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  • Two desperate anti-Semitism charges, from Foxman and Boteach
    • @Krauss

      As Blumenthal spoke about in his speech to U of Michigan, it may come a day when real anti-Semites wear that label as a badge of pride, and that is no small worry. Foxman and company are not helping matters by using it cynically against even mild criticism against Israel.

      Then what? Play it out. Assume there are say 50k people in an organization that hate Jews not because of Israel or AIPAC or Jewish money interests or all the other reasons perfectly acceptable to BDS but instead hate Jews for reasons that BDS doesn't approve of. Say they really hate bagels and Woody Allen movies. What do they do then? How many Jews do the bagel hating / anti-Woody Alleners even know? When they hold anti-Jewish rallies are they even at places where Jews go and thus even notice?

      Maybe they torch a synagogue or two. How many synagogues can be paid for with one lost commercial contract for Mekorot?

      Maybe they do a lynching or two? I doubt it they aren't lynching blacks and muslims whom they hate more. But let's assume so. So over the course of 100 years they do as much damage as one round of going at with Hezbollah.

      I don't see how any reasonable level of anti-Semitism could possibly be more of a threat to the Jewish community than BDS is. I don't think either is a threat but anti-Semitism in the USA on the right is almost completely harmless until there is a religious shift away from dispensationalism and that takes decades if not centuries. And I've never understood this threat. Even if it did pan out that there were 10m or 20m active anti-Semites in the USA life would suck and USA Jews would likely have to move to Israel. How does that justify not backing Israel to the hilt if one saw this threat as realistic?

  • To reach the 'moveable middle' in Jewish life, you must be inside the tent
    • LeaNder

      But your idea that laws were partisan only, both in the Florida Supreme Court and Washington DC is interesting. Florida election laws, or anything regulating recounts didn’t matter?

      They do matter but the problem in Florida were issues not covered by law. For example the issue of what a detached chad meant. Think about a ballet where someone pushes out a piece of paper. That chad could: detach completely, have one corner attached, have one side attached, be broken but not broken through, or just be dimpled. You got different results depending on how you count. Individual counties are the ones empowered to regulate counts not the state courts. The Florida state court starting creating their own standards, effectively writing their own laws and the supreme court rightly called them on that.

      We simply wondered, if we should better send the OSZE next time. You know, they take care of fair elections too. We were just worried over here in Europistan.

      The American system has terribly unfair systems in many states that wouldn't come close to passing international muster. We have a much more serious problem now of racially / class based allocation of polling stations in some of the states. The notion of how challenges are decided (part of the who gets to vote) is privatized to a degree that most Europeans would (and possibly rightfully) find unacceptable.

      Selection of electors to the party conventions is vastly more obscure and opaque to voters in many states.

      But ultimately there is no requirement that states even have elections involving the population to select electors. That is in theory the 50 state legislatures could if they choose (after changing state law, not federal law) just pick the president with no popular election at all.

      The problem most people had in 2000 is that we had a tie and so all the formal details of how the president gets selected suddenly mattered where generally the only detail of our system that really matters is the state by state plays.

    • @Donald --

      The policy since the Clinton administration was regime change. It is reasonable to believe there was a high chance that Gore goes for regime change. But... Gore was anti-fossil fuel. Getting USA / England companies into Iraq for development of their oil fields wouldn't have been a priority. So the occupation may not have happened. The Ba'ath government is overthrown but the war could have been over in weeks. Essentially the Biden plan of allowing a civil war and Iraq to split into 3 countries could have happened.

    • @LeaNder

      . But: I seem to remember that Al Gore would have won Florida and the election, if not the recounting was stopped. What wrong information do I store?

      A complete failure to understand how the American system works. The 50 states appoint electors. The state of Florida not the people of Florida choose who got Florida's 25 votes. In most states Florida included the people get to advise the legislature on whom they want. If the vote is clear everything is fine. if not then there are various processes that are used to pick who wins.

      The legislature and the electoral officials were Republican in Florida which means Republicans win ties. The state courts were Democratic and tried to construct law ex-nihilo from allowing the natural process to play out since the stakes were so high. The USA Supreme Court just told the Florida court to cut the nonsense out. They (the Florida courts) don't to create elections law or the electoral officials for the state of Florida are empowered to do that.

      That's what you aren't remembering correctly. In any case under most neutral systems Bush still won. Under some systems Gore would have won. But there was no legal path for Gore to win Florida without the electoral officials signing off on the result. At worst it gets kicked to the House of Representatives (which was also Republican) and they would have made Bush president.

  • 6 DC heavyweights tell Kerry, Netanyahu in West Bank is like Putin in Crimea
    • @Shingo

      So you are comparing Israeli leaders to Stalin?

      Yes I've been saying for months the process of nation formation is the same for all people through all time. Everyone does the same thing. They have to.

    • @Justpassingby

      Crimea wanted to be part of Russia.
      Does Westbank want to be part of Israel?

      The Russians moved into Ukraine by Stalin want to be part of Russia. The Israelis moved into the WestBank by Israel want to be part of Israel. Yes it is very equivalent. I agree with the analogy those six are marking but in both cases side with self determination and against Kerry. I think the idea of keeping people trapped in states they hate and reject is grossly immoral and a true danger to world peace.

  • 'There's a lot of anti-Semitism out there' -- Johansson reviews her role as 'new face of apartheid'
    • @Sumud

      can you please name the country that is responsible for:- creating the largest refugee population in the world today

      I suspect the Congo. Between their own refugee crisis and the spill overs into places like Angola and Burundi as well as the number of years they are probably first. People's Republic of China may be first though just because of sheer numbers.

      Israel, which is what you meant isn't in the top 10 unless you use very weird ways of counting designed to make sure Israel comes in 1st.

      - maintaining the longest military occupation in the world today

      Don't know. But if you mean the thing the UN calls the longest military occupation that would be Israel. Mali being a good example of how this sort of thing is normally handled. The UN just declares the whole country under Bambara control and moves on. No pretending there is an occupation.

      If we were to use the same standards we use for Israel that is that occupation is never resolved by incorporation then one of the societies that has been around since right after the Ice Age would probably win. If we carefully construct a standard so as to trip the Jews up and then apply it unequally then yes we can define things in such a way so that Israel loses. Again that's what Scar Jo means.

      being in defiance of more UN SC resolutions than any other country today.

      That's supposed to be evidence that BDS isn't anti-Semeitic. The UN hates Israel. Well known, well understood and openly their policy. The UN is anti-Semetic. The UN likes to regularly host anti-Jewish incitement rallies in in Durban. Using the UN to justify anti-Israeli actions is like supporting Jihad Watch as evidence against muslims.

      I get that liberals want to think more highly of the UN. But when we are dealing with reality here, i.e. is Scar Jo right then yeah someone who supports the UN is someone supporting a Jewish hating organization. The UN is anti-Jewish. I can pick anti-anything organizations and use them to justify discrimination against any group.

      Finally, we aren't losing. Seems to me this year there is more housing in the West Bank and Israel's trade is greater than last year.

    • @Brenda

      Here in America, as I am sure you are aware, there is about a 50/50 standoff between conservatives and liberals.

      No I'm not aware. I see a 40-40-20 conservative-moderate-liberal breakdown with the liberals gaining about .2% / yr right now. Now there is something like a 50/50 standoff between Democrats and Republicans but that doesn't map cleanly onto conservatives / liberals.

      the right wing Israeli government is intruding into our governmental processes in ways that are intolerable to left leaning progressive liberals.

      Brenda, that's fiction. It isn't happening. There is no intrusion into our politics by Israel.

      Some of the Israeli population, likely not from the right wing, support a goods & services boycott of West Bank products. The Knesset recently passed a law making political organization for boycott illegal, but some Israelis continue to boycott privately. Would you say these Israelis are anti-semitic? Or would you say they were progressive liberals?

      First off BDS doesn't support a settlement boycott they support an Israeli boycott. The settlement boycott is a much more mainstream position. So its kinda irrelevant to the discussion of BDS. I don't think supporting a boycott is anti-Semetic I don't even think all BDSers are anti-Semetic. For example I don't think Ali Abunimah is an anti-Semite in anyway. I don't think Phil is an anti-Semite. I do think that most gentile BDSers are but often don't realize it.

      Most anti-black racists today in the USA don't think they are racist and don't realize how much racism has intruded into their thinking. When they talk about "traditional values" they have a hard time understanding that American traditional values are racist and thus if you don't deliberately purge yourself of racism just supporting traditions ends up supporting racial disparities in the United States. They are genuinely offended by being called racist even when they are making clearly racist comments. Your typical racist is embarrassed when the Republican party engages in openly racist behavior like distributing copies of the song, "Barack the Magic Negro" or a picture of Michelle Obama with a bone thru her nose.

      You and I have had two dialogues. In one you talked about paid Israeli agents on blogs. In this one you've talked about Israel subverting Liberals. There is no secret Jewish (or Israeli) cabal. The people in the Israeli lobby are Americans. The rightwing groups are mostly run by Republicans, the leftwing groups are mostly run by Democrats. Nothing different than what you would see on the groups that push for closer ties to China or Europe.

    • @Donald

      The emotion in your post is an example of precisely what she is talking about. There is nothing unique about Israel's relationship to the United States. The United States has a long history of friendly relationships with countries with questionable human rights records. I fully agree with you that the USA is morally responsible for our actions. But were Israel not there, the USA wouldn't be sending over troops to oppress the Palestinians for their own benefit. That's entirely an Israeli policy. A fair read of the situation is the USA is somewhere between indifferent and mildly opposed.

      The idea that the USA is personally morally implicated in actions of Israel in a way they aren't with France is a perfect example of the kind of disproportionate criticism that Israel suffers from. To use the Mali example the USA government supports the Bambara. But no one make your argument that makes the USA secretly implicated in the dispossession of the Tuareg. We understand that the USA doesn't care and mostly has tactical reasons for allying with one tribe over another. So while we back the Bambara we do so out of convenience.

      And that's precisely the kind of indifference that Israel should enjoy.
      With no other country do we pretend we are directly implicated in their acts. We have an alliance with France we don't pretend that makes French history ours or French policy our policy.

      Treating Israel like just another country is what is called for. Israel does not deserve to be treated like a corrupt authoritarian regime, because it is neither corrupt nor authoritarian. Where did corrupt come from? Israel is less corrupt than most Western Democracies and certainly less corrupt that the United States. What's particularly corrupt about Israel? Another example of what she is talking about, that Jews are secretly responsible for all evils since they work for Satan. This idea that if Jews aren't perfect they become evil is yet another type anti-Semitism. Governments, including Jewish government are entitled to be imperfect. The very kind of rhetoric you are using in arguing against BDS being anti-Semetic is anti-Semetic. Israel is an imperfect society, that's it.

      Similarly it is not authoritarian it is a rather well functioning tribal democracy. It has made attempts to expand that democracy out to the indigenous population with mixed success. That's it. If this isn't about the Jews when where is unbalanced emotion coming from?

      There is no great moral dilemma with Israel. You weren't involved, the only way this is some cosmological event in which you took part was in your theology.

    • @eljay

      It’s funny how Zio-supremacists never pick a relevant example such as, say, Denmark, Austria or Canada

      Scar Jo has never been active with Oxfam feeding people in Demark, Austria or Canada. But if you want an example of how those countries formed:

      Canada = mass migration from Europe. Indigenous population slaughtered.

      Austria = Current inhabitants the result of a 3 way invasion in the middle ages. Multiple tribes have lived their violent displacing each other previously.

      Denmark = The very name comes from the Dani people who were invaders.

      OK, there you go the 3 examples you picked.

    • @Donald

      Johansson doesn’t realize that the implication of her statement is that Palestinians don’t matter. They are so unimportant that any movement conducted on behalf of their rights couldn’t possibly be sincere. No, it has to be about hatred of Jews.

      There are quite literally hundreds if not thousands of groups the size of the Palestinians being oppressed in a variety of ways. Tribes of all different sizes in wars.

      To pick a relevant example in Mali we have Al-Qaeda backing the Tuareg and the Bambara backed by the French. The President of Mali (Bambara) has openly called for genocide agains the Tuareg after this latest rebellion. The Tuareg have been under martial laws since the 1960s rebellions.

      There is no equivalent of MW for the Tuareg in the west. There is no equivalent of AIPAC backing the Bambara. Scarlett Johansson was able to make vacuous supportive statements of Oxfam without having to take sides in the conflict. The entire tone of the debate in the west is distant and unemotional. People in America don't get accused of being "Mali firsters" for backing the French Bambara position. People in America who support self determination for the Tuareg are able to do so with a dispassionate view towards either human rights or interests.

      Whether Al-Qaeda wins or the French win, neither side has expectations that either faction is going to respect international law or honor the Geneva conventions or anything like that. Both Al-Qaeda and the French are anti-racist themselves but no one accuses them of being hypocrites for backing a race war because they see it in their interests. Which puts a lie to the idea this is all about international law.

      BDSers are never able to answer the basic question of where the passion comes from if it isn't about Jews. Why isn't Israel treated like every other stupid tribal war that no one cares about where various factions can line up behind various interests and the public is mostly indifferent? The idea that events involving Jews are of cosmic importance is pure anti-Semitism. So yes. The idea that Scarlett Johansson couldn't be Oxfam's ambassador while also working for Soda Stream is precisely the opposite of what the world and Oxfam in particular did in Mali.

      She has every right to think this is about Jews.

  • State Dep't tries to clean up Kerry's 'Poof'
    • @Sumud

      Israel has never offered any concession (giving up of something it is legally entitled to) in any negotiation.

      Of course it has. It has offered to trade territory in pre-1967 Israel for territory in the West Bank. It has also offered money.

    • @pabelmont

      They annexed Jerusalem since then. Countries don't lightly give up annexed territory. So no they wouldn't listen. Anymore than sanctions would get the USA to give Texas back to Mexico. The UN doesn't have enough teeth to get a major territory concession from Israel.

    • @Blownaway

      The USA doesn't protect the settlement enterprise. They just prevent the Security Council from making threats they can't back. Once a SC power comes forward with a credible claim of being willing to war for Palestine then Article 7 becomes more meaningful. For now it would just further erode the credibility of the Security Council.

    • @Hostage

      Well congratulations. This is a win for you. For me, this is one of the few pieces of international law on a non-technical issue that the UN hadn't managed to badly damage.

      Vienna is now heading towards becoming a farce with non-countries signing treaties. I guess next to sign are Blefuscu and Westeros. I have no idea how Switzerland is going to play this out. They are within the next decade going to have to make some very complex and controversial ruling now. The UN's interpretation of events which has mainly been the Swiss' internal interpretation will now either be tied to critical treaties that Switzerland oversees or the Swiss will need to openly break with the UN's interpretation. On the other hand Switzerland works hard to be neutral and not hostile to any countries which is a position the Swiss people like. Should be very interesting as Switzerland gets called on to do precisely the kind of things that create international friction.

    • @Krauss

      Lieberman, in a normal world, should be hunting Kerry and not the other way around and ask what he and his country can do to help the negotiations.

      If this were a normal situation Kerry wouldn't care how Israel handles its indigenous population. Kerry wouldn't know and wouldn't care where Netanyahu's government decides to build housing, roads, water .... for his population. My township just finished a 15 year project of adding housing for another 20k people, which meant major shifts to school bus routes and laying out and expanding connector roads for traffic flow. Precisely 0 leaders of national or international stature were involved.

      In a normal situation, Kerry would see Israel's construction projects as a purely internal matter. Lieberman and Kerry when they rarely met would discuss issues of interest to the USA. If you want to complain that the USA shouldn't be involved I couldn't agree more. The USA shouldn't be involved. The best course of action would be for the USA to give Israel 1 year to either officially annex whatever territories in the West Bank they are taking and everything else formally repudiate claim to, including bases. Then negotiations with the Palestinian population happen in the Knesset where they belong and some minor undersecretary tracks them.

      But it is the USA that's asking Israel to engage with the Palestinians on their terms. The USA are the ones who want these splashy meetings. Ministers like Naftali Bennett don't want them as they have repeatedly said. This was one of the things Kerry was critical of Clinton for that she considered I/P mostly a waste of time.

      If Kerry would just follow USA law and when Israel announce construction in E1 tell the world that it isn't his policy to comment on where in Paris France builds or where in Beijing China builds that would end the nonsense with our being involved.

  • 66 years ago today 42 members of my family were slaughtered in Deir Yassin
    • @eljay

      Ah, yes, the victim chained in the rapist’s bunker is supposed to “dialog” with her captor and oppressor even as he continues to physically and sexually assault her. To insist that he first release her and turn himself in is “maximalist” and “destabilizing”. Why does this horrible woman hate that nice man so much?!

      That kind of rhetoric leads to no possibility of a humane solution. If Israel is a true implacable enemy, like your rapist analogy, then becomes a war to total extermination on both sides. There is nothing to talk about. If you want to view Israel that way, that's your right. But of course there is no reason what-so-ever for the Israelis to ever want to make peace with people who have such a warped hateful view of them.

    • @talknic

      JeffB “Every country is the spoils of colonialist crimes”
      Taknic: Palestine?

      Yes. They got it from the Christian civilization that lived there in the 4th - 7th century. In 613 there is a massacre followed by most of the inhabitants being sold into slavery. The Palestinian civilization (though that's really applying a 20th century term to a 7th century civilization) arises from that "colonialist crime".

    • @Hostage

      The notion that relations can be “normalized” and “neighborly”, while the state and its citizens are still systematically violating fundamental human rights, and committing a crime against humanity in the process, is far-fetched and extremely convoluted logic.

      You make peace with enemies not friends. Dialogue comes first.

    • @adele

      so that you can safeguard your access to the spoils of colonialist crimes.

      Every country is the spoils of colonialist crimes. Every species alive is the spoils of colonialist crimes. The air you are breathing while you are reading my post is the spoils of the plants having colonized this planet from the anaerobic bacteria. There is no getting away from the spoils.

    • @puppies

      Well, the Zionists started full-scale war against the Palestinians in 11/1947 and never stopped it. You don’t talk to the enemy during a war. Usually there are severe penalties for talking instead of fighting. During WW2 in occupied Europe, collaborators with the Nazis were summarily executed.

      There was never a full scale war. The large population war started in '36 and was started by the Palestinians who lost by '39. As for not talking to enemies during war, if the war is still on then don't complain about civil rights violations. Your arguments runs both ways, you can't have it both ways either the Palestinians are legitimate inhabitants of the Israeli state or they are hostiles. If you want them to be hostiles than the Israelis are fully within their rights to repel them, survival is an imperative.

    • @adele

      As if after all these years and after all the zionists’ crimes all of sudden, magically ‘dialogue’ is the key to peace, meanwhile ignoring/condoning/accepting the Israeli state crimes committed daily. They are insincere. They are trying to make themselves presentable to the world, trying to appear as if they are the rational, reasonable and peace-loving side in this conflict.

      I find BDS' constant criticism of apartheid while attacking "normalization". Denormalization is just an extreme form of apartheid an unwillingness to engage in even neighborly relations. One can advocate for people to be working / living together with the restrictions pulled where they gradually resolve problem. A process of making peace and developing warm relationships. Or one can advocate for a state of total enmity where they don't even attempt to converse and there is just a shoot on sight type relationship. Most human groups aim towards normalization with most other human groups. That's considered a desirable state and is how wars end. With something like a flu virus they aim towards a total denormalized environment since dialogue is impossible. For flu virus to live humans must suffer we understand our objectives are entirely at odds with one another.

      Their are factions on both sides who want to establish peaceful relationship. And their are factions on both sides who want the annihilation of the other. The people who did Deir Yassin were the people who felt betrayed by 1936-9 war which had been an earlier attempt at denormalization somewhat in reaction to the normalization that had occurred during as a result of the early 1930s citrus boom. The intelligence on Arab villages needed for the ethnic cleansing program came from veterans of that earlier war. The alternative to Deir Yassin is normalization. Denormalization is the father of Deir Yassin.

      There is no propaganda here. It is just simple fact. People can talk problems out or shoot them out. And if they aren't talking they are usually shooting.

  • Chris Matthews gives Adelson and the lobby a pass
    • @Citizen

      Which TV news network do you believe has not had a story on lobbying or campaign finance reform in the last 2 years?

    • @Krauss

      Why is it that the democratic and republican parties are both so craven on Israel? Inevitably you have to talk about Jewish money in particular, and you have to go into Jewish sociology,

      Not really. The electorate is 60/10/30 pro-Israel/pro-Palestinian/indifferent. That's not remotely close. Now that might not matter too much if there weren't people who vote the Israel issue but there are. And they break unevenly.

      There is nothing unusual about the Israel issue. Americans like Israel. Jews and some evangelicals like Israel enough to vote the issue. Money helps. The degree of Jewish activism helps. But more than anything else where that matters is preventing Liberal America (which is much more pro-Palestinians and much less pro-Israel) from mainstreaming anti-colonialist Palestinian cause.

  • Zionism has distorted American Jewish life
    • @eljay

      JeffB: That’s pretty much how every single state in today’s world arose.

      Really? Could you tell me where I can find:
      - the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Women State”?
      - the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Homosexual State”?
      - the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Roma State”?
      - the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Dalit State”?

      There are no women only, homosexual, Romany or Dalit's states so that's not contradicting what I said. Homosexuals, Dalit and women aren't nations. The only nation is the Romany for example are mostly a mixture of Bulgarian and Indian. A Bulgarian state exists for Bulgarians and an Indian state exists for Indians. Had Bulgaria been weaker in the 10th century mostly likely today there would be a Romani state there. But Bulgaria wasn't weak so the mass migration occurred but no country formed.

      As for the today I think there should be a Romany homeland if they want. I'm thrilled that Oregon is offering them a place of safety and integration and so far they are satisfied. Others are less satisified and seem to be heading to Brazil which offers opportunities for a more traditional lifestyle. But if they weren't satisfied, I think they have every right to form work towards a homeland and if needed from there a state. But that's up to them.

    • @AbigailOK

      you either show a lot of ignorance or you are on purpose denying the Torah which would make you an apikorus.

      Abigail.... I'm an atheist. So yes I'm an apikorus.

      , Judaism was there long before the Romans ever were.

      Rabbinic Judaism was not. Jews were highly literate once they encountered the Greeks so after about 200 BCE we have a rather high quality record of the evolution of Judaism. Every single piece of evidence we have is inconsistent with Moses getting the Oral Torah from God on Sinai. I'll let others talk Jewish myth, but if we want to talk about Rabbinic Judaism as an actual historic entity it emerged in reaction to the 3 Jewish-Roman wars and the diaspora primarily from Pharisaic Judaism. If you want to talk myths OK, I don't have much to say. We want to talk history then we can talk about the documentary record we have.

      Actually, the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 B.C. at the hands of the Romans ushered in our umptieth and last exile.

      First off it was 29 or 30 July 70 CE not B.C. If you are going to be correcting my history you might not want to miss dates by 139 years.

      due to a.o. social injustice and sinat chinam or wanton hatred

      You could attribute it to social injustice. And certainly wanton hatred between different factions didn't help. But the defeat was mostly due to the Judeans taking on a larger army, better trained with better equipment and better logistics. In wars most of the time the best army not the best cause wins.

      . If Judaism is obsolete why are Jewish centers not in the USA and Israel?

      I think you dropped a word or something here. I can't parse it, sorry.

      ___

      As for the messiah who frees the world from evil and rebuilds the temple.... I think the Jews are rightfully done waiting. They'll take the old fashioned king in the image of David who wins some battles but frees his people from the slavery of the diaspora. And David Ben-Gurion accomplished that. I think the temple is being rebuilt with the conquest of Jerusalem. I expect by 2164 there will be a temple there. In the end though, fundamentally there isn't much to talk about religiously we just don't share many of the same ideas.

      I like the direction Judaism is moving in and the Jewish people are moving in.

    • @kalithea

      So how does the following interpretation of the core of Christian faith jive with your analogy of the Crucifixion with Holocaust and the Resurrection with Zionism?:The Crucifixion represents Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of mankind from sin.
      The Resurrection is the manifestation of Christ’s divine authority, fulfillment of scripture, and symbolically represents man’s triumph over sin and rebirth into a new life through faith in Christ.

      Exactly the rebirth is analogous to the rebirth from Israel where salvation is not from sin but from the death / slavery caused by the fall of Judea.

      Not so fast! Even you can’t predict the day and the hour; rather it seems to me that Zionism is merely trying to tempt fate i.e. force God’s hand.

      You are talking about the 2nd coming. There is no 2nd coming doctrine in Judaism. In Judaism, a messiah who doesn't deliver isn't the messiah. But regardless I was saying the messianic promise (national salvation, not individual salvation) had been fulfilled.

    • @eljay

      But you don’t see these other people using terrorism and ethnic cleansing to establish oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist states.

      The way you define those terms. Yes you do. That's pretty much how every single state in today's world arose.

    • @Donald

      You were missing my point, JeffB. My point was about whether a religion is for social justice, or if it’s just another excuse for elevating one group above another and committing human rights violations.

      I don't think most any religion is for social justice. Most have some moral content and I think most human moralities are going to end up being very similar to one another so in some sense they touch on social justice. But ultimately I think social justice is handled fine by secular philosophies and so there isn't much value to introducing a religion if that's all one is aiming for.

      Ultimately I think Judaism and Christianity are pretty similar in this regard. In the end sola fide and solus Christus demand that the social gospel never be the gospel even for Mainline Churches. Traditional Judaism and thus Zionism has a strong tradition of social justice but in the end it is not central.

      ____

      In any case my response was to Brownfeld who was trying to act as if Judaism should be unchanged by the reality that the messianic promise of the prophets has been fulfilled.

    • @puppies

      Brownfield's claim was what Jews believe not what you believe. It doesn't matter what you think is objectively true about the nature of Judaism. The point is debate is a question of polling.

    • @Donald

      I’d want to see my religion as the religion of the Hebrew prophets–social justice, condemning the powerful, Nathan going to King David and saying “Thou are the man” after he plotted the death of Uriah. But whatever. Make it about yet another form of stupid nationalism.

      Donald, that's the religion you do belong to. In Judaism the center of the bible is Deuteronomy. Once you take the "stupid nationalism" out and recenter on the prophets then you end up with a theology very much like Paul's. The reason Brownfeld's Judaism which did the same thing fits so well as just another liberal Protestantism is not accidental.

      So when someone takes an event that occurred in the real world

      One of the keys to your religion is taking events which Hellenistic Jews (and for that matter most of your epistle's authors) believed occurred in a sort of mythical past and placing them in a real place in time and space. The early Catholics (and before them to some extent the Encratites) took the Jewish idea of a historical revelation at Sinai and expanded it to the idea of a second historical revelation in Judea in the person of a Great Angel (Son of Man) / Messiah incarnate.

      Now I'll admit that Protestantism has been drifting in a Gnostic direction for the last two centuries and since for mot Protestant ecclesiology there is no longer a need for Jesus to have actual founded a physical church the core historical claim no longer matters. So in some sense you can say that on the Christian timeline we Zionist Jews by placing our key theological events in the 20th century are regressing. And that's a fair criticism. But in the end, if you want a complete ahistorical faith Buddhism does a way better job than Christianity. You all still do have some historically based claims.

    • What would we, as Americans, think of any religious institution in our society that flew a foreign flag in its houses of worship, that told young Americans that this is not really their homeland, that some place else is their homeland, and that the highest form of their religious expression is to immigrate to that country?

      Hmm that would be tough to imagine.... What we would as Americans think for example if the Christian God said stuff like:

      John 15:18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. 15:19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you. 15:20 Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed my word, they will obey yours too. 15:21 But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. But they no longer have any excuse for their sin. 15:23 The one who hates me hates my Father too. 15:24 If I had not performed among them the miraculous deeds that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen the deeds and have hated both me and my Father. 15:25 Now this happened to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without reason.’ 15:26 When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me, 15:27 and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.

      I believe that the position I represent represents a silent majority of American Jews, not those who are members of AIPAC or the American Jewish Committee. But the vast majority of American Jews believe they are Americans, believe that Judaism is their religion, do not believe that Israel is their homeland. Zionism is in retreat, in my opinion, within the Jewish community.

      Dude I believe I'm an American, I believe Judaism is my religion (in just a cultural sense not even a faith sense), I don't believe I'm Israeli and yet I'm still a solid Zionist.

      My point is why don’t American Jews say a word about this? Not a word of criticism of the racism and extremism growing in Israel. It has distorted Jewish values. It has distorted American Jewish life.

      The Judaism you are talking about is a diaspora religion, a religion that came out of our defeat at the hands of the Romans and our dispossession. Where small groups of Jews lived scattered all over the face of the earth. The diaspora is most countries is over either through mass extermination or migration. The two centers of Jewish life are America and Israel now. That religion simply doesn't make sense anymore.

      The great Jewish wish for many centuries was for a messiah who would gather the exiles back to Zion. That's happened. It has been fulfilled, the fulfillment is Israel. Judaism cannot exist in the form it did prior to those events. The Holocaust was our crucifixion and Israel our resurrection.

      The question then arises, American Jewish organizations who have dedicated themselves with such fervor to a strict separation of church and state seem not really to believe in separation of church and state when Jews are a majority

      I don't think that's true. I think most American Jews don't like the religious structure of Israel and would like to see it reformed. Israel has an Eastern European not a western European concept of religion. The notion of religion as a personal choice and not a community is rather alien to the Eastern European frame. Americans Jews can mostly believe in the Protestant concept of religious choice while at the same time understanding that:

      a) Traditional Judaism doesn't really support that
      b) Israelis aren't Americans and were far less influenced by Protestant concepts

  • Friedman says Iran's friends include BDS and Jews in Open Hillel movement
    • @Sumud

      JeffB – You didn’t address this part of what I wrote:

      Likewise the nefarious influence of the Israel lobby and it’s distortion of US foreign policy.

      Seems to me a bipartisan concern and if you read comments from the NYT to the WaPo and beyond they have changed flavour significantly in the last few years – a lot of anger and disgust now being displayed by Americans towards Israel and their behaviour, and zionist influence on US foreign policy.

      I think comment sections are a poor way of determining public opinion. They get you an interesting insight into specific groups that may be passionate enough about an issue to not only read it but to comment (i.e. a sampling of activist opinion) but they don't tell you much about the public. What does a good job measuring public opinion are public opinion surveys. And those show longterm large substantial gains in Israel's popularity in the United States. I don't see any reason that long term trend is reversing. Israel is becoming non-controversial in the United States. Americans tend to trust Israel a lot and put their relationship with Israel above their relationship with UK, France, Germany, Australia... and often it comes in second only to Canada.

      Outside the hard left I don't see much upset by Israeli behavior. Most Americans believe a state needs to be aggressive towards its enemies: look at USA foreign policy that doesn't come out of a vacuum. They believe that Israel is fundamentally doing what is should be to protect its society. Most Americans, particularly below the top 20% economically strongly support the notion of nation states and the idea and understand fully why a Palestinian 5th column would be discriminated against. So I don't see how this is likely to change minds.

      As for Zionist influence of foreign policy. I don't see it. Clearly AIPAC has lost 2 big issues recently in Syria in Iran. But they lost that's not the sort of the thing that generates backlash. In terms of general trends Neo-Conservativism is still the dominant paradigm in the Republican party. Among Paleoconservatives there is concern about Israeli Lobby, there always has been. But ultimately they aim for a general withdraw from institutions like the UN not a shift towards an activists pro-human rights orientation. Their position were it to become dominant (which I doubt) might be very very good for Israel.

      The Democrats are rather unified on issues of foreign policy, with the old Realist school (HW Bush) firmly in charge and the Peace Camp having some limited influence. The Realists are generally hostile to Israel but far less so all the time as the cost of being pro-Israel decreases. The Peace Camp is something like 40% Jewish or 1/2 Jewish. My belief is the hight of anger at Zionism in the Democratic party was right before the Iraq war and the peace camp was brutalized when Jews walked away. They learned clearly that when asked to pick between Zionism and Liberalism on average even fringe lefty Jews pick Zionism.

      People keep being told how much they love Israel by the media but nobody can tell them why.

      Sure they can.
      a) Christian Zionism and dispensationalism
      b) They hate muslims and Israel kicks muslim ass
      c) They hate anti-USA countries and Israel kicks anti-USA country ass
      d) Israel is a loyal ally of the United States
      e) Israel is a western country

      etc...

      You claimed Israel serves American interests but when challenged to explain how your answer was rather limp and mostly about Israel serving it’s own interests.

      First off that's always the case with allies. What drives an alliance is a confluence of interests. The reason we are allies with the UK is because American and UK interests are closely aligned. When the UK acts to help us they are usually advancing their own interests. That's the norm.

      Second, you just ignored things like Latin America where Israel was clearly acting in our interests and not their own because you didn't like the policy.

      Perhaps if Israel had a mutual defence treaty with the US and the IDF had fought beside the US army like a genuine ally, then you might have a point.

      We don't need help in the genuine army world. We have a crushing advantage there. Moreover Israel is a country with 6m people they aren't going to be useful on that front. Where we need help is in intelligence operations. And there Israel has been fantastic.

      I agree with some of what you wrote otherwise but your argument rests on a left – neocon axis, not left – right. You’re ignoring non-neocon conservatives.

      I think paleoconservatives exists but they control very few seats in the House or Senate. The Republican party is still overwhelmingly neocon. Just look at the latest controversies:

      a) Is Obama too soft on Syria?
      b) Is Obama too soft on Iran?
      c) Is Obama too soft on Russia?

      I don't see the paleoconservative politicians on all these issues much influencing the debate or even willing to take strong public stands. I do see paleoconservative pundits so clearly there is a wing in the Republican party that could come to power which if it worked with the Peace Party in the Democrats might be able to build a black/red alliance to roll back quite a bit of defense spending. But again I see that as possibly helpful and certainly not too threatening to Israel.

    • @Shingo

      On the contrary, Israel is a long way down the path of pariah status. Tzipi Livni admitted as much 2 years ago. After all, the only country in which the Israel enjoys popular approval is the US and it’s falling like a stone.BDS is clearly on track to flip a solid majority of them by 2020, if not sooner.

      I'll give you credit for finally naming a date. But just to get this prediction clear, OK so a solid majority of who by 2020 Americans or American Jews?

    • @Sycamores

      We are talking about the arms sales during the Reagan administration. What's going on now I have no insight into. If I had to guess, I would think these are weapons for the MEK or the Kurds. Technically the USA is not in the business anymore of state sponsored terrorism but if Israel is doing then we get plausible deniability.

    • @Sumud

      Hardly relevant as BDS is not “a call to radical progressive politics”. You don’t have to be a liberal to understand that ethnic cleansing, killing civilians, torture, house demolitions and massive property rights violations are wrong.

      It is not a question of whether it is wrong or not for Israel internally. That's part of the point. It is a question of whether America's foreign policy should be primarily directed at USA interests or at broader human rights concerns. People on the left tend to be much more focused on broader human rights concerns and as you move right more focus on USA interests. Then of course what those interests are. Outside of the far left there is little support for the United States deliberately antagonizing allies over their internal affairs. BDS implies a full break with Israel as an ally and deliberately creating a hostile relationship. That's something an America could easily oppose even if they completely disagreed with Israel's internal policies. There are also question about the appropriate role of the United Nations and international law, with support for the UN falling off dramatically as one moves right on the political spectrum. Finally of course there is the general "war of civilization" framework that starts to pick up as you move right. Where Israel is seen as "on our side" and the Palestinians are seen as on the other side.

      Support for the Palestinians cause correlates very strongly with a left / right axis for good reason. Similarly BDS which is not just in some vague sense supporting the Palestinians but aiming to have the USA ally with them against Israel is correlates strongly with the left/right axis.

      Do you think Israel’s obsession with getting Pollard freed is any more appealing to conservatives than liberals? I don’t.

      I agree. But conservatives aren't terribly offended that our allies have different interests than we do. In general I think this is a MW obsession. I'm not shocked that we have different interests than France, Australia, Japan, Argentina... on a range of issues. We are allies because we agree on more important issues. Of course it is in Israel's interests to get their spies released same as when American spies are captured abroad we seek to have them released.

    • @Nevada

      Oh OK I get your point now. Yeah I guess I could see how that is mildly embarrassing. As far as not taking their propaganda:

      Egypt -- neutralized and in the last year an outright ally
      Iraq -- neutralized with Israel having a strong relationship in the north
      Syria -- a mess, weakened.
      Lebanon / PLO -- destroyed
      Jordan PLO -- destroyed
      Jordan -- mildly friendly
      Saudi Arabia -- officially hostile but secretly more friendly appears to be edging ever closer

      Iran is sort of last on their list of threats neighborhood threats. I completely get why Israel hates Iran

    • @Krauss

      White South Africa has lost several wars in Southern Africa so while they weren't threatened militarily yet, weapons were leaking to the ANC from hostile neighbors. Moreover the NP ruled a colonial government a genuinely hostile black population was unworkable.

      There will be serious splits in the future; we can already see the contours of them today with the rise of the Open Hillel/JVP/Jews in BDS on campuses today.

      I don't know about that. There has always been a radical fringe of Jews who were against Israel and in times past it was quite a bit larger. But just like the peace movement a decade ago most liberal Jews are repulsed by anti-Israeli rhetoric and end up pulling away from progressive movements that employ such rhetoric. So I don't think American Liberalism will go anti-Israel.

      But even if I'm wrong then all that happens is large numbers of Jews move over to become Republicans. Israel's relationship becomes with the USA right. Now admittedly that's precisely what happened with South Africa but it is also what happened with most of the anti-communist parties in Latin America which are still around today as viable parties and often in control. And if you go a bit over a generation earlier, what happened to many of the conservative parties in Southern Europe.

      I think Israel is a long way from pariah status. Yes the ASA was a stab in the back, but that's a fringe for academia. There are probably about 2000 academic societies in the United States. For BDS to flip a solid majority of them by 2020 they would have to be going at a rate of over 1 per workday. You think we are anywhere near that? As you move away from the hardcore left of the ASA towards the moderation of say American Mathematical Society or even the true rightwing academic parties like American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics how much do you think a call to radical progressive politics works?

    • @Nevada

      It is an inconvenient fact that Iran and Israel used to be allies.

      Inconvenient to whom? Israel was backing the USA's play in Latin America and the American president (or at least high ranking defense officials associated with him) wanted weapons sales to raise money for the contras. Israel followed orders. It is not like anyone thinks Israel cares who governs Nicaragua on their own.

      If the FSF takes over Syria Israel and Iran may again be allies. Al Qaeda scares Iran more than Zionism does. Everything is a situation.

  • US is 'absolutely adamant' that Palestine not go to ICC and wreck the peace process -- Power
    • @Krauss

      Israel’s persistent unwillingness to sign the NPT and the Chemical Weapons Treaty

      If Israel were to be signing those treaties today it would be signing them as a nuclear power with the job of enforcing non-proliferation. Which would mean disclosure. Here is what we know.

      The Israelis developed weapons in the early 1960s.
      They had a 3rd stage warhead by the late 1970s.
      They developed the capacity for airborne penetration of Soviet defenses in the 1970s.
      In the early 1990s they adopted USA guidance systems.
      They already today possess a rocketry program capable of a few thousand miles.
      In the early 2000s they started work on an rocketry program which is today successful.

      So let's just say the obvious. Israel like has, and on the off chance they aren't are within 5 years will have ICBMs. That's over a generation more advanced than what Iran is working on, what Iraq was working on. They likely are already passed nations like France and the UK in terms of nuclear power and today are a distant 4th after USA, Russia, China.

      Richard Nixon understood there was no reasonable way to get Israel to abandon being a nuclear power. The goal of the United States has been for Israel to have a low profile on this issue so as not to encourage proliferation. And so far that's been successful. Were Israel to join the NPT and publicly announce where they stood the result on the arab street be terror that Israel is so completely dominant. There would be a demand for Saudi Arabia and Egypt to start a massive weapons program.

      How is that helpful to non proliferation?

  • 'NYT' stamps Jimmy Carter 'radioactive' and not 'a force for good'
    • @Shingo

      JeffB:Sinai is discussed in excruciating detail the Palestinians barely at all.

      Shingo: That is because Begin insisted that the negotiations between Israel and Egypt were an entirely different matter to the Palestinian issue. When Carter pressed Begin to include the Palesitnian issue, Begin threatened to sabotage the talks and blame it all on Carter.

      Of course, Carter then pressured Saddat to drop the Palestinian issue and threatened that he would blame Saddat.

      Another case of a US president buckling to the Israelis.

      The original point by Jimbo was that Israel violated the accord and that's what got Sadat killed. I argued that Camp David was an Israeli / Egyptian accord about Sinai it wasn't about the Palestinians. You aren't disagreeing in the above.

    • @James

      The truth matters because in Egypt today Brotherhood members are being murdered and imprisoned in the thousands, with scarcely a peep of protest in the West.

      That alliance is everyone who hated the MB: Leftists, Nasrists, Socialists, Communists, Christians, Liberals. It creates a balanced alliance of interests and thus is likely to be stable. The MB's hold on the uneducated and poor Egyptians may be broken but regardless the open fighting means no more petty pandering with anti-Americanism. So we now have a pro-American and even pro-Israeli government.

      At some point the MB is crushed and the population flipped enough that SCAF can win elections. Then even the democracy problem goes away. Why would the west object? It is hard to picture how things could have worked out better.

    • @jimby

      Sadat was assassinated after Israel hung him out to dry when they reneged on major parts of Camp David.

      Wow you guys really work hard to make everything Israel's fault. Sinai is discussed in excruciating detail the Palestinians barely at all. Islamic Jihad the group that killed Sadat called it "Sinai treaty" so they saw it as about Sinai. Sadat's protege ruled Egypt for three decades after his assassination. He never declared Israel to have voided the core of the treaty and he respected the peace. SCAF is in power right now, which includes Sadat's party and they are very cozy with Israel. Egypt understood the core of the treaty to be return of the Sinai in exchange for peace.

    • @piotr

      Carter did a nice job. But I'm going to give the credit to Sadat who bravely stood up to forces on his side and lost his life for peace. In addition Sadat's protege Mubarak encouraged King Hussein. Carter deserves tons of credit for 1st class mediation at Camp David but if you are going to give the credit to anyone Sadat is who deserves it.

  • Oren says Pollard 'sacrificed himself for the Jewish people'
    • @Hostage

      You are losing the narrative when you argue that crimes, like espionage, which still carry the risk of capital punishment are normative.

      Murder has a capital punishment in the US but all states and for that matters countries have murders. Having a big penalty if caught means the state wants to discourage the activity strongly. Frequency is a different question entirely.

    • @thankgodimatheist

      He gave Israel information about how to penetrate Soviet air defenses.

      @libra

      Neither really. I see both positions.

    • @Hostage

      People identified as CIA personnel working in US embassies have been abducted and killed. So, there’s no room for complaints about the treatment that Pollard has received.

      I'm not complaining about the treatment Pollard has received. I was saying that Israel's use of a people like Pollard was normative nothing unusual on Israel's part.

    • @marc b

      I agree, to a degree, but it also depends on context. If we are involved in a decades long ‘war on terror’, shouldn’t there be some consensus on what constitutes ‘terrorism’? I don’t know of a satisfactory definition.

      Bush's definition was violence by non-state actors for the purpose of achieving political aims. Chomsky made an interesting point about this definition that the first use of "terrorism" was by the revolutionary french state to describe their own policy and Bush's definition explicitly excludes state terror. But if you want the definition Bush was using....

    • @Hostage

      OK great well when the rest of the world stops doing it I'll be sure to condemn Israel if they keep it up. In the meanwhile the USA spends more than the rest of the world combined and most certainly runs it through embassies so any American has a true hypocrisy problem on this issue.

    • @Marc b.

      I said would take it if it fell out of the sky. That's different than whose investing in the footwork.

      I have some question about your list. China is far more active than Israel could hope to be, and I suspect that Cuba is far less. During the 1970s the relationship was deteriorating so I suspect espionage was running much heavier than today, no reason for Israel to spy given the close relationship. There have been lots of issues with Germany. The CIA has been reporting heavy al Qaeda intelligence gathering domestically. FWIW I'd say something like: Russia, China, Al Qaeda, Germany, UK, France then maybe Israel.

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