Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4475 (since 2009-08-12 22:27:08)

yonah fredman

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

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  • 'Jewish students were barred from attending' pro-Palestinian event -- Alterman misrepresents
    • I was at the event and i was refused entrance into the event. the organizers wanted people of like minds, jewish or nonjewish at the event. they didn't want people of unlike minds at the event. miniature stalinism was the credo of the security guards of the event.

  • B'Tselem video: Israeli soldiers blindfold and detain 11 year old disabled child
    • seafoid- Maybe i treat dead people with too much respect, maybe i treat suicides with too much respect, but then again maybe not. If you have some evidence that oz's mother's suicide was politically motivated, supply it, otherwise, "i think she was one of them" is just pure speculation and using a dead person's name to give credence to your own views. I view such speculation as some kind of horse manure. You view it as valid. oz's mother will not sue you. so speculate away. horse manure is free.

    • seafoid- your speculations regarding the reasons for Amos Oz's mother's suicide are either cruel or childish/moronic. chose one.

    • a few quick remarks- the name of the yeshiva I attended from 72 to 74 was Yeshivat Har Etzion located in Alon Shevut.

      Currently most of my nephews and nieces live in 67 Israel. I have one haredi niece who lives in a town that is partly in the west bank. i think a newlywed nephew of mine and his wife might be living in the west bank. i am pleased that most of my nephews and nieces do not live in occupied territory.

      I'm sorry if my nomenclature regarding using the term Gazans rather than Palestinians does not meet with the approval of all the commentators. So it goes. Add a few more exclamation marks and then we shall know that the TRUTH!!!!! is on your side.

      Unlike most commentators here I consider my views a work in progress, particularly since it has been less than 2 months since the end of the war. (sorry if my use of the word "war" does not meet the truth patrol here, either.) It is a weird situation supporting a war i opposed, meaning supporting the rights of those who supported the war not be called racists and to consider them rational if not possessing a plan for the future. they would object to my plan for the future as well and all I can say is that holding the west bank rather than handing it to Hamas makes sense, but holding the west bank and settling people there without giving the residents citizenship and a vote is a stupid policy, because i was raised on robert kennedy and because the western world cannot tolerate such a bifurcation beyond the year 2060. (this year was added to get the goat of he who wishes his goat to be gotten).

      as regards the original occupation of the west bank: the 6 day war was caused by events. part of those events were the fault of israel, part of those events were the fault of the soviet union, part of those events were the fault of nasser. once king hussein signed up as an ally to nasser, war was inevitable. ideations about the malleability of history aside, there are dynamics involved in calling up reserves and creating a crisis that led to the war as surely as gravity leads an apple to fall off a tree and knock a scientist in the head. once the war was fought, the west bank was bound to be occupied. i think between 67 and 73 israel could have reached a separate agreement with king hussein and i regret that they didn't and the settlement movement and the euphoria of a reunited Jerusalem and the emotions of the right wing and the religious Modern Orthodox and the general euphoria of the worldwide Jewish community in the aftermath of 67 ensured that that peace with Hussein was never reached and that is something that I regret.

    • amigo- I wonder if it would be really so difficult to write without the taunt. i bet you could if you wanted to. but then you wouldn't be able to show off how great a humanist you are. humanism through sarcasm.

      the situation in kiryat arba is different than the situation by gaza. building settlements past the 67 border, as is the situation in kiryat arba, creates a different dynamic than that which exists in gaza where there are no such elements.
      i cited the general in regards to gaza indicating that avoiding the next war is feasible.
      and although i live in brooklyn, my siblings and nieces and nephews live in israel and it is their reality that i am discussing, i wonder if having been brought up with a certain attitude towards israel, how different my attitude might have been if i had been an only child or if i had come from a family that supported israel but never visited there. but my situation was thus- sent to study in rabbinical school on the west bank from the age of 17 to 19, during which time the yom kippur war occurred. have one brother and three sisters, who all moved to israel despite birth in north america.

      i didn't read what was done to this kid near kiryat arba, but the west bank (assuming that giving it up to Palestinian sovereignty is too dangerous an alternative) should have been held as a trusteeship until such time as peace could be reached, and thus the building of settlements over the 67 line (including where i went to school from 72 to 74) creates an intolerable situation of claiming territory without offering the residents citizenship and thus the rebelliousness of the residents is understandable.

      the rebelliousness of the gaza Palestinians is also understandable, although removal of the settlers from there in 2006 eliminated the most egregious aspects of claiming land without granting citizenship. finding the means to allow gaza to thrive without giving gazans the means to lob rockets at the Israelis, is a tricky business. although those of you who favor handing the airports and the harbors over to Hamas do not find anything complicated in the situation, I am satisfied to have the IDF controlling the airports and the harbors and thus it is more complicated than the "leave the middle east" prescription of you antizionists.

  • 'I know how the brainwashing works'
    • It seems likely to me that the compromise with Zionism will be found and that it will be American policy that will change to force Israel to compromise. I personally go visit Israel and do not shy away from buying Israeli products, so I from my actions see no support for BDS. When I am in Israel I avoid occupied territory except in the case of Jerusalem, although this past summer because it was tense from moment one until i left in the midst of the war, where on principle i do not avoid the territories.

      I do not write my congressman to tell him that he has to change his attitude towards Israel to reflect the 38% of Israelis who call themselves centrists or leftists who reflect my views. in fact i opposed the war and that puts me in the 5% who opposed the war, and i certainly would not write him to tell him that he has to represent the 5% and not the ari shavit's and tzipi livni's, even if my models are larry derfner and bradley burston.

    • bumblebye- precisely my point. i didn't say that you are wrong, maybe you are right. maybe jewish pride to pick a nontechnical term is as wrong as white pride or as black pride. it is difficult to tell from here. since a major or the major portion of my contact with the human race is with jews who consider jewish pride a positive, i hardly see how adopting the: "you people are no better then kevin macdonald" as my own credo would do anything but wreak havoc with my life.

      personally i consider the momentum of jewish survival to be unstoppable and the specific direction of jewish survival known as zionism is stoppable, but at a steep price to all involved, and in fact some kind of compromise will be reached with zionism as well.

      i think the future of jewish survival past my predictable life span is not my primary concern, as in, I cannot prove what the future will be, i can only testify to my emotions and thoughts.

      I was born 10 years after the abyss directly descending from 3 out of 8 great grandparents who got murdered for being jewish, thus to me: jewish survival is a credo. that i have in fact not pursued the "jewish survival" lifestyle: I have no kids and i do not belong to a synagogue and i do not dress in a yarmulka, means that i view the credo with a degree of alienation.

      because of this alienation i am forced to construct the analogy between flora and fauna destroyed by harvesting the rain forest and the civilization of the jews, that just like these flora should not be destroyed, for who knows what they might cure, so it is with the civilization of the jews, plucking this civilization from history might deprive history of wisdom and even a cure.

      but this is a leap of sorts. the fact is: i was raised by people who had their eyebrows singed by hitler's dragon breath and to me, the urge for jewish pride is a must, and to compare it to kevin macdonald is not recognizing the human needs of those whose eyebrows were singed by the dragon breath.

      the need for moderation or involving other concepts beyond jewish pride, i admit freely and advocate. but the kevin macdonald equation elicits contempt from me.

    • bornajoo- Yes, there is propaganda, group think, at play in Israel. Yes, there is a widespread tendency to dehumanize the Palestinians. This tendency is too easy to fall into in much of Israeli society.

      Rather than attack this head on, let me cite this article from 972,
      link to 972mag.com

      Although the prime topic of the article is the rejection by most Jewish Israelis of the idea of a full withdrawal to the 67 lines, I would like to focus on the self identification of Israelis in the poll. we are told that of the 505 Jewish Israeli people polled, 304 identified as right wingers, 125 as centrists and 68 as leftists, or approximately 60% right, 25% center and 13.5% left wingers.

      Why do you think these people ended up with those political "allegiances"? I would assume that for the most part, people tended to agree with their families or peer groups. I'm sure there were those who started out to the left and then became more right wing and there were those who started out to the right and then become more left wing.

      Would i call all those who identify as right wing as being more easily brainwashed than those who identify as center or left wing? No. Certainly those who come from right wing and stayed right wing, their environment influenced them to maintain a certain attitude and certainly those who come from the left wing and stayed left wing were also influenced by their environment.

      Both you and I spent most of our formative years outside of Israel and so the environment of our backgrounds was not dictated by a school curriculum of the mandated sort that exists in Israel. But nonetheless, we were both influenced by schools, peers and families.

      In the immediate aftermath of the Yom Kippur War I would have referred to myself as a right winger and for example when the disengagement agreement of 75 was signed by rabin, i was opposed. by the time of the sadat visit to israel in 77 i was supportive of the peace effort and very pleased with the camp david accords and envisioned the need to speak to the PLO.

      Was I less brainwashed than my peers who were opposed to the Sadat Begin peace? I would say, not. I would say that my personality was possibly a bit more rebellious and a bit more adverse to acceptance of the words of the "authorities" and my personality was more in tune with the imagination required to dream of peace than those of my peers.

      Yes, there is a lot of propaganda and group think involved in all attitudes on this issue.

      Currently my optimism regarding the future is at an ebb and i feel almost irrelevant to the discussion. (That is: those who control Israel's government and those in America who speak for the mainstream of the community are really not interested in my opinions.)

      I also feel irrelevant to the discussion here at MW, where the editors and most commenters have an ambivalent or a negative attitude towards religion and nationalism including almost all manifestations of Jewishness that are not universal in their essence.

      That's all for now.

    • bornajoo- thank you for your response. i will respond later at greater length, but i just wanted to let you know that i read it.

    • Hello bornajoo, You addressed me on a different thread but I will answer you here. Firstly we come from different sides of the tracks. I am Ashkenazi and your roots are not in Eastern Europe. You do not relate your relationship to halachik judaism. I was raised a rabbi's son and have spent my life at a distance from that background, but essentially orbiting that planet.

      No, I do not send links from MW to my siblings and nieces and nephews. For the most part I find non face to face interactions regarding the middle east with relatives to be unproductive and when i get face to face i realize the limitations of what i could possibly say to change their minds. You seem to be in an "in your face" personality and that is not me now, maybe 20 years ago, but now. but even 20 years ago it was support of rabin rather than acquiescence to hamas that was my rebellion.

      consider this P to King 4, a first move in our conversation.

  • Anti-semitism charge is increasingly being leveled against Israel's mainstream critics
    • walid-- I'm sorry for using the language of the Israeli general, but that is the reality that i live in.

      I do not control the past of Jewish history nor the present. if i were prime minister i would have people you object to who would guide me how to handle the situation, but i would move in a direction of avrum burg. i think that gazans should be free to import and export and i realize that importing weapons (concrete for military tunnels included) will be a side effect of such imports. somewhere i read that gaza's primary hope economically in the short range is inclusion in the israel/west bank economy rather than the cutoff of gaza that has been going on since the time of rabin. but i do not control the facts on the ground and i merely react. i'm sorry if my reactions are sometimes in terms that deal with political facts without slowing down and trying to deal with the human beings who live in gaza. i am often insensitive in my comments and since i cannot change the reality i present it in distant terms, thus i desensitize myself to be able to deal with the facts as given. but even if i slowed down i would not join the chorus against israel, primarily because of people i know in israel.

      the chorus of hatred towards Israel is not something that makes any impression on the people i know in israel. and the primary stance of expressing my opinions is in terms that a realist rather than an idealist would use.

    • mooser- people were calling and are still calling anyone who supported the war as a racist. i object to that. i argue that supporting the war is a rational reaction. i also assert that i was opposed to the war of 2008 and 2009 because it became too cruel for me. I did not support the cause of the war of 2014 which was the "crackdown" on west bank hamas. i feel that outlandish accusations of racism for those who supported the war were/are wrongminded and in that spirit i defended the war as a rational response, but one that i did not support.

      let your sadism fly, mooser and tell me how mealy mouthed i am. go on.

    • Shavit, in the featured quote, equates sweeping criticism of Israel with Jew hatred and not any criticism of Israel.

      The attack on Gaza was a symptom of the lack of planning of Israel regarding the future and their dependence on weapons as the means of dealing with their problems. Certainly if there had been no nakba and the population of Gaza was not 2/3rds refugee, the specific problem of Gaza would be different.

      I still have not regained my balance since the war on Gaza, though it has receded from the headlines. My reaction to the war on Gaza in 2008-2009 was slow in taking shape, but towards the end of that war I came out against it and as this war approached I knew it would be similar and therefore I was against it.

      I think the Israeli general who said that Gaza's Palestinians have to be given a carrot, so that they will protect that carrot and not allow Hamas to have that carrot destroyed by the israeli stick is on the right track, but it is not clear that the prime minister and right wing of israel can shift gears in this direction.

  • Europe wearies of Netanyahu's diversions
    • Walid, You are calling for regime change; Europe is not.

    • amigo- Hello, good afternoon.

    • just- are you so stupid that all you can do is parrot a moose?

    • "Regime change" is usually used to refer to violence employed by outsiders or insiders to undo a nondemocratic leader. It was used vis a vis- Saddam Hussein and Bashir Assad, maybe Ghaddafi as well. It is cutesy to use it vis a vis Israel, when referring to a specific elected prime minister. When the American right speaks about Obama and the need for regime change, how do those not of the right react to the use of this term regarding a democratically elected leader.

      (Israel's democracy is not up to the US standard of 2014 in many ways.)

    • pabelmont- regarding Gerald Ford, I read somewhere that the version of gum and walk was a cleansed version of the original: can't chew gum and fart at the same time. it is attributed to LBJ.

      I think the Gerald Ford Henry Kissinger team was a good team vis a vis the middle east, although of course, who knows if a reelected Ford would have had the same results vis a vis the peace with Egypt achieved by Sadat, Begin and Carter.

  • 'NYT' can't keep its story straight on anti-Semitism in Germany
    • mooser- Rantisi is dead. But he was a jew hater. and maybe he just hated Jews or maybe he saw it as a means to an end. i think gilad atzmon fits into the category, although because he's jewish that makes him a special case. i think dieudonne of france fits into the category, although again he might just hate jews and not view it as a means to an end.

    • talkback- there are those antizionists who are in favor of jew hatred, as in, "don't apply the brakes, let the nature of hatred and warmaking take its own course and so all hatred aimed in that direction is emotion which should flow and not be dammed". maybe you agree with that. I'm not sure. I view such talk as fighting words and those who enunciate them as enemies.

    • Ellen- It would be interesting to see statistics regarding hate crimes in western europe, how many incidents of anti muslim violence how many incidents of anti jewish violence. if you presented me with those statistics your anecdote would be presented in a journalistic context.

    • Mooser, I get no kick from the troubles you enumerate. You are one sick moose.

    • I am no expert on Europe and Europe's Jews in 2014. I think it is dangerous to dress like a Jew in certain parts of Europe and those parts of Europe are Arab neighborhoods. When things get ugly in Israel/Palestine these populations express themselves in protests and express their hatred for Jews, which is directly related to their hatred for Israel, but nonetheless is still hatred for Jews.

      I think Netanyahu's policies promise little to Israel's future.
      I do not know which statistics are accurate vis a vis emigration from Israel. I think the west was suffering an economic malaise the last 6 years and thus this suppressed Israeli emigration because opportunities in the west were lacking. now that the economy is improving (at least in the US, where most yordim head) there will be more yerida based upon the pent up desire that has been suppressed. I would not blame Israelis for losing hope and leaving Israel, but I am not sure that the statistics really are clear on this.

  • How 'Open Hillel' created a new community by challenging the Jewish establishment
    • Elliot- Snark away if you must, if I give you cause. but don't call it conversation. snark is snark. conversation is conversation. Next thing you know the dog who pees on my shoes whenever I visit will call that communication as well. Pee is pee, snark is snark and conversation is conversation.

    • Elliot- I am glad that you had a conversation with a J street friend this week. But I do not consider our interchanges to be conversations. Your proportion of snide remarks is too high for me to consider them as conversations. Maybe in person you are just as sarcastic, but maybe you have a smile to make your sarcasm palatable. but your smiles are not communicated in the text and the net effect is one of sarcasm and not conversation, playing to the crowd here and not talking to me.

    • mooser- I've reread hophmi and he did not use the word likudnik once.

      but you're right, there will be those who will abandon their Judaism amongst the orthodox and also those who will see Israel as something negative and there will be those who back liberal zionism and far too many who back likud and parties further to the right than likud and your ignorance regarding these jews should not preclude a probabilistic assessment of their political loyalties over the long range.

    • Elliot- Those controlling the future of Israel (which currently is Likud) do not want to hear disagreement and this focus or inability to deal with other opinions is indeed troubling, particularly if it involves blindness to political currents, but also if it is blind to the suffering inflicted on the Palestinians.

      I don't really think that the vast majority of BDS people are really interested in conversation with those who are anti BDS, but my opinion is based upon the reaction of people here in the Mondoweiss comments section. You, for example. When was the last time you got into a real conversation with anyone here that was a tad Zionistic?

    • mooser sits up in the pacific northwest and the last time that he spoke to an orthodox jew under the age of 21 is 40 years ago and he is casting aspersions.

    • jimby- Heckling is a form of communication, a low form of communication. even fancy heckling (invoking gandhi) is still a low form of communication.

    • oldgeezer- sorry for mentioning livni. i wanted to inject a modicum of reality, but why muddle my hopes with reality when my hopes are not real. so criticize avraham burg and pretend i didn't mention livni.

    • mooser- do you have a ph.d. in heckling or did you get bogged down in writing a dissertation?

    • mooser- I am in favor of new elections where a new spirit takes the Israeli public and they vote in a Tzipi Livni Avrum Burg government that negotiates a peace with the Palestinians by first establishing borders, and further steps to be imagined later. but this is not going to take place. while the current government is in place in a spirit that is not my own, I do not know how to react other than to say that I favor an immediate negotiation of borders between israel and palestine and the government and the masses of Israelis do not agree with me.

      and does this comment of yours have anything to do with open hillel or is it just as good an opportunity as any to cast aspersions in my direction?

    • btw- the division of categories: middle east, israel/palestine, us politics, activism and features is not working. open hillel was featured last time in activism and this time in US politics. no logic and no consistency of definition of categories.

      there is no way to find out what new articles have been added to the site without going to all the categories. this is not efficient. pretty colors, but not efficient.

    • Sounds like it could be called BDS Hillel that is willing to talk to nonBDS Jews, who by the very nature of the BDS Hillel will only be those who are on the left of Zionism. Maybe there is more interesting discussion in this overlap than there is in the tent of Hillel. But actually there is plenty of space to the right of BDS to make for interesting discussions as well in the other tent. Doesn't strike me as false to have two tents, and the only ones who can participate in both tents are those on the left of Zionism.

  • Is ISIS a crisis for the so-called Jewish state?
    • annie- your whole tone is nyah, nyah, nyah. okay, maybe israel under bibi deserves no better. but don't pretend that this is a war of ideas. it's not.

      the cause and effect of the birth of Isis can definitely be attributed to the war in iraq. (syria might be more an offshoot of that gigantic expenditure of blood and treasure, but syria has not been the specific target of anything comparable to what was spent on iraq.) but my point is: this has very little to do with religion and Israel has very little to do with religion and this whole line of thought is schoolyard taunting and not of substance. whereas US expenditures in the war are to the point, separation of church and state is just slogans and not the point.

    • Annie- the whole tone is nyah, nyah, nyah. i suppose that bibi doesn't deserve any better. but don't pretend like this is about ideas. It's not.

    • This is not the war of ideas, this is the war of slogans.

    • This is ignorant. Name one Arab country that has complete separation between church and state. (mosque and state). throw turkey and iran into the mix as well if you want. our concept of separation of church and state is very different than what goes on in that part of the world. the propaganda equating ISiL and JSil are sophomoric and reflect some more preaching to the choir. ISIS is a reaction to the fall of the prevailing order in two states: Syria and Iraq. This game of saying that Isis has to do with mixing religion and state is child's play and ridiculous. Attacking Israel on the merits of the case is one thing, attacking it, based upon we must be evenhanded if we attack isil we must attack Jsil is just an example of shallow thinking in a soundbite era.

  • Wiesel lauds settlers for 'strengthening the Jewish presence in Jerusalem' -- and expelling Palestinians
    • I suppose it is unfair and counter productive for me to try to justify Wiesel's positions when I disagree with him. (Unfair to Wiesel and counterproductive to me, to the singular focus that I should be maintaining regarding discovering and then asserting my own position.)

      Nonetheless, let me comment regarding essences of Judaism: Judaism survived the long exile from bar kochba to ben gurion. can something survive so long without its essence? meaning, if sovereignty over jerusalem did not empty judaism of its essence during the period when Jerusalem was ruled by others, how can sovereignty be considered an essence?

      (of course, my zionism has a large focus on refugee zionism or survivalist zionism, as in: the lack of a jewish army, which the lack of sovereignty over any territory implies, is certainly a logical source for blame regarding the various periods of oppression and ultimately slaughter. but the survival element of zionism requires some territory somewhere, but does not require all of jerusalem or indeed any of jerusalem. but the question is not regarding survival zionism but regarding something other than survival as in essences.)

      Jerusalem as a focus of yearning is certainly an important part of Judaism, but as Pinsker asserted: the genius of post bar kochba Judaism was its mobility and ability to survive out of a suitcase or in this case with a set of books and practices as the homeland rather than the specific land of Jerusalem and its surrounding territory.

      I think that the need for Jerusalem was 1. focusing on the territory around jerusalem was an essential element in the success of zionism. that is sufficient passion regarding territory could not be achieved regarding nonIsrael territory and the focus of zionism on the territory referred to as zion, was an essential element in gathering sufficient support for a return to a territory that would have significance beyond mere refuge. and 2. in the aftermath of the abyss, there is a need for something positive beyond mere refuge, something that can constitute a rebirth; and a refuge in alaska (to pick michael chabon's alternate history) could not measure up sufficiently to the return to Zion which constituted more than a refuge but also a rebirth. Once we are focused on rebirth, there is a need for Jerusalem, and quite conceivably the rebirth implied by Jerusalem requires not just pre 67 jerusalem, but also the kotel in Jerusalem, and maybe also the temple mount in jerusalem and also the neighborhood of silwan in Jerusalem.

    • Wiesel has always been a right winger regarding Israel and its borders. In fact a large percentage of Jewish people who care enough about Israel to visit there or to live there support the right wing position, so it is not a shock that this particular Jew with his particular life experience 14 or 15 in 1944 in Hungary turns out to be someone who supports the idea of Jewish sovereignty over as much of Jerusalem as possible.

      My life experience is quite different than the life experience of someone exposed to the raw ferocity of the camps. This does not mean that I must value his judgment over my own. I agree that his concern is not with the Palestinians, that does not make him a racist, in my book, that makes him someone who has primary concerns and secondary concerns and his primary concerns are not for the other but for his nation and its essence.

      one might argue regarding the nation of Israel, as in am yisroel, and what its essence is or ought to be. mark ellis has one concept and elie wiesel a different concept. and they are both humans with unique perspectives.

      my judgment: the boundaries of june 4, 1967 are approximately the path towards a peaceful future for the two peoples if things work out well. currently things are not working out well. this adds up to a tangled ball of yarn and i study it and discern no path to disentanglement.

      wiesel was not a nazi hunter and to read his name misspelled like the name of a lowly animal makes me wince (hate?) and does not help if the aim is communication.

      It is a "shame" that the foremost survivor does not share my political views, but so it goes.

      currently israel needs to encourage hamas fatah reconciliation in order to "pacify" gaza and the right wing Israeli politicians need to disrespect that reconciliation to gain favor with the hard core right wing in israel.

      judaism is a very richly textured text and religion, but most Jews who live in America live in a secular milieu and so the text and the religion will lose out in a few generations and dwindle away.

      to me stretching my imagination to think like someone looking for a market for my product: the most logical means for the survival of judaism in America would be searching for converts among the religious christians, pulling them away from christianity and towards the Torah. there are tens of millions of religious christians who are potential customers.

      currently instead of proposing means of survival of the American Jewish culture or of Judaism in America, there is a clinging to Israel, because it is very real and very Jewish. those who have given up totally on the Jewish thing, who leslie fiedler would refer to as ex-Jews, do not add enough to the issue, merely illuminate what the post Jewish (post zionist) reality will look like.

  • Israel and the g-word
    • mooser, just and citizen, the price i have to pay to communicate with MHughes is to subject myself to three hecklers. heckling- a form of communication. a low form of communication.

    • MHughes- When we say that the white man was guilty of genocide in North America, the first thing we think of is numbers. Okay, I'll stop. I said we. In fact I don't know how every human or every lawyer or every student of Lemkin uses the term or if people refer to common usage or legal usage or original intent of Lemkin. but i digress. when in fact i get into a discussion regarding the north american killings of what i used to call indians, but are now called native americans, if someone in that discussion might use the term genocide the first thing i would ask would be for a number.

      the essence of the ethnic cleansing of nonJews out of palestine is based on the idea of "this land belongs to the Jews". Is this a racial term? Because the jews primarily are of two distinct ethnic groupings: mizrahi and ashkenazi, this is called a racial term and not merely a religious term.

      i come from a line of thought regarding the recent (at the time of my childhood it was indeed recent) history of what jews referred to as the hurban (hard hanuka h, similar but not precisely like humus and hamas) by us ashkenazic jews in the first twenty years after that debacle/abyss/earthquake (who here speaks for armenians, nothing but white people and brown people around here, but nobody comes from nations of an equal debacle.)

      the earthquake that took the land out from under the palestinian people is quite a debacle and earthquake as well, although i do not call it an abyss in any way similar to the 39 to 45 time period.

      i have sufficient respect for buber to accept the idea of the ihud group as a valid response to jewish history. ben gurion's path resulted from politics, he overpowered anyone else in the movement and took it in a specific political/military direction. he was one of time magazine's 100 top people of the 20th century, a list that included gandhi i believe and also adolph and uncle joe.

      my point is that there is nothing wrong with a path other than the path that ben gurion took and to advocate some other path is valid. having grown up with the nakba already part of the past it was not something in my experience, whereas the 67 war was in my experience and therefore i could relate to it in a different way. i think that a decision by the Palestinians and Zionist Jews of Israel to reach a peace can be reached and turning back the hands of the clock to undo the nakba is not a path that seems near and that aspect of the sin of what was done to the palestinians really is not near to being rectified, and yet i think that a peace can be reached, say in 11 or 12 years. with implementation taking another 8 or 9 years. the odds against it are great.

  • Ofra Yeshua-Lyth and the case for a new Israeli left
    • pabelmont- I cannot testify as to the difficulty or ease of attaining Israeli citizenship by East Jerusalem Palestinians, nor to the motivations not to attain such citizenship, but in fact there is a path of citizenship available to East Jerusalem residents.

  • It looks like Obama is checking out on Israel
    • Netanyahu = Israel?
      currently he is the prime minister of israel and the one placed in charge of Israel. Certainly he is the most uncooperative (vis a vis America) prime minister since Shamir. The occupation is obviously older than that and there is a tendency to equate Israel through and through as equal to Netanyahu or worse and to negate the center, those whose stake in the settlement enterprise is minimal and not all that sympatico. I do not think Netanyahu is doing a good service at this point. He was always a P.R. man. (P.R. is a type of euphemism for B.S. or soft soap). he entered the business by being a voice or a face on Nightline and then the UN and by now he is preaching to the converted and there's no need for a P.R. man who has limited himself to the choir. A P.R. man by definition needs to reach out. It is not clear who will come after Netanyahu. I would think Saar before Lieberman or Bennet. I think Likud is still the voice of lots of dark skinned Mizrahi Jews and I think Likud will go in the direction of Saar, but Likud is the place to watch for who comes after Netanyahu.

      apres moi, le deluge? i think those who hate Israel like to play with optimism as to how soon this deluge will come upon Israel.

      I give Netanyahu one more election.

      Interesting the other day the chief of staff of the Israeli army commented that the degradation of Hamas capabilities was an advance, but the need is to give Gazans a stake in the future that will curb the desperation that views the rockets as a useful tool. How will Netanyahu navigate the future vis a vis Gaza after the next elections. and until the next elections?

  • Maher lumps Islam with ISIS, and CNN's Cuomo says Aslan's 'primitive' tone proves Maher's point
    • The United States and Canada are not at war with each other. They are both predominantly Christian countries. But the two facts are not related. (Both the US and Canada are settler colonialist countries that achieved victory over the colonized peoples approximately 150 years ago and there is no border conflict between the two and the cultures are amazingly similar and this is the cause for the "peace" between US and Canada. The wars between France and England were fought 250 years ago and so the conflict between those two powers has faded as a cause of war.)

      Syria and Iraq are cauldrons of war: there are conflicts between ruling elites that have refused to adjust to modern times with democracy and instead are mired in nondemocracy. Iraq's relatively stable dictatorship was knocked off its pins by the US war of 2003 and the new government was capable of democracy but not of recognizing the needs of a pluralistic society. Thus the ruling elite of Sunnis saw itself as being oppressed by the Shiite majority and thus the fighting and the successes of ISIS. These problems are not inherent in Islam, they are inherent in the state of development of their societies, which are not up to the same speed as post WWII europe or post WWII North America.

      The Arab world's backwardness in terms of democracy when compared with the West, is due to its being ruled by Turkey for hundreds of years and only recently was thrown into the world of events by the collapse of Turkey's rule. The impetus for Western democracy which got its boost from Britain, France and the US, has not been duplicated in the Middle East and North Africa. There is nothing inherent in Islam that has slowed the progress of democracy. But nonetheless there may have been something involved in the Reformation that allowed for the development of democracy and such a Reformation was never duplicated in the Islamic world. But that is different than the claim to the inherent violence of Islam.

      Probably the worst of the three books: Old Testament, New Testament and Koran in terms of violence is the oldest: the old testament. God forbid (joke intended) that the Old testament, particularly the laws of Moses, are ever put into practice in Israel or in a larger area. It was only through accommodation with reality for a few hundred years and then exile for a few thousand years that allowed the book to exist as a separate entity from reality and that is how it is best to remain. If not a separation between synagogue and state then a separation between reality and synagogue. Islam never had the need to develop a reality principle outside of the bounds of their religion and is only now coming to terms with the end of the reality imposed by the Big Powers after WWI. There is a load of development that is necessary and certainly given the collapse of a geopolitical reality there will be violence and it will take a while (50 - 100 years) for Islamic society to put religion in its place.

  • Salaita says UI appeased 'a few wealthy donors' and destroyed his career
    • If Jews who support Israel's existence are having a tough time dealing with the Gaza war, to expect them to make the effort to come to Salaita's defense is a bit much.

      The fact that a wealthy few are pushing their weight around against Salaita is their right as wealthy donors. The pushy rich Jews are being pushy on the issue of someone who was uncivil.

      It's messy and embarrassing, but it really isn't major except to Salaita and to academic freedom for the semi hired and untenured.

      Gaza is beyond messy and embarrassing. Maybe this war was "necessary" in the same way that the Yom Kippur war was "necessary" as creating a new reality that led to peace between Egypt and Israel and by the perceived necessity of Lebanon War II, because it has led to 8 plus years of standoff between busy Hezbollah and (busy?) Israel. Maybe the Fatah Hamas reconciliation can lead to a situation that Israel will let Gaza thrive or at least survive on a higher level than the siege of the last decade. Optimism? (Is the glass half full or only a tenth full?)

      I suppose people who are less conflicted have both barrels of their shotgun ready to shoot at everything about the Zionists, Salaita included. But it's not a major story to me.

  • Bill de Blasio ruins the liberal Zionists' glorious hour
    • When I stand by the Kotel in Jerusalem (aka the Western Wall, aka the Wailing Wall) I am cognizant of East Jerusalem's occupied status, but...

      I can imagine standing near the Kotel on the telephone to America and someone asking me, "Where are you?" and me answering, "by the Kotel, in Jerusalem, in Israel."

      To expect Jews to visit Israel without visiting the Kotel is "preposterous". To expect them to report the experience as something other than visiting Israel is expecting a leap of political consciousness that has not yet taken place.

  • Read the genocidal sermon a notable Atlanta rabbi gave this Rosh Hashanah
    • I think the rabbi's language was horrible and implied that the way to deal with radical Islam is through extermination, which sounds more like an attitude than a policy and the attitude is bloodthirsty, provocative and unuseful. "Bomb them back to the stone age" seems to be the message and I don't see how this is anything but giving a pat on the back to people who see hatred and murder and killing as the answer to the radical Islam problem.

      I think annie's attitude: the thread is no longer active, rings false. there was a time not so long ago that threads were closed after two days. any time the editors wish to close threads it is in their hands. until then, the thread is open.

  • AIPAC rabbis stand up for racial justice in Michael Brown case
    • Yossi Klein Halevi is a settler (living across the green line in East Jerusalem), but is he a right winger? I would call him a centrist.

  • 'Ethnic cleansing for a better world' -- Richard Cohen says Palestinians brought the Nakba on themselves
    • I suppose I should not make Yeshaya Leibowicz the alpha and the omega of right minded opinion regarding israel, but... did Leibowicz ever speak out against the nakba?

  • NYT's opening to a 'fringe voice' excites rage from Israeli army, journalism, business leaders
    • Of course Zonsein's last paragraph was pure rhetoric and reflected the truth about Shmuel Rosner and others rather than "Israel". There are points of view between Gideon Levy and Shmuel Rosner and that point of view is also "Israel" but not to Zonsein. Either Levy or Rosner and nothing in between.

    • Is there any disagreement of facts between Zonsein's piece in NYT and Ephron's piece in Haaretz? Seems a question of emphasis and headline rhetoric rather than content of the articles. Maybe Zonsein mentioned Netanyahu's silence, acquiescence, in the face of right wing words and actions and he embodies "israel" as in official Israel, rather than unruly street Israel, but otherwise the headline in the NYT was not precisely accurate and needed interpretation.

      I will have to go back to see if Zonsein mentions any other Knesset/governmental aspects to her piece.

  • When Rouhani says blaming ISIS on Islam is Islamophobic, is anyone listening?
    • The clash between modernism and traditional societies is traumatic, meaning there is physical and spiritual loss involved in the intrusion of the modern on traditional societies.

      Iran in its revolutionary stage represented one attempt to reject the modernism of the west. their revolution is no longer in the early phase, which occurred 35 years ago and so their leaders are no longer appalled at modernism or burnt at the stake for modernism and instead there is a struggle on a different level. (There is still repression of democracy, but there is repression of democracy in China and that has nothing to do with rejecting modernism, but only has to do with the maintenance of stability as perceived by the ruling elite.)

      The basis of the Iraq regime of Saddam Hussein seems to have been the repression of Shiite population in order to enable the ascendancy of the Sunni minority. The destruction of the Saddam regime led to a confrontation between these two communities.

      Certainly the west intruding and drawing lines of borders and going to war and then deciding "time to go home. enough foreign involvement" created dynamics that would not have existed without the west's interference.

      there were forces at play in syria aside from the natural rebellion of a people against an oppressive leader. i don't know enough about the natural dynamics of nascent rebellions and the specifics of the syria situation, but clearly just a perusal of headlines did not reveal anything conclusive to this lay reader.

      the arab spring of tunisia and egypt was a natural reaction to oppressive complacent regimes and coincidentally or not happened at the time of an american administration living up to its "power to the people" rhetoric and not to the powers of stasis that normally rule american attitudes towards "backwards" parts of the world. egypt is more or less back where it started after the failure of morsi, but meanwhile a real grass roots rebellion erupted in syria was met with a bloody fist and then there was a rebellion of arms, the development of which i cannot comment upon.

  • Palestinian problem is central to region but Israelis control U.S. policy -- Brahimi
    • Here is the quote from Brahimi: "the Palestinian issue is still important for all of us in this region. This is a very, very big part of the story."

      I realize that this quote is awkward to put in a headline. The words "central" or "heart" are much more sophisticated English than Brahimi's quote. But nowhere does Brahimi use those words and I think we can all agree that important is something less than "heart" or "central" and thus the use of these words is not exactly pure reporting.

  • Anti-Zionist train makes stop at Washington Post
    • The entire construct of the sentence: "many jewish israelis subscribe to the unfortunate demographic myth that high birth rates....Jews of other national and racial origins" is suspect. It is academic jargon messing with the English language. Jewish Arab Israelis (aka Mizrachis) according to this are part of the threatening demographic group which is worthy of an academic paper, but otherwise is paper thin.

    • Greenfield's article is divorced from reality, both the Israeli reality and the Middle Eastern reality. How much should we kowtow to reality? I accept that to be overly obeisant to reality is to overly kowtow to power, but really not even a drop of reality?

      But the constant mentioning of Ethiopian Jews seems gratuitous and shallow and an attempt to curry favor with some constituency or something loose in her mind that is not a major part of the Israel Palestine conflict.

      Take this quote: "Many Jewish Israelis subscribe to the unfortunate demographic myth that high birth rates among Arabs and Ethiopians mean that they will soon outnumber Jews of other national and racial origins."

      Concern about the tiny Ethiopian population is totally irrelevant to the "predominant demographic myth" and this insertion tips the hat that this is the work of an amateur and not someone serious about this issue. her passion may be serious, but not her rhetoric.

      But it is fine that the Washington Post is publishing a piece like this, but the piece itself does not add to the discussion and is the work of an amateur.

  • Netanyahu erases the boundary between world Jewry and Israel in celebration of 'our country'
    • Watching Shameless the other day and the William H. Macy character walks into a pawn shop run by Orthodox jews and to curry favor he says, "F those Palestinians. it's like they come out of the womb wearing suicide vests" and the Ortho jew says, "I'm for a two state solution". So people always make assumptions about where Jews stand on the issue of israel.

      Netanyahu was addressing Israel supporters. Netanyahu feels all Jews should support israel (he probably feels that they should all support Likud), so he speaks as if the "should" is a fact.

      The net effect contributes to the p.r. emphasis of Netanyahu's career and the fact that his career is now based upon the lack of an alternative, rather than "he's our man" those who support him say, "no one to replace him"

  • Obama says Muslims bear responsibility to counter radical Islam (so are Jews responsible for Israeli violence?)
    • Keith- The content of Mondoweiss emphasizes different aspects of the Israel Palestine conflict, including antisemitism, primarily these days in reference to the attempts of Israel to deflect criticism. I react to the content of Mondoweiss with my own thoughts and feelings. This does not mean that i think that antisemitism is a major problem today. I think the major problem of the Jewish people today is two fold: Israel's future (both immediate and long range) and the (slow) disappearance of nonOrthodox Diaspora Judaism from the pages of history due to the rejection of Judaism and Jewish texts by the Jewish millions.

      The antisemitism in America of asshole psychos like the guy who shot up the Jewish Community center in Kansas City last April is really not major, except to those who were killed, but in a global sense, not major. The antisemitism in America of assholes, (but non psychos) is certainly not a major problem for America or American Jews, as long as America's social health remains relatively stable.

      The antisemitism in France and England or Belgium is difficult for me to measure, but I do not spend much time or energy devoted to determining whether it is a real threat to the communities, beyond the mind fuck of having to take off one's yarmulke when walking through Muslim neighborhoods or the disappearance of kosher foods from the shelves of stores or the avoidance of certain parts of town on days of demonstrations. Certainly the people (Jews) killed in Tolouse a few years ago are still dead whether or not it is a global problem and for them it is a major issue or more precisely it was a major issue before they were dead.

      My point is that Mondoweiss is shallow on this issue, not that it is a major issue. It is an issue that Mondoweiss perforce mentions regularly, if only because Israel supporters use the language of antisemitism to attack supporters of BDS and opponents of Israel. And since it is mentioned regularly, if only for purposes of dismissing it as a red herring, I feel that it would behoove MW to have some writers whose knowledge of Jewish history was not of the Cliff notes variety.

      I read Mondoweiss regularly. I am not sure if this is a useful habit or a stupid one, but it has become a habit. To get into the causality, first I read,and then I react to what I read. And then sometimes I react in print. Whether my reactions reflect the true threats to the globe or only my own reactions is not something that I bother to measure. (except for now in this reaction to your obnoxiousness.)

      The net effect of your words is that you are telling me to shut up. But knowing myself I will continue to react to topics that stir my emotions. Antisemitism whether or not it is a major global issue or only an issue for the occasional murder victim (Tolouse, Belgium and Kansas City) is a topic that stirs my emotions. So I predict I will not shut up and i still believe that MW is shallow on this issue and that you misstate my state of mind in an obnoxious fashion for some purposes of your own.

    • antidote states: I can't think of any period of human history when Jewish suffering was among the most extreme. antidote, try the period between 1939 to 1945. I accuse MW of superficiality. but antidote ups the ante.

    • This is what i was saying the other day: superficiality and shallowness puts mondoweiss on the same level as geraldo rivera's tweet. antisemitism is terrible and israel's actions exacerbate it. okay, nothing false there. but oh so shallow. eric sevareid had gravitas. geraldo rivera, mister sound bite. and mw resembles rivera and not sevareid.

  • Rosh Hashanah After Gaza
    • I agree with Marc Ellis that Israel Palestine is the most important issue today for Jews and that the path of Jill Jacobs is not something that will lead to a "resolution" of this issue. The path of history is not clear to me, but certainly rabbis speeches in shul or temple on this rosh hashana 5775 are not going to be a major factor in that path of history.

      i really enjoyed an article in 972 about discussing politics at a rosh hashana dinner: link to 972mag.com
      A dinner guest at a family gathering is a more natural place for a political discussion rather than a shul or a temple.

      btw. i endorse peter beinart's column. ignorance of jewish texts is a tragedy, for particularly if one is interested in jewish survival outside of israel, the means of that survival can only come through literacy of those texts and ignorance of those texts is a recipe for dissolving the jewish continuity. those who are antizionist but claim to be pro jewish should promote jewish literacy as a means of that survival. those who merely scoff at beinart are really scoffing at jewish survival.

      my behavior scoffs at jewish survival:
      i was raised going to shul on rosh hashana but no longer do so. i don't think it is related to the israel palestine issue but to a deeper alienation. i miss the sound of the ram's horn today and feel the pain of the deaths in gaza from this summer and see no clear path on the horizon and this is painful.

      though i have no kids i have nieces and nephews and all of them have spent most of their lives in israel. the balancing act that jill jacobs refers to: in terms of empathy with israeli emotions of fear is something that i take seriously. but the prophets like marc ellis do not take seriously. the business of prophets is to scoff at the distractions and focus on the essence.

      (on a lighter note, the number 5775 is relevant for next year 5776 will be 76 squared. 76 in america hearkens to 1776 and freedom and in hebrew is the numerical value for eved or slave.)

  • 'Civility' is for dancing classes, not universities, and is tool of pro-Israel political operatives -- Franke
    • Foxtrot, waltz and ladylike. Salaita's words were probably not enough to justify firing him and he was fired due to money pressures and therefore opposing his firing has basis in basic fairness. but to compare taking offense at salaita's words to foxtrot, waltz and ladylike is plain old bullshit.

  • Israel carries out extrajudicial killing of two Palestinians suspected in Israeli youths kidnapping
    • just- in a previous life you were a "monitor" at stalinist rallies ensuring that everyone clapped and cheered at the right time.

    • To repeat: my understanding of headline writing is that it should reflect the body of the story. The body of the story is agnostic regarding what happened to these two accused alleged murderers, but the headline is a believer. when a headline is belief whereas the text is agnostic, this is a weird amalgam which reflects less than the best in journalism.

      If ynet plays a propagandistic game of its own feeding its readers blood and guts, then this does not justify mw playing a propagandistic game of its own.

    • This article was not written by ynet, it was written by allison deger and nothing in the article written by allison deger justifies this headline.

    • There have been instances of the Israeli army carrying out extrajudicial executions. If you read the article you will notice that nowhere is that reported. It is only the mayor of Hebron who labeled it as such. And the headline of Mondoweiss. But the article does not report that . The headline is advocacy and not journalism, possibly propaganda rather than journalism.

  • Goldberg tries to police view that Israel's actions fuel anti-Semitism
    • annie- only a shallow person would refer to relations between jews and arabs as friendly previous to zionism. no, arab antisemitism is not the cause of the conflict and many would abuse the topic of arab jew hatred for the purposes of diverting attention from primary issues. but to propose that because it is not a main cause that depth and seriousness on this issue would add to the gravitas of this site is not falsehood but truth. this site is shallow on many issues of jewish history. you've read the cliff notes and you're an expert.

      simplifying is easy. gravitas is difficult. this site has no gravitas on the issue of judaism and jewish history.

    • eljay- when was the last time i referred to you as stupid?

    • eljay- I read an essay by leslie fiedler recently which showed me evidence of deep thinking regarding antisemitism by someone who was an assimilationist. He spoke in depth on the issue. he did not use it to justify anything. but he was a thinker and he thought deep thoughts. Mondoweiss on the issue of antisemitism has shown no evidence of depth. jump into this side of the pool here and you'll end up paralyzed like Krauthammer.

      No, I was making no comment on the issue as it relates to zionism. it certainly plays a role in the mind of jews who read the news from around the world. and depth rather than shallowness is something to be commended.

      the interplay of jew hatred (my preferred alternative to the tricky word antisemitism) and the conflict between indigenous and colonialists (with ancient ties) is a very complex one and is misused constantly and abused frequently. attempting to separate all the threads and wires of the issue would require a book that i am not capable of writing. but certainly it is a deep issue and the shallowness here is discouraging.

    • with the exception of marc ellis.

    • mw is as deep as mooser on the topic of history.

    • I agree with Roth and not with Goldberg.

      I don't think MW has ever dealt seriously with the issue of antiSemitism either Arab antiSemitism or American antisemitism, Soviet antisemitism or leftist antisemitism. According to MW, antisemitism is something from the past across an ocean between 1939 to 1945 and any discussion of it in any other manifestation other than Nazi Germany is pro forma, short and not very deep. (This is not true for Marc Ellis, but it is true of the other writers.) If MW would study the issue of antisemitism in any depth its opinions would ring truer, as in, the result of real thought rather than knee jerk reactions.

      (Reading Leslie Fiedler's "Fiedler on the Roof" and his essay on the two Holocausts. There are leftists and assimilationists who are willing to tackle the issue of antisemitism and assimilation with depth and honesty. But except for marc ellis that depth and honesty are seriously awol on MW. instead: facile and superficial is the rule here.)

  • The rabbi at the shitshow
    • annie- I was referring to comments by RoHa and can of worms.

    • College is not a uniform experience. i never knew who was the head of the student council at the schools i attended, so i am alien to the concept that the expressions of some student council president should be taken more seriously than those of any other student. i suppose somewhere in my head there is some platonic ideal of what a student leader should or should not do in self expression. if there is an ideal "inflammatory" would not be the first adjective of attributes of such a person and the act by blood spilling female bds student council president was inflammatory.

      i am quite impressed by the agita created by the rabbi, not in her more extreme statements, but mostly by her phrase, jewish suburbs. i am impressed with the inability of commenters to grant that not every person is the same and some of those from jewish backgrounds might feel alien in an environment that is substantially different from where they grew up. i suppose college is supposed to be some type of assimilation experience, and thus ideally one should leave everything from the past behind and jump into the pool of oneness and accept america on its own terms. this is the type of assimilationism approved by totalitarian minds. but those here cannot imagine that there is some percentage of those raised in jewish suburbs who are accustomed to a certain milieu and not exactly accustomed to a certain other milieu and the need to label these kids as ideologues of some sort or another reflects the ideological minds present here who cannot tolerate certain types of people and certainly not certain types of jews.

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