Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3976 (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 3976 - 3901

  • Mass Dems move to kill anti-settlement resolution, amid fears of BDS and 'exodus from party'
    • 1. Recognition by league of nations and United nations.
      2. When one makes a claim, there is an internal aspect. We love jerusalem. We claim jerusalem. I realize you want me to back up this claim. It is necessary in your eyes. But to me that is merely practical. ( to me it need not be exclusive. Hardly. Jerusalem without the Palestinians is not jerusalem. But it is also mine.)
      3. We claim the land by the history that has brought us to this point in time.
      Jerusalem predates judaism. But judaism predates islam and it is effrontery for people who claim to follow Muhammad to speak disrespectfully of judaism. ( specifically the Jewish connection to jerusalem and accepting Jewish converts to be part of the moses covenant and all that entails, which includes a connection with the land.)

  • Trump and the ever expanding Israeli occupation of Palestine
    • Rashers- never is a long time. Within the next six thousand years I predict there will be a building on the temple mount devoted to Jewish prayer.

  • Why I'm keeping my child home from school in Israel on Holocaust Day
    • Senesh's mother testified that kastner did not help hannah once she was captured. She never implied that kastner betrayed her leading to her capture.

    • Mr Shenfield , if you have proof of kastner betraying senesh, or a source for such an accusation, please present it. Otherwise you're out to lunch.

    • Magh- yes. Zionism, particularly yom hashoah one week before independence day, views the abyss as preparation for israel. I reject this as quite unhealthy, but in fact there is no answer to the abyss. To a god believer like I was the abyss was/is a black hole that sucks up all energy and israel even if as innocent as suburban Philip roth goodbye Columbus judaism, which it's not, still wouldn't answer the abyss.
      But I am alienated from judaism and do not know how judaism can deal with the abyss. I don't know how Zionists can avoid a narrative of destruction and Phoenix rising from the ashes. Creating stories and meanings and construing history as written for your benefit as you live everything up til now is so that everything will flow the right way after now, that's called myth making and that's what makes the world go round.
      The crisis of America is partially a lack of myths or disparate nonharmonious myths. But the permanent crisis of israel requires myths. I used to believe in the myth of peace, that peace would come in my time and from that peace all peace would be born. That myth seems a mockery.

    • Before a discussion please fess up that hannah senesh contradicts your previous assertion.

    • Magh, Zionists did not do enough. Not nearly enough. But look up hannah senesh, if you wish to compare your utterances with the facts.

    • Mr Shenfield, what number of those on the kastner train fit your description? I think you are repeating propaganda without real facts in front of you. Or behind you. Or near you. Ben hecht was no historian. Read yehuda Bauer if you want a historian's report.

  • Trump and Pence had a Jewish connection before a political one -- and it's steeped in the Holocaust
  • 'Why do I not cry out for the right of return?' -- an exchange between Uri Avnery and Salman Abu Sitta
    • Walter Abish in "Double Vision" reported the usage of the term by Viennese to describe the jews who returned (alive!) after the war. Gasofen Tachinierer.

    • John O.- Eva posted something disgusting and I was reacting to her post, which has since been removed. I do not blame the poles for their passiveness, but was reacting to Eva blaming the jews for their passivity.

    • How many nazis were killed by Polish resistance between Nov 1939 and April 1943? A few dozen? A few hundred? Certainly nearer to zero than to significance.
      When it suits Eva, the poles were victims, but when it doesn't suit her the poles were valiant and the jews were the only ones who went like lambs to the slaughter. The poles knew how to kill. Once the nazis were gone, they killed the jews who came home, the gas shirkers.

      To understand Jewish disgust with the Polish homeland read and reread eva's garbage.

  • The bulldozers of Shavuot, 1967
    • Roha- with the perspective of history the primary danger to jews was eliminated with the defeat of the nazis. Until that point the overriding concern needed to be to strengthen the Jewish independence in the land. Attacks on civilians, of course, must be condemned, but all acts oriented towards Jewish independence, including attacks on the British and including oblivious ness to Palestinian notions of fairness are acceptable, because the overriding danger to the jews required tunnel vision.

      Politics is the attempt to create a modus Vivendi between the Palestinians and the Zionist jews. Such an agreement will weigh claims based upon reality and practicality, which will take into account might alongside with right.

    • Eljay- I hereby give my proxy vote regarding rights of return and future immigration policy to amira hass. Satisfied now?
      I still assert the validity of the Zionist movement up until may 8, 1945 and thus accept responsibility for the cause and effect up until today.
      Politics is important. More important than morality?
      In my vision I am on the Jordanian side of the Allenby bridge and the crowds of excited people, Palestinians are rushing across to the other side. And because I am with them, they invite me to come with them. And I refuse. They are running towards conflict and violence and I don't want to go there. I walk away from the crowd.

    • M Hughes- as a rule your participation is an addition. Let all the hecklers and supporters of Anne Frank denial ism speak in the name of morality. It's a good cause and even a stopped clock has a right to be right twice a day.

      Certainly the flingers of words are best off pursuing ultimate fairness and applying their visions of a better world to any issue at hand.

      Wouldn't it be great if the minds of all israeli jews were replaced tomorrow by the minds of avrum Burg peter beinart, yossi beilin, uri avnery and yeshayahu leibowitz. Sure they would not go far enough to satisfy the moralists who see a blank slate and seek blank slate justice, but they'd go far enough for me. If I am with them and thus labeled a hypocrite by say, cornel west, I'll live with it. (Although west strikes me as realist enough to reach a peace with the above mentioned.)
      The problem or shall I say the different dynamic arises when bibi is in charge and the avrum Burg peace plan is as distant as it is. Then the floor gets slippery.
      The Palestinians got and are getting a raw deal. I understand why one might desire to press reset and declare some laboratory perfect government and with a magic wand declare it the new rule. I think such thoughts are useful particularly when more useful thoughts (avrum burg) are treated as disposable.
      But less perfect solutions in fact might fit the reality better than perfect solutions.
      And excuse me for being short with the idiots who want to tell me what a jew is or isn't. They can say what morality dictates, but then when they tell me who I am and who I am not, i toss them into a pile with the Anne Frank denialists and call them sewer denizens.

    • I really don't reject morality. But the miscreants here who preach morality are so full of crap that I react to the environment.

      The advent of zionism was a body blow against the Palestinians. And it is the Palestinians I owe and not the sewer crawlers of mondoweiss comments.

      BG had tunnel vision and accomplished something quite real. But one cannot imagine a self respecting Palestinian not hissing and booing BG when he comes on the stage.

      Is it possible for palestinians and yehudim to work together in the land. I believe it is. But currently that is not the primary fact, which is an utter disdain by most jewish nationalists for Palestinian political respect.

      I believe the development of zionism was natural and organic to Jewish history and the tumult of Europe 1881 to 1945 naturally had a nationalist reaction expressed by the Jewish people.

      Thus for me there is a clash between two natural forces: Jewish nationalism and Palestinian nationalism. Questions about morality are interesting, but historical dynamics are quite real and there is a singular lack of seriousness here regarding a historical dynamic. Yes it is relevant to label zionism as analogous to x, y or z but as amateur historians it is of equal importance , at least, to realize that BG and the movement reacted to something real and created something real.

      In 200 years somehow the conflict will fade in comparison to the common future that yehudim and Arabic speakers will have in common.

      But to return to the present tense.

      The reality is that since 2008 thousands of palestinians have been killed by jews flying the flag of Jewish nationalism. When rabin was prime minister I had hope that there was an attempt to forge a future together with the Palestinians, but from here that looks like a mirage.

    • Actually I would prefer that the Jewish people ( or however you describe that term so as to remove the national or ethnic connotations) should not focus on the western wall, which is just a retaining wall and stake its claim on the temple mount itself. no bulldozers, just throngs of people. but that is not where the jewish people are or where the islamic or palestinian people are, so once i stop imagining i rehash the facts.
      fact: the jews evolved in various parts of the world where the talmud and rabbinic authority represented their spiritual/temporal interests with varying degrees of success. when the industrial revolution catapulted europe into the modern age, leaving the middle eastern people behind in the dust, the jews were adequately placed to play a prominent role in the evolving information urban society. Unfortunately vast numbers of Jews were located under the rule of the czar, and russia although european was (is?) essentially backward and the inability of the czar to digest the jews (as jews) reacted instead with animus towards the jews, this led to massive instability with three manifestations: emigration, socialism/anti czarism and zionism. zionism was the least of the three (at least until february 1917) and had it not been for the fact that britain thought it might continue to rule the world and zionism might help them in this plan, the balfour declaration wouldn't have happened. and the league of nations gave the mandate for palestine to the brits, with explicit mention of the jewish homeland (and explicit limits on the consequences of this homeland) and then when the post war era saw the eruption of polish independence overlapping with polish antisemitism and this coinciding with the limitations placed on immigration to more desirable destinations, the population of jews in palestine went from 85,000 in 1920 to 170,000 in 1929 and then with the advent of hitler the jewish population went to 400,000. Once we (the jews) achieved that level of population it was a long shot that anyone could have stopped zionism.
      now, i can chant om from here to tomorrow but it won't change the fact that jewish nationalism as a reaction to the hitler disaster was inevitable. and thus my assertion that israel should have bulldozed the neighborhood after a suitable municipal eminent domain is totally related to politics, reality, this world and not utopia.
      morality is for you white people whose grandparents died in bed. i'll take reality any day.

    • I would have preferred avoiding the 67 war. Eshkol's weakness as a leader caused him to hand over the reins of govt. to the generals. That was a sad day.
      I think a judicial process of eviction from the mughrabi neighborhood a la moses, Robert moses, would have been better. The Jewish people have a religious gathering place and that is the kotel, occupied or not, whatever, that is the focus of the books. The place god chose. The porous ness of Jewish identity with converts khazars or whatever, that's beside the point. There is a Jewish religion with fractures, but mainstream judaism places an emphasis on jerusalem and for generations moving physically to jerusalem was a distant thought and now it's not, so the dynamic changed.

      I think we are distant from a world of peace and thus talk of god near the word war sounds blasphemous when one idealizes god as preferring peace, love and understanding rather than the natural tumult confusion and indeed violence quite natural to the human species. But positing a loving God I concede that talk of god and war in the same sentence is a profanity.
      But I cannot reverse the course of history.
      God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. God grant me the courage to change the things I can. And God grant me the wisdom to know the difference.
      Among the things billy pilgrim could not change were the past present and future.

    • I wasn't yet 12 when the 67 crisis occurred, culminating in the 6 day war. Though I had cousins in israel I had never met them. But I attended a religious Zionist summer camp in 64, 65 and 66. I knew the words to hatikva and Yad l'achim, the bnei akiva youth movement anthem.

      Ben Gurion (in the run up to the war) scolded rabin for the attack on jordan the previous november.

      One cannot say that Ben Gurion alone established the state, but his is certainly the essential personality for understanding the form israel took. ( I read somewhere that BG demanded an i.d. card or t.z. card without Arabic on it and though all other Israelis had Arabic on their teudat zehut, BG did not.) I wonder if sharett had been stronger if he might have guided israel to a compromise with nasser instead of the 56 war.

      If religion x had been a religion of billions returning home in full belief of their religion and conquered the temple mount, the mosques would have been bulldozed.

      But judaism is a religion of millions and not billions and the belief system of moshe dayan, who was the de facto leader of israel at the time, was not a belief in torah, but a belief in the new hebrew man of action, so instead of bulldozing the mosques, the neighborhood by the wall was bulldozed. A type of conquering not as obtrusive as my hypothetical bulldozing of the mosques.

      When I posit an alternate history of no 6 day war, my Zionist friend is appalled at the thought of jerusalem not in our hands.

      When I visit the wall to pray or contemplate, or near the wall to tickle my brain with the heady view of past and present, I am hyper conscious of the occupation and what it entails in the current tense. But I do not dwell on the destruction of homes in the mughrabi quarter. I cannot go back to moshe dayan in his crib and teach him a different ethos. Soldiers conquered jerusalem. Thank God they were wise enough not to bulldoze the mosques. But they behaved like conquering soldiers regarding mughrabi, because that's what they were.

      The perpetuation of the occupation in the west bank, specifically a settler occupation that gives no vote to the people of the west bank is partially a result of the conquering soldier theme not realizing that it is a theme with limits. (It is also the result of people less secular than dayan and their ideas which complicate a military occupation with the settler occupation.)

  • I am not a jew
  • Israel will celebrate 50th anniversary of '67 war in -- an illegal settlement!
    • Never heard Gilo referred to as part of Gush etzion, always heard of it referred to as East Jerusalem. Would appreciate some source for this questionable classification.

  • Bret Stephens's greatest hits
  • The false piety over Spicer's Holocaust mistake
    • As if Sean Spicer's historical ignorance of 1939 to 1945 is explainable by his deep or impressive knowledge regarding some other period or atrocity.

  • Why prominent Israeli journalist Larry Derfner rejected liberal Zionism in October 2008
    • I was surprised to find out that derfner's aliya was more happenstance than ideology.

      I became disenchanted with Israeli policy during cast lead and derfner at the time explained that lebanon war of 06 made sense ( because lebanon is an independent country) in a way that gaza 08-09 was different because gaza is not independent.

      His advocacy of bds is glaring. I take comfort from his assertion that he would not attend a bds demonstration, because the bds movement's goals and rhetoric are not his.

    • Mooser acts juvenile and/or obnoxious between 40 to 75% of the time. How to deal with him? Best to ignore him. Two years ago I had not arrived at this conclusion.

  • Passover has become little more than an act of communal hypocrisy
    • Roha- despite your tone, you raise some interesting issues.
      I think you are confusing pursuit of the ideal with the world we inhabit. The perspective of society at large towards smaller groups/ separate societies that have coexisted in proximity but with distance, is a phenomenon with historical precedent plus historical cause and effect. It is good to posit a society with full participation. It is relevant to notice that other trends exist in humanity in history in fact.

      Is the hermit immoral? Are the Amish immoral? Are the Maori immoral?

    • Jon S- on the topic of practices versus beliefs, I'll begin by quoting, "he who does the deed, but not in the name, will come to do in the name" (mi'toch she'lo lishma, ba lishma). Thus it is deeds accompanied by belief that is the ultimate goal, and practice without beliefs is incomplete but on the road to the ultimate goal.
      Since I quote y. Leibowitz on the topics of zionism (in favor) and the occupation (extremely opposed) I will mention him here as he emphasizes, almost to the point of exclusion, the deeds over the beliefs.
      Since the commandment here is one of eating matzo and bitter herbs on the night of the 15 th of nissan, if one by chance buys matzo and romaine lettuce and eats them to satisfy one's hunger it seems obvious that the person is not fulfilling the command. If one eats these foods because God commanded it, then one does fulfill it to the max. If one eats them because it is the Jewish thing to do, because one wishes to be part of the chain of history from the past and part of the chain to the (posited) future, I think it is great and highly worthy. I think that the Jewish future is an important wager, particularly given our recent survival at the attempt to wipe us out, I feel a clear headed assessment of "which way, judaism?" is nigh impossible at this moment of history and thus continuity for continuity sake is worthwhile, so as to hand-off the decision of continuity to the future when a clear headed decision will be nearer to possible. If society at large were headed towards a better world , then if one lacked belief, one might see sense in discarding tradition. But in fact humanity and society's future is hardly assured and thus tossing away tradition seems not only cruel and callous, but foolish. The tradition of matzo should not be discarded. It has been of use. It may be of use in the future. And it is those with animus towards the Jewish past present and possible future who advocate tossing it out.

      The primary Jewish issue of the day is Israel's survival and the moral dangers involved in the military/settler occupations of the west bank, East Jerusalem and the impending violence against gaza. I accept Robert cohen's frustration with the ability of jews to compartmentalize Jewish survival through deeds both military and culinary from the suffering of palestinians. But I dismiss his conclusion. Jews need to eat matzo on the 15th of nissan to keep the light of the torch continuing from year to year from generation to generation from century to century. Tossing out these traditions would be foolhardy, no matter the source of these traditions nor our current compartmentalization.
      If a clock is broken, as in, it is slow or fast (rather than stopped), you keep winding the clock, (partly because a little arithmetic and other clocks might make this clock useful in the short range, but mostly) because if the clock keeps moving , when the watchmaker/repairman arrives to fix it, if you kept winding it, the gears will be intact and the clock may be fixable. But if you don't wind it, it will be useless for the future.
      Khag sameakh (yivo approved spelling).

    • Roha- my education has been paltry and maybe I don't know your definition of morality. Where I come from there's "Do unto others as you'd have done unto you." Maintaining a separate society does not inherently offend anyone if laws are obeyed.

      Mooser- in fact politically the separatism implied in some religious Jewish practice will end up causing friction. This is an important political consideration. I do not consider it a moral consideration.

      Regarding my quote regarding rebellion against judaism as a form of antisemitism, I will not parse my words, but will react to the topic anew. Many jews go through phases of rejecting the religion of their parents in seeking autonomy and a separate identity. In many societies maintaining Jewish identity is a struggle for jews that requires some degree of stubbornness and when one casts off the holidays that will result in discontinuity. The attempt or wish to see some continuity to the Jewish enterprise can be seen as pro Jewish and apathy or animus towards that continuity can be seen as anti Jewish. Each jew when he/she chooses a path of conformity with tradition or instead chooses apathy towards tradition is choosing a direction. Human choices cannot be depicted purely by a set of vectors, but sometimes it simplifies matters to do so.

      There are many ways to express jewishness and so a vector that eats bacon and bread on the seder night may coincide with a personality that relishes studying and teaching torah or that combines a search for justice with a love of certain verses from amos, jeremiah and isaiah, and so there is a continuity lying beneath that contradicts the bacon and bread of the seder night. Nonetheless, the content of the frame of the shot of munching on that sandwich rather than matzo seemingly presents a vector opposed to Jewish continuity.

    • Roha- "an immoral rejection of the community you live in" bespeaks a conformism that may be innocent, but probably not. Jews are allowed to keep the torah because their parents did or because they think "Jewish continuity" is a value. If the surrounding community feels rejected, that's their problem. Nothing immoral here. Maybe not utopian, but what's immoral here.

  • Hey Jews, don't talk about Israel on Passover -- 'New York Times'
    • A complete thought piece on Jewishness, Judaism and Passover at this time of year, in 2017, would certainly include comments on Israel Palestine. to omit such comments would be like talking about the civil rights movement and omitting the book of Exodus (not the one by Leon Uris).
      JJ Goldberg had/has a piece in the Forward about the two different Haggada's and thus the two different seders that exist in Jewish homes in America- the traditional Haggada and the liberation theology haggada that universalizes Exodus rather than focuses on nationality like the traditional haggada. that the nyt times publishes rosner's response to jj goldberg is in the purview of mondoweiss as helicopter critic/heckler of the nyt times, but is really not my concern.
      i feel that israel is the jewish issue of our day. and i consider this day as having begun on may 1st, 1945 rather than on may 15, 1948. the end of the european war and the revelation of the depth of the slaughter experienced by the jewish european civilization was the dawn of a new era in Judaism and Jewishness. (Certainly true for Ashkenazi Jewry, but relevant nonetheless to all Jewries.) Belief in God after Auschwitz had different implications, or so wrote Judaism's centrist teachers.
      Zionism as the enemy of the Palestinians is Zionism that views the cause of the Palestinians (for political dignity) as dismissible. Zionism was born in the midst of some ugly zeitgeists that included some virulent brands of nationalism and brutal (evil) brands of colonialism.
      Nazism was not the logical end of nationalism, but it was the historic culmination of a period of particularly virulent nationalism and thus for those of us whose emotions taint our thoughts, Nazism is considered the epitome of nationalism.
      There was a Jewish population explosion in the 19th century, this is a fact that is not often mentioned.
      The quietist attitude of waiting for Messiah was busted by the Shabtai Zevi movement. on the religious side quietism resumed with the Hasidic movement replacing Zion with the rebbe and Jerusalem with the rabbi's table.
      There may have been an element of Judaism that could not survive modernity. A nation that wanders (and changes at various times through conversions, that is new recruits) and evolves, but defines itself by religion cannot survive Voltaire. The enlightenment in its purest sense is against the nationalism of the Jews for their nationalism was expressed in a religion.
      The haggada is a very very zionist non quietist text. before the establishment of israel, it could be read in an extremely radical sense: jew, get off your ass and defeat the pharoah and return to jerusalem. that is the natural deep reading of the text.
      now that israel has been established: two dynamics come into play: 1. rooting for the underdog from a universal point of view requires focusing on people other than jews. (leftist universalist communist socialist jews tended in this direction even at a time when the oppression of jews was a competing possible concern. but the birth of israel changed the oppression of jews dynamic that existed from 1881 to 1945 (plus stalin), so i think the birth of israel is important here.) and 2. jews with power oppressed the palestinians, so rooting for freedom becomes rooting against a jewish power dynamic.
      i write the words jewish power and right away am cognizant of the denizens of this comment section who dote on anne frank and jewish power means something substantial to them as the power in the world that needs to be defeated.
      i write the words jewish power cognizant of the jews as opinion makers and a powerful cultural force in america. i write in an america that is less sturdy in my eyes today after having elected trump, in an america unsure of itself, not at peace with itself. i write worried about american nationalism in a way that i was not worried two years ago. i write worried that american unity (or domestic tranquility) will not last to the end of this century.
      but my focus is jewish power and jewish power is not a problem in america today except vis a vis support of Israel, which i feel is exaggerated and not reflective of reality. in fact the middle east is a mess and since we have no laboratory of an alternate universe it is impossible to tell what role the establishment of israel has played in the political history of the middle east, but we can say that it is a mess. but the lopsided support for israel in congress has been a result of campaign contributions, that is to say that it has corrupted democracy rather than abetted democracy and this is a problem.
      one of the goals of peace (although it feels so far off that it's ridiculous to think about) is reconciliation and regarding the nakba the distance from true reconciliation is quite distant. I sense that israel is not about to disappear, the israeli flag will fly over the knesset or certainly over tel aviv for quite some time to come. this one state solution illusion is useful on many levels: thought and forcing the israeli jews to face facts, but still it is the occupation that is the cause of the moment in my mind.
      did many jews replace the haggada with a reading of the UN report like robert cohen advocated, last night in their seder. I certainly hope not. were there political words at some seder tables. i hope so. were there political biting of tongues at many tables. i'm sure.

    • Shmuel Rosner is a right wing zionist. Leon Wieseltier is a left wing zionist. Journalists know how to differentiate. Competent journalists know how to differentiate.

  • Trump makes war, and everyone swoons
    • Why would assad use sarin gas? This is not clear. I assume it is true. Thus there is a lineup of evil players, whom do I hate worst? 1. Isis, of the list of players it is the newest, least predictable, most clearly aligned with wreaking havoc on Western cities. 2. Assad. I don't like that guy. I don't memorize his misdeeds or his father's misdeeds, but video of the casbah in Damascus always showed the most fear I've seen in people videotaped around the world. 3. Iran, because of its recent nuclear deal, because of the imams, it has to come next. 4. Putin- the take charge attitude is neutral, could be used for good, could be used for evil. Putin strikes me as evil. But I confess regarding mother russia that history might be slanting my attitude more than the facts. I don't have brzezinski's brains nor facts and years of study to specify where russia is today and how mother russia fits into the future. All I have is enough facts to sense evil and to fear it.
      Which brings us to the US and its current president. Since 1941 the US has had a leadership role in the world. Advocacy of stepping back from that role was popular in the trump camp and was embodied by Obama's policy towards syria creating the vacuum filled by putin. To sum up the role of the US in the world I'd say the American public ( and other publics as well) are tired of the policeman's role, yet the pushy putin and Chinese broad shoulders do not hint at a better future resulting from the diminished US role.
      To the character of trump and the constitutional role of Congress in declaring war, these are interesting questions. The lack of a strategy is glaring.
      Is a divided syria the best outcome? I don't know. Assad turns my stomach and isis is probably worse, so it's difficult to try to imagine Syria's future and envision good scenarios.
      Of course I haven't yet mentioned bibi and israel. A cease fire between syria and israel has been the rule since 74, (except for a day or so in82). Lebanon is a different story, and has been the point of friction. Whereas my opposition to the settler nature of the occupation of the west bank is easy, trying to figure out precisely what policy regarding syria and lebanon is the wisest requires more study and I would accede to the wisdom of amos harel and Zvi barel of haaretz.

  • IfNotNow is promising, but not without its problems. Here’s how it can improve.
    • if you want a true discussion of if not now, on the level of rhetoric, then go to their web site and we'll go through their "about us" paragraph by paragraph and word for word.

      it feels to me that there are already groups that fit your needs: as in jvp is kosher to you and if not now is elusive to you and you wish to pigeon hole it.

      i'm not an organization man, so i don't know about subcommittees and intergroup dialogue, that's not my thing and i can't comment about how an organization evolves.

      the young zionists or nonzionists or antizionists, but seemingly quite conscious of jewish identity, that make up "if not now" i'm sure have a variety of opinions of what the future should look like or might possibly look like.

      larry derfner just wrote a book that describes a specific attitude towards the future, entailing a new attitude towards right of return that i'm sure does not satisfy the pro palestine community as represented in this web site. is he orientalist. i think trying to paint an organization like ifnotnow with the orientalist slur is really suffocating the baby in the cradle and makes me think of the dylan line (or paraphrase) everybody wants me to be just like them and i just get bored.

      ifnotnow is not jvp. its purpose is not to duplicate jvp. it has its own guidance system that somehow eludes you and you demand for it to be just like you want it to be.

    • diaspora- you have a specific cure in mind for the conflict. maybe half of if not now agrees with your cure and another half doesn't. why would an organization in its infancy seek to splinter itself? and those who agree with your cure already have groups designed to express their vision, why would they need a new group if there are already groups designed to your vision.

    • family x has a dispute with family y. subset of family x feels that family x has treated family y unfairly. they call a family meeting and voice their objections.

      family y says, why weren't we invited to the family meeting.

      end of analogy.

      if the phrase orientalism doesn't come to mind in describing the above analogy, why would the phrase come into this at all.

    • I am a fellow traveler of "if not now" and this plea for alliance and or specificity is precisely what I hope INN ignores in order to maintain a big tent of Jews. The very evocation of the hillel the elder triad from mishne Avot in the name of the organization indicates their seriousness and focus and the organization should not get more specific, it should focus on the occupation exclusively. Building alliances like you are suggesting are of a logic designed to change their focus and make them a smaller splinter group. Exactly wrong.

  • New book by Larry Derfner, the American-turned-Israeli journalist, crushes liberal Zionism
    • Watch the hour interview with derfner for the release of his book. He is very specific regarding his views about a Jewish state. No need to parse his words, he is quite clear.

  • The Jewish revolution
    • I don't know about "winning the argument", but I will say this from my perspective. "If Not Now" seems very oriented towards the Jewish community. JVP, not so much.

  • The rabbi's daughter isn't buying AIPAC's defense of Israel on apartheid charge
    • Israel militarily occupied southern lebanon from 1982 til 2000. There were never civilians from israel moved into southern lebanon. A military occupation of the west bank is justifiable on security grounds, control of the mountain Ridge overlooking the heavily populated coastal region. (A settler occupation has no such rationale. ) As a matter of law, ( from a nonlawyer's point of view), the military occupation of the west bank was accepted by un resolution 242, since it clearly indicated the need for two requirements: 1. Withdrawal of the israeli army and 2. Recognition between all belligerent states. ( the implication of the need for negotiation was clear to those who composed the resolution . And until such negotiations, the presence of israeli forces in the west bank was implicitly accepted and never once condemned by the unsc. ) the movement of israeli civilians on that territory was continually condemned by the unsc.

    • There are basic problems involved in the mere establishment of israel particularly given the expulsion that accompanied Israel's birth and the "existential necessity" involved in keeping out the heirs of those expelled.

      Nonetheless it is the occupation of the west bank specifically, with a settlement occupation complicating the military occupation, that is the wedge issue between the young of ifnotnow and mainstream older jews.

  • Bearing witness: a review of Alice Rothchild's book 'Condition Critical'
    • American jews as a group before wwII had American interests and Jewish interests. Mexican americans are concerned about immigration issues in a different sense than other Americans. If this is so, then American jews in 1920 also had different interests, thoughts, regarding the severe interruption to open immigration that was put into effect after world War I. The American jews had no power on this issue.

  • Countering Islamophobia means ending the structural silencing of Muslim voices-- including their critique of Israel
    • The US is in danger from the trump presidency and the Republican agenda. How to defeat trump and the republicans is an open question. There are those who say that purist progressivism will win at the polls and there are others that say centrism is where the votes are.

      Israel is not an issue that has many votes hanging on it, although it is a litmus test for two groups- the hard lefter than Bernie left and israel supporters in the opposite direction.

      There is no question that the defeat of ellison was due to his stance on israel, too far right for mondoweiss, but certainly too far left for most mainstream supporters of israel. (His vote regarding iron dome puts him out of line for mainstream israel supporters.)

      I myself have two added comments regarding ellison: 1. I respect the left wing jews of Minnesota who have built a relationship with ellison over the years and in general give him the benefit of the doubt based on their testimony. 2. Ellison is a politician, a talented one. But before he decided upon elected office he hung around with farrakhan and the nation of islam much too long. And his loose lips regarding 9/11 and the reichstag fire, I don't remember precisely, but I do recall loose lips, street corner rabble rouser rhetoric a little too easy off his tongue.

      But I don't think my specific objections really matter. Israel supporters defeated ellison. He was a useful middleman to negotiate a platform deal with the hillary faction, but if I were a mainstream israel supporter i would have opposed him too.

      The future of the Democratic party seems to be anti israel. And those who are pro israel are not going to let go of the party's platform so easily.

  • 'Destruction of Israel' is its abandonment by American Jews, in novelist's imagining
    • The book is about assimilation. The son who doesn't want a bar mitzvah, who wants to declare his resignation from the chosen nation and declare himself a member of the United nations. The descent from holocaust survivor to neoconservative son, to reluctantly loyal jew, to virtual jew and ultimately to no longer jew. That is the trajectory of the story. The obnoxious ness of the israeli cousin would have been more effective, if the israeli cousin had been more believable. It was a weak character. As was the wife. Poorly drawn. By the way, the wife's second marriage after the divorce is to an astrophysicist. This is Foer's joke. This means a member of the universe or a nonjew.

  • No room for Zionism in any movement for justice
    • Mhughes- Because of the Balfour declaration and the British mandate granted by the league of nations, British Zionism is an important historical factor, but from a Jewish point of view, I do not think that "a nation without a land and a land without a nation" played a real role in the Zionism, only in the sale of Zionism to outsiders. Daniel Deronda and such is significant in British (nonJewish) Zionism, but not significant to the masses in Eastern Europe.

      I am not sure how large an influence he had, but Pinsker's "Auto emancipation" of 1881 is cited by most Jewish historians and the earliest pioneers were called Hovevei Zion and came from Eastern Europe. The first Zionist Congress gathered in Basel in 1897 under the organizing eye of Herzl and inspired by Herzl's writings.

      The great numbers (not as large as the numbers who headed to America, but greater than numbers of any other Zionist pioneers) of Zionists who headed to Palestine between 1881 and 1914 came from Eastern Europe. The history of the Jews under the realm of the Czar is far more relevant to the Jewish movement than a motto from the 1840's.

    • The price paid by the Palestinians until this very day reveals the cruelty involved in the thrust of the Zionist vector. Given the crisis facing jews under the rule of the czar and facing jews in middle European societies that were traditionally anti Jewish and awakening to the nationalist movements which almost always viewed the jew as other, facing such a crisis without flinching, even over a century after the fact, I feel the crisis and see no single answer. The overwhelming flow was to America and a type of restart. But this was not an answer that paid off for everyone. Eventually the US went through an anti immigrant phase and this solution shriveled to a pittance. The existence of zionism, with its admittedly singular focus, was what provided refuge for hundreds of thousands. Consciousness of the needs of the wider group is good. Oblivious ness to the "other" is evil. To ignore the history of 1881 to 1945 is also a form of oblivious ness.

    • No supporter of assad's syria has any right to participate in a progressive movement. How does that sound? Kind of stupid in fact.

      I'm not about to join any march or any movement, so it's really not my battle. Attacking trump specifically is a priority now, specifically because of his Republican agenda, specifically because of his xenophobia and specifically because of his dangerous personality, a personality that will test our Constitution and our democracy.

      Rip down all hate. I hear you. But you only have to read the comments section here to appreciate that the bds movement (or at least many of its advocates) do not ground their thinking in respect of history and human nature. Israel did not pop up out of a desire for raw materials but out of the human need for security and self respect. Yes there was/is an almost inevitable clash between the mobilization of a conscious group of jews in the period between the wars, 1918 to 1939, and the indigenous and the clash continues until today and seeking or demanding a fair solution to that clash is reasonable. But please to pretend that the conflict between the Zionists and the indigenous can be resolved while ignoring the core history that led to the creation of israel sounds ignorant and these blanket condemnations and categorizations regarding zionism strike me as ignorant. Strident, absolutist and ignorant.

  • Zionism and feminism are incompatible, leftwing voices say
    • Oldgeezer, maybe you seek to communicate with the moderator and I should not confuse your words as communicating with me.

      I meant specifically that your cryptic message was surmised at, and let's put cryptic talk behind us.

    • I accept the existence of dietary advice. Happy?

      I've been listening a lot to malcolm x recently. Lot of stuff available on youtube, besides of course the essential documentary "Make it Plain". I envy that his post mecca humanism was not at all contradicted by his tribalism. Jewish tribalism which was certainly righteous in 1944 is much less so today.

      The turmoil of the Arab world makes utopians, in a bad sense, out of humanist advocates in israel palestine.

    • Fighting trump comes naturally to most left wing jews. Disowning israel does not. Show that photo of leonard cohen near ariel sharon 50 more times, you think that will win hearts and minds? Do I relish the thought of being on the same side as cornel west? Not really, although it always amuses me to hear academic jargon used for non-academic purposes. But I ain't that far left anymore.
      I don't know how to defeat trump in 2020, nor how to keep enough demo in the Senate in 2018 . The preponderance of white votes for Republican since 1968 is disturbing and indicates a lack of solidity in the American electorate. So these are my worries rather than picking a Palestinian bomber of civilians as hostess of a march. It doesn't bother me. Neither do I think that the left knows how to talk to identity valuing jews.

  • Some Jews support BDS 'from a place of love' for Israel, says AJC official
    • No one imagines the multi ethnic American majority voting white americans off the island. The Arab/Islamic majority might very well vote the jews out of israel.

  • A Palestinian state has always been a fiction for Zionists
    • Shamir, whose picture is featured here, is indeed the embodiment of resistance to withdrawal from the west bank. Is yossi Beilin a zionist? Most assuredly yes. Yet he is in favor of a Palestinian state. But he has never been prime minister nor was his point of view ever nearly popular enough to move the political map or envelope in his direction. Herzog is running for office trying to convince voters that he won't give away the store. In fact most Israeli jews, by a wide margin, would object to beilin's plan.

  • Wave of bomb threats renews charge that anti-Semitism is fueled by BDS
    • Antisemitism was basically dormant since 1945. In the west. Not in Russia and eastern europe, where it erupted at intervals, with antizionist trial of Slansky in Czechoslovakia in the 40's and systemic antisemitism in Poland 1968. *Also the white fight against desegregation in the South (of the US) involved a few bombings of synagogues, for "interloper" Jews were enemies to southern racists, and also the kkk emphasized whiteness but also Christianity. ( Christian identity rather than Christian ethics.)

  • Finders Keepers in the Holy Land: So who was there first?
    • Old geezer- sorry I offended you. You are not noteworthy for obscenity, you consider courtesy a nuisance, but nonetheless your usage of 4 letter words indicates some miscommunication.
      You aren't the only one who commented. A couple people here hate jews and my reaction to them spilled on you.

      I have a college yiddish textbook in my apartment and it devotes a chapter to the myth of the Jewish nose. It is not only racists who have dealt with this subject. Minstrelsy is part of America , its a deep topic and the jewish face or punim is worthy of chapters, but the geniuses here write two half baked sentences and consider the subject closed.

      When someone says, I have a Jewish face, for the mw choir to toss their broken bottles shows the low level here.

      Your conduct as a rule is not hateful towards jews and if I gave that impression I was wrong.

      Oh, yeah. Eat mierde.

    • People who can't say anything positive about jews suddenly the phrase, a Jewish face is forbidden to their sensitive souls. In a word, you're full of hooey and you should get a life. Given that the primary Jewish event of the 20th century focused on ashkenazi jews who were persecuted for racial rather than religious reasons, I consider you a collection of ludicrous idiots, who ought to stop telling jews how to talk about themselves.

    • People who can't say anything positive about jews suddenly the phrase, a Jewish face is forbidden to their sensitive souls. In a word, you're full of hooey and you should get a life. Given that the primary Jewish event of the 20th century focused on ashkenazi jews who were persecuted for racial rather than religious ressons, I consider you a collection of worthless scum.

    • Growing up in primarily ashkenazi jewish milieus, the common phrase, "he looks jewish" or "she doesn't look jewish" is just a part of where and when I grew up. ( I would imagine in a reform congregation today surrounded by converts or children of intermarriage such phrases might be frowned upon, and rightly so, converts should not be ashamed of their choice and highlighting the common roots of jews born as jews, might make them feel like outsiders, which is forbidden by jewish law.) Further jews of color and mizrachi jews have given voice to the false assumptions of the ashkenazi centric mindset revealed in such phrases.

      Nonetheless to pretend that such a concept as a Jewish face does not exist because of these above reasons is frivolous. It is precisely to deny the existence of a Jewish ethnic reality. It is ideological and venomous. The Jewish ethnic reality is fading with time and intermarriage. So it is not permanent. But it existed in a big way in america from 1880 to say 1980 and this game, there is no such thing as a Jewish face is a way of refusing to recognize the existence of a cultural concept. It is historically ignorant ideological and venomous.

    • Growing up in primarily ashkenazi jewish milieus, the common phrase, "he looks jewish" or "she doesn't look jewish" is just a part of where and when I grew up. ( I would imagine in a reform congregation today surrounded by converts or children of intermarriage such phrases might be frowned upon, and rightly so, converts should not be ashamed of their choice and highlighting the common roots of jews born as jews, might make them feel like outsiders, which is forbidden by jewish law.) Further jews of color and mizrachi jews have given voice to the false assumptions of the ashkenazi centric mindset revealed in such phrases.

      Nonetheless to pretend that such a concept as a Jewish face does not exist because of these above reasons is frivolous. It is precisely to deny the existence of a Jewish ethnic reality. It is ideological and venomous. The Jewish ethnic reality is fading with time and intermarriage. So it is not permanent. But it existed in a big way in america from 1880 to say 1980 and this game, there is no such thing as a Jewish face is culturally and historically ignorant ideological and venomous. But don't worry. I read somewhere: Ignorance is Strength! So you and the Donald are on the right track.

    • Amigo- you wish to make a specific point regarding jewishness/judaism as religion. I wish to make a specific point regarding the ethnic discrimination that existed for quite some time in the part of the world that boris comes from. Declaring anyone as unserious because of a different ( but historically accurate) perspective merely demonstrates your deafness to other perspectives. Obtuse ness does not make you serious. It makes you obtuse.

    • Google George s kaufman. Early in his career he was fired because he looked jewish.
      Charlie rose once asked jerzy kozinski about his travails in ww2. Jerzy said, if I looked like you, I wouldn't have had such a tough time hiding. So Google their faces and compare.

    • Amigo, in the relatively recent past under a specific regime, being Jewish was deemed a capital crime and many sought to blend in to society. Those of blonde hair and blue eyes had an easier job of that masquerade.

      Whether mizrachi jews can see a difference between themselves and the nonjews of their respective host countries, I don't know. And certainly since my people lived among blonds rather than in Greece or Italy the specific coloring difference I mentioned was not a universal factor.

  • 'We will not go back' in struggle against racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia -- Bernie Sanders
    • Magh- so short of bds, there is nothing to be done but watch and write anti bibi comments?

      Maybe so. Derfner has a new book coming out. Do you consider him useless?

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