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Total number of comments: 4204 (since 2009-08-12 22:27:08)

yonah fredman

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

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  • The only certainty regarding Trump's Jerusalem declaration is that people will die
    • OT
      I recently started to read sartre's antisemitism and the jew, http://abahlali.org/files/Jean-Paul_Sartre_Anti-Semite_and_Jew_An_Exploration_of_the_Etiology_of_Hate__1995.pdf spurred on by a podcast of ruth wisse on the topic. (https://tikvahfund.org/library/podcast-ruth-wisse-on-sartre-and-anti-semitism/ )

      there is much talk in this here comments section on the topic of "jewish self hatred" in particular and i think that an understanding of what sartre calls the inauthentic jew might be useful. if we are pursuing truth, we should familiarize ourselves with the basic texts and even though sartre was no expert, this essay is a good place to begin.
      Here is an interesting and provocative quote from the section on the democrat: (sartre divides human kind into four: the antisemite, the democrat, the inauthentic jew and the authentic jew)

      "During the occupation the democrat was profoundly and sincerely indignant at the anti‐Semitic persecutions, but be sighed from time to time: "The Jews will come back from exile with such insolence and hunger for vengeance that I am afraid of a new outburst of anti‐Semitism." What he really feared was that the persecutions might have helped to give the Jew a more definite consciousness of himself."

    • I choose to write my reaction to the statement by US president Donald Trump here, because currently my primary concern is regarding the violence which has followed the announcement. The wheel is still in spin, some have died, more may die and the immediate loss of life and fear of further loss expressed by Gurvitz in this post is uppermost on my mind.

      having said that, the fact of the world's refusal to recognize Israel's capital is in Jerusalem is both an insult and a reflection of historical reality. the insult is obvious: If a country has a capital, refusing to recognize it is an insult. The historical reality is both past, present and future oriented. Past: the Partition resolution of 1947 proposed a 10 year period of Jerusalem as a separate entity and that was based upon the realities of Jerusalem at the time. (I am still lacking knowledge of basic documents: Until a few days ago I thought that the international status of Jerusalem was meant to be a permanent feature of the partition, but in fact it was merely an interim prescription for 10 years. I haven't read the partition resolution until now and this fact was digested recently based upon a comment by one of the Zionists on Mondoweiss.) Present: Jerusalem is a city that is not united, as in: the vast majority of its Palestinian residents are powerless and deprived of Israeli citizenship and lacking political power such basics as infrastructure and education are sadly lacking in the Palestinian parts of town. Future: Though a two state solution seems as far away as ever, if that is to be the path, some modus operandi regarding Jerusalem being the capital of both Israel and Palestine will have to be found and though Trump's statement included some small recognition of the future, the statement offered almost nothing to the Palestinians.

      I am unsure of my following analogy, but I still offer it. If a man is a thousand miles away from his goal and he walks one mile in the wrong direction before discovering his mistake, the reaction should be mild. Oy vey, but not despair. Thus the Trump statement moves us further away from peace, but in fact we are far away and the added distance of a mile is really minor. The journey of a thousand and one miles also begins with a single step and Trump's step is in the wrong direction, but really the difference between how far away we were a week ago and how far away we are now is minor.

      I think that this is a boon to Palestinian propaganda insofar as Trump is vastly unpopular in the world and vastly unpopular with the Democratic party and major segments of the US population. Given that, Israel being associated with Trumpian pigheadedness is another blow against the cause of Zionism.

      My love for Jerusalem is partially based upon how I was raised and my beliefs of forty and fifty years ago when I still believed in the Torah and still looked askance at the need or possibility of reconciliation with the Palestinians. My love for Jerusalem is also based upon the joy I get when in Jerusalem of reading street signs in Arabic and hearing Arabic spoken. The Old City is the core of Jerusalem, without it, Jerusalem is minor and with it Jerusalem is great. Since my old self would be celebrating today and my new self feels the inequality and oppression involved in the occupation including the occupation of Jerusalem I am not of one mind on the issue.

      But I return to Gurvitz's worry about loss of life and thus based upon the immediate concern for safety of all humans in Jerusalem and indeed in the general vicinity, I am worried by the situation.

  • War rumblings continue, as Netanhayu says Iran is another Nazi Germany
    • I wonder how the USSR (sorry, I mean Russia) and Iran will react to this attack. Hezbollah will not attack. Israel has been bombing (occasionally) targets in Syria for a while.

  • Dangerous signs that Trump, Netanyahu and the Saudi Crown Prince are planning wider Mideast war
    • Certainly the saber rattling by Saudi Arabia has been noteworthy. Also certainly the outcome of the Civil War in Syria is not to Israel's benefit: Iran with a foothold a short distance away, strengthened Hezbollah, not good results.
      But I still cannot imagine the circumstances of a war and what Israel would gain from such a war. How suddenly is Hezbollah going to disappear? I don't see it and the logic of 1982 and 2006 plus endless supply of missiles in Hezbollah's possession seems to argue against it.
      But here are some questions: Is there a natural position for the Arab states to be opposed to Iranian influence? Is the Arab world looking for leadership? Certainly world peace might be threatened by "leadership" just as Nasser delivered disaster to the Arab world, any new leadership might just be the same, but is the vacuum in leadership natural and is the filling or attempt to fill the vacuum natural?
      I certainly can't see Bibi launching a war before the next Israeli elections. I think right now winning the next elections is Bibi's primary concern and war would not serve him well or at the very least could serve him very unwell, so I don't see Bibi being the sponsor of some war at least until elections.

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  • Israeli consul warns American Jews: 'Our marriage is Catholic -- no divorce'
  • Why a children's book has Zionists losing their minds
  • Forget pinkwashing, it's brownwashing time: self-Orientalizing on the US campus
    • Israeli government policy particularly moving Mizrahim to the periphery has been destructive towards the goal of an integrated society. In regards to Ethiopian Jews the dynamics are entirely different and more difficult than in regards to Ashkenazis and Mizrahim.

    • Yes, in its early days Israel encouraged discrimination. But it's not 1956 anymore and historic grievances are not the main story (except for obfuscaters and propagandists.) But let's try to deal with 2017 and "intermarriage" rates. Marriages between ashkenazi and mizrahim is sky high compared to marriage rates in America between African Americans and whites. There are many reasons for this: the army, the high ratio of mizrahim to ashkenazi (when compared to the low ratio of blacks to whites in America) and a sector: the modern orthodox, aka dati leumi, aka national religious where the intermarriage rates are so high that these marriages, once the stuff of cultural surprise (the 1972 movie Kazablan) are totally mundane by now. No one in America comments anymore on marriages between catholics and protestants and thus it is among the dati leumi in Israel concerning ashkenazi and mizrahi. (anecdotal: two of my dati leumi nephews are married to mizrahim. Whereas in my brother's haredi, aka, ultra ortho family such marriages have not been arranged.) In America such cross racial Marriages are far rarer. Maybe between Hispanic and whites in certain states there is high intermarriage, but between African Americans and whites, not so. Certainly america's toxic history is part of this equation, but also the low ratio of blacks to whites.

  • 'Where did we go wrong in our homes and schools?' David Harris laments young Jews' hostility to Israel
    • larick- I knew that using the phrase "war broke out" would elicit a negative response. But I was trying to discuss a different issue: that of the development of a particular mindset which is prevalent in david harris's generation (although particularly absent in phil's case, as in his insistence that any mention of the holocaust even to a jewish audience, must include universalization in order to avoid phil's censorious remarks) cannot be expected to be present in the current generation of young.

      as far as the 6 day war, once king hussein handed over the reins of jordan's army to nasser and iraq announced that it was going to send forces through jordan to attack israel, war became inevitable. the idea that nasser could rattle his sabers to his heart's content and not expect consequences is and was ridiculous. but there was a basic problem and that was that the direction of israel under ben gurion was towards war rather than towards peace (or sharett's direction) and when b.g. reluctantly handed over reins to eshkol the army was still in the b.g. mindset and eshkol did not have the security credentials to take control over the army so it is not as if it is all nasser's fault, due to all that occurred up until may of 67, but from may of 67 onwards, either nassser was delusional or suicidal. in the long range it might be the undoing of israel, but in the short range nasser's behavior was off the wall.

    • Let us begin in the year 1967, after a month of saber rattling (plus diplomacy) a war breaks out and israel conquers vast territories. the month of saber rattling was rattling for a large fraction of american jews who felt kinship to the israeli jews and the victory felt like some sort of vindication. the proximity of 1967 to the end of wwII should be noted. only the blind deaf and senseless consider this a short period of time vis a vis the depths of the destruction of the war, the two events are not at the same time which is more or less true of 48, but is barely a generation apart. (a mere hiccup when dealing with the devastation).2017 is two generations further still, maybe 2 and a half depending how you count. there is no way that the same perspective, the recentness of wwII could persist.

      in 1967 it was possible to believe that some sort of peace could be reached between israel and the arabs. in 2017 the dynamics are far different in terms of openness to possibility and the hard and fast immovable occupation that just marked its 50th anniversary. whereas harris and jews his age have marked various ups and downs in the process, young jews have marked mostly downs, and have no longer perspective on the conflict. i think that even with longer perspective on the conflict, there are to be expected varying reactions from jews who care about jewish history, but david harris has chosen to be the defender of israel, he has taken this role, not a searcher for truth or an upholder of a specific vision for example: uri avnery, but basically a defender of israel. (yes, israel deserves to have a defense attorney. this role exists and for those for whom it fits and their beliefs match up, i defend their choices in being defense attorneys. harris ends up being at the mercy of whomever is the elected prime minister of israel, even if it is bibi netanyahu.)

      harris has chosen to be a defender of israel, that's his role in life. he should not expect the kids to emulate him.

      and let us not forget that assimilation has continued apace and jewish cohesiveness is not what it was 50 years ago, so that seems to be a key factor here as well. (measure attitudes towards israel amongst those that intermarry compared to those who marry jews, and there is a vast gulf, so harris should look to that.)

  • Israel has more legitimacy than US because the bible mentions Jerusalem, not New York -- says David Harris
    • eljay: israel and zionism were created at a moment of flux of the jewish peoples, primarily regarding ashkenazi jews, particularly regarding eastern european ashkenazi jews under the rule of the czars. the tumult between 1881 and 1945, was stratospheric and to use the term "citizens of homelands all over the world" would only strike those people as mockery, for they were leaving one continent for another during one vital period and leaving this world for the world to come during the second vital period and to talk to them as "citizens of homelands all over the world" (reflecting as it does an ideal condition that did not apply to them and i agree that it's a good goal, but it did not exist at the time of this birth) is to make a mockery of real history and to replace real conditions with laboratory conditions: that's not how this history came to be written. and if you wish to unwrite it, you should admit the conditions under which it was written rather than pretend that these words apply to all moments equally.

    • Some actually question Israel's legitimacy independent of their empathy for the Palestinians. Who are these Jews to still persist in existing and not fading away? You can see this sentiment in various flavors here in the comments section. I consider these sentiments negative.

      But those who choose to face the pain of the Palestinians cannot possibly be mollified by the bible or balfour. When i see photos of november 47 and the exaltation of the yehudim in the yishuv, i identify with their exaltation, but it has to be weighed against the harm this enterprise has done and continues to do against the Palestinians. And how can i not put myself into the shoes of a palestinian reading about the first zionist congress of 1897 or the balfour declaration or the partition agreement and not feel their grief at the man made tsunami headed their way.

      the story of the 50's and 60's civil rights movement was called "eye on the prize", and those searching for equality in america are told in the song, to keep their eye on the prize and only thus to achieve their goal.

      Thus people like David Harris (and Ruth Wisse, who i've been listening to, she is especially cogent on the Hannah Arendt Eichmann trial controversy.
      https://tikvahfund.org/library/podcast-ruth-wisse-perversity-brilliance/ ) feel that single minded purpose, support for Israel is the way to go, the way to achieve the prize of security is by single minded purpose.

      Uri Avnery is the prototype that refuses to ignore the Palestinians. He sees in 3 dimensions and sees two sides to the conflict and he is trying to keep his eye on a distant prize, but a prize that weighs two sides and values two sides.

      But Israel's leader and general frame of mind is closer to David Harris and Ruth Wisse than it is to Uri Avnery. So the question of those who idealize Avnery or Yeshayahu Leibowitz are forced to deal with a prize that is not the goal of the majority of the nation, the nation is thinking like David Harris and Bibi, and their goal is not the same prize that Avnery seeks.

  • No way to treat a child
    • amigo- Your citations of Israel's acceptance of the partition borders in its application for UN membership is something that Palestinians' supporters should mention as often as possible in order to reframe the debate over a different border conception, one less favorable to Israel and more favorable to the future Palestine. And using the term occupied Palestine to describe places outside the partition borders facilitates citations of this sort. Still, there are many UN resolutions that condemn Israel for putting civilians in occupied territory and no one considers these resolutions to refer to anything other than territories occupied in 67, and for you to use the term in a different sense than the UN uses the term is to confuse rather than to clarify. How can you convince others to be clear in their language, when you use a common term to denote an uncommon definition. this is clearly the route to confusion.

  • Protest at ZOA Bannon gala shows, Zionism does not unify Jewish community
    • Unity. United we stand. Divided we fall. I write those phrases with irony. We ask questions and when we do so, truth and clarity are higher priorities than unity.
      I would pick three points in time: 1881, then 1945, then today. The mass migration of Jews from the east to the west created or reflected a deep seated turmoil. And indeed the events in Europe from 1914- 1945 vindicated whatever instinct said, Run! to think in bold strokes of self emancipation or territorialism was natural for the times included an emphasis on nation and on will. The times also included white Europeans colonizing lands on the globe. They also included socialism. The totalitarianism that accompanied the dictatorship of a small party claiming to speak for the proletariat was pretty ugly. Yet capitalism wreaking havoc with mother earth can be quite ugly as well.
      We sit 72 years after the war, so our perspective is different. Bibi Netanyahu and Bernard avishai are not twins, they see the world differently and bibi is in power in israel. Probably bibi dismisses avishai as if he were judith butler.

      Adelson and bibi and Shmuel boteach, rubbing elbows with trump and bannon, of course: gag me with a spoon.
      Eli Valley is a talented cartoonist. But he is not yet the voice of reason. Polemicist at this point.

      Alienation from Israel is encouraged by bibi's style. Those of us with close relatives there or having spent time there have a different perspective.

      Ari Ben canaan was a myth. Baruch marzel is a nightmare. Bibi is a very unpleasant reality.

  • Pro-Israel groups' campaign against Linda Sarsour targets another progressive institution -- New School
    • pabelmont- I actually agree that the rhetoric is overheated, but I wonder what this surrender by israel will look like and rather than mandela in south africa, i think of the helicopter off of the embassy grounds in south vietnam and this type of defeat is what you envision for israel, and that i suppose is also overheated rhetoric.

  • 'Struggle for basic rights within binational state has begun and we will win' --Shulman in 'NYRB'
    • ossinev- if i were trying to predict the future for Israel/palestine, there will be no 2 state solution on the horizon. i pointed out that the dynamics proposed in the post here have to contend with the current position of Fatah and Hamas. if you feel that pointing out the contradictions in my position will make things easier for the Palestinians (in regards to this contradiction or in any other way), i think you're off base.

    • amigo, here is your question: "Share with us , your plan for the Non Jewish “Citizens” who will still be in your midst after the so called Greater Israel has been realised."
      My plan which is not about to be implemented is the 2 state solution as envisioned by the Geneva Initiative. The Greater Israel concept that you are referring to will not include citizenship for all nonJews, but if Israel annexes all the west bank i believe this should include citizenship for all those who live in the west bank.

    • There are two organizations that are widely recognized as representing the cause of the Palestinians: PLO, aka Fatah, and Hamas. Neither has reached the point of ceasing to demand that the next step is two states . This does not eliminate the logic or the dynamic or the strategy of one state with voting rights for all present, but neither can this fact of the stated position of these 2 groups (at this juncture) be denied.

      As far as the rights of those who fled or were chased away, one might imagine that first comes suffrage for those present, whose votes would then change the policy of the polity towards those who are located elsewhere.

    • amigo, correct your invitation. Do not refer to Jeff as Jeffy Boy and then pretend to be a gentleman. Play your rhetorical games by yourself and with yourself if you are incapable of minimum etiquette.

  • Top Israeli official admits that boycotting just the settlements is meaningless
    • eljay- There's a scene at the end of one of the bob hope bing crosby road movies where there is an earthquake and as a result of a chasm in the earth's crust, crosby and hope are thrust on opposite sides and it is that image that divides me from the past, and the tumult of the years 1881 to 1945 are too extreme for me to have sufficient arrogance to arrogate unto myself the right to micromanage the past that i cannot change one bit. as a result, the establishment of israel is viewed with that type of fatalism, and thus i react to the fact of israel as a given very different from the post 67 situation, having witnessed 67 as a semi sentient pre teen, it has a history and a level of acceptance quite different from/than the level of acceptance that i, perforce of deeply taught emotion, attach to the establishment of israel.
      many/most israelis seem to find communicating with the palestinians very difficult and thus whatever the specific cause, the lack of communication is not a sign of progress, but regress.

      if there are palestinians or speakers of arabic reading this, i would add a mar'habtein, for you are the only ones who break through my fatalism with your presence, particularly when you come with open thoughts or open feelings.

    • jonathan ofir- you preach to the converted. so cheerleading rather than propaganda is the proper label for your rhetoric. the ministry of explanation and the ministry of truth. no, the two don't sound similar to me, but to your audience that is eager to nod and applaud, it is useful rhetoric.

      in fact the occupation of the west bank seems to me to be a severe error, both morally and politically and it will most probably remain the primary factor in my experience of Zionism (and close to primary vis a vis Judaism) for the rest of my lifespan, so i take the problem seriously. i viscerally reject bds, but it is visceral rather than logical. and bds is a secondary issue compared to the occupation which is primary.

      people who oppose both the occupation and bds will get fewer and fewer soon. so i understand your gleeful tone.

    • "In Hebrew, that literally means ‘explaining’, but many around the world have come to know the Hebrew term as synonymous with propaganda, just like with the Russian name ‘Pravda’ for the old Soviet state-outlet." I understand the gist of what Ofir is trying to say, but it is awkward and propaganda of its own. Many do not know that pravda means truth. And the comparison of using the word truth as the name of a paper and "explanation" as the name of a government agency are barely comparable.

  • Bret Stephens equates anti-Zionists with white nationalists in the 'New York Times'
    • Bret Stephens, despite his NYT bullhorn, is not trying to influence the Democratic Party; he is trying to influence Israel supporters and dissuade them from being chums with Steve Bannon. He is saying, You (Israel supporters) and I are on the same side, we both support Israel's right to exist (with all that it implies), that still does not allow you to associate with Steve Bannon. The right wing is just as dangerous as the left wing. (he is talking to those who agree with him regarding the left wing.)

  • The goy and the golem: James Angleton and the rise of Israel
    • I am no expert in Kollek's career, but it seems that at the time that he informed Angleton of his (Kollek's) suspicions about Philby, he was not at the time, the israeli spy chief, but rather working as director general in ben gurion's office.

  • How Avi Shlaim moved from two-state solution to one-state solution
    • Reading headlines about Saudi Arabia trying to start a war between Lebanon/Hezbollah and Israel, there is a fear/wish/fantasy that headlines will provide the earthquake that shakes the terrain and brings change. I have been following the Israel saga quite closely for over 45 years and there have been in that time two earthquakes: the Yom Kippur War and the second intifada, and neither of them entices me, though I must admit that the status quo is pretty dismal in terms of political respect for the Palestinians. The general tumult in the region certainly should not suffice to explain away Israel's stance, but without trying to get a handle on the macro Arab middle east tumult, seems like silliness and it is difficult for an amateur to get a handle on it.

      I admit I didn't take bibi netanyahu sufficiently seriously when he left office in 99 the first time, but he is a formidable personality. the Zionist versus Palestinian conflict predates bibi and will continue after he is no longer prime minister, but to go from the relatively pragmatic trio of ehud barak, ariel sharon, and ehud olmert to the "tough it out" attitude of bibi who is most reminiscent in attitude to shamir (who expressed his desire to leave office as he received it, zero change and hand it over) has been a cold shower and a slap in the face to those who placed their hearts on change.

      Not familiar enough with Shlaim to get a real feel for him and his writings.

  • 'American Jews are losing it bigtime' -- Netanyahu gov't official slams '80 percent' assimilation rate
    • pabelmont- i agree, but what continuity do you bring to the table? do you speak yiddish? is it due to the zionists that you don't speak yiddish?

    • Danaa, I use fairness rather than justice intentionally, for to me the connotation of justice is rectifying older ills, whereas fairness is not attached to historical wrongs and i think america is about fairness rather than justice. when i was a kid in america we used to watch superman on tv and it spoke of truth, justice and the american way and so i tend away from using the word justice on the grounds of associating the word with fiction and propaganda, whereas fairness is much more kindergarten. let's be fair. what would be fair.

      The idealization of the past is one of the pastimes of older people, and the word "continuity" reminds me of the phrase, they don't make nostalgia like they used to.

      i offered the word "continuity" for each to interpret as they will. even though i used the word assimilation in my lead sentence, i am not riffing on the word assimilation.

      my experience has been primarily with americans who have turned themselves into israelis, modern orthodox who have turned themselves into ultra orthodox, but well aware and surrounded by the secularizing influences of modern american society. modernity and keeping shabbos and kosher in ostensible belief in the divinity of the torah is a contradiction to me and I am surrounded by the current world. does this automatically cure me of the "continuity" imperative. i didn't birth any future jews but i have hung around with young jews and i enjoy talking about torah and "superman" comics, both topics, weaving the two inside and out and that's how intertwined it is for me, but though i favor intertwining of the cultures, everyone's mixture is different and that's how a blue dyed water dropped into a swimming pool will interact with the undyed water and we watch it as it dissipates and disappears and there is something natural about that, but we are humans, not molecules of blue dyed water and so i react to the passage of time and the varying mixtures of the cultures.

      i do not view the recent history of the jewish people as a happy story. taking events from 1881 til today, i think it's a lachrymose story. i try not to communicate that feeling to the youngsters, born jews younger than me onto this planet. (Youngsters are less bitter than me and they can attribute my attitudes towards recent jewish history as part of my general bitterness and categorize it and ignore it.)

      If I had to locate the three poles of most of those younger jews, i'd label them: zionism, torah and modernity.

    • Assimilation, one of the credos of this blog, is antithetical to Hovotely's statement. Her cause is the continuity of the Jewish people, a cause that is treated with disdain by this blog.

      The challenge is the clash between the idea of continuity of the Jewish people and American ideals. This blog is devoted to the clash between American ideals, including fairness and democracy, with the current state of Zionism and with the very idea of Zionism. This blog also shares with us thoughts of apathy (if not occasional antipathy) towards those words: "continuity of the Jewish people". Is positive attention towards the words "continuity of the Jewish people" a clash with Americanism? (Probably not, but possibly, certainly a matter of perception towards definitions of Americanism and continuity and Jewish people.)

  • Five Palestinians bodies recovered from tunnel bombing after Israeli court ignores emergency rescue petition
    • A true pen wielder would be able to sum it up in thirty words or less. After Hamas won legislative elections in 2006, tension between Fatah and Hamas boiled over in violence, with a Hamas triumph in that battle in June of 2007.

      They have controlled Gaza ever since. Gaza does not control the seas beyond its immediate shore and it has undergone three attacks in the intervening 10 years. There been zero elections held in gaza since the takeover by Hamas. Gaza, led by Hamas, has undergone a siege imposed by two countries: primarily Israel, but also particularly since the fall of Morsi, Egypt under Sissi as well. It is the Sissi Egyptian regime that brought about the current Fatah Hamas rapprochement.

      There are major happenings in the Middle East these days. A realignment of power in Saudi Arabia? Abbas heading to Saudi Arabia? Hariri's resignation in Lebanon. In Yemen, a proxy of Iran fires missile/s at Saudi Arabia. Seems to be some major movement.

    • "The Gaza Strip has been under siege by both Israel and Egypt since 2007, when the Hamas movement won Palestinian elections."

      Seems to me this is somewhere between erroneous and untruthful.

      The elections were held in 2006 and the siege began after Hamas violently ejected the PLO from the Gaza strip exerting sole control over the strip due to their military actions, not as the duly elected Palestine Authority Legislative representatives but due to their military actions.

      Here is how wikipedia reports it in summary:

      When Hamas won the Palestinian legislative election, 2006, Palestinian political party Fatah refused to join the proposed coalition, until a short-lived unity government agreement was brokered by Saudi Arabia. When this collapsed under joint Israeli and United States pressure, the Palestinian Authority instituted a non-Hamas government in the West Bank while Hamas formed a government on its own in Gaza.[23] Further economic sanctions were imposed by Israel and the European Quartet against Hamas. A brief civil war between the two groups had broken out in Gaza when, apparently under a U.S.-backed plan, Fatah contested Hamas’s administration. Hamas emerged the victor and expelled Fatah-allied officials and members of the PA's security apparatus from the Strip,[24][25] and has remained the sole governing power in Gaza since that date.[23]

  • Cartoon of Dershowitz mingled appropriate satire and anti-Semitic imagery
    • As a rule political cartoons are not designed to win over the middle, but to encourage true believers. (Very rarely an astute cartoonist reveals something new, but usually mockery a la Charlie Hebdo and Herb Block are the rule.)

    • "Winning the hearts and minds"- to coin a phrase, seems to be what the overall battle seems to be about both from Zionist and antiZionist perspectives. Of course part of the battle is just to strengthen the spirit of the true believers. But on the other hand there is the battle for those who are yet to be convinced. To rationally explain the intersection of antiZionist imagery with antisemitic imagery as coincidence is certainly a valid attempt to win the minds, but it is a poor excuse for winning the hearts.

  • Balfour Declaration's 100th birthday prompts calls on Britain to apologize and recognize Palestinian rights
    • Boomer- Your comment invites all types of speculation regarding alternative history. Specifically: What would have been the outcome of WWI without the participation of the United States?

      The entire focus on this letter from 100 years ago, which gave an official sanction to the Jewish Agency and the building of the the proto state in Palestine, invites speculation regarding alternative history. What would a British mandate in Palestine have looked like without the declaration and its inclusion in the mandate from the League of Nations. What if France would have ruled Palestine as well as Lebanon and Syria? (Or how would a different outcome of WWI have effected Palestine?)

      There is no way that a historically conscious Palestinian can feel anything but pain from the Balfour Declaration. The historically conscious Jew, while acknowledging that pain, cannot ignore the hundreds of thousands of Jews that survived WWII in Palestine as a result of the Declaration. The historically conscious Jew cannot ignore the significance of a Jewish state in Palestine. The politically conscious Jew cannot ignore the significance of the current tense in Palestine, which includes some bright spots, but also includes a political and human mess in regards to the Palestinians. The fact that the entire area of the Middle East is mired in conflict is no comfort in regards to that political and human mess.

  • 'Daily Californian' cartoon of Dershowitz dripping blood unleashes another furor over anti-Semitic canards
    • Specifically, there is nothing antisemitic about the cartoon. in general it is very similar to antisemitic cartoons and so it stimulates the same part of the brain in those familiar with such cartoons. The political ramifications of such brain stimulation is a different question.

  • R.I.P., Shiksa
    • on Downton Abbey, a Jewish male character fell in love with a female cousin of the main family and the father of the Jewish groom-to-be referred to the female as "your shikse", and the son told the father to "don't use that word," and that's when it became clear to me that "shikse" had become common knowledge as an objectionable word.

  • Leon Wieseltier on the Jewish people sounds a lot like Richard Spencer on white people
    • There was a mass emigration from Eastern europe, specifically from czarist ruled lands out and to the west. All the young people, those with an eye to the future were moving west. Jews. And zionism grew in the tumult of that moment. Our future is not here. And as a reaction to this historical phenomenon, zionism declared, let us turn this emigration into a project of self reliance, auto emancipation. Zionism was a reaction to the mass emigration to america, empathetic to the alienation from the czar's realm, but recasting the urge to leave as individuals for individuals by individuals transformed into a concerted effort for the good of the future of the group.

  • US Jews need to stop criticizing Israel if they want two-state solution -- Israeli liberal
    • The overriding theory of the bds movement is that only external pressure will change the mindset of the israelis to get them thinking right. The theory of the darkenu lady is that only an external hug accompanied by a logical explanation can change the outlooks of the moderate middle.

      I think the dangers of the middle east are very real and fear as a knee jerk reflex is entire within the realm of reasonable human reactions. i think the conclusion that palestinian freedom is the key to long term israeli safety is not an automatic conclusion and i think too much explaining would have to go into swaying the moderate middle, so i disagree with the darkenu lady.

  • Newspaper ads offer employment help for new immigrants to Israel -- but only if you're Jewish
    • RoHa- regarding 7th grade, all i can say, is "duh."

      i think the path that i described, was quite specific, as in those who wish with equanimity to partake of two opposing ideas: assimilation and continuity, and somehow combine the push and pull of the two year round, during the run up to Christmas, a time of year that says, "Christian" in its name, is not a time of equanimity regarding the push and pull of assimilation and continuity. I cannot speak to nonJews, although I betcha Diaspora Muslims in America have a problem with Christmas, knowing that their allegiance to monotheism is. In fact, Islam, is precisely wise in regards to Jesus, regarding him in a nonhuman fashion, but nondivine, so any commemoration of Jesus is not in itself offensive to Islam. Christianity was birthed in a schism from Judaism and to combine any other religion's relationship with Christianity with Judaism's inherent relationship (mother and daughter) with Christianity is just sophomoric game playing.

      The diaspora existence was different in other ages, so i cannot be sure what was handed down to my grandparents, but in europe in the early 1900's, the jews, though living in a christian society were a people apart in regard to religion. maybe that was going on hundreds of years, i really don't know much about the parents of my grandparents let alone a couple generations back, that is historical speculation, but I come from a people that is used to being apart from the customs of the land in regards to god worship. particularly the jesus god worship.

      my attitude towards jesus is quite favorable. the new testament is nicht ahin and nicht aher, meaning just so-so, containing much wisdom and blaming the jews or not quite blaming all the jews for the primary death of the godlike figure, so the book is a mixed bag. but i can allow myself to imagine jesus in my own image and he is certainly quite different from the hollywood image and whatever "father, son," stuff that he spoke about, that doesn't discourage me from developing a jesus as hero, or shall we say, a flawed protagonist, i conjure him up over the years. and so jesus as thorn, as gadfly, as heckler, as radical, as otherworldly at times, of extreme presence in the moment at other times, as depressed, as knowing martyr, is a vexing personality that is worthy of contemplation.

      as regards paganism, my attitude is also far more liberal than once upon a time. humans seek the divine in nature, see it in nature, and paganism is a natural expression of the human experience. but i was raised that this is not my custom and the few times that i have attempted to participate in the christmas of others, i have felt the alienation, of "this is not my holiday, it's your holiday, not mine."

      when i walk down the street and see a fine display of christmas lights of the right color combination, some reptilian part of my brain, my childhood brain awakens, to the vicarious pleasure i allowed myself to take in christmas lights of particular light patterns when i was a kid, so just like looking at box scores (hockey box scores) stimulates a pleasant childhood memory part of my brain, a similar part of my brain is stimulated by christmas lights, and so there is vicarious participation in that sense.

      I get a big kick out of white christmas written by a yid. a big kick. and i have done a lot of thinking about the character of santa claus. just as i flesh out the historical jesus in my own image, i flesh out santa claus in my own image as well and consider him a major icon of my yearly cycle. i imagine a depressed santa, where the selfish elves have taken over the north pole and fired most of the workers in north pole, alaska and santa who has signed it over to the banks because of disorganization, now is a mere figurehead, whereas the place is run by selfish elves. so i've given much thought to santa.

      i find the ebb and flow of assimilation and continuity or attempts at continuity among american jews to be a fascinating dynamic.

    • I always consider it junior high school when someone mentions my name out of the blue, so welcome to junior high school.

      Christmas is a great holiday, but not such a good holiday for Jews, as in: the equanimity that assimilation and continuity can proceed hand in hand without producing alienation, while true much of the year is not true at Christmastime.

  • Who can save Israel now? Labor leader emulates Netanyahu
    • How come it's the same people who cast aspersions on anne frank, who get the biggest kick out of Richard Spencer's analogy.

    • I would say that between 15 to 25% of Israeli Jews would choose painful concessions for a hudna, meaning a cease fire of 50 years, to be renewed in 50 years. (and with the prominent role of hamas in the palestinian national movement that is really what is on the table). these 15 to 25% of the israeli jewish voters will vote "left" parties no matter what. gabbai wants to win the centrist voter.

      gabbai's statement, in answer to the "is there someone to talk to?" said, "some say yes and some say not, but it's the security people who say yes", is his way of saying that his lot will be tossed in with those security people, if ever elected.

      i can't see him getting elected.

      on the topic of zoabi. i get a kick out of watching israelis foam at the mouth at zoabi, similar to them foaming at the mouth at gideon levy. this is what happens when personality and ideology create provocateurs, not in the technical sense re: security services, but people who provoke. gideon levy and zoabi are provokers.

      zoabi reflects a natural anger against zionism and as such i accept her as a natural force. i consider the leader of that Joint List party to be a reasonable man and it is merely the machinations of the past Knesset's larger parties trying to encourage the consolidation of parties that led to the existence of the Joint List. So i have no problems with making a coalition with the joint list, because the leader is more important than zoabi.

      I am in favor of a hudna of 50 years. I think the palestinians and the israeli jews are not natural enemies in terms of temperament, only in terms of turf and a hudna of 50 years would improve the situation.

    • I would add that the major issue that is on deck to be solved next is not the west bank, but gaza, as in creating some port as has been discussed here:
      https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-1.815337

    • Actually not surprising. Gabbay comes from Kulanu and he won the labor leadership because he was a new face and all the old faces have failed. He is not really Bibi light, more like Yair Lapid II. It was Lapid who said, that he would make no coalition with the Zoabis, and this is the majority position. Rabin had two votes in the Knesset, almost 25 years ago, one on the first oslo accords of 93, which won the Knesset vote by a relatively easy margin and the oslo II accords which won the Knesset by two votes 61-59.

      I don't hate Zoabi, but I'm not running for Knesset in Israel, where the changing rules have forced all the Arab parties to join as one, and i think they increased their share of the knesset as a result of that collaboration, but i think it is natural to say that Zoabi is not a natural partner to someone who doesn't hate Israel.

      The settlements statement shows his amateur status. If push comes to shove and this guy gets in, he might see his interest in reaching a peace, he's not going to run on the platform, oh, i'm going to give them everything. that's amateur reporting.

      there is a racism problem in Israel. but this is just politics.
      this tempest in a teacup does not impress me. if labor plus yair lapid can get a good amount of the votes, they could form a government, but i'm not betting on them. netanyahu stinks, and most israelis don't think too much of him, but they are not willing to cast their lot with any "peacemaker" "concessions maker". they don't believe in peace or in concessions.

  • 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."
      https://newrepublic.com/article/79087/jewish-cultural-reconstruction

    • 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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