Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4733 (since 2009-11-18 22:41:33)


I'm retired after teaching philosophy for some decades. I am a secular Christian, very interested in biblical scholarship, with decent Greek but must learn some Hebrew. Rather obsessed with ancient multiculturalism and belief that Palestine was always multicultural and multiracial, while Jewish cultural influence in the wider ancient world was greater than is supposed.

Showing comments 4733 - 4701

  • Advice to British leftwingers on kicking racism out of their anti-Israel rhetoric
    • I too have difficulty in seeing why Livingstone - he's a strange man - chose to mention Hitler's supposed support for Zionism in his (Hitler's) supposedly rational phase.
      The following all seem to me to be true - a) Hitler facilitated Z through the Haavaara Agreement b) Hitler, a major dictator, was - even in his supposed rational period - very hostile towards Jews, seemingly blaming them for the 1918 defeat c) Churchill sympathised with Z d) Stalin facilitated Z very effectively in 48 e) Stalin, a major dictator, was always very suspicious of Jews, thinking that they were natural supporters of his main adversary Trotsky f) Hitler took some steps to improve the position of German pensioners.
      None of these, severally or together, imply anything at all either way about the merits or faults of Z either at the time or now. Nor does f) imply that UK pensions should be raised or lowered now. False propositions can imply true ones, bad moral maxims can imply good ones - a scheming man whose schemes are furthered by helping a deserving cause is still a bad guy acting for bad reasons but the cause is still deserving.
      However, Livingstone is not creating a genuine apologia for H unless he thinks that H was acting for purely good and true reasons, which, since truth cannot imply falsehood, would mean that Z was good. That's not what he thinks.
      As for the 'one man's this is another man's that and both descriptions are correct' argument, it is false in this case. Descriptions with conflicting factual or moral implications - and in this case the conflict screams at you - cannot both be true.
      I think Naz Shah's remarks about the fantasy map, moving the East to the West, were legitimate satire on the reality that Israel is in many ways the West in the East.
      I think Mr. Cohen's concern with words in Western ears rather than facts before Palestinian eyes and lashes applied to their backs - these appear only to vanish - is morally mistaken. All in all, his remarks make me quite uneasy. If he only wants to show pro-Palestinians how to argue effectively the uneasiness actually increases.
      We sometimes say on Mondoweiss that the effectiveness of the 'Anti-Semite!' accusation is declining or that it arouses only ridicule. It looks very effective in this context.

  • Vice News spins Israeli army propaganda as 'leaked report'
    • Like saqib I think that the treatment of Vice News is a bit unfair. Their report did not, for all I could see, endorse the Army position. They had a duty to report to readers what the content and style of the official propaganda actually was. They do not conceal the outpouring of support for the brutal deed. They draw attention to the way in which military crimes have been elaborately investigated with absolutely minimal results, so they aren't inducing readers to swallow the official military view.

  • BDS or emigration: pick one
    • Occupation, I think, is a completely legitimate thing if former hostilities have ceased, if the occupiers make absolutely no claim that the territory is theirs, if there is reasonable provision of the necessities of life and if it is clear that government will soon - soon enough for people to make their plans on that basis - be restored to the former sovereign or to repesentatives of the local population. There can be some ambiguity about whether hostilities have really ceased - In Paris 1940 Petain said they had, de Gaulle said they hadn't. In Berlin 1945 there was little doubt about this and no right for German civilians to cut the throats of British soldiers. If the British had said that Berlin was a nice place, part of the historic inheritance of Queen Victoria and they'd rather like to keep it things would have been different. Then we'd have moved from Occupation to Conquest.

    • I think this sort of awful stuff comes to close to breaking MW rules, but at least it's elicited very useful responses from you, Kay, and from yt.

    • Tedious, aren't they?
      It is true that BDS is not now strong enough to bring the occupation to an end, and in this matter many considerations are in play, of which potential rocket fire is one, though I doubt that it is of major importance. The situation will continue if BDS does not manage to create much more trouble than it now can, if Isrsel does not become confident that it can, either bu itself or in collaboration with the PA, deter further attacks and if no one is willing to attempt to change the situation by means of a general peace agreement. These are of different degrees of probability and desirability but they are relevant for assessing the prediction.

  • Beinart's Jewish double-bind: Support oppression or you're out of the family
    • Naz Shah made humorous reference to (I think) a fantasy map in which Israel has been moved to the United State 'with pocket money to spare' out of the enormous current subsidy. The language and context were not, as far as I can ascertain, at all threatening, though apparently she used the Nazi-style word 'transportation', which seems quite insubstantial as proof of actual Nazi sympathies. If she had used the Zionist word 'transfer'! There is usually a serious idea behind political jokes but this, a fantastic projection of the ME on to the West, is an entirely acceptable satire on the actuality of Israel as, among other things, a projection of Western power and Western ideas on to the ME.

    • Yonah, do you know Eric Cline's popular and award-winning '1177 BC, the year civilisation collapsed'? Not too contrary to liberal Zionist sensibility, I would think. There clearly was some readjustment in the mid-1100s, with Gaza and much of the coastal strip becoming Palestine, which I think must be a Hittite-derived name, and the highland areas becoming proto, very remotely proto perhaps, Israelite. There was still a system of indirect Egyptian rule, of which stories like the Donation of Gezer in II Kings 9 are traces. Nothing wrong with a bit of speculation. My speculations always make the place quite multicultural.
      There was mention in the article of Herod as if he had been widely resisted by Jews, but I think his religious policies won a lot of support. He may have been better than most rulers over history in making citizens of different religions and races feel secure.

  • It is time to stop celebrating Jewish dissent in the Palestine solidarity movement
    • Well, Dan, I recall that when I first became involved in a race-related problem I thought that being white and English gave me some responsibility. I'm not sorry I felt that way. I don't think I was trying to put a white face on a non-white problem. If Ian Bermsn has a sense of responsibility and wishes to be of service, rather than to take control, he is doing a good thing and his conscience is in the right place.

    • There is in practice something that only Jewish people can do, ie give pause, within discussion in Western countries, to the onrush of assertions that support for Palestinian rights is prejudice against Jews. I expect some Jewish voices to be raised to this effect amid the crazy circus that has opened up here in the UK over Naz Shah MP and many of us will be very grateful to hear from them. They stand a chance of being taken seriously and getting editors to publish their views.
      It takes nothing away from the work of these good people that this situation, where their speech stands a special chance of being heard, does perpetuate the suppression of everything Palestinian. It will be a long time before a Palestinian will be allowed to protest that the daily cruelty inflicted on Palestinians is hardly mentioned except when some reference to it includes words which might conceivably recall the vocabulary of the Nazis and then the words completely overshadow the deeds.
      If you want to see a very different process, have a look at the 'I' newspaper, the life after death version of the Independent, for April 28, where there is a remarkable article by Emran Mian, director of a major think tank, headed 'I was a thoughtless anti-Semite, like far too many British Muslims'. This too seems to me to invert the importance of words and deeds. We will watch that space for some time before we see an exposition of the Palestinian experience at first hand. The most likely source for 'balance' will be Jewish

  • Norman Finkelstein on Sanders, the first intifada, BDS, and ten years of unemployment
    • You're right, of.course, that Palestine is what we're talking about - but 'occupation' to me is a weak and misleading term. This is not a lawful occupation but an attempted and ongoing conquest and violation.

  • Chabon calls occupation 'the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life' and says he is 'culpable'
    • Are you really accepting, hophmi, what would be a welcome acceptance to the likes of me, that this is a genuine injustice, not simply a hardship? You go on to suggest that it is the sole means so far available to a morally valid end, which would not make it an injustice by most people's standards: Chabon would be quite wrong in his key statement. If it really is an injustice we could get your 'not as bad' arguments re slavery, the rest of the ME and so on, into better focus.

  • Another interview on Israeli TV
    • I don't think that Palestinian use of violence has been or now is nil, though it's also true that they have shown great restraint. I was saying that to call boycotts violent because they favour the Palestinian cause when they are clearly a protest against the overwhelmingly greater violence - and daily cruelty, as you say - on the Israeli side is misleading and absurd, to put things mildly. I don't think that we have much disagreement about that.

    • 'Rothchild', I think. Whether she is a scion of the great Rothschilds or has changed her name to make a point I don't know.

    • I'm sorry I didn't apologise appropriately for the obvious inadequacy of my first comment which did not acknowledge Alice's many references to the occupation. Health problems at home!

    • I took the call for an and to the Jim Crow-like situation as a call for civil rights for non-Jewish Israelis, apply the analogy of the American civil rights movement, and 'occupation' to mean what it normally does, ie what goes on in WB/Gaza. I noted the reference to second class citizenship but there wasn't much emphasis on extension of citizenship to non-citizen residents, though that is implied (still not emphasised) by 'all inhabitants' in the Declaration. Recognition of the Nakba and the refugee crisis are not the same as even partial recognition of a right of return. To end the occupation is not in itself to end a screamingly unfair division of territory.
      The Declaration may contain some beautiful, though not very original, phrases. The aura of prophetic sanctity is not genuine. Overall it is not beautiful at all,,but paradoxical even to the point of ugliness,, encompassing unshared immigration rights for some and the violent exclusion of others, presumably because they had fled a war zone and were thus not inhabitants. I accept that the article makes many highly valid points but it isn't to my sense a beautiful statement. Mind you, when have I ever said anything beautifully?

    • It's indeed courageous to expose oneself to a vicious hate campaign. I think we've encountered the argument here that boycotts are violent because they are an aspect of the Palestinian campaign, which is in part violent. Even though the truth is that there is a campaign afoot in which both sides use violence,,one overwhelmingly more than the other, and boycotts involve no physical force in themselves and are in part a protest against the massive and disproportionate violence we see.

    • I agree that people who claim to be part of a living and breathing movement for peace and justice but who say that peace and justice need certainly not come at the expense of their brilliant academic or other careers need to ask themselves some further questions. I'm sure it's true that Israeli academia is far from 'questioning the underpinnings' but is rather shoring them up. However, the article seems to say that acknowledgement of the Nakba plus full civil rights for non-Jewish Israelis will be enough without further redress. The approving quotation of that Declaration, a fig leaf over the Nakba, is quite distrurbing.

  • 'NYT' exposes Clinton as most hawkish candidate when it's too late for readers to choose
    • I'm glad we're hearing more of you again, Antidote. I tend to think that the investigation of Clinton's alleged crimes is totally sham, just going through the motions. Police investigations can't really intervene amid all the passions of a political campaign, at least if there are no dead bodies.

  • The end of apartheid in Israel will not destroy the country, it can only improve it
    • I don't know what sense of 'indigenous' is intended but it is impossible to apply it in the same sense, with the same imputation of right, to the current Palestinians of Palestine, who were almost all born in the place and inherit a normal right to remain there, equal in every way to my right to remain on the soil of England, and to those of the current Israelis, many of whom were born there but who mostly owe their presence to force with no subsequent treaty of peace or achievement of mutual undesrstanding. To which we may add that no glimmer of compromise is on offer.

  • Thousands of Israelis fill Tel Aviv's Rabin Square in support for soldier who executed Palestinian
    • I'm not sure that it confirms or even suggests that any solution is possible, or at any rate within reach. I don't think we should ever forget that the 2ss, in every form canvassed, is deeply and shockingly unfair. It may be that something which is unfair is also the best thing available but that doesn't matter very much if nothing much at all is available, as seems to be the case here. This freak show plus the grand, brutal gesture over the Golan are very unpromising, are they not?

  • 'Say Hello to Zenobia': A report from Palmyra rising from the ashes
    • Well, it was on a different plane when one considers consent. The Waqf claimed to be acting responsibly by replacing electric cables and the Israeli government did not put a stop to it - at least tacitly consented. The Israel Antiquities Authority did not lend official support, as far as I can see, to the claims of some archaeologists that significant damage was being done to the site.
      There was then the Sifting Project, whose results have been meagre enough to suggest that there has not actually been wholesale destruction. I agree that a regrettable risk was taken. What is needed is an agreement about who is responsible for the antiquities of the place, an agreement which would have to involve international participation if the results are to be credible.

  • 'Forward' columnist and Emily's List leader relate 'gigantic,' 'shocking' role of Jewish Democratic donors
    • Yonah is saying, I think, that anti-Semitism is hatred a)!directed at individual Jews either 'because they are Jews' or on grounds related to the Jewish religion b) directed at Judaism in the abstract. At this rate, nothing falling short of the emotional pitch of hatred qualifies. I think that hatred directed at individual Jews, even many individual Jews, would also fail to qualify if it was caused by real or even supposed bad behaviour on the part of those individuals, unless we exclude the possibility that such behaviour could happen.
      My suggested definitions, in reply to Eva's question, are that racism is negative prejudice related to race (even the White race) and that racism is anti-Semitism if the race in question is Jewish. At that rate no genuinely rational argument (and I think anti-Z is rational) is racist or anti-Semitic in character. No one owns words and anyone may use them as they wish, with the sole obligation of making oneself clear. But I think it's convenient to regard an '-ism' as a belief of some kind.
      My definition is loaded, ie it classifies as anti-S only things that are bad, prejudice being bad. Some might prefer a neutral definition, say making anti-S any opposition - any, not only wrongful or prejudiced opposition - to anything with strong Jewish support, like Zionism. But this leaves it open for anti-Z to be right or wrong.

  • Sanders's leftwing base made him take on Netanyahu
    • My guess would be that Sanders has done a little better than he would otherwise have done because there is a small but no longer quite insignificant block of voters who don't like the ME situation and Clinton's up to the neck involvement in it. Still, it does look, unless the polls are wildly wrong, that New York is about to clinch matters for Clinton and Trump. O mi God.

  • We Stand with Palestine in the Spirit of 'Sumud': Statement from the U.S. prisoner, labor and academic solidarity delegation to Palestine
    • Unlike Israel,,the United State does not hold people subject to its sovereign power without enfranchisement, is not surrounded by refugees claiming a right of return, has laws against discrimination on grounds of race and has someone who belongs to a race once enslaved as President. In some ways, for all its faults, it is genuinely a light unto the nations.

  • 'Anti-Zionism = anti-semitism' is a formal logical fallacy
    • I hope for a 'solution' that will be genuinely agreed and will cause happiness rather than misery, so do not hope that anyone will be expelled or excluded. That said, I don't agree that pushing back ethic cleansers, or heirs who have consolidated their gains amid fire and sword, is in principle just another, perhaps rather more limited, form of ethnic cleansing. It absolutely can't be. If ethnic cleansing is a terrible crime against the weaker race by others then undoing some of its results is not excluding or disadvantaging those others on the grounds of their race but on the grounds of their misdeeds, even if they are all of one race themselves, as ethic cleansers may well be. If the moral rule is to oppose all ethnic cleansing as much as you can then then you cannot follow the role out by leaving its results unchanged when you have a chance to change them.

    • I think that universal human rights are being denied to the Pakestinians and that this bad thing is defended and justified on a grand scale in the West, much more than any other comparable evil.. Therefore I take care to argue against it. I may be wrong but I cannot be wrong for the sole reason that human rights are being denied elsewhere.

    • Just to add my voice to Shmuel's. The IHR seems to be dedicated to the ideas of Harry Elmer Barnes, which began with opposition to American entry into WW1 and developed into what we now call 'holocaust denial'.

    • The two questions are by no means mutually exclusive, are they? Our own mistakes and the ability of others to take advantage are naturally linked. Though one might say that the Palestinians offer an example of people marked down for outrageous treatment by forces that were and are overwhelmingly powerful and implacable.
      The original scapegoat ritual was not a way of blaming others but a ceremony of confessing one's sins and asking for the guilt to be removed.
      There is something horrible about Sacks' saying such monstrous things with such an air of kindly regret and benevolence. Mind you, I'm sure there are Christians who outdo him.

    • I just want to second amigo's remarks

  • Clinton propagates false understanding of Camp David
    • That time went by but it's never entirely the wrong time to make or renew a fair offer. If it really was a fair offer it should be renewed. It was nice of you to call me eloquent. (Maybe you really meant 'verbose'?) As for convoluted style, I don't think I use double negatives any more than you do.

    • My recollection is that the 'offer', in so far as it was a reality, was presented as something for fairly immediate implementation on the model of the Oslo arrangements. Maybe that was wrong, but if it was wrong then I am being too generous to Clinton now: agreement on the Clinton terms then would have led only to at least five years, so we hear, of further negotiations, perhaps twenty - with plenty of opportunity for stoppages and breakdowns. So there might still not be a Palestinian stare even today.
      Surely it is clear that an offer of such an interminable process is not an offer of any actual final status. Surely it is clear that if there is ever going to be a 2ss both sides will have to take the plunge and take a substantial risk. If that sort of risk is unacceptable there will be no 2ss. Not that 2ss is likely in any event.
      Still, it would clarify matters immensely if we could have a proposal of some sort containing whatever staging now seems necessary.

    • Well, I didn't use the phrase 'building blocks of a nation' and would not be sure what it means. The offer, if anything was really offered, was in my view for permanent and increasing subservience.
      However, the important thing is what is on offer now. I would urge all liberal Zionists to urge the Israeli government to put on the table either the same offer or a revised one, explaining what has been changed. Let there just be something proposed.
      If I am wrong to think that there was no offer of statehood or independence in the past let me be proved wrong by the reaffirmation of that offer, in writing for all to read, and let the mistake by me and others be exposed in the ensuing debate. Nothing would be more clarifying than a definite proposal for a final settlement from the Israelis. We might then be able to estimate a gap between the sides and to know how genuine the often proclaimed death of the 2ss is.

    • In a sense, Clinton's statement is true. An agreement along the lines which seem to have been proposed would have led to the existence of something that might have been seen, if you shut your eyes and crossed your fingers, as a 'Palestinian state' but it would not have been independent in any meaningful way but would have been an extremely subservient protectorate, if that term too does not invite too much ridicule.
      What was 'offered' - and it wasn't really an offer but a veiled adumbration of what might have become an offer - was another version of the Allon Plan or Begin's demand on Sadat, which concerned 'autonomy' plus military control. The 'Swiss cheese' feature of these plans were of course a device for allowing the Palestinian areas to be whittled down as opportunity arose - provocations could be arranged when needed - over the long expanse of time.
      We'll never have any clear idea of the details of something not put in writing. Some will say that the Palestinian side should have produced a fully articulated counter-proposal. However, those who say that the Palestinians should have responded differently should call on the Israelis to make some clear proposal in black and white for all to see that could become the basis for negotiations or at least for a clear appreciation of the difference to be bridged. If something went wrong it should be put right now - and that's far more important than recriminations.
      Of course the real Israeli intention is to maintain the sham negotiations, with nothing at all proposed, while gradually pushing the Palestinians out until the point is reached where they are a decorative remnant proving beyond doubt that Zionism isn't racism. Clinton is covering for this intention and its slow implementation.

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  • 'NY Times' publishes op-ed writer's blatant falsehood about Palestinians without blinking an eye
    • This is the logic of 2-statism, which Mr.Areikat - a diplomat speaking on instructions - also follows. He is not calling for expulsion but for agreed withdrawal to Israel-48 as part of an agreement, not because the people concerned are Jewish but because they are what are commonly called illegal settlers. Even then he is spoken of in terms - '6 million' and all that as Peter says - treating him as the new Hitler. This is the way in which massive efforts by many Palestinians to be moderate and constructive are received and abused.
      These efforts to be constructive have amounted to abandoning Palestinian rights on a scale that some, such as echino and me, might consider more than excessive. Still, these NYT responses are hatefully unfair.

  • The Jewish community must choose, between Sanders and AIPAC
    • There is nothing to stop a dispute which is 'about land' from being ideological and nothing to stop the relevant ideology from being religious or religion- influenced, surely?

  • Jewish leaders' excommunication of Sanders aide over Israel will only alienate young Jews -- Open Hillel
    • Israel's existence and all that it does are based on a principle that is widely accepted in the West, the belief that certain rights belong exclusively to people who are Jewish. I think that this principle is morally mistaken, indeed outrageous, in itself and moreover never stood a chance of being put into effect without extreme and continuing cruelty. The truth of these points is not affected by whatever dishonesty and anomie may be prevalent in the PA. The Palestinians have their rights, which are being grossly violated, including the right to a chance to sort out their internal problems in a genuinely independent polity. The Palestinians, whatever the financial probity of their leaders - not popular people on Mondoweiss - are not holding another population in these humiliating conditions. There are no such humiliations in this world which are a) being inflicted b) enjoying such support and approval, wild praise even, in my culture and my country.

  • Segregation of Palestinians and Jews in maternity wards becomes an issue in Israel
    • I don't think anyone is entitled to act on prejuduce if that action imposes cost or unpleasantness for others. Unless there is a rationally discernible difference in the ability of medical personnel to cure one's ills or show care and consideration there is no right to put the organisation to the trouble and expense of reassigning those personnel to meet one's wishes and no right to insult competent people by suggesting that they make the space around you unsafe - which is horrible. If this prejuduce concerns race it is (by my standards anyway; what do the moderators think?) racism.

  • Note to Progressive Jews: The right of return is not the 'i'm-doing-you-a-favor' of return
    • Experiencing discrimination as much as most Americans is still experiencing discrimination. The difference is that most Americans do not find this very distressing - it's difficult to feel very bad about not being able to do what you don't particularly want to do. But many Palestinian Anericans will be quite seriously distressed, since they have families there and many personal concernsand sentiments: and that is distress as genuinely felt and as genuinely caused by discrimination as the distress afflicted by apartheid or Jim Crow or British counterparts. The way in which sentiments, memories and longings are treated - beautiful if they're Jewish, near contemptible if they're Palestinian - is pretty bad too.

  • Democratic debate: Is Netanyahu welcome at White House on Day 1 or an arrogant, deceptive asshole?
    • I think of universalism is the belief that there are certain rights and duties which are the same for all human beings, never to be disregarded because the person who would benefit if they were observed is 'not one of us', however 'us' and 'them' are defined. Tribalism would be the belief that this form of disregard for rights and duties is sometimes justified. I'm not sure what others mean by these terms.

  • Israel demolishes children's playground near Nablus
    • I should be sad to think, if we are talking religion, that nothing constructive could be made of the Hebrew (or Hebrew-Greek) Bible.

    • I don't think anyone should be ashamed of their background, in the sense of culture or ancestry, Vera. There's good and bad in all of these and the question is how each of us should make the best of it in the circs where we find ourselves. In Jewish culture you have plenty to work on.

  • Against Balance: Thoughts on teaching Israel/Palestine
    • The argument 1. 'Every person,, for instance a Turk or a Japanese, has the right to insist on living in a sovereign state where the relevant group is the majority, but only at limited and bearable cost to others' 2. Jews are persons 3. Therefore Jews have the right...' Is a valid argument, though I consider the first premise, even with its modest wording, mistaken and dangerous. However, it is not at all clear that it legitimises the actual behaviour of Israel, which has imposed so many costs on others - and there are serious questions about Turkey and Japan as well. Not that Western nations are all that righteous.
      If you modified premise 1. to say 'even at unlimited cost to others' the proposition might justify Israeli behaviour but would be even more horrible and absurd. Why do we keep on hearing this stuff?

  • 'NY Times' has double standard for Arab and Jewish reporters
    • Do you consider that non-Jewish Zionists are being drawn into Judaism, the other side of the integrated whole?

  • Israeli journalist Derfner succinctly analyzes the anti-Semitism vs. anti-Zionism debate
    • I maybe approached the outlying line of mangroves before you get to the swamp when I was reading comments on an article by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the now defunct Independent about the Brussels bombs drawing attention to Western misdeeds and mistakes as cause, not of course as reason, for those dire events. The angry remarks about the culture from which the bombers came were disconcerting from what I would have thought was a fairly liberal readership. No doubt you can find worse, really swampy stuff elsewhere.
      In these frames of mind there seems to be very little emotional room even for a nod, let alone a firm statement, in support of Palestinian rights. Others may know better - has there really been a serious pretence of such support from contemporary far-right organisations?

    • I really doubt that the feverish hate swamps of the Far Right generate much support, in any sense we'd recognise, for Palestinian rights. I admit to having little knowledge of the dinosaurs who live there.

  • The Jewish-Israeli navel-gazers
    • There is of course no crime in Jewish people's living anywhere, only in exercising unjust domination: same for everyone else.

    • The Zionist conjunction, 'Judaea and Samaria', suggesting some kind of unit, seems to me to have no Biblical or other ancient authority. Samaria for the most part is the name of a city rather than a region, the capital of the Kingdom of Israel, mainly shown as hostile to that of Judah/Judaea and with a conflicting ideology. The city of Samaria was destroyed twice, once by the Assyrians around 720 and later by the Judaeans around 110.

  • Zionism is not really secular
    • My low-grade research on BG finds him opening Jewish Bible Study institute in Chicago in March 1967, proclaiming himself, in rather Protestant language - 'a Bible missionary'. There is a website called TORCH, the H standing for Houston, run by a group of 'dynamic rabbis', one of whom attests that he talked to BG in 73 and verified the Peel story - mind you, BG may have been humouring him.
      I would understand BG's argument to be that the Hebrew Bible implies both deism with minimal Jewish practice (he attended synagogues abroad, but not in Israel) and, presumably if read scientifically with plenty of reference to WF Albright, Zionism. Thus to declare Zionism false is to declare the HB false and to declare all religion false unless supported on non-HB grounds. The argument carefully avoids declaring Z a religion but makes anti-Z a threat to religion and tradition and moral decency.
      You actually break this argument by asserting that the Bible, however true, very much does not imply Z. That's a really important point!

  • Attachment to Israel is 'central part of Jewish identity,' Forward editor says
    • To me, Zionism is the belief that people who are Jewish, and they only, have an inherent right - 'birthright' - to a share of sovereignty over the Holy Land, others on,y by the grace and generosity of the true heirs, anti-Z being the denial of this. An anti-Z would oppose the growth of illegal settlements in WB: and much more. But someone who opposed only their growth and not their existence or had no other objection to the situation would seem to support the situation which Z has brought about and is unjustifiable unless you accept Z , therefore would be a Z, not an anti-Z at all.
      On other definitions of Z and anti-Z it might be different. But on any understanding opposition to the current reality which was limited to growth of settlements would rouse only limited ire in Mr. Netanyahu's office.

  • Advocate for 'white British people' bridles when Rula Jebreal mentions race
    • I disagree with Mr.Murray in that I'm rather impressed by the massive diversity of origin within the population of our major city: it says something good about the continuing vitality, despite much wrong, of our economy and culture. I don't think that people are foreign on the basis of skin colour or ancestry. However, it seems to follow that negative or dismissive remarks on the basis of skin colour should always be avoided and I think Rula Jebreal was, as Stogumber says, making a cheap shot.
      I don't want anywhere 'overrun' by anyone but don't think that anyone is currently overrunning London or Europe. I note with pleasure that a Muslim, the Labour candidate Sadiq Khan MP, is ahead in the mayoral contest in London at the moment. Islamophobic cards are being played against him quite disgracefully. The outcome will be interesting. He will of course receive many votes from what is by far the largest ethnic group, the 'white British'.

  • Introducing Mondoweiss In Print: 'The World the Settlers Made'
    • A very interesting map, recalling what George Bush called a Swiss cheese Palestine - and did not regard as satisfactory. If you want to remove a population gradually enclaves fit your bill.

  • Shocker: 'NYT' forum on anti-Zionism tilts toward equating Zionism with racism
    • The Bordeaux Pilgrim of 333 mentions (para.591) that Jews would congregate annually, presumably on the Ninth of Ab, to lament the Temple. This may or may not qualify as pilgrimage. Philip Alexander (Targum of Lamentations, 2007) p.84 opens a discussion - which I have not followed! - of how Mourning for Zion was adopted, reluctantly at first he thinks, into rabbinic Judaism.
      It is perfectly understandable that many forms of Judaism would have wished to lament for the Temple. This gives contemporary Jews a perfect right to maintain a theology in which is distinctive and which assigns the Restored Temple a central role in the finale of the drama of Gid's dealings with this world. But it hardly gives them political rights in contemporary Palestine.

    • The analogy I had in mind was not so much post-agreement remorse as failing to make enough of the agreed future payments for goods received now.

    • We might express the idea that there is no right to seize power or property by force simply for one's own gain by saying that every state not itself constituted by invaders and marauders without a later accord and restitution of peace ought not to be attacked for the gain of others and has a right to exist in that sense.
      There can't be a right to exist in the sense of to stay as at present constituted, without significant reform. That would be a right to ignore rights.
      Liberal interventionists say that, because disregard of rights anywhere concerns everyone everywhere, it may be right to use impose human rights partly by force on foreign countries, though the record of such attempts is very daunting, to say the least, and the self- interest of the interventionists raises serious problems of hypocrisy and conflict of interest.
      Liberals who are activist rather than interventionist say that campaigns for rights across frontiers are important and just but must be limited to words and non-violent means.

    • I thank Jon for his comments on the reciprocity of the Oslo days, which are quite true. I remember a very cheerful conversation, full of hope that all would now be well, with a Jewish colleague just after it was announced. How wrong!
      I still think that the Palestinians, the PLO and its heirs cannot be held to what they promised then if the appearance of reciprocity has proved illusory, which it has, I would say.

    • The hope is that enough of Israel's Western supporters have a conscience to make a difference to the outcome. This hope is not beyond the reach of many kinds of doubt, I agree.

    • The Palestinians have often indicated readiness for a 2ss, with a peaceful and secure Israel. However, they cannot be taken to have made this commitment in such absolute and overriding terms, so totally bound to whatever interpretation Israel sees fit, that there is no reciprocal right for themselves if Israel sees the slightest risk to its peace and security in granting it. Their commitment has to be understood as conditional on some reciprocity, and the only logical form of reciprocity would be Israel's readiness to offer and keep on offering some form of tangible 2s arrangement. But all we have now is Isrseli insistence that the status quo, including ever expanding colonisation, will continue indefinitely. If someone makes a commitment because, as it turns out, (s)he has been in effect lied to and practised upon that commitment cannot be binding.

    • Partly true indeed but there are other causes. Christian Zionism was already 2 centuries old when it began, with Akexander Keith's Scottish mission around 1840 and resulting publicity, at last to look like a practical possibility. as the Ottoman Empire was clearly becoming unable to resist Western pressures for certain changes. One of the problems was that few Jews were interested. The philo-Judaism of Daniel Deronda and the Blackstone Memorandum played its part, as well as anti-Semitism, in changing the atmosphere among both Jews and Christians.

    • Congratulations to Phil on 10 years' anti-racist work.
      I would be interested to see a definition of Zionism that corresponded in any way to what has happened and that acknowledged Palestinisn rights in any significant way.
      I understand Z as the belief that people who are Jewish (of that religion or descended from ancestors of that religion) and they only, have an inherent right to a share of sovereignty over the Holy Land. This is not rational, therefore is prejudiced in favour of a group defined by an ancestral feature, in this case religion, and thus prejudiced against those of different ancestry, therefore is prejudice related to ancestry, that is to race, therefore is 'racist' in my understanding of that term.

  • Sanders is in Jewish tradition that rejected exceptionalist nationalism of Zionism
    • (Great-) grandparents good, parents bad or morally ambiguous, perhaps. This is perhaps a bit mythological, a bit like Freud on the murder of the wise Moses by the younger Israelites.
      I went to a lecture by the late Mike Marqusee who spoke of his grandfather's papers, which he said revealed more than anyone needed to know about left-wing factionalism in 1930s New York and also horrible attitudes towards the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine. This is one illustration of the fact that Myerson rather overlooks, that few people over much of the twentieth century, Jewish or non-Jewish, saw much conflict between left-wing and Zionist ideas. Abraham Heschel certainly did not. Myerson does not cite much in the way of left-wing sympathy for those whom the Zionists were, in Kushner's more graphic phrase, screwing over. Deutscher seems on the face of it more concerned with the Zionists' intellectual error than with their victims.
      On theology, which Marqusee also discussed, it's quite true that the scriptures say that the stranger is to be loved as oneself. But one also needs to consider Joshua and the consuming and devouring fire. I don't forget that Joshua is a sacred book for Christians.

  • Palestinians say ‘let us move’ as Bethlehem Marathon kicks off amidst severe movement restrictions
    • I hadn't thought that BG was in the habit of being quite so self-incriminating.
      The 1937 handwritten private letter is notoriously difficult to read, with some of the text scratched out.
      There was an exchange between Morris and Siegman in the NY Review of Books - 2004? - which I think Siegman conspicuously failed to lose - about the intentions of 48.

  • As NY primary approaches, Clinton and Sanders separate, somewhat, on Israel
    • I think that Clinton is very intelligent but difficult for everyone, even for Israel, when it comes to placing full confidence. Her remark about the need for cooperation from Muslim countries may be quite significant. It is of course quite true. There may be facts and necessities that Netanyahu finds himself facing as President C's first and most honoured guest that he does not really like.

  • Liberal Zionists are losing control of US discourse, and they know it
    • How much of an egalitarian atmosphere can be generated on a Zionist planet, though? Could the Palestinians expect, within that atmo, to become enfranchised citizens of a fully sovereign state, with borders, alliances etc.? Could they look for compensation for massive loss of property? These would be steps (I'm not saying adequate steps, but steps) towards improvement short of perfection, the sort of things canvassed in the more optimistic 2ss discussions. Could any ideology which is genuinely Zionist permit going even that far?

    • The step towards Kind and Gentle would come with the statement 'Pakestinians too have a right to exist in the Holy Land'. But that implies an immense effort of redress for the Palestinians and the abandonment of belief in relevant rights that are exclusively Jewish. So really Zionism would have to be abandoned both in theory and in practice, not merely modified.

  • Israeli army stations dedicated PR officer at site of Hebron execution
    • I'm glad that many Germans are gaining this level of information and that some Isrselis are not calling them little Hitlers. But I'm still a bit shocked by the last conversation I had with a German, who felt prohibited from saying anything in any way against people who were Jewish. I tried to say that it was a question of being for the Palestinians, not about being against Jews. That got me nowhere.

  • National Lawyers Guild and human rights activists call for IRS investigation into charity status of Jewish National Fund
    • I'd be surprised to find that War on Want had been in receipt of UK government funding. I'm sure that it's not the favourite NGO among Conservative ministers and that Israel Apartheid Week is regarded with high disdain in high places.

  • 'We don’t want to find ourselves in a position like apartheid South Africa': A report from Israel's first national conference against BDS
    • If anyone else thinks that I am failing to give a fair representation of the views presented here by atech and rugalb please let me know. These may be personas rather than persons but they have certainly stared a case. I believe that these views are shared and I've encountered something like them in other conversations, though I don't know why it should be assumed that these dismissals of the very idea of anti-White racism should always come from Black people.
      The premises of their arguments, that white people are still overwhelmingly privileged and that appalling behaviour by white people in the past cannot but lead to some negative or prejudiced sentiments now, are serious enough. I didn't affirm them but I don't think they can be dismissed out of hand. If they think, as Insuppose they do, of white complacency as rather like a rhinoceros hide they may have a point there too. Declining white life expectancy hardly provides a conclusive refutation.
      Joseph Conrad's remark that the discovery of the Americas led to the greatest outbreak of reckless greed and cruelty ever known makes a serious point in its 1920s way about white people, I think. White domination, white complacency and white guilt are all serious topics.
      Where I disagree with the rugalbs of this world is the inference that there can be no such thing as anti-white racism or that prejudice and contempt expressed in the language of skin colour can be in these or any circumstances a kind of virtue. I once again ask the moderators to make up their minds about this. The conversation is being poisoned,,as annie says.
      I'm not discussing my social calendar but it does have some redeeming features.

    • There are those who say that anti-White 'racism' is OK either because white people have been so privileged in status and so unfair in behaviour that they deserve a taste of their own medicine or because racism is not really there unless persons of a certain race are being systematically damaged, which is not happening to white people just because all those privileges are still intact - just as the rule against cruelty to animals does not rule out sticking pins into the unfeeling bottom of a rhinoceros.
      I don't agree with this argument and I don't think many of us do. It must be true that the moderators either do agree with it or else that they are letting the rules be blatantly broken. In the former case we're contributing to a site whose values are really very different from what most of us had supposed. In the latter case someone is confusing us.

    • I agree completely, Annie. It is possible to ignore some commenters and possible also that those who break the rules of the site may still from time to time make good points even in a thoroughly odious way. However neither of these rather conflicting arguments justifies the long-term poisoning of the comments section, as you rightly call it. To me a healthy, reasonably rule-compliant, comments section is necessary for the vitality of the whole enterprise, which is being steadily poisoned. But I suppose that if Phil won't explain things to you he won't explain the to Qualtrough or me!

    • The continual deaths of Pakestinians are something I want to stop.

  • Finding 1 'Arab' in Israeli basketball, NY Times espouses Zionist racial theory
    • As to the authority of international institutions and to moral,purism - many would say without tuning a hair that political authority derives from a social contract, called (perhaps somewhat miscalled) by some 'the consent of the governed'. This is often treated, celebrated indeed, as a grand self-evident, universally applicable truth. If it is anything like true it renders completely wrong and indeed outrageous the idea that some sort of international committee, which is all that the UN organs are, has some sort of right to assign sovereignty over territory whose inhabitants it has no claim to represent. Echino is completely right about that.
      For my part. I'm not a purist in the sense (the normal sense, I think) of denying that there sometimes has to be compromise in this world. I don't know that Echino is a purist in that sense either.

    • I don't know where this will land in the sequence! Jon says Inunderstand him correctly: but my idea on my understanding of it is full of paradox.
      I can't see how the Jewish and Palestinian claims can be historic in the same sense, since they have arisen so differently, one involving claims that are morally normal, one involving claims that are exceptional.
      If the two historic claims for the two groups are of equal force and validity they must surely convey rights of equal nature, validity and value on all individuals concerned, implying that Shmuel is right about proportionality. However the 'classic' version of the 2ss, which you do not denounce, concedes a very disproportionate share to the Jewish side.
      The idea of Two Historic Claims raises the question of the situation when more or less all the territory was occupied, in accordance with one of the historic claims, by a non-Jewish population with certain civil rights (maybe not as full a set as a modern Westerner would have) and certain rights of property. The Jewish Arrival and the assertion of the other historic claim was still in the future. Were all existing civil and property rights to be considered provisional until that Arrival would take place? I would think it clear that it is contrary to the nature of rights not to be fixed and enduring across time: thus to regard them as only provisional would be mistaken, not to say grotesque.
      Now consider what the Two Claims theory implies when it comes to the Jewish arrival - that individuals on the Jewish side are to make massive acquisitions of civil rights (political power to influence the affairs of the area) and of property, individuals on the other side significant losses of both as the area where they can exercise political power markedly shrinks. At this rate the claim to the moral equality of the Two Claims vanishes, rendering the whole caboodle a tissue of contradiction.

    • So if we have two sets of people in the historic homeland (whatever that means) of both, both sets have a right to some but not to all of it, implying that partition is the right outcome. This would mean that one could be an unjust invader or marauder within the homeland if one took all or planned to take all. Also that it is an obligation to part with some of the territory, even though it is part of one's homeland. Since the underlying rights are supposed identical it would follow that the partition should not advantage one over the other in any way, certainLy not so as to make the eventual possession of the whole by one side comparatively easy or likely. Have I got that right?

    • As ever, I would like to know what 'historic homeland' means. If it is said that people who are living in an area peacefully and whose right to be there is generally and customarily acknowledged (such as the non-Jewish population of Palestine on the evidence, were evidence needed, of the Balfour Declaration and associated documents) cannot be excluded unjustly and wickedly if (this being the conclusive point) the people doing the excluding are descendants or co-religionists of earlier inhabitants I would deny it. I would say that the most obvious and acceptable basis of political right is being set aside for one for which there is no shred of moral argument.

  • Young liberal Zionists, it's time to let go and move on
    • Do we differ here, Mooser? I presume Cohen refers to the Hasmonean-Herodian regime pre-70 CE: the 'last Jewish kingdom' of 2000 years ago. That regime did exist and was indeed (in some sense significant sense of that debatable term) Jewish - but no array of facts about it or its times or much earlier times, including facts about the resemblances (or not) of what was called Judaism then to what is called Judaism now, justify or begin to justify reviving any form of that regime now. Assembling such arrays of facts is, for such purposes, a waste of time. That is a good point, surely - and far from generally recognised. I think Cohen makes it quite well

    • Cohen does use rhetorical emphasis in support of some quite questionable propositions but his tactic here is to concede 'Ziomist facts' in order to say, firmly enough I think, that they don't matter and that argument for them is a waste of effort, since no array of facts about ancient history can justify any claim to revive an ancient regime that ended long ago. All such claims are indeed preposterous. This is genuinely an important point. Mind you, Cohen's attitude to the anti-Zionist Anglican priest Stephen Sizer, recently Krushed without due process, did not please me.

    • I presume that Mr. Chalmers and Ms. Johnson are as British in sentiment as I am. So if they and I had come across a denunciation of British behaviour featuring Nazi-style armbands with Union Flags, we might have been disturbed - that would have been the point - might have suspected that prejudice was at work,, might have thought that it was a pack of lies. Or might have been persuaded, of course. We might have talked back in various ways but I would put it to them that we wouldn't use our hurt and affront, if that is how we react, as if it were in itself an argument for the anti-Brit display to be banned or ignored or despised and treated as false without more ado. Johnson does not mention any substantial point on which the IAW crowd were mistaken, except perhaps that they don't favour 2ss, but even then she doesn't even outline a pro-2ss case.

  • Israelis don't exist
    • Thanks for Merriam W, Sibiriak! I share your judgement about the Zionist claims re 'rights of the Jewish people in the Holy Land', as you know. I would just put it to you that the Merriam W definition gives abundant reason for your being right, since innumerable groups, far too many for any meaningful claim of right by all of them, are 'peoples' by its standards. 'Common interest' - an extremely low bar - clearly makes all religious groups and sects and all football and tennis fans Peoples. An American Episcopalian football fan who likes visiting France and drinking Beaujolais belongs, I think, to at least five peoples. And so on with the other criteria. At this rate Jews are certain,y a people but nothing of interest follows from that.

    • I think that echino and the rest of us are indeed being asked to respect claims to rights made on the basis of being Jewish.
      'Jewish' commonly means (I think) 'being of the Mosaic religion or being descended from many who were of that religion and having one's life significantly afected by that fact, through choice or the attitudes of others' - or something like that. That sort of definition can be understood (and I think would apply to the members of most organisations calling themselves Jewish) but, seeing that there will be many borderline cases and that it will probably include people with hugely different characteristics, it is hard to see it as the basis for any plausible claim of right - since rights are normally claimed on the basis of characteristics, of being a person of a certain sort or status.

    • Sibiriak, I'm asking you what your understanding of 'a people' only to facilitate discussion with you - which is fair enough,,surely. We won't be binding anyone else. I wouldn't mind knowing Yonah's definition either, though that may be different again. As I often say, no one owns words.
      If we set the meaning of a term so that there is a certain objective test for membership of a category - let's say that a duck is defined as something that quacks and that quacking is objectively determinable - then it follows, not by any act of will alien or otherwise but as a matter of fact, that Jemima is a duck by our standards if she quacks. If we decline to set objective tests then we cannot find reason why anyone who is inclined to think differently should agree with us.
      Subjective feelings exist objectively and some people have defined nations and peoples by reference to such feelings, as the Renan tradition does, I think.
      If subjective feelings are to be crucial I would wish to ask whether it is possible to lack all such feelings, and therefore to be a no-people person, or to direct them towards two or many groups, therefore to be a many-people person.
      Liberal use of terms without explanation of what they mean to each of us in discussions where they seem to be understood differently by different contributors creates only frustration and rancour.

    • Well, echino, perhaps we both think we're Napoleon, in which case we form or form part of an easily identifiable set, say 'pseudobonapartes', membership of which seems to depend on self-ascription. Several sets determined by self-ascription do exist. Being a pseudobonaparte might not lead to serious respect but if self-ascription is supported by personal passion, longstanding custom and social consensus may it deserve to be taken seriously?

    • Sibiriak, you tell me that a people is defined as a group with the right to self-determination, a status which he says is contested and not subject to any objective test. (You add that an objective test, such as all speaking the same language, would bring in 'alien determination': this is not true - objective facts about me, such as what languages I can speak at this moment, are not determined by the will of anyone, alien to me or identical with me,,they are facts about the world.). At this rate, there is no objective test for being a people. If this is so, then anyone can make a claim to be part of such people as may seem attractive, but no one can expect their claims to being a people to be recognised by others:,why should they,,if there is no objective test?
      Rosross defines Jews solely by religion but her definition doesn't by itself prove anything. Perhaps there is a group, to be called (say) 'Herzlists' , who do have some characteristic that entitles them to Palestine,,even if the term 'Jews' is not appropriate for them or for all of them.

    • Well, what is 'a people'? Personal definitions are very important for avoiding argument at cross purposes, which I think may well be happening between you and ros. I'd tend to use 'a people' to express the idea of a group standing apart from others by being concentrated in a certain area and feeling an affinity with each other. I don't think that significant rights arise from being a member of a people in this sense.

    • Would ros and Sibiriak like to say what 'nation' means to them? Is it possible to belong to several nations or to none? There is certainly a set of people who make the claim that they belong to a Jewish, British or whatever nation: are such claims self-validating? If someone said 'I have forsaken my former nation, now I am a stranger everywhere' could that be true? If someone said 'I am both British and Jewish and proud/ashamed of both' would that make sense?

    • What is meant by 'a nation'? The Renan-style definition, centring on admiration for certain stories and heroes, does not seem to imply any serious rights - how can rights spring from a mere state of mind? Moreover it seems to be compatible with belonging to more than one nation or to none, which would complicate the National Rights question.

  • Zionism is finally in the news, as officials seek to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
    • To add - anti-Semites are led by their prejudices to think that where Jews and non-Jews live together then a) the Jews benefit, by exploiting the others c) the others are harmed. But some might affirm b) without a) and so believe that the exile of the Jews makes everyone, Jew and non-Jew alike, worse off. This is ground on which Zionist and anti-Semite can meet and I think is the basis for Herzl's hope that everyone, Western anti-Semites and ME Arsbs not excepted, would be - and would have good reason to be - reconciled to his grand, and I his view completely humane, conception. What is excluded by Zionism is not everything believed by anti-Semites but the multiculturalist belief that everyone is in principle better off living with diversity, even with the degree of diversity that has divergence that has developed between Jew and Christian. The roots of Z are not in the rejection of anti-S but in certain readings, which are centuries old, of the history and morality found in the Bible.

    • 'Zionism implies anti-anti-Semitism; AAS is true: Z is true'. This is absolutely and utterly illogical, as any textbook will tell you. A falsehood can easily imply a truth, as 'there are no canals anywhere' implies 'there are no canals on Mars'. The true proposition doesn't begin to support the false one.
      The first premise is also highly questionable. Why should 'Jewish people have certain rights in the Holy Land' imply 'There is no room for prejudice against people who are Jewish'? The latter statement is true anyway and does not require this rather strange justification.

    • I too shudder at the Purim ritual but I accept that Esther makes some serious points, almost instantly embarrassing to the Jewish leadership because the characters have faith not in God but in themselves - so that an 'improved' version, 'the Greek Esther', was conveyed with much ceremony from Jerusalem to Alexandia around 115 BCE.
      The Hebrew Esther coukd be regarded as heretical because it features wild excess over the Mosaic principle of Talio, like for like, when it comes to revenge, even in the absence of a specific divine command. The massacre is justified by a plot device - in this rather fairytale kingdom there is no power to revoke decrees. If the King had tried simply to revoke the planned genocide of the Jews he would have been overruled in a minute by the Persian Supreme Court. All he can do is have the genocidaires massacred before the genocide. The moral might be that irrevocable decisions can lead not to certainty of outcome but to reverses and unpredictable things - let's not forget that when we celebrate our irreversible triumphs. Moreover, Jews cannot be entirely themselves when they live among outsiders and when it is the outsiders who make the basic rules. Sometimes we just have to look on the bright side and have a wild party.
      Yonah makes the comparison with the masked festivities of Halloween and M gras. These too are about confronting death, allowing ourselves some excess and a bit of a party.
      There is also a message for the outsiders - the last words of the book emphasise not Jewish success but Persian success with Jewish cooperation. King Ahasuerus never has reason to regret his decision, even though he was prevailed upon in a moment of weakness after his wife had left him. The Jews are faithful friends as well as implacable enemies. But is there something a bit sinister about friendship on these terms? Many questions and paradoxes arise.

    • I have to face the fact that though we Christians do not celebrate Purim we do regard Esther as a sacred book. I have a thought that Ms. Clinton, feminist and Christian as she is, has spoken warmly of it.

    • These equivalences can only be approximate. Even if it's true that Zionism is racism it doesn't follow that the two are identical - it would be strange indeed to say that one cannot be a racist without being a Zionist. And one can be a declared Zionist, like David Cameron, without being Jewish in any normal sense.

    • I take anti-Semitism to involve prejudice, so I don't think that reasoned objection to Zionism, even if Zionism is indeed implied by Judaism, is anti-Semitic. And it is in part 'as Jews' (and Inreally think as authentic Jews) that I respect persons like Mooser and yourself and many others here.

  • Trump 'has no business being president' because he would be 'neutral' to Israel -- Clinton tells AIPAC
    • For all that, there is still some wriggle room in her words. I can't believe that the Israeli government and their supporting forces fully trust her. I am sure Trump is polishing up some words about security and all that.
      The real problem is that public opinion throughout the Western world would simply not understand hesitation or equivocation about security and the right to exist. Except for opinion within universities, that is - but that is an isolated area.

  • Garland nomination is moment of humble reflection for US Jews
    • The violence of the ME is certainly spilling over into Europe, as you say, Yonah, and is bound to reach the UK again (previously in 05) soon. All utterly sickening. However, bombs at airports and metro stations do not discriminate against people who are Jewish. Being 'Western' seems to be the main qualification for being slaughtered. Perhaps this is something to do with having a white skin, having a Christian tradition or something like that. However, there will certainly be many whose skin colour is different among the victims and probably many Muslims. They deserve some special commiseration in that this is done to them in the name of their own religion and in that their personal religious beliefs are being travestied.
      But I don't think there's any indication here that Euro society is making the position of its Jewish citizens insecure.

    • And greetings to you too, Mr.Fredman! I admit to thinking that rational and statistical considerations should be very important. I accept that people can think that 'there's something not right' whatever the apparent evidence but it's bad if feelings of mistrust are encouraged - and encouraged some more - by subjective processes. I do not claim to be very good at statistics, even with reference to the UK where I live, and certainly stand to be corrected. Just to add that I think Britain and France are reasonably similar societies - but maybe someone can show that there is a relevant problem specific to France. I also think that Nazi Germany was in very many ways an extremely unusual society.

    • Relevant figures are difficult to compare but when I tried to compare figures for homocide, which are less open to differences of definition than others, provided by the Community Security Trust for the UK with our general crime figures I became convinced that if we know that Mr.X is British of undetermined racial background and that Mr.Y is British and Jewish we have greater fear for the life of Mr.X. (Risk of homicide is about the same in Israel and in Western Europe.) The hope for success and prosperity - doing well - is greater for Mr.Y than for Mr.X. I think it is to the credit of all concerned and reflects important and stable features of our societies.

    • The standard portrayal of American colonists as tiny in numbers and surrounded by bloodthirsty maniacal hordes of 'Red Indians' is indeed familiar. Tiny in numbers but mighty in firepower and in religious conviction.
      If the Martians land on Earth and take some of it, not a lot but as much as they need, excluding earthlings with their Ray-gun techmology to the extent they require, that would surely cause some resentment which would pass beyond the limits of calm calculation, so acquiring an edge that could be called unreasonable and maniacal don't you think? The calmly calculating, restricted nature of the 'tiny' Martian appropriation would not make them any less odious.
      Mind you, I am astonished that references to Israel's neighbours in these screamingly offensive terms is permitted by the moderators.

  • Zionism's long and rich history of delegitimizing Palestinians
    • Zangwill got the phrase from Christian Zionists - I think it's pretty clear that the main inventor was the Scottish fundamentalist Alexsnder Keith, who had visited Palestine in 1839 and published a book in 1843. He seems to have drawn an analogy with Greece, where there was a nationalist movement demanding independence from the Ottomans. He found no such movement in Palestine, which had recently been contested between the Ottomans and the semi-independent Egyptian dynast Mohammed Ali.
      That was the time when the Scheswig-Holstein question was bubbling up and Walter Scott's medieval nationalist romances were popular. European sentiment towards Palestine would have been very different if the trappings of Romantic nationalism - medieval garb, songs sung passionately in cafes,,unreadable epics about Saladin - had been found there. Keith took the view, it seems, that a land sparsely populated and not claimed (as Greece had been) by an indigenous nationalist movement, defining itself as 'a people', could legitimately be claimed from outside on theological grounds by another nationalist group. He was not exactly 'disappearing' the non-Jewish residents, just saying that they had no nation-related sentiments to offend and that there was plenty of room. The mistake, I'd say, was to think in terms of group, rather than of individual, rights.

    • I suppose you may, as a way of stating the rights of (say) those individuals forming British society, say that it would be wrong for conquerors or marauders from outside to descend on us and so in that sense 'Britain has a right to exist'. But that doesn't give us the right to exist in a manner that inflicts injustice on others. Those existing in this way should change the form of their existence.

  • Palestinian videos of Israeli brutality turns viewers into witnesses
    • Yes, I agree that the right I posit would be met in the circumstances Sibiriak mentions, though if those circumstances arose because invaders and oppressors had, rather than enfranchise a subject population, driven them from their homes to another, more welcoming country, that would be crime compounded by more crime.

    • I admit I don't find the Idea of self-determination coherent in any context. But I do believe in the right of all Palestinians to be enfranchised citizens of a sovereign state. Rights are defined by words and explained by arguments., though there may be arguments for restrictions in emergency, but these restrictions, if valid, are no more than exceptions which prove the rule. Rights are sometimes - though there is a pacifist minority that dissents - rightfully asserted by violence, never rightfully (which would be self-contradiction) suppressed by violence, especially not by those whose interests are served by the suppression.

  • Palestinians grapple with knife attacks as violence enters fifth month
    • Machiavelli advises a prince who has acquired a new province to secure it by means of colonies, rather than have an expensive army range all over it - much the more efficient method. This suggests - and it's all quite plausible - that colonists, at least if systematically armed with the consent of what M calls their 'prince', are a kind of army, reducing the prince's costs by living off the land.: that is to say combatants at least as long as they are have weapons in their hands and and ready for combat at the prince's word of command. This would be acceptable if the prince is in fact the rightful ruler of the province. If he is not a rightful ruler then they are, if part of his army, invaders and marauders - still combatants. If they are not an army but still an illegal presence they must be armed criminals in execution of a robbery.
      'The Prince' chapter 3 - colonies as shackles on a new province.

    • Annie's remarks are very sensible, very perceptive, very clearly stated and very true - yet with a kind of truth that is really rather obvious if you think about the matter for a couple of minutes. Yet they would seem outlandish to most people in the United States/Kingdom. Why are we so bewitched?

    • Your brain would need to be washed, rinsed, hung out to dry and ironed on the highest temperature if you were not to despise people who subject you to day in day out humiliation snd injustice. Is this really hard to understand?

    • That really is the truth. The family income and the level of education do not in the least discredit the idea of desperation. Maybe the level of education, helping people to see the absence of reasonable hope, makes desperation more likely.

  • Hanan Al Hroub's 'Global Teacher award' is a victory for all Palestinian educators over Israeli occupation and PA corruption
    • In any event, no international committee has the right to set aside the wishes and interests of the people in a territory it pretends to hold in trust and to insist on its partition. Kings, presidents, ambassadors judges and suchlike are not gods.
      However, thank you for all that information, Misterioso. It is interesting how the demand for partition was treated as reasonable even though there was no significant area of Jewish majority.

  • 'Hi pal. I love you' and 'Russia has seen the lord' -- loopy Biden froths over Netanyahu
    • This is standard liberal Zionism, stating very emphatically that there should be a Jewish state - not as a matter of race or religion, you know, but of culture - and much less emphatically, and amid endless protests that it's all in Israel's best interests, that there should be another state as well. I suppose there's a non-standard version which is more agonised but that doesn't make much difference.

  • NYC Council bill to track campus anti-Semitism is attack on Palestine activism, advocates say
    • I hope that - though maybe I will get angry and lose my balance sometimes - that I, like Mondoweiss people in general, will never respond to Zionism with prejudice, only with reason, I can't deny, rather wish I could, that Zionist sympathies are characteristic of most Jewish people these days. But that does not quite mean that Zionism is now of the essence, part of what it is to be Jewish.

    • What does 'anti-Semitism' mean to you, James? To me it means 'prejudice against at least some things characteristically Jewish'. At that rate no argument that is reasoned rather than prejudiced would be anti-Semitic. I'm not sure that oppression is foolish, in the sense of 'against the interrests of the oppressors' - in this and other contexts they often seem to do quite well out of it. Even if it is indeed folly, that's not the worst thing about it.

  • In bid for Florida, Rubio says Trump is 'anti-Israeli' and a peace deal must wait 30 years
    • The combination of remarks like Shaked's and Shavit's on Lydda with the actual reality of children's deaths is certainly disturbing and suggests that there is some love of being ruthless at work. However, I agree with Qualtrough that we have to be careful in our reactions. Shaked may be a kind of monster - serpent even - but she's also a human being, flesh of our flesh and spirit of our spirit. That's a disturbing thought too.

    • The architecture of Washington DC, the capital with a Capitol, has always screamed 'This is the new Rome and don't you forget it!' to me.

  • Petition urges Sanders to snub AIPAC, hotbed of Clintonism and neoconservatism
    • I really don't think that either the Mandela or the Einstein quotes are genuine. Mandela was not far from liberal, 2-state Zionism and Einstein would have been aware that some anomalous results are to be expected.

  • Understanding the fundamental roots of conflict and suffering: An interview with Rich Forer
    • It is true that there are non-Jewish influences on the Bible in all parts but Yonah is still right to suggest that the conceptions of God found in the Jewish scriptures have, far more than any other, influenced Christianity from the earliest times until now. The 'New Testament' is in many, many ways a commentary on the 'Old', though the period when the Jews had much advantage every way, first because to them were delivered the oracles of God, is generally considered in the NT to have served its noble purpose and to be over. I don't find much dissonance in being a Christian and an anti-Zionist but I don't mind paying my debts to the Hellenistic Judaism that turned out to be the most important intellectual movement of its time.

  • IDF propaganda ignores occupation when explaining Palestinian violence (Updated)
    • It's rather hard to deny that the Nakba happened. The 1948 Palestinians aren't there and the State of Israel,is there, proud of all that it has done. It's all too easy to fabricate and proclaim pseudo-justifications for that damnable event. That is the equivalent of saying that the holocaust happened and a good thing too, something I do not expect to encounter often.

  • Pushed by alumni claiming anti-Semitism, Vassar officials oppose BDS and promote 'Israel-positive' programs
    • Vassar management says, we are told, that in response to the existence of snti-Zionist movements among their students they will, to fend off accusations of anti-Semitism, promote Jewish religious ideas and practices,. Phil says that these very ideas and practices are, per Pew, currently being used to foster Zionism in its most aggressive form and means us to think, in the light of this Pew evidence, that Vassar, while claiming not to take sides, is actually taking sides with a vengeance. I would not call this argument anti-Semitic, since (if we accept Pew's findings) it is a reasoned, not a prejudiced statement. Nor would I call it anti-Judaic, since there is really no suggestion that Judaism cannot take forms other than the ones in question. I would consider that any objective study of Judaism would include the anti-Zionist strand, which is both historic and contemporary. I understand Phil's feeling that this strand is unlikely to play much part in a programme specifically conceived as a riposte to anti-Zionism and to BDS.
      For my own part, I really cannot conceive of the long-term success of Zionism but I also cannot conceive of a long-term future for humanity in which the Jewish religion has no role or no constructive role to play.

  • BDS Victory: Security company G4S announces plans to exit Israeli market
  • Netanyahu slams Abbas in wake of killing of American tourist
    • What does 'indigenous' mean? If it means 'born in that place' then it is reasonably clear to which individuals it applies and reasonably agreed that but for special and usually temporary circumstances it implies enfranchised citizenship under a sovereign power. 'The indigenous people' would then be the set of all indigenous individuals, who may, as eljay notes, be very mixed when it comes to the question of where their ancestors were indigenous. If some other sense is introduced, such as having ancestors born in the same places for many generations, that would not seem for any plausible reason to bring in further or special rights. Shall we use the word so that groups can become indigenous in places where their ancestors were immigrants - what if their ancestry is mixed in this respect, which would be true of the Palestinians?

    • The Bible says that first Abraham and then the Israelites were very much not indigenous in Palestine but were immigrants on whom God conferred certain unique rights, very much including the terrifying right to exclude the indigenous peoples, if necessary killing them and burning their cities, though the fullness of this right was exercised only once. This was in part because these people had sinned and been vomited out by the land itself, but more importantly so that God could eventually have mercy on all humanity.
      The claim of the Judahites/Jews to the whole inheritance of Israel is not beyond question - one interpretation might be that King Josiah advanced the claim, hoping for Assyrian support, but that the full scope of his ambition went beyond due limits. Ezekiel does award the full inheritance to the Jews retuning from Babylon, who are not in every way indigenous to Palestine, but he does note that there are others around - whom he must have considered to be indigenous - who were to have certain rights. Other traditions concerning the exiles' return limit these rights severely - but it's these people who are other than the returning exiles who are described as 'people of the land', which is as much as to say indigenous people. Jewish rights come not from being indigenous, which they're not, but from being elected by God to certain advantages - and also to certain special duties.
      The mainstream Christian view is that the period when the Jews had much advantage every way ended in the time of Jesus and that God's mercy is now available to all on equal terms.
      One thing about Zionists is that they just don't know their Bibles.

    • Almost any system of unequal rights is likely to generate a subgroup of advantaged members of the disadvantaged group but surely this cannot be a substitute for overall fairness in society. Does anyone think it is?

  • Most Jews want to expel Palestinians -- Pew's ugly portrait of Israel
    • I very much want there to be a world including the ME, wherever its frontiers are drawn, where anyone can live anywhere without discrimination on grounds of race or religion. On the other hand I would think that any reasonable 'solution' would involve the relocation of most of the Jewish settlers currently in the highly disputed West Bank, not because they are Jewish but because their withdrawal would be an essential symbol of good will and determination to bring the great conflict to an end. There would be many concessions, real and symbolic, that the Israeli side could expect to receive were a genuine solution, generally agreeable to all, were ever to be found. Not that I see any short term hope.

    • Ever since the Zionist Congress of 1905, which fixed explicitly on Palestine, it was clear that the non-Jewish local population would have to make way. What else? They had, on the Zionist view, no inherent right to be there and it would be wrong to treat them as if they had. They were few and poor and it would not be difficult to find other places for the great majority where they would be happier. On the other hand, a non-threatening minority would always be welcome to stay by an act of grace. To this day, I think, the final act is conceived as one of conciliation - compensation, new lives, ceremonial handshakes, a grateful minority settling down to run the lavishly funded Museum of Palestine. Of course some recalcitrant elements would need a firmer hand.

    • Are you sure, inbound? I don't see much movement within the political class, and it is still they who make the decisions.

  • Israeli 'left' comes up with plan to segregate and disenfranchise 200,000 'enemy' Palestinians
    • The belief that people who are Jewish have unique rights in Palestine has roots in religion but has come to be defended with many arguments that are not ostensibly religious so it is hard to convince undecided people that this is just obstinacy or bigotry in religious belief. As for the conscience of the West, we should not be surprised to find it at least fickle. There is hypocrisy, there is confusion, expertly exploited of course.

  • 'No Open House on Stolen Land': CODEPINK disrupts RE/MAX convention to protest settlement profiteering
    • If we accept that killing and taking possession was what happened then we surely have to accept that no one could add legality or any positive quality to anything so horrible, particularly when accompanied (as I think it often was) by treaty violations, which have to be the opposite of legality even in the most primitive pre-20th century understanding. It's good that aggression and conquest have been denounced in modern declarations etc, but that doesn't mean that our ancestors did not know that terrible wrongs were being done, though justifications and excuses were lined up often enough, as they are now. Cicero's statement of the basic principle that it is wrong to harm another for gain to oneself, which he applies to international law (On Duties 3, para. 22), is still worth reading though it's not beyond critique - as neither is the UN apparatus of rules.
      The degree of restitution may be debated, perhaps should be debated much more, but the heirs of the dispossessed Native Anericans are neither excluded from the United States nor disfranchised if living subject to its sovereign power. It would be good if the Palestinians could advance at least to that point and various Palestinian organisations are calling for Western support along those lines. I think we should respond.
      Meanwhile I share Mooser's view of trolls, even though I know that a well-trained troll can sometimes strike a good blow with his stone club.

  • 2017 is a crucial year for the Palestine Question
    • Margaret Macmillan's 'Peacemakers', an excellent anslysis of Versailles and all its circumstances, makes it clear that the stuff in the Declaration about non-Jewish rights was not meant seriously. The intention was to fulfil Zionist ambitions and the Press was immediately briefed to that effect.

  • 'We wasted 40 years talking about nothing, doing nothing' -- Pappe demolishes peace process
    • A colony can indeed become independent - you know what happened when Corcyra did that to Corinth! - but that does presuppose a period of colonial dependency. South Africa was for a long time a Dutch colony.

    • Colonialism suggests a metropolis, but the Israelis do not have one. A colony is normally intended to interact with and perhaps exploit the existing population, whereas the intention of Zionism has been, on the whole, to replace it.

    • I find it hard to think of the area under Israeli sovereign power as a place of good order, rather as a place of extraordinary anomalies and considerable suffering, chaos of a sort. Is that questioned? There are certainly serious divisions within the Arab world but how can it be doubted that the problem of how to respond to Israel has exacerbated them?

  • Romney echoes neocons: Trump will lead U.S. 'into the abyss'
  • Why I support a one state solution and still consider myself a Zionist
    • So the headline, 'still consider myself a Zionisr', was rather misleading since you do not call yourself that any more and consider the word tainted.
      I am sure that all of us on MW who do not consider ourselves Zionists believe that there should be absolutely equal rights for Jewish and for other people. If you were confronted with the kind of self-determination practised by the Zionists, involving exclusion and disfranchisement, in some other part of the world you would surely condemn and reject it, not say 'So long as it happens elsewhere let it happen here'?
      If you believe in 1ss and RoR I think that you are anti-Zionist by most people's standards. You are near the front line and I am not, so it seems presumptuous for me to welcome you but it's good to see people of your information and experience on or at least very near our side.

    • Are you sure of this, ros? If you were to follow the Renan-style idea of Nation in which a nation is a group with a special loyalty to a set of stories it would possible that those stories, and therefore the nation, had a religious character. What does 'nation' mean to you?

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