Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 4160 (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 4160 - 4101

  • Israeli women march to 'wage peace' but refuse to challenge the occupation
    • I don't think a peace movement of this sort is useful at this time, in terms of in fact changing the facts on the ground. i think that communication of various and diverse sorts is a good start building the basis of living together and that aspect should not be neglected. (if there will be a peace, these women will help to see it through.) but obviously those who want to see change soon are bound to be frustrated by this.

  • Eli Valley lost work at Jewish paper for savage cartoons of Foxman and Dershowitz (but only the Israeli press cares)
    • Everyone who hates the Forward, meaning opposes any pro Jewish sentiment expressed by the Forward, (pro Jewish- pro continuity), but who love Eli Valley, can be seen with a discerning eye. An acerbic pen that skewers your enemies, of course you're in favor. I wish the American Jewish press was thriving like it was a hundred years ago, but it's not. The Forward is not a profit making newspaper and depends on contributions. I enjoy/disenjoy Valley's cartoons, but recognize him as a unique voice.

  • Trump's speech on Iran deal is an orgy for Israel and its US friends
    • Watching Giraldi is "illuminating". Before getting into it, I have to note my visceral reaction of negativity.

      Clearly Israel has interests and clearly in the case of Iran 2017, it seems that political financial contributions of Israel supporters has slanted trump's position to this point.

      I do not consider Iran innocent. The Iranian revolution was a coercive affair, the Iranian role in the Buenos Aires anti Jewish bombing and the ahmedijinad years with the photo of Khomeini on the wall. No, these are not proofs regarding what would be the next logical military steps in the eyes of the sunni regimes, but clearly it is not paranoia for sunni regimes or Israel to view Iran's regime as a threat. This does not imply endorsement of trump's act, but these are my thoughts after the initial visceral reaction to giraldi and interviewer.

  • The problem with Miko Peled's 'Holocaust: yes or no'
    • Peled's an idiot. Makes it easier to conflate antizionism and antisemitism.

      In this day and age of a president who spouts the phrase "fake news" at the drop of a hat, one would think that devotion to historical truth would be a priority, but apparently not.

      Let's try a few on for size: More European sailors (by percentage) died of disease than Africans brought to America on the Middle Passage. The Tuskegee experiment: fake news. Blacks in America under slavery had a longer life expectancy than blacks who never left Africa. The Armenian genocide was not a genocide, but casualties of a nationalistic uprising. The palestinians were recent immigrants to Palestine. 50% of Palestinians living in Palestine in 1947 were not indigenous but immigrants trying to take advantage of the economic boom introduced by the Zionist movement.

      Let's discuss. Don't be oversensitive.

  • 'A blot on Judaism, Jewish history and ethics' -- British Jews regret the Balfour Declaration
    • This "blot on Jewish history" saved the lives of 100's of 1,000's of Jews, who would have been stuck in Europe when the immigration policies of the west tightened and British Mandate Palestine was one of the few remaining destinations in the 20's and 30's. Stuck in Europe in the early 40's had specific consequences and I cannot read "blot on Jewish history" without offering the fact that it also saved lives.

  • From Greta Gerwig to NYU, Israel has deep reservoir of cultural support in U.S.
    • Keith- talk about disingenuous!

      " It was decided that no Jewish organization would, at this time, sponsor a bill which would in any way alter the immigration laws.”

      You imply that it was Zionism which held back the Jewish organizations. Whereas it was obviously the futility of offering legislation that didn't stand a chance, which held them back!

    • Donald- Why is this implicit Nakba denial? I assume that you think that since the expulsion of Palestinians was much more explicitly violent than the departure of Jews from Arab countries that to equate the two is to deny the level of violence involved in the Nakba. But you should be explicit in your reasoning.

  • In decertifying Iran deal, Trump caves to Israel. But who will say so?
    • I find it difficult to determine what the long range interest of the US is vis a vis Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel, partially because my knowledge is superficial and also because of my particular concern for Israel. But the primary concerns of those who oppose the Iran deal are focused on the sunset clause. It is not clear why it is necessary to "tear up" the deal so early in the life of the deal. If the sunset clause is the problem, why not tear up the deal as the sunset approaches?

    • Whether the Iran deal is good or not for the world is the first question and I follow the Israeli generals who say that it is good.
      The politics here is partially Israeli lobby, but also the vacuousness of the Republican party. It used to be the party of stuffed shirts and Wall Street types, but no longer. It is now the party that really thrills at chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" It is a party that needs a foreign enemy. Conceivably the only enemy the Trump Republicans need would be Mexico and it is only the Israel Lobby that is pushing Iran as an enemy, but it is the Republican party and its need for a foreign enemy that is at the root of the problem.

  • Israeli plan to 'transfer' 300,000 Palestinians to West Bank is new normal -- Zoabi
    • As a two state solution seems out of reach, rather than 'withdrawing' from illegally annexed territories. Instead in the context of the one state reality it becomes withdrawing rights privileges or benefits from noncitizens demoting them from the half step of i.d. cards (hawiye) to the nether world of Palestinian documents.

  • Feel-good Gaza poster in NY window draws feel-bad response from neighbor
    • Keith- I disagree with N. Finkelstein's interpretation of the relative silence of the Jews to the astounding blow that they suffered. (not unique, but surely astounding). The reaction of the Jews between 1945 and 1967 to the Shoah was abnormally quiet. Like after one suffers a blow, one does not scream, but one crumples into a fetal position and attempts to regain one's breath. Another reaction was to disavow Judaism, as in the case of Madeline Albright's parents and billy Joel's mother. This may or may not be normal, but it is self destructive to the group.

      It is interesting to imagine an alternative history of reaction to the Holocaust if there had been no Zionism or if there had been a peace treaty signed between Nasser and Israel in the 50's. So I do not deny that Zionism has played a role in emphasizing the Holocaust, but I consider it natural for Jews to consider the European diaspora to be a disaster, despite the lag time between the blow and the natural reaction to the astounding loss.

    • Once one labels "Fiddler on the Roof" as not just myth history, but Zionist myth history, then one has taken the step of calling everything one finds objectionable about Judaism or Jewishness as Zionism.

      Zionism, particularly as referred to here at mw, meaning objectionable Zionism, is about the attachment of the Jews to a particularly land and that attachment superceding all other attachments. To use it as a phrase in order to condemn Fiddler on the Roof, which had zero to do with the land, is to say, I hate this piece of myth history and call it Zionism, so that everyone else will hate it too.

      Daniel Kahneman, in his book "Thinking fast and slow", explains that the average human being remembers the latter part of an event rather than the major part of an event: that is: if a tv show or a party or a speech was largely enjoyable, until the last half hour, when it was not enjoyable, the average human being will give the show low grades based upon the last half hour. the last impression is the one that sticks.

      Thus if the last impression left by the diaspora in Europe was the Shoah, there is very little chance that the average human being would say, all told the diaspora was not so bad. we made a decent living and most of the times things were okay. No. That's not human nature. Human nature is: we ran out of there and lucky we did, cause you see what happened.

      Regarding the masses of Jews who lived in Eastern Europe after 1800 under the rule of the czars: obviously the rule of the czars was problematic, for the revolution did not come out of nothing, but out of terrible detachment of the rulers from the masses and autocratic arrogance. It is impossible to measure how much despair and hopelessness was felt by the masses of Jews between 1880 and 1914 and how that compared to the feelings of the other peoples ruled by the czars. The only thing that can be measured is that there was a great migration from eastern europe of Jews to various destinations. Such a mass migration is a symptom of a deep malaise and a cause of great tumult. If there had been no such destinations, then there would have been despair and hopelessness, but in fact, America and its promises and other western destinations and their promises filled the people (who made the journey) with hope. When in the aftermath of WWI the immigration policies became much more closed, in fact there was despair and hopelessness.

      But as I said, the cataclysm, climax of the Jewish European diaspora was the Shoah and thus to view that as the epitome of the European diaspora is merely human nature writ large.

    • Jeff B: "ultimately the diaspora was a slow bleeding death for the Jewish people".

      I don't disagree, because 73 years after the 1939 - 1945 quick style of that death, that event predominates my view and any historically conscious Jew.

      Artie Shaw in Ken Burns' Jazz is honest that he changed his name from Warshavski, because to be Jewish was considered low in his day and I think that aspect of American Jewishness is ignored as a facile type of amnesia. The Jewish pride that erupted after 67 was quite real and widespread and was a reaction to a very long quiescence.

      To the future? obviously Zionism is the primary jewish cause of the century, Israel- the primary location of jewish commitment and experimentation, but there are other small centers of jewish commitment and experimentation in the diaspora as well. sometimes it is the small movements that become major movements years down the road, but currently the major movement is in Israel.

  • On empathy, Yom Kippur, and the NFL
    • When someone says, You better assimilate or else, (or: "since you don't assimilate it is a sign that you are separating yourself from the rest of the human species") this is in essence different than a description of the inevitability of assimilation or the advisability of not resisting the inevitable, claiming that it is inevitably good. (in this case).

      I don't think that the question of identity is equivalent for every human on earth. History is too multi colored with varied experiences to expect all reactions to the past to be the same.

      recently read phil roth commenting on the fact that he describes himself as an american writer rather than as an american jewish writer, and its basis was this: (i paraphrase), me and my friends growing up did not identify as jewish, we identified as americans and we wanted to be all american and for me now to accept the identity of jew diminishes how american we aspired to be.

      which is a different experience than mine.

      i grew up in america together with my four siblings who all grew up in america, raised to be modern orthodox. (my mother was born in europe and escaped to america with her parents and brother in 1941 as a child, my father was born in 1930's st. louis to parents who emigrated from eastern europe in the 20's. ) all my siblings remained orthodox, sometimes with slight detours, in the case of my brother he rebelled by embracing ultra orthodoxy. all my siblings moved to israel. they all have right wing views regarding the occupation. they have kids most of whom live in israel, most of whom are still orthodox. childless myself i think i feel closer to my nephews and nieces because of my childlessness.

      to expect my struggle with identity to be identical with someone born on Long Island to twice a year Jews, who has one sibling, who married out and is childless and lives far away from any Jewish community, it is obviously absurd to think our identity formation journey has all that much in common.

      my attitudes towards assimilation are based upon my identity formation journey. my reaction to someone telling me, "if you don't assimilate it means you're a racist," is negative. When someone tells me, "assimilation is inevitable, just lean back and enjoy it" my reaction is slightly less negative.

      right now it is sukkot. and i agree that the issue of the day for Jews is Israel and its mistreatment, harsh cruelty to the Palestinians. But it is impossible for the average Joe to face the issue day in and day out. So right now it is sukkot, where Jews keep the tradition of eating in the sukka going for one more year. it is clearly a minority of Jews in america that are still affected by the holiday, whereas in Israel, because of days off, it is an official holiday. (it also has caused a closure on the west bank, adding to the usual harshness an added holiday element.)

      I have found the sukkot holiday to be quite pleasant. and though i do not do much to guide my life in a direction that promotes future sukkot observance, i bless it in my heart, exactly the opposite of scrooge's "bah, humbug!" i think "nice to see it still around." i realize that the politics of most of the people sitting in the sukka is far to the right of mine and the battle for the future is the battle to move israel politically in the opposite direction from the one they have in mind. and i realize that the custom of the sukka has nothing to do with pushing for that necessary battle, but i must still say, "nice to see it still around."

    • In terms of sheer numbers, the flower of American Jewish culture was in the early part of the 20th century, when the traditions were familiar and the language was spoken without forethought naturally. That full flowering birthed a generation or two during which intra Jewish marriages dominated, creating a culture that was definable and easily findable by social scientists. We are now in a stage after that with out marriage being the rule rather than the exception.
      It is this mass movement away from Jewish traditions texts and languages that I mourn.
      But weiter, as pronounced in yiddish, viter, onward further, what are the future facts.
      There are many flowering of small groups who ponder what jew will mean in the future, particularly in america, these are small groups, not a mass movement.
      if I were to travel tothe future in 50 years, in American big cities I would seek out the modern orthodox, a group that will shrink in size, but should persist, assuming physical conditions remain stable. At a sukka of some modern orthodox jew I would hear how modern culture circa 2068 is being processed by Jews involved in wider society yet still devoted to the shabbat observant lifestyle. How such a society interplays with the middle east would be of foremost interest, but this diminished group (in size and natural development) and it's take on 2068 america would be the Jewish future I would visit.

    • Assimilation is the primary fact of Jewish life in America, much like aging and mortality are primary facts of human life over 70 (or over 65, seeing as Tom Petty just died at 66). Still humans over 60 fight against aging and death by means of lifestyle changes. I see value in the preservation of Jewish life in America in attempting to defy assimilation, in preserving the languages of the Jews, their traditions and their identity. In fact my favorite type of Jew is one that assimilates a little and preserves a little. (Here the analogy is to gravity being the fact of life and occasional forays into the flying machines invented by the Wright brothers and others would be the attempts to defy the inevitable rule of gravity.) i think those who see no value in the Jewish past or in some attempt to contemplate a Jewish future have sold out, just like a light skinned black who tries to pass is considered a sell out by most blacks. In the ideal future when America or the world is on a surer path to a better future (rather than the two steps forward and three steps back that is the current state of American culture) then it might be appropriate to jettison most of Jewish identity in favor of aiding or joining the general culture. But currently I cannot agree that it is anything but careless and wasteful. If we mourn the destruction of the rain forests for the destruction of many species, it is perfectly appropriate to mourn the destruction of languages and cultures. I don't see the destruction of cultures as innately positive and for personal reasons I consider the destruction of Jewish culture to be particularly pernicious because the attempt to destroy the Jewish culture has for centuries been accompanied by coercion both physical and social and I do not believe that the abandonment of Jewish culture can be removed from that historical context. Assimilation (of the sorts that casts aside almost all concerns regarding preservation, education or self consciousness) thus is inevitable but highly regrettable.

  • Support for Israel is tumbling-- even among young Orthodox Jews
    • In the long term, these numbers indicate the erosion of support for Israel among American Jews has been paralleled by an erosion of support among modern Orthodox Jews. But in the short range what do these erosions add up to? The primary pressure on the American congress and on candidates for all public offices from city councils to presidents of the us, to support Israel, are financial and not electoral. These erosions cited here will not change the financial calculus. So what difference does it make?

    • A modicum of knowledge about differentiating between ultra orthodox and modern orthodox would be of value.
      If you are imagining a future some familiarity with the people involved might allow imagination with some basis in reality. If your vision of the solution is cataclysm (major war) based, then you have less need for familiarity.
      I don't think, "think jared kushner" is particularly effective journalism/education, the red flags his name evokes will cloud the minds of most readers and seems like a judgment rather than description.
      If I had to pick the two outstanding differences between the two groups, I would pick television and college. Modern orthodox generally do not limit access to the media. College might be practical oriented, but respect for science and also art and social science is widespread. Ultra- limits media access and at times tolerates college for practical reasons.
      More apparent is the suppression of women which is viewed differently in the two branches.

  • Liberal Zionist hero Barak brags that Israeli left 'liberated' the occupied territories for Jews
    • Both words: barak and barouch begin with the same two letters, beit and resh, the final letter in both is different, the 11th letter of the alphabet: khaf helps to form barouch or blessed (root word seems to be related to berech which means knee, seeming to imply the bending of knee is involved in benediction.) Barak's last letter is the kuf, root letter for roman letter q, 19th letter of the 22 letter hebrew alphabet. The kuf is always like a k, whide the khaf is sometimes guttural as in barouch, sometimes hard as k, as in the word khaf itself, which means palm of the hand or a spoon, the shape of the letter is receptive. The word kuf itself means monkey, which explains the shape of the q which has a tail , like the kuf, it's antecedent.

    • Rabin was not flawless in his politics and his history. If his constituents had been more similar to Hanan Porat, he would have acted like a right wing politician rather than endorse Peres's Oslo initiative. But through his martyrdom he has gained hero status. Not so for Ehud Barak. He is not a hero to the leftist zionist. He was the hope of the leftist Zionists at one time (1999 to 2000) but in the 17 years since then, he has not been the hero of leftist Zionists.

  • An Atheist in the Yeshiva: The education of Yossi Zvi Gurvitz
    • Hello Yossi,
      My uncle, though younger than me, attended Nechalim in the early 70's. You translate Yeshiva gedola, as a high yeshiva, I assume. I would translate it as a "post high school yeshiva".
      i find the phenomenon of the modern orthodoxy and their embrace of settler nationalism to be interesting, in comparison to the ultra orthodox who have reacted to modernity with a type of rejection that does not appeal to the modern orthodox.

  • 'NYT' leaves out Dennis Ross's charge to US Jews: 'We need to be advocates for Israel'
    • White people in Pennsylvania Florida and Wisconsin elected Donald trump, not jews. Trump is president cuz of them, not us. Don't blame trump on us. He makes the decision, not kristol or ross or feith or lieberman, but Donald j trump. You want to blame 8 years of no progress under obama on the jews, you're welcome to it. But don't blame trump on us.

  • Balfour Declaration, now 100, was 'gun pointed at heads' of Palestinians -- Khalidi
    • Joe was a truck driver dedicated to the project of building a new community center. Every day he drove his truck to that purpose: sometimes delivering construction materials sometimes delivering food and water to the construction workers and some days he went down to city hall to make sure all the paperwork was in order. When he died before the building was finished he was mourned by all those devoted to the project. No one said, oh he never would have used the building himself, so his contribution was hypocritical.

    • It is highly conceivable that when the Palestinians get their act together, that is, when Hamas and Fatah join forces and negotiate as one, they will negotiate on the basis of the hudna rather than a peace treaty. Which means that Israel would be giving up territory (security assets to me, plus "land of our fathers" to you) for a cease fire that will be contingent upon Israeli strength. Israel has been forced to be stronger than its neighbors since its birth and into the foreseeable future. When I was young I dreamed of a peace between Israel and her neighbors equal in its amity to the peace between US and Canada rather than the cold peace between Russia and the US. But today I am willing to accept a cold peace rather than true amity. Certainly the deprivation of the rights (democratic voting rights) of the West Bank Palestinians embodied in the checkpoints and the constant harassment by settlers and soldiers is not something that I am calm about seeing it continue and therefore I support a peace of a hudna sort rather than the amity of France and Germany today. In their hearts the Palestinians and Rashid Khalidi would prefer to see a return to the situation of pre 1917 and it is only practicality that would lead them to negotiate a hudna peace rather than a permanent state of war. I think we can be practical and not expect them to become zionists and merely practical men and women wishing to move forward on practical grounds rather than achieving an ideological recognition that I agree is beyond us at this time and for the foreseeable future. (If Israel had never built settlements on the west bank and the occupation had been purely military rather than a settler occupation, then maybe the status quo could have been maintained for quite some time, but the settler occupation has turned the occupation from something justifiable to something that I cannot justify.

    • It seems clear that indeed the Balfour declaration was a body blow to the Palestinian people. England ruled the world still, or thought of itself in global terms and its motives were selfish and manipulative, in Britain's best interests aside from any influence on us policy regarding entering the war. Someone who is expert in the state department and British policy and world war I and woodrow wilson could enlighten us. I don't suspect the experts here to enlighten us.

      The tumult of the end of the czarist regime caused sufficient crisis in the czar's realm to instigate a mass emigration. One out of 3 of the jews in czarist lands left czarist lands, said adios, or azoy, we're leaving. That tumult earthquake gave birth to zionism. A crisis leads to thought, ideas, responses, reactions. Without the tumult of the earthquake of wholesale emigration, zionism would never have been born. Once the flood was on, came the thoughts of solutions, in response to a society in change a response like zionism was naturally one of them.

      The Netanyahu regime certainly projects apathy at best to the idea of reconciliation. I assume if peter beinart was given the right to negotiate on behalf of israel and khalidi on behalf of the palestinians, that they could construct a positive way forward. I don't know if that idea is helpful or not, but as long as the long range seeks to avoid a major war such ideas might be useful.

    • I think the name of the center is the hagop kevorkian center for near east studies. (trying to assist someone's suicide?)

  • Samuel Freedman extols Jewish 'love affair' with Jewish state-- while decrying 'dogma of white supremacy'
    • Freedman's piece in the forward was not quite as vacuous as Phil Weiss depicts it. Freedman mentions the book by Chabon and Waldman. This is not advocacy as Weiss would prefer, rather reportage, but it alludes to attitudes that are not empty regarding the Palestinians.

  • High holidays? Meh
  • Why the split inside the Democratic Party over BDS needs to happen
    • I found jvp's embrace of rasmea odeh distasteful. I heard the rationalizations and I accept the justifications of "innocent until proven guilty" and given the biased nature of the system that convicted her, I understand the point of view, but in terms of the optics, the optics were pro Palestinian and in your face. Maybe they should rename it "a voice for palestine", but Jewish voice for peace? implies something other than the full embrace of her.
      I watched ten minutes of some speech at their convention, utterly ignorant of judaism, some nonjewish woman stood up to tell me what judaism is. Which is par for the course for the comments section of mw, but totally antithetical to the concept of dialogue. They are devoted to rallying their forces, which is fine. But change the name.

    • From what I read today Bernie Sanders has spoken about the need to use aid to Israel in order to push things in a particular direction and this is rather new in American politics and it needs to be expressed. Unanimity about the type of support America should give to Israel seems to be based upon the campaign financial situation of the Congressmen and presidential candidates and even other elected officials and thus does not represent a well cogitated position.

      BDS and its famous spokesperson? Certainly she represents American Jewish left wing divorcing itself from Zionism. Jewish Voice for Peace, though, now that it has found itself allied with the Palestinians, needs to learn how to dialogue with the enemy, which is us Zionists. There is no chochma in just echoing the Palestinian position and preaching to the zionists. There's a plethora of finger wagging preachers without Rebecca Vilkomerson. If she cannot figure out how to talk to Zionists, what has she achieved with her "jewish" voice for peace. The idea of speaking to the enemy is valid, I believe, and Vilkomerson should consider it, now that we Zionists are her enemy. She should talk to us.

  • Is Yiddish the language of the Jewish soul?
  • Jews have religious commandment to support Israel and fight BDS -- American Jewish Committee
    • If one ignores the un descriptor "occupation", one is playing tennis without a net.

    • Gentiles are not the evil other, but Keith is. Keith is classically anti Jewish, with a twist of marx, karl.

    • To the contributors to the ajc the primary Jewish issue of the day is Israel. To Phil Weiss the primary Jewish issue of the day is Israel. Not a headline.

  • Israeli rightist Smotrich lays out the vision for apartheid
    • I don't follow Yeshayahu Leibowitz on all scores, but in a discussion on some TV show he posited the possibility that the unity of the Jewish people or the nationhood of the Jewish people is something in flux. And it is a worthwhile thought to ponder. Is the Jewish people the same as what it was in 1881 or 1939 or 1945? Definitely not. So as to regards the condition of the diaspora passing through the combination of Hitler and Stalinism to become a remnant in Europe, a small but important presence in the sole world power, the US, highly acculturated and rapidly diminishing or diffusing or finding new directions that are primarily nonethnic in their self interpretation, that diaspora presence is quite different in 2017.

      Israel is on a different trajectory and the venom here in mw comments towards its existence is somewhat understandable, but still strikes me as continuous with previous hatreds of the Jews. This is not true of everyone, but certainly it is rather striking in its continuities.

      i know that when i read about yizhar (?) writing about the exile of the Palestinians (to be found in the David Myers controversy) that an act of violence was done against the Palestinians and whereas a path of imperfect peace might yet fix the damage, the current trajectory is one of stubbornness and the opposite of reconciliation.

      it's a bit abrupt to stop right there, but i will.

    • RoHa- Can I trouble you to explain your theory of c-nations and n-nations.

    • I am not herein trying to justify the harm done to the Palestinians. They were harmed and assert their refusal to accept that harm. It is only the Jewish urge to self protection that can justify measuring the harm done to to the Palestinians compared to the salvation (by circumstance) to the hundreds of thousands saved by zionism, and to choose self protection as worthwhile. This self protection was at the root of herzl and pinsker's political philosophies. It was not at the core of Ben gurion's efforts. He believed in the rebirth of the Jewish people. Defying assimilation, he asserted, the jews will assimilate or continue to decay in non-Jewish majority communities. Yes, jews in america can consider themselves part of the American state and other states open to immigration will be the states of the jews who live there ( which excludes most Jews alive in 1912 who resided in nonwelcoming states), but such a welcome will only lead to the disappearance of the jews, and such a disappearance (spiritual rather than physical) was not acceptable to Ben Gurion, he chose rejuvenation instead.

      The clash between this rejuvenation and damage done to the Palestinians was inevitable, and my attempt to posit the rejuvenation of the jews as something separate from the harm done to the Palestinians is logically weak, as in: positing cutting off a chicken's head without killing it. But I do not assert the validity of such a rejuvenation at the cost to the palestinians. I assert it as an independent good, as if its only harm was philosophical rather than oppressive to the palestinians. As such, I find the philosophical damage as acceptable. But given the damage to the Palestinians, the only justification was the saving of physical Jewish lives, which in fact it was. But I was trying to assert the validity of Jewish rejuvenation independent of its harm to the Palestinians, which was indeed not the way it took place as a historical event rather than as an idea.

    • Ben Gurion was as responsible as any single human for the birth of Israel and as such, his will and devotion were quite extraordinary. From the Jewish point of view it was a historic act of gigantic proportions. Certainly far less than perfect in his personality and philosophy, he had a single cause and he pursued it with all his heart and might. Any expressions of "chosen people" and harkening back to ancient times and ancient contracts of real and folklore-ish types, it's all acceptable. We had no state and now we have a state.

      of course to the palestinians he was an enemy and they saw him as such. that is natural. i'm not saying that jewish statehood or even a return to zion was natural, inevitable, predictably the outcome of modernity. no. there is nothing automatic about any of it. certainly british wishes to assert power were involved in their adoption of the mandate handed down by the league of nations which included language quite similar to that in the balfour declaration. and it is doubtful that balfour would have happened if not for Herzl. herzl made a movement of a few thousand people into a front page story. again, i accept the opposition of the Palestinian people to be natural.

      Smotrich is some 70 years after the birth. He is not the epitome of ben gurion. He may be the natural offspring of 50 years of occupation, but he is not the epitome of ben gurion. ben gurion was plenty bad, but 1948 and 1967 elicited varying reactions by the world powers and so 1967 is a rebellion against the countries of the world.

      Rabin might have set the country on a different path.

      Now 22 years after Rabin was murdered, here is Smotrich. Without hope from the left then there is this "hope" from the right.

      But Rogel Alphel is anachronistic regarding Ben Gurion. Of course BG's politics was aggressive and violent. That was what was needed to establish the state. But once the state was established Israel should have sued for peace. The inability of Israel to pivot away from the state of war is the essential failing, not the desire for a state. And Ben Gurion and his single-mindedness were key factors in the establishment of the state. A wonder to the Jewish people and a bane to the Palestinians. but now 70 years later, unable to pivot towards "reconciliation" instead we have Smotrich as the extreme and Shaked and Regev as the mainstream and Bibi- not quite a lame duck.

  • Ayelet Shaked and the fascist ideology
    • I don't think that ben Gurion's statement is proof of fascism, unless all nationalisms that are willing to go to war are perforce fascism.

      When J Ofir cites the number of times Chaim Weitzman met with Mussolini, what is that about? This is analysis? This is street corner petty nonsense. Did the US have a consulate in Rome? Was the US therefore fascist? Amateur to include such stuff.

  • Soros and the Illuminati! Netanyahu Jr. spreads anti-Semitic cartoon
  • Rightwing campaign against Jewish exec who called for exposing Nakba seems likely to fail
    • I think the passage of time since the Rabin assassination accounts for the alienation of liberal American Jews from the right wing party domination of Israel. The interim of: intermittent hope and cruel second intifada, has given way to regular wars against Gaza and an israeli government that campaigns on a platform of no hope.
      The breakthrough that Rabin achieved with his handshake on the White House lawn was applauded by some and filled others with doubt. Even those of us who applauded lived through headlines that filled us with fears, but when Rabin was assassinated, there was a clear division between those who were opposed to both Rabin and his assassination and those of us who did not mix our grief for his murder with any qualifiers.
      Then came the up and down years: First Netanyahu in his first term in office, reluctantly shaking Arafat's hand and reaching an agreement regarding Hebron. Then the election of Ehud Barak and the promise of reaching some agreement. Then Camp David and its failure and the ramifications. Then the second intifada (which of course took place during the period that included the World Trade Center attack, 16 years ago today). Then the election of Arik Sharon and his withdrawal from Gaza. Then the election of Olmert and serious negotiations between Olmert and Abbas. But since the Gaza war of 2008-2009, followed shortly by the election of Netanyahu a few months later, there really has been no ups and downs, but only downs and downs.
      It is this recent freezing of hope on the part of American Liberal Zionists that is to explain for the Jews in Exodus: There was a type of roller coaster ride from the handshake in 1993 until the Gaza war of 2008, that allowed for a sporadic belief that peace might be just a few steps away. Since 2009 such a belief has more or less disappeared and those who supported Rabin have been left with nowhere to turn.

  • Eisner and Greenblatt refuse to see Israel's face in Richard Spencer's mirror
    • As we get further away from the root causes of Zionism: as in: history: as in the history of European Jews ca. 1881-1945, Zionism must stand on its own as a present tense and future outlook.

      In terms of the present and future, the fear of most Zionists is not that Israel will turn into a cosmopolitan, all are welcome state, but into a Muslim, Jews are not welcome state. The slow evolution of America away from white predominance is not heading towards a whites are not welcome state, but is heading towards a cosmopolitan state.

  • Gideon Levy calls out Israel's fundamental, racist religion: Zionism
    • Righteous zionism is levy's phrase, not mine. To separate zionism from its historical context is to analyse some laboratory ideology in a white lab coat with available measuring tools. That's not the world I know. The yehudim did not arrive in falestin out of idle frivolity or sheer malice. In fact leaving europe is the prescription for survival that a time traveler might offer the average European jew in the time period 1881 to 1939. Once a migration of that magnitude turns into a historical tide of movement, even those who sit and think will think new thoughts and among those thoughts was bound to come: we must do for ourselves. We need an army and a state. This thought emerged from the tidal wave of emigration and that tidal wave in retrospect was an urge to survive and thrive.
      Zionism is not pure. But it came from a specific history.

    • rhkroell- I agree. A vision of reconciliation can be quite zionistic, survival in a specific place, that specific place. Groups devoted towards reconciliation on the ground are the pioneers, preparing for the future. Far away from the land and such activity this vision seems like an illusion, but as someone once said. If you will it, it is no legend.

    • Let me take one section out of Gideon Levy's article:
      "We can admit that the Jew's right to a state contradicted the Palestinian's right to their land and that righteous Zionism gave birth to a terrible national wrong that has never been righted; that there are ways to resolve and atone for this contradiction, but the Zionist Israelis won't agree to them."

      I would change the last sentence to the "overwhelming majority of Zionist Israelis won't agree to them."

      Bibi and Shaked and Jonathan Ofir wish to define Zionism as Bayit Yehudi Zionism and indeed this brand of Zionism is in the seat of power, but Levy also speaks of the righteous Zionism which gave birth to Israel and a contradiction that can be resolved and atoned for. This is antithetical to Bibi and Shaked, but to Ofir as well. He prefers his dichotomies clear cut and he does not relate to Levy's fudging of the line.

  • Are you an auto-anti-Semite? Take this simple test
    • Paranam Kid:
      Here's a quote from Leon Wieseltier from an article about Arendt and Scholem:
      "Oblivion comes in many forms. There is natural oblivion, the Ozymandian kind, the ordinary forgetfulness that secures the future against the disabling suspicion that everything has already been done; and there is unnatural oblivion, coerced oblivion, the apparently ineradicable desire to wipe some group or some culture from the face of the earth. A people that has suffered unnatural oblivion will find it hard to acquiesce in the natural sort, because it looks like disappearance by another name."

    • To the moderator: regarding citizen's comment. I am rather sure that your allowing this approving reference to Hitler's hatred of Jews is accidental.

    • Humorous or obnoxious? or both.

      Hannah Arendt's performance in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem has something a bit wrong with it. Can't put my finger on it. (It smells of the disdain that german jews had for ostjuden.) Your bland endorsement of her attitude in that book is superficial.

  • Changing the narrative, from BDS to antifa
    • Some thoughts:
      1. I am not sure what should have been taught in the west in the aftermath of WWII regarding the Holocaust and other WWII atrocities. If the goal was to teach people never to be bystanders, obviously that failed: for Cambodia and Rwanda and other atrocities occurred since then and certainly the hundreds of thousands murdered in Rwanda were not helped one whit by the study of history. Thus my focus is on what Jews were teaching themselves. And as such I assert that within that community (from anecdotal evidence) that the survivors were encouraged to shut up at least til the Eichmann trial and even until the 67 war. (The movie the Pawnbroker was a type of breakthrough as well.)

      2. It is likely that the US squelched anti Nazi propaganda after WWII, so as to encourage the alliance with West Germany without raising any resistance. Maybe Australia, a natural ally of Britain, had a different attitude towards West Germany, but I think you will find historians (think of Patton: the nazis are just a political party) will back me up that the US did not wish to emphasize war crimes after WWII and the attention was quickly moved to the cold war.

      3. Anyone who has read Meyer Levin on Anne Frank will be familiar with the deracination that was used by Anne Frank's father and the playwrights to pick Anne frank's words that fit their own concept of what should be learnt from the diaries.

      4. The US is a great destination for the yehudim to express themselves as much or as little as they choose regarding their yehudi religion and yehudi background. I don't think the culture was as open to yehudim before World War II or for that matter until the '60's, I think in that period the "melting pot" aspect, as in "forget the old, endorse the American new" or "don't rock the boat" were predominant aspects of American culture. I think since the '60's there is far more openness to cultural differences and the richness of diversity. But this was not all that true before the '60's, so when I refer to the "melting pot" I am referring also to the American pressures towards conformity and leaving the past behind.
      (Listen to Artie Shaw, in Ken Burns' Jazz on the pressures of anti semitism that pushed him to change his name. Of course compared to what was going on in Europe this was trivial, but this attempt to color any Jewish attempt to assimilate into mainstream America as if it was not accompanied by cultural pressures meaning cultural hatred is malarkey. Jew hatred helped shape the Jewish urge to disappear in the American mass. Again, since the 60's this is less prominent. For the most part any urge to throw off one's Judaism today is not colored by American hatreds, but in the period before the '60's, not true.)

      5. The German Nazi slaughter of the Jews between 1939 and 1945 may not be unique, but from a Jewish philosophical point of view it is/was devastating and the search for an "answer" is a natural reaction to hearing such bad news. American optimism in the aftermath of Obama's election in 2009 was such that slavery and Jim Crow and racism were a prologue to the diverse, one from many that will be the new America. (Obviously such an answer to American history was simplistic as well.) But it is natural for human beings to view history as some sort of a lesson: What can be learnt? How can we avoid those mistakes? Where do we go from here now that we know how we arrived here? Humans want a moral of a story and a path forward. Maybe all attempts at such "answers" are faulty. But we cannot undo the human habit for searching for such answers.

      And in the case of the Nazi slaughter of the Jews, there has been no such answer. Zionism is not an answer because of its constant wars and its repression of the Palestinians.

      And, America is a great place to be a Jew, but it does not answer the historical event, particularly because of America's closed door policy towards immigrants between 1920 and 1941. Such a policy may have been natural and in the American self interest and as such should be argued on its own merits. But America, which was of severely limited use to the Jews as a refuge when they needed it most, therefore cannot be the "answer" to the slaughter itself.

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