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  • The Minds of Others: An interview with Max Blumenthal
    • This was a remarkable point by Max when he writes:

      That must be why we see so much more uproar when a random neo-Nazi shouts something anti-Jewish at a protest in Berlin against the war on Gaza then when the German government passes a law to allow for the mass deportation of Roma to supposedly “safe” countries in the East.

      Why are the Germans so silent on Israeli abuses if they go and deport gypsies, whose people suffered in large numbers in the Holocaust?

    • Pabelmont,
      Obviously both. The Holocaust and WWII were major tragedies that affect the social climate in Germany to this day.

      Yet Max's mention of quotas on the Roma people in modern Germany was a really good point, since Romas suffered in very high numbers in the Holocaust too, suggesting that what is going on is not just benevolent self-compulsion toward compensation for WWII.

  • A handful of Wellesley students are trying to shut down discussion of Israel/Palestine
    • On one hand, the college and Hillel are in favor of the restructuring, but the organization's staff are not and some donors are withholding funds in objection, according to Haaretz:
      link to

      The Wellesley Report says that "we really don’t have any inside knowledge of the hot and sensitive story at Wellesley College over the past few days (the school has largely kept its communication on the Jewish staff ousters within the school)"
      link to

    • Unusual news item about Wellesley:
      link to

      David Eden, chief administrative officer for Hillel International, praised the move, saying few small colleges go to the lengths of hiring a full-time rabbi to oversee a Hillel group. “We see this as being a huge positive step going forward,” he said.

      About 8 percent of Wellesley students are Jewish, and about half of those are active in Jewish campus life, students and administrators say. The Hillel group provides a lounge for students, which includes a Kosher kitchen. David Bernat, the Jewish chaplain, said he was shocked by his removal, particularly in the middle of the school year, and expressed concern for students.

      I wonder what the background story is.

  • Some reflections on the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine
    • Just this November, Rev. Richard Leon, chairman of Kairos USA, died. It's sad.
      Please consider making even a very small donation in his memory:
      link to

    • "Does freedom of religion matter if the people and the religions are denied political freedom?" Yes, because freedom of religion is a component of political freedom.

      "Are the churches afraid of their personnel being denied entry, their property being confiscated, their religious services being shut down?"
      Yes. The Latin Patriarchate's property was recently demolished with no announcement because it did not have an Israeli permit. It was built before 1967 in Jordanian territory.

      the Left-wing of the Constantinian Jewish establishment in Israel and America.
      The combination of religion and state goes back way before Constantine's toleration/preference for Christianity, all the way back to Moses' control of the land. Blaming Constantine ignores the underlying religious roots of religious nationalism that are important to address.

      Kairos Palestine’s emphasis on the tenets of Christian Zionist fundamentalism as misguided and a wrongful interpretation of scripture and Christian witness is important but to what effect? While correctly addressing a Christianity that is spiritually and politically offensive to Palestinian Christians, it can also stigmatize movements in Western Christianity with close ties to Jews as similarly on the wrong path.

      I don't see that potential as a problem for opposing religious nationalism like Hagee's. Anyway, to the extent that those close ties were fully uncritical and led to religious nationalism, weren't those ties problematic? Rosemary Ruether whom you support has totally revised her views on religious nationalism.

      the solidarity of Western Christians may be inhibited by Kairos Palestine’s stark and, in the Western Christian sense, sometimes retrograde Christian theology that features elements of Christology they no longer affirm.
      Like what? Kairos USA represents western Christianity, was formulated partly by Mark Braverman, and openly affirmed Kairos Palestine.

      On the Western Christian scene, Jews offer much more than Palestinian Christians.

      If Palestinians are the ones who now need "liberation", doesn't engagement with them offer more?

      The idea that Christian faith trumps culture is mistaken.
      The idea is also sometimes correct. Otherwise you would not be writing about Kairos as a leading document that "trumps" mainstream inertia. If culture always trumped faith, this faith document would not be very remarkable.

    • On Christian love and witness, I am an agnostic listener. With Christian history in mind but as well the present reality, I believe politics is a better bedfellow. -

      Didn't the Civil Rights movement of MLK Jr and the South African anti-Apartheid movement, with Desmond Tutu, have a major Christian side? Why is the Christian peace and equality movement "worse" than politics?

      If you are talking about the Holocaust, weren't the Christian movements in Germany (like the Catholic Church there) "better" than the Germans' politics?

      Have any of these nations, organizations or entities actually sacrificed anything for Palestinian freedom?
      Good question. The US withdrew from UNESCO because it recognized Palestine. I think what your question implies is that those churches could sacrifice more if they haven't sacrificed much already, and I think that it's true. Some of those churches are concerned that if they speak out too much, then the Israelis will cut them off from providing vital material assistance to Palestinians. That's a reason the Red Cross doesn't speak out much politically when it comes across political issues. Do you think that this policy is a good idea?

    • After all, the ground in Israel-Palestine is always changing and I haven’t traveled there for some years. Unfortunately, the changes are mostly for the worse.
      Ok, so where are things headed?

      The main Israeli goal has always been to take as much of Palestine as practical, because it sees it as its homeland. Palestinians don’t figure into it except to the extent that they are a “demographic problem”. The trend of its policies would point in the direction of ethnic cleansing, but whether it would be through expulsion like in 1948 or something far more brutal than the attack on Gaza is unclear. But ethnic cleansing isn’t the only outcome, since the EU and global anti-racist movements could build enough to create a peaceful one state solution like in South Africa. Either one could occur, as well as the possibilities in between.

      Most likely we are looking at long term continuation of increasing Israeli settlement expansion and the “status quo”, and beyond that, a shift in global power balances that will seriously reverse the balance of Israeli power itself.

  • First they came for the Palestinians . . .
    • "First they came for the Palestinians" - this idea has truth behind it, since weapons tested on Palestinians are later used elsewhere in the world.

  • Israel sows despair and senseless violence
  • Kahanists attack school after synagogue killings
  • Europe is a weenie on Palestine
    • Marc,

      This was a good article by you. A lot of your articles are good. Even your articles about Churches have a good side when they bring to light work in the churches. I am also glad that you are pro-peace and spent time interacting positively with other religions.

      My main constructive criticism is to suggest you take an understanding approach toward Christianity rather than equating it with persecution. The importance of a tolerant approach is highlighted by the reality in the Holy Land. Namely, one religious group claims the land, while designates those from the two other religions as "Palestinian", and the conflict ensues. The problem is that if your and others start from the premise that those other religious communities and their religious philosophies are inherently "colonial", persecutory, responsible for the Holocaust, bad, etc. then it paves the way for conflict.

    • "Not discussed, the EU and individual European countries buying security and military technologies from Israel"
      Good point, Marc.

  • Caltech prof says Israeli scientist passed NASA rocket secrets to his government
  • US Jewish voters have more favorable feelings about Netanyahu than Obama
    • Phil,

      I appreciate your work trying to bring the abuse of Palestinians to people's attention. Your blog, as you know, has turned out to be one of the best sources of information on it.

      For a long time I simply assumed that the conflict was between Israel and Muslims, who were terrorists. What totally surprised me though was that Christian villages were being ruined. The Israelis would not have any reason to hurt them if it was just about "bad Muslims". But to learn about Christians' ruination cast the conflict in a totally new light, as one where an army was ruining people simply for being another group.

      It made no sense to me why the US was supporting this, especially the measures against Christians. What groups or forces in the US would support the state's measures against Christian villages? Is that something pro-Israeli Christians support? I would not expect it's something that liberal Christians, Jews, or Muslims would support, so why is a "Christian" America supporting that?

    • B.O. is not wearing a Wall Street pin but a US flag, which became fashionable among politicians after 911. Minus of course the fact that the US is a democracy and North Korea has a personality cult, the intense compulsion to wear political pins in both countries seems that it stems from the same psychological motives.

    • I am glad to hear that you were against the onslaught on Gaza, bu am not sure how your explanation that peace and borders are not on the horizon explains why younger generations would also support the onslaught.

    • Yes, Phil, it's scary, since people who should be progressive are Neoconservative when it omes to this major human rights issue.

      A reason Netanyahu could have better ratings is because those Republicans and Democrats who are nationalists might both rate him well, but Obama's popularity can be a partisan issue, with Democrats supporting him more than Republicans.

    • I understand that you are talking about older generations. But why was it that so many of the younger generation supported the Gaza war? You mentioned 80% across all ages, so the younger group must be somewhere in that range, maybe 70%.

  • Pittsburgh's 'Conflict Kitchen' is latest battleground over Palestine, free speech and criticism of Israel
    • This furor seems to amount to "how dare Palestinians have opinions that differ from the generally-accepted pro-Israel philosophy regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, and how dare you share those opinions with Americans who may not have been exposed to them."


  • Rather than exhibit real solidarity, church leaders appeal to Israel's occupation to protect Al Aqsa
    • I think it's more than 32% Orthodox, right? I thought Orthodox were the biggest church there. (44%). It also can't be 67 - 32 because there are more than 1% Protestants, like Ateek, I think.

    • The fact that Christians see themselves as next in line doesnt make them lame. It means they are sincere that they dont want the temple mount disturbed. But yes, Christians there are intimidated.

    • The title is: "Rather than exhibit real solidarity, church leaders appeal to Israel’s occupation to protect Al Aqsa". But if you check the announcement by the Churches, it says that they made a visit in "Solidarity".

      Further, isn't it true that the Israeli military, having chosen occupation, should at least protet Al Aqsa, instead of closing it?

      In that case, why is it "Rather than solidarity", when the church leaders did show solidarity and protecting Al Aqsa instead of closing it reflects Solidarity?

    • I am glad Marc brought this to our attention. Is this a positive development or not?

      In a previous message, he said that the Christians weren't speaking out about the Temple Mount. Now they speak out about it, but he criticizes them for saying that the closing was preceded by acts of extremism. However, if you go on their previous action on the closing, you will see that the extremism included Israeli settlers. The Latin Church press explained:

      "On September 12, 2013, the Israeli Minister of Housing, escorted by tens of extremist settlers, and under Israeli police protection, entered the courtyard of the mosques in Jerusalem, including Al Aqsa Mosque, a holy place for Muslims."

      link to

  • Al Jazeera investigates the USS Liberty attack in 'The Day Israel Attacked America'
    • OK, I saw the backup version in the comments section here. I suggest updating the original MW article to link that.

    • Since Israel was the only power capable of launching and sustaining this attack, the notion of a false flag operation to stage an attack and blaming it on Egypt (which was obviously incapable of doing it) is, in my view, utterly preposterous.

      Finally, subsequently, on another occasion, Dayan threatened to shoot down US reconnaissance planes and the flights were halted.

      1. How do you know that Egypt could not be confused with the attackers?
      2. Dayan threatened the planes but didn't attack.
      3. How likely is it that the Israelis would attack a US ship without telling the US?
      4. Why did LBJ recall the rescue planes?
      5. Planes were ready to go with nukes soon before the attack occurred. Whom were the nukes intended to be dropped on?

    • Why incontestable? Because Jack Ruby said so and because of this?

    • Is there a full version of this story?

  • In and out of love with Israel: Tzvia Thier's story
    • If she is going to be "anti-Zionist" (or not), then it would be helpful for her to reconsider why they left.

    • MRW,

      I think the "Why did they leave" question is key if one is going to better understand Israeli nationalism. Depending on what her family's reasons are, it casts different (and not necessarily bad) lights on the state's system.

      The reason she gave in the interview was basically that other people were doing it, so her family did too.

    • That's true, Mooser.
      Chomsky talked about how he was on a Left Socialist Kibbutz, with a mix of Stalinists and Trotskyists.

    • Right.

      I am thinking though that if you are Left Socialist or Communist like Tarachansky or Thiers, then when Communist forces in Romania defeat the Nazis, why leave for the US or Palestine?

    • Why did they leave Romania?

      Most Jews left Romania. Most went to the U.S., some went to Israel.

      So why did they go? They were Communist or Socialist, right? And Romania had become Communist and there wasn't the threat of the Nazis again, but there was a conflict starting in Palestine. So was it for security, or what?

    • "I absolutely believed that in 1948 when Ben Gurion declared the state of Israel, the seven countries attacked Israel,"
      Isn't that what happened? What happened instead?

  • A reverend sermonizes justice in Jerusalem
    • Walid,

      Definitely the Germans are the worst. After that, wouldn't it be Christians because he considers them responsible for the Holocaust?

      One question is why he doesn't write more about the famous rabbis and traditions and try to interpret them in the way he wants when it comes to IP. I think it would be one of the most constructive, positive things he could bring as a religious scholar to the discourse. Maybe the reason is that they actually bug him too.

      Too bad. Overall Ellis is good and has a humanitarian approach he brings to the discussion, except when it comes to Christian religion, in which case it is "colonialism" because its Jewish Christian expounders based it on Jewish ideas.

    • I definitely don't like that Pope Benedict was pressed into the Wehrmacht But he was not a camp guard or wore a papal garb at Treblinka either. Meanwhile, the future Pope John Paul II really was saving thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. Why doesn't that deserve mention?

      I like that Marc takes the side of the oppressed in the IP conflict, and I want to see interfaith tolerance between both religions. I find many of Ellis' characterizations of Christianity to be incorrect. Marc's strong point is as a Jewish theologian - I've said repeatedly that one of the best contributions he could make would be to explain an egalitarian or non-nationalist theology based on the centuries of rabbinical and Biblical writings in the Jewish tradition and then relate it to the land of Zion as well as to things in the news. For example, how do policies compare with moral teachings that we read in the Tanach or other sacred writings?

    • He was speaking at a church, and the churches there are more aware of what is happening than the ones in America, on average. So it's unlikely that his parish will fire him. not that it would happen in America for sure, though.

      Sure, there is more respect for Christians in America than over there. I could be wrong, but I don't think that the churches there have the same level of enforcing PC-ness that ours often do about the conflict.

    • Don't forget that there is more openness allowed when you are in Israel. Don't try to make sense of it.

    • if we see the New Testament as I do, stretching more or less the same number of years as the Hebrew Bible does. If so noted, the New Testament stretches from Jesus to Auschwitz.

      (1) The Church fathers and the canonical Churches have not made a doctrine saying to kill Jews.

      (2) The Nazis were occultists and anti-Christian in reality.

      (3) 5 million gentiles, typically Christian, were genocided by the Nazis.

      (4) Other "Christian" societies fought the Nazis and stopped the Holocaust.

      Conclusion: the "Gospel of Treblinka" is not part of the New Testament.

      Israelis are becoming more and more prejudiced against Christianity. Increasingly a significant minority in the younger generations think there is no right to practice Christianity there. Is it really a surprise that, having divided the population based on religious lines they would mistreat the "Arabs" with this kind of thinking that blames Christianity for the Holocaust?

    • The log in the Christian eye becomes larger, especially if we name the Gospels that are carried forth by Christians in the world. I think especially of the Gospel of Treblinka but there are many, many more.

      I missed the "Gospel of Treblinka" in Sunday School, but then at Catholic Middle school we all took a half year course on the Holocaust and went to the Holocaust museum.

    • With a sense of Christian triumphalism shadowing almost every Christian sermon
      "What's Christian triumphalism?" The belief that Christ "triumphed" over death?

      And why use a negative term like "shadowing?" Why not "shining"?

      Reverend Réamonn adds: “For our Gospel reading is no better than our reading from what we call the Old Testament.” So right!

      I tend to think that the New Testament is "better". Ancient Israel believed that the Messiah would come. If the Messiah came and brought God's grace directly to people, wouldn't His book be in any way "better" than the books that preceded it? If the Messiah comes and does all kinds of amazing things, isn't that "better" than what happened before?

  • Is Israel the wallpaper in US culture?
    • Probably gays and Satanists are the ones who are frequently "hated", not really usually the others.

    • Proverbs 15;1 That's nice, Mooser. i think you are a real trooper for sticking with us for all this time. I often look forward to your humor.

      So often I notice that intense nationalists cannot enter discussions without writing harshly and causing bad reactions when they discuss this topic, even if your own point is just to try to get them to make reconciliation.

    • It's OK.I t reminds me of our tete a tete about Christian Zionist donors. Droll humor and other meanings does not always come across very well online.

    • In 2008, a study found that the average family income for Israel's Jewish majority was NIS 14,157.(USD $3,795) per month,
      $3795 X 12 = $45,540.

      Anyway, I take back what I said about Israelis being world class geniuses. The issue is not that Israeli income is high, but rather than Palestinian Israeli income is exceptionally low. Israeli average income is higher than in some US states but lower than others. But Palestinian Israelis' income is far lower than the average in any US state.

    • Page: 38
    • (And no, needless to say, Palestinian Israelis don't make anywhere near an average $45,50 per year.)

    • Phil, did you know that the average non-Palestinian Israeli income is $45,540.

      That's what US college graduates make. Now can you please explain that? Are non-Palestinian Israelis often geniuses who pump out high tech equipment and world class inventions? Are they just really really smart and companies around the world are flocking there like the whole country was Silicon Valley? That's what the Israeli line would say.

  • A visit to Auschwitz
    • “ the living would have to hold the dead up at roll call because the Germans were meticulous about getting a proper count.”

      "He described how dead men were held up at roll call on entering the camp in order for others to grab their rations" -Heroes of the Holocaust, by Lyn Smith

  • Occupied prayer at Al Aqsa
    • no matter what they do
      They can never hurt you
      Cuz your soul will always be free

    • Yes, prayer is a means of escape.

      There is a song that "Palestine will always be free". How is that free when it's under an occupation? It;s because it's "living on a wing and a prayer." The wings allow them to fly above the separation wall. It's free because they have not conquered their spirits. Palestinians were defeated decades if not centuries ago, but in another sense they have not been defeated.

      Granted, I suppose the Druze have been defeated.

    • They can mouth bromides about justice while welcoming thousands of pilgrims ... My mother was on one when I was in Bit Zeit. I met her in town one evening and told what I thought of Israel. She was surprised- she said the Israelis were lovely. -
      I thought for some reason that you were Jewish.

    • I meant
      "Sure, it’s OK for Marc..." not "Sure, Marc it’s OK for Marc"
      This is what destroying the Edit button does.

    • Hello, Walid. I agree. If the Pope cannot get more than a free lunch for Cremisan, a major monastery that makes the Christians' altar wine, are we to expect him to be far more efficient and successful in getting them to do more? Don't you think that the Pope has weighed his options and capabilities? Again, I am not saying that Marc needs to agree with the Pope- I am sure that the Pope in a way is connected with the elites of the world on the topic. But why not take into consideration and care about reasons why Pal Christian officials might not go all the way on what are for them a secondary (although relevant issue) like that day's closing of the mosque?

      He is complaining that Christian leaders don't speak out more when the broader minority religious community, of which Christians are a part is affected, and the latter dont speak out. So why not complain if Latin American, black, or African leaders don't complain if a certain incident happens in the others' community?

      Sure, Marc it's OK for Marc to be critical of Christians sometimes- the Lutheran leader made a nasty remark against liberal "prophecy" and Lutheranism had anti-semitism. But if Marc's goal is cooperation and freedom in the Holy Land, why not look at things from the perspective of the Christians there? Why make "Constantinian" religion a cornerstone of of his criticisms when the native Christians there see Constantine as a saint for accepting and allowing their religion?

      Third, you are also right about the Patriarch's appointment, but Palestinians do have a minor say in their church affairs - wasn't that why the last Patriarch was removed- for selling church properties in a major scandal?

    • Right. The Greek Patriarch has lived for about 1300 years under someone else's militarily-imposed and sometimes very cruel domination. They have learned that to survive in the long run you can't be raising a hackle immediately for every secondary injustice and by secondary I mean those not involved destroying churches, banning all clergy, banning church leaders, closing church property etc. The Vatican has a hard enough time keeping the huge Cremisan monastery from getting mostly confiscated by an illegal wall that goes past the 1967 lines.

      Why doesn't Ellis write about occupied Christians from that perspective, instead of writing about how Allah (Both religions' Arabic word for God) won't save them? This is like blaming the Cherokee in the 1850's for failing to speak out against closing down the main Sioux reservation.

      We hear in his essay about taking the side of the oppressed, etc. etc., so why does he not actually value the Church's perspective even if he disagrees with it? I am not even saying he shouldn't voice disagreement with them about their silence. But why not actually take their way of looking at things (eg. God's salvation, the importance of prayer, what it's like to be impacted by another religion's power) as understandable?

    • I haven’t heard much from the Christian churches in the land and beyond about the Al Aqsa situation. Maybe they’re hunkering down so that their “freedom” to worship isn’t hindered. As if prayer without political freedom means much.

      Only 3 days have passed since the event, and the Christian population is miniscule, and normally Eastern Christian churches by default are not open in political involvement the way American ones are. And how do you know that no Christian figures there have not mentioned the Al Aqsa situation?

      Their language is Arabic and they don't exactly have the same broadcast volume some other folks do in US news and social media. I even question whether Palestinians get as much volume on their own issue as their non-Palestinian supporters do in the US.

      And why put "freedom" to worship in quotes- is it not a fundamental right? You comment sardonically "As if prayer without political freedom means much". Well yes, prayer without freedom still means very much, so much in fact that some people would rather be able to pray if it meant giving up political rights.

  • Update: Why did Netanyahu respond to chickenshit with 'grassy knoll' remark?
    • To have just returned from the United States and for Yitzhak to have been in Dallas just hours before — albeit as mere coincidence; Fort Bliss was a stop on his military briefing tour— was disorienting. Yitzhak was about to become chief of staff and had just completed an intensive study of state-of-the-art defense and security practices from the most powerful nation in the world and suddenly we learned that country’s chief-executive was slain by a lone-gunman……. ~Leah Rabin
      link to

  • 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.”

    • " 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? "

  • 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

    • 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?


    • 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.

      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

      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

      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

      (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

      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

      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

      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
      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
      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

      Here is a different poll:
      link to

    • 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

      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

      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."
      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.

      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

      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

      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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