Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4316 (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 4316 - 4301

  • Kerry is off the Israel bandwagon
    • 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'
    • 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.)

  • Breaking: Israel shelling hospital in Beit Hanoun, injured Palestinians and internationals trapped inside
  • Israel's actions 'unjustified' in eyes of women, non-whites, Dems, indy's, and those under 50 -- Gallup
    • Donald- If one assumes that Israel has a right to exist, then Israel has a right to react to rockets. Granted that this specific reaction causes too many deaths, but please specify what reaction Israel IS allowed to take in reaction to rockets. (I know this is asking too much because even an over reaction might not solve the rockets, but the reaction that you specify should be serious enough that it might conceivably be construed as having a chance of resulting in some kind of a cessation of the rockets.)

      (I will specify what I mean as a right to exist: that it has a right to exist without freely allowing the refugees of 48 to return, that it has a right to exist on the 67 borders with minor negotiated land swaps, that it has a right to insist that the Quartet's basis for negotiations should be accepted by all parties, that it has a right to consider Hamas an enemy, because of its charter and because of its refusal to accept the Quartet's basic rules.)

      I think that a deeper analysis of the Palestinian Israeli conflict and the specifics of the siege would reveal the possibility that risks must be taken for peace and I agree that the path away from war is a preferable path, but I don't think that you can argue that the basic (unspecified, but some type of useful) reaction to rockets is a reasonable thing for those who are not searching for deeper solutions, but are looking at the situation as if history began rather fair and square on July 8th.

      (By the way the two events of the last week: the discovery of the tunnels, for which nefarious intent is not proven, but certainly is not a farfetched possibility, and therefore is a natural suspicion of the israeli public, plus the cancellation of flights to Ben Gurion, which kind of says, Hamas is allowed to threaten the viability of Israel, these two events point out that reasonableness of Netanyahu and the need to do something about Hamas controlling Gaza. I prefer the path of Gush Shalom which is oriented towards peace, but I do not see that those who wish to crush Hamas are being essentially as unreasonable as supporters of apartheid. I don't see that one equals the other. Unless in fact you assert that Israel has no right to exist and then the mere existence of Israel is the sin and no reaction would change the fact that Israel must be eliminated and therefore the mere fact of Israel is equal to apartheid.)

    • bilal- there must be a decent article somewhere delineating the different groups of Orthodox, but I will try to delineate. There is something which is called modern Orthodox in the US and in Israel it is called dati lite. (In the US the modern Orthodox named themselves in Israel this group is named by Israeli society, which needs a label for such a large group. American does not need a label for such a small group, so the group gets to label itself.) These people vote for Jewish Home, which is a pro settler party. Then there are those called ultra Orthodox. (Recently- a few months ago, Avi Shafran wrote to the Forward objecting to the the term ultra Orthodox, for the prefix ultra implies extremism and he felt that his group is not ultra but solidly authentic Orthodox, but Eisner felt that the term was the best one that existed, especially since the Israeli alternative haredi (which means devout or literally fearful) is not a word that has much future in the english language Forward. This is the group that refuses to serve in the army and the group that Yair Lapid wants to draft. I think there is much anti Arab racism in both groups, but I would not refer to them as psychopaths. The psychopaths are a much smaller percentage. I don't think Kahane brought psychopathology to Israel, but instead the psychopaths like the JDL flag and the attitude Kahane expressed towards Arabs. Many settlers particularly in the more ideological settlements are American or of American parentage. (About half or so.) (there are settlements that are primarily bedroom communities, as in people live there because it's cheaper to buy an apartment there than in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem where they would prefer to buy if they could afford it. Bedroom communities are primarily Israeli or nonAmerican (Ariel in particular) and some of the ultra orthodox settlements are really bedroom communities for those who cannot afford apartments within the green line.) but the ideological settlements have a much larger American population.

    • All education categories other than just high school justify Israel's actions.

      I wonder, will the FAA shutdown of 48 hours be a wedge issue between the president and the democrats running for reelection this fall?

  • 'Israel is wrong by any moral standard' -- Robinson says, as US media pile up
    • Macro and micro, big picture and small picture. In the small picture:
      1. Tunnels are more unnerving than Gaza's rockets. Maybe this is merely the effect of the subconscious. (This is only now that Iron Dome is in working condition and I'm not sure that the average person in Ashkelon would agree with me.)

      2. Assassinating low level Hamas leaders when they are surrounded by civilians is wrong (for lack of another word). When we were dealing with one leader: Rantisi or the paralyzed Yassin, those are ugly, but possibly necessary: considering there was an intifada going on. And in fact, though it is impossible to ascertain true cause and effect, the perceived net result of those assassinations was the end of the intifada and thus worthwhile. But these small fry in Hamas or even big fry, this is not a one time:kill this guy and change the equation type of thinking, but in this campaign Israel seems to be stating: all Hamas leaders should know that they can't eat at home, that they must hide out, and killing one civilian next to such a low level Hamas person is wrong.

      3. If Israel invades a city in order to undo its tunnels or its rockets with a ground effort, such an effort is bound to be accompanied with artillery and air force. A ground effort is far easier to justify than an air campaign (see David Landau this week), but ground efforts are not surgical, and you don't tell your soldiers, it is a city with civilians so therefore you ground guys are going to have to go in alone with bayonets but no bullets.

      Big picture:
      1. I think proportionality is a stupid word and not very useful. There is a goal, is it achievable or not? Is it worth it or not? Removal of the rockets? Not achievable in less than a 12 month occupation, so therefore not achievable. Destroying the tunnels: achievable in a four week operation with a limited incursion: achievable.
      Deterrence is not an acceptable goal either.

      2. Cast Lead was a turning point in my thinking (or reacting, which is what I am mostly doing these days, and right now trying to turn my reactions into thoughts.)
      the pain that is felt by so many of those with whom I shared a city: Jerusalem, was not something that I could freeze off and disregard. When my fellow Jerusalemites feel pain at the deaths in Gaza, I must share my fellow Jerusalemites' pain. This led to the thought: I would not have run this war this way. which has two possibilities: either israel is fortunate not to have me as the one who runs this war or: no, this is not working and israel is unfortunate not to have someone like me to run this war (amram mitzna). the stubbornness of Netanyahu and his unlikability add to this, as do the cast of characters of dannon and Lieberman and bennet and feiglin, they add to my conviction that the direction of the Likud is wrong headed.

      3. Empathy for the dead and mourning. Dead soldiers by the dozens and funerals hurts me to the bone, primarily because of the dead of the 73 war whom i knew personally and my ability to put the scenes of mourning into a context that I experienced, these facts and memories add up to pain and I feel the Palestinian pain more and not less as a result of feeling the Israeli pain. The Palestinian pain: Entire families, fathers, daughters, sons, mothers. It's an incredible amount of pain.

      4. The direction of Israel of the Likud is like a repeating record and all they can promise is more of the same. "There is nothing wrong with the status quo", isn't that what we were being told a few months ago?Well, there is something wrong with the status quo, particularly in Gaza, but also in the West Bank and it's tough to imagine this Likud crew as being capable of anything but more of the same.

  • In photos: Over 1,000 New Yorkers protest Israel's attack on Gaza
    • justpassingby- you're wrong. If someone disagrees with you, he must be a murderer who enjoys murder. No, not true. Maybe they aren't very deep thinkers, and maybe you're not being a very deep thinker either. To sum up a coherent position with ten words is not going to happen and neither is your summary of his position particularly enlightening. I think an exchange of the one finger salute is the essence of what you and he are participating in.

      There are many who support Israel's move based upon a perception of no alternative. If they shoot rockets at us, what do they expect? I agree that this is not a well thought out position for it does not include the siege, the occupation, the refugee history. I think solving Gaza without solving the west bank will be very difficult and so I empathize with the despair at the lack of a political solution and without a political solution, how is one supposed to react to rocket fire. I disagree with the man holding the poster, but he is being rational, from his perspective. Attributing murder to his heart is not the essence of what is the problem, but it is merely your way of feeling superior.

    • pro israel supporters, they protest because they want gaza demilitarized. sensible people.

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  • Hamas mimics Hezbollah tactics, and no one will have stability till blockade is lifted
    • taxi- I get it. The zionist jews use botox and the nonzionist jews don't use botox and therefore your reference to millions of zionists was to only those who use botox who are zionists, but the others are fine and this is just a smear. and tell us about how the elections in egypt are going to establish al sisi as a democrat. how about that, miss "smear". and tell us how assad is a democrat, miss "smear".

    • taxi- "Los Angeles would be the absolute best city in the whole world if not for its several million zionists on botox swanning about the place." sometimes the word zionist is a synonym for Jew and anti zionist is a synonym for anti jew. taxi's example is perfect.

  • Gaza massacre is generating ideological crisis in American Zionists
    • "Jews of conscience must organize with one foot inside the Jewish community and one foot outside it. That is the only way to move the Jewish establishment, and America."

      So how come I'm criticized when i say that Phil Weiss's one foot inside the Jewish community is a fake foot that he has put there, not out of any inherent sense of belonging, but because he feels he needs a foot inside the community. In fact Phil has both feet solidly outside the community. Fine. but don't pretend otherwise. Let Marc Ellis be the foot inside the community and you can be the foot outside the community, that would work too. but don't pretend otherwise.

  • Avishai says we misrepresented his views
  • Berkeley rabbi mounts a soapbox in my living room
    • Donald, some times, when one closes one eye and loses the three d perspective, it is interesting to see what that looks like compared to the two eyes and 3 d perspective. that's really all i was saying.

      And I'll explain where i'm coming from to you, despite the fact that it is a public forum. I am in Jerusalem and have been hanging out with relatives for the last 8 weeks or so and I have been listening to their perspective. It is strange to be the resident leftist among my family (when I express my point of view) and to be considered the resident Zionist here at MW in the ether velt. Nonetheless it is a bit of a shock to listen to my 16 year old niece repeating the standard line of hasbara and to realize that there is nothing that I can do to dissuade her. So I am left defending her. I do not defend netanyahu, but I defend her in her defense of netanyahu. I cannot tell her about negotiating with hamas. I cannot tell her about yeshaya leibowitz and his attitude towards the occupation. I cannot tell her about "battle for algiers" and the colonialist us versus them that became inevitable certainly after 67 and after 48 as well. I really don't believe in preaching and I certainly feel that preaching to my 16 year old niece would be futile and not useful and so I am defending her defense of Bibi.

      I think that for the withdrawal from Gaza that occurred in 2005 to still need mowing the lawn is preposterous 9 years later. WTF? Are there no responsible adults around? I understand that this nonsense that Gaza could become Singapore or some paradise is nonsense, and that the best way to hope for a good future for Gaza is its integration into the economy of the West Bank and Israel and since there is no good will between West Bank and Israel it is hardly likely that Gaza would be faring well. I understand this cause and effect, but still. Can't the world figure out some way to demilitarize Gaza to some standard so that there is no reason for a siege. Resistance first and foremost, I hear you. And if it is to be Resistance first and foremost, as automatic as every force creates an equal and opposite counterforce, there is going to be a Likud set on squashing Hamas. This dynamic is automatic, sick and messed up. Israel is not the responsible adult in this relationship and neither are the occupied Palestinians (who need no further excuse for their nonadulthood by the mere facts of the occupation, granted, but what about the rest of the world, the Arab world. well, egypt is a basket case and syria is worse and lebanon is controlled by syria and jordan is barely holding its own and iraq is god awful mess and saudia arabia is the worst in the world in human rights, oh yeah, sorry, israel is the worst and saudia arabia is second worst and the place is a frigging mess.

      This is context too. No there are hundreds who have been killed and I accept that you want to repeat that over and over again and I am not allowed to talk about how it all looks with one eye closed, because you think that if I say exactly what you say then it will all be right with the world, no that's not it. i think that with hundreds dying you are not willing to listen to anything except unanimity to end the violence. and to end the violence you need to end the siege and how do you suggest to end the siege? is there no place for the idea of the demilitarization of Gaza? I believe that there is room for this idea. I believe there is room for an Arab League force to enforce Gaza's independence and stability. I don't spend hours a day reading papers on proposals of how the siege of Gaza can be lifted to the benefit of all, but I suppose such papers exist. Not that I would find them here, but there are interesting links that I find here, but to hear Abunimah screaming at JJ Goldberg pogrom and mispronounced Chutzpah and yelling, this is edifying? Nope. It ain't edifying. And this article against Creditor or whatever this rabbi's name is, is this post edifying? Nope. It ain't. More of the same. okay, that's where I'm coming from.

    • I wish Avraham Burg was prime minister of Israel and he would have reacted positively to Hamas and Fatah reconciliation. This war came about because Bibi and not Burg is prime minister. I object to the war. That's my context.

      Merely the facts: Country A is sending rockets into Country B causing Country B to scurry into shelters and send airplanes and kill hundreds in Country A. Who can understand such a dynamic?

    • Just a comment: Without context this post makes no sense. Why is Hamas sending rockets, even ineffectual rockets. If there is no reason, then it is a form of insanity and what kind of reaction is really possible? But in fact there is a siege and that is the context. The killing of hundreds by Israel is horrible, but without the context the whole situation is absurd and ridiculous. Focusing merely on the rabbi's comments rather than on the entire gestalt strikes me as ridiculous. (I know there is enough context elsewhere. I am just reacting.)

  • 'No food, no water to revive awaiting certain death...': Horrifying report from Khuza'a village following Israeli attack
    • Israel has signed a peace treaty with Jordan and is prepared to sign one with Lebanon from which it has withdrawn up to the blue line affirmed by the UN. It also has a peace treaty with Egypt and has withdrawn from the Sinai. But this is not useful to your rhetoric, so why let facts stand in the way. Go preach to the choir. The choir won't contradict you.

    • I wish Israel had followed a different path towards tolerance of the reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah, but that is not the Likud's path and because their path does not seem to include a resolution (that seems feasible) I oppose it as wrongheaded. Nonetheless, the logic that SQ Debris offers here is faulty. Removed from its context, rockets from Gaza are not tolerable. Certainly if Ben Gurion Airport was in Ashkelon, it would be too dangerous to really fly out of there or into there. But the airport is not that close to Gaza and it is not really that unsafe. But not every inch of Israel has to be unsafe in order to declare the rocket fire intolerable for the government, even if it is safe to fly out of Ben Gurion.

  • Palestinians build tunnel to attack Israeli kindergarten, Netanyahu says
    • While there is probably no evidence specifying targets of a kindergarten or a restaurant, I think this sentence: "I believe that Gazans have a right to tunnel out from under their open air concentration camp." is even further from the truth. Tunnels at least in the lore of the movies (the great escape) and of Berlin post the Berlin wall, have commonly been depicted as a means of escape. Does James North really believe that these tunnels were for the purpose of escape and not for some military or terrorist purpose (If their purpose was to attack soldiers than the tunnels had a military purpose, if their purpose was to attack civilians then they had a terrorist purpose). I believe these tunnels were dug by people who planned to use them to attack. Does James North really believe that they were designed for the purpose of escape? I doubt it. Because Gaza resembles a prison the juxtaposition of prison and tunnel usually would mean escape, but I believe that James North actually believes that these tunnels were for purposes of attack and he only used the phrase "tunnel out" because it is romantic and focuses on their prison status, not because he believes this was the true purpose of the tunnels.

      If your beliefs are not such, let me know, James.

  • 'Heartbreaking' is U.S. government's talking point for Gaza massacre
    • JJ Goldberg's "I would be shot", was definitely a low point. I would think, in fact, that very few self professed Zionists ever visit Gaza and that fearing that Hamas would discover that you were sniper for the Israeli army at one time might in fact get you shot, but still it was a weak thing to say.

      Abunimah is distraught because hundreds are dying. The normal etiquette of a show like this was disregarded. I would not choose to appear with Abunimah with behavior of his sort on this show, but JJ Goldberg made a decision without knowing how Abunimah would behave.

  • 'Slate' blames Birthright for indoctrinating American Jew who was killed fighting for Israel
    • Here is Allison Kaplan Sommer smashing and dissing Benedikt's Salon piece.

      link to

      If I understand her correctly, Benedikt’s thinking goes as follows: if a fairly assimilated American Jew like Steinberg, who, according to his parents, was not very interested in Israel, had no family or friends there, goes on Birthright and then decides to move to Israel, volunteer in the IDF and in a combat unit, no less, it must be Birthright’s fault that he was killed. This begs the question: if Steinberg had been raised, say, in a religious Zionist home, spoke more fluent and less “unshaky” Hebrew and visited Israel on his own - who would Benedikt “blame” for his death? His parents? His rabbi? His school? But since his parents’ very first trip to Israel occurred, as she points out in the opening of her article, when they came to Jerusalem to bury their son, the culprit must of course be Birthright.

      Birthright, as she paints it, is a diabolical scheme cooked up by a conspiratorial Zionist cabal of gauzy Jewish billionaires that takes hapless young mainstream American Jews like Steinberg, waves a magic wand and turns them into flag-waving, weapon-wielding IDF soldiers and then happily marches them into their graves.

      Benedikt - who appears to know little about either Birthright or Steinberg - speculates that “Maybe Max was especially lost, or especially susceptible, or maybe he was just looking to do some good and became convinced by his Birthright experience that putting on an IDF uniform and grabbing a gun was the way to do it. That serving and protecting the Jewish people was the moral thing to do, and that the best way to accomplish it was to go fight for the Jewish state. It turns out that it’s not that hard to persuade young people to see the world a certain way and that Birthright is very good at doing it. You spend hundreds of millions of dollars to convince young Jews that they are deeply connected to a country that desperately needs their support? This is what you get.”

      Like previous hit pieces by Benedikt, this new article was a nice bit of tasty clickbait. As such, it’s already a big success - the responses have come fast and furious: immediately following the Slate publication, writers who have done actual research on the topic have raced to point out some pesky tiny matters that she ignores in the piece - facts.

      In the Times of Israel, Haviv Rettig Gur crunches the numbers, noting that of the tens of thousands of young American Jews have gone on Birthright trips, only a few hundred young adults immigrate to Israel from the US each year and “only a fraction” of these join the IDF.

      Even fewer, it must be said, sign up for a combat unit like Golani and survive the rounds of training it takes to make the cut.

      Mark Oppenheimer a Birthright alum, and frequent critic of Israel, writes in Tablet that .....

    • Here is a paragraph from the article in Slate:
      Birthright says that aliyah—the immigration of diaspora Jews to Israel—is not one of its goals, but like Steinberg, many participants come away with the feeling that Israel is where they belong. Birthright estimates that 20,000­–30,000 of its participants have acted on that feeling by moving to Israel. I have known many young American Jews who have made the same decision—who at 18 decided that they belonged in Israel and, though they’d never considered joining the American military, moved across the ocean to join the IDF right after high school.

      If 20,000 to 30,000 of its participants move to Israel then a few hundred alumni who go into the IDF is really a small percentage.

      Not everyone knows what they want to do with their life at 22. And another thing, there is much vacuousness in the American Jewish lifestyle. To attach some meaning to one's Jewishness is not something that everyone does, but even if it is not always a religious experience, one would do well to read James on the Variety of Religious Experience and realize that among the humans on this planet there are some for whom the modernity offered by 2014 society is insufficient and some galvanizing experience that gives context to something as major as Jewishness comes along and gives a "religious" purpose to one's life.

      I am sorry that Max Steinberg's life was cut short fighting in this war. The war of my youth (that I did not participate in, but witnessed "up close") was the Yom Kippur War and even though with age and time I consider that war unnecessary in terms of the fact that a less intransigent Golda Meir might have avoided that war by reaching the same deal with Sadat that was reached by Begin after the war, the war itself was forced on Israel by an attack that was truly threatening. The war against Gaza is of a totally different type and as such raises many more questions in my mind about Max Steinberg losing his life for this war.

      But whereas many Jews or even most Jews are ready to toss their Jewishness into a bottom drawer to be removed when convenient, absolutely necessary, on rainy days, or never removed at all, I think Jewishness is a major historical fact that could be a useful tool for the young and to express that Jewishness in America is quite often quite a difficult process and in Israel it is far simpler: come, learn Hebrew, do tzava and become Israeli and express your Jewishness the way millions do, by living in the Jewish homeland. It is a tad too simple, particularly because the conflict with the indigenous is not part of the Jewish expression, but tossing Jewishness into the bottom drawer is not really a valid alternative for some.

  • The deafening silence around the Hamas proposal for a 10-year truce
    • Jeff B-
      The lofty goals of the Zionists vis a vis nationalism and identity are certainly interesting and might shed light on the current tendencies, but are largely irrelevant.

      Judaism has had a glorious history and given birth to two major worldwide religions. The diaspora experience: that is the evolution of Judaism in the 1878 years between the destruction of the temple and the establishment of the state is part of the flesh and bone of the Judaism that existed on the eve of the abyss. The ebb and flow of assimilation, prosperity and exile did not happen in that order or at any specific rate, but that experience for almost two thousand years cannot be separated from the religion that was barely out of its diapers at the time of the Babylonian exile.

      The hard headed leaders of the Yishuv faced with desert and swamp, and hostile indigenous, of course hearkened back to the tribal pre history, because when there is a land to be conquered, it is not the tricks of the trade of the road learned in the exile which show the way, but the biblical forbears and their attachment to land. That's a natural choice that those who are saying, enough wandering, time to go home, would choose the tribal antiquity rather than the recent: how to pack a bag and leave town in twenty minutes brochure. (or how to smile and curry favor with the local chieftain).

      The challenges facing Judaism circa 2014 are many: modernity, assimilation rather than hatred in America, and hostility between Islam and Judaism due to the struggle on the few thousand square miles called Israel or Palestine. The momentum of thousands of years cannot be denied and if all Judaism needs is a surviving remnant the Orthodox Jews of Brooklyn will keep it going as long as law and order rather than chaos is the rule in the United States of America. But there is something other than survival and that is thriving (live long and prosper isn't that what nimoy/spock says) well live long we have, but prosper is not apparent. the establishment of the state of israel is great, except for the sin against the palestinians and the violence that israel seems to cause, so here we have a clash of values, a type of survival violence and a type of passivism pacifism and then we have the texts mixed in. the desert warrior of ari ben canaan depicted by uris or conjured in the mind of young Jews is simple and does not satisfy the needs of modern society. constant struggle is a calling, but constant struggle meaning, periodic bombing of buildings in Gaza to maintain the refugees in their submissiveness is not really a spiritual quest, but an olympic feat that satisfies the demands of post 1945, without envisioning a future. the "can't we all just get along" is so distant today, that I cannot blame those who see the olympic feat as sufficient. but to label this as the ultimate expression of Judaism is to maintain the kindergarten Judaism of Ben Gurion rather than something a little bit more complex as reflecting a history that deserves something more spiritual and complex than Ari ben Canaan.

    • Here is one Israeli columnist's reaction to the proposal of Hamas. To summarize: he accepts the proposal and proposes that Hamas accept the Quartet's conditions and also demilitarization and an international force to ensure that demilitarization. How do you's all react to that. But maybe I misread what he wrote. Read it yourselves. Ben Dror Yemini.
      link to

  • Watch: 9 Jewish activists arrested after occupying Friends of the Israel Defense Forces office
    • "One legal observer told me that passers-by screamed epithets at them and one threw an iced drink at those gathered in protest."
      What's a legal observer? Is it someone who was there legally? Is it a lawyer? Is it someone who is placed there for lawyerly purposes?

  • Naomi Wolf walked out of synagogue when they had nothing to say about Gaza massacre
    • The attempt to imagine a Zionism that would have been different is based upon the existence of thinkers and activists and people in the street during the pre state period who opposed the ethnic cleansing that occurred in 47-49. Not everyone favored that. Ben Gurion favored that and he was in charge and he put his imprint on Israel with that move and no one can deny that. But there were those (even if only one vote on the committee, but representing others) who were opposed to the ethnic cleansing. If that is the sin, and I recoil to term it that way but cannot deny it, then differentiate between on the one hand: Ben Gurion and the vast majority of the Yishuv that were guilty in that sin and on the other hand: the few voices who were not.
      Personally I model my Zionism on Yeshaya Leibowitz's Zionism and I accept the history as given. The burden of that history is something I shirk and my Zionism is irresponsible. But don't condemn those who were opposed to the exiling of the Palestinians. You should not criticize their Zionism until you've walked a mile in their shoes, and my best guess is that you haven't.

    • I turn in my card of faith as of now because of our overwhelming silence as Jews…I don’t mean Israelis, a separate issue…about the genocide now in Gaza.

      Your card of faith does not mean much to you. Follow Marc Ellis. Does he turn in his card of faith? Nope. So why does Naomi Wolf? the rhetoric of Marc ellis does not fit her, so she gives up her card of faith. Rhetoric. Naomi, shvester, find another way. The rebels take to the hills and leave their homes. Go find a cave, but don't turn in your card of faith.

  • ‘We have nothing left to lose. I would rather die with my family under the rubble of our house than have a humiliating truce’: Palestinian youth demand justice
    • Though I favor Israel talking with Hamas, I think Brzezinski's credulity is a bit overboard. Let us mention that it was pressure that brought Hamas to this reconciliation, that it's an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood that was couped out of power in Egypt and that it was in Damascus and left there because of the civil war and the leadership is now far away in Qatar.

  • Renouncing my Israeli citizenship
    • mooser and the word fact in the same sentence, a juxtaposition of the absurd. you aren't about facts. you are about humor sometimes and about nothing but rumors of the existence of facts at other times.

    • In fact the post deleted a major fact: that this was not Lenny's first aliya, even though the first time did not involve citizenship, this was his second aliya.

      Lenny treated us to a bunch of cant, and it was printed here because he made aliya and a photo of Jews dancing after making aliya seemed like a great post to Phil Weiss. Otherwise this post added nothing except cant cant cant. When you can't, you can always cant.

    • Mooser- You are ignoring history and living in your own fantasy as if history never occurred. Zionism was "invented" in in 1881 or 1897. The doors to America were slammed shut (not literally, but opened merely a crack) between 1920 and 1945. Your solution would have worked if America's doors had always been open. But they weren't.

    • A fact and a survey which you can't find, is not really a link, but more like a symptom of a hint of a link. The paragraph you quoted is referring to people who are thinking of applying for a second passport. thinking of applying for a passport or thinking of inquiring about such a passport is obviously not the same as holding a passport. But facts are not facts until they are presented with some real link and some real survey and not a hint of a symptom of a smell of a link.

    • Nevada Ned- Your link to this so called survey in which 70-80% of Israelis claimed to have a second passport linked instead to a claim by Juan Cole that 70% of Israelis have such a passport. I think Juan Cole is wrong, but your link is certainly not linked to a survey. If you find some real resource rather than a quote from Juan Cole, I would appreciate it.

    • Lenny- I accept your explanation. This is a Mondoweiss product. The photo of arrivals in Israel dancing and your story, complete with the Nazi analogy three times. It's just cant to me, Lenny. Cant that only got printed here, because of the ten month aliya that you made.

      the current campaign that includes the deaths of hundreds of Gazan civilians is sufficient cause for alarm and recalibration of priorities and directions. i have four siblings and close to twenty nieces and nephews who live in Israel and thus my ability to make aliya and then leave it behind with a flurry of Nazi, Nazi, Nazi is limited by the circumstances of my life.

      When I hear Nazi, Nazi, Nazi I turn off. And then when I hear, I made aliya, but since then I saw the light, man, it rings false. But I'm sure if I met you in person you could convince me of your honesty and even in the short paragraph here now, I know you better than I did from your i.d. (t.z.) number and the date of your arrival. It seemed like showmanship as if this gives you license to spout cant. that's where I'm coming from.

    • how old was susan nathan in 1999? a youngster, i'll betcha. i don't buy lenny's story that he had some kind of change since he made aliya. I believe he made aliya fully cognizant of all the things he hates now about Israel and he implies that he went wide eyed like a young innocent thing and opened up his eyes and read chomsky and realized the truth. I don't buy it. if you are buying it, then it's only because it fits. this is no youngster. this is a retiree. With his cant lined up like ducks for years now.

    • Tell us more of your story, Lenny. Did you change from a Zionist enthusiast to a "nazi like expansion" in the course of less than 4 years. what were your opinions in 1971? what were your opinions in 2010? How much time did you spend in Israel in 1971? It doesn't ring true, that you were of no opinion in 2010 and now you have woken up to the reality and written this post.

    • I challenge the veracity of this post. I made aliya about four years before this guy and my i.d. # begins with 3288xyzab, how did this guy get an i.d. # that begins 0127xyzab? I believe that this is a work of fiction and MW was duped.

    • Q- Until I read an explanation of what he thought when he made aliya and an explanation of an evolution that occurred to a retiree in a period of less than four years to go from oleh to "Nazi like expansionism", I'm saying either this guy is stupid, has a screw loose or he's lying.

    • I have to assume this guy is pulling our leg and he was already of this opinion when he made aliya less than four years ago. This conversion from oleh to citing Israel for Nazi like expansion is not believable in a retired school teacher, unless he taught with crayons to pre schoolers. No, I believe this guy was of this opinion before he made aliya and this is just a put on.

  • Jews must take action against Israeli brutality
    • Maybe there are Jews out there that you are touching with your communication. It ain't me, babe.

      The prolonged siege on Gaza in the aftermath of the withdrawal of troops and settlers, and the election of Hamas and the coup is a shame on Israel and on Egypt and on the United States and on Hamas and on Fatah. Ideally there would be a flow of people and goods into and out of Gaza, but at the very least there must be a flow of goods into and out of Gaza and an end to the siege from the sea and from the border of Egypt. If this requires some sort of international police force in Gaza, that is what I favor. The cease fire that would shape up under the aegis of John Kerry would probably not solve the problem, only delay it.

      [David Landau, in Haaretz, prefers a ground offensive to an aerial bombardment. Larry Derfner, 972, finds greater fault with the colonialist context than with the specific weapons that Israel is using, and the New Republic, declares the goal (stopping rockets from Gaza) as just, but the means (fighting in a civilian area) as unjust, creating a type of moral haiku.]

  • Dear American media, I’m asking you to simply tell what’s happening in Gaza
    • lysias- If one lives near Gaza, it is not sensible to ignore them. Many people return to their living rooms to inspect the lethal damage had they not sought shelter. If one lives in Tel Aviv with Iron Dome protecting him, as an individual it might be sensible to ignore them. There is no way that a government can just ignore them.

  • Massacre in Gaza: At least 60 killed in Shuja'iyeh, over 60,000 in UN shelters
    • Cliff- I imagine a conversation with you might be possible in person, but in text it seems clearly impossible. If i would go back now to your initial response and pull out the half sentence that i was commenting on, i would add another half sentence elsewhere in my paragraph and behold, you would grab onto this other half sentence and you would be off to the races: You are a Zionist. you divert. you never own up to your crimes.

      Well, great. you got that off your chest, now we can talk. On a street corner that's how it might be, but here, no, this is one upsmanship gamesmanship and certainly very dissimilar to two human beings on a street corner.

      I do not oppose the Jewish sovereignty over the Israel captured in 1948. I do not propose the return of all the Palestinian refugees to their homes. I realize that the leadership in Israel is not oriented towards peace. I fear that the general neighborhood of Israel is a mess and that given the existence of an Israel it is natural for those who live in Israel to object to the return of the refugees. I know you would prefer to sum that up as "you won't own up to your crimes", but I prefer to use my own language.

      I can't tell if in person you would be as impossible to talk to as in text. but in text you are scoring points and now you can have the last word and tally the victory for the anticolonialists.

    • Cliff- What the white settlers did to the native Americans was quite bad and not something worthy of emulation. But you claimed to be unable to imagine being as evil as the Israelis. And since you live on territory that was in fact claimed through colonialism and evil, I thought you related to the land under your feet with some political seriousness. But in fact you come from Asia and you consider the history of the land under your feet as irrelevant. You are in fact limited in your ability to empathize and imagine. That's okay. But don't start with the "do you expect people to look away" bull. You are not able to see your presence in America as an extension of American history and that is your limitation in not being real about the facts of the land where you live. That's all I was pointing out. That a full human being can see the facts as given and empathize with someone else who has the facts as given. but you are an individual, without any relationship to the history of America and it is that compartmentalization that is key to your inability to see the history of the world a little wider than your choir trained perception.

    • just- I think the quote is: "jaw, jaw, is better than war, war". I included that line because it came to mind and because the politics of the clash of interests between Hamas and Israel is the essence to a cease fire and an end to the siege. The fact that hundreds are being killed by Israel and this conflict turned to weapons is part of a context of political goals that are seemingly irreconcilable. I suppose the other quote is, "politics is the art of the possible."

      My favorite israeli politicians: Mitzna and Burg, would not have gotten us into this war and would tend towards negotiations with hamas much more than that is Likud or Bibi's inclination. Yet, present in Israel currently, I cannot help be moved by the intolerable idea of rockets being shot for no reason at Israel. Of course it is not for "no reason", there is a siege on Gaza and apparently Israel is stopping Hamas from getting funds from Qatar to pay their monthly bills to the government employees who run the Gaza strip. Since it is not Mitzna or Burg or even Livni (who is hated here because of Cast Lead, but I do not hate her), but it is Bibi in charge and it is the situation as given that must be dealt with. I appreciate that pro Palestinians see only the deaths to their side, but I wish that something could emerge from this war like an end to the siege such that Hamas will be a "good neighbor". (I exaggerate, but nonetheless the idea is that Hamas should have something to lose by shooting rockets again and something to gain as in normalcy and an end to the siege by stopping the rockets now.) Such optimism that a modus vivendi can be worked out between Likud/Israel and Hamas/Palestine is a bit rose colored glasses, but that's what I was speaking about: the hope that war will lead to something better than the situation that existed between Cast Lead and now. I did not choose this war, but like a pitcher that did not choose for the bases to be loaded when he is brought into the game, I must deal with the situation on hand, and not the alternative history that I approve of. As such I wish that common interests between Hamas and Israel can be found in such a way that Gaza can breathe easier and this threat of rockets doesn't hover. I would wish for a modus vivendi on the West bank while I'm at it too, but my optimism just ran out of gas and optimism on fumes is a bit much.

    • As far as choosing the Israeli recruiter over the American recruiter: Face it, except for a few years in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, very very very few Americans join up out of patriotism, most most most join up for the boost it will give them into a career or college track that is unavailable to them if they wouldn't sign up. The American recruiter is one who will tell you the advantages of signing up. The Israeli recruiter is there for those American Jews who feel a desire to express their participation in the Zionist enterprise by defending the Jewish state. the American recruiter is a practical choice that these youngsters do not need. The Israeli recruiter is an idealistic choice that these youngsters have made.

    • mooser- when was the last time you had a political discussion with anyone? have you had a discussion of any sort in the last 10 years, because you're a one liner master, but a political discussion mediocrity. jim carrey, don rickles, yes. eric severaid, no.

    • MDM- Every statement of yours is approved by your will and self righteousness and is followed by an exclamation point and is real friggin' loud complete with scatological expressions. Sorry if my groping for a direction in this fog of war does not meet with your level of certitude and decibels.

    • Mooser- Ha, ha, ha. you are so funny. actually cliff was asking about imagination, i was not saying nothing has changed, i was saying that a failure of imagination is not because popular culture has neglected your imagination, only that you are not willing to apply your imagination to this issue.

      unfortunately the history or the myth of biblical times is bound to be called up by too many on the Jewish Israeli Zionist side. An Israel with "disputed territory" as part and parcel of a person's range of motion, rather than a negotiated border as some particular point of reference will allow the myths to be tossed about for various purposes.

      there are approximately five to six million jews living in the middle east, this is the primary fact. the pain inflicted on the palestinians is a primary fact as well as is a large refugee population in gaza. i apologize for trying to think out loud and not every paragraph has a punch line.

    • Cliff- If you live in America the only thing that separates you from colonialism is 200 years. You can imagine the spot you're standing on, two hundred years ago, can't you?

    • War is just politics by another mean.

      I am all in favor of studying root causes and doing something about those root causes. but there is a dynamic to study here.

      Israel is in the wrong, from my point of view because Bibi's basic attitude is not towards finding a map of a demarcation line between Palestine and Israel and a refusal to negotiate that map, given the 47 years of it and the occupation of it, puts Israel in the context of refusal.

      Israel is in the wrong, from the point of view of MW, because of the Nakba. Since Israel is not about to remedy the Nakba, anything Israel does must be put in that context.

      Again, I wish to leave the roots behind for a moment and deal with the dynamics.

      Country A does not claim an area, but does have that area under 2/3rds siege. that area launches rockets into Country A, what rights does Country A have? I think if this was the question it would be an interesting one and Americans would consider themselves lucky to not be in that position.

      But this is almost absurd to remove it from its context. Thus the dynamics is not the point here, but the context is.

      Lots of noise in the comments section. I understand. If I was Palestinian I would be flipping out right now and those who empathize with them are entitled to flip out as well. But nonetheless, lots of noise in the comments section. Much more noise than light.

  • The heart of the problem with Israel: The mass expulsion of the Palestinian people
    • Zionism chose to establish itself by bayonets. Bayonets or war implies that I kill your side, so that my side can live here under my rules. The nature of war is that my people are worth more than yours. That's the nature of bayonets and the nature of war. Whether the exile of the Palestinians was necessary or not, by its essence the establishment of a state and an army are about force and preferring survival for my side and willing to kill your side. In 2014 America we are trained to appreciate pacifism, "can't we all just get along?" and that's the essence of the post war (WWII and post cold war) world that we are trying to build. Israel established long ago right after WWII is not of that frame of mind.

      Based upon the politics in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Saudi Arabia I don't think that the Jews in Israel are wrong in expecting a full return of the refugees of 48 to produce a result that will not allow them to stay in Israel and as such the proposal is one that they consider an attempt to exile them from their homes. It is a suspension of disbelief that you are demanding from them by pretending that the current state of politics in those mentioned countries tell them nothing about what a post refugee return Israel/Palestine will look like. I accept your quest for justice. But that is the equation that they make in their minds and they seem to be sensible in that equation.

    • The next step is an Israeli government that would negotiate its borders with Gaza and the West Bank with the PLO. This government will not be that one.

      The other next step is the PLO and Hamas conceding defeat to the occupation, stopping to claim the west bank and gaza as a separate entity and encouraging the annexation of these areas to Israel and full citizenship for all the people living there.

      The refugee issue will follow either one of these two steps, but certainly not come before either one. Getting one's mind right on the issue of the refugees, I can buy the importance of that. But the sequence of events will require one of my two alternatives to precede the refugee issue.

  • Israel is in a pickle
    • Nevada Ned- J Street is not meant to have credibility with anti Zionists or even with the general public. It is designed to serve as a support system for a US president in case that president journeys in the direction of confrontation with Aipac in searching for Israel Palestinian peace. J Street wants credibility with middle of the road American Jews who support Israel. Your attitude towards them does not matter one whit to their raison d'etre.

    • Annie robbins- This is not the first time that you referred to the crackdown on Hamas on the west bank in the aftermath of the kidnapping as a pogrom. Before entering the politics, you are misusing the word "pogrom". Pogroms are primarily civilians against civilians, in the most insidious examples these civilian riots are incited by the police (ruling authorities with weapons). What occurred on the west bank was an army action.

      It seems that you are using the word because you feel that the army action arresting Hamas was egregious and therefore must be painted with a word that expresses your disapproval. But pogrom is not the word that describes what happened.

      An optimist might imagine that Hamas and the government of Bibi might reach some kind of agreement that would last a bit. I cannot stretch that far. So what we have is that Fatah and Hamas are/were trying to reconcile and Bibi was not pleased. The status quo since he entered office (the second time in 2009) was being disturbed by this reconciliation and he decided to crack down on Hamas. I think it was a destabilizing move and we are witnessing instability. An optimist would imagine that instability will lead to greater stability through shared interests between Israel and Hamas. I cannot stretch that far.

  • Gaza is a concentration camp, and it's an American delusion not to recognize that -- Weschler
    • "or for that matter Jews and gays and gypsies at Dachau and Theresienstadt in the years before the Nazis themselves settled on their Final Solution." I cannot take this guy seriously. He is a propagandist.

  • 'Are you a fucking leftist?' --Israeli fascists target anti-occupation activists in Tel Aviv
  • 'We are moving from Iron Dome to an iron fist': Israel launches ground invasion of Gaza
    • You ever see the movie "platoon".

      Do you think it's boring to sit around and wait. Do you think if someone comes by with some music and you get a chance to dance instead, that you would take the opportunity to break the boredom with dancing? That makes you a psycho killer? No, not really.

      You believe your own gas fumes. Go preach to the choir, so that you can avoid talking to the trojan horse.

  • To my fellow American Jews
    • Israel fought a war in 1948 during which many Palestinians were exiled to Gaza (many of them merely miles from their former homes). In 1967 Israel captured Gaza and occupied it militarily "to the last inch" (boots on the ground). Some time in the 70's I imagine Israel established its first civilian settlement in Gaza. (Probably earlier, because I believe the first settlement was something that had existed before 48 and usually like in the case of Gush Etzion, the children of those who left previous Jewish settlements in 48 wanted to return to them in 67.) In 2005 Israel pulled all the settlements out and attempted to turn a "to the last inch" occupation into a siege. (Maybe something better than a siege was possible. Who knows what Sharon could envision as a best case scenario. He was a man of action and he was not about to leave the chess board without leaving his mark. Events led to this siege. Choices: some understandable, some bad, led to the situation of the current siege.) Is this siege illegal? Is it amoral? The besieged people, what rights do they have? Is their historical precedents that can help?

      I think there is a lack of good will and a lack of smarts and a lack of adult supervision (Hamas and Likud and IDF are acting like irresponsible kids and there is no teacher to bring order to the situation.) I think this was true in 2005 and has not improved since.

      Israel has handed over responsibility to the generals. Maybe they did that in 67 when Eshkol was forced to appoint Dayan and maybe that was the moment when it changed. Tough to tell the exact moment. (Ben Gurion told the soldiers what to do, but after Ben Gurion came Eshkol and then the soldiers told the prime minister what to do.) In any case how would soldiers deal with a situation like this: answer: with guns. And ultimately it ends up looking like this.

      We, my generation of Jews who care about Israel, are handing over to the next generation a worsened situation.

      As an American it is a shame that the US congress (in particular, but not only) is for sale and so there is no US supervision and a weak president like Obama does not help matters.

      (Obama's weakness is a combination of America's weakness post Iraq and Afghanistan and 2008 financial crash and his own inexperience. Hillary has experience. But it could be that would make no difference. The crew here prefers Obama's instincts though he could not follow through, because he did not have the political power to fulfill his instincts, the crew here prefers him to Hillary's realpolitik.)

    • Why is the Hebrew in the poster in the photo misspelled replacing three yods with apostrophes? Why are Jews who support human rights so ignorant of Hebrew and of Jewish sources? Have they chosen values over knowledge? Could be. Values are more important than knowledge. If one has to choose, they made the right choice. But one does not have to choose. And if they wish to make a dent in the consciousness of those who value knowledge (even if those who value knowledge over value it) their ignorance will not help them to make that dent.

  • 'I am a Jew. Israel is NOT My State'
    • I am a Jew (question mark).
      Israel is a place where millions of Jews live (period).
      Would I feel a sense of belonging to Israel if 1. none of my relatives had survived the abyss because they immigrated to the land that eventually became Israel?
      2. If I hadn't spent two and a half years studying Torah in Israel before I started college?
      3. If I hadn't at one time prayed three times a day including "And to Jerusalem your city in mercy return"?
      4. If none of my siblings and none of my nieces and nephews lived there, instead of most of them?

  • The trojan horse of liberal Zionism
    • You might disagree with Liberal Zionism, but I do not think the Trojan Horse analogy is a good one or a useful one. I think it is a way to justify avoiding dialogue with Liberal Zionists. I think that if one favors the right of return or a one state solution, both of which Liberal Zionists oppose, that it is easy enough to negate dialogue with them, without resorting to stupid analogies.

  • Palestinian member of Knesset removed from meeting for saying, 'Your hands are covered with blood'
    • pjdude- Ignoramus, you are. sit here in this echo chamber and you know everything you need to know about Israel. write Tibi or Zoabi and find out how much they curb their own words (I'm sure they curb them a bit) and how much they allow an "arab view point to come through"? but you are satisfied to listen to your self and the choir and label it as truth. idiot.

    • Shameless Mondoweiss commenter Rusty Pipes quoting Bashar Assad in any context using the word freedom. I vomited after the first sentence. Did he say anything after that about Palestine that would make up for the vomit of the first paragraph?

    • I apologize to you and to the readers of MW and to the Leveretts. I have no evidence that they are in the employ of Iran. I assumed that their support for the Iranian government (particularly against those who went to the streets in 2009) was a result of their employment. Apparently they think that Iran is ruled by good people and their obtuseness is a result of some thing (maybe a vision on the way to Damascus) rather than their employment. I still think that including Andrew Sullivan (who seems to make an honest attempt to maintain his independence and clear thoughts) with the muddled thinking of the Leveretts is disrespectful of Andrew Sullivan, but I apologize for attributing employment for the cause of the Leveretts' muddled thinking.

    • pjdude- On the Knesset floor there is much greater freedom of speech than there is in committees. There is much acrimony in these days and a committee room is not necessarily the best place for freedom of speech. But on the Knesset floor it is a different place. Or should be. If something like this happened on the Knesset floor your statement would be true. But I don't think it is.

  • Sullivan and Leveretts throw in the towel on two-state solution
    • I wonder how Andrew Sullivan, who impresses me with his independence, likes to be lumped together with the Leveretts, a couple in the employ of a foreign country?

  • Understanding Hamas
    • Chu- Nothing to add, but personal insults. And tree, too. Great.

    • Sumud- Why do you live in the West? Fighting for the political progress of the Arab world by living in Australia? Fighting for the political progress of the Arab world by commenting on Mondoweiss? Attesting to the advanced state of the political progress of the Arab world by living in Australia? Gimme a break.

      The West (the United States in particular) benefits from its immigrants from all over and particularly from the Arab world. But the net flow of brains out of the Arab world and into the west is testimony of the shall we put it in your terms: the South American nature of the Arab world. We shall see if the advances that South America made recently can be duplicated in the Arab world. When would you predict that this will happen?

    • Taxi- If you believe that Nasserism was republicanism then i have some choice swampland in florida to sell you too. Your propaganda is full of it, taxi.

    • Sumud- No, I have never been to an Arab country. Do you live in an Arab country or in the West?

      How would you define political progress if not freedom?

      You choose an artificial country of 3 million people as your exemplar? One of the smallest most artificial of the Arab countries? Okay. The Arab world has an example.

    • seafoid- I would talk to hamas tomorrow. I agree. Israel's location was not a wise choice and given that it was not a choice but a necessity, Israel should deal with the cards it was given and deal.

    • I'm sorry I used the word peoples instead of nations or countries. in brooklyn the street uses the word peoples to mean human beings, but i meant it as polities. I think arabs make great americans, they are great democrats having been starved for it for generations. i think arab humans have incredible potential and capacity and fully 1 to 3% of all Arabs are smarter than me which makes tens of milions. I think the backwardness of the polities of the countries whose populations speak Arabic is self evident to anyone who has proposed any standard of measurement. The Arab world has never recovered since the invasion of the Mongols in 1290. The most famous Arab politician of my lifetime was Nasser and he was no democrat. Name me someone who is number two after Nasser. I can't think of anyone. As Sadat said about his contemporaries: they are all dwarfs. the political leadership of the arab nations has been backwards. I don't know enough about causes and effects to tell you what would be reasonable only a century after sikes picot, i don't know what is a reasonable expectation, but this is a fact: currently the arab world is a political mess. you can blame america and israel all you want, but it's a mess.

    • Freedom defines political progress. Here is the link to their info for 2014.
      link to

    • The desperation and the worthlessness of Hamas and Fatah can be blamed on Israel. But what about Syria and Egypt and Saudia Arabia and Iraq? Do you blame them on the cold war? on the US? on Sikes-Picot? What are the exemplars of progress in the Arab world? Lebanon? No thank you. Blame Syria and the unnatural partition of Syria , if you wish. But Syria is prime example number one of a messed up place. Tunisia? Maybe, I guess. Yemen? Poverty is Yemen's excuse. Libya? Who can you blame for Libya?

      Cite me any single chart of the political progress of the countries of the Arab world and please find one that places the Arab countries in the upper half of the countries of the world in terms of political progress. There is some cause and effect involved and I do not know what that cause and effect is, and I do not blame genetics, but the Arab world which was the ruler of the world until the Mongol invasion of the late 13th century is lagging way behind today. Find me a chart that defies what I say and then I will attribute my assessment to racism. Until then, it's a fact that you better face up to. Easy to blame Israel and the conspiracy theory of the moment. But the Arab countries are backward politically. A fact. The cause? I dunno. Do you deny it?

    • Hamas sucks. Truly, truly, sucks. They combine idiocy and stupidity and stubbornness and apathy. They are a desperate organization, unable to provide anything for anybody. The development of a party that bases allegiance on Islam, is something natural in the Middle East. But do they have to be as stupid as Morsi as idiotic as Hamas? They are another symptom of the political backwardness of the Arab peoples.

      This does not justify attacks on civilians by Israel, but those who are trying to give Hamas the benefit of the doubt- they don't deserve it. Hamas might be better than Fatah, maybe, maybe not, maybe, maybe not, but these are the two parties that represent the Palestinians? Hamas sucks. (I am prepared for the whataboutery in reverse that will tell me that Likud sucks and Labor sucks. Because in truth the only way to defend Hamas is whataboutery. Hamas sucks.)

    • Yigal Amir lived in Israel and not in the occupied territories. Has Israel ever (since 1949) destroyed the home of terrorists if that home was located in Israel?

  • Not In Our Name: The Jewish duty to stand with the people of Gaza
    • The withdrawal from Gaza was a move in the right direction, but it was incomplete. Because the conflict with the Palestinians has not been resolved, primarily on the West Bank, therefore the withdrawal from Gaza was not sufficient to head towards resolution rather than repeated armed conflict. Israel does not seem to fight this war (or all wars against Gaza) by the rules. I doubt that the rules of war allow such consistent killing of civilians. (I assume Israeli generals will tell you that no army fighting wars fights by the rules of war. But nonetheless if a war is justified, and it is justified based purely on the rockets sent into Israel from Gaza since Israel started the mass arrests on the west bank, then the war that is justified is one that follows the rules of war and this war does not follow the rules of war.)

      The wisdom of the mass arrests on the west bank and the general Likud (and mainstream) attitude towards Hamas can be questioned as well. (Either hamas is an organization Israel should negotiate with or it is one that Israel should fight to crush or some combination of the two, carrot and stick, if you will.) I support an attitude of negotiation vis a vis hamas, but i do not view the other attitude as racist or insane. the weakness of the likud attitude is that i like to see a long range plan vis a vis the west bank and it is difficult to see such a plan emerging from the likud and this lack of a plan seems irrational. but i recognize that specifically given the deep rooted nature of the settler enterprise combined with the current unprecedented (in my lifetime) tumult in the arab world, the idea of withdrawing and changing the status quo of the west bank seems foolhardy and therefore the lack of a long range plan is no excuse for executing something short range that seems foolhardy. the nature of stability and instability is such that such a move (withdrawal) is not something that politicians will be attracted to. (that's why i personally who favor stability would not have arrested so many people on the west bank because that seems to have been a recipe for instability.)

  • Joining Graham, Schumer calls for end of Palestinian unification for sake of Israel's 'survival'
    • Israel in this campaign against Hamas that began with rhetoric, but was followed by arrests on the West Bank, (in the aftermath of the abduction of the male youths who studied in occupied territory) set up a confrontation with Hamas. Avraham Burg is not prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu is. And his party has never spoken about reconciliation with Hamas (its tendency to reconciliation is negligible to begin with, but with Hamas, forget about it. never has been their policy.) Bibi wants to put the Hamas genie back in the bottle and thus the arrests on the West Bank. Those arrests led to this reaction from Gaza which elicited this reaction from Israel.

  • 'American Jewish voices are most critical in the world' (to end idea that Jewish lives matter more)
    • I would not read eran efrati's post in order to get my finger on the pulse of Israel's Jews. I would read instead Chemi shalev. he does not exonerate Israel but his is nearer to the truth rather than an activists plea to his fellow activists. Shalev does not whitewash anything. But here is his column: link to

      (to read it for free, go to facebook's haaretz page and the link there does not involve a paywall.)
      link to

    • crone- I'm sorry I included you in the overall disdain that I had for the other responses. Your questions had a modicum of dialogue about them.

      I wish I valued all human beings equally. that is the correct priority of values and one that I respect. I do not consider a white American who takes this position regarding a far off unnecessary war in Iraq to be an example that I can embrace as similar to my own. the battle between Palestinians and Israelis is not "unnecessary" in the same way as the US war against Iraq was unnecessary.

      I back Gush Shalom (based upon their Friday ads in the newspaper: those who do not wish to talk to Hamas end up bombing Gaza.) And I approve of the Avraham Burg position which would be to talk to Hamas. Many of those who oppose such talks are racists of the religious variety that you indicate. I do not think that opposition to talking to Hamas is proof of racism. And that is my primary point. Eran Efrati summarizes the entire process of the last 4 and a half weeks as one of Jewish racism that led to this attack on Gaza. This is not my explanation, nor do I think it is fair, nor do I think it will convince anyone who has a teaspoon of empathy for the Israeli Jewish Zionist reaction to Hamas. Yes, I favor talking to Hamas, but I understand those who oppose such talks and I do not consider opposing such talks as racism. I do not like war and view war as the last recourse and therefore I favor talking to Hamas. I also favor negotiating borders first before any other issue and I consider a Fatah-Hamas negotiating team to be one that could back up an agreed upon border realignment as something that would be progress. Those who support Jewish sovereignty (over the borders of 1967 Israel) can very easily, without being racist, oppose my opinion about how Israel should negotiate borders. By taking a position that is more likely to lead to war, they are creating a situation that will create more hate and that hate today is not only nationalistic, but has a religious tend as you point out. But to emphasize that tendency as this is enough to get someone to oppose a war against Hamas is to preach to the choir, those that feel that Hamas is really just another version of the democratic party, except with some nostalgic feelings towards home, hearth and Allah. I think Hamas sucks. But I think war sucks worse. The Israeli attitude is that Hamas sucks worse. I argue that this is not racist, but an opinion based upon a clear headed reading of the situation. I am not that clear headed. I prefer to muddle my head with the hope of reaching some kind of modus vivendi with hamas and with Gaza. That is why despite my own aversion to the campaign against Gaza, that I do not see it as a result of racism. I see it as a result of seeing an endless struggle with the Palestinians that requires as much stubbornness as necessary. I am not that stubborn. but i do not label such stubbornness as racism. and to simplify it and say: all we need to do is get our minds right regarding the value of nonJewish lives, is an oversimplification. I believe to repeat that it is natural for a likud leader to wish to crush hamas and within Israel's domain: Israel and the west bank, Netanyahu unfortunately (because there is no democracy on the west bank) has the freedom to arrest whomever he wishes to achieve this crushing of hamas which to me is not the best path, but it is a path that I understand. and to label Netanyahu's arrest of Hamas niks after June 12th was not an act of racism, it was an act entirely consistent with a rational desire to crush Hamas.

    • tree- before i get to any petition, I will first react to the article posted on mondoweiss and the issues that it conjures.

      it starts with a headline that includes: "to end the idea that jewish lives matter more". and that was what i was reacting to, even before i reached efrati's name and content.

      I envy white americans and their post tribalism. i'm with huckleberry hound and richard kimble breaking down barriers to a free and equal america and this envy undercuts any claim to zionism that i profess. despite my citizenship i do not consider myself israeli, in the sense that i believe that israel will still take me in even if i denounce my israeli citizenship and i am not so sure that america would forgive my denunciation of an american citizenship, so i go with the super power of my birth and the 300 million (and richard kimble and bobby kennedy and doctor king and yogi bear and martin o'hara and billy pilgrim and huckleberry hound) and the future of the post tribals.

      i prefer not to be at war and so my advice about the warmakers and to the warmakers is the advice of an observer. i am watching a chess game and i am analyzing the value of the rook versus the knight versus the bishop. the human beings closest to me by virtue of blood live in israel and are of a different frame of mind than me and i try to understand their frame of mind.

      there is too much racism in israel. those who had hoped that the jewish zionists could be at constant war with the arabs and keep their souls and minds and hearts above hatred were wrong. it doesn't work that way. it is not only the constant war, but the original project that focused on our needs, our need for a state (right or wrong, that was the perception) and once the goal became attracting enough people and moneys to an idea of establishing a state, there was only one place that could be sold. and establishing a state in a place where there were others with other concerns other than our concerns, there was a clash and a preference for my needs over the other guy's needs. so there is and was always an element of my needs come first involved in the zionism, even buber's zionism, but especially ben gurion's zionism.

      And to me, I relate to the Jewish neediness of the period in question to be a very human need and the search for land as a very human search and the bible aside, and whatever history aside, that's where it starts, as a neediness of human beings for a place.

      Now the bible is a fine book, but not if you take it literally and the progress of zionism over the years has been a regression away from the human need for a home and towards "the Jews deserve the land that belongs to them" and since the world is much more hospitable to Jews in 2014 than it was in 1881 or in 1941, I understand the evolution of "this land is ours" as the philosophy that explains Israel of 2014 better than the "we need a land" philosophy of 1933. and the closer one gets to the "we own this land" the closer one gets to racism and I see that.

      There used to be those who believed in two states from the point of view of the rejection of the zero sum game and the two states were the way to reach yes-yes, rather than me or you. today we feel the two state solution is distant (dead is the terminology that seems preferred on mw), therefore yes-yes, is distant and in its stead zero sum, back to square one.

      Those who feel that syria's civil war and egypt's travails mean nothing and that Israel rejecting one man one vote is pure racism are not realists to any degree. For some reason the Arab world is quite backward politically. And if it is israel and the US retarding them, then maybe that's the reason rather than something deeply wrong in their culture, okay. I don't know. but for israeli jews to fear a one state solution is not insanity, it is clarity. it is not racism it is clarity.

      The other month Phil quoted Rothkopf debating with Oren about Israel and something Rothkopf said struck me as true, that Israel needs to be born again as a country with a purpose and that purpose must be the success of their nonJewish (Arab) neighbors. And that seems to me to be a worthy goal of turning Israel away from self absorption, and security nation and start up nation, into help the Arabs nation. But I am dubious that it can be done and my laziness in this regard is a type of defeatism. (Stalin would have me shot.)

      Signing a petition? Not really. That's a type of showmanship. If it makes you feel better, go right ahead. If it makes you superior to me, go ahead. I am lazy in regard to the long range goal, the rothkopf goal and I am guilty of that. In regard to the war going on right now, I am within my rights to react as slowly as I wish.

      Netanyahu wishes to crush Hamas and that's why he arrested all those people in the aftermath of the kidnapping. and that's what is the immediate cause of this unequal exchange of fire. I am not a student of the laws of war and I do not expect Israeli warmaking to really adhere to the law. I suppose adhering to the laws of warmaking would make this a better world and since Bibi is prime minister and not avraham burg, they need me to sign a petition saying, "Bibi, attack all you want, but follow the laws of war."

      Okay, maybe. I hear you. Is that what your petition says. How many rooks is your petition worth?

      You and your megaphone are so sure of yourself. You're one nasty preacher, tree. I don't like nasty people and I don't like preachers and I don't know you except as a nasty preacher.

    • tree- I told Donald that I plan to reread Eran Efrati and try to react to it in a dispassionate and cool headed manner in a half day or so. Thank you for adding some nastiness to the mix, there was not sufficient nastiness around until now and you have greatly added to the mix. At some point, probably before they close comments, I will try to respond dispassionately to Mister efrati's words. Until then, have a nice day.

    • Donald- I have never had a positive interaction with any of the other people who have criticized my comment and so I will deal with you, with whom I have conversed at times, like two humans, not like man with megaphone versus me.

      I am opposed to this war against Hamas.

      It was with Cast Lead that my thinking began to turn against Israeli policy vis a vis Gaza. Until that time I was too wedded to the commitment that was implied by supporting the withdrawal (partial) from Gaza. Supporting that withdrawal implied, "But we will still worry about those who live near Gaza and make sure that they can live a normal life there." In fact this implication is interpreted by the Israeli army and government as "we will put them under siege and if they toss rockets at us, we will answer them ten fold." At the core of this attitude is the wish that Gaza would just disappear.

      Cast Lead, eventually (not for the first seven days, but eventually) led me to question how Israel should interact with Gaza. Larry Derfner made a distinction between Israel's war against Lebanon which he accepted and Israel's war against Gaza which he rejected and I found the logical construct useful. (Lebanon- an independent country with the rights of a state to its own shores and borders, was responsible for hostilities launched from its land, in a way that was different from Gaza that was under siege and had a history of occupation of a different magnitude than southern Lebanon.)

      To simplify: There are two ways to deal with Hamas: the Avraham Burg way and the Bibi Netanyahu way. Burg would negotiate but Bibi will not and so to Bibi, Hamas is an organization that needs suppressing. Thus the arrest of hundreds in the (largely unrelated) aftermath of the abduction of the settler teens. Those arrests led to the rockets from Gaza which led to the current attack on Gaza.

      My: "I root for the Jews against the Palestinians" was an attempt to disprove Eran's rhetoric. It was not his conclusion: his opposition to the war on Gaza (or the imbalanced war with Gaza) that I was voicing, but merely with his rhetoric. I am not siding with Bibi. I am reacting to the rhetoric of Eran Efrati.

      In a day or so I will reread his rhetoric and try to formulate a calmer reaction to it, but it is not the policy of Bibi that I endorse, it is the rhetoric of Efrati that I reject.

    • Fighting wars and dehumanizing the enemy go together. Do I value the Jewish lives more than other lives? Not for any one fingernail versus 100 deaths, although that attitude does exist, that's not my thinking. If I had been born Rwandan, I would root for Rwanda, if I had been born Syrian, I would root Syrian. I was born Jewish, so I root Jewish. It is my side against your side. I value my side; you value your side. That's how war works.

      The occupation dehumanizes, particularly a settler occupation, but any occupying army views the "natives" with suspicion and the contest over the land: is it ours or is it yours, creates an us versus them dynamic.

      Eran Efrati is writing to the choir, to those who already agree with him. His first hand experience and reporting about the dehumanizing machine that is the occupation is progress towards truth. But his words here cause a bit of a reaction in me. I will reread his words again in a day or so, to see if his words speak a little more to myself, who is not in the choir, but my first reaction is that it's preaching to the choir type stuff.

  • Israel's message to the Palestinians: Submit, leave or die
    • Artificial? Maybe. But let me divide the history of Israel into time periods: 48 to 67. 67 to 87. 87 to present. (this 3rd period is longer than the previous two periods.) I pick 87 because that was the beginning of the first intifada and the Oslo process was a reaction to that, as was the Madrid peace conference that gave birth to the Oslo process. The Oslo process was initiated by the minority party: the labor party. (I realize that I am treating Israeli Palestinians as irrelevant in the following. Sorry, but let me talk for a sec:). That is: Since 1977 Israel has been ruled by Likud and Labor has lucked into it a few times, because of the natural ebb and flow of politics, but nonetheless this has been a solid period of Likud ruling party, but Oslo was initiated by Labor, so it is no surprise that it failed, because it was contrary to the wishes of the ruling party that was by chance out of power, but in fact represented the wishes of the majority of the voting Jewish public. In fact Likud has never put forward any plan and it only has opposition to Oslo and steady slow (quick) maintenance of the settlement project and acceptance of the status quo (for lack of any alternative).

      At this point I agree that I don't see a good endgame. Initiative has passed to the Palestinians and I see their logical step to be in the direction of "annex us and give us citizenship", logical but not here yet for various reasons. Israel is a success on one level and that allows the people to consider the Palestinian quandary as something insoluble that they will pass from generation to generation. The mess of the Arab world certainly reinforces the "what do you expect from me to solve the Israeli vs Arab problem, when the Arab vs Arab problem is so unwieldy". I know that it doesn't meet the bottom line and the bottom line is that Israel is at constant war and is occupying the west bank.

      and the nature of the occupation is the key problem: that it is a settler occupation. Israel's experience with purely military occupation rather than a settler occupation: the primary example is the occupation of southern lebanon from 82 to 2000. (another example might be the current occupation of gaza, although no boots on the ground and the withdrawal of settlers and the entire history of Gaza and its population of primarily refugees, makes it quite different from the southern lebanon experience.) Thus we see an example of a non settler occupation and it is not pretty, but it is essentially different from the settler occupation of the west bank which is corrupt and twisted in a way that a military occupation is swamp like, bogged in the mud of Vietnam, but relatively straight forward.

    • in fact mooser those who chose to move their butts to america were fortunate and did not need sovereignty to survive and thrive, but pinsker did not know that in 1882. in fact if we start at that point and work our way to today there are three different fates awaiting the european Jews of 1882: america, death or israel and israel only came about because america closed its gates in 1920. israel's jewish population in 1920 was 85,000 and in 1940 was 400,000, if america's gates had been opened at the time that four times plus increase in population would not have occurred and the critical mass of population would not have given Israel the wherewithal to exist, if not for the mostly closed gates. so pinsker's theory only became true in practice due to the fact that america was not willing to be the benefactor of all the jews who needed her. but you can pretend as if all the jews made it to america and america had solved it all, even though it didn't. but history that's just an aus varf? just a chaleriya? just a shtus v'hevel? just a naarishkeit? you're the yiddish expert. you tell me the word.

    • "I think it`s time to stop beating about the bush and ask what is it about Judaism that allowed this malignant system to develop." seafoid asks. well, there are problems involved in the halachic system and its relationship to the "outside" world, but that is not why this system developed. It developed out of something called European antiSemitism. And the further development between 1945 and today developed out of something I call "reaction to the abyss". And there in fact was no answer to European antiSemitism, other than emigration as individuals and in groups and one of those emigration movements involved auto emancipation and the natural place for that territorial sovereignty implied by auto emancipation turned out to be a place where there were people who considered it "their" home and not to be used by others for purposes of auto emancipation.

      Any system that would have suffered a blow like the abyss would be crippled in its aftermath and the success of Zionism (I use that term ill advisedly, meaning a perfunctory success a superficial success, a physical success, a political mess) covered up the crippling and thus the two periods: 1881-1945 and 1945 to 2014 are explained. any other questions?

    • Those who speak of a one state solution and do not foresee the path to that one state passing through annexation to Israel (of the West Bank to begin with) have some explaining to do as to how to get from here to there. (Particularly those of you who wave the flag of nonviolence.)

      Also Erekat, the negotiator, said that he is not scared of the blue card (the t.z. teudat zehut, israeli identity card). but mooser is scared. there is no constitution and there are racist laws on the books, but erekat is not scared, because he realizes that with a large contingent in the knesset things would begin to change.

      Those who say they are for equal individual rights must deal with the annexation and citizenship offer. Those who merely want to topple Israel through blood and fire, well, any goal you have in mind is okay with me, you have to talk to Yaalon and not me in any case.

  • Palestinian rockets: The conversation no one is having
    • I googled and this is what I found: Israel must end all action in Jerusalem and the West Bank, end the bombardment and siege of Gaza, release all the prisoners re-arrested in the Israeli operation launched on 12 June after the disappearance of three Isreali settlers and stopping "meddling" in the Palestinian Unity government, the group said. - See more at: link to

    • Is there any series of concession that Israel can make vis a vis the Gaza Strip (and the Gaza strip only, that did not change the situation on the West Bank) under which Gaza would be required to stop firing rockets at Israel.

  • Relentless bombing on Gaza continues: Israel kills media worker, 9 people watching World Cup on beach
    • Walid- Okay. Don't have a nice day.

    • Walid- Some people don't believe that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I don't discuss the news with such people. Have a nice day.

    • There is no comparison of the terror that the Palestinians in Gaza are undergoing and the alarms that are disrupting Israeli lives. Donald's comparison to midwest tornadoes is apt. (Yet tornadoes are not manmade, but these alarms and rockets are manmade.)

      Israel's reaction to the Fatah Hamas reconciliation was at the root of the current exchange of (unequal) fire. (leaving aside the murders of the two Palestinians on Nakba day as a root cause) after the kidnapping of the Jewish teen settlers, Netanyahu (Bibi for short) decided to use it as an excuse to round up Hamas people in the territories. This led to rocket fire from Gaza. This led to the Israeli reaction to the rocket fire. Bibi wishes to undo the backsliding that occurred before his regaining of power: that is the elections of 2006 in which hamas was allowed to participate, he wishes to put that genie back in the bottle. (Bibi's thinking: "How is it that al sisi can suppress the Muslim Brotherhood, but I am not allowed to suppress Hamas? This makes no sense.) And thus now is the time to put that genie back in the bottle. (I've read that Hamas is hard up these days. And this is the cause of their miscalculation or gamble. I don't know enough about the situation in Gaza, economic or political.) But it is natural that Hamas (Gaza) would react to the Israeli crackdown on Hamas (West Bank).

  • Terrifying tweets of pre-Army Israeli teens
    • James North- First to the post of David Sheen. In the past I pooh-poohed racism in Israeli society and it is dangerous and harmful to dismiss this phenomenon. I was raised on Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King and these kids were raised with bombs going off on buses, so I accept that though it is wrong to dismiss racism, it is helpful to trace its causes. ("Demographic threat" the original exile of the Palestinians in 48, the continued dispossession, the constant war, the acceptance of the occupation, are all larger factors (macro) than the bombs on buses, so I "apologize" for putting it in politicized hasbara terms.)

      I read your comment hours ago. To tell you the truth: it sounds to me like you're trying to curry favor with the goyim crowd. That is the Jew haters who you can detect by their use of the word goyim. (false detection or real detection, let's not argue, you know what i'm referring to.) and with this "light among the nations" rhetoric you're currying favor with that crowd. I think the next time you feel like commenting like that, you should count to ten and think again.

  • State Dep't says Israel has a right to defend itself, but can't say the same of Palestinians
  • Understanding 'militant' as a cover-up for civilian deaths, and other ways international law helps clarify the Israeli attack on Gaza
    • Quote: "a woman who served in the Israeli army (as all Israelis are required to do)" (Besides the "obvious" exception that this statement equates Israeli and Israeli Jews...) In fact most Israeli Orthodox women do not serve in the army. Even in Modern Orthodox communities where male service in the army is considered a no brainer, good deed, mitzvah, many of their daughters perform national service Sherut Leumi rather than serve in the army.

  • 'Operation Protective Edge' begins: Gaza rocked by Israeli airstrikes as Palestinian militants shoot at Jerusalem
    • oldgeezer- Israel can negotiate with Hamas now as far as I'm concerned. (If you need a public Israeli figure whose general attitude I am attempting to resemble, at this moment, it would be Avraham Burg.) I am stating that given the refusal of Israel to negotiate with Hamas in the given circumstance, it is best to understand that Gaza represents a unique complication. It is part of "Palestine", without any settlements and potentially theoretically could be negotiated about separately. This presents a different type of frustration. That was my point.

    • My ideal is less than ideal regarding Gaza. If Gaza were willing to declare independence, as in unrelated to the Palestinian struggle in the West Bank (and the Palestinian struggle for the rights of refugees), then Gaza and Israel could negotiate a peace. But ideally or not, Gaza and the West Bank are one unit and there has been no withdrawal of Israeli soldiers or settlers from the West Bank and will not be any withdrawal any time soon and so if the West Bank is "insoluble" because of gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian positions, so therefore Gaza becomes "insoluble" as well. And as "insoluble" it is given only to tactical solutions of which Moshe Yaalon is an expert and all of which end up killing people including combatants and civilians.

  • Contradicting Israeli officials, family of Tarek Abu Khdeir says he was attacked while in uncle's Jerusalem backyard
    • Excuse me for taking time to digest the news. I know that it would be best if I did not think tactically or strategically and I had a single line of thought: "colonialism is evil" "violence is evil" that was a solid philosophy and covered all possible headlines and then all I would have to do is see the headline and match it to the evil involved and it would be simple and finished.

      in fact i react to the headlines with prejudice and self interest and i try to digest and understand why things happen. the fact that the killers of the kid who was burnt alive were soccer fans, man, that's a tidbit that involves some chewing and digesting and the history of beitar rowdiness and mafia like behavior, these add up. when i see this kid's cousin beaten like this, i also try to understand what the cops were thinking, moreso than i would with the cops who beat up rodney king, though i probably put myself more in the simi valley exonerated cops shoes more than the average commenter here at MW. I read the stories and I react and I try to understand what happened.

      I suppose it is perverse to do my public reacting in this spot, the comments section of MW, but so it has evolved that this is where I focus my thoughts and my reactions.

      And mooser, even puns are good. when you write without humor it's like a dead fish, when you inject a little humor, why it's a serving of smoked whitefish.

    • If he was covering his face, then this puts a different twist on it. Insufficient to explain away the beating, but it is not the same as sitting in his own backyard and watching. The mask (face cover) is a "uniform" of sorts and anyone who knows about US protests, knows that those who cover their faces are the serious protesters who are there for business and not pleasure. Again, does not justify the beating, but puts it in a different perspective.

  • 'Let's talk about Zionism,' is message at July 4 parade in Wellfleet, MA
    • Shmuel- The metaphor of purity fits, because if you are seeking purity you will never find it. The problem with the Haaretz editorial is not its content but that it is left wing hand wringing. If in fact Netanyahu and Lieberman believed in the editorial and followed through on the editorial it would be revolutionary, in the right direction and would make a big difference. But in fact it is left wing hand wringing and therefore all such editorials fall flat because: "If you're out of power, why not demand purity, when reform is not on the horizon?"

      There is a basic problem when trying to solve the "respect for the other" issue in Israel: both its founding act of ethnic cleansing and its current "essence" of "demographic stability" are contrary to the "respect for the other" principle. (Clear minded followers of Jabotinsky might consider themselves able to juggle the contradiction. They consider themselves capable of being respectful of the other, while realizing that the necessities of the life of bayonets involve certain acts and attitudes that need not affect human feelings. That ain't me. I'm more like an observer these days than an advocate.) So the issues you raised are real, no question. But when I read the haaretz editorial it was not its content but its reality (left wing newspaper exerts a few lines of good intent, but useless effect) that left me cold.

  • How long can Israel depend on Mizrahi docile loyalty? Smadar Lavie asks in new book
    • The 50-30-20 Mizrahim, Ashkenazim, Palestinians assertion is just plain false. How can one take this article seriously when such a glib false assertion is made? Although the wikipedia numbers are confusing, they are seriously different than the figures given in this article and seem to indicate a 52-48 division of Mizrahim to Ashkenazim in the Jewish population of Israel. link to

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