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Total number of comments: 129 (since 2016-05-13 09:14:34)

Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

Showing comments 129 - 101

  • Come in, Natalie, the water's fine
  • The 'Jewish nation' is the central myth of Zionism. It needs to be dismantled.
    • Boris, I frankly don't care what group or cult you may see yourself as part of and in what way. Where it concerns me is that your perceived 'nation' (AM) 'life' (CHAI) means the genocide of an indigenous nation. At that point, it becomes everyone's business.

    • DaBakr, you or others do not need to assume that I possess "some above average intelligence". It seems I do, by IQ tests which put me about 30% over the 100 IQ average. But that's not your main assumption. Your main assumption is that I have "obsessive combative disorder". You tell us that it used to be thought of as a myth" - but DaBakr has revealed, through assumption-diagnosis, that it is not a myth! For Jonathan Ofir has proven its existence!
      And this is so because Ofir "truly does not like his people".
      And which "people" are these, whom I so dislike, DaBakr? Is it the "Jewish people"?
      I have to reflect upon this novel discovery, DaBakr, I really do. I would at first have thought you're just calling me a "self-hating Jew", but this appraisal appears to be far more sophisticated.

      I thought I was just using my "above average intelligence" to point out matters which I see as endangering us all - especially Palestinians, but also, and not least, Jews - "my people" as you would say. I thought it was out of care and empathy, but now you have revealed to me the truth - it is out of "obsessive combative disorder".
      As most, according to your account, regard the condition to be a myth, I suppose that my best option lies in therapy sessions with you, DaBakr. How much is it per hour?

  • Rabbi Cardozo: outlawing circumcision would 'end the state of Israel'
    • Jon s, "Mr. Ofir, let’s forgot about Rabbi Cardozo for a moment. My question to you and to the other commenters on this thread is: do you support a ban? Do you think that Jewish ritual circumcision should be outlawed?"

      I have made it clear towards the end of the article, that I oppose ritual circumcision. Yes, I think it should be outlawed, because laws should support human rights, and we should have a right to an uncompromised body. It is another matter if surgery is required for actual health issues. That's the difference between ritual, and medical circumcision.

    • Yonah Fredman, you write that "even if modern hygiene suffices to eliminate the deaths caused by nonsurgery, the sane sensible origin of the practice is important to me". Yes that seems to be all that really matters to you. See, surgery is always involved with risk and complications. If surgery (circumcision) is needed for an 18 year old, it is a completely different situation. General anesthesia is then an easy and viable option. That option is more dangerous with infants. There's no credible evidence of a greater risk at age 18. In addition, the physical anatomy of the penis changes at adolescence, the foreskin becomes more detached from the penis head. This is not the case with infants, and it requires an additional separating before cutting. The fact that this is often performed by non-doctors and under questionable medical surveillance if at all, adds a further risk.

      Moses actually skipped the act of circumcision for the Israelites in the desert wander out of Egypt. Joshua was the one who reinstated it.

      If Moses could skip it then, I believe we can skip it now.

    • Jon s, we have Cardozo's word for all this being directly related to the possible end of Israel.

  • In fit of mendacity, Israeli official claims Mohammed Tamimi, 15, was not hit in the head by a bullet
    • Thanks lonely rico - my actual proposed title in the draft was ISRAEL VS THE TAMIMIS - NIGHT RAIDS, 'SKUNK WATER' AND 'FAKE NEWS'. Yet titles are basically a prerogative of the editors, and Philip wanted something with another vein. Titles have to catch a reader, and we have to consider the amount of other coverage and titles on the same subject.
      I concur with your point though, which hadn't occurred to me at first.

  • Israeli poet apologizes for comparing Ahed Tamimi to Anne Frank
    • Right Annie. I profusely apologise to mijj in advance, in that I wish to make the point, that it does not make sense to apologise in advance for something that you mean and want to say.

      Art is there to provoke, to stir, to upset, even to anger. It is not there to appease. But I apologise again towards anyone who feels that is too offensive. I didn't say anything and I wouldn't mean it.

    • Great poem, Ira Glunts. Now that Yonoosh has apologised for his, you should definitely not make the same mistake.

  • Military spying unit to enter Israeli high school curriculums in search of recruits
    • According to the information provided, this is merely in plan and not yet implemented. It's obvious to me that this would be an elective course, but I'm open to surprises.

  • Israel’s expulsion of African refugees - betrayal with a kiss
    • Yeah, it's a wonder I play the violin.

    • Oh, Yonah Friedman, I just thought the Judas kiss story was a fitting association. You know, I had a thought that someone will find it anti-Semitic. But you know, Judas was a Jew, Jesus was a Jew - it's supposed to be possible to apply these stories sometimes without being drawn into the silly 'anti-Semitism' accusation just because you use it.
      But you did it. And that's your 'overlapping' of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Impressive.

  • Abbas's crime was saying that Zionism is a colonial project
    • Nathan, you say that Netanyahu’s comment was just a "silly comment of a Politician". Nothing to worry about, just "poor taste" perhaps.
      But not any "politician" - the Prime Minister himself.
      But Abbas - that's serious, much more serious. Is there anything specific that you would like us to relate to, or shall we leave it at this unspecified level?
      What you are doing here is similar to what President Rivlin and Jerusalem Post are doing. Notice this from Jpost:

      'President Reuven Rivlin lashed out against comments made on Sunday by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in which he said, “The Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region.”'

      That's actually all they cite. It should supposedly be enough to serve as basis for what Rivlin then says:
      “What we heard yesterday from Mahmoud Abbas was terrible. He returned back to the ideas he expressed decades ago, when they were no less terrible. To say Israel is the result of a Western conspiracy to settle Jews in land belonging to Arab populations? To say that the Jewish people has no connection with the land of Israel? He forgot many things, and said exactly the things that led him to be accused years ago of antisemitism and Holocaust denial.”

      This is a very generalist mishmash, which is designed precisely in order to attack and dispell the colonialist charge, as I pose in my piece.

      As to Levy and 'Jewish nation' - yes I take issue with him on that and have mentioned it before, but it’s not something I'd go hair-splitting about.

      As to the kh instead of q - thanks, but it's at a level where I wouldn't even ask Phil to fix it.

  • From Spinoza to Vilkomerson, Jewish voices for peace have long been banned-- by Jews
    • Thanks Paranam Kid, but I'm quoting Levy there, so it's gotta be like he said, and it's the prime source

      I'm sure Levy wouldn't have serious objection to such modifications. He tends to go raw and ironic. I get it, and I like it.

      I get the notion of putting double quotes on "religion", to distinguish it from "true religion" as it were. But this actually brings us back to Spinoza, and to that axiom mentioned, which for him sums up what "true piety" actually means. Sadly, it doesn't reflect what so many humans have otherwise made of "religion".
      Personally, I think religion is what humans make it, and I am not very 'religious' about it. What I do care more about, as Spinoza does, is what reality we cause each other to live in, here and now, as fellow human beings.

  • Jewish activist who counseled Lorde on BDS gets the full 'kapo' treatment in the Israeli press
    • Yonah Fredman, you write that "i blame her [Hillary Clinton] for convoluted speech that makes people want straight talk and i think trump is not straight talk, he’s a con artist from day one til today, til this hour, but it is the convoluted politically correct talk of hillary and her like that makes people want to hear someone talking different. and to fall for donald trump is a sign that the politics of the country is in a bad period and this tongue tied democratic double talk is what i blame." -

      But I thought that your comment was just that - convoluted, and full of 'whataboutery'. Now we're talking about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?

      You write all this in a supposed attempt to provide nuance to what you perceive as rather primitive black-and-white portrayal in my writing:

      "This false dualism invoked here: Justine Sachs (the forces of light and goodness) on one side and Assaf Wohl (the forces of darkness and evil) on the other side is convenient and rings like a 7th grade comic book reading of the israeli public", you write.

      It was not me who was invoking the notion of "forces of evil" - it was Wohl. I was criticizing that depiction.

      You write: "but honestly at this point the more interesting person is named donald trump, that the people on this web site did not oppose with anything approaching appropriate vigor. donald trump, “there are good people on both sides” in charlottesville, is an entirely suspect character and that is my primary reaction."

      Really, did the people "on this web site" not "oppose it with anything approaching appropriate vigor"? Did you read for example my , or ? Just search "Donald Trump" articles on Mondoweiss, there are many.

      But you are trying to tell us that we are not focusing on the real problem - Donald Trump.
      Right now, the focus is Assaf Wohl and his article. We do not always, and only, have to fry the big fish. But don't deny that they are being fried!

      You write: "i suppose for me it is a way of taking my zionist temperature. how zionist am I feeling today?"

      I would say that your Zionist temperature, at least today, measures a typical 'liberal Zionist' level. Supposedly not cold, not hot, let's talk about something else, the bigger issues, as it were.

      It's a lukewarm response which is meant to lead nowhere.

  • Israeli journalist who called for unspeakable acts against Ahed Tamimi tries, and fails, to backpedal
    • Annie, "To keep one’s restraint in this impossible situation is far more difficult than applying force, especially when the bitter enemy in front of you is three girls"...

      Let's look at that video - at 0:59, after some light pushes from Ahed, the soldier slaps her, hard. Ahed starts screaming and 5 seconds later manages to slap him. It's not really 'restraint' from the soldier. But this fact is, as I mention, seldom mentioned. It is completely absent in renderings of Israeli media, including Caspit. Not to mention the whole paradigm of occupation - the violence just preceding the event, the fact that the soldiers are not merely an occupation force - but literally occupying the family's yard. When all of these things are absent from the paradigm, all that is left is 'unreasonable violence' - from the occupied.

      As you write, "for any mature person, fully armed, it doesn’t take “restraint” not to lash out and exact revenge on an unarmed teen. it’s just common sense."

      It's not really that hard to exercise such supposed 'restraint'. You're armed to the teeth, protected all over. All you have to fear is your ego being hurt. And that's what happened to Israel, collectively.

  • The Chanukah of fire and occupation (is not about ancient times)
    • Boris has now accused me of "Antisemitic propaganda".
      The proof:

      "[Y]our use of the word “selection” was deliberate to bring comparison to the Nazi concentration camps. But I would like to point out to you that this fellow was not brought to the border by a locked car on a train. He came by his own volition, he chose to attack and he selected a weapon. Israelis only acted in self-defense and had no choice, but to neutralize this attacker.

      Thus, your comparison of Israelis to Nazis is invalid, and, based on EU definition of antisemitism, is antisemitic."

      The irony is, which seems to pass Boris over the head, is that the association to Nazis occurs in his own head. The use of the word "selection" is based directly upon the IDF statement concerning "selective" shootings.

      Imagine - Boris might be considered anti-Semitic himself, because he is comparing my paraphrase of IDF actual statement, to Nazis.

      It's a funny game. I didn't even have to use the euphemistic "concentration camp" as Haaretz journalist Amira Hass, I just applied a word used by the IDF spokesperson. Anyway, imagine the implications - Amira Hass - anti-Semitic; Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz - anti-Semitic for his "Judeo-Nazis"; Holocaust survivor and author Primo Levy on Begin; Mapam leader Aharon Zisling in 1948 on Dawaymeh massacre...

      But Boris got the association, and I'm obviously to blame, because I provoked it. How dare I.

    • Dear jon s,
      Thank you for pointing all this out. Particularly the date appears clearly wrong in the formerly cited Chabad source. As you may see, we have amended this and used a shorter source (citing 165 BC nonetheless). Concerning the Maccabee with Kuf, this is new for me, and I simply did not have time to research this alternative version yet. But seeing that the mentioning of the MCBY (MKBY) acronym (or not) is such a side issue to the actual focus of the article (one that I anyway considered to drop at first), we now opted to take it completely out anyway.

      Also to other responders here, let it be noted, that the actual vein of the Maccabees, the question of their Zealotry etc. is still somewhat of a side issue in this article - its focus is not meant to be on Chanukah past as much as present times. According to the story passed down in Maccabim book, there was this prohibition of Jewish ritual at the time. This is what I am referring to in terms of 'non-Jewish coercion'. That the Maccabees also practiced their own coercion is in this respect another matter. I am referring to how the holiday is traditionally perceived as a general notion.

      I admit that the far-back historical scrutiny was not sufficiently scrutinized by me. I am not writing it as a historian of ancient times, but as a commentator appraising present times with a reflection on tradition and cultural perception.

      Nonetheless, it is always good to learn more about that far past and fix inaccuracies. I'm therefore very appreciative of the critical and informed comments.

    • Boris, since you note the slingshot, let me say this:
      I had noticed the Mondoweiss article you mention after having submitted mine. But the mere notion of this as incriminating or justifying of the act of his murder, is just pathetic. You have to exaggerate it to egregious proportions to make it stick, but it doesn't.

      Incidentally, having learned about the slingshot, I wrote the following little writing which I posted on my Facebook wall. I think it's very relevant for your claim:

      The Palestinian Shaheed, Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh

      Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, 29, lost his legs in 2008 whilst trying to replace an Israeli flag with a Palestinian one, at the Gaza fence which confines him to his open-air prison, or concentration camp. He was gunned by an Israeli helicopter.

      On Friday, he died after being sniped by an Israeli soldier with a bullet to the head. . He was protesting near the fence, on his wheelchair, armed with a small Palestinian flag, and reportedly even a slingshot.

      Abu Thurayeh is the embodiment of the Palestinian resiliance. His missing legs are a metaphor of the Israeli limiting of Palestinian freedom of movement. His regular participation in protests against his occupier, jailer and maimer, often at the front lines, is symbolic of the Palestinian defiance of this limitation and dehumanisation.

      His slingshot could even create an association for Jews, to the biblical story of David and Goliath. Goliath was a giant Philistine, and David was a young boy of Judea with a slingshot. The giant was defeated with a slingshot, a lethal shot to the head.

      But here's where the analogy reverses - Israel, the Jewish State, is the Goliath. And Thurayeh's pebble, even if he did shoot it, could not possibly be a real threat to the soldiers at a safe distance, behind protections of concrete. The stone in this case, is but a symbolic statement of defiance, feeble as it may be, against this mighty occupier. It is saying to the occupier: "You may have dispossessed us, ethnically cleansed us, occupied us and besieged us - but you did not take our courage away".

      In this story, it was the Palestinian 'David' - Abu Thurayeh, who was shot in the forehead by a high-precision weapon. The Israeli military declared that there was 'selective' targeting, so Abu Turayeh was simply 'selected'.

      Israel cannot feign to be the little David. No one wants to hear about the "existential danger" that Abu Thurayeh supposedly poses. If anything, he represents the embodiment of fearless resistance despite all odds, which is a highly provocative stance for Israeli soldiers. It makes them feel powerless, as they cannot even stop a man in a wheelchair. And that's probably why Abu Thurayeh was murdered.

  • Israel passes 'anti-infiltration law' to speed up the deportation of African refugees
    • Dimadok, you commented later here that "This is state mandate for Israel. It does not include protection of human rights of refugees or illegal migrants, as any state in the world doesn’t include this in its sovereign declaration."

      I refer you to my article from a couple of months ago, on this subject:

      "As the Times of Israel rightly noted at the time, “expulsion to a third country is largely unprecedented in the Western world. Italy and Australia signed similar agreements with third-party countries — Italy with Libya, and Australia with Malaysia — but both proposals were shot down by local courts. In both cases, courts ruled the bills inconsistent with international law and the 1951 UN convention on refugees — to which Israel is also a party.”

      It doesn't matter if Israel did or did not specify refugee policy in its "sovereign declaration". It subsequently (1951) signed the UN convention on refugees, and that's what matters.

  • Top Israeli official admits that boycotting just the settlements is meaningless
    • Why so, Yonah fredman? It's exactly the point. Many do actually know that 'pravda' means 'truth', and that this 'truth' was state propaganda. Israel's 'explaining' is precisely of the 'truth' it believes to need to 'explain'.

      If this is the only issue troubling you, I'm flattered.

  • Israeli women march to 'wage peace' but refuse to challenge the occupation
    • Nathan, the 'occupation' referred to here is rather unambiguous and simple - Israel's military occupation (including illegal annexations) from the 1967 war, beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

      Whether I would want more? Oh, I demand more. The illegal separation wall should be dismantled, there should be provided equality to non-Jewish citizens and there should be a return of refugees. These are the simple demands presented by the BDS. it doesn't even require Israel withdrawing back to 1947 Partition Plan lines, upon which it was initially established.

      But all that is a side issue to the article. I am talking about the 1967 occupation when I say 'occupation' here.

      Several people have asked me whether I did not believe that the WWP dialogue would eventually lead to a challenging of Zionism. My answer is 'you've got to be joking - they can't even say 'occupation''.

    • JeffB, "The dislike and quite often hatred is the cause of the conflict."

      I disagree. I think the cause of the 'conflict' is Zionist settler-colonialism. I think it's quite natural to end up disliking and even hating it, especially when you suffer under its boot.

      But when the colonialism is done in the name of the Jewish State, then when you hate it, they tell you you're also an anti-Semite.

      All of that is a huge problem.

    • Nathan, my draft had in fact included more quotes from Noy, but these were slightly reduced, as I suppose it began to look like I was simply reproducing her piece and that she already said what I would have said - which I must say would not be far from the truth...
      But there was in particular one passage which was taken out, which I missed more than others - and it is this one, which refers to your question:

      'There is something simplistic, even childish, about speaking of “negotiations” and demanding a “peace agreement” a quarter century after the failure of the Oslo Accords. Negotiations? On the contrary: Israel would love to enter into another endless round of talks that will stave off international pressure and allow it to continue dispossessing, just like all the previous rounds of negotiations. These women seek to jump into this vacuum, filling it with lots of emotional words and a desperate attempt to create some semblance of symmetry between Israelis and Palestinians.'

  • Miko Peled on free speech and Zionism
    • My response to Miko Peled’s clarification on his ”Holocaust: yes or no”

      Forward note:
      Yesterday, Mondoweiss published a response by Miko Peled following my dissection of the problem inherent in the words “Holocaust: yes or no” as part of his talk at a Labour fringe event a couple of weeks ago.

      Before I delve into Peled’s response, I want to say that I am aware that Mondoweiss and many others would not be inclined or interested to have this go on without end. I have seen and received many concerned comments on mail, article threads and social media, attempting to clarify things that they thought were not properly understood from my rendering. But let me make this clear: I know the facts, I know what was said, and now Peled has subsequently tried to clarify it. Even now, I am still clear, about an unclarity here. One possibility is that it is because I am not smart enough to see through the unclarity. The other possibility is that it is simply unclear. Actually, that has been my point, in that Peled’s message is confusing – on a serious issue.

      Such unclarity is of course a distraction, and it takes up our time. This is of particular concern, since the context of Peled’s words, inside the Labour party setting, which has suffered continuing distraction from those who would seek Corbyn’s demise, does not need to be added further distraction. I share that concern. But I think that merely quietening this down artificially will only solve the symptom, not the cause. And in this case, I believe, as I have written, that Peled did himself provide thee distraction. I also believe that the subsequent clarifications which I have detailed in my analysis, have not been particularly useful. Equally, I do not think this current clarification adds much clarity to it, and I will explain why, below.

      Peled writes in his clarification:
      “As I see it, there are three issues here:
      1. Discussing/denying the holocaust while claiming to believe in free speech.
      2. Providing people with racist perspectives a platform to express their views.
      3. Anti-Semitism.”

      Now, on issue 1, he elaborates, opening with the sentence: “I really do not understand how anyone can claim to believe in free speech yet claim that “holocaust deniers” are criminal.”
      But we were not discussing whether Holocaust deniers (and I do not need the quotation marks here) are criminal. Criminality is not the issue that was being raised – the issue that was being raised by Peled in his talk was “free speech, the freedom to criticise and to discuss every issue, whether it’s the Holocaust: yes or no, Palestine, the liberation, the whole spectrum. There should be no limits on the discussion”, as Peled said at the Labour fringe event.

      This is mirrored against those who are not provided a platform: “It’s about the limits of tolerance: we don’t invite the Nazis and give them an hour to explain why they are right; we do not invite apartheid South Africa racists to explain why apartheid was good for the blacks, and in the same way we do not invite Zionists – it’s a very similar kind of thing”, as he also said at that event.

      There is obviously a distinction between ‘free speech’ and who is invite to an event regarding Palestinian solidarity – but as I have pointed out, and as I will do here, the distinction is actually blurry.

      Peled continues the clarification of item 1, saying that “If someone is ill informed or ignorant or racist or stupid or all of the above – that is not a crime or a reason to vilify. It reflects their own racism, ignorance or stupidity – whichever the case may be but reflects nothing on the holocaust and its millions of victims. I would argue that denying current and impending disasters and crimes against humanity is far more serious.”

      Now let’s look at that closely – a Holocaust denier may be racist – indeed their Holocaust denial may reflect their own racism – but that is no reason to vilify. Indeed, it reflects nothing on the Holocaust itself. Now the question to be asked is, if a Zionist, or a Nazi speak – why are they not to be afforded the same forgiving attitude? Nazis would come to an event and “explain why they are right”, but it would reflect nothing about Nazism. Zionists would come and explain “why they are right”, but it would reflect nothing on Zionism.

      On the one hand, Peled seems to be making the distinction between Holocaust deniers being a ‘thing of the past’, whereas Zionists are a thing of the present. But this distinction seems weak, when it comes to current-day Nazis, KKK and proponents of South African Apartheid – which he also groups with Zionists in reference to those not to be offered a platform. The question becomes: If Holoacust denial is a “thing of the past”, why isn’t support of South African Apartheid?

      The ‘thing of the past’ argument about current-day Nazis is one that is being made by the most nationalist and racist pundits, the likes of Yoaz Hendel and Yair Netanyahu .

      Peled is not applying the ‘thing of the past’ notion to Nazis, but he’s applying it to Holocaust deniers.

      Peled ends his clarification on item 1 in a formulation which in itself is perhaps one of the most problematic ones:

      “Furthermore, the label “holocaust denier” is thrown at people by those who would have a monopoly on the discourse, on the discussion re the holocaust and that, I believe, is problematic.”

      Aye, the label “Holocaust denier” is exploited, just as “anti-Semitism” is exploited – but does it mean it doesn’t exist?

      Peled does not refer to this possibility at all – that Holocaust denial might actually be a real thing. In fact, all of his references to it are in quotation marks, so he appears to be relating to it SOLELY as an accusation, which might not even hold any substance whatsoever. Peled is actually suggesting an agnosticism on the subject in his formulation.

      I want to pause a bit with this one, and go to Joseph Massad’s excellent essay from 2004, “Semites and anti Semites, that is the question” . Here, Massad relates to the ‘political’ aspect of Holocaust denial in the Arab world: “While holocaust denial in the West is indeed one of the strongest manifestations of anti-Semitism, most Arabs who deny the holocaust deny it for political not racist reasons.” Massad analyses that this sort of denial is a reactionary one, and concludes that “all those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists.” The full paragraph is worth reading to get this logic, here it is:

      “While holocaust denial in the West is indeed one of the strongest manifestations of anti-Semitism, most Arabs who deny the holocaust deny it for political not racist reasons. This point is even conceded by the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim Orientalist Bernard Lewis. Their denial is based on the false Zionist claim that the holocaust justifies Zionist colonialism. The Zionist claim is as follows: Since Jews were the victims of the holocaust, then they have the right to colonise Palestine and establish a Jewish colonial-settler state there. Those Arabs who deny the holocaust accept the Zionist logic as correct. Since these deniers reject the right of Zionists to colonise Palestine, the only argument left to them is to deny that the holocaust ever took place, which, to their thinking, robs Zionism of its allegedly "moral" argument. But the fact that Jews were massacred does not give Zionists the right to steal someone else's homeland and to massacre the Palestinian people. The oppression of a people does not endow it with rights to oppress others. If those Arab deniers refuse to accept the criminal Zionist logic that justifies the murder and oppression of the Palestinians by appealing to the holocaust, then these deniers would no longer need to make such spurious arguments. All those in the Arab world who deny the Jewish holocaust are in my opinion Zionists.”

      I believe that Peled is in some way applying this notion – a reactionary notion to cynical exploitation of the Holocaust notion by Zionists, but not providing it with counter balance. He is apparently being solely reactionary on this, which ironically, as Massad reasons, puts him on lime with Zionists – ostensibly on the other end of the pole – but on the same pole. It’s called ‘polarity’.

      Now let us continue to Peled’s point 2. Here he elaborates:

      “There is a tendency to create spaces for and sow tolerance toward people who support Zionism and the state of Israel and allow them to express their point of view in an effort to show balance. My comment was, would we allow the KKK to do the same? The proponents of apartheid? – there are still a few of those around – or anyone else who wants to promote and help us understand the merits and virtues of racist ideas?”

      Yet once again, if KKK are a ‘thing of the past’, if ‘proponents of Apartheid’ are (indeed, his comment that ‘there are still a few of those around’ only strengthens the notion that they are an aberration in Peled’s view), then why aren’t Holocaust deniers, who are being rendered a ‘thing of the past’, not also grouped in here? Here is where the supposed distinction between ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘giving a platform’ becomes even more blurry. Because now, those whom Peled was referring to in terms of ‘not giving them a platform’ (Zionists, Nazis etc.), are referred to with the words “allow them to express their point of view in an effort to show balance”. Peled is rejecting this notion. But once again the question arises – why is he not rejecting the notion of allowing Holocaust deniers to “express their point of view”?
      Indeed, Peled has spoken quite clearly about allowing them to do so.

      But let’s continue. Peled ends his elaboration on point 2 with the sentence: “I did not, by the way, compare Israel to Nazi Germany as was reported at one point.”

      And neither did I, by the way. I only quoted Peled’s words which related to Zionists and Nazis in rhetoric proximity and never referred to Nazi Germany. If anyone did that, it wasn’t me, so this note should be seen as external to this discussion – just to be sure no one got the idea that “as was reported” relates to MY reporting.

      Peled continues into point 3 to elaborate: “I do know what Anti-Semitism is. What I meant in my comment to Phil Weiss was, I don’t know what it means in this context.”

      But I did not say that Peled does not know what anti-Semitism is. In fact, I provided quotes which proved that he DOES know what it means, but that he is using rhetorical exaggeration to make a point.

      So Peled is using a form of speech. He’s actually saying that he does know what anti-Semitism means, but that when it is being misused (as in Chuck Schumer calling BDS a modern form of anti-Semitism, an example he brings), he does not accept it as being so.

      I think the lesson I’m getting is, that I need to understand Miko Peled’s words more as a FORM OF SPEECH. But when I try to do that in this whole context, I get confused. Even the clarifications make me confused. What I am nonetheless getting is, that Peled doesn’t really address actual Holocaust denial any real insidious value. It is to be permitted under ‘free speech’. He doesn’t regard it as actually relating to any kind of ideology, only possibly ‘stupidity’, ‘ignorance’, even ‘racism’, but only as ancillary issues, while other ideologies are more intrinsically racist, and shouldn’t be allowed a platform.

      Once again – let’s put the notion of criminality away here – we are speaking about Peled’s notions of what is legitimate to be given a platform under ‘freedom of speech’. Now if Peled was speaking for universal freedom of speech, he would allow all of these. But he’s not, he is precisely being selective and strategic about what should be invited to the debate. And here, alongside “Palestine, the liberation”, he puts “Holocaust: Yes or no”, as his selective and representative rendering of “the whole spectrum”. If you have to select three things to represent “the whole spectrum” of (permitted) ‘free speech’, that means that those three things are going to be very prominent, rhetorically. Each item takes up 33.3% of your ‘spectrum’. That’s how big a chunk Peled gave to the discussion of Holocaust denial (to be fair – with the “yes”, but with an obvious natural accent on the “no”) within the proclaimed boundaries of discourse in Palestine solidarity.

      Peled may not have been providing a physical platform for Holocaust deniers at the fringe event, when he said this. This was not a debate as such either – Peled was making a philosophical-ideological statement of what he thought should be discussed, and what not. Thus, HE was provided a platform to promote these views, and this is what he promoted. The distinction between ‘free speech’ and ‘providing a platform’ here has been blurry, and has become even more blurred with his clarification.

  • The problem with Miko Peled's 'Holocaust: yes or no'
    • Annie Robbins, I would like to address your interpretation of Peled's words, where you write:

      "[P]eled didn’t make an “expression” of “Holocaust: yes, or no”, that was an editorial choice.
      peled’s expression was
      This is about free speech, the freedom to criticize and to discuss every issue. Whether it’s the Holocaust [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it] yes? or no? Palestine [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it], the liberation [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it], the whole spectrum [do you support the freedom to criticize and to discuss it]. There should be no limits on the discussion."

      But I think this is incorrect, Annie, because Peled DID make 'an expression of' "Holocaust: yes or no" - simply because he said those words. Now you want to interpret HOW he meant those words, and thus you insert editorial brackets.

      But this interpretation does not seem to be supported by Peled's subsequent response to the Guardian (nor in other responses which I am aware of). As quoted by Guardian, he goes (full quote this time):

      “The Holocaust was a terrible crime that we must study and from which we must all learn. I reject the idea that Holocaust deniers, foolish as they may be, should be treated as criminals and I doubt that supporters of Israel should be given the authority to judge who is or is not a racist and antisemite."

      So, that is his issue. He's not saying 'no, you misunderstood, I meant yes and no in terms of debate or no debate', as he would if he really meant what you thought he meant. He strengthened his assertion about allowing free speech on Holocaust denial.

      The issue here, the PROBLEM here, is that this is not really about the criminalization of Holocaust deniers (and note, that is the term Peled refers to here, if anyone was in doubt). Because Peled did not speak about criminalizing Zionists or Nazis in the parallel reference to them, as mentioned. He spoke about not giving them a stage. The problem is, that he is now inevitably speaking about 'giving a stage' when he speaks of 'free speech' for Holocaust deniers - the proximity of the two issues makes them hardly distinguishable.

      Yes, it's vague, but it leaves a very murky grey area. It's not at all as clear as what your interpretation suggests, and Peled is not even claiming it is. He's clear on Zionists, Nazis - but vague on Holocaust denial. Would he say "Nazism yes or no", "Zionism yes or no" as part of 'free speech'?, No, he clearly excludes that, because he says "we don't invite the Nazis and give them an hour to explain why they are right", and that "in the same way we do not invite Zionists – it’s a very similar kind of thing".

      In other words, the Holocaust deniers should get an opportunity to "explain why they are right" - but not the Nazis, or the Zionists.

      So Peled is not really advocating free speech here as a universal notion. He is precisely defining where he thinks it should border. And the border does not exclude Holocaust denial.

  • Moshe Machover and the battle for the soul of British Labour
    • JeffB, Machover refers to Zionism as colonialism from the very beginning of the article. Somewhere in the middle he speaks of the settlement enterprise, where he writes:
      "It can be explained by the fact that it is an essential part of Zionist policy. In carrying out this policy Israel is, if you like, following an imperative of Zionism from the very beginning. Once you accept that this is an integral part of Zionism, then you realise it would be strange if Israel did not attempt to implement it. It is not as if it were a policy specific to the current government of Binyamin Netanyahu. It has been carried out by all Israeli governments since 1967 and it took place within the former borders – the so-called ‘green line’ – before 1967. It has been an ongoing policy of Zionist colonisation from the very beginning."

      You are telling us that you could stomach that, but not his last paragraph where he says that Zionism is BASED on colonization. But he has been saying the same thing throughout.

    • JeffB, I'm a musician, so I'll go with your 'theme' term concerning colonisation.
      In symphonies, especially from romantic period, you can have a kind of 'grand theme'. For example in Dvorak's 'New World' symphony nr. 9, the first main theme of the first movement appears later in the symphony, it's very central. Wagner developed a concept in his operas of 'leitmotif' - a 'leading theme', which follows the central characters.
      By analogy, colonisation is a CENTRAL THEME in Zionism, as it is a settler-colonialist venture. Machover doesn't need to get into that in detail in his article, it is discussed so much elsewhere. This is not merely a secondary 'theme' for Zionism. It's what it IS. It is its Leitmotif.
      All the rest is just semantics.

    • Page: 1
    • JeffB, you write "Machover simply understands Zionism too well for me to believe he thinks Zionism is based on colonization rather than has employed colonization or has intrinsic colonial themes."

      So you agree that the "colonial themes" are "intrinsic". In other words, Zionism is BASED UPON them.

      Indeed, also its ethnic cleansing, as part of this colonisation "theme", was "inbuilt in Zionism", as Israeli historian Benny Morris said, calling that ethnic cleansing 'transfer' as if it wasn't one and the same.

      In the end, your 'offense' with Machover for not being more 'sensitive' as it were with his formulations, ends up pedantic.

  • Journalist and former Mossad agent Herbert Pundik turns 90 – and Denmark celebrates  
  • Netanyahu, say hi from me to the penguins in Antarctica
    • Emory Riddle, this site is funded by JVP? I did not know. Got any proof? Actually I could have called him worse - Holocaust denier for example. But I don't think the evidence supports that, while my claim is supported.
      But that "JVP funded" claim sounds a lot like the Gilad Atzmon accusation of me as "JVP merchant"
      What's all this with JVP, funding and mercantile?

  • Young Gaza musicians break the Israeli siege – by accident
    • Such a true and important comment, Chocopie. I'm going to share it as a separate writing on social media.

  • Ayelet Shaked and the fascist ideology
    • Staggering, JeffB:
      "Civilians die in large numbers in many wars. France didn’t let their lines collapse in World War I even though this meant poison gas would be carried into nearby towns where the civilians, including children had no protective gear. All societies reserve the right to sacrifice children for the cause that’s not unique to Israel."

      But in the discussed quote of Ben Gurion, not only was there no war yet (it was 1938) - there was no Israel either.
      And no, societies DO NOT have the right to sacrifice children. He, I thought that's what Elie Wiesel was saying that Jews had given up 3.500 years ago, when he chided Hamas for supposedly doing it, in summer 2014?

      You seem to be such a fervent admirer of and subsciber to this 'Jewish State', that for you it transcends time, place and age. You are PRECISELY the embodiment of the fascism discussed.

      And BTW, I was referring to your populism, not Shaked's.

    • JeffB, you write "You didn’t really make an argument that Zionism was fascist just that like most societies it reserves the right to demand of its members sacrifices even at the cost of life for that society."

      But in my main quote of Ben Gurion in this respect, I precisely wrote:
      "It is that will to sacrifice individuals – aye, even children – for the supposed ‘greater national good’. Note that Ben-Gurion was not speaking about soldiers fighting in a war. He was speaking about children, who weren’t even citizens of any “Jewish state” and never signed up for it."

      This mentioning was precisely in order to rebuff that claim which you come with, in advance.

      Later on you defend Minister Shaked, simply calling her "Ayelet", as opposed to for example "The Obama". You seem to go to great pains to exonerate her as "not scary". Are you friends with the minister? What is this populism really about?

  • 'Nazi stuff': The Israeli government takes on African refugees
  • Gideon Levy calls out Israel's fundamental, racist religion: Zionism
    • Nathan, earlier you wrote "You don’t define the term “Zionism” in your comment, Jonathan, so one has to guess your intention when you say that “it’s gotta go”. My guess is that you mean that Israel shouldn’t exist."
      Allow me to quote professors Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley from their UN commissioned report on Israeli Apartheid from earlier this year (p. 18):
      “Finally, identifying apartheid as a regime clarifies one controversy: That ending such a regime would constitute destruction of the state itself. This interpretation is understandable if the State is understood as being the same as the regime. Thus, some suggest that the aim of eliminating Apartheid in Israel is tantamount to aiming to “destroy Israel”. However, a state does not cease to exist as a result of regime change. The elimination of the Apartheid regime in South Africa in no way affected the country’s statehood”.

      I need not add a word to that.
      Now in relation to ceasing the military occupation of 1967 - yes Israel should do that by international law. It's also part of the BDS demands. It doesn't preclude a wish for a one democratic state. A wish for a one democratic state does not preclude acceptance of international law. The question is not what that state may be called. The question is what its governance will be. The rest is quite semantic, really.
      Right now, it's all one big Israel with Palestinian Bantustans, and whilst you write "re-capture" Gaza, that is highly misleading terminology. Gaza is by all means "captured". It is occupied, it is besieged, and worse.

    • Nathan, "Israel, within the Green Line, is legitimate in [Levy's] eyes, period."

      Levy has already walked away from the 2 state charade a couple of years ago. He's been saying it's dead, it was never born. In other words, he's recognising that it's a one state, and that this one state is doing all of the illegitimate things he reports and addresses. Now he's also addressing its core ideology - which he even regards as a 'religion' (so have I) - Zionism. And he calls to relinquish it. Because he knows that the battle is about what kind of governance that one state of Israel will have: equality, or Apartheid.

    • Thanks Annie, I read. Indeed DaBakr's whole response is avoiding the actual content. Rather than engaging in it, he seeks to smear Levy as an irrelevant fringe, his paper as a marginal fringe, and by extension Mondoweiss as irrelevant, because it is supposedly the "ONLY" Israeli paper Mondoweiss cites from... not only did my own article here cite and link to Jerusalem Post (see about "moderate physical pressure), I have cited countless times other mainstream Israeli papers, from left to right leaning, here on Mondoweiss. True, it would not always be a flattering citation, and I would often regard what I cite with critique or critical note (as I also do with Haaretz), but sometimes it's just a benign citation that serves a purpose - even from Jerusalem Post as mentioned, and I will cite further right - Israel National News, Makor Rishon etc. That's what we do in journalism - we look at what is written, anywhere, and address the content.

      But DaBakr is not addressing content. He's simply doing the ritual defamation.

    • Yonah Fredman, I wondered over that word, "righteous", as well. I am in fact not sure as to whether it is meant sarcastically or not. But it is a bit like with that other words, "perhaps", where he writes "perhaps even racist". It doesn't really matter, because in the end, the qualification is overshadowed by the described reality.

      It's not like Levy is writing a bible here. He's saying something. I'm looking at what he says, and appraising it's general message. You seem to see that as a more generalist approach. I am looking at the bigger message, and I agree with it wholeheartedly:
      Whatever Zionism was once meant to be, it's gotta go, for all practical purposes and intents. Righting its wrong cannot include its preservation, because it is inherently racist. It will always stand in conflict with universal human rights.

  • 'Auto-anti-Semitism!' Naftali Bennett declares war on Jewish self-hatred in Israel
  • In Yoaz Hendel's revenge fantasy, Palestinians play the Nazi parts
  • Chomsky on what 'everyone knows'
    • Keith, my article stands in my own name and on the merits of its own arguments.
      Your arguments on the other hand do not even refer once to the actual content of my arguments, beyond my introductory qualifications concerning challenging Chomsky. Your response seems to fall squarely under the notions which Tom Suarez described above.

      Chomsky has made a statement, which in itself could be said to be rather outrageous. If he was an unknown pundet, that statement would likely have been dismissed. It is BECAUSE he has the intellectual clout he does, that such statements, coming from him, deserve to be questioned. And it's about more than the statement itself - it's about the notions that accompany it, historically so, as I have been pointing out.

      This is not some organised mob of Chomsky haters colluding together on Mondoweiss. But Mondoweiss provides a platform for the airing of such ideological discussions.

      You suggest that Mondoweiss focus on something else - Gaza for example - but Mondoweiss does that as well.
      So all in all, your response seems to be one that seeks to avoid the discussion and divert from it, making this into a Chomsky ad-hominem issue, which it isn't - whilst protecting that on me and Mondoweiss.

  • Trump uses Barcelona attacks for incitement to mass murder of Muslims
    • Jackdaw, if you look at Just's above quoting of Halper, it's very relevant:
      "We have created a vibrant democracy from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River that provides its citizens with a flourishing economy and personal security – even though half the population of that country are terrorists (i.e., non-citizen Palestinians living in isolated enclaves of the country). If we can achieve that, imagine what we can offer those of you threatened by terrorist attacks?"

      Trump's story is fantasy anyway, but we need to see what he means by "terrorists". Against the actual background of the Philippine-American war, there was an American invasion and occupation (taken on just after the Spaniards). In modern standards, resistance of this could not automatically be regarded 'terror'.

      Anyhow we wouldn't know, because in the story they are extrajudicially executed...that is murder per definition.

      Under the Muslim ban, Trump was ostensibly averting "terror", but it made no sense as attacks against US were not coming from the banned countries. It was widely recognized that the ban was about them being Muslims, really.

      And that's where it becomes logical to paraphrase Trump's meaning through his fantasies.

    • Absolutely Elizabeth Block, this has come up from several people I've heard from now, and it is indeed with some regret that I note this missing bit in the appraisal (although it would not be appropriate to add this to the article at this point. That whole point sheds another light on the whole notion of "terrorists" in Trump’s false story. Not that it would have been impossible that some Muslims there could theoretically be involved in terror (against civilians) - but the generalist notion of "terrorists" would be weakened. As well, according to the story, they were apparently extrajudicially executed, so even in the paradigm of the story we are barred from knowing their actual actions.
      The whole notion of the story is one of collective punishment (a lethal one), to create 'deterrence' and 'send a message' to the rest.

  • Israel would use nuclear weapons to keep refugees from returning -- Noam Chomsky
    • So then, Noam Chomsky is suggesting that Israel would "go all out" and use nuclear weapons to prevent Palestinian refugee return.

      Hmm hmm... Sometimes great intellectuals manage to utter the madness that even the despots they criticize have not.

      Regardless of the bizarre suicidal concept of nuking refugees in your vicinity, if that's what he actually meant -
      what is this statement actually serving? Indeed, the notion that "it's not going to happen".

      I wonder if opposition to Hitler at the time should have been stopped because Hitler might "go all out" against the Jews.

      Chomsky might have an unintended point here about Israel being a genocidal regime. But Genocidal regimes require fierce opposition.

  • Zionism is apartheid, and worse
    • Dr. Abraham Weizfeld, I would contend that race doesn't exist anyway. When we say 'racist', it is an indication of that obsession in that person about that notion.

      The notion of Jews as a 'race' is, as far as I am concerned, racist. For all practical purposes, the Zionist designation of it as a 'nation' (and notice that in pre-Balfour declaration deliberations the terms 'race' and 'nation' were used quite interchangably), is a racist designation. It's the same racial notion, with a veneer of modern 'civility' in that it applies the title 'nation' which so many associate with modern liberal statehood.

      Now the original Zionist vision was that of a white European colony. Yes, of Jews, but of the white kind.
      Yet Israel was faced with a demographic need, and through complexities which I shall not enter here for brevity, got an Arab Jewish population which was considered downright inferior by the early European Zionist establishment. So much so, that even Genocide could rather easily be inflicted upon them (and I speak here of the 'Yemenite children's affair' of 1950's).

      Israel's European establishment tried to separate the 'Arab' from the 'Jew' in various manners, which I again shall not delve into here. Only few of these Arab Jews have cared to boldly declare themselves as such - notable examples are authors Naeim Giladi and Sami Michael.

      The ideological separation of the Jewish from the Arab is not a result of circumstances - it sits at the heart of the Zionist venture. It was already existent in the British separation of Jew and Arab in mandate ID's, and this became part of Israel’s recognition of 'nationality' - you could be Jewish, or you could be Arab - but you couldn't be both.

      The aim of this is multiple. It 'gathers' the Arab Jews into the fold of 'Jews' and separates them from 'Arabs', increasing the 'Jewish' count; it reduces the native Palestinian nationality to a vague 'national' concept devoid of precise connection to Palestine - making it morally easier to expel them (under the racist notion that they have 22 other Arab countries to go to - how bad can it be?); Finally, it suggests that there is no national colonialist issue here - for Jews are simply a nation amongst so many others (Israel recognises over 130 nationalities, but not an Israeli one).

      In the end, all this is a veil. A veil for a colonialist takeover IN THE NAME OF JUDAISM. That Israel, the Jewish State, considers people of darker complexion as part of its 'own', doesn't make it any less racist, nor any less colonialist. The skin color issue is only an excuse for the racists to claim it isn't racist, just as the existence of a minority of Israeli Palestinians is used as an alibi to exonerate the ethnic cleansing of their vast majority.

      Race is what we make it to be. And Zionism has made it to be 'Jewish', as a 'nation'.

    • Apologies, Yonah Fredman, I really didn't notice it.

    • Yoni Falic, thanks for asking.
      A few days ago, Jeff Halper wrote an article about 'Israel's endgame':

      He lists the points as definite things that will happen.

      I cannot say that I am convinced, and basically I am wary of being too definite about the future - I profess no prophetic abilities, and can only look to the past in attempt to possibly and carefully suggest how things might go.

      But the past is extremely worrying. What is also worrying is how little effective opposition there has been to the Israeli colonization scheme. Do we need more photos of dead children and pulverisered buildings?

      For those who have been expelled and lived their life in exile, they have experienced the end game already. Those babies who died in Gaza by the touch of an F-16 button, they've experienced the end game.

      The question we must be asking ourselves internationally is, how do we up our game to stop this. It could in principle go on and on, as Dayan's "no solution", where Palestinians "live like dogs". If the world accepts it, it becomes normal.

      I haven't got an answer. But I think we need to keep working on answers to Israel’s continuing genocidal policy.

    • Jack Green, "Zionism does not rely on ancient myth. The early Zionists were atheists" .

      Here's Ilan Pappe: "The secular Jews who founded the Zionist movement wanted paradoxically both to secularize Jewish life and to use the Bible as a justification for colonizing Palestine; in other words, they did not believe in God but He nonetheless promised them Palestine."

      And here's a bit cited by me:
      In 1936, there was a mass revolt of the indigenous Palestinian population, known as ‘The Great Arab Revolt’. The British government, which at that time controlled Palestine with its Mandate, sent a committee to hear out representatives of both sides and try to resolve the ‘Arab-Jewish conflict’. The chairman of the committee was Lord Peel and one of the witnesses to testify before the Peel Commission was the chairman of the Jewish Agency: David Ben-Gurion. Ben-Gurion spoke of the right of the Jews to the land of Israel. When he finished, Lord Peel turned to him and asked, “Mr. Ben-Gurion: Where were you born?” “In Plonsk, Poland,” he answered. Lord Peel continued, “If a man lives in a house for many years and suddenly, someone else appears and claims ownership of the house, international law dictates that the burden of proof rests upon the claimant, not the current occupant. Mr. Ben-Gurion: Do you have a deed or contract of sale that gives you the right to take the place of the native Arabs who have lived here for generations?” On the witness stand was a copy of the Bible, upon which the witnesses had sworn. Ben-Gurion suddenly picked up the Bible in his hand and declared, “This is our deed!”

      More on that in my article "Zionism is not really secular"

    • Yeah, Down Under Girl, 'doctored picture', huh? Those AFP, Haaretz, Reuters, Mondoweiss, they're all the same. Using cheap Palestinian Photoshops...
      I know the pictures can be downright unbelievable sometimes, but we just have to grapple with reality, you know?
      And thanks for bringing to mention the 'Arab Israeli' woman who got a role at the Israeli Opera. Netanyahu also mentions occasionally that there's an 'Arab' Supreme Court judge in Israel.
      I was writing about that above, if you noticed: "Thirdly, just because they are perhaps the most fortunate sector of the Palestinian people, doesn’t mean that they are its essential representation, or that Israel should get a pass on its more overtly genocidal policies (as in Gaza), only because it treats some of the Palestinians better. A jail torturer is not less of a torturer just because he treats some prisoners well."

      On several levels, 'Israeli Arabs' (2/3 of whom identify as Palestinians, BTW), serve as Israel's alibi. Alibi against ethnic cleansing. Alibi against Apartheid. And here you are, citing the opera singer and saying it would never have happened in South Africa (so this couldn't be Apartheid, as it were). But as mentioned, not only Jodi Rudoren says that it 'looks a lot like Apartheid', but many of those who have seen and experienced SA Apartheid first hand, say it is WORSE. It doesn't have to be identical.

      Finally, remember that the Nazis also had 'Jewish orchestras' in Theresinstadt ghetto, and they lined it up nicely for the ICRC visit. No, Israeli Apartheid and genocide don't have to be identical to the Third Reich. Neither does Israeli Apartheid have to be identical to South African Apartheid. But to insist upon pedantic exceptions is the work of apologists.

      As Polish writer Irena Klepfisz,who was born in Warsaw in 1941 and whose father died in the Warsaw ghetto uprising, wrote:

      "Am I to feel better that the Palestinians... were not shot by the Israelis but merely beaten? As long as hundreds of Palestinians are not being lined up and shot, but are killed by Israelis only one a day, are we Jews free from worrying about morality, justice? Has Nazism become the sole norm by which to judge evil, so that anything that is not its exact duplicate is considered by us morally acceptable? Is that what the Holocaust has done to Jewish moral sensibility?"

      (From "Dreams of an Insomniac: Jewish Feminist Essays, Speeches, and Diatribes" by Irena Klepfisz (1990), in Michael Neumann, The Case Against Israel.)

  • 'You are a Jew, you need to stand with the Jews': Peace activist Ariel Gold assaulted by settlers in Hebron
    • Echinococcus, the soldiers were genuinely surprised to know she was Jewish in the end. Given, if she had been American AND of Palestinian descent, her American status might not have helped as much. Then I should perhaps edited to 'not Palestinian' rather than 'American', but I'll let that be, and try to be more precise next time.

  • 'The metal detectors are just the first step': Palestinians say Israeli takeover of Al Aqsa is red line that can't be crossed
  • Israeli minister says Palestinians are bringing a 'third Nakba' upon themselves
    • Thanks Jwalters. I once asked Norman Finkelstein (about a decade ago) about this change of tune from Morris - why was Morris apparently even contradicting his own earlier findings?
      Finkelstein said that there was logic to the madness - that Benny Morris wants to become Israel's court historian.

  • 'You are thieves of history!' Hotovely tells Palestinians, waving books at them
    • And if it wasn't clear enough this time, I had clarified the case in my earlier article on the UNESCO resolution, where I also cited Orly Noy's take:
      "Esther and Mordechai’s Tomb in Hamadan, Iran is recognized by the Iranian authorities as a Jewish site, yet no one would dream of calling it an Israeli site. Just as the Church of the Multiplication in northern Israel is a Christian site, yet is located in Israel and therefore an Israeli site.”

      See, 'Christian' and 'Israeli' can go together. One is a location, the other a religious affiliation. They can, and should be able to overlap, no big deal really.

    • Keith, yes, I have read Uri Avneri's piece.
      He seeks to ironically present a response which he regards as overwhelmingly Israeli, and it goes like this:

      "And here comes UNESCO, the anti-Semitic cultural branch of the anti-Semitic UN, and declares that this is a Palestinian holy site!

      Is there no limit to Jew-baiting?"

      Now, you make a big point of distinction between location and ownership - as does Avneri. His point is, that it's not a Palestinian site as such - it's just LOCATED in Palestine. If it were the former rather than the latter, then, according to Avneri's irony, it would naturally justify the 'anti-semitic' perception.

      But would this perception be justified in itself?

      It was Netanyahu who played this straw-man, when he said in this respect "Palestinian...meaning not Jewish".
      But why does 'Palestinian' mean 'not Jewish'?
      Can a site not be located in Palestine, generally regarded as a Palestinian site just as various churches are Israeli sites, and maintain its relevance and significance for various religions - just as UNESCO affirms?

      Avneri's logic seems to somehow justify this conflation of state and religion - suggesting that only when it is specified and clarified that it is merely a 'location', then the alarm is off. But the question is why the alarm goes on in the first place.

    • Sibirisk, is Haifa an Israeli city? I would say yes, it is located in Israel. Does it also have a substantial Palestinian population? I would say yes, as over 2/3 of Israel's Palestinian citizen population considers itself 'Palestinian' and not as Israel defines them - 'Israeli Arabs'. Does this make Haifa into a Palestinian, or partly Palestinian city? Only under certain historical and cultural notions, but mostly it would be considered an Israeli city. Are the Bahai gardens in Haifa Israeli sites? I would say yes, they are located in Israel.

      You see, it's not that big of an issue anyway, to formulate 'Palestinian heritage sites'. So yes, you can say 'Heritage sites located in Palestine', but I don't see the great issue here.

      As to the Israeli settlements - yes the world community understands they are made BY Israel as illegal settlements - as war crimes really - but they are not considered within Israeli territory.

      It's obvious that Israel would promote listing its big settlement blocks as 'Israeli cities', but they are just Israeli illegal settlements.

    • Keith, "No it didn’t. According to Uri Avnery, it designated these as World Heritage Sites located in Palestine" -

      But that doesn't negate what I wrote either. Is Al-Khalil in Palestine? Yes, says most of the world community. Is it then a Palestinian city? Yes. That's not really complicated.

  • What happened in the Israeli Labor Party 'revolution'? Nothing.
    • I'm sorry Yonah Fredman that you didn't find my article stimulating, innovative or hopeful enough. Let me know another time when you think I've done a good job, so I know where the standard rests.

  • Israel charges UNESCO with 'Fake history'
    • M1945, as the Times of Israel reports about an earlier May resolution of UNESCO, the agency wrote that Hebron (and Bethlehem) was an “integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” and that it “deplores the ongoing Israeli excavations, works, construction of private roads for settlers and of a Wall inside the Old City of Al-Khalil/Hebron which are illegal under international law and harmfully affect the authenticity and integrity of the site.”

  • A burning Zionist and non-Zionist debate the settlements
    • Are you a smoker, JoeSmack, or a non-smoker?
      If you're the latter, I would still see it as natural and legitimate if you went out and spoke about the damages smoking can cause. You wouldn't have to call yourself an 'anti-smoker', although you could. Your choice.

      It would obviously seem odd if you WERE a smoker and advocated for people to stop. That would be a bit contradictory.

  • The issue isn't the 'occupation', it's Zionism
  • US diplomats say Western Wall is in West Bank, and Nikki Haley backpedals
    • Point taken RoHa! That's actually kinda funny...
      Yes i probably should have stuck to past tense, and gone "where WAS he buried", that's much less controversial!
      I didn't really mean to offer any challenge to the resurrection story...

  • Why are Israeli children brainwashed to hate?
    • Thanks Elizabeth. I believe I should correct, that Barenboim did perform with the East West Divan Orchestra also in Israel (Jerusalem at least I know). They performed in Ramallah too (a good documentary - Knowledge is the Beginning). But I think what you may be referring to is his refusal to perform in Israeli Jewish illegal settlements. He was asked on Army Radio whether he would do so, now that he performs in Ramallah (as if that's the same). He was vehemently against it. His clear and vociferous of Israel’s occupation has won him great unpopularity amongst many in Israel.

    • Very possible, thanks Yoni.

    • Let it be known, that I had voiced my own concern to the editors, about posting a video which I did not have the prime source of. I made full disclosure of not having it. Nonetheless, the content of it is really not doubted by med for a moment as being authentic. I have checked the translation for being precise. I have provided context from an Haaretz article that puts this whole trend in perspective.

      Finally, let it be noted, that if this was a Hamas video showing Mickey Mouse educating kids to take over Palestine, I'm not in doubt that it would be on all mainstream in no-time. Let's not lose perspective of the bigger story here.

    • I have checked the subtitles in English against the Hebrew spoken, it is precise.

    • So, Yonah, your suggesting that this video is simply a staging by Palestinians in order to give Jews a bad name?

  • Israel's proof that Marwan Barghouti is a terrorist – a cookie
  • 100 senators throw their bodies down to end UN 'bias' against Israel
  • Gilad Atzmon’s attack against me – the 'merchant of JVP'
    • You seem to have missed my irony, Citizen. I can't explain it, just like you can't explain a joke without ruining it.

    • Well you know what? I've decided I'll answer those questions anyway. This is not on Atzmon's turf anymore, but I'm making it in 2nd person as a fictive interview. Atzmon seemed somewhat upset when he put this article on his FB wall, said I had inflicted a 'little shoah' upon myself (obviously a dog whistle for anti-Semities and Holocaust-deniers of all kinds). He suggested I simply 'can't' answer those questions. "Why? Zero integrity is obviously the answer", he wrote.

      Although I think I have made my point in the article, I thought, you know what, now that so many people seem to be upset about me not answering the questions - then why not? So here are the answers to all questions, with various analyses of the twists in the questions:

      GA: 1. Your decision to present your moving appeal in English is a significant choice. Rather than talking to Israelis you talk about Israel. I went through a similar transition, rather than talking to Jews I made a decision to talk about Jews.

      What led to your decision?

      JO: Well Atzmon, that’s already a twist in your second sentence. You say “rather than talking to Israelis you talk about Israel”. Let’s see what I actually say, ok?

      “I will not write this in Hebrew, although that would probably have been the most direct idiomatic tool to reach your minds. I will not do so, because I have had enough of dirty laundry recycled amongst us “self-understanding” Israelis. Whilst I write to you, my hopes of change coming from within us Israelis have regrettably declined in the years – and thus, I am also, if not more so, placing my bets upon the involvement of the international community – whose help we need so badly – not for more cash, weapons, or apologetic “understanding”, but rather for its intervention in what we are apparently unable, and mostly unwilling, to fix.”

      I speak in second person, do you see that? My title is “to my fellow Israelis”. My point is obviously that I am not excluding Israelis in my address – but rather including all others, as well. There’s a huge difference.

      Now you say that you went through a “similar transition” – that is, based upon your mentioned twist. So the ‘similarity’, for you, is in the sense of ‘Israelis’ being similar to ‘Jews’. And you thus decided to exclude Jews, as it were, from your address, and simply talk about them. Whilst it could be interesting to discuss the parallels between Israelis and Jews, they are simply not the same.

      GA: 2.  I am slightly confused by your attitude to Zionism:

      a.      You seem to argue that Judaism and Zionism are distinct entities; is this really the case? Is there a clear dichotomy? Where does Judaism end and Zionism starts? After all, rabbinical Jews are atthe forefront of the racist crimes against Palestinians.

      b.  I understand that some rabbinical communities are opposed to Israeli and Zionistcrimes, but they are certainly small in number and have limited influence, don’t you agree?

      c.  Like you, I grew up in Israel. My experience was that Zionism was not a driving forcein our upbringing. It was an archaic idiom referring to some Diaspora figures that made it into streets names in Tel Aviv (Herzl, Pinsker, Zobotinsky etc.).  We joined the IDF because we were Jews not because we wereZionists. Do you really believe that Zionism,  that oldpromise to bring the Diaspora Jews to Zion, has once again become a driving force in Israel?

      d. You say, “We were brainwashed to think that Zionism is our saviour.” Were we really?  (by the way, I am not saying you are wrong, I am curious to know why you say what you say, I accept that Israeli society may have changed)

      e. You say our soldiers died “primarily for Zionism?”  Maybe you want to define more clearly what Zionism is and what Zionism has meant for you.

      f.   As you know, Israel is not a country it is a state, Palestine is the country. Soldiers die for ‘Medinat Israel’, the State of Israel. Some rabbinical Jews prefer to talk about Eretz Yisrael -the country of Israel. For them Eretz Yisrael is a holy Jewish continuum and they are willing to fight and die for it. Whether we like it or not, they are Judaically driven rather than Zionistically motivated. Is there a clear dichotomy between ‘the religion’ and ‘the political’ there?



      a.    Judaism and Zionism are two entities, although they interact. I spoke about “the ostensibly inextricable tie that Zionism has made between itself and Judaism, in monopolising Judaism”. There is a nationalist element in Judaism, and any religion can apply its notion of ‘its people’ to justify tribal violence. That doesn’t make Judaism Zionist. There are many Jews who are not Zionist, in varying degrees of faith from secular to orthodox.

      b.    That Zionism currently has massive representation amongst Jews internationally, does not mean it has always been so. At the beginning of the Zionist movement Zionists were a fringe. This only shows the power that Zionism has. Still, you can’t say it IS Judaism as a generalism.

      c.    Are you saying that the Left-center “Zionist Union” has its name for nothing? (besides The World Zionist Organisation, Zionist Organisation of America etc.). Zionism has come to manifest in Israel. This makes it convenient to speak about “Israel”. Still, the Zionist aim is there. Its essence is to preserve a Jewish Ethnic majority, to substantiate a “Jewish and Democratic state”. You might think that proves it’s about ‘Jewishness’, but I refer you to my point a.

      d.    Yes, it’s a metaphor, I use it to draw a metaphor to Jesus and sacrifice. The notion about Israel saving Jews from another Holocaust, as it were, is probably plainly understood by you. That notion of ‘saving’ is based on the idea of providing a ‘national home’, a ‘national refuge’ as it were – as it requires the Zionist principle of ‘Jewish state’. It’s rather straightforward logic, I thought.

      e.    I don’t need to clarify again, that soldiers who die for Israel, the manifestation of the Zionist aim, die for Zionism. If Israel weren’t that manifestation in its raison d’etre, they wouldn’t be dying primarily for Zionism.

      f.    Once again, those who want to talk about ‘Eretz Israel’ as a holy Jewish continuum, and believe they are fighting Amalekytes in biblical times – let them believe so. I’m not here to get into the heads of those who believe in myths.



      GA: 3. Do you really believe that the Jews or the Israelis can “stop it now”?

      Have Jews ever stopped themselves voluntarily?

      JO: Yes. That doesn’t mean it should be left to Israelis (allow me to put aside the ‘Jews’) to do so without pressure. Your ‘do you really believe’ could be applied to South African Apartheid. Did you really believe they would stop? Of course, it requires pressure. ‘Have Jews ever stopped themselves voluntarily?’ – now you’re pulling me to the ‘Jewish’ thing again, although that wasn’t my point. OK – you consider yourself an ex-Jew. But when you were ‘Jewish’ – did you ever stop yourself voluntarily? No? Well if not, maybe that’s just a personal trait that you have come to project on ‘Jews’.


      GA: 5.  “A state is not people” you say.  “A state is a regime, a paradigm of governance.”

      Is Germany, France or Turkey just a paradigm of governance? Do we deny the existence of the Germans, French and Turks? Assuming that Palestine becomes a state, will we then deny the existence of the Palestinian people? Accordingly, what kind of people are the Jews, especially given that most of them are not physically connected to a land (the land of Israel) ?


      JO: Let’s see what I say, in context: ‘A state is not “people”. A state is a regime, a paradigm of governance. A state may belong to its citizens – but then neither “we” nor Israel constitute a real state. For the State of Israel is the state of those who hold Jewish Nationality – which supersedes their citizenship.’

      So yes, I am pointing to the problem of the Israeli national model, where only Israeli citizenship exists, but not Israeli nationality. This is a problem, and this can be solved by regulating religion down to a minor role in which it does not supersede nationality. That’s how UK can be a ‘Christian state’, but you can be a UK national also if you’re Muslim.

      GA: 6. You rightly say “I refuse to be a part of this “we” if that means some ethnic-religious-national mishmash superiority.” Yet how could the Jews celebrate their Jewish collectivism while avoiding exclusivity or choseness?


      JO: They can celebrate it like they celebrate Hanukah, like Christians celebrate Christmas and Muslims celebrate Ramadan. It can be done.


      GA: 7. You seem to defend Judaism in light of the tie between Judaism and Zionism and I am slightly confused:  are you an observant Jew? If not, why do you feel the need to defend Judaism?


      JO: Am I defending Judaism? By suggesting it does not need to be relinquished? Well, yes, like I’m principally defending the right of people to be religious, or atheists, or anything in between. Am I defending it ‘in light of the tie between Judaism and Zionism?’ No, that’s just you’re assertion. I am not an observant Jew. I practice very little if at all anything of Jewish tradition. Why do I ‘feel the need to defend Judaism’? Well, adding to the above, if you don’t defend the rights of people to have a belief (other than what you believe is legitimate to believe) – then it’s tyranny, isn’t it?


      GA: 8. Obviously, I agree with you that Israel and Zionism are engaged in horrendous crimes.

      But as far as I can tell, Jewish Bolsheviks were engaged in crimes of an even greater scale.  According to Yuri Slezkin, Jews were “Stalin’s willing executioners”. Neocons, a Jewish American political school have inflicted greater disasters than Israel or Zionism.

      Is it possible that Zionism is just one symptom of a disastrous Jewish political continuum? 

      Can you imagine a peace loving Jewish political existence?

      Can you point at such a body in Jewish history?


      JO: Ah, Jewish Bolsheviks. Yes, many Jews were part in the Bolshevik revolution. Does this make all Jews Bolsheviks by nature? Many Germans were Nazis. Does this make all Germans Nazis by nature? You mention Yuri Slezkine (it’s with an E at the end). His book referred to in this respect is ‘The Jewish Century’ from 2006. The phrase “Stalin’s willing executioners” is said to be found there (I have not read the book), but the phrase has become so intriguing that Kevin McDonald’s 17.000 word review of the book, widely circulated, has come to present the phrase as if it was the title itself

      It is a rather interesting that McDonald’s first bloc quote is of Hitler, and whilst he regards it ‘extreme’, he seems to be supportive of it.

      The irony is, that on page 92, McDonald concedes that “again we see the importance of Slezkine’s claims that Jewish Communists lacked a Jewish identity.”

      You see, Gilad, this is your claim – that “Jewish identity”, “Jewishness” is the problem. You consider that ‘Jewish identity politics’, also when there’s no Jewish State. So your assertion that it’s all just one “disastrous Jewish political continuum” suggests that there’s no escape from this continuum – but to relinquish “Jewishness”. Therefore the question cannot be separate from ‘politics’ – thus you ask “can you imagine a peace loving Jewish political existence’? But I am advocating to separate the Jewish from the State. For you that’s not enough, it would seem – “Jewishness” would continue. Yes – Judiasm, Jews, Jewishness, whatever, they should be allowed to continue. Israel has existed since 1948. So a ‘political existence’ as in a Jewish State hasn’t occurred before that in the past few millennia. But for you it has. For you it’s a one continuum from time immemorial. I find that somewhat Zionist, in a strange kind of way.

    • That’s a valid concern Donald Johnson. It was my initial concern, that whatever I said was probably only going to serve that agenda.
      On the other hand, some people are just unaware of what is behind Atzmon's 'activism'. That needs exposure too. That exposure will no doubt give him publicity and attention. Maybe he trives on this attention, even when it's negative - still, he needs to be known about, on turf that is not his own setup.

    • Keith, you assume a lot here. I've written my points down. You seem to be troubled by my not having copied in what I first wrote on Michael Lesher's thread as a warning - in fact, at first I did fully, but decided to paraphrase a bit so as to avoid literally 'quoting myself', but I did provide a near exact citation. Here's a copy of what I wrote on the thread:
      "I never wrote this publicly before, but Atzmon did once ask to interview me. At that point I only read a few quotes and was warned in advance. Then came the questions. I will not repeat them here. I did a bit more background check, saw a video of his talk. I saw where it was going, and I realised that I would lose any way I answered. I asked politely to back out. I got admonished for lack of 'intellectual integrity'. At that point i knew that a distance had to be kept, and that anything I did or said would likely be held against me.
      It's very rare that I would simply avoid discussion with someone. But this was beyond discussion. It was disturbing at another level."

    • But that doesn't make Miko Peled a Holocaust denier, or even trivialiser.

    • Thanks JD65, it's a very rational dissection there. Thanks for your patience in making it.

    • And Keith, as to Finkelstein's points on Holocaust -
      Finkelstein uses two distinct terms in regards to the Nazi Holocaust: One is "Nazi Holocaust", to refer to the actual events. The second is "Holocaust" to refer to the 'industry' around it.
      Finkelstein does this, I believe, precisely in order to differentiate the two aspects.

      I do not need to get into the "soap" issue Atzmon brings. That is known to be a hoax disseminated by Simon Wiesenthal and Deborah Lipstadt also notes this. That's a shameful invention, and there were others. But that doesn't mean there wasn't a genocide, with gassings, and a Holocaust, if you see what I mean.

    • Keith, I'll try to be short, and give you full disclosure on some of your wonders.

      First of all the questions are in Atzmon's own article which I linked to. At first, I didn't think it was necessary to put them all out there, I thought the last multiple question could do. Then in the editorial process, there was interest to have the questions appear early in the article, to give the reader a sense. So then I put them all up, but it ended up being like a lecture by Atzmon instead. So I opted for a selection.

      You, too, in seeking to convey the 'positive' point, have made a selection. We need to summarize to convey a point, and that's not suspicious or unfair.

      My point is not that all of Atzmon's points are suspicious. I am making the critical point of how he takes those points and where he leads them. It's the low point that I am pointing out. My point about 'losing' is that with him, if you don't agree to the assertions, you are still on his interview turf. And it seemed that it was not a discussion as much as it was a 'test'. I don't want to be tested by a person with such notions.

  • Israel packs seven lies into one statement on the Palestinian hunger strike
  • Sean Spicer needs to go to a Holocaust center
    • Annie, I watched the interview and shared it on my Facebook wall - and then people noted it was pulled. It is indeed gone from that YouTube link, I'll see if it exists somewhere else.

  • The liberal double standard on boycotting North Carolina and boycotting Israel
  • Why so many are twisting Ken Livingstone’s words about Hitler and Zionism
    • L.Willms, I don't know that it's right that the Revisionists supported the boycott against Germany. It was a largely American Jewish liberal move
      The Revisionists had alliance with Fascists, and do not forget Lehi leader 'Yair' Stern's letter of 1941 to the Nazis offering strategic alliance.

    • Thank you CigarGod. I come from music and still feel most at home kicking ass with Mozart and Beethoven. Although I've found use and purpose in writing, I don't see myself taking up law in near future - but who knows...

    • Thank you Sibiriak. Coming from you it is a real honor. In fact, earlier today, when a friend asked me what I thought about Larry Derfner (referring to his recent here), I simply copied your response on the thread. I had no further comment.

    • Thanks Tom, very relevant. It was obviously impossible to extend too much in an article, I even had to cut short on my rebuttal of Bogdanor to keep it concise. This is a very big and long story, and it's sad that a lot of it remains shut (as the Haganah files on their official Folvar Polkes who met with Eichmann several times are shut). Moreover, Zionists are often relentless in their attacks against those who seek to open up the discussion, as the Livingstone case shows, and as you have already experienced yourself.
      It is a critical debate. The fact that even matters from over 80 years ago are proving so contentious, shows how live this history really is. We have not yet really come to grips with it.

  • The explosion hidden inside the UN Apartheid report
    • Thanks GusCall, well you may have a point there - I could have gone 'the report' rather than 'Falk and Tilley' - as it is noted in advance in my former linked article that they are the authors. I mentioned their names in regards to the emphasis they did not make, which I would make for the purpose of my focus. True, I could have written 'the report', and it would have been less personal. I did not mean it as any sort of attack on their person, merely an additional focus.
      I think I have made it clear that their prerogative was more on the question of Israel as an Apartheid state, where Zionism plays as a side question which they do address.
      It could be a thing to change if it was crucial, but in respect of generally not changing article texts unless a direct false claim is noticed, I would opt to leave it at that.
      But thanks for noting that, I see how such noting can cause an implicit sense of uncertainty about why names are stated all of a sudden.

    • Thanks very much QQQ. I used the euphemism 'shelved' so it would serve as a connenctive one between the report and UN 3379 - although their cases are different in several senses.

      I will follow with interest to see the developments the report may cause. It cannot be buried.

    • Thanks Just. Some truths I think are self evident.
      "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

      We should know better than to let words die on paper in favor of 'realpolitik'.

  • Apartheid wears a veil
    • Well, James Michie, full disclosure: I did not select the title myself. I think my suggested title was "THE ISRAELI APARTHEID UN REPORT WAS SHOT DOWN AFTER TWO DAYS, BUT LIVES ON".

      Nonetheless, the title has full validity, in that it refers to a point made in p. 30 of the report: "By developing discrete bodies of law, termed “domains” in this report, for each territory and their Palestinian populations, Israel has both effected and veiled a comprehensive policy of apartheid directed at the whole Palestinian people."
      Now, I don't know how ironically, or how seriously, you meant what you wrote, James. Nonetheless, there is a point here which, although having been rather clear to me for some time, does nonetheless fool many. It is the 'divide and rule' both in the sense of regime, but also in the sense of propaganda. The report elucidates how Israel is both able to hold the trappings of democracy, whilst not actually having it.

      I have great respect for the ability to convey such notions. It's not enough to know things. That knowledge needs to become effective, conveyed, disseminated. I am therefore not at all cynical about these findings, formulations or titles.

    • Thank you for authoring it, QQQ.

  • Steve Bannon's Judeo-Christian 'Camp of the Saints'
    • Pixel is wondering whether I seriously quoted something from the Huffington Post.
      This is of course a rhetoric quip, to suggest that this is an unreliable source.
      But you see, I check my sources. I happen to have the material, which is presented in quote (and recording) also from other sources, and I read all of Bannon's speech to the Vatican 2014.
      When you have common sense and a basic scrutiny, it's possible to even quote from Breitbart - as I did regarding its co-founder.
      Citing sources is not about repeating analysis of another, or taking their take on the story. It's just a crediting of who brought forth what.

      The story then becomes mine. So if you have a problem with Huffington, Breitbart, Adelson funded Israel Hayom or religious-nationalist Arutz 7 (Israel National News) which I also quote from occasionally, then that's your business. I use the material and provide it critically, with a transparent link, and it's thus possible for the reader to scrutinize the news themselves. That's how you escape the hyperbole of 'fake news' - you simply scrutinise whatever source.

      I hope that helps.

    • Juan R has left a series of 'reports' on...what? Terror in the 'west'? I opened every single article, and every story contained an unclarity about the motive. In some cases it is admittedly assumed as mental instability.
      Juan R does not provide any actual personal analysis, merely a citing of texts - where the main points appear to be not the events themselves - but a reference to earlier events. This paints over the actual cited events, which in themselves do not confirm any particular pattern, as their motives are nuclear.

      Juan R is thus appears to be attempting to make a point. One is left to wonder what it is though.
      Is he trying to say 'Bannon was right'?

  • 'BDS is a terrorist movement' - exposing David Collier
  • A Palestinian state has always been a fiction for Zionists
  • From life in prison to 1.5 years - the Elor Azarya 'manslaughter' sentence
  • Israeli supermarket chain glorifies army killer on grocery bag
    • Thanks Just. Well, if you watch the recent documentary film 'The Lab' on Israel's weapon industry, you'll see General (res.) Amiram Levin saying "these people were born to die. We just need to help them to it".

      It would appear Azarya was thus merely "helping" Al-Sharif, because, as Azarya himself said, he "had to die".

      It's interesting that Levin has more recently come out in defense of Breaking the Silence, against the accusations that they were 'traitors', attacks that also came from defense minister Yaalon. Seen in the light of Levin's aforementioned statement, it would appear that he subscribes to the "shooting and crying" idea.

      But people like Azarya don't need to "tell" about their deeds - everyone saw it. And that's the problem. Israeli soldiers are apparently supposed to "help Palestinians die", and be able to vent their disturbed feelings. But legal accpuntability is a whole other universe. We seem to apply it in diluted formula, when there seems to be no choice, when the PR price is just too heavy.

    • Thanks, point taken. A lot more could be listed...

    • Thanks Hasbara Buster - point taken.

    • YoniFalic, it says "ohavim am Israel".
      Ohavim is a plural verb, as in "loving", as in "loving you".
      I don't think we need to lose focus on the bigger issue at hand because of these semantics.

  • Israel has had a 'Muslim ban' from the start
    • Oh yes there are no doubt differences, Atlantaiconoclast. I don't know whether you meant that as a strengthening of my point, or a countering of it.

      In case it was the latter, I would just say that I wrote: "So Netanyahu congratulates Trump for the wall: “Great success”, “Great idea”. It’s already success because it’s not an ordinary wall, it’s a racist wall, like ours. It’s a great idea because walls are our thing."

      This is a rather euphemistic. First, we know that about 700 miles of the roughly 1.900 mile US southern order are already fenced, so it's not only 'his wall'. But 'his wall' is inevitably tied to the rather ridiculous claim that Mexico should pay for it. So it's a wall of racist incitement. That's how I mean it.

      Now the "wall" that Netanyahu alludes to in his tweet, on the southern border, is not really a wall but rather a fence. When I referred to 'racist wall' I was mostly alluding to another wall, the wall that most people would think of - the 'separation barrier' of the West Bank, 85% of which is built on Palestinian territory and hence de-facto annexing vast territories (hence illegal by 2004 ICJ Advisory Opinion). But even if one were to refer to the southern fence, there's the racist aspect too: In 2013 PM Netanyahu said "the decision was taken to secure Israel's Jewish and democratic character, but that refugees would still be allowed to seek entry." Others in his government have complained about the 'Jewish character' threat (like Ben Dahan whom I quoted), and the view of refugees endangering the 'Jewish character' has been shared by MOST ISRAELIS already in 2011 polls,7340,L-4008290,00.html

      Amongst the Ultra-Orthodox, the view was shared by 93%.

    • Thanks Just ;-)

  • Why Israel wants us to say 'terror'
    • HarryLaw - it gets even worse, because Israel doesn't even consider East Jerusalem as part of the West Bank, and there are several other areas like this. I wrote about this a week ago - this is what fools many. In Barak’s alleged 'generous offer' in 2000 he wasn't really oferring 91%. That number didn't include those 'additional areas' already annexed - so it was actually 86%, but it wasn't even that. Here's what I wrote:

      How many percentages of the West Bank did Barak actually offer Arafat in 2000? Figures were circulating in mainstream media of a 96% 'generous offer' at the time.

      Even the more critical appraisals were sometimes based in this idea.
      In the Guardian newspaper on 14 April 2001, diplomatic editor Ewen MacAskill wrote: "The Israelis portrayed it as the Palestinians receiving 96% of the West Bank. But the figure is misleading. The Israelis did not include parts of the West Bank they had already appropriated."

      He had a point about the misrepresentation. But it was also a misrepresentation of a misrepresentation. It turns out that even by the Israeli definition it wasn't 96 but 91%. But it wasn't really 91% either. And what were those "appropriated areas"?

      I found a rather precise answer in Jeremy Pressman, International Security, vol 28, no. 2, Fall 2003 Visions in Collision, What Happened in Camp David and Taba, Harvard,

      "Three factors made Israel’s territorial offer less forthcoming than it initially appeared. First, the 91 percent land offer was based on the Israeli defnition of the West Bank, but this differs by approximately 5 percentage points from the Palestinian defnition. Palestinians use a total area of 5,854 square kilometers. Israel, however, omits the area known as No Man’s Land (50 sq. km near Latrun), post-1967 East Jerusalem (, and the territorial waters Dead Sea (195 sq. km), which reduces the total to 5,538 sq. km. Thus, an Israeli offer of 91 percent (of 5,538 sq. km) of the West Bank translates into only 86 percent from the Palestinian perspective.

      Second, at Camp David, key details related to the exchange of land were left unresolved. In principle, both Israel and the Palestinians agreed to land swaps whereby the Palestinians would get some territory from pre-1967 Israel in exchange for Israeli annexation of some land in the West Bank. In practice, Israel offered only the equivalent of 1 percent of the West Bank in exchange for its annexation of 9 percent. Nor could the Israelis and Palestinians agree on the territory that should be included in the land swaps. At Camp David, the Palestinians rejected the Halutza Sand region (78 sq. km) alongside the Gaza Strip, in part because they claimed that it was inferior in quality to the West Bank land they would be giving up to Israel.

      Third, the Israeli territorial offer at Camp David was noncontiguous, breaking the West Bank into two, if not three, separate areas. At a minimum, as Barak has since confirmed, the Israeli offer broke the West Bank into two parts: “The Palestinians were promised a continuous piece of sovereign territory except for a razor-thin Israeli wedge running from Jerusalem through from [the Israeli settlement of] Maale Adumim to the Jordan River.” The Palestinian negotiators and others have alleged that Israel included a second east-west salient in the northern West Bank (through the Israeli settlement of Ariel). If true, the salient through Ariel would have cut the West Bank portion of the Palestinian state into three pieces. Thus, at Camp David, the total Palestinian land share of the West Bank would have been closer to 77 percent for the first six to twenty-one years. Israel planned to annex 9 percent of West Bank territory while giving the Palestinians the equivalent of 1 percent from pre-1967 Israel. Israel proposed retaining control of 10 percent or more of the Jordan Valley and did not include roughly 5 percent annexation in the total (e.g., Latrun and parts of East Jerusalem)."

      I would dare add a comment to Pressman's otherwise useful analysis, that the 86% is not a "Palestinian perspective". It's just a fact. Those areas were outside 1949 ceasefire lines - period. As well, the additional nearly 10% that were to be 'temporarily' under Israeli control for some 6 to 21 years - if to judge by what happened with Oslo accords and Israeli failure to implement withdrawals from 'temporarily controlled areas' (to be completed before 2000), this would not have boded well. The Palestinians would have had good reason to believe that this was but a means to get away with more.

      Israel's foreign minister under Barak, Shlomo Ben Ami, has himself regarded Israel's security claim over the Jordan Valley as 'mythical', and I would thus summarize and say that Barak was not generous, he was disseminating myths, happily picked up by mainstream media. Yet the impression of 'Palestinian rejectionism' has been the goal of these myths, and that impression is hard to dispel, because many people just remember the slogans.

  • The truck attack that killed four Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem was not 'terrorism'
    • Jackdaw, it would appear that my critical qualification, also attacked by Jon66, is a central point of debate. It would appear that this qualification serves as the grounds for your being able to call me a "*f-king heartless idiot".

      That is really odd, because that qualification is really not that central in itself, and it doesn't even refute that they COULD be called teens, whereas I was being more specific.

      Attacking such a relatively semantic qualification with such obscenity, seems to betray an inability to actually refute the more central claims of my writing, which I thus take as an indirect compliment. So, thank you for that.

      But now, to not be so pedantic, let me assure you, I get the vein of your emotional claim - that I am being pedantic and heartless because I focus upon such unimportant issues, in the face of such events which are so painful and deserve sensitivity (correct me if I have misunderstood your meaning). Well, let me first recommend Michael Lesher's appraisal in Times of Israel (confirming my central claims regarding terror BTW), of how insensitive the mainstream media appears to be regarding the supposed attacker, Fadi Qunbar . I would not be surprised that you would consider this ridiculous - does a 'terrorist' even need to be considered?

      Indeed, Netanyahu did not even mention him as one of the four killed in the event. He is apparently not worthy of mentioning. Then as I mention, Netanyahu does not even mention that the "four young Israelis" (never mind that two are also Americans) are soldiers. That needs no mentioning either.

      Now you may call my pointing out of these seemingly unobtrusive facts to be 'f-king heartless' or whatever, but as Annie Robbins here keeps pointing out, facts matter. And Netanyahu's omission of such facts is very, very tactical. It is made to garner emotional support for people to consider it 'heartless' not to condemn this 'terror'. This narrative, nicely followed by much of MSM, provides us only two uncritical options - to either StandwithIsrael, or to be against it and on the side of the terrorist evildoers. That's the essence of it.

      This narrative allows 95% of Jewish Israelis to support a massacre of over 500 children in Gaza, and they will not consider themselves 'f-king heartless'. This is the narrative that allows 2/3 of the public to support Elor Azarya's cold-blooded murder, and the figure goes up to 84% amongst military aged people of 18-24. And the prevailing motto of support will be that Azarya is everyone's son. He's a boy. But the Justice Minister Shaked will advocate for the genocide of the little Gazan children, the 'little snakes', and that's not 'f-king heartless'.

    • Jon66, I did not refute they could be called 'teens', but provided a more specific description - notably including the adult of age 19. It's not either or. It's just that when you say teens, many people often would think of people who are not adults. I just wanted to specify and did not refute 'teens'.
      As to your citing of NY Times and the Hamas connection, as Talknic also points out below, it actually defies your point, as it says "“But the documents, related to an investigation and indictment of the man suspected of leading the kidnappers, provide no evidence that the top leaders of Hamas directed or had prior knowledge of the plot to abduct the three Israeli youths.”

    • Thanks Annie. Let's read Gideon Levy on the duty, and the right, of Palestinians to resist: - But let's not leave it at that. Let's relate to Hophmi's claim about "no right to dress in plainclothes and use a civilian vehicle to kill people under international law."

      Now, let us not even go in depth into the fact that Israeli troops regularly act in plainclothes (Mistarvim) and infiltrate Palestinian demonstrations, sometimes shooting them in the leg and taking them away. Let us not even delve into the myriad of Israeli killings in plainclothes on foreign territory. No - let's go straight to the argument regarding 'international law':

      United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978:
      “2. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;”

      General Assembly Resolution A/RES/3246 (XXIX) of 29 November 1974:
      "3. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation form colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle; …
      7. Strongly condemns all Governments which do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people;"

      United Nations GA resolutions may not be as binding as SC resolutions (and as a side note, when have SC resolutions really bothered Israel anyway - it just flouted 2334), they still reflect a certain consensus regarding the law from the international community.

      These resolutions do not regard terror as such, and it is clear that terror can be applied even by occupied people - but the main issue about that is the nature of the victimising - not the occupied victim. That is, that if it targets civilians, that would be a terror act (as Eva Smagadz points out above), regardless of the fact of occupation.

      Broadside bring up an example of the Warsaw ghetto - and asks sarcastically whether Jews should have stolen a tank and taken on uniforms in order to resist 'lawfully'. This reflects one of the major problems within the paradigm of occupation - that by the fact of the occupation, the militant factions are often considered illegitimate by the occupier, so it is often pointless to wear an outfit, although some more organised militant factions do, like Hizbollah and Hamas. Now someone could come and say, that the Palestinians have the PA which is armed - but the PA has an official and explicit security cooperation with Israel, so it is obviously NOT the force that can be applied to resist occupation.

      The suggestion would thus be that NO ARMED RESISTANCE should be possible for Palestinians - despite the international consensus about it. What should they do then? Ah, use boycott, divestment and sanctions - which is generally known as protected speech. But when that's against Israel, it suddenly becomes 'diplomatic terror', as Israel's top diplomat Tzipi Hotoveli (deputy Foreign Miniser, Netanyahu holds the portfolio of Minister) recently said.

      Hophmi also seems to take this line, loosely conjuring guilt by association, suggesting some columnist here has 'advocated such behaviour', indeed that 'Mondoweiss always does' - and then connects that to BDS to suggest that BDS is violent.

      It's an astounding feat of logical gymnastics that Hophmi is performing here before us.

    • Thank you Eva.

  • Memo to Kerry: Support for one state is growing among Palestinians and Israelis
    • Catalan, that 1 state is there, and has been for decades. We can't just sit back and watch, because what we'll be watching is the continued genocide. It is necessary to fight for a just and fair and equal regime in this paradigm.

  • Kerry, interrupted
    • Thank you dearly, Just. This is so spot on. You know, I was just speaking with Gideon Levy today for an hour, and we talked about the Kerry speech and the 'classical' nations of the 2 state solution (I noted also that it used to be an 'extremist' Palestinian approach...), and he mentioned what Diana said, exactly the last paragraph (I didn't know they were on Democracy Now together today). It's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks Just.

  • 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' -- Really?
    • Fair enough jon s, yet I did refer to various Torah quotes which on the face of it seem to profess this 'love'. Nonetheless, I provided a critical view of how even such advocacies can be conditioned and superseded by other, less 'loving' decrees. In the end, my main focus stemning back from the Spencer-Rosenberg debate, is how this plays out in actual current Israeli policy and ideology. It is regretfully not the most kind of policies, and often the more murderous interpretations that gain power, as I have shown. I believe that religion is what we make it be. So is nationalism. I am not blaming Judaism for making things what they are. It's a question of which strains gain power, in both religion and nationalism, as they actually play out, dually, in Jewish State.

  • Why a Texas rabbi keeps losing a debate over Israel with a white nationalist leader
    • Keith, you are attacking an interpretation of what I wrote as disingenuous. Of course assimilation was possible on its own, but the belief was that it's either a complete conversion or a maintenance of some Jewish identity, where the latter would mean that the gentiles would always eventually persecute Jews, no matter how 'assimilated'. The logic suggests that 'mixing in' will always eventually mean a 'disappearance' either by custom or eventual persecution - unless there was a decidedly isolationist venture that would protect the Jews in one place.

      This a rather uncontroversial Zionist logic.

  • Boycott, from within and without
    • Benedict, you keep speaking of "destruction", but I'm talking about transformation. Destruction of Jewish State is already being practiced by Israel.

    • Very good article Nada

    • An extensive response to Benedict:

      “Hi Ofir- The issue is not whether to boycott or not but what are the goals of the boycott. In the case of BDS the ultimate goal is to destroy the Jewish state. Most Israelis regard this goal as deeply offensive and dangerous hence the attitude to those who support it. Assuming the goals of BDS will ever materialize it will risk the lives of countless Israeli jews and dash the hope for jewish independence. Why should any sane Israeli support such goals?”.

      I thought that this one deserves a comprehensive answer, mostly because it is a predominant view not only amongst the wide political spectrum in Israel, but also amongst some liberal intellectuals worldwide.

      To address the last sentence first: “Why would any sane Israeli support such goals?” – this suggests that Israeli BDS supporters are insane. Let us then examine, what these goals are, according to the responder:

      “The destruction of the Jewish State” – this is a claim that seems to encapsulate the essential goal (no other goals are specified).
      Let us test this assumption against the three BDS demands:

      1) Cease of the occupation and dismantling of the wall. This does not mean destruction of the Jewish State. In fact, ending the 1967 occupation is something that many liberal-Zionists want and have been fighting for – as I have noted in my article. Whilst one could be arguing that dismantling the wall could endanger Israelis, the fact is, that this wall is illegal not because it exists – but because 85% of its existing and planned route are on occupied territory. This is, ostensibly, in order to protect settlements – but the settlements are illegal. The International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that Israel had a right to build a wall – but it should be on Israel’s side. A withdrawal from 1967 occupied territories will also mean that the wall could be dismantled – or built if necessary on Israel’s territory, without endangering any settlers – because they simply wouldn’t be there.

      2) Equal rights to Palestinians who are citizens of Israel. Why would this destroy the Jewish State? After all, Israel declared from the start, in its Declaration of Independence, that “it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex”. Why should this even be an issue, if that was the stated intention?

      3) Return of Palestinian refugees. Ah, this must be the difficult one. The argument here is, that potential return of about 7 million refugees would mean that Israel will not be able to ensure its Jewish majority and political sovereignty as Jewish State. But when we look at South Africa during Apartheid, the whites were a small minority, in 1960 about 20%. There was nothing preventing the Apartheid state from exerting Apartheid and exclusivism upon the non-white population. One could then say, that an altered demography, wherein Jews are a minority, will not necessarily mean destruction of the Jewish State. It may make it more obvious that the Jewish State depends upon such anti-democratic exclusivism, but that exclusivism will not start there – it already exists. In fact, this is the argument of liberal-Zionists in regards to “stopping the occupation”, that Israel is governing a territory which contains about as many non-Jews as Jews, and that it will “soon” mean Apartheid. But it already does, since the start. When we say “Apartheid” today, this is most essentially a qualitative term – not necessarily a quantitative one. It doesn’t start when the rulers are a minority. The crime of Apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as acts "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime." In fact, the 1967 occupation meant Israel taking under its control a large Palestinian population (where many were 1948 refugees). This was not an ‘accidental’ result of the 1967 war. As Moshe Dayan stated in 1973: “Among ourselves [the Zionists] there can be no debate about the integrity of the land of Israel [ie, Palestine], and about our ties and right to the whole of the land …When a Zionist speaks about the integrity of the land, this can only mean colonisation [hityashvut] by the Jews of the land in its entirety. That is to say, from the viewpoint of Zionism the real touchstone is not confined to [the question as to] whom this or that segment of the land belongs to politically, nor even to the abstract belief in the integrity of the land. Rather, the aim and touchstone of Zionism is the actual implementation of colonisation by the Jews of all areas of the land of Israel”. (Ha’aretz, February 18 1973, in Moshé Machover ). Israel thus conquered the territories out of the clear wish to hold onto them – but also with the clear wish to avoid having to take into its own constituency “too many Arabs”. In other words – Israel wanted the land, but not the people. This is the paradigm that describes not only the 1967 (and onwards) paradigm – but also the 1948 (and on) paradigm. This is a description of the very essence of Zionism, as it materialized for all practical purposes, in the Jewish State. If preservation of “Jewish State” means Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity, per definition, why would it be so terrible to dismantle it? It doesn’t mean “destruction” as in annihilation of its Jewish constituency – it just means a democratic state.

      In fact, the whole terminology is misleading. States are not people – they are governing constructs. Not only should we separate the people from the state, we should separate religion from the state. What is described here as “destruction of the Jewish State” is merely a separation of religion and state, a separation of the Jewish from the State.

      If anyone thought that the construct of “Jewish State” would succeed in both preserving Jewish exclusivity whilst nonetheless “ensuring complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex”, I believe history has proven them wrong, from day 1. Two first decades of mass ethnic cleansing and military rule of the Palestinian Israelis, followed by 5 decades of military occupation of surrounding territories are more than enough to indicate what many sceptics were worried about at the outset – that this would be an oppressive construct.

      The fact that BDS does not even have to relate to the question of Jewish State as such, and that mere applications of standard international law in themselves constitute an “offensive” and “dangerous” challenge to the Jewish State construct, is in itself telling. It tells, that the Jewish State DEPENDS upon violation of international law in order to exist.

      I would conclude this with a mentioning of the thread response to the aforementioned comment, provided by Mondoweiss Editor at Large Annie Robbins: ““Most Israelis regard this goal as deeply offensive and dangerous hence the attitude to those who support it”. Most Palestinians regard this goal of a Zionist state as deeply offensive and dangerous hence the attitude to those who support it”.

      It is certainly not insane to challenge the Jewish State.

  • Israeli rabbi who advocated rape of 'comely gentile women' during war becomes chief army rabbi
    • I copy Michael Lesher's comment from a discussion we had about this earlier, once again: "For what it's worth, I can add a bit to this mess.

      The Talmud discusses the passage in question (Deut. 21:10-14) at Qiddushin 22a. Most of the passage is devoted to the details of the process that, according to these verses, must precede the soldier's marriage to the captive woman. However, it is unclear from the Talmud whether or not the soldier is allowed to RAPE the woman BEFORE she begins that process -- and commentators, predictably, differ.

      Rashi takes the position Qarim falls back on in his "clarification": namely, that no rape is ever permitted. A few other sources concur. However, the 19th century rabbi -- and famous Orthodox "liberal" -- Samson Raphael Hirsch was unfortunately correct in writing (in his own Pentateuch commentary) that the great majority of commentators disagree with Rashi; they insist that the soldier may FIRST rape the captive, and only then must take the steps prescribed in Deuteronomy 21:11-14. These commentators stress the Talmud's words that the commandment in question was designed with the soldier's "evil inclination" in mind: in other words, he must satisfy his lust, and divine law concedes this much to him, adding only certain qualifications in the event he intends to "keep" his victim. This was clearly the view -- again, the traditional MAJORITY view -- that Rabbi Qarim had in mind when he wrote his first response. Rabbi Qarim then added his own gloss to the effect that anything that helps a soldier maintain his fighting morale in time of war can't be all bad. Given the premises of the previous commentators, I'm afraid I can't call his position illogical.

      I won't waste time on the revolting assumptions at work here -- this passage is perhaps the starkest example in the Hebrew Bible of woman-as-object misogyny. And although commentators like Rashi, Ramban and Ohr ha-Hayyim all clearly wanted to purge the passage of its nastiest aspects, they never won the day. People who naively suppose that today's Orthodox rabbis, in light of modern feminism -- or just basic decency -- would be rushing to disown these laws, or at least the most vicious interpretations of them, don't know much about the rabbinate.

      The real point I think this episode illustrates -- and this is one that's hard to fit into a tight paragraph -- is the methodological dishonesty employed by far too many Orthodox rabbis when they discover their Talmudic analyses are reaching an unexpected audience and that the audience isn't happy with what it's hearing. Instead of telling the truth about the traditional material they're interpreting, or even -- still more breathtaking -- acknowledging its moral flaws, these rabbis spin the material into the form that best suits their purpose at that particular moment, hoping the reader won't know how to check sources for herself and will never realize she's being lied to. Afterwards, of course, the rabbi can go back to the faithful and repeat what he really believes.

      I doubt that many outside the Orthodox Jewish community realize how often this sort of thing happens when rabbis address a non-Orthodox public, or how easily, almost unconsciously, rabbis like Qarim lapse into dishonest apologetics once they realize something they've said didn't have the desired effect on an unfamiliar group of readers. Israel Shahak's savage critique of the Orthodox rabbinate on this score was, alas, quite justified. And when influential rabbis play this game -- in this case, a rabbi whose word is relied on by real soldiers in a real army, dealing (all too often) with real captives -- the consequences can only be disastrous. I can assure you that no Orthodox IDF soldier will be impressed by Qarim's backpedaling, because he will understand at once what it means: that's the story for THEM; the real story is more complicated, meaning, in the end, do what you want, it's all right, no one can blame you (assuming you can get away with it). Some religious counsel."

    • Hophmi, it's strange, because it appears you might not have actually read my article - I cover, with considerable detail, the particular passage. I have also scrutinised the distinctions between rape an marriage, how the inquirer in 2003 asked specifically about rape, how Qarim answered about rape, and how in 2012 he tried to backpedal by talking about "marriage" in detail, whilst only addressing rape in one sentence. It actually appears that Qarim is in the concensus regarding rape, that is, BEFORE the rest of the acts prescribed regarding marriage. I would recommend to read Michael Lesher's comment which he posted in an earlier discussion about this: "For what it's worth, I can add a bit to this mess.

      The Talmud discusses the passage in question (Deut. 21:10-14) at Qiddushin 22a. Most of the passage is devoted to the details of the process that, according to these verses, must precede the soldier's marriage to the captive woman. However, it is unclear from the Talmud whether or not the soldier is allowed to RAPE the woman BEFORE she begins that process -- and commentators, predictably, differ.

      Rashi takes the position Qarim falls back on in his "clarification": namely, that no rape is ever permitted. A few other sources concur. However, the 19th century rabbi -- and famous Orthodox "liberal" -- Samson Raphael Hirsch was unfortunately correct in writing (in his own Pentateuch commentary) that the great majority of commentators disagree with Rashi; they insist that the soldier may FIRST rape the captive, and only then must take the steps prescribed in Deuteronomy 21:11-14. These commentators stress the Talmud's words that the commandment in question was designed with the soldier's "evil inclination" in mind: in other words, he must satisfy his lust, and divine law concedes this much to him, adding only certain qualifications in the event he intends to "keep" his victim. This was clearly the view -- again, the traditional MAJORITY view -- that Rabbi Qarim had in mind when he wrote his first response. Rabbi Qarim then added his own gloss to the effect that anything that helps a soldier maintain his fighting morale in time of war can't be all bad. Given the premises of the previous commentators, I'm afraid I can't call his position illogical.

      I won't waste time on the revolting assumptions at work here -- this passage is perhaps the starkest example in the Hebrew Bible of woman-as-object misogyny. And although commentators like Rashi, Ramban and Ohr ha-Hayyim all clearly wanted to purge the passage of its nastiest aspects, they never won the day. People who naively suppose that today's Orthodox rabbis, in light of modern feminism -- or just basic decency -- would be rushing to disown these laws, or at least the most vicious interpretations of them, don't know much about the rabbinate.

      The real point I think this episode illustrates -- and this is one that's hard to fit into a tight paragraph -- is the methodological dishonesty employed by far too many Orthodox rabbis when they discover their Talmudic analyses are reaching an unexpected audience and that the audience isn't happy with what it's hearing. Instead of telling the truth about the traditional material they're interpreting, or even -- still more breathtaking -- acknowledging its moral flaws, these rabbis spin the material into the form that best suits their purpose at that particular moment, hoping the reader won't know how to check sources for herself and will never realize she's being lied to. Afterwards, of course, the rabbi can go back to the faithful and repeat what he really believes.

      I doubt that many outside the Orthodox Jewish community realize how often this sort of thing happens when rabbis address a non-Orthodox public, or how easily, almost unconsciously, rabbis like Qarim lapse into dishonest apologetics once they realize something they've said didn't have the desired effect on an unfamiliar group of readers. Israel Shahak's savage critique of the Orthodox rabbinate on this score was, alas, quite justified. And when influential rabbis play this game -- in this case, a rabbi whose word is relied on by real soldiers in a real army, dealing (all too often) with real captives -- the consequences can only be disastrous. I can assure you that no Orthodox IDF soldier will be impressed by Qarim's backpedaling, because he will understand at once what it means: that's the story for THEM; the real story is more complicated, meaning, in the end, do what you want, it's all right, no one can blame you (assuming you can get away with it). Some religious counsel."

    • Very important, thanks Annie

  • Answering Yair Lapid's (contemptuous) questions about refugees
  • Condemn! Condemn!
    • Jackdaw, if we're going to be that specific, we'll have to say that Israel didn't actually conquer the Syrian Golan in 1967, because Dayan (then Defense Minister) commanded the invasion without telling his Chief of Staff (Rabin), nor, more significantly - his PM (Eshkol).
      It does not have to be our great concern that there have been rogue operations because of power fights within Israeli government. In the end, Defense Minister Lavon resigned. I do not know whether Ben Gurion was involved - very likely yes, I would say. But in the end Israel did this - but denied doing it. And then honored the "heroes".
      I feel no need to make apologetic qualifications for such things.

  • With BDS order, Cuomo imports the anti-democratic spirit, from Israel and France
    • Mcohen, in your response to Annie, you write "there is no bad or good.everything is paid for in blood and treasure. you should be grateful you live in america."

      If there is no bad or good, then no state is better than another. Why should Annie then be grateful to live in America? It is after all not worse or better than any other country? Ah, perhaps because America managed to get more "treasure" by "blood". So the argument is supposed to be that it's a rich country (and that's the only thing that counts, because it can't be a "good" country anyway. According to the US debt clock, the USA debt is very close to 20 trillion USD. (, where a lot of that is simply war expenditure and maintenance of about 800 military locations worldwide. So we could talk about how, or whether, this "blood" is actually producing "treasure". By your logic, USA is not policing the world in order for it to become "good", or to remove "bad regimes" - because there is no bad or good. It is spilling blood in order to get treasure. Ironically, I think this is the logic underlying the many interventions. I think it's bad, really bad. But you don't believe in good or bad.

  • 'I am Palestinian and I am human' -- and Leanne Mohamad, 15, is disqualified from UK speaking competition
    • Barmalei, you write "Then, the girl said 30,000, not 9,000, and this is a falsehood that as a rational individual you should condemn and not condone the same way as you are prone to condemn a falsehood coming out of the mouth of Netaniyahu".
      I don't have time to comment other aspects of your response at this point, but Annie Robbins did answer with a few aspects I wish to further here.

      First of all, Leanne's reference is to children killed since 1948. My reference, in admittance that it is a moot point and that statistics on this have been hard to find, is about deaths ONLY SINCE 2000. If you would want to equate the two linearly, you would have to multiply the figure I gave by about 4.5. In any case, I referred to her reference being also more general, in regards to killings - as she alludes to indirect deaths, which are not included in my cited statistics.

      Now Annie Robbins wisely refers to another case, indirectly - the Holocaust. If someone were holding a speech on that - would it make the marked qualitative difference if they related to Raul Hilberg's 5.1 million Jewish killed estimation, or the more popularly referred 6 million?

      And since we are speaking of the Holocaust, I would like to use this as a reality check in regards to "killed" and "murdered". So if someone holding a speech on the Holocaust would say that 6 million Jews were "murdered" - that would go down pretty normal, wouldn't it. If they would say "killed" - that would be considered even more conservative. Would anyone chide the speaker for regarding those people Jews who happened to die not from a bullet to the head or any direct execution as such, but rather from conditions of life inflicted upon them in ghettos and concentration camps - that they died from disease, or malnutrition etc. - regarding them as "killed", or indeed even "murdered"?

  • Israeli 'chutzpah' versus Palestinian 'sumud'
    • Apologies for not following ALL responses, but I see that Ohplease makes a claim here, as to item 1 involving ALA fighters. This is simply not in the text, and I cannot see its basis. You state that you are not denying the Nakba or claiming that the "call to flee" (by Arab leaders) is the only reason for the exodus - in this respect it is interesting to note how Benny Morris categorically refutes the Shabtai Teveth 'theory' about this. It is a myth that has become widely inculcated in Zionist culture:
      In the first chapter of 1948 and After, Morris outlines his refutation of the single-cause thesis to the Palestinian exodus. On p. 31, he writes: "In refuting Teveth's single-cause ("Arab orders") explanation of the exodus up to 15 May, I pointed out that there is simply no evidence to support it, and that the single document Teveth is able to cite, the Haganah report of 24 April, refers explicitly to "rumours" and to an order to "several localities" (rather than a blanket order to "the Arabs of Palestine"). Moreover, neither these "rumours" nor the purported order were referred to again in any subsequent Haganah intelligence report (which surely would have been the case had these "rumours" been confirmed and had an actual order been picked up). The fact is that the opposite occurred: Haganah intelligence and Western diplomatic missions in the Middle East at the time, around 5–6 May 1948, picked up, recorded and quoted from Arab orders and appeals (by King Abdullah I, Arab Liberation Army Commander Fawzi Qawuqji, and Damascus Radio) to the Arabs of Palestine to stay put in their homes or, if already in exile, to return to Palestine. Not evidence of "Arab orders" to flee but of orders to stay put during those crucial pre-invasion weeks. It flies in the face of the chronology, which there is no getting around. There was an almost universal one-to-one correspondence between Jewish attacks in specific localities and on specific towns and Arab flight from these localities and towns;"

      Now even if there were defensive forces (and note that sometimes the appearance of "Arab irregular" forces has been a matter that could cause flight, see item 8 in the IDF document), that could hardly justify that the village be attacked just because it has people to defend it... in egregious cases which I have covered in detail, the taking out of fighters only precipitated a large scale massacre of the civilian population (Dawaymeh, Tantura), and it was generally the case that the village would be expelled and demolished - this was the case hundreds of times. Had the objective really been just taking out military resistance, all the rest would not be necessary.

  • Zionism threatens to bring anti-semitism full-circle
    • Thank you for the correction Rashers - I believe I submitted it simply as HMG but it got edited, and we are so used to it meaning HER MG in recent times...will submit correction.

    • Thanks Dan. Hmm you're not going to hang me on my words here, but I would say it is an unreasonable, emotional and not logically propelled hate of Jews. I mean, that's what I see the term is supposed to mean when it's not misused. Of course, the term, which I understand is a rather late application from 1860 by the Austrian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider (1816-1907), is in itself somewhat misleading - in that it's subject group doesn't only refer to Jews, and that most of these are not Semites in any ethnic way. Unless you relate to the Hebrew of the scriptures as the 'Semitic' aspect - but hardly any Jews spoke it as daily language at the time - in fact this was already the case in Jesus' time - they would apply Aramaic for the most - still Semitic perhaps, but you get my meaning... In any case, although I might be a 'nerd' here on the term itself, what is important in my mind is to relate to what it is SUPPOSED TO MEAN in our times - because it is also this common meaning, regardless of the intricacies in the term, that is also often being misused. See my recent article 'Don't say the Z-word' for how now, even the word 'Zionist' is suggested by Zionist pundits to be another form of Anti-Semitism. So it's an important discussion, that is: What is reasonable, grounded criticism, and what is mere racist hate?

    • Thank you very much Bandolero.

  • 'Maximum Jews, minimum Palestinians' -- Yair Lapid is the pretty face of ultranationalism
    • It may surprise you, JLewisDickerson, that the source of the "Auschwitz borders" term is actually not the Likud, but rather the left, labor Abba Eban. He said this at the UN in 1969 (in regards to withdrawal to pre 1967 lines): "We have openly said that the map will never again be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and of principles. The June map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger. I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz."

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