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MHughes976

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.

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  • 'NYT' columnist says killing Palestinian civilians is... good for Palestinians
  • 'Likudism' invades the academy: continued Zionist attacks on activism and scholarship at SFSU
    • If there was some way of turning the tables against these frivolous litigants that would make a great difference!

    • There is some very interesting stuff there, Dan, thank you. However, we have to recognise that the purpose of litigation is not always to win, but sometimes on,y to harass, moreover that the Fraser case, which concerned the union to which I still belong in retirement, the Universities and Colleges Union, won the ‘Fraser Case’ in part because it has always acted on legal advice that regards BDS as illegal, so the case against it, for allegedly taking an anti-Semitic stance, was very weak. But the legal advice in question has been and remains a major inhibition on all UK BDS activities for more than a decade.
      Ken Livingstone, recently so full of defiance against accusations of anti-S, has decided to resign from the Labour Party which was about to expel him. He had been threatening legal action but fell back. The purportedly anti-anti-Semitism political campaign has drawn more blood and there was no legal redress.

  • Protesting is not enough
    • Hamas as terrorist organisation is a very important part of Israeli propaganda. Just to mention an article in the Washington Post ‘Stop Demonising Israel’ by the odious Ron Dermer. It is receiving lots of pushback. For a euphoric moment I let myself believe that public opinion is changing.

  • Debunking 18 claims justifying this week's Gaza massacre
    • A Palestinian version of Vimy Ridge.! Not too credible with their resources.

    • That was mere abuse, hardly even a personal attack but somewhere on a lower level.

    • I thought that the npr article was quite good in that explained the events from the Hamas point of view as a rationally conceived attempt to force Israel, presumably through the pressure of world opinion, to alleviate the plight of Gaza. This was said to reflect the experience of hunger strikers in getting concessions from a position in which they started as much the weaker party. That is not to say that the plan will meet with success or that it will not be wrecked on the usual rock of American political opinion. The angry young man too was of interest. It is surely the case that anger against suffering and injustice can, under enough sustained provocation, burst some restraints and become racist. But there is much greater importance and greater wrong in the relentless suffering and the sentiments sustaining it.

    • As to the Jewish state ‘at the expense of Palestinians’ - it is true that there was the Altneuland streak and the Daniel Deronds streak in Zionism from the beginning, either asserting or assuming that the Palestinians would benefit too. Most Zionists now believe - article of faith and all that - that the sufferings of the Palestinians have been due to not to Z but to their rejection of Z. People like Annie and me - hope not putting words in her mouth - consider this belief to be preposterous. Surely it cannot be doubted that Israel exists at the objective, if not the intended, expense of the Palestinians and that even the intention must have been and must still be the ruthless one of exacting any expense that was or is necessary to serve the imperative that the Jewish State must be founded or must continue.. There could never have been a form of Z lacking at least some of the objective effect, since the arrival of an immigrant group claiming ‘this land is ours’ imposes detriments in itself and implies more disruptions. There could never have been a form of Z lacking the ruthless intention because that would be to make the prime imperative of Z secondary.

    • I don’t find it that hard to imagine living family life under so much economic and political pressure that you can’t, at least at some intense moments, give your children what seems, to them or to you, a good reason for staying out of the combat zone or even out of the combat.

  • Israeli government minister justifies Gaza massacre by calling Palestinians 'Nazis'
    • ‘Nazi’ casualty rates, if they can be identified, may be evidence used, balance against other evidence, in the interpretation of the events of 1918-45. How could anyone think otherwise? Gaza casualty rates are the same. Taken on balance with other evidence it is an indication of intense injustice and considerable determination and courage. I hope that the Israelis do not will absolutely the deaths of Palestinians, though it’s clear enough that they will their deaths conditionally on those deaths being necessary for the enforcement of Israel’s policies and choices.

  • Live Blog: Massacre in Gaza as US and Israel celebrate embassy move to Jerusalem
    • It will be grimly interesting to see how the accusations of Labour Party anti-S are used in response to these remarks. The most encouraging UK reaction this morning comes from of all places the Daily Mail, whose headline is simply ‘Bloodbath’. Perhaps the claims I expect, that Corbyn and Thornberry ‘have finally come out in their true anti-Semitic colours’ will stick in throats for a bit. And Thornberry’s record of pro-Israelism may function as a useful shield. Mind you the mountain of pro-Israel prejudice is still so massive in public and political opinion that even in these circumstances of scandal and outrage hope has to be muted.

    • This is not simply a demonstration of opinion, though it is that too, but an expression of the will of people in Gaza to cross the perimeter line even in the face of abundant lethal force and even when they lack the means to inflict even a bruise or a scratch on the people confining them. So it is a demonstration of what Cicero called ‘contempt for the swords’ of the other side. I agree that you might say that there is a kind of threat involved in this contempt, so that the term ‘non- violent’ does not fully apply. Some people are very anxious to emphasise this
      point but if they are against violence then they can hardly admire what the Israelis are doing. If you say that the Israelis are using legitimate violence then everything hangs on the legitimacy of the blockade. The nature of the blockade is to deprive people in Gaza on an indefinite basis of their normal right to be enfranchised citizens of a sovereign state and to deprive them of much economic opportunity, which it does not suggest its legitimacy.
      If you look into the idea of ‘demonstration’ with more than half an eye you see how appropriate it is in application to the Palestinians.

  • 'Superpowers will not give us freedom so we will take it with our own hands': scenes from Gaza's final Friday protest at the border
    • If this event was indeed a Hamas stunt rather than a spontaneous action by some angry individuals then I would still think that it was an understandable expression of frustration and dismay. But in any event the creation of at least a significant degree of distress,even long-term misery, in Gaza is quite manifestly the policy of the Israeli government as long as Gaza is led by Hamas with its traditional policy and rhetoric. Whatever Hamas says or does there is a sustained action from the Israeli side with sustained effects, including frustration and dismay, and Israel is responsible for that.

    • Well, Jon, the tenor of the article was the hopelessness and desperation of the situation in Gaza. Are you drawing attention to the damage done at the crossing in order to suggest that it’s more a question of stupidity or irrationality in their minds rather than of a terrible physical situation and lack of rights? These actions are, if they are what they seem, a form of biting the hand that feeds you or at least of brushing it aside when it is offering the latest grudging rations. But if that hand is also the hand the slaps you around unrelentingly and exercises a pretty harsh, to put it mildly, form of control over you, giving you almost no opportunity to develop or progress, there are surely some reasons to bite it or take a swipe at it. Accusations of sheer stupidity, silliness or irrationality would be rather imperceptive or arrogant.
      Of course it may well be that this is a minority view in Gaza but it would not be a view beyond understanding or sympathy. Maybe it’s even a false flag operation designed to sow dissension, who knows? But even false flag operations need something to make them plausible. In this case the underlying fact is that the people of Gaza suffer injustice and misery.

  • Ending seventy years of exile for Palestinian refugees
    • You hit that nail squarely on the head, Q. But the exhausting mental gymnastics win applause

    • The right not to be excluded from home and country of legitimate residence is eternal.

    • What can a refugee be except a) someone rightly exclude from home and country b) someone who was wrongfully excluded and who, since wrong does not create or destroy right, has a right to return hme? The first category is almost certainly empty, therefore all refugeees have a right of return. It doesn’t need a committee to meet and recognise this. Refugees status can be laid down if citizenship elsewhere is taken up. But where the status does continue so must the rights that the status logicslly brings with it,

  • Mahmoud Abbas seals his intellectually impoverished legacy
    • I sometimes wonder why the Zionists so dislike the Khazar hypothesis - maybe it just shows that Israel has the right to another province, this time by the Volga, it being quite likely that rabbinic Judaism was practised there for a long time and that there was a violent expulsion. I think that the answer is that despite the trappings of science, genetics and all that, that it wears Zionism, Christian Z most obviously, is really about a theological demand for Palestine based on the biblical claims about a divine mandate.

    • See RW Dorin ‘Banishing Usury’ Harvard 2015 - it’s a complicated story indeed. Current thinking, apparently, is that Jews were not as fully excluded from other occupations as had been supposed but they were provided with an opportunity to meet the needs of an expanding mercantile society because of the readiness of some secular rulers to ‘protect’ them and their banking businesses as a source of taxation, ie I suppose to offer them a monopoly. They were not directly subject to the Bishops’ courts. This is the situation commended by Thomas Aquinas’ ‘Letter to the Duchess of Brabant’ of around 1270. But that was not to be how things settled down. In 1274 a Church Council called for the expulsion from every Christian state of foreign moneylenders and the Jews were increasingly caught up in the consequences of this. It’s quite hard to support the Abbas idea, if it is fairly attributed to him, that Jews were expelled because they were a genuinely negative economic force in Christian society.

  • By wrecking Iran deal, Trump politicized Israel
    • We have to a bit sceptical about ‘rockets, all intercepted, fired at Golan’. Similar statements about Gaza were unreliable. Not necessarily incredulous, but sceptical. It’s all been well planned, I think. Israel is politicised, ie is influencing Trump in a manner hard to conceal. But the outbreak of military action will surely result in the usual stampede among political leaders to declare their suppprt, probably in near the same breath as some voice their hugely ineffectual regrets about the abandoned Iranian deal,

    • Koheleth rather than Solomon, who was more of a believer in divine progress

  • Kovel's 'Overcoming Zionism' was ahead of its time
    • Brian Stalder ‘Palestinian Christians and the Old Testament’ (2015) p.11 tells us that the phrase ‘a land without and people and a people without a land’ first occurs in a Scottish review of ‘Land of Israel’ by the Scottish missionary Alexander Keith in the early 1840s. It was taken up by many influential people. The words appeared at that point but they were really a Christian rather than a Jewish invention and with a few variations a basic idea of Christian Zionism, 2 centuries old before Keith’s time. I think it’s a little harsh to say that the Jewish Zionists, when they came on the scene, did not generally think that they could achieve a situation of mutual benefit with the Palestinians - that is the idea behind Herzl’s Altneuland. That was a natural idea in the age of imperialism. It was deeply self-deceptive, of course, as the Revisionists were to point out.

  • Philadelphia Jewish groups try to stop publication of article critical of Israel, insist on BDS training for Inquirer editors
    • Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of my great to the power n grandparents lived in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, another in Tunis/Carthage, another in Toledo, another in Stockholm, then a small, cold collection of wooden huts. The biological specifics of the claims made to Israelite descent are very hard to grasp.

    • At least you face your - our - existential frustrations, Catalan, and state how they arise. I had a look at Baron-Baer’s remarks but could not see where this famous complexity arises for her. It seems that not everything is Israel’s fault but she doesn’t make any attempt to apportion blame or to say what each side has done wrong, which would be necessary for a reasonable decision on whether cultural exchange is likely to help. And what cultural exchange between Philadelphians and Palestinians might even cross her mind? She doesn’t seem able, amid her slightly ritualised invocations of complexity and cultural exchange, to fit these concepts to the facts of the matter.

  • Umm Al Hiran is ethnically cleansed 'voluntarily'
    • There was a war zone and many people chose to leave it, as was entirely rational and entirely within their rights. The who,e difference between a home and a prison is that you can come and go without permission. The crucial thing was that they were prevented from returning and called, very wickedly, ‘infiltrators’.

  • Remembering Joel Kovel, a restless explorer
    • A great and magnanimous Anglican! I wish the rest of our communion were not so cowardly and thoughtless on the Palestine question.

  • Rightwing video says New Israel Fund supports 'foreign agents' who persecute Israeli soldiers
    • As to invented countries, I’m just back from Germany, described by Jean Giraudoux in his 1928 play ‘Siegfried’ as ‘pas une creation sociale et humaine, c’est une conjuration poetique et demoniaque’. You know what he meant. We stopped by the Holocaust and Roma/Sinti memorials with their sense of something still wrong. But what the poets conjured up has become real.

  • The struggle of Palestinians is the struggle of Native Americans
    • This thread has got a bit a detached from Rebecca Miles’ concerns and that is partly my fault. I know that there has been an American Indian Movement for some decades, though I am very Ill informed about its progress or setbacks. Is there any idea corresponding to a 2ss - the number of different groups is far higher than 2, of course. But is there any claim for sovereignty in some areas of the United States and Canada?

    • It is clearly possible for more than one group to be ‘identified with a country’ if that means ‘ be generally regarded as normal inhabitants there and to have strong cultural traditions concerning the place’. That is true of the Japanese and the Ainu, though the ‘general regard’ is stronger with the Japanese, even though their ancestors were invaders. The English are identified in this sense with England, though the Welsh were here first. The Jews are unusual in having an ideology which emphasises that they were in a place in ancient time without indigenous status or rights but because God had given them a right which overrode all others ‘not for their merit’ but for his greater plan.
      It is very hard, without an idea of divine mandate, to think of being indigenous is a source of rights if one can claim indigenous status by killing or driving out others who have not done you any harm. Meanwhile, the criteria for inheritance from ancient times seem to me to vary from biological to cultural, in most presentations, almost from sentence to sentence. But I think that if you scratch the surface the idea of divine mandate is always there just below.

    • The other Labour setbacks were in Midlands towns like Nuneaton where there is an insistence on Brexit. I too doubt if the anti-Semitism issue was very weighty there or in South areas like mine where the anti-Brexit Liberal Dems had a rather pallid revival. A little sense among middle class people that Labour, bombarded by press and BBC, are not necessarily the good guys perhaps.
      But the London effect was significant. Some London boroughs are long standing testimonies to the success of Thatcher in creating a strong inner city Conservative presence - Wandsworth most of all. This time the overall London polling indicated a big movement to Labour and there were unwisely unmanaged expectations about Wandsworth and Barnet, the latter because Labour was nearly in charge already, with 30:31 councillors. But the result in Barnet was a damaging 20% (I’ve read) swing to the Conservatives, a big movement. The Labour vote went up but the Conservative vote went up much more.
      I’ve also read that Barnet is 15% Jewish and home to all of 20% of UK Jewish people, putting Jewish people in a good position to influence their liberal-minded neighbours. This had to be the result of the anti-anti-Semitism campaign, gaining a win where it was most targeted. I am told that this proves nothing much about the overall future of British politics, which is true. But I think it plain that the frequent expectation among us on Mondoweiss that charges of anti-Semitism, especially when supported by strongly emotional statements by prominent Jewish people with a progressive reputation, are becoming stale with repetition gets no support from these troubling events. On the contrary. they have drawn blood and will be used again, very much with the effect of minimising pro-Palestinian sentiments. All this unfolded beside the Gaza crisis, which sadly and rather scandalously touched no public nerve.
      The Battle of Barnet in 1471 seemed to settle the future of the Kingdom and by the end of the year most of the Lancastrian leaders were dead or in exile. But the fanatical Lancastrian Edward de Vere survived Barnet and some 15 years later led his side to really final victory at Bosworth and Stoke. Things can change.

    • I think that the general view in today’s UK papers, as the dust settles, is that Corby.n has suffered a check, though not really a reverse, and that much is still to play for. Sir John Curtice in the Independent was his usual sensible self, though I don’t have his exact remarks in front of me, having left them in the coffee shop. The anti-Semitism effect was not too noticeable outside Barnet, but Corbyn needed to win Barnet, rather than suffer a 20% swing against him, if he was to stop the campaign against him in its tracks. Wandsworth, the other Tory flagship he wanted to capture, escaped him by a small margin, so maybe the campaign made a difference there too, though the local Tories hardly seem to think so. Things will sputter on, with the expulsion of Ken Livingstone the next question perhaps. However, I think we have sadly to conclude that accusations of anti-S have not lost their power. And I’m afraid we have to set that fact beside the other fact, noted by Patrick Cockburn the other day, also in the Independent, that in terms of international opinion Israel is all but getting away with atrocities on its ‘borders’. The road is still long and the night is quite dark.

    • May I slip in here a report on the latest success of anti-anti-Semitism and of the vocal reminders of Jewish feelings and sentiments - it’s becoming clear as morning advances here in the UK both that Corbynism has seriously lost momentum in the UK local elections, not making those much anticipated major mid term gains, and that the effect has been marked in areas where the anti-anti-Semitism campaign was most likely to be effective, notably the London Borough of Barnet, where 15% of the population, I think, is Jewish and where many non-Jews would doubtless have been influenced by the strongly stated views of respected Jewish neighbours. The Conservatives actually made a midterm gain in this important local authority. The anti-Corbyn push within the Labour Party will gather strength from this, I think.

    • Mind you, the Bible tells us that the Israelites were not (in an important sense) indigenous anywhere. The mandate of God override the rights of others for whom God’s plan - for the good of all - was different. At a later stage, that of Ezra and Nehemiah, the trueJews were not at all ‘the people of the land’ but a special group of people especially purified, such again was God’s plan, by the experience of exile and by winning the trust of great kings. You don’t have to believe the Bible, of course, but it’s an important testimony.

    • THE indigenous people of anywhere is a very strange idea

    • Page: 43
    • Wherever they’re indigenous they have every right to be treated as equals with no discrimination as to ancestry or religion and no right to exclude people from their homes or to rule them in disfranchised state. Hum an rights aren’t about where your ancestors came from.

    • Roman expulsion of Jews is a complex topic, but it is clear as day that there was no expulsion from the whole of modern Israel.

  • Young Jews won't cry over the end of the Zionist dream, Beinart says
    • I can’t see even the beginnings of anti-Zionism in his Forward article. It’s very humane but it’s a plea for 2 states, everything liberal Zs have been saying, to such minimal effect, for decades.

  • The end of exclusivity
    • I have heard that when Snow Whiire became Queen she naturally promoted Dwarfs to many senior positions and that they soon became very prominent in business and academia., since they are very good at minute calculations and at reading very small print. Half the lawyers and accountants are now Dwarfish, This led to a backlash, orchestrated by supporters of the previous Queen who have the advantage of being able to communicate secretly via emanations from magic mirrors provided by Cambridge Analytica, but sadly also supported by many ordinary people who could be persuaded that anything that went wrong for them was the fault of Dwarfish influence. Local elections in the Mirror Kimgdom, which coincide, through a refacting lens, with elections in the United Kingdom, are being contested this very day by the Anti-Dwarf Front and the results are awaited with anxiety.
      On the level of the real, though, I do not think that the human rights violations visted on the Pakestinians have any close contemporary parallel.

    • Pride of race clearly brings the risk of an overweening claim to be more than human or to have more than ordinary human rights. We should be careful with it.

    • From the Mfecane to Rwanda - much tragedy, certainl, some involving continuing colonial intervention. How close do you think that the parallel is?

    • I find it hard to think of another group of people who are either the descendants, in continuing exile, of a mass of people who were excluded from their homes or are subject to sovereign power, ruthlessly exercised, without franchise, or are both these things. It is true that those who protest at these things are routinely accused of anti-Jewish racism and are asked ‘what about this and that?’ - I would reply that I am fully prepared to make the same objection if the same thing is being done by others. That it is being done by people who are Jewish makes no difference to its right or wrong.

  • Flaming kites mark fifth Friday of Gaza protests
    • Meanwhile on our side it’s quite important not to let anti-Zionism cause anti-Semitism

  • Israeli snipers shoot another 178 Palestinian protesters, killing three
    • I’m in Berlin, brushing up my anti-Marxist credentials by visiting the remains of the Wall. At the Checkpoint Charlie site there is a panorama which displays famous wall quotes, including of course ‘ich bin ein Berliner’, but also one from an East German minister in the 60s to the effect that ‘anyone who violates our border will be greeted with bullets’. Couldn’t help thinking of Gaza. Well, I know well that the E Germans meant that they would slaughter those attempting to leave, not to enter, but the tone of many remarks that I have seen in the last few days about Gaza has been much the same. And I never liked E Germany.
      Meanwhile I picked up a copy of the NYT, of all things, which had a cartoon showing an Israeli with a megaphone shouting towards Gaza ‘This non-violence must cease!’. Right to the point. I wonder if it was only in the international edition? A straw in the wind, though.

    • The Washington Post keeps up some reporting on these Gaza horrors and the Comments give some encouragement. Over here in the UK Patrick Cockburn wrote gloomily in the Independent the other day about how little international attention there is.

  • Las Vegas print shop refuses to print JVP banner over Israel politics
    • Has the poster been printed yet?

    • The Jewish Telegraphic Agency for April 13 has a report about S. Carolina indicating that anti-S, previously undefined legally, is now to cover holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Jewish control, then ‘more controversially’ per JTA also to cover ‘double standards’ by demanding behaviour from Israel not demanded ‘of any other democratic state’.
      In a rational world I would not be too afraid of this definition. But in a less rational world I might find that since I have never demanded that the UK stop shooting people for trying to cross our border fences I can’t ‘criticise Israel’ for the horrors on the Gaza perimeter. Alison Weir’s remarks are quite sensible, I think, in the light of this language in SC.
      The same edition of JTA has an admiring report on JK Rowling’s ‘gentle’ - I found not too easy to follow - reproof of the anti-S of those who say that being Jewish is a matter of religion not race.

    • I’d be glad to hear that another printer who will take the business has been found - or is an informal boycott spreading through the area?

  • Adi Shosberger called Israeli soldiers ‘terrorists’ -- and Israel has turned on her
    • I should think that Morgenthau was aware of Herodotus’ six or seven references to ‘Syria-Palestine’ and suchlike. Mind you, those references certainly suggest that Palestine was a distinct area of the greater Syria.

  • Revealed: Israeli Justice Ministry directly involved in international 'lawfare' activities against BDS movement
    • And On to the power of 6, as you say. Of course people who send threatening messages about rape and murder should be censured severely and people who are prejudiced should be corrected. But I don’t think anyone has found any relevant, genuine prejudice in Corbyn or his circle. We shall see if there is a setback to Labour in the forthcoming local elections, especially in London, where the Jewish presence is strong. If there isn’t I think that the outcry will die down.

  • Dear Natalie Portman: I too was once a liberal Zionist
    • What then is Zionism? I suggest ‘the belief that people who are Jewish, and they only, have an inherent right, now commonly called a birthright, to a share of sovereignty over the Holy Land, others having a share only by the grace and generosity of the true heirs, the birthright holders’. Liberal Z is the belief that grace and generosity should go to the point of setting up two states, one Jewish and one Palestinian. LZ is wildly popular around the world, almost all significant Western leaders being in its fan base, but has little political strength in Israel, where it is understood that the existence a Palestinian State recognised by Israel, however shackled and constrained, would imply that Palestinians, even though they are not Jewish, have an inherent right to be there, contrary to Z’s main proclamation. Which makes LZ not a version of Z but a contradiction of it. The exponents of LZ hide their eyes from this but if LZ were ever enacted it would, even though it would buy Israel,a lot more time, expose every day, that bit more every day, the arbitrary and morally indefensible nature of Z itself.

  • Leanne Gale's bold challenge to the Jewish community on BDS and anti-Zionism
    • I was reading an article in the Washington Post about the ‘Senate Majority PAC’, which raises funds for Democrat Senate campaigns. In March, we learned, $14m were raised, mostly from six - just six - individuals. Four of these were named, Donald Sussman, Deborah Simon, Alexander Soros and Haim Saban. Of these only Saban is regarded as strongly Zionist. The Soros family has an anti-Z reputation, Simon and Sussman do not, as far as I can see, concern themselves with the matter that much. We’re reminded that Jewish opinion is diverse but we are also reminded how the Democrats as a party and movement have been shaped over the decades by the commitment, financial and other, of Jewish people and by their conscience and humanity - particularly those at the top of the economic pile. If American Jews went the way of their UK counterparts over to the right wing party the Democrats would cease to exist, at least on anything like their current scale. Jewish opinion is diverse but mainstream Jewish opinion, which the leading figures would have difficulty in crossing, is very strongly pro-Israel. Which tells us what a small thing, so far, is the falling away from Zionism in the intellectual world - even where clearly brilliant people like Ms.Gale are concerned - compared with a political force so massive and essential to the system.

  • Natalie Portman says, Enough!
  • The 'Jewish nation' is the central myth of Zionism. It needs to be dismantled.
    • Pastrami sandwich definitely. Not too fond of white bread or mayo.

    • If one wishes a conflict to be shortened then surely the logical thing is to make clear what a final and fair resolution to the conflict would look like.

    • I would be astonished if I did not have at least one ancestor who was Jewish and moved westward in Roman times - and if I have that ancestor I have thousands of ancestors who were his or her ancestors and lived in Palestine from say 1500 to 1 BCE. If it’s a question of descent from one common ancestor then there are millions of nations, intermingling but still distinct, coexisting in this world, none of them with a right to a national territory.

    • If you define ‘shared history’ as ‘what those who are descednded genetically, to a sufficient degree, from the a certain group existing at a certain place for a certain time have’ and define ‘’nationality’ as ‘what those with a shared history have” that is up to you. The ‘sufficient degree’ might be a bit hard to define and the claims to descent over a long time might be hard to verify but still, if that is the way you wish to use words you are entitled to have your wish, though the rest of us are equally entitlefbto use the same words with other definitions. I would think that many people might have more than one nationality by your standard. In any event nationality would not seem to imply any particular political rights.

  • As Israel becomes a political liability it is time to challenge its enablers
    • Tonight’s UK news included a report on the anti-anti-Semitism campaign bring conducted against Corbyn. It’s going very well and in many ways it’s about anti-Zionism. This is at the time when the horrible things on the Gaza perimeter are going on. I don’t think Israel is much of a liability in UK politics at the moment.

  • Influential rabbi teaches would-be Israeli soldiers: Genocide is a mitzvah
    • You are a well informed person, Ossinev, with a strong moral sense, which leads you to advocate the cause of human rights in Palestine.

    • Mind you, I’m sure non-Jews have often said things behind Jewish backs that they would not have said to Jewish faces.

    • This is a philosophy which states a supreme imperative, that the Israelite conquest of the land should succeed (because it is a divine command), and subordinates all other moral considerations to that. It’s honest of him to use the word conquest, which is what is being attempted. How should we reply? Not with too much self-righteousness, because the idea of a ‘supreme imperative’ may not be so alien to us. ‘We’ sacrificed a lot of lives to stop Hitler. I think we should attack the idea that there can be a right to conquer. But in a Christian tradition, where the Book of Joshua is a sacred text, there may be a pang of doubt.

  • Israel just lost American Jews
  • Only grassroots pressure will end Israel's impunity for a massacre
    • One technique in arguing a really weak case is to say nothing until the other side has said everything it can think of and then, hoping to find a moment when people are getting to think that they have heard enough, announce with many voices that we should get over it and move on and that the familiar old talking points have been true all along. Perhaps people get weary of being asked to feel outrage and are ready to be sent back to their political slumbers. I think we will start hearing from the usual apologists when they think that point has been reached. Let’s hope they get their timing wrong.

  • 'We will not wait 70 years more': scenes from Gaza's March of Return
    • I know it doesn’t, Jethro. However, I was offering Mayhem an example of a constructive recognition of refugee rights and of return after ‘internecine’ violence. Quite a relevant example, I believe.

    • See ‘We reclaimed...German citizenship’ The Local January 26 2018 by Anja Samy about a Jewish family dispossessed by the Nazis - an example relevant to the question Mayhem asks. I think that if the Palestinian refugees were offered Israeli citizenship and compensation for loss of property on the German-Jewish model the whole problem might be on the way to a solution.

  • 'NY Times' continues to whitewash Israel's crimes on the Gaza border
    • The comments on the Washington Post (including one or two from me - I got 24 likes for one of them! ) are not completely unbalanced in favour of the Zionists. The road is doubtless very long but they will not conquer for ever and they know it.

  • Videos of Palestinians shot walking, running and praying appear on social media, but US cables keep mum
    • Thanks for that powerful word from GL.

    • I think that’s a fair point, Citizen. There is a moral difference there. The label ‘liberal Z’ is paradoxical but still useful. I don’t think labels have to form a consistent description.

  • Israeli forces shoot unarmed protesters from across Gaza security fence, killing at least 15
    • I don’t believe that the Palestinians had or have any weapons giving them any even slight chance of inflicting from the 300 metre distance permitted them even trivial injury on the Israeli soldiers, who were and are in prepared positions on high ground, trained to react in split seconds and equipped with fearsome technology. The stones and burning tyres might as well have been balls of cotton wool. In this situation anyone carrying a gun within range would have been dead before he could aim it. Therefore I don’t believe anything happened that could be called an exchange of fire.
      The Palestinians were testing, perhaps in part by waving a few guns around, Israel’s intentions and its determination to perpetrate as much of a massacre as it might take to enforce the boundary they had chosen. The Israeli reply was that their determination is 100%: they were saying that they had killed 2 or 15 and would with immediate readiness kill thousands if thousands were to surge forward. This message seems to have been effective in stopping more ventures into the 300 metre free fire - free massacre - zone.
      I don’t think that this exposure of Israeli intention deserves to be called terrorism, unless terrorism is to be defined ad hoc, since they stood no chance of causing injury or of inspiring fear.
      I ask in what moral system it is reasonable to say ‘2 ran forward so we killed 15’ or even ‘2 ran forward shooting (but ineffectively) at us, so we killed 15’? Only one in which the idea of proportion in injury has become insignificant in important circumstances. What are the arguments for this?
      No other boundary ‘between peoples’ has been enforced in such a horrible way for some time. If such horrible means are necessary there is something horrible about the boundary’s existence: we must suspect that it is part of the infliction of misery and injustice on someone. I see nothing to dispel that suspension in this case, since the people of Gaza are not enfranchised citizens of a sovereign state and lack the full range of economic opportunities.

  • Israel deployed more than 100 snipers along Gaza border in preparation for nonviolence protest
    • ‘In deadly clashes’ says the bbc news website headline - ‘many’ as a result of Israeli fire - ‘many’? If they were to say ‘in a massacre’ the world would be different.

  • Passover is a reminder the battle between Moses and the Pharaoh is still raging
    • To my mind it’s quite difficult to make Seti the Pharaoh of the Oppression, since the story overall presupposes that Egypt was not or was no longer in control of Canaan. The aim of the Ramessid (19th) dynasty was to keep control of the area and deny it to the Hittites - this was the life’s work of Seti’s son Ramesses II, who fought the great Battle of Kadesh - leading to a partition treaty of which we have copies, so it’s a well-attested event - as late as the 1250s. The Pharaoh of the Oppression may not be a very historical figure but he is a theological figure of great importance - superstitious, hard hearted, inconsistent, mean, corrupted by power. There are indeed people like that still around!

  • 'NY Times' covers up Israel's killing of nonviolent protesters along the Gaza border
    • No one is asked to forego normal rights to life and property because of being Jewish anywhere in the world. No one, Jewish or not, should maintain life and property by violation of the rights of others, such as exclusion from homes and subjection to sovereign power in disfranchised state, at very minimal least without clear indication that this state is temporary and its end actively planned. ‘Sometimes’ it is said ‘there is a necessity to do what is not right’. These remarks are often self-serving and facile, creating a poisonous exhilaration at being freed from moral restraint. But even were they true they would create an obligation to make an effort, and a visble effort, to escape the situation. That is why the most important short term step would be a statement by Israel of what it would regard as a fair long-term solution.

    • If a boundary marker has to be defended by such horrible means it is surely likely to represent a boundary drawn unjustly and oppressively.

  • Why Yifat Doron slapped the prosecutor at the Tamimi trial-- and only spent two days in jail
  • Jeremy Corbyn and ’anti-Semitism’ - making sense of the hysteria
    • Well, I hope you’re right, Annie, about people seeing this accursed campaign of ‘blasting headlines’, good phrase, for what it is. Hiwever, this evening’s news has Eddie Izzard, the comedian and newly appointed Labour Executive member, weighing in on the anti-Semitism battle against Cirbyn and the BBC joining the fray with a will. I still think that Labour will do quite well in the forthcoming round of elections. We may not have a General Election until 22 and who knows? They are a different matter from local elections, which permit more ‘protest voting’. That Survation poll was interesting but not very recent. The later ones have Conservative and Labour bouncing about fairly equally.
      Meanwhile, Easter is supposed to be about a new dawn and clcleasr understanding. God grant us light, so that people will see that someone saying years ago that it’s not too awful to discuss Holocaust Demial is less important than hundreds of casualties in Gaza, than cruelty contemptuously justified, than bloody massacre.

    • Christine Shawcroft has gone the other way, with the usual grovelling apologies.

    • I don’t quite see that Corbyn is a shoo-in. If you look at ‘UK Poling Report’, which is quite good, I think you find that the Conservative vote is still a pretty solid object. However, I think it clear that Corby is surviving the (trumped up) accusations against him and that he is set to do well in the London and other local elections next month. But his friend Christine Shawcroft has had her political career smashed to bits and his critic Eddie Izzard has had his pol career advanced. There is no sign that the pro-Palestine side has a chance to get its word in.

    • The campaign against Corbyn has drawn blood in the forced resignation of his ally Chrstinre Shawcroft, who was protecting someone who had been accused of holocaust denial, but who claimed that he had been misunderstood. I believe that the accusations of anti-Semitism are for the most part trumped up, but they will do a great deal of damage to the pro-Palestine cause. Those who say that accusations in this style have lost their power must urgently think again.

  • On the 'double standard' for Israel
    • The more the latest news from Gaza comes to hand the less can anyone say, if ever they could with a straight face and a semblance of conscience, that Israel is being singled out. This stuff is unique.

    • I agree that one does not always deal with the same situation in different contexts or places in the same way. Perhaps the same disease responds in one person to one treatment, in another to another.
      Mind you, I know of no other situation where a) many legitimate residents have been excluded b) sovereign power is exercised over disfranchised people c); danger radiates out from the region of conflict because it supplies our most important material commodity and is of great concern to our strongest religious traditions e);the political discourse of my country is dominated, in respect of this matter, by arguments which are both cruel and preposterous, which I really think I should opppse. Not much singling out needed.

  • Older Jews are officially terrified of young Jews' views of Israel
    • A lot of truth in what you say!

    • You’re basically quite right, echino. Maybe there is a ray of hope in that our gains are coming mainly in universities and that some very articulate people are now entering the fray. This means that the next-next generation, those who are now chikdren I suppose, will be more exposed to the truth - that the obvious will be less successfully concealed - and the chance of reversing the trend may arise. Furthermore, there’s always a clear element of insecurity behind all the boasting and bombast of Zionism and the flourishing of its weapons - and perhaps that has been shown for a second when the attempt to Krrush Ahed Tammimi was dropped.
      Well, that’s the hope that I can muster. I know that students who pick up radical or even strongly unconventional ideas tend to forget them the day after graduation, that small tactical concessions may mean very little, that support from young people in the West may matter much less than it did, as Israel consolidates its diplomatic presence all over the place.

    • Thanks, JLD, very interesting.

  • The problem with Passover
    • The American legal doctrine of discovery seems to be couched in purely utilitarian terms and no longer to rest on the idea of the temporal supremacy of the Pope, which in turn had little to do with Passover. We see how ideas can mutate. Traditions are always having to be interpreted and reinterpreted. We just have to hope that the good interpretations - we can’t guarantee that they are the most authentic - will prevail over the bad in our time.
      An extreme minority view of the aftermath of Passover is found in the idea of Ernst Sellin, known through Freud’s (?mis)appropriation of it, that the original form of the terrifying story of Numbers 25 was the murder of Moses himself. This makes Moses into a martyr for the cause of multiculturalism and interracial marriage.

    • I would think that Professor Malinowitz does not like expressions of hostility or hatred and that if she encourages her students to come to controversial conclusions she expects those conclusions to be reasoned.

  • The barriers
    • Truman was doing what he thought was God’s will. He had read about Cyrus in the thunderous words of the King James Isaiah. I don’t think Dave was so wrong. The non-Muslim world via public and political opinion had become persuaded that massive recompense was due to Jewish people post Hitler. Many found theological validation in Isaiah and elsewhere. Many, according to my childhood memories, thought that violent successes of Zionism were themselves an indication of being in the right. I would draw the conclusion not that these things validate Zionism via world opinion but that WO - many people in many ways, not just a few corrupt politicians - bears responsibility for a terrible thing. Not that much has changed as yet, as we see from those Pew and Gallup polls, though the arrogance and cruelty against Ahed Tammi was seen for what it is.

  • Trump appointed Bolton because Republicans desperately need Adelson's money
    • I think that it was in that spirit, with an element of personal offence, that Herzl contemplated fighting a duel with Mayor Karl Lueger, another member of the. Viennese intellectual set.

    • I’m with Yonah to some extent. I think that Z has always seen itself as an important answer to the problems or ‘pressing questions’ faced by the world - or to a rather oddly assorted set of them. The first Christian Zs, who preceded the first Jewish ones, thought of. a new Jewish Kingdom as ‘more desired than our own salvation’ because it would solve the problem faced by Christians since Peter’s - or ‘Peter’s’ - Second Epistle - ‘where is the promise of Christ’s coming?’ The new Kingdom was, they thought, the necessary first step.
      As the Jews gained a reputation for radical modernity radical, highly educated modernists like George Eliot came on board, hoping for a Jewish return to Palestine as a solution to the ossification of Western culture. Only then did the likes of Herzl see this programme as the answer to anti-Semitism and its vicious ingratitude for all the Jewish contributors to Western life. This was still the view of a small minority until it was embraced as the answer to the problems that Hitler had posed, even to ‘the question that he had asked’, which you could frame as ‘Do Jews have either the right or the power to exist in the modern world?’ Z says ‘Jews have power, proved by militarism, and right, proved by being the light to the nations’.
      Many of us think that the second element of this answer is false because of the basic injustice of Z claims and of what Yonah has called its ‘cruel vector’ in practice. But so many people from right across the political spectrum have rushed to embrace the Z way of proving that Hitler was a demonic force, haven’t they? They’re still at it. Yonah has mentioned that the establishment of Israel was an episode in the rivalry of the emerging superpowers but it was also their only real joint project.

  • Clashing with the Jewish state: ultra-Orthodox Israelis who reject Zionism
    • I don’t know how you would read the scriptural passages I mentioned Dab, to make them consistent with Zionism?
      More important, do you really see only numbskull stupidity and negative emotion on our side of the fence? We live in a world which at least professes to believe in the fundamentality and the importance of being an enfranchised citizen of a sovereign state, which many Jewish people are with absolute human right in many places. In calling for the Palestinians to have this status we are applying this belief consistently, which is not unintelligent completely. In attaching importance to the matter, even if we have no special personal links with Palestinians, are we not showing some positive emotion and some moral concern?

    • Well, I think that the differences between this ‘Messianic Z’ and mainstream Z are about more than timing and the friendly words about the Palestinians are not that surprising. My reading of the Tanakh, especially Isaiah 60 and Zechariah 8, tells me that when the Messiah arrives there will not be the conflict and conquest that we have seen but the final unification of the human race as the nations gather around the Messiah’s luminous presence.

  • Ron Lauder's two-state epiphany elicits rage and condescension in Israel
    • The prospect of a 2ss may be dead or never alive but the illusion of it seems lively enough. I think the great majority of influential people in the Western world cherish it, rather hypocritically perhaps. I stick to my view that ‘Lib Z’ is a convenient Mondoweiss term for 2ss supporters.
      What Catalan says used to be said all the time in earlier decades - no Palestinian state because of Israel’s security needs. It has not been common to say this so unequivocally in recent times because the goodwill of the Lib Zs has been needed - but maybe Catalan says what Israeli public opinion really thinks. I don’t think that the problem really is security in foreseeable circs - Israel could deter any likely attack at least as well if a Palestinian client state existed as it could if the status quo persists. I think it’s that the bald faced (another MW term) objective unfairness of the 2ss makes it seem unstable, as if it could never be the end of the story. Even more the deep problem that any Z must have in accepting the idea that the Palestinian presence is rightful, not just a concession.
      I must thank Catalan for his kind words but I think that the really popular people round here are the Finns.

    • I’m not a great 2state fan but are things really, from a 2ss point of view, as bad as that, Catalan? I’d have thought that any independent-ish Palestinian state would be subject to very strong deterrence if it thought of terrorising TA.

  • Dear Senator Harris, You have been drinking the pro-Israel Kool-Aid
    • I think that Keith is right to suggest that it would be naive for anyone to have expected KH, or anyone successful in Democratic politics, not to have done a bit of allegiance-pledging to Z. However, I also think that an Open Letter, a critique presented in letter form, is and is understood to be addressed to everyone, not solely to the named addressee. As an expression of disappointment that someone seemingly so humane should really support such cruelty it makes a valid point. If there was little chance that KH would attend to these words there may still be hope that some others may be influenced by them. That they come from someone whose family includes Jewish victims of violence makes them more pointed.

  • We must end the manipulation of history
    • What was the Nakba and what was wrong with it?
      We are told that the ‘Arab’ population committed a war crime by leaving the area with the intent of creating a free fire zone for invading armies intent on a massacre of Jews. This formula concentrates on the leaving, which physically did happen, and on a motivation ascribed by inference usually from the tone of Arab radio propaganda. This is misleading in three main ways.
      The first crucial thing, in that it is the sole immediate cause of the permanent absence of most of the former population, is not that they left but that they were not permitted to return: the permanent exclusion from recognised property of thousands of people whose legitimacy as residents had never been questioned. The secind step is the imputation of motive, as if it could be recognised in each of thousands of people, justifying harsh treatment of each and all. In fact there was hardly any evidence at individual level and a much more obvious motive, fear of being in a war zone, is so clearly available. Thirdly, a fundamental difference between a home and a prison is obscured. The idea of a home is that one may come and go without permission, except perhaps in emergency situations - and then only temporarily. You don’t have to persuade the government that your motives were or are pure.
      The Nakia was wrong because it deprived people - as mentioned, people whose right to be there had never been questioned and was obviously valid - of their homes and political rights, moreover deprived them so violently that many had to die. It has been defended with invalid rhetoric. History has certainly been manipulated.

  • Landmark 'NYT' op-ed by Jewish official blames Israel's leadership for its isolation (not BDS)
  • Israeli courts denies Ahed Tamimi’s request for public trial
    • Thanks for the reference to Yovell, Ossinev. It’s a remarkable combination of the sensible and the absurd. The psychiatrist’s mother fixation is quite alarming.

  • Video: Jewish settler looses attack dog on Palestinian shepherd and flock, maiming sheep
    • But we may think, alongside Marc Ellis, that ‘Jews of conscience’ could never become Zionists - he thinks that faithfulness to the prophetic tradition is perverted by imperialist sentiment. I suppose he thinks the same about post-Constantine Christians.

    • If some settlers say ‘God is on our side’ I think we should accept that that is what they think, that is how religion exists in their minds. Presumably they would argue the point on the basis of theology or sacred texts. Therefore what they hold to is a religious ideology, which they call Judaism. What we can deny is that this version of Judaism is authentic. There are some versions of Christianity that I consider inauthentic too.

  • AIPAC is suddenly getting a lot of bad press, in Jewish papers and 'Washington Post'
    • Didn’t we just? Per Gallup they are beating us 64:19, per Pew 46:16. Both seem to record a major decline in neutral responses over the years, though Pew, which discourages those responses, makes it seem as if neutralism, of the ‘sympathy with both sides’ + ‘don’t know’ varieties, is still quite strong. Gallup’s overwhelming 64 becomes a less than majority 46. But it seems as if the former neutrals are coming off the fence about 2:1 against us. The Gallup commentary mentions religion as a factor, which is plausible. I guess that our gains are coming mainly in universities, ie are a result of objective thinking. Our one real advantage is that we’re right.
      The Gallup question was ‘In the ME situation are your sympathies more with the Israelis or with the Palestinians?’

    • People do want a few dollars and cents for themselves, certainly, but don’t they also like to see themselves as cheerful givers to good causes, like brave little democracies surrounded by terrifying hordes? We need to win the moral argument.

    • Thanks for that reference, Mist, to Deborah Maccoby’s excellent review and summary of Finkelstein’s work. The tragic Goldstone Recantation plays a central role.

    • However the position of Israel within the Western political class seems all but intact. Some cracks on the surface, as someone has said - not much more. Israel is very well entrenched in the world order, as Netanyahu’s recent visit to India showed. The support of idealistic young people in America is not as important as it was, I think.

    • I looked nervously to see if I was included - phew! You are definitely one of us, Joseph, spirit of our spirit.
      I think of racism as prejudice based on whether someone is flesh of our flesh marked by skin colour or some other result of ancestry rather than on spirit or ‘content of character’. Z to me is the belief that people who are Jewish, and they only, have an inherent right - birthright - to a share in sovereignty over Palestine, others having a share only by the grace and generosity of the true heirs. Jewish means, in effect, people who practise the Jewish religion or are sufficiently close descendants of some who did practise it and are therefore considered to be of Jewish ethnicity. There is thus a significant element of according and denying rights on the basis of ancestry. This is not justified by any reasonable argument, so must rest on prejudice, so is racism. Others may define the terms differently, of course, but I think that I’m making a valid moral point.

  • For Bari Weiss, Israel advocacy was both ideology and good career move
    • I think that there had been a write-in campaign persuading the various rail companies to ‘block’ MW and that the same had happened with YouTube and Alison Weir. I don’t think that the government would have been involved.

    • Thanks, echino: an interesting account of a temporary block placed on If Americans Knew by YouTube. When I travel by rail in the UK and sometimes try to pass the time with Mondoweiss I receive from more than one rail company the message that MW is blocked. I forget whether they say anything like ‘it’s a hate site’. The blocking has always been absurdly ineffective, just a few splodges across the screen, but it’s clear that it’s not that difficult to get hostile propaganda believed.

  • 'Someone is paying Trump to do it' -- Pompeo elevation shows neoconservative lock on foreign policy
    • Palestinians leave and return quite a lot. The pressure of unemployment, which it’s hard to see how a captive economy can really escape, is surely quite serious. Countries acquiring Palestinian immigrants are might be seen as acquiring useful citizens rather than importing a Palestinian problem comparable to Israel’s. I am not at all sure that Z has been a failure for its intended beneficiaries. The OECD 2016 report on Israel’s economy certainly shows that Israel is not ‘a progressive paradise’, as we’ve been discussing recently - it’s a very unequal society - nor an economic miracle territory but still its economy is reasonably sound. International political support remains pretty strong. Israel has not yet been forced into any significant concession.

    • I wasn’t sure whether Maghlawatan meant that the lesson of 48 teaches us that there will be no significant population movement at all or just none that could be disguised as ‘voluntary’. I’m sure that any such movement these days could only be gradual and incomplete. But there does seem to be some readiness among Palestinians to declare a wish to emigrate along with a belief that the whole world has abandoned them. This emerges from a poll conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research July 13 2017. The desire to emigrate was given as 47% in Gaza and 23% in WB. I found this quoted with glee in ‘The Jewish Press’ July 6 2017 - maybe they had a preview. It’s possible that these sentiments could be exploited and disguised hideously as ‘meeting the voluntarily expressed needs’ in the Trump plan - if there is such a plan. The intention would be to disarm or weaken or at least appear to weaken the argument that ‘you can’t for ever be Jewish and democratic’ , which I think is the one that most gets to them.

    • Well, I don’t see how 1948 shows that there will be no population movement. It was unjust, it was cruel, it was demonic but it happened.
      As to ‘voluntary’ emigration ‘Breakng Israel News’ (7.08.2016), not a trustworthy source but quoting the Al-Quds Arabic newspaper, which may be more trusworthy, claims that 400, 000 WB young people have emigrated over ‘the last few decades’ (vague!) and some villages are now very thinly populated. The PA statisticians work on the principle that they all return sooner or later but it’s hard to be sure of that when unemployment is so high. Still, the various ‘pay them to leave’ proposals have always fallen flat. But It’s possible that Trump and Netanyahu will attempt a big push.

    • The intention must be to cause a large movement of population, which will be called voluntary. I wonder if that intention will be manifest in the Trump Peace Plan, if that plan really exists.

  • American Jews need Israel to be safe -- megadonor Paul Singer
    • I think that a provisional judgement, which is not the same as suspension of judgment, calls for some action, otherwise it would not be a judgement at all. Its provisionality is shown by inviting further evidence and saying you will listen to it and if necessary act on it, which I think that Corbyn has in effect done. I think you’re right to imply that there needs to be some action that you could take if minds were changed.. But then diplomats can return as well as leave.
      I don’t think Mondoweiss is the place for discussion of the ‘evidence’’, ie the claims and counterclaims on which May, Corbyn and others have based their ideas.

    • Stating a provisional judgement but noting that it is not final may be mistaken but it is not self-contradictory.

    • I think that the only relevance of the David Kelly affair is to show that all these things about atrocious weapons, spies etc. - the journalists involved were strange people too - are hardly ever fully cleared up. However I think that Corbyn’s latest statement, to the effect that we should not rush to judgement but that things do point to Russia, is reasonable.

    • Singer seems to hesitate between safety of Jews and safety of Judaism. The first of these is argument really from a fiction of his own devising about new Hitlers etc.. But we can all compose fictions - what if the story is that Israel so provokes the jealousy of the wretched anti-Semites (nearly everyone) that Jews areound the world are not permitted to leave and treated as hostages until Israel stops making the desert bloom?
      As for the safety of Judaism, the religion and cultural heritage, there seems to be no reason at all to think that it is in any danger from which Israel can protect it. It flourishes mightily in many places. In some places it cannot be practised but Israel can do nothing about that.
      Cohen’s view, in which all or nearly all Jewish people embrace safety in a form which is rather heartlessly traded off against Palestinian suffering - loss of life, loss of property, much danger, all so intense that Cohen almost needs a gun to his head to admit that he ultimately approves it - would surely imply that Jewish people everywhere, Israeli or not, urgently owe the Palestinians quite enormous compensation. I don’t suppose he thinks that, though.

  • There are only two kinds of Jews, Schumers and Feinsteins
    • ‘What advantage then hath the Jew or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way, chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.’ Even if this is true we all start in life with much the same chance of doing good or evil and enough ability to think about right and wrong for our opinions to deserve some hearing. If Feinsteins think that they are right.

    • Is this a question of equivalence at the moral level? I doubt if Feinsteins, as defined, think that all people are equally virtuous and live equally good lives. They may think that everyone begins with a spark of goodness, which one hopes is true or at least not codswallop.

    • There have been some reports about Feinstein and Gina Haspel of the CIA. I understand that F once blocked promotion for H because of her association with torture, presumably including Muslim victims of rendition.. But she seems to be much less opposed to H now, which seems worrying.

  • 'NYT' free speech advocate Bari Weiss reportedly helped bring down a Columbia dean over 'intellectual heresy'
  • The amended 'Israel Anti-Boycott Act' is still unconstitutional, and still must be stopped
    • Thanks for the report. It is good news, though I note the gloating of the people behind the meritkess litigation that it has scared others and no doubt cost the Olympia people some money.

  • Rabbi Cardozo: outlawing circumcision would 'end the state of Israel'
    • It’s very interesting, Yonah, that your list does not include anything implying a Jewish sovereign state - seems to me to come from an era of Judaism before Z really arose and perhaps after medieval concern with kingship had waned. A list reflecting the interpretation of scripture that I ‘learned’ would have put sacral monarchy, with messianic expectations linked to it, in a fairly high place. This might be a list more friendly to Z than yours! The Church of England in Oxford had then and still has something of a Z atmosphere.

    • Morality and law apply everywhere, including in the home.

    • I think it’s likely that Hadrian or his successors banned circumcision only of adult converts.

    • I would favour recognition of the existing illegality of the practice, yes. I’d argue that it constitutes, in its objective nature, an injury - flesh removed, blood shed. Since the process comes without consent and ab extra, it’s an assault. So it falls into categories that are under almost any conceivable morality - by no means excluding Jewish morality- wrong and indeed illegal on the face of it or at first sight.
      It is possible to reverse a negative judgement arising at first sight by further objective considerations - it will promote health etc.. The considerations offered seem to concern the profound love that notivates the deed and the overwhelming social consent that accompanies it, so making recognition of it as an assault inconceivable in practice. But these do not affect the objective quality of the deed and we should not transfer an action from the category of bad to the category of good for reasons based only on the subjectivity of the agent or on that of majorities. To do would surely smash the foundation of moral thought - things aren’t right because you think they are and, as the Torah so nobly remarks, thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.
      I do think that it’s often not possible to resist the multitude or even to raise one’s voice to be heard by it.. It’s not possible to do active right in all circumstances. So I’d agree with Annie about the back burner.
      It is said also that the ritual does no long term harm. But to those who may choose in adult life not to be part of the Jewish community it is a mark, and a very intimate one, of disregard, to some extent contempt, for their autonomy, therefore an insult, therefore harmful.
      I haven’t touched on the argument that God wills it but I’ve gone on long enough.

    • At least one happier note is struck!

    • A sacrifice, presumably, that marked, very literally, Egyptian priests as dedicated and holy. The Jewish extension of the rite to all males was a claim in the theology of the time to be a holy people.

  • Netanyahu in DC: I don't want Palestinian 'subjects' but the West Bank will remain 'militarily under Israel'
    • Meaning right and power of self defence not there at all?

    • I am not sure whether that means ‘those areas of the WB that have too many Muslims’ or ‘any of the WB, because it has too many Muslims’. I would think that Israel might see fit to annex areas round the settlements. On the whole, though, nothing has changed since the Allon Plan - military supremacy and control, some pathetic version of ‘self-rule’.

  • Israeli left leader praises Trump and bewails 'Palestinian majority' and 'Palestinian narrative'
    • It means sometimes paying attention to and sometimes proclaiming liberal ideas. I think that’s sufficient to make sense of the label.

    • A Liberal Zionist, in the sense surely long used on Mondoweiss, is someone who, making some reference to liberal ideas, believes that a ‘two state solution’ is both possible and desirable. That belief may be absurd but that doesn’t stop the definition from making sense: absurdities can be identified and described. Calling them liberal Zionists doesn’t commit us to thinking that they hold liberal ideas in a coherent form. There seem to be a lot of them, including the vast majority of established and influential figures in the political, religious and cultural life of the Western world. Some participate in our discussions. So it’s best to have a name for them.

  • Zionism, anti-Semitism, Israel — and the UK Labour party
    • Napoleon led France into serious calamity, with great loss of life. But that doesn’t mean he was anti-French.

    • Israel doesn’t try to have it both ways in that respect. Z does not claim or accept for one minute that it produces atrocities, nothing more than deserved suffering, within necessity, when rightful claims are resisted. It claims to defend the sacred rights of the Jewish people and to be a light to the nations into the bargain. That is profoundly philo-Semitic: also, all things considered, profoundly shocking. Pro or philo attitudes can be just as unfair and just as corrupting morally as anti or miso ones.

    • Sometimes a movement is led by manipulators and the followers are dupes. But surely it is normal for an appeal to prejudice to be an important part of getting people to follow the band. And quite possible for the manipulators to be in the end convinced by their own propaganda. I am not sure how well this model fits quasi-religions like Z.

    • ‘You are committed to our glorious cause’ isn’t a smear, which is something intended to make ‘you’ look bad. On the contrary it is, at least to some extent, an expression of solidarity and admiration. It just can’t on any normal understanding of the words exoress opprobrium, hostility or prejudice against the person addressed. It doesn’t take that character even if the supposedly glorious cause is, in objective truth rather than in the opinion of the speaker, rubbish and if it victimises others. It is then the others who are the sole victims of the opprobrium, hostility and prejudice expressed or suggested by the words.

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