Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1148 (since 2012-06-27 14:34:05)

Stephen Shenfield

Stephen Shenfield is a British-born writer. After several years as a government statistician, he entered the field of Soviet Studies. He was active in the nuclear disarmament movement. Later he came to the U.S. and taught International Relations at Brown University. He is the author of Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements (M.E. Sharpe, 2001). He now works as an independent researcher and translator. He is a member of the World Socialist Movement. A collection of his writings is on his new website at


Showing comments 1148 - 1101

  • Trump response to Charlottesville sugarcoats a rotten morality
    • Annie: “check out this quotation from the @nytimes "i see both the social justice alt-left and the white supremacist alt-right as two sides of the same coin.” "

      What this reveals is that the ruling class fears and detests the white-supremacist right not for the same reasons why we -- the "social-justice left" -- fear and detest it but because it is outside their control -- and in this respect it is the same kind of force from their vantage point as we are. A common code word of theirs for such forces is "populist". There has been a long-established understanding among the ruling class that their politicians should not exploit "populism" for personal advantage and they are angry at Trump for breaking that rule

  • American Jews have a right to resist Israel as Jews
    • Right. Speaking out as Jews shatters the false stereotypes still peddled by the corporate media, conflating Zionism and Judaism and blaming the conflict on age-old and insuperable religious enmities. It can have a strong positive impact on people encountering an anti-Zionist Jewish viewpoint for the first time.

      Besides, surely we have a right to loud protest against those who impudently seek to speak in our name, misrepresent us, and implicate us in their crimes? Why let them get away with it?

      Incidentally, the thing people used to have to stoop under to show their subjection was a YOKE. A yolk is the yellow stuff in the middle of an egg.

  • Zionism is apartheid, and worse
    • Zionism is also archaic. Not only in its reliance on ancient myth, but also because it came to fruition at exactly the time when settler colonialism and the displacement or even genocide of indigenous people were losing their legitimacy. This process was previously regarded in Europe and its offshoots by all but a tiny minority as important contributions to the progress of civilization. Zionism got in "just before the bell."

  • The Spirit of '68 Lives On: Zionism as racism, and the network of lies
    • Keith: The "lachrymose" conception of Jewish history that you rightly criticize in fact predates Zionism, though the Zionists have made good use of it. But it is opposed from two very different perspectives -- that of classical anti-Semitism, which replaces the stereotype of Jewish victimhood by a counter-stereotype of Jewish power, and that of serious scholarship, which rejects generalization and recognizes the enormous variation by time and place as well as the complexity of many situations (Jews have often been privileged in certain respects even as they are persecuted in others).

      At least in historical times there has been no "Jewish people" -- powerful or powerless, rich or poor. It is only individual Jews and (though not always) their families and communities that can be described as poor or rich, powerful or powerless.

  • When Kafka met Orwell: Arrest by algorithm
    • When that Israeli general came to speak at Brown University, I remember he summarized the 'research findings' regarding the 'profile of a terrorist' -- the profile that presumably underlies the algorithm. One criterion is that the 'terrorist' is likely to be young and single: he does not yet have family responsibilities. Another is that he is likely to be related to someone who has been arrested and tortured by the Israelis, especially a brother, father, or other close relative, so that he has a motive for revenge. This points in the direction of arresting entire families, as in North Korea.

  • Pro-Israel 'gatekeepers' at California university shut down search for Edward Said scholar, a candidate says
  • Israel's efforts to hide Palestinians from view no longer fools young American Jews
  • From lamentation to triumphalism: the story behind 'Jerusalem of Gold,' Israel's second national anthem
    • These lyrics have always struck me as remarkable. How can places thronging with humanity be seen as empty? It's a mindset that goes beyond ethno-centrism to ethno-solipsism. Of course, the Zionist knows perfectly well that "in a certain sense" -- in a mundane sense -- the souk is not empty. But it is the sacral dimension alone that he/she infuses with meaning and emotion. Here it is only God and His holy people that exist.

      This is doublethink. Orwell explains how it works in 1984 -- in particular, the appendix on Newspeak.

  • In order to change Israel activists must disrupt Zionist space
  • Palestinian Authority blocks access to news sites linked to Abbas rivals
    • Just in case anyone infers that Dahlan is a preferable alternative to Abbas, available evidence suggests that he is more violent, ruthless, and corrupt than Abbas. He is the strongman type, while Abbas is the diplomat.

      When General Spiegel visited Brown University in the company of Shein, Israel's consul for New England, one of the topics they discussed informally over lunch was the pros and cons of various candidates for PA leader (see my "The Day the General Came"). Dahlan's name came up more frequently than any other and it was clear that they both had a high opinion of him.

      Any PA leader, even if personally honest and sincere, is bound to act as an Israeli client ("puppet" is perhaps a trifle too strong). That is determined structurally. The wiggle room for any PA leader to resist the combined pressure of Israel, the US, and often Europe and Egypt as well, is very limited. It must be granted that Abbas has tried to wiggle a bit -- as much as anyone could in his shoes. Irritation of the Israeli bigwigs with Abbas' wiggling may tempt them to replace him with Dahlan.

  • The indictment of journalist Aaron Cantú portends grim future for First Amendment
    • I am wondering whether the institution of citizen's arrest might be used to expose the provocateurs. Provisions for citizen's arrest vary greatly from state to state, with some states not permitting it at all, but in many states an eyewitness to an offense has the right to arrest the offender, using reasonable force if necessary. Having made the arrest, the citizen would then request a nearby police officer, ideally one who has also witnessed the act of vandalism, to take the culprit into custody. The police officer would presumably refuse to do so and might instead arrest the citizen arrester on some pretext. What would the legal situation then be? Could the police be sued for failing to perform their duty to maintain law and order?

      If this is a viable line of action, then the owners of the stores vandalized by the provocateurs might be willing to give support. Or perhaps they are already compensated somehow for the damage to their property?

  • The Israelis
    • Are there really so few people from whom you could get support in Israel? Only if you look for support only among Jews. You could find support among Palestinians, surely? At least if you took up residence in one of the mixed cities (like Jaffa) and/or joined United List.

      I would like to query your interpretation of the behavior of the guy who invites only German girls to his home: "It’s how he gets girlfriends. South Africa and Germany and Israel, historical doppelgangers." I suppose the word "historical" means that you recognize that present-day Germany bears little resemblance to Israel. If he targets German girls, it is not because he hopes to find in them admirers of Nazi Germany who see its values preserved in Israel (such people exist but are a tiny minority of Germans). It is because he counts on exploiting the guilt complex that makes it very hard for a German to say no to a Jew, however obnoxious.

  • Palestinian filmmaker Hala Gabriel seeks support for documentary on '48 destruction of Tantura
    • Annie. -- I drew Hala's attention to your supportive comments and she asked me to express her sincerest gratitude to you and to everyone connected with Mondoweiss who has helped.

      They have now passed the one-third mark with 21 days to go, so with assistance in networking they have a good chance of reaching their target.

  • Making the crossover from Elie Wiesel to Marc Ellis
    • I never understood why Elie Wiesel is considered so special. I suppose he was good at self-promotion. Primo Levi is a much better and more truthful writer about the Holocaust. So are many others. Above all, where is the moral distinction in condemning crimes committed against one's own people? That is only to be expected. Moral distinction lies only in condemning the crimes committed BY one's own people, and Wiesel resolutely refused even to contemplate doing that.

  • Mother Palestine takes on her most diabolical enemy yet -- Apartheid!
  • The responsibility of non-Zionist Jews during the 'year of Zionist anniversaries'
    • I agree that non-/anti-Zionist Jews should take some responsibility for Zionist crimes. However, this statement is liable to be misunderstood, so we should take care to clarify what we mean and what we do not mean by it.

      It does not mean acceptance of collective guilt as Jews for Zionist crimes or the sort of collective responsibility that arises from collective guilt. Guilt is to be judged on an individual not on a collective basis. What I think it does mean is that even Jews who have done nothing to assist the Zionist cause are responsible for doing what they can to protest against what is being done in their name, for declaring, both privately and publicly: "Not in my name!" We are responsible for doing this because it needs to be done and because only we can do it. Of course, anyone can protest against Zionism but only Jews are capable of this specific variety of "not-in-my-name" protest.

  • From 'Avalon' to Madoff: What 'The Wizard of Lies' reveals about contemporary American Jewish identity
    • It depends what is meant by the "Jewish community." If there is such a thing. There is a lot of talk about "community", which is supposed to be a good thing, and that is really very curious seeing that other words with the same root like "commune" and "communism" and "communist" are supposed to be not good at all (in fact, bad). At any rate, community, if it means anything at all, must be more than a mechanical aggregate of individuals with some identifying mark (in this case, Jewish origin). In practice "Jewish community" is used to refer to a set of powerful organizations with "Jewish" in their names. And the people who control these organizations, directly or indirectly through their money, are the corrupt 1%ers like Bernie Madoff. So the "Jewish community" is inevitably associated with their shenanigans. But, as I say, why pretend that it is a community at all?

  • Leonard Cohen song is anthem of Jewish exclusivists
  • Reflections of a daughter of the '48 Generation'
    • I remember that an earlier version of this essay appeared in a periodical of the Alternative Information Center, a joint Jewish-Palestinian organization with which the author was working at the time. The Palestinians who were working with her were so upset to discover all of a sudden that she had fought in the Palmach that they withdrew from the Center. Only for a few weeks, though; they came to accept her past and resumed their cooperation with her.

      Later she and Toufic Haddad created another collaborative group that put out an excellent periodical called "Between the Lines" (I contributed a couple of pieces to it). Unfortunately it no longer exists, but the most important material is available in book form.

  • A non-Zionist on segregation and resistance in the Zionist State
    • Very perceptive. Some discussion of specific Zionist institutions, e.g. JNF, would make the argument less abstract and easier to understand for people who do not know how it works.

  • A Republican plan for peacemaking: 'break the will' of the Palestinians and force them to 'accept defeat'
    • In April 2000 Jenab Tutunji and I co-organized an Israel-Palestine 'workshop' at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. After I made some introductory remarks the Zionist Linda Miller (who had been foisted upon us as a third co-organizer for the sake of 'balance') read out a paper analyzing the situation as she saw it. She had not told us in advance that she planned to do this, but what dismayed me the most was the content of the paper. The century-long conflict between Palestinian and Jewish nationalism, she proclaimed, had finally ended with the complete victory of the Jewish side and all that remained was for everyone to take full cognizance of this fact. This seemed to me plain rude to the Palestinians present.

      But above all the thesis was absurd. Here we are, after another 17 years, and there are people still trying to sell the same 'analysis.' And I expect they'll still be at it after another 17 years. What strikes me above all is their evident inability to appreciate the range of possible human reactions to such arrogance. Let us accept, for the sake of argument, that by some 'objective' criterion the Palestinians really have been defeated (though I don't think that is true). Even if many Palestinians do accept defeat, emigrate to Kuwait or Canada or wherever, get on with their lives, and forget about Palestine, there are always going to be enough who react by seeking revenge, and they will have access to sufficient resources to get their revenge, enough to make the Zionist 'victory' a pyrrhic one.

  • Zionist colonization is not 'exceptional': A Marxist viewpoint
    • A brilliant article. It demonstrates the potential, and perhaps also the limits, of Marxian analysis. Let me share some reflections it generates in my mind.

      The Israeli ruling class has to operate by a capitalist as well as by a Zionist logic, finding a balance where the two conflict, because even though they are often in synch they do conflict in some areas, including choice of a supplementary labor force.. I'm sure the Israeli politicians, and certainly the capitalists, don't want to get rid of Palestinians altogether. Even the West Bank settlements rely on Palestinian labor. At the same time, they have many more Palestinians than they really need for cheap labor, even taking into account the usefulness of a reserve army of unemployed to discipline workers and keep wages down. And too many Palestinians (more than needed) is undesirable in terms of the Zionist logic, especially given the availability of a third option (non-Jewish workers from Romania, Thailand, and all sorts of other countries, who are perceived as less of a threat to Zionism). So they have scope for combining exclusion with exploitation.

  • Show your support for Palestinian rights on World Keffiyeh Day
  • Gilad Atzmon’s attack against me – the 'merchant of JVP'
    • You love them because it gives you material to exaggerate and malign Mondoweiss as a whole and an excuse to ignore the site's coverage of the Palestinians' plight.

    • I think the most important target audience for Mondoweiss is young Jews who have been brought up in the Zionist mainstream but have begun to question what they have been taught. Our aim should be to provide them with information, insights, and personal testimonies that will help and encourage them in their journeys away from Zionism.

      There are other groups that it is worth targeting, but Mondoweiss is in a good position to target this particular audience due to the Jewish background of its founders and many of its contributors.

      For this purpose it is useful to cover some 'Jewish' issues such as the Holocaust that are exploited by Zionism. The main thing here is to challenge the interpretations of these issues that Zionism uses for its own purposes. For example, in the Zionist version of the Holocaust only a few 'righteous Gentiles' came to the assistance of their Jewish fellow citizens, with the great bulk of Gentiles at best indifferent to their fate. This version feeds the hostility to Gentiles that is inculcated in Israelis and the idea that Jews have to have a state of their own. But it is a highly distorted version (for reasons that require a separate article).

      I would like to object to the overly cynical assertion that those Palestinians who take a stand against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial do so wholly or mainly for tactical reasons, to gain some respectability in a threatening political environment. I believe that on the whole they do it because they are intelligent, humane, and decent people. Opposition to Holocaust denial was an important part of the work of the late Edward Said, who was surely a principled man and no opportunist. The villagers at Bil'in hosted an exhibition on the Holocaust, and I doubt that they did so under the illusion that it would give them any protection against the IDF.

    • The Soviet prosecutors at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1945 charged that the Nazis had made soap out of human fat and presented supposed samples, but there was no forensic proof. No doubt this helped spread the story. If there were any truth in it there would be some evidence of procedures to extract and process the fat.

      It is clear, by contrast, that the victims' hair was cut off and sold in bulk to the Alex Zink Company in Bavaria, which used it in making various products.

      Skin for lampshades is an intermediate case. There is testimony that Ilse Koch, wife of the commandant of Buchenwald and Majdanek, had a hobby of collecting pieces of inmates' skin with tattoos on them, but the story that she had lampshades made of them has not been proven. One website says that she ordered workers to make such lampshades, but these workers were Jehovah's Witnesses and refused to do the job.

      How terrible the Holocaust was does not depend on which if any of these stories is true.

    • Danaa: You think Beria was Jewish? For what it's worth, he was a Georgian, like Stalin. More precisely, he belonged to a Georgian subgroup called Mingrelians (or Megrelians).

    • Atzmon is a musician. He says valid and illuminating things about matters of which he has personal experience, such as his time serving in the IDF in Lebanon. But he does not know much history and lacks the skills, time, and other resources to do his own historical research. So if he expatiates on the Russian Revolution, the Spanish civil war, and other diverse topics these are not original contributions, he is borrowing these ideas from somewhere. And comparative analysis leaves no doubt that the source from which he takes these ideas is Nazi-style anti-semitism.

      Regarding the Holocaust, the Revisionist historians whose views he parrots do not deny the existence of concentration (labor) camps, only of death camps. They admit that conditions in the concentration camps were extremely harsh, but not especially for the Jews: perhaps 200,000 Jews perished.

      On "Judeo-Bolshevism" I would point out that Jews were not the only ethnic group represented disproportionately in the early Soviet bureaucracy and secret police. So were Armenians, Latvians, and Poles, for instance. The founder of the secret police was of Polish origin and many of his colleagues were Latvians (strange as this seems in light of later developments). The degree to which different ethnic groups were attracted to bolshevism reflected complex historical circumstances and does not prove that bolshevism was a basically ethnic phenomenon. It was not. Later on the initially disproportionate representation of Jews, Poles etc. disappeared, but this did not change the basic nature of the system in the least.

      It seems a diversion of energy to have to discuss these extraneous issues on a site devoted to I/P. It would be better to ignore Atzmon.

  • Why I'm keeping my child home from school in Israel on Holocaust Day
    • Hannah Senesh and her comrades (certainly no cowards) were parachuted in by the British to make contact with the presumed Resistance, but they were captured immediately upon landing, suggesting a tip-off. Who betrayed them if not Kastner?

      The work of Yehuda Bauer is of some value, but I don't trust him. His argumentation always seems sensible and reasonable, but somehow he always reaches conclusions supportive of Zionism.

    • Holocaust teaching is also compulsory in several US states. Has anyone studied how the subject is taught in this country?

    • "No Zionists rescued any of the Hungarian Jews from Auschwitz."

      Not strictly true. The Hungarian Zionist leader Rudolf Kastner, later a high-ranking civil servant in Israel, did rescue a trainload of Jews, although they were mainly his relatives, friends, and colleagues and people with enough money to pay the high price demanded for seats -- and in exchange he helped the Nazis murder the rest, especially by concealing from them what awaited them. .

  • Speaking of Palestine and academic freedom
    • Professor Salaita says: "No one opposes free speech as an ideal." Maybe, but many people oppose free speech under currently existing conditions and such opposition has theoretical underpinnings that need to be challenged. For example, the idea of 'incitement' is easily stretched to delegitimize any strong expression of protest as conducive to violence. Another conceptual device is the paradigm that divides ideas into "moderate" and "extreme" and justifies restrictions on the expression of ideas that fall into the "extreme" category.

      For example, many people hold that academic positions should be reserved for "moderates" because university professors have opportunities to influence the younger generation. This was the argument made by Mr. Lev, the columnist for the local Jewish newspaper who initiated the campaign to get me fired from Brown University.

      Of course, people do not agree on which ideas are "extreme." Everyone naturally regards their own opinions as "moderate" and opinions that diverge too sharply from their own as "extreme." But by delegitimizing opinions that you detest you are affirming the paradigm itself and thereby sustaining the conditions that may well lead to you yourself being stigmatized as an "extremist." Ultimately freedom is for everyone, including communists, anarchists, racists, and advocates of cannibalism, or for no one.

  • 'Why do I not cry out for the right of return?' -- an exchange between Uri Avnery and Salman Abu Sitta
    • Salman refers to a memoir entitled Reflections of a Daughter of the “‘48 Generation” by Dr. Tikva Honig-Parnass. Does anyone know who the publisher is or how to obtain it?

  • I am not a jew
    • YoniFalic: You have some responsibility for what you did, but there were mitigating circumstances. You were young and immature and your commander was bullying you to commit those murders. I regard him as the main culprit even though he was acing through you. To put someone under pressure to commit a terrible act, knowing that he is incapable of resisting your pressure, is itself a terrible crime. You were a perpetrator but you were also a victim. It does not make you a monster.

      There is a powerful scene in Feng Xiaoning's film Purple Sunset -- a Japanese drill sergeant is training young Japanese, members of the Japanese settler community in Manchukuo / Manchuria, to kill, each of them has to charge and use his or her bayonet to kill a Chinese prisoner tied to a post. One girl hesitates, she can't bring herself to do it. The sergeant yells at her: "Useless! What use is a soldier who is unable to kill?" and punches her in the face, knocking her down. She picks herself up, her nose streaming blood, and does the job. How much guilt is it fair to pin on her?

      I saw a video about an American soldier, a veteran of the war in Vietnam, who tracks down a woman whose father he killed to beg her forgiveness. Have you tried tracing relatives of your victims and going to apologize to them? Perhaps it will help heal both you and them.

  • Israel will celebrate 50th anniversary of '67 war in -- an illegal settlement!
    • People can be occupied but never defeated? Even expanding to the limit the range of situations that qualify as not being defeated, I don't see how you can deny the defeat of peoples who were completely exterminated, like the Hereros and indigenous Tasmanians.

  • 'This miracle, this gift, this jewel' -- Obama's ambassador to Israel declares he's a Zionist
    • I can understand having that feeling, I've had a bit of it myself. It is indeed "amazing" to find a whole country pervaded by the sort of cosy familiarity that in the diaspora is confined to the family context. But for me it was overpowering, TOO MUCH. Jewishness is something I enjoy only in small doses I prefer it to be diluted.. In Israel its negative as well as positive features are elevated to the state level. And there is the uneasy feeling that this is not how things are supposed to be. Dispersion is an essential part of what it means to be a Jew. The religious say simply that it is God's will. And all this even before raising the question of who pays the price for this amazing feeling.

    • Isn't the word "Israelis" usually used to mean Israeli Jews only? The conflict is generally referred to as being between "Israelis" and "Palestinians" as though these are mutually exclusive categories. It is tacitly understood that the Israeli citizenship of some Palestinians is not to be taken too seriously.

  • Israel’s ‘right to exist’ and the Palestinian right to resist
    • The privileges of the Church of England as a state church are not very important but they do exist. It is the only religion whose dignitaries (archbishops and most bishops) have a de officio right to seats in the upper house of parliament. It alone conducts state ceremonies like the coronation of a new monarch. In practice most of its privileges are symbolic and no longer cause much resentment among non-Anglicans, partly because they are not of great practical significance and partly (I think) simply because people are used to them. A future Israel is conceivable (though admittedly improbable) in which the Judaic rabbinate would have symbolic privileges comparable to those of the Church of England as one aspect of the "minimal Zionism" envisioned by certain Israeli theorists -- a state that could still consider itself "Jewish" in this limited symbolic sense without being either theocratic or ethno-supremacist.

  • Israeli Jews maintain the occupation because it is in their interest -- Noam Sheizaf
    • So why the hysterical reaction to criticism? Why the obsession with "delegitimization"? It doesn't suggest confident optimism to me.

    • Is it rational to optimize the next few years and ignore the longer term? The years pass quickly. Is it irrational to care what situation you leave to your children and grandchildren? And this "rational" Israeli Jewish public does not seem to understand the extent to which it is determining its own longer-term future by the choices it makes now. You can't lock your "problem" population up indefinitely -- changing circumstances are on the whole working in favor of the Palestinians and they will eventually get their rights. How they treat you when they get the upper hand will depend on how you treat them while you are in charge. You yourselves determine how likely it is that they will take revenge when they can. The white South Africans have been pretty lucky so far, but you can't count on that sort of luck. How rational is a calculation of self-interest built on the absurd assumption that your opponent is not human like yourself?

  • 'I came to explore the wreck of Zionism': A report from the 2017 JVP meeting
    • After 1945 the Zionists staged a melodrama to make people believe that Jewish survivors of the Holocaust had nowhere else to go besides Palestine. This belief played a crucial role in gaining the approval of most of world opinion for the creation of Israel. However, it was false. Many other countries were or might have been willing to accept the survivors -- France, Britain, Australia, even Jordan among them -- but the Zionists worked quite successfully behind the scenes to block or suppress awareness of such initiatives. One country that did take in refugees despite Zionist pressure was Sweden, loyal to its own humanitarian tradition. And some did manage quietly to settle here in the US.

      "Repatriation" was not in all cases a reasonable option. In particular, Poland was not an acceptable destination because it was the graveyard of survivors' families (the main death camps were there) and because the return of some Jews after the war led to pogroms.

  • History will make us pay for this
    • Liz: I don't think Ashrawi would have minded being told how much you were moved by her book and her talk or that it would have been in any way inappropriate. She might have found it encouraging to know that her efforts are not in vain. It is a pity that you held back.

      In general, Palestinians are people and as such vary widely in character, personality, and attitudes. Some make Jews the focus of their political work. For them it is helpful to know more about Jews' journeys. Others may have a milder interest in the matter. Yet others may be indifferent or irritated. Even by surveying articles and comments by Palestinians on Mondoweiss you can find a range of attitudes. The pigeon-holes and formulas of identity politics are harmful as well as misleading because they prevent us from seeing and responding to people as individuals.

  • Towards Better Ally-ship for Palestine: A letter to the US activist community
    • I have read that some Palestinians (clearly not the writer of this article) refuse to identify as Arabs by way of protest against the lack of effective solidarity from the "Arab world." I think this stance makes political sense because it is the most direct challenge to the Zionists' preference for calling Palestinians simply Arabs and not Palestinians at all, as they don't want to recognize Palestinian as a valid identity. Historically the Palestinians may have been just a local subgroup of the Arabs, but these things can and do change. The separation between the specific Palestinian and the general Arab identity is a result of Zionism.

    • "Arab world" is obviously suitable in many contexts but not all. "Middle East" overlaps with "Arab world" but does not include the whole of north Africa -- is Morocco in the Middle East? Persia (Iran) has its own non-Arab cultural identity and is usually seen as part of the Middle East. Then there is the matter of large non-Arab minorities like the Kurds. "Middle East" has the advantage of encompassing these non-Arab components. True, it assumes a Western or European vantage point. How about "West Asia"?

  • UN bowed to 'fearmongering and threats' from powerful governments to cover up 'painful truth' of Israeli apartheid -- UN official's resignation letter
  • Victim's daughter responds to anti-Arab attack in Oregon: 'I don’t want this to be considered a hate crime'
  • See 'The Settlers,' an important documentary about the destruction of the two-state solution
    • Insofar as I understand, there are two kinds of settlers -- ideological (the ones the film is about) and economic. The economic settlers are attracted by economic benefits like housing subsidies and would presumably be willing to go back behind the Green Line if the incentives ran the other way.

  • I am a proud Palestinian woman and a humanitarian. I am also the mother of the youngest Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail.
  • 'We are losing the next generation' -- rabbis describe crisis over Israel in their congregations
  • Israel and Palestine: Settler colonialism and academic freedom
    • The Zionists will not be able for much longer to exploit Germans' feelings of guilt for what their ancestors did before most Germans now alive were even born because an increasing proportion of young Germans are rejecting this crap.

      The same principle of inherited guilt, when applied to the Jews, is always (and rightly) regarded as anti-Semitic.

  • How to love Israel: 'Sometimes it'll hurt-- bad, but I will not walk away! I will not let you go!'
    • If you are the only one being hurt by your lover, you have the right to stay with him or leave him. That is up to you alone. But you are not the only one being hurt. What of the others being hurt by him -- hurt much worse than you? What responsibility do you have to them? Because by continuing to love him regardless you help him hurt them as well as yourself. Your love -- and the love of others like you -- is indeed the blood on which he feeds.

      In Ursula LeGuin's story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" -- not even knowing whither they are bound -- leave their beautiful and beloved city on account of a single tormented child.

  • Israel's dependence on lobby's pressure will cause hostility to U.S. Jews, Nathan Glazer warned in 1976
    • No, the premise is on the whole correct. There are a few people who have a pathological inner need to hate and will always find a reason. But they are a small minority of haters (people who hate). Most haters have real reasons to hate, based on experience and facts of which they are aware. If and when they have a new kind of experience or learn facts of which they were previously unaware, their hatred starts to weaken or dissipate. The understandable hatred of Jews on the part of victims of Zionism or sympathizers with those victims who assume that all Jews are Zionists often dissipates upon first encounter with an anti-Zionist Jew (I know this from personal experience).

      As we are responsible for foreseeable consequences of our words and actions, we should indeed not take actions or assume attitudes that will expose us and the groups to which we belong to experience-based hatred. So yes! Jews should denounce Zionist crimes, while Blacks (to take a recent case) should not try to excuse Blacks who torture a mentally retarded white youngster.

  • History shows that anti-Semitism and pro-Zionism have never been mutually exclusive
    • This is unfair criticism. Amy Kaplan focuses here on anti-Semitism and its relationship with Zionism because that is what this particular article is about. The focus of one specific article does not prove that she cares little or nothing for the plight of the working poor. Nor does it prove that she regards this issue as an especially important reason for opposing Trump. The interpretation of her "real" motive is arbitrary. She is not a professional politician. She just teaches English at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Saying ‘I Am Muslim, Too’ is not standing in solidarity with Muslims
    • "I am a Muslim too" is not meant to be taken literally. It is a form of symbolic expression that has a long history in Western societies. It challenges the authorities to treat the speaker as though he or she were a member of the persecuted group: if you are going to mistreat my fellow citizens in this way -- it says -- then please treat me the same way, I do not want to be privileged over them.

      The author of the article may not be aware of the tradition to which this form of expression belongs. For instance, during the student protests in Paris in 1968, after a government minister blamed "a German Jew" -- Daniel Cohn-Bendit -- for the trouble, the demonstrators chanted: 'We are all German Jews' (in French). Of course they knew they were neither German nor Jewish. A similar form of expression was during the Holocaust, when the Nazis demanded that Jews in Denmark wear the yellow star, the King announced that he would be the first to wear the symbol and many Danes followed his lead.

      A recent form of such symbolic identification with the persecuted is the wearing of the keffiyeh by non-Palestinian sympathizers with the Palestinian cause, including some Jews. It does not mean that they imagine or claim that they are Palestinians. Is it objectionable? I think it sends a powerful message that can make others stop and think.

  • Jews in Iran: a travelogue
    • Asking questions of those with more knowledge than me is my method of study. Some of my questions have been answered, though I'd still like to know about the position of the Bahai.

      My first acquaintance with the great Persian civilization was the Rubbaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which was a gift from my mother. The second came from a metallurgy student from Tabriz with whom I shared digs at college. It seems to me from Professor Rabkin's account that the Persian civilization is slowly but surely reasserting itself in Iran.

    • Thank you for a very interesting account. I would like to see the position of Jews in Iran placed in the context of the position of all religious minorities. The minority that has suffered the worst persecution is the Bahai and I wonder what their situation is now.

      I saw a video about Zoroastrians in Iran. Small communities survive in mountainous areas and have recently been permitted to resume open religious practice. Iran is one of only two countries where Zoroastrian communities survive (the Parsees in India being the other).

      I don't know whether there is a Christian community in Iran. Also I wonder about the position of Sunni Moslems. Are they treated better than Shia in Sunni-dominated countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain?

  • It turns out Jews are as stupid as everyone else
    • Here is an interesting article on Einstein's youth and the evolution of his views on 'God, the Universe, and everything':

      His parents regarded all religion as superstition. He attended a Catholic school and came to revere Christ. At the age of 10-12 he went through a stage of Judaic observance. He considered himself both Jewish and German. He retained throughout his life an idea of God as a unifying presence underlying the harmony and beauty of the universe -- an idea, of course, that Judaism shares with Christianity and Islam. His idea of God inspired his scientific theories and in his later years put him at odds with the pioneers of quantum physics ('God does not play dice').

      Einstein's work was a syncretic expression of and contribution to European civilization, within which there was a significant but not predominant Jewish component. I would attribute his brilliance not to the Jewish or any other specific component but to the syncretism itself.

    • Insofar as there is any truth in the idea of Jews as bearers of freethinking modernity, it concerns only a transitional type of Jew who arose out of the collapse of the closed medieval ghetto -- a collapse brought about from the OUTSIDE by the Gentile European Enlightenment. The rabbis who ruled the ghettoes were extremely intolerant of significant dissent: critics were cursed, anathematized, silenced, sometimes poisoned. Zionism returns Jewry to the medieval norm. It is myopic to view it primarily as a deviation from an enlightened pre-Zionist Judaism.

      In silencing their critics the Zionists are not so stupid in their own terms, because they know that they would be unable to respond rationally if they allowed their opponents to speak freely. Is it stupid to block a debate that you are bound to lose?

  • How I got over the Milk-and-Honey-and-Chosen-People place
  • The Palestinian state never had a chance: a review of Toufic Haddad's 'Palestine Ltd: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territory'
    • The West Bank is a geographical term for part of occupied Palestine. Does use of the term "Mid-West" deny the existence of the United States? If you call the area "Occupied Palestine" does that not deny that pre-1967 Israel and Gaza are also occupied Palestine?

    • Yes, massive military attack is not how Palestinians would be driven out. In fact, they are already being squeezed out, bit by bit, by pauperization, as Maghlawatan says, by ghettoization, intimidation, being deprived of water, etc. And despite sumud they are human and there is a limit to how much oppression they can take. Qalqilya, for instance, a town almost completely enclosed by the Wall, is now semi-depopulated. Many have been forced out of the Jordan Valley. Many of those forced out by these methods remain on the West Bank but are concentrated into the remaining urban ghettoes. But that is only the first stage. It was the first stage under the Nazis too.

    • Citizen: I receive regular e-mail information from Adam Keller and other Israeli peace activists about their work and the plight of young conscientious objectors. Sometimes I pass this information along to Adam Horowitz with the suggestion that Mondoweiss use it, but for some reason the people running this site seem no longer interested in covering these topics. Nevertheless Israeli peace activists still exist and their work must have some effect, though hard to measure. Recently over a hundred of them went to Ramallah to meet with Abbas.

      Regarding the parallel you draw, the Nazis had a very clear policy of trying not to alienate Germans and this was why even a small protest by Germans could have an effect. Until recently the Zionists had a similar policy with regard to Jews but that seems to be changing. So the contrast is not between the existence of decent Germans under the Nazis and the non-existence of decent Jews in Israel today. There were decent Germans and there are decent Israeli Jews. The contrast is rather that the Zionists now have less sense than the Nazis had.

  • 'We betrayed the legacy of the Holocaust': Professor Yair Auron pushes Israel to confront complicity with Bosnian genocide
    • I want to add that nationalist Serbs too can -- and frequently do -- claim to be a 'victim group' by referring to the mass killings of Serbs by the Croat fascist Ustasha regime during the war. This is an exact parallel to the claim of present-day Zionist Jews to the status of 'victim group' by harping on the Holocaust. In both cases the false consciousness of the 'eternal victim' facilitates atrocities in the present.

    • Yes, Auron demands that Israel take a principled stand on genocides in other parts of the world (he has also campaigned for Israel to recognize the Armenian genocide) not just on general humanitarian grounds but also by reference to the principle that 'victim groups' should show solidarity with one another. This means he is reinforcing the false claim that Jews as such, including Israeli Jews, are a 'victim group' -- thereby helping to make Israel's own victims invisible. If Israel behaved in the way Auron would like Zionist mystification would be even more effective.

  • 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' -- Really?
    • My comment had a second paragraph that the moderator must have removed. I suppose I went too far in my criticism of Judaism and said something unacceptable, for which I humbly apologize.

    • The argument that the Talmud contains many different interpretations by different rabbis is often used by apologists for Judaism, just as the corresponding argument is often used by apologists for Islam. And in both cases the argument is half-true. Yes, there is plenty of discussion, but it is all within quite narrow limits. Overstepping those limits quickly brings charges of heresy and excommunication (cherem). Consider the hostility toward Karaites or what happened to Spinoza. Take the detailed rules about the nasty things that a Jew is permitted or even obliged to do against a Gentile, from not returning lost property to not acting to save his life. Disagreement on these rules meant that one rabbi says you must do these nasty things while another says they are not obligatory, but even the 'liberal' rabbi does not forbid them.

  • I hereby chuck my right to Jewish national self-determination
    • Accepting for the sake of argument that Jews can be regarded as an ethnic group, the Zionist argument that they are the only such group whose right to 'national self-determination' is contested is clearly false. There are many ethnic groups whose right to ethnic statehood is promoted only by weak lobbies or not at all -- European minorities (Bretons, Basque, etc.), in the Caucasus (Abkhaz, Osset, Avars, Lakh etc.), Japan (Ainu), almost all ethnic groups in Africa (stigmatized as 'tribes'), Kurds... In making this argument Zionists compare Jews only with the major European nations (England, France, Germany, Italy, etc.), evidently considering it beneath their dignity to take notice of all the others.

      The Romanies provide a very significant parallel because they too are scattered, have been persecuted (also victims of Nazi genocide), and have an ancient homeland (in the Punjab). If there were a movement to 'restore' a Romany state in the Punjab at the expense of its current inhabitants, would opponents of that movement be 'anti-Romany'? In advocating a right of 'return' to an ancient homeland for Jews but not for Romanies, are Zionists not discriminating against Romanies?

      The argument that if the State of Israel had been established in 1933 or 1940 it could have saved the Jews of Europe from the Nazis seems to be based on a belief in the magical powers of states as such. Until it was close to defeat Nazi Germany was militarily much stronger than a newborn Israel could possibly have been. If Rommel had not been defeated by the Allied powers in North Africa, he would easily have overrun any newly independent Jewish state in Palestine. Only the Allied coalition was capable of standing up to and eventually defeating Nazi Germany and thereby saving part of European Jewry (including my parents).

  • A conversation with Miko Peled
    • In illustration of Miko Peled's comments about the isolation of almost all Israeli Jews from Palestinians, let me describe an internet exchange I had recently with an Israeli. He was going on about 'Palestinian anti-Semitism' and I mentioned that none of the Palestinians I had known were anti-Semitic. He then asked me to persuade the Palestinians I knew to stop doing acts of terrorism. I explained that I couldn't do that because none of the Palestinians I knew were engaged in terrorism. But he was unable to absorb that point because a little later he repeated his request. That was when I gave up on him.

  • Saving the daughters of Israel from the annihilation of intermarriage
    • jeff davis: All correct. The only problem is that conversion is in the hands of the rabbis. In Israel that means Orthodox rabbis, who are unlikely to be very cooperative. I suggest that the world's Palestinians all visit the United States, arranging in advance to get converted by more cooperative Reform rabbis. Then they all apply to enter Israel as Jews under the Law of Return. What happens then? I'm getting confused so I leave it to others to take it from there.

    • Secularist Indians were shocked when Modi took office because they thought that his sponsorship of the anti-Moslem pogroms in Gujarat should have put him beyond the pale. But somehow I didn't notice the world outrage. Probably because his pro-business credentials outweighed his hindutva.

  • 'A revolt against the future': Quick reflections on the November 2016 Election
    • Trump said he was worried by the danger of nuclear war, he would not order the use of nuclear weapons, he would improve relations with Russia. I could not vote for him out of fear of what he will do inside the country, but I could not bring myself to vote for Hillary out of fear of her bellicose foreign policy.

  • 'The era of the Palestinian state is over' -- Israeli right celebrates Trump win
  • 'Trump shows America's dominant ideology': A Palestinian take on the US election
    • One thing to Obama's credit is that he did go easy on the "America is great' rhetoric and acknowledge, at least at the start, that the US might learn something from other countries. Evidently that was too much reality for most Americans to tolerate.

  • 'Personally I was glad to see the outpouring of anti-Semitism,' says Jewish journalist targeted by haters
    • Besides the political advantage, it's a great moral comfort to be recognized as a persecuted minority. But the worst persecution is that suffered by those who are not generally recognized as persecuted.

    • What we need is just enough antisemitism to get recognition as a persecuted minority, with the political status and moral comfort that such recognition brings, but not so much as to cause us any serious harm.

  • Calling someone a 'Zionist' is anti-Semitic and abusive, say British lawmakers
    • Most people do not know what Zionism is. They never use the term. They rely on the mass media for their political knowledge and the mass media never explain what Zionism is. So polls that ask them about Zionism are useless. What can the pseudo-statistics generated by such polls tell us? Probably they tell us whether respondents feel that "Zionism" is a nice word or a nasty one, that's all.

  • 'State of Terror,' by Thomas Suárez
    • I have just finished reading this remarkable book. It casts light on many Zionist crimes that are not given the attention they deserve even in critical existing works on Zionism, the Nakba, etc. Let me mention three:

      1) After the war the chief rabbi in the Yishuv organized the abduction and transport to Palestine of Jewish children saved from the Holocaust and adopted by Gentile families. These children were forcibly torn from the only families they knew. The Zionists did all they could to thwart plans for the adoption of surviving orphans even by Jewish families outside Palestine.

      2) Thousands of Palestinians expelled in the Nakba who managed to get across the armistice line to their former homes in order to retrieve belongings or harvest their own crops were killed as 'infiltrators.'

      3) During Israel's early years the IDF made numerous cross-border attacks and bombing raids to kill and terrorize expelled Palestinians.

  • Amos Oz would never stand in the street in Tel Aviv shouting 'Kill all the Arabs'
    • Oz is confusing the geographical concept of 'country' with the political concept of 'state regime.' Russia, Germany, and Palestine are names of countries. The Soviet Union, the Third Reich, and Israel are names of political regimes. Surely it is legitimate to be against the existence of a particular political regime that has committed terrible crimes?

      I don't know whether Oz is really unable to grasp this distinction or whether he is deliberately muddying the waters.

  • Netanyahu's 'ethnic cleansing' video earns strong rebuke from State Department
    • I don't think there is any prohibition on individual Jews living in the Palestinian territories. The late Ilan Halevi lived in Ramallah. A few Israeli journalists have also taken up residence there. That is not at all the same thing as tolerating closed communities of Jews that are themselves based on the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews, do not recognize the authority of the Palestinian government, and inflict all sorts of harm on their non-Jewish neighbors.

  • Broadway club cancels 'Black Lives Matter' benefit because of movement's stance on Israel
    • The worship of wealth need not wholly exclude other social values. Some feel that just being rich is not sufficiently glorious in itself: in addition, one should “do good”. As a result, some wealthy individuals wish also to be “great humanitarians and philanthropists”.

      There exists a special business that makes money by selling “philanthropic” fame. For a fixed sum you can have a concert hall, museum, hospital, college or whatever named after you (or a relative of yours).

      In certain circles kudos may depend on how much money you give away as well as how much you have. It is like the potlatch among the Kwakiutl of western Canada.

      While “philanthropy” is often just a means of cultivating a favorable public image, some wealthy people may be sincere in wanting to “do good”. Some authors even attribute the giving of certain individuals to guilt feelings about how their fortunes were made.

      Thus, it is claimed that Brooke Astor was ashamed of her family’s reputation as New York’s biggest slumlords. Carnegie, we are told, felt guilt over the workers killed in the suppression of the Homestead strike of 1892. Yet he also wanted “Carnegie Steel to come out on top” – and that feeling proved stronger than any sense of guilt.

      Ashamed or not, Astor gave nothing to the victims of her family’s rack-renting. Instead, she gave $200 million to cultural institutions. Carnegie endowed the arts and established libraries, but gave nothing back to the workers who slaved in the heat of his steel mills at poverty line wages – twelve hours a day, every day of the year except July 4.


  • Many leftwing Israelis are leaving the country -- 'Forward' breaks an important story
    • It's not so obvious. Netanyahu may be glad to be rid of Jews who dissent and protest. There are not enough of them to make a big difference to the demographic equation. Attitude toward dissident Jews has always been one of the issues that divide Zionists. For instance, during the rule of the Nazi junta in Argentina, which Israel supported, the question arose of whether to try to rescue left-wing Argentinian Jews and bring them to Israel. Some Zionist functionaries took the view that Israel would be better off without such Jews, while for others what mattered was that they were still Jews. In fact, the junta agreed to release some Jewish prisoners on condition of their immediate deportation to Israel.

  • Huma Abedin dumps Anthony Weiner, occupation denier
  • Critiques not fit to print: Students and allies respond to 'NYT' coverage of Palestine activism on campus
    • The principle that behavior that makes others uncomfortable is unacceptable has the consequence that the system of criminal justice must be abolished, because for most people it is very uncomfortable to be charged with and tried for a crime. It is particularly uncomfortable to be accused of behavior that makes others uncomfortable, therefore such accusations should never be made. That solves the problem.

    • Behavior that makes others feel uncomfortable is rude and inconsiderate. It should be made illegal if it isn't already.

      Unfortunately, this sort of behavior is not new. We can find numerous examples of it in American history, even at the highest levels. The United States owes its existence to such behavior, as the war for independence made people loyal to the British crown very uncomfortable, forcing many of them to take refuge in Canada.

  • Months after saying he won't appear at Israeli foreign ministry events, Amos Oz will do just that in Paris
    • I think Oz was saying that 'the Jew' and 'the Arab' (he doesn't recognize the Palestinian) were victimized by Father Europe at the same period, therefore they are brothers. Apparently he doesn't see that one brother can victimize another (sibling abuse).

      Of course it is not at all 'accurate to see nations as individuals' -- it is a gross oversimplification. In reality the concept 'Jew' cannot be sharply demarcated from either of the other concepts (European or Arab).

  • Progressive foreign policy missing from revised Sanders revolution
  • 'Why do you have Arabic in this notebook?': 17-year-old American student strip searched and interrogated in Ben Gurion airport
  • 'Democracy' and 'terrorism' and the parameters of thinkable thought
    • The Israelis 'piggyback' on the standard definition of 'terrorist' given by pabelmont in order to win support for their efforts to suppress 'terrorism' defined ethnocentrically. This involves ignoring the fact that even on the standard definition there are plenty of Jewish terrorists -- in particular, the settlers who use terror 'to induce a population to change a behavior', i.e., to induce Palestinians to get out of Palestine. It also involves expanding the meaning of 'terrorist' to cover Palestinian insurgents attacking military targets.

      There is also the controversy over whether to recognize that a state terrorizing civilians to induce them to change a behavior -- say, to stop supporting Hamas -- is also committing terrorism. Isn't there such a thing as 'state terrorism'?

      Concerning 'righteous Jews' there is the alternative term 'Jews of conscience,' which I think has certain advantages.

  • France's burkini ban is a dangerous, Islamophobic assault on feminist values
    • strangefriend: In the early years of Iran's Islamist regime full veiling was compulsory. I recall this because a woman colleague of mine visited Tehran at that time for a conference and after her return wrote a letter explaining what wearing a chador felt like. The position that wearing a hijab is good enough was adopted later as the regime liberalized.

      Regarding burkinis, they could come in handy for many non-Moslem women (and some men, I suspect) who are deterred from swimming by self-consciousness about their non-standard appearance, e.g. because they are obese or have had to have a breast removed.

  • A French, a Palestinian, and a black woman all wade into a pool
    • It may help some readers to know that the Agora Swimwear Company (Inverness) produces a wide range of attractive and comfortable swimsuits for both sexes, covering and revealing various body parts and all bearing prominently displayed labels such as "For Voluntary Use Only," "Certified Non-Religious Swimwear," "Guaranteed Non-Islamic Burqini," etc.

  • The omnipresent hawks-in-waiting of the Clinton administration
    • Head chopping is an old European custom. It used to be very popular in England (at the Tower of London). After the French revolution a more humane and efficient means of head chopping was invented in the form of the guillotine. Surely there can be no objection to head chopping provided that it is applied nonviolently to adults with their informed consent.

  • The Palestine-Israel language trap
    • Right, Hazel. You have put your finger on the root of all the "specialness" -- Jews are a tribe chosen by God to enter into a covenant with Him. That is the start of the story and its whole meaning. The "specialness" can be reinterpreted but I can't see how it can be overcome without abandoning Jewish identity altogether. Jews have to be special or else they cease to be Jews. Perhaps the second of these options is preferable.

    • In Chapter 2 of the collection edited by Ilan Pappe "Israel and South Africa" (2015) Pappe shows that Zionism is unusual but not unique as a type of SC without backing from the government of a specific mother country. Another example is the activity of the Basel Mission, a European missionary society that established settler colonies in Africa. Another example of a "private" SC project that he does not discuss is Liberia.

  • The dark secret of Israel’s stolen babies
    • It is not so difficult for Likudniks, heirs to Revisionist Zionism, to expose these things because the people responsible belonged to the old 'Labor' Zionist establishment. It may even win them votes among 'Arab' Jews.

  • When the language of genocide offends us more than ghettoizing another people
    • So the clerics (collective term for priests, alim, rabbis etc.) "raped religion"? Meaning that religion in its original form was good but the clerics messed it up? How likely is that? One of the clerics' jobs is to interpret holy writ, so taken as a whole would you expect their interpretations to be so awful if the texts they are interpreting are so wonderful? Anyway, quite a lot of holy writ was the work of clerics, e.g. Judaic temple priests. Of course you can ignore the interpreters and try to return to the source. That is the basic idea behind what is called 'fundamentalism' -- but you don't want "pitiless fundamentalism," you'd sooner have compassionate fundamentalism. Well, so would I, but the possibility of such a thing depends on how much compassion there is in the source. Are prophets and messiahs more compassionate than clerics?

  • Why Trump's revolution succeeded, and Bernie's fizzled
    • I think the symmetry that Phil creates between Sanders and Trump as 'anti-establishment revolutionaries' is false. It is true that they were both initially unwelcome to their respective party establishments, though even here there is an important difference: the Democratic establishment remained solid behind Hillary, while the Republican establishment has largely come to accept Trump. however reluctantly. But the real difference emerges when we shift focus to the broader establishment of big business and especially the corporate media, which Bernie challenged in a way that Trump does not. Compare the 'balanced' media coverage of Clinton and Trump with the huge bias they would be showing were Sanders the Democratic candidate. This is Trump's big advantage. Wherever Bernie was able to get his message across directly to working people the response was positive; if he didn't achieve the breakthrough that was mainly because he was unable to get past the media blockade and make direct contact with a sufficiently large proportion of the electorate.

  • An Unlikely AMEXIT: Pivoting away from the Middle East
  • The iron law of institutions versus Bernie Sanders
    • gamal: The Jewish Sabbath starts on Friday evening (when the first three stars appear in the sky, or would appear in the absence of cloud, mist, and light pollution) and ends at the corresponding time on Saturday evening. So provided that polling stations stay open late enough observant Jews can vote after Sabbath ends.

    • RoHa: You prefer war with China?

  • Hillary Clinton has a decision to make
    • I didn't immediately grasp why cutting off the head of a snake should make chips fall, but then I realized that the snake must be clinging to a tree. Are you talking about the snake and tree in the Garden of Eden? If so I should warn you that it has been declared off limits for humans.

  • Ozick says Obama needs 6-volume history of Jews on his bedside table
  • Remembering Elie Wiesel, who inspired me to write about Palestine
    • Primo Levi, who also survived Auschwitz and wrote brilliant books about the experience, did protest against Israeli war crimes in Lebanon.

    • What Kali probably has in mind is Gandhi's practice as an elderly man of sleeping in the same bed with naked women (one of them his 18-year-old grand-niece) in order to test his ability to withstand sexual temptation. One of those who criticized him for this was his own Congress colleague and future prime minister Nehru.

      Gandhi had other shortcomings. His belief in the caste system was hidden in his English-language writings but clearly expressed in the articles he wrote in Gujarati. (This was pointed out by Dr. Ambedkar, who initiated the freedom movement of the untouchables.)

  • As occupation enters its 50th year, draft Democratic platform won't say the word
    • "Terrorism" refers primarily to forces that threaten Israel, i.e., Hamas and Hizbollah. Threats to the US, Europe, India etc. are much less important.

      They automatically regurgitate the same old propaganda. Did they fail to notice that President Rouhani has recognized the Holocaust?

  • Letters to Hillary
    • "Masterfully" should be "mistressfully," shouldn't it?

      Those who support Clinton because she is a woman should have it drawn to their attention that with Jill Stein of the Green Party standing we have a choice of female presidential candidates.

  • Smile -- it's the Upper West Side
    • As Jews and Christians, don't these rectors and rabbis believe in the existence of demons or the possibility of demonic possession as a cause of human viciousness? After all, they are religious and demons are part of their worldview, or perhaps not? Not being religious myself I don't understand these things.

  • Question for the Israeli left: Why do you discount the possibility of a second Nakba?
    • What the author rightly fears as the next phase is pogroms against Palestinians (there have already been pogroms, or something pretty close, against Africans). Like the anti-Jewish pogroms in tsarist Russia they may be deliberately incited and facilitated by forces within the ruling establishment.

      The next question is what is the likely policy response to continuing terrorism (from both sides) and pogroms? I suggest it might be a more thorough program of separation, justified to international opinion as a way of protecting Palestinians as well as Jews. The separation will of course be achieved by means of further expropriation and 'transfer' of Palestinians to the far side of the wall. Further measures are likely to make Jerusalem a wholly Jewish city where Palestinians are no longer able to reside or even visit. That then opens the way to demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and erection of the Temple. What remains of the Palestinian areas of the West Bank will increasingly come to resemble Gaza.

      I am sure that the Israeli 'left' the author is talking about (and to) is not the mainstream Zionist 'left' but the genuine anti-Zionist or marginally Zionist left. These people cannot do much inside the country not only because they are so few but also because they are intimidated. If they speak out they too will be beaten and killed in the pogroms. Like Ilan Pappe, they will emigrate to countries where their inside testimony will enable them to play a vital role in weakening the hold of Zionism. .

  • The struggle of refugees in Lebanon, Greece, and Germany: An interview with Hala Gabriel
  • 'Everyone's a veteran' in Israel, says Junger. Well, not really
  • Religious zealots ready for takeover of Israeli army
  • Wide-ranging interfaith coalition backs 'Freedom of Religion' bill to stop Trump ban on Muslims
    • Mooser: You have a really offensive style of argument. It's difficult but I'll try not to descend to your level.

      I did not claim that my comments arose from direct personal experience, so the fact that they did not does not discredit them. Aa a matter of fact, all my personal relations with Moslems have been positive. That is my good fortune. But I sympathized with the Germans in those videos who had suffered violence at the hands of "unruly Islamobucks" (Gamal's term). Why should I not? Answer that.

      However, I have been traumatized by a Jew, while still a baby -- as have you, Mooser! I believe you are right to say that the PTSD never really goes away, at the subconscious level. Your self-defensive attempt at ridicule falls flat.

      I don't want to take pokes at anyone. But I shall not conceal my conviction that religion is harmful to civilized values, and some religions more than others, Judaism and its Islamic offshoot being among the worst.

    • gamal: I have not drawn a salary from a university since 2000. More to the point, you distort my meaning by omitting the words following "women": "clearly related to Islam, like beating up women WHO DON'T COVER THEIR ARMS" -- that is, women who dress in accordance with non-Islamic norms and -- in your own words -- "therefore run the risk of violation at the hands of unruly young Islamobucks." What then do you mean by "violation"? Not beating up, apparently. Rape perhaps?

      These German women have the strange idea that they have the right to dress in accordance with their own norms in their own country without running the risk of "violation" at the hands of foreign refugees.

      Mind you, I could plausibly defend my statement even in the distorted form given it by you by referring to the Koranic verses cited at (an Islamophobic source, no doubt).

    • just: On your substantive point please see my reply to Kay24 below.

      As for the "definition"--it says nothing about the content of Islamophobia. There is no way you could use it to determine whether or not a given statement is Islamophobic. And if the "Muslim threat" may be "perceived OR REAL" then why is the fear of such a possibly real threat necessarily "contrived"? Then the odd suggestion that Islamophobia may be targeted at non-Moslem communities. If those communities are not Moslem but Hindu or Buddhist, say, wouldn't it be necessary to promote fear of Hinduism or Buddhism? Do you really find this sort of gibberish helpful?

    • Kay24 -- I don't think it can be ALL because of one cause. I admit I took a one-sided position under the emotional influence of the videos I was watching. There are various causes and the hatred explodes when they combine. Would anti-Moslem campaigns have much effect if fear of Islam had no basis in Islamist terror and other real phenomena? I don't think so. In that case the promoters would not waste their money. But the existence of real grounds for fear gives them their opportunity to magnify the initial popular reaction to terror. All the same, it is not they who create that initial reaction. The massacre at the Sikh temple could easily have happened even without the help of Geller & Co.

      just: There is one difference now between Europe and the US. Europe is taking in masses of Moslem refugees and the US is not. Many Europeans who have previously been tolerant of Moslems evidently feel intimidated by the "unruly Islamobucks" (as Gamal calls them)--their tolerance is being stretched to breaking point, and not as a result of anti-Moslem propaganda.

    • Trump exploits people's fears for his own purposes, but that doesn't mean those fears are groundless. I've just been watching videos posted by people in Germany, Sweden and other European countries that have accepted large numbers of Moslem refugees, describing the aggressive, intolerant, and abusive behavior of many of those refugees, especially the young men (and much of that behavior is clearly related to Islam, like beating up women who don't cover their arms). If people fear and hate Moslems that is mostly a result of their experience of Moslems, not because they have caught an ideological disease called Islamophobia. Just as many of the people who hate Jews do not suffer from an illness called anti-Semitism but have had experiences with Jews that give them good reason to hate them. Of course it is reassuring if they distinguish between "good" and "bad" Moslems or Jews, and some do, but I'm not going to judge too harshly those who fail to do so.

      I think that no specific freedom can be interpreted in an absolute manner without violating other freedoms that may be just as important or even more important. Freedom of religion too must have its limits. If there still existed a religion that practiced human sacrifice how tolerant could we be toward that religion? How tolerant should we be of religions that still practice genital mutilation of babies or children (of either sex)? Perhaps we should give priority to the right of babies and children not to be mutilated.

      Freedom of religion is itself a contradictory concept because some religions, including all three religions of The Book, have regarded or still regard desertion to a different religion (apostasy). doctrinal deviation (heresy), or expression of an incorrect attitude toward the deity (blasphemy) as crimes to be punished by imprisonment or death. Christianity had its Inquisition; in Russia apostasy from the Russian Orthodox Church was a punishable crime right up to 1905. As for Judaism, its holy books are also not notable for tolerance: in Deuteronomy God demands that blasphemers be stoned to death. In general, the religious freedom of so-called blasphemers, heretics, and apostates safely to follow their conscience clashes with the religious freedom of the "true believers" to kill them for doing so.

    • I wonder how Trump intends to implement his ban on Moslems entering the country. Would it suffice for a person simply to declare that he or she is not a Moslem? Terrorists could hardly be expected to answer truthfully. But there is no way of proving an inner belief or its absence.

      Historically, by the way, the conflict in Ireland is political rather than religious in nature -- between Irish nationalists ("republicans") and people wanting to remain in Britain ("loyalists"). Many of the founders of Irish republicanism were actually Protestants (details are in the lyrics of the IRA song "Protestant Men").

  • American musicians are 'scared sh*tless' their careers 'will be destroyed' if they speak up for Palestinians -- Roger Waters
  • 'Either Assad or we'll burn the country' - An excerpt from 'Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War' (Update)
    • Harry Law: At least have the decency to read the book and digest the abundant information it contains before deciding what is and is not propaganda. Anyone would think you have actually observed the situation inside Syria.

  • Don't say the Z-word
    • Some Zionist organizations still have the word "Zionist" in their title but many do not--they do indeed simply call themselves Jewish (American Jewish Congress, Jewish Defense League, etc.). I think many Zionists try to use the words Zionist and Zionism as little as possible even among themselves because such usage does imply the possibility of being Jewish without being Zionist -- and that is what they seek to deny. In the early phase of the Zionist movement there was no hiding the fact that Zionists were a minority among Jews, but once Zionism achieved a near-monopoly of Jewish self-expression (at least in public) it became feasible to obliterate the distinction between Jewish and Zionist, thereby making Zionism a "natural" and intrinsic part of being Jewish, something that should go without saying -- and therefore without thinking. As Symes explained to Winston Smith, the goal of Ingsoc is to make thoughtcrime impossible.

      Now there has reemerged a substantial body of openly expressed Jewish opinion that is opposed to Zionism. As awareness of this spreads being Zionist will lose its appearance as a natural part of being Jewish and be exposed as one choice among others. That will hasten the decline of Zionism, which once it achieves a certain momentum will be as rapid as its rise. The proposal to delegitimize and suppress use of the terms Zionism and Zionist is a desperate attempt to halt this process.

    • You shouldn't be saying anything at all about Jews. Not unless you have a special license to do so.

  • Calling Israel a 'modern day miracle' and 'vibrant bloom in desert,' Clinton says BDS is anti-Semitic
    • The Zionists' largely bogus claim that they "made the desert bloom" reflects a view with a long and distinguished pedigree. It implies that the right of indigenous people to their homelands is invalidated if they do not reach certain "civilized" standards in exploiting the land and its natural resources. The Palestinians had supposedly neglected Palestine and that gave the Zionists (or presumably any other bunch of colonists) the right to take it away from them. Norman Finkelstein showed how the Nazis used the same rationale to justify their conquests in Eastern Europe. The same reasoning was used by European colonists in Australia and the Americas to invalidate the rights of indigenous people.

  • Miko Peled's viral video
    • hophmi: I expect you can find such videos if you look for them and answer your own question. However, you are not curious because you think you already know that the answer is no. This is just a rhetorical trick that you regularly use to try to invalidate your opponents.

  • A new proposal for confederated states (without any idea of how to get Israel to comply)
    • But seriously. This imaginative new idea (first raised just 70 years ago, as David Fincham notes below) opens up exciting vistas. More conferences, workshops, frameworks (hammered into shape in the workshops), roadmaps (a roadmap is essential in a country without rail transport and the old one seems to have been mislaid), bus schedules, quintets (quartets are a bit passe and an odd number of participants will facilitate majority decision making) and so on and so forth.

    • Annie: Zionists speaking on behalf of Palestinians has one overriding merit. It prevents Palestinians from saying anything unacceptable (i.e., to Zionists). Dialogue always makes much faster progress when you hold it with yourself.

  • An apologia for Ken Livingstone (What would Buber say?)
    • Zionism did not need to get "infected" by anti-Semitism. It was steeped in anti-Semitism from the start. Zionists agreed with anti-Semites that the Jews were a foreign and unassimilable element in their host societies and it was therefore natural, inevitable, and humanly understandable that they should be rejected and persecuted. They shared the anti-Semites' negative perceptions of Jews as they actually existed. That also meant that they hated themselves.

      Where they differed from the more thoroughgoing anti-Semites was their belief that at least some Jews could be rehabilitated and normalized through Zionist efforts. Hitler in particular did not believe this was possible; for him the only final solution of the Jewish question was extermination.

      However, Hitler cannot be equated with Nazism as such. In the 1930s there were Nazis, including SS officers, who thought that Zionism could solve the Jewish question. A key figure in the attempt at a Zionist-Nazi rapprochement was Rabbi Joachim Prinz. I got hold of his book "Wir Juden" (We Jews), published in Berlin in 1934, i.e. under Nazi rule. The author himself apparently blocked publication of an English translation after his emigration to the US in 1937 -- and no wonder. The book is a skillful synthesis of Nazi and Zionist ideas, with the "German Revolution" presented as a model for Jews to emulate. It shows that the German Zionists did not collaborate with the Nazis for purely practical purposes--they also saw the two movements as ideologically complementary.

      Of all the tendencies of Jewish thought Zionism is and always was the closest to anti-Semitism. The hypocrisy of Zionists accusing other people of anti-Semitism on the flimsiest grounds is astounding.

  • Democratic Party is now split over Israel, and Clinton and Sanders represent opposing camps, says Pew
  • Harvard biotechnology conference whitewashes Israeli occupation
    • Except that the more the Zionists study genetics the more they discover that it does not support their racist preconceptions. Just as the Nazis would have, if genetics had existed in their day, because they and the Zionists share the key preconception that Jews constitute a distinct racial group. They would also discover that genetically the Palestinians are more Jewish than many Jews. Genetics could conceivably be used to design a system of political privileges, but it cannot be used to justify the existing distribution of privilege.

  • Advice to British leftwingers on kicking racism out of their anti-Israel rhetoric
    • I got this view from Lennie Brenner's "Zionism in the Age of the Dictators" (the book Annie mentions) and Isaiah Trunk's "Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe Under Nazi Occupation." His table on p. 34 suggests that about three quarters of Judenrat members were Zionists. The typical council member was a community leader with "respectable" conformist bourgeois attitudes that inclined him toward cooperation with the authorities (whoever the authorities might be). I should acknowledge that the Zionist far left, e.g. Poalei Zion, did not participate in the councils and fought in the Resistance.

    • The size of National Socialists for Israel is not crucial to my argument. It is just one of a number of examples showing that Nazism and Zionism are close enough to make their reconciliation possible. I don't know how many members they have, but it is more important to ponder the ideas in their German-language blog. Their introductory statement starts by saying that strong peoples deserve to live and weak peoples deserve to die and continues to argue that the Jews have proven themselves a strong people in "endless wars." Therefore they deserve respect. Hitler was wrong in assessing their quality. They are not against genocide in principle, but it should be reserved for peoples that really are weak and degenerate, like the Romanies and the Palestinians.

    • I do not judge anyone. I only want to affirm the fact that there were Jews who collaborated with (i.e., helped) the Nazis -- above all, most members of the Judenrate (Nazi-appointed and controlled Jewish Councils) and the police and others in their employ.

      Not all Zionists collaborated, many fought the Nazis, but of those Jews who did collaborate most were Zionists. Traditional religious Jews did not collaborate, nor did leftists (Bundists, communists, etc.). This was because the Nazis had already established a pattern of cooperation with Zionists in the 1930s, so now they again called on their services. The exception was occupied Soviet territory, where Zionists could not readily be identified, but it is no coincidence that that was also where the Jewish Councils were least reliable and most inclined to use their positions to help the Resistance (as in Minsk).

      Nazis and Zionists had compatible worldviews, they could find a common language. Both regarded Jews as a separate and degenerate racial group. The difference was that most Nazis believed that Jews could not be regenerated and therefore had to be exterminated. That was Hitler's view. The Zionists thought Jews could be regenerated by colonizing Palestine. However, in the 1930s there had been influential Nazis, even in the SS, who shared that hope and sincerely (not just opportunistically) admired Zionist efforts in that direction. Before his death Eichmann gave an interview to Life magazine in which he expressed admiration for Kastner and other "idealistic" Zionists with whom he had dealt, so although he obeyed orders he was apparently still influenced by this pro-Zionist tendency within Nazism. In Germany today there is also a group of pro-Zionist Nazis called "National Socialists for Israel".

    • "And whatever the encounters between German Zionists and Nazis in the early 1930s it certainly didn’t save any card carrying Zionist Jews in Europe from being murdered by the Nazis a few years later."

      In fact, Zionist-Nazi collaboration (which was certainly not confined to the early 1930s) DID save some "card-carrying Zionists" from being murdered. Rudolf Kastner, who led the Zionists in Hungary, made a deal with Eichmann by which he would facilitate the murder of most of his fellow Jews in exchange for a train to Switzerland for 1600 Jews chosen by himself, including friends and relatives, colleagues in the Zionist movement, and businessmen who could pay their way.

  • 'Her absurd generals, her military junk' -- Daniel Berrigan's prophetic speech on Israel in '73
    • The NYT report of Kerrigan's speech says he castigated "the Arabs" for their "capacity for deception" and also for their "contempt for their own poor." This context makes clear that he was referring not to Arabs in general but to wealthy and powerful Arabs. To be sure we would need a full transcript of the original speech, but probably the phrase "the Arabs" is a misleading paraphrase by a sloppy journalist. Hardly a basis for the charge of "anti-Arab racism."

  • Sy Hersh's 'forbidden statement': Sanders's liberation from NY Jewish money could change US foreign policy
    • Let's just ignore "Hophmi." He never ever responds to any of the cogent arguments made against his crap. He just waits until an opportunity arises to repeat the same crap. If we ignore him he'll get bored and go away.

  • It is time to stop celebrating Jewish dissent in the Palestine solidarity movement
    • pabelmont: I know many Gentiles feel they need permission from Jews before they can speak out. They want a bona fide certificate to show they are not anti-Semites and they think that Jews and only Jews have the credentials to issue such certificates. The question I would like to ask is: how should we anti-Zionist Jews respond? Do we say: "I give you permission, here is your certificate"? Or do we say: "There are no such certificates and you do not need permission from me or anyone else"?

      For many Germans especially this is still a problem. Are you there, German Lefty? You have something to contribute on this.

  • Norman Finkelstein on Sanders, the first intifada, BDS, and ten years of unemployment
    • Keith: We (humanity) are caught between two proven evils -- corporate globalization and the system of rival states. What you say about corporate globalization is true, but the process is far from complete and may never be completed because at the same time the system of rival states is still very much alive and still presents a major danger for humanity. Look at East Asia, the South China Sea for instance. States can provide some protection against the ravages of corporate globalization, but what we really need is a world state. Rather than return to the perilous pre-globalization system by bringing the economy into line with the states system, we need to create a counterweight and eventually substitute for corporate globalization at the world level.

    • One of Norman's themes seems to me very relevant -- the Zionist trick of "changing the subject" and the way we inadvertently fall for it.

      I was looking at an attack on Mondoweiss on a Zionist website and was struck by the fact that it focused exclusively on Mondoweiss discussions of the role of Jews in American society today, which make up perhaps 5% of the site's content, completely ignoring the 95% that focuses on the Palestinian plight. The temptation that must be resisted is to respond to the Zionist attack on the 5% and get drawn into a dissection of its distortions and misinterpretations. Our response should home in on the main distortion, which is the refusal to acknowledge and talk about the 95%. And perhaps it would be better to drop the non-essential 5% that gives the Zionists their chance to change the subject.

      I am not sure whether discussions of Zionism are also a case of "changing the subject." It rather depends on what those discussions focus on. If the focus is on Jewish identity then perhaps Norman is right. But if the focus is on the historical and ongoing Nakba then he is surely wrong by his own criterion. Because in order to understand what Zionism is doing to the Palestinians now you need to know what it has done to them in the past -- the big historical picture.

  • Sanders 'put everything on the line' for Palestine because BDS movement has changed US conversation -- Peled
    • pabelmont: Your no. [3] may be more plausible than the other two, but it would mean civil war with the violent and fanatical settlers. How many Israeli Jews have the stomach for that? Would the IDF be capable of fighting the settlers, given the extent of settler penetration into its own ranks? I think the most likely effects of increased external pressure would be social disintegration and economic crisis but without any decisive political response. The moderates would be gripped by despair, fear, and paralysis (even more than they are now). Many more of them would want to emigrate, and it is important to ensure that they are able to do so. Eventually outside military intervention would be needed.

  • Another interview on Israeli TV
    • Vera: Here's what I found on Metapedia (a German-language internet encyclopedia):

      Kategorie: Selbsthassender Deutscher
      Deutsche, die wissentlich und willentlich Verrat am deutschen Volk und/oder am Deutschen Reich begingen oder begehen.

      Volk und Reich! Am Yisrael chai!

    • Shmuel: You seem to understand Jewish Israelis, perhaps you are one yourself (I don't know) or at least have close ties with them. So let me ask you some follor-up questions about them.

      Jewish Israelis are humans. Surely, therefore, they have powers of comprehension like other humans. Many of them are highly educated and/or intelligent. What exactly is it that they cannot comprehend and why? Might it perhaps have something to do with their division of the world into friends and foes?

      Also: what forms of effective action to change the situation for the better, apart from talk, would they not consider to be offensive and "violent"?

      And what do the inverted commas mean? Do they recognize that there is a sense in which a boycott is not violent but still consider it violent in some other sense? Or what?

  • The end of apartheid in Israel will not destroy the country, it can only improve it
    • Beautifully written. But I am not altogether clear what the author means by Israel "not disappearing." Will the post-apartheid regime still be called Israel then? Rather than Palestine?

      One of the differences between apartheid South Africa and Israel is that the former had a politically neutral geographical name that could fit any type of regime (though there were some who wanted to rename the country Azania). The word "Israel" was originally a collective name for Jews or Jewry, so its use as the name of a country implied and implies a special position for Jews (at a minimum). Perhaps the author wants us to understand that despite this logic the country might continue to be called Israel for the sake of continuity and reconciliation. Or perhaps it could be called Israel and Palestine simultaneously/.

  • 'Anti-Zionism = anti-semitism' is a formal logical fallacy
    • The equation of anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism has two possible interpretations. One is that they are intrinsically equivalent, which is of course a logical fallacy. The other is more sophisticated: it is admitted that they are not intrinsically equivalent, in principle anti-Zionism need not be anti-Semitic, but in practice most anti-Zionists are concealed anti-Semites and are using anti-Zionism as a cover for their anti-Semitism. As this claim concerns the hidden motives of others, it can never be proven or disproven. However, it is extremely implausible to anyone not suffering from ethnocentric paranoia.

  • Jewish leaders' excommunication of Sanders aide over Israel will only alienate young Jews -- Open Hillel
  • Israeli journalist Derfner succinctly analyzes the anti-Semitism vs. anti-Zionism debate
    • ritzl: As an example, let me explain how my mother "got over that." One day she went to the synagogue and heard our rabbi say that "Gentiles have always hated us." On hearing this she became aware of a discrepancy between what the rabbi said and what she knew from her own experience: "I have Gentile friends who do not hate me, therefore Gentiles do not always hate us, therefore the rabbi is telling an untruth and inciting hatred." Then she stopped going to the synagogue and broke off relations with the rabbi. The technical terms for this are empiricism (relying on experience) and logical thinking.

  • The Jewish-Israeli navel-gazers
    • hophmi: You don't even know whether he is a Muslim or not, but if you look hard enough for an excuse not to take seriously what he is saying you'll certainly find one.

      The self-absorption of the "liberal Zionist" is not his personal characteristic but a product of a whole system designed to sustain collective ethnic self-absorption, with its own process of "education" and socialization, culture and ideology, even a language specially reconstituted for that purpose. In order to become capable of relating to the humanity of a Palestinian or any other Gentile -- or even to his own -- he must first separate his sense of self from that sustaining environment.

Showing comments 1148 - 1101