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Peace, social justice, belonging, human rights, homeland for the peoples of the Holy Land. To discuss Mondoweiss articles further, please come to the Mondoweiss Friendfeed page: https://friendfeed.com/mondoweiss-on-friendfeed

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  • Al Aqsa mosque is closed off for first time in 47 years as tensions flare
  • Shimon Peres gets one tough question -- on illegal settlements -- and Colgate University censors it
    • My impression is that a lot - if not most - campuses are simply inactive when it comes to real left wing grassroots college organizing (as opposed to, say, College Democrats, Chess club, etc.)

    • Yes, I visit Colgate not that long ago. I noticed a poster wherein a Jewish organization on campus was sponsoring weekly lectures on the Middle East, as I vaguely remember.

    • “When I wash my Brain, I use Colgate.”
      +1

    • " I do think wasps spent time on Kibbutzim some years ago – it was the cool thing to do. "
      ?
      What percent of WASPS did that?
      I personally know zero who did AFAIK.

    • I am confused why 4000 students would be so positive and uncritical? I thought that campuses were changing on this issue. I know that some were just clapping to have a speaker. But I am surprised that there were not more things like you described.

      Why do you say they were classic WASPS if the journalist had been on a kibbutz?

  • J Street's progressive illusion
    • Despite some rhetorical differences, the Lutheran’s are representative of the churches on Israel-Palestine.
      Isn't that generalizing? How about the Middle East churches that are actually in Palestine and living under occupation?

  • Toothless Lutheran statement on Israel/Palestine enables the occupation
    • Sister in Christ – rather than brother – is an advance. In theory.
      Some Christian denominations have had female monasteries with "mothers" and "sisters" for centuries.

      ". Jewish Voice for Peace? They’re not mentioned. Because they have actively opposed the administration’s policies and the Jewish establishment? "
      Probably.

  • Another New York Times' reporter's son is in the Israeli army
  • Israel and Palestine is not about Jews vs. Palestinians
    • Ms. Brotman,

      This was an interesting essay. In case you didn't already notice, strong PEPs have an "anything goes" attitude when it comes to evaluating the state's policies toward Palestinians. That's because in their mindset, Palestinians are associated with Islamic terrorism, anti-semitism, attempts to destroy the Israelis, the Mufti in WWII, etc. It's unfortunate, but there is not that much that the state could realistically do that would discredit the state in their eyes.

      If you think otherwise, talk to some of those strong PEPs. They have a siege mentality, their discussions of Palestinians are extremely hostile, and their defense of what human rights activists see as Israeli abuses in Gaza and elsewhere are very intense too.

      I don't know that it's easy to change their views either then, as I discussed with Annie.

      What might be helpful is to understand their underlying motivations. Namely, why are PEPs militantly nationalistic, but everyday American liberals aren't? What is it that makes nationalism appeal to PEPs that doesn't to most American liberals?

      In my opinion, this is an important area for critical progressive discussions on the topic to explore, and it sounds like you are to some extent doing this, as you describe your "conversion" experience.

    • So how was it canceled at the university?

  • Israeli president's diagnosis -- 'Israel is a sick society' -- doesn't go viral in the U.S.
    • This is a country where a settler extremist assassinated a prime minister who was saying he wanted to compromise with Palestinians, 19 years ago.
      Considering the massive upsurge in rightwing forces after Rabin's death, one may suppose that his pro-peace positions are why he was terminated, sadly.

      However, who knows the real details on what exactly happened? We already know about the Pulsa D'Nura. Who knows how much farther that story goes.

  • The rabbi's fridge
    • Lysias,

      Did you get my memo? Don't be so optimistic about the changing off the guard. Yeah, young Americans are becoming more liberal, but not so with younger Israelis. I just listened to a talk by Fr. McGarry who studied at Hebrew University years ago and said he came to IP from "the Jewish side" and started a dialogue group. The interviewer asked him, with a glint of hope, whether young people there are more interested in dialogue, and he was clear, unfortunately, that it's the opposite:
      (around min 10)
      link to vimeo.com

    • Speaking of the nationalists' attempt to shut down the student senate, R. Leshaw said: It's a way to continue the request that Megan step down from the presidency," Leshaw said. "There's many different forms that that request could take, and this was one of them."

      By the way, R. Leshaw previously tweeted favorably about a "rubble" challenge whereby people poured rubble on themselves to protest the attack on Gaza.

      And now we learn that R. Leshaw is in Open Hillel and has a FREE PALESTINE poster on her fridge.

      Is this the same R. Leshaw?

      I CONFUSED

    • Lysias,

      Younger Americans are becoming more pro-peace on the issue. Younger Israelis are becoming less so. The changing of the guard is not all butternuts and sweets.

    • Free Palestine, from R. Leeshaw after what happened to Megan M.?
      I am confused, and am probably not the only one.

  • The ice floe
    • The other thing is that IP is a subdivision, somewhat, of US middle east policy, and students are critical of that. We are talking about about 13 years of US conflict in Afghanistan, etc.

    • Probably the internet has an effect. When you hear nationalist talking points you can just go on the internet, search around and ask people like MW commentors to find out what the real story is. People just look up info on the web nowadays and learn a lot of "inconvenient" facts.

      20 years ago, everything came from the mass media that everyday people could access- that was all there really was, unless you were going to pack up and visit some conference in NYC on the topic.

      Plus, we are getting farther in time from the Shoah and the era European persecution, but the occupation is yet being more and more entrenched, sticking out like a sore thumb.

    • Wow people age a lot in 7 years. Wish I could take my 7 years back.

    • FROM THE TRAILER:
      Isr.: After the Holocaust, can you accept that it's important for Jews to be in Israel?
      Pal. answer: I think it's wrong to kick people from their houses, there are a lot of empty places you could live.

      Yes, those are some different narratives. Apparently each were good with their talking points.

      I know that girls are good at cat fights, but it was probably easier that they did this with girls.

      Pal.girl: When I see they are Jewish, I have many feelings, because they are people killed my father.

      OK, there should not really be anything that they feel from seeing someone who is Jewish, because there are different opinions among Jews on the conflict. It's only tough when you herd people together with a very closed viewpoint.

      Sure, I think that if everyone participated in dialogue programs it would go a long way. But what portion of Israelis and Palestinians are ready to sign up for that?

  • Chomsky at 85
    • The UCC and the churches in general are belatedly coming face to face with the future of Israel-Palestine.
      That's true about the main Protestant churches. The Quakers and Eastern Christian (eg Arab) churches have faced it for a long time.

      I like Chomsky- he seemed to have a good demeanor at the conference. It's disappointing that Hostage left when I was making criticisms to some of Chomsky's views.

      I didn't have any serious disagreement with what Marc said here. He's basically correct.

  • 'I know how the brainwashing works'
    • I meant to say:

      Another idea, advanced by Gilad Atzmon, is that their culture and community is very closed, even regardless of the issue of Israeli politics. The problem with Atzmon's critique is that many people, myself included, are reluctant to blame Jewish culture.

    • Bornajoo,

      I agree. In the case of Israelis, I think that the factors include a "siege mentality" because they are in conflict with Palestinians. When you fight someone for decades, it wears down critical thinking and creates a "rallying effect". People can tire of wars too, but in the case of the Israelis, conflict is sustained because their society is in the continued process of taking over Palestinian-owned territory. Also, being a prison guard affects one's mentality- if you are "managing" other people you see as foreign and risky, your mind unfortunately "grows into" that role. People who become prison guards in American prisons, for example, are affected by it.

      Since they play such a big role in public policy, I think that it's important to understand the motivations behind American PEPs, who do not live where the conflict is going on.

      I had this discussion with Annie here:
      link to mondoweiss.net

      She would (or could) not give me a more in depth answer than repeating, correctly, that they are "programed to support israel in a more extreme and familial way". However, why is it that the programming works so well, even for Marxist PEPs? In Marxist thought, people are motivated by social interests, and one must ask why nationalist programming works so well for some people but not others, like other liberal Americans.

      Annie proposed that PEPs are more likely to be Reform, rather than nonreligious. That suggests that religion can be a factor. Yet most of the Reformed surveyed did not respond that God gave the land to their religion.

      Another idea, advanced by Gilad Atzmon, is that their culture and community is very closed, even regardless of the issue of Israeli politics. The problem is that many people, myself included, are reluctant to blame Jewish culture. Max Blumenthal and Adam Horowitz made a petition saying that Atzmon was anti-semitic for advancing that kind of critique.

      The relevance is that many of us end up dialoging with American PEPs, just as you do with your cousins, or else end up addressing their ideas through exchanges in the public arena. I do agree with Annie that we should not put all our energy into it, but rather be active on issue. On the other hand, as you pointed out, understanding and addressing the underlying motivations behind militant nationalism could aid in encouraging a more objective, pro-peace mindset.

    • My first comment is that BornaJ may wish to edit his name- the term "Joo" is a pejorative that is sometimes used by Israeli nationalists to misportray the views of their detractors.

      Secondly, this is noteworthy: Is there hope? Only if the Americans stop them. They are too far gone to stop themselves. This is why in my opinion all efforts have to be focused on educating the Americans and especially the American Jews. But I’m not optimistic at all.

      I would like to see a similar article to yours describing the "programming process" for American liberal PEPs that Annie described earlier. (link to mondoweiss.net)

      I can understand how Israelis are becoming increasingly intolerant- they are like guards in a prison, who mentally "grow into" that role, which affects them. But what about American PEPs? What are the factors that reinforce their militant nationalism?

      If they have been "programmed", then what drives the programming and why does the programming work? To give a contrasting analogy, even though people were "programmed" for centuries to accept monarchy, they eventually passed power to parliaments instead. So being programmed, by itself, does not explain why the programming works.

      Let me give an analogy from my own experience. I was "programmed" to support Israeli fighting against Palestinians- I was a liberal who thought in terms of Israeli democracy against Palestinian terrism. But then I learned about wars in the Mideast being driven by profits and I heard a talk by human rights activists explaining the occupation Palestinians were going through, and it changed my thinking on the issue. That's because for me, as a liberal, human rights are more important than nationalism.

    • Horizontal,
      I agree with the value of the younger generations. Unfortunately, when it comes to Israelis, in surveys they are becoming increasingly intolerant. About 30% of young Israelis don't think Christians should have a right to their religion in the country- a higher percentage than older generations' answer.

      I am not saying that it isn't important to change young minds for the better.

      In America, on the other hand, younger generations, especially liberals, are gradually taking a somewhat better view.

  • Israel wields 'significant US domestic power' to foil peace process -- NY Review of Books
    • Dear Annie,

      Thanks for staying with the conversation. A reason why I ask this is to understand where the PEPs are coming from in their mentality. Their own explanations for their beliefs, as you said, contradict liberal thinking, and to boil it down simply to intolerance or intense nationalism does not explain why they have those things.

      Many of us, including myself, end up "dialoging" with intense PEPs in person or online, or addressing their ideas as scholars. On one large forum, I am presented with a Marxist PEP who is so dedicated that he follows up anyone's comments with his own PEP ideas, many of which you already familiar with (eg. Palestinians are merely Arabs or Syrians), even after I debunk them.

      So it is important to consider what is the best way to dialog with them. For example, is it best to simply debunk their ideas, which they repeat anyway? Or is it also important to address their underlying motivations that cause them to write this way? If so, what is the best way to approach that topic?

    • Annie,

      Thanks for writing. My overall question is: What motivates strong leftwing or Social-Democratic American PEPs to become conservative nationalists or support privilege on this topic, while they would not be conservative on other topics, and how do their motivations contrast to those of other liberal groups, like liberal Armenians, African Americans, or regular strong leftwing Americans, who do not choose to support Armenian, black, or white nationalism or privilege?

      Could I rephrase my question more clearly? I am not asking why do left wing ideals of equality contradict conservative, ring wing positions on Palestine. I am not asking whether privilege can motivate people to be conservative. I am asking for the underlying motivations that make PEPs conservative on this particular topic, and why aren't other liberals affected by those same motivations?

      First, maybe you can reply that some otherwise leftist people respond to discrimination by becoming nationalist and conservative. Around the end of Segregation, the Nation of Islam was, I suppose, rather Leftwing, but it was also very nationalist. I am not trying to make a trick question.

      Second, you gave a fine answer:
      "because they are uber programed/conditioned to support israel in a more extreme and familial way than the rest of america.
      One's programming is a motivation to take a political position. Is there something special about this programming that makes it different from, say, American liberals on other topics like American conservative nationalism?

      Third, you challenged me on my idea that strongly leftwing PEPs tended to be secular, which I based on my idea that strong leftists tend to be nonreligious r less religious. You are right that many PEPs are Reform. However, do you think that religious doctrines are the motivation for PEPs? If so, what about the fact that most of them surveyed do not believe in the divine land mandate?

      Fourth, you are right that PEPs "see israel as being grounded in democratic and liberal principles/society therefore they don’t see the contradiction in merging that society in with other principles of progressivism." However, why should the PEPs see Israeli society as grounded in equality but American as not grounded equality, when both societies proclaim at least nominal equality and liberal values?

      In the civil rights era, American liberals recognized that America lacked liberal principles of equality, even though they were programmed by the government to think that it had equality. Why can't PEPs see that Israeli society is only nominally grounded in equality, when American liberals recognized American society as being grounded in equality?

      Fifth, you said that liberal Americans think that there is racism in America... and [it] should be restricted by law "because it’s the right thing to do and most people (i hope) are not hypocrites."
      You are right about that. But what are the underlying societal factors present that make PEPs take a conservative position on their own issue that are not present when liberal Americans view their own society? I am not asking whether PEPs are nationalist or intolerant and contradict themselves, but what motivates their nationalism that does not exist for other liberals?

    • Annie,

      (1) My reasoning goes like this: Strong leftists tend to be more often secular or less religious. Those in the community who are strongly also tend to be secular or less religious. The community on average supports the state's policies by a larger margin. Thus, it's most likely that the strong leftists who do support the state's policies tend to be secular or nonreligious, simply because there are few strong leftists who are also religious conservatives, yet there is still a significant portion of support for the state's policies in the community.

      73% of the secular respondents supported the current [large] US aid levels or believed that it was too low, although 72% supported the two state solution. Only 6-14% of them thought that the Palestinian leadership was sincere in working toward peace. (link to washingtonpost.com)

      (2)Annie, you previously wrote:

      LZs see israel as being grounded in democratic and liberal principles/society therefore they don’t see the contradiction in merging that society in with other principles of progressivism. they think of israel’s extremists and apartheid and ethnic cleansing either as fringe or outliers or else downright denial.

      Let me explain better what I see the issue as. America was founded on liberal principles and it ended slavery too. But just because America or Israel are founded on some progressive ideas like democracy doesn't mean that the other problems like racial discrimination in poverty levels in the US inner city aren't around. Liberals would say that those problems in the US are wrong. Sure, they might think of ethnic cleansing as an Outlier for democracy, but that's an enormously-sized outlier. Why can they and other liberals recognize discrimination in the US, but not in Israeli practices?

      You and American have answered, reasonably, that they are hypocrites. OK. But that does not explain why they choose to be hypocrites on this issue. For example, why aren't American liberals hypocrites about wanting equality to the point where we liberals would not elect a black president or wouldn't be able to reject social privileges in our country?

      (3)You asked:

      if you can think of a segment of american society uber programed/conditioned to support “elitist Euro-American privilege” in a more extreme and familial way than the rest of america,let me know.

      Sure, all-round ultra-conservatives, Neo-conservatives, southern racists, etc. are some groups that openly support privilege. They were raised in families that came from the segregation days when there were ideas of white racial or class superiority. However, PEPs by nature are usually liberal and care about human rights, so this is strange. Are we supposed to think that PEPs were also raised with ideas about racial or class superiority?

    • I am willing to consider that religious ideas about nationhood and statism influenced culture, and that this in turn influenced PEPs who are not strongly religious, even if Reform teachings do not formally demand statehood.

    • Dear Annie,

      You asked:

      PEPs are more often secular or nonreligious and do not usually profess a divine land mandate like Christian Zionists do.))

      ? source? or is this just your hypothesis?

      You are asking for data on what portion of liberals who take a nonliberal view on Palestine are nonreligious.

      One Birthright survey said that Taglit's participants are 64% liberal, and it also found that:
      Furthermore, although their general political views are liberal, and they are concerned about the loss of innocent Palestinian lives, they overwhelmingly believe that Israel’s actions in the conflict were justified.
      link to brandeis.edu

      I tend to think that the strongest leftists are those who are either secular, nonreligious, or Reformed. I know that there have been conflicts, especially among the older generations of leftists, because some of them were PEPs. The NLG, a very leftwing group, lost some members perhaps 20 years ago over this. I know a few strong PEPs myself, who have been Socialist or pro-labor. I don't actually know whether PEPs are more often nonreligious or Reformed, and would be interested to know if you have data on it, but I think that the percent is probably comparable.

      It's also notable, that since a low portion of respondents in the Pew survey (lower than Evangelicals) believed in the divine land mandate, that the respondents are probably usually not intense in their religion like Evangelicals. If they are not

      In any case, the surveys show that their respondents from the community were usually liberal, had a high support for the attack on Gaza, and did not believe in the divine mandate. I would also wager that liberals tend to be less religious.

      Thus, the overall problem remains, Annie:
      Do they put belief in a nationalist state over their liberal values because their religious doctrines demand it? That's unlikely, because they don't actually believe in the divine land mandate.

      If, however, you do believe that Reform Judaism formally believes in creating a nation state in the Levant and also motivates those (diminishing) Marxists who believe in it, could you please write a bit about that?

    • Annie,

      This survey says only 35% of Reform Jews say that God gave Israel to the Jewish people:
      link to pewresearch.org

      this is grounded in nothing but a basic sort of hypocrisy in which it is common for people to be blinded by their own flaws or make exceptions to their morals when it pertains to their own issues

      But then why do liberal Americans think that there is racism in America and around the world, and that it's wrong and should be restricted by law? In that case, why isn't elitist Euro-American privilege and racism an issue that liberal Americans (including PEPs) then make an exception for an defend? It must be because liberalism is more important than US nationalism in that case.
      I understand that people are blinded about some morals, but why is nationalism more important when it comes to this issue?

      LZs see israel as being grounded in democratic and liberal principles/society therefore they don’t see the contradiction in merging that society in with other principles of progressivism. they think of israel’s extremists and apartheid and ethnic cleansing either as fringe or outliers or else downright denial.

      Right - they say this, but do they actually believe this? I have heard my conversants occasionally admit that there is discrimination, which they have compared to Jim Crow. The Holy Land Foundation visited Israeli settlers from America who defended their actions while nonetheless comparing it to what happened to the American Indians.

      US PEPs are able to see racism in America, despite it being grounded in some liberal principles. Why does nationalism take over when it comes to the situation over there?
      It's at the point where 2/3 or 70% of the community supported the attack on Gaza this summer. That is a really high number for folks who are normally "pro-peace" liberals. Why is that pro-war figure so high, compared to other liberals, like labor unionists, Italian Americans, etc., when it comes to issues of war and peace?

    • Phil and others,

      What I would be interested in learning, is why there is such a high percentage of PEPs in their constituency, and what motivates the PEPs to put militant nationalism over leftist values?

      Just saying that they are nationalist or intolerant does not explain what makes them this way, and I am afraid that it is hard to get a direct answer from them. I hope that you will have a good answer based on your years of interactions with them.

      Their first answer that Muslims are savages or that the country is at risk doesn't really explain their motives, because when it comes to US history, they would normally defend more "primitive" "savages", despite the fact that colonies like one in Delaware really were crushed by natives.

      The second answer is that they are reacting against past intolerance. It's good to react against past intolerance, but why do they choose a rightwing approach in their reaction? Half of Armenians were genocided but they aren't particularly militaristic.

      Another answer could be that they are following religious commands. However, PEPs are more often secular or nonreligious and do not usually profess a divine land mandate like Christian Zionists do.

      Do you agree with some peoples' explanation that PEPs are motivated by a closed group interest and mentality expressed or taught in religion or culture because they grew up with it? But on the other hand, isn't it true that PEPs also want equality for African Americans?

  • Islamophobia, liberalism and the dangers of Interfaith ignorance
    • But then what about the Penguin Dance?

    • Here's another one called "Don't Dance" (Saudi version) by the same people:

    • Thanks.
      link to forvo.com

      I thought it was weird how television reporters sometimes pronounced the words "Erahki" or "Erahnian", as if they preferred the native prounciation, even though the reporters were basically attacking those countries WRT non-existent WMDS.

    • Speaking of progressives having cultural stereotypes of Muslims, there are some figures like anarchist nationalist Chomsky who did not seem to evince them. However, the anarchist nationalist Chomsky, in at least one of his discussions condemning Saudi Arabia repeatedly called them the "SaUdis". I am not sure why he did that, since the pronunciation of the term is just supposed to be "Saudi", and have heard him elsewhere pronounce it normally.

      Comedy Central, which tends to be progressive, put out a music video called "SaUdis in AUdis" that plays on this pronunciation and images of Saudis owning nice cars:
      link to youtube.com
      I have mustache,
      I have shades,
      I have shiny new AAs

      Why are Chomsky and Comedy Central pronouncing "Saudis" like "SaUdis"?

  • Katie Miranda's 'tele-summit' for Palestinian freedom
    • My question for Phil for the Telesummit, based on his experience in years of interactions, is this:

      What motivates the PEPs to value militant nationalism to the exclusion of leftist values?

      Just saying that they are nationalist or intolerant does not explain what makes them this way, and I am afraid that it is hard to get a direct answer from them.

      Their first answer that Muslims are savages or that the country is at risk doesn’t really explain their motives, because when it comes to US history, they would normally defend more “primitive” “savages”, despite the fact that colonies like one in Delaware really were crushed by natives.

      The second answer is that they are reacting against past intolerance. It’s good to react against past intolerance, but why do they choose a rightwing approach in their reaction? Half of Armenians were genocided but they aren’t particularly militaristic.

      Another answer could be that they are directly following religious commands. However, PEPs are more often secular or nonreligious and do not usually profess a divine land mandate like Christian Zionists do.

      Do you agree with the fourth explanation that PEPs are motivated by a closed group interest and mentality expressed or taught in religion or culture because they grew up with it?

      This may seem a bit counterintuitive: only a strong rightwinger will give this as an explanation for their own views. And isn’t it true that PEPs also want equality for African Americans? And if you think that some people are culturally predisposed to take right wing positions on some issues, are you ready to avoid the charge that you are making generalizations about a community?

  • How 'Open Hillel' created a new community by challenging the Jewish establishment
    • One of the more disconcerting things is that I don't see a way to persuade otherwise seemingly leftwing pro-Israeli nationalists that they should not be crushing Palestinians, who are very persistent in defending the harsh treatment. I see Palestinians, including Christian villages, suffering while America backs it, and feel helpless. Meanwhile, strong nationalists inhabit Christian forums and constantly repeat a very harsh viewpoint favoring occupation and targeting Palestinians.

      They don't really lay out, in my opinion, an open explanation of their motivations for their views since on other issues many of them are very left wing. They don't say, for example, "I was raised this way, this is my community and nationality, and my culture tells me to very strongly support its nationalism when it's in conflict with other groups or values." What they will say is things like the nationality was persecuted without a state, it needs its own state, there are other nation states, there are liberals like Obama who support the state's policies, Palestinians don't exist, and Arabs are Islamists are medieval theocratic terrorists who have been making aggression since 1948.

      Explaining why some of those claims aren't true doesn't seem to do any good, as they will argue or ignore things ad absurdam. although they will occasional make "out of character" comparisons between Israeli policies and Jim Crow or conquering the Indians. Like Rabbi Buchdahl, they might not actually be well accepted in Israeli society because they don't belong to the correct denomination or are Christian, yet they enjoy debating details as if it were a liberal debating the fine points of Civil War battles to free the slaves.

      For my part, I can explain that I am left wing and care about human rights, and don't believe in occupying a population, particularly when it means singling out Christians for mistreatment. But that doesn't seem to change their minds either. It's like talking to a brick wall.

      Even if the UN imposed a 2SS, liberals in the media and politicians changed their tune like the UK parliament, or the state became more openly discriminatory and right wing, it seems like militant nationalists would still make the same arguments about how nationalism is good and Palestinians</strikethrough Arabs are bad, and support efforts to take over Jerusalem and defend/deny the Nakba and other state actions.

      So I don't know that there is an easy way to change the views of many of them. What do you think?

  • Is ISIS a crisis for the so-called Jewish state?
    • I disagree. that "Just because IS and Al-Qaida did not succeed in attacking Israel doesn’t mean they have not been trying."
      Al Nusra is along the Israeli border. If they tried to attack the state, they would have succeeded in actually attacking it because it's so close to their forces.

      If a man has a hammer and is standing next to the fence, then if he didn't attack the fence with his hammer it means he didn't even try to.

  • British Parliament to vote on recognition of Palestinian state on Monday
    • Palestinian activists in the Uk can now always call their government officials and point to the Parliament vote, because it was so overwhelming, even if it is nonbinding.

    • YAY is right.

    • The good thing about the vote is that it will make supporting Palestine in the UK to be at least mainstream. it will remove stigma there on talking for it. That will have an echo in the US at least, because we are part of the broader Anglo world, for better or worse.

  • Shlomo Sand resigns from being Jewish. Totally. Mostly. Almost
    • Mooser,

      Strictly speaking, I am not one in a political sense, since Constantine was an autocratic emperor.

      On the other hand, I agree with religious pluralism, and this was something he followed: he did not make Christianity the only religion allowed- or for that matter the one "official" religion, he can in a sense play some helpful roles in political thinking.

      Constantine accepted Christianity, legalized it and helped to spread it. Those actions also meant spreading knowledge of Israel's God and its prophets throughout the world, a process that has indirectly led to the basis for M. Ellis' own Liberation Theology, since it comes from Christian social teachings.

      Probably most Christians are non-imperial "Constantinists" - they like religious pluralism, while also they also approve of his acceptance of Christianity, if not occasional favoritism to it. I don't normally want to see crosses etc. painted on army shields, but perhaps it was OK because it meant bringing in Christian (and even then indirectly Jewish) morality.

      So overall I believe he was a positive individual in Roman imperial history and in Church history for accepting Christianity, having religious pluralism, and unifying the empire, but I don't agree with imperialism, which he was part of too.

    • . In the Golden Age of Constantinian Judaism, what Jew with a conscience wants to identify with normative Jewish life?

      This sentence is another example of why the phrase Constantinian Judaism, or for that matter "Constantinian Christianity," is another nonsequiter and misnomer.

      Would it be sound to ask rhetorically, "In the Golden Age of Constantinian Christianity, what Christian with a conscience wants to identify with normative Christian life?" Maybe I am missing something, but I don't know that normative Church life in Constantine's "golden age" was really so "imperial" as you portray it that a Christian would not want to identify with Christian life.

      Having a Christian life meant that you went to Church, followed Christian social teachings like helping sick or poor people, believed in Christian theology, etc. Christian life did not demand that Christians support imperial campaigns. Sometimes the Bulgarians or other Christian nations fought Byzantium. There was no expectation from the church that you agree with one or the other state. In fact, I would guess that there were a lot of Church people who opposed wars between Christian countries.

      There were major saints who were part of church life who supported capital punishment and others who not only opposed it, but intervened but stopping executions while they were about to occur. I don't know why they would not want to be part of Church life. It was expected that you obey the rules of the empire if they were not unconscionable, but it was not demanded that you support its general politics. In fact, the Church itself was sometimes at loggerheads with the Byzantine state, especially when it came to religious debates.

  • Andrew Sullivan should stop giving a pass to Sam Harris and Bill Maher's bigotry
  • Tablet types Rev. Shipman as elite, anti-semitic WASP
    • walktallhangloose,

      I don't have a problem with calling Churches outside of Rome Catholic. There are the Old Catholics, the Sedavacantists, and others. The Orthodox Churches consider themselves "catholic" with a small c- meaning universal.

      However, I believe - and it's widely considered - that the Anglican church is Protestant because, as you yourself said, it was part of the Reformation going on at that time.

      The Protestants "protested" the ways of the Catholic hierarchy that they were under. You have mentioned various rules of the hierachy that Anglicans protested, being under Rome. It's an enormous change if as you say, "the sacrificial aspects of the mass were written out", because Communion is a core event in the liturgy.

      Henry VIII's rejection of the Pope being the head of the Church was a kind of Protest too. I think that the king's self-appointment as the church's head is theologically and politically a problem. Religiously, shouldn't Christ, or a bishop through Apostolic succession be head of the church? Politically, isn't separation of church and state preferable? Even Constantine was not the titular head of the church.

      The other problem with calling Anglicans Catholic and not Protestant is that you write that Anglicans are "part of" the Catholic church. However, Anglicans are not in communion (spiritual unity through the Eucharist) with the Roman Catholic Church, only with other Protestant churches. How can you be spiritual part of the Catholic church when your spiritual unity is only with other Protestant churches. If you are in communion with Old Catholic ones, do you consider them and the Anglican to be the full Catholic Church?

      My belief therefore is that the Orthodox churches- which include western rite Orthodox in England, and the "official" Papal Roman and non-papal Old Catholic Churches could be called Catholic in the sense of preserving doctrine and being the "official" institutional church with succession. However, the Anglicans and other western churches "protested" rules of their establishment, and thus were Protestant. This is not to say that Protestantism was all bad or all good- it was mixed.

    • Hello, walktallhangloose.

      I do want to get my facts right, and am surprised that you apparently don't consider the Church of England part of the Protestant Reformation.

      Don't they believe in consubtantiation, and thus reject the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist? My impression is that the rite of confession is rarely practiced in private, and thus the practice was "reformed" by the Anglicans.

    • Oh. Gore won the popular vote. At least as a measure of popularity, Lieberman was the more "popular" vice presidential candidate.

    • But of course you speak for the Church of the Queen, and English imperialism, and all of these things, right? - See more at: link to mondoweiss.net
      The Old North Church in Boston with the lights by sea or land for Paul Revere was Episcopalian. The church in the US is different than the British one.

      Yes there’s anti-Semitism in the U.S., I believe it worked against Joseph Lieberman getting the vice presidency. ~ Phil

      I am not sure why you say that. Do you mean an Obama-Lierbeman ticket?
      Maybe Obama just wanted someone different from Gore's campaign. Obama is a black president, and blacks are the main subjects of US racism.

  • Put a spike in the wheel of injustice
    • There are Christian NGOs like CPT.

    • I mean, being against occupation and violence doesn't put one on the side of the angels?

    • The churches are still mouthing the words they spoke before Israel’s invasion of Gaza – as if being against the occupation, violence and the shedding of blood puts the church on the side of angels.

      It doesn't?

      Though obvious points to be made, they lack bite. No risk involved.
      No, there is still risk and bite in doing those things, Marc, as Rev. Shipman at Yale found out.

      Think of it as the church fault line – speaking about justice while being an enabler of injustice. -

      Is McGrail, who coordinates a project for the Right of Return an "enabler of injustice"?

  • Ofra Yeshua-Lyth and the case for a new Israeli left
    • Seafoid,
      He didn't necessarily say that, although He did agitate among some rich people.

    • “We sent the book to some experts, and they all said that religion is irrelevant to the Israel/Palestine conflict,” Ofra tells me. “They said it’s an old hat, that it has nothing to do with religion. This is the Marxist view. The book was disliked by Zionists, but it was also disliked by the left wing. The Marxist ideology would say that it’s all about a class/colonial struggle.”
      There's a religious aspect too. Why not make a book on that component? Are those "experts" trying to avoid a full critique and take out the religious dimension because it hits close to home for them?

      Also, there is not really a primarily class component, unless one looks at US involvement.
      The Dynamic of Israeli society is not Israeli capitalists exploiting Palestinian workers like in South Africa, as Chomsky noted. Rather, Israeli society tries to displace Palestinian society as a whole. This is more colonial than classist. Now, if you look at US support, there is a class dimension, because US politics is classist. The voices of, say, working class Arab Americans aren't being heeded. Rather, the politics of ruling class groups are heeded.

  • NY rabbi implores those in her congregation who are joining Israel's enemies to love the country
    • 69 percent feel some meaningful level of attachment to Israel. More than half of every group answered either "very" or "somewhat" attached – except for secular Jews, who selected "very" and "somewhat" by 12 and 33 percent, respectively. This group makes up 22 percent of American Jews.

      link to washingtonpost.com

      Here is a different poll:
      link to ajc.org

    • How representative are the sermons of R.Lewish and R.Buchdahl for what people occasionally hear in their worship houses?

    • Just,
      She said her confession was that she didn't talk about Israeli politics at the beginning of the sermon. Thus, it's her atonement in talking about it.

  • Following shocking sermon, Atlanta JVP calls on area rabbis to challenge racism in Jewish community
  • It looks like Obama is checking out on Israel
  • Collecting Our Witness: Marc Ellis on his new book
    • It means that Constantinian/Settler/Colonial Jewishness has the power to oppress but not the final word on what it means to be Jewish.
      Constantinian Jewishness seems like a bit of an oxymoron. Constantine legalized Christianity and brought it to prominence. In Palestine and the US, Judaism has been legal for centuries, as far as I know. I don't know that bringing a mainstream religion to prominence is itself necessarily bad, as I think Ellis is implying.

  • Why I removed my synagogue's Zionist prayers on Yom Kippur
  • Stop the Yom Kippur prayers if they don’t make sense in the Gaza rubble
    • I’m thinking of Christians of Conscience who’ve taken a bite out of the Jewish prophetic and have nowhere to call home. Their heavily-endowed corrupt corporate Christian denominations are on their last legs.

      I'm not aware of mainstream Christians being removed from their parishes over the issue, although I know that some have been removed from staff positions, like Rev. Shipman. Their parish can still be their "home". However, I believe that in some cases famous progressive activists have left churches in America over issues, like Abolitionism in the 19th century. Isaac Hopper was one who left or was expelled from the Quakers for that reason.

      Sure, denominations are in decline, unfortunately.

      Without each other, Jews and Christians are out in the exile cold – alone.
      No, but I find it much better when they are together.

  • Read the genocidal sermon a notable Atlanta rabbi gave this Rosh Hashanah
    • It wasn't a surprise. That's a video of Crimeans playing a WWII folk song, one of the most popular, Sacred War (against fascism). It doesn't somehow mean that Crimeans want to fight an actual war. Probably their main concern is getting decimated like East Ukraine is right now by the Kiev regime.

    • Not representative?

      For Lewis, the congregation’s response was no problem. He received a standing ovation and lengthy applause.
      Read more: link to forward.com

      This is troubling.

    • How is one I supposed to react this:
      For Lewis, the congregation’s response was no problem. He received a standing ovation and lengthy applause.

      But once posted on the web, the sermon sparked an Internet firestorm that overwhelmed him. Nevertheless, Lewis made clear he has no intention of retracting a single word. “Not one word. I regret not one single word,” he told the Forward in an October 6 interview. “Everything that is in there reflects my passion, my feelings and what I believe is the moral truth and so no, I have no regrets.” He argued that criticism of his speech came from “the evil-doers in this world, the terrorists, the savages in this world,” and said he viewed their attacks on him as proof that his sermon hit a raw nerve, “and I’m proud of that.” Read more: link to forward.com

      Lengthy applause? Maybe people feel they have to be part of a pack?

    • Surprisingly the term redneck does not necessarily mean a racist.

      WIKIPEDIA:«The term can be found throughout McAllister Coleman and Stephen Raushenbush's 1936 socialist proletarian novel, Red Neck, which recounts the story of a charismatic union member who says to his girl, "I'm not much to be proud of. I'm just a red necked miner like the rest."))

      However his ideologies have been... through some unknown experience.

      It's probably easy to guess. There is a certain subset of folks who are liberal except for the issue.

  • AIPAC rabbis stand up for racial justice in Michael Brown case
    • :Show me a Middle-East, ex-Ottoman country where the rights of confessional or sexual minorities are protected today better than they are in Israel."
      Cyprus and Armenia?
      Why do folks always forget those guys?

    • Seafoid,

      I think that the judge in one of the overkill "Red Scare" trials in Pittsburgh in the 1940's-50's was Italian, and he was also a defender of Sacco and Vanzetti. Meanwhile, there were folks in the CP who apparently didn't notice what was happening in the USSR 10 years earlier, but were pretty outspoken on US issues.

      There are plenty of folks in countries, including the US, who are able to find problems by conservatives in other societies rather than their own community.

  • 'Ethnic cleansing for a better world' -- Richard Cohen says Palestinians brought the Nakba on themselves
    • Piotr,

      Hasn't it been determined what period the language style of the Torah is from?

      The language style in Job, along with its themes match the period from about David's and Solomon's times. Thus we can date it, even though we don't have direct information on its dating.

    • Kay24,

      I am not actually claiming that there is some real problem with your name.

      My point was that all kinds of irrational claims can be defended, sometimes irrationally, if there is some strong underlying motive to do so. I picked your name to give an example of irrational arguments.

    • Mooser,

      We said earlier that if the US, Russia, and international community decide to impose any just solution (2SS with full sovereignty for Palestine, etc.), they will get resistance from Israelis. The "Progressive nationalists" are still going to be around with their intensity. It's like it's never ending.

      It looks like some Muslims are moderate or open to reforms, but others aren't particularly interested (eg. ISIS).

    • Stephen,

      If we are proceeding from the premise that Kay24 is "wrong no matter what", then I can point out that Seven Lizard is not the same as writing Lizard7.

      Then we can write seven paragraphs about how Lizard7 is bad form, and Kay24 is even worse because it uses a real name with a number.

      And on and on and on.... It feels like it never ends.

    • "First ashamed of their national humiliation at the hands of the Allies and Soviets, and later ashamed of the horrors of the Holocaust, Germans too have remained largely silent – a silence W.G. Sebald movingly described in his controversial book On the Natural History of Destruction.”

      Thats messed up.

    • Seafoid,

      Kay asked where people come up with this way of thinking. How can people who are very liberal on issues in the US be extremely "conservative" when it comes to Palestinians' rights?

      It is hard to think that in normal circumstances Richard Cohen would write a book with a chapter supporting "ethnic cleansing."

      The best way to understand the mentality is with a mix of self-identification, religiousness, and focus on fear and safety. Back when I was a kid, I read about the Israeli state in the Encyclopedia, and it sounded pretty cool, like it was just a continuation of ancient Israel, like I read about in my Bible. Then, the story of people making the state after going through discrimination in Europe and the Mideast was compelling. I didn't have the self-identification part, though.

      The main thing that changed my view was that I realized that Palestinians were going through conditions related to those in other Mideast countries targeted by the West, like Iraq. That is, I saw that they were being brutalized and that it was part of a similar pattern of oppression.

      For someone with intense self-identification, however, I can understand that it might trump Palestinians' rights when they look at the issue. This is something that Danaa said: perhaps with such intense, sometimes quasi-religious, identification with a nationalist system, it may be very hard for them to think otherwise.

      You are dealing with a very ingrained psychology. In fact, even Christians today might read Exodus and say that the brutal conquest that happened then (in 1500 BC) was OK, but that we would not agree to it today. It's because you are dealing with a problem- you don't want to say that God or Moses were "wrong". Generally for Christians, the conquest of Canaan can be a non-issue today because we can say that it has been superseded. But my point is that religious or nationalist ideology can have a strong lock on peoples' minds, and I don't know how to unlock it, Seafoid, when the lock doesn't want to open.

    • Annie,

      Max Blumenthal's critics complained chiefly that Blumenthal was using titles like that for his own chapters!!!!

    • " How they can come up with such BS is a mystery."
      Kay.
      I don't know why you think it's a mystery. Let's just start from a simple premise. I'm right, and you're wrong.
      OK, well first off, you called yourself Kay24. That's not a real name. Nobody calls themselves a name that ends with a number. And in case you can find someone who does, well, they are goofballs.

      Oh, King Richard III and Queen Ekaterina II have a number? Well, they didn't join their number to their name. And in case you find someone who did, well, then let's look for another reason why you're wrong.

      And on and on. People can find ways to make things up once they are absolutely set on some underlying premise.

      One of the main problems is that they don't explore and announce where their premises and biases come from. For example, how come they are liberal about every issue except for Palestinians' human rights? They answer will just be more commentary based on the premise that Palestinians are "wrong".

      But I think it would be hard to get people who are otherwise liberal to face a contradiction in their position.

  • Lutheran activists fear new church leadership will stifle criticism of Israeli occupation
    • Betsy,
      OK. Good luck with Zionism Unsettled, it sounds like you have a nice group. I'm sorry that the gentleman left.

      The book is noteworthy because on pp.46-47 it speaks approvingly of Gary Burge's "form of Supersessionism" while PCUSA documents normally decry "Supersessionism". The substance of Burge's view is basically the same as the PCUSA's. It's kind of like American communards debating whether they are "communists" or "Reds" based on how for some Americans it's a negative term. Your acquaintance's strong objection to "Supersessionism" reflects the connotations the label (like the analogy to "Reds") carries.

      The main downside to Z.Unsettled is its scathing description of classical theology on pages 24-26. The main concern I would have is if your readers accepted the book's views on this uncritically. The Protestant authors misportray classical Christian thinkers without explaining their thoughts in light of the Church's theology. John Chrysostom was NOT saying that the pharisees worshiped actual, physical idols. Meanwhile, the Z.Unsettled book totally misses Martin Luther's anti-semitism, which was sometimes racial, unlike the church philosophers the book attacks. I would be glad to explain more about this.

    • OK. How did things go? I would like to talk with you more about the topic.

    • Al Kooper is an American songwriter, record producer and musician, known for organizing Blood, Sweat & Tears, providing studio support for Bob Dylan when he went electric in 1965... Michael Bernard "Mike" Bloomfield was an American musician, guitarist, and composer, born in Chicago, Illinois, who became one of the first popular music superstars of the 1960s...

    • Keith,
      Marc Ellis' column is a staple of the kind of thing you describe.

    • Here's where you are wrong: "That’s not what supersessionism means. Supersessionism is the doctrine that "
      In reality, Jeff, there are tons of even opposing definitions of Supersessionism used all over the place. I know of pro-Israeli Christian Zionists who would disagree with the definition you gave.
      In any case you and I agree that: There has probably never been any “clean Supersessionism” in any major denomination including even medieval Catholicism, if by that you mean one that totally excludes Jews from any hopes or promises.

      Now since you and I both seem to like philosophy, I will throw you a little bone to chew on. Evangelical Christian Zionists and PCUSA folks will both propound that they agree with St Paul in Hebrews 8 and Romans 10-11 about the new covenant and the new status of the Church. However, they both will also say just as loudly that they are anti-supersessionist. In fact, PCUSA and Evan CZs are probably the biggest anti-supersessionist churches.

      Let's see you have fun with that.

    • 3) You practically agreed with me that Psalm 49 was redemption from physical death.
      You write: "A Jewish translation sees this as a prayer to avoid premature death at the hands of the rich enemy". OK, that is talking about physical death.

      The Psalm says (JUDAICA PRESS TANAKH VERSION):
      Those who rely on their possessions and boast of their great wealth,
      8. -a brother cannot redeem a man, he cannot give his ransom to God.
      9. The redemption of their soul will be too dear, and unattainable forever.

      Then the Psalm says:
      Like sheep, they are destined to the grave; death will devour them,
      16. But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, for He shall take me forever.

      The conclusion is that David's soul, unlike the rich man's soul, is redeemed from the physical grave, because he is with God forever, not just avoiding a premature death.

      Thus, what you consider to be the Christian reading is correct about the plain meaning of the Passage. Anyway, traditional Judaism accepts belief in the Resurrection, so this should be a moot point, IMHO.

      Likewise, I don't see why Ezekiel 37 is only a metaphor. If the Israelites are resurrected physically, then naturally one would expect them to also have a restoration to their land.

      Sure, I can see that Isaiah was written under the Exile. But in any case, the whole concept of the Messiah is supposed to be based on David's and Nathan's prophecies about the extremely great "son of David". I don't know that any of those prophecies mentioned the act of restoring Israel. That is, the key definition is not so much restoring Israel but of being a kind of emperor especially close to God, I think. Solomon made temples to false gods, and so his legacy and kingdom degenerated in his wake. Thus, loyalty to God is another key component.

      You ask: how do you know whether he was close to God? Aren’t you just assuming what you want to prove?
      I don't think that Ben Gurion was noted for leading Israel into a very strong, faithful relationship with God compared to what it had been in preceding decades. Aren't Israelis much less observant in weekly attendance than their American counterparts?

    • Dear Betsy,

      The short answer is that Yes, the PCUSA repeatedly declares itself "anti-Supersessionist".
      A good proof of this is the PCUSA's Study Document:
      General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church [USA], 1987 link to notredamedesion.org

      But it's not going to matter with him.

      The long answer is that "Supersessionism" was a term invented in the 1970's by liberal Christian Zionists to attack St. Paul's theology in Romans 9-11. In reality, all Christianity is a "version" of "super-sessionism" because Jesus' teachings have a "higher"(super) authority than the TaNaKh. So if someone points to Solomon's Proverbs and says that husbands need to cane their bad wives, you can reply that Jesus' teaching of mercy in the Beatitudes has a higher authority than Proverbs. That's why Christ, being the Messiah, said He is "greater than Solomon" (Matthew 12:42).

      So in reality, Christianity is supersessionist, as Rabbi David Novak and the Presbyterian Church of Canada have said:
      link to presbyterian.ca

      Zionism UnSettled talks about this on pages 46-47.

      But it doesn't mean that Christianity is anti-Semitic. Jesus and the apostles were Jewish. Just because a religious community (Christians, Buddhists, Atheists, etc.) think that their religious community is preferable in any way for them to Judaism's community doesn't mean that they are "anti-semitic".

      If you want more information, please contact me on Friendfeed through my profile here.

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