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  • 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' -- Really?
    • "Judaism doesn’t solve problems via discussion. You are either in agreement with the rest or you are an enemy."

      Sheer ignorance. Judaism only solves problems through discussion. The purpose of the Talmud is discussion not dictates. Jon S. is right about the vast multitudes of halacha - and contradictions.

      Its not "but" in Leviticus, its "and..." In some translations, including Chabad there is no "and" The part about the neighbor (fellow, friend) simply a new thought distinguished from the first about nation.

      This is also the mechanics of Islamophobia, non experts with quotes.

      If there are Jews using Judaism to support ethnic nationalism, write specifically about them. Otherwise, you are on a bad kind of fishing expedition and I can't see any good intent.

  • Pro-Israel Jews have 'inexcusable prejudice' against Obama -- Sandy Berger
    • Kris --

      Sorry, I was not avoiding your question. I either missed it or got busy.

      The Jewish Identity aspect means looking at the extent to which Zionism is not just Jewish nationalism (like Arab or Asian nationalism) but in fact a true expression of the Jewish essence, a replacement of the Jewish religion etc..
      .
      If that's the case, than I/P cannot be understood or undone without analysing The Jew as he has supposedly existed throughout time and geography.

      Is there an I/P conversation completely independent of Judaism, Jewish communities, Arab-Jewish relations etc... ? of course not. But that discussion also includes of the West, colonialism, Islam, Arab nationalism etc.

      Can I/P be solved by people of all backgrounds, including Jewish (and drawing Judaism as their inspiration even) within the framework of universal values and with the understanding that groups occupy different positions of power at various times in their history?

      That's the only legitimate and lasting way, imo.

      If you made a list of 10 important things to secure Palestinian rights, which number would be proving that Jews are deviant interlopers (in some form, religion, culture, community)? Some people, and I stand by my comment some people here, seem to put finally getting to be able to tell the (alleged) truth about the Jews fairly high up.

      Now, those drawn to "The Jewish Question" are not necessarily racial anti-semites, though almost always have a particular aspect of what they see as Jewish culture that they dislike and mistrust. I used the term "Jew-hobbyist" to convey the idea that whatever subject comes up, someone with this predisposition (including philo-semitic braggarts) is going to tell you which Jew is at the root of it, but that term was rightly criticised here.

  • Jewish community is Humpty Dumpty-- it won't come back together again, and shouldn't
    • Sibiriak,

      I think it is useful in describing a type of person drawn to the I/P discussion. I think it is a shade of grey in what is otherwise considered a black and white scenario. I think I have used it to mean that while you cannot know whats in someones heart, you can know what their interests are. I don't believe I have ever called anyone who comments here regularly an anti-semite. It is clear, however, that there are several people here who are drawn to the increasingly visible/audible Jewish ID aspect of I/P.

      Though it has this descriptive utility, imo, you are correct it does lend itself like "racist" to being used as an ad-hominem that shifts focus to the alleged character of a person and away from the argument itself, and should be used carefully if at all.

  • 'Protest in the form of a prayer': Dream Defenders demonstration in Nazareth makes connections from Ferguson to Palestine
    • Marc Lamont Hill is a respected scholar and journalist, though Bill O'Reilly once said to him (a Columbia University professor): "say you're a cocaine dealer -- and you kind of look like one..."
      PS he is not really a black nationalist either so that is also a kind of silly lumping.

      And the shift is significant. Black churches have been traditionally Christian-Zionist. Scholars like Hill and Robin Kelley getting involved, whatever you think of their politics, is pretty major in the US I/P discussion.

  • Israel has no answer to BDS, Barghouti tells packed hall at Columbia
    • The argument is that Barghouti asks people to boycott Israel but does not do so himself so, the argument goes, he is a hypocrite and the the movement is hypocritical. Moreover he has argued that Palestinians have natural rights where as the colonial settlers have acquired rights which are subject to review by the natives once the proper order is restored. Yes, I believe Herb wants to say, he is himself in fact an immigrant like Said and Arafat, thus subject to same criticism as Jewish claims.

      This is supposed to invalidate BDS, though as pointed out Gandhi. Mandela and King (and Fanon etc...) all used the dominant system to their own liberation purposes.

      Talknic points out the goose and gander hypocrisy of the criticism.

      Though, now imo, One State calls for a discussion on natural and acquired rights as they apply to natives and immigrants, both as Barghouti would have it but also evenly applied.

  • I'm waiting for Roger Cohen to say that Zionism is 'often' racism
    • Sean,

      Certainly you are right that the establishment claims to speak for the whole community. Saudi does the same thing, so does the Vatican. And it is as you say logical that some will buy into that as a result.

      The thing is, antisemitism did not need Israel to exist, even thrive the world for centuries and peak in the most horrible way. What is your response to that? "Jew go back to Palestine" was a rally cry last century.

      An anti-semite is someone for whom there has to be a Jew or rather The Jew at the bottom of the problem and Jews have been active enough after the Enlightenment that you get your pick of communism and capitalism, Socialism and banking etc...

      Among people who actively comment on I/P it is fairly easy to see (though only roughly) where an agenda might more than just against the policy of Israel or even against Zionism. People that write more about Jewish power than Palestinian rights probably have that as their primary issue. People who are actually -disappointed- by Jews speaking out as Jews (to try to counteract what you say above about the establishment -- what other way is there in your model?) may have an agenda that goes beyond justice in I and P. Probably not letting the Jew get away with other of his crimes.

      Lastly, and I suspect you will agree with me. One problem with this discussion is that, though for very understandable historical reasons, calling someone a racist is akin to saying they beat their spouse and drown puppies for kicks. We all know from life experience that this is not true. There are all kinds of people who have bigoted beliefs about others and their own "kind" and narrow ideas in general who yet manage to be generally polite and have other redeeming features. Its the crazy uncle who still gets invited to thanksgiving because he is your uncle and because as long as he is not frothing he is a fairly nice person.

      As perhaps others with regard to race, religion or ethnicity, I have known and had good relationships with people who did not like Jews as a category, and while we avoided certain topics it did not interfere with other healthy and pleasurable interactions.

      I mention this because saying anti-semite! is often (frankly like saying "Zionist!") used to shut down a conversation not to start it.

      It should be quite permissible to call someone on anti-Semitism without meaning they should be banished to Siberia or from the I/P conversation.

      PS Have you read HItler's Willing Executioners? I wonder what you think of the thesis of that book that the average, "good" German was in fact completely culpable for not just Hitler but the Shoah.

  • Video: Celebrities, artists and activists call for Palestinian freedom in #GazaNames project
    • My guess, Citizen is that as soon as you say Israel your friends and family stop listening because they know its a 1/2 step from "Israel" to "the Jews" with you, and (as you have said here before) how we don't give David Duke's ideas enough of a chance, etc... They probably see that kind of discussion as a fixed cost not worth paying.

      I actually have come to suspect you are probably a nice person in real life in the ways that matter. My guess is that if my car broke down in front of your house and I rang your bell you would help me get to a mechanic.

      The thinking you display here though is bigoted and essentialist (permanently innocent and authentic but slightly dopey non Jewish Americans- Dick and Jane you call them, manipulated by an eternal carpetbagging cosmopolite i.e. The Jews).

      You once, for example, asked which side of Obama's ancestry you should blame for his ineptness on I/P, the black side or white, when of course the answer is neither, since ethnicity does influence choices but from politics not genetics.

      Fortunately for the rights movement in I/P more and more Jews are going to get in the game publicly and privately. And more and more non-Jews who cannot be construed as anti-Jewish bigots in any way, who don't have a racist bone in their bodies, are seeing Gaza in human terms. Since, despite your ideas, American non-Jews have been zionist for their own reasons since the creation of Israel. You may even come to disregard your own thesis.

  • Netanyahu says there will never be a real Palestinian state
    • I don't mind a caustic comment or a snipe either here and there and do it sometimes The thing about Mooser is that he is just wrong about who I am and what I believe. Snark requires wit, which s/he (I am guessing he - post middle age pre elderly East Coast) often shows. But like an ageing relative of mine who was a prankster in his youth setting the table on a roar, wry in his middle age, but who with his offbeat humour scared waitresses and check out ladies into thinking he was a wandered off , that kind of wit needs to be sharp.

      About missles: If you are firing into a populated area you may be right in your cause but you are not innocent. Both sides want to be right and innocent.

      I also think that while there will still be people who want Israel to go after a withdrawal, the withdrawal is the moral and practical starting point for a new discussion which would stop 90% of terror.

  • Florida Congresswoman sides with Israeli police over her own brutalized teenage constituent
    • Tree - what is happening to Palestinians is far worse and far more important than anyone's feelings, Jewish or otherwise. I have said such things many times. Nothing I have ever said should make you infer I think otherwise.

      I still get to comment on what I want to comment on and I still think the anti-semitism line is an interesting and relavent discussion. And, as I said, it was brought up here. The statement was not a slip it is the real feelings of some of the people in this conversation though you are right s/he has not learned the code yet.

  • Boteach stops reporter from videotaping Columbia University debate
    • Thank you tree, that is correct (though I kind of like the name Tokyo Ben King and certainly Ben E. King).

      I would be very happy to try to set up an open, taped, discussion between Boteach and Weiss if both parties are interested. Would have to be Fall, 2014 at earliest though and in New Haven.

  • 'Variety' misses the story on BDS
    • Coordinated is a compliment to a movement that first was laughed at.
      Boycott is in itself a threat of consequences. I don't think anyone has threatened to break legs. On twitter the threat to one's livelihood and reputation is explicit, especially after artists go ahead and play anyway, whatever the intentions of the artists many of whom claim that they want to play to mixed audiences and to play in the name of peace.
      I don't want to make a huge deal about it simply to repeat that this strikes me as a similar claim to rock throwing is non-violent. In the I/P discussion everything hides behind innocence.

    • As soon as a star announces travel they are flooded with twitter, Facebook, emails to their management with the explicit threat of their own careers being boycotted and them becoming a bad person (even if their intent is to play to a mixed audience). Fair tactic in a just cause? of course.

      Gentle coercion in explicitly moral terms? No.

      I do not personally support BDS of Israel, Iran, Saudi or even scumbag North Korea but different point but feel no right to lecture Palestinian civil society and their supporters about what non-violent tactics they employ. My point again is that this discussion needs clarity and accuracy and in this sense alone I think there is a kind of parity of narratives of innocence.

  • Malcolm Gladwell is afraid to address Israel in his new book
    • Phil you are missing Gladwell's point, I think, which funny enough is Gladwell's point.

      It is impossible to talk honestly about Israel in public because for the vast majority of people interested in the discussion only one list; either achievements or defaults, matters. Any mention of Israel as David or Israel as Goliath means to most close observers of this conflict that you are creating a polemic. A neutral statement is always going to be taken as Zionism or anti-Zionism.

      Gladwell is saying he wants to discuss ideas not get caught up in (explicit) politics so other cases are better suited.

  • Glenn Greenwald brings facts and reason to 'Real Time', ruins Bill Maher's night
    • Cliff,

      I am not a liberal Zionist and my point is not in support of Zionism.
      Nor do I think they are all equally right or wrong. Simply as I put it, for each the discussion of Islam is serving a larger point.

      And by the way, you slip into saying that I am agreeing with Maher and asking me if -I- accept blanket statements about Jews. Why? In fact, no, I don't accept blanket statements about Jews or Muslims and I agree that Harris spares Judaism (though not the OT) in ways he does not spare Muslims. Though he denies he is a bigot against Muslims. Have you read his rebuttal?

      That said, I don't think any criticism of Islam no matter how strident is what is meant by Islamophobia. Nor do I think criticizing or even disliking the theology of Judaism is anti-semitism, as we mean it to define ethnic bigotry.

      Greenwald's writing might be thoroughly researched on Civil Liberties (the issue that matters to him and the one in which he uses Muslims as the stand in for victim and Other) but he says almost nothing about the religion Islam, my point again.

  • Bloomberg backs Brooklyn College over BDS event as another official withdraws funding threat
    • The exact wrong tactic thankfully rebuffed.

      Wrong tactic especially because Barghouti is such a mild-mannered and articulate spokesman. Without a doubt there will be people who leave the Brooklyn event thinking, "that was the guy I am supposed to fear?"

      I saw him speak with Professor Bromwich last night and he is open to discussing any criticism calmly (though he is obviously set in his ideas and avoids any discussion off his points). I had no problem asking him a question and he had no problem answering it.

      Bromwich was amazingly clear and delineated his own ideas about boycott in a way that I would love to hear someone attempt to rebut.

      As for above, I am surprised at those who would wave away Yonah's point on the grounds that Zionists have been successful in permitting their ideas in government and media.

      So what. Free speech is free speech. The idea that "well were right and they are wrong so we get free speech" is even more ridiculous. Its free speech when you know for sure they are wrong and you are right.

      The equivalent is not Oren and a BDS rep. The equivalent would be Oren and the ambassador from Iran or (if there was one) North Korea. In fact, there was once a representative of the Taliban who was on a speaking tour in the US (I remember because a woman reporter showed up in the kind of one-piece burka that has mesh over the eyes and asked him about women's rights). His response by the way was "I feel sorry for your husband."

      All of the above were and would be be entitled to an uninterrupted hearing, though I realize as foreign agents their rights are not the same as a citizen.

      And, what is true of Barghouti and Butler is true of Oren. Interrupting someone who is able to speak calmly and articulately about their cause makes the interrupters look unhinged.

  • 'Lincoln' is an argument for equality in Israel and Palestine
    • Islam and then Christianity are the dominant faiths in the ME so those connections are obvious. There is nothing inherently antagonistic or unfair about a majority population wielding more influence than minorities as long as minorities are protected as a category and individual rights are inalienable and neutrally defined.

      My point is that a cultural Zionism that affirms Jewish connections (or for example the revival of Hebrew) does not have to be the buttress of an ethnic state. This is an old point, of course, though pushed by the wayside in mainstream Jewish life. I was only explaining that I am comfortable with Jews who want to maintain this kind of connection with Israel and the parts of historic Palestine that matter to them such as Hebron.

      In fact, the One State Solution depends on recognizing the naturalness of Jews and respecting a mild cultural Zionism, much more so than the 2 in which both sides can continue to dream of "purity."

      And just for the record, since there were assumptions here, I consider myself (regarding this discussion) an American Jewish non-Zionist.

      The Jewish people matter to me a great, great deal. The Israeli State not so much (though I see it as an object of history like Australia or Pakistan or the US, not a focal point of my moral outrage) and often I am quite offended by its actions which are bad for people living there and undercut the best aspects of the Jewish people and our religious and historical legacy.

  • Changes to the Mondoweiss comment policy
    • Absolutely. I agree with what you wrote completely.

      And there is a line.

      The moderators are imo, right to draw one and I trust their sensibilities where it should be drawn, especially if they wish to be consistent in critiquing what is a discussion of the role of religion in Arab politics and what is Islamophobia.

  • Palestinian and Palestine-solidarity activists issue critique and condemnation of Gilad Atzmon
    • Judaism initself is racism is his point and frankly that might be a legitimate discussion in a philosophy class or yeshivah (i wonder if people here know how much dissent is a feature built into Judaism) it is a useless and harmul position in the P-I discussion, and he is not giving it iut of love for his people, as he says. And That is is exacty what Geller and Spencer believe about Islam. No Muslim can be good as a practioner of Islam (their good qualities can override Islam). Its really sick, frankly. Again, I am all for open critiques of religion, it is the essentializing aspect that makes Atzmonthan useless as a Palestinian ally and irrelavent as a Jewish critic.

  • Remnick ignores the Nakba's role in Israeli 'democracy'
    • You are right of course that the Jewish expulsions do not form a justification for Palestinian expulsions or any policy which discriminates against them, but they do mitigate the European colonial settler entity argument some, and complicate the Jewish-Arab diad on all sides of the discussion.

  • BDS comes to Penn
    • If there are American liberals who hold Israel to a different or special standard that is completely wrong and hypocritical.

      But BDS is not about condemning "militaristic ethnocracies" its about pressuring Israel to at least 1967 if not 1948. The organizer of BDS who studies at Tel Aviv U calls Hamas, "resistance fighters" meaning he is not against militaristic ethnocrats, he thinks Israel is an illegal colonizer and occupier and wants to dismantle it to achieve, as he says "two states: Palestine next to Palestine." If that Palestine for indigenous Palestinians and their descendants decides to be open to one ethnicity only and bar Jews, there will be no BDS from the same quarters. If Palestine in a two state solution decides it wants "separateness" from Israelis and Jews, there will be no discussion of Apartheid.

      Penn would probably not officially sponsor boycotts of Saudi Arabia for their religious Apartheid roads etc... BDS for Egypt for militarism and encroaching ethnocracy, or China for its human rights abuses either.

      Free speech but no endorsement is the same treatment Penn and like institutions give any similar movement.

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