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jon s

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

Showing comments 90 - 1

  • Rabbi Cardozo: outlawing circumcision would 'end the state of Israel'
    • Yonah,
      I would suggest, as numbers 9 and 10 :

      9. community
      10. the connection to the historic homeland in Eretz Yisrael

      The point on the brit mila I would extend to include various "life cycle events": brit mila, bar/bat mitzvah, wedding, funeral...

  • In calling for end of Jewish state, Avraham Burg is painted as 'troublemaker' at liberal NY synagogue
    • MHughes, Roha,
      A formal definition can be found in any dictionary. The wiki definition provide by Yitzhak Goodman is fine with me. What I wrote was of course my own subjective take on the issue.
      Roha, if you know of any other case analogous to the Jewish connection to our historic homeland, I would have no problem acknowledging it.
      I don't think that I ever wrote that modern European Jews are not invaders in the Jewish homeland. I think that NO Jews are invaders here.

    • RoHa,
      First of all I'd like to reverse the question. Can anyone provide a coherent argument that Israel is NOT the Jewish historic homeland?

      But I won't avoid your challenge and I'll tell you what I mean by "historic homeland".

      When I go to Jerusalem I can stop at the Israel Museum –as I've done occasionally- and see the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. The centerpiece of the exhibit is the Great Isaiah Scroll. Here I am, A Jew in Israel, who speaks and reads Hebrew, gazing at a scroll written around 125 BCE, in the same country, in the same language that I speak and read by a person who without doubt also self-identified as a Jew. I can stand in front of the scroll and read it, without too much difficulty:

      That's the meaning of "historic homeland".

    • Echi,
      Jews are not invaders in the historic Jewish homeland.

  • What's wrong with colonialism?
    • Avigail,
      Zionism was not a form of colonialism because the Jews immigrating to Israel/Palestine were settling in the Jewish historic homeland. The British taking over India, the French ruling Senegal, the Belgians in the Congo- had no religious or historic attachment -preserved for centuries - to those territories. In 1903 the British came up with the "Uganda Plan" and the Zionist movement faced a moment of truth: had the Zionists accepted Uganda, that would have been a manifestation of colonialism. As we know, the Zionists rejected the offer of Uganda or any other alternative to the land of Israel.
      Another significant difference is the absence of a "Mother Country". In colonialism there was always a Mother country which encouraged the colonialist settlers, backed them and protected them with military force. Profits flowed back to London and Paris and Brussels. In Zionism there was no such Mother Country. Profits, if there were any, did not flow back to Europe but were reinvested in the country, And the Zionist immigrants initially had no military force to provide security, they were unarmed.
      It is true, of course, that the Zionists sought political alliances with the imperialist powers of the time. Trying to recruit Big Power support was seen as the rational way to achieve the movement's goals , as any rational political "player" would do.
      As for myself, (and many on the Israeli Left) I don't think that I can be accused of lack of empathy with the Palestinians. The Palestinians were certainly victims of an injustice from their point of view, and many of them live today under a rather brutal occupation. Over the years I've devoted considerable time and effort to trying to understand and empathize with the Palestinian narrative, without being alienated from our own people.

    • It's remarkable how much the extremists on both sides echo each other, each side denying the other's legitimacy . The Palestinians are not a real people and are not indigenous. No, the Jews are not a real people and are not indigenous.
      This country is the homeland of both Jews and Palestinians and both are indigenous and should enjoy equal rights.

  • From Spinoza to Vilkomerson, Jewish voices for peace have long been banned-- by Jews
    • amigo,
      North Cascadian produced a quote purporting to show that non-Jews studying the Talmud are subject to the death penalty, he didn't say that there's such a "law in the Talmud". You ought to improve your comprehension skills. There really is no such "law in the Talmud".
      As to myself :
      I'm not an illegal squatter, I don't live on stolen land, I am living in my people's historic homeland, and I am aware of the revised Hamas charter (I think that I even referred to the revision in a comment a while back).

  • Why I am not at the MLA
    • eljay,
      You're saying that Israel is NOT the Jewish historic homeland?

      The homeland is part of what it means to be Jewish, as is known by all Jews who know something about their heritage and whether or not they draw present-day political conclusions from that concept.

  • The never-ending crisis of Zionism
    • RoHa,
      I don't know about "biological descendants". Over the centuries there were invasions, migrations, conversions, intermarriages…I can trace my ancestry back to certain 19th century rabbis,there are family rumors going a bit further back, but before that , back to the 6th century BCE–who would claim to know? And who cares? Only someone interested in notions of "racial purity" and "bloodlines", and I'm not. A people's identity, a people's history and memory and traditions, are based on a lot more.
      As to your analogy, I would say that if you find another example of a people who, after losing political sovereignty and demographic majority in their historic homeland
      • Maintained a continuous presence in said homeland, albeit as a minority.
      • Continued , fom their homeland, to produce significant contributions to their religion and culture.
      • Preserved the memory of the homeland in customs and traditions, in their studies and their poetry, prayed for a return to the homeland at least three times a day.
      • Were often victims of persecutions in their countries of residence, leading to a horrific genocide in which one third of the defenseless people were annihilated.
      • Returned to their homeland with peaceful intentions, without intending to disposes the existing native population.

      ….so if you find a similar situation somewhere in the world, let me know, and I'll consider supporting those people.

    • amigo,
      I was mainly responding to lonely rico.
      The Palestinian population in Israel is around 1.8 million, and yes, they mostly live peacefully. I admit that I'm not sure what "meaningful" means. How could any life be meaningless?

      I'm not an invader. No Jew is an invader in the Jewish historic homeland . And I'm sure not an "illegal squatter".

  • 'Struggle for basic rights within binational state has begun and we will win' --Shulman in 'NYRB'
    • amigo,
      On "quibbling with the right wing" , I've tried doing that by commenting on a right-wing blog (Hebrew). Guess what? It looks like they've freakin banned me.
      On this blog I post my opinions and observations when I think that I have something to contribute.

      I use the terms "occupied territory" and "settlements" in the conventional, accepted sense, in the context of the I/P issue. Of course , you can invent your own definitions, but then the discussion becomes meaningless.

      Regarding the 4 suspects in the lynching , they are not being charged with murder.

      I'm relieved to know that you don't get your views from "Mooser".

      I live here because this is my home, this is my people's homeland. In general it's a good place to live and to raise kids, without underestimating the problems, the blemishes and the challenges.. You're welcome to visit.

  • 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.

  • Israel would use nuclear weapons to keep refugees from returning -- Noam Chomsky
    • 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.

  • As Israeli soldiers crushed Gaza, world Jewry united, and sent Ben & Jerry's ice cream to the front
    • talkback,
      We're not thieves in our historic homeland.
      "Mutually agreed" means just that. Adjustments agreed to by both sides.
      I don't think that the settlements should become part of Israel. That would pretty much prevent the two state solution.
      As to your gory simile , I'd rather not comment.

  • 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.

  • Read the full translated text of the leaked Hamas charter
  • Head of UN agency resigns after refusing to retract report calling Israel an 'apartheid regime'
    • talknic,
      "What two people[s]?"
      This land is the homeland of both the Palestinian people and the Jewish people.

    • Just, I note thay you haven't responded to my questions, even though I answered yours.

      Jews have also been here for centuries, and I've never said that our rights supercede the rights of others. This land is the homeland of two peoples. That's the conflict in a nutshell.

    • Just,
      I'll answer your questions, even though I'm not sure as to the relevance to the topic. And then I'll ask you a few of my own.
      1. Two, Hebrew and English. It's one of my greatest regrets that I've never managed to learn Arabic.
      2. Two, Israeli and American.
      3.History and Civics.

      My questions for you:

      Are you saying that this land is NOT the Jewish historic homeland?

      Do you agree with "echinococcus", who basically wants to get rid of the Jewish population in the country?

    • Fact is, Jews are not interlopers or invaders or pirates in our historic homeland.
      For millions of Jewish Israelis , immigrants or native-born, this is our home.

  • Hell just froze over: the New York Times runs an article saying Zionism is racist
    • Oh boy, Talkback is going to "expose" my game, using the
      I'm not a politician, thank God, so I have no reason at all to disguise my ideas. What I write is what I think.
      I think that there are nearly 200 or so states in the world, most of them nation-states . Why is it ok for all those nations, but not for the Jews to have a nation-state? And even if you say that the Jews are a religion and not a nationality -well , from Morocco to Indonesia, including the Middle East, Muslim-majority states proudly proclaim their Muslim identity, and plenty of countries have a significant Christian component in their identity. Among the nearly 200 states on this planet, there's room, and justification , for one (1!) small Jewish state, located in part of the Jewish historic homeland.

      Talkback, I see from your profile that you left the "Jewish cage". Does that mean that you're free from lighting Hanukkah candles and eating potato latkes this week?

  • Trump aide blows off Zionist gala, and Dershowitz warns that politicizing Israel means 'we could lose'
    • Annie,
      No, that's not true. It is true that in "Der Judenstadt" (1896) Herzl is somewhat hazy as to the location of the Jewish state. However, in 1897, at the first Zionist Congress , the goal was set as follows:

      "Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law."

      Herzl's novel , "Altneuland" (1902), envisages the future Jewish state , in Palestine, Eretz Israel.

      In 1903, the Zionist Congress hotly debated the "Ugands Plan", and ultimately rejected any alternative to the Jewish historic homeland. Zionism was focused on Zion.
      Herzl died in 1904.

  • The Jewish confession on a future Yom Kippur
    • amigo,
      When you write "happy new year" or "merry christmas" , you expect to receive a similar message in return, not insults. That's what I meant by normal, decent, interaction. Such interactions can occur despite political differences.

      And I never stole anything in my life. I live in my own home, in my own homeland.

  • Shimon Peres, Israel's greatest ambassador, will be remembered for enabling oppression of the Palestinians
  • The sensitive Zionist -- a review of Natalie Portman's new film
    • Donald Johnson,
      I didn't endorse the "one state" concept. One state doesn't necessarily follow from the recognition that this country is the homeland of both peoples. What I wrote -and have done so numerous times - is that under the present circumstances partition is the best solution. Establishing two states which will co-exist peacefully -that's still the most reasonable and morally sound solution. Both sides have the same homeland; neither side can have it all.
      My support for the two state solution is one of the main reasons for my opposition to the settlements: the settlement project - aside from being illegal - is a major obstacle on the road to achieving it.

    • echinococcus,
      How can anyone take seriously a commenter who can't even get my name straight, and keeps adding an "h"?

      Anyway there are those- like Amos Oz - who seek a future of peace for both peoples, who haven't given up despite the difficulties and setbacks. He's a better friend of the Palestinian people than those who encourage them to reject any prospects for peace.

      And I'm not "squatting on Palestinian land" . I live in a home which I purchased legally with my own money (and a mortgage from the bank...). I'm living in my homeland, which is also the Palestinian homeland.

  • Against Balance: Thoughts on teaching Israel/Palestine
    • With Passover upon us, I'm extremely busy, and will keep this brief, not answering all the points raised :

      Essentially, I believe that the Jewish people have the right to establish and maintain a Jewish state in part of our historic homeland, same as other nations have nation-states in their homelands, and that the state must be a democracy , in which non-Jews enjoy equal rights, and must strive for peace with the Palestinian people and with the entire Arab world.

      As to whether or not Israel is a democracy, the "Democracy Index " lists Israel as a "flawed democracy", and I can agree with that:

      In this report Israel receives a fairly high score:

      I'd just like to point out that Jewish history can't be taught detached from world history, as if the Jews were on a different planet. So Zionism can't be studied without the rise of Nationalism in the 19th century, the Holocaust has to be studied in the context of the rise of fascism and WW2, and so forth. Even the 2nd Temple period should be approached in the context of the Hellenistic world and the Roman empire. So you're incorrect in saying that I only teach Jewish history.

      A happy and kosher Passover to all who celebrate!

  • Finding 1 'Arab' in Israeli basketball, NY Times espouses Zionist racial theory
    • Shmuel,
      A few questions and observations:
      What is it that you see as a myth and fairy tale? Not that the significance of myths can be easily dismissed in any people's historic memory, I would just like to know what you're referring to .
      Terminology is important, it's not just semantics. By using the term "invaders" you conjure certain images and bring to mind certain references : The Japanese invaded China. The Germans invaded Poland. The reader gets the picture.
      The images in my mind are quite different: the followers of R.Yehuda Ha'hasid, making their way to Jerusalem; the idealists of the Second Aliyah, intent on establishing a socialist utopia; the dazed survivors of the ghettos and death camps; the Jews from Yemen and Ethiopia, crossing the desert on foot . Some "invaders".
      As to Jews and Palestinians having equal rights in the country that both regard as their homeland: I don't know of any method to measure each people's rights, relative to the other. Should Palestinians have 70%, Jews 30%? Or, maybe 80-20? Or the other way around? The only sane approach is : equal rights.
      I don't tend to idealize the past , and Land Day is a good example of past injustices, and God knows there are plenty of on-going injustices, but Israelis are not going to see themselves as colonialist invaders. Neither side is going to deny its own legitimacy.

    • Gamal,
      The present and historic homeland of the Palestinians is.... Palestine.
      So there you have it : two peoples, sharing the same homeland.

    • Shmuel,
      In principle , the West Bank is , indeed, no different, it's also part of the same geographic unit, part of the same homeland. Nablus and Hebron (and even Gaza!) are part of Eretz Israel.
      However , those cities are also part of Falastin, the Palestinian homeland, and so are Haifa and Lod and Be'er Sheva.
      In the interest of peace, and because the Palestinian people also have the right to establish a state of their own, we should realize that we don't have to exercise political sovereignty over our entire homeland. And the Palestinians also should realize that they don't have to exercise political sovereignty over their entire homeland. In short, we can't have Nablus and Hebron, they can't have Haifa and Be'er Sheva).
      Partition , the two-state solution , is still , in my view, the best option, both morally and practically. Not perfect, not easy, but better than any other option.

    • Jews are not illegal invaders in their historic homeland.

  • Bon Jovi's Tel Aviv gig is upstaged by Roger Waters's incantation of Israeli victims, including Dawabshe boy
    • RoHa,
      For an individual, homeland usually means the country where you were born, or grew up in. Your native land.

      As in:
      "Last month, when I visited my homeland, I rejoiced in its freedom".

      For nations , it's the territory which is the focus of that nation's aspirations.

      as in:
      "The rebels are fighting for an independent homeland."

    • I'm allowing myself to re-post parts of a previous comment of mine on this topic:
      Israel is the Jewish ancestral homeland , as proven by the historical and archaeological record, and by a people's memory. Whether or not present-day Jews are all directly, biologically, descended from the ancient Hebrews or Israelites is impossible to prove and in any case is not important in my view, since I'm not a racist and I'm not concerned with “bloodlines”. Personally, I can trace my ancestry to certain 18th and 19th century rabbis. Before that - who knows? - but that's probably no different from other nations or ethnic groups .

      Whether or not present-day Jews are biological descendants of the ancient Jews is a fascinating topic... especially if you're a racist, concerned with “bloodlines” and “racial purity”.
      Seriously, what difference does it make? Are today's Greeks descended from the ancient Greeks? Are the French descended from the Gauls? Are the British pure-bred Angles and Saxons? Of course not. Throughout history people (including the Jews) have migrated, inter-married, converted...but that doesn't mean that they don't take pride in what they consider to be their national history and heritage. What counts is a people's consciousness , their historical memory. The perception of Israel as the Jew's ancestral homeland is not something that can be erased by trying to follow “bloodlines” back through history.

    • It seems to me that asserting that Israel is NOT the Jewish historic homeland - there's the insanity, there's the fantasy.

      If anyone says that the history is irrelevant to present-day politics - ok, I can accept that as a valid argument, which should be addressed. But not denial of the history.

    • Just, I choose to live on land that is part of my people's historic homeland, and, as you know, I acknowledge that it's also the Palestinian homeland. That's the situation, that's what needs to be settled.
      As a teacher, I try to do my best to remain faithful to the values that I believe in. I'm sorry if that makes you sad.

  • Celebrating Eid al-Adha in Gaza
    • bryan,
      'So I am totally unconvinced that Judaism is more than a religion..." - With all respect, it's not your call. I think that people can self-define, can decide whether or not they are a nation. If millions of Jews consider themselves a people, like millions of Palestinians consider themselves a people- it's good enough for me.

      It's undeniable that Jews " emphasized chosenness, specialness, separateness". Throughout history Jews sought the right to be different. Then you write: "for this reason, like the Roma and the ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia have incurred hostility" . I agree with you, but we should be careful not to slide into blaming the victims.

      In your last paragraph you mention the Jews " increasingly integrating, adopting purely secular lifestyles and out-marrying"... That's indeed what was happening in Western Europe, but one of the results of that process was the emergence of modern Anti-Semitism, based on racist ideology. Zionism was one of the responses to what was seen by some as the failure of Emancipation. If , despite our efforts to integrate, European society still rejects us , then what we need is a national movement and national home in our historic homeland.

    • YoniFalic,
      I'll try to respond to both of your obnoxious comments.

      By seeking a peaceful resolution of the conflict, I'm justifying genocide. Really makes sense…

      If you feel that your homeland is Ukraine, fine. Why not go back there? Have a feeling that you may not be too welcome?

      Your assertion that there's no Jewish people reminds me of people like Golda Meir and other extremists who denied that there's a Palestinian people. Millions of Jews consider themselves as part of the Jewish people; millions of Palestinians consider themselves as part of the Palestinian people. That's good enough for me.

      Your comparison to the Nazis is not worthy of a response. They carried out genocide, murdering 6 million of our people (a people who don't exist according to you…). The Palestinian population is growing nicely.

      All nations and religions are based on legends, myths, and historical memories which may or may not be factually true. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism , too. The British have King Arthur and Robin Hood. Jews are not unique in developing myths.

      Whether or not we are biologically descended from the Jews of ancient times is a fascinating topic, if you're interested in notions of "racial purity" and "bloodlines". In other words: if you're a racist. For the rest of us: who cares? Throughout history people migrated, intermarried, converted and so on. The essential point is a people's memory and identity.

      I used the term "Mizrahi " which is widely used and considered PC. If I had written "Sefardi" you wouldn't be able to claim that it's an artifact of Zionism.

      I’m acquainted with Uri Ram, but I haven't read that book so I won't comment on it.

      The Zionist literature of the 1880's: I would like to know where the literature expresses the desire to steal and murder. (The Zionist movement was founded in 1897, but there were precursors).

      The Jewish religion didn't collapse after the Bar Kokhva revolt. After that revolt the Jews in the land of Israel produced the Mishnah, the Jerusalem Talmud, and more. The Jewish people adapted to the reality of not having a temple and other Jewish centers developed. Pretty admirable and remarkable, considering that "there's no such thing as the Jewish people".

    • bryan,
      The two peoples indeed share some aspects of their beliefs and culture, but also differ in other significant aspects. As to your statement that over half of Israelis are Arabs: if you're including the Mizrahi Jews , Jews from Muslim countries- they generally don't regard themselves as such.
      So , yes, we desperately need to find the way to share the land, which is the homeland of both peoples. At this point in time, the only possible way is through two states, co-existing in peace. Perhaps the two states could evolve into a federation, or confederation, to deal with common issues. But in the present with so much distrust -and hatred- between the two sides, neither side is apt to give up the idea of a nation-state. Throwing the two peoples together into "one state" is not practical and could mean a bloodbath.
      If you've read my comments you should know that I oppose racists and fascists like the ones you mention, and of course I condemn any harm or disrespect towards holy places of all faths.
      I'd like to add that it's a relief to respond to a commenter who writes seriously and thoughtfully and in a civil tone, and mentions "peace" as a goal.

  • Health Advisory: Notes from a sandstorm
    • Annie,
      This country is both the Jewish and the Palestinian homeland, and that's the essence of the conflict: one territory, two nations. Two peoples who love and feel an allegiance to the same homeland. Any initiative to peacefully resolve the conflict has to take that into account.

    • Marnie,
      Your absolutely right, I don't have to live here.
      I live here because I feel at home here in my people's homeland where my father and grandfather were born and are buried. It's where I want to live, where I want my family to live.
      Perhaps you should ask youself why you live in a country for which you express nothing but hatred.

      Your idea of a reward actually isn't bad. I just wouldn't like it to come at the expense of the funds being raised for the family, primarily for Ahmad Dawabshes rehabilitation. Reward money should be in addition.

    • hechinococcus,
      I live in my home, in the historic homeland of my people.
      It's also the Palestinian homeland.
      I'm not going to "get the hell out" ,neither will most Israelis, and I don't expect, or desire , the Palestinians to go away, either.
      Not going to happen

  • Interview with a suicide bomber
    • Kris,
      I don't live on stolen Palestinian land, I'm at home in my homeland.
      You're correct that I don't represent all Zionist Jews, just myself.
      I never, ever , supported terrorism, from any side.

    • Dan Cohen is once again portraying terrorists favourably. Even if we assume that Mohammad Zaidan is sincere in describing his qualms about blowing up innocent civilians, he certainly doesn't represent all the suicide/homicide bombers who showed no such reluctance , blowing up civilian busses, restaurants, cafes and such, murdering men, women and children indiscriminately. In the hotel bombing in Natanya that he mentions the target was a Passover seder.
      Terrorists such as suicide/homicide bombers are not necessarily motivated by the occupation of their homeland: The 9/11 hijackers and the London Tube bombers were living relatively comfortable middle-class lives in the West, and were not from countries under occupation. The Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein , perpetrator of the Hebron massacre, wasn't under occupation, he was part of the occupation.

  • Gaza’s al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades prepares for next Israeli war
    • echinococcus,
      I put "invasion" in quotation marks because Jews immigrating to or living in their historic homeland are not invaders.
      You're avoiding my question on when you consider the "invasion" to have begun. Maybe you simply haven't thought it through, despite your intellectual supremacy, which I've already conceded.

    • echinococcus,
      I'm sorry that I'm no match for your towering intellect. So please explain your comment in a way that even a dummy like me can understand.

      " You have no title to participate in the land’s sovereignty, except if you are the direct descendant of a Palestinian, even if Jewish. There is no historic homeland of anyone living today in that country, except Palestinians. "
      So who exactly are the Jews who are descendants of Palestinians, and thus qualify as Palestinians?
      And what do you mean by "there is no historic homeland..."? Are you denying the history?

    • RoHa,
      Regarding "my people": Most people (maybe you're the exception...) tend to identify themselves as part of a group- a tribe , nation, ethnic group, religion, class, political party, fan club, etc.- and it's perfectly natural to be proud of the group you belong to. Of course you can belong to multiple groups, so, in answer to your question ,all the groups you mention can be considered "my people" in some way.
      I don't know why you find the matter "incoherent". Don't you belong to a nation, ethnic group, religion, or any kind of collective?
      If you've read my comments, you should know that I've never denied the Palestinian's right to live in their homeland, which is also my homeland.
      That's the situation in a nutshell: two peoples, sharing the same homeland. And, in my opinion the only possible solution is partition, and two states.

    • Kris,
      I don't live on stolen land. I live in a home I purchased with my own money, and a mortgage that I'm still paying, on land that's a part of my people's historic homeland. That's not to deny that it's the Palestinian homeland, as well.
      My family and friends and neighbors have the right to live in peace, as do the Palestinians. How to achieve that goal- that's the challenge.

  • 'BirthWrong' in the Cradle of Jewish Culture: Jews gather in southern Spain for tour that aims to repudiate Zionism
    • Bornajoo,
      I just checked my own archive and found that I used the term "historic homeland" three times on April 27-28.

    • Bornajoo,
      You're making assumptions about my position, which are not true.
      My position is that of the "classic" Left: This country is the homeland of two peoples, and the two peoples should enjoy equal rights, including the right to a state. Hence: partition and two states. In my view it doesn't matter which people were here first, which people have a longer history, since I'm not aware of any rule that "older" nations have more rights than "younger" ones, or vice versa.

  • AIPAC-backed legislation targeting BDS movement advances in Congress
    • Israel is the Jewish historic homeland , as proven by the historical and archaeological record, and by the people's memory. Whether or not present-day Jews are all directly, biologically, descended from the ancient Hebrews or Israelites is impossible to prove and in any case is not important in my view, since I'm not a racist and I'm not concerned with “bloodlines”. Personally, I can trace my ancestry to certain 18th century rabbis. Before that - who knows? - but that's probably no different from other nations or ethnic groups .

    • Kris,
      As to your analogy with Denmark:
      Show me any other similar narrative: a people living as a dispersed and often -persecuted minority, yearning and praying every day for a return to their historic homeland, maintaining a continuous presence in said homeland, celebrating holidays which reflect the agricultural cycle of said homeland...and I would support their right to return to thir homeland, as long as they wish to live in peace with -and not displace - the rest of the population.

    • echinococcus,
      Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, so Jews in Israel are not "invaders" or "colonialists" or anything of the sort, we are quite at home here.
      The same country is also the Palestinian's homeland.
      Two nations sharing the same homeland - that's the reality that both sides need to come to terms with.

  • Pelosi blasts Netanyahu speech as 'insult to intelligence of U.S.', Amanpour calls it 'dark, Strangelovian'
    • Walid,
      You're right that it was the Babylonians who destroyed the First Temple, and sent part of the Jewish population-mainly of the upper class- into exile, in 586 BCE.
      The Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon and then issued permission for those Jews who so wished, to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple, in 538 BCE.
      The story of Purim is set during the heyday of the Persian Empire, in the 5th century BCE, so King Ahasueros certainly is the Persian king. Whether or not the story is based on a real event - nobody knows. Some historians identify "Ahasueros" as Xerxes I , who ruled 486-465 BCE.

  • Ros-Lehtinen removes pro-Palestinian activists from Congressional hearing on punishing PA for joining ICC
    • Marnie,
      As I tried to explain, I think it's worthwhile to try to inject some balance into a blog which is overwhelmingly one-sided. For myself, I don't see much point in engaging only with people who share my views, what would be the point? I've always been interested in trying to understand other points-of-view (one of the reasons why I participated in Israeli-Palestinian encounter groups). Some of the posters on MW are intelligent and knowledgeable, and I find some of the discussions to be intellectually stimulating.

      As to the "treachery of the British" : the ties connecting the Jewish people to our historic homeland predate British involvement. Even modern Zionism was founded prior to British involvement . The British , after the Balfour Declaration and a period of cooperation during the 1920s and 30s, changed their tune, pased the White Paper, and I'm sure you know what the British-Zionist relationship was like in the years leading to 1948. So, in the end, it wasn't "made possible by the British", it was despite the British.
      I certainly don't agree that people who don't live on settlements are "just as bad", that there's no difference. That's the attitude of Hamas and Hizbullah, and of Netanyahu and Bennet.

  • Against self-determination
    • Some replies to some of the replies:

      Annie, I do what I can, as a citizen and as a teacher, to promote the ideals that I believe in, and not only on MW. Wish I could do more.

      RoHa, Phil did say that traditions and religion are absurdities.

      For the record, I don't think that America is like Germany 100 years ago, and I don't think that Jewish assimilationists in the US are likely to meet the same fate as the assimilationists in Germany. History generally doesn't repeat itself like that.

      On Israel as the historic Jewish homeland - we've been over this numerous times on this blog,
      and all I can say is: learn the history.

    • Seafoid, As I'm sure you know by now , I support 2 states, so I certainly recognize the Palestinian right to a homeland . Since this land is homeland to two peoples the only solution is partition and two states.

    • Some comments:
      I understand that Phil, in his journey of assimilation, doesn't see the justification for a Jewish state , and I can only hope that his quest for assimilation , which could have been written by an assimilationist in Berlin a hundred years ago, doesn't end similarly.
      So Phil, and other Jews like him , don't want a Jewish state. Fine. But what about other Jews, including myself , who do want there to be one small Jewish state on this planet , one small state in which Jewish culture is the majority culture and Hebrew is an official language? And not on" other people's land" , but in our historic homeland? There are millions of Jews , here in Israel and abroad , who support that idea and should have the same right to a nation-state as other nations have.
      Phil seems to express indifference to the prospect of Jewish identity and culture disappearing. Hundreds of languages are dying in New Guinea, no big deal. Traditions and religion are absurd.
      For myself, and plenty of others, the loss of Jewish culture and traditions and identity would be a tragedy, something that I try to do my small part to prevent

  • In major shift, one third of Americans want US to push for one-state outcome in Israel/Palestine
    • Ellen,
      You've got it upside-down: it's the Islamic extremists who have a plan to annihilate Israel.
      Common sense has it that if there are people who are victims of genocide , their population shoud be reduced, not growing.
      Are you saying that Israel is NOT the Jewish historic homeland?
      Bank Leumi started out as "Otsar Hityashvut Hayehudim" . "Hityashvut" means "settlement".In other words the English "Jewish Colonial trust" is an inaccurate translation, which does reflect early 20th century European terminology. I don't think that the name of the bank proves that Zionism = colonialism.

      I resent you calling me insane, just when my shrink is assuring me that I'm making "significant progress".

    • Ellen,
      Are you arguing that two states is wrong because Netanyahu is against it? I would say that if Netanyahu is against it, it's probably a good idea.
      There's no "ongoing genocide..." of the Palestinians. The Palestinian population is increasing nicely.
      Israel is not a colonial enterprise . Jews were not, are not, and will never be, colonialists in our own historic homeland.

      Two states is morally sound because it's based on the principles of self-determination and equal rights. We live in an era of nation-states. A Jewish state exists, and it's time for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Palestinian people are entitled to a state of their own and deserve to live in peace and free of occupation.

      It's too bad that "peace " is something of a dirty word for you. It's what we -Israelis and Palestinians- need most.

      I agree with you on the missed opportunities and the government's preference for more settlements. But that doesn't mean that we should give up.

  • The hidden documents that reveal the true borders of Israel and Palestine (Updated)
    • Annie, I never said that the Palestinians are not as much a nation of people as Jews are. You must know by now that I support mutual mutual recognition and a two state solution. This land is the homeland of two nations -(that's the conflict in a nutshell) and they need to find a way to co-exist.
      As to your analogy to being natives of africa - it doesn't work. Humans outside of Africa didn't maintain ties to Africa, didn't dream of and pray for a return to Africa...
      I know you disagree , but in my view Jews in Israel are not foreigners. I do realize that in the eyes of most of the Palestinian population they were perceived as such.

    • RoHa,
      "Bi-national state" implies that there are two nations on the land, both legitimate, and they reach an agreement as partners in sharing it. My point was that the Arab side didn't accept that option at the time.
      Jews were not, and are not, "foreigners" in the Jewish historic homeland. (or aliens, invaders, colonialists ... all those terms). We are quite at home here.

  • How the Israeli discourse on terrorism seeks to justify blatant war crimes
    • pjdude,
      So , for example, the immigrants of the Second Aliyah, young idealists bent on establishing a socialist utopia -were terrorists?
      Holocaust survivors, emerging forom the death camps and seeking to rebuild their lives in the Jewish historic homeland - were terrorists?
      Jews from Yemen and from Ethiopia, crossing deserts on foot to reach Israel -were terrorists?

  • Historical whitewash: Great Britain must be held accountable for its role in the Nakba
    • Cliff,
      No Jewish homeland? Sure, the Jews just appeared out of the blue, by magic.

      I don't know about 3000 years ago, there are too many unknowns ( David's kingdom?). 2000-2500 years ago is more like it.

    • Annie, It's one thing to object to Zionism, I get that . But it's another thing to not understand what it's about. It looks like you simply don't get it. Zionism was predicated, from the start, on the idea that the Jewish people were in need of a state of their own , and the only suitable and appropriate territory for that state was the historic homeland, the land of Israel. The theme of a "return to Zion" (consciously echoing the return to Zion after the Babylonian exile) recurs so frequently I would hardly know where to start a list of references .
      For example , from a pamphlet of the Bilu Society in 1882: "To Zion, to Zion, to Zion, to the land of our fathers Eretz Israel" (cited in M.Eliav [ed.] , Sefer Haaliyah Harishona, p.24). See also Leo Pinsker's reference to the "land of our forefathers " (in his "Auto-Emancipation" p.6) , and , of course all the counter-arguments to the Uganda Plan in the 6th Zionist Congress. And much, much, more. See the words of Hatikva, see this lovely song:

      Zion, my innocent one,

      Zion, my beloved,
      My soul longs for you from afar.

      May my right hand forget its skill
      If I forget you, my beautiful one.
      Until the day my grave closes over me.

    • Annie, I'm not sure what the challenge is. The Zionists didn't pick some random territory, they focused on the territory known as the Land of Israel, the Jewish historic homeland.
      An obvious, classic, source would be the Declaration of Independence:

  • John Judis's Truman book is a landmark in anti-Zionism
    • puppies, Jews immigrating to the Jewish historic homeland are not invaders. Jews in Israel today are not invaders.
      I am curious as to why you picked 1882.

  • Tensions rise on Temple Mount as rightwing Jews seek to hold Passover rituals there
    • talknic,
      I agree that the controversy over the kingdom of David and Solomon in the 10th century BCE has no relevance to the issues of today.
      However it looks like there are those who are trying to deny the connection between the Jews and the historic Jewish homeland by promoting a revisionist history : that the temple wasn't on the Temple Mount (despite the archaeological evidence and historical sources), that the temple wasn't specifically Jewish...all part of a present-day anti-Israel agenda.

      Speaking of present day: today, on this holiday morning, 10 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Sderot and the vicinity, one falling near a synagogue. Fortunately, no casualties.

  • Ululating at Vassar: the Israel/Palestine conflict comes to America
    • The first kibbutzim were founded by Labor Zionist idealists, intent on establishing a socialist utopia in their historic homeland. They weren't "aliens" , they were not "attempting genocide" and they didn't engage in " land theft".

  • Oppression by consensus in Israeli 'democracy'
    • Avigail,
      I dispute your contention that Israel is a colonialist power. The British in India were colonialists, the Belgians in the Congo were colonialists. Israeli Jews in Israel, the Jewish homeland, are not colonialists.
      Woody, I agree: our moral obligations are not contingent.
      I'm interested because I think it's important to know what's happening on the other side, in respect to the effort to promote peace.

  • 'Scarlett letter' -- Social media pillory Johansson for representing settlement business SodaStream
    • Kathleen, Israel's legitimacy is not based (solely) on our people's having lived here two thousand years ago, but on the continuos presence and ties to the land which was always considered the Jewish historic homeland. It's not as if the Jews were here two thousand years ago, disappeared and forgot about it, and then suddenly recalled it. Aside from that, even if you disregard the history, there are at present 7 million Israelis with legitimate rights.

  • Buckeyes take their stand for Palestine
  • New Israeli film profiles the soldiers who carried out the Nakba
  • Killed 65 years ago, Bernadotte was committed to Palestinian refugees' right to return
    • Eljay, Israel is the historic homeland of the Jews, it's part of the "Jewish DNA", so to speak. No denial on your part can cut that link.

  • An Israeli settler says Obama demands Palestine deal for Iran
    • Seafoid,
      Your analogy with Pitcairn is totally off-base. The Jewish people continued to feel, and express , their connection to their historic homeland throughout those 2 millennia. That attachment to the Land of Israel was, and is, part of the Jewish faith. The fact that the Jews persisted in that attachment while living as a dispersed minority, is all the more impressive and significant.
      As to your question:
      "How many of the major developments happened in Palestine?"

      Let's see what comes to mind:
      200 CE – redaction of the Mishna by Rabbi Yehudah HaNassi.
      4th-5th Centuries: the Jerusalem Talmud.
      10th Century: development of Hebrew vowel system that's still in use today, by Rabbi Aaron ben Moshe ben Asher, in Tiberias.
      16th century: the Shulkhan Arukh, codification of Jewish law, by Rabbi Yossef Karo, in Safed.
      16th Century: foundations of Jewish mysticism: Rabbi Yitzhak Luria, also in Safed.
      17th Century: chief standard-bearer of the Sabbatean messianic movement is Natan Ha'azzati ("the Gazzaite").
      And since you mentioned Hassidism: 1700: aliyah of Rabbi Yehuda Ha'Hassid and his followers.

      I'm not claiming that Israel was the one and only center of Jewish learning, far from it. But it wasn't insignificant, either .

  • Israel's dancing soldiers
    • Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and the connection is certainly " tangible".
      Jews can't also be Christians or Moslems because of the religious element in Judaism.
      A person who emigrates to Israel "bureaucratically becomes" an Israeli.

    • German Lefty,
      -As in all conflicts, there are innocent victims on both sides. It may be convenient for you, and others , to see it in black-and-white: one side the innocent victims, the other side the perpetrators, just like the extremists over here.
      -Israel/ Palestine is the homeland of both the Palestinian people and the Jewish people.
      -Jews are not (only) a religious group. They (we) are also a people. Think of this: There's no such thing as a Christian - atheist or a Moslem - atheist. By definition, if you consider yourself a Christian, you can't be an atheist, they are mutually exclusive categories. However, you can be a Jewish - atheist . How is that? Because Judaism is not confined to the religion, there's a Jewish people, not only a Jewish religion.

  • 'Jews did not emerge from millennia of exile to impose exile on another people' -- Roger Cohen
  • Salon writer concludes that 'judeophobe' is just code for 'anti-Zionist'
    • Talkback, There are ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists, who evidently think that their way is the path to "preserving Jewishness".
      I would say that Zionism, as originally formulated in late 19th century Europe, was based on:
      1.Nationalism: the Jews are not (only ) a religion, they are a nation.
      2.Pessimism : Anti-Semitism is endemic in European culture and society. Ultimately there is no future for the Jews in Europe.
      3. Territory: Seeing that the Jews are a nation, and need to get out of Europe, the solution is the establishment of a Jewish state in the Jewish homeland.

  • Between the death of my nephew and my visit to Jerusalem, a Gaza story
    • Bumblebye, Jews in Israel are not living in a foreign country. It's our homeland, and the Palestinians' homeland, too.

  • Israeli who works in DC and attends Brandeis lectures Mohammed Assaf, 'we're stuck together and not going anywhere'
    • Mr.Odenheimer tells the truth: Israelis and Palestinians are indeed "stuck" with each other. We're destined to share this land, which is the homeland of both peoples, and which they both love.

  • Day Two of Obama in Israel/Palestine — Obama visits Ramallah and addresses the Israeli people
    • Brown Eyed Girl, I'll try to answer you honestly, as an Israeli.
      By and large, we think of this of this land as our historic homeland , not land we "stole". (The Whites who emigrated to SouthAfrica weren't reconnecting to their historic homeland). So we feel quite at home here, and don't forget that by now, after over 100 years of Zionism and 65 years of Israel, a large portion of the population is native-born, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation Israelis, who know no other reality.
      No one denies the Palestinians exist. I, for one, believe in the urgent need to achieve peace through a two-state solution.

  • How do you say, 'Let them eat cake' in Arabic?
    • Ramzi,
      The number of Jews in East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967 was zero. The Jewish population had been ethnically cleansed.
      There was a Jewish majority in Jerusalem since the late 19th century.
      I can understand your bitterness , but you should also try to understand that we are not "invaders" , this is our homeland, as it is yours.

  • Israel’s Identity Crisis: The practical difficulties of a Jewish and democratic state
    • Cliff,
      To what extent present day Jews are directly descended from the Jews of 2000 years ago is a fascinating subject... if you're interested in ideas of "racial purity", "bloodlines" and such. I'm not. Over the generations people intermarried, converted, migrated -the result being the Jewish people of today. What's important is that the Jews preserved an identity and an historic memory, whatever their biological lineage.
      I didn't mention Islam or any other religion on this thread . You say that Islam and Christianity don't have "homelands" , and I'm willing to take your word on that , but Judaism is not (only) a religion , and it most definitely does have one , the Land of Israel. There are plenty of Jews today who are totally non-religious, yet fiercely Jewish: Sabbath-desecrating, lobster-eating, Jewish nationalists. If Judaism was only a religion-they wouldn't exist. As to what you describe as a blip: you're
      referring to periods of Jewish sovereignty , such as the Hasmonean kingdom. But Israel continued to be considered the Jewish homeland during the long periods of foreign rule under the Persians, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders , and others. Those empires were simply much more powerful politically and militarily, and the Jews were no match for them.
      If you really want to learn more –you can consult any reliable historical atlas or textbook.

    • Annie,
      If you don't know where your ancestors came from, but the Jews have preserved their identity and their connection to their historic homeland - that sort of proves my point.
      It's not only a matter of forefathers: Jews maintained ties to, and a continuous presence , in the land throughout the generations.
      As to the question of "why didn't they go" - you can ask that of any movement or event in history. Why did the American Revolution break out in 1776 and not earlier or later? Because the conditions weren't right yet.

      A child's birthday party? You lost me there.

    • Cliff,
      Israel is the historic Jewish homeland, as anyone with even a superficial knowledge of Jewish history knows.
      I could understand if you said that in your view the history is irrelevant to the present day issues, but denying it is absurd.

  • The crisis of Jewish identity
    • German Lefty,
      If you think Socialist -Zionism is like Nazism you're either totally ignorant , or just mendacious. The Nazis, as you should know, were anti-socialist, despite the "Socialist" in the party name . Borochov and Syrkin sincerely believed in socialist ideals.

      Israel will remain a Jewish state by definition as long as the majority of it's citizens wish it. The Jewish people are entitled to have a state, same as other peoples, including the Palestinian people.

      I said I support gay rights, I'm sorry that you have a problem with that. We've seen progress on that front, but there's still a lot more to do.

      I don't teach tthat all non-Jews hate us. As best I can , I try to educate towards democratic values and against racism. The Holocaust is studied seriously usually in 11th grade, although any kid growing up in Israel is exposed to information, images, ceremonies , etc., from an early age.

      Zionism is not a "consequence of the Holocaust" although many Jews and Israelis think that the Holocaust proved - big time- - the need for a Jewish homeland.

      The impact of the Holocaust? For starters the Jewish people have not "recovered" , not numerically, and not psychologically. The impact is huge. I recommend Tom Segev's "The Seventh Million". And "forever" means just that: for all time.

      I was born after WW2, but in a sense , all Jews alive today are survivors or second, third and fourth generation "survivors". So, yes, it's "we".

      If you don't understand why the suggestion that Israelis "move back" to Germany is insensitive - aside from being crazy- I doubt that I can help you.

    • Citizen,
      - I said that I'm a socialist and read Marx, I didn't say that I'm an orthodox Marxist.
      -Sorry, I'm not familiar with Leon's book. I just read the essay that Shmuel provided the link to.
      -Marx's essay on the "Jewish Question" is one of his earliest writings. His attitude towards Judaism is certainly negative , as was his attitude towards all religion ("the opiate of the masses").
      - The Socialist - Zionist movements sought to alter the economic and social role of the Jews, as it was perceived (through Marxist methods of analysis) at the time, by providing them with a territorial base.
      Of course Jews aren't the only ones with long memories. In one of my previous posts I remarked that the Palestinian's stubborn commitment to their homeland - which is our homeland as well - is something I respect.

  • NY ads depicting Palestinian dispossession are termed anti-Semitic by 'Jewish community'
    • Shmuel,
      Thanks for the warning. I have the feeling that after me, you will be next. That's what happens in purges.
      Back to the topic, and here's where we differ. In my view the unbroken ties to the land, the continuous presence , the centuries of yearnings - they count for something. It's something quite admirable , something we can be proud of. And the fact that some Jews translated those yearnings into deeds , actually came here to live and work under difficult conditions, also launching a remarkable cultural revolution , re-inventing Hebrew as a living language and so on- it does matter. (Incidentally - the way the Palestinians also demonstrate a commitment to their homeland - our common homeland - is something I respect .)

    • The Jews are not foreigners or invaders in Israel because you're not an invader in your homeland. It's not as if the Jews were in the country in ancient times, and then left and forgot about it and then suddenly in the 19th century it occurred to them to manufacture a claim to it. In fact there was a continuous Jewish presence in Israel –albeit as a minority- throughout the centuries between the 2nd Temple period and the advent of Zionism, and that Jewish presence in the country played a significant role in the Jewish world. Moreover, Jews everywhere continuously expressed yearnings for a return to the land.
      Whether or not Jews today are biologically descendents of the Jews of antiquity is irrelevant.

    • Sorry, Colin, it is our land, our historic homeland. Jews in Israel are not invaders or foreigners . It's also the Palestinian's homeland. Two peoples with the same homeland: that's the conflict in a nutshell.

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