Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 3665 (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 3665 - 3601

  • Jeffrey Goldberg is Jewish
    • Here is the link to phil's column regarding his presentation at the Brecht forum. link to

    • Jew counting is something that stirs reactions, and it is a "walking on thin ice" reaction that it stirs in me. Phil Weiss does not walk on eggshells, but stomps on as many toes as possible.
      P. Weiss did not begin his jew counting with the issue of israel, but as cited in the tablet article, was knee deep into jew counting, when the jews were defending bill Clinton and Phil Weiss was attacking him. Phil also attacked clinton's jewish defenders as being unjewish. (Phil also called himself a jewy jew in the piece from the archives of the observer.)

      I consider Phil's relationship to the jews problematic, particularly in the antisemitic article from post passover of 2015.

      Quite often he has been clearly apathetic regarding the idea of jewish continuity and antipathetic towards almost any project with that as its goal.

      I also choose to mention the vibe of alienation that I sensed when I went to hear Phil speak in the west village a few years ago. Two things from his presentation negatively impressed me. The first: a paraphrase: i expected to be the only jew at the upstate gentile cocktail party and when my words elicited response from the other jew unexpectedly present, I was flummoxed, he said. The second:. When describing the jews and their difficulty disowning zionism, he compared them to a dog under a blanket confused and blind and pathetic in its efforts. If the words seem innocent, the tone was definitely, I am not one of them.

  • Lesson from Kahane and Trump -- ideology outlives the ideologue
    • Yes, I agree that a defeat of Trump does not portend a defeat of Trumpism. The aftereffects of Trump's candidacy, assuming he is defeated, will outlive Trump, although i happen to also believe that Trump will outlive his defeat at the polls in November. He is a trouble maker and if the margin is close he will contest the election and that might mean greater political instability than this country has ever seen in the aftermath of an election since 1860. But one other point. Trump will win the white vote and he will be the candidate to represent Trumpism for the near future, no one else but Trump. He combines ego, racism and stirring of trouble and this will not disappear on November 9th and it will be Trump who will carry Trumpism forward.

      Kahane might have received more votes had he been allowed to run again in 1988, but in fact in 1984 he won less than 2% of the Israeli vote and Trump will win in excess of 40% of the American vote and in excess of 50% of the white vote, and probably in excess of 60% of the white male vote, so though the comparison of Trump to Kahane is a way of highlighting Israeli evil, in fact it is silly to compare a danger to the american political system to the Kahane phenomenon.

  • Trump and Clinton blast UNESCO statement on Jerusalem
    • The establishment of Israel by the United Nations, as defined in 3 acts: the partition plan of 47, the acceptance of Israel in 49 and the resolution that did not resolve, 242 of 1967 is certainly involved in the conflict. the jewish temple which i believe was on the temple mount, i suppose some here have done hours of research on the matter without ever having visited the spot, and i tip my hat to them and their expertise regarding evidence and history, was destroyed they say about 1946 years ago, but it certainly is still the focus of much jewish religious thoughts and feelings. the fact that it was destroyed and others have controlled jerusalem from 70 to 1967 is certainly quite relevant to the united nations, that is precedence is given to the status quo of 1917 rather than history way before or since, and that is the natural stance of the united nations.

      this bystander's view of islam is that they want things two ways, to accept moses and his torah and to deny that it is relevant in this world, though they base the prophecy of Muhammad, PBUH, as part of a chain that includes moses. because they are billion plus believers this attitude must play a role in practical life on the planet. further, because i feel my second home is jerusalem and this is part of the faith system of my fellow jerusalem neighbors, i accept that the status quo regarding the temple mount is preferable to me than those who wish to "rock the boat".

  • Despite groping revelations, Israeli-American Trump supporter says all five of his daughters will vote Trump
    • annie robbins- you'll "excuse me" for not parsing every phrase of my previous paragraph and starting afresh:
      war of ideas, supposedly, but in fact one purpose of mw is to alienate people from israel and focusing on those who support trump, meaning the americans who have made aliya, well that's the best step to show young progressive jews that they are not really "kin" to israel. and it certainly is true that the percentage of orthodox israel supporters with american citizenship who support trump is much higher than the percentage of trump supporters among more secular jews.
      but in fact, if one googles israel democracy institute israel thinks clinton, you will find the article in question. and whereas jewish israelis i have read supported romney over obama by 57 to 22, their support for clinton over trump is 43 to 27 and this is a significant statistic, even though it is not covered here, because it serves no mw purpose to cover it here.

    • A little balance might be gained by updating the news to include polls of wider sectors than that represented here as an example: 'look at the closed minded israelis'. the statistics cited here are not accompanied by any charts that would make it easier to dissect the various sectors of the israeli public, but still these statistics should be included in any discussion that is not focused on the sensational. link to

  • Shmuley Boteach seeks to blackmail Obama over his legacy
    • Excuse me for stating the obvious, but this is an attack on clinton. The day after the elections would be the time for such an ad, if the true target was obama. (I accept Dennis ross's analysis that a trump victory would increase the chances for Obama to leave office with such a lame duck, last act.) Calling attention to the Obama legacy on the eve of the debates is an attempt to capture the attention of those for whom israel is a primary issue and for whom such a resolution would be a betrayal. (The vast majority of jews for whom israel is a primary issue back the likud rather than Roger alphel's vision). Despite mw's well based opinion that haim saban makes hillary less likely than Obama to pressure israel, those who hate Obama (for his middle east policies), hate hillary too and consider her Obama 2.0 when it comes to israel. So boteach is backing trump with this advert.

  • The two-stroke solution
    • Whereas Obama's predecessors, Clinton and bush, had extended periods with cooperative Israeli premiers rabin, sharon and olmert, Obama's entire presidency overlapped with Netanyahu's term of office. The idea that a lame duck president will sign onto a un SC resolution that the elected president would object to is almost laughable. (I mean a reset or definition of 242) (in this season of trump, the laughable is not dismissable, but I think we can dismiss it.) A hail Mary pass on the last play of the game only makes sense if you have receivers in the end zone and neither trump nor clinton will back up such a declaration, so there is no receiver.
      The obvious fact is that this is an election season and Obama is hillary's surrogate at the moment. I think that the primary change that occurred during obama's tenure vis a vis Israel has been the collapse of the regime in Syria in the context of the Arab spring. The array of forces in syria, including russia iran and hezbollah and the enmity of Saudi Arabia towards those backing assad is a very real bleeding wound and the events in israel palestine are a minor bomb in a dumpster in comparison to a major geopolitical event.
      Who can tell the Palestinians that they have to wait until things calm down in syria. Their desire for freedom and a new direction is not going to be put on hold. But from a global viewpoint and a historian's viewpoint, it will be Syria (and anti Muslim immigrant emotions in Europe and US) that will be what the years 2009 to 2016 will be known for.
      Obama's only hope to pressure bibi was to go over his head to the Israeli people and the odds against that were always slim.
      The topic of the presidential library is more fit for the comments section, than the rest of the post, but it does raise the question of an Obama post presidency. Friends have mentioned a Michelle Obama run for office, but I scoffed that she does not have the fire in the belly that hillary always had. And what about Obama himself. He's not going to build habitats for humanity. Carter had unfulfilled ambition when he left office and his post presidency reflected his need to not allow his defeat in1980 to define him. Obama has no such need. But he's young and one wonders after a year or so, how he will deal with his "retirement".

  • Trump praises Israeli policy of ethnic profiling following bombing in Manhattan
    • Objections to the phone alert by mayor DeBlasio seem flimsy. Including the public in a manhunt is common and including the wanted man's name is common as well.

  • In Brookings poll, most Dems say $38 billion aid package to Israel is 'way too much' while the GOP is split
    • Israel signed a peace treaty with egypt in 1979 not 1974. I assume the large influx of aid in 1974 was forgiveness of debt for the massive infusion of arms during the course of the October 73 yom kippur war. Israeli cooperation regarding separation of forces agreements with egypt in January 74 and with Syria later that year, could have been instrumental in the forgiveness of that debt.
      And the second separation agreement with egypt which was signed in 75, involved pressure of various sorts. The steady aid to israel began after the egypt israel peace treaty was signed in 79.

  • 'NYT' editorial on US military aid leaves out Palestinians because it knows it would lose the argument
    • This "israel birthed hamas" is more historical curiosity anecdote rather than useful history. Do you really believe that of all Arab states in the region, where everywhere there is an Islamic party but only in "Palestine" there would be no such party, except for the evil Israelis and their plan that backfired. Great, so Israel's hubris is revealed again, but believe me, israel did not create the Islamic awakening of the post nasser era and this "israel created hamas" repetition is a distraction. Hamas is real and Islamism and Islamic parties are real.

  • Amos Oz would never stand in the street in Tel Aviv shouting 'Kill all the Arabs'
    • Antisemitism was one of the primary movers of European history in the first half of the 20th century . Oppression by the czars ensured the large role a small group of jews played in the Russian revolution and antisemitism was one of the primary tenets of the nazi regime. If jews continue to use this term rather than some other term that came into the vogue later in history, there's history there that favors the "older" term. Because the jews are not a race, the term "racism", is not an exact fit.

      Because the jews are partially identified by the Jewish religion, opposition to that religion becomes partially identified as opposition to the jews. There is of course "the problem" of post religious Jewish identification. This habit has ebbed and flowed in america and maybe elsewhere, and lacking the texts of a religion or the strict facial characteristics of the western definition of the nonwhite races, some condemn post religious Jewish identity and label it a psychological illness. This too is in opposition to the jews and is a form of enmity.

  • 'Peace Now' chief slams AIPAC for misrepresenting Jews -- but Peace Now is on AIPAC exec committee
    • Politics makes strange bedfellows. Apn sees an advantage to be inside the tent, but Phil Weiss wants them to choose to be outside the tent, just like Phil's compadres in questioning zionism, jvp. Another vote for purity and against any form of community consciousness.

  • Broadway club cancels 'Black Lives Matter' benefit because of movement's stance on Israel
    • The language of genocide is used against Israel in an attempt to make israel a pariah. America is in no danger of becoming a pariah. To compare the use of the term vis a vis america and vis a vis Israel is a weak point of argument. The bds movement and it's agnosticism vis a vis recognizing israel has no analogy in regards to america.

    • Some are practical and others are purists. The BLM people (and Phil Weiss) have chosen purity and language designed to alienate. We'll see how this plays out.

  • Dozens of Spanish cities declare themselves ‘Free of Israeli Apartheid’
  • It's war between Netanyahu and the generals (and the PM may just have lost the corporal)
    • The dynamics of the tensions between the generals versus the "right" is clear enough in avnery's piece. But it is the mechanics of this coming coup that eludes my imagination. Will the generals surround the knesset with their tanks, will they assassinate bibi and replace him with Gideon saar? Although scenarios might seem frivolous, without such a scenario, I am left with the impression that bibi will be in power for at least a while longer and he will not be removed by a coup.

      (If the generals had already started secret negotiations with fatah or hamas, and thus could seize power temporarily, impose a peace treaty on the state of israel and then give back the power to the knesset after a fait accomplis, this would be a scenario. I do not believe that peace is so close that a 365 day coup d'etat can reach peace with fatah or hamas, so this scenario seems unlikely.)

  • There's no room on campus to be progressive and pro-Israel
    • "There's no room on campus to be progressive and pro israel" reads the headline.

      Anyone familiar with mw and the comments section here is unsurprised by this sentiment. The question that comes to mind is the college kids with sufficient energy motivation for some involvement in politics. That is: If you are playing all or nothing, "if you like israel, get lost," then those who are political through and through can be given this ultimatum, and will be forced to study and choose, but I assume many on campus have a less motivated outlook, as in, yes I am concerned, but I'm no fanatic, not like the gung ho extremist unreasonable types (if your gonna carry pictures of chairman mao, you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow ) and when you start telling these people: no room for pro israel and progressive, this type of student will say sayonara, or l'hitraot, as in "later, dude."

  • Liberal Zionists see 'window of opportunity' for two states in last three months of Obama administration
    • If trump gets elected, God forbid, I doubt Obama would make a major move like a un SC resolution or even a speech with Obama parameters. Not Obama's lame duck role to present the president elect with a fait accomplis which a un resolution would amount to, and a statement of parameters would evoke laughter and scorn.

      If hillary gets elected it is still a long shot. I can't see her giving her approval and then the dynamic of lame duck and president elect will again apply. To present this as hillary disagreeing with this Obama move, but forced to accept the reality of one president at a time, it's tough to view this as a probable scenario.

  • Marc Lynch warns against the U.S. escalation in Syria
    • Annie robbins writes: "I've read several times over the years that popular support for the assad regime was over 50 %."

      1. Such a claim should be accompanied by at least one source, no?

      2. Tell us about the reliability of polling in a totalitarian state. Tell us about the reliability of polling in the time of civil war.

      And then annie robbins writes this: "they wouldn't need all these foreign fighters if the majority of the country wanted to oust assad."

      Why bother with democracy, elections or even polling, all you need is the proof of weapons and armies.

      If not for hezbollah iran and now russia, you think assad would still be in power?

      Here's what I think: the assad regime before 2011 was one of the worst in the world in terms of democracy.

      This did not make it wise to turn popular demonstrations into an armed conflict, but it does obligate honest people to recognize the oppression suffered by a majority of the Syrian people before armed conflict began.

      It turns out that however regressive and dictatorial the assad regime, there can be something even worse, including a stalemate civil war. But those who think that such a revelation allows them to label assad as the choice of the Syrian people ought to consider leaving the field of journalism and find a good propaganda news site who can use such nonsense instead of analysis. Oh, you found such a site. Oh.

  • Trump team campaigns hard for votes one place it stands to do well -- Israeli settlements
    • American citizens who are Jewish are being courted in israel as part of a general campaign to increase trump support among orthodox jews living in america.

      Electorally, this vote is most relevant in Florida.

      The supporters of Israel who are most passionately opposed to the iran nuclear pact, are portrayed as devoted to the settlement enterprise. The leftover anger at Obama and overflow to hillary, has very little basis on issues (compared to rhetoric which was wobbly from Cairo til more recently) for Obama (although questionable re: attitude during the war against gaza), in fact gave israel steady support. Regarding the iran treaty, not so. (This is the perspective of most israel supporters who have studied the pact. As for me, a 10 to 15 year respite from the "iran is a danger" drumbeat is welcome and I accept the logic of the world view of the pact as representing the interests of America as seen through the eyes of Obama's voters/supporters. But to those who are preoccupied with- good deal, bad deal, among those for whom israel is a major concern, the bad deal opinion of the pact is widespread.)

      As a population vulnerable to supporting trump out of hatred for hillary, the orthodox community is a primary target. They hate hillary. In part because they love the settlements and she doesn't, but I think mostly out of the attitude towards the iran pact.

      Have to mention immigration. Israel supporters are not gung ho regarding a wall between here and mexico, but limiting immigration of Muslims and thus limiting their electoral power, ( as embodied in the terrorist attacks of San Bernardino and orlando, the physical danger is a fear tactic regarding low probability events (relative to 300 million, less than 70 killed in those two events is low probability), but changing demographics and voting patterns are high probability.

  • Liel Leibovitz wants to excommunicate most American Jews, beginning with Beinart
    • Abraham son of Terach, is best known for almost sacrificing his son, but the text sings his highest praises in the context of teaching his family to do justice ( which the narration tells us, right before Abe bargains with God for the sake of the people of sodom). Clearly the text values justice and kindness and the artificial denial of the important role of kindness in the torah seems a trifle too pat.

      Although liebovitz emphasizes the giving of the torah, I would emphasize the content of the torah, specifically monotheism and shabbat. It is possible to be an atheistic jew, but it seems to be a passing phase. Some politician once pointed out to someone who touted a plan, arguing because long term gain outweighed short term pain, by saying, "People live in the short term." And it applies here too. Humans , each of us as individuals, are a passing phase. So any jew who wrestles with belief in God (let alone a revelation, especially one as specific as Sinai) is wrestling as a human being and conceivably as a jew with the question of belief.

      Sabbath is the primary Jewish ritual. Passover is only once a year, but sabbath is once a week, and if you are disciplined enough and innovative enough and creative enough and can succeed in keeping the sabbath, you have made a giant stride in the direction of ritual judaism and I am not surprised to hear disdain towards ritual, certainly in reaction to liebovitz 's denial of "love of neighbor" one can expect the retaliatory denial of "love god" and the disdain of ritual, but the sabbath is the ritual core of judaism.

  • Progressive foreign policy missing from revised Sanders revolution
    • Citizen- Is it that difficult to spell my name?

    • Palestine is not Bernie's primary cause. Wealth distribution is. His secondary cause at this moment of time is defeating trump.

      On November 9th, if things go well, there will be a new day and room for a new secondary cause.

  • Let's talk about Russian influence
    • If person A had info that there was no US ship in the area, based upon his assumption that the orders were carried out, then this person had no idea that he was endangering the US sailors, and assumed that he was helping israel without endangering americans.

    • Annie- altho the moment of the event is burnt into my memory, the details required that I reexamine the issue. It seems that the chief of staff rabin was in on the action. The assertion of dayan's involvement seems to be based on bias, rather than proof. The lack of a motive other than part of the war being fought on that day at that moment in egypt, which makes error the most likely explanation, does not restrain those who wish to find other explanations, way beyond the day's battles in Egypt. But here's a theory. The US Navy ordered the ship out of the area, but it stayed where it was in defiance of orders, because it did not wish to listen to orders, but preferred a different approach. Assuming someone knew they were ordered out and defied those orders, that navy person was to blame. Let's assume there was some collaboration between Israel and the US to the extent that Israel could call up the US Navy and ask, do you have a ship there, and the answer comes back, "No, our ship was ordered elsewhere." Does that not sound feasible. But instead of searching for the feasible, it is Israel's attack on the golan and a general rabid dog philosophy that explains what happened.

    • Believe it or not, I enjoy talking about the USS liberty, particularly getting responses from Keith and citizen is quite rewarding. Mostly because I remember hearing the news from my English teacher, mrs. Ingerman, so it allows time travel like no other event ever discussed here.

      A quick dip into the controversy is not refreshing. The death of Americans killed by Israeli pilots and sailors is the ultimate nightmare and a horrible act if intentional and a horrible mistake if it was a fuck up, which I suspect because I have yet to hear a convincing motive. Invasion of golan was being protected? I don't buy it. Dayan being aggressive to prove he's a rabid dog. When there is no motive this is the musings of sophomores.

      But moreso i don't buy lbj as Zionist stooge. Lbj was following that war blow by blow, you better believe and playing a chess game against the USSR, but the only motive we hear here is November 68. This i don't buy. I don't buy lbj as a traitor nor as an idiot.

    • The event itself of the attack on the USS liberty, has never made sense to me as a decision of someone high ranking, it seems like a low level error. As regards to lbj, I think that an analysis of the Glassboro summit of June 67 is necessary to get an accurate idea of lbj's priorities, and blaming him for being a Zionist stooge is ignorant. He had a strategy and I believe all decisions including reaction to the attack reflected his overall strategy.

  • A new milestone: BDS at the Olympics
    • Clearly the only way to combine the attitude of the Olympics and bds, is to forfeit any match against an israeli. To compete with an Israeli and then refuse the handshake looks petty. Everyone in the choir approves , but to everyone outside the choir you look childish.

  • The Palestine-Israel language trap
    • Roha- to clarify. The bad antisemitism says, "the only good jew is a dead jew", but the new (good?) antisemitism says, "the only good jew is a former jew".

    • My own opinion is that the Judaism/Jewish identity construction is a complicated burden and even without the facts of zionism and Israel's history a perfectly rational perspective on this historical and religious and identity formation construct would be difficult. And though for you it may have proven simplest to reject it from a to z, it ain't a one size fits all kind of thing. There are pulls and "rewards" that religion, tradition and identity provide for the individual and your choices, reactions and life story are yours and do not describe the totality of possible human experience, not even half, but certainly not all, and your condemnation of all other reactions to being born jewish, all others other than yours, ms abarbanel, they are all unhealthy and only your pure path is the healthy one. Such dogmatism is reminiscent of religious types: narrow minded religious types. Talk of your zero sum solutions. Follow me to the land of post Jewish health or else accept being called a cult, the only cure for which is radical reeducation. Right or wrong, you sound like a dictator.

    • If judaism and Jewish identity is a cult, and you are opposed to cults, are you then anti-jewish? And if you are anti jewish, then why get upset when people call you antisemitic? Why not explicitly say, "I am antisemitic and I'm proud to be antisemitic."

    • Regarding a Jewish face: before we get too scientific, let me offer this joke told in Brooklyn by Russian Jews on the topic of the dangers of returning for a visit to Mother Russia (or Ukraine) after taking up American citizenship:
      "They do not punch you in your American passport, they punch you in your Jewish nose."

  • The politics of Jewish ethnocentrism
    • I think that if any comment suggested the self destruction of Islam in the terms used to celebrate Judaism's failed paradigm, that the commenter would be censored and if not, condemned for islamophobia.

      The question raised by the comment: If one rejects the akeda story, does one necessarily root for the abolition of judaism and/or jewishness?

      (Akeda is the traditional term used to describe the binding, the near sacrifice of isaac. )

      There are ways of rejecting Abraham's attitude and accepting the story: as in seeing Abraham's willingness as less than optimal, that he misunderstood the command, or somehow was supposed to ascend to a different standard, but failed because he was unable to transcend the prevailing culture that valued obedience over rebellion, unable to toss his connection with God and face life bereft of his sustaining faith.

      The overwhelming traditional view of Abraham as hero can be rejected, without rejecting judaism.

      Nonetheless, he who has not delved deeper into the varieties of interpretations, in his superficial, rookie knowledge of the texts, might feel there is only the choice: endorse Abraham or reject him. And choosing to reject, he sees this episode as essential to judaism and to Jewish history, so once he rejects abraham, he feels he must disavow the whole kit and kaboodle.

      In fact a rejection of obedience and a rejection of the jews and their laws might be seen in paul's rejection of the law and his substituting the grace of god. (Ironic though, for the grace of God is achieved by the sacrifice of the son by the father, this time yahweh as father and Jesus as son, but unlike Abraham's incomplete act, this death/murder was taken to the end.)

      There are many reasons to reject judaism and a free discussion would subject the Koran to the same scrutiny that the torah and indeed the bible is subjected to here. He who is driven to reject the torah because of Abraham could easily have found other reasons for labeling torah as a failed paradigm. Yehudim who choose to continue the chain of existence of the Jewish experience, by having kids and teaching them torah, texts, traditions and history, are choosing to follow a path that contains much richness. If they can combine those particular riches with a rich worldly modern culture then they are on a good path, despite Abraham's failure.

    • Annie robbins- in fact the concepts "destruction of the jews" and "disappearance of the jews" are considered twin ideas by the superficial people who call the assimilation of the jews (through intermarriage) a silent holocaust, which I consider a superficial and facile and morally questionable equation.

      All humans should be concerned re: the physical destruction of the jews. (There are some here who will react: they only got what they deserved, or alternately: If only they would have moved back to brooklyn poland and Germany, back where they came from, they could have avoided this physical destruction.) But for the most part even here in mw's coment section advocacy of or apathy towards the physical destruction of the jews is rejected.

      The question of the survival of the cultures and languages of the jews is an entirely different question and I can appreciate that uninvolved bystanders might feel apathetic: the world is changing and so it goes, if Jewish cultures cannot survive the onslaught or challenges of modernity:so be it. Survival of the fittest (in terms of culture and not in terms of physical destruction) should be the rule. (Of course those who long for the disappearance of small cultures and small languages are in a separate category of rooting against all non utilitarian cultures, and I find their attitude suspicious and amoral, but that's a separate category. I am referring to the apathetic rather than the antipathetic.)

      In fact the survival of the Jewish cultures is a difficult task. Given human nature, an open society of free association and secularism, modernity and the Christmas season, without effort, the Jewish cultures will slowly or quickly disappear. And I do not expect someone with no stake in the matter to shed many tears over this disappearance. Only if someone claims to care about the jews and in the next breath to express this apathy, only that person do I consider to be full of it.

    • Yakov Hirsch- Thanks for mentioning my name out of nowhere. Your adaptation to the lower percentiles of MIA etiquette is impressive.

      I have never attacked Gideon Levy. He lives in Israel and his bona fides vis a vis his Jewishness are established by that fact.

      When Phil Weiss attacks Israel based on his American senses and his human senses, I have accepted his words as given. When he flashes his Jew card and says, "see, I'm a Jew and I'm against Israel," it is only then that my back gets out of joint.

      Some Jews do not care about the disappearance of the Jews. I don't see anything evil or blind or self hating in that attitude. But then when they pull out the Jew card and start up and claim to care about the Jews in one breath and then wax wise about how hundreds of languages disappear all the time, so who cares if the Jewish languages (and cultures) disappear, then there is something fishy.

  • Beinart calls anti-Zionists 'revolutionaries'
    • Every once in a while Phil Weiss compares zionism to the shabtai zevi movement. Why? Most people are unfamiliar with the name and those few familiar must scoff at the superficial nature of the comparison. It seems sophomoric, trying to prove Phil knows and cares about Jewish history.

      The shabtai zevi movement was irrational, without cause, focused on a specific human for a specific role. Zionism had two causes: assimilation and antisemitism, was focused on taking the initiative as a group rather than concede the moment to immigration with individualistic motives and designed to defy the passivism of the rabbis. At the center of any accurate story of zionism's prebirth is the turmoil of europe, the home of the birth of the movement. Nothing in the false messiah hood of zevi had any relation to history that compares to the turmoil of the first half of the 20th century.

  • Israeli settler leader, rejected by Brazil, gets warm welcome in New York
    • Poor Jane Eisner- no matter how left wing the roots of the Forward and her own roots as well, the Forward is as mainstream as it gets and she smiles when meeting the consul from Israel, no matter how right wing.

      As far as labeling Dayan a criminal of international law, though technically accurate, (so therefore inappropriate for the politician to counter with "liar"), it is very way out and in concert with other "over the top" uses of language that we have seen this past week.

  • 'LA Jews for Peace' proudly endorses platform of 'Movement for Black Lives'
    • This is off topic and a couple days later, but since Annie is present in this discussion and it is her "lament" (that the Jewish attachment to Jerusalem was merely symbolic as embodied by their physical refusal to move en masse or even in significant numbers to Israel throughout the centuries) that is my focus, it's an opportunity to speak.

      Today is the 9th of Av. This year it is celebrated on the 10th of Av, (delayed by the concurrence of the 9th of Av and Shabbos, aka Shabbat).

      When Napoleon heard the Jews (of Paris?) lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem, he marveled at the continuity and solidarity of the peoplehood of the Jews.

      The Jews might have continued to long for Jerusalem at a distance on the 9th of Av, but a funny thing happened on the way to the forum, history. And history both the raw kind like the European tumult from 1914 to 1945 and the subtler kind like modernization, secularism, rationalism occurred to the group of people who identified themselves as Jews in contradistinction to the wider societies. This process lagged in Czarist Russia and it was there that most of the world's Jews lived in 1880. The process of moving to America and adopting America and Americanism, contributed to the dissolution of the peoplehood that Napoleon perceived. Nationalism is a construct and it is a construct that can be processed out of people through migration and secularization, and in fact the Jews of America are really not a nation, except if they pray and identify with the religion of old, or if they identify with the Zionist effort.

      The Jews were passive previous to Zionism. This sentence is obviously an exaggeration, but let me continue. The attachment to Jerusalem would have changed as a result of modernity, that is with the advent of television and frequent air travel, it would have been inevitable that the relationship of the Jews with the land would have changed. (that is those Jews who received their inspiration from the prayers and holy books of the religion.) But in fact, there was a long tradition of passivism, of suffering as a fate decreed, as paying for some sin of our fathers and viewing the exile as a state of mind, a distorted, even crippled state of mind.

      These are constructed images and ideas. The connection of the Jews to Israel, say in 1803, was totally different from most connections that people felt towards a land. When I was a kid some kid in my class knew of a place called Eden and thought of it as the Garden of Eden. (maye he meant Aden.) When a Jew sits as if mourning in reaction to the destruction of Jerusalem, that is significant. And secularism can rinse that nationalism away and so it has been and might have remained if only history had been a bit kinder.

      So, the Jews are connected to Jerusalem and for me the commemoration of the 9th of Av is a symbol of the incompleteness of the redemption and it is not only mankind that is unredeemed, but particularly Jerusalem.

      To my Arab and Palestinian brothers and sisters, (children of the one creator), the Jewish people of Jerusalem need you and for the most part they deny this. I don't know if there is anything to be done. It seems that history has its own momentum, but it is passivity that concedes defeat to history. I wish I had a way to wake up my Jewish Jerusalem brothers and sisters, but they don't hear me. This is not a proposal. It is a lament.

    • pabelmont- you disagree with this post, in that you think the term "genocide" fits some definitions. this post disagrees with you. based upon the content of the objection of LA Jews for Peace, I feel that they should express their objection even a little louder, that's all. those who have no objection to the use of the term, then the considerations are as you say, is it good for the Palestinians or bad for the Palestinians. My level of comfort is besides the point.

      my own take on "genocide": i've heard it before and i've read the textbook definitions. i think the excess killing of civilians in Gaza in 2014 was horrible and i seek to have the modus vivendi vis a vis gaza changed as soon as possible so as to avoid the next excess killing. i cannot say that i oppose the jews having an army of their own, okay, the zionist jews having an army of their own and I think the mindset of the use of the term "genocide" puts the conversation where it needs to be vis a vis stopping the next round in Gaza, but I think it miseducates people vis a vis the Jewish presence in Palestine. to be clear: Let BLM use whatever term they want. But I am allowed to react. I realize that when ADL reacts people listen and that's the essential question vis a vis big organizations like ADL and those who feel compelled to skewer and mock the ADL, fine. but as an individual person, my comfort level aside, i feel there is a whole rigmarole that comes with the language that was used and I think the use of the term miseducates people.

    • Since LA Jews for peace objects to the use of the term "genocide", shouldn't they have at least tempered their pride with critique and noted that the use of this term serves the purpose of putting Israel beyond the pale and such a perspective is unhelpful.

  • Netanyahu's Academy-award performance of dehumanization is why the conflict persists
    • annie- you've already informed us that you believe in only allowing the choir to participate in the comments' section. yakov hirsch seems to belong to your church. on the street on east 14th street in manhattan, there were people who were capable of conversation and those who were only capable of hearing their own voices. i am sorry that yakov and you are incapable of conversation.

    • yakov, I'm sorry that you feel that everyone has to react the same way to what you write.

    • I agree that Bibi's performance deserves to be mocked and skewered. The distance between Israel and the Palestinians vis a vis an agreement is difficult to determine at this time, partially because Bibi, who is in control for the foreseeable future, has no interest in an agreement. This lack of interest in an agreement seems to me to be impractical.

      if we consider the olmert proposals as point A and the Geneva "accord" of Beilin- Abed Rabbo as point B, there is not that much distance between point A and point B. Will Hamas, the newest player agree to Beilin-Rabbo?Unclear. So that's the other aspect of the distance from here to an agreement. in fact point A is bibi, point B is olmert, point C is geneva "accord" and point D is Hamas. that is the distance that needs to be covered and so there is a reason beyond bibi's stupidity or cruelty that this distance will not be easily covered soon.

  • Solidifying behind Clinton, foreign policy establishment gins up a cold war with Russia/Iran
    • Where my biases are: The US armed power was a force of good in the world during WWII and the cold war (European front. not such a force of good in other parts of the world, but nonetheless the defeat of the Soviet Union was a worldwide effort and my biases are in favor of the resulting "freedom" for eastern Europe).

      I am sort of biased against Ukraine because of Chmelnitsky and the experiences of my grandparents and because of that I work against that bias and want Ukraine to be as free as possible from Russian intervention and invasion and coercion.

      I think the Assad regime in Syria was one of the most repressive regimes in the world before the civil war started.

      Not a bias, but an adjustment: The rebels against Assad may be worse than Assad.

      Not a bias, but an adjustment: The US public feels that the war against Iraq was a waste. And President Obama's stepping back from the red line (vis a vis Syria) that he drew was a reflection of that attitude of the vast American public. Hillary's stepping towards making war is not part of the desire of the American public.

      I think Putin is a thug, but an assessment of what should be done in the world should reflect: 1. the will of the American people and secondly 2. the assessment of the foreign policy experts and Putin's thugness has zero effect on the will of the American people and foreign policy experts will certainly factor in Putin's thugness when considering their game plans, but an emotional reaction to Putin's character is not appropriate.

      I have not read enough to come across a game plan vis a vis Syria that has impressed me as wise and I am not sure where wisdom and discretion would lead in terms of an optimal US reaction to the situation of Russia vs Ukraine.

  • Black Lives Matter will defeat the Israel lobby (because the lobby can't debate reality)
  • Jewish organizations' response to Black Lives Matter platform demonstrates inability to engage with reality in Israel
    • It could be that the zero sum argument is ultimately most just or most predictably the way that history will travel. But I am opposed to the zero sum game argument.

    • Well, I've done more thinking than before about the word "genocide" and I really don't know enough about the Farhud and Iraq, but it seems clear that given various pronouncements by the Czar's ministers, the pogroms after the May Laws of 1882, were in fact genocide.

      The use of the world "genocide" like the use of the Nazi analogy, has consequences of the zero sum game. How can we talk to them? How can we think about them? They must be utterly defeated.

    • According to the UN definition, the pogrom of Kishinev was an instance of genocide. It seems to me that this is not the street meaning of genocide. There is a problem of the numbers game. Is 10,000 dead civilians genocide? Is 100,000? Is 1,000,000? There is a certain coldness in starting down that road. But the fact is that I do not consider Kishinev or the Farhud to be instances of genocide and so the UN definition is not really what I mean when I, a nonlawyer, use the term genocide.

      It is now 2 years after the Gaza conflict, in which Israel killed hundreds of civilians including children. I do not need to call it genocide to condemn it, and I actually am able to respect people who do not condemn it, but I do. As in: Israel under Bibi should (must?) negotiate a modus vivendi with Gaza despite its Hamas "owners", so that another occasion of "mowing the lawn" is not put into effect by the Israeli government.

      If you feel that adding the word "genocide" contributes to a discussion about Gaza, let me hear your argument.

  • Dream Defenders statement on the condemnation of Movement for Black Lives platform by some pro-Israel groups
    • No, not delayed until November, just delayed a few hours. I do not support BDS. I do not attack BDS as antisemitic, but I do not support it. The gap that has widened between my position and the position of Herzog for example compared to my support for Rabin, is what I study and analyze and wonder about and I wonder about the future. I do not stop reading Haaretz because a couple historians express their views and I went to hear Gideon Levy speak, maybe 6 years ago, not sure when, I agreed with everything he said, but I was "impressed" by his Israeli-ness, no real attempt to speak to anyone who does not agree with him, very Israeli compared to Beinart for example who is quite american.

      I understand that this site is dedicated to BDS and I sit on the sidelines and watch while Bibi continues to lead the country. My cause right now is Gaza. Let Israel reach a modus vivendi with Gaza, despite Hamas, because Hamas is going to be in charge for the foreseeable future and I say, negotiate a modus vivendi with Gaza as represented by Hamas. I fear that it is domestic politics which holds Bibi back rather than principle or pragmatics on the issue of Gaza.

      The political horizon vis a vis Jerusalem and the West Bank is far murkier than the clarity I have regarding Gaza.

      It is really possible to hold hands with Black Lives Matter and disagree on Zionism. I won't be holding hands with them anytime soon. Now, if BLM wishes to refuse to hold hands with Zionists, that's their business. I'm an old fogey and my experience is different from yours and from the young people of color at BLM and that's just the way the world is. The lack of realism on the part of Bibi and the right wing coalition that he sits atop is rather staggering. And I can dig the impulse that you have in favor of BDS and I accept most of the rhetoric of Shmuel regarding BDS, but i am of a different generation, with a different history than yours.

      I cannot wish that the Jews never got into the territory/army business. (I have four branches of family and two were sawed off by the Nazis, one reached America and one reached Palestine. Those who oppose Zionism, in effect wish that three of the branches had been sawed off instead of only two.) It is great to imagine a world in which the Jews had remained a wondering people with portable nationality and it is a bit of a shame that martial arts became the organizing principle of Jewish nationality. But I cannot approve Zionism circa 1935 and reject Zionism circa 2016, not to the extent of BDS, I can't. Because I approve of Zionism and disapprove of the settlement enterprise I am a spectator in comparison with those who either approve of BDS or approve of the settlements.

      The goal of BDS is for some army to take over Lod Airport and remove the Israeli soldiers from Lod Airport and put it under the UN or something. I can't support that. I don't support that. And if BLM cannot hold hands with people who agree with me, well, they'll find other people to hold hands with and people who agree with me, will have to figure out a way to work for peace in America (while opposing the removal of Israeli soldiers from Lod Airport.)

    • Some of the Jewish supporters of BLM are vociferous opponents of the settlement enterprise and although those who condemn Israel root and branch will not accept them, i feel that whatever complaints those individuals have against this manifesto should be respected.

      Because I feel that the Trump candidacy is the primary issue at this moment, I feel that the exact way of handling this attack on Israel root and branch, can be delayed by myself for the present. I am not a leader. I would wonder how Peter Beinart would react to this.

  • Out of 1.8 million Gazans, 250 over age 50 are allowed to travel to Jerusalem to pray
    • MHughes- I oppose Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount at this time. The Temple Mount was captured by Israel and as such its disposition is in the hands of the UN Security Council who declared it to be occupied territory. (a lawyer could phrase that better). So essentially I agree that prayer on the Mount should be limited by the circumstances.

      Those who doubt that there was once a temple on the Temple Mount, probably have never been in the old city of Jerusalem and are basing their surmises upon their readings. Because I have no such doubts regarding that there was once a temple on the temple mount, i accept that the impulse for Jews to pray there is strong and if this were not a war situation I would favor civil disobedience of Jews to push for prayer on the mount. But it is a war situation and it is wrong to use soldiers to force Muslims to accept Jewish prayers, this is not the way that the verse "and my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations" was meant to be read and thus I oppose Jewish prayer on the mount at this time.

  • Anti-occupation activists stand with Black Lives Matter as Jewish orgs attack movement over Israel criticisms
  • The 'New York Times' is dead set on marginalizing Jewish anti-Zionism
    • Harold Bloom suggests one of two English names for the old testament: the Original Testament or the Hebrew Bible.

  • Jews need to study the Torah in order to criticize Israel, Beinart says
    • old geezer- simply put - a Christian jew or a Muslim jew is a strange category to me and I must admit I am uncomfortable with these blurred lines, much moreso than the blurred lines of secular jew. Still my discomfort does not stop me from wondering about my fellow neighbor's sense of identity. I would be interested in asking the person how they define themselves and why they call themselves jewish? Here are some possible answers: 1. Christianity is an extension of judaism and my Christianity is how I best practice judaism. 2. Jewishness describes my social background, the culture I was raised in, the books I read, the movies I like, the foods I like, the politics I like, and Christianity is my belief system, totally independent from my culture. 3. Listen, to the nazis I still belong in the gas chambers, so even though I accept jesus as the son of god, they still want to exterminate me for being a jew, so screw them, I am a jew, hated by the nazis for my dna for the blood that flows in my veins, so if the nazi calls me a jew, then damn straight, I'm a jew.

      Having been raised in a Christian society, I m far more familiar with jews who have accepted jesus or jews who have mixed Jewish and Christian parents, so even though theologically islam is far more similar to judaism in terms of one god who has no body or physical offspring, I am far more practised in the attempts to decipher or imagine a Jewish Christian mixed identity rather than a Muslim Jewish identity, but I don't think my imagination would vary much from the Christian Jewish examples offered above.

    • Traditionally a place at the table for adults (which meant men in the eastern european jewish communities) was reserved for the men of means and the men of learning. For learning of texts to be an entrance ticket to the table today hearkens back to that earlier time.

      The survival of the Jews despite the persecutions, is an early indicator of the changing identity of the Jews, that is: it is no surprise that secular Jewishness and secular Jews, played a major role in the history of the world in the last century or so. The case of Karl Marx is not exemplary, i don't recall at what age Karl was dunked in the baptismal font, and his antisemitism that was expressed later, puts him in his own file of self hating Jew, (post baptism). The cases of Freud and Einstein on the other hand: 2 of the most famous personalities of the early twentieth century- and the persistence of Jewish identity in these two figures, although their place of origins: Germany and Austria and the eventual cataclysm of German Jewry might put them in a special file of their own, but nonetheless, all those who deny the existence of secular Jewishness who don't deal with Ziggy and Albert, sound like a bunch of know nothings.

      Einstein compared Jewishness to the snail and its shell. Even though the snail is known by its shell, even after it sheds its shell it still maintains its snail-ness. So the Jew and his religion, even after it sheds its shell, its religion, some basic Jew-ness remains (which Einstein defined in a tikkun way).

      Freud's secularism was self evident (establishing a new religion might not be a secularistic activity, but nonetheless) and his attachment to Jewishness can be denied if you wish, but is self evident to me.

      So spouters of the nonexistence of Jewish secularism are prima facie (?) spouting nonsense to me. Now, of course 2016 Brooklyn and 1938 Vienna are two different situations. The self evident need to define oneself in 1938 Vienna when a storm is approaching that made no difference between Torah knowledgeable Jews and Jews who converted to Christianity is self evident. (poorly constructed tautology, but still...) How is a Jew who has no affinity for religion in 2016 Chicago say, supposed to relate to the Jewish identity of his parents and grandparents and great grandparents. obviously the key phrase there is "supposed to", whereas in fact there is no "supposed to", there are different human reactions to different situations, different sets of parents, grandparents and great grandparents, different ways of relating to Christmas and Christianity and nonJews in a society that has been secularizing away from traditional Christianity to humanism as expressed by the culture in various forms. So there is no "supposed to". But those who dictate: if you don't believe in Torah, you may not call yourself a Jew and if you call yourself a Jew that means that you are a racist and ethnocentrist and partaking in the imperialistic urges of America and Israel, well, chill, guys, stop telling me what I can call myself or how I am allowed to relate to the history of the world as it effected a small corner of it: my siblings, my peers, my parents, their parents and their great grandparents. And the evolution of my knowledge of myself and Americans of my age group and the knowledge of the history of American Jews, certainly allows me a different perspective than the one limited by my immediate family, but certainly when someone comes along and says, "Thou shalt not call thyself a secular Jew!" I know that person is f***ed up and is part of the dark side.

    • Phil- I believe you are sincere in opposing Zionism, but you and Beinart are on two different pages. He wants to increase the communication of the dissenter with the "community". You want to decrease the communication of the dissenter with the community. Even in this piece your disdain for Samuel, Jeremiah and Judges (as representatives of the essence of Jewish learning) is apparent. How does that increase the communication between yourself and the community? It doesn't. It is just one more instance of playing to the choir and your choir (here in the comments section at least) really does not begin to think about caring about two generations hence, and in fact disdains Hebrew both ancient and modern, Yiddish, both spoken and written, and Torah both written and oral. Beinart is about building bridges between the Jewish present and the Jewish future and between the anti Zionist community and the Zionist community. That is not your thing whatsoever. Let the democratic party implode. Let one more language disappear, what do I care? You are not on the same page or involved in the same struggle as Beinart.

    • From a practical point of view, Israel needs to change its policy towards the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank and inside Israel, as well. If this argument can be made (I think it can be made, but it is not clear cut, particularly when the extent of this "change" is not yet clear, and particularly at this moment of Middle East turmoil), then obviously the person arguing this point of view deserves the attention of those who support Israel, no matter that person's identity. (If someone shows you a good chess move, you examine the utility of the move through analysis, not by saying, "you're not on my side.") when the practicality of the move is not provable, then clearly doubt is present and it is more likely (human) to say, "are you on my side or not?"

      It is clear that Phil Weiss is on the side of Jefferson and MLK rather than Jeremiah and Samuel as he puts it. (All of a sudden, Hillel disappears from relevance and it is only the Old Testament Jews that are relevant or to be more precise irrelevant compared to good old American values.) But aside from Zionism in what way is Phil Weiss on the side of the Jews. (more precisely to be read: aside from antiZionism in order to save the Jews of America from association with evil Israel, in what way is Phil Weiss on the side of the Jews.)

  • Sanders delegates recount 'Orwellian' message control by Clinton supporters during DNC
    • They yelled "Dump the Hump" at Humphrey in 68, elected richard nixon and the rest is history, as they say, and wilson dizard wants more of the same. (or doesn't want the same and imagines that a personality transplant by Hillary for the course of four days would have attracted disaffected Sanders supporters, like bees to honey. Unlikely.)

      The polls say Hillary got a bump from her convention and it
      was her convention. You win the nomination and the show is yours. true democracy disagrees, i hear you and admire your purity. There's plenty to hate about Clinton and suppression of free speech, I hear you. But the convention was unified enough to give Hillary a boost among independents and that was the goal.

      If hillary loses the election, then woe to all of us. It will not be the end of america, but it will not be pretty. If hillary loses the election there will be plenty of blame to go around and if ms. stein wins enough votes in some key state to give that state's electoral college votes to the Donald, then you will be able to say, I told you so.

      if hillary wins, the left and the right will oppose her from day one, unless, the dems can win a majority in both houses and thus the elimination of deadlock will excite possibility. but the odds are slim on that and divided government is the safest bet and thus hillary will be opposed from the right and from the left and the trump fever and the symptom of america's deep trouble will persist even after trump himself is defeated.

  • Using Rep. Johnson's innocent comment to stain his reputation was the real crime
    • Jon S- regarding the Christian Jew. It depends on who is writing the definition. Hitler killed Jews who had converted to Christianity (for the sin of their Jewish "race"), so obviously he did not accept that one could not be both.
      Jews for Jesus obviously believe that one can be both.
      In theory belief that Jesus is/was the Messiah is no more contradictory to Judaism than the belief that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is/was the Messiah. (Which is not a compliment to Lubavitch, but you get my point.)
      I would say that the combined Jew-Christian identity is complicated by two factors: Are Christians monotheists? They seem to fudge the God is one and god is son and father (and holy spirit) question so that the unity of god factor seems to be too elastic for strictly monotheist Jews. The other factor is that the content of the New Testament sets up an opposition between Jews and Christians that is tough to swallow. (opposition is a euphemism). If the New Testament is holy to Christians, it is difficult to see how one can be a Christian and a Jew simultaneously.

      if Judaism becomes Jewishness- Jewish humor, bagels and lox and what have you, then why not be Christian and Jewish at the same time? No contradiction between Jesus and Don Rickles or between Paul's letters and bagels and lox.

    • James North- Although Torah can be used as an all encompassing phrase referring to any study of Jewish texts, "Torah portion of the week" (in common usage) refers to one of 54 portions of the Torah. The Torah as a narrow term refers to the Pentateuch as in the Five books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy, and it is divided into 54 portions, so as to be read, one a week in the course of a year. (True, one would think that 52 portions would be the number. But the Jewish year is a lunar year, which is 354 days instead of 365, thus necessitating an added leap month approximately once every 3 years, so on those years, extra portions are necessary, and thus the 54 portions instead of 52.)

      Thus Hirsch's quotation from the Talmud is indeed a part of the Torah and thus to the uninitiated a "portion" of Torah study, but when he refers to the "portion of the week", he is referring to one of the 54 weekly Pentateuch portions. (This week the end of Numbers is read, and next week the beginning of Deuteronomy will be read in the weekly portions. In October at the end of the Jewish holidays, the cycle of the Torah is completed, Deuteronomy's last verse is read and the cycle is begun again with Genesis's: in the beginning God created...)

Showing comments 3665 - 3601