Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4401 (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 4401 - 4401

  • Encounter at a post office
    • peace through justice- "now that may indeed be a wonderful thing, what with the Holocaust and everything..." Hey, you're being obnoxious. You know? Yeah, you know.

    • Page: 44
  • On the use of provocative analogies (Nazism, fascism)
    • Why did the Nazis exterminate Jews in what Snyder calls the bloodlands? What role did exterminating Jews play in Hitler's mindset. The timing of decisions in the Nazi ruling group in the summer and fall of 41 is a topic in Ian Kershaw's top 10 decisions of WWII.

      I do not need a particular label in order to feel rebellious against the killing of civilians by Israel's army and leaders. It does not particularly help me to crystallize my attitude.

    • german lefty- It is true that the heart of Zionism has not been proved to preclude genocide by the fact of the nongenocide until this point in time. Neither have you proved that it is only for tactical reasons that the genocide has not taken place. You are making an assertion without any proof.
      the inherent tension between nazism and jews was created by the Nazis in their ideology. it is not clear to me why precisely the jews were the prototype of the human being that needed to be overcome or exterminated, but it was central to the nazi ideology. as such the existence of any jew anywhere in the world was antithetical to the nazi dream world.
      the relationship of zionists versus palestinians is very much attached to a specific land and not to the entire planet. the zionists say we need this specific land for our existence and the palestinians are in the way. palestinians who are attached to their land are antithetical to the zionist need for the land. but the existence of palestinians in other parts of the world as long as they abandon the land are in no way a threat to zionism.

  • Israeli gov't promotes 'free degree' for young American Jews who immigrate to Israel
    • I found the ad mildly offensive.
      The Uncle Shmuel footing the bill refers (I believe) to Israel paying for the education and the use of Uncle Shmuel is confusing because it is so similar to Uncle Sam to cause the viewer to scratch his head and wonder: Is Uncle Sam paying the bill? I am aware that young olim are entitled to a free education among their package of incentives to move to Israel and this is what it is referring to (I believe).
      I did find the first line of the ad interesting: (paraphrase): that Israel is a state still being formed whereas America is a given, a finished product, an immutable fact.

  • The best U.S. 'strategy' to combat ISIS? Stop supporting religious states
    • I really think this post is a mess and contributes zero to an understanding of the Middle East. I accept that Israel complicates the Middle East and that it is impossible to gauge what the middle east would be like if Israel had never been born, but this simplistic: Israel is the source of all the troubles of the Middle east. I don't buy it. and I bet you that nobody on this planet would call up Phil Weiss for an assessment of Isis, Iran or anything to do with an analysis of the middle east- other than Israeli and Aipac perfidy and Palestinian suffering. Yes, these topics are important. but no, they are not enough to understand Iran and Isis, to name the two major players that are the subject here. This column is ignorance masquerading as knowledge. It is empty.
      there are those on the side of Israel who try to obfuscate by saying: it's complicated. but here we have obfuscation by saying: it's simple. Obsession and single minded opposition to Israeli perfidy has its place, but an attempt to understand the middle east deserves better than this sophomoric crap.

  • The west is safer for Jews than Israel (duh)
    • Recently read "Shadows on the Hudson" by I.B. Singer. The shadows were Jews in NYC in post world war II dealing with their singeresque lives on the upper west side, still traumatized by the abyss. When one character's gentile daughter in law wants to raise her child Jewish, the Jewish mother in law avers: "why? better to not be jewish. the world hates us too much."

      2014 is not 1947, but this web site is too ahistorical, expressing no knowledge or consciousness of any state of mind other than that of 2014 america, totally ignorant of other parts of Jewish post world war II history- both times and places. Without a foot or a toe in Jewish history beyond this place and moment in time, how can the journalism here (regarding Jewish identity) be anything other than superficial?

    • The question deserves a reasoned response, but sitting in Brooklyn, I am among the guilty, not willing to move to Israel and fight the fight against the right wing in Jerusalem.

      There have been two responses to Alpher on the op ed page of the english edition of haaretz in the last week or so: One by Ilana hammerman and the other by uri avneri.

      i am too old and too experienced to fear for my life on american soil. In 1968 new york city, the teacher's strike and the black versus jewish tension led to an explosion of fear among Jews. It could happen here in 5 to 10 years, one teacher stated. even at 13 i was wise enough to reject this: "in 50 years, maybe, in 5 to 10 years, not."

      my support for israel is not based on it as a refuge for american jews, but as the home of the jews currently living there.

      but read ilana hammerman and uri avneri to get a true feel of the left in israel's reaction to alpher.

  • I quit my job at the Jewish Community Center over a pro-Israel rally and they called me an anti-semite
    • mooser, no. they don't have that right. but once they do seize the territory, what follows then?

    • bryan, I have never communicated with you before, so hello.

      i did not say anything about an automatic right of return. i did not say anything about the jewish connection preempting any other connection and specifically above in response to anne stated that my statement did not follow that line of logic.

      so please read all of my response spread out over a number of responses before you demand an explanation of my warped logic. or before you condemn my logic as warped.

    • Here is the quote from Charlie's post: "I really hope my boss, who I know for a fact is a Russian Jew, really appreciates the irony of being an Ashkenazi Jew with no business in the land of Israel, telling me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. "

      An Ashkenazi Jew has no business in the land of Israel according to Charlie. I disagree. Whether that business extends to kicking out the palestinians, is obviously a sore point here, but I think I can disagree with the gist of charlie's statement without endorsing the Nakba. Charlie's statement is anti Ashkenazi Jew. It is anti Judaism.

      Taking the connection or the "business in the land of Israel" and turning it into the right to exile the indigenous is a wild leap that unfortunately Ben Gurion made and that those who endorse the status quo regarding June 4, 1967 are endorsing as well. Fair enough. But Ashkenazi Jews have no business in the land of Israel is just poppycock and anti Jewish. The ability to be anti Zionist without being anti Jewish is difficult, but Charlie has not succeeded.

    • The idea that Ashkenazi Jews have no place in Israel, whereas a Mizrahi Jew does have a place in Israel is progress over the idea that no Jew (Ashkenazi or Mizrahi) has a place in Israel, but is still retrograde. The Jewish connection to Israel goes beyond race and ethnicity and is part of the Jewish religion. To oppose Zionism is one thing, to oppose the connection of Ashkenazi Jews to Israel is an entirely separate thing. And Charlie Stern does not differentiate between the two ideas.

  • Judaism's hijacking by Zionists drives 70% of secular Jews to marry non-Jews-- Koppman at Huffpo
    • Judaism has faced crises since the enlightenment. (I was thinking about Felix Mendelsohn the other day and how his conversion/baptism was always considered (where I came from) to be a sign that his grandfather's enlightenment was destructive: as in: Moses Mendelsohn was attempting to create a Judaism that could survive the enlightenment, but his own grandchildren converted to Christianity and thus his compromises with enlightenment accomplished nothing but retreat and defeat. But, though I am largely ignorant of classical music, I thought the other day: What venues did Felix have to express his musical tendencies: cantorial flourishes? Certainly there was nothing in traditional Judaism that could have satisfied his musical needs and talents and thus the world of classical music was in fact the best bet to reach his full potential. And the world of classical music was not open to Jews in his day and thus baptism was the means for him to reach his full potential.)

      But beyond the crisis of the enlightenment that attached itself to all religions the last few centuries, there was the crisis of Jew hatred and specifically after 1945, the Shoah. Israel was deemed to be some sort of cure to the demoralization produced by the Shoah.

      Even if one does not ascribe to the MW view towards Israel as in: it is the greatest betrayal of the message of the Shoah, one can still feel that it is highly insufficient to undo the demoralization that the Shoah entailed.

      The double whammy of modernism (enlightenment) plus history (Hitler) could not really expect to be handled by the existence or birth of a state, even if that renewed state had not entailed such cruelty to the indigenous. Simply put there was no way that Israel could answer all the questions raised by the Shoah and modernity and to expect it to do so was a result of the demoralization that modernity and the Shoah thrust upon the Jewish people in the current post Shoah era.

      A.J. Heschel with his wholehearted adoption of the civil rights' movements goals was hoping to reinvigorate Judaism by the type of tikkun paradigm that this dude Koppman seems to advocate.

      But certainly one should not dismiss the enormity of the task that Judaism faced in the aftermath of the abyss in Europe (39-45).

  • Countdown to the next round in Gaza
    • Real estate values will tumble, amigo. Give me a year on that, and I will develop a hedge fund on wall street or vegas that will take your bet. But give me a year on that.

    • I don't think the Gazans have anything to celebrate at this point in time. The future is in a fog and for the damage from iceberg number three to be two thousand dead and tens of thousands homeless i think it is frankly stupid to celebrate. If they were sure of the better future, fine. but with two thousand dead I would not celebrate and I think enough of the Gazans to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that only the zealots are celebrating. Zealots always see the light at the end of the tunnel and so they celebrate. Clear headed people would not be celebrating and I am sure that many Gazans have clear enough heads not to celebrate.

  • Beinart urges young Jews to get arrested in the West Bank for the sake of Zionism. Will they?
    • Beinart's idea and Phil's reaction to it, both deserve reactions, but nonetheless I will focus instead on a recent article by Adam Kirsch in Tablet Magazine where Kirsch identifies Beinart with the loyal wise son and Phil with the evil son. Here's the money quote regarding Phil:
      "At the other extreme is a modern-day Jewish apostate such as Philip Weiss, who has paralleled the careers of Pfefferkorn and Weininger in casting himself as a Jew who speaks the hidden truth about Jewish perfidy to the world and surrounds himself with outright enemies of the Jewish people."
      Here's the link: link to

  • In Gaza, Palestinians celebrate resistance and credit it with 'victory'
    • Do you think the average Gazan feels like celebrating? I doubt it. Hamas does not equal Gaza. These are Hamas stalwarts who are celebrating. It is not the average Gazan.

      Hamas's decision to launch this war will be tested over the next year and it will be clearer where we stand and where the people of Gaza stand in a year. But if these people really think there is something to celebrate, then 1. they know the future and already can see what the results will be or 2. they support resistance for resistance sake no matter what the outcome.

      Amira Hass would not write propaganda like this.

  • Ceasefire deal after weeks of fighting in Gaza promises easing of blockade
    • inanna- Amira Hass would never write a line like that. The people in Gaza were not out in the street celebrating resistance. hamas supporters were out in the street celebrating resistance. Alex Kane and Max blumenthal are not independent journalists like Amira hass. they are starters who need to curry favor with hamas in order to gain entrance into Gaza and access to Hamas leaders. It is propaganda, which is not a function of brain nor heart, but an absence of truth.

    • and no, just, i am telling mw what to report if it does not wish to be seen as mediocre and propaganda. if it wishes to be seen as mediocre propaganda it should keep right on this path.

    • the max storify is precisely what i said, a hamas rally.

    • People in gaza have taken to the street in celebration.

      Those following the commands of Hamas have taken to the street in celebration. The average Gazan knows that as of this moment (and until negotiations with israel yield something substantive), there is nothing to celebrate and the reporting of these celebrations without even a modicum of questioning is a sign of mediocre reporting (or propaganda reporting) by Alex Kane and MW.

  • Gaza goyim jailbreak
    • The contrast between Richard Pryor and Johnny Carson is inappropriate. Carson's comedy was not confrontational and certainly not self revelatory or philosophical. The appropriate comedian comparison would be Pryor and Lenny Bruce. Lenny Bruce, at least in the movie by the name Lenny, did delve into language and differences and feelings and attacked the taboo on many words including cocksucking and nigger. Is it easier to listen to Pryor on this taboo than it is Bruce? definitely. so we do not need the Carson hypothetical and instead the Bruce factual might reveal something about the usage of the language.

      Phil is Jewish and was referring to (in law) family members that he loves and a phenomenon: breaking the taboo about discussing Israel, that he loves and his use of the term was loving as if he had written, "you go, goy" (as in 'you go, girl!"). It is often used here in the context of those g.d. jews and their chosen people exceptionalism and i'm not allowed to call them kike, but they are allowed to call me goy and this only shows how much they control the conversation. it is not ironic at all, it is filled with rage and quite often with rabid rage. totally different that phil's usage.

      the word "goy" means nation and is a compliment, Israel is sometimes referred to as a goy, meaning a nation, (I do not have a concordance in front of me to find its usage in the hebrew bible but in the Jewish prayers on Saturday afternoon, the nation of Israel is referred to as a singular nation in the world, goy echad ba'aretz.)
      shikse's original meaning as in derivation is from the word shaketz, meaning despicable, so its etymological origins are treif, whereas goy's etymological origin is much more kosher.

      there is no negative etymology involved in hebe or yid or even zhid as far as I know, but used in the wrong way, they are not intended to be friendly.

  • WATCH: Ultra-Zionists protest Muslim-Jewish wedding saying miscegenation is 'gravest threat to the Jewish people'
    • Mooser's sense of history begins and ends in America.

      (I think, marrying out in Czarist Russia for example in the 19th century was only possible if the Jew converted to Christianity. If there was no conversion there was no marrying out.)

      But Mooser included the word "history" because it made his sentence sound better, not because he has any interest in Jewish history pre 1945 in any country other than America.

  • Our new look
    • Certainly clearly less emphasis on comments in the current set up. I suppose that this is closer to the ideal that MJ Rosenberg espouses. (Do away with MW's comments) and since so many of the comments rub me the wrong way, I suppose I should be willing to concede that this is for the best. Still it reduces my desire to participate.

  • Rolling in underground tunnels
    • Annie- I would think that it would be possible that the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt were used to export stuffs from Gaza to Egypt where it could be legally exported to Israel. The tunnels between Gaza and Israel itself, it seems to me, were not used to import cheap products to Israel.

    • I never heard the term "mechilot' used as a term for tunnels. the modern hebrew word for tunnels are minharot, which I assume comes from the word for nahar or river and tunnels being dug under rivers, but that could be a pure assumption (have no basis in reality). the concept that those outside buried outside of Israel roll underground to Israel for the resurrection of the dead is an idea that I learned in connection with why Jacob insisted on not being buried in Egypt. And gilgul, although usually a term for reincarnation was mentioned in connection with that journey from burial elsewhere to resurrection in Israel. I think, that the term mechilot would be connected with the tunnels, because the travail of the pain of rolling through the tunnels would lead to forgiveness for the sin of being buried outside of Israel or for other sins and I do not think that mechilot are intrinsically a word for tunnels but would only be used for the term of the tunnels of the resurrection because of the travails of the dead and their need for forgiveness.

    • linking to the article or even mentioning the mainstream publication might be helpful.

  • Hillary Clinton just lost the White House in Gaza -- same way she lost it in Iraq the last time
    • Further thoughts about 200 years from now. Zionist Jews, particularly Zionist Orthodox Jews will disguise themselves as ultra Orthodox nonZionist Jews. How will the palestinian rulers root out these renegades? Don't know.

      Also, what kind of interaction between the Orthodox Jews of America and the small group of those who identify as Jews who are not ultra Orthodox.

      (There will remain a community of Zionist Orthodox as well, but they will be much smaller than the nonZionist Orthodox. The US administration will consider these as dangerous as Al Qaeda, because stability in the world will depend on the suppression of these Zionists.)

    • Regarding the divorce between Judaism/Jewishness and Zionism that will take place. let's do a thought experiment. in 50 years, one man one vote is granted in Palestine. In the next 50 years after that (and continuing a trend that will start before 50 years from now) the Jewish population of "Palestine" is reduced by 75%. Thus 100 years from now the Jewish population in Palestine will plateau and achieve stability.

      100 years later, (200 years from now, 150 years after one man one vote), what will the Jewish thinkers say about the Zionist experiment/enterprise?

      The birth of Zionism in the ferment of Jew hatred in Europe will still play a prominent part in the justification of Zionism. Under the pressure of a hatred that was not illusory but in fact ended up manifesting far worse than even the most dire prophets, the Jews of 200 years from now will accept the desire of Jews to establish a self determined territory in the face of such a coming storm.

      The manifestations of Zionism in its actuality: the nakba specifically will be rejected as cruelty. Let us assume that the trend towards Jews moving to America will continue and that American domestic tranquility does not find its path to dystopia but maintains the current trajectory. Then the american experience of pluralism versus the Zionist Jewish state experiment- will be viewed by Jewish thinkers as a defeat of the Zionist concept and the triumph of the American concept. Jewish statehood will be viewed (with the exception of remarkable times as were those between 1881 and 1945) as anachronistic as animal sacrifices.

      but let us introduce Pew and its reported trends. The vast majority of today's Jews and half Jews will "disappear" (as in transform into 1/8th Jews to 1/64th Jews.)
      The orthodox proportion of American Jewry will be large. The neturei karta's "do not hurry the end" philosophy will be adopted by "Torah" Jews at large. Also realize that the largest proportion of the Jews who remain in Israel will be Orthodox and nonZionist Orthodox at that. The study of Torah that has created the great yeshivas of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak will be the bastions that nearly a majority of the Jews remaining in Israel in 200 years will view as their centers of being. They will view the Zionist experiment as a passing phase, but the eternity of Torah study in Jerusalem and in the land as a very important manifestation of the continuity of the Jewish people.

    • ritzl- what is the best the green party has done until this point in time? Ralph Nader's 2.74% of 2000. But he had a name. And here you are saying "they just might have a chance of peeling off 10% of the democratic vote?" I'll bet you seven thousand dollars that they don't get 5% of the total vote.

    • just- I was referring to the perception of the voters in the democratic primaries.

    • if Gaza remains in its current state: no cease fire, a war of attrition, and that leads to a further breakdown in the region. if Isis resolves itself somehow so that Gaza is the primary problem of the region, then Phil's prediction MIGHT come true.

      There is no way of predicting what will happen as far as Gaza is concerned. But ISIS will not resolve itself and ISIS will be the primary problem of the region, so Phil's prediction will not come true.

      Further Obama defeated Clinton primarily because he was (going to be) the first black President. He had an exciting narrative that described how his election would change (save) the country and the world. Such a narrative does not accompany any of the potential democratic candidates in 2016. Thus this prediction: since Clinton lost in 2008 because of Iraq, thus Clinton will lose in 2016 because of Gaza is false, because Clinton lost in 2008 because Obama was exciting and the Iraq vote helped Obama, but was not the major cause.

      The predictions that liberal Zionists and JVP will become a major story in the media is ridiculous, that this is going to take place in the matter of the 24 months until the Democratic convention. Optimism plays a role in helping people, but these predictions are outre. I predict they will not come true.

      This is Phil's blog: he is allowed to make any predictions he wants. But at the end of the year, there should be an accounting. What were his predictions and how many came true? Will he print an end of the year accounting of his failed predictive powers? I predict not.

  • 'NYT' op-ed calls on Jews to abandon liberal Zionism and push for equal rights
    • seanmcbride- Let me summarize the chronology of our discussion. Phil cited the words "aliya" and "yordim" to castigate Zionism. You wrote (essentially)- Why stop at condemning Zionism. You should condemn Judaism as well. Your comment was essentially anti-Judaic and pro Christian.

      Now when I reacted to your statement, you write me to Free my mind. Let me answer you by noting that Christians have been telling Jews to free their/our minds for hundreds of years. Fortunately your call for me to free my mind is not accompanied by the previous Christian threats of slaughter or exile or being burnt at the stake. This is a great improvement. But nonetheless, in a discussion of Old Testament versus New Testament, when the NT person comes up with "free your mind" I view you in the context of that history.

    • MHughes- I appreciate your scholarship and knowledge. I would assert that anyone who reads the synoptic gospels and considers Jesus discontinuous with the Pharisaic rabbis of his day (not innovative, but discontinuous) is reading those three books with extreme and unnatural bias. Many have tried to detach Jesus from his roots. These are not attempts to reach the truth, but attempts to avoid dealing honestly with Jesus's roots.

    • Walid- Christians have been distorting the old testament for thousands of years and thus you consider the christian reading of the old testament to be accurate. It is not. It is distorted.

    • seanmcbride- question. in the new testament. why does jesus go to jerusalem. why didn't he stay home? answer: because that's where jews went on passover. question: where do christians come off pretending that going up to jerusalem was not valued by jesus. answer: because once jesus was dead, the gig was up and judaism was recalibrated. the new calibration: whatever paul and the nicene creed crowd could come up with. this way: we are the truth and the old testament is darkness.

    • phil wants to be free to say, "talmud is bullshit," and also to reform Judaism to exclude any semblance of continuity vis a vis the central part the land plays in the tradition. of course he is free to do so. It's his blog and this is america. He is free. but i don't see where he has the credibility to reform judaism.

      of course we all know there are rabbis who said that shrimp is kosher or kosher is treif or something like that. or as woody allen's rebbe puts it.

      chasid: rebbe, why is pork forbidden?
      rebbe: It is? uh-oh.

    • A Jew who moves to Israel is an oleh. Jews who move to Israel are olim.

      There is a term that I am guessing is Mishnaic, called aliya laregel, which refers to the going up to Jerusalem on the three major holidays (mentioned earlier in the bible than all other holidays, mentioned in the book of Exodus) Passover, Pentecost and Sukkot. There is a commandment to go to Jerusalem on those holidays and because Jerusalem was uphill from most of the rest of the land, the term "aliya" seemed most apt and inferred a spiritual rather just a topographic journey.

      During pre exile times, when there was a temple, there were a whole slew of commandments that could be fulfilled in Israel (the land) and not elsewhere in the world, mostly agricultural commandments and also the sacrifices that were burnt on the altar in Jerusalem. The land, as in the land that is the unreached destination in the story of the Children of Israel leaving Egypt and heading towards the land, is a central part of the Chumash, the five books of Moses, also called the Torah, considered to be word for word dictated by God to Moses, and that this is one of the major elements in the story of the book whose words were uttered by God, kind of puts the land in a special status to Jews who believe.

      But in fact the major developments of Judaism occurred outside the land: in Babylonia among the refugees and children of exiles from Jerusalem and later in north africa and places in the middle east and in europe where the hundreds and thousands of years of Jewish experience accrued to the experience that underlies any devotion to texts and laws.

      Still, any Jew who values the traditions, meaning Jews who don't mouth off and say, "Oh, the Talmud is bullshit," has to deal with the primacy of the land in the Jewish tradition. Statehood and an army aside. Any Jews who values tradition cannot ignore the traditional emphasis on the land.

      (Other words and thoughts that were edited out of the things that are put aside, because they didn't really belong in the context: and going against the will of the nations and the decree of the Creator embodied in the destroyed temple and the 9th of Av, all that aside.)
      The crisis created by the acts of Israel, including if not the actual exile of the Palestinians in 47-49, then certainly the delay in dealing politically with the facts of that exile, but emphasizing the 1967 conquest of the west bank and gaza and the desire to annex these territories but the refusal to do so because of a desire for the land and not for the people, that crisis is the major thing. That is where the politics is and where the thoughts of people belong. And those who wish to undo the "aliya" factor of Judaism, meaning the factor that places importance on Jerusalem and the land, better come from a place that respects tradition in some form, and not from the school of "oh, the talmud is bullshit" if they want to be taken seriously.

  • Democratic Party leader echoes Netanyahu's new theme: Hamas equals ISIS
    • off topic- in andrew sullivan's latest column I found these words that express my motivations.

      "What American defenders of Israel must recognize is that it is Israel’s diplomatic isolation that threatens it in the long term, not Hamas’s rockets. And the occupation will always isolate Israel, because the occupation is wrong."

    • No. The equation between ISIS and Hamas is false. Hamas equals the Muslim Brotherhood and the MB equals Hamas, that's close to a true statement. The Palestinian people: 1. is occupied and 2. is much more modern than Egyptian society, so Hamas is not as popular in Palestine as Muslim Brotherhood was in Egypt and the MB blew it in Egypt. Big time. If only from a strategic point of view, they could still be ruling Egypt with an upward trajectory of power and instead they are an outlawed movement.

      I know little about Isis, the Egyptian and then Greek goddess. But a character by the name of Isis was the subject of a song by Dylan and so I get a kick out of the fact that this notorious jihadi movement of 2014 is called Isis.

  • Entitled ideology supporting 'incineration' of Gaza resonates with Nazi ideology -- Siegman
    • CitizenC- Leibowitz conflated post 67 occupation with Nazism. Did he ever equate Zionism with Nazism? I don't think so. Please produce evidence: a quote of Leibowitz that supports this contention about his attitude/position. I think you are wrong.

  • Anti-occupation activists in New York blast United Jewish Appeal for supporting attacks on Gaza
    • prologue: consisting of sentence fragments, meant to convey the feelings conjured by the topic rather than a logical response:
      JVP, agnostic on one state-two state. can someone oppose the war against gaza and still support two states? can someone support two states and still "justify" the war against Gaza?

      Personal (the evolution of an opinion based upon a long term view of the world's rejection of the settler occupation and the need to get out of it):
      My reaction to this "war" was informed by my reaction to cast lead. In the first weeks I supported the war of 2008-2009, though certainly reluctantly. Then, I broke. There was too much hardening of my heart against people (Palestinian civilians in particular) being killed, that it became too painful to support the Israeli offensive.

      As such (since my change on the war was emotional rather than logical a la Spock) I do not see my opposition to this war of 2014 to be a purely logical conclusion. there was nothing absolutely logically wrong with cast lead, I just couldn't stomach it anymore.

      with ISIS triumphant in Iraq and achieving a stalemate in Syria. with egypt's coup supported by millions last june 2013, the logic of labeling hamas to be a type of ISIS, (or Muslim Brotherhood) or an ally of ISIS, or a fellow traveler of ISIS, will be rejected by some as superficial and thus "racist", (an overused term), but I merely view it as irrelevant. If Israel had left the west bank relatively bare of settlers, then Israel would have the luxury of being purely logical vis a vis the intentions of Hamas. That is: if Israel had left the west bank with a purely military occupation then Israel's claim to a security need would justify not looking for a way to pull out of the west bank. Israel could stay there as long as the winds of Islamism threaten. but Israel engaged in a settler occupation and ultimately such an occupation cannot be justified in the eyes of the world (and "ultimately" in the eyes of the Israeli left wing and in the eyes of left wing world jewry) on the basis of security needs. so as a result there must be a leap of faith to negotiate with hamas, so as to extract Israel from the west bank. logically moshe arens's attitude towards hamas might score higher with the judges (a crew of historians) than david grossman's assessment of hamas. there is no reason to assume, or way for me to judge whether david grossman's assessment of hamas is more accurate than moshe arens. but because Israel must get out of the west bank sooner rather than later, therefore i view the moshe arens attitude towards hamas and the various bloody wars against gaza as heading in the wrong direction. Israel needs to take a leap of faith in the direction of david grossman (a leap of faith that goes against its grain), because Israel must extract itself from the west bank sooner rather than later.

      But Israel will not do so. and thus the place for activists. (and confusion for the likes of wieseltier, beinart and chait)

  • What's 7 letters and begins with Z and runs in the 'NYT'?
  • 'I mourn my Jewish community, which seeks to justify these inexcusable acts'
    • Hello Susanna Nachenberg. I do not come to comment on your opposition to the killing of Palestinians in Gaza over the last two months. I am sure that your parameters for a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict are not identical to mine, but no matter. I come to comment about how the different branches of Judaism can possibly talk to each other.

      I favor Israel talking to Hamas and some type of creativity to improve the situation of Hamas as written by Amir Oren in the Haaretz of Aug. 20th expresses my hopes regarding Israel and her neighbors to the south.

      I oppose the status quo regarding the west bank and gaza. I would have reacted differently to the reconciliation talks between fatah and Hamas.

      Yet, when you state: I and my position are the righteous ones who believe in tikkun and those who oppose my position, they are blind murderers, then you are not in effect communicating with the people you disagree with, but merely using them as a prop to make some sort of statement.

      The "our way or the highway" attitude of Jewish organizations to nonZionists and antiZionists has set a tone that is not conducive to communication. Granted. But your communication, which is not really an attempt to communicate, but to use a megaphone, follows in the same tone as that set by those organizations.

  • NY Times describes Israel’s June rampage in the West Bank as a “clampdown”
    • lysias- I am not a lawyer merely an amateur english speaker and I took wanton to mean careless. I now see that its first definition is cruel.

      In layman's terms this is how I relate to the legality. You, an expert, can correct me.

      The military occupation of the west bank is legal. It is the settler occupation that is illegal. A military occupation can arrest members of Hamas. Such arrests are cruel. They are legal, unless some other law supercedes the military law. They are certainly not careless.

    • There is probably a word between clampdown and rampage that would describe what Israel did on the West Bank in June. (brutal crackdown would be my offer.) I differ with this sentence: "That is hardly an appropriate word to use for Israel’s wanton and murderous actions in the West Bank in June," The actions on the west bank were specifically the arrest of Hamas activists. That was certainly not wanton, but legal or not, a very specific targeted planned out act. The killing of stone throwers when the soldiers came to arrest the activists can be termed wanton, in terms that such lethal force is not something that should be used against stone throwers. but the act that was the cause of the stone throwing, the arrest of the Hamas activists was not at all wanton.

  • More Orientalist insinuations in the New York Times
    • If Mohammed would have continued praying towards Jerusalem and if there had been a major Jewish faction in early Islam, then one might be tempted to focus on the continuity between the faiths and to call Islam a descendant of Judaism. But unlike Christianity which was started by Jews, Islam was not started by a Jew and even if much of its lore and theology and practices were similar to Judaism, it is difficult to consider it a continuation of Judaism. The revelation of Mohammed and the laws of Islam were seen by Islam as replacing the laws of the Torah, that is not continuity. They were never near enough to each other for this to be called secession or innovation. It is related to Judaism and it is difficult to understand Islam and its place in history if one does not recognize the antecedent religion. But the two religions are not identical enough to really consider them one religion.

    • Assuming that the use of the word Allah for God, in reference to Hamas claims was not based on some literary view of Hamas claims, but rather their specific language which would be used by them to describe their claims, then the hypothetical phrase offered by James North should not be, "“Jews who have settled in the West Bank claim the whole of the British mandate of Palestine as land granted by Yahweh, which cannot be ceded.” but rather "Jews who have settled in the West Bank claim the whole of the British mandate of Palestine as land granted by Hashem, which cannot be ceded". Most Jews never use the term Yahweh in public or private to refer to God, they use the word, "Hashem" which means "the name", because the unpronounceable name of God is never used.

  • With ceasefire set to expire, Palestinians aim to lift the siege while Israel wants to turn 'Gaza into Ramallah'
    • Bibi inherited the Gaza situation from Sharon and Olmert. It required a "war" for Bibi to consider the situation of his own making. How this will fit in with his rejection of the unity government, I don't know. (Is this the game changing moment?) One has to believe that Bennett and Lieberman will have a field day. Will Bibi win a cabinet vote? Probably. (But that's a gut feeling rather than a vote counting feeling.)

      PA and Hamas are not natural allies, but a national unity government is necessary at this stage. Is this a game changing moment?

  • Gruesome tales surface of Israeli massacres against families in Gaza's Shujaiya neighborhood
    • pixel- I don't know what it will be like on campus this year, but I can guarantee you that no one will compare it to the Vietnam era, that's just plain deluded thinking. Between 1/5 and 1/20th the size and intensity of the Vietnam era.

  • Hillary Clinton's 11th-hour diplomacy
    • On the: "Will women vote for Hillary?" question. The answer is decidedly yes, given the fact that women already vote Democratic more than men. I predict that the differential between men and women will be the usual differential, plus between 2 and 4% (in other words if the normal differential between male and female is 5%, that is 5% more votes for democrats from females compared to males, this time the difference will be between 7 and 9%. (you heard it here first.)

  • Video: Gaza forces young Jew to overcome 'giant hostile ferocious backlash' of her community
    • Some comments on the "chosen people" aspect.

      Neturei Karta believes in chosen people but does not believe in Zionism.

      Syrians are slaughtering each other by the hundreds of thousands and neither side is attached to the biblical chosen people.

      Colonialists killed millions of people without the "chosen people" mantra. That's what colonialism does.

      "Chosen people" is not my favorite Judaic concept. certain parts of the bible bother me much more than others. when i was young i was bugged by the chosen people concept, now that i am older i am primarily bugged by abraham almost slaughtering his son. the bible aspires to be (claims to be) a book that changes you and that changes with you and so i am glad that i embody that.

  • The catastrophe inflicted on Gaza--and the costs to Israel's standing
    • annie- when i was a kid watching westerns, the Injuns used to say, white man speak with forked tongue. but i would say that you speak with megaphone in your hand. your decibel level is such that travis bickel would never say, "r u talking to me," because obviously you are talking to a larger audience and you are not talking to me, but using me to elucidate YOUR OWN POINT!!!!

      but i guess that's cool, can't expect a radio talk show host to focus on anything but the wide audience and not the individual caller. I will read your answer at my leisure, when i can modulate the sound and react.

      Until then here is something from today's or yesterday's or tomorrow's washington post. this is the headline and if you google it, you'll find it.

      "as war with israel shatters lives, more gazans question hamas decisions."

    • 1. overuse of the "drink the kool-aid" phrase is a sign of laziness. nothing in my comment justifies your use of it. (my gist was regarding perception of the events rather than an objective perception of events.) and i fully believe that hamas is not on the same page as all 1.8 million gazan Palestinians. they all want the end of the siege, but some of them think that the leadership of hamas is profligate with the blood of the common people. they hate israel with a passion that is not comparable to anything. but they think hamas sucks.

      2. my language was rather laconic in describing bibi. i did not frame it as a compromise and if that was not clear to you, i apologize either for your reading comprehension laziness or for my laconic language. not everybody speaks with exclamation points like you do.

    • mooser- I don't understand.
      I am not a lawyer.
      Israel was occupying gaza with a total presence of their military. they removed most of their military presence from a complete occupation to a siege occupation. you are stating that the net effect of this is: the palestinians are allowed to shoot at israelis and israelis are not allowed to shoot back. if that's what you say is the law, i'll take your word for it. but i still don't understand.

    • A number of comments about this latest war on Gaza:
      1. It seems to me that Bibi thought he might be able to get away with clamping down on Hamas on the West Bank without the Gazan Hamas reacting. This war was an unintended consequence of the crackdown on the West Bank Hamas.

      2. Granted that the siege of Gaza is a cause for the Palestinians to go to war and to fight to change the status quo. Still the situation is "infuriating". "Why are they shooting those rockets at us, don't they know that we can crush them?" That is the reaction of most Israel supporters. There is something illogical about the Hamas actions. Indeed many commentators have described the war, or Hamas's role in egging Israel into the war, as a result of Hamas's desperation.

      3. The lack of logic of the war (from Hamas's part as perceived by Israel) is also a partial explanation for the reaction of Israelis to war protesters and leftists and Israeli Arabs (Palestinians). If a war is rational, then the reaction to the war might tend towards rationality. Since Hamas is perceived as being irrational (as in: they are willing to sacrifice the lives of hundreds, so that Israel will look bad, which has a type of rationality to it, but not the typical rationality of war), it is "natural" that the reaction to the irrational will also reflect irrationality.

      4. If there is an agreement reached by Hamas and Bibi, odds are pretty good that either Lieberman or Bennett or both will oppose the agreement. Yossi Verter, in Friday's Haaretz deals with this looming possibility.

      5. Bibi does not wish to reach a peace on the West Bank, (not on the minimal terms of definition of independence as perceived by a dictionary or by the PLO) and as such he is willing to continue the occupation on the West Bank for the foreseeable future. In that context reaching an agreement with Hamas vis a vis Gaza, makes sense, in terms of dealing with the two issues: the West Bank and Gaza separately and thus a long cease fire in Gaza is something desirable, particularly since a true peace is not on the horizon.

  • Question for the American Jewish Establishment: Where does Zionism end and Judaism begin?
    • pjdude- what's a proto Arab? is that someone who is not an Arab until the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula came and conquered their lands and imposed Arabic on non Arab people, and now all the people who speak Arabic are called Arabs, whereas before they were called various things based upon nationality, language and other descriptors, but only after Muhammad's heirs conquered that part of the world were they called Arabs, is that what you mean by proto Arabs?

    • It is natural that for conscientious Jews there is no middle ground on Israel, no apathy, no "they're foreign to me", but involvement. To take the step to say that this involvement must involve opposition to settlements (or a deeper opposition than that) is quite a step, given that the normal (easiest, most common) involvement is support of the current israeli government. (It is easiest to say, the Israeli people have chosen their Knesset and prime minister and I will defer to their choice.) It is not to be expected that this step would be taken by "institutions", which by their very nature are conservative. This step is a step for individuals and not for institutions. (The establishment of "new" institutions by these individuals would be the next step, but it is no surprise that the first step is one that is taken by individuals and not the institutions.)

  • Israel's foundation in a 'terroristic campaign of expulsion, ethnic cleansing and murder' is the 'deep wound in that part of the world' -- Sullivan
    • "It's our gift and our struggle."

      Phil, you have often talked about the struggle involved in bucking the trends of Judaism from the pressure to marry Jewish to the pressure to not put a Christmas wreath on your front door to the pressure to support Israel. But in what way do you view it as a gift? I suppose that you view it as a gift in terms of the rich intellectual/social justice history. And I suppose once you have struggled with the tribal urge towards solidarity which is clearly not a gift (to you) then you can use the social justice history to attack Zionism. Maybe that's what you mean.

  • Liberal Zionism has lost its refuge-- a plausible two-state solution
    • plausible- as in probable. Short term probability clearly favors the status quo. Longer term probability still favors a two state solution over a one state solution. When Fatah and/or Hamas come out in favor of Israeli annexation of the West Bank and/or Gaza, then the probabilites will shift. Until then a two state solution is more probable than a one state solution (long range).

      plausible- as in credible. Backing Israel despite its status quo treatment of the West Bank (and Gaza), based upon the mere long range probability of a two state solution is not sufficient to be near credibility. It is too distant to be credible and the fact that it is less distant than a one state solution does not suffice to make it near enough to be credible.

  • Reading Salaita in Illinois—by Way of Cary Nelson (part 1)
    • When the discussion is whether a tweet is reason enough to justify a firing, that is above my pay grade, but there is little question that the unrefined suggestion by Salaita was not innocuous, when he said, I wish they would all go missing. Please don't play games and pretend. Be a judge and not a lawyer.

  • US branch of the Jewish 'family' owes the homeland 'unconditional love' -- Rosner
    • If the subject of the post had been a rabbi, who proclaims racist attitude towards nonJews, then raising "the chosen" people motif, might be appropriate. Nothing in Rosner's piece touched on anything Jewish other than Jewish solidarity. To raise the chosen people motif here is clearly a sign of someone with a theological bias against the Jews, a bias that this commentaror has expressed before. Mixing theology with hatred of Zionism is an iffy business and disentangling that mixture is not an easy thing, but if it's antiZionist, then Elliot always approves. No matter what, when or why.

    • What Rosner misses is that the objections raised by Liberal Zionists will win the day in the US Democratic Party sooner or later. He can disown the Liberal Zionists and tell them/us that we're not being unconditional loving sons and daughters, but in the end, that will not change the course of events and that course of events include the eventual abandonment of Israel by the US Democratic Party, particularly if the Netanyahu- Lieberman- Bennet axis prevails in Israel.

    • Marnie- Raising the issue of "chosen" out of the clear blue is a red flag to me.

  • Three dissident Jewish orgs to hold silent vigil during 50 Jewish orgs' memorial to Israeli dead
    • 'Zionism was created by a delusional man" obviously refers to Herzl. Leaving aside the question of delusion, though Herzl's contribution should not be underestimated, neither should he be credited with creating Zionism. Zionism existed before him. True, as a movement if herzl had never been born, it would probably have failed to procure the Balfour Declaration without the boost of organization and propaganda and motivation provided by the efforts of Herzl. But it existed before Herzl.

  • 'One nation, one state, one leader' -- frightening slogan at Tel Aviv protest
    • karl- thank you. I really don't think there is that much to mister mooser's words. I didn't mention the word compromise, though that is mister mooser's focus. but I will react as follows:

      I think that a dialogue between the opinions of leon weiseltier and jonathan chait and peter beinart on the one hand and khalid rashidi on the other hand would be interesting and clarifying.

      I did not mention the word compromise and i don't think that is of the essence. If one has a vision of how one views the best possible outcome of the situation- 1. one state where they all sing kumbaya or 2. one state where the zionists are all hanged or asked to leave versus the two staters: beinart, chait and wieseltier, i think there might be an interesting conversation that would reveal possibilities. Certainly since chait, beinart and wieseltier do not elect the prime minister and would probably vote meretz or livni, depending on the phase of the moon and the the number of lumps of realism in their morning coffee, it is true that dialogue between them and khalidi would not reveal enough light to negate the sad and brutal facts on the ground. dialogue is not the be all and end all. but those who are expressing themselves with words and not guns, should not negate dialogue, because the opposite of dialogue is the barrel of a gun and that is precisely what the occupation is: a barrel of a gun suppressing the urge for freedom, granted. But the upshot is: if you don't believe in dialogue, it means that you are telling me to shut up.

    • mooser- i don't buy that you're so stupid that you don't know why i don't talk with you. have an excellent awesome and stupendous day.

    • James- The racism of Nazism. the racism in israel, and separately: the totalitarianism implied by the sign are horrible and stupid.

      I think the issue of the usage of the Israel = Nazism mantra is relevant.

      (I believe that the ultimate sentiment of ein folk, ein reich, ein fuhrer would imply that there would be no elections in Israel, just like after 1933 there were no elections in germany. I expect there to be elections in Israel for at least the next 32 years. don't you?)

      so this sign is bad, but really it is not major, whereas the Israel=Nazism motif is quite a major one.

      But every time i talk about topic A, you come along and say, why don't you talk about topic B. I want to talk about what i want to talk about and you talk about what you want to talk about. how does that sound? fair enough?

    • If someone is willing to echo Mooser's words, I will reply. I do not reply to Mooser. Have a nice day, Mooser.

    • Leaving alone the sign by the protester and instead focusing on the question of the Israel=Nazi Germany equation. The equation is useful in a private feely- touchy sort of way to describe an individual's emotional reaction to a circumstance. Whenever a teacher used to act in a particularly totalitarian fashion it was customary for us kids, to put one finger under our nose in imitation of a toothbrush moustache and to lift one arm in a heil salute. It is indeed an adolescent reaction, but when our emotions are in play, everything from infantile to adolescent to adult like reactions are useful in expressing what we are feeling.

      The cumulative effect of the overuse of the Israel=Nazi equation is to negate dialogue. Dialogue with Nazis? Forget about it. How can one be so ridiculous?

      So on the positive side it enunciates an individual's feelings and on the negative side- it can lead to throwing dialogue down the toilet.

      If indeed one is dedicated to both dialogue and self expression then it can be used, but it should be used with discretion. But MW gives off the vibe that its "dialogue" function is pro forma and not real. MW's heart seems to be devoted to the impossibility of dialogue and certainly the echo chamber of the comments section is devoted to: let's hear something that the choir will enjoy. So the net effect of the equation is to intensify the echo-ness of this echo chamber.

  • With friends like these...
  • Even Wieseltier is upset by 'indifference in Jewish world' to Gaza slaughter and wholehearted Israeli support for it
    • Bromwich reports that the change of Netanyahu from advocating a real two state solution to his newly expressed opinion that there will never be a Palestinian state in which Israel will not rule the borders, "was reported with relief by one of his admirers, in an article entitled "Netanyahu Finally Speaks his Mind." "

      If Bromwich truly believes that the admirer (David Horowitz) was relieved by this conclusion he should cite some passage in Horowitz's writing that indicates relief. He won't find any. Horowitz is not a firm supporter of the two state solution (as in; whatever however whenever it must be a good idea) but he is a squishy supporter of the two state solution (as in: it's probably the best hope that exists and we must ensure that it won't turn into a nightmare, but negotiating a two state solution is the best we can hope for).

      Bromwich's mischaracterization of Horowitz's opinion is not the sign of a good reporter.

  • Moshe Feiglin's vision of liberating Gaza by driving Palestinians into the Sinai --Updated
    • "All of his education, it would appear, has been religious." This is nonsense. what does this gratuitous line add to Roland Nikles' piece? Gratuitous childishness.

      Feiglin will not be the leader of Likud, not in the next three election cycles: 2016, 2020 and 2024. I will bet on it. Will you? There are those who are in the mainstream of Likud who will adopt his rhetoric and his positions, but he will not be the leader of Likud in the next 10 years. I'm willing to bet on that. Are you?

  • israel is the golden calf
    • you literalist! you racist!

      the poet reduces anyone who disagrees with him to a racist. in reaction to the many hundreds killed in gaza he calls all supporters of israel racists. (I don't "accept" but I won't argue.) but the net effect of the juxtaposition of literalist and racist is to say, if you are a literalist, you are perforce a racist. if you pray three times a day, like devout jews pray and say the words regarding jerusalem and the ingathering of the exiles. if you pray after every meal and talk of the rebuilding of jerusalem and your interpretation is not identical to the metaphorical interpretation given by Kevin Coval, you are a literalist and most probably a racist. Well, I'll bet Mister Coval is not in the habit of praying three times a day and not in the habit of grace after a meal, three times a day and therefore the Jerusalem of his metaphors is something three or four times a year that he has to force his metaphor upon the Jerusalem theme and three or four times a year is weak enough that they can fit any metaphor, but three or six times a day has a different heft to it and you cannot as easily bend the words about Jerusalem from the daily prayer of devout Jews and twist it into Mister Coval's metaphor. I don't care which came first Mister Coval's ideals or his reinterpretation of Jewish liturgy. Doesn't matter. If his interpretation helps him to get closer to the truth and to his creator, all the power to him. But anyone who disagrees with him is a racist and a literalist?! Then he has gone from seeking for god, to speaking for God, reprehensible in all kinds of people, including Mister Coval.

    • we are a diaspora people meant to wander to make the world a home for us and for all. Wow! What a beautiful picture of the diaspora. What a false picture of the diaspora. maybe the mournful view of jewish history that ignores the good times is false, but to paint the diaspora as wonderful. god, what arrogance, propaganda and stupidity.

    • A further comment on this poem appears below.

    • "The biggest atrocity that has befallen jewish people today and in the last 100 plus years is the acceptance of these false reports and the worship of the state of Israel."

      Offensive. The killing of the millions in Europe from 1941 to 1945 is clearly the biggest atrocity.

      Herzl's Zionism was not born out of an idea in his own head as the poet asserts or implies. A whole segment of history has been deleted to fit the poet's priorities.

      it was not posh snobbery that created Zionism, it was a clear eyed view of the situation of European nationalism and the danger it posed. The history of the indigenous is ignored by too many Zionists. To duplicate the feat by ignoring the reality of the fragility and danger facing Eastern European and central European Jews is to add ignorance unto ignorance. maybe good propaganda, but lousy history and a lousy study of the evolution of the mess.

    • eljay- Just because there is no reason and there should be no reason (in your mind and in what i agree and call "reason"), doesn't mean that it wouldn't happen. and i'm saying that unreason would rule and it would happen. we will see how history unrolls, but the Arab middle east is being pulled and pushed in various directions and tumult is the general impression rather than stability and how can one assert that 'reason" will prevail during times of tumult.

    • Israeli elected leaders wish to put Hamas in its place, to put the genie back in the bottle. I don't know if that's possible or what would fill the vacuum left by the undergrounding of Hamas. And if the ends is dubious, the means, so much moreso. Hating Israel today (and yesterday and tomorrow) makes sense if you love the murdered child in Gaza. I dig it.

      But dude, it won't disappear just because you wave the flag of tisha b'av and the golden calf. there's an entire population in Israel of middle eastern Jews who are happy living in the middle east, whom you wish to exile to Paris or New York or Los Angeles. Of course you'll tell me that they will be welcome in Palestine, but frankly I don't believe you and wonder if you believe yourself. Some here are honest enough to say that when Palestine comes the Zionists will have to leave. And for the moment I will accept the exile of the Ashkenazi Jews from Palestine, but you also want to exile the Middle Eastern Jews. (No, you don't want to, but that will be the net effect.)

    • During the massacre of so many humans in gaza, a piece of agitprop like this might deserve a pass. but no. i recoil at too many of the phrases, the mangled history, the spitting and cursing. I will get back to you later and talk human to human on tisha b'av.

  • Elie Wiesel plays the Holocaust trump card in Gaza
    • Reminds me of the joke of the Jewish kid who was pulled out of public school where he misbehaved and put in a Catholic school, where his behavior became spotless. What changed you? he was asked. "I looked up at the wall and saw what they did to the last Jewish kid who misbehaved."

  • Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis
    • The rabbi is wrong, very wrong. Casting a ballot does not make you a soldier.

      There is a logic of not allowing Hamas to run in elections. But once you allow Hamas to run in elections you cannot frame civilian status based upon what you do in the voting booth. It is ridiculous and stupid to assert as much.

      The opinion regarding Hamas that it needs to be uprooted is based upon wishful thinking, but it is "kosher" to declare a political party nonkosher. Those who seek to reoccupy the Gaza Strip are not playing with a full deck and they are not dealing with reality. That reality is primarily international: meaning outside the boundaries of Israel-Palestine and they are blinding themselves to the rest of the world.

      There are two general directions to choose from vis a vis Hamas. Disregarding their charter and emphasizing their charter are the two directions. (shorthand, simplified.) My tendency is to disregard it, but those who emphasize it can point to the experience of the last few years and even to the experience of the MB in Egypt and the tumult in the region and conclude that uprooting Hamas is a logical aim. But this logic denies the role that the world plays in Israel's economy and political life.

      Armchair generals living in a bubble of Fox News and like minded people are not aware of the world and that is the case with this rabbi.

  • Statement: Legal experts and human rights defenders demand international community end Israel's collective punishment of Gaza
    • I am not sure what the polls would say if not for the discovery of the tunnels. Israeli Jews went along with Cast Lead and thus probably would go along with Cast Lead II just based upon the rockets, but the threat of rockets is something that Israel is aware of and many realize that it's difficult (impossible) to solve. The tunnels are something new and scary and the reaction to the tunnels although possibly hysterical could be in fact rather rational and as such, the desire to "solve" the tunnels is something that I, who oppose a war based upon rockets, could see the logic of trying to solve the tunnels through war.

    • Yes, one can sum up bob dylan, even for this one song, as a chabadnik. not.

      btw, as a fan of the song, i always thought that the word "live" in the given lyric was a synonym for survive, as in: if israel would abide by the rules that the world makes for him, the odds are slim that he would survive.

  • ‘Lone soldiers’ and young ideologues from around the world contribute to Israeli war crimes
    • Separate idea: The fact that a certain percentage of young Jews find direction and purpose in pursuing the idea of moving to Israel is not surprising to me. First of all the percentage is low. Although I don't know the thinking that really attracts these kids, I do know that the phenomenon of young American Jews visiting Israel and experiencing a new feeling about one's Jewishness is not that uncommon.

      My friend Larry, z'l, who was a PEP if there ever was one, visited Israel when he was in his mid 30's and it did not change his life, but he really liked it and a few years later when i met him the thing that impressed him most (or that he repeated with the most exuberance about his experience there) was that the garbageman wore a yarmulka. In other words the idea of Jews inhabiting all rungs of society rather than the specific niche that Larry was familiar with on Long Island was appealing to him.

      Unfortunately the initiation into Israelihood for Israelis and for American male olim is the army. That is the nature of the development of the history of Israel. But unlike the jihadis, the primary act here is not that of fighting but that of adopting a new homeland.

      When I was young and the war was the Yom Kippur war, serving in that war protecting the land was/is something noble. when the war is against the Palestinian people rather than against sovereign armies attacking on a holy day, it seems less noble. But one does not choose one's birth year. Although I root for an Israeli consciousness raising that results in sufficient sensitivity to the Palestinians to help peace's evolution and creation and arrival, at this point in time, that is distant and unlike the Yom Kippur war and the 6 day war, the wars of today are against populations primarily or against militias embedded in populations and thus the wars that the Israeli army is fighting are particularly brutal in nature. But Israelihood is something that attracts some young Jews and initiation into Israeli society is achieved through service in the army.

    • The US congress should enact laws to limit/prohibit dual citizenship and to limit/prohibit participation in foreign armies, if that is the will of the American electorate. Individual Americans lacking the backing of the law (if Congress does not enact such laws, even though that is the will of the people) are certainly entitled to their own attitudes towards people with dual citizenship or who have served in foreign armies. But the US should be a country of law and the law of the land does not prohibit such duality and so the citizens should respect the law of the land (to the extent of not taking the law into their own hands), until they can change the law of the land to reflect common sentiment.

      I really don't understand the headline here "young ideologues". What's that about? This is about soldiers, what does "young ideologues" have to do with anything?

      The idea of opposing colonialism and imposing this onto the conversation about serving in a foreign army is just a way of turning every issue into a podium to preach to the choir. I'm sure the choir hears you and answers, "amen". but you come off as a couple of pompous ideologues spouting cant on the street corner from Mao's book of quotes.

  • Israeli embassy puts Mona Lisa in a hijab -- 'Israel now, Paris next'
    • mooser- do you really have to repeat my name 5 times in less than 200 words? you can write a handbook- fifty ways to act like a bully, from the blatant and ugly to the subtle and patronizing. you are an expert. i will say goodbye to you now. bye.

    • Kay24- The comments section of Mondoweiss is probably read by many people who agree with you and to whom your rhetoric rings true. To me it rings false. You are in an echo chamber listening to yourself and patting yourself on the back.

      I don't think there's much chance of a real conversation or even an online version of it here. But I felt a need to say that you don't speak to me at all and you are screeching. I accept that preaching to the choir in wartime is the norm and also that preaching to the choir is the preferred mode of speech here. But as someone who's not in the choir I want to tell you that it has little to do with talking to me.

      Is there any reason to talk to me? Phil Weiss has a theory that American Jews will be the key to the change in American policy towards Israel. If he is correct then, yes there is some reason to talk to me (me standing in for people who agree with me), because if you can't talk to me you can't talk to vast swaths of American Jewry. Is Phil Weiss correct about the role that American Jewry will play in the evolution of American policy? I'm too close to the idea to comment on that.

  • 9 things the American media isn't telling you about Israel/Palestine
    • Quote: "Israel doesn’t have to fire at the civilian targets, it’s a choice that they make. Hamas rockets are broadly ineffective anyway — given Israel’s comprehensive network of bomb shelters. Just three civilians in Israel have been killed so far."

      Israel does not have to fire at civilian targets. The next sentence should be what targets are logical and would be effective. But instead the next sentence is essentially- Israel need not react at all. Just 3 civilians have been killed, so Israel need not react at all.

      It is conceivable that there are targets that would be logical and effective that are not civilian targets. But that information or a hint of that information is not included here.

  • Gaza-- and 'Guernica'
    • Kris- Mohammed tells the faithful the following in the 21st verse of the 5th sura: "Moses said to his people, "O my people, remember GOD's blessings upon you: He appointed prophets from among you, made you kings, and granted you what He never granted any other people.

      [5:21] "O my people, enter the holy land that GOD has decreed for you, and do not rebel, lest you become losers."

      I realize I am taking it out of context, and in all probability later on Mohammed says that because the Children of Israel rebelled the gift of the land was taken from them, but make no mistake, the Koran recognizes the original gift of the land to the Children of Israel.

  • Kerry is off the Israel bandwagon
    • Kay24- Talking of Iran- To merely compare Iran to Israel is to declare all the problems of the Middle East to be the Israel versus Iran dichotomy. But wait, isn't there a civil war in Syria? Isn't there a civil war in Iraq? Some people like to simplify, everything is the fault of Israel. Very silly. There are other players in the neighborhood. Saudia is best friends with Iran? No, not at all. Egypt is best friends with Iran? No, not at all.

      It is hard to measure what the world really thinks of Iran's nuclear program and if its opposition is merely based upon the Israel Iran dichotomy. But there are other players in the region who are firmly opposed to Iran and this simplicity spouted by you is nonsense.

    • At this point in time it is not realistic to expect any lifting of the siege without a mechanism (an occupying army, to be blunt) to monitor the demilitarization of Gaza. Such a "peace force" is not in the cards right now given the current atmosphere, I fear. So the siege will not end.

  • Claim that Hamas killed 3 teens is turning out to be the WMD of Gaza onslaught
    • Djinn- the name Hamas is (transliterated) spelled in Hebrew with a khet, and therefore those from those various backgrounds who speak Hebrew and hear the name Hamas from those who speak Hebrew, do not know the Arabic alphabet and thus pronounce it as if it was written with a khet. (sorry my laptop is not equipped with hebrew letters.) If you can give me an example of an English word with a sharp H, that would help me understand the "not exactly unheard of in English".

    • Djinn- NonArabs cannot pronounce the H of Hamas that is halfway between an H and a KH and they pronounce it as KH. It is making fun of nonArabs.

    • Ali Abunimah debating with JJ Goldberg made an issue of the pronunciation of Hamas. It is a common thing for Arabs to make fun of the way Jews pronounce Hamas. Kind of like shiboleth. (Has nothing or little to do with right wing, it has to do with ethnic origin.)

    • The Netanyahu government reacted to the reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah with alarm. They feel that the Bush administration made a mistake in 2006 when it allowed Hamas to run in the Palestinian elections and they now wish to remedy that mistake. They do not want elections if Hamas is going to run in those elections. The kidnapping of the teens required a crackdown on Hamas in the Hebron area. Whether these kidnappers were independent operators or not, that's how you solve a crime by rounding up the usual suspects and being tough. The nature of the military occupation of the West Bank is such that it is past the point of police cracking down in the inner city, it's worse than that: it's a military occupation. But most of the crackdown (40-80% of the crackdown) merely used the kidnapping as an opportunity to solve the Hamas problem rather than to solve the kidnapping.

      Most things that I've read indicate that war with Gaza was not near Bibi's thoughts and that evolved or devolved from the crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank. Further I think Hamas's weakness on June 11th (the day before the kidnapping) needs to be asserted. They couldn't pay their workers and the result of Morsi's overthrow in Egypt has been a fundamental body blow loss to Hamas. In other words Hamas's reaction to whatever crackdown was occurring on the West Bank was not necessarily as rational as it might have been in a previous period (say November 2012) because now its back was against a wall and it was their irrational response to the west bank crackdown which caused the situation vis a vis the rockets to get out of control.

      Again I wish to report my anecdotal experience of that small segment of the Israeli public that I experience and to assert that the tunnels are something that they have not digested. The report of a planned attack to occur on the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashana is now part of the story and an integral part of the Israeli understanding of the fight against Hamas. Further the closure of Ben Gurion airport last week was a symptom of the fact that rockets from Gaza are just plain intolerable.

      It is impossible to fight a war against Hamas without fighting a war against Gaza. One can eliminate certain tactics of the war (particularly assassination of Hamas operatives or officers or leaders when they're surrounded by family), but if you fight a war against Hamas it's going to be a war where many Gazans will die. The ugliness brutality and violence to human lives done in such a war seems to me too high a price to pay, purely on a PR level, particularly when there is no long range strategy (other than that horrible phrase: "mowing the lawn".) Again I have to add that the introduction of the threat of the tunnels is jarring enough, new enough to me, that while i'm sure that eventually I'll calm down and see the tunnels as a threat that could be handled differently than an invasion where a thousand Gazans die, the threat is too new for me to close the file with a few pithy ("I'm with Avraham Burg" or "I'm with Amram Mitzna") phrases. I must still digest this new phenomenon and read more about how such threats can be handled before I will be calm about this revelation. Less new, but nonetheless disturbing was the grounding of all those airlines last week, revealing a new vulnerability. This too needs to be digested.

      But Cast Lead was extremely brutal, extremely murderous and extremely harmful to Israel's PR and I knew that a repeat would be also murderous and brutal and harmful to Israel's image, that was why I was against this war to begin with.

  • Oren's charge that networks showcase Palestinian dead at behest of Hamas is 'obscene' -- Penhaul
    • Walid- Although the Holocaust was not the necessary destination of European Jew hatred, your comments seem to treat it as if european Jew hatred did not exist until the Holocaust. For someone who has read as much history as you, such comments are surely malicious rather than based upon real ignorance.

    • Walid- Zionism, as in the movement to "secure" the Jewish future by acquiring rights in the land of Zion, almost always paid insufficient compassion and human thought towards the indigenous. Those that paid "sufficient" compassion were much more the exception than the rule.

      Thus for most Zionists, it was a move for a specific purpose for the endangered Jews, and thus was for the preservation of the self, both individual and group, but was not benevolent for the indigenous.

      IN 2014 the phrase "endangered Jews" might not sound real, but in 1881, 1897 and 1917 and 1933, to pick a few years (not at random) it was something unfortunately quite real.

    • Michael Oren, Dermer’s successor

      minor error. Michael Oren was Dermer's predecessor.

  • Joan Rivers slams CNN and BBC coverage of Gaza -- 'you're all insane'
    • The media are an essential player in this war. Pan Arab solidarity does not exist vis a vis the governments, but the people who watch this on t.v. are rooting for Hamas. Hamas's resistance is aimed at people watching their t.v.'s in Amman, Paris and Ramallah. The logic of: stop firing rockets, because if you fire a rocket we will kill hundreds, is a brute logic, but it is a logic that would quite probably work, except for the presence of the media and people watching on t.v.

      (There are widening circles of context that might mitigate against the logic of not firing rockets. The siege, 47 years of occupation, the collapse of the Kerry peace talks, the reaction of Israel to "reconciliation", the inner power struggle by those who do not favor "reconciliation", two thirds the population being refugees from 48, the fall of the MB in Egypt due to a coup, the loss of neighborhood patronage with the civil war in Syria, all might push the equation of "logic" in a different direction, but the role of media in this war is an essential factor.)

    • Citizen- Sometimes people here claim that they refer to Israelis by their names before they were exchanged for Hebrew names because they object to Zionism and the name changes were part of Zionism. But referring to Joan Rivers by her name before she adopted her stage name is pure Father Coughlin (and exactly what I would expect from you.)

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