Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1809 (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 1809 - 1801

  • Freewheeling Trump has backed down on only one issue. Guess which one
    • This post takes Trump seriously and treats him with kid gloves. Here is a man, a billionaire, trying to use the highest office in the land in order to make more billions and because of Israel-Palestine, serious people like North and Weiss feel that Trump deserves serious treatment. Here is a man who uses his run for the presidency to get a judge dismissed because he's hispanic, but still let's treat him seriously.

      On foreign policy, here's a man who says, let russia invade the baltic states, we will do nothing. one billionaire to another, trump and putin are going to be big pals, but on mw, he is treated with respect.

  • Coexistence in the land of 'Hatikvah'
    • In about 1964 at a school assembly at my Jewish school in Canada, we were ending an assembly and about to sing Hatikva and one of the male Hebrew teachers handed off the duties to a female English teacher and though she stumbled through some of the words, one could see that there was a lump in her throat. She must have been born in 1928 or so.

      The symbolism of the anthem or of the flag is not the major issue. Acceptance of the reality of the existence of the Palestinians is still in a process, rather than achieved at all, and so there is much work to be done.

  • Why Trump's revolution succeeded, and Bernie's fizzled
    • The analysis of the net effect of the Trump versus Sanders foreign policy rebellion, might be accurate. But the post here includes no analysis of who voted for Clinton versus who voted for Sanders. The fact is that Sanders probably won the white vote and he definitely lost the black vote by a large margin. Blacks were loyal to the Clinton brand name and they never heard of Sanders before 2016 and never really warmed to him. The idea that what was missing in the Sanders message was a larger rebellion against Clinton's foreign policy is malarkey, if we are trying to figure out why he lost the black vote.

      The potential for a candidate as left as Sanders to take the presidential nomination is definitely there, but now that 52 years have passed since any democrat won the white vote, any candidate for the democratic nomination better have the solid backing of the black community if he/she wishes to overthrow the clinton branch of the party. (or at least avoid a situation where the clinton branch candidate wins the black vote in such overwhelming numbers.) this does not exclude foreign policy, but in fact foreign policy is not a key issue for the black democratic primary voters.

  • BDS and Normalization: A Palestinian perspective
    • Labeling Naftush as hasbara central really is an ad hominem attack and if this web site claims to be a war of ideas (which its primary comments editor disclaims at least once a week) then the reference to Gershon Baskin in today's jerusalem post is in fact part of the war of ideas. naftush should be faulted for not including a link to the jpost article not for being hasbara central. Here's the link: link to

  • With no evidence except ethnicity, media declared Nice attack terrorism
    • I would not label this post as silly, because it made me stop and think. But now after a little thought I think that this post is anti human. of course the media is not merely human, as in frail enough to see patterns where they DO exist, but exploitative. The question is not the media, but the individual and i think the individual would be better off not reading the papers or viewing the media, but if the individual is part of the world community to the extent of following the news, that it is natural and scientific to consider murders by muslim immigrants in a category by itself. if you prove to me that killings of more than 5 strangers in france or the US is not disproportionately Islamic. then you will have proven to me your point. but in fact, mass killings of strangers are disproportionately Muslim in the US and France, so this post is cause to pause and think but then to reject.

  • Iran deal is still imperilled by deep state-- hardliners, Israel lobby, Hillary Clinton
    • There is currently a struggle for power in the middle east between Sunni and Shiite. I suppose that the attitude expressed herein is that the US should be neutral in regard to this struggle. It is also that the US should be neutral in regard to the Assad regime. I have not formulated a position on these issues, but I think that they should be argued rather than assumed, which seems to be the upshot of this post, to assume what would be a good position regarding Iran rather than to argue the point.

  • Powerful new game 'Liyla and The Shadows of War' dramatizes 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza
    • compared to the west bank in which security needs and settler presence are intricately intertwined, the conflict between israel and the palestinians vis a vis gaza is quite easy to "solve". of course the solution would satisfy neither side, but it would involve a hamas ruled gaza with limited sovereignty, but nowhere near the current siege, far greater flow of people and goods in and out, but with more limits than palestinians would like to see.
      it is my impression that it is primarily domestic politics that stops netanyahu from pursuing and reaching an agreement between israel and gaza.

  • Bible justifies rape in times of war, despite rabbis' efforts to spin or hide the teaching
    • michael lesher in the quoted facebook quote: "in other words, he must satisfy his lust," Shouldn't this read: in other words, he may satisfy his lust"?

  • The iron law of institutions versus Bernie Sanders
    • Stephen is correct regarding the end of the Jewish Sabbath, but the beginning of the Jewish sabbath is a bit before sunset. (in theory the sabbath should be 24 hours and a bit. (24 hours being a day and the bit, being adding a little bit). but because the precise time of the end of a day, which is signified by sunset, is not knowable, time is added after sunset until the three stars are seen in the sky.) (it is also traditional to light candles before the sabbath about 18 minutes before sunset.) (none of this affects voting patterns in our theoretical scenario.)

    • Page: 18
    • If the question is: how to turn the bernie sanders candidacy into a movement, then the new york times is besides the point.

      to me, a trump presidency is a disaster i'd prefer not to see. but i think a clinton presidency will be in toto inadequate to the tasks facing america. her weak political skills (speechmaking), the lack of an imaginative program (true, america might not be able to afford a truly imaginative program and i myself often call a lack of imagination realism) and the fact that she is going to lose the white vote big time, means that she will not be able to stir the country out of its divisions into something resembling hope. the left must be prepared to run a candidate against her in 2020.

      the primary political facts include the following:
      1. the middle class is shrinking
      2. people seem to be polarized and angry
      3. the republicans control more state houses and state legislative seats and congressional seats than they controlled in 2008
      4. particularly while a democrat sits in office, but even as a rule, democrats do much better in the presidential election years rather than in the congressional election years.

      how about moving election days to sundays. (republicans will never go for that, because they want to suppress voting, but it's something the american people would buy.) is the left ready to go to the streets with something as simple as changing election days to sundays? the answer i fear is no. the left is very weak and sanders shows that there is life there, but is there energy, patience, foresight, strategy and realism? it doesn't really seem so. (When will the left make a move to win over the white vote in this country? Never? Is demographics the be all and end all for the democratic party? is it really acceptable for the democratic party to ignore the majority of white voters?)

      The new york times is the gray old lady. that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be criticized. But it does mean if you are trying to start a revolution, you really don't go to the gray old lady to get things started. she's more like the party pooper, not the party starter.

      and for me to take the sanders movement seriously, there has to be something real happening after november, something a little more promising than just the occupy movement, which was fine, but tiny in comparison to the hitting the pavement selling the new gospel on the streets that a real revolution would be about.

  • Video: Asking Israelis to mark the Nakba on Independence Day
  • 'Palestinians ought to be free' -- Cornel West's historic moment
    • echinocuss- I understand that you don't want to hear from me, but MHughes expressed explicitly that he wouldn't mind hearing from me.

      As far as your two week old claim on my attentions- I am afraid that i do not esteem your opinion of me highly enough to care.

      if it was about gore vidal, i wish gore's bones well. i think his memory is not a blessing nor is it a curse. you, on the other hand surely add to the cesspool aspect of the comments section.

    • A massacre like the one in Nice is just human nature plus politics equals bloodshed. 1 in every 1,000 human males has murderous rage and between the ages of 18 to 42 a fair number will give expression to that murderous rage. In 2016, if you are muslim and male and young and angry, there is a cause or an excuse for you to kill.

      of course, when some nutjob goes off and kills 49 in orlando or 84 in nice, one does not engage in statistical analyses. if one has stomach enough to watch video tapes of news casts from the scene of ambulances and morgue and forensic crews, if one can afford to open their heart to the pain of such senseless death, those are two paths to dealing with it: reporter and feeler.

      the religious impulse has often involved a component of violence from the crusades to the inquisition. i haven't read william james recently enough, but as I recall much "sincere" religion involves anger and uncontrollable emotions that are channeled in a specific path and then there are the killers of orlando and nice who just needed an excuse to kill, and their religion was as superficial as an october frost.

      america's relationship to guns is quite atyical of modern civilization.

      as far as immigration: it is natural to react to an orlando and try to imagine how we might have acted differently to not have reached this point in time and limiting immigration is a very human reaction. i'm from brooklyn and immigration is as essential to brooklyn as are the subways and the attitude, so to attempt to put the genie back in the bottle and undo immigration goes against the code of brooklyn. (although also part of the code of brooklyn is to hate the other immigrants, or to hate the new immigrants. "a view from the bridge" by arthur miller is based upon such hatred and about one fifth of the episodes of the sopranos deal with immigration and mixed feelings towards newer immigrants.)

      as far as Turkey, i have very mixed feelings.
      From the Ottoman empire through the genocide of the armenians, to the role Turkey tried to take upon itself of secularizing itself and modernizing itself. to erdogan and his alpha male ways. to the confusion of how islam can be both modern and assertive. added to the role of turkey vis a vis iran and vis a vis the kurds and vis a vis syria and the role that they have been cast as the destination for refugees so that europe can stop the flow. to the future of europe and how turkey might fit into that future. mostly superficial impressions.

      (the fact that Arabic is so close to Hebrew, whereas Turkish and Farsi are so distant from both those languages.)

    • mooser- indeed the war against iraq sets a certain standard in fiascos for america in the post vietnam era.

      trump combines aspects of huey long, george wallace and ross perot (and not in a good way). i think he is unpredictable and i would prefer not to have my fears confirmed or denied by a reality of a trump presidency.

    • Recently i have read where Muslims were upset that westerners only focused on terrorism when western targets and western humans were killed. But til i mentioned it, really no one here bothered to comment, because no one here lives in france and it is not your primary concern.

      the uses politicians put to terrorist attacks is really an unworthy topic to raise. when a bus was blown up in jerusalem in 1996 and a friend's wife's first comment was: "i wonder what netanyahu is going to say", i was very offended, so you are right, pontificating politically is one step removed from a human reaction.

      i am sometimes surprised by how uninvolved in foreign policy analysis the primary commentators are here. not one comment on the attempted coup in turkey, is a further example of the nonglobal emphasis of the rhetoric of this comments section.

      The current headlines say about the Tunisian who did this that he was not religious, but under medical care for his unsocial personality. When the prick from Orlando was described as a jilted HIV fearing closet gay, did that change the net effect?

      These are half formed still unfinished reactions to these two events that can be described as tragedy: to human anger having gained access to guns, trucks and causes that espouse bloodshed.

      The anger in the US today is primarily expressed politically through the candidacies of Trump and now Jill Stein, since Sanders has taken the step away from the abyss and into the mainstream that some advocate for him. Frankly a Trump presidency scares me more than Orlando or Nice. I accept people who prefer the Trump foreign policy and thus are sitting this one out or coming out for Trump. It isn't foreign policy that scares me regarding Trump.

      it is american history and the presidency itself if not the health of the republic. When has the presidency been handed to someone as irresponsible as Trump? Never.

    • Off topic- I've looked at the comments and nothing to say about those killed in Nice? Truly i guess there is nothing to say, but no speculation about how trump will play this? no talk about how americans would react to something like this. well, of course, orlando was a bit like this too. i suppose that cool and calm treats this as a blip in the murder rate, and maybe we should aspire to cool and calm. but the chattering that goes on here and not one comment about Nice seems that people are willing to deal in superficials, just to avoid the thoughts conjured by a major terrorist attack in france.

  • Israeli rabbi who advocated rape of 'comely gentile women' during war becomes chief army rabbi
    • Shmuel- Thanks for the honorable mention. (a jewish gossip columnist in nyc used to end his columns praising in short sentences, the honorable menschen)

      Not particularly sensitive (at this particular moment) to the accusation of fetishization you have offered as an explanation of modern Orthodox attachment to land and people, but still wishing to participate in the discussion (since you alluded to me) here is a 6 by 6 down and across crossword puzzle that includes the words fetish and heresy.

      FETI SH
      T ITTE R

    • maria palestina,
      You, I assume, wish to kick the Jews out of Palestine, tell them to go back to where they came from. If you can prevail in the market place of ideas then it will be a formidable obstacle to Jewish survival in the region and Jewish sovereignty over any land in the region, understood.

      Ben Gurion pointed to the tanach (hebrew bible) as his title deed to the land and to go from Plonsk to Tel Aviv required a belief in the historical moment, that the Jewish existence to reach the 20th century meant something essential certainly to those born Jewish and that the moment of world turmoil and threats and change was a moment that required bold action regarding turning the Jews from a nomadic people to a landed people.

      Currently the status quo is very different from what it was a hundred years ago. The idea of kicking the Jews out persists, but lacks a certain seriousness or shall we say willingness to face the seriousness of your opponent. certainly clownish behavior from the prime minister and brutish behavior from the populace and the army, seems to demand a scoffing attitude.

      yet, in fact the jewish people are not worthy of scoff and even if the zionist movement is something that must undergo some sort of very basic change in order to survive the changing of the guard, there needs to be some sort of seriousness in regards to jewish history, and how we reached here. the fact that christian society is less religious now than it was 200 years ago and certainly than it was 500 years ago, versus the fact that muslim society is much more religious today than it was 50 years ago, this does not guide us how to deal with the bible, but it does suggest that history is a tangled ball and any attempt to merely dismiss religion is in fact dishonest. there were many causes that went into the creation of israel and they include european dynamics, global colonial dynamics and the long range survival of a group that adheres to jewish religious texts. I understand that you really don't wish to understand what went into the creation of israel, you merely wish it to disappear, but it seems to me that the odds are strong that its disappearance will not happen short range, so that gives you plenty of time to put yourself into zionist shoes. maybe if you had been born to another mother and father, you might have found yourself born in tel aviv, if i should imagine being born in Dheisheh and I should, then it is not wrong for you to imagine being born in tel aviv.
      the role that the biblio book has played in the creation of israel and how the book plays a role in the current war situation and how the book might play a role in a future peace situation are all questions. people who have studied the book if not day and night then at least year in and year out, certainly realize that it is not just as simple as tossing the book onto the bonfire or into the ash heap and the presence of pre geneva convention rules of war in the books represent going backwards instead of forwards and those who give too much credence to these verses in deuteronomy are part of the problem and not part of the solution, but if you want to take the book away from me, because the book was used to take the land away from you, then there will be a tug of war over the book and that is the path of conflict. certainly conflict is our bread and who am i to tell you how to fight your war against me, but imaging and imagining the future of peace is also part of the war and that will require deeper thought.

    • The Bible is not a god given document nor is it a perfect document. it is a product of a specific time (and place). (or times and places) Those who expect perfection or godliness from every verse of the five books of moses are bound to be disappointed. those that must see the godliness in every verse, because their lifestyle is based upon acceptance of the torah as the supreme document, are in an awkward position. It is an ancient document containing pillars of western society, plus other stuff that is not really worthy.

  • BDS is a war Israel can't win
    • Stanley Cohen- I knew that there were rabbis and couples who broke the law and could be sent to prison, but you are saying that the jailing has actually occurred. If true, please link. If untrue, please correct.

      "even going so far as to jail couples marrying illegally, or rabbis conducting such ceremonies." - See more at: link to

  • Israeli scholar refuses to shut up despite university punishment for saying settlers exhibit 'psychosis'
    • It must be observed that a gratuitous mention of the democratic platform and Hillary clinton reveals a monomaniacal tendency to harp on something that is totally irrelevant to the issue at hand.

  • Hillary Clinton has a decision to make
  • US media fail to report video of soldiers shooting desperate Palestinian girl holding knife overhead
    • i think mondoweiss should do away with much of its comments policy page, because it truly does not mean its words.

      One of the goals of this site is to promote critical discussion and debate on US foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We want Mondoweiss to be a place that everyone feels comfortable visiting, to read and comment, regardless of political perspective. People might not always like what we post, but everyone should feel invited and encouraged to join the discussion, share their opinions, and engage in debate. - See more at: link to

    • Yakov Hirsch- betcha that hasn't happened in the last 85 years in iran. so you've got to choose something a little more likely.

      there was some deranged jew with a knife shot by cops in boro park about three years ago. i certainly didn't comment here about it.

      cops going to deal with deranged citizens is a different dynamic than occupiers dealing with deranged occupied.

    • ideally whenever one can disarm a person with a knife, you ought to do so, without killing the person. I have never been in such a situation. obviously these soldiers are given a rifle and not a baton and not a taser and not a bayonet. they are apparently guarding a spot in occupied territories at a time of attacks by knife and car on soldiers and settlers, so they are targets of the course of the occupier versus occupied dynamic that has been established.

      if you're not an american right now, i allow you extra umbrage at the fact that this is not in the media. but to americans dealing with cops shooting men for selling videos in front of a convenience store or a man reaching for his driver's license, the idea that this video of a woman with a knife getting shot is not receiving adequate media coverage is silliness.

      the occupation i grant is evil. and this woman allowed her soul to be possessed by an anger that would undo this evil with her very life. if the soldiers had been equipped with taser guns and batons and shields, then the use of the rifle is horrible and criminal. but it is the army's fault, not the soldiers' fault. and right now the army is not about to change its modus operandi to tasers, batons and shields.

      and let me pose this question: who shot this video? have they come forward or has this been submitted anonymously? did they know that this woman was about to attack? if the driver and rider in the car were aware that an attack was about to take place, then that changes the entire dynamic, doesn't it?

    • Experiment: Pick a city. A woman with clearly unstable frame of mind comes at two policemen with a knife as in this video. What is the result?

  • As Dems vote against Palestine, Cornel West warns it is the 'Vietnam War' of our time
    • kalithea- I was stating the obvious. That to compare Vietnam, which effected every American male turning 18, to an issue in which the only stake is justice, is comparing apples and oranges or is comparing something that effects the selfish aspect of a person rather than the selfless aspect.

      in the 1960's there were two issues that burned and they were race and Vietnam. This is history. Since the 1960's there has been no unifying issues compared to those two issues.

      A world that values justice would be a great world to live in. This is not the world that we have today and believing that it is, makes you vulnerable to all sorts of deceptions.

      in regards to israel palestine, the average american is more concerned about the recurrence of an orlando or a san bernardino, than they are about justice between israelis and palestinians. that's a fact of life.

      an america that will turn on a dime and become an enemy of israel is an america that will not be trusted around the world and to believe that foreign policy should suddenly wake up and declare that it has seen the light is some kind of mind trip that some people think makes them admirable and just and clean and pure and superior and that's your trip.

      i feel that the US should be honest with itself regarding the middle east and the first fact of honesty is this: most americans really don't give a damn about things that take place overseas. and that fact is kind of like gravity. it makes it easy to walk around, but if you drop an egg, it's going to break. both consequences of gravity.

      i wish the world was different, but it is what it is.

      cornel west is interested in making palestine israel the issue of the day. (foreign policy issue of the day.) i have news for him and you. muslim terrorism is the foreign policy issue of the day. you can blame israel for sirhan sirhan and for 9/11 and for san bernardino and isil and the war between iran and saudi arabia, but the american public is not buying your hooey. either that or they don't have time to see the truth that you in your superior wisdom have garnered about the world. the american public is concerned about its own borders and keeping foreigners out. that's one half and there is also the other half that doesn't care about keeping foreigners out, but really doesn't think much about the world outside of the us borders or if they're not into politics, they're not into thinking about the world outside of their neighborhood. that's just a fact of life.

      i can't rewrite history or human nature or the fact that gravity is a force applied by the earth at an acceleration rate of 32 feet per second per second, and maybe our european brothers will enlighten us what that is in meters per second per second, but beyond such translations, gravity is a fact of life. and if you can't deal with human nature as given and if you can't appreciate that justice didn't cause americans to turn against the war in vietman but the draft turned the tide against the war, then i suggest that you fly to the moon and back because the laws of gravity don't apply to you any more than the laws of human nature.

      so if you want to talk facts, we might have something to discuss. (might, like 1 in 20,000, because like most of the folks around here, you haven't had a discussion with someone who didn't agree with you in a few decades.) but if you want to pretend that american politics is some kind of a search for justice in foreign policy, then i'd suggest flying to the moon ten more times in the next day, because the laws of nature obviously mean nothing to you.

    • As if the Vietnam protests did not have the aspect of a draft and a war with large losses of American lives. Vietnam altered a generation's perceptions of government and warmaking.

      Certainly the argument about the importance of the I-P conflict/oppression can be made, but vietnam, no argument had to be made, you had to report to the draft board, it was your front page news naturally. this is entirely different.

      But of course he was cheered by the crowd and that proves the historical accuracy of his comparison.

      certainly mw is trying to give momentum to the movement that views I-P as THE issue of the day.

  • Ozick says Obama needs 6-volume history of Jews on his bedside table
    • if one wished to write a book about the overlap of antisemitism and antizionism, keith's comments would be a fine place to start.

  • Life as Israel's hostage (or when will Palestinian dispossession be reckoned in the Diaspora?)
    • thank you

    • Abba Solomon:
      Could you please provide a link to this quote of Moshe Shertok (Sharett): "in March 1948 said to UN Security Council members that the existence of so many “Jewish hostages throughout the world” would be a guarantee of the good behavior of the “Jewish” state in Palestine towards Arabs after implementation of partition. - See more at: link to

  • Modern-day lynchings: an international view
    • This post smells of "All evil comes from Israel." Maybe connecting the dots from one evil to another makes for a good sermon to some believers, but it plays to nonbelievers like silliness or worse.

  • How Israel accidentally validated my activism
    • Being raised Jewish in America is tied into a few things, including the immigrant experience. If someone is a Brit who moved to Australia there are resemblances, but because of the fact that Britain's empire included Australia, the experience of eastern european jews moving to america is much more similar to italians moving to america than to a brit moving to australia.

      how does a child relate to jewishness? if a child is told, we are jews, we keep shabbos because we are jews, whereas in fact most of the surrounding jews do not keep shabbos, then identifying what it means to be a jew might get even trickier. one meets one's grandparents who come from the old country and speak with a yiddish accent and one thinks, that is where i come from. other jews who speak in yiddish accents like one's grandparents: that is where i come from.

      when a grown man looks back on the experience, i might call it authenticity, but it really has more to do with identity formation than anything else. maybe the professor can enlighten us about sources that deal with identity formation in grandchildren of immigrants. authenticity has a certain ring to it that is not present in the formulation identity formation and maybe i am misusing the word "authentic", but to a kid grandchild to immigrant grandparents, there is something intangible about the exotic history of: we used to live there, we moved here (and everyone over there of us, who we left behind, was murdered, adds an extra twist.)

  • Jewish entitlement, and Jewish populism
    • off topic. those of you who hate jewish navel gazing will hate this. and plus this is brought by shmuel rosner a man whom this site really dislikes. but it asks an interesting question: regarding the contradiction between jewishness and liberalism.
      link to

  • In latest pander to Israel lobby, Clinton smears Max Blumenthal's criticism of Wiesel as 'hateful'
    • annie- well, then in terms of ideas, you are also talking about the future and not the present, because consciousness of Israel's oppression of the Palestinians is not a front burner issue for 93% of Americans or residents in America at this point of time. You are being a cheerleader regarding the future rather than an analyst of july 2016 america.

    • you might have a crystal ball and a pulse on the future of the american people, but at this moment in time, despite the clinton condemnation, max blumenthal's name means nothing to at least 92% of American voters, (eligible voters, those over 18 and I include all illegal aliens as Americans as well, so not even eligible voters, merely residents of America over the age of 18) and I'd bet closer to 94% of Americans would not be able to identify the name.

    • Max blumenthal is one of the most influential jews in the world. Ha! He has name recognition in the single digits. this is nonsense.

  • Mainstream obits for Wiesel offer barely an asterisk for his intolerant views of Palestinians
    • Two names I'd like to mention in relation to Wiesel. The first is Michael Jackson. Celebrity killed Michael Jackson and to attempt to view Wiesel without the celebrity culture that we live in cannot suffice.

      The other is Zalman Schachter Shalomi. Here is Zalman's obit by Shaul Magid from two years ago, precisely this time of year.
      link to

      I think it is useful to compare and contrast with Wiesel. Zalman did not experience the Shoah in the same way as Wiesel. He was not in camp. He did not watch his father get beaten halfway to death and then die in front of him. But Zalman was close enough to the Shoah experience that his many paradigm shifts must include the Shoah in order to understand Zalman's changes. (I think people who were religious before WWII really had their world shaken by the experience and trying to compare Wiesel to secular survivors is faulty.)

    • All the world did not welcome the Iran deal. Saudi Arabia and I assume most Sunni Arab states opposed the deal. (They might not have gone public with their opposition, but Obama's need to calm Arab opponents of Iran was clearly reported at the time.)

  • Israel's political crisis wouldn't be happening if not for violent Palestinian resistance
    • here's my prediction. Netanyahu will survive the revolt of the generals and he will run in the next israeli elections and win.

      Palestinian violence of varying levels and sorts has existed since 1921 and certainly since 1936, so this statement that without Palestinian violence the current crisis wouldn't be occurring really says next to nothing other than an opportunity to wax wise about the role violence plays in political change.

      This is netanyahu's habit: forcing powerful personalities out of the Likud. Both Bennett and Lieberman began their careers as allies of Bibi and they were not sufficiently servile, so they had to go. They achieved their own power bases outside of Likud and now Bibi makes coalitions with them.

      (If the generals have influence over judges and prosecutors, there is a possibility that scandal will bring Bibi down. if judges and prosecutors are truly independent then there is also a possibility that scandal will bring Bibi down. But meanwhile the far right parties did not get stronger in the last elections, and there is nothing to indicate any short term vision of Bennett or Lieberman being the next prime minister of Israel.)

  • Elie Wiesel is Dead
    • shmuel- in fact it seems that wiesel was buried in nyc and environs. i imagined him buried in israel, his body on an el al jet, his soul spending time hovering around his wife and kid in first class: (a young kid, i assume wiesel's son has to be in his thirties by now) and hovering around the people on the plane.

      (dead souls, in recent movies, are often invisible to most people but visible to some, so too a 6 year old kid can see wiesel's soul hanging out in the aisles of the el al flight as his body travels below with the suitcases. but then they announce that due to mechanical difficulties the plane will be landing in europe (this will be tricky, because logically geographically no plane would land in hungary or poland and germany is too over the top, but it could be paris as well, because he spent some time there.) as the plane lands the 6 year old says to elie, "it's landing because of you."
      dead souls get on the flight in paris, they are elie's yeshiva friends from hungary who had studied the texts with him. elie expects them to be proud of all that he has done, but they are not proud. the specifics are not clear, but it is clear that it is over emphasis on jewishness of victims that alienates his friends, because they themselves give the reason for their mixed reactions: they are no longer jewish. a soul that dies for sanctifying the name, kiddush hashem, is freed from the prison of jewishness through their violent deaths. These friends ceased to be jewish upon their death, (which is kind of ironic, because all they do is tell jewish jokes and study talmud for pleasure not for the mitzvah which no longer applies to them).

    • It shifts away from wiesel's "realism" and shifts towards his idealism. There are two lessons from auschwitz- 1. Jewish powerlessness must be undone. And two: We must build a better world. It was much easier to buy guns, and build a Jewish army, than it is to build a better world.

    • Paradigm shift is the phrase that comes to mind. Ben Gurion posed the question, "Does zionism need peace in order to be a success?" His answer was, no. This was in keeping with the Zionist dictum "b'yadeinu", which means "in our hands", that is: we can accomplish our fate by our acts alone. Whereas peace needs two to tango. The net result of B-G's attitude was the undermining of sharret's peace efforts, and bibi's declaration " we must live by the sword forever". Given the tumult of Syria and iraq, the questionable stability of egypt, the dependence of jordan, the troublemaking of Iran, the lack of monopoly regarding an army existing in lebanon, whereas Israel's ability to live by the sword has improved over the last 43 years (using the yom kippur war as the measure of the most recent extreme military vulnerability), the paradigm shift from war to peace is quite far.

      Mark Ellis's paradigm shifted long ago. But the result is that he and the Zionists are not even in the same ballpark, let alone on the same page.

      If I had to summarize the shift it would be based on the irgun's slogan "rak kach" meaning only thus. A slogan accompanied by a hand lifting a rifle towards the sky. The new Mark Ellis "rak kach" would be accompanied by an Arab shaking hands with a Jewish zionist. We are far away from this shift.

  • Israel-splaining
    • Hey moosser, congrats. You were able to respond to one of my comments without using my name once. Though the archives have been decimated you have been able to repeat my name 1130 times in just two years. Since your output has been only 15,000 I was shocked that I was the recipient of one out of every 15 of your analyses, until I realized that sometimes you like to repeat my name five or more times.

    • Off topic. Elie Wiesel died today and before mw skewers him for his right wing zionism, I just wanted to say a few words. First: I've never been in prison and certainly never been kept prisoner in a death camp. Wiesel was young when he was swallowed by that monstrosity. Hungarian jews had the advantage of short stays in the camps. Most were interred in the summer of 44.
      Not to measure tragedies or traumas, but he saw his father die and parted from his mother and sister at the camp gates.
      There was the lifelong contradiction between remembering and "no business like shoah business". How to be loyal to the past and loyal to the future. How to be loyal to the rabbis and their studies and the texts, but also angry at god and the rabbis too.
      Jews who spoke with Yiddish accents had the aura of authenticity about them to me as I grew up in america in the mid to late 20th century.
      The usual Jewish honorific is zichrono livracha, of blessed memory. Which feels very inappropriate. The memory is not a blessing. The other phrase used is olov hashalom, pbuh, peace be upon him. Peace be upon you, Elie!

  • Chicago clergy leaders call for end to blockade of Gaza
    • Quite sure that marshal rather than martial is the correct spelling in the first sentence in this post.

  • 'NY Jewish Week' speaks bluntly of 'Israel firsters' in US politics
    • My original statement was wrong to accuse vidal of ugly jew hatred, it should have accused him of highly questionable jew taunting.

    • An analogy: two teens are dissing each other's mothers: your momma's so fat when she sits around the house, she sits around the house. The younger brother of one of these teens hears his mother being disrespected in this way, does not appreciate the cleverness of the game, holds a grudge against the teen who insulted his mother (disregarding the tit for tat context). Yes, when decter insults gays and vidal responds by insulting jews, believe it or not, not everyone is laughing. That's human nature. But here all we have is hardy har har, can't you take a joke? And if i can't take a joke it must mean that I'm anti gentile. Gimme a break. Gore vidal made his name calling Buckley a nazi on tv, he was don rickles with a large vocabulary, a patrician's snobbish sneer and a smirk: see I can insult you and get away with it. Maybe the great referee in the sky sees it different, but some of us humans down here might take him a tad too seriously and when Buckley threatens violence, even 48 years later I root for buckley.

    • Jolson picked his mode of leaving his cantor father behind, by adopting two types of conformity: conformity to the racism of his day and exchanging his Jewish identity for the oppressed, but emotionally unrepressed black man. That this was the first talkie and at the same time a document of the desire to assimilate is one of the grand coincidences of cinematic and American jewish history.

    • I also object to vidal's use of the term "huckster".

    • What if the new class were gentiles mixing with jews and I would write "every time you go to a party you always hear that laconic monosyllabic somewhat brain damaged midwest accent."

    • i must have found the article on my own.

    • Raphael-
      When we were in high school and believed that the laws were incumbent on us, we fantasized about finding out that we really weren't jewish, would we convert? and the answer was no way. the torah is too heavy a burden.

      the identity thing, is tough to define, everybody has their own set of parents, their own way of relating to their jewishness or to their jewish roots.

      though i reject a reasonably large percentage of the torah, i can imagine a torah scroll being opened before me and though i am not in awe per se, i feel as if the letters are "special", not magic, but not mundane. if someone lacks that awe, that irrational adoration of a text out of some romantic notion of "holiness", then i suppose the jewish thing is merely historical. to me the history of the 20th century is intense and even for someone with many family branches and only a solitary root in jewishness, i would think that curiosity about this historical earthquake would be rather intense. i would even think that multiple roots would help a person have perspective on the earthquake, view it from the outside and not just the inside, but that would be for a deep person.

      by the way, shoah is far preferable to holocaust, because of the holy sacrifice implied by holocaust and i object to the term. shoah means desolation. the yiddish churban for destruction is also good. but sorry to get bogged down in semantics. the previous points were much more heartfelt than this verbal excursion.

    • Scott Mcconell's article was linked on this page before, but for some reason that link has been deleted, so here is the link to his article. If you're too lazy to read it i will find the negative adjectives that he finds regarding vidal's anti podhoretz presentations. but he does not give him the clean bill of health this mw crowd give vidal's rhetoric. link to

    • I agree with norm Podhoretz that the attacks by vidal against norm and his wife were antisemitic, but I will concede that the fervent antizionist crowd which constantly spits its contempt, might expect the recipients to consider their spit as if it was rain. Maybe I was adding vidal's signature patrician sneer, his "I am a true american" and you are disloyal immigrant guests, into my reading of his words of scorn. Maybe it is his defense of American firsters of 1941 which bias me against him. Maybe it is his defense of timothy mcveigh, maybe his conspiracy theories, which make me see the sinister in his playful harmless words. But I'm with Podhoretz on this.

      I will try to find "empire lovers strike back" by vidal in the nation and " the hate that dared not share it's name" by Podhoretz in commentary in 1986, to reach a calmer opinion. Until then it seems that vidal is the perfect inkblot, seen as a jew hater by Zionists and seen as eminently fair by those who hate israel. (Note: Scott McConnell exonerates vidal for his antizionism, but still finds some of his anti Jewish rhetoric troubling.)

    • Vidal wrote a piece in the nation called "Some Jews and the Gays". In it he responds to the anti gay rhetoric of Midge Decter by indulging in anti Jewish rhetoric of his own. Here's the link to the piece: link to
      and here's the most memorable line of that sort: " No matter how crowded and noisy a room, one can always detect the new-class person’s nasal whine."

    • Although vidal's attack on Podhoretz's israel priorities was valid, vidal's rhetoric included ugly jew hatred unrelated to israel as well.

  • Video: All hell breaks loose in Knesset as Zoabi demands apology following Israel-Turkey agreement
    • Netanyahu is utilizing the anti zoabi popular sentiment and the murder of the Israeli Jewish girl in her bed in occupied territories to distract from the complaint, "he could've gotten a better deal with turkey. "

      Question regarding American congressmen, what is the most anti soldier comment uttered on the floor of either house in the post war period. During the discovery of my lai or later what was the most anti soldier comment uttered?

  • Clinton to Palestine: Drop dead
    • btw, i assume that the median income of muslim americans is higher than the median income of average americans, certainly higher than median income of blacks and hispanics. would that justify anti muslim legislation?

    • Sibirak- and here's the quote from Keith that deserves condemnation by all students of history: "And I have yet to see any evidence from a reliable source (not you) that prior to Nazi Germany Jews were persecuted more than other groups, or were in more danger than other groups. "- See more at: link to

    • Keith- The bloody wars of the early 17th century should not be used as an excuse for Jew hatred in the late 19th century. After the Napoleonic wars, Europe was experiencing a period of stability and the repression that Russia imposed on its Jews in the May Laws and the rhetoric of the time, should not be excused by the bloodiness of European history 250 years earlier.

    • Sibiriak,
      since this discussion began with a condemnation of BDS as antisemitic, then you are right, I should have dealt with Keith's assertions of anti gentilism of the anti BDS movement as expressed in that Seattle newspaper and as such my attack on Keith's words should have been put in the context of the unfairness of the labeling of BDS. (Larry Derfner supports BDS, if only reluctantly, and that on its face negates the broad paint brush stroke.)

      The majority of the world's Jews in 1881 lived in Russia and were oppressed by the czars, as in the May Laws which I cited. To cite Jewish millionaires and their power or the economic class that most Jews occupied as a means of denying the political and social vulnerability of the Jewish masses, is a fancy means of denial. Since in america the great social issue is racism against blacks and indigenous, and blacks and indigenous are both in the lowest economic class, some people are unable to stretch their brains and realize that not all vulnerabilities and repressions are exactly the same and passing laws against Jews is still repression, even if their median income was greater than the median income of the average Russian.

    • Keith .
      If pinsker preached antigentilism, which he did, then I excuse him. For the coming danger to the jews was irrational and all consuming, and maybe I shouldn't excuse him because if belief in the benevolence of American gentiles had been his teachings instead then maybe the net benefit of his word would have been greater, but in the given case of europe, a freight train was headed towards the jews in Europe and anyone who preached antigentilism, i.e. as in- one of these goys is going to murder your asses, then he was preaching a course in life saving, in swimming, a mitzva, common sense.

      It is truly a quandary how to promote a consciousness of history, but to promote amnesia re: Europe 1881 to 1945. I grew up with huckleberry hound and Beaver cleaver and father knows best. I was not taught to fear the gentile by the TV I watched. But then when I got older it was Richard Kimble falsely accused and pursued by the dogged gerard, just a step ahead of the law. But this is we hope a new age, and america has been berry berry good to me.

      But when you assert the financial slot that jews tend to fill, that does not change the facts of czarist russia. For every super rich jew there were tens of thousands of poor jews, and a rich jew does not change the dynamics of pogroms or the may laws, and the argument is ignorant and malicious.
      There was tremendous energy talent and potential in the jews ruled by the czars and the only thing mother Russia could figure out how to do was to pass laws to repress them and here you are 130 years later denying history. And proud of it. You are icky.

    • Ignorance is bliss, but propagating ignorance is evidence of malice and mendacity. Czarist Russian antisemitism of the 1880's is historically self evident. Google "may laws" and read, unless you prefer to swallow the ignorance peddled here without the benefit of facts.

    • Between 1881 and 1917, one third of all jews left czarist russia for other locations. Historians attribute this migration to antisemitism, but according to you, keith, life was beautiful or what?

    • I think there are three elements to fear re:trump. Racism, fascism (or more precisely anti-democratic impulses) and the unique dangers posed by his personality. Mussolini and lenin were threats to freedom and democracy, whereas Hitler and George wallace the focus is on racism. Racism was the organizing principle of wallace's political life. Re: hitler. It's not a useful analogy, if you are seeking analysis rather than sounding the alarm.

    • 2016 is a strange political year. Even hillary, the most predictable element of the season is a precedent maker: woman, former first lady, in the public's eye for 24 years. The two strangers tho' are Bernie and trump.
      Trump combines ross perot with George wallace, but running on a major party ticket. The reality tv, parody of the onion aspect to his candidacy, might be discouraged because he is truly unpredictable and has said horrible things about Muslims and Mexicans and who knows wtf he might do, so the obvious aspect: life imitating art, needs to be ignored, because who wants to laugh at their own funeral?
      Bernie is next up, much more liberal than any candidate since mcgovern, and face it that's 44 years, so quite groundbreaking. His method of raising money is revolutionary. But, he lost the nomination. But he wishes to create a movement. How many senators or congressmen or governors or state legislators will be in office come January 20th that are in Bernie's camp. Very very few. So this revolution is still in its infancy. (If the United states disbands like the EU, then you might see how pretty the revolution will look. )
      I understand why advocates of or for the Palestinians wish to say, Enough! But the tumult of the year makes this issue seem like a back page story. Bernie will have to decide how to handle the platform fight. In his speech, "where do we go from here" he did not mention palestine, it's really not his big issue (huge), and so I don't know how large a role he will give to the issue. I'd think cornel west and zogby and Ellison will confer and decide how to proceed and then hillary will decide how to react.
      One other point. I see that on foreign policy people can reasonably prefer trump to hillary. I find trump scary. (Not hitler scary, not mussolini scary, not lenin scary, not even george wallace scary, but certainly huey long scary.) His nomination was bad news and his presidency would be worse news.

  • Media accusations of blood libels -- against Abbas and Sanders -- amplify a Jewish tribal fantasy
    • The original topic of conversation was the revenge that surviving Jews took against German POW's or SS officers or thoughts of taking action against the entire German population. I commented that who today can put themselves in the shoes of these survivors of 1946. This comment of mine was answered with the comment that 60 - 100 million people died in World war II, and the suggestion to walk in the shoes of the jewish survivors must be counterbalanced with the alternate suggestion to walk in the shoes of other relatives of victims. Then we engaged in a back and forth over the relative tragedy of these other victims who did not die as a result of exterminationist plans versus the tragedy of those who did die as a result of exterminationist plans. Now i have attempted to replace the concept of tragedy with the concept of trauma. This in an attempt to move the topic towards understanding those vengeance seeking survivors. This has resulted in something like a shouting match, hardly an attempt to understand the hearts that would seek revenge in 1946.

    • So we are not on the same page:
      MrT believes that tragedy is a worthy measure. I do not. I think trauma can be measured, but not tragedy. I feel tragedy is useless when trying to determine the evil of an act. I think the term trauma can help us assess, but i find the term tragedy to be unscientific.
      Annie-you raise some relevant points. My reaction:
      Wars are organized murder for national goals. Some national goals are deemed worthy by some and not others. The dropping of bombs on London civilians for the purpose of world domination, combines a particularly odious combination of means and ends. In fact nazis viewed the brits as potential racial allies so there was no intrinsic "otherness" ideation, whereas colonialist versus indigenous where the phrase demographic problem dominates does involve a dehumanization based on otherness. So I hear the point.
      On a different point. I think the genocide functions of international courts in our time testifies to the seriousness with which the world reacted to the genocides of world War two. I find the story of Rwanda dramatic and maybe for emotional reasons I find it to be a separate category from the London blitz, but genocide is a specially heinous category in my conception.

    • Raising the issue of collateral damage or the specific identity of the victims is an attempt to emotionalize the discussion. Once we've established certain categories that we agree upon we can Wade into more swampy terrain. I certainly did not declare collateral damage to be ethically good. It is not. I purposely chose the nazi bombing of london (partially so that the names of the actors involved can be detested but yet their acts do not measure up (or down) to more detestable actions.) But mostly i chose it as an example of intentional attack on civilians. Though some of the victims of the London blitz were collateral damage, the nazi design was focused on demoralization, thus civilian victims were the point and not beside the point. Even so, I consider the blitz to be less evil than the Rwandan genocide. Less evil is not the same as okay, and only malice and mendacity would cause such confusion.

    • Let's assess what we have hopefully established: the tragedy is irrelevant to assessing the evil of a crime. A driver kills five from one family, a shooter kills one, the death of the five is the bigger tragedy, despite the fact that the evil of the shooter is worse. ( This is to answer the rhetoric "they're both dead, aren't they " and the assessment based on the word "tragedy".)

      Next question: are the killings in Rwanda a greater sin than the London bombings by nazis in WWII? I believe they are and now I have heard from one Mr t, that they are not, based again on the tragedy assessment. I thought we had eliminated that assessment as logically weak. But now I have denigrated the dead in london, which is logically preposterous. So let me recap my logical moral assessment:The nazis wished for the brits to surrender. The means they were using were wrong, but the basic goal was valid as a war goal. Genocide has a goal of wiping out a nation which is primarily a post military goal. The territory had been won. The opposition's army has been defeated, and now either for reasons of extermination philosophy or the danger of an uprising or a fear of a post war political turnabout populations are hacked to death. No, this is a separate category of evil. My understanding is that genocide legally is considered a separate category by international courts of law. Is this assumption false?

    • Seems to me that the thinking evident here is weak. Before you:two mothers with dead children. One died in a car crash, the other was shot in the head. Both are equally dead. Are the mothers equal in bereavement? Is the mothers' bereavement how we measure the legal culpability of the driver versus the shooter or of the levels of evil involved.
      The law differentiates between first degree murder and second degree murder. Is that wrong?
      I think the genocide in Rwanda was far more evil than the nazi bombing of london in wwii. Do you disagree?

    • annie robbins- I think focusing on the word "tragedy" in relations to the deaths of civilians in WWII is besides the point. I believe that the world differentiates between civilian deaths and something called genocide, I know that I do. Do you? (Now, I cannot specify what consequences should result from a reaction to civilian deaths compared to deaths from genocide. But let us at least see if we agree on one point: genocide is worse than civilian deaths. Gassing people because of their identity and the idea that extermination is the only solution to their existence is worse than bombing a population in order to achieve political goals. These are two different categories of evil. Can we agree on that point or not?)

    • On the word jews versus the word yehudim versus the word yidden, on the topic of national language.
      I use the word "jew", but it contains nothing of its origin. Its origin is yehuda son of leah (and Jacob) and its root word is the same as "todah", modern hebrew for thanks and omitting this "d" from the word jew, makes it in gantsen (totally) foreign and divorced from its root word, and thus the insufficiency of this translation is apparent.

      (In the movie clockwork orange, when droogie Alex reads the bible in prison, he loves it for its Battle scenes and he refers to the jews as yahoodis and that's better than jews.)

      The loss of Yiddish by the American Jewish masses is a tragedy and a symptom of dissolving and disappearing. Although a language is not a sufficient raison d'etre in my estimation it does add something to Jewish identity. Those dedicated to the disappearance of the jews might see things differently.

      Unlike biological organisms which are well defined, social organisms are fluid. They can slowly dissolve, as membership dues get too high and new groups or atomized individuality takes over. When the jews were treated as an entity (rhymes with enmity) separate from russia, by the czars and oppressed from above and controlled by the rabbis below, the existence of a distinct group was apparent and clear. When millions moved to America where citizenship was earned and granted and the rabbis became artifacts of a fading past, the dynamic for dissolution was set in motion.
      Used to be that jew meant he who observes the Judaic faith, and the first two texts for any semi literate jew were the five books of moses and the prayer book, both written in hebrew. The masses in eastern Europe needed translation into yiddish to understand these two basic texts, but the malice and mendacity of jew haters is quite apparent when they denigrate hebrew without acknowledging its centrality to these two basic texts.

    • On Nov 13, 1942, the uss Juneau was sunk in the battle of Guadalcanal killing 687, including the five sullivan brothers. Why do I remember this? Because a movie was made about the five brothers. Meanwhile, mooser reading the paper about the sullivan parents: "don't they know that there were 687 equally tragic deaths that day?"

    • Mussar- quite often I prefer the term yehudim to jews. It is a more prideful term to refer to jews as we refer to ourselves in our tongue. But in 1945 pride was not the primary thought of survivors, (and the language of those survivors was not ivrit, but yiddish), so yidden rather than yehudim seemed more appropriate in this context.

      BTW pfeffercorn and Jackie mason's demon seed, captures you to a tee.

    • The word Nekama was scratched into the gas chamber walls. Who can put themselves into the shoes of yidden in Germany in 1945? Of course the world must run on law. And vengeance is a formula for chaos and brutality. I do not endorse this.
      But the war between Zionist and Arab Palestinians is one discourse. The topic of vengeance against SS officers in 1946 is totally different.

  • Israel should be deeply disturbed by the Brexit vote
    • As far as anti Europe attitude, any yehudi with a dime invested in history, has at least a vestige of such bias. See amira hass. But many Israelis are detached from the past and many more are attached with a future that includes a business mind, so those biases are mostly the loudmouth stupids, y know like commentators elsewhere. Many people are calmer and more practical than commentators.

    • Amigo- you wrote "most Israeli jews and their slavish supporters around the globe have openly stated their desire for the breakup of the EU". Which is poppycock. What you meant to write was "many Israeli jews and their supporters have openly stated..."
      There is a difference between many and most. If you wish to write factual sentences, I bet you can. If you wish to write sentences that have zero basis in facts, I bet you will.

    • The next time Pew or Gallup or whatever pollster comes along and thinks of spending money to figure out what Israelis or their supporters are thinking, they oughta save their money and just read the comments on line. No need to spend a dime.

    • I read a fair amount of pro Zionist writers and this is the first that I've heard about this overwhelming support for breaking up the EU. I think the elites in Europe were running roughshod over the desires of the voters. I hope this does not give trump a boost. What percentage of brit voters are white and what was the racial breakdown of the vote? I'd venture that Trump will exceed the pro exit white vote, but will lose the election due to black and Hispanic votes.

  • BDS campaign hopes to take Israeli goods off Palestinian dinner tables during Ramadan
    • Jackdaw's statement was too general. But his reaction to the headline and cook's article was appropriate. The world's jews in 1881-1945 were in very real trouble and America's jews were the exception and not the rule. I would prefer a prime minister of Israel much closer to Peter beinart or Moshe sharret or yossi beilin or even avrum burg than bibi, but clearly the battle for survival in israel-palestine is not as easy as pie, and as such the news of brexit is just a new twist in the road of history and the forecast of cook in the article deserved an answer: yesterday before brexit survival was a struggle and today after brexit, survival is a struggle.

    • Civilian water was not poisoned as implied by zaid. Palestinians were not poisoned, as an innocent reader might have assumed if one had read zaid's misleading sentence. SS officers were poisoned. Meanwhile all of mooser's relatives were sleeping soundly in america, worried about nothing but counting sheep.

    • Sulai- McCarthyite tactics and nazi tactics should nor be confused. Or is your knowledge of history so weak that you only possess one adjective, one size fits all?

    • Zaid, I hope readers will read the link and realize how misleading your presentation is.

    • Abu mazen's career is almost over and the chances of it culminating in peace with israel is slim to none. so therefore he is ending his career catering to the conspiracy theories of the moment.

  • Question for the Israeli left: Why do you discount the possibility of a second Nakba?
    • mussar- has one news organization found this fictitious rabbi? is there someone here more serious than mussar who backs up abu mazen's claims?

    • Is the timing of this post, coinciding with Abu mazen's groundless accusation of rabbis advocating poisoning Palestinian water, mere coincidence?

  • Netanyahu agonistes
    • Maybe yakov hirsch could illuminate for us why he refers to Robert wright as the Buddhist.

  • The naked racism of 'Save Jewish Jerusalem'
    • Mhughes - the discussion ( and your moderate response is in fact on the level of discussion, whereas some of these others are interested in a wrestling match) began with the preposterousness of dividing the world into two- jew and gentile, as if there was something unique about an "us and them" division of the world. I have offered a pair of comments combining various religious national and historical reasons why such a division might make sense from a Jewish perspective.
      In regards ro monotheism, it seems to me that this was not such a clear cut concept in early judaism, from the point that the verse of man's creation has elohim saying regarding the creation of man "let us create man in our image", which not only multiplies the number of Gods into non mono, but also creates the problem (with potential interesting implications regarding which aspect of man is godlike, but still a problem) of god having an image. To the two dominant and alternative names of god the yhwh name and elohim which indicate either two aspects of god (justice and mercy) or else indicate the uncertain monotheism of early hebraic beliefs.
      To those who believe in God and wish that God to be kind, it is easier to attribute evil to some dualistic aspect of god and if God's unity suffers as a result of splitting god into two or more, so be it, just so that one aspect of god will end up good enough to be worthy of worship.
      Personally I believe in a singular non hebrew god distant remote and occasionally curious, and I believe that morality does not require a belief in God's unity. Morality, a very iffy proposition in this world of brute (or subtle) force, is not dependent on God's unity, although I attribute the cruelty of hitler, stalin and Mao to their atheism (or in Hitler's case paganism), I do not attribute torquemada's cruelty to polytheism.
      I was trying to convey how it is that the Jews developed an "us versus others" nomenclature that had found entrance into the English language. As such the theories I offered were two: a wandering people maintains its identity through separatism and when that theory was rejected without discussion (Unless you consider- "then they got what they deserve" a discussion) I then offered a second theory- monotheism disdains polytheism. The utility of polytheism to explain away theodicy is fine, but irrelevant to the point I was trying to make vis a vis the "us versus others" division of the world.

      In fact today I would say that atheistic modernism is insufficient for the masses of humanity, that religion whether one god, 2, 3 or more offers the possibility of a comfort that might enable a communitarianism that is sadly lacking in the atomized modernity of atheism. Of course god or gods is too often used to justify hatred rather than to motivate love and thus god is not a cure all if it is not accompanied by some other elements (human to human identification, to pick a phrase) and so atheism is considered still to be superior to theism by our modern intelligentsia.
      How should jews adjust to the twin dangers of modernity versus a religion of "us versus others", I do not know. The amnesia of jews in america strikes me as vacuous and conformist, for all the advantages of America ca. 2016 compared to the shtetl of 1881, I feel that some essential richness was cast aside together with the prejudice or darkness that was tossed aside. It is probably impossible to combine a measured loyalty to what was valuable in our past with a measured openness to the future, and as fallible mortal humans, jews must take it one day at a time and just do the best we can.
      Since the topic here is really not American Society but the conflict between jews and nonjews in a geographical spot I call israel-palestine, the role of modernity versus tradition, the inherent conflict of past and future is far more complicated in a spot where modernism is not indigenous, but where the ancient traditions were in fact birthed. Thus the concessions to tradition are far greater in jerusalem or al quds than they are in brooklyn. Thus the attempt to combine respect for the past and openness to the future is more complicated there.

    • Judaism's devotion to one God and disdain for idol worship is at the core of halachic separation from those who worship the stars. In hebrew a worshipper of stars is an akum, (a shortened form for oved cochavim) and in the talmud the phrase used to refer to nonjews is akum. The birth of Judaism's two daughter religions changed the dynamic. Firstly both claim a belief in one god. In the case of islam, I believe this claim is accurate, in the case of Christianity less so. I consider the son is the father and the father is the son and throw in a holy ghost and sell you three for the price of one to be mysticism of the worst kind. But theology was only half of it. The enmity of Christianity for its Jewish mother is well documented and through the years, let's say from Constantine to Voltaire there have been exceptions to the rule, but no historian doubts what was the exception and what was the rule. Fast forward to 1881 when the majority of the world's jews were living under the reign of the czars and of the rabbis. Separation was a rule imposed from above and justified by the rabbis below. There was the ferment of the intellectual elite responding to Mendelssohn and napoleon's promises of emancipation and the secularism of the age. With 1881 the vast migration began. By 1920 four million or so jews had left czarist russia and found their way to America and other ports of entry. Whereas the desire to gain entrance into Russian society was largely rebuffed, unless accompanied by baptism, america and these other ports, were much more hospitable and thus began the process of shedding judaism and becoming true blue Yankee doodle americans. (The image that comes to mind is jolson in blackface abandoning his cantor father for the glamour and creativity and freedom of show biz.)the separatism declared by the law and the rabbis fell to the wayside and it was full steam ahead, American culture. Meanwhile Jewish history bifurcated, on one path this rejection of separatism and on the other hand auschwitz. It's 1943 I envision two 14 year old jewish males: one on line to buy a ticket to a Yankees or dodgers baseball game and the other on line to try to survive the initial selection at the concentration camp.)
      Skip ahead again to 2016. Most Jews are tossing aside torah and treating it as a vestige that will have to live or probably die in the marketplace of ideas. Very few relate to the separatism of 1881 as anything relevant to them. But then again let us bifurcate our vision and recognize that a substantial percentage of today's yehudim live in israel. Does the separatism of 1881 effect their thoughts, their inability to reach peace with their neighbors? Maybe.

    • I would guess that gentile entered the language through Paul who changed his name from saul. I would think that its inclusion in MLK'S I have a dream speech, ensured its presence til our day. (Some seek to pretend that til recently Christianity and the bible were not the cultural basis of Western society.)

      Jewish law creates mechanisms of separation. That is essential for the survival of a non sovereign wandering group. Sovereign majority nations have the luxury of experimenting with porousness. And certainly any fan of American culture appreciates the tremendous creativity of a porous diverse culture. It is feasible that Judaism can survive a similar porosity. Feasible, but unlikely and certainly unproven.
      And thus separation and a name for us versus outsiders.

    • Esau hates jacob. This is the essence of the question. First, is it true? Second, if it is false, if one believes that it is true, does that make one paranoid or a hater of the nonjew.
      I would say that it is untrue, but recent (20th century) history is proof that even if untrue, it most certainly is a motif or something in the wind. America is the exception, and recent history (western Europe post 45 and eastern Europe post 89) is the shallow present, as dependable as the latest zeitgeist.
      I think over emphasizing antisemitism is dangerous for pro israel yehudim, because it creates the illusion, if only I can prove that 2 out of 3 antizionists hates yehudim then I can prove that Israel can follow a do nothing policy forever. (You're right, the occupation is not a do nothing policy, but let me continue...) and I am not sure precisely what time frame we are dealing with (I've been predicting democratic party alienation from Israel since 1987, so I cannot tell the time frame), but I believe israel must change despite the evil in the hearts of too many antizionists, that the fact of that evil will not destroy the central fact that this system of occupation is evil and that stubbornness which has achieved so much for Israel is no longer enough and change will have to come.

  • 'Politico' dares to publish Ehrenreich saying occupation fosters terrorism, and 'Camera' goes haywire
    • OT- I know that Syria is not precisely the primary subject of this web site, but the 51 state department employees who dissented from obama's (do nothing) stance vis a vis Syria and assert that the US has to get involved with air strikes if it really wishes to pressure Assad, is certainly worthy of comment.

  • American Jewish identity: Moving beyond 'love for Israel' and the Holocaust
    • Maybe because I live in a part of Brooklyn filled with immigrants, where in fact, ethnic identity and church or mosque or synagogue attendance is highly related, do I think those who pretend that church and ethnicity are unrelated are full of it. But not so: have you never heard this line: the most segregated hour of the week is Sunday morning at 11?
      Aiming for a post ethnic society is fine, tho homogenization strikes me as boring and something is lost in this vision of the melting pot, the past warfare justifies the valuing of this ideal. But using this vision as an excuse for ignoring the facts as given and further as a means to badmouth the yehudim is just a new twist on an old tune.

    • Hophmi- there is nothing wrong with your description of ultra orthodox anti zionism as a fringe phenomenon. If less than 10% is "fringe", then I believe your description is accurate. But I would rephrase the attitude of the remaining 90%, They are not fervent supporters of israel, but rather fervently suspicious of Palestinian intentions. The net result may be the same, but there is a difference.

    • Hophmi, in the mussar movement, which specialized in self abasement, some of the exercises involved physical pain- rolling in the snow, for example, but some exercises involved incurring ridicule- going into a clothing store and asking to buy a hammer. Expecting serious words from mooser (whose name sounds like musar) is like going into a clothing store and asking to buy a hammer.

  • 'Boycott' Israel over J'lem prayer rules, but 'work' against occupation -- Forward's double standard
    • Shmuel- your second sentence focusing on the politics of occupation jerusalem and the Western wall, I will concede. (In argument I will concede it, though I visit the old city when I visit jerusalem, because it's one of my favorite spots on this sphere, aka mother earth.)
      As far as the rabbis you mention and the ethical humanism, I agree that a holy land at peace which will require much change, is worth more than a mountain in the hand. Still your derisive ness towards these women and their urge to gain entrance reminds me of avrum Burg and his argument with Allison sommer in haaretz and I feel that Burg is out to lunch on this one.
      I first encountered Women in black at Union Square and only met them in jerusalem after that original meeting. I spoke to them about 8 years ago. It is very different arguing about occupied territory across an ocean and a sea and arguing about it when it is within sight. (This was before cast lead and if you can believe it I was even more right wing at the time.) They were telling me their vision for a shared jerusalem and I asked "What about the kotel?" And one of them said, to the effect: I don't hold by the kotel, that national disco (diskotel), and my trepverter (comeback line thought up too late) was: If I come to the rabbi with ice cream and ask if it's kosher, I don't want the rabbi to tell me, "that's chocolate. I hate chocolate ice cream." Y'know some people don't believe in God and others don't believe in prayer and some people like mountains and others like the sea shore. These women like to pray and they get an added spiritual buzz at the wall. For my house will be a house of prayer for all the nations. This verse on signs near the wall should be translated into Arabic , but to you and those 2 reform rabbis, you envision only Muslims are allowed to get sent by the place and jews must seek god only in ethics but not in prayer. Maybe prayer is not your thing, but many jews seek spiritual experiences, and just cuz you don't like chocolate don't tell me my ice cream is treif.

  • 'Conquerors of Jerusalem’: March celebrates Israeli occupation with messianic fervor

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