Total number of comments: 128 (since 2010-03-18 14:07:04)
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'I just don’t see Remnick as damning.'
I think an underlying dismay comes through. What seems missing is a sense of real alarm at what this all might lead to, and soon. It may be that he has a hard time admitting that to himself.
Are you sure this represents an important development? Since the piece only brings up Adelson within a discussion of Jewish electioneering and the Republican party, mentioning his Zionism seems pretty innocuous, even unavoidable.
As I said I'm no expert. But are the once strong Polish American communities in the Midwest still intact in a meaningful sense? Do the 3rd and 4th generations still identify themselves with this community (which would presume little or no intermarriage over the past century)? I grew up years ago in a a town with a very large Slavic population; the Poles, Lithuanians etc. had distinct neighborhoods and a strong sense of ethnic/religious identity. I think that sense of communal identity has really faded.
On a related note, I thought there was a revealing passage in Friedman's column today. He speaks of Romney doing 'some Arab-bashing to win over the Jews, some Russia-bashing (our “No. 1 geopolitical foe”) to bring in the Polish vote....'.
Now I don't claim to be an expert on Polish Americans, but I have to believe that our talking tough to Russia has almost no effect on how they cast their votes. In fact, I kind of doubt that they have any sharply defined communal list of voting priorities, and question whether they actually see themselves as a distinct 'community' (beyond the 1st generation).
Which leads me to believe that their inclusion in the passage was intended to make the courting of the the Jewish vote seem more run of the mill, less unusual.
I wouldn't even bet it was done consciously. It's more like a journalistic reflex.
'What purpose would a Judaism stripped of humanitarian values serve, not just Jews, but all mankind?'
You've said a lot in one sentence. It's been interesting to watch a certain segment of Jewry turn against the left for its supposed sins against Israel, and gradually feel the need to wholly disassociate Judaism from any interest in general social justice and thus the taint of the left. As if Judaism could only be defined by the repudiation of universal humanitarian concerns. As if having no point but insular self-perpetuation is and always was the whole point, and those who won't accept it are naive, deluded and unmanly. I'm not sure people like Gordis are fully cognizant of the beast they're creating.
'Where’s Oleg to tell us these tortured Palestinian kids get kosher milk and cookies after a beating?'
Hate to disappoint you, but from his post above at 10:41 it sounds like he'd say no such thing.
In his Chielmenitski post he's taken that hatred of Israelis and rolled it back through Jewish history. His Israeli problem has obviously morphed into something darker and more grandiose.
'I was always told the 15th point was the one which made you smart enough not to believe it or at least not to talk about it.'
But were you told by someone with the extra 15 -- and if so did he/she have test transcripts for verification?
'Of course, I didn’t put in the part about the orgies and unrestricted drug use. '
Don't worry. I think that came through between the lines. I understand you're busy with your songwriting and your general posting duties. It's not easy.
These are fine sentiments. The trouble is that Israel often functions as a substitute for Jewish culture and religion in the U.S. precisely because these had been losing so much steam on their own, creating a large void. Devotion to Israel filled that void. It was partly an organic change, and partly orchestrated by those who led the Jewish organizations. Who knows what kind of Jewish culture would blossom in America without Israel as a lodestone and without the communal solidarity, either self-imposed or enforced from without, that has existed throughout most of Jewish history. Could secular Jewish culture persist in this environment? Should it?
Goldberg should make it easier on everyone and publish a lexicon of acceptable usage for I/P discussion purposes. He could update it regularly as conditions change, include a section on unacceptable terms, and indicate the correct context for use of the many iffy or borderline phrases. It's a tricky business, but he certainly seems up to the task. I especially look forward to a section on acronyms where Shmuel could render some valuable help.
It seems 'not a Zionist' would be an apt description for those who neither
a) long for Israel's comeuppance and dismantling (though they'd like to see profound political change, ending in something like a truly equitable 2ss)
b) feel the need to celebrate the state as a kind of miracle and the axis of Jewish existence (while remaining critical of its direction and hoping for some kind of 2ss).
There is room, in other words, between anti-Zionism and liberal Zionism.
'You display the arrogance that characterizes advocates like you.'
Hophmi , aren't you an advocate, and one who feels, at a minimum, confident in his views.
Do you start off every sentence with 'You know -- I may be wrong but gosh it kinda seems to me that....'?
I haven't seen you take that approach.
'But it is not a Jewish value taught in the Torah.'
As an Orthodox Jew I beg to differ with you, though I've heard the argument before and feel it's often prompted by political animus. I think you're selling Judaism (yes, real Torah Judaism) short and unnecessarily restricting its scope -- which should extend beyond simply keeping the Jewish people together. There needs to be a reason to keep them together, something to justify all that effort. I'll settle for improving the world a little.
I actually think the liberal branches of Judaism have been moving in a more particularist direction in the last decade or so. It would be nice if Orthodox Judaism mirrored that movement by placing some emphasis on Judaism's universalist elements.
'Sounds to me like Slater was active in the in-fashion movement against South Africa in the 70′s and 80′s and is looking to revive the good old days....'
I know you're not a tikkun olam guy, Gilad, since you've stated that the concept contradicts Torah values, but are you suggesting that the anti-apartheid movement was just a 'fashion' and lacked real validity? How about the abolitionist movement in the 1800's, the civil rights movement? Just fashions?
Also, were you in South Africa in those years?
'She is fiddling and diddling.'
Are you by any chance from Boston?
I think she somehow assumed that everyone was familiar with the context. They'd appreciate the subtle way she rendered the ironies. It may also have been more comfortable for her as a Jew to assume this and leave out the dark stuff. So it was a win win.
'How pathetic of you…'.
Why are you taking it seriously. When you're as prolific as Mooser is you need to follow many lines of attack at once and entertain all possible arguments.
I believe it's the sign of genius.
'If anti-Zionism, or even weak-tea criticisms of Israel, becomes an method of out-Jewing each other around here, I’ll puke.'
What about responding angrily to your own comment -- isn't that a method of out-Jewing yourself?
I'm still waiting to find out about those 'Jewish values' he considered so crucial in his op-ed. So far all I'm getting is a devotion to real estate.
'thank heavens for yiddish!'
Give a nod to Hebrew in this case -- 'pilpul' comes from the word for 'pepper' (am I pilpulizing?).
Ok -- whenever two ethnic groups collide, or one harms the other it's about ethnicity or ethnicity and religion. But the Zionists didn't dispossess the Palestinians because they were racist meanies, on the prowl for other groups to subjugate. They wanted the land and the Palestinians were in the way. The Zionists would have preferred a land that was truly empty -- unfortunately there aren't many such lands. By the same token, the Palestinians didn't resist mass Jewish immigration because they were a bunch of racist meanies -- comparable to a neighborhood of whites resisting black home buyers (as one poster here has put it). They acted out of a justified desire for self-preservation.
I think defining this situation in terms of 'racism' can be distracting, though I wouldn't deny it had relevance. I would argue that HTML and plumbing aren't all that relevant.
'No, it would be more on par to white opposition to black families moving into a suburb.'
This analogy would have some merit if the new families constituted a cohesive ideological group and steadily moved in with the goal of asserting their political authority over most or all of the neighborhood. Neighborhoods don't really work this way (as potential sovereign political entities) so the analogy would still be kind of shaky.
What's wrong with the Native American analogy? Why doesn't that fit?
'This is complete nonsense. Israel’s demographic case has everything to to do with racism.'
I'm not sure racism should be at the core of this debate. The issue is power and dispossession. If the dispossessors are non-racists, does that legitimize the dispossession? If the dispossessed are in fact racists, is their dispossession then legit.
'Then you believe racism is justified.'
Why is it racism -- it's a natural fear of dispossession.
'Yes, again, it’s not inherently racist to try and create an autonomous community.'
It may not be inherently racist but it is certainly inherently threatening to the existing inhabitants, especially since you've never stipulated that you were going to form the sort of 'autonomous community' which would not interfere with their lives.
'Surely, Phil, you realize the irony of this argument. Part of the Arab case against Israel was too many Jews in the Holy Land.'
Ok - but the Arabs were already there (along with a few Jews) when the Jews immigrated more or less en masse with a clear intent to set up a Jewish state. How could the indigenous population not feel threatened? That mass immigration started the ball rolling. It was the catalyst for the mutual resentment and distrust which ensued. It made the current Israeli fear of Palestinian numbers inevitable.
'Aaron David Miller is Israel’s new spokes person in the U.S. MSM'
Yes - because he's supposedly so devoted to achieving a just peace and so cognizant of the obstacles (as a former peace processor). And so he drones on with poignant regret that the U.S could never seem to act as an honest I/P broker, but only as 'Israel's lawyer'. It's very very sad, he admits, but who is he, living in the comfort of Chevy Chase Maryland, to ask Israel to change its ways. The more he drones, the clearer it becomes that he must have been a very willing 'lawyer'.
Aggressive right-wing voices currently dominate the conversation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- thus the 'ignorant extremists among Christian Zionists' you decry. Let's hope this general conversation takes a different turn and voices like Hermann Cohen's can be heard again in the land.
And taking a step is not touching your toes.
'I never got the feeling from Phil that he would feel much for the safety of some young cracker born and bred in the USA who worked a low-paying minion job for Jim Crow in that era etc.'
I don't see any reason to assume this. That's not who he seems to be.
Thanks for clearing things up. I guess it's just what happens when you contain multitudes.
I think I've responded to the substantive claims on prior threads.
Others have as well -- Shmuel has done so on various occasions, with erudition and panache.
'I know of nothing which, in Jewish theology, would suggest that only those Jews who abide by all of the Jewish law can be considered “righteous” with the rest being wicked and without virtue.'
The Noahide laws you mention are a subset of the laws Judaism lays down for Jews to follow in order to achieve righteousness. Idolatry is a big deal in Judaism; there's no way around it, but why take offense at a proscription which does not discriminate between Jew and non-Jew. I don't take offense at Christianity's belief that I'm not going to be saved. What's it to me? Speaking of which -- take a look at the New Testament, where Paul claims that Jewish law is simply too onerous to make salvation possible, and that faith should supplant works. Not saying I agree with him, but his statements on this theme make a pretty good case against any Jewish belief that Jews are righteous by default.
I notice you use 's' in many cases where American spelling would use 'z' (see 'empathise'). I once assumed you were British, yet apparently you grew up on Long Island (according to at least one moving post). The phenomenon is baffling. What explains it?
I happen to think Klaus is partly motivated by a desire to absolve non-Jews for whatever they've done to the Jews -- since the Jews are inherently perfidious and basically asked for it.
I also wonder if he's delved that deeply into the origins of the actions of other political entities he opposes. Let's assume he opposed apartheid. Did he seek to explain it as the inevitable result of some incurable virus in Dutch/Teutonic culture and religion.
'as it presumes that non-Jews are inherently unrighteous and that only those who follow Jewish law (in the biblical sense of the term) or who helped Jews in a very specific way (in the Yad Vashem sense) could be “righteous.”'
Some may understand the Yad Vashem's use of 'righteous' in this way. But that's not necessarily how it was intended. I think it's based on the presumption that none of us, Jew or Gentile, is inherently righteous, that righteousness is a rare quality, and that those Gentiles who demonstrated this quality in the Holocaust deserve special recognition for their courage.
By concluding that Yad Vashem would not consider those who saved the Roma as 'righteous' you make the same assumption you accuse Yad Vashem of -- that one group of people, in this case the Jews, is inherently and always self-interested and therefore unrighteous. (Actually a quick google search shows that yadvashem.org includes much documentation on the Roma -- though I don't know if anything is mentioned in the museum itself, having not been there in decades).
BTW - I understand the Palestinians are missing from this equation and I'm not try to excuse that.
Why the need to ascribe Israel's misdeeds to some primal, ineradicable flaw in Jewish religion, culture and sensibility? Is it comforting to then feel that the Jews are to blame for whatever comes their way (or did in past)?
You know your holidays and your 1960's post-season pitching rotations. Pretty impressive.
'Mitt Romney does not seem to have a brain to wash'
Believe he was Bainwashed. Which amounts to the same thing.
'Phil, his rabbi and the soda-stream maker, Phil and Beinart and so on.'
What does this mean?
You make a good point about Romney, but I'm not so sure he's as much an actual philo-Semite as he is a philo-Mittite. He's willing to play the Israel card with total recklessness if it'll help him win the WH -- and damn the consequences.
'Well, I don’t know about any other Jews, but I am a nation! '
We're letting you do it for us -- just hold on tight and keep up the good work
'I’ll work on reading comprehension!'
I think you should try working your way through Mooser's posts. They're often multi-dimensional, uncannily suggestive, and open to a variety of interpretations.
Much like divine revelation.
'I think your comparison to the national identity of other diasporas is misleading. An Italian-American has a clear and direct link to a modern nationality (beyond her/his” ethnic” culture).'
This distinction between Jewish 'national' loyalty and that of other American ethnic groups is often lost. I think it's sometimes muddled on purpose so that the Jewish situation will not seem anomalous. The fact is -- other immigrant groups lose the sense of identification with a 'homeland' after a generation or two and make little effort to preserve this identification as a value in itself (I've noticed that Armenian and Greek Americans are mild exceptions, with religion, unsurprisingly, playing a role). Under any circumstances, after a couple of generations it's difficult to consider Italian, Irish etc. - Americans as coherent ethnic groups.
In the 1st half of the 20th century American Jews had a sense of ethnic rootedness and coherence similar to that of other American immigrant groups. They all brought it with them and it took some time to wash out. There's been an attempt to seamlessly make over that natural (now fading) Jewish cultural identity into affiliation with Israel, treating Israel as if it were the 'old homeland' and considering this affiliation as nothing different than the sentimental attachment of other American European ethnics to their old homelands. Of course, these other affiliations began differently and have almost totally disappeared, but nobody seems to question the relevance of the comparison.
I’m not sure, however, that ‘culture’, 'milieu' or a 'group of cultures' entirely captures the Jewish-American situation. There is some sense of peoplehood or whatever-hood that seems more than mere culture, neighborhood, religion or biology. It is perishable but still persists to a degree that Irish or Italian - American identity does not. Hard to know what to call it.
I say bring back the House of David -- link to peppergame.com
Redemption will follow.
Yeah - it's kind of amazing how Miller has maintained this image of disappointed dove, deeply concerned with the fate of Jew and Palestinian, lamenting the stagnation.
It's perfectly clear he plays this role and gnashes his teeth over the impossibility of effecting any change simply to keep pressure off of Israel.
You make some good points.
I would say however (to Woody too) that trying to flip this around and claiming Israel's existence as a primary cause for all problems throughout the Muslim world -- from Morocco to Afghanistan -- is equally tendentious and simplistic.
'This is definitely the hard stuff.'
In content absolutely, in delivery no.
I've heard Meir Kahane in person (lasted 20 minutes then went home to shower). This piece is smooth by comparison.
It will open some eyes but I think many of the uninformed or half-informed will slide right by the lies and won't sense the glaring omissions.
That said, there's probably some value in the Times getting an honest expression of the dishonesty on the record
Because it was so measured, almost suave, in tone, the piece was pretty enlightening (and scarier than the straight hard stuff). The arguments were clearly well-polished and the total omission of the citizenship issue was a brilliant, daring stroke. Especially since the reader is lulled into a kind of dreamlike state by the end and may not even notice. All in all a minor, but transfixing work of art.
'Or is it that terror should only be applied when there are concrete political goals
Yes, that's it. If a deranged Israeli (Jewish) walked into a move theater in Tel Aviv and started shooting, Israelis would call him a madman or mass murderer, not a terrorist. Netanyahu's analogy was also objectionable because it seemed exploitative -- an attempt to promote political goals and not simply to express sympathy.
I think he started his term as a kind of liberal Zionist in the mold of Rabbi Wolf, his Chicago mentor on these issues. He seemed to have a sincere (though not passionate) interest in Israeli culture, from a mildly lefty perspective -- he mentioned, for instance, that he enjoyed the novels of David Grossman. This POV was certainly compatible with his Cairo speech and his desire to open dialog with the Arab world (in part, to renew the I/P peace process). It wasn't however, compatible with the near Islamophobia now required to be a friend of the Jews. And it wasn't so different from Clinton's outlook. Were Clinton president in the past 10 years he too would have a contentious relationship with Israeli politicians and their American backers.
Obama came to realize there was nothing to be gained from pursuing Arnold Wolf's dreams and much to lose. So he backed off. Wisely. And I doubt he still reads David Grossman.
'C’mon, I know we can make the big kilo-comment!'
Yes -- let's go for it.
And whoever posts the 1000th comment gets a glass of champagne with Phil Weiss, like George Clooney after 10 million miles in 'Up in the Air'.
And also gets to bypass moderation for all future posts. That should be a real incentive.
Was just kidding, Kathleen. Keep on surfing.
I'm not referring to comments about the 'Zionist criminals' and their deeds. I agree with a a fair number of these comments; that's why I'm here. I do think some of the claims and their language are over the top (in a way that undermines the overall mission of this site), but still, they in no way bespeak anti-Semitism.
What does bespeak anti-Semitism is the attempt to attribute Israel's actions to essential flaws in the Jewish make-up, stemming from something historically corrupt in Judaism or Jewish culture. There have been a bunch of comments of this type on this thread, some explicit, some veiled. I think they've fed off each other and must admit they've been eye-openers.
When hophmi said he had never experienced anti-gentilism in the Jewish community, everyone denounced him (correctly) for being disingenuous.
This statement :
'Anti-semitism, as far as I can see, simply has no connection with the ‘pro-Palestinian movement.’
is equally disingenuous (as evidenced by more than one comment on this thread).
'Get over it already and spare us – life is frigging short enough already!'
You know what Taxi -- with your carefully worded expression of concern, your tact and gentle touch, I think I just might be able to finally get over it.
In fact, it's hard to believe, but my burden already feels lighter. I owe you and Colin and all the others a real debt of gratitude.
And I apologize on behalf of all my co-religionists for having forced you to take part in this exercise; I know it hasn't been easy and you must have better things to do.
Though Prinz made those reprehensible remarks, it's only fair to acknowledge that they were made during a time of crisis which may well have inflamed his thinking. He was in fact strongly anti-Nazi (arrested by the Gestapo many times) and after escaping Germany became an early and enthusiastic proponent of the American civil rights movement, friendly with ML King, sticking with the movement long after many got off the bus (no pun intended). His support for black liberation was connected to his interest in Jewish liberation and Zionism.
To muddy the picture even more, I can remember an essay of his which strongly criticized the idea that Jewish identity should be based on ethnic solidarity or desire for group survival. It also condemned the idea that American Jews should split their political loyalty.
So it's not so simple and Prinz's reckless comments from the 30's shouldn't be viewed as some summation of his thought, and certainly not as the summation or boiled-down essence of Jewish doctrine.
Though I'm sure it's hard to resist recycling them in the glorious quest to equate Judaism with Nazism.
Allen Bee -
Used in this way, Israel would refer to the 'people of Israel', the Jewish people and its mission -- not the land or the state. Though Dennis Prager might twist the phrase around to suit his own theo-political agenda.
'Charter schools don’t have an Israel-centric curriculum. I’m not sure where you got that idea. '
My point was not that they focused on Israel in a 'religious sense', but simply that they focused on it -- aiming, obviously, to foster an appreciation for the place, its language, culture etc.
Don't try to out-Cape me Kathleen -- it won't fly.
'How that is bigotry escapes me....'
I guess it's bigotry if you're only interested in preserving a genetic entity, as opposed to an entity whose religion or culture you deem to have value, maybe absolute value (let's leave aside the value of that value).
I'm talking about parochial schools not public schools. In the U.S. parochial schools have to adhere to a certain standard curriculum, to which they add a religious curriculum. Conflicts can arise between the two. I don't think that justifies abolishment of such schools.
It's true that
'.... all of them fanatically devoted to Jewish nationalism and Likud Zionism above all other issues.'
is an overstatement. I suppose it could summon echoes of Father Coughlin.
But there's no question that attachment to Israel was a crucial and formative art of this group's political worldview. It played an important role in their push for war, even if never explicitly acknowledged. Fact is, the neocon American-greatness doctrine, which could be sold as simple hardline patriotism, was always influenced by concerns for Israel's security.
'Jews think too goddamned much.'
Or maybe you think too much about Jews. Why not get outside and work on the deck for awhile. Get some fresh air and forget about us Semites. It'll do you good and we'll manage to get by without your supervision and helpful criticisms.
Not that we're not grateful.
Yes, Walden Pond is an underrated swimming hole, so long as you can steer clear of the shore weeds and literary associations.
I agree on the bleakness and unknowableness. Some who claim irreversibility simply want it so.
BTW Phil -
Which beach did you prefer -- Stony (MBL) or Rocky (Gansett)? I was a a Gansett man myself.
'A new way of ghettoizing our identity.'
Separate education, with its immersion in Jewish law as the foundation of Jewish identity, is actually a pretty ancient approach. I think it's unobjectionable, at least in the abstract, no matter what you think of Judaism or Jewish law (unless you feel all religion-based education should be abolished). The charter school twist on this is a different story. The Israel-centric curriculum only makes sense if Jewish survival is an end in itself, and its purpose unimportant. Beinart may back these schools as a temporary means to a more substantive end, but the means is dangerous and can very easily turn into an end.
I gather that you grew up in an Orthodox community. From that starting point assimilation would naturally entail an act of will, conscious denial/rejection etc. But the opposite is true at this point for many Jews. For them, the assumption of Jewish identity would require an act of will and self-denial. Their grandparents already made the leap away from Judaism (for a variety of reasons, not all ignoble).
I read the book a hundred years ago but seem to remember that Koestler addresses the Khazar/Yiddish question. I believe the solution had something to do with German trading posts in the region, or some such thing. Not very convincing, but he did have some interesting stuff on the origin of skullcaps and hooked noses. Nothing to do with trading posts as I recall.
So you're saying Zionism is a form of tax evasion -- or would never have been born if the Jews of Europe had their own decks.
Is that what it all comes down to?
'Uri Avnery is a decent man and does not deserve to be included in the same sentence with G. Atzmon.'
I can split it into two sentences, or throw in a semi-colon if you like, but the fact is they do share a revulsion towards Diaspora Jewry (or some traditional Zionist caricature of same).
I notice that harsh Israeli critics of Zionism like Uri Avnery and Gilad Atzmon are even harder on Diaspora Jews and seem to believe that Diaspora germs are the cause of Zionist corruption and decay.
Don't forget Colin -- Jews in the moving business form a special subcategory. It's statistically dangerous to generalize from their behavior.
And the Stu Miller I know was a very fine junk ball pitcher for the Giants and Orioles. Be a mentsch and leave him out of this.
Yeah -- I remember too, but not the specifics. It occurred to me that the blowback he got from that remark has something to do with the protestations of love in this interview. This is clearly not an issue he's thought much about and he's not really invested in it. Why not just make nice and avoid all the flak.
'Those 29 ovations were like some rich dad shipping in a team of pole dancers ....'
Classy extended metaphor -- but I think at least half the pole dancers were cheering from the heart.
'Things are discussed in English that are verboten in Hebrew.'
Not sure that's true, esp. within the Jewish community
'Judaism doesn’t yet have a Nadine Gordimer.'
Who happens to Jewish.
'Any loyal American can be an Israel or Pakistan or Mexico seconder.'
I second that. But this is a bit disingenuous. The Pakistani and Mexican (or Irish or Italian) seconders come from those countries and their ties last only a generation.
'Only a minuscule minority identify themselves in such a reductionistic genetic fashion.'
While I believe this take is itself reductionist, there's no denying that Judaism has a strong ethnic (or at least national) component. Like Hinduism, for instance, which has about a billion practitioners.
Fact is, when he was elected to this leadership position he got a lot of flak about his membership in J Street with its wildly outre views on I/P, and ever since he's been forced to prove his love. This is just one more love letter on his redemption tour. It's pretty wince-inducing. Hard to know though, if he's wincing while he gushes.
I think it's good politics, despite Dershowitz's obnoxious behavior in recent years. As an American citizen I want to see Obama re-elected for all sorts of reasons and this might help a bit with Jewish voters/donors. It might also tame Dershowitz a bit. I guess I'd react differently if I though that this meeting got in the way of some imminent I/P breakthrough, but it doesn't. I don't want Romney as President; I'm not interested in heightening the contradictions.
I don't think Adelson is trying to influence Romney's position on I/P. That's already locked in. It's a given that there'd be no daylight between them. But Adelson does want to make sure his POV gets elected. 10 million can't hurt.
It's a pretty gutsy and honorable statement by Burg. Why not give him some credit? He's gone out on a limb. Does it help to chop it off?
I thought the most revealing part of the piece was Goldberg recalling how he responded when Beinart asked him why he dissed the 'Crisis' book but praised a G. Gorenberg book making essentially the same arguments. Goldberg scoffed that Beinart didn't get it -- since Gorenberg lives in Israel and has skin in the game his arguments have to be taken seriously. While Beinart's can be dismissed as backseat driving. IOW Goldberg had no problem admitting he wasn't prepared to evaluate Beinart's arguments on their merits, merely on their adherence to an implicit diaspora loyalty oath. Of course, taking Goldberg's statement at face value would mean that no one writing about a foreign locale could ever be taken seriously, including Goldberg himself.
Excellent give and take.
I'm perplexed, however, by the analogy to abolitionism and John Brown. An I/P corollary would consist of morally outraged Israelis rising in violence against their state, sparking a war in which many more Israelis would then fight to the death to change the state's basic nature. What in the world points to that happening? BTW - I'm not denying the agency of Palestinians in deciding their fate, just trying to take the Civil War analogy seriously.
He's already gotten the 'Goldstone treatment' on steroids for decades. Fear of Dershowitz et al. clearly doesn't sway him.
Yet Beinart bends over backwards to show he's got a warm Jewish heart that beats for Israel, that he understands the virtues of a little tribalism. His willingness to mention the vices is what makes him a traitor, warm heart and all. Lobbying for vouchers and perfect shul attendance won't redeem him. The 'feeling' you mention is very narrowly defined and is tied to specific policies.
I mean two nations whose demographic make-up differs, one primarily Jewish one primarily Palestinian, each with (generally) different cultural 'orientations'. I'm speaking of both Jewish and Palestinian supremacy, each within its own state -- each state treating minorities with full respect, affording them full civil rights. The Palestinian state would not be a harmless caboose; it would not be demilitarized for instance. This is what is generally envisioned as a just two state solution.
Without the demographic distinction why even entertain such a solution?
' Jews going meekly to the gas chambers or meekly being expelled from the country to who knows where....'
I'm not feeling the meekness. And the gas chambers reference is beneath you, or should be.
I was once a fervent Zionist and lived in Israel. But time has passed and things have changed. I could now accept a one state solution over the status quo, provided I thought such a solution would not lead to a reprise of the Lebanon Civil War. Despite all the obstacles that have made a just 2ss (I mean truly just) seem nearly impossible, I still believe it's more realistic. You just can't overestimate the crookedness of the timber of humanity.
Can you sketch out a scenario in which full RoR leads to a meaningful two-state solution (i.e. two states with different demographics and orientations, stably co-existing). The idea seems disingenuous, and Finkelstein is right to denounce it as such.
Those who support full RoR should simply admit that this approach entails one state. That admission would strengthen the other BDS arguments (remove the hint of naivete or disingenuousness). It would also help to describe how the one state takes shape without descending into civil war. I don’t ask for this facetiously. It’s necessary to show that there's some feasible plan.
I don't think Dershowitz was as 'meek and vapid' on this issue years ago, though he certainly swung hard to the right in recent years. He may have swung so hard that he scared himself. Or the thuggishness he denounced at the Jeruslaem Post conference may have shaken him up a bit, caused him to look in the mirror. Or at his erstwhile comrades-in -arms.
'And don’t forget to finish up with about a million examples showing that the ways in which Jews relate ....'
Your logic and motivation elude me.
I don't want to argue anything except that the sentence I quoted seems absurd.
'The right to exploit and oppress other Jews, without the possibility that Jews can appeal to the Gentile or civil law for respite is the Zionist dream.'
Do you really believe this stuff, or is this some kind of anti-Zionist performance art?
'They gave us an ethnically cleansed land and said it was a land without a people for a people without a land. They said there was no Nakba etc.'
My parents didn't tell me these things.
I feel deprived.
'i find their opinion to have a small weight when i think about what is best for Israel'
That's pretty much like saying it's unimportant. Still there is a difference between the weight you personally give it and the weight this opinion actually has in determining American and Israeli policy. The Israeli govt tries hard to mold and police American Jewish opinion for a reason. Not that I'm in love with any of this.
BTW - what do you consider to be Israel's 'prime directive'?
'I am not aware that Israeli citizens view American Jewish community
as an integral inseparable part of Israel. At least it is not so in my case.'
It's one thing to disagree with a point and give a reason, another to say I don't care what you think -- you don't count. If you really find American Jewish opinion unimportant, why do spend so much time on this site.
Beinart doesn't call for religious segregationalism, but Jewish (or any religious) day school will have that effect and he knows it. I sometimes think he pushes this issue so hard in order to keep his Jewish bona fides polished and hold on to his audience. It'll be interesting to see how evolves. He's walking a narrow path and could easily veer off to the left or the right.
BTW - Shaul Magid has an interesting essay in Religion Dispatches on Beinart's book and his educational initiative:
link to tinyurl.com
'I am not sure that “tacked on” is the right phrase.'
I believe 'velcroed' would be more tasteful.
'As far as Hannah Arendt is concerned, why didn’t she just obt out of Judaism.'
For one thing, it wouldn't have kept her from having to flee Germany.
'Was the universalist, humanistic interpretaion of Judaism an aberration? – Or
- Is the Zionist, chauvinistic interpretation of Judaism the aberration?'
I'd say neither. I think Rabbi Walt errs in implying that illiberal Judaism is somehow aberrant or inauthentic. It's no less authentic than his more liberal Judaism. The question is which of these valid interpretations will dominate. I'm rooting for his approach, but I'm not overflowing with optimism.
'I believe Judaism has to get back to this or there is simply no point in wearing those kippot.'
I agree, and I wear one and sometimes it feels heavy.
As Y Leibowitz once said -- 'The messiah who comes is always a false messiah.'
I think 'Jewish' is sometimes preferred because 'Jew' was often used as a slur (noun, adj or verb). 'Jew' acquired a derogatory flavor and hasn't entirely lost it.
A bad side of coleslaw might be all it takes.
I'm feeling the heartburn.
But what Israel does will serve as a commentary on what Judaism is. It could narrow possibilities, close down paths.
I wasn't talking specifically about Israel, the hard Jewy center.
I'm almost certain Walzer still self-defines as a social democrat and liberal Zionist (in the Beinart ballpark). I don't think he's changed his stripes politically. I suppose he's no longer using the Biblical text as some kind of support for his politics; it doesn't sound like he'd consider that valid in general.
As for "We have supported the people who support us.” -- I think he means that Jews have usually embraced the political side that helps their team. I don't think he's claiming that he forms his own politics that way.
I remember reading a book by an Israeli author (in Hebrew) about 15 years ago, which made an argument similar to the one Kirsch ascribes (maybe a little tendentiously?) to Walzer's new book -- that Jewish religious consciousness was so consumed by God that there was no room for politics, no template for secular governance. Can't remember the book title. Still, it doesn't sound like Walzer's quite reached the Podhoretz approach to the prophets, which strips them of any universalist intent.
In any case, whatever the original intent, many have taken both conservative and radical lessons from the Biblical text. And it hasn't all been an exercise in finding backup for externally conceived moral/political notions. Though I suppose you could argue that much of it has been an exercise in creative misreading.
I believe Walzer still defines himself as a leftist, regardless of how he now explains that orientation. I don't think he's saying that he himself sided with the left simply because it was good for the Jews. I think he's making a sociological not a prescriptive statement, that many Jews were on the left for reasons that had to do with self-interest.
Anyways -- to get a little post-Biblical, I've always been struck by the fact that the first order of the Mishnah (the ground floor of the Talmud) is overwhelmingly concerned with redistribution of wealth and goods. Depending on your predilection you could say this is an instance of Jews looking out primarily for the welfare of other Jews, or you could try to extrapolate a bit, and say that Judaism argues for a society concerned with the welfare of all.
I have little problem with what seafoid said. Politically we may be quite close. The original comment by American and some (not all) of the respondents to my question had a very different tone -- thus my remark about elders of Zion etc. I'm not sure how my response qualifies as hasbara. I wasn't trying to explain away anything. In fact, I complimented seafoid on a comment that was manifestly devoid of hasbara.
OK -- that's a reasoned response. It doesn't conjure up images of the elders of Zion sitting in a basement and scheming, or intimate that there's some basic Jewish need to extract a pound of flesh.
'he didn’t feel it necessary to call him a fascist'
Do you feel that the Zionist movement was born out of greed and a desire for domination ?
I think Newclench makes some good points. I'm less optimistic about prospects for a deal, though I'd certainly be supportive. However, I'm equally pessimistic about being able to rewind the clock and achieve full justice as his detractors demand. Getting anywhere close would be a great achievement.
BTW - Lerner challenged Beinart on some his basic premises in that interview, but he didn't feel it necessary to call him a fascist.
Not having been at a J Street conference I wonder if it's considered necessary to proclaim love for Israel, recount teen adventures, romantic evenings etc. in order to then have the standing to say something critical. Not that she said much that was critical in any detailed sense.
Out of curiosity -- when you were in your 'patriotism' phase, were you simply softening the opinions you express in the 2nd paragraph (so as not to offend, court rejection etc.)? Or did you change internally from critical patriotism to unlove?
Yeah but the article in general is concerned with something gone badly wrong in the ultra-Orthodox community. That's the thrust. That's the taste it leaves in the mouth. And that's the taste it should leave. But, to the extent that Phil Weiss focuses disproportionately on flaws in the Jewish world unconnected to the I/P situation, his case against Israeli actions can be construed as part of a general obsession with Jewish misbehavior. I don't think it helps his cause.
Fair enough, but you could argue that the Joe Paterno post showed he was concerned about injustice in all its forms. That would add weight to his concern about Israel's behavior towards Palestinians, make it harder to claim he was just going after Jewish malfeasance.
This post makes it seems like he's mainly interested in injustice (or abuse) committed by Jews. It then undermines his concern about Israel's behavior towards Palestinians.
'Minority groups in Norway can be Norwegian; minority groups in England can be English; even minority groups in Israel can be Israeli, but they can't be Jewish!'
I'm surprised someone as intelligent as Walzer didn't see this obvious counter to his statement.
From what I hear many (most?) of those pushing for these schools want alternatives to expensive, primarily modern Orthodox, Jewish day schools. In those schools the half-day of Jewish studies combines religious subjects with a celebration of Israel. Since the religious studies aren't permissible in a charter school, you're simply left with the Israel advocacy. It would be interesting to know how much this differs from other language-specific charter schools.
I suspect Beinart exaggerates the tribal element in his attachment to Judaism in order to show he's 'on the team' and thereby gain the ear of his target audience. It looks like he's trying hard to balance Judaism's particularist and universalist impulses, a difficult high wire act, but one which (I believe) authentic Judaism demands. Most religious Jews have simply chosen to reject this tension, toss out the universalism, and declare themselves (like Gordis) more authentic for doing so.
I respect Beinart's efforts and hope he keeps his balance. It's tough enough to do in private, let alone in the face of a hostile public.
Glick's website bio seems to indicate that she wasn't brought up in a religious environment but rather in the frighteningly liberal enclave of Hyde Park in Chicago, a place she deems anti-American and anti-Israel and thus the perfect fit for someone like Barack Obama.
She escaped, she says, as soon as she could.
As for the dream, Phil -- I believe the Jets are about to undergo seven lean years and you are meant to save them.
Please see what you can do.
Isn't this web site an example of Jewcentricity? I've often wondered why a universalist like yourself, so averse to all forms of ethnocentrism, focuses so fiercely on one ethnic group.
"With the Enlightenment and the reduction in Rabbinical control, it appeared that the Jews would assimilate into the surrounding Gentile communities, becoming just another religion. But then came Zionism...."
The surrounding Gentile communities weren't, in the end, particularly hospitable. You might want to look into something called the Dreyfuss Affair and its effect on a young Austrian Jewish jounalist named Herzl, who had long espoused complete Jewish assimilation into the surrounding culture. After Dreyfuss, he reluctantly turned in another direction for a solution to the 'Jewish question'. He called it Zionism, feeling no need, as you do, to add the clarifier 'Judeo'.
I'm somewhat sympathetic to the political positions taken by those who run this site, though I do have my differences. Responses like Keith's make me come here less and less. My feelings about Judeo-demonization seem to mirror his about Judeo-Zionism.
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