Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4732 (since 2009-08-12 22:27:08)

yonah fredman

"i am a zionist who believes in a two state solution." This was my profile sentence for the last three years. Here is my update: The two state solution is striking in its simplicity and its legal basis on the 1947 partition resolution and UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967. A US president should certainly pursue this direction. But unelected to the US presidency, I am not so limited. Recent calls from various parts of the Israeli political spectrum to grant the right to vote (in Israeli elections) to West Bank Palestinians appeals to me. The trick is to turn this idea into a policy of the state. Granted this would not solve Gaza or the refugees, but it would be a giant step, if not a leap. Another addendum: Shlomo Sand is the last person I thought would "buck me up" in my Zionism, but he has. The attempt to dismantle Israel in the one state plans offered will not result in a solution, and I think that at some point the situation will clarify itself into forcing israel to turn itself into a nation of its citizens and to get Israel to withdraw from the West Bank. As Sand says things don't look good from here.

Showing comments 4732 - 4701

  • Nabi Saleh march highlights Palestinian children, including 14-year-old girl in Israeli custody for a month
    • hey amigo,

      the destruction of palestinian homes in response to terrorist attacks is wrong. the different applications of the destruction of homes in response to terrorist attacks is wrong.

      the prosecution of those who did that dastardly act last July, I assume, is proceeding apace.

      and, no, I don't care to enlighten you, turkey.

  • 'Great American villain' Henry Kissinger faces citizen's arrest inside a Senate hearing room
    • annie robbins- if mondoweiss tolerates your grassy knoll column without a hint of retraction or regret, how high a standard does that set?

      i apologize to eva. rereading her occasional comments reveals her as an opponent of Jews but not blind to history. giles considers history a joke.

    • my comment in regards to giles stands. my comment in regards to eva is wrong. she tries to be historically accurate although her rhetoric is oppositional and not tending towards dialogue. my inference that she has secret sympathies for the nazis was wrong. but my comment in regard to giles stands.

    • shalom's comment left him wide open to comments about other war criminals prosecuted at 90. the demjanuk case was a fiasco, no question.

      if some people other than giles or eva had raised this topic i would not have commented.

    • hey mooser, how you doing. long time no see. remember all those wonderful deep thought provoking discussions we used to have. oh, i miss them so much. keep up the good work.

    • why is it no surprise that giles and eva find their way to bash those who prosecute Nazi guards?

  • 'NYT' perpetuates myth Israel was 'fighting for its very survival' during 1967 war
    • tree- to add to what i wrote yesterday. the legal and historical question as to whether the closing of the straits of tiran is legally an act of war is interesting and not irrelevant, but not the entire story. because lives of millions have been affected by the 67 war i understand that it is the cause of much grief and as such to say, "nasser got what he deserved" seems to indicate that the millions got what they deserved and they did not.

      but your refusal to condemn nasser, nor even to say a negative word about him, indicates a bias, an anti historical bias. of course given today's arab world where islam is ascendant, a secularist like nasser comes off looking good. but in fact, he was a dictator a demagogue and an adventurist. he wanted to control the entire middle east. what was his little fiasco in Yemen all about?

      But back to Israel. rather than the legal question i think we should at least shine the light for a second on game theory. (probably misusing the term, when all i mean is strategy.) ask 1000 strategists: given the history and the players, what should nasser have expected as a result of the three acts: 1. kicking out the UN, 2. closing the straits of tiran. and 3. signing a treaty with jordan and 999 if not 1000 would answer that he should have expected war.

      your whitewash of nasser indicates your bias. your attempt to dismiss the treaty with Jordan as "why not? what's wrong with a treaty?" indicates your bias. signing of treaties in the midst of a crisis is not something that can be treated with a "why not?" attitude unless you are ignorant of history (which is not the case) or a biased person (that's the case.)

      as for my bias: i am 100% pro zionism up to 1945. it saved many cousins of mine. any alternate history would have to include zionism intact up until 1945 for that personal reason. that's my bias.

      to talknic- I'm sorry for writing May 15th without specifying the year. the famous may 15th is 1948 and it was natural to assume that i was referring to the birth of Israel, but i was referring to the celebration of the birth of Israel 19 years later, when nasser began his brinksmanship which resulted in the war.

    • tree- There was plenty of blame to go around in the year leading to the 6 day war. the dynamics of Israel's military bent under ben gurion and continuing under eshkol are factors. but in fact the drumbeat to war that began about the 15th of May was some kind of stupid gamble by someone on the Soviet or Arab side that there would be a benefit from this saber rattling and ultimately this is what led to the war. to pretend that merely referring to Israel's post 67 sins is sufficient to exculpate the Soviets and Nasser indicates a type of bias. The cause for that bias on your part is known by you. of course i infer that the bias is related to your favoritism towards Vidal and Lindbergh. But i do not know that for a fact.

    • misterioso- Could you please link to the Israeli statements marking a turnaround on the issue of withdrawal from Sinai and the Golan before Khartoum. You infer that settlements were built in the Golan before Khartoum. I doubt that Israel's turnaround occurred before Khartoum and I doubt that settlements were begun in the Golan before Khartoum. Please clarify.

    • And the three No's of Khartoum, is that a lie too?

    • tree- what a pleasant tone you have. do you actually spit while you are writing or are you able to communicate spit without physically doing so?

      yes, israeli actions in 1966 were aggressive and contributed to the atmosphere of tension in the region.

      Egypt and Syria (meaning their peoples) and the West Bank and Gazans did not deserve the war, but it was Nasser who brought it on, and I think that is rather clear historically.

      Do you deny that the Soviets lied about the Israeli troops? Do you deny that the western powers assured Israel of free passage through the straits of tiran before israel agreed to withdraw in 57?

      And your thing about Jordan signing a treaty with Egypt, as if that had nothing to do with the war, how many historians agree with that piece of crap?

      Nasser wanted... actually I have no idea what Nasser wanted to do (nor do I learn any more about his motivations from your rant). Maybe he thought he could get some advantage without firing a shot. Maybe he believed in some general who thought that this was a good idea. Maybe the soviets just led him up to this and he didn't think it through. In any case he got what he deserved even if millions of people suffered as a result of his saber rattling. Maybe he was just saber rattling because of his misadventures in Yemen and he got carried away with his own rhetoric.

    • I do not believe that the 6 day war was a war of survival. Israel could have survived without going to war. But to ignore the series of events from the false report of Israeli troops gathering on Syria's borders that was spread for whatever reason by the Soviets, Nasser's dismissal of the UN troops and U thant's feckless overnight acceptance of that dismissal, to the closing of the straits of tiran (if not legally an act of war, then certainly accepted by the powers who guaranteed the end of the 56 war that it was a political act of war), to the alliance between Nasser and Hussein of Jordan, there is no way to ignore the causes of the war, unless you are willingly blind. Nasser was playing chicken, and he got what he asked for.

  • Netanyahu speech scandal blows up, and 'soiled' Dermer looks like the fall guy
    • Some people find occasional utility out of the zionism=Nazism equation. But this Heinrich Himmler and Abe Foxman statement is a clear example of the facile childish destructive nature of this type of loose talk. It is suited to a street corner and not to intelligent conversation. But I know that aspiring to intelligence is shunned upon on MW.

  • That thrilling, anti-elitist Shas campaign video
    • Unlike the US two party system, where Obama must assert that he has the middle class in mind and Schumer attacks Obamacare as having helped the poor but done nothing for the middle class, Israel's system has a party that aims its message at the poor. (There are advantages to a multiparty system, but disadvantages as well.)

  • French Jews, surrender to terror in the baguette capital and move to the land of legal terror!
    • seafoid- I think that the internal thinking of a large portion of jews living in israel vis a vis: "chosen people" does not help. but...

      the urge to survive is natural to all groups (as groups and not just as individuals).

      the constant war situation involved in the choice of that piece of land rather than Uganda is what creates a vacuum on the side of those who say, "give peace a chance" and the constant war situation creates a need for purpose that is filled too often by the group who consider the chosen people as part of their core self definition.

      this is all besides the point of someone raising this word. it is raised not in order to discuss but as a prick point. read eichmann in jerusalem and see how often the nazis referred to the jews as the chosen people. this is rhetoric that can either be discussed intelligently or used as blatant jew baiting. blatant and ancient.

      because there is no dialogue, the use of this terminology gets the kosher grade from MW.

    • to annie robbins (aka grassy knoll journalist)- this was my way of saying, the alarms go off in my head when someone drops in "chosen people" when it is not relevant to the discussion.

    • Statistics show that 9 out of 10 nonJews who use the phrase "chosen people" in reference to the Jews are in fact people who hate Jews.

  • Phila Inquirer publishes a lie: 'Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same'
    • Zionism in 2015 implies satisfaction or at least acceptance of the Nakba of 1948. As such anti Zionism can be specific to rejection of the Nakba or of that satisfaction or of that acceptance and as such is not antiSemitic.

      Because i felt like participating in some discussion about Hannah Arendt a few weeks ago, i commented without having read enough of her magnum opus: eichmann in jerusalem and was called out on my illiteracy and thus shamed i have been delving into her book and briefly skimmed the book eichmann before jerusalem by stangneth. i was struck by the pro Arab position taken by the post WWII Nazis. I realize that the conclusions one takes from this support should not be absolute, but i would insist that a level headed view of zionism should have an analysis of the last 140 years of history prepared to deal with the roots of zionism. such level headed seriousness is really not found around here and to pretend that it is found around here is silliness.

  • Tell your congressperson: Don't attend Netanyahu's speech
    • straightline- it seems that you are not interested in my opinion. you are interested in making blanket statements.

      if you wish to discuss the "shame on Jewish manhood" it will take more than your oblique statement to consider this a discussion.

      if you want me to condemn jeffB for being as stupid as giles, then it's not going to happen.
      if you want to tell me that the US did a lot for the jews between 1933 and 1945, (was that the point of your link?) then you are obtuse.

    • straightline- I would not write those words that JeffB wrote.

      The destruction that the Nazis wrought on the Jews of Europe was rather devastating and among other things was a mark of shame upon Jewish manhood. The inability of US Jews to exert anything near enough power during the years 1933-1945 was a mark of shame on them.

      I think the world is guided by power politics and being stateless is a disadvantage. there is of course soft power along with hard power and the Bibi crew (Ben Gurion too, but Bibi especially) seem to denigrate hearts and minds and value only tanks and walls, but let us not pretend that the first language of the world is anything but power.

      The line i wish to repeat in regards to giles: he thinks history is to laugh.

    • straightline- are you an american? do you live in america? were you born in america?

      actually i commented about giles, not about you. i do not recall reading anything by you that stuck in my mind. not for the good and certainly not for the evil. (on the other hand i just started getting to it with giles. he has more gems. i just showered and don't want to deal with his feces right now, but if you insist we can enter his archive for more.)

      this is the internet. some dude shows up with a name giles and thinks he can preach to the jews how they should change their ways and stop doting on their jewishness and embrace the brotherhood of man. please. give me a break. this is some kind of juvenile do gooder, who thinks that history is to laugh and the present moment only lacks one good preacher, himself. why should i treat such a piece of leftist detritus like anything but detritus? okay, so i exaggerate and call him a hater, rather than an opponent. one good thing about the term antisemite is that it implied opposition rather than hatred. up and up, giles is against the jews unless they are willing to be metaphorically baptised by the waters of brotherhood. go jump in the lake and go play in the traffic. that's to him and not to you, straightline.

    • atrocity. yes, i know what the dictionary says, but check out its usage and i bet you that you'll see that atrocious is given much greater leeway than atrocity. atrocity- deir yassin and my lai come to mind, not a meeting of the houses of congress. If you really think the use of the word makes phil look level headed, then you are right to dispute me. I think it makes him look silly. but i guess you're right, phil looking silly helps my cause.

    • straightline- Here is giles anti Jewish comment number 1:

      Jewish collective memory is delusionary.

      An abiding belief that "their people" have been the victim of the "Other" for 2,000 or 4,000 years.

      It is ridiculous. Jews are, in America, white people, and get all the privileges that go with it.

      They faced a far easier time of it when they first arrived than did the Irish or the Italians, never mind the horror that was visited upon black and brown peoples.

      And, whether they will admit it out loud or not, they long ago replaced the WASPs as the ruling elite in America and in many other Western nations.

      They expect -- and receive -- special privileges above all others. We see this time and time again.

      I don't think we do anyone a favor by going along with their delusions. They need to stop being so damned ethnocentric and focus on the brotherhood of all mankind.

      - See more at: link to

      straightline- anyone who won't even reveal his own ethnic group and goes and tells jews that they're too ethnocentric and need to focus on the brotherhood of all mankind, well, maybe you don't know that he's an antisemite and in fact there is a .01% chance that he is not, but 99.99%, he's a jew hater and an enemy.

    • straightline- I realize that i owe you some source material on giles. the reply button here is really difficult to get to, so i will bring you the comments of giles down below.

    • tree- regarding lindy, I never asserted that Philip roth's estimation of a lindy presidency was accurate, but i did assert that his des moines speech was obscene to the nth degree and you twisted his words to turn toxic words into innocent words. If you wish to go back and fight about filthy lindy's words, let's at it.

    • straightline- I have not read anything about bibi's role in Israel's nuke. but i have read giles comments here and he is primarily a jew hater. so i prefer not to react to him.

      (y'know what let me retract that, because now i will be forced to link to giles stupid comments. he is the nicest kindest man i have ever met and it is totally silly of me not to answer such a straight shooter and lover of mankind.)

    • no response to giles and just.

    • As far as annie robbins quotes of me above: My Omar Barghouti comment was stupid. I was reacting to the atmosphere of the comments section, which means i lost my temper and said something stupid.

      As far as the "mea culpa is the only Yiddish Phil Weiss knows". I think it is my best ever argumentative sentence and you can quote it all the time if you wish.

      I have focused on the word atrocity rather than the gestalt and that is nicht gut, so I will give a general view.

      Proposed: Iran's nuclear bomb is my enemy. (Logic: I have flesh and blood in Israel. Iran's nuclear bomb is their enemy. Iran's bomb is my enemy.) Bibi is dedicated to obstructing that bomb. So bibi is doing me a service.

      Response: Obstructing Iran's nukes requires the best strategy rather than the most vulgar strategy. Aligning Israel with America's interests may be a better strategy than pushing Israel's face (Bibi's face) into the Congress versus President and the Democrats versus Republican divide.

      Further: The response to 9/11 was an attack on Iraq, an ongoing debacle. If instead the response to 9/11 had been worrying about Iran's nuke, then obstructing that nuke would be a nearer goal. Instead the attack on Iraq taxed, tired and tried the impatience of the world-weary US public, so there is insufficient American juice opposing the Iranian nuke and the Israel (Bibi) juice is not sufficient to make up for it.

      Campaign donations is the basis of too much of the US Congress support for Israel (Bibi). Campaign financing is a shame and a scandal. Congress should support its constituents' views and not campaign dollars. Bibi and his in your face politics is stupid to the eighth power in terms of vulgarity rather than nuance and subtlety.

      I really, really, really dislike Bibi and this move of his to speak to the Congress and how it was unveiled. I actually suspect that this move has more to do with his reelection campaign than with Iran's nuke. That is: he is risking Israel's long term interests not for the short term interest of obstructing a nuke, but for the selfish short term interest of getting reelected and if that is indeed the case, he's even lower than I thought before.

    • tree- i will take your mention of lascivious and bloodthirsty to give doctor salaita his due. salaita wants to combine jackie mason and fritz fanon and also plausible deniability, like he's taking a fifth amendment, the right not to self incriminate. he wants to tell you, i hope your children go missing and then say, oh, i meant, this and that. whereas the essence of the 140 character message is that it can be taken more than one way and now he wants to tell us, "like i teach my students, you cannot know what the author meant, he might have meant something else." mealy mouthed plausible deniability.

      and tell me something tree. who do you love more charlie lindberg or gore vidal?

    • annie robbins- What's a miserly pinchbeck?

      btw- i believe that there is a real journalist on staff- James North. Let him comment on the word atrocity. He won't. He knows it's over the top.

      in fact usage of the word "atrocious" and "atrocity" is quite different. If a teacher would say, your handwriting is atrocious, this is acceptable. if a teacher says, your handwriting is an atrocity, he is using rhetoric.

    • True to form. If you have no answer, go straight to ad hominem.

      You really think the word atrocity does not make Phil look bad, like a street corner nut agit prop idiot rather than an intelligent Harvard journalist? Ask a real journalist what they think of Phil's use of that word. This isn't singing to the choir it's screaming to the choir.

      And you and your echo chamber attitude towards MW. You don't care about dialogue or nothing like it. Sharpen your agit prop skills, that's your state of mind.

    • "Don’t go to the House chambers for this historic atrocity. " This cheapening of the language cheapened your appeal.

    • Page: 47
  • Obama won't meet Netanyahu during 'bizarre,' 'historic,' 'unprecedented' visit (Updated)
    • I think Netanyahu's participation in this fiasco is contemptible and stupid.

      I am not sure about Boehner and crew: If they truly sincerely believe that an agreement with Iran is not in the US interest and they feel that Netanyahu will rally their cause, then there might be some reason to their actions rather than treason. Still given protocol it is ugly on the part of Republicans. The assumption is that the Republicans really couldn't care either way on Iran and it is merely just another way to poke Obama plus just another way of cozying up to Israel and Jewish donors. Then in fact it is not merely a matter of protocol, but one of rather gross irresponsibility.

      My bet is that there will not be new sanctions voted in by congress (as in they might pass it, but they won't override a veto) and the negotiations with Iran will fail all on their own and this push for sanctions is really counterproductive, because when the negotiations fail it would be better to point all the blame on Iran rather than on the Israel lobby.

  • Living in Israel isn't the solution to antisemitism
    • Lowenstein states: Not all anti-Jewish hatred is about Israeli crimes in Palestine (though it is one of many causes) .

      It's hard to tell if the minimalism of this statement is honest. Israel's existence or the Israel Palestine conflict is certainly the first topic of discussion in any serious attempt to understand Islamic Arab hatred of Jews in the year 2015 in Europe. The leap involved in attempting an alternate history: ("What would Islamic Arabs in Europe feel towards Jews if Israel had never been born?") is quite daunting and so attempting to separate current physical threats posed to the Jewish communities of Western Europe without the question of Israel is frivolous.

      But Israel in fact is not the only cause of Jew hatred.

      Because of my personal familiarity with Jews who have been raised with the mixture of modernity and tradition and individuals who have rejected modernity and returned to "tradition" with a vengeance, I feel that I have special insight into the conflict within Islam today regarding the struggle between modernity and tradition. (By Islam I mean Islam global community rather than Islam the religion, Islam as a group rather than Islam as a belief system. Analogous to Christendom rather than Christianity.)

      Although I am sure there are individuals who feel no conflict between modernity and tradition, I feel that this conflict is natural. Modernity is focused on individualism (and though this atomization of the human race has its costs) and it seems natural to me that many individuals will feel the opposing pulls of individualism on the one hand and the group demands of faith on the other. That is the nature of a faith in modern times. There is nothing wrong with feeling pulled in different directions. Some though do not feel that they can keep both ideas (modernity and faith) in mind at the same time. Whereas some throw off faith as a result of the conflict, others reject modernity. There are large segments of the Islamic world whose ambivalence towards modernity is tinged with antipathy towards modernity. And those groups of Islam will end up hating Jews, independent of Zionism, because of the mere over representation of Jews in the culture of modernity of the late 19th and 20th centuries and also because people who hate modernity or are filled with resentment as a result of modernity somehow focus on Jews as part of their resentment.

    • Because of my American roots I am opposed to almost all limits on free speech, including those on Dieudonne. I think he's a scumbag and possibly dangerous, but i would not limit his speech.

    • Seems like an article with some depth of thought. But this paragraph jumped out at me:

      "Hypocrisy over free speech principles defines this debate. Muslims are accused of having no sense of humour over depictions of the Prophet Mohammed and yet Israel and its backers routinely try to censor images critical of the Jewish state."

      What bushwa. Let a thousand pens and a thousand nonviolent protestors take to the streets in objection to depicting the prophet. Let the Muslims be as sensitive as they want. But nonviolent protests and murders, that is the problem. To draw a comparison between murder and letters to the editor: now that's propaganda.

  • Diaspora Jews are not in 'exile,' they are at home
    • Mikhael- Good answer.

      I don't think the concept of waiting for Messiah is nonsense, although certain varieties of waiting for Messiah are indeed retrograde and/or passivity inducing. I think the idea of a utopian age which has been misused over and over again in recent history is in fact a good idea, to inspire humans to imagine a better world. To divorce belief in a better world from the Messianic idea is one way of ensuring one doesn't fall prey to the bad Messianisms that abound, but in fact how can one read Isaiah or Amos's visions of a better world and dismiss them as mystical nonsense, without trashing the idea of a better world.

    • oyvey- a comment worthy of david duke.

  • Gaza war blowback? Palestinian stabs 13 on Tel Aviv bus.
  • The ‘hasbara’ tweeps who brought down Jim Clancy, and their ties to Israel and the Israel lobby
    • John O- No. I never said anything regarding his loss of employment. Merely that the exchange between Clancy and the other two tweeters reveals a stupidity and a deafness on Clancy's part.

    • The reporter in question claimed that Charlie Hebdo cartoonists never insulted Mohammed only insulted cowards who spoke in the name of Mohammed falsely. the tweeters responded: you are wrong. and in fact he was wrong. and he responded: you are propagandists for Israel, which was totally besides the point. His tweet was false and his defense was just plain stupid. and now we have a column that proves that the tweeters were in fact propagandists. this is just mediocrity masquerading as journalism.

  • There is no pride for Jews in the state of Israel
    • and if it wasn’t someone would invent it.

      annie robbins- what a grasp of history you have!

    • yes, chet, i believe the jew hatred by middle Eastern Arab Muslims in Europe has its roots in the Palestinian Israeli conflict.

    • I don't live in Europe, but people tell me that Jews are warned not to wear a yarmulka in European cities because of fear of getting beaten up by Arab Muslims. Scott Ratner does not even deign to deal with this.

  • Why do Muslims object to depictions of their prophet?
    • On the myths and religions that preceded Judaism: I have no doubt that whenever the scribes inscribed: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, that they did not come up with this line on their own and it had existed as a handed down myth. Yet, now, today, in the west these are the most ancient words describing the creation of the world. Those who wish to destroy the "infamy of belief in god" might prefer no scripture from anybody, but those who take a positive attitude towards the traditions of belief in the west must admit that the oldest creation story handed down is in hebrew and reads breishit bara elohim et hashamayim v'et ha'aretz.

    • seafoid-- Having been raised a fervent believer in monotheism, the fact that Islam spread monotheism around the world is quite important and incredible. (From a Jewish point of view, Islam is much closer to Judaism in terms of monotheism, whereas Christianity is closer to Judaism in terms of its acceptance of the Hebrew scriptures.)

      Personally I don't believe that an angel spoke to Muhammad, although "divine inspiration" seems to be a way to accept his words as a cut above the average inspiration. I don't hold it against him that he copied Judaism. In music the Beatles always credited all the musicians from whom they drew their inspiration. and never stated, we have come to replace the originals. the problem with Islam is that it conceives itself as a replacement for Judaism.

    • seafoid- Just like you to reduce the entire problem to Zionism. The Arab world doesn't deserve analysis, only the Zionists deserve analysis. Maybe because you don't do analysis. You only do condemnation.

    • bryan- Of course the similarities between Islam and Judaism are no strange coincidence. Muhammad copied (or shall we say Muhammad's angel didn't have to copy, because there was only one source to begin with) Judaism. He hoped/expected Judaism to declare him the continuation of their tradition. It didn't happen and that irked him. So tension was created and always existed between the final prophecy and those that did not accept Muhammad.

      Maimonides was about 800 years ago. The common space of Islam and Judaism flourishing together was during a time period when Islam was flourishing. Islam (as represented by Islam's political capitals being the center of science and technology) has been on the decline for over 400 years. The Arab Islam has been on decline for 800 years.

      Zionism was not born in Britain or America, neither was it born in Baghdad and Cairo. It was born in the Pale under the boot of the czar. The idea people behind Zionism sensed the slaughter that was coming and asserted that Jews needed to control their own destiny. The inability of the Zionists to reach a peace with the Arabs between 1949 and today is symptom that they so far have shown only a one dimensional ability to control their own destiny and this will not suffice in the long run. and we're now coming close to the long run's comeuppance. there is no fundamental flaw except for those who want Zionism to have been some perfect system. it wasn't and it isn't. It needs to be a working system which it will not be unless it can reach a peace like that which Avraham Burg is reaching for. He calls himself post Zionist, but if he were to succeed he would be the highest Zionist.

    • K Renner- Haven't seen you around before. Howdy.

      My point is not that all Muslims are violent like last week. my point is about the cultural bubble that has protected Muslims from having to deal with the fact that they do not rule the world. The Arab peninsula's conquest of much of the western world between 700 and 1200 has been followed by 800 fallow years. the fact that Turkey a pagan people conquered the Arab world and took their religion because they had none, allowed the bubble to continue until the 19th century and then burst in 1918. To ignore the wider cultural questions is to pretend.

      The matter of radical Islam is not one that I am dealing with. I am just wishing to give a little context. You seem to know more than me about history, but still please deal with the historical facts that I have raised.

      My theory is as follows: The Muslim world has been confronted by the superiority of the western world in the following categories: education, science, technology and economy. They envy western society and immigrate to western societies. then they demand that western society treats the Muslim prophet better than the west treats its own prophet/son of god. it's an unnatural request.

    • photoshopping merkel out of the picture is a sign of how backward too much of jewish israeli society is. comparing photoshopping with murdering journalists is placing oneself in a college dormitory discussion where blacks and whites exists but no grays.

    • Walid- the birth of the West's very real support for Zionism began with the Balfour declaration and it seems obvious that Britain was looking for an outpost near the Suez Canal and in the region and they thought they could control and use Zionism.

      The birth of Zionism was in Eastern Europe where a very real struggle for life (or death) was about to take place under both Stalin and Hitler, but was presaged by the ugliness of the Czarist regime and the last breaths of the old regime of central Europe. The Zionists used the Jew hatred that abounded to bolster their cause through an ideology of "we have to leave" (to the extreme of Pinsker's anti Gentile absolutism) and through negotiations with heads of state.

    • Whizdom- As far as I know American law regarding incitement to violence are sufficient. Europe's practical situation (so close to the Middle East with large Muslim "working class immigrant" populations) might have a dynamic that "requires" or raises questions regarding incitement that America can allow with free speech.

    • Welcome to the 21st century.

      Yes, I understand why Muslims prohibit depictions of the Prophet. But they are much too sensitive about it. Fact: the western world has downgraded religion and at the exact same time (no coincidence most historians believe) has excelled in technology. the same technology that the entire world wants and needs has been invented by the scoffing west. (also: the same technology that is ruining our eco system and also the same technology that makes the human propensities towards violence and wars so destructive). the same technology with which the west colonized the muslim world from 1918 until today. to neglect the educational and technological backwardness of the primary voices of the muslim world (arab countries and pakistan) is to omit half the story. they are backwards: technologically, militarily and educationally (without getting into value based differences like freedom and the role of women). why is it that there are so many muslim immigrants in europe. because that's where the money is that's where the opportunities are that's where the education is, that's where the freedom is.

      to tell the story of the ire felt by believers when confronted by the disrespect shown by the west merely for depicting the prophet (not in a denigrating fashion, but any fashion) must be seen in the context of how backward most of the muslim world is in comparison with the west.


  • Jews around the world know 'deep in their hearts they have only one country, Israel' -- Netanyahu
    • seafoid- giles said nothing about gaza. he said that because of freedom of speech advantages jews who look to leave france are stupid. your argument, that jews everywhere deserve to be killed because of gaza, (maybe jews everywhere only until the death count of gaza is equalled, which has a long way to go) that is a different argument entirely.

    • Giles- Where do you live? Has your ethnic group been targeted in your home town in the last few years? if not, stfu. if so, please explain.

  • It's not the cartoons-- a contrarian perspective from a Muslim cartoonist
    • Haven't read it all through, but it is excellent to get input from the local political cartoonist. Thanks, Kate.

  • Debate over trip to Israel reveals fissures in Muslim American community
    • From the letter opposing participation in the Hartman program:

      "We strongly believe in the need for increased engagement by Muslim Americans with the issue of Palestine but only in ways that promote Palestinian liberation and comply with Palestinian demands."

      Now isn't that special?

  • When blasphemy is bigotry: The need to recognise historical trauma when discussing Charlie Hebdo
    • yes, kris, kiryat yoel and marseilles are almost twins in their importance.

    • Walid- this is the new etiquette. bizarro communication. frustrated housewife communication. you are mooser's apt pupil.

    • On the issue of the unequal treatment the religions receive from the satirists at Charlie Hebdo:

      The dynamics of the three religions is certainly different at this time in France and in the world and the satirists aim their sarcastic pens in the direction of the religion that is ascendant and that is Islam, because there are more Muslims in France (and in the world) today than there were yesterday and there will be more tomorrow due to the childbearing propensity of the Muslims and the poor compared to the white Catholics.

      (The Jews are really not a major player in terms of real population in France- 1% or something like that, whereas Muslims are 40% of Marseilles we were told just recently by Walid.)

      Meanwhile aside from immigration and childbearing there are the empty churches and the full mosques. Compare where the church was in 1939 in France and where it is today. Scraping by compared to excelling. (excelling at hating Jews in 1939, but certainly in terms of itself, the Church was far better off 80 years ago than it is today.) Therefore the church is already losing and the satirist naturally attacks the ascendant rather than that which is already on the ropes.

  • Netanyahu crashes Paris unity march, French gov't fumes
    • BTW, the public editor of the times agrees with me. link to

    • Kris- Yes, a discussion of the disrespect involved in depicting the prophet and whether a western media outlet should refrain from publishing such a depiction even when it is news is an appropriate topic of conversation. But the primary reason the Times is refraining from publishing this week's Charlie Hebdo cover has maybe 1% to do with respect and about 99% to do with fear.

      And the fact is that this is not a silly consideration and to call it cowardice is wrong and it should be called prudence. It is prudent for the Times to worry about its employees and the access of their reporters to the billion and a half Muslims and their rulers or representatives. It is even prudent for the Times to worry about a Pakistani cop or a Pakistani demonstrator (Danish cartoons is my train of thought) and refrains from publishing cartoons that lead to riots by hotheaded protesters anywhere around the globe, there is validity in choosing to stop being a news organization and start being a Kumbaya organization. But to pretend that this is a decision based on respect rather than fear is naive.

    • walid- oh no problem. i was missing the word "context". now you truly are a genius! incroyable!

    • maybe anti dialogue is the proper strategy for the free Palestine movement. i don't know. but it sure is convenient, when all evidence of an ability to dialogue seems to be utterly lacking.

    • yes, walid. publishing this cartoon of mohammed crying with a poster saying "je suis charlie" is an incredible analogy to the protocols. how discerning of you. how on target. how did you think of that? what a genius you are!

    • Annie- do you really believe that or is this just evidence that you are willing to write a lie if it bolsters your argument? i bet if you took a lie detector test your sweat glands would testify that you are lying and you know it.

      the only reason the times is not printing this cartoon is because radical islam threatens violence and no other reason.

    • you're right whizdom. it wasn't jew hatred. it was anti zionism. or maybe it was random. believe what you want.

    • More on the cowardice in the face of the Charlie Hebdo story: the NYT refuses to run the cover of this week's Charlie Hebdo, but merely links to it. Whereas the obscene (Hustler like) depictions of the prophet are not necessarily news and can be referred to obliquely, the cartoon of the Prophet on this week's cover is not obscene by any stretch and merely offends the religious sensibilities of those who oppose depicting the prophet. Choosing not to print obscene cartoons is sensible, choosing to kowtow to Islamic law when covering a news story is cowardice.

    • I am no fan of Netanyahu and I have read some columnists in Haaretz decrying Bibi's pushiness in heading to a demonstration that Hollande wished he would not attend.

      On a different point. The Yehudim killed in the Kosher mart died on Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God's name). They were killed because they were Jews.

      (The attack on Har Nof although disgusting, can be seen in the light of the thousands of Palestinians killed by IDF forces in Gaza this summer. (Although in fact it was an act to protest Jews encroaching on the Temple Mount.) But the attack on the Kosher mart in Paris should be seen in the light of me-too-ism. as in: while you are killing enemies of Islam (Charlie Hebdo) don't forget dessert: a couple of dead Jews would go nicely with the dead journalists. To view the killing of the French mart Jews in the light of Gaza is chronologically accurate, but misses and obscures the point. Can't kill westerners in Paris without a couple of dead Jews thrown in, thus sayeth radical Islam.)

    • seafoid- the upshot of you and Wilcox- every Jew is a valid target. is that not a valid inference?

  • Don't let's go to the war of civilizations again
    • lysias- Could you link to something that indicates that Olmert had a desire to go to war against Hezbollah and Lebanon in the summer of 2006? Once the war started it seemed to be the Americans (Bush administration) more than Israel itself who were interested in defeating Hezbollah, why do you think the attack by Hezbollah was a pretext rather than a cause? (an immediate cause rather than an underlying cause, but a cause and not a pretext.)

    • Walid- I understand the hatred. But allow me to ask a question. Did you favor the action by Hezbollah, the capture of the Israeli soldiers, that was the immediate cause of that war?

    • phil gets 3 days to react to Charlie Hebdo and I should get one day to react to phil:

      i've heard someone (on the radio) call this the French 9/11. I do not wish to recall the fear I felt those days (less than 7 miles away in Brooklyn where you could smell the aftermath of the carnage: was it jet fuel or the buildings' "dust"?) There was plenty of saber rattling from the commentators on the news back then and that evolved into even stupider saber usage. But what I wanted then and want now was clarity. And clarity is precisely what Phil obscures here with his Zionism obsession.

      If this obsession would lead to the avoidance of yet another round of thousands of dead Palestinians in Gaza, I would tell him, Right on!' Save lives with mediocre analysis. Great! I wish life worked that way, but it doesn't.

      French colonialism and "immigrant" (even second generation) alienation are the causes here (and I use the word cause as in cause and effect). Islam is the language in which the alienation is expressed and radical Islam is the sword that the truly messed up alienated second generation immigrants use to assert their defiance of the winners (so far) in the Arab versus West war that has existed since at least the aftermath of WWI.

      Zionism is not irrelevant, but certainly not relevant if one is attempting clarity.

      Last week Phil told us that he is an American and a former Jew. (I know i will take hits for my inexactitude.) This week he dons the mantle of Jew once more. Why? In order to utter the only phrase of Yiddish that he apparently knows: Mea culpa. And by mea, he doesn't mean him. He means the other meshugene Jews who refuse to assimilate like him.

      Last week Phil flushed "Jew" down the drain- why shed any tears over one more disappearing language? But this week Phil has salvaged "Jew" from the ash heap of his story, so that he can attack Zionism from the inside, as one of the tribe.

      Spare us, white American Phil Weiss: Plead mea culpa for your fellow white Americans, and attack Zionism from the outside and not as a fake insider.

    • First reaction: What a mouthful of mediocre predictable mush!

      On a side point, if you had asked Jesus, (I assume he's the dude regarding the mote), he would not have recognized 2 out of the 3 descriptors you chose. He would have recognized himself as a Jew and certainly not as a Christian nor as a Palestinian.

  • Jo Roberts on Jewish trauma, the Nakba, and the olive tree
    • On the topic of Arab antiSemitism raised in the interview, here's my theory regarding the big "what if?". what if there had been no zionism what would have been the state of relations between the Arabs and the Jews. and i think it would be fair to say that it would be far better than the state given zionism's existence, but it wouldn't be so great. the history of the christian communities in arab countries over the past 100 years has not been on the upswing, so there really is no reason to imagine that the relation with the jews would have been any better. Arab Muslim hospitality towards the peoples of the book(s) might have been the ideal, but this ideal was only suited to those time periods when Islam was on top. on the other hand in times of stress that tolerance was dumped in favor of the emotionally and the politically expedient. there is no question that the relation of the west between 1918 and 2015 with the Arab middle east would have been thorny given colonialism, resource of oil, and the predominance of the west and western values and western schools and western economies in the global world. the tension with the west was bound to create a tension in the societies of the Muslim Arab world and they would have responded with intolerance towards the Jewish population in their midst. In good times Islam was tolerant. In bad times, which the past century was bound to be in any case, Arab Islam is not so tolerant. (not regarding the hearts of the majority of Arab Muslims but the polities of those in political control.)

  • The Israel lobby rallies inside the Republican Party
    • Obviously the topic did deserve comment from real contributors rather than the commentator committee down here. One day later there is a thoughtful post by scott long, covering the topic quite completely. It is okay that mondoweiss waited 24 hours before publishing thoughtful words on the topic rather than the twitter ized minute by minute coverage of the cable networks. that is fine and i guess my "shock" that there was no immediate comment was silly. it is better to respond a day late than to say something incomplete or half cocked.

      the reaction of commentators here to my "shock" exemplifies the atmosphere of stupidity that reigns in the comment section with the hosts with the most down here and their imitators. bringing up richard witty's name after he has been exiled is the latest type of schoolyard nonsense that stinks like a frustrated housewife's empty chatter. the level of discourse here is two clicks above a fetid chicken farm river.

    • This is a middle east story with controversies about freedom of speech and ramifications of Islamophobia and I am somehow presumptuous for expecting a comment?! i assume phil will comment tomorrow.

      but because you idiots jump to his defense. let me put it in inciteful terms. phil has to wait until omar barghouti tells him what to write. has to get it lined up with the party line first.

    • just- It's the front story around the world, but Phil gives it a pass. Hopefully just for a day and tomorrow he will enlighten us. Until then he has given the job to the denizens of the comments section. Not a trustworthy delegation of responsibility from the looks of it.

    • Frankly rather shocked that Phil has not commented on the Charlie Hebdo story. A major story with middle east implications involving murdering journalists and no comment here? Maybe we'll hear from him tomorrow.

    • The movement of Jews towards the Republican party reflects two facts: 1. That is the tendency in the wider society and 2. The Jews are "disproportionately" Democratic. That is their socio economic situation would indicate a much higher affinity to the Republican party by all "rational" measures of "what's in it for me" politics and their traditional liberalism and Democratic party affiliation are an anomaly. Thus there is something "wrong" with so many upper income Jews being Democrats and this is merely the correction of that anomaly.

  • 'NYT' reporter says Palestinians must make 'concessions... they have long avoided'
    • pj dude states (somewhere in this overstuffed thread): jews are a religion not a nation. and its not their homeland as only ethnic groups have those.

      pj has inscribed on his two tablets the law from on high. the jews are a religion and not a nation. they are not even an ethnic group.

      so, i react:

      Although one does not wish to grant Hitler or his living heirs any ideological victories, but during last century's outstanding Jewish defeat and catastrophe (1939-1945), the definition of "Jew" was definitely ethnic and totally divorced (at least regarding a practical case by case basis) from the religion.

      (The reason why I specify case by case: In its totality the Nazis' extermination antiSemitism was influenced by at least one element of Judaism- the myth of the chosen people. The exaltation of the Aryan race utilized the Jewish myth of chosenness as their idea's polar opposite.)

      If we deal with the period from Napoleon to Hitler there were indeed moves in Western Europe and America in particular to accept the Jew as an individual of a different faith, but this ideation of the Jew as citizen with a faith that we choose to regard as an eccentricity rather than an essence, this idea was nowhere near universal (global) and it was not nearly predominant particularly in regions with the highest concentration of large Jewish populations further to the east. There Jews were considered ethnically different.

      In progressive America and other progressive societies in 2015, there is a move/wish to create a post ethnic society. (not quite the same as the movement towards a multicultural society which is also a zeitgeist in the west.) Aside from this spirit of the west there is the spirit of the Jews: When the Jews came to America (in particular, but maybe other Anglo Saxon countries as well) they felt the urge to become "fully human" and to shed the old world and to be born anew as Americans. This was a strong impulse and still is an impulse for Jews in the West.

      Thus given the anti ethnic ideal of "progressive" America added to the shed-the-old-bring-out-the-new of a large portion of American Jewry, this "Jew is a religion and not a nation nor even an ethnic group" becomes a useful tool to describe the goal that progressive America and assimilating Jews wish to achieve. But historically it reflects a wish or a historical novelty rather than an essence. It may be a good wish and the progressive American idea may deserve the propaganda boost so as to bolster it into the future, but it is not a historical fact and stated alone like that it embodies arrogance and dogmatism rather than humble thoughtful historical perspective or nuance.

  • Against self-determination
    • seafoid- How much yiddish do you speak? how much hebrew do you speak? can you read either language?

    • The attitude: let the Jewish language fade away. hundreds of other languages are being lost. bye-bye. don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, as an organizing principle by which jews can organize, seems perverse to me.

    • Elliot- Islam transcends national identity, it certainly does not transcend sectarianism except in an unrealized ideal.

    • old geezer- Come now. phil is not merely one of the editors. the site is called mondoweiss.

    • A quick reaction after the first read through. Your post nationalism is not something that is that common in the middle east. rather rare in fact.

      But mostly: I think given the fact that you have grown up and grown past your Jewish upbringing that you should recompose the about section of this website specifically #4: To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity. This may have reflected your thinking years ago, but does not anymore and as a historical document of your thinking this part of the "about" section is relevant to your evolution, but it is no longer relevant to this website in 2015.

  • Palestinian resolution fails at the Security Council, U.S. votes against 'staged confrontation' at the UN
    • My comment was on the issue of Obama's choices.

    • Mister Obama's schedule is as follows: Israeli elections in March. everything on hold til then.

      then we shall see. the one in ten chance that it is a Herzog prime ministership is one that Obama will take full advantage of. the 8.9 in 10 chance that it is a netanyahu led government constituted as expected: heavily weighted to the right, will put Obama on the spot. What does he wish to achieve in his last 22 months in office (from march 17 '15 to january 20 '17) vis a vis the palestinian israeli conflict? he will have to decide what is possible and what he wishes to achieve.

  • Leading rabbi tells Arab ambassador not to 'shlep' Kerry's view of Palestine into discussion of religion and terrorism
    • Fighting wars is not limited to the Abrahamic religions and in fact is not limited to religions. The wars fought in the name of Christianity seem to be very much against the gist of the New Testament, while its fervor can understandably been transformed into warrior fervor, its fervor in the text is certainly not oriented towards the sword. Judaism on the other hand has laws of war and conquering right there in the text. Islam's Koran is somewhere between the two, quite clearly influenced by the history of Muhammad, who fought wars.

      Christianity and Islam because of their universalist nature embarked on converting the world at the point of the sword. Judaism is oriented towards a specific land. demarcated quite explicitly in its text, whereas Christianity and Islam are oriented towards the entire globe.

      Judaism's texts also include the Talmud written after the beginning of the long period of powerlessness.

      The current wars that Israel have fought are not justified by the history of the last 140 years, but certainly a historian who would focus purely on the books and the laws and would ignore the history of the last 140 years would have to be something less than a competent historian.

  • Caroline Glick says there were no Palestinian refugees
    • The reaction of the Arab (Palestinian) leadership to the Partition resolution passed in November 1947 was war: low level war, but war.

  • Israel should pay 1.4 million Palestinians to leave Gaza, Moshe Feiglin says
    • If the transcripts of the debates at the UN in 1947 are available it would be easy to check how many times the Palestinians referred to themselves as Arabs and how many times they referred to themselves as Palestinians.

    • RoHa- If one is referring to all the inhabitants of Palestine in 1948 then referring to them as Palestinians would be useful. Since they were in the midst of a civil war of sorts it would be useful to label the combatants as one side is x and the other side is y and therefore Jews versus Arabs or Jews versus Muslims or Jews versus christians might be more useful then saying Palestinians which would not be useful. Like referring to a New York baseball player as a Yankee rather than saying the ball players scored twice in the top of the 2nd and the score is ball players 2 ball players 1.

    • bintbiba- Does it offend you if i call the Arabs who lived in Palestine in 1948 indigenous or Arabs rather than Palestinians? If it does, I am sorry. But I am used to referring to the Arabs who lived in Palestine previous to 1948 as indigenous and Arabs and not Palestinians. I have been taught that the Jews of Palestine were more attached to the title Palestinian than the Arabs were. I am not asserting that as a fact, but i will use language that fits in with the history that I read, even if it does not fit in with the history that you read.

      I apologize if I have offended you.

      I wonder what percentage of Palestinians in 1939 would have recognized the Palestinian flag. I have no idea. I assume it is a small percentage- between 5 and 10% but i have no way of knowing. I wonder if in 1914 a Palestinian were asked, where do you live, how many would have answered Palestine? I have no idea. I have read that the national consciousness that flowered into the PLO was something that was not in full bloom in 1948.

    • Mooser- Regarding Hebrew. You don't know anything about Hebrew or Arabic, or Aramaic. You can't even read Ivri-Teitch (hebrew German) when it's written in Hebrew letters. And yet i have to listen to you tell me what Hebrew is and is not.

      It is the language of the Torah.
      It is the language of 99% of the Tanach.
      It is the language of the Mishna.
      It is the language of the prayer book.
      It is the language of Maimonides's Mishne Torah.
      It is the language of the Shulchan Aruch (the major work delineating Jewish law).
      It was the preferred language of the Haskala (jewish enlightenment.)

      Talk about something that you know something about instead of parroting the crap you read on the internet.

    • The indigenous Arabs in 1948 rarely referred to themselves as Palestinians, so to do so in retrospect seems to be a historical gloss, as in an error, as in an anachronism, as in an inaccuracy. In 2014 if Hanan Zouabi wishes to call herself Palestinian by all means. She is a Palestinian and if Omar Barghouti wants to call himself a Palestinian. By all means, he is a Palestinian. But if anyone tells me that the mufti was a Palestinian, when the name of his organization was Arab Higher Committee and none of the militias used the term Palestinian to describe themselves and it is only rare individual Palestinians of the pre 1948 era who called themselves Palestinian, to use the term Palestinian rather than Arab or indigenous strikes me as being oblivious to the history of that moment. And devoted to the propaganda of this moment in stead of accuracy for accuracy sake.

    • I really wasn't making a moral preference for a Jewish state in Palestine (Israel) over a Jewish state in Uganda. From a historical viewpoint very few Jews headed towards Palestine as a destination compared to North America as a destination and fewer yet would have headed towards a place like Uganda. And so on the basis of Zionism seeking Zion rather than Uganda more Jews moved to Palestine than would have moved to Uganda (although Germany and Poland in the 30's would have been interesting to see how many would have headed towards Uganda. I don't think Poland in the 20's was bad enough for people to move to Uganda.)

      I also cannot comment on how readiness to absorb masses of refugees would have occurred in Uganda and so it is from the perspective of the extreme emergency in Europe between 1939 and 1945 that I base my moral backing for the establishment of a Jewish state in a place that attracted people (because Zion was in some way the "ultimate goal of Jewish history", whereas Uganda was better than nothing, when life and limb are in danger, but otherwise just a place for refuge, so it would have attracted fewer Jews in the 30's than Palestine attracted).

      I don't know if I would have had the strength or the inclination of those that opposed the Biltmore Program of 1942. I can pretty well assume that I would not have supported Uganda in 1903.

      We can imagine a Jewish post war history of no birth of Israel and Uganda replacing Zion as the British mandate. but no matter how much pain and death the decision of 1903 caused, it had a major formative influence on the state of world Judaism circa 2014 vis a vis language and geopolitics and familiarity with the spiritual home of Judaism on the ground rather than just as words in a prayer book.

      Of course I would wave my wand and undo Zionism if it would look like Union Square Park tomorrow. But there is no wand and in fact i deal with the world as I was handed it. What I would have done in 1948, would probably have depended on my reaction to the Biltmore program in 1942. If I would have reflected my upbringing, I would have supported Ben Gurion in 1942 and 1948. Given what I know today I would oppose Biltmore, but i have more knowledge than I would have had in 1942 and 1948.

      (To be specific: i have relatives that survived by moving to Palestine and if Uganda had been the refuge they might have chosen Poland and death.)

    • MHughes- Happy new year to you, too.

      The naturalness of Zion as the next home for the Jewish people fleeing from Eastern Europe is self evident given the traditions. Those who figured out logistics though had given us a heads up that there was going to be a crash with the indigenous.

      Yes, the “what if?” factor of Uganda is tantalizing in many ways. But despite the catastrophe that Zionism has been for the indigenous, it has created a state with a large Jewish population and with a Jewish calendar and a Jewish language. Of course if your interest is world peace or the rights of the indigenous these things don’t add up to much for you, but Uganda would not have been the same sort of accomplishment that a return to Zion created.

      The Biltmore program of 1942 is cited by Arendt as the crossing of the Rubicon vis a vis utter coercion vis a vis the indigenous.

      Again I appreciate the New Year’s wishes.

    • See comment below.

    • Mhughes- I am curious as to why you choose 1905 as the moment of Zionism's full self definition.

    • Citizen- I know that the laissez faire here at MW allows crap like this. Tell us about Hitler's looks, please.

  • Next U.S. elections threaten Israel's 'total isolation' -- and the Israeli public is worried
    • The headline is quite positive that the 2016 elections will threaten Israel's isolation, but in the text of the article, Phil treats the thought with mockery: from your lips to Jeb Bush's ears. Thus we have established that headlines are for thoughtlessness and the text of the articles reveals the realistic thoughts.

    • Krauss- If I were a student of your views of Zionism and Jewish history I would study this comment at greater length. But I must assert the wrongness of one of the early assertions contained therein:
      "What I am saying is this: the world knew what Israel did to the Palestinians in the years before the ’67 war. Even before the founding of the state. That is why Roosevelt and Marshall were so against establishing it. That is why the British forbade Jewish immigration because they saw what the previous migrants had done. "
      To attribute such motives to Roosevelt and Marshall and to the British is quaint and naive. Roosevelt and Marshall were against the state because it would wreak havoc in the region and for US interests. (The British were concerned with geopolitics and not human rights.) Possibly the way the Zionists treated the indigenous was part of the colonialism which roosevelt and marshall saw as something that was going to wither and pass away, but to attribute their opposition to the way the Zionists treated the indigenous is somewhat childish and certainly far away from the real world considerations of the world powers.

  • NY Times says a Palestinian majority would 'endanger Israel's democratic ideals'
    • Off topic- A very interesting article by eva Illouz in Friday's Haaretz.

      link to

      I googled "where was the left when the settlers hijacked zionism eva illouz" and was granted access to the article without the paywall.

  • On eve of University of California honor, Bill Maher defends anti-Muslim hate speech in Vanity Fair interview
    • Walid- I am familiar with the rude and uncalm manner of Maher, but I do not think that I have read anything which deserves the comments of Karen Armstrong.

      As for my own comments, I hardly think that anything I wrote implies that Muslims are bad people because of the (negative portions) contents of the Quran. Praying five times a day, faith in one God, making a pilgrimage to Mecca, watching what you eat, giving charity, substitute five with three and mecca with jerusalem and you have a short hand description of Judaism instead of Islam. Islam and Orthodox Judaism are like two peas in a pod.

      But... Just like I object to certain attitudes in the Torah, I have a right to object to certain attitudes in the Koran. And the history of Islam is not the history of a nomadic people trying to adjust as a minority religion, but that of a conquering empire (defeated by the Mongols and then reconquered by Turkey- both of Islam and not of Islam at the same time) and to deny this history that involves empire and to pretend that Islam is just some book, but not a solid portion of Western Civilization history is to pretend. The inferences for individual Muslims living in the West of such a realism towards the history of Islam is probably bad and therefore regrettable, but a real eye towards the history of the peoples of the Middle East is certainly a step towards knowledge. Ignorance is bliss, only to a point, but knowledge is power, once enough knowledge accrues. karen armstrong may have been referring to some statement of maher's that deserves revulsion, but an in depth discussion of history and the content of the Koran add to our understanding. or at least should if we indeed are interested in understanding.

    • Walid- Are you denying that Muhammad fought wars? Are you denying that Muhammad defended his wars with statements found in the Quran? Are you denying that Muhammad extolled fighting of the infidel? Are you denying that Muhammad used politically incorrect language (sons of pigs and apes) to scold the Jews who were opponents?

      Should i go through each verse quoted on anti Islamic web sites so that you can clarify that all the statements that seem to extol violence are really statements of peace?

      If we must go through verse by verse, then we shall start with the second sura verses 191 through 193:

      "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing...
      but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)" (Translation is from the Noble Quran)

    • All 3 monotheistic religions have been used as an organizing principle and motivation to fight wars. The most surprising of the three was the use of Christianity to fight wars despite the nonbelligerent nature of most of the New Testament. Nonetheless Constantine and the glistening cross on his shield was used to conquer. The other two books: Hebrew Bible and Koran are less surprising sources for fighting wars. The Hebrew bible's physical wars (until 1917 shall we say) were quite ancient and circumscribed in locale compared to the Koran's recent wars and wide domain.

      I can safely say that a free spirit unencumbered by a morality can take the text of the Hebrew Bible and turn it into a very destructive force. (I think Zionism and its problems have a lot more to do with colonialism versus indigenous and a tiny Jewish nation versus a very large Arab/Muslim nation, without need for biblical reference to explain where we are, but there can be no discounting the Bible and its wars from the logic of the supporters of Naftali Bennett and it can be argued that the supporters of Ben Gurion derived their ferocity and single mindedness from the Bible as well.)

      My knowledge of the Koran is very sparse, but I have read enough to know that Muhammad's teachings combined with some latent power of the Arab peninsula leading to one of the great conquests and empires known to man and though monotheism is a powerful idea, monotheism plus the creed of the Koran conquered with a sword and not with a soapbox. To minimize the warmaking motivators included in the Koran seems to be anti historical.

      Comedy depends on brevity, think 140 characters, which is hardly ever calm and usually betrays a partial view. But that does not absolve us from attempting to understand history and where today's religions, including Judaism and Islam are leading us.

    • quote from karen armstrong is in the post's first paragraph: this is ‘the sort of talk that led to the concentrations camps in Europe. The sorts of things that people were saying about Jews in the 30s and 40s.’

      Since the fall of the Shah in 79 there has been a conflict between nations that raise the flag of Islam and the United States. Currently there is a group called ISIS killing hostages that are citizens of the United States.

      I think the conflict between the US and much of the Islamic world is focused on a number of issues, which includes Israel, the aftermath (or enduring legacy) of colonialism, and one of the many factors of the conflict includes the difficulty of societies to adjust to modernity. I think that Islam was dominant in large regions of the world until recently and that dealing with the content of the Koran is a small part of the real problem.

      The hatred of Jews in the 30's and 40's had an echo of the theological battles of the previous thousand years, battles in which the nonJews had all the weapons and all the power of state and the Jews had suitcases and words to memorize so that they could be uttered without much trouble when they were being burnt at the stake. But the major hatred of the Jews in the 30's and 40's was not theological, but racial and economic.

      I suspect that much of what has been said by Maher has not been based upon a calm and knowledgeable reading of Islam, mainstream or radical. And I'm sure if you pick one of such statements I would agree that its content does not add to the debate and to the knowledge of the public. But just reading karen armstrong's statement without seeing which statement of Maher is being condemned as leading to genocide, it seems to be that her statement was over the top and would only serve to muzzle. If i had a specific statement's of maher's which was cited as the cause of hatred of American Muslims then I could deal with Armstrong's statement in a different fashion.

    • There is a battle of ideas regarding Islam and that battle of ideas is a very real battle. As in: what was Islam in the 8th century and what is Islam today? To muzzle that battle of ideas with the specter of genocide and hate a la Europe in the 30's and 40's, is to muzzle the battle and thus Karen Armstrong's statement is stupid, if one believes that the battle of ideas should be fought rather than muzzled.

  • JVP offers bold universalist Hanukkah message in the wake of Gaza slaughter
    • Hanuka's heroes were not universalist, although the occupying power did not believe in freedom of religion, so the idea of revolting against an occupying power and freedom of religion can be one possible lesson of the historical events. Although recognition of Hanuka is certainly not as extensive or as early as other holiday recognition, it is mentioned in the Talmud and the laws of lighting of the candles is part of the Jewish law books including the one compiled by Maimonides, which was hundreds of years before Zionism.

  • Israel will lose all American Jews but the crazies
    • The Likud would be best off if they replaced netanyahu, but i agree that the west bank and gaza are israel's two problems and a mere change to the Likud would not be enough. Yes, the Israel brand is worse off today than at any time and Naftali Bennett has lips that charm his followers, but a manner which alienates the rest of the world. But no, there will not be an open uprising in the next few months.

  • 'NYT' writer takes Salaita's side, saying U of Illinois violated 'intellectual and academic freedom'
    • the steady pain inflicted by Israel against the Palestinian people is something that I don't normally comment upon. but it is a remarkable pain that has been inflicted and I am sorry that my role here as adversary does not give me sufficient opportunity to comment on the suffering of the Palestinians.

    • Hartman- I am certainly biased in favor of Hartman. I met him, I come from his milieu. The comment of mine was in defending a man a few days after his death. i cover up the sins of the recent dead. this is my hypocrisy. this does not let salaita's words off the hook.

    • I am a hypocrite. I give hartman a pass, when I shouldn't.

      but guess what? no one has heard of hartman or cares about hartman and this salaita dude is now a famous representative of the Palestinian viewpoint, and no matter my hypocrisy or hartman's exterminationist rhetoric will change the fact that this new face of the Palestinian movement tweets some offensive shit. and you deal with it by throwing my words and hartman's words at me. I am not famous. hartman is not famous. salaita seeks fame and this tweet should be cited as part of his offensive pearls of wisdom.

    • quote: you may be too refined to say it, but i'm not: i wish all the fucking west bank settlers would go missing. unquote. 6:59 p.m. june 19, 2014 -

    • seafoid- Whatever the settlers should do, as long as the name Salaita comes up and his tweets are put to the test, that tweet will be the one that i quote. tweet and whine both have one syllable.

    • Whenever I read an article about Salaita and it quotes one of his tweets, but it does not quote the tweet that I find truly offensive, I consider it a bit of a cover up of Salaita.

      I am not part of the academy and I do not know what standards of free speech entail or not, but calling for the settlers to all go missing, when the missing at that moment was a kidnapping, is certainly more egregious than the relatively anodyne tweet quoted here.

  • Yes, Virginia, there is a liberal Zionist
    • Danaa- To say that the Hebrew Bible is in its "ENTIRETY" a nationalist statement, is patently false. maybe in its "TOTALITY" one can ignore Ecclesiastes and Psalm 23, but in its entirety those two books, or one book and one chapter are purely universal and can only be deemed national through contortions of logic.

      But let us leave the specifics of the blatantly universalist sections out of this. Can one dismiss Isaiah and Jeremiah because of their national content. Isn't that like dismissing a love poem because it was addressed to a specific woman and not to all women? Jeremiah was involved in a love hate triangle with God and the Jewish people. Yes, nationalists can view it with blinders and see only its nationalist side, but why would you grant them that right. Unless you feel that these are inferior books. Maybe I have read too little of world literature and therefore I am overly impressed with the words of the Hebrew Bible, but then again, maybe you have an animus towards things that are Jewish and therefore you dismiss the Hebrew bible not out of fair judgment but out of bias.

      Here are Danaa's exact words: "the bible in its entirety revolves around the jews and what’s good or bad for them."

    • Roha- quote: it's disrespectful to him to lumber him with that name. lumber, not a part of my vocabulary, is that a neutral phrase or a negative phrase. if hate is too strong a word to describe the use of the term lumber, please provide a word of your own.

      Spinoza was sociologically and biologically a Jew until the day that he died. There is no way to separate the man from his upbringing. and he was an outstanding individual who through god's grace or pure chance had the brain independence and will to suffer excommunication and prevail far advanced from his humble beginnings.

    • Roha- "He never used the name Baruch". Well, he used it when he was a kid and he used it when he translated it to Benedict. but if you're saying that it's as disrespectful to call him Baruch as it was to call the boxer Muhammad Ali Cassius Clay, then I suppose you are right. Although you might cite something he wrote about how he hated the name and hated people using it. Maybe it's you who hate the name and are putting your hate in his mouth.

    • First: The piece by Brownfeld asserts that there was/is such a thing as liberal Zionism- the movement of Buber and Magnus. But he dismisses that movement as insignificant and the Zionism which triumphed was not liberal.

      Second: the liberal in effect tells the 400,000 Jews who lived in Palestine on September 1, 1939: You should not be in Palestine. You should leave. And I'm sorry if this means that most of you will go to your deaths, but that's the way it goes. One must measure your survival against the destruction you will inflict on the indigenous and I choose the indigenous over you. So I'm sorry if it means your death. But that's the price you must pay.

      The 400,000 who lived in Palestine on that day in 1939 and their millions of offspring alive today would answer you: No. We choose to live.

    • The Old Testament is certainly not a universalist document — it is a tale of endless bloody battles between one nation and all the other nations. It is a nationalist document — a Zionist document.

      quote sean mcbride.

      well, sean, not precisely. although the tales of abraham, isaac and jacob and the exodus from egypt can easily be taken as a nationalist document, quite clearly history has shown that all you need is just a tweak here and there and abraham can be seen as the father of the nations and his discovery of the one god that Adam knew is a rediscovery. The exodus of Egypt can be taken as a nationalist message, but obviously liberation theology has shown, that it can be taken as a universalist message as well.

      it would have been sufficient to claim that no major jewish philosophy has taken the lesson of that early part of the bible as a universalist message, but you weren't satisfied with stating history (however falsely) you needed to malign the entire book and its possibilities.

      It is true that the stories of first prophets would fit in with the nationalism that you see in the first five books, but the last prophets: isaiah, jeremiah and ezekiel cannot be as easily dismissed. Isaiah in particular has many sections that are universal in nature; including regarding the Temple Mount: and my house shall be known as a house of prayer for all nations. 56:7.

      As for the wisdom books of the bible: Psalms, Proverbs and Job, certainly in Psalms a nationalist can find much to mine in that direction, but Psalm 23 is rather universal, no? and how about Ecclesiastes? Is that not universal?

      So clearly a nationalist is not lacking sources within the Old Testament to bolster their cause, but someone who dismisses the entirety of the Bible as merely a nationalist document, well such a person obviously is either ignorant or has an ax to grind? I don't think you're ignorant.

  • Liberal Zionists seek to strip Naftali Bennett of freedom to travel in hope of saving two-state solution
    • I think that a call to picket any synagogue or gathering whenever one of these foursome is scheduled to speak would be a more difficult feat than calling for a travel ban, which takes merely moments of signing a letter rather than organizational efforts of a picketing campaign. Before reading this item, I truly could not pick Uri Ariel out of a lineup and this is still true with Hever, who I never even heard of before. I have heard Feiglin speak and he is not charismatic. Bennett is charismatic and therefore scarier, although we will see how Feiglin does in the Likud primaries in order to really gauge how far off the right wing might be from taking over the Likud. I think they're still far off.

    • I understand the objection of true antizionists to the tepid attempts by liberal zionists to condemn four settler leaders. I dislike them too: feiglin, uri ariel, bennett and hever (who i've never heard of before). despite my opposition to the men and their positions and actions, i oppose limiting their right to travel to the united states or elsewhere in the world.

  • As US media awake to a 'nightmare' Israel, NYT brings Blumenthal in from the cold
    • tablet cites the wiesenthal center which cited blumenthal's chapter headings because of their zionism = nazism theme. does such rhetoric qualify for antisemitism? Not in my opinion, but it certainly reflects a style that is designed to rub many jewish people the wrong way. when yeshaya leibowitz, an academic, used it, i did not think it was particularly useful and blumenthal would probably cite leibowitz as his shield if not his reason. the decibel level of blumenthal is something that plays well with those that agree with him, but rubs others the wrong way. that in itself does not justify the antisemitic label. i know that zionism = nazism or israel flag equals swastika are quite offensive to many jewish people. the words offend me less than seeing the symbols. those pretty much are like calling my mother names (camus?). them's fighting words.

  • Saban confronts Bennett: 'Are you willing to cut commercial ties with Europe?'
    • When did Phil Weiss stop being a journalist and sign up as full fledged out to lunch propagandist? I'm not sure. But certainly this: "It wasn’t clear just what Bennett meant by these threats, but he implied that Israeli-made stents and chips that are now working would cease to work the morning after “you pressed the button” of boycott.

      Utter unadulterated bushwa. There was no threat that things would stop working the next day, it was a claim that Israel must fight its battle not by changing its policies, but by becoming indispensable as an economic ingredient in the world economy.

      Here i was complaining about graphics and mistranslated "grassy knolls" taken to extreme by contributors. But here is Phil out to lunch playing to the choir. If there was such a thing as disbarment in the "profession" of journalism, phil would deserve to be disbarred for this nonsense.

  • From Hillel to Sabeel: The path to unlearning Zionism
    • Welcome to Mondoweiss, Mr Derfner, where nuance is a dirty word, almost as bad as "dialogue".

    • Much of the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University was located in territory nominally under Israeli control and protected from the Jordanian occupation by the UN, as in this quote from wikipedia: "In the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Mount Scopus became a UN protected Israeli exclave within Jordanian-administered territory until the Six-Day War in 1967."

      It was not available for use by Israelis, but it WAS NOT part of Jordan.

  • Mamdani's 'holistic' challenge: Anti-Zionists must persuade Jews they can only be safe by dismantling the Jewish state
    • mooser and roha dissing jewish languages. nice.

    • oy vey- a comment on your name. until recently i thought that oy vey was merely a Germanic phrase given a yiddish twist, but in fact- oy is a biblical Hebrew word meaning woe and vey is a Germanic word meaning woe, so oy vey literally means woe woe.

    • Zionism is worse than anything will take its place is the contention of people here and the end to that paragraph.

    • Edward Said said that he did not know what would happen to the Jews in post Zionist Palestine, but this respected professor from Uganda wants people to be convinced that they can know what post Zionist Palestine will be like? At this point there is nothing to point to a good looking post Zionist Palestine. The only answer of people here is that to suspect the worst is racist and that Zionism is worse than anything that will

      This project of convincing that a state is a danger rather than a cure is a project that's in its infancy and needs to advance to college level. Currently there is no assurance or even hint of assurance that the South Africa paradigm will predominate over the Algeria paradigm. And to pretend that all that is needed is a campaign of propaganda to open up people's minds and undo a very real fear is silly at this point of time.

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