Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 7249 (since 2009-08-04 05:43:29)


Showing comments 7249 - 7201

  • 'Let's talk about Zionism,' is message at July 4 parade in Wellfleet, MA
    • A far more interesting article in today's Ha'aretz is Eva Illouz' "Are We Really as Moral as We Think?" (so far only in Hebrew, I think): link to

    • I think it is not “gobbledygook” in this case. I hope that this gets some more people in Israel and around the world to look at reality.

      I understand what you're saying, just, but I'm so tired of the hand-wringing of the Israeli "left". There's another article in today's Haaretz, that is equally well-meaning and equally deluded, by a former Labour Party leader and one of Israel's leading doves. If even the doves cling to the idea of ethnocracy and the racism and discrimination it necessarily entails -- while self-righteously beating the breasts of others -- where is the hope for a "cultural revolution"?

    • They must begin raising the next generation, at least, on humanist values, and foster a tolerant public discourse. Without these, the Jewish tribe will not be worthy of its own state.

      Well-meaning gobbledygook. As long as Israeli Jews like the author of this editorial believe that "the Jewish tribe" (as opposed to the current citizens of the state and those ethnically cleansed from it) is "worthy of its own state", the state in question will be incapable of instilling "humanist values" and fostering "a tolerant public discourse". The Jewish religious metaphor that comes to mind is "purifying oneself while clinging to an unclean thing" (i.e. a hypocritical exercise in futility).

  • How long can Israel depend on Mizrahi docile loyalty? Smadar Lavie asks in new book
    • Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi, who actively helped rebuild the Jewish community of Tiberias and lobbied the Ottomans to that end and saw it as a precursor to a Jewish state.

      What is your source for the assertion that Dona Gracia herself saw her actions as "a precursor to a Jewish state" (in the sixteenth century!)? Everybody and his uncle (or aunt, in this case) has been called a "proto-Zionist", and simply favouring Jewish settlement and development in Palestine does not a proto-Zionist or a Zionist make (as witnessed e.g. by the Protestrabbiner and Nathan Marcus Adler, who expressed support for Jewish settlement in Palestine, even as they utterly rejected political Zionism).

    • There’s much more in common with people like Moshe Arens and Ruby Rivlin and the Mondoweiss crowd than either group cares to acknowledge.

      Once again, you're confusing the liberal, moderate left with what you termed the "ultra radical left". Indeed the liberal, moderate left loves Rivlin (whom it supported for president), and is full of respect for Begin (not to mention Meridor, Miki Eitan, etc.). Arens is a different story.

      The "ultra radical left" (also assuming that is what you were referring to at MW - libertarians and America-firsters aside) takes issue precisely with Israel's partial (ethnocratic, Herrenvolk, etc.) democracy, which is the window-dressing the old-school Herutniks are utterly devoted to: 'let's make the part of our society that is democratic as decent as we can'. That doesn't wash with us URL-types, because it perpetuates and gives airs to inequality and discrimination (not to mention various and sundry war crimes and crimes against humanity).

      No, we have very little in common with Arens or Rivlin (but you knew I'd say that). Although, as we (in my pre-URL days) used to say about Shamir, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    • You mean they like giving lip service to it as part of their radical chic and they can sometimes they can trot out a token house “frenk” to show they’re serious.

      No, that's what you mean. I disagree with you. I don't know how many Mizrahi anti-Zionists there are in Israel (there aren't that many Jewish anti-Zionists in Israel altogether), but social justice and equality are the basis of "ultra radical left" ideology. In Israel, that means, for the most part, supporting the rights of Palestinians, migrants/asylum-seekers, Mizrahim and Haredim. I will give you that prejudice against Haredim can be found even on the "ultra radical left", but it is certainly not as ubiquitous there as in the liberal, moderate left (and right).

    • “The “shed ha edati” and anti-Mizrahi bigotry persists among extreme anti-Zionist/post-Zionist ultra left-wing radical types, who are overwhelmingly Ashkenazi,

      Post-Zionists, probably some; anti-Zionists I would guess very few. The "radical ultra left-wing" in Israel happens to be extremely critical of all forms of ethnic, social and economic discrimination, and is active on all fronts. Besides, what interest would Israeli anti-Zionists have in defending past or present Zionist policies and actions?

      It's the moderate, liberal "left" (which is indeed overwhelmingly Ashkenazi) that desperately wants to save "beautiful Eretz Yisrael" and go back to the "good old days" before '67, when there were relatively few Arabs around (I wonder why) and Mizrahim knew their place; and much of which still retains Mapai-style condescension toward both Palestinians and Mizrahim.

    • I was wondering about the basis/source for some of the assertions in this review, such as the figures 50%, 30% and 20% for Mizrahim, Ashkenazim and Palestinians, respectively (of the entire Israeli population), or "the requirement of having five maternal Jewish generations in order to immigrate to Israel".

    • This is a puzzle: how is it possible that a marginalized, oppressed group supports a party which clearly marginalizes and oppresses another group of people? Lavie says that it is a reaction to years of abuse and disenfranchisement by the Israeli left.

      Why is the proletariat so damn reactionary? Can't they see where their "true" interests lie? When will they stop being so "docile" and subservient to clerics and capitalists who exploit them?

      Sure, punishing the left was a part of it, but Mizrahim have, for the most part, identified their own interests and decided that they lie with strengthening the Jewish national identity that ensures that they are well above the most discriminated group (Palestinians) in Israeli society, and with taking the benefits offered to them by the state (whether run by right or "left") on Jewish only settlements. Why on earth would they give that up? To be treated like Arabs? Screw class consciousness. It's a luxury only the (predominantly Ashkenazi) middle and upper classes can afford.

      Besides, been to Europe lately (or any time in the past century)? Where do right-wing and fascist movements do their most and best recruiting? Among the wealthier, privileged classes or among the poor and disenfranchised? It's always good to have someone even lower than you on the social/economic/ethnic scale to blame and kick around. Rich, white people do it all the time. Why should anyone expect any more of the poor?

  • Chomsky and BDS
  • Murdered teen laid to rest, as tensions flare in Shufat
    • I doubt that the goverment will be able to continue with the present restraint much longer.

      Had Netanyahu exercised restraint earlier, it is unlikely a grad would have been fired at Beersheva in the first place.

      No Iron Dome in Gaza.

    • And now protests have spread from Jerusalem to the Triangle (predominantly Palestinian area in northern Israel). Echoes of the Second Intifada.

  • Please, pray for Palestine
    • annie,

      I know who Perel is and what B'nei Akiva is (I used to be a member, and attended one of their high schools - the same one attended by both Avrum Burg and Hanan Porat). The movement and its leadership, like the national-religious camp in general, have long (but not always) been on the extreme, settler right-wing, although there are still some more moderate groups within the movement, particularly outside Israel (branches in Scandinavia, for example - and I presume others - have demanded Perel's resignation). I was not underestimating the significance of Perel's position within religious Zionism, but questioning David Sheen's use of the plural ("rabbis") and the qualifier "top". Perel is not a "top rabbi" (although he holds an important leadership position within the religious community), but a run-of-the-mill, dime a dozen sort of rabbi, who used to run a religiously and academically insignificant little high school on the settlement of Susya.

      and shmuel what else can “an army that will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins,” mean?

      It means mass murder (to be committed by the "Avenger's Corps" Perel wants established), and Perel has said that he was not just speaking in the heat of the moment, but stands by his statement. The reference to "Philistine foreskins" is biblical bombast, nothing more, nothing less. Such Bible/rabbi-speak is immensely popular. Calling for mass murder is bad and dangerous enough, at a time when emotions (and opportunism) are running so high. Attributing calls for genital mutilation to "rabbis" is false and unnecessarily adds fuel to the fire.

    • Not to take things to heart, never to feel that I belong.

      It helps a little, but your heart will still be over there. You will continue to "write about a far-off land in which children are shot, slaughtered, buried and burned", and the readers will think you are a fantasy writer -- or worse, a liar.

      And an apocalyptic piece, by Chemi Shalev: link to

      ... But make no mistake: the gangs of Jewish ruffians man-hunting for Arabs are no aberration. Theirs was not a one-time outpouring of uncontrollable rage following the discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped students. Their inflamed hatred does not exist in a vacuum: it is an ongoing presence, growing by the day, encompassing ever larger segments of Israeli society, nurtured in a public environment of resentment, insularity and victimhood, fostered and fed by politicians and pundits - some cynical, some sincere - who have grown weary of democracy and its foibles and who long for an Israel, not to put too fine a point on it, of one state, one nation and, somewhere down the line, one leader. ...

    • I thought so but that guy didn’t mention petrol , at least not in what I read.

      I don't know where David Sheen got the rest of his information (I saw one unconfirmed rumour that Mohammed may have died from a combination of beating and burns -- terrible to write and terrible to think about), but Perel did not "call to cut off Palestinian foreskins" (and he can hardly be described as "top rabbis"). Perel called for bloody revenge and almost certainly mass murder, alluding to Saul's revenge against the Philistines, exacted through David (1 Samuel 18:27). Bad enough without the gory embellishments.

      I get the feeling that David Sheen is angry and scared (so am I), but that in itself demands a little circumspection.

  • After repeated calls for vengeance, Netanyahu urges Israelis to be 'cool-headed' and seek 'justice'
    • Wouldn’t be surprised if he has some highly literate people in the office.

      I would. Sure, some of them can put together a grammatically-correct sentence (Mark Regev comes to mind), but the self-righteous, self-referential bent is a sine qua non for the job. It's hard to get a point across to others when you never stop talking to yourself.

    • The expression “proper Zionist response” is code for settlement construction.

      I've been wondering though. If the appropriate response to Palestinian terrorism is settlement construction, shouldn't the appropriate response to Jewish terrorism be settlement removal?

      I've also been wondering how to reconcile B'nei Akiva Secretary General Rabbi Noam Perl's repulsive remarks about revenge with Netanyahu's funereal bombast about who sanctifies what, or Rabbi Benny Lau's words (at a demonstration against Jewish revenge, held in Jerusalem, following the murder of Mohamed Abu Khdeir) that "revenge is not in our DNA".

    • Netanyahu seems to be having it both ways, moving on the higher and the lower plane all at once. Beckerman quite rightly says that the idea of vengeance is what will strike the minds of readers, presumably the majority, who don’t happen to know the poem.

      For all his US upbringing and reputation as a consummate "explainer" to the foreign masses, Netanyahu is actually remarkably provincial. So much of what he says is very culture-specific, often to the point of being incomprehensible in the rather literal translations he and his office broadcast to the world (when the remarks are not simply picked up in Hebrew and inadequately translated by someone else).

    • Netanyahu is an old hand at racist (and other) incitement. This case (and not just at and after the funerals) is no different, but I wouldn't cite "May God avenge their blood" and the line from Bialik's famous poem as examples of this. This first is a traditional formula used for "martyrs", and the second is, by now, a very tired and embarrassing cliché (another specialty of Netanyahu's). The two phrases are not calls for revenge, but rather reflexive expressions of Israel's warped self-image and cult of perpetual victimhood, which seeks to associate all Palestinian/Arab/Muslim violence against Jews with historical anti-Semitism.

  • Missing Israeli teens found dead near Hebron; Netanyahu: 'Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay'
    • Such a pity they didn’t have uniforms and Michael Oren to explain what happened.

      Oren's imaginary counterpart would have said that the whole thing was staged and either they were killed by the Israelis themselves or are alive and well in Herzliya.

      Netanyahu's self-righteous populism is sickening -- "dancing on the blood" (as the Hebrew expression goes) of these poor boys, and spilling further Palestinian and Jewish blood in the process.

  • What's your politically-correct World Cup bracket?
    • How many times is the NFL or Baseball mentioned in the Bible, Jesus played Rugby!

      I'll leave it to the wise sports commentators here to decide which game Isaiah was describing (22:17-19):

      Behold, the LORD will hurl you up and down with a man's throw; and will wind you round and round; He will violently roll and toss you like a ball into a large country; there you shall die, and there shall be the chariots of your glory, O shame of your lord's house. And I will thrust you from your post, and from your station you shall be pulled down.

  • 'Haaretz' conference trumpets tired word 'Peace' (when the only solution is 'equality')
    • Wonder what Hagee would say to your comment.

      "The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name."

    • Shun evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it (Psalms 34:15)

      An excellent basis for a viable peace plan. Start by "shunning evil" -- i.e. stop administrative detentions, land and water theft, settlement construction, torture, etc. Then "do good" and "pursue peace" through justice (in keeping with the words of the Rabbis: "Without justice there can be no peace" [Tractate Derekh Eretz Zuta, "Chapter on Peace"]; see also Deuteronomy 16;20).

  • 'I was a Zionist till I was 64. I want to hit myself'
    • Welcome, nettee :-)

    • Thank you so much, Tzvia. I know the kicking oneself feeling, but if you and your husband managed to raise two daughters, in Israel, with that kind of awareness, honesty, empathy and sense of justice, you must have been doing something right long before you were 64. תודה מקרב לב

  • Israeli officials threaten return to Intifada-era policy of demolishing suspects' homes
    • A totally stupid tactical move by Israel. It got the chilly reception it deserved.

      It's all part of the Lieberman Doctrine (with apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson): Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.

      On a related note, I was struck by the expression "the world is silent" (העולם שותק), used by one of the mothers. In Israel, in Hebrew, this has clear Holocaust connotations (especially in Zionist ideology), and I asked myself (with all due respect to a mother's fears and pain) whether this is really the association she wants to make.

  • Israel announces identity of suspected kidnappers, still no evidence of abduction made public
    • Netanyahu has named two Hamas members as the kidnappers

      No, he has released a couple of names that have been kicking around for about 10 days, with no evidence other than the fact that they've been "missing" for about the same time as the 3 Israelis. At the moment, they are no more than suspects, and the investigation still has a long way to go.

      Most of the people who have been arrested are involved with Hamas

      Although the connection between Hamas and the 3 missing Israelis has yet to be established.

      the 6 people who have been killed attacked Israeli troops

      Interesting theory. Not even the IDF has made such a claim (e.g. in the cases of 14-year-old Mohammed Dudin, or the 36-year-old, mentally-unstable Ahmad Khalid). Can you provide the details of these "attacks" for all 6, or do you have your own "double standard"?

    • Two interesting comments in the Israeli press on the publication of the identities of the two "suspects":

      Alex Fishman (Yediot) writes that "There is only one logical explanation" for the publication at such an early stage in the investigation (i.e. without any real evidence), and that is "to take the pressure off the government", which has demanded immediate results from the Shin Bet and the army, "because the public is losing patience".

      Amos Harel (Haaretz) writes that neither the Shin Bet nor the army have a clue, and the fact that these names --known to the media for about 10 days already -- have been released just shows how little they really have to go on.

    • I was thinking today, imagine if the Palestinians had the military power to carry out the same siege against Israel after the Nakba Day murders? Arresting Israelis by the hundreds in search of the shooter and killing 5 or 6.

      Sayed Kashua wrote something along those lines (trying to hold a mirror up to Jewish Israeli society) in his Haaretz column last week and fell flat, even with "leftists" like Alexander Yakovson, who missed the entire point -- responding to Kashua with a paean to Israeli moral superiority.

      Kashua's mirror is a lot softer than Haneen Zoabi's (he's a humorist; she's a politician), but the reactions are analogous.

      The self-righteous and otherising Jewish Israeli bubble is the theme of this week's column (with a particular dig at [Ashkenazi] "leftists" in the punchline).

  • 'Washington Post' conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism
    • All these sad stories about anti-semitism in France but the silver lining is NOW WITH ADDED ALIYAH.

      I still remember a surreal interview with a family of recent immigrants from France, broadcast on Israeli TV during Cast Lead. The interview was conducted in a café in Sderot during the cease fire hours, between rocket attacks. The family had just emerged from a bomb shelter and their son had enlisted and was actually in Gaza. They couldn't stop talking about how much safer it was for them than Paris!

    • but I’m also not a fan of shutting people up for having differing opinions

      Nor am I, Walid.

    • Walid,

      This is not really the place for such discussions, but I think the European Court decision rejecting his appeal explains why some of Garaudy's statements should be considered "denial of crimes against humanity" and "racially defamatory". You may not agree with all of their reasoning but, on the whole, I think the argument that Garaudy was not merely "questioning the narrative" is quite compelling. Whether such crimes should even be on the books is another story entirely.

      link to

    • Garaudy was not a denier.

      I'm afraid he was (despite having expunged references to Faurisson and Rassinier in the second edition of his book) - clearly demonstrated by the French courts and the European Court of Human Rights to which he had submitted an appeal (and lost).

  • Reform Jews offer no proposal to end occupation, says Jewish Voice for Peace
    • right now it is on ideological life support until the next phase begins and clarifies what role it may play in the future

      Meanwhile, J Street's European sister organisation, J Call, has issued an appeal to European governments to get the Israelis and Palestinians talking again (while blaming both sides for the breakdown of the Kerry process). Beyond the usual liberal Zionist 2-state positions, I noticed that they had basically incorporated Netanyahu's relatively new demand that Israel be recognised as the state of the Jewish people (although couched in slightly different terms).

  • Jeffrey Goldberg leads the charge on latest BDS smear: Presbyterian Church divestment is anti-Semitic because David Duke supports it
    • Italy and Spain are expected to issue similar warnings over the next few days, while the UK and Germany did so a few months ago.

      Done. Italy and Spain have issued their warnings.

    • There is also Christian schmaltz, made of pig fat.

      Chazer shmaltz? You mean the kind of stuff David Duke eats? No thanks.

    • a worthy topic for discussion on MW

      Goldberg is a letz. I can think of no more appropriate response to his letzonus than shmaltz.

      Thanks for the nutritional info, but if you eat shmaltz on Shabbos, the neshomo yeseiro (additional Sabbath soul) spirits (so to speak) all the nasty saturated cholesterolly stuff away.

    • remember– soup is mere bouillon without schmaltz

      Schmaltz is not a fat. Some say it is a carbohydrate but it is, in fact, sui generis. Have you ever heard David Duke praising gribenes or chopped liver? There you have it.

    • Carbs are Jewish; fats are anti-Semitic.

  • 'Forward' editor says Presbyterian vote was anti-Semitic
    • some whites did claim they got along better with blacks than the Yankee hypocrites

      I've heard similar things from settlers and non-settler right-wingers in Israel -- the "Yankees" being Ashkenazi lefties, emblematically residing in the highly segregated upscale Tel Aviv neighbourhood of Ramat Aviv. They have a point.

    • What’s the final verdict, do the sons of the 3rd and 4th generation squeak by or is it curtains for them?

      Short answer: Not curtains (at least in Rabbinic exegetical tradition). Deuteronomy 5:9 (like Exodus 20:4) -- "for my foes", i.e. those who persist in the evil ways of their fathers -- points the way to resolving the apparent contradictions to Deuteronomy 24:16.

      See also Ezekiel 18: and Jeremiah 31:28-29.

    • Betsy,

      First of all, I'd like to thank you for all of the information and insight you have given us into the Presbyterian Church, its history, ethos, actions, members, etc.

      On the subject of the history of Christian attitudes toward and treatment of Jews, I consider the accusations levelled against PCUSA in the realm of "essentialism", which I have often criticised in my comments at MW, with regard to Jews and Muslims. Yes, there are racist and discriminatory attitudes and practices in all of our (monotheistic) traditions and cultures, but to hold any of us responsible for them or to claim that we are necessarily influenced by them (consciously or unconsciously) is to do us a great injustice. Presbyterians seem to strive to combine the best in Christian tradition with the best universal values of our time. Why should they be identified with traditions and ideas they have clearly repudiated in thought and deed?

      "Fathers shall not be put to death over sons, and sons shall not be put to death over fathers. Each man shall be put to death for his own offence (Deuteronomy 24:16)."

    • Ritzl and Yonah,

      I think that this is precisely where the Presbyterians come in. In their cautious pace, considerate tone and measured debate, they have given real weight to Palestinian suffering and human rights. The more truly moderate groups and individuals such as PCUSA say "this is not right and we will not condone it" and back it up with even symbolic action, the more liberal US Jews will feel they are on the wrong side. They won't like it and they won't thank anyone, but they will be forced to treat the systematic and brutal oppression and dispossession of Palestinians as much more than just "Israel’s actions, troubling though they may be".

      It is this moral isolation, as opposed to any real economic pressure, that will change minds in Israel as well, among the left-leaning intellectual and cultural elite, which sees itself as part of a broader, international elite. When enough people and institutions they respect and relate to as peers tell them that the treatment of Palestinians is not acceptable and can no longer be met merely with the clicking of tongues and rolling of eyes and getting Israelis and Palestinians to hug each other, they will be forced to ask themselves some extremely difficult questions and grapple with their previous self-perceptions.

      It is in fact the move by the Presbyterians, rather than J. Goldberg's slimy insinuation about David Duke's "support" for it, that should be cause for reflection - and I think it will be, not for people like Dershowitz or Ruth Wisse, but for people like Eisner.

    • Israel’s actions, troubling though they may be

      Obviously they do not trouble Ms. Eisner very much at all, or she would welcome the PCUSA decision; and were she actually concerned about the state of human rights in Syria, Iraq or Egypt (as opposed to using them as both shield and bludgeon), she would be urging PCUSA and others to tackle those issues as well, rather than criticising steps that have already been taken in the direction of ethical investment and trying to dissuade others from following suit.

  • Israel can’t force-feed occupation to those who hunger for freedom
    • Word coming out from the prisoners via the Palestinian Minister for prisoners was that the ongoing aggression by Israel on the WB had something to do with their decision to end their fast. They didn’t get most of what they had been asking for.

      Thanks, Walid. I suspected as much. The hunger strike was merely ignored before the disappearance of the 3 Israelis and the Israel's onslaught. It was then completely eclipsed. Combined with Israel's force-feeding law (also largely ignored), it became virtually pointless self-harm. I hope all of the hunger strikers recover their strength quickly. They'll need it.

    • According to Haaretz, a deal was reached last night, between the Palestinian hunger strikers and the Israeli Prison Service:

      Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons ended a two-month-long hunger strike overnight Tuesday after a deal was struck with the Israel Prison Service.

      The details of the deal, it was agreed by the sides, will only be made public after the hunger strikers receive treatment and their condition stabilizes.

      Sources in the Palestinian Prisoners Club told Haaretz that Israel has agreed to some of their terms and said that a press conference will be held on the matter on Wednesday.

      link to

  • Israel maintains gag order in missing teens' case, leading to charge of media 'manipulation'
    • I am with you 100%, but that’s not the fault of the youths, though it appears at least one of them was in the military

      I think I can give a little guesswork background on the 3, based on my own experience in similar circles in Israel.

      Frankel and Shaer are high school kids. They did not choose where to live or, in all likelihood, what school to go to - nor do they have the maturity or the tools (considering their upbringing) to evaluate their political situation or actions. The school they go to (Makor Hayim), on the "consensus" settlement of Kfar Etziyon, is not particularly hard-core either.

      Yifrah (aged 19) attends the very hard-core post-high-school yeshivah of Shavei Hevron - part of the extremist Jewish settlement in the heart of Hebron and an endless source of grief for Palestinians. He has probably not done any military service (as Shavei Hevron does not combine military service with religious studies), but almost certainly carries a weapon. Post-high-school religious institutions are generally chosen by the students themselves - with or without parental approval (and often against parents' wishes).

    • Why do you expect a Palestinian state to be different from any of the other non-Zionist states in the region.

      Why do you expect a majority-rule South Africa to be different from any of the other non-white states in the region?

    • Page: 72
    • So we're getting somewhere. Your assertion regarding "number of discussions" proved false, so you went back to Wiki and realised you should have said "resolutions" and "country-specific" (assuming who ever wrote the Wiki entry didn't make stuff up too).

      Sri-Lanka also thinks the UN is biased, but not against Israel. I guess bias is in the eye of the offender (and defender).

    • The UNHRC has recommended that many situations, like the ones in Israel, Dafur/Sudan, Syria, Libya, and North Korea ... Sri Lanka ... Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia. ... some of those requests have been blocked by a few permanent members of the Security Council.

      So you mean the UNHRC doesn't spend all of its time "bashing" Israel, but is actually concerned with human rights, and that if Israel is singled out at the UN, it's for preferential treatment? But that would mean Hillel Neuer is just making stuff up. Oh ... I see.

    • It has no ability to deal with real human rights violations around the world, only with Israel. Just look at the number of discussions held concerning Israel compared to the number of discussions held in connection to the rest of the world states together.

      Topics discussed at the HRC yesterday, 23.6.14 (date chosen at random):

      - La question de la peine de mort
      - Situation of human rights in Eritrea
      - Human rights and climate change
      - Technical and capacity-building assistance for South Sudan in the field of human rights
      - Human rights of migrants: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants
      - Promotion of the right of migrants to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
      - The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health: sport and healthy lifestyles as contributing factors
      - Accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women: violence against women as a barrier to women’s political and economic empowerment
      - Human rights and arbitrary deprivation of nationality
      - Contribution of parliaments to the work of the Human Rights Council and its universal periodic review
      - Protection of the family
      - Cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights
      - Promotion and protection of the human rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas
      - Elimination of discrimination against women
      - Human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

      link to

    • Yep. Palestinian mothers should be right there, side by side with the Israeli settler mothers. But then Israel does not allow them to leave to go to Geneva.

      "Geneva" should come to them.

    • Now we keep hearing of Israelis getting fed up with the settlers being in the territories and at the root of Israel’s problems, which is somewhat unfair.

      I agree. It's too easy for "nice" Israelis (and others) to blame everything on the settlers (or Russians or Mizrahim or Americans ["the crazies from Brooklyn"] or the religious). Yehouda Shenhav discusses this hypocrisy at length in Beyond the Green Line.

    • Which are the biggest criminals in this story, the settlers who for religious and mostly economical reasons ended up living on stolen lands, or is it the state that actually dispossessed the Palestinians and stole their land and went on to entice the settlers into moving there to create facts on the ground by offering them cheaper housing, reduced rates on everything and an army to protect them?

      I would guess policy-makers bear the greatest responsibility (e.g. for violations of the Geneva Convention), but legal responsibility is individual, for specific crimes, based on evidence. To the extent that individual settlers have committed crimes, they should answer for them. Although all three boys study at institutions in the OT, I think only two of the families live in the WB.

    • They’re illegal settlers and criminals breaking international law every breathing moment of their stinking lives. The UN courts is where they should be and behind bars is where they should end up.

      Criminals should pay for their own crimes, not lose their kids.

    • The mothers themselves have every right and every reason to go to the UN, but putting themselves in the hands of the Israeli foreign ministry and especially that clown Hillel Neuer simply turns their efforts into a grotesque PR stunt. Poor women, poor boys.

  • Victory's unintended consequences
    • It shows that these groups which claim to support a 2SS and a Palestinian state wouldn’t lift a finger to bring it about.

      And, on the contrary, would expend significant amounts of energy to block any such initiative.

  • 'This is not looking for the missing settlers, it is just trying to punish us': A report from ten days of lockdown in Hebron
    • Two out of three of the missing teenagers are not settlers.

      All three study in the OT (2 in Kfar Etzion, 1 in Hebron), and only one family for certain lives beyond the Green Line (the Shaer family, in Talmon). The Yifrahs live in Elad (Israeli side of Green Line) and the Frankels live in Nof Ayalon, which straddles the Green Line (in the Latrun salient). According to Zochrot, Both Elad and Nof Ayalon/Sha'alvim sit on ethnically-cleansed Palestinian land (the villages of Muzayri'a and Salbit/Bayt Shanna, respectively).

    • jenin,
      May he and they stay safe.

  • 'Washington Post' suggests Presbyterians voted against Jews and peace
    • Yoffie actually gives two good reasons why JVP is a much better friend than the organisation he used to head:

      1. Unlike URJ, JVP never demanded that the Presbyterian Church adopt its own position "or else". It gave its recommendation and expressed faith in the Church's own integrity and democratic process. Unlike URJ, JVP is willing to accept differences between friends.

      2. Unlike URJ, JVP does not claim to speak for all Jews or imply that Jews are monolithic on Israel or any other topic (Omar Barghouti and others have called such views "anti-Semitic"). It recognises and addresses differences among Jews and does not try to sweep them under the rug for political gain. JVP is thus a far better source of "information about the Jewish community" than URJ will ever be.

    • suggests Presbyterians voted against Jews and peace

      ... and motherhood and kittens.

    • A church decides to dump unethical stock (fossil fuels, military occupation) and approve gay marriage, but URJ, AJC, ADL (not to mention the State of Israel) decide that it's all about Jews. When will these guys take a leaf out of the book of the commissioner who said (with regard to Rabbi Jacobs' offer to set up a meeting for Presbyterian leaders with Netanyahu) "we're not that important"?

      Kohelet said (Ecc. 2:14) "The wise has eyes in his head" (i.e. foresees the outcome of his actions). The leaders of these Jewish organisations could have avoided any impact on Jews or interfaith relations simply by not making the motion about Jews. One must therefore conclude either that they are not "wise" (a distinct possibility, considering their behaviour on this and many other occasions) or that they really don't give a damn about Jews or interfaith relations, but will gladly sacrifice both on the altar of Zionist ideology. Needless to say, the two are not mutually exclusive.

  • One killed in protests as Israeli army takes control of Ramallah city center for first time since 2007
    • I never see this discussed in non academia as represented by Ha’aretz, for example

      And you never will. Haaretz (on occasion - perhaps by someone like Eva Illouz) is about as far toward the mainstream you will get (and that's not very far). Militarism and violence against women and especially the connection between the two, are "fringe" issues, best left to feminists and post-colonialists.

    • But Israel guards its borders and anyone within its borders, citizen or not (he was a citizen), valued or not, who is injured by foreign violence will result in a response to the threat to Israel’s sovereignty.

      So why does it remind me of this old joke? link to

    • seafoid,

      It's certainly a part of feminist discourse in Israel, and has indeed been studied, but hey, it's all "the Arabs'" fault, anyway, right (as per G. Meir's supercilious quip)?

      Another opportunity to draw attention to the wonderful women and men at New Profile: link to

    • I wonder if levels of wife beating in Israel increase when they trash the west Bank.

      A perfectly reasonable question (concern trolls notwithstanding). See e.g. link to

  • Fear of anti-semitism accusation did not stop Presbyterians from witnessing occupation
    • And no, it was not anti-Semitic but it made anti-Semites very happy with themselves.

      Really? I would have thought they'd be burning with rage and sickened to their racist stomachs at the pro-Jewish wording of the motion and tone of the debate. If anything, I'd say this is an extreme setback for the anti-Semitic cause (despite the best efforts of the URJ, AJC and ADL).

  • In 'turning-point' vote, Presbyterians divest from occupation-linked corporations
    • "... categorically divest from fossil fuel companies to witness that we care for all of God's creation" (from the Ustream broadcast of the Presbyterian GA ).

      Why divest from fossil fuel companies? That's what radical environmental terrorists want. Does the GA support terrorism? And why are you singling out fossil fuel companies? Surely there are companies that do far worse, without providing all of the benefits and technology made possible by the fossil fuel companies. This is one-sided and, frankly, smacks of bigotry and ignorance. Furthermore, it will alienate your friends in the oil, gas and coal industries. Is that what you really want? Perhaps you should continue to invest in fossil fuel companies, alongside positive investment in alternative fuels. That would send a message of peace and partnership rather than divisiveness and strife that will only harm God's creation.

      (Excerpt from an appeal that the head of one of the leading oil companies might have made, had she been invited to address the GA, "for the sake of balance".)

  • Reform Jewish leader offers alternative to Presbyterian divestment: meet Netanyahu
    • The mainstream Jews played with an advantage and still lost.
      Quit whining.

      Unlike JVP, Jacobs and the "mainstream Jews" never recognised the good faith of the participants or the democracy of the process. He may not have been wearing one of those nasty t-shirts, but Jacobs' message (and the AJC's and the ADL's) was certainly "love me or leave me", i.e. any decision other than the one we demand will not be respected, as we do not consider a decision to divest legitimate and we do not recognise the right of the Presbyterian Church or anyone else to take such a decision. This attitude makes the deference and respect shown to Jacobs by the assembly even more misplaced.

    • We need each other, and if you choose partnership over divestment and BDS, together we can change the world.

      So no violent struggle, no non-violent struggle and no Palestinians, but Jacobs and non-divesting Presbyterians are going to change the world. Might as well meet with Netanyahu -- so he can thank you in person for your support.

  • I’m a Lutheran member of a Jewish organization, and I support Presbyterian divestment
  • How Israel is exploiting the reported kidnapping to weaken Palestinian reconciliation
    • How Israel is exploiting the reported kidnapping to weaken Palestinian reconciliation

      And how could we forget more goodies for the settlements: link to

    • So I will assume that you do not support the government of Israel’s practice of kidnapping Palestinians on a daily basis. Right?

      In the first ten days of June, seventeen teenage boys were abducted in the occupied West Bank. The youngest was thirteen, the oldest seventeen.

      Some were dragged at gunpoint from their homes and family in the middle of the night; others were seized from the streets in broad daylight.

      All of the abductions were documented by the Palestinian Monitoring Group.


      the seventeen Palestinian boys seized by heavily armed Israeli soldiers will disappear into the same silent black hole as all the other Palestinian children taken on an almost daily basis by the occupation forces.

      Some will be detained for days, weeks, or months, beaten, interrogated and then released. Others, however young, will find themselves put through Israel’s military courts and jailed, often on the basis of coerced confessions.

      According to the rights group Addameer, there are currently approximately two hundred Palestinian children being held in Israeli jails. Some of those children will suffer periods in solitary confinement; all are at risk of physical abuse amounting to torture.

      link to

  • Six Palestinians injured by shots as hundreds march on Qalandiya in protest
    • Thanks again, Kate, for your invaluable work. I'd like to highlight Amena Saleem's excellent article from Electronic Intifada, "International media ignore Israel’s abduction of Palestinian teens".

      I'd also like to draw attention to the story of 19-year-old Ahmed Rimawi (the same age as Eyal Yifrah) -- youngest "administrative detainee", currently on hunger strike: link to

  • PA condemns Israeli 'collective punishment' following disappearance of Israeli teens
    • Short hint: Direct passage from Zionism (ultra-Zionism, at times) to anti-Zionism can blow your mind. Post-Zionism is a comfortable (and relatively respectable) position from which to take stock.

      In our context I accept responsibility but I do not think it should be blind support. Understand?


    • Thanks, LeaNder. I knew my parenthetical shorthand wouldn't be lost on you.

      Without getting into a lengthy off-thread discussion, I would just say that Zionism (and non- or pre-Zionist Jewish nationalism) was a direct result not of emancipation, but of Jewish exclusion from (and perhaps admiration for) European romanticism and ethnic nationalism. Post-Zionism requires a cut-off point (most often somewhere between 1967 and 1987), which makes it a somewhat problematic position to take (in my case a "gateway drug" to non- and post-Zionism), but I do take your point.

      Final question (related to my original parentheses, and which we'll surely get back to on a more appropriate thread), why must a non-Jew (admittedly trickier for a German) define herself in terms of Jewish nationalism?

    • there are hundreds of kidnapped Palestinians held in jail without a trial

      The elephant in the room, for anyone with a shred of decency. Do they think Palestinian prisoners are starving themselves to death for kicks? "Administrative detention" is kidnapping.

  • Israeli army seals Hebron, saying Hamas is responsible for abducted teens
    • Well said, Accentitude. It's much more than hypocrisy (e.g. the different definitions of "minors" applied to Jews and Palestinians under Israeli civilian/military law). It all feeds into the dehumanisation of Palestinians, who "aren't like us" and "don't love their children" -- which in turn serves to rationalise the constant Israeli abuse of Palestinian children and violation of their most basic human rights.

  • Sunday morning macabre
    • So, anybody know if McKnight moved to the OT?

      According to the NIFI (Northern Ireland Friends of Israel) website, "NIFI supporter, Gordon McKnight ... is off to Israel to teach English in the Ramle-Lod region of central Israel for the coming academic year."

      Have the remaining Palestinians in Ramle-Lod been informed that Gordon of Bangor is on his way and their "holiday" is over?

      Can't help but wonder what his position is on Northern Ireland (isn't McKnight a Scottish name?).

  • Wisconsin Jewish leaders open the door to-- shhh -- anti-Zionists
    • There’s always the old Talmudic advice that claims “the Torah has said: If a man comes to kill you, rise early and kill him first.”

      The transposition of the personal right of self-defence (or obligation to defend the innocent) to the communal or national level is not as simple or obvious as it may seem -- legally, morally or intellectually (Netanyahu's interpretation is bankrupt on all three counts; the fb page advocating the mass execution of Palestinian prisoners cites the very same maxim).

    • But lately I am struggling with the fact again that I am a collective-multi-threat prototype, first as German, that I got used to by now, but second as baptized Catholic, a church that brought the antisemitic into world after all. And compared to the threat potential I represent Egyptian slavery must have been a picnic after all.

      I don't know what it's like to be a German and a Catholic, but I do have a little experience with being a "collective-multi-threat prototype" (wonderful term!) -- although, in my case, "progressives" (and Zionists) may replace the word "threat" with equally unsavoury descriptors. Either way, our respective experiences seem inextricably linked.

      Thanks G-d, I am not fond of anti-Zionism ...

      Here our experiences must diverge. Anti-Zionism is a difficult (impossible? unnecessary?) position for your double-whammy prototype, and an imperative (both internal and external) for mine.

      What would be the core Tanaka, Rabbinic themes or Talmud passage (no idea if I got close) about the necessity of the community to choose as the central aspect self-defense?

      "Turn it over and turn it over again, for all lies therein." Defence can be communal, individual, universal, cosmic -- and the enemy can be anywhere, even among those who claim to defend you or the faith. The Word of God (or the mystic body of the nation) is multifaceted, not to mention malleable.

    • Now I guess that sets it once and for all. The essence of Judaism and correspondingly “the Jews” is the state of Israel. Alternatively Judaism means each and every Jew must love Israel warts and all.

      There's an indefinite article ("an expression of the deepest Jewish aspirations") in there, along with the unusual recognition that "Our community also includes Jews who are not Zionists, either because of ideology or lack of engagement" (not even co-opting the uncommitted, as is so often the case).

      Sorin Iancu does raise an interesting point about "bedfellows", but is obviously not open to any kind of discussion on that subject either, rejecting any truck with "anti-Israel Jews" (but not overtly racist Jews such as C. Glick) in and of themselves, regardless of who they may happen to sit next to on a panel.

  • Ambiguity on the Jerusalem train
    • I see those were not Haredim, but what were those rabbis?

      Generally speaking, those rabbis are classified as "national religious" (or even "national Haredi" in some cases, but that is not the same as the "black hats" Nora was referring to). An exception is the Haredi sub-sect of Lubavitch (since barred from military camps, I believe), who tend to urge others to shoot, without ever holding a gun themselves.

      These are, of course, all generalisations, and individuals are still individuals.

    • God’s very own also cry when they shoot Palestinians.

      Haredim also tend not to shoot Palestinians (or anyone else, for that matter).

  • Settler leader Dani Dayan given yet another platform in the NY Times
    • David and tree,

      The "newsworthiness" angle necessarily works within the parameters of "acceptable discourse" (certainly racist and hypocritical in itself). Said was not ignored by the NYT, and Barghouti had an important op-ed published not so long ago. Dayan is acceptable. Duke is unacceptable. The problem of "Jewish racist shit" is precisely the reason it is so hard to get the message across about Palestine in our (western) societies; it is why Jimmy Carter got a cold shower.

      Having worked with foreign correspondents for many years, something else I learned is that who gets featured and/or given space is often as simple as who's an easy contact (also a result of the circles frequented by the correspondent -- a serious issue with virtually all foreign correspondents based in Jerusalem and, I presume, elsewhere).

    • Does a sophisticated taste in fine wines really count for so much?

      I'm not defending the NYT (thanks, David, for your constant vigilance), but I wouldn't underestimate the (straw) man bites dog angle. Dayan isn't the uzi-toting, knuckle-dragging, bible-thumping lunatic that a settler leader is supposed to be, according to the NYT. He likes wine and art and can string together a couple of decent sentences. That makes him "interesting" and "quirky" and "fresh".

  • The Banality of Religion: 'Prayer summit' at the Vatican fails to inspire
    • The fact that someone who hails, as Beinart does, from South Africa who is just now discovering the difference between peace and justice is disheartening in its lateness.

      Beinart's piece was not about his own discoveries, but about the significance of the papal visit. The connection between peace and justice in I/P may seem obvious, but it is precisely what western leaders never miss an opportunity to miss.

    • I was encouraged by the Pope praying at the apartheid wall. Unfortunately, his joint prayer meeting and urging that both sides try to look work for a reasonable solution attached a moral equivalency to the issue that it doesn’t deserve.

      I saw the gesture at the wall (together with the visit to Mt. Herzl) as little more than a giant exercise in moral equivalence, until I read Peter Beinart's take on the far-reaching moral and political significance of the pope's coupling of peace with justice. I also failed to consider the religious significance of the gesture (and completely misunderstood the invitation of Peres and Abu Mazen), until yesterday's ceremony in Rome. It was not a political event at all, but a profound expression of faith in prayer -- where politics and diplomacy have failed miserably.

  • Boston subway ads are shocking-- 'and so is the reality on the ground'
    • B'tselem puts the number at 1,382 (Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces: Fatalities since operation "Cast Lead" + Fatalities during operation "Cast Lead" + Fatalities since the outbreak of the second intifada and until operation "Cast Lead").

      link to

  • Yeah, Mick Jagger speaks Hebrew
    • And Philip “lyricists” were wonderful?

      The lyricists in question are Jagger and Richards (Sympathy for the Devil), and yeah, they're pretty good.

      Welcome back, Mooser.

    • Your Hebrew is better than you think, Phil. That's one hell of a translation.

  • Let it go
    • To quote Mike Marqusee:

      The people who call us self-haters want to steal our selves from us -- appropriate our selves for their cause -- and speaking as a self, I'm damned if I'm going to let them get away with it.

  • Jeff Goldberg gets hit from right and left for suggesting Jews should leave Europe
    • At what point do the Jews of America and the Jews of Israel tell the Jews of Europe that it might be time to get out?

      Would that be all of the Jews of Europe? Just the Francophones? Just the ones with Muslim neighbours? And do we Jews of Europe have any say in the matter, or will you Jews of America and Jews of Israel just work it all out between yourselves and let us know what you've decided?

      Thanks in advance,
      A Jew of Europe

  • Blacklisted by the 'Jewish community' over Israel, the Shondes take their stand
    • Jews who support BDS, who support a boycott of their fellow Jews , are upset that they are being blacklisted in the community, the boycotters are being boycotted. Seems hypocritical to me.

      Is it hypocritical of Israel to complain about BDS when it imposes sanctions against all Palestinians (Gazans in particular), boycotts Hamas (and now the entire Palestinian leadership), supports the US blockade against Cuba, is a strong supporter of sanctions against Iran, etc.?

      Is it hypocritical of an individual who has supported other boycotts in the past (and may even support one or two in the present) to cry foul when Israel is the target of such protests?

      I support BDS, but consider it an act of political protest - one that should be protected in our societies and communities, whether or not the powers that be agree with its goals.

      Shkoyekh Shondes!

  • Yes the Palestinians got 'screwed' -- John Judis defends vernacular at Museum of Jewish Heritage
    • He said, Land is fungible

      What he meant is that Palestinian land is fungible.

      On the one hand, stressing national sovereignty over specific bonds to specific pieces of land is a projection of modern Jewish nationalism. On the other hand, Uganda was not Palestine and "united Jerusalem" is "the eternal capital of the Jewish people".

      Either way, Gribetz continues to be "blind to the presence of Arabs in Palestine", inasmuch as he effectively denies their history and arrogantly denies them agency.

  • Michael Oren finds Israel vindicated by UN report that it slaughtered 101 civilians, including 33 children
    • Thanks very much, David, for taking the time to expose Oren's balanced but insightful commentary, blatant advocacy for his former(?) employer, lies.

  • Clinton cautioned Israelis on giving up Golan because Syrians might try to poison Sea of Galilee
    • Google was of no help; what was that?

      link to

    • Because Shmuel is a Litvack (Vulcan) I thought he was imperturbable like Spock. If he was in fact hurt by my carrying the barroom metaphor too far, I apologize.

      No skin off my pointy ears ;-)

    • you offer to buy a guy a beer and instead of being grateful, he ends up calling you a drunk and telling you you are talking out of the wrong orifice

      As they say in Latin, O di tseiten, o di ziten!

    • Yonah,

      Your link didn't work, but from the information I've read elsewhere today, it seems likely that the attack was indeed a hate crime.

      this is not the work of a professional journalist, but of some street corner fool mouthing off whenever he feels like it, without any consequences

      Are you back in bar mode now? Phil's angle was Bibi's "dancing on the blood" (as the Hebrew expression goes), and he cited legitimate questions raised by a Belgian investigator, Haaretz, the Guardian and Richard Silverstein. So where's the problem and why the invective?

    • You’ve had too many beers and are talking out of your a**. How much you wanna bet

      You're really taking this bar metaphor seriously, aren't you? Right down to the "etiquette".

      You are still maintaining that this was a professional spy hit on the Israelis

      I'm not maintaining anything. I'm waiting for the results of the investigation. I do think it is premature to jump to conclusions either way.

    • If I were in your place I would be concerned that someone” — Syria — “could try to poison the water of the Sea of Galilee….”

      Wait a minute. Wasn't poisoning water sources our gig? No fair mixing up racist stereotypes.

  • Modern Language Association resolution criticizing Israel sparks raging debate
    • They are terrified, and steamed, that BDS against Israel, is slowly, but surely, making some impact, and in fact spreading.

      This from yesterday's Ha'aretz, on the cultural boycott (by Reuven Namdar):

      Last week I had the privilege and pleasure of participating in the International Writers Festival, held in Mishkenot Sha’ananim in Jerusalem. The festival was enriching and exciting, but overhanging it was a cloud that dampened the enjoyment, in the form of the international boycott that is slowly solidifying around Israel’s cultural life. Several of the international participants related to the boycott as an established fact that everyone except us, the targets of the boycott, is aware of and accepts as part of the new global reality. ...

      link to

  • In Brussels whodunnit, Netanyahu irresponsibly claims anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic motive
    • But he who speculates for free in the bar and speculates wrong, does he come in the next night and at least say, you were right, I was wrong?

      In my limited bar and barbershop experience, such apologies are rare. For the moment, the suspect is still a suspect and the motives have yet to be determined (a political assassin would have been at least as likely as a racist attacker to have ties to the ME).

    • Meanwhile, a suspect has been picked up in Marseilles -- a Frenchman with alleged Jihadi ties in Syria.

    • Yonah,

      I don't know what happened in Brussels, but I trust that the incident is being thoroughly and professionally investigated. Hopefully, we will have some answers before long, and justice will be done.

      I don't know what happened in Bitunya, but I have no reason to believe that the incident will be investigated in an honest and objective fashion, or that justice will be done.

    • Yonah,

      This comment is as silly as the last one. I was not "policing" you, but disagreeing both with your assessments regarding the incident and with your argument that you're just shootin' the breeze here, so you don't have to make all that much sense. What's the point in sounding off in a bar if no one's going to disagree? Come on, I'll even buy you a beer.

    • Yonah,

      At the beginning, based on the information available to the "layman", attributing the attack to Jew hatred did seem natural, but when new information surfaced (the surveillance film + a little more about the two Israelis killed), it seemed natural to take a step back and reserve judgement.

      In Europe antiJewish feelings and antiZionist feelings might have surprising intertwining possibilities and to delve into a man’s antiJewish feelings and attribute them to the specifics of antiZionism, without a suspect in hand, is certainly irresponsible and political.

      So which is it: "surprising intertwining possibilities" or "irresponsible and political [and] one leap to many" or is "the leap ... not too far" after all? And is it really your [non]-expert, news-consumer, layman's opinion that the unclear, hat-covered face in the surveillance video looks like that of a Muslim terrorist?

      Surely even laymen commenting on a blog have bear some responsibility for the things they say.

    • Why is Netanyahu making such irresponsible wild declarations about the case? For one thing, because Zionism justifies itself by citing persistent anti-Semitism and is eager to find evidence of same.

      There's far more to it than that. It's about neutralising all criticism of Israel - especially in Europe; and fanning the flames of Islamophobia - especially in Europe. In that sense, Netanyahu is a staunch ally of the European right that did so well in European parliamentary elections, which is far more anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim than anti-Semitic.

  • 'Washington Post' reports that funders have excommunicated Jews who don't believe in Zionism
    • “On behalf of the Jewish people, are you now or have you ever been a signatory to a boycott of Israel?” ... It’s a question the JCC now requires Roth to ask of all artists he considers bringing to Theater J.

      That wording can't be true, unless it's Roth's way of taking the piss out of his bosses.

  • Soldiers detain four Palestinian schoolgirls-- aged 11 to 15 -- for picking settlers' cherries
    • You can’t make this stuff up

      No, I guess not. Squatters from an illegal outpost (even by Israel's illegal standards), illegally sitting on private Palestinian land (even by Israel's illegal standards) actually demand that soldiers (there to escort Palestinian school children, because the violence to which these kids are regularly subjected by squatters at the very same illegal outposts is too much even for the Israeli occupation authorities) arrest four Palestinian girls "for theft", because they supposedly picked some cherries?!

  • Palestinian Refugees Welcome The Pope: The story behind the iconic photo at the Separation Wall
    • Do you question that the government of Israel literally white washed the Palestinian graffiti on the wall pointing to Jewish oppression of Palestinians in the days before the Pope’s visit?


      Do you question that, post-Nuremberg Trials, Geneva, etc, whatever Israel does is looked at through a universal microscope of Never Again?


      What’s your point

      That the comparison between the WB and the Warsaw Ghetto is inaccurate and counter-productive. That's it. No more, no less.

    • I will answer you, Shmuel, by linking to this article ...

      Sorry, Citizen. I must be thick today, but I still don't get it. The Palestinians (in general, as well as these particular graffitti writers) have my solidarity and my respect. Saying that a certain comparison is wrong and unhelpful (in a western context) doesn't change that.

    • All the more heinous because of the history…..

      I don't buy the "Jews of all people ..." argument.

      What, should we wait until it gets “as bad”? It’s insane and horrible right now.

      Comparisons have to do with the way things are (insane and horrible are fitting descriptions), not the way they might be.

      At any rate, I’ll leave it to the Palestinians to express themselves with graffiti as they see fit.

      So who's stopping them (apart from the occupation forces)?

    • But I still hold to my conviction that the Zionists are treating the Palestinians in an inhuman manner.

      A conviction I share.

    • Walid,

      The elements that do correspond to Gaza are indeed "amazing and distressing", but Gazans are not limited to rations of 184 calories, a quarter of the population has not died of starvation, disease and random killings, and the remaining population has not been deported to death camps. Life in Gaza is harsh and the injustices terrible (beginning with the ethnic cleansing of the rest of Palestine), but it is still very much "different from what was done to the Jews of Warsaw." Although worse than the WB, the comparison is still both historically wrong and politically unhelpful (except perhaps among the convinced, as Elisabeth has pointed out).

    • The Boston Globe decided yesterday would be a good time to run another large article on the Catholic Church’s sex scandals.

      Same in the Italian press, because Pope Francis made an important statement on the subject upon his return from the Holy Land (calling the abuse of children by priests a violation of the body of Christ, and comparing such acts to black masses).

      And to not that the Pope had paid homage to the founder of Zionism in Israel.

      I too wish more attention had been paid to that shameful visit, but it doesn't seem to have registered, beyond a line or two in the general accounts of the Israel part of his trip.

    • You start off by saying the situation if different than the Warsaw ghetto so I read your comment expecting at least some support for your assertion. But you gave us nothing. Can you list a reason or two as to why such comparisons are false.

      From Wiki (sorry, but in this case, I think it will do):

      The Warsaw Ghetto ... was established in the Polish capital between October and November 16, 1940, in the territory of the General Government of German-occupied Poland, with over 400,000 Jews from the vicinity residing in an area of 3.4 km2 (1.3 sq mi). ... During the next year and a half, thousands of Polish Jews as well as some Romani people from smaller cities and the countryside were brought into the Ghetto, while diseases (especially typhus), and starvation kept the inhabitants at about the same number. Average food rations in 1941 for Jews in Warsaw were limited to 184 calories, compared to 699 calories for gentile Poles and 2,613 calories for Germans. … Hundreds of four- to eight-year-old Jewish children went across en masse to the "Aryan side," sometimes several times a day, smuggling food into the ghettos, returning with goods that often weighed more than they did. Smuggling was often the only source of subsistence for Ghetto inhabitants, who would otherwise have died of starvation. … Over 100,000 of the Ghetto's residents died due to rampant disease or starvation, as well as random killings, even before the Nazis began massive deportations of the inhabitants from the Ghetto's Umschlagplatz to the Treblinka extermination camp during the Grossaktion Warschau, part of the countrywide Operation Reinhard. Between Tisha B'Av (July 23) and Yom Kippur (September 21) of 1942, about 254,000 Ghetto residents (or at least 300,000 by different accounts) were sent to Treblinka and murdered there.

      Stating that this is a "different situation" hardly minimises Palestinian suffering and the injustices they continue to endure. I can understand why a Palestinian living under occupation would scribble something like that on the Apartheid Wall (particularly in Bethlehem), but that doesn't mean that the comparison is apt or serves the Palestinian cause in Europe or America.

    • Do we have to wait until a people is gassed in ovens to act to protect them? Did we do that for the black South Africans under apartheid? Did we do that for those suffering in the Jim Crow South?

      How does objecting to a specific comparison on both historical and pragmatic grounds amount to inaction or indifference? Was the Warsaw Ghetto comparison a sine qua non for the two struggles you mention?

      I don’t get the point of what you are saying.


    • I agree, Elisabeth (although I don't think you will be blasted).

  • Israeli government tries to undo image of Pope at the wall
    • It’s all Shmuel’s fault that started the whole thing. He should go to jail and pay the $200.

      ʼAnaʼ? ʼAnaʼ laʼ ʻavdit midaʻam.

  • The Pope in Palestine
    • I’ll have to take your word for it because when I checked after your reply I was still unable to see any reference or picture in Haaretz or Ynet. Links are always a good practice.

      Sorry. Was in a hurry, and 3 of the 4 reports were in Hebrew. The lead story at the Haaretz (Hebrew) site this morning (by Jack Khoury) used the wall picture again, and discussed the incident: link to

    • Daniel,

      Here's a quick translation of the important bits. It's a description of a meeting between Netanyahu and a group of young Likud supporters, written by a Likud activist at Bar Ilan University, Akiva Lamm:

      “I want to ask you a question about the negotiations with the Palestinians”, I asked. “About what?”, the prime minister asked. I tried to repeat my question, but the audience had taken [Netanyahu's remark] for an answer, and burst into laughter. Netanyahu had, once again, managed to fool the world at large: there are no negotiations. … “But, Mr. Prime Minister”, I said, looking straight at him. “The laughter of the people here proves that they don't believe in this process, and I don't think you do either. You have written a lot about how much you oppose the release of terrorists, about how freezing construction will destroy the settlements, but you still do both of these things. … Do you really want a Palestinian state?” …

      Netanyahu hasn't changed. The focus, from his perspective was [always] Israel. “Not one Brick”, he said. “At the beginning of my second term as prime minister, I was summoned to Washington. They said to me: 'Not one brick' (regarding construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem). They threatened me explicitly: 'Not one brick'. The pressure exerted on me by the international community and the United States was huge. I don't think anyone in Israel has withstood such pressure. And yet, after five years in office, we have built a little more than 'one brick'. But the important thing is to do it smartly, quietly, without a lot of hype.” …

      “Do you think I couldn't tell you that I'm a hero, that I'm strong, that I don't care what the world says? … I could easily tell you that, but it would be a lie. Anyone who tells you such things is a populist who lacks leadership qualities and isn't worthy of being prime minister. A leader must withstand international pressure by knowing how to manoeuvre.” …

      The truth is that he said similar things in 2001 [link in original], when he visited a bereaved family and, as a concerned citizen, explained the Hebron agreement, in which he had given up 2%. In the clip, he explains how he was forced to give up a little in order to hold onto the whole. Similarly, at this meeting with young [party supporters], he replied that he would rather give up a little in order to get most [of what he wants].

    • Capitalize pope when used as a title before a name: Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Paul. Lowercase pope in all other uses (emphasis mine).

      Exactly. I'm afraid I don't see your logical inference, although there are style guides (BBC, for example) that do specifically require the capitalisation of "the pope". My point was that the general rule is that titles are not capitalised unless preceding a name (although there are those, such as the authors of the BBC guide, who consider "the Pope" one of a few exceptions to that rule). Not that respected English-language publications (Economist, Guardian, NYT) can't be wrong about such things, but it would at least indicate that the upper case is not universally recognised as the "correct" form (even in the example you have given), meaning that reading things into such decisions is entirely unwarranted.

    • When asked what the pope particularly intends to talk about during the visit, Parolin revealed he would talk about “on the one hand, Israel’s right to exist in peace and security within internationally recognized boundaries.”

      On the other side, the pope would talk about “the Palestinian people’s right to have a homeland, sovereign and independent, the right to move around freely, the right to live in dignity,” according to Parolin.

      In other words some sort of 2ss -- international consensus to which even Netanyahu pays lip service.

      In fact, the Vatican recognized the “State of Palestine” in 2012

      Under Bergoglio's predecessor. Nothing new or dramatic here.

    • Both Haaretz and the New York Times made this error repeatedly in their reporting.

      And The Economist and The Guardian. I don't think it's an error, and I certainly don't think anything should be read into it.

      Oxford University Style Guide:
      [correct] The last pope, Pope John Paul II, was Polish. The current pope is German.
      [incorrect] The Pope is German.

      Chicago Manual of Style
      A. You may be happy to know that the University of Chicago Press considers almost all titles to be generic unless they are used as part of a name. Practically no one gets special treatment—neither the pope nor the president of the United States. But the recommendations in The Chicago Manual of Style apply for the most part to descriptive and analytical texts. Excess capitalization hinders an argument’s clarity.

    • The Guardian is scarcely and arbiter of grammar.

      How about the Oxford University Style Guide and the Chicago Manual of Style?

      "The Pope" is certainly used as well, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with "the pope" (or "the queen" or "the president").

    • Is that the queen,s english or american english??.


    • There are several references to him on Haaretz in which the writers do not capitalize the Term.

      Why should they capitalise "the pope" (or the word "term" for that matter)? It is standard English practice not to capitalise job descriptions. The Guardian doesn't capitalise "the pope" either.

    • Unfortunately, I can’t find it reported in the Israeli media.

      I checked 4 Israeli media sites: Haaretz, Ynet, NRG and Times of Israel. All report the story, and only NRG passed on the pic.

    • What I was saying is that this Pope seems very aware of the real facts ‘on the ground’ and is not afraid to act in that spirit.

      Not on I/P, and I don't expect that to change. The spirit of this trip is ecumenical and interfaith, and the Israel part of the visit is aimed at reassuring Israeli and Jewish leaders that his "thirdworldism" does not include the "Jewish" state. The attack in Belgium (followed by a less deadly attack in France) merely reinforces this position. Elections for European Parliament (today, in Italy) add a further dimension to the visit, which does not bode well for any dramatic deviations from mainstream European policies.

      No need to wait for tomorrow, by the way. The "balance" has already begun, with statements regarding the right of states to exist and an offer to perpetuate the peace farce by offering his "home" as a venue for a meeting between the figurehead leaders of Israel and Palestine (Peres and Abbas), without a word about the content of such "talks".

    • Too late. This Pope is focused on the present, not on the past.

      I meant tomorrow.

    • Wait for the "balance".

  • A Papal confession to the Palestinian people
    • I am assuming the article is in Hebrew?

      Yes, sorry. I didn't understand your question at first (I thought you were talking about the reference to the "two Poles").

      Here's the English abstract:

      Towards the Solution of the Shabuoth Piyyutim Censorship
      by Ophir Münz-Manor
      This article examines an interesting phenomenon in the Ashkenazi liturgical rite for SHavo'ot. The phenomenon had drawn the attention of scholars because of its unique nature: censorship of sections of piyyutim that criticize the Patriarchs for their sins. According to scholars, the reason for this censorship was the discomfort that the medieval Ashkenazi communities felt with such criticism. But a close examination of the Ashkenazi rite manuscripts, in addition to some other cultural considerations, makes it clear that the suggested explanation is not at all valid. The article argues that the censorship is connected to the Jewish-Christian debate in the 13th-Century Franco-German region. As part of this debate, Christians had claimed that the Jewish Patriarchs were sinful. This fact, along with a Christian translation of one of the piyyutim into Latin, drove the Jewish communities to censor this piyyut to prevent it being used to support the Christian argument.

      As for the elections, there are sceptics and sceptics, but that is really OT.

    • Censorship over the centuries is something I am interested in. The religious censors reign supreme over quite a bit of the time span. And then there is the Catholic censorship of books, remember?

      I recently came across an interesting article by Ophir Münz-Manor, in which he postulates the self-censorship of a couple of liturgical poems (piyyutim) for the holiday of Shavuot, in the communities of mediaeval Ashkenaz. Münz-Manor suggests that the poems may have been repressed because they appeared to reinforce a particular argument against Judaism (the sinfulness of the Jewish patriarchs) employed by Christian polemicists at the time, although Jewish tradition itself had no problem discussing the flaws of its own founders and leaders (beginning with the Bible itself).

      Both Christian censorship of Jewish works and such Jewish self-censorship we're closely related to the phenomenon of Jewish apostasy - a chapter in itself, in the tormented relationship between Jews and ecclesiastical authorities, which has left its mark to this day (not least in the rhetoric of so-called "Jewish self-hatred").

  • Fearing divestment from Israel, Jewish orgs oppose divestment to halt global warming
  • An Israeli tells American Jews they're miserable
    • you’re not familiar. sometimes you can just tell. phil is just.. very jewish.

      The odds in front of Zabar's on the Upper West Side weren't exactly running against him either ;-)

    • You are Jewish, right? You are miserable, like most of the Jews. And everywhere, miserable.

      So he hates Palestinians and Jews. What a surprise.

  • Israel’s ongoing colonization prolongs Palestinian suffering and devalues international law
    • A little bull goes a long way eh?

      Heifer, my dear talknic, heifer. Don't they teach you the difference "down under"? ;-P

    • do the biblical accounts tell us this was ever achieved?

      No. Maimonides (Hilkhot parah adumah 3,4, based on the Mishnah in tractate Parah 3,5) offers the symbolic total of 10 animals used in this fashion throughout history: 9 from Moses to the destruction of the Second Temple (although only 2 during the biblical period), and 1 in the days of the Messiah. The ashes apparently go a long way.

      On the connection to ancient Egyptian ritual: link to

  • 'Combatants for Peace' says Palestinians and Israelis are equal parties to conflict
    • It is a good and honest beginning. How good movements start.

      And sometimes how they end. Lilach is absolutely right to try to push these "desperate good Israelis" to the next step, to challenge their "comforting venues".

    • Thank you, Lilach, for saying things that need to be said, and "spoiling" the sense of comfort the Zionist left seems to find in observing the "national calendar". In the desert of empathy for the other that is Israeli society, even "and Palestinians too" may seem like an achievement, but Ofer is absolutely right: "We need more than that." Much more.

  • 'Forward' runs shocking images of Israeli children glorifying violence
    • Efrat, by the way, is widely considered a "moderate" settlement: within the area of "[Jewish] Israeli consensus", a bedroom suburb of Jerusalem, relatively liberal religiously, led by the "moderate" US-born Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, well-to-do, many professionals, high level of education, etc.

    • Those little boys are wearing suicide belts, right?

      Interesting observation. They don't seem to be wearing cluster bombs either, but I guess the Air Force planes flying overhead (see the photo gallery I posted down-thread) have that aspect of the glorious struggle covered.

    • Here are some more images from Efrat, mixed in with other, less shocking images of Independence Day celebrations in Israel: link to

      It is a mistake, however, to just blame "those nutty settlers". Jewish Israeli society in general is highly militarised, and the indoctrination begins at a very early age.

      link to

  • Apartheid label will stick
    • The headline of Haaretz' unsigned editorial yesterday was "Apartheid in Planning" (אפרטהייד תכנוני), referring to the extreme discrimination in construction planning between Jews and Palestinians in Area C (where Israel should not even be settling its citizens in the first place). It's no big deal any more.

  • Ari Shavit blames breakdown of talks on Arabs' 'anachronistic political culture'
    • Ari Shavit's "New Peace" is similar to his position on Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, in that it seeks complete Palestinian surrender -- practical as well as moral -- demanding not only that they accept the Israeli narrative, but that they actually concede Israeli superiority. They must admit that they cannot aspire to equality, because they are (woe is Ari) inherently inferior. Shavit's "kindly" advice is that if they simply come to terms with this fact of life and try to emulate their Israeli betters (American-style suburbs and red-roofed settlements!), they just may, some day, be worthy of something or other, but they probably shouldn't hold their breaths.

      Shavit makes the best argument I've heard in a while for the description of Zionism as a colonial project.

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