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Total number of comments: 8361 (since 2009-12-17 04:46:00)

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  • Forgiving the anti-Semites
    • "yoykh mit k’neydlekh, karp mit khreyn, ayngedemfts mit tsimes, latkes, tey mit tsitrin, yedn tog"

      I've always suspected that Klingons speak a form of Arabic. Now I see that H. P. Lovecraft's Old Ones speak Yiddish.

      Oy, as they say, vey.

  • Reconstructionist Jewish site censors rabbi's essay because he supports BDS and one state
    • But it's not just JLD who does it.

    • “the realities of creating a nation state on land where others lived, in the wake of the Holocaust, meant that many moral compromises needed to be made.”

      “In the wake of the Holocaust, it’s no wonder that Jews sought sovereignty on land we could control”

      But that sovereignty was being sought before the Holocaust. The Holocaust is no excuse.

      And they were not “moral compromises”. They were downright immoral acts stemming from immoral ideas.

    • JLD, a bit of an off-topic cultural question.

      Why do Americans like to give dictionary definitions of perfectly ordinary words in their essays? (You have given a definition after the essay.)

      If the word is being used in the ordinary way, no definition is required. The reader will already know the word. (If s/he doesn't, it is the reader's job to consult a dictionary. )

      If the word is being used in some specialized sense, the dictionary definition will not help, since that definition will be the ordinary sense.

      Do they teach you to do this at school?

  • AIPAC-backed legislation targeting BDS movement advances in Congress
    • "And he can explain his conclusions in easily understood, factually verifiable terms. "

      Then I'm sure he will. What could be more satisfying for a teacher than engaging with such eager and attentive students as we are?

    • What do you mean by "historic homeland" ? What moral implications does it have?
      What do you mean by "the Jewish people" ?
      When you say "two nations", what do you mean by that?

      The dictionary does not help with these terms, and we really need to get them sorted out.

  • Herzog lost Israeli election because he didn't have blood on his hands -- Shalev
    • So Israelis will not do the right thing if it means some sort of loss to themselves? Or only if everyone else does?

      What a wonderful sense of morality!

  • Marking Memorial Day in Tel Aviv with Kahanists and Combatants for Peace
    • ' the anti-Muslim chant “Muhammad is dead” '

      The anti-Muslim intent is clear, but, taken objectively, it is a rather silly chant. All Muslims know perfectly well that Muhammad is dead, and agree that his death does not diminish his importance.

  • Will Graham's gaffe about 'all-Jewish cabinet' get the MSM to talk about pro-Israel money?
    • That would still be a preventative attack, eljay, not a pre-emptive one. It would be impermissible.

      It is very difficult to be sure that a first strike is pre-emptive, since it is difficult to be certain that the enemy's manoeuvres will actually turn into a real attack.

    • "The best defense as we all know, but you, is pre-emption."

      The best defence is to turn enemies into friends, but israel is not prepared to do that.

      Pre-emption requires waiting until an enemy attack is set up and ready to go, and then launching an attack that foils it. Under Just War theory, this is permissible during the course of a war.

      Preventive attacks involve launching an attack against an enemy in order to prevent that enemy from starting a war or acquiring the means to start a war. This is not permissible. It is simply aggression.

  • Organizations across Canada oppose government effort to criminalize criticism of Israel
  • Jews of France: should they stay or should they go?
    • "not sure why diaspora jews should suffer because of israeli policy ….attacking diaspora jews that pledge allegiance to the state they live in should be protected by that state as all citizens should"

      They shouldn't suffer, and they should be protected. But, as Walid points out, Israel claims to speak for all Jews. Nor is the situation helped by the fact that most "official" Jewish organizations are so loud and fervent in their support of Israel that they cast doubt on the allegiance to the state they live in.
      However, these are reasons. They are not excuses.

    • Ever tried getting a pie floater in France? Practically impossible.

      All you get is a few shreds of undercooked veg, and a tiny scrap of meat - almost raw - in a little puddle of strange gravy.

      And they don't have bread. They have tubes of thin concrete with a little bit of something like cotton wool inside.

      On the plus side, it isn't sushi.

    • "Well, as a practical matter aren’t they Jewish if they regard themselves as Jewish?"

      Are they Inca royalty if they regard themselves as Inca royalty?
      Are they teapots if they regard themselves as teapots?

      You might say so, but I would be trying to tactfully suggest psychotherapy. (Probably unsuccessfully. Tact is not one of my strong suits.)

      "Are you going to start telling them how frum they have to be to be Jewish? "

      No, but, if the term "Jewish" is to be meaningful, I think it needs to refer to more characteristics than just self-declaration and ancestry.

    • From my non-Jewish point of view, living in France seems far preferable to living in Israel. The main drawbacks of France are that the place is full of French people and the cooking is weird. But French Jews, being French themselves, would probably find these easy to put up with.

      As far as I can tell, not even other Israelis can put up with Israelis.

    • "Statistics indicate that French Jews tend to be secular like the French in general. Only 15% of French Jews attend synagogue. Seventy-five percent of Jewish school age children attend public schools. The majority of French Jews do not wear traditional religious clothing; they have no particular reason to shop at the Hypercacher."

      I really find it difficult to see why these secular French Jews are classed as Jews, or regarded as a minority. They seem to be indistinguishable from the majority of French people.

  • 'NYT' runs piece of unadulterated propaganda for Israeli army
    • If the measure of staunchness is troops, etc., fighting alongside US forces, the record makes it pretty clear which countries are real allies.

    • Please let me know what the NYT publishes about this coming Anzac Day. It is the 100th anniversary of the initial landings at Gallipoli, and so is of even greater importance to Australia than usual.

      Since Australia is arguably the staunchest ally of the US, I'm sure the NYT will produce some spectacular tribute.

  • Three asylum-seekers who left Israel were killed by ISIS in Libya
  • The moral hypocrisy of American Muslims for Palestine on the Armenian Genocide
    • "A M for P has betrayed not just the Armenians, but the Palestinians as well."

      Agreed.

      But I will add that being an American Muslim is a matter of religion. Being an "Armenian-American" is just silly.

  • Leading American rabbi issues first public criticism of apartheid conditions in Jerusalem
    • Splendid term.

    • I've just turned 69, and I do have a living parent. Said parent got a card from the Queen a short time ago.

    • "Do I love Israel infinitely? I feel like I love Israel the way I love my family. Infinite love ..."

      "Any criticism of Israel is not OK, belies a lack of love for Israel, and is not appropriate for Americans."

      "I do think that for Jews who are committed to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel, that we American Jews not only have the ability to make our views felt but I think American Jews are really obligated– if one believes that Kol Yisrael arevim zeh-bazeh, that we have one people, that there’s echad unity, and that Jews are responsible for one another, then I think American Jews should speak out on issues of concern to them…"

      "We talk so much about the American Jewish responsibility to Israel and the sacred obligation to support Israel..."

      Am I allowed to raise the issue of Jews being more loyal to Israel than to their own countries yet?
      Or is that still a certain kind of trope?

    • "American Jews have no right to criticize Israel because they don’t serve in the army there."

      Very few American Jews have served in the Syrian Army. That is why we hardly ever hear any criticism of Syria from American Jews.

    • "celebrating Israel when it is a worthy instrument for justice, peace, and Jewish culture "

      Let me know when that happens.

  • Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: An argument
    • “Your assertions about who have what rights are merely assertions. I can easily assert X has a right to do Y for anything, that doesn’t prove much.”

      Which is why we use moral arguments to back up our assertions. Of course, we usually have to fall back on some basic moral claim that we hope everyone agrees with, but that’s the way it is done. My assertions about the right to set up a state are backed up by the arguments I have given in my famous MW section on self-determination.

      “Mr. Slater is trying to convince Jews. A moral system, like the anti-colonial system, which argues that change of ownership is inherently immoral and thus Jews must be permanently denied the rights shared by other nations because they lost a war in the 1st century, is unlikely to be convincing to Jews. “

      So you think Jews are immune to moral argument. Now if I say “Jews only think of self-interest, not morality”, what is it that people call me?

      The big difficulty here is that you think “nations” (and you do not mean “established states”) have rights. That is just an assertion, isn’t it? Doesn’t prove much without arguments to support it.

      “In the end either you agree Jews are humans and deserving of equality or you don’t”

      Yes, every Jew is a human being and deserving of equality with every other human being. Claiming that Jews have a right to take over a chunk of country from someone else is not claiming equality but superiority.

      “some vague claim to Palestine by a group of people who lived in a much wider region including Palestine.”

      The people of Palestine lived in Palestine, not a wider region.

      “But Jews are not going to find an argument for their permanent slavery convincing. They are not going to agree to their own inequality.”

      I’m not arguing for slavery or inequality of Jews. Australian Jews are not slaves, and are equal citizens of Australia. And I’m fine with that.

      “Jews believe that Jews have the same right to Judea, as Chinese do to China and French do to France.”

      You have done a wonderful job in ignoring our repeated arguments that being French means being a citizen of France. French Jews are French, and have the same right to live in France as all other French people do.

      Chinese citizens have an automatic moral right to live in China. Single citizenship Australians of Chinese ancestry do not have any moral right to China. They have a right to live in Australia. So do Australian Jews.

      Being a Jew is not a matter of being a citizen of Judea. It does not give a right to live anywhere in particular.

      “If the argument is that no one has the right to live where their ancestors conquered then no one has the right to live anywhere.”

      I am not denying that Israelis born in the territory have the right to live there.

      I am denying that the conquest of part of Palestine (if it happened) by ancient Jews gives modern Jews (who may or may not be their descendants - I haven’t seen a family tree yet) any rights there at all. Ancient Romans conquered Palestine. Does that give modern Romans any rights in Palestine?

      I am denying that foreign Jews had the right to conquer the territory in 1948.

      I am denying that Jews had the right to set up a Jewish State in Palestine.

      “Your comment about rights is also historical wrong. In the mid 1800s when Zionism started, there was no distinct group of Palestinians. The people whose descendants would identify as Palestinians didn’t have an independent national aspirations.”

      So what? The right to establish a state does not depend on “national aspirations” or being a “distinct group”. The right is simply that of all the people within a specific territory, and it has to be such, since it is all the people within that territory who will be affected by the exercise of the right. It is a very heavily qualified right, but “identity” is not one of the qualifications.

      “Asserting that the Palestinians had the right to construct a nation-state based on strict geographic criteria is like asserting that they had the right to construct a satellite telescope.”

      And so they did. Lacking the means, or the interest, or even the knowledge to exercise the right does not annul the right.

      “Everybody acquired territory by force”

      Maybe so. That doesn’t mean (a) it wasn’t wrong, and (b) we should sit back and let it happen.

    • Slater will, no doubt, speak for himself. From my perspective, I will offer the following.

      Before the establishment of the State of Israel, the people of Palestine (and that means all the people - Christians, Jews, Muslims, Baha'is, Druze, Marxists, Molokan Holy Rollers, dubious characters lurking in the bushes - the lot) had a joint right to establish a state in Palestine for all the people of Palestine. Equal rights for everyone.

      The Jews did not have the right to establish a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. (For the reasons given in the long discussions of "self-determination" which take up a largish chunk of MW.) Thus, establishing Israel was illegitimate.

      The fact that Israel was illicitly established does not annul the previous joint right. The remainder of the people of Palestine still have that right, to exercise in that part of Palestine which is not occupied by the illegitimate Jewish state.

      This is not denying equality to Jews. It is denying that Jews have special rights.

  • The grave danger of derailing the Iran deal -- an interview with Chas Freeman
    • Great insights from someone who realises that there is a world outside the US.

      I was a bit surprised to see "When we opposed the Soviet Union, we set our vision of the rule of law against their ideological expediency. "

      I was under the impression that the USSR always tried to appear to be acting within the rule of international law.

      And even in the 1950s, many of us took a dim view of the way the US would prop up even the nastiest dictatorships as long as the dictators declared opposition to Communism.

  • Dead End
    • "Jews are not different enough, or interesting enough, in themselves, to be the eternal targets of hatred that you want to pretend that they are. "

      I'm pretty sure that counts as an anti-Semitic statement.

      Though not a lot doesn't.

  • Israeli racism takes center stage at Manhattan JCC
    • Boo, why do you think American legal principles apply in Israel? Israel has its own legal system.

    • 'the rabbi leading the event reminded the audience about showing respect to “the shared enterprise of Jewish community.” '

      Maintaining an oppressive ethnocracy is the shared enterprise of the Jewish community? If so, that gives a pretty good reason for branding Jews in general as enemies of humanity. Did the rabbi not realise he (or maybe she) was promoting and justifying anti-Semitism?

  • Kristol frets that he walked into Obama's 'trap,' and Rubio says he'll demand Iran recognize 'Israel's right to exist'
  • Understanding the Jewish National Home
    • "I would put Ps.137, with its terrifyingly anti-Babylonian ending"

      I've just checked that one up. Nasty. Boney M went over the top when they wrote that one.

    • "But again, you miss the point here. Zionism was about Jews being able to control their own destiny in a country of their own, after hundreds and hundreds of years of these expulsions, takings, slaughters, etc. "

      Only they didn't have a country of their own, so they took the Palestinians' country by means of expulsions, slaughter, etc. Great destiny.

    • I might add that I do not doubt that some Zionists said all those fine words about "working with their Arab neighbours", and so forth.

      But the Palestinians looked at what really happened to the parsnips.
      And that (to mix maxims) was the proof of the pudding.

    • "One Commissioner was a virulent anti Semite, ... their findings were predetermined days before they left."

      No, you've lost it again. I'm not interested in whether or not they were biased. I'm not interested in whether or not they were anti-Semites.

      I'm interested in whether their conclusions were true or not. And the truth of their conclusions does not depend on their ideology. It depends on the facts about the Zionists, not the facts about the commissioners.

    • "But, oddly, nowhere in the report does any Zionist say anything remotely like that. Instead, the archival materials show that the Zionists spoke repeatedly of working with, and assisting, their Arab neighbors. "

      Good. Some progress. You have actually given a reason for doubting the conclusions of the commission.

      Still a lot of irrelevant whining about anti-Semitism, though. The truth of a claim is not affected by the ideology of the person making the claim. Alas, since the educational trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric has been replaced by fluff and waffle, many people have difficult in recognizing that.

    • Hophmi, the Palestinians were already facing a bunch of foreign European Jewish immigrants who were trying to take their country. Do you seriously think they should have welcomed more European Jews to strengthen their enemies?

    • Of course Arab Jews had to pay fealty to Arab leaders. So did Arab Christians and Arab Muslims. It was support for the social order they lived in. Why should Jews be exempt?

      Serious confusion here.

      1 You seem to equate "founding a Jewish state" with "Arab Jews developing political consciousness". But these are not the same thing. As far as I can tell, some Arab Jews were politically active before the foundation of Israel, and some were not interested even after that.

      2 You suggest that it was the development of political consciousness that led to the persecution. It seems to me more likely that the claims of the Zionists to represent all Jews, and their appeals to the Arab Jews, led to the Arab Jews being seen as participants in the evil the Zionists perpetrated. Yes, guilt by association, which is wrong. But a result of Zionism.

      So although you say " There is no question that quite a bit of the Arab hostility to Israel comes from pre-Zionist anti-Jewish attitudes" I have still to see any support for the idea. It still seems to me more likely that the major part of the hostility is a direct result of the evil committed by the Zionists.

    • Please clarify, with appropriate evidence, what the King-Crane commission got wrong.
      Accusations -or even proof - of anti-Semitism or Christian bias do not count as evidence. They are, at best, reasons for caution.

    • "Theirs Arab neighbors have always rejected any organized Jewish presence in the region as a threat to their Muslim and Arab ethnic exclusivity."

      hophmi, recently you've pushed this idea that the conflict stems from some sort of Arab refusal to accept Jewish political power. ( The idea of "Arab ethnic exclusivity" seems a bit dodgy, in the face of the fact that most Middle Eastern Jews historically were Arabs, but I'm sure you can provide evidence for this idea.)

      What I am most concerned with is the implication that the Zionist plan to take over Palestine, to expel or subjugate the Palestinians, and all the brutal actions and atrocities that stemmed from this evil ideology, were of comparatively little importance in shaping the conflict.

      In short, you are saying that the conflict comes from pre-Zionist anti-Jewish attitudes, rather than from Zionist plans and actions.

      Do you deny that the Zionists had those plans and committed those acts, or do you acknowledge them, but claim that the Arabs should have (and, were it not for the anti-Jewish attitude, would have) accepted them as Jewish privilege?

    • "Sons of Abraham and Jacob are back in the land."

      Wow! People with family trees going back to Abraham. Who are they?

      Did the College of Heralds work out the family trees for them, or did they do it themselves using Ancestry.com?

    • "A nearly four thousand year Jewish presence in the land is not historical myth. "

      So what? The presence of Palestinian Jews does not give European Jews any right to enter the land. It does not give any Jews a right to set up a Jewish supremacist state in Palestine. It does not give any Jews the right to expel and subjugate non-Jews.

      And non-Jews have been present in the land for far longer than four thousand years.

    • Mooser, history ended in 1946, when RoHa was born.

      Everything since then counts as "Current Events".

  • 'NPR' does two-parter honoring right of return for Chagos islanders expelled 40 years ago
  • What to do when a hate group shows up outside your mosque
  • Jewish and Palestinian women are segregated in Israeli maternity wards -- Chomsky
  • Love letter to a Zionist: NYU project seeks to bridge Israel divide within Jewish families
    • "It doesn't really have to do anything more than go out of fashion."

      Ah, fashion.

      "One unbecoming fashion is now almost universal: namely, shaving the hair from the upper part of the head, in a circular form, so as to leave only an outer ring. The missionaries have tried to persuade the people to change this habit; but it is the fashion, and that is a sufficient answer at Tahiti, as well as at Paris."
      (Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle, Chap. 18)

      What folly will people not commit, what nonsense not proclaim, be it but fashionable!

      They will bear absurdities upon their heads and impracticalities upon their bodies.

      They will pierce their persons, and fill the holes with ugly ironmongery.

      They will undergo Primal Scream Therapy, and declaim the doctrines of Man Made Global Warming, regardless of scientific evidence or even basic good sense.

      They will use and excuse bad grammar and worse logic.

      They will use Facebook and Twitter.

      They will eat sushi!

      "Mit die Mode kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens", as Schiller almost said.

  • Just like the Nazis, Iran 'plans to exterminate six million Jews' -- Netanyahu
    • "that other Iraqi Saddam also wrote turgid novels,"

      I am given to understand that, when Saddam was executed, the loudest cheers were from the Arabic Lit. departments in the universities.

    • Given the importance of Christianity in the development of Western civilization after the fall of the Classical civilization, I think a case can be made for calling it "Christian civilization".

      But to call it "Judeo-Christian civilization" is simply absurd.

  • When it comes to untrustworthiness, the U.S. trumps Iran
    • Is the term "lone superpower" still appropriate? Russia has recovered from the break up of the Soviet Union, and China just gets stronger every day.

      For another reason why Iran should be cautious about taking America's word, they could look at NATO. The U.S. promised the Russians that they would not expand NATO as the Russians withdrew from Eastern Europe. And promptly broke that promise.

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