Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3906 (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.

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  • Stephen Walt: publishing 'Israel lobby' ended any thought of serving in US gov't
    • DR- creative. enigmatic.

    • "Thus the bizarre epiphany at the end, when Shalev says he had just spent time with an anti-Semite who pretended not to be one:" Shalev's comment is actually given here as : "Jews developed a sixth sense that allowed them to detect both Jews and anti-Semites who may have been pretending to be something else. It is a shame, I thought, that I have not inherited her gift."

      I think Phil's interpretation is a bit off. Shalev is saying (IMHO), "I fear he is antiSemitic, but I wish I could know it for sure." His missing antiSemite detector is somewhere in the attic and instead he can only guess whether or not Walt is a Jewhater.
      This is bad enough. But it is not what Phil wrote. It is different.

      I think that Walt has been vindicated over the last 8 years and the role of Israel in US-Iran relations specifically has shown that the Israel lobby's power is outsized. Also, it makes no difference if the neocons only represented one strand of what is best for Israel, when the towers were hit, these people whose coloring may have been tainted by a specific type of support for Israel Likud Netanyahu policy led us into a war that was in fact against American interests. I think that 2006 was too soon after the intifada and maybe too early in the history of the conflict, as in there was a change of heart that occurred during Cast Lead that placed me or the conflict in a different light. I do not wish to reread Walt with an eye to try to sense whether he is an antiSemite.

      Israel's policy vis a vis the West Bank is wrongheaded and has been for a long time. It is choosing delay, when it should either annex the West bank or withdraw. (if the settlement enterprise had been at 1973 levels today Israel could claim its hold on the territory was purely security oriented, but the settler levels of 2014 are of a different magnitude and such a contention will not cut it on the world stage. at the very least it does not pass the test of marit ayin. Meaning it looks treif, even if to some Israelis their hearts are pure.

      And a wrongheaded Israel getting veto and military support from the US based on a compass that is being ignored, not out of common values, but out of financial campaign patterns that show democracy at its lowest most vulnerable vulgar and undemocratic point rather than any reflection of ideals.

      So Walt was right and I don't need to look him in the eye and test his heart. God can do that.

  • Resurrecting Passover?
    • Walid- I am not proud of Deir Yassin and Tantura. But I think that if all you're going to do is cite holidays and history of the Jews that is bad, then you have set yourself up as my enemy and I wish you could figure out some way around that. If you wish to set yourself up as my enemy, that is your right.

    • keith- which translation do you read? I never heard of money lenders in the temple, it's money changers.

    • The history depicted in the Bible, or the myth depicted in the Bible, is a poor example about how the Jewish people should proceed into the future. But the exodus from Egypt much moreso than the book of Joshua (however true or false) is much more at the core of the Jewish religion. And certainly moving into the future with the death of the Egyptians and blood and gore are negative images. But freedom is a wild and wonderful thing and name a story about freedom that has inspired more people than the book of Exodus. Would not Doctor King have quoted exodus? So give the bible and the specifically the story of the exodus its due. It's a great story. Too bloody, true. Taken too tribally- trouble to the planet. But a great story and the people who read the story in the Hebrew. Why they're great too.

  • Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect
    • tree- You accuse me of bordering on Nakba denial and then you demand immediate answers from me and if I don't therefore I must admit that you're right?! Honey or sweetheart or stupid, whatever I call you, you are off the wall, singing to the choir. And I am not bordering on Nakba denial but you are full of shit and you are so used to your own shitty rhetoric that you think it is chocolate and smells like chocolate to you.

      Let me leave Lod alone for a moment because apparently it is also in the bible and I will get back to Lod if you insist at another time. But acco was called acco by the Zionists because that was its name in Jewish history. Go to the talmud and look up the name of Acco. It was called Acco in the Talmud. Look it up in tractate Gittin, a book which was compiled before the Arab conquest and it was called Acco before Arabic reached Palestine and that derivation of acco from the word sand, why that is creative etymology, a euphemism for possibly true, but probably bullshit.

      (And Meir benvenisti gets a break because he happens to be a Jewish thinker with time spent on the ground and not just 12 months spread out over 4 years, but decades and generations and Max gets no benefit of the doubt, because the hate rises from his rhetoric.)

    • Page: 39
    • mrw- Zionism would not have gotten off the ground without Herzl's input, but it was not his idea. It predated him. Pinsker, is the name and the cause was hatred of Jews and the perception was 100% accurate. The location for the fleeing of Jews was primarily in the direction of North America and that predated Herzl as well, but the idea of self emancipation was a natural one and the place, why the place was obvious- the old homeland. Call it a fantasy real estate deed does not deprive it of the fact that a refuge was needed and a self emancipation was a natural conclusion and the location was merely the last detail which had only one answer.

      And let's see you carry on a discussion without getting your panties in a twist. I doubt you know how to carry on a discussion of any sort with anyone but the choir.

      Max's hate is perceptible. He has not an iota of friendship to the Jewish religion or to Jewish history or to anything Jewish except those who agree with him 100%. His mentality sucks and that's why MJ rosenberg is on the right track in attacking him.

      But as I asserted and reassert: Naftali Bennet is a bigger danger to Israel than Max Blumenthal.

      But the choir here loves Max and so go preach to the choir. No one is stopping you. You must love getting cheers from the choir.

    • Tree- I specifically stated that I appreciated max b's report on yeshaya Leibovitz of blessed memory, so therefore you are wrong regarding my reading of his book. The facts that he depicts are painful and I again admitted that Naftali bennet is a greater danger to Israel than max b is.

      But let me defend mj Rosenberg who calls max a hater. And I challenge you to find one positive reference to any Jewish holiday or ritual in his entire book. I haven't finished it and you know it by heart, so you can tell me where to look. Passover is merely a slant of Jewish paranoia fitting in with the national holidays of paranoia and militarism of the spring and Purim aside from yet another example of Jewish paranoia is an excuse for subjugating women. That's what I have found so far and I have yet to find one positive iota about any single Jewish holiday or religious practice. That's why I think mj Rosenberg is spot on calling him a hater. But you know the book by heart and you can enlighten me. I bet you can't, but surprise me.

    • Zofia- I am aware that Israel changed some names of some cities for ideological reasons and when that was the case, citing such facts is relevant. But in the case of acco and Lod that was not the case. And maybe some day I will have the time and patience to examine those two cases and discover the exact timing of the various names. Until then it is a prime example of the attitude of max b's overall writing, which reflects an ahistorical point of view so that he can say one more reason why Israel should be hated. As if the real name of the city is Acre, which not even you claim. It is indicative of the tendentious nature of his book. That was my point. And the fact that Israel did erase villages and did rename places is a fact. But when he throws acco into the mix, it is purely out of animus, and I was pointing out why a pro Israel person who is willing to face facts, but maybe only reluctantly, instead faces not facts, but a variety of bullshit, which at best is propaganda, well that is what alterman and Rosenberg have called a hate book and I was pointing out that max's writing in those examples exposes his hate rather than history.when I reacted to tree's outrageousness I did not mean anything against you and if the choir here got on your case too, well welcome to the mosh pit.

    • tree- Accusing me of Nakba denial is ridiculous. (Tossing around the phrase Nakba denial is stupid.) Lod is a name that appears in the Bible. To give it the name that it had before the Arabic version is not to rename it. If it had a different name after the Arab conquest of the 7th century that is fine and if that name was closer to the name that the Canaanites gave it, is also fine, but to call it renaming is just plain stupid. As if to call Jerusalem Jerusalem or Yerushalayim is to rename it, because it was called al quds by the Arabs. That's just plain stupid. And I know that you are not stupid. But your words are.

    • Implicating Max Blumenthal as a Jew hater because he was cited by this KKK murderous nut is a smear. (This is the price one pays for fame, being cited by David Duke and similars. It is unfair and unpleasant and a smear to associate Max with this killer, or alleged killer. (Do I really need to call him an alleged killer? Do I also have to call him an alleged nut or an alleged hater? Isn't this "alleged" nonsense a bit too much, the first step in political correctness that is a bit much?) But there is an overlap of Jew haters and haters of Zionism and it is bound to happen that Jew haters will quote approvingly of famous anti Zionists. Max is now a famous anti Zionist and such a connection, though not relevant in a court of law or even in the court of public opinion, is bound to be quoted by Jew haters.)

      I've been reading Max B's book Goliath and his monomaniacal one sidedness is frankly nauseating and I can see where it is not reporting, but is propaganda. (Again let me reassert that Naftali Bennett is a bigger threat to Israel than Max B. An aside: What percentage of American Jewish supporters of Israel even know who Max B. is? What percentage of American Jewish supporters of Israel even know who Naftali Bennett is? What about the percentage of Americans in general?)

      An example: In referencing the fact that Israel calls the city where the airport is located as Lod, Max says that Israel renamed the city from Lydda to Lod. Similarly in a report about the city of Acre, Max says that the city was renamed by the Israelis as Acco from Acre. This is just high school nonsense. Lydda and Acre were not the original names of these cities. In Arabic these towns are not called Lydda and Acre, but Lod and Acco. Those names (Lydda and Acre) are Western names given to ancient places and the more ancient names are Lod and Acco. But it is Max B's monomaniacal "I hate Israel handbook" that requires him to fault Israel for renaming these cities, when the ancient names are not Lydda and Acre, but Lod and Acco.

  • Friedman prepares American Jews for a divorce from zealot Israel
    • "unpalatable" in terms that a state usually prefers its own interests rather than the interest of some "other". Yes, I agree it would be great to free the Palestinians, but it is not in the interest of the state of Israel to do so, unless one sees the conflict in the same way as Yeshaya Leibowicz, which is not an easy mode of thought. I admire Leibowicz, even though his rhetoric still makes me rebel, the essence of his analysis was accurate and following his advice would have been sound morally and politically. and so i am merely reflecting the opinion of 99% or 93% rather than Yeshaya Leibowicz.

      So sorry for explaining a state of mind that is not mine. I'm with Leibowicz. Annex or withdraw. Tomorrow. Or after Shabbos is over, before Passover is over. But unlike you, I speak to the 93% if not for them and to them I admit that it is unpalatable. I cannot convince them of Leibowitz, so I use their language. And I don't condemn their language either. I let Leibowicz condemn them. And unfortunately the people who are on Leibowicz's side on east 14th street in nyc and in the comments section of mondoweiss have zero sympatico with every Jewish bone and sinew in my body and thus I fight you. But Leibowicz was right.

    • Sumud- first, Friedman wrote nothing about the wall. Second- there are Israeli right wingers who oppose the barrier as superfluous, prominent among the opponents is Moshe Arens. Third- I suppose from a certain perspective the 2nd intifada is almost ancient history, but 10 years really is just enough time for an 8 year old kid to become an 18 year old soldier, and if you think that the bombs in pizza parlors did not leave a lasting effect (lasting at least 10 years), then you are very wrong.
      I realize that the Palestinians suffered even more than Israelis during the intifada and certainly they have suffered more since the end of the intifada (I would date the end of the intifada as 2004, with arafat's death) but to dismiss the building of the wall as something irrational is wrongheaded and certainly narrow minded.

    • The militants come from modern orthodox backgrounds and their houses of worship are not called temples, rather synagogues or shuls, so no tom, et al, did not meet them at temple nor at nonorthodox summer camp.

    • Israel has 2 choices: withdrawal or annexation. Until now it has chosen delay. Given the unpalatable nature of the two choices, choosing delay makes sense. But delay cannot last forever.
      I react negatively to tom friedman's version of "you're no kin to pa" especially citing the absence of auto traffic on Shabbat in Jerusalem, which broadly speaking is related to the rightward trend in the country's body politic, but only broadly speaking. It will be "interesting" to see what role this alienation between the settlers of Israel and the Jewish voters of America will play in the evolution of American foreign policy, but I do not expect the change to come tomorrow or next year. But it will be tricky for those who try to navigate what are bound to be tricky and challenging and rock filled rapids. I would trust mj Rosenberg to navigate those rapids way before I would trust a hot dog like max blumenthal or even a more thoughtful anti Zionist like Phil Weiss.

  • Palestinians can have an embassy in Jerusalem, but God forbid not a capital -- Israeli mayor
    • Phil writes, "Under the U.N. Partition plan, Jerusalem was to be an international city apart from the two states alongside it. Thus Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem in 1967 was considered illegal."

      The cause and effect implied by the word "thus" is false. Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem in 67 was considered illegal because it was not part of Israel according to the armistice agreement of 1949. Some of the legal scholars here might add some interesting facts about Jerusalem's status according to the UN, but the annexation of 67 and its rejection by the international community is NOT based upon the partition agreement, but based upon resolution 242 and the fact that according to that resolution EAST Jerusalem is occupied territory.

  • Alleged K.C. killer: 'If Jews can have a state of their own, why can't we have a White Christian state?'
    • By the way, finally got Goliath out of the bibliotheque and I appreciated the reporting on Yeshaya Leibowitz and I must again assert that Israeli policies are more dangerous to Israel than Max Blumenthal. But... in his chapter on indoctrination he cites Passover as one of the spring holidays along with Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron and Independence Day and citing the "in each generation they rise up against us to wipe us out" as if that is the sole essence of Passover, considers Passover as part of the indoctrination of militarism (and them against us) implied by the other commemorations. This is highly offensive. There is much much more to Passover than "in each generation" and pray tell does Max have something positive to say about any thing Jewish, to balance out his rejection of Passover and other holidays. He is anti the Jewish religion, at least in the chapter on indoctrination. His rhetoric is slanted in that section and I was wondering if those of you who own the book can cite a page or chapter in which he says something positive about Judaism.

    • I understand that this website is friends with Max Blumenthal. But really is this back and forth in the tweet battle really something that deserves this space. (I suppose that is one advantage of the ether sphere that there is no such thing as space, as in including all these does not deprive more deserving material from being printed, but still, I've never heard of these tweeters and I do not see them and their argument with Max as newsworthy.)

  • Amid 'climate of fear' at Vassar, president comes out against 'action and protest' re Israel
    • The place for protests are not in the buildings with classrooms. Outside the buildings with classrooms or at and in the administration building, yes. But inside the classroom buildings, no.

  • 'Not a single person in this room would accept living as Palestinians do, generation after generation'
    • seafoid- "Hatorah" is not a phrase that I've heard anyone use but you in a sentence like that. What does the Torah say is how the English and the Hebrew live together in a sentence in 2014 usage.

      The idea that Israel created Islamic fundamentalism is patently untrue. It is a movement of global proportions of which the oppression of the Gaza Palestinians by Israel has played only a small role, certainly not the determining role. There's no question that Israel is not preparing for the future and has made things worse. But advocacy of democracy in Palestine must take into account the realistic fears of the current democratic or anti democratic milieu (global, regional and local).

    • David Samel- It is valid to contend that because of differences Palestine will not end up like Egypt. But I have heard the term racism thrown around on this issue before (I will hear it again) and I think that it is a mere attempt to stop thought and questions. I think it is antithetical to thought. I have not done sufficient research to figure out when democracies develop and when they don't and governance is not my specialty. But the "racist" term is a show stopper and does not really convince me. Great. So what I consider common sense you call racism. Who am I going to believe my own eyes or your name calling? Sorry, just cause you called me a name, that doesn't change the facts that fundamental Islam is going to be a problem. Doesn't change the fact that the PA showed every evidence of corruption and anti democratic tendencies. Doesn't change the power politics of a region where Iran casts a large shadow. Good, you've called me a name. Good, you've shown that it might be different. But you have not convinced me. Nor are your arguments convincing. And your name calling proves only that you wish to inhibit my questions. Great!

    • As far as Beinart's alternatives. The prospect of a Jewish minority living in Arab majority Palestine is a radical change compared to the last 66 years. Phil mocks Beinart's fear of this prospect, particularly given Beinart's love for democracy in America. Phil's mockery would have the ring of reality to it, if only he could tell us how what is happening in Egypt and Syria are irrelevant to the prospects of governance in Arab majority Palestine. The war of ideas must include some theory of the current state of Arab self governance.

      Meanwhile the thinkers of the Jewish people in Israel and around the world should be applying their thoughts to enlarging the democracy in Israel to all those ruled by Israel, for those who care about democracy in Israel must also realize by now that the current situation is "bad" and isn't disappearing on the near horizon, so means to include everybody living in Israeli controlled borders (I mean the West Bank, although Gaza deserves study and effort to free the coming and going of people and goods in all directions other than the border with Israel) need to be conceived.

  • Simon Schama's Israel whitewash
    • "Nor does Schama the historian mention the established fact that Ben-Gurion and the Zionist leaders “accepted” partition only as a tactical first step, to be jettisoned as soon as they were strong enough to go well beyond the boundaries of the partition plan–by whatever means necessary."

      The tactical nature of the Ben Gurion acceptance of the partition plan could have been exposed had the Palestinians accepted the partition plan. I understand why the Palestinians didn't accept it, but this historical footnote is not something that I would expect any television show to include. It is for a truly in depth historical analysis, rather than for a tv show. Slater is in effect saying, why is Schama a Zionist like himself and not a Zionist like me. No, Schama is not a skeptic out to highlight the skeptical angle on the issue. That's you, Slater. This is not a valid critique of Schama, only a valid footnote to history by those who wish they would get to make their own tv programs.

  • 'In every generation they rise up against us' -- Passover and the Jewish imagination
    • seafoid- You are one of the friendlier voices here vis a vis Judaism. When some of your cohorts say, "Let Judaism disappear" you protest, "maybe some Jews like Judaism," but your feeble protests aside, the predominant view here is "let Judaism disappear." It is not unanimous, but it is predominant.

    • sean- The way Keith presented himself and the way you present yourself is not conducive to thought (by me) but to emotion as in: reacting against arrogance, but that is not something that attracts me this moment.

      The survival of the Jews throughout the years since the destruction of the temple in 70 amazes me. The conditions that existed in the earliest parts of this epoch and certainly those that predate 70 C.E. are really a bit distant for me to really assess. The attempt to turn the Talmud into a type of portable homeland, where Shabbat a day of the week, a time rather than a place, became the home of the Jewish people was a rather audacious attempt to defy the usual requirements of land and language.

      Because of my familiarity with Talmud and Tanach in the original languages, I attribute survival to the strength of the belief in the one God and the way of life that the Torah and the law provided for the Jew in their wandering. There is a type of tribal internalism, as in a nomad tribe that turns inward and does not allow the outside world to fully penetrate the private beliefs and studies and behaviors, that is central to Judaism, certainly in its travels around the globe.

      If you wish to discuss this, rather than posing, "nah, nah, nah, Einstein must be an anti semite according to you!" then might i suggest a different tone. This web site really is not friendly territory to those who consider Judaism a good thing and keith's tone and your own merely exacerbate antagonisms rather than attempt to dialogue regarding attitudes and beliefs.

      If you enjoy typing your own opinion and then reading it here, keep up the mediocre work. If you are interested in finding out how others think, change your mode of dialogue to one of dialogue rather than taunting.

    • Walid- Many Jews invite nonJews to their seders. Usually these guests are friends, maybe even close friends, rather than strangers.

    • seanmcbride- As far as the line from the Hagadda- In recent times: meaning Europe 1881-1953 (extended from 1945 to include Stalin's end of life anti Jewish paroxysms) the persecution of the Jews by nations is a historical fact that needs no embellishment. The recent history of American Jews is utilized to prove that 1881-1953 was an aberrant period or an irrelevant period, but certainly from the aspect of history, the idea that I am supposed to dismiss the line from the hagadda or the facts of 1881-1953 in order to satisfy you and your silly lists, is ridiculous. I do not teach the children (my nieces and nephews) that Jew hatred is inevitable and the hagadda lines quoted here are not my favorite. But any real study of recent Jewish history would not dismiss the 1881-1953 period as irrelevant, aberrant or self fulfilling and would instead ask, what caused such a violent reaction to the existence/presence of the Jews during that period. What about the change of modernity led to a sick, virulent form of hate? What about nationality, Europe and religion brought up such a sick mix during that period? And why can't intelligent people discuss the issue without casting about for self fulfilling prophecies, when clearly such theories are insufficient and there was something about the emergence of Christian European societies into modernity that thrust them into a crisis that resulted in such sickness.

    • edwards- Rising up against us, is a mediocre translation. In every generation they stand over us to wipe us out, would be a more literal translation. But let us adjust to the history of events. Quite often the murder of Jews was a rebellion against authority. The Jews were prominent as tax collectors for the Poles against the Ukranians, thus the murder of Jews was a rising up against a class of oppressor, which involved mass murders, but to the Ukranians, the offense of the Jews was one of oppression, that was handled through bloodshed and murder of innocents.

    • seanmcbride- This doesn't apply to you, but those who never met or heard of a Jew hater they didn't approve of, suddenly blaming all the Jew hating on the self fulfilling prophecy theory of Jew hatred really have no credibility.

  • Brandeis retracts plan to honor anti-Muslim activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    • There are topics about which I have a lot of information and others that I don't. I have very little information about Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I can only tell you the general impression that I have and I assume that this general impression is something that reflects the general impression of some percentage of the general public. (I state these things as facts, but if you must: imagine quotation marks. These are impressions and not facts.) She is courageous and has been battling the more intolerant side of Islam.

      Obviously when granting a special honor, one should do research about an individual and not judge based upon general impressions. But I think those who consider her an enemy based upon her anti Islamic stance, should realize that whereas Pamela Geller gives off an aura of superficiality and bigotry, the same cannot be said about Ali.

  • 'Poof' -- Kerry blames Israel for breakdown of talks (Updated)
    • Optimism regarding the future of peace talks with the current voting propensities of the Israeli electorate, let alone the current coalition, is certainly misplaced. It is not as if the world is waiting for my optimism or pessimism, so therefore I allow my emotions to vary according to the day and the last column that i've read and i also allow myself to write words based upon those evanescent emotions as well. Here are the words of Zvi Barel that inspired my "optimism":

      link to haaretz.com

      "Until a few weeks ago, would anyone have dreamed that the peace process would overshadow the corruption trial of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the testimony of his longtime bureau chief Shula Zaken, the issue of the price of housing or the scandal surrounding singer Eyal Golan?

      "Suddenly, this battered piece of furniture that no one dared throw out and whose ugliness was covered with a pique blanket, has revived, and is not threatening war or even, at the least, an intifada; it is bringing the elections into the heart of the discourse.

      "Kerry has succeeded in throwing Israel into a dilemma that it never wanted to deal with: an election that could end up with Lieberman, Likudnik Danny Danon, Yisrael Beiteinu's David Rotem and Habayit Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett leading the Kingdom of Israel, or yet another victory for Netanyahu. Or a second chance for the center-left to do what it did not succeed in doing 14 months ago.

      "Kerry could force Israel to redefine itself and hold the real referendum. Because he will not apportion blame to either of the sides, rather declare that each one is fully to blame with respect to itself.

      "So, here is another command: Kerry must stay. Not to serve the right wing or inflame the left. Because as long as he is around, there is an opportunity to change the government. After all, we will not carry out the revolution on our own."

    • Not sure, just speculating. But let's see. If Obama loses the Senate in November what will he do with his last two years in office? If Obama maintains the Senate what will he do with his last two years in office? I think post November Obama may be different than the current Obama. (Unlike Clinton, Obama's wife will not run for office and so there will be no electoral reason to keep toeing the line with Israel for the sake of Hillary in 2016.)

    • Speaking about Aaron David Miller, I just read parts of his book, "too much promised land" and it was illuminating particularly in regards to the Camp David summit of 2000. But also this: the Carter administration spent its first 10 months pursuing a Geneva conference that went nowhere, but that wrongheaded pursuit led Sadat to visit Jerusalem, which led to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. It is not likely but it might be conceivable that Kerry's pursuit of the impossible might lead to new Israeli elections that might lead to a new coalition more receptive to Kerry's ideas. True, it is unlikely, but maybe the lesson of Carter I (meaning Carter pre Sadat to Jerusalem) is that benign neglect leads nowhere, but pursuit of something even something illogical might lead to a dynamic that was unknown before the pursuit began.

  • Zionism has distorted American Jewish life
    • These two paragraphs show something other than common sense designed Brownfeld's speech:

      In Israel itself, there is a growth of racism, there is a growth of religious extremism. The book The King’s Torah was a bestseller. This is a book that said Jews and non-Jews are basically different in nature, Jews are much closer to God than non-Jews, who are referred to as uncompassionate….

      We understand there’s religious extremism in many parts of the world. My point is why don’t American Jews say a word about this? Not a word of criticism of the racism and extremism growing in Israel. It has distorted Jewish values. It has distorted American Jewish life.

      Most American Jews are not aware of this. Most of those who are aware of this condemn this.

      The inclusion of this in the limited time that Brownfeld devoted to the topic shows that Brownfeld ought to retire.

  • Friedman says Iran's friends include BDS and Jews in Open Hillel movement
    • seafoid- you are wrong.
      Zionism might not have saved 400,000 people (the Jewish population in 1939), but it certainly saved tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Jews who survived going to Palestine that would not have survived otherwise. You are wrong and are not willing to learn the history but are merely interested in singing with the choir.

    • seafoid- Many Jews survived the war because they made it to Palestine in the 30's, when there were no friendly gates open to them, other than those of Palestine, which were open only because of the existence of the Zionist movement, the Balfour declaration and the British mandate.

      The fact that the Nazis never overran Palestine may be historical coincidence, but the fact is that Jews that escaped Europe and found their way to Palestine survived because of the combination of Zionism and that coincidence.

    • Sumud- Instead of trying to defend my words, which were indeed imprecise, let me again cite Phil's words and show why they should be attacked.
      "In 1988, the Palestinians said they’d accept Israel on its 1949 armistice border, and Israel ignored the offer, just as it ignored the Arab Peace Initiative offer in 2002."
      (By the way the significance of the API of 2002 was its vague language regarding the right of return. As much as any other factor that is the one cited by supporters of Israel as reason why it should have been treated seriously rather than ignored.)
      In fact until after the summer of 2000, Israel's peace camp had not accepted the degree to which Israel would have to withdraw from the West Bank in order to reach an accord with the PLO. It is only in the aftermath of Camp David 2000 and its evolution into Taba 2001 that Israel's peaceniks adjusted to the necessities that resulted in the so called Geneva Accord of Abd Rabbo and Beilin of 2003.
      The concessions made by the PLO's acceptance of 242 in November of 1988 were indeed far reaching. To include the lack of reaction of the Shamir government in 1988 as proof of the long lasting Israeli rejectionism is more propaganda than history. The evolution of the Zionist left's acceptance of the necessities that led to the Geneva Accord of 2003 had not yet begun and this stop on the timeline does more to bolster Phil's credentials with the choir than to show the inevitable, pre Adelson, rejection of common sense regarding the need for withdrawal from the West Bank.

    • If it's such a living dream for these men, why don't they move there.
      I suggest you remove war of ideas from your dashboard and replace it with: "we won the war of ideas, now's the time for good old ad hominem." I realize that's not as pithy as war of ideas, but that's not what you're engaged in, but in good old ad hominem.

      Personally I don't consider Zionism circa 2014 a dream come true. Given the facts of the immediate history before 1948 i can see how Zionism could at that time be seen as a dream come true and for those that learn of the genocide and take it enough to heart to view it as a cataclysm the differential of time does not necessarily disqualify them from viewing it as a dream come true, but that is not where I am at this point of time and I don't view it as a dream come true.

      The existence of a vibrant Jewish community (other than America) that includes many Jews who would not walk the face of the earth if not for Zionism I view as a good thing and I wish for it to prosper. As such I take into account the possibilities of peace, including the prevailing politics of the people in Israel. In the long range I believe Israel has two choices: annexation of the West Bank and withdrawal from the West Bank. Because the vast majority of Israelis view annexation as a threat rather than as a promise it is not the subject of sufficient study to be considered as anything but an unwanted (or at least very uncertain) destination. Certainly nothing that I have read on this blog has reassured me that I have nothing to fear but fear itself. And the assertion that there is nothing to fear from American style democracy in Israel falls short of the mark. What I find here is zero realism regarding the Arab spring and negligible realism regarding any of the realistic prospects regarding the probability of a future of Free (Hamas) Palestine rather than Free (utopia) Palestine. Thus: the war of ideas is not fought here and instead we have the superficial pieties of those too sure of themselves.

    • The assertion that the Palestinians accepted Israel at the 1949 armistice line implies that there would be no real outstanding issues other than that of borders. Otherwise the assertion of an acceptance of Israel at those lines is meaningless.

      Note my words: This is an assertion without a context. Once the context is included the assertion changes its meaning.

    • The headline of this post is based upon a misreading of Friedman. It is Adelson that is Iran's friend. Open Hillel and BDS are not friends of Iran and are not labeled as such by Friedman. (I suppose a parenthesis around the paragraph devoted to BDS would have clarified this, but still, I think it is obviously a tangent to the Adelson Iran connection and not a bundling of BDS with Adelson.)

    • "In 1988, the Palestinians said they’d accept Israel on its 1949 armistice border, and Israel ignored the offer"

      This is an assertion without a context. On what is it based? Did the PLO really propose giving up the right of return? If so, this is news. So this is an assertion based upon a half read of history by a recent student for the purpose of propagating a point of view. This is called inaccuracy and propaganda.

  • Why the 'Forward's' support for SodaStream is antithetical to progressive values
    • Krauss- I would imagine that the Yiddish Forward has a lot of holdovers from the old Forward, both staff and readers and as such reflect the earlier history of the newspaper rather than the current phase of American Jewry which has "new" or different sensibilities.

  • When Anja Niedringhaus went to Gaza
    • talknic- You are simpleminded.

    • talknic- The program to which I linked was about the situation in Vienna rather than the situation in Palestine/Israel. The future Herzl saw was the sad future for the Jews of Europe. There is no question that Herzl saw the danger to the Jews in Europe clearly, but did not conceive of the complications of the post colonial world order that now is upon us.

    • First regarding this sad photo and the sad plight of the Palestinians in Gaza. We approach Passover, the story of which in Exodus (Ezra or Moses version not Leon Uris) tells of Pharoah who hardened his heart. In the course of the conflict and in the course of interacting with the people here in the comments section I at times harden my heart. but this photo clarifies that such hardening is not the path.

      (The two state solution would involve both the West Bank and Gaza, but the one state solution, as in the annexation of territories and giving the residents the vote, by the nature of the withdrawal from Gaza, would not involve Gaza.)

      (Off topic: If this is a war of ideas, Simon Schama's Story of the Jews, ought to be mentioned, if not discussed. Its take on Zionism is simplistic: If Herzl saw the future, which he did, he must have been right. Maybe there is not much to say about this, but if this is the war of ideas, a mention of a major PBS series would be appropriate.)

      link to pbs.org

  • 'NYT' readers who objected to calling Abbas 'defiant' have a point, public editor rules
    • Sumud- How can I take a pro Palestinian protest against Zionist racism seriously if that same protester cites racist websites? It works both ways.

    • Shuki- The way it looks to me is that Israel has two (long range) alternatives: withdrawal from the West Bank and annexation of the West Bank (including giving full citizenship to all residents of the West Bank). It is valid to consider both these long range alternatives as bad alternatives and therefore maintaining the status quo is the best of the 3 alternatives. But eventually 20, 40 or 60 years out, one of the two alternatives will be chosen. Do you agree or disagree? (And if you agree, then the voices cited in the article in Yedioth are merely adding to the dynamic forcing an earlier rather than a later choice of one of these alternatives. The psychology of those voices is interesting, but in the long range, labeling these people as moral narcissists is merely a distraction to the fact that one of the two choices will eventually have to be chosen.)

  • Ehud Olmert's JNF-sponsored tour nixed after corruption conviction
    • The existence of a border with Egypt is not insignificant and should not be denied and makes the comparison with Warsaw ghetto specious.

      If Hamas had been willing to declare the West Bank a separate cause, then the independent country of Gaza could make peace with Israel and its situation would be radically different than what it is. I accept that Hamas "cannot" declare the West Bank a separate cause and cannot declare Gaza a country at peace with Israel.

      (The Zionist dictum was one dunam, one cow, one day. As such, had Gaza become Jewish sovereign territory in say 1937, the Zionists would have done more with it than Hamas has done, because Hamas's dictum is sumud, patient struggle, an entirely different dynamic than one dunam, one cow, one day.)

    • (Warning: This statement does not take into account many significant political factors.)

      Not to deny the Palestinians their path towards liberation, but if you had given the Jews a country with a coast on the Mediterranean, even as small as Gaza is even as overcrowded as it is, the Jews would have turned it into something more than what Hamas has done with it. I know it's unfair, because Hamas has to worry about freeing all the Palestinians and even if they haven't done anything in that direction that is what they are worried about rather than creating a country.

  • 'NYT' stamps Jimmy Carter 'radioactive' and not 'a force for good'
    • sorry for maligning the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). They have enough tsuris without my slanders.

      I have not read the literature of the specific group that killed Sadat and maybe the atmosphere in Egypt in general and the Arab world in general might have been less anti Sadat had Begin been forthcoming on the issue of the West Bank, rather than evasive (euphemism). But in the wide scope of history it is difficult to see that those who pulled the trigger on Sadat would have been his fans had the autonomy plan been pursued with vigor and honesty. That was not the nature of those who killed Sadat. (I never interviewed them nor read their literature, but usually Islamic political assassins are not the types to be swayed by something like the autonomy plan of the camp david accords. I don't buy it.)

    • jimby- Sadat's assassination had nothing to do with Israel's not living up to Camp David. It had everything to do with Sadat signing a peace treaty with Israel and visiting Jerusalem and separating himself from the consensus of the rest of the Arab world and Muslim Brotherhood standards of conduct.

  • Oren says Pollard 'sacrificed himself for the Jewish people'
  • 'A Painful Price': The escalating war on Palestine solidarity at U of Michigan and beyond
    • Ellen,
      It is news to me that some Zionists called themselves Semites. Since most of the original Zionist ideologues did not like calling themselves Jews and preferred Hebrews and the fact that there were even some who began a movement called after Canaan, it is no surprise that some called themselves Semites. But it is inaccurate to tar the entire movement with the use of the term Semites to describe themselves and it is further an anachronism to imply that this is a common line of thought (linguistic or ideological) in Israel or Zionist circles today.

    • This line from Diana Johnstone's article in Counterpunch hit home for me: When Dieudonné sings lightly of the Shoah, he is believed by some to be denying the Holocaust and calling for its repetition (a contradictory proposition, upon reflection).

      A contradictory proposition upon reflection. Please, Johnstone, get lost and go barking in somebody else's back yard.

    • Kathleen- If your reference was to people who were called antisemites in the course of discussions of Israel, then you are right. The terms is used with abandon and is often misused and abused.

      Since Jimmy Carter is the subject of another post currently, I will react to him here.

      Jimmy Carter was not merely viewed as antagonistic towards Israel, but his cultural roots combined with wearing his religion on his sleeve, marked him as someone foreign to most Jews. Can you name another president who wore his religion on his sleeve like Carter? The only one I can think of is Bush II and Bush II's relationship with the Jewish vote is a different story in its entirety. But there was a combination of reaction to Carter's religion and the middle east issue that made Jews more uneasy had it only been the middle east.

      By the way, these days I wish (purely based on the Israel Palestine issue) that Carter had been reelected. (I voted for Carter in 80, but it was after the exit polls had declared Reagan victor, so I didn't really need to fear.) Just read Aaron David Miller's book and the defeat of Carter in 80 and Bush Pere in 92 were both setbacks to the prospects of peace.

      But I recall the primary in New York in the spring of 80 where carter ran ads: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they are the children of God." "Vote for Jimmy Carter peacemaker." Superimposed under a photo of the threesome handshake between Carter Begin and Sadat. And my reaction was "Jimmy Carter, son of God." Whoever came up with those ads was stupid. I cannot believe they won any Jewish votes. They came off arrogant, religious and foreign. (I suppose Jewish votes in new york are the foreigners, but still, those were the votes he was trying to garner, he needed to relate and he didn't.)

    • Daniel Rich- You're an idiot. Now I am still immature, but your gender is unrelated to my name calling.

      It is fair to object to the use of the world antisemitic when one really wishes to refer to antiJewish sentiments. But the term was coined to attack Jews and to refer to it as antiJewish rather than anti Akkadian is merely to reflect the history of usage rather than anything ideological.

      I sense that you are deeply ideological rather than sensible.

    • Walid- Study the history of the word antisemitism. My memory of the history is as follows: The word was coined as a result of the spirit of atheism that pervaded Europe. Thus to oppose Jews because of their religion made no sense. So to be antiJewish made no sense. Instead a theory of race was called into play. This foreign people was an enemy to the real European race. (Semites versus Aryans) That was the reason for the development of the term antisemitism by Marr.

      The term was widespread, is widespread and will be widespread. I have no attachment to the term and if I can remember to capitalize Palestinians and make sure not to refer to them as Arabs without including the word Palestinians beforehand I can surely use the term antiJewish rather than antisemitic. Judeophobic is a tad too complicated a term to use.

      By the way I don't really like the word Jew. The turning of the Y of Yehudi into a J is to be expected. (I don't mind saying Jerusalem rather than Yerushalayim.) But the disappearance of the D is highly suspicious and leads me to think that the word probably came from the French juif and I suspect that the term juif dropping the d of the German jude was a slur. Quite clearly the fact that the Germans did not drop the d, did not stop them from the genocide, so words might matter, but not that much. In russian the term Zhid, which maintains the d, is considered a slur and the use of yid, which maintains the d, can be considered inappropriate as well.

      To infer that the use of the word antisemitism is a particular self debasing act is stupid. It is to use the word in usage. Semite merely means belonging to the family of Shem son of Noah. There is nothing insulting about it.

      To state that this is what Zionists do is to lie. Zionists, rather than nonZionist Jews are no more likely to use the term. (Some people call all Jews Zionists, as in the riots of the late 60's in America in the inner cities were acts against the Zionists when the speaker clearly means the word Jew and is using Zionists like the Commies used the word Zionist against Slansky.)

    • Kathleen- You said something stupid. I was just pointing out how stupid it was. I have no reason to believe that you meant to exonerate Hitler and Torquemada. But if you cannot see how stupid your original statement was, then i can't help you.

    • ellen- I was talking to James North. Is there a law against that. Is there a rule in the comments section against that. You asked me a question and I did not feel like answering it. Is there a law against that?

      The issue of Jew hatred past present and future is a weighty one. Obviously you know all the answers to the issue of hatred of peoples and therefore all those people who have written books and read books should just refer to your wisdom to clarify the issue.

      If only the world read the comments section of MW and happened upon your pearls of wisdom the world would know all the answers.

    • Ellen- Semites is certainly not the equivalent of the n word. Tell me precisely what would be different about the situation if they called themselves Yehudim and referred to their opponents (enemies) as Yehudim haters. You seem to enjoy playing semantic games. It is not flattering on you.

      The term antisemitism was not adopted by Zionists, it was adopted by all Jews who spoke the language of the street. Semantic game player liar you are.

    • Daniel Rich- The way to defeat a misreading of history or a misapplication of history is by coming up with a better reading of history. But this Apartheid Word is a denial of history. Won't work. Unless you're preaching to the choir. Then almost anything works, cuz they're your choir.

    • Kathleen said something very stupid. But Daniel Rich to the defense.

    • Ellen, some other time I will discuss how one should react to today's current antisemitism in america. But not now. Now, James North pretends to be a journalist and then writes something like this?! Your questions may be valid, but still what happened to James North? Did he give up on the accurate use of the English language because he's too busy pursuing a cause?

    • A voice comes to the defense of Dieudonne. Just what this comments section was missing. Max has established his street creds in opposition to antisemitism by speaking out against Gilad Atzmon, along comes unverified and wishes to exonerate Dieudonne on Max's dime.

    • James- Surely you aren't suggesting that antisemitism no longer exists in America. And if you are, where do you come off with that nonsense? You can say that it no longer exists as a large movement or an accepted movement but to deny the existence of antiSemitism in America is absurd and stupid.

    • Kathleen- This sounds like. They called Hitler an antisemite, maybe it was inaccurate. They call Torquemada an antisemite, maybe it was inaccurate. Makes me wonder about you. Scratch that. It makes it clear that you are speculating about history rather than studying it or talking about it. I'm sure lots of the choir here approves.

  • Former Israeli general: failed peace talks won't lead to doom
    • Annie- Read the discussion re: Gaza in the comments section of the MJ Rosenberg post.

    • Ecru- Whatever the so called Geneva accord signed by Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo in 2003 included, that is what I favor.

    • RoHa- I am aware that Palestine advocates see no difference between Gaza and the West Bank. But I exclude Gaza, based on the assumption that the action solution will be accomplished not through coercion but rather through inevitability. It seems clear to me that Gaza being included in the one state solution is not inevitable and would only be achieved through coercion.

    • To clarify: My own personal choice is the 2 state solution and tout de suite. But it does not seem likely and my own personal choices are not often reflected by the Israeli government.

    • Given that the two "action" alternatives: two states and one state with rights for all (excluding Gaza) are not palatable to the Israelis, that leaves the status quo, which can't go on forever, but it could easily go on for 20 years and maybe as much as 30, but probably not as much as 60 years. What is the dynamic that would force an Israeli choice by 2034 instead of by 2074? Is the prospect of painful boycott by importers in Europe really strong enough to force a decision? I don't know the stats on European importation of Israeli exports and how a boycott movement might make enough of a dent to cause pain to the Israeli economy. The only other alternative is a change by the United States, specifically the United States president. That change will take somewhere between 20 and 60 years by my approximation. That's how it looks to me.

  • Jewish National Fund lures singles to Israel with tasteless sexual joke in NYT
    • James North- I think it is shlocky. A sign of the times. Not a sign of the apocalypse.

      So now you have my comment about the post. And why do I have to comment about it? Am I not allowed to comment about something that seafoid said and not react to the earth shattering post? The JNF uses the word hump in an ad and it needs my comment. Hardly.

    • seafoid- Wow! Your reading is far and wide. Do you read all the Jewish web sites or how did you come across this? Did you google Maschiach? Really, how did you find this? I like the way you changed plains of Russia to the plains of Crimea.

  • Boteach stops reporter from videotaping Columbia University debate
  • My heart bleeds cold borscht over the downfall of liberal hero Olmert
  • Christie steps in deep doo-doo, promptly apologizes to Adelson. Whew!
    • Citizen- Maybe you were not aware, but the quote at the top of the unjustmedia link is a hoax. Or has been accused of being a hoax. If you quote questionable sources with hoaxes as quotes, it casts a shadow on your point. Don't you think?

  • A British Jew warns US Jewish orgs to heed rapidly-shifting world opinion
    • The reaction of yourself, oh puppies, is proof that this is tailor made for the haters of Israel and somehow I got the impression that Mr. Anonymous Brit was addressing Jewish people who were not so long ago supporters of Israel. If he meant it to give you strength, then he served his purpose. If he was proposing a safe place for reassessment by past tense Zionists, he is totally useless.

    • piotr- you wrote : "Zionist paranoia is built on a huge exaggeration. Anti-semitism is but one of many “anti-isms”, and while it indeed took a disastrous turn with Nazism where that was ascendant for a historically brief period, it was more of an aberration than a rule."

      As they say, even paranoids have enemies, but I am not sure that this "joke" "allows" the use of the word paranoia without painting you as one such enemy.

      I take it that you are a European white. As such, and given your intelligence, I am sure you are aware that the most relevant anti-ism of the years 1881 to 1929 (I stop before the ascendancy of Nazism but not before its birth) in white Europe was anti Semitism. It was a major factor in the Russian Revolution and a major mover of men and minds in France during Dreyfuss and everywhere in the aftermath of WWI. It may be that in the aftermath of WWII it is only one of many anti-ism's but from 1881 to 1945 it was the major anti-ism of Europe and to dismiss it as an aberration either paints you as ignorant of pre 1945 European history or else as someone for whom that period of history, which included the Russian revolution, World War I and World War II, is merely weird or a type of pre history that is as relevant as the dinosaurs. To paint it as super relevant as the only relevant fact of human history til the present I admit is an exaggeration. But to dismiss it as an aberration seems to be somewhat akin to calling history bunk. (A Henry Ford quote, I believe.)

    • As far as having an effect on American Jewish supporters of Israel this anonymous Brit will not have much effect. Even if he was calm and level headed and out with his name, instead of alarmed, disheveled and anonymous, he would have a tough time getting a hearing. But he is alarmed and disheveled..

      Alarmed and disheveled: "shifting from ‘Israel is never wrong’ to ‘we have created a monster’ is such a terrifying realisation, self delusion is the easier path."

      This is the voice of a child of an Israeli father, (stereotypical Israeli) talking in extremes. It is not possible that there is any other shift rather than from flawless Israel to perfidious Israel. Imperfect Israel that has a purpose and a role to play in the future? Forget about it. This addled mind does not handle nuance. The end is near. Code red. The sky is falling. War of ideas? Ha! Don't even think about it.

      "I was raised to support Israel. Pure hasbara."
      Of course, pure hasbara. Everything is pure to this dude. Pure flawless Israel before. Pure monstrous Israel now. Pure hasbara. Everything is pure.

      "This is an albatross and will haunt us forever. " Forever. Same adolescent attitude and rhetoric.

      If Mr. Anonymous Brit really is interested in creating a space for those who are shifting their opinions on Israel and adjusting to the fears that the future instills in them, he ought to calm down and think. 12 Step programs would never approve of such unhinged thinking. One day at a time. One step at a time.

      This guy helps nobody. I don't see how this is useful. This is certainly not a war of ideas. Assuming that this guy is not like this 365 days a year, maybe he will get back to Phil when he has calmed down and can say something useful. Maybe. Until then, this is not useful. Maybe encouragement to those who hate Israel, but the stated intended audience is certainly not helped in any way.

  • Liberal Zionists are the new front line against BDS
  • Right-wing news outlets attack U. Mich's divestment drive
  • BDS' big night: Loyola student government passes divestment, U. Mich votes it down
    • When Max flashes his ethnic credentials is it merely infuriating or is it in fact disgusting? I'm not sure. I was trying to be honest to the fullness of my personality. I think the reaction that Max evokes is interesting and since he has a solid future as a primary anti Zionist Jewish spokesman (partially due to the timidity of Finkelstein and Chomsky on the BDS issue), people who are fans of max and his philosophy should be aware that Max as the American Jewish antiZionist poster child does not have a "can't we all just get along" effect on those who disagree with you and him.

    • Max is a powerful speaker and he cites a law which is one of the worst on the books in Israel, that which prohibits the marriage of Israeli Arabs to Palestinian (w. bank) Arabs, insofar as the W Bank Arabs are not allowed to move to Israel after that marriage. It is a very bad law and was designed (as Max indicated) for purposes of controlling the demography.

      "I haven't been this nervous since my bar mitzvah." (Aside from the aspect of comedy, which this is not, who laughed at that?) I wonder if Max ever cited his Jewishness under any circumstances, until he discovered the Palestine issue. I suspect he did not. As such, Jewishness that is removed from a hidden place to be flashed merely as license to criticize Israel, is actually kind of disgusting. (Certainly infuriating, but maybe also disgusting.) Maybe Max is in reality a serious student of Judaism and he only covers up this fact with his shtick. But he gives the impression of someone who has no use for his Jewishness, but now that he has found this issue, he has some use for his Jewishness to toss into the face of the Zionists.

      Israel is not on a good path. It is not heading in the direction of a two state solution and it is getting worse given the political trends in the Jewish public in Israel. This is the real problem rather than Max. But Max's shtick: flashing his Jew badge that he never (probably) has use for except to goad Zionism, marks him as a scumbag.

  • Liberal Zionists turn on media darling Ari Shavit for promoting Netanyahu's bluff
    • Walid- I will read your future comments with a fine toothed comb. This line of argument of yours really casts doubt on your intelligence, honesty, knowledge of history, all or one of the above.

      Uganda and Argentina were in the running because Palestine looked like a hostile place that was not in control of the powers with whom Herzl was in "friendly" discussions. Yes, there was a need for a refuge and other places on the globe were considered. No, Jerusalem was not in the running because of the weakness of the Ottoman empire or the listlessness of the indigenous. It was in the running because it is in the daily prayers, the seder and the direction of the prayers.

      I would continue the conversation, but I'm gagging. You're either dumb or lying. Maybe another topic another time.

    • Walid- I certainly qualify as a Zionist by the anti Zionist company here at MW. I have never claimed that there was a mass influx of population of Arabs in the 30's. It is a claim by "some" Zionists rather than a claim by "the" Zionists. Zionists are not monolithic in their claims. When you use the term 'the Zionists" rather than some Zionists, your sentence can be construed as regarding Zionists as monolithic. They/we are not.

      (I have heard other anti Zionists claim ("some" is inferred) that zero Arabs moved to Palestine as a result of the Zionist influx/development. At least you accept the statistics that there was some immigration of Arabs into Palestine. If there was immigration, how can you state that the neighborhood was going to the dogs. This question is rhetorical. I realize that you were not implying a lack of economic development caused by the influx of Zionists, rather something more political by the term "going to the dogs".)

    • Hostage- fucking, reading, superstitious, speak for all Jews. have a nice life. War of ideas? Not. Go write your legal opinions for your choir, but please don't talk to me.

    • talknic- Are you implying that there was no temple in the time of Jesus? That there was no temple destroyed in the year of your lord 70? I asserted no such thing, I was merely attempting to fashion a sentence describing the difference between the temples that Hostage was referring to and the temple that history refers to as the Beis Hamikdosh. I didn't even know that the mere existence of that temple was under dispute. Maybe Jesus did not exist. Maybe the Romans never occupied Jerusalem. Maybe there was no temple. I am not a historian and don't know what it takes to establish the existence of the temple commonly referred to as Herod's temple. But if you are communicating with me, please spare me your childishness. (or puerility). I did not assert that the temple did not exist and if that is your assertion, why not say it outright and avoid sarcasm. After all this is the war of ideas. Not.

    • Walid- The city of Tel Aviv was established before WWI. Are you telling me that the Arabs had no problem with that? Certainly after the Balfour Declaration and certainly certainly after the British mandate was based upon the language of the Balfour declaration, the Arabs had a problem with Jewish Zionists in Palestine. But Zionism was not born with Balfour. (I am not learned enough to tell you if there were acts of violence against settler Jews before WWI, but nonetheless WWI is not the demarcation line of Zionism and objections to Zionism by Arabs.)

    • talknic- The beis hamikdosh was not discovered. The other temples mentioned by hostage, he of great knowledge and little patience, were discovered.

    • Hostage- In the war of ideas, communication might break down by accident or might be sabotaged by a fucking and a superstition and a reading comprehension.

      The temple, bais hamikdosh, is certainly more holy to orthodox Jews than any other of the temples that have been discovered.

      Have a nice life.

    • Hostage- You wrote: "It certainly wasn't more holy than the half dozen other Jewish temples that have been excavated in Israel and Egypt and plays no essential role in the forms of present day Jewish worship prescribed by the Babylonian Talmud."

      Holy to whom? To you? I don't know how you measure holiness, so maybe the place of the temple is not holy to you. But it certainly is holy to Orthodox Jews.
      Plays no essential role in the forms of present day Jewish worship. Depends on how much you depend on the term "essential" and your definition of Jewish worship. The place of the temple is not essential to the direction of prayer, but if one chooses a direction, one prays towards the Temple's location (if you are in Jerusalem) If you are outside of Jerusalem, in Israel you face towards Jerusalem and if you are outside Israel, you face Israel.
      Maybe you are referring only to the place of the temple, but the service in the temple does determine the content of the prayers, particularly on Yom Kippur and on holidays when there is an added prayer because of the added sacrifice in the temple.

    • Walid- Usually you are at least semi sensible. This is pure nonsense. Palestine was picked because Jerusalem is in Palestine.

    • It seems to me that the logic of "Jewish state" is solely relevant in terms of immigration policy. That is the assertion that Israel is a Jewish state is a recognition that Israel's immigration policy will continue to be guided by "the Jewish state", which means that immigration of Jews will be a priority and a raison d'etre. If a formula for how many Palestinian refugees will be allowed to return to Israel were calculated and agreed upon by the Palestinians and the Israelis then the assertion of Israel's Jewish state-ness would be extraneous. But given that this is a framework rather than a negotiated agreement and a formula for the resolution of the refugee situation has not been negotiated nor agreed upon, therefore there is the desire to assert the policy of Jewish state-ness, so that even though the specifics of the resolution to the refugee issue is not agreed upon, the framework- that the resolution of the refugees will recognize that Israel's priority is set against a wide return of refugees, because it will upset the Jewish state-ness, therefore this Jewish state-ness needs to be stated.

      Those who favor the widespread return of the refugees are obviously and understandably opposed to this.

      The formulation also opens the door to the Lieberman transfer plan- exchange of territories will be devised in such a way as to "improve" the demographic balance and it also opens the door to maintaining laws that favor Jewish purchases of land (JNF) and other such laws. Thus even if one is willing to concede that there will not be a widespread return of refugees (something that most people here are not willing to concede), there are still reasons to oppose the formulation for its interpretations can be antithetical to the interests of nonJewish citizens of Israel.

      It seems to me that the two sides are not near each other in their conception of the resolution of the refugee issue and thus it is natural that a formulation that would infer that the refugee issue would not be solved in a wide open fashion that would be favored by Palestinians is something that the Palestinians would oppose. Just as the negotiations have not reached sufficient proximity to an agreement on the specifics of the resolution of the refugee issue, so the formulation of Jewish state-ness with its inference of attitude towards the refugee issue, is also something that cannot be stated at this point of what seems to be an issue that should be left for the final push rather than the framework.

  • U.S. intel analysts doubt Israeli claim that captured weapons were headed to Gaza
    • If these weapons were heading to the Sinai, it indeed indicts those who assert that it was headed to Gaza, but it certainly does not exonerate Iran. The source of the weapons is not being questioned, merely their destination and a shipment of arms to "whomever" in Sinai means that Iran is fighting the Egyptian government. That's copacetic? Not.

  • Avigdor Lieberman claims transferring Palestinian citizens is perfectly legal
    • The idea of transferring territory to the new Palestine is widely accepted in the diplomatic versions of a peace accord between Israel and Palestine. The idea of revoking Israeli Arab (Palestinian Israeli) citizenship is widely rejected in the world. Although it seems clear that the purpose of this transfer is a means by which of revoking that citizenship, purely logically, the land can be transferred, while the Palestinian Israelis living there will keep their citizenship. If a Palestinian Israeli moves to Toronto he remains an Israeli. His children born in Toronto may not be Israeli, I don't know what the rules are, but he remains an Israeli. Thus a Palestinian Israeli whose hometown moves to Toronto (so to speak, actually moves to Palestine), could remain Israeli, but regarding his children again I don't know what the rules are. The use of Kupat Holim, Health services, which would disappear from the towns that were Israel and would now become Palestine, would be a reason to move to Israel proper and to object to the proposal for the moving away of Kupat Holim is a reason to work against the idea. Also if you want your yet to be born kids to have the right to live in Israel (assuming that the Toronto children are not automatically Israeli) is another reason to object to the idea. But purely logically there is no reason that a transfer of land needs to involve the revocation of citizenship.

    • "The transfer plan, associated with Lieberman but backed by Israelis across the political spectrum",- this sentence needs some facts to go with it in order for it to be accurate rather than vague and misleading. What percentage of israelis back this plan?

  • Ohio State Hillel member calls Desmond Tutu a 'neo Nazi' for criticizing Israel
    • Tutu was attacked for what he says, not for the color of his skin. How is that racism? Unless you cite someone white who says the same things as Tutu, but for which that person is not called a Neo Nazi. Raising the racism accusation seems bogus, no?

  • A movement grows in a Georgia church basement
    • Woody, I will discuss Free Palestine (the good scenario) later. But first: just this. You seem capable of great optimism regarding the Free Palestine, but meanwhile here in your own back yard you can't get along with me long enough to hold the racist term in your arsenal and not shoot it off every ten minutes. So, let us try to imagine a better future here too and skip the racism taunt. It gets tired. And it is not then a war of ideas (let alone dialogue). It is shorthand for I am too lazy to think.

      The fact is that the first step towards a Free Palestine would be annexing the West Bank by Israel, which last time I mentioned it, sent you into a tizzy.

      Once we adopt the realistic notion that the next step towards a (good scenario) Free Palestine will be a less unfree Israel, then we might imagine the reaction of the region and the residents/citizens of Israel and the West Bank.

      Yes, if we are optimistic, then the notion that inevitably unFree Palestine (bad scenario) will act like Morsi or Assad is overly negative. But still, am I not allowed to take into consideration Islam and its role in the region? Am I not allowed to take into consideration the sectarianism of post war Iraq, the civil war in Syria? Am I not allowed to try to fathom the history of the Middle East since the brits and french carved it up. That history is irrelevant and racist? It would be irresponsible not to take the facts of the region and of the immediate neighbors of Israel into account.

      Yes, the fear may be facile. But how can we know unless we examine the problems and the probabilities. Let us go towards the future based upon real facts rather than wishes. This idea that the war of ideas is already won is bull. What is causing the troubles of the Arab Spring. Where is the Arab spring headed? Why did Morsi overplay his hand? Why did Egypt approve the coup to throw out Morsi? How will Egypt move forward? If you think Egypt is irrelevant to Palestine you are just plain wrong. To toss around the racism term like you do is just plain stupid and not at all in the realm of ideas. I mentioned Arab despotism? No. I did not. You are lazy. By all means let us imagine the future, but ignore Islam, Egypt and Syria, because to mention them one gets charged with racism? Get lost.

    • Woody T. - Criticism of the status quo is well placed. But labeling a comparison of the possibilities of a future Palestine with Palestine's neighbors: Egypt and Syria, with which they share a culture, a language and a history rather than with Italy, Costa Rica or New Zealand as bigoted, seems to me rather stupid. One cannot assume that Palestine will be as bad as Egypt under the generals or under Morsi, nor as bad as Syria under Assad, but to look at the neighbors, which have a common history and a common culture and to figure out the odds about what would happen, rather than to countries that share nothing but the Mediterranean or human membership, is just common sense. If common sense is bigotry, then no wonder this is called the war of ideas- practical facts need not apply.

    • sorry for lower case Palestine. my bad.

    • It's hard to argue against equal rights.

      True. If one imagines the new palestine as being as free as the United States, it is hard to argue against it. but if one imagines the new palestine as free as Egypt under Morsi or as free as Syria under Assad, it is quite easy to argue against it.

  • Columbia debate on Israeli policies features 3 Zionists, no Palestinians
    • I have not studied Ibish's position sufficiently, but I assume that he is in favor of a 2 state solution that puts extreme limitations on the Right of Return. This is the position that the debate's organizers are trying to pit against each other: 2 states versus status quo. Is there a major Palestinian or a minor Palestinian that this website would not mock, that favors 2 states with a severe limitation on the right of return. Maybe there is, but maybe there isn't. and if this is the debate that the organizers want, then inviting a Palestinian who doesn't advocate the position that the organizers want debated, would not serve the debate's purpose.

  • D.C. scribes party with red wine, vinyl, and image of a terrorist
    • When Harvard students visit Arafat's grave, we are regaled with how stupid the Israel supporters are for objecting to the visit (unless it was merely the rhetoric of the supporters rather than their mere objection). When a journalist wears a Begin t-shirt, we are regaled with how objectionable this is. Could the bias of this web site be more apparent?

      Begin's accomplishments (positive rather than negative) include: Peace treaty with Egypt and 2. not fighting a civil war against Ben Gurion and the Hagana and 3. Sitting in the minority in the Knesset for 29 years before winning the prime ministry for himself and the Likud party.

      (Although some wax nostalgic for the British rule of Palestine, others clearly see that the moment for kicking the Brits out of Palestine was ripe in the aftermath of WWII. The specific target of the King David Hotel involved many civilian deaths, but the cause of kicking the Brits out of Palestine was "logical" at that moment of history.)

  • US Jewish leaders blast Harvard students on pro-Israel trip for taking photo at Arafat's tomb (Update)
    • Woody T. - If only water related sites were included in their tour except for Masada then you are right that Masada, a non water related site, should not have been included. But to label Masada a birthright site is childish. I realize that the suicide pact (fact or fiction) that took place at Masada raises questions about its advisability as an object of emotional catharsis/ inspiration for Zionism or for Jews who are not Zionists. But the site is sufficiently memorable even without the suicide pact to be a worthy place to visit. If you've never been there, in this case, you don't know what it's like climbing it and seeing it in the early hours of the morning, which I did in the summer of 73 and it was quite memorable, without the propaganda, just as an archaeological site at a geologically significant point on the earth's globe.

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