Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 7250 (since 2009-08-04 05:43:29)


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  • Democratic Party leader echoes Netanyahu's new theme: Hamas equals ISIS
    • These days I am so confounded with anger and sadness, that words fail and therefore I don’t comment any more.

      I share your anger and sadness, dear bintbiba; and your silence.

  • '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).

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