Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 2387 (since 2010-09-16 16:15:33)

jon s

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

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  • On my sixth visit, I've never seen Gaza so devastated
    • Marnie,
      Maybe you should connect the dots: with Hamas rule, that's what they'll get. No development, no hope.

    • Maghlawatan,I would like to see the people of gaza free and prosperous.I would like to see a whole different government from the one we've got. How does that make me a supporter of the status quo?
      And Gaza is run by Hamas, not "by Jews".

    • I'm not a legal expert, but it makes sense to enforce a naval blockade of a territory under the control of a terrorist organization. In any case the terrible situation in Gaza -which may become uninhabitable within the next few years if things don't change - is not due to the naval blockade.
      I would like nothing more than to see a prosperous Gaza , not only for altruistic reasons: it's never a good idea to have a desperate and starving neighbor next door.
      Hamas has totally failed to provide anything but misery for their own people . This failure on the part of Hamas is apparently one of the reasons for the recent agreement with the PA.

    • The naval blockade was judged to be legal by the Palmer commission:

      http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/world/Palmer-Committee-Final-report.pdf

      see p.38-45

  • The low-rent bullying of the Zionist ideologue
    • Just,
      Regarding the responsibilty of Iran and Hizbullah in the horrific bombing in Buenos Aires - that was determined by the Argentine investigation.

      Again, I've never denied the nakba . Why not simply propose a ban on anyone with whom you disagree?

    • Annie,
      Absolutely not. Until 1948 there was no depopulation ,the Palestinian population was increasing nicely. In 1948 the Palestinians suffered a catastrophe (nakba), which I certainly don't deny.

    • lyn 117,
      Until very recently the Hamas terrorists had a viciously anti-Jewish charter. I understand that they have a new one, so hopefully that's a step forward. As to Iran and Hizbullah- they were responsible for the single deadliest anti-Jewish atrocity since WW2, the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires.
      The Zionist movement didn't push for depopulating Palestine. Mainstream Zionism sought to live in peace with the non-Jewish population, not replace it.

  • Hamas and Fatah sign unity deal, but details remain unclear
    • MHughes,
      Are you saying that the PA-Hamas agreement is an Israeli triumph?
      You ought to notify the Israeli government, which has been bemoaning the agreement,especially since there seems to be no provision for disarming Hamas.
      (see the link provided by Ossinev, below)

  • The 13 questions on life in Palestine that non-Palestinians always ask me
    • Very informative.
      However, in category #2 in the table the writer omits filling out "what ID documents do you hold?". In this case, being Israeli citizens, the answer would be :Israeli passport, Israeli ID card.

  • From Greta Gerwig to NYU, Israel has deep reservoir of cultural support in U.S.
    • The Left is committed to ENDING the military dictatorship, ENDING the occupation. By and large, the Left is committed to achieving peace through the two state solution, based on the green line.

      And a happy Simhat Torah holiday to all those celebrating!

  • Feel-good Gaza poster in NY window draws feel-bad response from neighbor
  • On empathy, Yom Kippur, and the NFL
    • RoHa,
      Shatnez refers to a mysterious prohibition in the Torah, regarding the wearing of garments made of different kinds of threads.

      See here:

      https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/shatnez/

    • Keith,
      I have no problem with comparison of the Holocaust to other genocides. I don't think that that's the issue, and neither is the question of 6 million or 5 million. Noone will ever know the precise number of victims .Hilberg estimated around 5.1 million, Nathan Eck (citing Jacob Robinson) estimates 5.8 million. Wolfgang Benz estimates between 5.3 and just over 6 million (cited by Friedlander). So the reliable estimates are between 5 and 6 million. Someone who finds Hilberg's calculations convincing is not a denier.
      Commenter "festus" referred to the "official story", which is what provoked my comment.
      I don't know what "official story" means here. Does it mean "the truth"?
      There are plenty of aspects of the Holocaust which are controversial and are discussed and debated by professional historians and interested non-professionals alike. The deniers, like Zundel, Faurisson, Leuchter, Irving , the IHR, and such , deny the basic facts, deny that the Holocaust occured or deny central features such as the gas chambers. They're outside legitimate historical discussions. They're anti-semitic propagandists.

    • RoHa,
      I don't regard those traditions and rituals as a burden . (Ok, sometimes things like maintaining a kosher home can be a bother...) Seriously , as I wrote, taking pride in your people's heritage is normal and healthy and I regard doing my tiny part in preserving it as a privilege and a pleasure.
      I certainly don't see Jews who care about preserving our heritage as being "cut off from their fellow human beings".

    • JeffB,
      Thank you and חג שמח, a happy Sukkot holiday to you , too.

    • festus,
      Do you think that Mondoweiss should allow Holocaust denial?

    • Yonah,
      I essentially agree with you. It seems to me quite natural that people-not only Jews, of course- would want to take pride in their heritage and preserve it , not only because its destruction would be accompanied by coercion, as you note.
      On a personal note I'll put it this way: all those traditions and rituals and values were passed on for centuries, from generation to generation to generation. Am I going to be the last link in the chain? Am I going to say "it ends here, with me"? The hell I am. I'm not willing to take that responsibilty.

      חג שמח
      A happy Sukkot holiday to all those celebrating!

  • Do not turn the Balfour Declaration into a holy Jewish text
    • Citizen,
      I must ask you, regarding the allempires article: Do you really believe this stuff?

      The Zionist movement , at that point a small minority even among the Jewish people, operating on a shoestring budget, somehow managed to cause a shift in the policies of the British Empire, cause the USA to enter a war which wasn't in America's best interests, and cause the German Empire to lose.
      Some more of that old the-Jews -control-everything myth?

    • Citizen,
      Slight problem here: the declaration was issued on Nov.2 1917, while the US had entered the war in April 1917. So the British didn't have to "entice" the US at that point. The US was already in.

  • A plea to Israel: Don't start the third Lebanon War
    • There's no doubt that Hizbullah started the 2nd Lebanese War in 2006. Nasrallah himself admitted it and admitted that he had miscalculated. They launched a cross-border attack in which they abducted two IDF soldiers, while launching a rocket barrage -as a diversion- at Israeli civilians. The Olmert government was caught by surprise, off-balance and unprepared. With a corrupt PM, a lousy Chief of Staff, an amateur Defense Minister- the IDF's performance was disappointing. Neither the government nor the IDF wanted that war at that time.

    • Brewer,
      I responded on the other thread. I'll copy my response here.

      Brewer,
      Sorry for not responding sooner, I was busy with Yom Kippur.

      I confess that until now I've never heard of Rabbi David Bar Haim. I suppose that what's so troubling is that he's not screaming and foaming at the mouth, he speaks calmly , with a pleasant Australian accent. He quotes the Knesset Hagdolah, written in the 17th century by Rabbi Haim Benveniste, in the Ottoman Empire.

      Jewish sources are are a virtual ocean. You can find arguments for nearly every point of view, and its opposite. For bigotry and racism and also for justice peace and equality. It so happens that just yesterday, on Yom Kippur , Jews all over the world read and studied the Book of Jonah, a little gem of a book in the Bible. In the book it's the non-Jews whose behavior is exemplary and the one Jewish character is Jonah himself whose behavior is, shall we say, problematic. One of the lessons we can learn from it is a rejection of bigotry and racism.

      I'm not dodging your question. There's a lot of racism and fascist tendencies in Israeli society. (Hardly unique in today's world, unfortunately...)And there are those of us who haven't given up on the struggle for peace, for democracy, for social justice.

      For more such Jewish sources see here:
      http://www.on1foot.org/

  • UN takes first concrete step to hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian human rights
    • Brewer,
      Sorry for not responding sooner, I was busy with Yom Kippur.

      I confess that until now I've never heard of Rabbi David Bar Haim. I suppose that what's so troubling is that he's not screaming and foaming at the mouth, he speaks calmly , with a pleasant Australian accent. He quotes the Knesset Hagdolah, written in the 17th century by Rabbi Haim Benveniste, in the Ottoman Empire.

      Jewish sources are are a virtual ocean. You can find arguments for nearly every point of view, and its opposite. For bigotry and racism and also for justice peace and equality. It so happens that just yesterday, on Yom Kippur , Jews all over the world read and studied the Book of Jonah, a little gem of a book in the Bible. In the book it's the non-Jews whose behavior is exemplary and the one Jewish character is Jonah himself whose behavior is, shall we say, problematic. One of the lessons we can learn from it is a rejection of bigotry and racism.

      I'm not dodging your question. There's a lot of racism and fascist tendencies in Israeli society. (Hardly unique in today's world, unfortunately...)And there are those of us who haven't given up on the struggle for peace, for democracy, for social justice.

      For more such Jewish sources see here:
      http://www.on1foot.org/

    • Brewer,
      Some rabbis are bigots and racists and some are quite the opposite. Both sides can produce quotes from traditional Jewish sources to make their case.
      It also wouldn't be too difficult to show Muslim clergy who justify and call for the murder of Jews.That does not mean that all Muslims think the same.

    • I view this favorably. As a supporter of two states I regard the settlements as serious obstacles to achieving the two state solution. I've always supported and practiced a boycott of the settlements.

  • Balfour Declaration, now 100, was 'gun pointed at heads' of Palestinians -- Khalidi
    • As to Zionist leaders who never even visited the country, I can't think of any, offhand.

      Maybe Borochov. but he died at age 36.

    • Keith, JeffB, just, eljay, Yonah,
      Sorry to spoil the fun , but Herzl actually did go to Palestine , in 1898.
      He timed the trip to coincide with the state visit of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, and indeed met with the Kaiser, twice. He visited Jerusalem (and became very sick, with a high fever), and also moshavot of the First Aliyah such as Rishon Lezion and Rehovot.

  • Ten days of awe: standing with whom?
    • Keith,
      Where did I engage in nakba denial? Nakba means catastrophe and it's undeniable that the Palestinians suffered a catastrophe in 1948.
      That said, I would add that the nakba denial clause in the comments policy severely limits discussion of the events of 1948.

    • Marnie,
      I wish you a good year, g'mar hatimah tovah, may you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

    • Brewer,
      You seem to think that producing a fake quote is not important and an out of context quote is an insignificant distinction.
      I think otherwise.
      If the "bride is beautiful" quote is fake, it shouldn't be cited.
      If you want to quote Herzl's diary entry from 1895, you should point out the context, and quote the entire passage.
      I'll repeat: the mainstream Zionist leaders such as Herzl, Ben Gurion, and even Jabotinsky, all envisaged living in peace with the non-Jewish population, not expelling or replacing them.

    • Marnie,
      I'm not perfect, I don't think that I know everything or have all the answers. I have questions and doubts. These Days of Awe. are a good time for reflection on what we did wrong, what we regret and where we should do better.
      גמר חתימה טובה

    • Brewer,
      Once again that way out-of-context quote from Herzl, who wasn't even referring to the Palestinians?
      I'll take the liberty of recycling a comment I wrote not too long ago:
      http://mondoweiss.net/2017/08/charlottesville-jewish-memory/#comment-888511

    • Brewer, "The provenance ...is indeed obscure" . In other words, it's a fake quote. Are you saying that accuracy is unimportant? Well, I believe in the quaint concept that the sources we cite should be accurate and credible.*

      I certainly understand -and respect- the Palestinian opposition to Zionism. It would have been strange had they not actively opposed it, despite the fact that mainstream Zionist leaders and thinkers envisaged living in peace with the Palestinian population, not displacing it.

      * "Never believe a quote you see on the internet" -Karl Marx

    • In these days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the days in between, all of us would do well to take the time for reflection, contemplation, soul-searching and repentance. In our families, with our neighbors and colleagues and in regard to the society we live in. They're not called "Days of Awe" for nothing.

      Regarding Dr. Rothschild's essay two brief notes:

      1."At 1897 at the First Zionist congress in Basle, the rabbis sent to check out the Holy Land, famously telegraphed back, “The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man.”
      -the story is a fabrication. Never happened.

      2. Martin Buber and Judah Magnes were indeed among those who advocated a bi-national state. Is Dr. Rothschild aware of any significant support for that concept on the Palestinian side?

  • Why the split inside the Democratic Party over BDS needs to happen
    • echi,
      As you should know by now, I support the Palestinian right to self determination.
      Jews are not "interlopers" in the Jewish historic homeland. We're quite at home here.

    • oldgeezer,
      Do you oppose the Kurdish people's right to self-determination?
      Why shouldn't they have the right to a Kurdish state, if they so wish?

  • Defying families, Israel moves four Palestinians' bodies to anonymous ‘Cemetery of Numbers’
    • I absolutely oppose the use of bodies as bargaining chips or as a way of applying pressure. It's morally offensive and practically ineffective. The dead, no matter what their crimes, should be returned to their families.
      This principle should apply to all sides. The bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin , held by the Hamas terrorists, and not mentioned in this report, should be returned to their families unconditionally.

  • Is Yiddish the language of the Jewish soul?
  • Elisha Wiesel's Rosh Hashanah remembrance
  • New York TV stations smear Roger Waters-- who praises BDS as 'one of most admirable pieces of resistance world has seen'
  • Are you an auto-anti-Semite? Take this simple test
  • American Legion calls on Congress to finally investigate 'USS Liberty' attack, 50 years after
  • 'Auto-anti-Semitism!' Naftali Bennett declares war on Jewish self-hatred in Israel
  • Charlottesville is moment of truth for empowered U.S. Zionists (who name their children after Israeli generals)
  • On Charlottesville and Jewish memory
    • Herzl in his utopian novel Altneuland envisions a state which is liberal and secular. From the plot:
      Löwenberg and Kingscourt spend the following twenty years on the island, cut off from civilization. As they stop over in Palestine on their way back to Europe in 1923, they are astonished to discover a land drastically transformed. A Jewish state officially named the "New Society" has since risen as European Jews have rediscovered and re-inhabited their Altneuland, reclaiming their own destiny in the Land of Israel. The country, whose leaders include some old acquaintances from Vienna, is now prosperous and well-populated, boasts a thriving cooperative industry based on state-of-the-art technology, and is home to a free, just, and cosmopolitan modernsociety. Arabs have full equal rights with Jews, with an Arab engineer among the New Society's leaders, and most merchants in the country are Armenians, Greeks, and members of other ethnic groups. The duo arrives at the time of a general election campaign, during which a fanatical rabbi establishes a political platform arguing that the country belongs exclusively to Jews and demands non-Jewish citizens be stripped of their voting rights, but is ultimately defeated.

      Ben Gurion:
      WE APPEAL - in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.(from the Declaration of Independence. BG wrote the final draft)

      We do not wish, we do not need to expel the Arabs and take their place. All our aspirations are built upon the assumption — proven throughout all our activity in the Land — that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.(from a letter to his son Amos, 1937)

      In our state there will be non-Jews as well — and all of them will be equal citizens; equal in everything without any exception; that is: the state will be their state as well. ...The attitude of the Jewish State to its Arab citizens will be an important factor—though not the only one—in building good neighbourly relations with the Arab States. If the Arab citizen will feel at home in our state, and if his status will not be the least different from that of the Jew, and perhaps better than the status of the Arab in an Arab state, and if the state will help him in a truthful and dedicated way to reach the economic, social, and cultural level of the Jewish community, then Arab distrust will accordingly subside and a bridge to a Semitic, Jewish-Arab alliance, will be built... (Ba-Ma'Araha Vol IV, Part 2, pp. 260, 265, quoted in Fabricating Israeli History, Efraim Karsh, p.67)

      Jabotinsky :
      https://en.idi.org.il/media/5103/jabotinsky-idi-2013.pdf

    • It wouldn't be difficult to provide numerous quotes by Zionist leaders expressing the desire to live in peace with the Palestinian Arab population.
      Indeed all the major "classical" mainstream Zionist leaders and thinkers such as Herzl, Weizmann, BenGurion and Jabotinsky - all of them expressed the intention to live in peaceful coexistence with the Arab population.
      As I've pointed out the quote from Herzl has nothing to do with Palestine and the Palestinians.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2017/07/transferring-palestinians-palestinian/#comment-887133

  • Racial supremacy and the Zionist exception
  • Chomsky still believes in the old Israel. I did too, once upon a time
    • emory riddle,
      That's a falsified quote. Actually Ben Gurion wrote the opposite: We do not want to and do not need to expel...

    • Elizabeth Block,
      Sodastream should be commended for pulling out of the WB and relocating in the Negev. Their facility is in Rahat, a Bedouin town (not far from where I'm writing this), so they have not "stolen" Bedouin land.
      I've got an idea: ask the good men and women of Rahat if they would want Sodastream to close their Rahat facility. Ask them, ask their elected leaders, take a poll. Tell them that you're boycotting Sodastream for moving to Rahat, see what they have to say.

    • Of course I'm aware of the expulsion from Lod and Ramle in 1948, as is anyone who knows a bit about the War of Independence /Nakba. I think that Ari Shavit has written about it recently.
      My point was -and maybe I should have elaborated in my earlier question/comment- that Ben Gurion never ordered the expulsion of "the Arabs" per se, all of them. There were places where expulsions occured ,other places where the Palestinian population fled the war without being expelled. There was no premeditated "master plan " of total ethnic cleansing. And even where expulsions occured, including Lod and Ramle, part of the population remained .
      There WAS a decision not to allow those who had departed, under any circumstances ,to return to their former homes. That was the crucial decision, in my opinion.

    • Rob roy,
      Where and when did Ben Gurion say "expel them"?

  • Israel would use nuclear weapons to keep refugees from returning -- Noam Chomsky
    • I'll leave it to the intelligent readers of Mondoweiss to determine whether the segment posted by Yonifalic contains the content he claims it to.

    • Annie,
      Sorry for not responding sooner, our Beersheva team was playing in the Champions League tonight...
      On topic: First of all novels and movies are not held to the same standards of historical accuracy as a professional history book or essay. You can't expect a feature film to cover all sides and all aspects of an historical event.
      Secondly, I agree with Prof. Shenhav:
      "In contrast, Jews from Arab lands came to this country under the initiative of the State of Israel and Jewish organizations. Some came of their own free will; others arrived against their will. Some lived comfortably and securely in Arab lands; others suffered from fear and oppression.
      The history of the “Mizrahi aliyah” (immigration to Israel) is complex, and cannot be subsumed within a facile explanation..."

    • Here's an English translation of the segment that Yonifalic copied. Does it contain what he says it does?

      Rav Judah stated in the name of Shmuel: Just as it is forbidden to leave the Land of Israel for Babylon so it is forbidden to leave Babylon for other countries. Rabbah and R. Joseph both said: Even from Pumbeditha to Be Kubi.
      A man once moved from Pumbedita to Be Kubi and R. Joseph placed him under the ban.
      A man once moved from Pumbedita to Astunia and he died. Abaye said: “If this young scholar wanted, he would still be alive.”

      Rav Judah said: Whoever lives in Babylonia it is as if he lived in the Land of Israel; for it is said, “Ho, Zion, escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon” (Zechariah 2:11).
      Abaye stated: We have a tradition that Babylonia will not witness the birth pangs of the Messiah. He [also] explained it to refer to Huzal in Benjamin and they called it the Horn of Salvation.
      http://learn.conservativeyeshiva.org/ketubot-daf-kuf-yod-alef-part-2/

    • I recommend the film mentioned in Annie's comment, "The Dove Flyer", based on the book by Eli Amir:

    • An anecdote that I heard about (not something that I have a source for at the ready...):

      Iraqi Jewish Communists were dragged from their prison cells, directly to the planes taking the Jews away. In effect they were expelled to Israel. (in Israel they joined the local Communist Party).

    • Annie,
      The point is that Nuri Said was PM at the time, and that was the policy he was pursuing, getting rid of the Jews.

    • Annie,
      Let's assume, just for the sake of the discussion ,that the synagogue bombings in Iraq were carried out by Zionist agents. In that case, why didn't the Iraqi government take steps to calm the Jewish community, to reassure the Jews that they were welcome to remain, as Iraqi citizens?

      That didn't happen because the the Iraqi authorities were busy kicking the Jews out.

      Since this issue has come up before, I'll recycle a previous comment of mine:
      The historical fact is that the Iraqi regime took steps to make life in Iraq impossible for the Jewish community: they were dismissed from the civil service , boycotted economically, bank accounts were frozen , access to public facilities, including schools and hospitals – denied. Then the regime declared that the Jews could leave, within a one – year deadline, while relinquishing their property. In this situation the Jews scarcely needed “encouragement” (in the form of bombings ) to leave. It was pretty clear that they had to, before the door would slam shut.

      Looking up Nuri al-Said in wikipedia:
      “Nuri al-Said, the Iraqi prime minister, was determined to drive the Jews out of his country as quickly as possible,[8][9] and on August 21, 1950 he threatened to revoke the license of the company transporting the Jewish exodus if it did not fulfill its daily quota of 500 Jews. On September 18, 1950, Nuri al-Said summoned a representative of the Jewish community and claimed Israel was behind the emigration delay, threatening to “take them to the borders” and forcibly expel the Jews[10]

    • amigo,
      Don't worry, I'm still firmly on the Left. I haven't changed my fundamental positions, though I may now realize better -thanks in part to MW- what those of committed to Israeli-Palestinian peace are up against.
      Once again, I don't live in an "illegal squat". I live in a perfectly legal, normal, apartment, still paying the mortgage. You're invited to visit, see the "squat".
      If you're also motivated by hatred -well,what can I say, that's unfortunate.
      As to why I keep returning to Yonifalic, you may have a point. Maybe I shouldn't bother.

    • Hate is a recurring theme in Yonifalic's comments.
      One example: "There are not words for me to describe how much I hate Rabbinic Judaism as a religion even if I find it interesting as an historical phenomenon." Does anyone really think that he hates Judaism but doesn't hate the Jews?
      And blaming the Jews themselves for being persecuted and expelled and for the Holocaust, like any good Anti-Semite...
      Accusing me of libel, after writing that I'm "like Hitler".

      I must say that by now I find this whole topic , discussing Yonifalic, what he means and why he's tolerated on Mondoweiss, extremely distasteful.

    • amigo,
      Thanks . As I said it's good to know that the Jewish community is thriving. Do you have anything more up-to-date than a link from 2007? and are those who so wish free to leave?

      As to the Iranian regime's attitude towards Israel, it seems to me that the slogan "Death to Israel" is pretty clear.

    • Keith,
      I don't have to "claim" that Yonifalic is a Jew-hater, he's said so himself numerous times. Search his archive for "hate".
      And while you're at it, see how he'll always blame the Jews . Not only for the expulsion and for the Farhud. He blames them for the Holocaust, calls it "blowback". Enough said.

    • Just to point out that the Arab side, all the Arab states REJECTED resolution 194 and voted against it in 1948.

    • 1. It's good to know that the Jewish community in Iran is "thriving". One question: are they free to leave?

      2. The Jews in the Arab countries did not immigrate because of "Zionist false flag attacks". They were compelled to leave because the authorities were implementing anti-Jewish policies, making it virtually impossible for the Jews to remain (as in Iraq) , combined with murderous mob violence. In addition, many Jews were, simply, Zionists. They wanted to live in a Jewish state, in the Jewish historic homeland.

    • Leave it to the Jew-hater and self-confessed war criminal Yonifalic to once again blame the victims: The Jews are to blame for their expulsion from England , for the Farhud in Iraq...you name it...

  • Palestinian-American denied entry to West Bank for summer skateboard program

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