario, there's no telling which way the cookie will crumble, including for the Palestinian residents of the west bank and Gaza.

      People don't realize just how serious the gap is between secular and religious jews. Not just gap, but outright hostility. They basically despise each other. And no one know better than Jewish people in Israel just how crazy mad their religious bretherns can get. Judaism, which in America and other western countries is a relatively benign religion and/or culture can, in truth, be anything but. May be it'd be advisable for non-Jewish people outside israel, to pay more attention to what the old testament actually says, and Christians in particular would be well advised to try and imagine what it can be like when much of the biblical god's admonishments are taken literally.

      Besides, the idea that Israel, as it is now has the slightest intention of "integrating" palestinians into its midst, even with limited rights, can be entertained only by those not so familiar with what Israeli reality actually is.

    • AAlen - they consider themselves culturally Israeli, which to them means speaking hebrew, a language most jewish Americans don't speak at all. The entire israeli culture revolves around the language, and hebrew is radically different from European languages that israelis, for the most part don't speak. Most of the secular israelis don't even think of themselves as Jewish and follow none of the halachic dictates. They may do Passover but again it is part of a culture to them rather than any great affinity with the religion.

      That was my point - Jewish culture in the US or UK is vastly divergent from israeli culture. Therefore the two do not converge when Israelis move to the US.

    • Misterioso, these were good sources. I think your reply and mine to JuanR (yours being the by far better sourced) complement each other. I tend to project ahead, based on trends that are reasonably well supported. Inside Israel there is much talk about the splitting apart of society along several seams. Here we address the religious/secular divide but there are other, troubling fault lines and one of your sources mentioned the educational/underemployment divide. Indeed, robust neoliberal policies, coupled with self-segragation (Haredi) and discrimination (Arabs) have taken a huge toll on the Inequality index in Israel. IT has, I believe an even worse inequality than in the US, and getting worse ever faster.

    • These numbers don't even mention the growth rate among the observant/traditional/orthodox, which also exceeds that of the secular though not as much as the Haredi one does. At some point - already around 2020-2022, the total religious pJewish opulation will exceed that of the non-religious one by as much as 5%, rising to a ratio of 60-40% by 2025. By 2030 it will be even more lop-sided.

      What that means for politics and for life in israel is easy to guess - more extreme white zionism, more enforcement of halacha, more neighborhoods taken over by the religious and more and more separation. Since the majority of emigrants from israel will be secular, the internal ratio of religious to not religious will accelerate.

      Basically, israel is well on its way to becoming a theocracy, ruled by halacha as much as Iran is ruled by Sharia. When the theocracy is coupled with ethnic supremacy, I think we can all guess where this will lead and what kind of country this will become.

      I mentioned Iran, but i think that over the same period of time Iran will actually start liberalizing. I predict that in another 10 years the scarves will be all but gone except for the more devout rural populations. Who knows, by such a time it may be Iran that will be the "only Democracy in the Middle east" while israel sinks to being ruled by a cabal of religious mumblers who will convert the Kneset to the old sanhedrin.

    • Actually, that's not true. The figures of 8M+ count many israelis who have already left, because it is assumed they will return. That's an open secret but everyone in israel knows. There is hardly a family that doesn't count at least one of their members who emigrated, even if it was supposedly "temprary". For some it is, but for many it's permanent.

      I don't denty that the birth rate is high, especially among the religious but therein is the biggest problem. The secular and the traditional/observant are diverging rapidly in israel. As I said above, they don't even socialize together much, and I am not even taking into account the ultra-orthodox. Already, the religious exceed the secular in israel's educational institutes - in elementary schools, the ratio is 3:2 religious to secular. Which means they receive differring education programs and generally don't walk in the same circles. After all, it is not possible for a secular to be happily married with an observant, virtually by definition. This is the end result of Judaism being so strict about inteer-relationships, customs and values. One of the two has to convert - either to religious or to secular. for there to be any kind of a match.

      The result is that israeli society is fast splitting into at least 4 distinct and barely relating branches: the secular, the traditional/observant, the ultra-orthodox and the non-Jewish/Arab. The latter account for nearly 25% of that number you quoted. With this kind of separation in another decade you will have several distinct bubbles that do not inter-mingle. Since there'll be more religious, their rules and preferences will prevail, making it ever less comfortable for the secular. Who will continue to leave in droves.

      Also, BTW, it is not true that the reverse aliyah slowed down. That contention is just the official story. The reality is something else.

    • mcohen - not quite right on this score. israelis, when they live abroad, tend to congregate in their own israeli communities rather than make much of a bridge to the local Jews. Indeed, Israeli culture deeply separates them from most "Jewish cultures" especially when you take religion into consideration.

      Most of the israelis who leave israel - to never return (whether they plan on it or not) are secular, and too much jewish religion is exactly one of the things they escape from. Israel is becoming increasingly more religious, and the guys with kippas are now in evidence everywhere, when once you could count them on one hand. The people who live in the tel Aviv and haifa Hi Tech bubble, for the most part, are repelled by all the overt Jewish symbols and certainly by much of the observant self-righteous, holier than thou pronouncements. In Israel, I am told, the two communities - the ultra-secular and the observant/orthodox/traditional do not mix socially at all. They don't intermarry and don't share the same values.

      So when the secular (especially from Hi-Tech sectors) come to a place like the US or the UK or Germany and are all too glad to integrate with their non-Jewish but also non-religious new neighbours and co-workers. from experience, I know at least 4 such families, whose children married non-Jewish Americans. That despite going to Israeli camps in the summer, despite visiting israel several times, and despite speaking Hebrew. In the end, it's the American college life that's so attractive to second generation ex-Israelis. None I know actually got a new spouse from the "Old country".

      So don't count on ex-Israelis strengthening Jewish "diaspora". The ex-Israelis will make their own diaspora that will have only very limited association with the indigenous Jewish ones, and over time they diverge more and more.

  • Chomsky on what 'everyone knows'
    • RoHa, those titles! you have my full sympathy for the bubble life. Yet it's not the worst bubble out there, is it?

      PS my own specialty used to be the Physics of bubbles (believe it if you wish). How can I avoid blowing them every-which-way? and just you wait till you see my take on the economic bubbly species....very explosive, that (sadly not on this blog).

    • Keith - I will address only the "volitional" part. Whatever you may have read into a preamble, it was I who desired to expand my own comment, influenced by none other than my very own self. As you can tell from multiple typos and egregious grammatical cul-de-sacs. I often produce my comments in one breath, literally at the heat of the moment, and frankly a 10 min edit window hardly suffices for the needed repairs. Also, as you can well imagine, given my preference for expounding, well, it bears to reason that things may need to be "expanded" for clarity, if nothing else. Wouldn't you do the same?

      So while I cannot take editors off the hook on everything, as I know basically nothing, in this particular case, blame for content, should there be any, must be shouldered all by my lonesome (and i had shoulder surgery not so long ago, too. Ah, the burden!).

      An aside - to your other points, think of it this way - if people did not care so much for Chomsky's opinion,s they surely would not take the time to run every sentence through a grinder, would they? can there be a greater complement?

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