Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 5269 (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 5269 - 5201

  • Bon Jovi's Tel Aviv gig is upstaged by Roger Waters's incantation of Israeli victims, including Dawabshe boy
    • The question whether the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and the land of Israel are relevant to the conflict regarding ownership of the land is a valid critique. But to assert that there is no Jewish connection to the land is propaganda and falsehood. How many laws of the Torah deal specifically with the land of israel? How many statements regarding the closeness to God of the land of Israel exist in the Babylonian Talmud? How many times a day does a religious Jew mention Jerusalem or the land of israel? These inconvenient facts are deleted by the anti Zionist propagandists in the comment sections here at mw. There are somewhere between 40 and 45% of world Jews living today in Israel. Their presence there is not an accident or a fluke or purely as a result of the design of imperialists. History took some terrible turns that led to the birth of the modern impulse to move to the land and Jerusalem. I value the enlightenment and wonder how the enlightenment and the nationalistic aspects of judaism can coexist and whether the darker impulses of the conflict over the land will lead the Jews towards survival or permanent war. These are valid and important questions. but to deny that a large part of Judaism emphasizes the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem is just pure poppycock. Certainly if Europe circa 1881 to 1945 had resembled America circa 2015 the development of secular trends in Judaism would have been very different from the facts that developed as a result of the sickness that Europe developed and acted upon. We can speculate what an ideal development of history would have looked like from a secularist point of view. But just look at the Jewish prayer book and tell me with a straight face that Judaism has no connection to Jerusalem and the land. That's nonsense.

    • bryan, I suggest that you read Harold Bloom, an expert on literature, and what he has to say about the Original Testament. Read the Book of J and then come back and tell us how you are smarter than Bloom and can tell us that the Bible is a hodgepodge.

    • Bumblebye- Your automatic assumption that all religions are alike: that no religion has a homeland, is based on what? In fact religions are not identical.

      (One might say that taking Mecca away from the Muslims would prove to be a bit tricky, so in fact, Islam does have a home of sorts.)

      Christianity I would think is different and someone who is familiar with other religions can comment on Hinduism or Buddhism.

      In fact in traditional Judaism, Jerusalem and the land of Israel certainly have a different status than the rest of the world regarding certain commandments, certain laws and hopes and expectations regarding the future (which are shaped by the past). The evolution of the Jewish people or if you wish their devolution since the enlightenment caused many to lose their faith in the religion. This raises a different point, why would someone who denies their faith, still consider himself (or herself) the member of a people based upon that faith? In fact many do not, particularly at this point in time, but to consider the world of 2015 as the illustrative fact, but the facts of 1939 to 1945 Europe as mere anomaly is a type of cherry picking. But in fact to ignore the development of the history of Zionism and the strains and pressures that brought this movement to life is again to don the mask of ignorance.

      There are many Jews particularly in america 2015 who wish to be former Jews or Jews of no religion or Jews with very minor religious affiliation. But there are some Jews in America and elsewhere throughout the world and the vast majority of Jews in Israel circa 2015 who consider themselves either as Jews with an awakened national spirit (after a long slumber) while there are many others Jews who consider themselves a religion that puts an emphasis on am yisroel and on eretz yisroel and on Jerusalem. To pretend that this population does not exist because it doesn't exist in Buddhism is just pretense and wastes everyone's time. Maybe it's good propaganda, but it doesn't tell us anything about the history or the present tense of the worldwide Jewish ethnic/religious/national community.

  • Iran Deal coalition breaks apart, and J Street looks more and more like AIPAC
    • The Iran deal did not pass the Congress, it merely avoided Congressional veto. To be surprised and shocked that the Congress is expressing itself in other ways against Iran, is to be shown for a naive fool. Obama staked all his chips on the Iran deal and he won it. Tension between the US congress and thus the US and Iran did not disappear just because on one play, (the major play) Obama was able to maneuver a victory. But the Congress is going to express itself. And J Street spent all its street creds on the issue that counted: the nuke deal. Now it's time to start garnering street creds. If that surprises you then again you are naive. It's smart politics: 1. go with a winner, and 2. time to build up some credits with anyone to the right of Peter Beinart. The disapproval of JVP and Mondoweiss is really not the mainstream that J street is concerned with.

  • After 22 years it's time to stop pretending about the peace process
    • Israel under Barak came close to returning the Golan to Hafez Assad, Basher's father, in 2000 before the father died. It is unclear to me how close Barak and Assad came or why the deal was not consummated, I have never studied the details nor a scholarly assessment of the validity or reasonableness of the Israeli versus the Syrian position. In a world of "not one inch" I suppose 500 meters is a lot of inches, but it is my understanding that the distance between the Israeli position and the Syrian position was less than a kilometer, but again one would have to check the details.

      The Syrian Israeli cease fire line of 1974 has been quite stable and without a large indigenous population (after whatever expulsions took place in 67) the Israeli motivation to reach a peace with Syria has not been that great.

    • Italian ex-pat- Tell me, who should Israel give the Golan back to? Which Syria? Maybe to Vladimir Putin?

  • To condemn, or not to condemn
    • Bumblebye- I still don't get it. Do you feel that the shtetl inhabitants were bigoted? Or is the shtetl a type of a bubble, is that what you're saying? I understand that you are trying to say nasty things about the settler and the settlements, I just don't understand why the shtetl is your paradigm of nastiness. I don't get it.

    • When the three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped last summer (before their bodies were found) I commented to friends that the fact that they were kidnapped in occupied territory was relevant. (Certainly not exculpatory in my view, but needed to be mentioned.) The Jewish couple killed in Jerusalem in the last day were also killed in occupied territory, though my personal connection to occupied Jerusalem is far greater than my connection to the occupied West Bank near Elon Moreh, but it is still occupied territory.

      The exact location of the attack being the Lions' Gate rather than the Jaffa Gate or the Dung Gate also puts it more deeply into "Arab" territory in my perception, although the distance is less than half a mile.

      The infuriating (and unjust) occupation and leadership of Netanyahu (and his coalition) plus the ineffectual leadership of Abbas and Hamas is enough to make the grass roots of the Palestinians feel a need to express their anger with bullets. The first intifada broke out a little less than 28 years ago, closer in time to the beginning of the '67 occupation than it is to now. The situation looks hopeless and though the spilling of lives is such a horrible thing, it seems inevitable.

    • bumblebye- do you have a point to your word play "shtetlment"? is it saying that the mindset of the shtetl is in some way in play here? or is it just being cute?

  • Anti-WASP tropes in the 'NYT'
  • For the 'New York Times,' #PalestinianLivesDoNotMatter
    • Fascinating that it was the name of your aunt, James North, but irrelevant to the original question: does the introduction of this hypothetical name improve the journalistic thrust of this story? It does not. It is a distraction. As a result of this distraction we know more about you than we did before.

      (Question: If you had a professional editor you had to answer to, do you think she/he would have allowed that line to pass without commenting? You're the journalist. Tell me.) (Of course in this age of blogs a professional editor is a rarity if not an anachronism.)

      to the others: The name John Smith is not a Jewish name, although I am sure there are John Smith's (and certainly Jon Smith's) who are Jewish.

    • Anna agustovsky is not a Jewish name, but some kind of a concocted Russian name. Making up names is the stuff of Mad Magazine and the Onion. Best left to professional comedians. (See the interview of Bob Dylan in 65 where someone asks bob, what's your real name and he says something like Kalmonovitzskystein. that's the general direction where this leads.)

    • James North- How does naming this thought experiment victim "Anna Agustovsky" help your thought experiment? Answer: It doesn't.

  • 'NYT' piece on stonethrowing leaves out 'occupation'
    • James Canning- Regarding the election of 1992, apparently the Bush family, meaning George the son, aka W, considered this (meaning the dictum "Ignore the Israel lobby at your own peril") as one of the outstanding lessons of that election. But I do not. Jewish voters and Jewish money were alienated from the Republican party in 1984 and 1988 and that alienation had very little to do with the Israel lobby. in 1992, after 12 years of a Republican, the Democratic party was really hepped up on defeating Bush and this was the cause for his defeat, IMHO. Some attribute the Bush defeat to the candidacy of Ross Perot. Zero Israel Lobby link there. But I grant you that if that was the lesson that George the son took from the election, then it cannot be neglected, but to reiterate my opinion:

      George Bush the father was defeated in 1992 because 1. he was out of touch with the American people and 2. he was always very weak on the "vision" thing and 3. his veep was Dan Quayle and 4. The country was tired of Republicans and 5. his sole advantage was his foreign policy experience and with the defeat of the Soviet Union in the cold war and the deft quick victory in Iraq, foreign policy had receded as an issue for the American people.

    • James Canning- Maybe true in 2016, but wasn't true in 2000, George W Bush did not have strong Jewish support. that might have changed a bit in 2004, but still even then, I don't think there is evidence that Jewish money made the difference that got him elected. The defeat of his father in 1992 might have turned the son into a more pro Israel politician than the old man and he mollified the Jewish money sufficiently to fend off a vociferous Jewish opposition, but I don't think one can say that he had major Jewish support.

  • Remi Kanazi will be a poet for as long as the western media is on coffee break
    • Phil quotes Kanazi's poetry: "“would Hillel, J street/and university Zionist groups/come to a meeting to dialogue/on whether or not Jews should/have equal rights in America?"– - See more at: link to

      As poetry this is effective, but as an idea... Let me concede that it is not necessary for every Palestine activist to dialogue with every Zionist activist. For many it would be a waste of time and energy. Yet on the other hand the debate this past June of Munayyer and Beinart was useful. Particularly if this site calls itself the war of ideas, then the proponent of no dialogue (if that is what is implied by the poet, it might just be a personal preference in which case, no one is forcing him) should be alerted to the anti idea-ness of rejecting all dialogue.

  • Pope Francis, American churches, and Palestinian rights
    • Chu- The anti Judaism of statements like this is blatant. (First a textual rather than a historic fact: To consider Jesus as preaching anti tribalism because of one remark regarding a good Samaritan is ignorance: Jesus came to the Jews and for the Jews and it was only Paul who changed the message.)

      But aside from the ignorance, let me be clear: aligning antiZionism with anti Judaism as Chu does here is a way of telling the Jews, keep your swords handy, because these haters of Israel are haters of Jews and Judaism. If chu wants war, many Jews will opt for atheism and give up the ghost, but many others will fight him tooth and nail and Zionism will last longer. Separate anti Zionism from such Anti Judaism, or else condemn the Palestinians to an extra dose of suffering. You think you strengthen your cause by aligning anti Zionism with anti Judaism. I strongly disagree.

  • The Obama administration needs to own up to the quagmire in Syria
    • Kathleen- (Assuming this so called support for Assad dates back to 2011, rather than the lesser of evils of 2015) this statement by the Leveretts does not reflect well on them. Please link to them saying that, because that means that they are full of it. On what did they base this statement? On a telephone poll?
      Any list that I've seen that tries to rate the democratic or undemocratic tendencies or actions of a government always rates Syria very near the bottom. Do you know of any list of human rights and democracy (pre 2011) that lists Syria higher than the bottom ten per cent?

      I grant that US involvement overseas has not had good results, but if we are going to listen to someone say that 50% of the Syrian people back Assad, then we might as well throw mudpies at each other and run around in circles like the loons on Monty Python foaming at the mouth, because that's when we leave the realm of ideas and enter into the realm of (Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs) fantasyland.

    • italian ex pat- What would be the right side in these two cases: Assad and Gaddafi? Maybe America should have stayed on the sidelines, for the results are pretty awful. But to suggest that Assad and Gaddafi were the right side, that is just plain confused.

  • Fasting for Palestine
    • As far as Israel Shahak goes: I think he is overly literal in his critique of Talmudic and rabbinical Judaism. Talmudic Judaism has the capacity to evolve and the article by Immanuel Jakobovitz quoted by Jon S. is ample evidence of the ability of Talmudic Judaism to evolve. Shahak as an enemy to Zionism and Talmudic Judaism ignores evidence of the ability of Talmudic Judaism to evolve in order to simplify his indictment of both Zionism and Talmudic Judaism.

      The question persists regarding underlying attitudes and the tendency of Talmudic Judaism to devolve as well as evolve. The evolution of Talmudic Judaism is not one directional, certainly in terms of its potential. Jakobovitz sees improvement of Talmudic Judaism, when the verse of Proverbs 3: 17 "Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace" is used to negate enmity causing actions (or passivity) that a literal reading of texts would yield, I am not sure that all rabbis would agree with his interpretation of a basic evolution in the morality of Halacha. There is certainly a path in halacha that seeks peace but there are certainly rabbis who might look for other ways to interpret the Talmud.

  • The Republican candidates are fostering a dangerous culture of Islamophobia
    • This web site is primarily a big fan of isolationism for thus it sees the future divorce from Israel resulting from the desire to "come home" rather than seek foreign entanglements, but guess what? isolationism and xenophobia go hand in hand sometimes. progressives who wish to take advantage of human nature in encouraging isolationism react in horror when some of that human nature gets turned into xenophobia.

  • Everyone's kicking AIPAC now that it's down
    • Aipac, since the time of Golda Meir, has primarily been a backer of whichever government is in power in Israel. Since the election of Begin in 77, the right wing has dominated Israel and as a result the only historical instances of Aipac truly resisting the Israeli prime minister were experienced by Rabin and Barak. (It is easy for one party to hand over the government to the opposing party in Israel, whereas the persons leading Aipac remained the same as those who had just the year before supported the harder line policies of Shamir and Netanyahu and these persons generally agreed with the harder positions of the right wing prime ministers, for that was the gist of pro Israel policy for most of the time and the American bureaucracy of this organization reflected the dominant Israeli political stance, rather than the temporary changes of a Rabin or a Barak.)

      Netanyahu has taken Aipac down the path to its current weakened state. For whom does Netanyahu exert his personality? For three: for Netanyahu, for Israel and for the Republican party. His concept of being for Israel is of the Shamir mode, to hand things over as he received them. Unfortunately his other priorities being for himself and for the Republicans really are not in the favor of Israel. And thus the current state of Aipac.

      Also: Gaza. Gaza has weakened Israel, meaning the withdrawal and the two wars against Gaza and constant siege of Gaza has created a gap between Israeli perception and American perception. Israel views its wars against Gaza as necessities and America perceives these wars as gratuitous. This too weakens Israel in the world and this too weakens Aipac.

  • Bernie Sanders is 'radical' on economic policy but a pussycat for Israel
    • "who as a young man moved to Israel before he moved to Vermont" - See more at: link to How much time did Sanders spend on that kibbutz? Was it a full year? Yes, as he was packing his suitcases, he might have been thinking, this is a difficult move, but he (probably, do you know different) was only planning to experience what is known as travel, and six months or even a year on kibbutz is not called a move, but an experience. This is Phil Weiss putting a spin on events, not a description of the events.

  • J'lem mayor warns Palestinians in holy site clashes: 'if they use violence we will hunt them'
    • If I were creating a religion from scratch, I'm not sure I would consecrate one spot on Earth as a holy spot, but I was born into Judaism, I didn't invent it.

      Included in Judaism is the idea of one holy spot and that is the spot of the Temple, with its myth of the near sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham on that spot and as the focus of Jewish religious sovereignty for short bursts of a few centuries before the Babylonian exile and a few centuries before the Roman exile (from Jerusalem rather than from the land in its entirety, the exile I mean).

      I was raised to pray three times a day and although if one were on a ship one can face any which way and direct one's heart towards god, (aka God, aka G-d, aka Hashem, never aka Yahweh, the unpronounceable name, unless one is quoting Harold Bloom). But as a rule I prayed towards Jerusalem and in Jerusalem I prayed in the direction of the temple and that's how I was raised. Praying towards God is an intensely private experience for some people and I accept that talking about it in a public (and shark strewn) domain like this one cheapens the experience, but nevertheless, for someone to say, why would you want to visit a mosque, when you're talking about Har Habayit is a type of insensitivity and if you show similar insensitivity to Mecca for Muslims then you are allowed to be insensitive towards all religions and I accept that for our limited numbers we followers of the Judaic religion have made too much noise in the world particularly recently with the advent of Ben Gurion, but nonetheless the type of statement, why do they want to even go there, it's a mosque, betrays the basic ignorance towards Middle Eastern religions that is common here.

      In fact the Kotel (aka the Kosel, the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall) is also in occupied territory and I pray there. I have visited the Haram al Sharif, including once when I was not allowed in to visit because some Palestinian bureaucrat decided to exercise his bureaucratic prerogative to not allow me in. But previous to that unpleasant occasion I visited: I took off my shoes and visited both mosques and indeed the silver domed mosque is a beauty (recently the silver has been covered with black, recently as in the last 35 years or so) and the golden domed mosque was nice to see too and the temple mount is large enough that if people were in a loving mood there would be room for more than one mode of worship to the one god of abraham on that large spot known as the Temple Mount. but that is not the situation today and I accept that as occupied people the Palestinians are in no mood to be dictated to by the occupying army and I accept that regarding the Mount it is wisest and in this case I mean the wisdom that requires fewer guns and batons and bullets, it is wisest to limit the entrance of Jews who are intent on making trouble.

      And I accept that the urge to pray on that spot can be intense, but I accept the limits that international law and common sense and wisdom place on a people if they are interested in peace and those who are interested in war rather than peace are contrary to my thoughts and I oppose them. But I would never say, why do you want to pray at a mosque? I think that's just plain stupid, know nothing, sitting in your secular bubble and not accepting that there are other emotions in play. Emotions should not rule and must not rule, but when you find your heart so small that all you can say about the urge to pray is mockery, then if you were yourself interested in peace rather than in propaganda and rhetoric of mockery, you would know to shut up.

    • talknic- You are thus a convert holier than the pope, or in your case the anti convert unholier than the anti pope. like red diaper baby David Horowitz, whom i would not trust on leftist politics, thus i do not trust you to write a level headed sane word on the jewish religion.

    • To nonbelievers, those who do possess belief are incomprehensible. In fact the desire to visit the spot where the Temple was located is not so incomprehensible to those who have open minds.

      Actually if this was not occupied territory, there would be nothing "wrong" with Jews entering and muttering prayers. But it is occupied territory and therefore other rules must apply, but those who go, "why do you want to visit there? what's it to you?" are just indulging their own disbelief and lack of connection or empathy to the Jewish tradition.

  • Coulter's point is that Republicans pander on Israel to win donors, not voters
  • How Israel legitimizes vigilante terror
    • Hilberg said that the number killed by the einsatzgruppen in Eastern Europe required an estimation and he chose to be conservative in his estimation.

  • Long Island synagogue marks High Holidays with thanks to Israeli soldiers in Gaza war
    • diaspora- Without dealing with the specifics of the four charges with which you indict the Zionist movement or portions thereof, these have nothing to do with the Kastner case and it was that case that I was commenting upon.

    • yourstruly- To compare the mufti's association with Hitler which was heartfelt and uncoerced on the mufti's part to the negotiations that kastner did because eichmann and the german killing machine was intent on killing the jews and attempting to get a price for cooperation, when the nazis held a gun to kastner's family's head, can only be described as propaganda (to be charitable) or truly sick (to be uncharitable). the captive Jews of Europe, when they could, most often, with few exceptions cooperated and negotiated with the nazis who came to kill them. if you are so great to say that you would not have negotiated, then you have undue confidence in the safe life you have lived. but the captive Jews negotiated with the nazis and that was the way it was. the mufti was willing cooperation.

      how was kastner different than all other jewish communities that cooperated with the nazi captors? it is not a glorious chapter in jewish or human history but for you to raise the topic to counter the collaboration of the mufti is obscene.

    • Here are some numbers from the Pew poll released October 2013: Synagogue affiliation:
      link to

      Roughly four-in-ten U.S. Jewish adults (39%) say they live in a household where at
      least one person is a member of a synagogue. This includes 31% of Jewish adults (39%
      of Jews by religion and 4% of Jews of no religion) who say they personally belong to a
      synagogue, temple or other congregation.

      Among Jews who say they are synagogue members, 39% identify with Reform
      Judaism, 29% with Conservative Judaism, 22% with Orthodox Judaism, 4% with another
      denominational movement and 6% with no denomination.

      Roughly one-third of Jews (31%) say they belong to a synagogue, and nearly one-in-five (18%)
      say they belong to other kinds of Jewish organizations.

      Synagogue membership is nearly 10 times more common among Jews by religion than
      among Jews of no religion (39% vs. 4%), and membership in other Jewish organizations is
      almost six times more common among Jews by religion than Jews of no religion (22% vs. 4%).

      Almost six-in-ten Jews married to a Jewish spouse (59%) say they belong to a synagogue, roughly four times the rate seen among Jews in mixed marriages (14%). And whereas one-third of Jews who are married to a Jewish spouse say they belong to a Jewish organization other than a synagogue, just 6% of those married to a non-Jew say the same.

      Nearly one-in-four U.S. Jewish adults say they attend Jewish religious services at a synagogue or other place of worship at least once a week (11%) or once or twice a month (12%). Roughly one-third of Jews (35%) say they attend religious services a few times a year, such as for the High Holidays (including Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur). And four-in-ten say they seldom (19%) or never (22%) attend Jewish religious services. Attendance at Jewish
      religious services is much more common among Jews by religion than among Jews of no
      religion, half of whom say they never attend religious services (52%).

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • "Anti-Zionism is firmly rooted in parts of the left-wing agenda in the U.K., and protestations that it should not be confused with anti-Semitism bear more than a shade of naïveté, especially in a year when Jews have been targeted and murdered in mainland Europe for being Jews." I don't know the nuances of antiZionism in the U.K. compared to the US or other locations, but I find the sentence by Anthony Lane to be superficial.

      I find this retort from Phil Weiss to be highly insufficient: One reason that Jews were targeted and murdered in mainland Europe– as Abe Foxman and the Jewish People Policy Institute and Norman Finkelstein all suggest or say– is because of Israel’s massacre in Gaza. - See more at: link to

      AntiSemitism in Europe by the Muslim European population cannot be dismissed as merely a consequence of Israeli policy. If you are a Jew at a kosher store or bringing your kids to a Jewish school and you are murdered, there is no solace in the claim: Oh, they killed you because of what israel did in Gaza, not because you were Jewish per se. as if this is solace or sufficient explanation. This is superficial in its own way.

      - See more at: link to

  • Iranian president issues New Year greetings to Jews
    • Mr. Rouhani is the kind face of the imams*. (I prefer the kind face of the imams rather than the ugly face of the imams, but in the case of Iran certainly I prefer democracy rather than the current nondemocratic system.) I wish the Iranian people health, happiness and a peaceful evolution to full democracy.

      (*And justice for the murdered jews of Buenos Aires 1994 depends on the truth which the imams (and certain powers in argentina) are hiding.)

    • The imams of Iran do not wish to annihilate Israel. But if the worldwide Palestinian vote results in exiling all but 5% of the Jews from Palestine, that will be all right with the imams. Meanwhile they (the imams) will lead the crowds in chants of "death to israel" or do they only chant "death to the zionist entity". (and they will continue covering up the bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish community center.)

  • Iran Deal's liberation: Judaism is not Zionism
    • Roha- You have made clear that you are opposed to Jewish survival. Period. Here's your point of view as I comprehend it. The Jews are a small nation. Small nations should do their utmost to disappear to make life friction free for all the big nations. The fact that the Palestinians suffer and world peace is threatened are only icing on the cake in regards to your argument. You want the Jews to disappear. Period.

    • citizen- On the topic of: Israel is insurance against another Holocaust, a formulation raised by Joe Biden, let me say this. Today there are two major Jewish centers of population in the world: the US and Israel. The suggestion that the Jews should be happy with only one major Jewish population center (here in the US) seems to put all the Jewish eggs in one basket, which just on its face seems to be antithetical to the wisdom of dispersion as a survival technique. (and of course, when the words survival technique are mentioned to Jews, you know the immediate association is to literal survival and the Shoah.)
      I think such fears are not far from a group that considers Holocaust consciousness to be the most important manifestation of Jewishness. (see the Pew poll). I think it is largely irrational and illogical and Phil is voicing the illogical aspects of this obsession/preoccupation in order to discourage this line of thought. I suppose that at an Aipac convention these fears are not far from the surface and Phil is not trying to convince Aipac convention attendees that they should stop thinking such negative thoughts about the Jewish future in America. He is addressing those who are borderline between liberal Zionism and antiZionism. And he is saying to them, if you agree with me that these fears are irrational then you must choose antiZionism because without this irrational fear there is no reason to be a supporter of Israel. But I am asserting that the logic of a Jew's concern for Israel's survival does not need the ultimate fear of genocide to justify itself. It is enough for a Jew to feel concern for their fellow Jews to justify support for Israel. One need not dig into the irrational fears in order to justify such support.

      (I think the irrational aspect of Biden's insight is discouraging, for if the fear of the Holocaust reigns supreme it is difficult to utilize and mobilize the rational part of the (collective) Jewish mind. And it is the rational part of the mind that needs encouragement in order for Jews worldwide to realize that in the long range, some sort of scheme of coexistence, modus vivendi, is needed for the Israeli Jews and the Palestinian nonJews to weather the current conflict and begin to imagine a future of survival and life. This appeal to the irrational is not helpful on Biden's part.)

    • The threat of the Iranian nuke has been a major Israeli concern since the time of Rabin twenty years ago. When Rabin was asked about his concessions to Arafat in the Oslo accords he cited Iran, as in: it is important for Israel to align its actions with the United States regarding the Palestinians, so as to gain US support regarding Israel's fears regarding Iran and nuclear weapons. (implying that the concessions made to Arafat were not in the realm of existential dangers, but the threat of an Iranian nuke did fall into that category.) It has been the particular focus of Netanyahu in recent years with constant threats to attack Iran despite American opposition to such an attack. Thus, this Iran deal is not minor, but a major milestone in Israel's relations to Iran and the US.

      Bibi's blunt manner, particularly coming to talk to the Congress last March, has made the divergent interests of Israel and the US more apparent than ever before. It is not possible to gauge how the bad manners will play out over the next few years of Bibi's premiership, nor how it will play out after Bibi gives up the prime minister's chair. I think that Israel's weakest link of support in terms of the Congress will continue to be in the Democratic party, particularly given the anti Obama reaction of the Republican party that feels that Obama has weakened the United States vis a vis foreign policy.

      (Congressmen are very vulnerable to the financial necessities of campaign funding and thus I do not expect any revolutions in the short term vis a vis Congressional support for Israel.) the iran deal was an exception rather than the rule, that is Congress will continue to support Israel when there is not a need to go against Israel because a sitting democratic president has staked the entire legacy of his foreign policy achievements on the approval of his policy. As a rule the primary changes vis a vis foreign policy will continue to take place in the presidency and not in the Congress.

      It seems highly unlikely that Obama will attempt to further distance himself from Israel in the 14 months he has left before the next presidential elections.

      Now to the issue raised by this column here: the support of American Jews for Zionism. I think it is useful to consult the Pew poll of two years ago (october 1, 2013). link to
      In that poll Jews by religion were much more attached to Israel than Jews of no religion. 76% of Jews by religion were attached to Israel (30 percent very attached and 46% somewhat attached) and only 45% of Jews of no religion were similarly attached to Israel (12% very attached and 33% somewhat attached). The idea that the Iran deal would result in highly different percentages just two years after that poll stretches the imagination. Of course the percentage of Jews of no religion will increase over time based upon the answers of the young to the Pew poll and certainly some erosion of attachment to Israel has probably occurred among both Jews by religion and among Jews of no religion as a result of this battle and Bibi's behavior . But the complete turnaround that Phil's post here is trumpeting (metaphor appropriate to the holiday) is certainly unproven.

      (To state something controversial in blunt language: I would say that there are three pillars for Jewish antiZionism: 1. rooting for the underdog, 2. a lessened attachment to Judaism or Jewishness and 3. naivete regarding what a post Zionist Israel Palestine will look like.)

      But to return to the Pew poll for a moment: The percentage of Jews by religion who expressed a special responsibility to care for Jews in need was 71% and the percentage of Jews of no religion who expressed that responsibility was 36%. Thus there is a high correlation between attachment to Israel and a feeling of responsibility towards Jews in need. Phil Weiss is constantly harping on the fact that Jews who support Israel must feel that the US is unsafe for Jews. Maybe he has some poll that backs this contention. (He has never presented any such poll and it is more logical to assume that he is basing this contention on something other than polling results.) What is clear from the Pew poll is that Jews who support Israel feel a need to help Jews in need. And I do not think that a large percentage of Jews who felt a need to help Jews in need two years ago changed their mind and no longer feel a need to help Jews in need today just because Bibi is a discourteous man who thinks with his elbows. I think most of the Jews who express a responsibility towards Jews two years ago still feel that today and that most of those also feel an attachment to Israel.

  • Could Syria's revolution have been different?
    • here's from nyt on march 26, 2011:
      Human rights groups said that since protests began seven days ago in the south, 38 people had been killed by government forces — and it appeared that many more were killed on Friday. Precise details were hard to obtain because the government sealed off the area to reporters and would not let foreign news media into the country.
      link to

      Apparently when it is to your advantage: annie and bandolero you trust the reports of human rights groups, but when it is not to your advantage you trust Arutz Sheva or become an agnostic.

    • Previous to the armed rebellion, those who opposed Assad's nondemocratic rule took to the streets to protest. In those protests, unarmed protesters were shot and killed by Assad's soldiers. Did the south attempt to sway the republic with street demonstrations? No. They seceded and attacked the duly elected government. (fort sumter) When street protests are met with the force of arms, this "justifies" the use of force. there were no such street protests in the case of the confederate states. They lost an election and were not willing to abide by the election results. Assad never held any real elections. They say war is hell. So are analogies between Lincoln and Assad.

  • 'NYT' misrepresents Iran's prediction about 'Zionist regime' to mean 'Israel'
    • Shingo- There have been periods of times and milieus when the word Zionism was used to persecute Jews totally unrelated to Jewish nationalist movement centering on Palestine in the Middle East. Two of those periods- late 1940's and early 1950's Eastern Europe. Middle 1960's, Stokely Carmichael and others in the anti Jewish black civil rights movement. (kwame toure). Even if there are those who confuse the two words today for the purpose of condemning anti Zionists as anti semites, in fact there were times when the word Zionist was just a code word for Jew.

    • James North- Do you think Khameini's vision of the post Zionist future is similar to your vision of the post Zionist future of democratic state or states? I don't think so. Unless you are extremely naive regarding Khameini or very cynical in your own description, I really don't think you and Khameini have similar futures in mind.

  • Settler group publishes anti-Palestinian children's book titled 'Occupation Shmuccupation'
    • a better translation for kishkush- chatter

    • The settlers are in the wrong. Where this will lead time will tell, but the settlers are wrong. Those settlers that are willing to annex and grant citizenship are heading in the wrong direction, in my opinion, but they are at least consistent with democratic principles. those settlers who think that such an offer of citizenship is besides the point, have led Israel into a cul de sac.

      The title of the book is not occupation, shmoccupation, although that is a good approximation at the Hebrew title, kibbush kishkush, which means occupation confusion. (chicanery might be a better translation), but it is not kibbush shmibbush which would be occupation shmoccupation.

  • AIPAC is going out with a whimper not a bang
  • White House uses Cheney to bolster support for Iran Deal
    • The battle over the Iran deal has been lost by Aipac and won by the white house. most even keeled supporters of israel want to leave the issue alone and go on to the next thing on the agenda, synchronizing positions between US and israel regarding Iran not in the context of nuclear but in the context of the region and geopolitics and weapons. I suppose until there is a vote in congress it will still be in the news. but the game is really over except for the shouting.

  • Racism in Arad: Mayor declares southern Israeli town off-limits to Africans
    • oldgeezer- Anti Arab attitudes in Israel are of the essence regarding Israeli politics. anti black attitudes in America, considering the role of the civil war and Jim Crow and politics even until today are a major part of US history. antisemitism played a major role in the History of Russia and the Ukraine from 1881 to 1945 and in Germany from 1933 to 1945. the role of antisemitism in today's France is relatively minor compared to the role of Islamophobia, for the very clear fact that there is a major Islamic population in France and in comparison a much smaller and much less important Jewish demographic. Yes, judgments can be made regarding the historical role that various prejudices play in various societies at various times.

    • There was a time when to call African Americans blacks was considered an insult. Nowadays to call African Americans "coloreds" is an insult. But "people of color" is considered acceptable. To say Negroes today in the US is not acceptable. But there is no question that at this moment in time in the United States the n word is the worst word that any white man can speak. In today's Israel "shachor" or black is acceptable, but "Cushi" is not acceptable. That does not equate it to the n word for the very clear fact that the history of oppression of blacks in the US of A is of great historical resonance, whereas anti black prejudice in Israel is a minor issue. If you are black and you are offended by Cushi, and therefore you equate it with the n word, let me know. If you are a white person offended by the use of the word Cushi, quite simply, I don't accept your word that it is the equivalent of the n word.

    • As anyone familiar with the famous Chevy Chase Richard Pryor SNL routine can testify, the n word crosses a clearly delineated line between abhorrent and truly abhorrent. When Obama used the word in a Mark Maron interview recently it made headlines. When Mark Fuhrman in the OJ trial denied recent usage of the word and was proven a liar it was a major turning point. To claim that any word is not just equivalent to the n word, but in fact a translation of the word, strikes me as patently false and an exaggeration. To pretend that the word "cushi" or "cushim" is an innocuous term is also patently false.

    • marnie- look up translation in the dictionary.

      "The translation of cushim is not “negroes” but the other N-word." - See more at: link to
      The translation of cushim is ethiopians, "Cush" is a country delineated in the book of Esther and is widely associated with Ethiopia. the word you are looking for is not translation, it is inference or street meaning. yes, cushim is a derogatory phrase when used in the street in israel. but the word translation does not fit here.

  • 'Jimmy Carter's cancer is God's punishment,' says leading Israeli newspaper
    • Boo- The article by the Jerusalem Post is kind of stupid and indicates too much time on one's hands. The article by Phil is kind of stupid and indicates too much time on one's hands. as for you and your quote from Numbers, your problem is far worse than too much time on your hands.

    • Slow news day at the Jerusalem Post. Slow news day at mw.

  • The Iran Deal is an African American achievement
    • wasserman-schultz is the first Jewish congresswoman from florida,. not the first Jewish congresswoman period. Two famous Jewish congresswomen who preceded her were Liz Holtzman and Bella Abzug.

    • But Gwen Ifil's tweet included real information. it was not just take this, bibi. it was take THIS and included a graphic showing the real achievement achieved by the pact. phil weiss omits this because he wants Ifil's tweet to sound personal. take this from a proud black female who objects to your opposition to a proud black male. that was not ifil's tweet. it was: here are some stats that show that it is a good deal. take this: meaning facts. but phil weiss strips ifil's tweet of the facts and makes it purely personal. weiss's interest in facts is minimal in this case. he is interested in stirring up trouble. do you think gwen ifil would read this column and say right on, or would she say. phil weiss, former journalist and current propagandist.

    • A rightwing Jewish foreign policy coterie –that had “inexcusable prejudice” against the black president, in Sandy Berger’s words — - See more at: link to so phil continues to imply that sander berger was indicting the entire right wing jewish foreign policy coterie as having inexcusable prejudice. berger's words clearly indicated that it included people who were influenced by such bigotry, but this attempt to paint the entire coterie as bigoted is phil weiss's intent, but not sandy berger's intent.

  • BDS is here to stay: Message to a CT synagogue
    • How is it that Gelbach got what Hillel said to the potential convert wrong: Hillel never said anything about loving God with all your heart and all your soul and he phrased the love for neighbor in the negative: "don't do unto your neighbor what you would not have your neighbor do unto you"? How come he got the quote wrong and it seems to resemble a quote from Jesus rather than a quote from Hillel?

  • National Public Radio annexes West Bank to Israel
    • Harry Law- Anyone who considers Assad a legitimate choice of a majority of Syrians has drunk the kool-ade.

    • Annie- You are correct: In the real world one must choose between real choices. In the case of Syria the choice was not between Assad and democracy as one might have hoped, but in fact a choice between Assad and chaos/Daesh and as such Assad is certainly better than the current situation. Still even when we clarify that the lesser of two evils is preferable to the current evil, one needs clarity regarding Assad's evil and his major backer is indeed Iran (Russia too), but Iran.

    • atlanta- I don't have any answer regarding Syria, but tell me, are you a fan of Assad?

  • 'Turning point' -- Obama defeats Netanyahu and 'destroyers of hope' on Iran Deal!
    • In the time of Rabin, the Israel lobby had a difficult time adjusting to the new (but in fact very temporary) Israeli reality, because the lengthy Likud dominance of the prime minister's seat had placed people (machers) of like mind in positions of power in the major Jewish organizations and Aipac and thus the lobby reflected that Israeli reality.

      Netanyahu's career as prime minister has been highly focused upon two things: maintaining the status quo (which means whatever status quo his predecessor handed to him) and rallying forces on the Iran issue (the Iraq issue was when he was out of office). This "last act" of the Iran issue for the foreseeable future until 10 or 15 years from now takes this issue away from him. (A Republican president hell bent on turning nasty about the text of the contract, as Trump has indicated, might yet revive the issue, but nonetheless the obsession seems to be anachronistic after today.)

      The United States support for Israel as expressed by the Congress will continue for the foreseeable future as well. The initiative for shaking things up on Israel Palestine is in the hands of the president: present and future. Obama is not a lame duck, but do you really believe he will encourage the French UN Security Council Resolution? If not, no matter where his heart is, his service on the Middle East is in the lame duck phase.

  • Pro-Israel Jews have 'inexcusable prejudice' against Obama -- Sandy Berger
    • piotr- I have not read all of your comments on mw. but this comment is pure bushwa. this is not anti semitic?! you're either nuts, in denial, or in agreement with Borat. I think you're full of it. any attempt to get your mind straight with an analogy can only be vulgar. this is vulgarity to the max and you are just dismissing it. you're full of it.

      if you feel that vulgar jew hatred is not a major issue because jews are only killed for being jews in france and belgium and shot at in kansas city, then you are still nuts and full of bushwa.

    • Not all pro Israel Jews have inexcusable racism and in fact Berger didn't say that. But your headline appears to say that he said that.

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