Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4093 (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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  • Trump response to Charlottesville sugarcoats a rotten morality
    • Part of me rebels against people who abstained in the november election now complaining about trump, but he's your president too, so you're allowed to complain.
      trump is bad news.
      now, as far as how to react to nazis marching in the street, there really is no right answer, not at this stage. it is a tactical decision.
      (i am opposed to disruptive marches. i'm not a big fan of marchers marching onto highways for example, no matter how much i agree with their cause, which brings me to the next factor and that is emotion.) people react emotionally to waving a nazi flag.

  • Lessons from Finkelstein: International Law and equal rights should be the focus for Palestine solidarity
    • Annie- mother russia is a phrase I like because it is in one of my favorite woody Allen lines. In "love and death", not my favorite woody movie, a black drill sgt. gets in the face of a soldier recruit and yells at him, "you loves mother russia, don't you?" I love that line.

    • Sibiriak- Don't blame others so quickly. Maybe blame the czars, Stalin, the gulag, the cold war ("we will bury you" and banging on tables at the UN like some 7th grade juvenile delinquent) and Putin and his murderous ways. Then look for someone else to blame.

    • To those who seek to minimize or contextualize the facts regarding yehudi hatred from 1881 til world war I in Mother Russia. For all I know you may be right. But if you are trying to convince American Jews of the benevolence of Mother Russia in that period, you're never going to win. Nothing to do with a Zionist narrative. The vast majority of Jews in america have their roots in ancestors who cursed Mother Russia as a Jew hating place. My great uncle harry was imprisoned overnight on a false accusation of thievery and he said, if they treat us with such disrespect, i'm getting out. and thus an entire family was saved. but the saving of the family is told as Mother Russia treated its Jews with disrespect. Millions moved after 1881. I guess they were just overwrought or something, antsy, pushy, trying to make a buck, or something. well, this is what I heard, they treated us with disrespect, we had to fear the police, we heard that in america things were better for jews, so we left. millions went to america and other prime time destinations, such a migration was produced by instability and produces instability and in the instability, the idea of self protection took a very specific form.
      the specific form was harmful to the palestinians.
      but trying to minimize or contextualize, that's fine, but who am i supposed to believe, you or my grandparents?

    • Roha- even if the time stamped on my comment seems to indicate it was an answer to you, it was not.
      Your summary of my logic is fine.
      Yes, the moral choice is to establish such a state in the territory of the persecutor, so as to minimize damage to innocent third parties. In fact recent history (1492 to 1898) has included global conquering that has changed the ownership of the world, imposing hardship, death and suffering on conquered people and in the post WWII, post colonial world, such global conquering is now forbidden. Cool. No more war. But that's what I mean, easier said than done. You wish to turn back the clock, the permission has expired, no more need for a state, so now give it up. That's not how it works though.

    • Phil Weiss argued recently that it is conventional wisdom that Israel is an anachronism particularly regarding the west. This may be true. (Only in regards to the Islamic world, it is not better than it was 140 years ago, but everywhere including former Soviet union, yehudi hatred is a nonissue ( when compared to the era of zionism's birth. And since zionism was birthed in Europe , the change in Europe and the west is the predominant fact.)

      Today the primary argument for Israel's existence is its existence. A fact is a fact and undoing a fact, well, let's just say it's easier said than done.

      But history is relevant. Particularly getting history right.

      All the pulses of increased aliya to israel and consciousness of the Zionist idea followed the trend of history of pogroms or yehudi hatred cultural eruptions. Maybe my knowledge is limited to pinsker and herzl, but here are two men who were more than willing to toss yehudi onto the ash heap or a vestige a fading echo. Herzl would have been willing to convert, as long as it was a mass conversion and he could lead the parade. Pinsker was just as willing as Phil Weiss and mooser to wave bye bye to tradition. What stopped him? Jew hatred. His concept of the incapacity of the world to control the disease of this hatred was wrong, but only in the long run and with a global perspective. Focused on his time and place, pinsker was a prophet.

      We can go back to talking about 2017, but self determination is a high faluttin' term. Self protection is clearer. Yes in 2017 the present tense is here and self determination and self protection as historical dynamics takes a back seat to the present tense: Israel's existence, the west bank and the history of palestinian pain.

    • People and groups of people have a right to self protect. When the government condones or participates in the repression of groups, it is natural and right for those groups to organize to self protect. The Jews of eastern europe, specifically those under the rule of the czars, but also those in other countries where yehudi hatred was tolerated and encouraged in law and deed by government and groups, there was a need for yehudi group organization to battle groups and governments that repressed them and threatened them with violence. The organization of an army for such self protection was a natural, human impulse and within their rights as humans. The utility for such an army to have a territory is part of the natural mode of self protection on this planet.

      The mentioning of Jews in Australia circa 2017 shows the disingenuous nature of the writer of this comment. The nature of the threat posed to Jewish life and limb in Eastern and Central Europe in the period 1881 to 1939 was borne out by events. These events were not necessarily the inevitable outcome of the Jewish experience in Europe, but indeed they were the eventual culmination of a certain stage in the existence of the Jewish people in Europe. The impulse to self protect was sensing something very real. To pose the example of Jews in Australia rather than dealing with the extreme nature of the need to self protect that indeed existed demonstrates that someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

  • At town hall, Sen. Warren says Israel Anti-Boycott Act 'violates our basic constitution'
    • rhkroell- Yonah is a name used by both males and females. I am male.

    • First regarding what the law criminalizes and what it doesn't? Who cares. It looks like a law prohibiting free speech and in this game it's the appearance that is the key. And the appearance of this law is ridiculous.

      (Regarding the boycott, rather than the law: People I am willing to listen to: like Larry Derfner and Gideon Levy state that Israel will never change its stance without pressure.)

      Though my focus here in mw is on the faults of various comments, the general direction of Bibi is certainly a pulsing heartbeat of negativity and though his removal will hardly suffice, it is difficult for me to look beyond the day to day aspect of following the conflict, and as such I can't help but hope that Bibi leaves office soon.

  • Israel would use nuclear weapons to keep refugees from returning -- Noam Chomsky
    • There were those who were opposed to Israel's development of nukes, including Yeshayahu Leibowitz, though his reasoning on this issue remains opaque to me, (a brief perusal of relevant texts makes it seem as if his concern was with Ben Gurion and the Mapai party rather than the nukes themselves.)

      I think Chomsky is speaking in broad terms regarding trying to impose a solution on Israel, that Israel would prefer war rather than accept a solution that includes an unlimited right of return for the generations of children of the refugees. It is not as if the refugees will be lined up on Israel's borders and the nukes will be used against the refugees themselves. It is imagining an attempt by various regimes to impose a solution and that Israel would prefer war, and winning that war by any means, rather than accepting a solution that spells the end of Israel (as most consider an unlimited right of return to be a recipe for such an end.)

      On another topic, regarding BDS movement and what it should or should not advocate: The BDS movement is clearly aimed at the hearts and minds of the Western masses and as such Finkelstein feels they should focus on international law, rather than casting all such thoughts aside. Those who advocate breaking up Syria into little pieces are not focused on winning the hearts and minds of the Western masses, they are focused on winning the hearts and minds of a handful of policy makers specifically in Washington. The dynamics are entirely different.

      When engaging in a battle of ideas, it is necessary to deal with practical considerations, and both Chomsky and Finkelstein emphasize practicality in their statements. Chomsky, the practicalities of Israel choosing war over an imposed peace that it would see as ending Jewish self determination. Finkelstein, the practicality of advocating a position that goes against international law when your goal is to win the hearts and minds of the masses.

  • Zionism is apartheid, and worse
    • Jack- No evidence is necessary. If they were not awake in 1897, they were soon to wake up.

    • Jack green- It's not clear precisely what course Zionists might have taken in1897 or 1917 or 1928 for that matter to minimize harm to Palestinians, while maintaining the progress for their/our nationalist movement. From the Palestinian perspective the overall effect has been damaging, and prescribing for them a change in attitude towards a twist of history that was about to strike them with the overall ferocity of an earthquake, is to deny their natural human reactions. Ahad Haam saw Zionist attitudes which repelled him, but even so, the Jewish urge towards self determination was antithetical towards the Palestinian wish for political self respect. The two impulses were two opposing forces headed towards a crash. Flexibility rather than stubbornness might have yielded better results for the palestinians. Certainly the cataclysmic hatred of yehudim in Poland in the 20's and in Germany with the rise of hitler changed a gradual movement into a stampede. Yet we must confess that seen through Palestinian eyes, zionism promised conflict and delivered disaster.

    • RoHa, Zionism circa 1897 was racist in terms of its disregard for the Palestinians. Ofir is asserting that it was racist merely based upon its take on Jewish identity. I reject that.

    • Jonathan Ofir- I think condemnation of Zionism circa 1897, calling it racist, is anachronistic, applying 2017 standards to a different world. Of course there is the possibility of universalism, which was the emphasis of those who rejected all nationalism and all religions and all distinctions and maybe you are wedded to this idealism and as such anything that smacks of the other choices are rejected as primitive. Of course the Jewish nation circa 1897 is a bit different, for they in fact are not associated with a geographic territory (other than the ancient association which has led us into this vale of tears), but if one is rejected by mother russia and told that you are a separate nation, (not one of us), when in fact you speak a different language and live in separate neighborhoods and need special passes to be able to travel in the country at large, (thus the Pale was their geographic territory), then in fact you happen to have many of the attributes of a nation.

      The inclination towards assimilation was understandable and inexorable, except that it was interrupted by a major cataclysm that embodied the national aspect of the Jews, by an ideology which saw the Jews through a racial prism, and the murderers were aided in this murder campaign in many countries by collaborators of different sorts, who executed a plan that fulfilled their image of the Jew as a separate nation.

      To come along in 2017 and call the 1897 impulse towards preservation of a lifestyle and identity as racism, is valid, only in terms of trying to create a path forward in 2017. But if your interests extend towards an understanding of the sociology of zionism in minsk and pinsk, and basel, circa 1897, you are failing, obscuring the truth with your terminology, rather than enlightening the history that brought us to this point.

    • Jonathan- Yoni Falic shares my initials with his (probably) fake name. But I would appreciate if you would not confuse me with him.

    • I am curious how Jonathan Ofir sees the endgame of the Israel Palestine conflict.

      I realize that this is an evasion, that with the phrase genocide being tossed around, that I must either confess or deny, but I am curious as to how mister ofir sees this playing out.

      Those who take pleasure from living in Israel or have taken pleasure from visiting Israel, wish to maintain the good and somehow remedy the evil, in such a way so that the good can remain. This is clearly not the majority viewpoint here, nor mister Ofir's viewpoint.

      I, myself, have spent years living in Israel and have many close relatives living there and have invested much time and thought regarding the past and present tenses and wonder what the future holds.

      I do not consider antiZionism personified by Linda Sarsour to be yehudi hatred, I consider it as natural as human nature. Nonetheless the life and death struggle embodied by Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran versus Israel is deeply unsettling. And as one who thinks of politics as the art of the possible, I wonder what might be possible. Certainly the leadership of Netanyahu, and the tradition of militarism embodied by the IDF and even Rabin, and the history of the Nakba are a few facts that add context to the worry about Israel versus Hezbollah and company. But I would seek a way 1. to set Gaza free (or freer). 2. to set most of the West Bank freer. I think setting Gaza freer is really achievable, yet it is still to be achieved and will have to wait for someone after Netanyahu. Regarding the West Bank, I can't see an achievable compromise within reach.
      Regarding the right of return, the idea is not near to the vast majority of Israeli Jews and to the vast majority of their supporters. Also as it is expressed here at mw, it is forbidden to use the term right of return and compromise in the same sentence. I think Israel could afford to allow half a million refugees to return to Israel proper after a two state solution is achieved. But I don't even bother to raise this idea with my Israeli cousins, for they would scoff. And meanwhile a two state solution (discounting Gaza) is not within reach.
      If the path to a solution regarding Gaza was near. If the thinking regarding the West Bank was tending towards compromise on the part of Israel If the attitude of most Israelis reflected the desire of what is currently a small number of liberal Zionists for reconciliation, then the killing might look like history rather than an ongoing mess, and if there was a movement towards reconciliation, the past attempts to deny Palestinian history and the callousness towards Palestinians as humans or as a group with aspirations could be put into a context of, "let's see what we can achieve in terms of compromise". But that is not the context and as such the callousness promises more of the same.

  • Dershowitz and Chomsky agree on one thing
    • Zionism was not born in the 1930's poconos, and not in1950's Harvard and certainly not in 2017 america. It was born as an idea, in 1890's eastern and central europe and became a reality after a remarkable genocide in europe in the 40's.
      If antisemitism is an anachronism, is the zionism that was born in reaction to it an anachronism as well? But even if so, this anachronism is no longer an idea, but a reality.

      But American Jewish alienation from zionism feels inevitable if its only claim is historical rather than present and future. Israel's dependence on American largesse has come about largely as a result of an identification ( of American jews with the history that birthed zionism) that dwindles as time progresses. Israel's dependence seems not attuned to the changing reality.

  • New poll shows 2/3 of Jewish Israelis want death penalty for Palestinian attackers
    • Much better job, Jonathan Ofir.

      I doubt that a death penalty would make any difference as a deterrent.

      Regarding the definition of terrorist, I agree, that the term applies when referring to civilians and not regarding soldiers, or police officers in occupied territory.

      On the other hand, I don't think, applying the death penalty to one (killing civilians) and not the other (killing a soldier) would really be such a big deal. Just because there is a recognition of the right of people to resist occupation, that's in theory and for the ivory tower and in fact if it would be a deterrent, I don't think it makes much difference, because one wishes to deter attacks on one's soldiers, despite whatever textbook definition of right to resist one affirms.

      But all told, an acceptable job of journalism, far above the last time.

  • Ensconced at New York Times, pro-Israel advocate Bari Weiss smears Sarsour as a 'hater'
    • I thought the Women's March was about peaceful protest. The movement with which Joanne Chesimard Assata Shakur is associated with is revolutionary and violent. To send shout outs to her negates the nonviolent nature of the Women's March movement. If one is nonviolent as a tactic, then such a shout out makes sense, if one is nonviolent in principle such a shout out is hypocritical.
      Then to attack Jake Tapper as alt right, shows that Linda Sarsour is intemperate.
      Yes, the main concern shown by North and Weiss regards Bari Weiss and the New York Times. I accept that. But those who would defend Linda Sarsour's tweets logically either advocate violent revolution or hypocrisy.

    • Bari weiss is an idiot for considering sarsour's antizionism a form of hate. Bari weiss should contemplate walking 30 meters in the shoes of a palestinian, but she is a propagandist.
      And you, Donald johnson, must've been one hell of a boring preacher in a previous life and at this rate in the next life too.

    • Bari weiss is not someone I could pick out of a lineup. Linda sarsour is famous. Sorry if I focus on the famous person rather than someone who is not famous.my opinion of sarsour changed mostly based on the black liberation army lady. The topic also made me think about hirsi ali. Sorry if my reaction does not fulfill your standards. I know that you focus on the nyt and its biases. Good for you. That is not my thing. I react to every morsel of information and the morsels of interest to me were about sarsour and not the nyt.

    • Donald- Weiss and North have therefore succeeded in attacking the NYT and Bari Weiss, but they have not succeeded in defending Sarsour.

    • if weiss and north agree with sarsour, let them say so. if not, let them say so. if they are too evasive, then this is just fine.

    • " She has dismissed the anti-Islamist feminist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the most crude and cruel terms, insisting she is “not a real woman” and confessing that she wishes she could take away Ms. Ali’s vagina — this about a woman who suffered genital mutilation as a girl in Somalia."
      But just last month, Ms. Sarsour proved that her past is prologue. On July 16, the official Twitter feed of the Women’s March offered warm wishes to Assata Shakur. “Happy birthday to the revolutionary #AssataShakur!” read the tweet, which featured a “#SignOfResistance, in Assata’s honor” — a pink and purple Pop Art-style portrait of Ms. Shakur, better known as Joanne Chesimard, a convicted killer who is on the F.B.I.’s list of most wanted terrorists.

      Like many others, CNN’s Jake Tapper noticed the outrageous tweet. “Shakur is a cop-killer fugitive in Cuba,” he tweeted, going on to mention Ms. Sarsour’s troubling past statements. “Any progressives out there condemning this?” he asked.

      In the face of this sober criticism, Ms. Sarsour cried bully: [email protected] joins the ranks of the alt-right to target me online. Welcome to the party.”

      these are quotes from ms. bari weiss in the nyt opinion piece. i assume people have read it, but include the quotes here for those who are too lazy to read the article in question and instead only have time to cast aspersions.

    • The attack on Linda Sarsour included two points not covered by North and Weiss: 1. Sarsour's vicious attack on Ayaan Hirsi Ali and 2. her celebration of Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur). Since these two points are ignored, may we assume that they oppose Sarsour on these two points or may we assume that they agree with Sarsour on these points. Maybe North and Weiss would do us the favor of saving us from making assumptions.

  • As Israeli soldiers crushed Gaza, world Jewry united, and sent Ben & Jerry's ice cream to the front
    • Although insecurity regarding the regime in Cairo explains some of the delay, the refusal of israel to find some modus operandi vis a vis hamas in Gaza that allows for the free flow of gazans to egypt and allows for the movement of people and goods into and out of gaza on a reasonable basis, indicates that Israel is in no hurry to alleviate the gaza situation because the status quo is known and the effects of such an agreement are unknown. Given this attitude I must recoil at the readiness of israel to wreak such destruction on gaza, without any hope on the horizon provided.

      The words of this blogger are not encouraging, it is easy to find hard headed non thinkers in the blogosphere, and phil has found one. It is not a war of ideas to attack a blogger like this. It is an opportunity for a pat on one's own back. Oh look, how unreasonable. But there is a problem and it is not this blogger. it is the lack of conscientious leadership that is the problem. God and guns is not a good mix, I encourage young jews to read a lot, so that the simplistic views of bibi and phil weiss will become insufficient.

  • On Tisha B'Av, we must mourn our complicity
  • Jew and Israeli: Solomon Schechter and Shlomo Sand
    • Keith- and how to remedy this problem? Might i suggest a boycott of Jewish businesses? Seeing as universalism has successfully pervaded every corner of America, other than the Jews participating in the benefits of the tribe and kinship, there really is no other way to even the scales.

    • If i wanted to say that assimilation is a negative I would have written, "assimilation is a negative, because..." instead I wrote, "assimilation is viewed as a negative, because...." Solomon
      Schechter, a man whose career is unfamiliar to me, other than the fact that he has Conservative (Jewish) Day Schools named after him, was the one cited in the article as choosing Zionism, not out of fear of pogroms, but out of fear of assimilation.

      Annie robbins seemed to suggest that the only possible reason for resisting assimilation, (by which i mean acculturation to the point of losing one's traditional culture and adopting a new culture as one's own), is if one hates the culture that one is resisting, and i was trying to assert that in fact, the culture one is resisting is besides the point, but the main point is the desire to maintain the traditional lifestyle.

      Two images come to mind. That of a young Native American male plucked out of his traditional society and garb and instead clothed like a white man in suit and tie. And the other is of an African American wearing white shirt and white pants in a room that is painted totally white. (this was a poster from the early 70's)

      If i would have to point to an act of assimilation that I find offensive it would be Madeline Albright's parents lying to her, covering up their Jewish background, pretending that they left Czechoslovakia for purely political reasons, whereas in fact they left for reasons of Jewish identity, not their own identity, but the fact that the Nazis identified them as such and that this was dangerous, in fact deadly, to their chances of survival and therefore they emigrated. She rose to the top of her field, and loved the religion that she was raised in, which was some brand of Christianity. It is offensive yet understandable. Offensive because amnesia is offensive and denying one's roots is offensive. But it is very understandable that Jewishness or Judaism was seen as a handicap, and why handicap their little daughter and their growing daughter, and their grown daughter with extraneous knowledge about her roots, better to begin anew and throw the liability into the ash heap. (or as Marty Feldman as igor said about his hump, what hump?)

      Those who fight assimilation (which is not just a governmental policy, but a sociological phenomenon) are fighting to maintain a tradition, that has its roots in a long history, even if it does not go back to the beginning of time, as in Father Abraham. My own impression is that in the case of the Jews in America, this is largely a losing battle, but only in the big picture, there are many individuals who are able to get in touch with the history and the traditions.

      If one dismisses Judaism as just one more silly worship of a man with a beard in the sky, then I suppose the sooner the better, onto the ash heap, at least from one perspective. Solomon Schechter was not of this school of thought. (I am assuming based upon my knowledge of Conservative Judaism, that...) He was devoted to the maintenance of the Jewish identity, particularly regarding the Torah, and its traditions: its food, (kosher) its holidays (on Saturdays and not Sundays, from sundown to sundown and not any other time demarcations) and its texts, and the language of the texts, and maybe also the language of the previous generations.

      Having read Irving Howe and his description of the disrespect with which his generation of Jewish leftists treated their Jewish roots, I feel that there was something skewed about how that between the wars generation related to their roots. It was only later, in the 60's when respect for traditions outside of the west began to infiltrate the consciousness of the left, that his generation came to realize that there was some sort of amnesia that was being forced on the Jews by themselves (and also by the expectation called the melting pot, and also the expectation of Americanism, which at that time, but not so much today, idealized treating the past as mere memory whereas the present and the future required a jettisoning of useless thoughts) and that there was something offensive about such a demand and something ignorant and immature about how the Jewish youth who came of age in the 1930's treated their parents and the world their parents came from and such a denial reminds me of another image, Peter denying Jesus three times before the cock crows.

      The Jews in Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe under the czar, lived largely apart from the society at large, particularly those who lived in small towns, but mobility towards bigger towns and mobility towards destinations outside of Eastern Europe, which was one of the goals that the Czars advisers voiced (one third will emigrate, one third will convert and one third will be killed off). Well this mobility brought this community face to face with modernity and led to a crisis of loss of memory.

      Another image. "Seconds" starring Rock Hudson, about a middle aged man who wants to start over and in order to do so, his death has to be faked in order that his past life can be erased and he can start anew, but he grows nostalgic for the life that he has tossed away, a big no-no.
      Another failure for those that provided a second chance because the amnesia they advocated did not work.

      I cannot say that I agree regarding the idea that Jewishness describes anything about the true self of the young Jewish Americans of the '30's, children of immigrants, who wished to dismiss the past and embrace America and all that was new and modern with reckless abandon. I cannot say that they were tossing away anything essential or their true selves. But those who like Solomon Schechter, who decried assimilation, did feel that there was something essential that they were missing. Those like Rabbi Schechter who have spent their lives studying the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud, and the lore and the law and have enjoyed the Shabbat or Shabbos and the cycle of the year and the cycle of life contained in traditional Jewish observance, considered it an enriching experience, and were devoted to the maintenance of those traditions, those rabbis by the nature of their profession and calling, will consider that tradition to be the essence that those youngsters were tossing away, (like Al Jolson tossed away the traditions in order to embrace the Americanism of singing "Mammy" in black face.)

      When I see the Jewish faces thronging to hear and dance to the beat of Benny Goodman, in the 30's their love for America and for the new, that was the nearest thing to their essence and the fact that their parents wanted them to marry Jewish mates and the fact that most of them for sociological reasons did marry Jewish mates, was merely an accident of circumstance, that 80 years later is rectified by differing sociological circumstance and decrying assimilation is like decrying gravity.

      Still in a discussion of assimilation for someone to come along and say, "oh, if they are resisting assimilation, it must mean that they hate or disdain the host culture", frankly this is nonsense, because the essence is not the attitude towards Benny goodman, but rather the attitude towards Torah. The ebb and flow of globalization and modernization and the difficulties faced by second generation, that is the children of the immigrants, in immigrant societies today, with its frictions, as evidenced by various violent incidents, reminds us that assimilation is not always as simple and as smooth as certain people claim. It can be quite complicated. And to label the resistance to assimilation as a form of hatred or superiority is myopic, superficial and ignorant.

    • annie- maybe my comment invited it, but it seems like the only tool nearby where you are is a soapbox and you are incapable of conversation even on a topic other than israel. you are only capable of preaching.

    • assimilation is viewed as a negative, because it involves loss of true self, as in, conforming to a society and denying your essence. imagine, sitting and eating white bread and mayonnaise with your neighbors, but then going home and chowing down on some pastrami on rye, mit a pickle and chicken soup, when the shades are down and nobody knows. the examples of culinary culture is certainly superficial but it might shed light. assimilation is losing one's connection to the past, to the family, to traditions, to language. this is part of the ideal of a certain brand of americanism, this type of forward into the future and amnesia regarding the past, but anathema to most brands of jewishness or judaism, that idealize continuity on any level. (there is a move towards a new judaism, that downgrades the past.)

      there is a certain element of refusal to totally accept conformity to society involved, of which those in the counter culture would approve, although they would say, join our counter culture and abandon your memories and traditions or put them in a scrapbook and on a shelf. (or on the ash heap).

  • Debunking the 2 claims: anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, and BDS unfairly singles out Israel
    • Joseph A- (Raising a topic after a two week hiatus on this thread deprives me of continuity with my frame of mind at the time of the first comment, but...)

      Seeing as the expulsion of the Palestinians occurred at a moment a handful of years after the need so self apparent between 1939 and 1945 raises questions of morality and psychology. But first politics and rationality:
      Ben Gurion saw himself trying to navigate the enterprise towards viability and stability. And kicking out the Palestinians was a key aspect to his construction of the Israeli future, our Israeli present tense. I view it as rational. I try to imagine a future for Israel at peace with its neighbors and beginning a process of reconciliation with the Palestinians and I in fact do not see such a process on the horizon, so from this perspective the rationality of the decision by Ben Gurion is antithetical towards the "future" and as such you might be tempted to label it as irrational. But I do not consider it irrational.

      I don't think Ben Gurion thought in terms of morality, he thought in terms of history, statesmanship, viability, stability. From a moral point of view, Zionism was bad news for the Palestinians. Zionism harmed the palestinians and such harm cannot be ignored.

      there was more than one cause for the development of zionism. the move to secularization was perforce a move to redefine what it means to be a jew. the haskala, the yiddishist movement, certainly assimilation of ideas from the world including socialism, but an attempt to synthesize ideas of the world with an evolving but persistent sense of Jewish identity, all these must be included to try to capture the jewish culture and consciousness in the period between 1881 and the beginning of the destruction of european jewry in 1939. i don't think an urge towards jerusalem was unnatural. it was there in the texts and the traditions and the prayers. with the advent of photographs, motion pictures and then talkies, with the vast mobility of people moving from eastern europe to america, there was bound to be some movement towards zionism and if not sovereignty, a changed, much more intense relationship with the land of the bible, with the focus of so many prayers, was bound to occur given the dynamic of the at times opposing forces of identity and secularism, one way of fulfilling both identity and the need to pull away from the rule of the rabbis was to establish a jewish movement outside their domain, which explains much of the dynamism of the haskala and the yiddishists and the yiddish socialists and also of zionism.

      it is an interesting question of how judaism and zionism would have evolved without the cataclysm that awaited them and the worsening situation in certain countries (poland, for example) for Jews between the wars. Something seemingly trivial like the US immigration policy had a very definite impact on the doubling of the Jewish population in Palestine between 1920 and 1929, so neglecting the "refugee" aspect of the influx of jews into Palestine is to deny the historical context. but back to my point regarding a gradual development of a Jewish homeland in Palestine without statehood, but with a view towards slowly building a Jewish center in the land near Jerusalem might have developed in an acceptable fashion at a reasonable rate if the world had remained sane rather than gone nuts as a reaction to the depression of 1929.

      in the present tense, i idealize the imagination of reconciliation but am confronted by the reality of conflict and stubbornness and myopia and autism, and realize that my impulses are not harmonious with the natural dynamic of the mainstream of jewish politics in Israel and among its most involved supporters in America and I wonder how I would react if i didn't have so many relatives who live there and whose future I "worry" about. In fact I do have many relatives there and though to the mondoweiss comments section most of them are just interlopers who could easily return to america, in fact they are israeli and I have a stake in their future and thus cannot react to my opposition to the dominant Israeli politics by detaching myself. By no means is that near my state of mind, despite my decision not to live there. And thus the thrust of Zionist thought cannot be dismissed, even though my own thoughts are towards idealizing reconciliation.

    • Quoting gandhi to a jew contemplating the shoah is a variety of sadism.

    • MHughes- interesting that you would mention carmichael, who changed his name to kwame toure. Not nearly as crystal clear as malcolm, nor nearly as literate as James baldwin, I find his oratory on youtube eloquent sometime. But a raving antisemite. Embarrassingly so. Uses the phrase Zionist and jew interchangeably and he is rabid on the topic.

    • JosephA:
      Zionism is based upon three premises:
      1. Jewish powerlessness has been revealed by recent history to be untenable. Passivity in the face of Jewish powerlessness is unacceptable.
      2. Jewish self emancipation is the best way of remedying powerlessness. (This means Jews need a state, so they can have an army.)
      3. The place for the state should be Israel.

      While premises one and two are easy enough (Premise 1 is self evident. Premise 2 depends upon a reading of politics and human history up to and including 2017, that is not self evident, but easy enough), Premise 3 is not logically implied by the first two assumptions.

      The major problem comes with the implications of Premise 3: the necessity of Jewish self rule requires a limitation on the rights of Palestinians.

      It is primarily this implication that you reject.

      In fact it is difficult to imagine a Jewish state in Israel that does not (on some level) limit Palestinian rights. Squaring the circle, so to speak, figuring out how to reconcile Jewish statehood and Palestinian self respect, is not easy to imagine. But when the thrust of Zionist thought does not see this conflict as a problem, then the imaginers are thrust aside and denigrated, this makes a nearly impossible task even more difficult.

  • Napoleon, Hitler and the economy -- David Brooks hints that Trump is losing his mind
    • There's nothing insane about Donald trump. He is impetuous, uncontrolled, spoiled, undisciplined, possessing a personality totally unsuited to the seriousness of the office, but not insane.
      He's also old, with the worsening of personality and brain power that comes with age.
      George Will feels the American system or people need a dose of putting the presidency in its place, that Trump will cure us of the imperial presidency. When trump fires mueller, the day after the November 2018 midterm elections there will be a constitutional crisis .

      Off topic, I just read hisham milhem's indictment of the Arab realm's politics. (In foreign policy, June 5, 2017. Fifty years later.) If this is the predominant situation, what expectations are realistic rather than naive, for an independent palestine in the borders of 67. This does not excuse israel. But to deny this reality is to play pretend.

      Ben Gurion created an army designed for offense. The diplomatic minded sharett never had power. Only BG's retirement and succession by eshkol removed him from power, but the army he built remained in place. The contradiction between eshkol's personality and the army's muscular attitude created a contradiction. BG designed the army for his leadership, it was not designed to accede to a less expansionist leader. This personality clash led to the may 67crisis. Nasser must've been in deep trouble in Yemen to gamble like he did in may 67. And one must say that it was a gamble he lost.
      I also must say that when the conflict reveals its religious aspect, the secular atheists here are tone deaf and whatever language lacuna creates a lost in translation feel, is worsened because religion itself is a foreign language here.

  • 'Transferring' Palestinian citizens of Israel to a Palestinian state goes from outrage to Netanyahu policy
    • Regarding Farhud: It was natural for the Jewish residents of Baghdad to oppose the Nazis and it was natural for the Arab residents of Baghdad to oppose the British and it was this natural tension which was the underlying cause for the murder of the Jews in the Farhud. (a historical explanation should not be considered an excuse or a justification and even if the violence did not find its roots in internal Arab/Muslim feelings towards Jews, it certainly did not make Jews feel safer.)

    • In theory the swap of Israeli territory for Palestinian territory is totally feasible, given that this swap will be achieved through negotiations: the two sides (Palestine and Israel) must agree to such a swap. The duties of the state that has swapped their land out from under its citizens would be due to those citizens. Their citizenship would remain intact and they would be allowed to move elsewhere in the new Israel or else be residents living abroad, with whatever rules affect any citizens who live abroad would then apply to them. Lieberman (obviously) wants to transfer the land and not give the citizens living on that land the rights of citizenship. That is obviously wrong.

  • State Dep't is 'bigoted, anti-Semitic, Israel-hating' for saying Palestinian statelessness fosters violence
    • The quote in the headline is from ZOA. But the photo that dominates visually are of leaders of Bnai Brith. Thus while technically accurate, the juxtaposition of headline and caption results in a visual untruth.

  • Sorry, American Jews, you don't have a birthright
    • mormons convert dead jews to mormonism, so that the dead jews can get into mormon heaven, rosross redefines dead jews as nonjews, so they can meet the approval of his categories. what a pompous donkey. einstein proclaimed himself jewish publicly continually constantly in his lifetime and some idiot 60 years after einstein dies thinks he can define einstein by his own myopic (retarded) categories. true to the standards of this corner of myopia.

    • rosross- The exclusion of the Jews from Russian society could indeed be alleviated by baptism, although my knowledge of the frequency of such baptism in the realm of the czars is pretty blank.
      I've heard you at least ten times asserting that religion and nation have nothing to do with each other. But in Russia, or to be more precise, in the realm of the czars, the Jews spoke a different language and were considered a people apart by most of their neighbors and by most of themselves. The religion itself speaks in terms of nation, and certainly the tradition of a separate society for centuries creates something beyond a commonalty of belief, it creates a community. Combine this with a language and a myth of nationhood, if you insist, then you have certainly almost enough ingredients to make a nation.

      it is wrong to consider the holocaust the epitome of the european jewish experience, but since it was its climax, it cannot be ignored and though one does not wish to hitch one's wagon on hitler's ideology, in the end, beliefs counted for naught or for little and jews were killed for their race. how does that jive with your denial of their nationhood? when they were being killed in what language did they write "revenge!" in which european language? no. Nekama.

      now 70 years later, both the revenge and the european jewish community are a faint echo compared to what they were in 1945 and yes, also in 1948. the predominant jewish community outside of israel (USA) speaks no distinct language (13% or so speak yiddish or hebrew or ladino) and their rise to the top of the American "meritocracy" has made Jewishness to be as American as apple pie (not quite, but certainly compared to the european experience it is quite different). i don't know how things are going in britain with its own tensions between muslims and more traditional english populations, so you can enlighten us, but certainly america 2017 raises questions about jews as a separate nation in a way that 1905 Minsk did not raise such questions. that jew in minsk was considered a foreign element by the ruling elite, was considered a separate entity by the peasant population, spoke a different language and lived a separate existence. (and even when the soviet union replaced the rule of the czars, "jew' was written in the soviet identity card, the only such designation that did not have a territory of its own and in fact the soviets tried to create a territory for the jews, in recognition of their separate status. so the realm of the czars even after it was gone continued to act in the fashion of separations.) so your statements reflect maybe some text book definitions, but not the history of the realm of the czars from catherine the great to gorbachev.

    • To the Zionists of eastern Europe, their nationhood was self evident. They did not have to try to figure out their relationship with the Jews of the Levant. Those Jews were not relevant to them and only became relevant to them when the Jews of eastern europe were murdered and needed to be replaced.

      The rejection of the Jews by the nations of Eastern and Central Europe was self evident. Thus there were those who declared the end of all nations (the Communists) and those who accepted themselves as being rejected by the nations for a reason: for they belonged to a different nation.

      The Zionist need for the bible and the religion was not in order to justify their nationhood, but in order to justify taking the land. When Ben Gurion pointed to the bible and said, "here is our contract. In the bible, that you all possess in all of your homes." He was speaking to the nations of the world to justify the Jewish claim. The Zionists did not need to be sold on their nationhood.

      (There were other alternatives: a denial of all nationhood or going to America where a different form of nationhood was being created.)

      Gurvitz is putting 2017 sensibilities into the minds of early 20th century ideologues and this is anachronistic.

      In fact there are inherent contradictions of Zionism. And there are other factors involved.

      The nonorthodox or nontraditional movements were relatively young in 1897 and those movements still believed that they could gain acceptance by their nations by making their religion less odious in the eyes of their nation hosts, so that they could be seen as Germans of the Mosaic persuasion. But this is a central European phenomenon more than an eastern european phenomenon. Reform Judaism was practically nonexistent in eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century. So to the zionists, the synagogue they did not go to was Orthodox. And the entire reform Judaism was foreign to them.

      That is what things were like up to 1945. The situation since then has changed.

  • Bill making it a federal crime to support BDS sends shockwaves through progressive community
    • Keith- You and I both know that only love resides deep in your heart, but your senator doesn't know that, and your reference to Jewish Zionist power might give her the wrong impression, that you are a hate nut.

  • 'Irreplaceable bedrock' of U.S. backing for Israel is threatened by -- intermarriage
    • I will not parse Freilich's words, but I think Phil Weiss is confusing cause and effect.
      The "cause" of what Freilich is referring to is Jewish continuity. There are two proven (and insufficient) modes of Jewish continuity and they are Torah (Orthodoxy) and Zionism. (There is also innovation which seeks to redo, in order to make it something worthwhile, but let us leave the hopeful future for another time.)
      Supporters of Israel in the Jewish community are those who are wholeheartedly devoted to continuity and somewhat also devoted to Torah. Young Jews are proud to be Jewish and the word that they associate with Jewish is "tradition" and much of that tradition is forward looking but the tradition part of tradition, as in its essence, is backwards looking and by definition that is not progressive, but nostalgic.
      There are many personality types on this planet and they include the religious personality, and there are no deists in the foxholes and so in times of trouble people seek comfort from comfort texts and traditions, so Judaism will continue, just on the force of the religious impulse of some hard core believing group.
      But in our modern society of individualism, the primary motivating force towards Judaism is some kind of a context beyond the present tense (call it history, call it tradition.)
      Intermarriage is not the key here, but the revelation of the problem. People stopped being religious and treat it as something minor, and Judaism is designed with an all encompassing life style in mind. Those who lack the religious impulse and opt out of Judaism, quite often extrapolate from their own experience and state, if it's good enough for me, then it's good enough for everybody, and they abandon Judaism and toss it on the ash heap of history. Others are not so cold, not so alienated, but instead of the personality willing to concede something to the past, to nostalgia, to history, to the group, to all that came before and see some value in the Jewish experience and as such they seek ways to bolster it, if only in their imagination, "wouldn't it be nice if there could be some continuity from the past," even as they themselves speed towards the individualized atomic urban/suburban future.

      Those who are concerned about the Jewish future in America are also concerned regarding the Jewish future on the globe.

  • 'We need to cut their heads off,' Bush said of anti-western demonstrators in Syria in '06 -- Tzipi Livni
    • The socio economic standing of Muslims in the white European society is certainly a reason to view the problem of cartoonists as something other than pure free speech, but it is impure free speech. Hustler magazine with its anti woman and anti black cartoons is protected by free speech and is in fact offensive.

      That a population takes offense as a license to riot is more than problematic, it is a type of coercion. And no excuses should be made for coercion. You can explain such a reaction, but you cannot excuse this reaction.

  • Israeli paper investigates 50-year-ago attack on 'USS Liberty,' while US papers leave it in the letters column
    • Keith- Let me be sure I'm getting this straight. Dayan told LBJ or someone high up, Move the ship, I'm fighting a war here. And Lbj issued a command to move the ship, and that command was not communicated by someone down the chain of command and then Dayan said, well, you won't move it. I'll show you what a war zone really means.
      Is this the essence of your conclusion.
      i am not clear why lbj's command was sabotaged down the chain of command. could you clarify that for me, a nonexpert, who does not know the name mccain.

    • Here's my take on the USS Liberty.

      1. It was a sad day for the US and Israel and American Jews.

      2. There seems to be a case to be made that the Israeli navy attacked without knowledge of the American identity of the boat and that they were trigger happy, because the war had passed them by without participating.

      3. The behavior of the Israeli air force considering the clear vision of the American flag seems to indicate a deliberate attack. The motive for such an attack has yet to be offered. (we were sad witnesses to norm finkelstein telling us that the jews had a hard on to show the goyim who was boss. this is the level of speculation that we are dealing with here.)

      4. why was the liberty ordered to leave the vicinity and why had it defied its orders? is there some connection between the israeli attack and the liberty's defiance of its orders?

  • At NY premiere, David Grossman will join Netanyahu minister who boycotts Darwish
    • About Miri Regev's dress. The Likud party will not cede control of the Temple Mount.

      About David Grossman. Maybe those who have read more history are comfortable talking about 2000 years of history. I know some headlines, but I don't know the deeper story. I know that when my grandparents fled Eastern Europe that was a smart move. and I know the incredible abyss created by the Shoah and the need to respond to that abyss. Zionism is one response. It is an insufficient response, but it is one response.

      About boycotting the performance of this play. No one is stopping you from boycotting. How many people in this comments section have read one book by Oz, Yehoshua and Grossman. How can you have a war of ideas if you have not read them?

      It is so safe and warm (for you antizionists) in the cocoon of mondoweiss. it is certainly not a war of ideas. it is a repetition of cant over and over. and a choice to ignore a certain period of years in Jewish history and to pretend that American Jewry circa 2017 is the be all and the end all of the story. zionists may be myopic to focus on the abyss. mondoweiss is blind and devoted to ignoring other views of jewish history other than the assimilationist view.

  • What happened in the Israeli Labor Party 'revolution'? Nothing.
    • jonathan ofir- You offered no new information, only pessimism. gabbay did not use the phrase "Arab lover", did he? reading your article it seems like he did.

      this is a lazy job. it is okay to be pessimistic. did you write this in your sleep or while brushing your teeth. lazy job.

  • Nadia Hijab on Palestinian options, Jewish allies, and the Zionist crisis
    • There is an element of realpolitik in what I write.

      When I was in Israel and was accused by my niece of wanting to give the entire land back to the Palestinians, I said, "no." so she said, "but back to the borders of 67" and I said, "yes, more or less." I did not insist to tell her that not only that but that Israel should also take hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Lebanon and elsewhere and allow them to return to 48 Israel.

      Israel is not near to reaching the necessary conclusions regarding the West Bank, that she should withdraw more or less back to the lines of 67 and that this in fact will create problems of Hamas control of the Jordan valley and security problems just as threatening if not moreso than the situation with Hezbollah in Lebanon, and despite that, i feel Israel should agree to it, because Hamas control of Ramallah is probably manageable, whereas the loss of democracy involved in the occupation is not manageable, it is essential and spells the end of Zionism, which I define as the attempt to fulfill the Declaration of Independence, even if it has never been fulfilled in the past.

      This is the major issue that Israelis don't want to hear from me. My concept of reconciliation that would allow for the influx of half a million Palestinians over the course of ten years, which goes beyond Yeshayahu Leibowitz, (I assume), they certainly don't need to hear from me, if I wish to make the argument that Israel must sacrifice the security of the status quo in order to protect Israel's essence, I cannot in the next sentence advocate a change in demography which will threaten Israel's essence in a way that the 67 borders will not.

      We are not near peace. I put the overwhelming majority of the burden on Netanyahu for his unwillingness to resume negotiations where Olmert left off, or where Beilin, Abd Rabbo agreed, or where the Clinton Parameters of December 2000 left off.

      Nonetheless given the distance between the present tense and the necessities of withdrawal that would be embodied in the peace plans I listed above, it is of greater importance to emphasize the wrongness of the occupation rather than advocate a change in the mindset of Israelis towards the hard core work of reconciliation.

      And it would take real reconciliation not to be nervous about a mass influx of refugees and it would take real reconciliation to opt for hope over experience regarding the possibilities of democracy in the new Palestine.

      But we are still far from a cold peace, let alone much further away from reconciliation, so we are not near the day that the term "demographic problem" is no longer part of the discourse.

    • A level headed thinker and thus encouraging.

      I listened on line to one jvp speaker on the topic of zionism and judaism and she sounded like she read judaism for dummies and Wikipedia article on zionism and thus was an expert.

      The casual reference by hijab to judaism is a religion and not state sovereignty smacks of a similar superficiality.

      It is true tho that the essential question is one of immigration. Israel only told its Palestinian citizens that they cannot wed west bank Palestinians in 2002 or so, so it is not there since creation, but trajectory-wise I see the continuity from the expulsion (Nakba) to emphasizing the demographic problems of today.

      I am among those who are not horrified by the formulation "state of all its citizens", but the open immigration policy hijab advocates would horrify or be utterly rejected by 9 out of 10 Jewish Israelis and this political reality weighs more to me than it does to hijab.

  • Anti-Islamist chic
    • San bernardino, orlando, manchester. I conclude: anti islamist chic is not about to disappear. Myself, I do not know the path forward. I'm offended by trump, but I know human politics too well to see this issue disappearing. We'll see how the Supreme Court rules on the trump ban and how europe deals with their extremely more fraught tensions. But no. This issue will not disappear.

      A discussion of zionism here on mw and in the comments section in particular is an absurd enterprise. Like Eugene McCarthy in chicago 68- I think you know where I stand.

  • US Jews must oppose Palestinian boycott, but boycott Israel and bring it to its knees over prayer at western wall
    • in case there are some honest people reading this comments section, who might get the wrong impression based upon the comments of dishonest commentators:

      my use of the word evolution was not meant to designate the settler occupation of the west bank as a positive, but merely to note that it has developed from a simple form to a more complicated form. my main point was that it is an issue that has been widely discussed by the israeli public both jewish and nonjewish and the lines of disagreement on this issue are well known and nearly impossible to hope for a quick persuasion, because it is so deeply a part of the discourse and the history of the last 50 years. whereas the kotel controversy is a superficial issue that really does not matter on a deep level with most of the israeli public. therefore whereas superficial short term pressure would probably succeed regarding the kotel controversy, the type of pressure that might succeed regarding changing opinions on the settler occupation would have to be quite intense and prolonged, because it is not a superficial issue, but one very near the core of concern for most israelis.

    • his father is Arthur goldberg. is this yoni falic's way of signalling that everything he writes should be taken poetically?

    • "abandonment of israel" should be in quotes. because i believe that a withdrawal from the west bank is the only means of a long term strengthening of zionism, to me it is a misnomer to refer to opposition to israeli policy as "abandonment".
      but it has greater rhetorical effect when i say abandonment rather than a modification aimed at saving israel from itself.

    • I was quite offended by Gordis's piece, but to beat up on gordis in front of the crowd gathered in mw comments is not that attractive.
      Clearly the current situation in america, that is the trump presidency, is the foremost danger to democracy in america. when he fires mueller the pressure on republicans to act as if the law means something will mount.
      netanyahu's policy on the occupied territories is the result of 50 years of evolution, backed up by revisionist ideology and the security doctrine combined. it is of primary concern to most israelis and the offer of turning the west bank into a second hamastan or hezbollah territory is not something most israelis endorse. But , because of the deep penetration of the settler occupancy, an explainable policy regarding a military occupation has been turned into an unexplainable policy of a settler occupation. Nonetheless the Israeli preference for the status quo regarding the west bank is not something that is superficial.
      netanyahu's policy regarding the kotel compromise has zero to do with the will of the israeli people. it is purely coalition politics. and as such it is vulnerable to a pressure campaign.

      The lack of support of particularly young american jewish opinion regarding israel particularly regarding the west bank is merely a sign of the future abandonment of israel by the democratic party. gordis's bully pulpit will change no one's mind. israel will soon be abandoned by the democratic party. but i mean 12 to 28 years. that's soon to me.

  • Israel's efforts to hide Palestinians from view no longer fools young American Jews
    • Anti Jewish propagandist Keith has a low opinion of the readers of the comments section of mw, unable to chew gum and walk at the same time.

      There are different types of ethnic relations aside from the role of proletariat taken up by blacks and people of color in North America. There is also the phenomenon of middleman minority, which describes the relations of Jews in previous times in various societies, plus a few other middleman minority historical phenomena. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middleman_minority

      I believe that the discerning reader will be willing to open their minds up to the possibility of various tensions existing between ethnic groups not based upon the monochromatic viewpoint expressed by you.

      Between roughly the year 1000 until the year 1945, the most widespread ethnic tension in europe was Christian versus Jew. It did not resemble the tension between whites and blacks in america, but it was very deep in the culture and very widespread. because the oppressed Jews of the czarist empire moved en masse to america as a result of oppression, focusing on the particularly phenomenon of late 19th century Jew hatred is a natural outcome for those whose presence in america is due to a hatred movement in europe that resulted in emigration to america and our very identity as americans resulted from the fact that we were jews and oppressed.

      although the Shoah was not unique in history, it was rather intense and this aspect of Jewish history is naturally part of any conscious jew's concept of history. most jews wish to shed their jewishness, for a variety of reasons, and this complicates any effort to come to terms with the shoah.

      all we need is some jew haters to help us gain clarity that jews are not hated, by talking out of both sides of their mouths: you're not hated, yet your victim mentality means that you do deserve to be hated.

  • From lamentation to triumphalism: the story behind 'Jerusalem of Gold,' Israel's second national anthem
    • George Smith- Regarding Leibowitz's attitude towards the Kotel, I am opposed to it. It doesn't speak to me. I think it is Spock like- devoid of emotion or understanding of human emotion. If your piece were mathematical, including an extraneous fact which is in fact false (to me) would weaken your argument and not strengthen it.

      There are many landscapes in 2017 that are relatively judenrein compared to what they looked like in 1939. these landscapes are in fact thronging with humans, but not jews. to depict this fact artistically is not something that i would wish to attempt. the jewlessness of certain parts of jerusalem in may 1967 was not as tragic as the jewlessness of say vilna or warsaw or parts of the ukraine, the jerusalem jewlessness resulting as it did from a war where jews forced others off of the land, so it was tit for tat, whereas vilna and warsaw were a rather egregious example of depopulation. i cannot view shemer's lyrics purely as evil towards the humans who walked jewless jerusalem given that historical perspective.

    • I really don't think we need Yeshayahu Leibowitz's attitude towards the Kotel in this article. He was a great man in regards to the occupation, but his rationalism did not include other human beings' emotional reactions to the Kotel and I don't feel it is particularly useful as a side point.

      in paragraph beginning Naomi Shemer got lucky, I think the author means an excess of messianic fervor rather than access.

      One year I traveled from LaGuardia Airport to St. Louis on the first day of Passover, because Delta Airlines screwed me over and canceled my flight on Passover Eve. The Airport was filled with passengers, but whereas a travel day like Passover Eve finds Jews and particularly Orthodox Jews thronging in the airport, on the first day of Passover, the airport seemed relatively judenrein. Calling La Guardia empty on such a day would have been overemphasizing the point, which is what Naomi Shemer does in the song. But a Western Wall of Jerusalem emptied of yehudim is "empty" in a certain sense and Shemer's later politics might illustrate why such rhetoric is tainted, but still the emotional impact of a Jerusalem emptied of its yehudim is also relevant and not necessarily tainted.

  • Attacks on Israeli police in East Jerusalem are not terrorism
    • Zaid- the rabbis, to whom we entrust interpretation and tradition regarding Mishna Middos (or Midot), agree as one, that the forbidden areas are on what is called the Temple Mount. Can you even read the Mishna in its original?

  • I was born ideologically, politically, and spiritually in June 1967 -- settler/ambassador Dani Dayan
    • The United States was not a real democracy before the 1960's when blacks gained the right to vote in the Southern States. The fact that the Trump victory was the second time in 5 elections that the minority of voters elected the president is significant in regards to the feelings of Democratic voters in large states that their votes don't count as much as Republican voters in sparsely populated states. The electoral college undercuts America's claim to democracy.

      But indeed there are many particulars about Trump that make his presidency a particularly vulgar assault on democracy. Democracy is a fragile system and Trump with his attempts to disqualify a Mexican judge, his midnight tweets and his attempt to get the head of the FBI to declare loyalty, is a particular specific threat to democracy. The electoral college victory (despite the popular vote loss) is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the threats that Trump poses to the ideas of democracy.

      (How can I tell Israelis that they should be ashamed of the Netanyahu premiership, when the US is led by Donald Trump, whose demagogic impulses far outweigh his democratic impulses?)

    • There is an interesting interplay of politics and morality involved in the settling of the west bank. If Israel had annexed the west bank and given the residents citizenship and the right to vote, then the moral right of the jews to settle the west bank would not go against the morality of disenfranchising a population. but israel did not annex and did not offer the vote to the residents and thus the act of settling amounted to an antidemocratic act.

      (a side note: democracy is on the decline with trump as us president. his minority of the popular vote contributes to the decline of democracy in the world. is democracy a moral value. i believe it is.)

  • 'I am not your goy' -- chaos at a liberal Zionist conference
    • Annie- I am reacting to my digital environment: the mw comments section which has a much higher percentage of animus than the general pro palestine population, I presume. I speak for a small demographic, of a specific age and background, with strong Jewish roots. Both Phil's parents are jewish, so he is just as Jewish as me, but at this point Harvard is where he was born again. To those with deep roots, there are visceral knee jerk reactions to "goy" in the headline. ( and to norm finkelstein attributing the attack on the uss liberty to some deep seated animus to the nonjew, for example.) When jvp speaker talks about zionism and judaism, sounding like someone writing a book report from the cliff notes, and gets jvp applause, I wince, whereas someone whose religion is Harvard really is alien to the sentiment and the discomfort.

    • Progressive Zionism has viewed the occupation as temporary, but 50 years is hardly temporary. American Zionism, besides suffering from the hypocrisy of living elsewhere, suffers from the cognitive shock of expressing criticism, and finding themselves aligned with those who have an animus towards Jews. Believing in democracy yields: how can we criticize those elected in democratic elections and also: how can we support the deprivation of the right to vote of millions? There are plenty of contradictions and discomforts.

      The Democratic Party is the locus where this gets played out for real. As long as campaign contributions are the lifeblood of senators and congressmen, there is enough pro Israel money and that is what counts. This makes the sentiments of well meaning grass roots democrats, even if they are Jewish, quite secondary. The real money is contributed by those who support Israel through thick and thin and this equivocating crowd, in which I include myself, really does not contribute the big bucks. if democrats can learn to support themselves without depending on big contributors that would make a difference. But til today, the Sanders' campaign has been the exception rather than the rule.

  • The Israelis
    • have to say that finding phil writing "off the derech" was a real kick in reading this article.

      this concept that american jews are the key to change of Israeli policy, i don't know. if jews hated netanyahu as much as they hate trump, then the change could come about, but that day seems far away. most american jews are minimally involved in thinking about israel.

      read the bernie sanders op ed and if the democratic party can free itself from depending on big donors then the democratic party can free itself from lockstep support for israel, right or wrong. but i think it is a good 20 years if not 50 years until american jews really rebel against israel and thus it seems that events will dictate the future, rather than a change of mind of a small percentage of the population.

      i had an insight today riding on a bus in jerusalem, that i still get a kick out of everyday life in Israel. when jon s, sometimes, cites the joy in his hometown of beersheva at some soccer victory, i cringe, because i know that's not what the comments section on mondoweiss considers a value. but merely standing on a street corner and watching life go on, gives me a type of pleasure regarding life going on in israel.

      the line and song, "am yisroel chai" , which essentially means, the jewish people still lives, has been labeled as fascistic and many wrongheaded zionists sing the song and use the idea of the song to dismiss other thoughts regarding the necessity of politics going forward. but persistence both as credo and as marvel is certainly near the thoughts of many supporters of israel through the years, particularly my age and older. and just seeing life persisting is something that gives me pleasure as i ride on the bus here.

      but then i notice that one of the bus passengers is wearing a uniform and the insignia on the uniform indicates that he works in the prison system and he (or his uniform) bring to light, the unseen of the situation: thus life goes on normally here on this bus, but normal is not nearly good enough in the totality of the control of the army which calls itself the Jewish army.

    • My yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem was earlier than usual due to a family celebration and has not yet ended. So I am inspired by phil's report to share some biographical notes.
      of course, i come from the other side of the tracks from phil. he was raised secular, even anti religious, with an emphasis on rationalism. my father was a rabbi (still is) and I was raised to believe in Torah and Zionism. phil never set foot in Israel until he was close to 50, I first moved here/ visited here at the age of 16 or so back in 72.
      I arrived in israel in 2017 the day that Trump left. The next day my first visit was to my aging parents. My mother was born in Europe, Western Europe, because there were quotas limiting Jewish opportunities of education in Poland and so her parents moved from Poland to France. When the Nazis invaded Belgium and France in May 1940, my mother was not yet 7. By the following April, my mother and her 9 year old brother were on a boat with their parents heading from Lisbon to New York City. My father was born in St. Louis to parents who were immigrants from Ukraine. My paternal grandparents arrived in the 1920's, after the great migration. My grandfather was very religious, more religious than his two brothers who came to America before him. And though they lived in small town Peoria Illinois, they raised their family to keep kosher and shabbos. Small town orthodox Jews in America, a rarity even then, is even rarer today.
      my parents are now in their 80's and ailing.
      My father taught 28 or so years at Queens College in Queens New York and retired to Jerusalem. They bought an apartment near my brother, who underwent a transformation in his late teens and early 20's from modern Orthodox Judaism to ultra Orthodox Judaism, so they live in a very religious neighborhood, which makes my visiting them a bit more difficult, because I stopped being religious (with some backsliding) in my mid 20's.
      After seeing my parents I headed to my uncle for a get together of my Israeli cousins, all first cousins of my mother's. This is the family that would have been wiped out (in all probability) had there been no Zionism in the 1930's. Their parents left Poland in that decade and came to Palestine. (One brother stayed in Europe and perished.) Most of these cousins of my mother's are religious, but a minority are not. The sons of my great grandparents (aside from the brother who was murdered in Europe) all remained religious and all their children remained religious. The two daughters of my great grandparents married secular husbands and thus the results have been mixed: half religious and half secular.
      This was Jerusalem Day and I had passed the crowds flying their flags and made my way not to the center of the action but to my uncle's for the family get together. Some recollection of the days of the 6 day war were recounted and some songs were sung. I asked the husband of one of my mother's cousins whether he celebrated Jerusalem Day and he said no. He ardently celebrates the 5th of Iyar, I am a zionist he proclaimed, but the occupation should not be celebrated. Another of my cousins reported about where some of her children live and proudly proclaimed, "they are settlers", a gathering of cousins is really no place for politics, laying religious and political differences aside are of the essence when a family is diverse and so the assertion of settlerism was not answered by anyone there.

      The kabbala group meets on thursday nights and the kabala is a book which encourages flights of fancy and although i wore a baseball cap and not a yarmulka i partook of the hostliness and the biblical commentary. because jerusalem day was recent when some selection in the text fortuitously referred to Jerusalem, this was given extra emphasis. no politics or should i say no contrary politics was mentioned.

      friday night i ate at my half uncle, who hosted the cousins' gathering two nights before. my half uncle is a year and a half younger than me and his eldest son and his family were the other featured guests. I got it into my head to explain to my uncle's son about my politics and told him about the Democratic convention in Chicago 1968, the week of my bar mitzvah. my uncle's parents moved to Israel when he was not yet 13 and he is thus ambidextrous in hebrew and english and he married an israeli woman. my uncle's politics are decidedly to the left of the primary thrust of the religious nationalist camp. but he teaches at a school in the territories and most of his kids are currently studying, teaching or living in the territories. (the most neutral term to refer to the west bank is to call them the territories rather than the west bank or judea and samaria.)
      my uncle's wife (whose politics is decidedly to the right of my uncle's) commented at one of the meals i ate at their house that she liked when i came over, because my presence causes her husband to reveal his right wing attitudes on certain issues (particularly he feels that the demand that the palestinians recognize the Jewish nature of Israel is natural).

      my uncle's daughter in law was present that friday night. Her father was one of the founders of one of the major settlements in the territories, ofra. and her grandfather was killed in a terrorist attack in the 2nd intifada, so my uncle explained why he resisted talking about politics as much as he would have preferred.

  • Israeli ambassador says he admires and envies Palestinians for keeping refugee issue alive
    • I don't care that the Palestinians don't recognize the jewish rights in the region. just get them to sign a contract of peace. either that or give them the vote. all of this: "there will never be peace until the Palestinians recognize our rights" is just a way of saying, there will never be a peace contract and we will not give the Palestinians the right to vote.

  • No anti-Zionists allowed on Hadassah panel exploring 'tension' between feminism and Zionism
    • yonifalic- it is true that when i say, "ani yehudi", my shoulders get straighter and broader. but when i say "ich bin a yid", i slouch and i feel meeker. but i prefer both to the word, jew.

    • rather than retread, let me proceed. (to entangle the entire area).
      so they offered it for 50, but i jewed them down to 35.
      fagin, the jew.
      don't be such a jew.
      so i was subbing in a class of 6th graders and this kid asks, "what culture are you?" and i answered, "jew", and the word felt like a spit.
      queer people call themselves queer as a type of defiance.
      call me whatever you want, just pay me on time.
      when you shorten someone's name it's an iffy thing. when you mispronounce someone's name, it's an iffy thing.
      jew comes from judean. yehuda was the fourth son of leah and she thanked god and the root word of thank you, is toda, and the only letter in there that is a foundation of the root word is the d.
      the germans called us jude and threw us in the ovens.
      the russians called us zhid.
      so the "d" is no guarantee to good treatment.
      but the "d" is of the root of the word and depriving whatever translation of yehudi you come up with and deleting the "d" is like turning the word into something without any of the original content.
      you've never heard a jew hater riff on jewish, on the ish part of jewish?
      in europe in the language of my grandfathers we were yidden. in hebrew "ani yehudi". i really don't like the word jew, but i use it out of habit and convenience.

    • if you knew a person named susan and she said, i hate when people call me sue, you'd go to her and say, c'mon, sue, it's a great name. you should love it.

    • annie- you are being obnoxious, you know you are being obnoxious. you are pretending that you are not being obnoxious.

    • i would venture to guess that at least half of american jews do not know where the word "jew" comes from. and the jewish way to refer to a jew.

    • upon careful attention, i see that i posted my words under the words of nada rather than of phil. this was really meant to comment on the phil article, in which the idea of explaining why people support israel was emphasized by the speakers and certainly in my case my support for israel is based upon the specific history of 1881 to 1945 (and the specific aspect of hatred of so called jews), and a specific place: europe.

    • the word jew has a toxic history and using the hebrew word for jews rather than the word others have come up with to call us, is something that i indulge in from time to time.

      malcolm would use the term "so called negro" in order to italicize the word. by using the word yehudim, i am saying, "so called jew".

    • Regarding the past and present and future regarding hatred of yehudim, i feel it is difficult to assess and as yogi berra said, it's difficult to predict particularly about the future.
      the extreme experience of 1939 to 1945 like a bright light that distorts the photograph, so that nothing else can be seen clearly.
      we do not consult the monotheistic biblical text of the hebrews when trying to assess the historic circumstances where hatred of yehudim had particular salience, but a background in the yehudi holidays, customs, languages and texts would be useful to understand the perspective of the people in question.
      obviously, zionism and the pain it has inflicted on palestinians is the primary factor that i have not yet mentioned.
      zionism is certainly the primary current issue for yehudim or jews or world jewry.
      zionism was not born in america, it was born in eastern europe under the czar,(primarily. And then secondarily:) in 19th century central europe where nationalism was on the brink of turning ultra toxic. the great migration from 1880 to 1920 is the founding platform of the seedbed of the garden of american yehudis who have been basically bystanders in the two primary stories of the last 100 years: the shoah and the state. but not bystanders now, in fact lobbyists of a sort. but then this raises the question of : meat in the game or tuchus on tish (ass on table), so it is still bystander, as target of self doubt or as target of enemies.

  • Liberal Zionists think the '67 occupation is all about them
    • Nada Elia, You seem to be saying that the nakba is the abc of it and the occupation is the xyz of it, so might as well deal with the basics, or if not deal, meaning a term of action, then deal, meaning a term of emotional digestion.
      currently the antizionists among the jews are few and far between and largely alienated from most things "jewish" and thus the discussion is mostly between zionists and zionists and you seem to wonder why this is. or not wonder but express irritation.
      in the last 140 years the following have been the main stories of the jewish people: large scale migration from eastern europe: the ellis island contingent creating a jewish reality: american jewishness/judaism that barely was dreamed of in 1880. the shoah. the establishment of israel. it is simplistic to view the establishment of israel as some kind of cure for the shoah, but simplistic or not, this cause and effect relationship exists in many jewish minds.
      these are just some thoughts, not a complete answer. obviously there is no answer from your angle, as in: harm was done to us, this harm must be undone. i hear you. nonetheless i hope my thoughts are not misplaced.

  • The '67 War called Tony Judt to Israel -- where he found an 'anachronism' he 'intensely disliked'
    • citizen- I doubt anything i would say would influence any antizionist to change their opinion regarding Israel. I included the incomplete story aspect, because there might be some nonzionists or zionists who also read this page.

      but to you, let me just add: write it with a ball point pen, dude.

    • mhughes- just watched christopher hitchens on the word christendom and he declares that the term christendom stopped being used in the aftermath of world war I, that the fact that the war was fought between christian countries put an end to the use of the term christendom as it implies a type of unity that ceased to exist during the fighting of the war.

      world war II obviously had other causes and effects besides hitler's desire to exterminate the jews, but any discussion of the war that does not include the fact that before the war the predominant world jewish community was european and after the war, most of that community was dead, neglects the jewish perspective of the war.

    • Good thinker, good writer, Tony Judt. Knows history: "uncomfortable blend of left Russian utopianism with central european liberalism."

      I agree that the attitude of Israeli militarism that Judt encountered in 67, was very contrary to the attitudes of British (and American) Jews of liberal persuasion of college age.

      I view Israel's creation as a consequence of the tumult in europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. With the great migration out of the Czarist empire, and in the modernization of secularized rationalist thinking, with the background of religious history between Jews and Christendom, the idea of Jewish independence in the homeland was a natural thought pattern and though the numbers were pale in comparison to the totality of the great migration, the ideology seemed to be justified by the climax of the friction between Christendom and Judaism/Jewish peoples, aka WWII.

      Judt seems to say that Israel is stuck in a mindset of 1945.

      There are many truths in what he writes, but I don't think it is a complete story. But I agree with him that serious rather than superficial Jewish thought on the topic of the Zionist versus Palestinian conflict will yield reactions that will not harmonize with a go along get along attitude.

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