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  • Lutheran activists fear new church leadership will stifle criticism of Israeli occupation
    • I suppose the main problem with seeing Ben Gurion as the Messiah is that he was not particularly close to God, nor did he bring Israel or other nations to God. The Messiah is generally portrayed as someone who has a close relationship to God, eg. "I will be His father and He will be my son", as the prophecies said.

      I'm not sure that the modern Israelis overall are much more religious than the ancient Israelites were in Isaiah's, Ezekiel's and Jeremiah's time. You yourself said that you don't particularly believe in prophecy.

    • Keith, Israel Shahak wrote about this topic a bit, I think.

    • I did not mention making a contrast with Maimonides.

      FYI, I find the book of Esther troubling because of all the Persians killed.

    • CKG,

      There are all these hot headed debates about Luther's antisemitism, about Israeli national restorationism (Jeff cited Spurgeon), etc. And Palestinian Christians generally are from the period before all those crazy debates and yet have borne that burden, of all kinds of misrepresentations.

    • Mooser– both Luther and, to a lesser extent, Calvin were polemical in their writings about Jewry. It’s the cross we bear.
      If you are going to be stuck that hard to the concept of tradition and church fathers, you might as well go back to Eastern Orthodoxy, before Luther's antisemitism started.

      A big part of protestantism is supposed to be to avoid responsibility for tradition.

    • There is no analogy for Judaism, ge’ulah (redemption) is explicitly the end of exile which has happened.
      You are living in the End Times, Mooser.

      Wait a minute, Jeff B, wasn't the Messiah supposed to have shown up somewhere when the Redemption happened?

    • Oh wow, you know about that, Mooser?

    • Mooser,

      Luther was the main Protestant theologian, and after him was John Calvin. There were in the 16th century.

    • Were there other major mainstream Calvinist theologians who thought this way:

      Spurgeon while not completely endorsing British Restoration were what we would call today pro-Zionist, “we shall at once profess our attachment to... the literal reading of those Scriptures that predict the return of the Jews to their own land.”

      besides Spurgeon?

      I am not talking about Liberal Christian Zionists like Niebuhr.

    • Jeff,

      Where did you get (2) from?
      The PCUSA is the most "antisupersessionist" of any church. They have published study documents attacking "Supersessionism." 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. This is because of Romans 10-11.

      Zionism Unsettled itself expresses different views on the topic on different pages (note the end of the book).

      About Your Point (5): The other Protestant groups didn't persecute Jews either, except for the Lutherans in Germans. This is partly because Protestantism showed up in about 1500, after medieval times.

      The best answer is that Joe is overlooking Methodist and Episcopalian involvement when he made that statement.

    • See my note above. If only Calvinists count as Reformed, then one would be missing the relevance of Methodists and Episcopalians to emphasize "Reformed" churches in the movement. Also, like I said, Catholics are a minority in the US, but they also contribute to Solidarity, eg. Maryknoll and peace programs at Catholic colleges.

    • OK. Well, if you are going to count Methodists and Episcopalians as if they are outside of the Reformed movement, then you would be ignoring a major part of the Solidarity movement among Christians. Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians can all be found on the "scene". There is a Methodist Kairos Response for example. And there is an Episopal Mission Network on Palestine.

    • Marc,

      (Do you ever read our comments?)
      The main motivation is really because she wants to be part of the establishment. There is a status quo mentality. It's not really about fear of anti-semitism, although I do think that it's a secondary factor- people don't want to get attacked as racist against Jews for opposing Israeli policies.

      I can see that Lutherans as an organization shouldn't take the lead on the issue for a similar reason to why modern Germany shouldn't. In my opinion, the early Church writers weren't racist, but sometimes Luther really was. But Lutherans could still join onto another organization's events, like the youth group you mentioned wanted to.

      What I generally hear from those Lutheran leaders is that they don't want to rock the boat too much. It's not mainly about anti-semitism, but about being part of the "consensus".

    • 70-80% are Protestant, ie Reformed, eg. the Reformation.

    • Joe,

      It's because they make up maybe 70-80% of Americans. obviously that is going to affect what denominations Americans involved in the issue belong to.

      There Catholic organizations and ecumenical ones working on the issue though. eg. Maryknoll and Sabeel, respectively.

    • Yes, Bp. Eaton blog post against the prophetic didn't have substance except to just ask people to respect each other and care about each other's views.

      I didn't notice anything I seriously disagreed with in M. Ellis' writing this time. Luther really did have an intolerant side.

  • The summer of small Jewish thinking
  • Champaign-Urbana holds Rosh Hashanah service for Professor Salaita
    • Hinduism is sometimes interpreted analogously to Judaism. They both can be seen as having a creator God, eg. Yahweh, with lesser gods, the angels, that emanate from Him. In Judaism, Wisdom is sometimes called a spirit. In paganism, she is a divine being.

      There are different analogies hat can be made between Judaism and paganism. Perhaps Zoroastrianism is close too.

      However, one can still see differences.

    • Correction: It’s a shame they that don’t follow up with atonement to their god and/or with accountability to their fellow human beings.

    • I am confused about this one:

      10. Making invisible and marginalizing Jews of color around the world, including Israel where they are the majority of the population

  • Schumer is obnoxious
    • Piotr,

      You can say "dine" for any meal. The most correct would be for dinner, but it doesn't matter. There is nothing weird about it. "He dined on breakfast". Or "He dined on rabbit meat". It is just another way to say "eat", but it's less commonly used.

      English has tons of unusual phrases, and often even we don't understand them. Take for example the new controversy over "Supersessionism." There is not even an exact translation for that in Polish. The word was just made up in the 1970's by liberal Zionists. They complained that Catholic theology teaches that the faithful Christian community "supersedes" the ancient faithful of Israel. However, maybe half the time the liberal Zionists cannot even spell "supersede" correctly. (eg. they say "supercede".) It's Latin-sounding, but it's actually not Latin. In fact, there is no exact translation for that word in other languages like Polish, only vaguely similar words.

    • Doesn't Polish have a single verb for jeść obiad ? Something like Obiadać?

    • Even in Polish, the logic is the same.

      jeść obiad = specifically the act of consuming dinner = to dine = to eat dinner

    • it is specifically the act of consuming dinner

    • To dine means to have dinner - the place is irrelevant to the word's use.

      jeść obiad = to dine

    • Chuck Schumer went to school with Norm Finkelstein. He might get a kick out this.

    • That's a funny story. I could see McConnell doing that. It looks like he has a joke coming in most of his photos.
      link to

      It sounds like a typical troll situation. How many times have your friends warned you not to get into discussions on nationalist topics with religio-nationalists?

  • Another scholar cancels at U of Illinois, saying school doesn't 'protect faculty from donors'
    • Please see American Indian Studies Director Robert Warrior's essay on the Salaita case:
      link to

      It turns out that multiple procedures and rules were not followed. For example, he writes:

      I also don’t understand how it is that the chancellor can send a letter to someone telling him she isn’t forwarding his appointment to the board, thus keeping him from starting his new job, and then forward the appointment after all without letting anyone know until the day the vote happens.

  • Jewish students, faculty and staff at the University of Illinois continue to stand in solidarity with Steven Salaita
  • Homegrown jihadis and the limits of the Israel lobby
    • Sure, Nick. China's foreign policy is not as militaristically aggressive, because their economy is only half capitalist.

    • Hi Maggie.

      To show a party line, one would have to show that it's something from the site's editors like Annie Robbins or Phil, or else point to comments by about 15 different commentors, but I doubt that blog commentors really count as a website's "line". "American" does not speak for me.

      What you said in your first five paragraphs today (marked 6:07), about the US wanting to have good relations with Nasser, was good. My point was different. You wrote that US support for the Israeli state were about suppressing Arab nationalism. My point was that actually, for a long time, the US policy wasn't to suppress Arab nationalism, and Eisenhower's intervention was a good example. Therefore, a different major explanation must be found besides suppressing Arab nationalism - although later that could have become a factor.

      Why did Truman support the state strongly, when his advisors warned against that, saying it would damage relations with Arabs?

      Sure, your explanation about arming the state in the 1970's as an alliance makes sense. My point rather was that the special relationship goes much beyond that, when you consider that the US went into DEFCON. They didn't do that in the Korean War AFAIK, and South Korea was a major ally. Illegal unrestricted access to government information is another way that it goes beyond geopolitics. Do you think the unanimous bicameral ovations for anything Netanyahu said were about what other allied leaders would get?

    • Nick,

      I saw a pretty neat map of foreign trade for the world's nations, but I can't find it anymore. As I remember, Saudi, Turkish, and European trade throughout the Mideast was high. China was probably the world's main trader, along with the US and Germany, and I think that might have been true for the Mideast too. I don't really see lots of third world people studying in China, besides other east Asians.

      I understand that competition with China is an important issue globally. I just don't think it's a key explanation to say that US policy about the Israeli state is about keeping China out of the Mideast. The fact is, it actually pushes countries, like Nasser, away from US investment. Having pro-American societies and governments in place is what helps investment. I don't see people being upset over the injustices in Palestine as helping that goal. I suppose the Israelis have participated in regime change in South Sudan, but usually what it does is estrange relations.

      I understand that IP relations are not the one, only, or perhaps even decisive factor in Mideast investment. But to the extent that it does influence trade, it doesn't seem very directly helpful.

    • Maggie.

      OK. When I first heard about Walt and Mearsheimer's book claiming that the lobby played a leading role in the Iraq War, I thought "No Way." Then I heard ex-leading government analyst Ray McGovern explain that it was one of a number of major factors.

      the OPEC embargo surely wasn’t in the US’ “interests.” But two things:
      1) I don’t know if I actually believe in the idea of national interest at all... There are citizen interests, congressional interests, capital interests, environmental interests, oil interests, etc.

      OK, well the OPEC embargo went against all of those.

      my takeaway has always been that the US was more interested in keeping Israel as a buffer against revolutionary nationalism
      OK, I know that this claim is made. But why and how is supposed to act as a buffer, Maggie?

      Isn't it true though that the State has actually inflamed revolutionary passions in Muslim countries for the past 60 years?

      Second, the US used to actually support Arab nationalism. In the 1950's when it invaded Egypt, Eisenhower actually sided with Egypt. So did the US see it mainly as a buffer in the 1950's?

      Fourth, are you aware that during the 1973 war, the US went into DEFCON mode? is that how important buffering Arab nationalism is?

      Where did Phil Weiss write that "MW’s party line [is] that the Lobby is the sole determiner of policy"?

    • Hi, Maggie.

      Who has said that the Lobby is the sole controller of our policy?

      At most what you can say is that there are some times that there is no direct national interest present in a decision. The US has no national interest in leaving UNESCO or allowing West Bank settlements, and neither are necessary to maintaining the US position in the Mideast. The US could stay in UNESCO and avoid business with the settlements. Maybe things will change because of rising awareness among younger US generations, but those are two times where there is no direct national interest.

      The other thing you can say is that the "special relationship" goes far beyond the national interest. A good example of that is the extreme level of unapproved access to US technology and government information.

    • Some of the premises in the article are appealing, like how imperialism is a major driving force, or how there is prejudice against Muslims, but some of the reasoning for its topic thesis is wrong.

      when considerations such as regional power, world reputation, and preserving the flow of resources and capital [don't] conflate in support of Israel, we see crises in the Special Relationship.

      The US took a major hit to its "world reputation" at the UN votes, and even had to abandon UNESCO because UNESCO now includes Palestine. And UNESCO is a major way to spread US influence and cooperation. The UN is even located on the American mainland. What kind of "US interest" is there in leaving UNESCO?

      Wasn't the OPEC embargo that tanked the US economy in the 1970's a major obstacle to "the flow of resources"?

    • It's true that western imperialism has damaged the Middle East, but it's also true that pro-Israeli politics have too, and the importance of the latter is shown by its key role in the attacks on Chuck Hagel at his nomination, which actually gave less of a focus on other military issues besides the state.

      The important thing here, Maggie, is to realize that the two often are combined. By showing that one is strong doesn't mean that the other isn't.

      Thus, this statement is not correct in its logic:

      There is an undeniable difference between Muslim and Jewish fighters returning home– namely, one fits into the global discourse on terrorism, and one does not.
      Consequently, this fact undermines the thesis of an all-powerful Israel Lobby as it exposes the deeper connections fueling the West-Israel love affair

      The fact that Israeli fighters are treated differently and better than Islamic religious ones doesn't mean that the government is not treating them differently because of a policy influenced by economic interests in the Mideast or by lobbies.

      Another mistake would to claim that

      As the argument commonly goes, Western governments and especially the US ally with Israel not out of national interest

      Where did Walt and Mearsheimer claim that there is "no" national interest in the alliance?

      What one might say is that sometimes there is a national interest, but that sometimes there is no national interest in some parts of the "special relationship". Where was the national interest in favor of the whole US economy going into a major recession in the 1970's because of the OPEC embargo over IP?

  • Naive? At a Jewish spiritual retreat center, I insist on talking about Gaza
    • Ellis certainly knows this. He went to a Catholic Jesuit college for his PhD.

      From Wikipedia:

      In 1980 he received his doctorate in contemporary American Social and Religious Thought from Marquette University. He then became a faculty member at the Maryknoll School of Theology in Maryknoll, New York, and director of the M.A. program at the Maryknoll Institute for Justice and Peace.

      The whole concept of Liberation Theology was created by Catholic theologians in Latin America through the second half of the 20th century.

    • Never Ending Story.

    • Mooser,

      You ask: "Are you saying, W Jones, that Judaism is not honest, that it conceals its real meanings and motivations?"
      I meant that Judaism has a prophetic, visionary side. Some of its meanings and motivations must be revealed with prophecy, like how the prophets of Joseph and Daniel were able to reveal the meaning of divine dreams.

      God's words in the Bible come through prophecy, so they require revelation of their meaning by the prophets and/or God's spirit.

      Why did you write: "if you ever find a short pier leading to a beautiful,deep, cold lake, take a long walk"?

    • Mooser,

      I hate it when I can't clean up my messes!

    • Well, even if you emphasized the Polish casualties, it would still not include Palestinians. Maybe what you could do though is after connecting it with the Poles, you could connect it to the Armenians, and after that, emphasize how actually over the last several thousand years the various natives of Palestine have been massacred. The Egyptians, Turks, and British all carried out massacres. Even the harsh side of the Exodus story could be partly problematic from that perspective.

      So once you start feeling bad for people, then offer a different approach.

    • IP is a bit like the NES.

    • If the US army or the Russians ever have to, shall we say, mop up resistance to a peace deal in Israel/Palestine that involves maverick ex IDF it won’t be pretty.

    • I gave some more thought to what you said, Mooser. As a general matter, Christian society believes in spreading itself, and at times it was in misguided conflicts to do that. Its holy sites in the Levant are very important for it. It seems to me that there is no direct belief or tradition that Palestine's land in particular must be Christian.

    • Hey Mooser.

      You brought up an interesting analogy with the Crusades. Christian society actually is pretty intensely set on its right or privilege to make pilgrimages to Palestine's holy sites. Maybe 4 million Christians make pilgrimages annually. Supposedly, the Crusaders thought that the Muslims, along with forcibly converting the Christian population, banned pilgrimages. I think that if ISIS or the Israeli State banned pilgrimages to the Levant, it would be a pretty big issue, and perhaps generate Euro-American political action.

      The other thing is that actually tension between some Muslim power and Europe never totally went away after the Crusades ended. Look at the Armenian genocide and the liberation of the Balkans, Mooser. Weren't half of Armenians killed? But anyway, the postwar West and Soviets eventually figured out that it was not worth fighting Arabs to make a Christian society in Palestine, and the best thing to do was to work past religious divisions with a kind of realpolitick. Arab Christians have found that it's best to support forces that will seriously tolerate them in the Mideast, and aren't interested in a destructive Crusade on their society.

      The Crusades are not really a perfect analogy though because the eastern half of Christianity often opposed it. The Crusaders sacked Constantinople and Christians in Palestine, some of whom ended up fighting on the Muslim side.

      So the Crusades were not really a past ideological phase for Christian society - half the Christians opposed it, the underlying desire to make pilgrimages remains, and the interfaith tension that some people had did not go away totally but is rather something that people are still trying to address, either through realpolitick or by supporting interfaith coexistence. (Armenians are pretty happy not being genocided again.)

      By the way, i am not trying to make Christian society sound wonderful - it isn't. Just to explain how they have addressed the kinds of important past issues you raised.

    • Seafoid,

      If 1/3 of young American Jews disagree with the Israeli attack on Gaza, then one can't generalize or stereotype their beliefs about the conflict. And Judaism is a beautiful religion. But still, it must be admitted that a major aspect of Judaism and its nation's culture is a kind of nationalism, and this can easily lead to conflict when its promised land has a ton of people from two other major religions living there.

    • If you think it’s not the Hebrew issue- what is it? Is it a specifically Jewish insularity problem? - See more at: link to


      That 67% figure I cited and Lynne's retreat surprised me, as does the intensity of many pro-Israelis' support. I like Judaism a lot - in fact more than most other religions, and I know that its true, hidden meaning is universalism and equality. But, yes, it must be acknowledged that nationalism is a major aspect of Judaism - although it is not one of the Ten Commandments or something.

      Look at ancient Israel's conquest of Canaan and other small countries and how positively it's depicted. Even Christians today would generally approve of that. I am not rejecting those conquests, but I am have at least reservations - it's a bit disconcerting. Nationalism has continued as part of its religious tradition and culture. It's adherents would say it's a good thing, and I am not saying that it's all bad. But in a situation like Palestine where there are two other major religions living on that same national "Promised Land", you have to admit that conflict and that age-old pattern of nationalist conquest is a real risk.

      Look at Christians who are into religious nationalism like Hagee - they are fervent enough about IP, and they don't enough think that the Promise of it is them. I am aware that many pro-Israelis are not even deeply religious. However, there are plenty of people throughout world history who feel strongly about their religious group for cultural reasons without really focusing on theological reasoning.

      What do you think?

    • Seafoid:

      Have a look at this Brandeis Survey of US young Jewish opinions on the Gaza bombing:
      link to

      It shows 67% of young American Jews saying Israeli actions were justified, in contrast to only 25% of young Americans saying that.

      In contrast, we know that about 90% of Israeli agree with the Israeli attack.

      What do you conclude from that?

    • From this retreat and discussions I've had with dedicated pro-Israeli Americans, it sounds like belief in nationalism is pretty intense and religious, even among the less religious. It's like a principle.

      Even if the international community decided to "impose" a solution and take over the occupation of the west bank and enforce an internationalization or division of Jerusalem, it sounds like the intensity of their nationalism would not dissipate. You might still be talking with them at retreats and at lunchtime, with the same way of thinking appearing. In fact, now the complaint might be that the international community was siding with the Muslims and taking away East Jerusalem.

    • Seafoid,

      You wrote:

      One way of looking at the history of the human
      group is that it has been a continuing struggle against the veneration of ‘crap.’

      Is the Israeli religio-nationalist struggle for the "Holy Land" practically neverending? That's part of the "conventional wisdom" about it.

      It is discussed in the Bible as the people's history, and after that, there have been repeated attempts to re-control the land, from Bar Kochba to the revolt of the mid-7th century, to various Messianic movements, and culminating in the events of 1947.

      What is to say that if the international community imposed a solution that the community wouldn't keep fighting to take over the land, like they fought against the British who supervised it?

      Yes, I am aware that post-Temple Judaism's traditional philosophy has been and theoretically should be construed to avoid a national takeover of the land. But it seems that there have frequently been serious attempts to do so throughout history, and what stopped it was chiefly the power of Roman or Islamic imperial rule, which collapsed in the 20th century.

      I'm also aware that from a progressive, idealistic, international standpoint we would want the land to be shared by everyone without a state for any one religion alone. But it looks like there is a strong, longstanding, sometimes latent drive to do that. The
      Marxist "internationalist" kibbitzers Chomsky described as having a very strong nationalism.

      The fact is, that Judaism is to some extent a religion of a "people". And with a "people" generally comes nationhood and territory. Now the implications of that can be deconstructed, and the understanding of Judaism can be radically reinterpreted in a Messianic, universalist, internationalist way. But given what the current understanding of the religion, nationality, and culture is, is this a conflict or longterm struggle that is impractical difficult to "solve", even if the international community imposed an equal, shared solution? Wouldn't nationalist uprisings continue over the centuries?

    • Gene,

      Yes, at this stage I suppose that feeling bad for mass victims only amounts to a "nuisance".

    • Welcome to the new format, PGT. Personally, I liked the Edit buttons better.

    • ^That's a photo from Gaza of a kid who wants his Mom back.

    • Seafoid,

      What about when you are dealing with people who are 100% convinced that they are not "hateful", and that it's the wicked semi-Nazi barbarians who are hateful?

    • Only five people turned up to the discussion.
      Out of what, twenty or fifty?

      5 + yourself + the Israeli out of 20 would be a good turnout.

      7 out of 60 would be small.

      I introduced myself: raised in a secular Zionist family in London, spent time in Israel, a son who lives in the Galilee. Descendant of Holocaust victims. So far, they were with me. Then

      I think that the next thing to do would be to give your visitors the best framework, although you apparently didn't realize what their mindset was, and you (sorry) thought that they would be more amenable.

      You chose to talk about the Holocaust to use it as a human rights lesson. That's OK, but you should do a better job explaining the lessons of universal morality - ie. make clear what the lessons are, and how they relate to suffering all over the world.

      Don't forget - some people drew nationalist lessons from the nationalist persecutions, while what you want people to draw are internationalist, universal lessons about all people. You can use examples of Germans massacring Polish villages that resisted.

      But it's also tough, because the scale of Holocaust casualties is nowhere near Palestinian ones. What you are concerned about is the POSSIBILITY of repeating those figures, and of violating what you see as the non-nationalist lessons of the Holocaust - that having a society supercharged on nationalism can be a problem.

      The other topic you should think about is the prophesied peace and antiwar morality in Judaism - if you are able to "reveal" it, then it would be a good link to the theme of having your spirituality retreat.

      Whether you agree with Christian theology or not, in its philosophical system it was able to bring out some of those peaceful, merciful ideas that are latent in Judaism. This is why Marc Ellis' Liberation Theology originates in Christian Liberation Theology. However, bringing those themes out independent of Christianity in a theological discussion might require much deeper thinking. In fact, a whole class could be taught on that.

      But once people in your discussion group are on board with a radical pro-peace idea of Judaism that matches their (normally) liberal politics, you can make better headway.

  • The rabbi at the shitshow
    • Leshaw continued to feel sympathy for the people of Gaza. On August 25 she tweeted:

      Not a terrible idea to take a look at the #rubblebucketchallenge.

      This was a reference to a Gaza initiative to have people pour buckets of rubble over their heads to memorialize the onslaught.
      - See more at: link to

      You could have emphasized that a bit more in your piece, Phil. She basically recommends the challenge and Marzec basically took the challenge, after which Leshaw condemned her for it.

  • Will the WCC finally break the interfaith ecumenical deal?
    • Mind you, our own consciences are hardly clear. We didn’t say much about Gaza.

      I attended a Children's Relief fund dinner on Gaza, and there are major Church foundations working there. You might be surprised to know that Arab church leaders were in the Mideast Christian conference that Ted Cruz attacked? Do you believe that eastern Christian leaders should be more vocal? They already jointly authored the Kairos Palestine document.

      Western Christian churches are stuck in a mix of real-politick with their governments and media, their own mis-impressions about IP going back to the Crusader days, and the interfaith deal Marc mentioned. One component has been the way the topic of anti-semitism is treated. I believe that Marc's own use of it to tar Christian solidarity meetings that obviously aren't anti-semitic is an example of how society treats the topic. With a subject like that, it's no surprise that some Christians would be afraid to be too vocal.

    • I read the context again, and it sounds like he is saying that the anti-semitism is a failing to make a special, formal dialogue singling out "Jews of Conscience".

      Marc's writing is often not very clear - it's in a stream of consciousness form, which perhaps he associates with being "prophetic". So he doesn't explain what is "anti-semitic" about the church's failure to single out "Jews of Conscience". Not only that, but he claims that the Church is not doing this because it wants to avoid the "brush" of antisemitism that it would be painted with if it did.

      Bear in mind that for Marc, Christians were "anti-semitic" at a Palestinian Solidarity meeting he attended or spoke at because they did NOT specifically discuss Jews or Judaism.

      What does that say about Marc's use of the term "anti-semitism"?

    • With Jews in particularly because ‘ the deal’, guilt tripping the Christians over the holocaust has been the hook the “relationship” has been based on as far as I can see.

      ...Mutually respectful but separate.

      If Christians just recognize that Christianity did not create the Holocaust (The fascists genocided millions of Christians too, BTW), that "hook" would not be a problem.

      Sometimes is good to work separately, but other times together. The Fellowship of Reconciliation has both interfaith and denominational sections, for example, and works on peace in IP.

    • So, it's fine and worthwhile for Christians to cooperate with Jews and Muslims on interfaith issues like IP, as long as it doesn't mean compromising on theology or moral issues.

    • One of the advantages of Christianity is that we can cooperate with a wide range of people. It's important that we spread our good messages among everyone who wants to listen.

      Mark Braverman is an example of someone of conscience who works a lot with Christians, and he even says that he is not advocating for Christians to change their theology. He is hardly a religious nationalist, and is about as critical of Christianity as many "mainstream" Protestant writers.

    • There remains no dialogue with Jews of Conscience at the official level of church denominations, including at the World Council of Churches
      This is not always true. There was an ecumenical conference in Bethlehem a few years ago with Neturei Kartei and also with major Eastern Christian and Muslim groups.

      There were people from JVP at the Presbyterian Gen. Assembly.

      I am confused about this:

      Nonetheless, the Christian establishment lacks the courage to break openly with the enabling Jewish establishment. They remain fearful of being tainted with the broad brush of anti-Semitism.

      The historic Christian schizophrenia about and with Jews – anti-Semitism – continues in an altered form. Now it can be found in solidarity with Jews of Conscience that the official church doesn’t recognize and empower.

      So alleged Christian "anti-Semitism... can be found in solidarity with Jews of Conscience"? If you are a Christian in Solidarity with Jewish peace activists, then it means you might be anti-Semitic?

      Of course, the other problem unfortunately, with jettisoning dialogue with the Jewish establishment is how many people it represents. Can anyone give me an estimate of how many Jewish Americans disagree with the Israeli political system, and how many disagree with its wars? 15-45%?

      When you add in the Israelis themselves, it becomes hard to drop interfaith dialogue with the supporters of that system, without dropping dialogue with a big majority of the religious community itself.

  • The Shipman 'disgrace' -- did NY Police commish Bill Bratton just say the same thing?
    • The other thing is that Israeli policies and attitudes are unfortunately becoming more intolerant. That is also unfortunately going to move things more to a head. And with younger generations caring less about Israeli nationalism, there will be more openness to hearing egalitarian views on campuses.

    • How do we know that things are going to come to a head? Israeli policy is a longstanding one, and eventually people are going to take notice. The US activist dissident Left has taken notice of the issue. But that is not really a guarantee of anything by itself.

  • Warren, Schama, and Lipstadt address Holocaust echoes in Gaza conflict
    • Jews lost one million children, one million in Holocaust none of which belonged to communities firing rockets and digging death tunnels.

      Sometimes partisans attacked German police. In return, the Germans massacred whole villages. I think that that counts as part of the Holocaust. The Germans got their cities bombed too - not as if that makes any of what is happening, or happened then - OK.

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

      Your message didn't come through.

    • Yes, it's a tattoo. Tattoos and female rabbis are unconventional, especially when you mix the two.

      I have never been able to totally get over the "PEP" phenomenon, widespread even among the Israeli state's founders. This goes back to Chomsky's time in on a Left Marxist (possibly Trotskyist or Stalinist) kibbutz in the 1950's, where he noted that the "racism" was strong (his word).

  • ASA statement on Salaita: An 'assault against the Program in American Indian Studies at UIUC '
    • NEW ITEM:

      Now faculty and students in the campus academic senate will have a chance to weigh in when the senate holds its first meeting of the semester Monday in Urbana.

      It will set aside time for a discussion of the issue, which has raised questions about academic freedom, shared governance and free speech on campus. A resolution related to the case is also on the agenda, dealing with academic hiring procedures.

      The senate is scheduled to meet at 3:10 p.m. Monday in Illini Room C at the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., U. Wise will preside over the meeting.

      link to

  • Encounter at a post office

      I had an experience a few days ago at the Post Office. I went to mail a letter to Christians in Bethlehem, but on the internet they put Bethlehem, PALESTINE as the address. So I wasn't sure what to put. The Post Office said that I had to put a country that was in their database, and they have no PALESTINE or WEST BANK or PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES, or even the pro-Israeli "JUDEA AND SAMARIA", so they wouldn't accept my letter with those listed. They said even if they took i, it would get returned to me.

      I mainly want the letter to get to the recipient, but I just wasn''t sure what to put. The Israeli state doesn't want to include Bethlehem, because it doesn't want to bear responsibility for Palestinians. So even from the Israeli POV, Bethlehem isn't annexed yet as part of ISRAEL. So it's not "in" Israel.

      I heard that sometimes West Bank mail is routed through Jordan. Does that mean you can put JORDAN?

      I told the postal workers that this was like Tom Hanks' movie TERMINAL, where the South Slavic man's country vanished in a war when he was at the airport and couldnt get through Customs. They agreed and found my comment amusing. They said they liked the movie.

      I asked if there were situations like that, and asked if "Tibet" is listed as a country. As you may know, TIbet has been annexed by China since at least 1949. It turns out, Yes, Tibet is a country in the US Postal database.

  • Five lessons from the struggle to reinstate Steven Salaita at the University of Illinois
    • There's two answers possible. One is that the story about there being a divine presence in the Temple was just made up.

      The second, which the Bible gives, is that the Israelites weren't celebrating the 7 year cycle of keeping the fields fallow. The moral importance of this was, which some might overlook, was that the 7 year cycle and its fallowness were part of the concept of the Year of the "Jubilee", when debts were supposed to be forgiven and society acted in a way that we would consider to be somewhat socialistic or communitarian.

      As a result, the ancient Jews were in Babylonian captivity for a period that reflected the time when the 7 year cycle hadn't been observed. I think it may have been about 70 years of captivity reflecting a total 70 years of nonobservance.

    • As has been documented as well, pro-Israel donors
      I noticed how this article mentions the term Israel, and now is as good a time as any to mention this: I propose using the term "pro-Israeli" instead of "pro-Israel", and using "Israeli" or "Israeli State" instead of "Israel".

      First, we say pro-Amrican, pro-Russian and "pro-Canadian donors", not "pro-American donors". Grammatically, pro-Israeli is a more correct as an adjective than using the noun, "Israel".

      Second, but perhaps more importantly, there is a common confusion between people uninformed about the issue between the ancient, Biblical, Israel having a full, direct relationship with God's presence in the Temple, and the modern Israeli state.

      I myself had this confusion until I was about college aged and learned what Christian and Muslim villages were going through, which made me learn more about the topic. In my mind, the two societies were practically the same, and so it made me think of the modern state in semi-Biblical terms, even though my Christianity was not Fundamentalist. This had a major impact on my thinking about a conflict that I did not know much about. Based on surveys, many other mainstream and conservative American Protestants have the same tendency, and this is a major factor in the conflict, although perhaps often an unacknowledged one

      In case you haven't realized it by now, the Israeli state can at most only represent part of the "People of Israel", for at least two reasons. First, very many Palestinians are in fact ethnically part of the ancient People of Israel, yet Israeli society rejects them. Second, Israeli society defines the People as excluding converts to other faiths, despite Halakha's inclusion of those converts as part of the People. Third, that conversion of those ethnic Israelites (ie. Palestinians) to Islam should not have excluded them from belonging to the People of Israel, because they still believe in the same God.

      Thus, the correct adjective is "pro-Israeli", while the name "Israel" leads to a religious confusion with the broad, ancient People of Israel. People who wish to make a more objective approach should use the term "Israeli" to avoid confusion.

  • On the use of provocative analogies (Nazism, fascism)
    • As much of a distraction as constantly worrying about and trying to control the terms, the words used in the arguments?

      If you can control the words, you can control the situation.

      Good point, Mooser. It's like saying that you can't call massacres of thousands of an indigenous people in an African village region a "genocide".

    • Why is Slater, who is overall a progressive, writing an article saying that massacres of Palestinian villages is not genocide?

    • Thanks, Abigail and MRW.

      I believe that Donald and Slater should agree that genocide means killing a large group of people because of their ethnicity. I believe that the ethnic cleansing performed in Palestine involves cases of genocide as a result.

      As a general matter, Israeli nationalists since 1947, and probably earlier, planned to make their territory have far fewer Palestinians. Even Slater called for this, although he did not want it to involve force. But it realistically only could have used force to achieve mass expulsion of their ethnicity, because they would not voluntarily agree en masse.

      One defense to genocide is the scale. It's true that "only" perhaps from a few thousand to a few ten thousand Palestinians have been killed as a result of Israeli ethnic demographic policy over the last few decades (especially if we include casualties in Lebanon, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai). However, that is still a large number. If an army comes in and massacres thousands or tens of thousands of people, that is still a genocide.

      The second defense would be that the killing was not done for reasons of ethnicity, but because of some other reason like a military objective. However, that defense only works if the military objective is significant and its action is legitimate. The reason it doesn't work is because otherwise we would be talking about an illegal military act for a race-based objective.

      For example, the Turks claim that the Armenian genocide was not genocide because it happened during a war and the Armenian villages were resisting. However, massacring an Armenian village is not a legitimate military act.

      When it comes to massacres of Palestinian villages that have occurred over the past several decades, these can count as genocide too. The broader objective in the Nakba was ethnic cleansing, and the massacres of Palestinian villages, ranging from Deir Yassin to the Christian village of A-Bassa, to achieve the goal were illegal military acts.

    • Johann,

      It's true that the ethnic cleansing of the Nakba didnt kill nearly as many people as the Holocaust did. However, they both involved genocide.

      One time some resistance fighters killed a Nazi in Czechoslovakia, and the Nazis destroyed the whole town, killing a lot of people, maybe practically the whole village. They did that in lots of villages across Eastern Europe. Didn't that count as genocide?

      Likewise, in Plan Dalet, in 1948 the Israeli government decided to "destroy" villages that resisted them- including villages outside the UN-designated territory. The Israeli army sometimes killed many people in those villages - even though the villages were actually defending themselves against an attacker, being outside the UN lines. Didn't those women, children, and men undergo genocide too?

      The fact is, the Israeli government does distinguish between groups based on their race and ethnicity and religion when it comes to meting out harsh measures, and that includes the killing of many civilians.

    • Johann,

      I wish Slater would reconsider his belief that 75% of the Palestinian population in the UN-designated Israeli state should have been transferred, albeit with financial compensation. I would like to discuss alternatives with him, because it seems like it would simply be a more palatable form of ethnic cleansing.

  • Yale Jewish center to hold 'intellectual' panel on storm over ousted priest's comments-- without inviting the priest
  • University of Illinois trustees vote to reject Salaita reinstatement
    • <>
      Welcome to capitalism.

    • I thought that they probably wouldn't reinstate him, because people on Mondoweiss talked before about who is on the board, and a few of them sounded like religious nationalists. The other thing is that Wise likely already made her first decision in consultation with the board informally.

      Still, I had a hope that they might see the light after there was a campaign for his reinstatement and they learned more about constitutional academic freedom rights.

  • Ted Cruz praises Israel and gets booed off stage at D.C. Christian conference
    • nice. I know someone who fits the bill.

    • -- (Lady complains that tons of cash is being sent to the Israeli state)

      Bernie: I support the Two State Solution. (complains about Hamas)

      Crowd response: -- Two state solution is not going to happen.

      Bernie: I don't have a magic answer. If you have another answer, that's great.

      (So his answer to the original question about funding during Israeli war crimes is to complain about Hamas and say he doesn't have an answer.)

      I understand why people are interrupting him - they feel that he acts like a brick wall on the topic, even though he should be a leading left wing senator.

  • Entry Denied
    • Activist,
      I think the Israelis probably have that base covered with their computer data bases. There is a ton of information sharing that goes on, far more than you may suspect.

    • Kate,
      Your chances would be at least better. Julia tweeted that she had people with that connection offering to help her get in again.

    • I've heard from a few world travelers that they have the most scrutinizing, potentially rude system in the world. I am not sure if there is a more strict one. I suppose North Korea and some other places would be much worse if your travel documents are bad, but not if they actually gave you permission to visit.

    • Kate,

      Maybe that among other things. Unless they say the reason, you don't really know. There have been stories about people on MW who were denied for far less.

    • Yes, the ending was the best part.

  • ISIS and Israel allies against a Palestinian state
  • Freed by Gaza, Spiegelman calls Israel out as a batterer
    • Seafoid,
      I believe that the trauma of the Holocaust plays a role in inflaming the conflict. But why are attitudes becoming increasingly intolerant as the Holocaust recedes into the past? Surveys on some topics comparing the older and younger generations are very troubling.

    • It's funny, but Johnny Carson and the narrator from The Twilight Zone have a smooth, unusual way of talking. I think maybe there is a bygone era and US accents have changed since then.

    • At 0:58, is she wearing a religious necklace?

  • Salaita speaks publicly for the first time since firing: 'I am here to reaffirm my commitment to teaching and to a position with the American Indian Studies program at UIUC'
    • It's surprising how too frequent this is.

      Mar 25, 2011

      Donald Wagner, Middle Eastern studies professor at North Park University in Chicago, was fired last year after working in the school for 15 years. An activist for Palestinian human rights and director of North Park’s Center of Middle Eastern Studies (CMES), Wagner was popular with students, but controversial within the evangelical Christian university’s larger community. Student leaders and faculty members started a petition — which eventually had more than 500 signatures, including some from members of North Park’s board of trustees — to rehire Wagner as an adjunct professor. But on May 18, after negotiations with faculty members, North Park announced that it would not rehire Wagner. School administrators have cited financial pressures as the reason for Wagner’s departure.

      In an email interview with F, Wagner said, “There are a number of pro-Israel organizations in the U.S. that monitor faculty who take up justice for the Palestinians, even when those faculty present a balanced and honest approach to this controversial topic. Faculty who do not have tenure are most vulnerable, but others are harassed and monitored as well.”

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