Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 2282 (since 2010-09-16 16:15:33)

jon s

An Israeli history teacher,long-time activist on the Israeli Left.

Showing comments 2282 - 2201

  • Attacks on Israeli police in East Jerusalem are not terrorism
    • zaid,

      1.Benjamin of Tudela made his journey when the country was under Crusader rule, but don't worry, there are plenty of other references to the significance of the Western Wall ,including under Muslim rule.

      2.The location of the temple on the Temple mount is not in question. The dimensions of the compound have varied . The present Haram a-Sharif is probably much larger than the temple compound during the 2nd temple period.

      3. Herod was an Arab? Herod was a Jew of Edomite origin . Years before his birth, the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus had forced the Edomites to convert.

    • In 1948 the Jews were ethnically cleansed from the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem . The Hurva synagogue - where my grandfather and great-grandfather used to pray - was blown up by the Jordanian Arab Legion. In fact in every location in which the Arab side gained the upper hand not one Jew was left. The ethnic cleansing was total.

    • zaid,
      The Western Wall is not a Jewish site? Are you serious? I wonder why all those Jews are praying there? Even if you were right about it not being considered significant before the 19th century -and you're not!- those last 200 years should mean something.

      Anyway here's Benjamin of Tudela, writing in the 12th century:

      "Jerusalem[80] has four gates—the gate of Abraham, the gate of David, the gate of Zion, and the gate of Gushpat, which is the gate of Jehoshaphat, facing our ancient Temple, now called Templum Domini. Upon the site of the sanctuary Omar ben al Khataab erected an edifice with a very large and magnificent cupola, into which the Gentiles do not bring any image or effigy, but they merely come there to pray. In front of this place is the western wall, which is one of the walls of the Holy of Holies. This is called the Gate of Mercy, and thither come all the Jews to pray before the wall of the court of the Temple."
      (Benjamin was of course misinformed in attributing the wall to the Holy of Holies. It actually was one of the outer walls of the temple complex.)

  • 'I am not your goy' -- chaos at a liberal Zionist conference
  • The Israelis
    • amigo,
      I'm not sure that El Al qualifies as a "national airline" anymore, since it was privatized. It's a privatly owned business now (by the Borowitz brothers).
      Many Israelis prefer to fly on Turkish and other airlines.

    • It's good that at least Phil got to talk to some Israelis, from both the Right and the Left.
      Next time, Phil , come to visit the Negev (and learn how to focus your camera...)

      And for the most part Israelis don't live in fear. At least not more than residents of New York, London, Paris and so forth. I'm sure that Phil felt reasonably safe here.

  • Westchester legislature prepares bill saying BDS 'maligns the Jewish people,' and opponents organize
    • The BDS campaign hasn't had much impact on the Israeli economy . At least not yet. But if, in the future, it will cause harm - it won't be good news for the Palestinians. This is not a zero-sum game. It's not that what's bad for Israel is good for the Palestinians and vice versa. The Israeli and Palestinian economies are inseperable and what's bad for one is bad for the other. A healthy Israeli economy is in the Palestinian's best interest and it's in the Israeli interest for the Palestinian economy to thrive. And this will remain true when , hopefully , peace is achieved in the context of the two state solution.

  • Making the crossover from Elie Wiesel to Marc Ellis
    • echinococcus,
      I'm not an invader, I live in my people's historic homeland. No Jew is an invader in the Jewish homeland.

      I'm not a war criminal .

      I also support freedom of speech. "Veterans Today" can say whatever they want on their website.
      Including Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

      As for the definition, the standard, conventional , definitions are good enough for me.

      The Webster defines Anti-Semitism as : "hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group".

      The Oxford definition: "Hostility to or prejudice against Jews."

      Besides, Echinococcus, you can always look in the mirror.

    • echinococcus wants proof of Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial on VT. Assuming that he isn't kidding:

      ...and so on.

    • Annie, I've never heard of Miklos Gruner. He seems to being saying that Elie Wiesel stole the identity of another prisoner who had the same name . How mush sense does that make?It's obvious that the Holocaust deniers like to cast doubt on the credibility of iconic figures, such as Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel.

    • Any instances of Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial?
      You're joking, right?
      Have you ever looked at ""?

    • Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are specifically prohibited according to the "comments policy " of this forum. Rather loosely enforced, I would say...
      As to Elie Wiesel, he became world famous not only as a writer and Holocaust survivor , but as an outspoken voice for human rights all over the world, earning him the Nobel Peace Prize. He did, apparrently, have something of a blind spot regarding Palestinian rights, for which he deserved criticism. That blind spot doesn't cancel all the good that he did.

    • Citizen is unashamedly citing two blatantly Anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying ,websites.

  • Leonard Cohen song is anthem of Jewish exclusivists
    • Halleluyah is a beautiful song and is not the "anthem of Jewish exclusivists".

      "First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin "- now there's a Zionist plot for you!

  • 'Unexpectable' Trump makes Netanyahu, and Adelson, very happy
    • All in all , following the visit was a nauseating experience. The Trumps and Netanyahus look like they deserve each other. Although I admit that I feel a bit sorry for unhappy Melania.

  • Trump's Jerusalem
  • Trump may want a deal, but Israeli Jews are not interested
  • PLO source denies Abbas plans to propose large land swap deal during Trump visit
    • Douglas Reed was a racist (white-supremacist) and virulently Anti-Semitic propagandist.
      Commenter "Rensaceman" spouts the same old Anti-Semitic garbage.

  • The US and Israel: 'An integrated political system'
  • Why are Israeli children brainwashed to hate?
    • The video does look authentic, unfortunately.
      The woman is probably not their teacher, she's a guest, maybe a reporter.
      Horrible, reminds me of Hamas.

  • After mob attacks alternative Memorial Day ceremonies, Israeli education minister criticizes ceremonies not mob
    • The Anti-Semitic meshumad and self-confessed war criminal Yonifalic is allowed to explain why he hates Judaism, in violation of Mondoweiss comments policy. I wonder if a commenter would be allowed to explain hatred for Islam or Christianity.

      And the passage from the Haggadah is not only recited, it's sung:

    • The event was organized by two remarkable groups:

      You can see the event on the cfpeace website

    • Amigo,
      I've written about the Beersheva bus station attack in previous comments. There's also a much-praised documentary:

      People can quote Jewish sources to support the occupation and racism , but also to support peace justice and democracy, There isn't one voice that speaks for Judaism as such.
      Mr. Smotrich gives the Palestinians a choice: transfer, apartheid or genocide while quoting and interpreting Jewish sources. Others such as myself. reach diametrically opposite positions also based on Jewish sources. As you said it depends on who's interpreting.

    • talknic,
      In one brief comment you used all of the following:

      full of bullsh*t

      Way to go, talknic, great debating style. Classy.

    • eljay,
      This is what you asked on that thread:
      "Does Judaism emphasize that Jews should or should not deliberately and unapologetically do terrorism, land theft, military occupation, colonialism, oppression, torture, murder and supremacism? "
      ...and I didn't think that you were asking seriously.
      Of course "Judaism", as such, does not condone any wrongdoing, while there are Jews who are terrorists and thieves and murderers and such. There are Jewish criminals, same as there are criminals among all nations, religions and ethnic groups.

      As to elian kteily not replying, by now I'm more curious about his non-reply than interested in what it may be.

    • elian kteily,
      Still no reply...

    • elian kteily,
      Still waiting for a reply...

    • elian kteily,
      Who exactly are "they" and how are "they" supposed to go back tho where "they" came from?
      Please elaborate.

    • Instead of focussing on the ugliness of the hecklers and disruptors, why not focus on the event itself? The 4000 Israelis who gathered to honor the sacrifice on both sides and the hundreds of Palestinians who attended parrallel events , represent those of us seeking a peaceful future for both peoples.

  • Map map on the wall, who's most existing of them all?
    • gamal,
      1. I'm not a settler. In fact , I've always opposed the settlements. I even boycott them.
      2. I'm not sad, especially since our Beersheva football team just won a consecutive championship!
      3. "it's a country, not a cult". I agree.

    • I know of at least one Jewish source which refers to "Palestine". To be precise: "Palestini".
      Midrash Breishet Rabba (the midrash on Genesis), chapter 90, paragraph 6, refers to three countries which suffered famine: Phoenicia and Arabia and Palestini.
      ויהי רעב בכל הארצות בשלש ארצות בפנקיא ובערביא ובפלסטיני

  • Gilad Atzmon’s attack against me – the 'merchant of JVP'
  • New York rabbi links Jewish Voice for Peace to Osama bin Laden and Assad
    • catalan,
      A few weeks ago, we invited a young couple to our seder, new immigrants from Bulgaria. It so happens that their opinion on this topic is much like yours: that the perception of the Bulgarian regime at the time "saving the Jews" is wrong.

  • 'Why do I not cry out for the right of return?' -- an exchange between Uri Avnery and Salman Abu Sitta
    • A personal memory:
      When I was 13 years old I read Uri Avnery's "The Other Side of the Coin", his unexpurgated account of his battleground experience. I read it cover-to -cover in one night and it had a huge , life-changing impact on me. After that , I read his weekly editorials, volunteered for his party and eventually met him in person. So maybe I'm not quite objective writing about him but I do think that he's an example of unwavering commitment to the ideal of Israeli-Palestinian peace. It's amazing that he's still around after all those years.

    • I wonder what Uri Avnery, author of "Israel Without Zionists" (1968), thinks of the irony of being considered a Zionist.

    • All of us on the Israeli Left owe a huge debt to Uri Avnery. Indeed, I can't even a imagine the Left without his groundbreaking efforts. In the aftermath of the 1967 war, proposing a Palestinian state co-existing with Israel (what's called today "the 2 state solution") was considered a weird idea of the lunatic fringe of the Left. Today that idea that he promoted 50 years ago is at the center of an international consensus.
      He's 93 years old now, respected as the founding father of the Israeli peace movement (and of modern Hebrew journalism in Israel!)
      I still remember the huge impact his writing had on me as a teenager.

  • I am not a jew
    • As to Yonifalic's alleged "eidetic memory":

      From the Brittanica:
      "Eidetic image, an unusually vivid subjective visual phenomenon. An eidetic person claims to continue to “see” an object that is no longer objectively present. Eidetic persons behave as if they are actually seeing an item, either with their eyes closed or while looking at some surface that serves as a convenient background for the image. Furthermore, eidetic persons describe the image as if it is still present and not as if they are recalling a past event. The incidence of eidetic imagery is very low in children (2–10 percent) and almost nonexistent in adults."

      Also see:

    • Absolutely, Yonifalic, I suggest that you surrender yourself to Palestinian authorities. Preferably Hamas.

    • Yonifalic , the Anti-Semitic meshumad, is also a self-confessed murderer. Why not encourage him to surrender himself to the appropriate authorities to stand trial for his crimes?

  • Sean Spicer needs to go to a Holocaust center
  • Passover has become little more than an act of communal hypocrisy
    • On Passover and Easter among other Jewish-Christian issues in medieval times I recommend this book:

    • Talknic,
      You wrote that Israeli Jewish children deserve to be murdered.
      If you're retracting, fine. But I didn't lie.

    • Marnie, I'm sure that we all have problems.
      What I can't understand is how anyone can say that children deserve to be murdered.

    • Marnie
      All children are innocent.
      No children deserve to be murdered.

      Who has a problem with that principle?
      (aside from talknic)

    • Annie,
      I wrote quite clearly that no children deserve to be murdered, from whereever.
      I specifically wrote Jewish children because they are the ones who deserve to be murdered , according to talknic's outrageous comment.
      I have always condemned the deliberate murder of innocent people, especially children. No matter where, when and by whom.

    • Yonah,
      Thanks for your thoughtful response.
      I was also thinking of the late Prof. Leibovitz. And I recall a discussion with an active Orthodox rabbi (with a connection to Leibovitz) who said that more than believing in Hashem , he believes in "avodat Hashem".

    • No children deserve to be murdered.

      No matter what nationality, ethnicity, religion, race, whatever...

      No children deserve to be murdered.

      Not even Jewish children, talknic.
      Not even Israeli Jewish children, talknic and Annie and everyone.

      I can't believe that what should be a universally accepted principle needs to be argued here.

    • Annie,
      Talknic wrote that they (Israeli Jews) "deserve... to have their children murdered..."

      You don't have a problem with his comment?
      You just have a problem with my calling it bloodthirsty?

    • Talknic,
      I was just shocked by your bloodthirsty fantasy, especially regarding the murder of children.
      Maybe I should not have been.

    • Yonah,
      I would be interested in your opinion on the issue of belief vs. deeds in Judaism.
      Hag Same'ah

    • RoHa,
      I don't mean that there's no belief involved. I was just pointing out the emphasis on what you do, not what you believe.
      And I agree that there's no point in living according to the laws and upholding the traditions- if it does not lead to a moral life.
      Of course this is only one possible interpretation of Judaism.

    • amigo,
      My comment contained a certain interpretation of traditional Judaism. It had absolutely nothing to do with Zionism.

    • RoHa,
      On "belief" vs. deeds:
      Since it's impossible to know what's really going on between your ears, since no one knows whether you sincerely believe what you claim to believe, Judaism said never mind about endlessly declaring your belief. Instead, here's a set of laws to live by and deeds to perform. Live according to those laws and you'll be fine. You'll find yourself living a good, moral, life, and you'll belong to a community based on shared laws and traditions.

    • RoHa,
      Your question is a very serious one ,difficult to answer without resorting to a book-length essay.

      One concise formulation which I've heard is : "it's not about believing, it's about belonging".

    • Wow, talknic, how bloodthirsty can you get?

    • I agree with JeffB on this.
      Judaism puts the emphasis not on what you believe, or claim to believe, but on what you do.

  • You know your country's in trouble when you're afraid to put on a bumper sticker
    • Here's the Webster definition of racism:

      Definition of racism
      : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
      a : a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
      b : a political or social system founded on racism
      : racial prejudice or discrimination

      The absolute opposite of what I think and believe.

    • Ossinev,
      Why would I appreciate manifestations of racism? I despise racism.

    • Do you think that intolerence only occurs from one side?
      What would happen to a pro-Israel sticker in a predominantly Arab neighborhood?

    • amigo,
      So it will be easy to find you when and if I visit Ireland. You're the guy driving around with the "Boycott Israel " sticker.
      Annie, "Free Gaza" can be understood as an anti-Hamas slogan.

  • Israeli Jews maintain the occupation because it is in their interest -- Noam Sheizaf
    • Maghlawatan,
      Why is voting for a better government "instead " of keeping kosher? Who says we can't work for a decent government and also keep a kosher kitchen?

      I don't recall ever attending a seder in which "Go Down Moses" was sung.
      The seder is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that the struggle for freedom is not a thing of the past, it's ongoing . "In every generation..."

    • Marnie,
      For people who maintain a kosher home-and are hosting the seder- the days before Passover really are rather busy,

    • amigo,
      I'm aware of the horrible killing of an innocent Eritrean man in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Beersheva. I wrote about it on this forum at the time.

      I do try to discuss with my students the dangers of racism and fascism.

      As to the happiness index, I'm still trying to figure it out myself, sort of caught me by surprise.
      When I have more time maybe I'll try to think it through (this being a few days before Passover, very busy...)

  • Read the full translated text of the leaked Hamas charter
    • Helen4yemen,
      Jews in the Jewish historic homeland are not outsiders.

    • 1. If Hamas has moved beyond the vile Anti-Semitism of its present charter it's a positive development. On the other hand the new charter in article 10 mentions only Muslim and Christian holy places, ignoring Jewish ones. The text , in general , denies the Jewish presence.

      2. There's a clear contradiction in article 19. Establishing a Palestinian state on the pre-67 lines implies accepting partition and two states. However in the very same article there's the "from the river to the sea" formulation. If the pragmatic line gains the upper hand it may be possible for Hamas to become part of the solution.

  • New book by Larry Derfner, the American-turned-Israeli journalist, crushes liberal Zionism
    • James North,
      Aside from thanking me (you're welcome..) , I would be interested in any on-topic comments you may have on my comments...

    • talkback,
      "Israeli Left " means a commitment to democracy, social justice and peace.

    • Maghlawatan,
      I don't understand what you mean about there not being any Palestinians south of the Galilee?
      You're not ignorant. Unless you're trying to be sarcastic.

    • James North,
      No, I'm not in hiding. I just can't inhabit MW 24/7 and comment on every post, especially these busy days before Passover.
      However, since you asked:
      1.First, I confess that I haven't read Mr.Derfner's book. I'm responding to the excerpts you provided.
      2.I've never defined myself as a "Liberal Zionist" and would prefer the title "Israeli Left" which I use in my commenter profile. The various categories – liberal Zionist, non-Zionist, anti-Zionist- may be anachronistic these days. A so-called liberal Zionist who supports Meretz probably has more in common with a supporter of the non-Zionist Joint List than with , say, Lieberman and Bennet. The important distinction in my opinion is not between Zionists and non-Zionists . It's between those who seek a reasonable Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement which will end the occupation and terrorism and bloodshed and assure a better future for both peoples –and those who oppose any such option.
      3. There's a masochistic and defeatist trend, which Derfner's book may be part of, of people on the Left beating up on… the Left. "Why are we so small, why are we so weak? We're fighting a rearguard battle for a lost cause, etc." Well, I don't buy it. The Left has a lot to be proud of, has been correct in its predictions and analysis. The Right is leading the country to disaster, has no real answers , and it's up to us to be the alternative, to be the future. We need to go back to basic politics, organize and return to the streets.
      4. I agree with some of Derfner's ideas, such as his critique of the stupid, endless "peace process".
      5.On the other hand I disagree with BDS, both morally and tactically (although I support a boycott of the settlements). And my experience here in Beersheva is quite different from Derfner's in Modiin. I certainly don't feel that I live in a segregated society (I've never even visited Modiin).

  • The Jewish revolution
    • Annie, Yonah, Ok, if those groups are community-oriented, that's good news, in my view.
      I don't recall Phil Weiss here as ever expressing interest in sustaining the community.

    • Regarding Phil's interesting report: Jewish anti-Zionists don't have a chance of "winning the argument" in the American Jewish community, in my opinion, as long as they seem to be indifferent to the goal of sustaining the community as such. If anti-Zionists, people like Phil, would say "instead of supporting Israel, let us devote our resources and energy to stregthening our institutions (community centers, synagogues and such), to more Jewish education (more day schools, more Bible and Talmud study, more Hebrew and Yiddish, more Jewish history and culture)" - then maybe they wouldn't be perceived by the majority of the community as not caring about the community, caring only about opposing Zionism.

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