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Total number of comments: 7321 (since 2009-08-04 05:43:29)

Shmuel

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  • Goldberg tries to police view that Israel's actions fuel anti-Semitism
    • Thousands of Germans, many wrapped in Israeli flags ...

      If there's no connection, why the flags? It seems to me that the flags were actually wrapped in the protesters -- in order to defend Israel. Now why would they do that at a demonstration that was supposed to be about anti-Semitism.

  • Palestinian babies not included on Israel gov't list of most popular names
    • I must have missed this intro to the published stats: "In light of numerous requests for the most popular Hebrew names this past year, the Authority has decided to issue the following information ..."

      Contrary to the assumptions of the Haaretz newspaper, there is no plot to deliberately hide information

      No, not a deliberate plot; just complete disregard for 20% of the country's population, not considered part of society. I'm sure the idea of publishing obviously Arab names never even occurred to anyone at the Authority. Frankly, with all those "inflitrators" to lock up and deport (the reason the Authority was created in the first place), who has the time for such trivial matters?

    • De facto if not de jure,

      De facto, Israel has no need of rabbis to dehumanise Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims. The secular-dominated state has done just fine on that score. If anything, rabbis spouting rabbinic law to suit their fascist beliefs are actually latecomers to the dehumanisation game, and just the garish window dressing.

    • t is by no means trivial

      It is an integral part of the mindset that allows police (see Oct. 2000) to open fire on the country's own citizens, as if they were an external enemy.

    • Muslims do not count as fully human under rabbinic law.

      Neither relevant nor true.

  • Naive? At a Jewish spiritual retreat center, I insist on talking about Gaza
    • And Israeli culture is Jewish culture? Is that what you are saying Schmuel? I sure as hell hope not. If Israel is Jewish culture, what have Jews all over the world been indulging in for a couple of thousand years, an inferior “diaspora” culture.

      There is no single, definitive Jewish culture, nor has there ever been. Jewish Israeli cultures are Jewish Israeli cultures -- no more, no less. They have no special standing or authority or "authenticity", and some aspects of those cultures turn my stomach -- and not necessarily the "shallowest" bits.

    • Thank goodness she didn’t end up sitting next to a German on the plane home, she said. Or worse, an Arab! Her face grew hard and dark at the thought.

      This reminds me of Avrum Burg's discussion, in The Holocaust is Over of the displacement of anger and revenge from the Germans to the Arabs (restoring relations with Germany while "reincarnating the Nazi spirit into the Arab body").

    • Hi Lynne,

      Thanks for your thought-provoking article.

      A friend recently introduced me Thich Nhat Hanh's "Art of Communicating", and particularly the concept of "Right Speech", which she (my friend) has been trying to employ in talking about Palestine.

      Thich Nhat Hanh lists four parts of Right Speech: 1. Tell the truth; 2. Don't exaggerate; 3. Be consistent; 4. Use peaceful language.

      I certainly don't mean to criticise and I'm still working on these things myself. I know next to nothing about about Buddhism, and until a couple of weeks ago, had never even heard of Thich Nhat Hanh. I wonder though, whether your opening statement ("the very people who had once been segregated, starved, demonized and murdered were now doing the same to the Palestinians"), which set the tone for the entire discussion might not have fallen into the category of Wrong Speech.

      Is the "very people" an appropriate label, and are those who are oppressing the Palestinians really "doing the same" as was done to Jews (and others) during the Holocaust? Is this statement a true reflection of reality, or is it an exaggeration and/or a distraction that may have emotional impact, but may also close minds and raise hackles - especially among those likely to oppose the message you are trying to convey?

      I'd really like to hear your thoughts on Right Speech and human rights advocacy in Israel/Palestine.

    • Seafoid,

      You're confusing a lot of different (albeit related) issues -- education, culture, society, insularity, continuity, identity etc. -- and making vague judgements such as "shallow" or "deep".

      Israel is a militaristic ethnocracy, rooted in a romantic-nationalist ideology and born out of extreme trauma (both experienced and inflicted). It has serious problems -- objective, perceived and manufactured. Issues of continuity are interesting (and debatable) but, in and of themselves, do not make a culture shallow or profound. Modern Hebrew today is a language like any other, with "high" and "low" speakers, jingoistic fetishists and those for whom it is simply a mother tongue.

      There's a lot of nasty stuff going on in Israel, but not everything about it is worthy of condemnation or dismissal.

    • Israel has a particularly shallow culture- they ensured that when they dropped everything in favour of a dead language and moved to a land virtually none of them had any familiarity with.

      What a strange thing to say and even stranger reasoning. Like most cultures, Israeli culture has both shallow and profound aspects, and I have no idea why the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language (or immigration to/colonisation of a foreign land) would have given rise to "a particularly shallow culture".

      The purpose of the comparison to India and China also eludes me.

  • The rabbi at the shitshow
    • Do your contributions get impounded at the border by the Israelis and go bad, or are all the medicines purchased through Israeli middlemen businesses, which then are mysteriously allowed to enter Gaza?

      I'm not up on the details, but our activists are smart and experienced, with people and projects on the ground. These are not "feel good" exercises for the donors.

    • D. Leshaw: Instead of a BDS campaign, I’d rather a tzedakah [charity] campaign for Gaza. Let’s actually do something.

      Why are the two mutually exclusive, and why is political pressure to change unjust policies not "actually do[ing] something"?

      Our local Palestinian solidarity groups have raised tens of thousands of euros and collected medicines to send to Gaza -- while conducting numerous campaigns, including protests against the current violence, against the ongoing siege and in favour of BDS. Tzedakah (charity) is complementary to tzedek (justice), not an alternative to it.

    • On the "cost" side, Hillel rabbis who write "We need to meet about BDS" -- against the specific directives of their employers - don't grown on trees. Maybe there is something there that could have been pursued. Maybe it will still be there when things calm down a little, or maybe not. Megan made her call.

    • what is wrong with it affecting people who are emotionally invested in israel?

      Annie,

      Phil asked me to explain why I thought Megan had hurt people, not whether she was right or wrong to have done so. BDS also hurts people, but I support it wholeheartedly. I write and say things about Israel, knowing full well that they will hurt people (including my own family).

      Rabbi Leshaw cited Megan's responsibility, once elected, to all students and to campus life (and to personal relationships). That's certainly something for a student leader to consider -- and perhaps reject -- but at least consider. Another consideration is efficacy. Did she achieve the desired result (raising awareness of the massacre in Gaza and drumming up support for BDS)? Could she have achieved the same thing or more in another way? What does the cost/benefit analysis of her action look like? If Megan is the smart politician/activist she seems to be, I'm sure all of these things went through her mind and continue to do so.

    • you say ... that Megan hurt people, can you elaborate?

      Megan chose to express her views by means of a provocation, employing a powerful symbol -- perhaps the most powerful symbol there is: (human) blood. In so doing, she obviously hoped to elicit strong emotions. How could that not affect people who are emotionally invested in Israel (whether you or I think they should be or not)? Also, you don't need to be a professor of semiotics to realise that such a powerful symbol can lead human psyches to a lot of different and very dark places. The Bible didn't say that "blood is the soul/life-force" for nothing.

    • I don't know whether either of these two women would appreciate the comparison, but the respective accusations against them strike me as rather similar - with the difference that Megan Marzec is a student and a politician, while Danielle Leshaw is a religious/cultural/spiritual leader and role model on campus. Rabbi Leshaw accuses Ms. Marzec of having marginalised and isolated students, but isn't that precisely what Rabbi Leshaw herself has done -- by leading a political club on a very divisive issue, and by taking such an active role in adversarial student politics? I'm sure Ms. Marzec has hurt some students (although presumably not all Jews on campus, as Rabbi Leshaw suggests, and not exclusively Jews), but so has Rabbi Leshaw, and that is definitely not part of her job.

      And once again, isn't automatically assigning a particular political view to "an estimated 800 students" (ostensibly for no other reason than the fact that they happen to be Jewish) also a kind of marginalisation and isolation?

      In her open letter, to Ms. Marzec, Rabbi Leshaw hints that she's under a lot of external pressure. Is that why she published her letter in the newspaper rather than sending it privately (to someone who "has a relationship with the campus rabbi"), or better yet, meeting face to face? Is that why she cheered on the Bobcats for Israel "filibuster" and instead of trying to restore the sense of "safety" of all students by toning things down and trying to work through them? Wouldn't an educator see an opportunity here to teach conflict resolution and compassionate listening, rather than increasing the divide?

      As Phil points out, Rabbi Leshaw is a compelling individual, but what does all of this say about Hillel, wherever it is present on campus?

      I wish Rabbi Leshaw could get over the "assholes and douchebags" stage and have a real conversation about all of this.

  • Yale official barred discussion of Israeli settlements and apartheid at monthly meeting
    • Chaplain Sharon Kugler rebuked me after the meeting and said that this subject must never again be raised at meetings of the whole.

      Apart from justice in the Holy Land (to most of the Yale chaplains), are there any other subjects that "must never be raised"?

  • Israeli Supreme Court upholds law allowing housing discrimination against Palestinians
    • Ms. Johnson, I am absolutely shocked by your allegations. Of course you weren't fired from the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Corporation because you got pregnant. Gasp! That would be against the law. By the way, are you recording this? You simply no longer suited the lifestyle and social fabric of our community.

    • The Old Fuddy-Duddy Misogynist White Christian MEN'S! Club reserves the right to bar membership candidates who do not suit the lifestyle and social fabric of the community.*

      *The membership committee does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion or age.

      Funny how everybody seems to skip the disclaimer.

  • Rabbi in Ohio U. controversy leads group that denies there's an occupation
    • Rabbi,

      Unlike Philip Weiss, I'm not particularly disturbed by the symbolic silhouette of Israel/Palestine in the “Bobcats for Israel” masthead. There is a long tradition of the use of such icons to represent political entities – including Israel – without necessarily reflecting revanchist or expansionist ideologies.

      What I do wonder about, however, is why a Hillel rabbi is an administrator of and active participant in a political club on campus. In the case of Israel, this serves to reinforce the widespread confusion between Judaism and Zionism that contributes directly to the sense of “unsafeness” you say some Jewish students experience when Israel is criticised (certainly harshly in the case of Student Senate President Megan Marzec's, recent actions and statements). Furthermore, openly taking such a political position would presumably alienate non-Zionist Jewish students, who should not be denied Jewish religious, cultural and communal ties and services (particularly on a campus where there are few Jewish alternatives), simply on the basis of their political beliefs.

      Among your inspiring words to the J Street panel on Birthright last year, I was particularly struck by your reference to the separation barrier as “our new wall”. This turn of phrase perfectly expresses the idolatry of security and nationalism and self that is so much a part of Israeli and Zionist reality. Although you certainly did not mean to extend this expression to Jewish (particularly institutional) attitudes to Israel in general and its place in Jewish life today, I will take the liberty (a somewhat violent liberty, I know) of doing so.

      May the coming year see the fulfilment of the words of Isaiah, “For the work of righteousness shall be peace. And the effect of righteousness, calm and confidence forever”.

      Shanah tovah umetukah,
      Shmuel

  • The elephant in the room, in Marin County
  • Achieving a hudna and ten years of calm in Israel/Palestine
  • Dutch activists disrupt Israeli apartheid whitewashing event in Amsterdam
    • Something tells me the people who brought you "the most moral army in the world" don't do irony very well, but maybe the Dutch activists could put on some ad hoc Macbeth with appropriate leafleting outside the theatre.

    • We celebrate life, humanity, creativity ... The rest is collateral damage.

      And as long as we're on the subject of theatre, what an appropriate title for a culture-wash: Spot On

      Doctor
      You see, her eyes are open.

      Gentlewoman
      Ay, but their sense is shut.

      Doctor
      What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs
      her hands.

      Gentlewoman
      It is an accustomed action with her, to seem thus
      washing her hands. I have known her continue in
      this a quarter of an hour.

      LADY MACBETH
      Yet here's a spot.

      Doctor
      Hark! she speaks. I will set down what comes
      from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more
      strongly.

      LADY MACBETH
      Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One: two: why,
      then, 'tis time to do't.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my
      lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we
      fear who knows it, when none can call our power
      to account?—Yet who would have thought the old
      man to have had so much blood in him?

      Macbeth, Act V, Scene 1

  • Five lessons from the struggle to reinstate Steven Salaita at the University of Illinois
    • But gee, W Jones, I gotta ask, why didn’t it last? I mean Yaweh His-Own-Self (not a picture or hologram or graven image!) was in da’ house, takin’ idolators names and kickin’ Amelikite butt. So what happened?

      As the prophet Zechariah put it, in his prophecy to Zerubabel:

      'Thus hath the Lord of hosts spoken, saying: Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother; and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to attend, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they might not hear.

      The obvious remedy is (same prophet, next chapter):

      These are the things that ye shall do: Speak ye every man the truth with his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates; and let none of you devise evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord.'

  • On the use of provocative analogies (Nazism, fascism)
    • MRW,

      Please excuse the multiple comments, but no edit function to accommodate afterthoughts.

      Pegorier's (see googlebooks link in previous comment) reflections on the crime of ethnic cleansing in peacetime are particularly relevant to Israel.

    • Although I think Schabas was only referring to the evolution of the crime of genocide, not the current legal interpretation of crimes against humanity. See link to books.google.it

      In any event, Israel would certainly prefer (and insist on) the narrower interpretation of the law.

    • crimes against humanity occur during war.

      A view not lost on the Israeli government: link to ynetnews.com

      I think the "warnings" to civilians in Gaza should also be seen in terms of legal posterior-covering (see Geneva Conventions on "precautionary measures").

    • I wonder whether Leibowitz' use of "Nazi mentality" and "Judeo-Nazi" specifically with regard to former Supreme Court President Moshe Landau had anything to with the fact that Landau was German-born and culturally very German.

    • Prof.Leibovitz didn’t call” the Israelis” (in general ) Nazis.

      Correct. Such generalisations are wrong.

      He said that the occupation would inevitably bring about the emergence of “Judeo-Nazis”.

      No, he said that "Judeo-Nazis" and a "Nazi mentality" already existed within the Israeli state system - and were actively promoted by that system (watch the clip).

      He thought that using provocative terms like that served a good purpose.

      Correct. I disagreed with him then (in the '90s) and disagree with him now. I think the use of such terms is a bad idea.

    • The "two concepts" Schabas refers to are "genocide" and "crimes against humanity".

    • William Schabas on genocide:

      We don’t need genocide anymore in order to convict perpetrators, except that we should keep it for the really bad cases; keep it being the crime of crimes rather than to abandon the concept altogether. That would be my view. But I see the Courts going the other way and -- and I think that’s probably going to continue actually. So what we’ll see actually is probably a merging of the two concepts in a way. I think it’ll be a shame because it will mean then that we don’t have this term to describe the crime of crimes, that perhaps was only committed three times in the last century in -- with the Armenians, the Jews, and the Tutsi in Rwanda. But reasonable people disagree on this and I don’t purport to have a monopoly on the wisdom on this. I sense that the trend is in the other direction and I’ll just have to live with that. So these are some comments on the evolving law of genocide.

      link to ushmm.org

    • Whether you agree with Leibowitz' characterisation or not, he stated it not as a prediction (although he may have done that as well), but as a fact, on numerous occasions. He spoke of "Nazi mentality" and "Judeo-Nazis" within the institutions of the Israeli state (singling out former Supreme Court President Moshe Landau, for his role in legalising torture).

  • Photo-cartoon making Tutu into Hitler is published then taken down by South African Jewish paper
    • "Coloured" was the clerk's assessment based on appearance. There was no Jewish racial category in SA.

    • I don't know how the system worked where SA Jews were concerned, but I know a Mizrahi Israeli Jew who was given a very hard time at a SA hotel "for whites only" -- finally granted "temporary white status" on the authority of the hotel manager (the desk clerk wouldn't take responsibility). No "pencil test" though.

  • Israeli military demolishes West Bank dairy factory benefitting orphans despite court appeal
    • Do you mean Epimenides?

      No, I meant Diogenes of Sinope (the Cynic), said to have carried a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be "looking for an honest man".

    • Because, I hate to break it to you, but they lie, a lot, like practically all the time. Especially when they feel insecure… And that’s practically all the time.

      And how would that make them any different from other human beings? Diogenes didn't live in Tel Aviv.

      On a less philosophical note, the problem lies in the generalisation. Then again, I'm an Israeli Jew, so you might want to take my words with a grain of salt.

  • The best U.S. 'strategy' to combat ISIS? Stop supporting religious states
    • It's the kind of thing they would do, because "they love death", simply doesn't cut it.

    • I’m convinced that our friend Shmuel was wrong in maintaining that the kidnap/ murder of the three teenagers was not a Hamas operation.

      My comments on the subject referred primarily to the lack of proof of the involvement of Hamas as an organisation, which Netanyahu claimed to have and promised to reveal (but never did), and which you claimed to have, based on an interview with Khaled Meshaal, to which you linked (but which did not actually materialise in the linked interview). Since over 2,000 people lost their lives and tremendous suffering was inflicted on Palestinians and, to a much lesser extent, on Israelis, as a result of this assertion, something more than vague allusions and guesswork would seem to be in order.

      The other thing I pointed out (citing Uri Misgav, and a report on the indictment of Hussam Qawasmeh - although I could also have cited Shlomi Eldar's article on the subject), is that the operation has all the signs of a local initiative - a theory (which I have never maintained as absolute truth) based, inter alia, on the testimony of a Shin Bet officer involved in the case and statements by Hamas leaders to that effect.

      I don't presume to know where the orders originated, if at all. Netanyahu (and you) claim to know. So where's the proof?

  • Israeli officer tosses Palestinian shepherds from their land so settlers don't have to hear Arabic
    • Or he got paid off, or he was afraid of the settlers if he refused to do their bidding.

      In chasing the shepherds away, he was obviously doing as he had been told -- by his superiors and by the settlers he'd been ordered to serve. The thing here is that he came across some Israeli Jews (albeit lefty Jews from Ta'ayush) and felt he needed to offer some explanation for his behaviour, and tried to do so in "their language", which is the language of rights (in this case, the "right" not to hear Arabic). Unfortunately, he overestimated his own fluency, thinking that half-remembered government newspeak would do the trick. (The "official" newspeak is "social fabric" [mirkam hevrati], but military-speak likes to modify everything with "regular/irregular", so "social fabric" became "regular fabric" [mirkam takin].)

    • What impresses me is the officer's internalisation (albeit with a clumsy military twist) of the legalistic euphemism “social fabric”, employed e.g. in the “acceptance committee” law, passed by the Knesset a couple of years ago (and approved by the High Court), that allows small Jewish settlements within the green line to legally preserve their “Jews only” status. Also interesting is the transposition of the prettified jargon originally intended “merely” to deny Palestinian citizens of Israel access to housing and residency – to denying Palestinians the right to mind their own business, on their land, anywhere near a Jewish settlement.

  • The west is safer for Jews than Israel (duh)
    • ritzl,

      Historically and ontologically, Judaism is in the rifts not the unity, as painful as the processes themselves may be. I don't know whether there will ever be "clarity", but I do think that a significant number of liberal Jews outside Israel are losing their emotional ties and commitment to that country - not because they have re-examined the ideology of Zionism, but because they can't identify with where Israel is going (in a sense paralleling the Israeli Alphers and Nehushtans).

      Be well, and thanks for taking the trouble to reply.

    • Good questions, Ritzl. Alpher wrote that he's not talking about morality, and the gist of the Shmemel clip is we want self-fulfilment and are tired of patriotism, victimism, manipulation and fear-mongering: we want to be "normal".

      The political views of those leaving or planning on leaving are probably pretty representative of Israeli society as a whole - with a certain leftward (and socio-economic) bias. It's not that right-wingers aren't leaving; it's just that they're not making video clips about it.

      I happen to agree with Alpher (and Yossi Nehushtan and others who have been writing similar things) that there is no liberal-democratic future in Israel. More and more liberal Israelis come to this conclusion with each successive crisis. I don't think the numbers are such that this will have a significant impact on Israeli politics, but "it goes to state of mind", as they say -- hopefully, among Israel's liberal supporters abroad as well.

  • Photo of six shoveling secretaries needs a caption
    • Only one caption? I think each of these illustrious personages deserves one of their very own (from left to right):

      Hillary: How's this for a presidential pose?
      Madeleine: I should have worn a pantsuit.
      Henry: Is this the way you hold the … what did you call it again?
      John: Achievements of American Diplomacy? Well, for starters there's this terrific photograph.
      James: Fuck the ...
      Colin: Isn't that a piece of yellowcake over there?

  • Defending Apartheid: Then in South Africa, now in Palestine
    • It’s not the Zionist ideology that’s responsible for Palestinian apartheid, as this author claims, but rather the band of racist, bombastic idiots currently running Israel

      A few highlights of severe discrimination against non-Jews in Palestine/Israel, long before the arrival of the current "band of racist, bombastic idiots":

      Ethnic cleansing (1947-48)
      Absentee Property Law (1948)
      Nationality Law (1952)
      Martial law (for Palestinians only) until 1966
      Annexation of East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank (1967) - "max. territory; min. Arabs"
      Jewish settlement in OT - beginning with Eshkol's approval of return to Kfar Etzion in 1967.

      Every Israeli government since 1967 has actively contributed to creating the facts on the ground that amount to apartheid. So either they have all been "racist, bombastic idiots" and there is some form of pure Zionism that no one has ever tried, or there's a problem with the basic ideology (which is Israel's state ideology) that has guided all Israeli governments and the Yishuv leadership before that.

  • 'NYT' headline implicating Hamas in teen killings is a lie
    • I don’t know why you seem to be trying to exonerate Hamas.

      You've got it backwards Jon. Thousands of people were killed and millions put through hell, based on an allegation for which evidence has never been provided. Tens of Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed and most of the Israeli population - but especially the residents of the south - forced to suffer rocket and mortar attacks, based on nothing (with alternative explanations provided as the operation proceeded). Why are you trying to exonerate the Israeli government?

      The perpetrators of the kidnap/murders were Hamas operatives. Financing was from Hamas.

      So you said, but you have provided no evidence. Have another look at the report on Hussam Kawasmeh's indictment. Even the Shin Bet makes no such assertions:

      With regard to whether this attack was overseen in Gaza or by senior Hamas officials, the agent said the Shin Bet doesn’t think the kidnapping was a directive from above, though the money probably came from there, “and even that was not necessarily for a kidnapping but for military activity.” The Shin Bet agent thought the attack was the failed attempt by a local Hamas cell in Hebron that to kidnap someone to use as a bargaining chip.

      Moreover, Hamas now admits responsibility.

      That is not what Meshaal said.

    • I would imagine that the cell involved would share their instructions and plans with a bare minimum of people.

      Imagining is not good enough to justify levelling unequivocal accusations and launching two brutal military operations. Netanyahu immediately blamed "Hamas" and declared war on the organisation and on Palestinians in general (particularly in Gaza), yet has failed to provide any actual proof (and were there any, I'm sure he would have "shared" by now).

      I would think that, as an Israeli citizen, and particularly a resident of the south, you would be demanding something a little more substantial from the government by way of explanation instead of defending its excuses. See Misgav, quoted in my comment above.

      On the financing , I understand that ...

      This is more up-to-date: link to haaretz.com

      The source and purpose of the money is unclear, and the operation itself would appear to have been entirely initiated and planned by its direct perpetrators, not Hamas or Hamas-Gaza.

    • The kidnap/murder of the three teenagers was carried out by Hamas operatives. ... Haled Mashal himself:

      He says "members" not "operatives", in the interview (no one has suggested that the Kawasmes are not Hamas members, albeit a rogue faction), but that the leadership had no prior knowledge of the operation.

      Do you have a source for the assertion that the financing came from "Hamas-Gaza", that is the Hamas leadership that Mashal (and other Hamas leaders) have denied had any prior knowledge? I saw the reports in the Israeli press (mostly attributed to the Shin Bet), but nothing involving the leadership.

    • the question he poses only now are questions that Israelis should have been asking from the gitgo.

      Misgav has done just that, from his very first post on the "war" that Netanyahu caused and the lies he told (and most Israelis bought) to justify it.

    • Uri Misgav, in today's Haaretz (Hebrew):

      With the indictment of Hussam Kawasme, organiser of the kidnapping of the teens in Gush Etzion, the Shin Bet has made it absolutely clear that the kidnapping was a local and independent initiative that went wrong. Do the Israeli government and defence establishment plan on publicly apologising to the citizens of Israel for the cynical way in which they exploited the incident to declare all-out war in the West Bank and Gaza; and giving those who live under Israeli rule an explanation of the real ends served by the two military operations?

  • Hamas is ISIS for dummies
    • The picture on the right reminds me of the pictures taken at Abu Ghraib, or B'tselem's illustrative photos of Shin Bet torture methods. Are the US and Israel also ISIS?

  • Tzipi Livni's vacation nightmare
    • So we've got "Free Palestine" and the names of Palestinian areas in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Where's the "terrorism"? Doesn't Livni claim to support a 2-state solution, which would include a Palestinian state ("free Palestine") in those very areas? Good thing she acted swiftly to "protect" her voters from the very thing she promised them at election time. Must have had her fingers crossed.

  • Settler group demands segregated bus lines out of fear for security
  • Rabbi Brant Rosen steps down from Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue saying his activism on Israel/Palestine has been 'lightning rod for division'
    • in hebrew unfortunately there are only like five words to say ‘anger’, so naturally we tend to go from “peeved’ to red-hot furious in a blink of an eye

      Too bad modern Hebrew got rid of all those wonderful biblical expressions for anger (especially those involving pregnancy, heat and or nostrils). See e.g. Psalms 78:49.

    • babylouise,

      I have a number of problems with the openly pro-Israel positions taken by so many synagogues (just about all of them, where I live), but the only one I can really use on people who disagree with me on such a fundamental level is that such use of religious congregations and cultural institutions is divisive and exclusive. I would therefore prefer that they take no position on Israel at all as a congregation/institution.

      Other than Israel (which according to Rabbi Rosen's interview with Haaretz was not really an issue at the synagogue itself), most of the things you mention are a matter of personal taste and peeves, rather than something truly divisive. If you don't like fair trade coffee, don't buy it. If you don't want to wear a kippah or a talit (pretty common in all egalitarian denominations today), don't. As for the building, I presume the entire decision-making process was democratic and transparent. If it wasn't that's the problem, not LEED certification or aesthetics (I've hated the architecture at just about every modern shul or church I've ever been to).

      You seem to know enough about Reconstructionism to have chosen it over other denominations (although a supernatural deity is pretty much out in other denominations as well, although they might not say so as explicitly). I've read a fair but of MM Kaplan (founder of Reconstructionism), and even translated one of his books into Hebrew, and what I come away from his writings with more than anything is that Judaism should be about "expressing the best values of the age in Jewish idiom". The universal orientation of JRC thus comes as no surprise - on the contrary, it is entirely in keeping with the basic principles of Reconstructionist Judaism.

      On the subject of Israel, I have it on good authority that Kaplan, although a supporter of Jewish settlement in Palestine and eventually of the State of Israel, was sympathetic to Brit Shalom and leaned toward the idea of a binational state - with full equality between Jews and Arabs.

    • Thanks, babylouise. I appreciate your perspective. In fact it resonates with my own experience in trying to find a Jewish "home", with the difference that I find the political pro-Israel agenda shoved down my throat wherever I turn not merely a fetishistic distraction from the "important things", but a betrayal of and antithesis to those things.

    • They did say “big tent”, not XL.

      The problem lies not in the size of the tent, but in that faulty flap on the left side. The resulting lack of proper ventilation also makes the air inside stale and unbreathable.

  • Israel seizes 1000 acres from 5 Palestinian villages to build new settlement in response to teens' abduction
    • Belated sarcasm alert for previous comment.

    • This is standard Israeli deterrence measure of Israel

      They target civilians; we practise deterrence.

      Of course there's no way to prove that anyone has actually been "deterred" by such actions (and reason to believe that the very opposite is true), but in the meantime, we get to consolidate our right wing, hand out lucrative contracts to developers, save Eretz Yisrael from the possibility of partition, contribute to resolving the "demographic problem" -- and get ourselves some free real estate in the bargain! What's not to like?

  • Richard Cohen says he married Israel and has been faithful during ups and downs
    • The demand that everybody in (at least) your society see you exactly as you would desire to be seen

      That particular demand dehumanises Jews, inasmuch as it turns them into a lifeless archetype - ignoring their flaws and their individuality. I think there's a term for those who do such things to Jews.

    • As Camus said: "I wish to God they'd put the **** edit function back".

    • As he recounts, he delved into his own and Jewish history and fell in love with the story of the Jews and Israel, a twice-promised land—in the Bible by God, and by the world to the remnants of Europe’s Jews.

      I guess love really is blind (although national-familial metaphors never end well).

      The first "promise" is only relevant to those who actually believe in it and, as such, is wholly invalid as a real-world political argument.

      The second "promise" is just plain silly - like me promising Richard Cohen's house to Phil Weiss. It gets even sillier when robbing Peter to pay Paul (or Richard to pay Phil) is presented as some sort of magnificent act of "atonement" on my part.

      In the spirit of the season of repentance, it's like (as the Yiddish expression goes): klappen al cheyt oyf yenems brust*, to say the very least.

      *Beating one's mea culpa on another's breast.

      As Camus said: ""

  • Being Palestinian got me barred from visiting Palestine
    • Thanks annie and tree.

      @tree, work's fine. It's my level of anger and sadness that have come down enough to allow me to comment again.

    • Thanks, James.

    • It is nice to “see” you again Shmuel.

      And you, Just :-)

    • Thanks, Walid.

    • ... when Israel formally annexes Area-C and offers citizenship

      Ah, the joys of de-facto annexation -- like that old Israeli ad for women's underwear: "You'll have it on, but you'll feel like you don't."

    • what’s going on in Area-C is not occupation but internal development and management.

      That would make the differential treatment of Palestinians in that area analogous to apartheid (or "de-facto" apartheid, if you prefer) rather than administration of an occupied population supposedly denied civil and other rights pending a political solution.

  • In Gaza, Palestinians celebrate resistance and credit it with 'victory'
    • It’s surprising how strategically dim these Hamas are. Or perhaps they don’t care.

      There seems to be a lot of that going around "between the river and the sea".

  • Ceasefire deal after weeks of fighting in Gaza promises easing of blockade
    • Well, Shmuel, no, because according to people here. Israel already gets lots of attention.

      What matters of course is not what "people here" think, but what those who determine Israeli policy think, and they don't seem very satisfied with Israel's international image of late. Nothing like a good (and well-spun) war to change that.

      And lets not forget domestic concerns such as a popular desire for revenge and Netanyahu's fears of being outflanked from the right.

      The gambit seems to have been at least partially successful on both fronts (not the Gaza front of course, but that was never the real target anyway): domestic and international (despite what "people here" may say).

    • Civilian death gains Hamas media attention and sympathy that they are otherwise denied.

      Does it work the other way too? Nothing like sirens and rockets and funerals and pictures of children in football shirts to re-establish Israel's victim status, no? I'm not denying the cynicism, just spreading it around a little. And international sympathy is not the only purposes served by death and dying (and glorious resistance). How nice for such leaders that their counterparts never disappoint them.

  • 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 haaretz.co.il

    • 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 haaretz.com

      ... 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 hudoc.echr.coe.int

    • 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 haaretz.com

  • 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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