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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 347 - 301

  • Israeli Jews will never accept Palestinians as equals -- Klutznick, chair of Americans for Peace Now
    • Donald- I think proposing analogies is part of the thought processes of argumentation. And they have some use, but limited use. The black slave situation which by 1963 was the century old former black slave situation is quite different than zionist yahoods versus palestinians, which is more analogous to white settlers versus native americans.
      It is natural for palestinians to view basel 1897 and Balfour 1917 as catastrophes and injustices. When I try to envision the state described by omar barghouti and abunima I don't succeed. Thus their tone of voice is real, whereas their ideas are theoretical.
      I don't know if phil's theory of Jewish American liberal zionists being the key to the issue is accurate, but it could be. In 1987 the first intifada broke out and it is now 30 years later and I did not expect democratic party support for Israel to last this long. In that time jesse jackson was a major star and he combined many layers: farrakhan, hymietown and viewing zionism as a poisonous weed. No one has been as powerful since in the pro Palestinian democratic party camp, although Jews feared and others hoped that Obama would claim the pro Palestinian mantle. And it seems like he wanted to, but poor timing (coming into office when bibi replaced olmert) and forces in the Democratic party limited his influence to the Iran deal, something achievable and away from Israel palestine.
      The American public at large don't think much about Israel palestine, but grass roots Democrats do.

  • Privileged American Jews are safe thanks to 'Israel's might'-- Roger Cohen
    • It is difficult to imagine Jewish history without the establishment of Israel, but let's try. I think we'd need to eliminate the Balfour Declaration and imagine a British mandate in Palestine that gave some consideration to the multiple religions of the land of their mandate, but except for some minor protecting of holy sites, the mandate would have been to encourage financial growth and political maturity of the indigenous in the direction of self determination. Thus instead of 400,000 Jews in Palestine in 1939, we would imagine 120,000 Jews there; no Palestinian state yet, but no encouragement of Zionism.
      Then WWII occurs and in the aftermath of the war, Britain leaves Palestine, not in 1947, but probably closer to 1960 or so. In my scenario: a large exodus of Jews from palestine as a result of this independence in 1960, cutting the Jewish population from 120,000 to less than 40,000 primarily ultra Orthodox and those who are willing and able to blend into the ultra Orthodox milieu.

      Difficult to imagine.

      What degree of support was there for Israel in 1947 in America Jewry compared to in 1967. For one thing, the world shrank in the interim. The other side of the world (not quite, but more than halfway to the other side of the world) was quite distant in 1947 and not nearly as distant in 1967. transatlantic travel was not yet common in 1967, but tens of times more common than in 1947. Live television transmission was not a factor in 1947, but became a factor with morley safer videotaping the burning of the vietnamese village around 1967.

      Roger Cohen comes from Europe (certainly South Africa was a European colony and britain, despite the emotional nature of the relationship, is part of Europe.) As such his relationship to Jewish vulnerability is far different than american jews like phil weiss, whose grandparents left the old country back before world war I. as such he is much closer to the Holocaust and the European debacle and does not find the comfort or the exceptionalism of the American Jewish experience.

      Jews are more accepted in America today than they were in 1945. America is much more cosmopolitan today than it was in 1945 and the civil rights movement (in which Jews played a crucial supporting role) opened up society. I would not attribute the change to the existence of Israel.

      I think that the Holocaust and Israel are intimately tied in the psyches of many Jews.

      I think Phil Weiss is fortunate that when he was young his heroes were Vietnamese martyr burning monks and not concentration camp martyrs or Jewish partisans in the forest. I think his instinct is distinctly alienated from Jewish consciousness, that he thinks that when he was cracking wise against the rabbis in his bar mitzvah class that he was on the right track and all that Jewish stuff was a small pond that he was thrilled to leave. I think Judaism would have held him back and he only got as far as he did (before getting fired and then discovering the issue of antizionism) was because he really felt that shooting spit balls at the rabbis was the core truth of what there was to learn in hebrew school.

      There are many Jews who dismiss Jewishness and thrive as a result. They are Jews (part of a process of disappearing Jews, but still Jews as of the moment) and out of sociological curiosity it is interesting to hear how the grandchildren of those who were part of the old world of pre world war I have evolved over the last century. but my sensibilities are far closer to roger cohen's and he speaks to me in a way that phil weiss can not.

      I think that the conflict with the Palestinians is a god awful mess and that Israel had an opportunity to opt for a two state solution back in 2008 when Olmert was Prime Minister and Livni was heir apparent. They did not. out of hubris they thought they could win an election and they had all the time in the world. they did not. they handed the premiership over to bibi, who was not interested in a two state solution and thus we find ourselves 9 years later with no end in sight and thus the one state solution beckons.

  • Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as capital of 'Jewish people' is assault on my religion -- Queens rabbi
    • When David son of jesse, moved his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem, he made Jerusalem the capital city. This rabbi, whom Phil can't even bother to identify properly, exaggerates the lack of nationalism involved in the history of the jews. I think neturei karta, which seems to be who this learned rabbi represents, has some points, but let us not confuse insight with political relevance, or the orthodox viewpoint of 1939 with the orthodox viewpoint in 2018.
      The vast majority of orthodox jews accept zionism. Enthusiastically. Neturei karta and their position, is a small minority. Their influence is minimal.

  • Zionism didn't have to turn out so badly for Palestinians, says Roger Cohen
    • Phil- Schama's book and Cohen's piece were about western european history up until 1900. Your and Cohen's experiences in the post world war II era will be relevant when Schama's next book comes out. To inject Cohen's personal experience of a different period would not be relevant to the book being discussed.

    • I've been following the Israel versus Palestine story since 67 and in a daily way since 73, so you experts who speak neither of the languages and have never lived there for more than 2 months at a time, I'm supposed to prefer your analysis, you who've been following the story only since 2001?

      i would estimate that it is about fifty years away, the one state solution that you are aiming for. that time might be shortened by a campaign of some practicality, for example: encourage Jerusalem Palestinians to seek Israeli citizenship. Israel has turned most applicants away and a real effort to achieve single state civil rights for all status would be to start: on the front lines for full citizenship for Jerusalem Palestinians. there are a few valid reasons to oppose the idea of this campaign, but the current "campaign" (rushing the gaza fence) is pretty stale.

      ben gurion founded israel with great ruthlessness and some effectiveness for the short range. arafat was a major figure in the palestinian struggle, but the face that will achieve the breakthrough for the palestinians might still be in the maternity ward today, y'know the ones that bezalel smotrich dislikes because of the integration.

      if the future belongs to the one state paradigm, the roger cohen perception, which belongs to the two state paradigm, will eventually be clarified as an idea that didn't happen. i don't understand what phil weiss is harping on regarding roger cohen coming clean about the openness of western society to jews. Israel is not located in the west, nor are most of its citizens jewish or not, from the west. maybe all you really want is for roger cohen to channel the olov hashalom tony judt and call it an anachronism. i don't think it's an anachronism, i think it's a solution to a problem that does not exist globally but only in parts at times. the openness of america does not change the fact of israel's existence or explain the facts in the immediate vicinity of israel. arab hatred for israel is understandable and one can hypothesize a nonzionist alternate history where the jews who were integrated in arab society might serve a function of a bridge to the jews in western society and the entire dynamic might have been if not 180 degrees different, certainly quite different. but it's in fact a fact that the arab societies have been largely emptied of their jewish populations and that the influence of islam is such that coptic populations and christian populations feel insecure and to call jewish identity politics anachronistic is to treat the islamic part of the world as if they don't exist. in fact identity politics is certainly a major part of the culture in that part of the world and anachronistic means that the arabs are part of the past too, so the term anachronistic has got to go.

      i still feel the appeal of the two state solution and so i know where roger cohen is coming from. just read gideon levy about a debate between abunimah and some fatah bigwig. interesting.

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

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

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

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

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

      which is a different experience than mine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • High holidays? Meh
  • Jews have religious commandment to support Israel and fight BDS -- American Jewish Committee
    • To the contributors to the ajc the primary Jewish issue of the day is Israel. To Phil Weiss the primary Jewish issue of the day is Israel. Not a headline.

  • Blunt references to Israeli apartheid are published by 'Peace Now' and 'The New Yorker'
    • Phil cites remnick's article as a landmark, while Donald johnson whined about remnick's article.

      BLM was savaged for using the word "genocide". Shoddy journalism by Phil Weiss.

  • The liberal Zionist crisis -- white nationalists are villains, but settlers are 'complex'
    • The roles of Peter Beinart, individual, and Yehuda Kurtzer as representative of the Shalom Hartman Institute are very different. Without parsing the specifics of the event, it sounds like rabbis are coming to Israel in a group run by the Hartman Institute and are being brought to meet, talk, even dine with West Bank settlers. When Phil Weiss travels to the settlements, this is okay, because it serves a journalistic purpose, but when the Hartman Institute arranges for such travel it is suddenly forbidden. How are these rabbis supposed to learn about the settlers, by reading Mondoweiss? of course not. they need to form their own opinions by talking to the settlers.

      the rhetoric used to justify such a visit, regarding complexity and such, is background noise and opportunity for sniping, but the major fact is the meeting with the settlers and that meeting is totally justified on the basis of obtaining knowledge.

  • Lessons from Finkelstein: International Law and equal rights should be the focus for Palestine solidarity
    • Phil Weiss argued recently that it is conventional wisdom that Israel is an anachronism particularly regarding the west. This may be true. (Only in regards to the Islamic world, it is not better than it was 140 years ago, but everywhere including former Soviet union, yehudi hatred is a nonissue ( when compared to the era of zionism's birth. And since zionism was birthed in Europe , the change in Europe and the west is the predominant fact.)

      Today the primary argument for Israel's existence is its existence. A fact is a fact and undoing a fact, well, let's just say it's easier said than done.

      But history is relevant. Particularly getting history right.

      All the pulses of increased aliya to israel and consciousness of the Zionist idea followed the trend of history of pogroms or yehudi hatred cultural eruptions. Maybe my knowledge is limited to pinsker and herzl, but here are two men who were more than willing to toss yehudi onto the ash heap or a vestige a fading echo. Herzl would have been willing to convert, as long as it was a mass conversion and he could lead the parade. Pinsker was just as willing as Phil Weiss and mooser to wave bye bye to tradition. What stopped him? Jew hatred. His concept of the incapacity of the world to control the disease of this hatred was wrong, but only in the long run and with a global perspective. Focused on his time and place, pinsker was a prophet.

      We can go back to talking about 2017, but self determination is a high faluttin' term. Self protection is clearer. Yes in 2017 the present tense is here and self determination and self protection as historical dynamics takes a back seat to the present tense: Israel's existence, the west bank and the history of palestinian pain.

  • As Israeli soldiers crushed Gaza, world Jewry united, and sent Ben & Jerry's ice cream to the front
    • Although insecurity regarding the regime in Cairo explains some of the delay, the refusal of israel to find some modus operandi vis a vis hamas in Gaza that allows for the free flow of gazans to egypt and allows for the movement of people and goods into and out of gaza on a reasonable basis, indicates that Israel is in no hurry to alleviate the gaza situation because the status quo is known and the effects of such an agreement are unknown. Given this attitude I must recoil at the readiness of israel to wreak such destruction on gaza, without any hope on the horizon provided.

      The words of this blogger are not encouraging, it is easy to find hard headed non thinkers in the blogosphere, and phil has found one. It is not a war of ideas to attack a blogger like this. It is an opportunity for a pat on one's own back. Oh look, how unreasonable. But there is a problem and it is not this blogger. it is the lack of conscientious leadership that is the problem. God and guns is not a good mix, I encourage young jews to read a lot, so that the simplistic views of bibi and phil weiss will become insufficient.

  • 'Irreplaceable bedrock' of U.S. backing for Israel is threatened by -- intermarriage
    • I will not parse Freilich's words, but I think Phil Weiss is confusing cause and effect.
      The "cause" of what Freilich is referring to is Jewish continuity. There are two proven (and insufficient) modes of Jewish continuity and they are Torah (Orthodoxy) and Zionism. (There is also innovation which seeks to redo, in order to make it something worthwhile, but let us leave the hopeful future for another time.)
      Supporters of Israel in the Jewish community are those who are wholeheartedly devoted to continuity and somewhat also devoted to Torah. Young Jews are proud to be Jewish and the word that they associate with Jewish is "tradition" and much of that tradition is forward looking but the tradition part of tradition, as in its essence, is backwards looking and by definition that is not progressive, but nostalgic.
      There are many personality types on this planet and they include the religious personality, and there are no deists in the foxholes and so in times of trouble people seek comfort from comfort texts and traditions, so Judaism will continue, just on the force of the religious impulse of some hard core believing group.
      But in our modern society of individualism, the primary motivating force towards Judaism is some kind of a context beyond the present tense (call it history, call it tradition.)
      Intermarriage is not the key here, but the revelation of the problem. People stopped being religious and treat it as something minor, and Judaism is designed with an all encompassing life style in mind. Those who lack the religious impulse and opt out of Judaism, quite often extrapolate from their own experience and state, if it's good enough for me, then it's good enough for everybody, and they abandon Judaism and toss it on the ash heap of history. Others are not so cold, not so alienated, but instead of the personality willing to concede something to the past, to nostalgia, to history, to the group, to all that came before and see some value in the Jewish experience and as such they seek ways to bolster it, if only in their imagination, "wouldn't it be nice if there could be some continuity from the past," even as they themselves speed towards the individualized atomic urban/suburban future.

      Those who are concerned about the Jewish future in America are also concerned regarding the Jewish future on the globe.

  • 'I am not your goy' -- chaos at a liberal Zionist conference
    • Annie- I am reacting to my digital environment: the mw comments section which has a much higher percentage of animus than the general pro palestine population, I presume. I speak for a small demographic, of a specific age and background, with strong Jewish roots. Both Phil's parents are jewish, so he is just as Jewish as me, but at this point Harvard is where he was born again. To those with deep roots, there are visceral knee jerk reactions to "goy" in the headline. ( and to norm finkelstein attributing the attack on the uss liberty to some deep seated animus to the nonjew, for example.) When jvp speaker talks about zionism and judaism, sounding like someone writing a book report from the cliff notes, and gets jvp applause, I wince, whereas someone whose religion is Harvard really is alien to the sentiment and the discomfort.

  • The Israelis
    • have to say that finding phil writing "off the derech" was a real kick in reading this article.

      this concept that american jews are the key to change of Israeli policy, i don't know. if jews hated netanyahu as much as they hate trump, then the change could come about, but that day seems far away. most american jews are minimally involved in thinking about israel.

      read the bernie sanders op ed and if the democratic party can free itself from depending on big donors then the democratic party can free itself from lockstep support for israel, right or wrong. but i think it is a good 20 years if not 50 years until american jews really rebel against israel and thus it seems that events will dictate the future, rather than a change of mind of a small percentage of the population.

      i had an insight today riding on a bus in jerusalem, that i still get a kick out of everyday life in Israel. when jon s, sometimes, cites the joy in his hometown of beersheva at some soccer victory, i cringe, because i know that's not what the comments section on mondoweiss considers a value. but merely standing on a street corner and watching life go on, gives me a type of pleasure regarding life going on in israel.

      the line and song, "am yisroel chai" , which essentially means, the jewish people still lives, has been labeled as fascistic and many wrongheaded zionists sing the song and use the idea of the song to dismiss other thoughts regarding the necessity of politics going forward. but persistence both as credo and as marvel is certainly near the thoughts of many supporters of israel through the years, particularly my age and older. and just seeing life persisting is something that gives me pleasure as i ride on the bus here.

      but then i notice that one of the bus passengers is wearing a uniform and the insignia on the uniform indicates that he works in the prison system and he (or his uniform) bring to light, the unseen of the situation: thus life goes on normally here on this bus, but normal is not nearly good enough in the totality of the control of the army which calls itself the Jewish army.

    • My yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem was earlier than usual due to a family celebration and has not yet ended. So I am inspired by phil's report to share some biographical notes.
      of course, i come from the other side of the tracks from phil. he was raised secular, even anti religious, with an emphasis on rationalism. my father was a rabbi (still is) and I was raised to believe in Torah and Zionism. phil never set foot in Israel until he was close to 50, I first moved here/ visited here at the age of 16 or so back in 72.
      I arrived in israel in 2017 the day that Trump left. The next day my first visit was to my aging parents. My mother was born in Europe, Western Europe, because there were quotas limiting Jewish opportunities of education in Poland and so her parents moved from Poland to France. When the Nazis invaded Belgium and France in May 1940, my mother was not yet 7. By the following April, my mother and her 9 year old brother were on a boat with their parents heading from Lisbon to New York City. My father was born in St. Louis to parents who were immigrants from Ukraine. My paternal grandparents arrived in the 1920's, after the great migration. My grandfather was very religious, more religious than his two brothers who came to America before him. And though they lived in small town Peoria Illinois, they raised their family to keep kosher and shabbos. Small town orthodox Jews in America, a rarity even then, is even rarer today.
      my parents are now in their 80's and ailing.
      My father taught 28 or so years at Queens College in Queens New York and retired to Jerusalem. They bought an apartment near my brother, who underwent a transformation in his late teens and early 20's from modern Orthodox Judaism to ultra Orthodox Judaism, so they live in a very religious neighborhood, which makes my visiting them a bit more difficult, because I stopped being religious (with some backsliding) in my mid 20's.
      After seeing my parents I headed to my uncle for a get together of my Israeli cousins, all first cousins of my mother's. This is the family that would have been wiped out (in all probability) had there been no Zionism in the 1930's. Their parents left Poland in that decade and came to Palestine. (One brother stayed in Europe and perished.) Most of these cousins of my mother's are religious, but a minority are not. The sons of my great grandparents (aside from the brother who was murdered in Europe) all remained religious and all their children remained religious. The two daughters of my great grandparents married secular husbands and thus the results have been mixed: half religious and half secular.
      This was Jerusalem Day and I had passed the crowds flying their flags and made my way not to the center of the action but to my uncle's for the family get together. Some recollection of the days of the 6 day war were recounted and some songs were sung. I asked the husband of one of my mother's cousins whether he celebrated Jerusalem Day and he said no. He ardently celebrates the 5th of Iyar, I am a zionist he proclaimed, but the occupation should not be celebrated. Another of my cousins reported about where some of her children live and proudly proclaimed, "they are settlers", a gathering of cousins is really no place for politics, laying religious and political differences aside are of the essence when a family is diverse and so the assertion of settlerism was not answered by anyone there.

      The kabbala group meets on thursday nights and the kabala is a book which encourages flights of fancy and although i wore a baseball cap and not a yarmulka i partook of the hostliness and the biblical commentary. because jerusalem day was recent when some selection in the text fortuitously referred to Jerusalem, this was given extra emphasis. no politics or should i say no contrary politics was mentioned.

      friday night i ate at my half uncle, who hosted the cousins' gathering two nights before. my half uncle is a year and a half younger than me and his eldest son and his family were the other featured guests. I got it into my head to explain to my uncle's son about my politics and told him about the Democratic convention in Chicago 1968, the week of my bar mitzvah. my uncle's parents moved to Israel when he was not yet 13 and he is thus ambidextrous in hebrew and english and he married an israeli woman. my uncle's politics are decidedly to the left of the primary thrust of the religious nationalist camp. but he teaches at a school in the territories and most of his kids are currently studying, teaching or living in the territories. (the most neutral term to refer to the west bank is to call them the territories rather than the west bank or judea and samaria.)
      my uncle's wife (whose politics is decidedly to the right of my uncle's) commented at one of the meals i ate at their house that she liked when i came over, because my presence causes her husband to reveal his right wing attitudes on certain issues (particularly he feels that the demand that the palestinians recognize the Jewish nature of Israel is natural).

      my uncle's daughter in law was present that friday night. Her father was one of the founders of one of the major settlements in the territories, ofra. and her grandfather was killed in a terrorist attack in the 2nd intifada, so my uncle explained why he resisted talking about politics as much as he would have preferred.

  • No anti-Zionists allowed on Hadassah panel exploring 'tension' between feminism and Zionism
    • upon careful attention, i see that i posted my words under the words of nada rather than of phil. this was really meant to comment on the phil article, in which the idea of explaining why people support israel was emphasized by the speakers and certainly in my case my support for israel is based upon the specific history of 1881 to 1945 (and the specific aspect of hatred of so called jews), and a specific place: europe.

  • Leonard Cohen song is anthem of Jewish exclusivists
    • I agree that Phil Weiss's article explaining himself as an ex Jew is a perfect companion piece to his attitude towards Leonard Cohen. And the theme seems to be: the only good Jew is an ex Jew.

  • Trump and Pence had a Jewish connection before a political one -- and it's steeped in the Holocaust
  • What would Anne Frank do?
  • The formal end of the two-state solution
    • Listen people, last I heard there are three paths here: 1. 2 state solution, 2. One state solution and 3. Status quo. The refrain I hear here is that the 2 state solution is dead and the essence of mw is opposition to the status quo, which leaves one state solution. Apparently you're imagining some armed forces other than IDF controlling Ben Gurion airport, (obviously renamed) and also controlling the country's other points of entry as well. Or you're imagining a UN revoking Israel's membership and here is your list of demands. Well give me a brief scenario or something to imagine this new reality you are waiting for. I gave a glimpse of the way a Zionist sees the evolution towards one state. First the west bank. Only later gaza. And then even later refugees. That's just stating plain sense.

      You imagine having a loaded gun pointing at zionism's forehead and the demilitarization of israel and the coerced dissolution of zionism.

      Meanwhile the Palestinian split "government" hamas and fatah consider themselves as the sole owners of gaza and the west bank, so my suggestion (which is only an attempt to flesh out the support Phil Weiss heard from the dude at the reform temple last week for the idea of annex and give citizenship and let history sort out the result.) is more in the realm of a thought experiment than a proposal that stands a chance at this time.

  • Trump has a 'magic moment' in June 2017 to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, Israel lobbyist tells NY synagogue
    • Right wing white american antisemitism in my lifetime: there was a man named George lincoln Rockwell who made my mother nervous on TV when I was a little kid. (50 plus years later in retrospect in adulthood the fear seems to have been ungrounded, although a nonhistory buff whose family fled europe by the skin of their teeth in 1941, I forgive her fear.) George wallace never voiced jew hatred that I heard, although my father relayed to me rumors that his obvious race hatred extended to jews as well. From George wallace til today, the primary national star was pat buchanan, his speech to the Republican convention in 92 was scary and his deep seated Catholic right wing nationalism was apparent to anyone who read his writings and the joy he took in shocking sensibilities was not reassuring revealing a populism that might go awry.

      It would be silly to pretend that these were the major stories of race friction in the US before the advent of obama. Poppa Bush's campaign in 88 featured black Willie Horton revolving door freedom from jail on a loop, which revealed the true racial wedge issue in america.

      (It is also silly to ignore where the focus of Jewish gentile American friction has been since the late 60's and that has been primarily from black radicals like kwame toure and the candidacy of jesse Jackson. because of the predominance of farrakhan in this aspect of friction, I think labeling this friction as coming from the left is a mislabeling, because farrakhan and the nation of islam is a distinctly conservative reactionary group and further the nationalism of kwame toure for example is distinctly illiberal and nonuniversalist, understandable as a reaction to a history of exploitation, but still distinctly illiberal. The intersection of antizionism and black antisemitism has been quite apparent and would be the natural focus to those whose issue is opposing zionism. But the friction is a natural feature of urban societies where economic and political battles for power and turf, and toxic relations between tenant and landlord, store owner and customer, are seemingly inevitable or certainly not unusual.)

      The trump campaign has surely taken the sewer cover off the sewer. It may be selfish to focus on spencer's seig heil, when trump's anti muslim and anti bad hombre rhetoric is the true problem.

      Joke: young boy: grampa, grampa, Mickey mantle hit three home runs today.
      Grandfather: what this Mickey mantle did was it good for the jews or bad for the jews.

      Phil Weiss attends David makovsky speech with venom to israel in his heart, so when the rabbi begins with "good for the jews or bad for the jews" he views from the outside and calls it selfish. I'm sure most of the crowd realizes the trump problem is much deeper than the threat to the jews, but I assume most do not come to hear makovsky wishing to bury him and in general agreement with his aipac stance or at least deep sympathy for Israel's existence. To them the Jewish angle on trump is the issue of the evening and the antizionist in their midst is an enemy of sorts.

  • Defending Ellison, Jewish writers publish 'apartheid' description of Israel in 'Slate' and 'Washington Post'
  • 'He won because of race' -- Netanyahu's upset anticipated Trump's
    • Two other commonalities between the two elections: the mediocrity of Phil Weiss's analysis of both events. The utter non questioning of the pre election polls by Phil Weiss of both events.

      There has never been an election that I voted for the Republican candidate for president, but I have never been this scared of a Republican candidate as I am of trump. This vulgar clown with his kkk endorsement , his "Lock her up" rhetoric. His wink and nod to jew haters in the yellen, soros, blankfein commercial. His blatant anti muslim, blatant anti hispanic rhetoric, ( "Mexican judge") his history of anti black racism (birther), and mondoweiss chose to sit out the election and only in the aftermath hurls its deepest insult: you're just like bibi.
      There is a clear tendency in US presidential elections, democrats have won 6 of 7 of the last contests in terms of popular vote, two of which have been overturned by the electoral college. Do we hear one word from phil weiss against the electoral college, not even a whisper. One man, one vote is good enough for the middle east, but in america we accept the electoral college without a protest.

      In israel, the right wing has won or essentially tied, every election since 1977. Any competent analysis of the israeli polls before the 2015 elections showed there was ZERO chance for a left wing coalition. Herzog was predicted to get more seats, true, but he would need Lapid to form a coalition and Lapid scorned the zoabis in 2013 and there was no reason to think he had changed his mind. It was all smoke and mirrors swallowed as if nutritious by mw's superficial analysis and the feckless white house.

      The Democratic party is not sure where to turn whether towards its energetic confidently liberal base or towards the center, to court the fence sitters in suburbia. A strong candidate rather than a weak candidate can make a big difference as well and certainly if we're still a democracy four years hence, trump will be the status quo and the democrat will be change and defeating trump is definitely doable, whether with a Joe Biden centrist or a Bernie Sanders leftist . (I mention both as types not actual candidates. Not to be ageist, but they're too old.)

      Israel is certainly a negative to the left wing of the democratic party and any proposal to move the party to the left will involve democrats who are weak on israel. (Nowhere near the anti Israel sentiment of mw or the mw comments section, fer sure, but certainly closer to Keith Ellison in heart, if not in courage of his convictions.) It is the general leftness that will bring with it the anti Israel sentiment. The i-p issue is not the priority to the grass roots, but rather wall street is. But the natural place of leftists is to be anti Israel (in2016) despite the tumult of the region and the Democratic party will choose grass roots enthusiasm over wooing the fence sitters. We will see how the strategy works in2018. Usually Dem voters are too lazy or busy to vote in off year elections, we'll see if Keith Ellison can get them to the polls.

  • A conversation with Miko Peled
    • It was an analogy. Assuming that the topic is israel and its evil, peled has hijacked the thread and made the conversation about himself.
      Phil Weiss's namby pamby questions to peled as peled attempts to win the gilad atzmon award of the year is another shining example of the tone deafness of mondoweiss, backed up to the hilt by the choir.

    • Dudes- seriously you're all so full of it. A little comment in the mw comments section and I use the word bark and you foam at the mouth.
      I will quote you the great lover of mankind miko peled the spoiled child the anointed one: "then theyr surprised Jews have reputation 4 being sleazy thieves. " These are the words you are defending, these are the words that entice Phil Weiss's empathy. You are a choir that agrees with itself. Congratulations. Bannon's trump commercial, no hate there. Peled's "sleazy thieves", no problem there. I used the word bark. Unfair. To the dogs.

  • I'm not worried about anti-Semitism
    • Two weeks ago I woke up on Sunday and wrote in my head, "It was the Sunday before trump was elected president." I hoped the line was just fear, but I feared the line was not preposterous. And it was not.

      I am ashamed to have Donald trump as president. I am ashamed that white americans voted for him in such large numbers and I am ashamed that orthodox jews voted for him in such large numbers. He is a clown and a bully and a mussolini in his temperament. He is an embarrassment. When he was running I quipped, "I would laugh, but it's not polite to laugh at your own funeral."
      Now the assertion from phil weiss, it's not your funeral or certainly not your funeral as a jew.
      So I feel it appropriate to catalogue my fears and prioritize them in order to make sense of them.
      I do not fear a nuclear war from trump, but I fear a diminution of democracy, which seems like a minor problem, so I will cite the real problems.
      1. And that is first. Anti muslim measures. Could president trump ask all Muslims to register? Will he be satisfied with much less blatant measures? ( how will he react to the next San Bernardino or orlando?)
      2. Anti illegal immigrants measures. Will trump go "to war" against the big cities that have declared themselves sanctuaries for our neighbors without papers?
      3. Temperament. Who the f*** knows what such a thin skinned rabble rouser is capable of?
      4. Racism- the anti black inferences of the birther movement are quite apparent to me? Who denies them?
      5. Republican agenda- repealing obamacare and giving tax breaks to the rich and putting judges on the Supreme court.
      6. Associating with haters. Bannon, who has David duke's seal of approval.
      So I put bannon down on the list.
      But when trump runs for reelection his currying favor with David duke may be a factor of higher importance.
      Choosing an unpredictable bully who threatens hillary with prison (and 2nd amendment people) during the campaign and rubs elbows with bannon is enough to make me think that calling trump dangerous was and is a reasonable reaction.

    • Steve bannon brings a smile to david duke's face. That is sufficient to put me on guard. The yellen-soros - blankfein commercial featuring the faces of three jews that were not readily recognizable to the mass of voters, but which were surely recognized by kkk leaders, was a sign of either an improbable coincidence, or a wink and a nod from bannon (Unless someone else created that commercial) to duke. To me, it is clearly a bannon duke dog whistle. Although I don't quite understand why people hate the federal reserve, I know that some do , and I also know that some people hate soros and others hate blankfein or Goldman sachs. But to pretend that the images of all three showing up in one commercial talking about global levers of power is nothing fishy requires either some motive for ignoring bannon's shout out to duke because bannon is good for israel and that's all that really counts, which would explain glick's ideological blindness, or else an assimilationist's deaf ear to attacks on jews, which is Phil Weiss's problem.
      In general glick and phil have zero in common, but whitewashing bannon's shout out from hi IQ kkk to kkk 1.0 has created the rare moment when two opposing ideologies find common deafness.
      Talk about jews who have low facial recognition among the masses, Isaac babel is one such. Interesting to include babel, since Phil never once ever said a word of recognition of stalin's jew hatred or of Soviet union hatred of the jew. Phil's only concerns with non hitler jew hatred is back to the pogroms when he whitewashed the Russian officialdom's role in the kishinev pogrom or over to America and wasp culture's pre wwII law firm barriers. Never a word about the anti immigration sentiment and policies of American Republicans in the 20's, which surely had the effect of adding hundreds of thousands of jews to hitler's dead jews, and also tens of thousands of jews who ended up in palestine rather than Ellis island, thus giving the Yishuv the demographic critical mass it needed to build the state to be. Phil, like the good assimilationist that he is pooh poohs or ignores antisemitism as much as he can and the presence of babel's photo reminds me of Phil's dogmatic assimilationist's bent.

    • Caroline glick agrees with Phil that bannon is not an antisemite. Both Caroline and phil are blinded by their ideologies.

  • In standing up for Bannon, Dershowitz is true to his Orthodox Brooklyn roots
    • Goldberg tries too hard. Saw a video of him with Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis, and the gaps in the education between him and those two was quite apparent. At other times he thinks he has to crack wise as if he was the godchild of buddy hacket.

      as far as him dealing with his roots as far as being netanyahu's primary voice intimating that iran was going to be attacked, I don't know what to think of that, other than i'm happy that it didn't come about like goldberg, the voice of bibi, was selling. some say that the people around bibi put the reins on bibi. i'm pretty sure, that risk averse bibi was happy to not attack iran. that means that goldberg was fed some sort of "spin" and sold it to us.

      very few nonorthodox jews make aliya like goldberg did, so his jdl/idf roots are quite unusual given the milieu of his upbringing. jdl and idf are quite usual in the milieu of my upbringing, so there is a curiosity about what was the personality that reacted the way he did to childhood bullies. i never dealt with bullies (except online) so i cannot assert that goldberg's reaction was typical or atypical.

      Is he an honest journalist? no. are you an honest journalist? i doubt it. is phil an honest journalist? i doubt it.

  • Trump is bad because Israeli Jews will love him and US Jews will see it -- NYT columnist
    • Hardly navel gazing. the intersection of American jews and israeli Jews is rosner's beat.

      Off topic: Phil Weiss pooh-pooh'ing Steve Bannon's shout out to David Duke with his Yellen, Soros commercial is indicative that Phil Weiss is no friend to the Jews.

  • Before Trump's revolution, there was Sanders'
    • The TV ad featuring yellen and soros was a "secret" message to 2 audiences: David duke and Jonathan greenblatt. 15% of the population recognizes yellen and 10% recognize soros, but this was not a message to them. It was a smoke signal, a secret handshake, a salute, a shout out to David duke and his 3%, or his 13%. "We are on your side," steve bannon announced to that fraction of trump voters. The average trump voters ignores this, but the alt right loves it. The alt right also loves Phil Weiss's tone deafness. Phil could not choose between trump and hillary. Okay. I understand. But now he can't choose between Steve bannon and Jonathan greenblatt. Phil Weiss says, " you get power, you get attention from jew counters of all types. It's the price you pay. Don't complain."

    • Reporting on racist attacks by trump supporters does not substitute for analysis of exit polls indicating such a gap between the votes of whites compared to the votes of blacks and hispanics.
      I do not call all trump supporters racist, (in fact a majority of trump supporters reported that their choice was more a vote against hillary rather than a vote for trump). The lopsided differences between the votes by the races merely reflected the gap in those numbers republicans versus democrats since 1964. Trumps numbers were not that far off from romney's numbers. But these lopsided figures don't even get mentioned? An analysis of the results that doesn't include the numbers 57-38, 8-88 and 29-65 (which are the numbers of trump versus clinton supporters of white, blacks and hispanics) is hiding from the facts. Yes class and the hollowing out of the rust belt economies should be a part of any analysis, but ignoring the landslide among white voters compared to the votes by non-whites show a refusal to admit that the country's problems are deeply rooted in a racial divide.
      ( During the primaries when Clinton's victory was due entirely to the loyalty of black voters, did that aspect of her victory get any coverage by you and phil? Nope. Every time I mentioned it, you waved it away and Phil kept saying that Bernie should hit israel harder and that was the key to success which according to the numbers was sheer nonsense.)

    • Zero analysis of racial politics found on mondoweiss. Whites vote 57 to 38 for trump, yet nothing offered to elucidate, only the next stage in Israel palestine. How can one trust Phil Weiss regarding a region that he doesn't know, when his analysis of America is so shallow. But backed up by mooser.

  • Jeffrey Goldberg is Jewish
    • Well, so bryan of semi anonymity has come to protect the honor of Phil Weiss.
      You cite the c of e, but if you were armenian, rwandan, or even Cambodian you would be talking more to the point. There is the immigrant aspect as well, a tradition of survival and continuity, as a group separate, minority ethnic group, self segregating, and then came napoleon and declared freedom from identities other than the state or the conqueror and the winds of change hit the Jewish population of the Russian empire. Russia, the slumbering bear, staggering to and fro, til today, was led by backward Romanovs who had no inkling of the utility of the jews and their words and middlemanship, to an economy. It would be interesting to end the story there with the winds of change and the myopic romanovs. Unfortunately, a saga on one trajectory which involved massive emigration and the Soviet dictatorship in the name of the proletariat, was interrupted by a little kerfuffle that was a major shock comparable to Armenians and rwandans.
      Religion is important too, and modernity and revealed religion do not really mesh all that well. There was a massive loss of faith, but the faith was irrelevant to the Rwandan experience. (I like the wordplay fate vs faith.)
      On this Web site the Jewish "return"to zion against the will of the Palestinians is the primary issue and questions of Jewish identity are commonly raised by our host, Phil Weiss.
      I was watching margaret cho the other day and I realized the different strands of race, immigration, tradition, free will, really are an interesting combination that I shared with her and her fans.
      I consider Phil's post of April 2015 to be a shocking document. It is exhibit one.
      Phil was raised different than the way I was raised. He was raised by atheist secular jews with a heavy dose of "I had 6 children, for the six million". He hated the Jewish religion and resented the ethnic solidarity of the jews when he encountered opposition to his marriage to a nonjew. I was raised by modern orthodox jews who believed in God and three times a day prayers facing jerusalem, and also, the idf is the answer to hitler .

    • Bryan, the issue raised by Phil Weiss's website: Israel's conduct towards the palestinians, and the ancillary: American Jewish support for israel are very real issues.

      For conscious thinking jews born between 45 and 65, jew is more than a religion, it is a fate.

      I would say more if the venue was friendly.

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

    • 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.

  • '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 politics of Jewish ethnocentrism
    • 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.

  • Jews need to study the Torah in order to criticize Israel, Beinart says
    • 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.)

  • Clintonites on message: Vote for Trump, and you get Putin
    • Contrarian thought has its appeal. Yet some consistency over time would be appreciated as well. Before trump came up with the idea of giving the baltics to russia, please cite one post in which Phil Weiss came out for the idea of the dismantling of Nato.

    • Page: 3
  • Democrats head to a crossroads over Palestinian rights as primary season comes to an end
    • I would never expect to be appointed to the platform committee to any party that succeeded in electing Phil weiss as president of anything.

  • Huffpo writer expresses bigotry against Palestinians by equating battle for equal rights and anti-Semitism
    • If you or Annie feel I need to look deeper into Jennifer sabin's accusations, then really Phil and Donald are to blame. They quoted sabin without any dispute, accepting her words casting nary a shadow on their veracity. I didn't question Phil and Donald and therefore I cannot comment on another issue due to the security guard.

    • Is advocacy of one state anti Jewish? I agree with Phil and Donald, that it is not. But that only means that the philosophy itself is not anti Jewish. But the philosophy must also be judged by the net effect, the consequences of its implementation. Since it does not exist we can only judge it based on: 1. previous experience, 2. parallel experience and 3. rhetoric.
      Previous experience- there has never been a democratic regime in palestine, so that is the realm of the unknown. The experience after 1917 was a unique period of immigration and colonial sponsorship, so the conflict between then and 1947 is considered kosher for the anti Jewish sentiment is considered natural. The experience during the pre Zionist period, when the Jewish community was small and not economically viable (dependent on charity from abroad), is also poor evidence regarding what this democratic one state would look like.
      2. Parallel experience- How are nonmuslim minorities treated in nearby countries? Here there are very few positive indicators. Sectarian warfare is so prevalent in Iraq and Syria, that dictatorship of sadam hussein and the assad family is considered a nostalgic past, oh those were the good old days. Lebanese militias, as in more than one army, may have historic causes that embarrass israel, but nonetheless do not bode well for this peaceful democracy the one state vision truly portends.
      3. Rhetoric- leaders of the bds movement predict that some jews will leave because those jews are only present because of the preference shown to jews in the current Zionist regime. You may view this prediction with warmth or scientific detachment, but I do not. under the best case scenario, the one state regime these leaders envision, the economic stress caused by the inclusion of Gaza and the west bank within the economic unit which is now relatively successful and prosperous and set it on a perilous course. Added to this the repatriation of refugees, and the economic troubles are staring us in the face. And that's best case scenario. The militia vs militia recent history of lebanon, gives us an inkling of what a worst case scenario would look like.
      Thus the promise of this peaceful democracy rings hollow to most who give it a bit of thought. If it is catastrophe that you are promising, then purely speaking it is not a jew hating catastrophe, but just generic catastrophe. But it is still a promise of catastrophe and you can blame people for labeling it as hateful, but it is in fact reckless.

    • Annie robbins- if you have problems with sabin's assertions of what is shouted at rallies you should contact her. And if Phil and Don have problems with the veracity of her assertions, they should say so. But they don't. they raise a different (and as i was trying to show and you agreed to:) irrelevant point.

      I have not attended competing Zionist and antizionist rallies in years and do not spend my time researching the verbal misbehavior of antizionists in this year of your Lord 2016. Back in the day the Israeli flag=swastika was a common motif at anti israel rallies.

      " Hitler and sharon are the same, the only difference is the name" was a common chant. This type of rhetoric is not identical to the assertions by Ms sabin, but embody the same spirit of provocation.

    • Sabin includes among the Jew hating speech "when they shout “Nazi” and “fascist” at students who support Israel" - See more at: and phil and donald feel they must comment: "And as for Nazis, she fails to note that it is an Israeli military leader who has lately compared Israel to Nazi Germany."

      Analogies drawn for purposes of understanding or controversial admonition of dangers to a specific society and specific tendencies, as General Golan did, is entirely different from shouting "nazi" at Zionists. Of course to the choir here at MW comments, the epithet of Nazi is so commonplace that it is just another day at the office, but in fact, shouting "Nazis" at Jews are "fighting words", and disclose a low level of civility and a provocation. (It might not be antisemitism, but I challenge you to find a Jew who is not an antizionist who does not feel the "fighting words" aspect of calling Jews Nazis.)

  • Sharansky disses American Jews for assimilating, then tells 'major donors' to universities to stop BDS
    • There are two common theories (unproven strategies: unproven over the long haul, but somewhat proven over the short haul) of Jewish continuity: Zionism and Torah. (Usually the Torah aspect is expressed as traditional Judaism or Orthodox Judaism).

      It is well established that this site is dedicated to the eradication of Zionism, as is so succinctly expressed here: "Some day we will dance on Zionism's grave." But this site is also dedicated to assimilation, as in the disappearance of Jewishness or Jewish culture. Anything that speaks against assimilation speaks against the love of Phil Weiss for his wife and therefore assimilation is good and the fight against assimilation is bad.

      it is clear that Phil Weiss cannot wait to toss Zionism and its american jewish elite supporters onto the dustbin of history. Is there any aspect of Judaism, Jewishness, Jewish culture, Jewish continuity that he supports? It seems not.

  • Hillary Clinton supported Iraq war because of Israel, say Matthews and Landler
    • But of course, the democratic party should reform itself and the Jewish people should reform itself, but purists like Phil Weiss advocating "poison" and "breaking" are not allies, but gadflies.

    • "It's worth breaking the party over the issue." Thus sayeth Phil Weiss. And if breaking the party results in a trump presidency?

  • US Jews adopted 'deferential' relationship to Israel, and tabooed dissent so as to preserve US gov't support
    • yes, the last paragraph of phil's is significant:
      Waxman ended his talk by saying that Jews must learn to argue about this issue in a more tolerant manner so that the “poison” doesn’t destroy the community. I don’t buy that. That’s like saying, have dialogue with the White Citizens Council in Mississippi in the 1960s. This battle has to get more open and more critical. Just look at the young Jews who are angry at being lied to about ethnic cleansing and apartheid. They are making documentaries about this and hollering. They shouldn’t be having a civil dialogue over these matters, they should be undertaking civil disobedience against a corrupt and oppressive power structure. In fact, they are doing so. The taboo isn’t working on them. - See more at:

      if phil is referring to groups like "if not now?" and whether they should demonstrate on the street so as to be covered by the media or whether they should agree to quiet dialogue, I agree that media coverage is superior to false dialogue.
      but phil's white citizen's councils of mississippi tips his hand and shows us his disdain for anything other than a scorched earth policy. and that makes sense from phil's perspective. he is alienated from all things jewish and he welcomes all poison to be poured upon all things jewish if at least 50% (or maybe even 20%) of that poison lands on and destroys Zionism. waxman and others might be a little reticent about collateral damage, but phil is curtis lemay, bombs away!

  • Obama's November surprise
    • Thanks be to the Master of the Universe that hillary beat Sanders by a large margin. Imagine how Phil Weiss would have scolded Jewish voters, if they had God forbid been essential in hillary's victory.

      Of course the question of money and Jewish democratic money is still an issue. The role of money in politics is crucial and difficult to control, certainly when the Supreme Court asserts freedom of speech for corporations, so this is a bigger problem than Jewish money and the middle east, though this does not mean to trivialize that issue.

      J street was created to give Obama cover if it ever came to pressuring Israel to make a peace, but it never came to that. Except as weather vane to tell us which way the wind was blowing, J street accomplished absolutely zero, and so of course they will trumpet their one success, but really, did corey booker support the iran deal because of j street, that's only a tad more believable than the clearly inconsequential role played by the activist left. Obama staked his presidency on the issue and that won the day.

      I cannot imagine Obama handing hillary a fait accomplis vis a vis Israel against hillary's will. That would be unfriendly and there's nothing to make me believe that would happen. Has there been one consequential resolution since the toothless 242 of 1967. (On israel) no. In 1957 in the aftermath of 56, ussr and us joined in forcing a withdrawal of Israel from sinai. That was the last un action with teeth. The 80 days from election day to inauguration will not seek to break the mold, which is what is being suggested. What indicators would lead to predicting such a farfetched history making change?

  • Jewish leaders' excommunication of Sanders aide over Israel will only alienate young Jews -- Open Hillel
    • European history from 1897 to 1945 established Herzl as a prophet.

      Israeli history from 1948 to 2016 establishes Judah Magnes as a prophet.

      At this point in time there is a scant population that is tribal (strong Jewish identity) but anti or non Zionist. Tribal as in Simone Zimmerman, but not Phil Weiss. Simone Zimmerman who takes photos of young Jews with payess (sidecurls) and calls them sweet little yids, words that one could never imagine being used by Phil Weiss.

      Zionism at this point in time is in very deep moral trouble and Magnes saw that from the start. It is very difficult to separate a strong Jewish identity from Zionism, though Simone Zimmerman is an example of someone attempting that separation.

      (One cannot expect such a person to be appointed as coordinator of Jewish outreach without there being a reaction from those who support Israel's existence and disagree with Ms. Zimmerman's opinions or language.)

      Phil Weiss has no problem separating a strong Jewish identity from Zionism, because his hatred for Zionism measures 100 on a scale of 100, whereas his Jewish identity is in the single digits closer to 1 than to 10.

      Read Irving Howe and see how his generation disdained their Jewish roots. This is the core intellectual leftist position that existed before WWII and continued through the 60's and til today. The breakdown of Jewish identity has very little to do with Zionism's problems, unless one would say that neither American Jews nor Zionism is true to their Jewish roots.

  • Attachment to Israel is 'central part of Jewish identity,' Forward editor says
    • I think zionism is the Jewish issue of the day and to not have an opinion on zionism means a type of negligence.
      Although I am not in the same camp as shmuel and elliot, they have a deeper appreciation for Judaism and Jewishness and I take their anti zionism more seriously than I take Phil weiss's. (I take Weiss seriously as an american, but not as a jew. He is a jew, but not a serious jew, at best apathetic, but against religions and therefore rooting for the ash heap of history and thus antithetical to the longevity of the jews.)

      I put a greater burdens of proof on antizionists. If Adam Sandler is a superficial jew but also a (superficial) Zionist , this is acceptable to me. If Phil Weiss is a superficial jew and a fervent antizionist I question his superficial Jewishness. I recognize this discrepancy.

      Lots of people don't read the newspaper or follow the news and condemning the noninvolved for negligence seems wrong to me, it seems like something street preachers would do: scold the masses who pass them by.

  • Sanders is in Jewish tradition that rejected exceptionalist nationalism of Zionism
    • Yesterday was Dr king's 48th yahrzeit and as good an opportunity as any other to add personal anecdotes to this discussion. (Myerson's article was very superficial on the topic of Jewish politics in 68 and was reprinted by Phil Weiss without any attempt to deepen the discussion, so anything, even superficial blanket approval of the teachers strike, deepened the discussion. And so personal anecdotes are welcome if they add some dimension to a topic insufficiently covered by Myerson or Weiss.)

      The black Jewish alliance of the early 60's was fraying by 68. Partially this was the work of the black power movement when kwame toure aka Stokely Carmichael told the whites to go home and let the blacks handle their own liberation without white participation. I have no numbers, but white participation in the Movement was overwhelmingly jewish.

      But let us not confuse a liberal elite of jews with the entirety of the American Jewish population of the 60's. Read Norman Podhoretz's seminal work "my negro problem" and it reveals the real tensions between blacks and jews in NYC and other urban northern locations. Jews and blacks "shared" many neighborhoods and the exploding crime rate of the 60's led to Jewish flight from those neighborhoods.

      The riots of 65, 66 and 67 burnt down many Jewish owned stores in mixed neighborhoods and jews who could afford to moved out to better neighborhoods.

      Til 66 I lived in winnipeg in Canada which had a miniscule black population. In the summers my family which came from Illinois would visit the states and as a kid when I would discuss my empathy with blacks politically with my st. Louis cousin he said that he supported the blacks in their struggles in the deep south, but regarding st. Louis, he was against them, for they embodied crime. (Not his words, but the essence of his words.)

      When Dr king was killed the US was deep into the presidential campaign of 68. I was supporting rfk, for I had idolized his dead brother, many Chicago classmates (I moved from winnipeg to Chicago in 66) were supporting gene McCarthy because of the war in vietnam, but most were supporting lbj like their parents, or Humphrey after lbj's withdrawal from the race (lbj withdrew on Sunday night March 31st and King was killed on Thursday night April 4th). Only one kid in my class supported nixon. He lived in a mixed neighborhood and black crime was something he had to deal with on a daily basis, or fear of it, and he considered the rest of us, who lived in white neighborhoods to be limousine liberals, not his words, but the essence of his sentiment.

      In chicago the riots that followed king's murder burnt down many Jewish businesses on the west side, which had been a Jewish neighborhood in the 40's, but due to flight was already by 68 an almost all black neighborhood but many jews still had businesses in that neighborhood and many were burnt down.

      In September 68 we moved from Chicago to Queens nyc. (Technically Queens is part of nyc, but maybe myerson would consider it suburban.) Many of my classmates in Queens were first generation, that is their parents were born in Europe and they were the first born in america. Whereas in chicago most of my classmates were democrats, in queens, there were almost half who rooted for nixon. Partially this was due to their shallower American roots, but also due to changing neighborhoods in Queens and those who had fled changing neighborhoods in the bronx, for example.

      September 68 was the teachers strike. Community control of the schools is an interesting idea. It is now 48 years later. Has community control proved successful anywhere in the US? The strike was accompanied with reports of anti Jewish rhetoric and the city was tense.

      The tension had nothing to do with zionism, although later when kwame toure would talk about struggle against Jewish store owners he would call them zionists. That was an instance of using anti zionism as a cover for antisemitism.

    • The blacks of nyc 68 were fighting for community control of their schools and the right to fire white jewish teachers were nationalists, black nationalists, anti white nationalists. They were not universalists or socialists. They were not progressives, they were tribalists.

      And the Jewish teachers they sought to summarily fire without regard to contract were not suburban, they were largely local, residents of NYC not Scarsdale or great neck. If myerson has numbers that prove otherwise, let him or Phil Weiss who quotes him provide statistics regarding the residency of NYC teachers in 68. Otherwise they are printing falsehoods.

  • Israeli army stations dedicated PR officer at site of Hebron execution
    • Ritzl- I envy Peter beinart and avrum Burg for being out ahead of the issue. I really do not see myself in such a leadership role. I am fatalistic: everything is fixed and you nor I can change it. Eventually the American Democratic Party will follow the will of its grass roots and Phil Weiss brought that day 4 years closer. It will happen in 2032 instead of 2036.

    • Boo- I was addressing Annielynn and Dan Cohen and Phil Weiss, I was not addressing you. There are many people who have been following the Israel versus falastin issue for decades. Phil Weiss ain't one of them. Neither are Annie robbins nor Dan cohen. Kudos for your shedding blood and serving. My knowledge of blood shed is not first hand. You win. You are the more serious warrior than me.

      The left anti Zionist movement consists of people of a great variety. Many of them are transients. They found an issue and in 20 years they'll be on to another issue. Some will stick with the issue the rest of their lives.

      When some Palestinian from the west bank questions a journalist and says, what has your Web site accomplished in ten years, he is explaining the violence. Which ain't great but let's call it understandable. When the journalist and his editor confess to their internal battles, they either reveal themselves as temporary soldiers or those who cannot wait for history to speed up. I wonder what more or different Dan cohen wants to do. Puff pieces about fedayeen is not enough for him, what's the next step that his internal argument is advocating . The youngsters who want to blow up buses or lacking that technology kill a soldier with a knife, what is the next step after understanding? Emulation, better bloodier violence, is that the next step? More venomous rhetoric is that the next step?

  • Zionism is finally in the news, as officials seek to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism
    • self determination when it impinges on the rights of the other can be denied based upon moral grounds. but self identification, which is a different thought, cannot be denied on anything other than the grounds that my ideas are better than your ideas. those who assert that jews are merely a religious group and therefore when a jew stops believing in the torah he must disassociate himself from the term Jewish or anything called Jewish and to call himself Jewish is to be racist: that is arrogance, historical ignorance and hatred. a little humility regarding what you define for another person's identity would be different than those who assert: Jews are a religion and that's it. that statement is anti Jewish.

      it used to be in the "good old days" the only way to stop being Jewish was to go to the baptismal fount and take on a belief in Christ. (even though most of those who baptised themselves did so for reasons of social improvement and nothing to do with an assertion of any belief system). today's equivalent is to say, Jews are a religion and nothing else, not a culture, not an ethnicity, and any identification other than "human being" is tribal and backward. well folks, that's an arrogant ideology that will lead us nowhere but deeper into the hole.

      the practical application of those who embrace identity is totally up to question. Einstein and Arendt identified as Jews, as non religious Jews, and despite such identification and despite their valuing the zionist movement for its attempts to solidify positive achievements and identity and preparation for the storm that was coming their way, they did not favor statehood or certainly not statehood that involved expulsion. but to listen to some of the gang over here, einstein and arendt were tribalistic hate mongerers and racists. I reject that. They may have been creatures of their time: certainly coming of age or being aware of politics in early adulthood in post WWI germany certainly provided a different environment than growing up in post WWII 1960's optimistic America. if the soul of Einstein and Arendt had been born on Long Island in 1955 with parents as atheistic as their parents in fact were, they would not have had the same impetus to view Jewishness as an identity worthy of embracing and they might have been as universalist as Phil Weiss, for example. but in fact they were not born on long island in 55 and were born earlier in Germany and their views were formed by their environment.

      it is fine to divorce oneself from an identity that one discovers does not coincide with one's inner compass. it is not fine to assert that those who do embrace identity are racists. those who assert the racism of those different themselves are narrow minded ideological bigots.

      if one wishes to convince those with identity complexes that those complexes need to be dismantled, i wish you good luck and i would send you to brussels to talk to those who blew up the airport and subway today. the world would be more peaceful if we were as homogenized as the future star trek humans. but we do not start with a blank slate and when confronted with humans who view the world differently it is fine to say: your right to self definition ends at the point where it treads on me or another human. it is not fine to say, your right to self definition only exists if it conforms to the truth that i perceive and that you in your blindness do not perceive. that is a narrow minded path that will lead nowhere.

  • Garland nomination is moment of humble reflection for US Jews
    • Keith, I will trace the conversation to try to determine again, this time slowly and logically whether the role of actuarial tables is deteminitive as you assert. Phil asserted the mainstreaming of jews into the elites as proof that zionism is not relevant to an American jew today. Some guy wrote, but no sir, jews were already doing quite well in America in the 30's and 40's, and you see how little that meant outside of america's borders. Then kalithea wrote Jews are doing well in a whole bunch of countries, in which she included france. and hopi, said, whoa, France is a bit iffy for jews these days and m Hughes wrote, things, as measured by income and murder rates are going fine for jews in england. Which come to think of it proves nothing regarding france. But I asserted that there is a human factor that statistics do not reveal and then Keith said, if the statistics regarding homicides and income do not back up your so called fears then you are just a bunch of self centered cry babies. Now that I have summarized I wish to add only this: the blithe inclusion of France and jews doing well begged for comment. I do not know how many minutes of the average day the average jew feels alienated to the point of fear and how many headlines or comments the fear or alienation of the average jew un france warrants to measure up to accuracy and how much is just coddling a cry baby, but I do know that a blithe la-di-da inclusion of France on that list was begging for comment and the beg was answered and backing up kalithea's assertion re France with actuarial tables from England is truly an exercise in screaming at Zionists and you enjoy screaming at Zionists
      a lot of you do.

  • Rubio's defeat means the downfall of neoconservatives
    • It is clear that neoconservatives were betting on Rubio and that they lost their bet. But Trump's rise and indeed Rubio's failure have had very little to do with a rejection of any specific foreign policy position.

      There is more than seven months until the election, so there is plenty of time for Phil Weiss to reject the trump candidacy. It is not clear that he will do so (I predict weiss will not endorse any candidate and will tell us the day after the election that he voted for some 3rd party candidate.) Those who are alarmed by Trump's manner (encouraging violence, advocating fear vis a vis immigrants and Muslims are clearly quite alarming) and for those sufficiently alarmed, the fact that Weiss does not explicitly reject the most dangerous candidate since George Wallace in 68 in every column, is worthy of condemnation. This is not trolling. This is a side effect of the alarm that Trump inspires in some but not in others.

  • Pushed by alumni claiming anti-Semitism, Vassar officials oppose BDS and promote 'Israel-positive' programs
    • Old geezer- The independence of the two points might have been valid if this were a set of math axioms. But it's not. It is a paragraph that flows
      and to me your interpretation is tone deaf. Yes Phil limits the damage by putting the thought in parentheses, but no, he is asserting another reason why the teaching of Jewish ritual is problematic, that religion and racism are correlated in Israel and therefore problematic at vassar.

      There are many jews who disdain the Jewish religion. There are also many jews who disdain jews who promote in marriage. There are also many jews who oppose zionism. The question becomes at what point can this constellation of views be called antisemitic?

      But I would put it another way: what is the minimum degree of empathy necessary in order to overcome the general hostility to all things that are labeled "continuity".

      The process of dissolution or disappearance of the Jewish identity over the generations is an interesting one. It is not clear what "the Jews" will look like a century from now. But we would be better off if those who oppose all possible avenues towards Jewish continuity would fess up and say, the sooner the Jews realize that Judaism and Jewishness are worthy of the ashheap of history the sooner the world will be relieved of this useless artifact of the past. Because as you assert, you should own up to your views.

    • oldgeezer- first relax on the tone.

      second. read the post by phil. i will paraphrase. statement by vassar: in order to balance the anti israel rhetoric that must be permitted given that we value free speech, we will allow many pro israel speakers. further we will also encourage sessions teaching young Jews about Judaism. retort by phil: do we really want people teaching religion? and do we want people being taught this religion which is one of the prime causal factors of the racism cited in the Pew poll?

      so this is not my connection. it is phil's connection. if this is not clear, then you can object and i will parse the article word for word for you so that it will be clear. it is not my connection. it is phil's connection.

    • And as the Pew poll demonstrates, racism in Israel correlates with religiosity. - See more at:

      thus phil weiss connects the dots. we are anti zionism and we are anti judaism because judaism correlates to racism. so in what way are you not anti semitic. because you support jews who hate judaism? because you laugh at woody allen and empathize with kafka. if you oppose israel and oppose judaism (because it correlates to racism) then in what way are you not antisemitic.

  • Most Jews want to expel Palestinians -- Pew's ugly portrait of Israel
    • oldgeezer- The level of amigo and mooser is fine, if that's what you want.

      your tone the other day was actually well within political discourse, although obviously your point was wrong. Phil was saying something against the religion or against all religion. And you refused to admit that. Show that piece that Phil wrote to 7 out of 10 journalism or history students, they would come to the same conclusion as me.

  • 'We wasted 40 years talking about nothing, doing nothing' -- Pappe demolishes peace process
    • Phil, precision is important.

      American Jewish support for Israel is weakening. But even if the percentage of American Jews who consider Israel very important to their Jewishness plummets in half from the Pew poll's 35% to 17%, there will still be sufficient donors to push the Democratic party in a direction that you are opposed to.

      Zionism was born at a certain moment. It was born in Eastern Europe with a central European patron (Herzl). It was not mistaken at the moment of its birth. Herzl and Pinsker and Jabotinsky saw real danger and reacted with a real plan of unified action. What other unified Jewish action can you point to?

      So it was not mistaken at that moment. The realities of Israel highlight the difficulty of creating a national movement in a spot where another nation already (or also) lives.

      America 2016 is not Minsk 1905, nor is it Warsaw 1943 and so therefore from the perspective of Hudson Valley New York 2016, Zionism can be labeled as mistaken by you.

      The fact is that Israel 2016 is dependent on US support and that support is based upon Congressional support and mainstream media support that can be attributed to rich Jewish donors. That donor base is not going to disappear any time soon.

      While the Jewish zeitgeist is less supportive of Israel than ever, American attitudes towards Israel's enemies are as thorny as ever, thanks to the chaos of the Arab world.

      As far as swaying Jewish opinion: I would advise you to avoid the term decolonization. If you are only trying to preach to your choir of Israel hating fans, go ahead and appeal to that fraction with that ZOG like term. Otherwise it might turn off people on the fence. Fracturing is occurring. I would think you might try appealing to a broader swath of the nonZionist Jewish public. Meanwhile it looks like you are preaching to the choir and telling the other Jews that they are the enemy. It is the "if you are not with us you are against us" line of thought, rather than the "if you are not against us you are with us" line of thought.

  • 'In every important way Israel has failed'-- leading American Zionist says No mas
    • "First, the Jewish experience has balanced the rational with the affective, the assertion with the question, where often the question emerges as the more important. Second, it has embraced both particularism with universalism, probing Jewish interiorities but looking out to the larger world, recognizing the common humanity of all people. Third, it has shaped positions which looked to the past for sources and inspiration but at the same time projected a vision for a world transformed in the future into something better than its current reality."

      Gordis has asserted the inherent tensions of a healthy Judaism or a healthy Jewish experience. We would never hear about these tensions from Phil Weiss, who does not recognize these tensions as his. He disowns the affective, the assertion, the particularism and the past and in fact yawns at the disappearance of a Jewish future. Thankfully he is willing to quote Gordis.

  • Law firm pulls $250,000 gift to Harvard over Palestine event (demonstrating Zionism's pervasiveness)
    • "This is a conversation the left has been unable to have for nearly 50 years now, since black power groups recognized the ’67 War as a war of aggression" sayeth Phil Weiss.

      I disagree with this facile characterization of the 67 war.
      Even if one were to accept this characterization of the 67 war, to offer this statement without the context of the times is to distort history.
      The black power groups, at the same time were kicking whites (mostly Jews) out of the movement and were soon to fire teachers from New York City schools. The black power groups were not necessarily antisemitic, but were in fact given to facile expressions of antisemitism and to characterize the left's rejection of the black power groups on the issue of Israel without the context of the general animus of the black power movement towards Jews is to indulge in blog journalism without bothering about history.

  • Nobody cares that Bernie Sanders is Jewish
    • When Shmuel who i respect uses the word paranoid, I object. particularly because as someone who writes about Judaism I feel that he has an opportunity to communicate with Jews who disagree with him. Phil has written antisemitic drivel at least on one occasion and uses the word paranoid from time to time. I respect Phil's general integrity, but i have learnt not to worry about Phil's use of the English language.

  • Bernie Sanders' spirituality is resonating with young religious 'None's
    • In his comment under the post Phil writes: My wife doesnt care if Protestantism comes to an end, assuming better norms emerge.

      - See more at:

      On what basis is this assumption: that better norms will emerge. None. wisp of the wind optimism. What in the history of mankind shows this belief in the linear improvement of mankind as a result of the loss of religious beliefs. It's not as if Voltaire (rationalism, "erase the infamy" and Nietzsche "God is dead") are recent. They are in fact hundreds of years old and the results are mixed. Religion as an organizing principle may be abandoned, but what has replaced it is individualism, (read: atomization, everyone against everyone, instead of the all for one and one for all of Bernie Sanders), social darwinism, (as exemplified by Trump) survival of the fittest and not giving a shit. to pretend that there is a straight line between answering "none" to a poll on religions and the improvement of society is nothing but optimism based on nothing.

      Who knows where the future inspirations that will aid mankind will come from? They may come from atheists, but then again they may come from those who value ancient traditions and texts. If you truly feel that society is getting better, and that the crumbling of religion is the key to this improvement, then I think you ought to open your eyes. From what I see the progress of mankind is a haphazard zig zag unpredictable process of starts and stops and to suggest that the key is the dissolution of faith communities or the dissolution of identity with traditional values or traditional communities is pie in the sky nonsense. I do not endorse religion as the cure to our problems. But lackadaisical endorsement of the disappearance of organized religion is an unproven path for a diverse society such as this world and the United States. Let a thousand flowers bloom: let a thousand experiments in belief and tradition and disbelief and innovation take place and maybe through sheer diversity some help may come to us through the richness of the human experience. Advocating the dissolution of faith communities is praying for the impoverishment of the human spirit. Yes, rationality is the most important feature that we need to face the future. But rationality alone does not begin to describe the human condition and this prescription of amnesia is possibly a way of signing over our future to the corporations and the consumer materialism that is the source of much of our sad state of affairs. True i do not have a prescription for our human condition, but this advocacy of "none" seems to me to be myopic in the extreme.

  • Goodbye to all that (my Jewish-WASP shtik)
    • This post is thought provoking for me and as a person who aspires to rationalism it provides a cogent antithesis to my usual train of thought and as such is useful to me.

      But it also provokes emotions and what follows is my first emotional response.

      (One other note of equivocation before I continue: I use the phrase "brown not white" and "browning of america" as mimicry of Phil's kicking Judaism into the ash bin of history. The changing color of American elites is of no concern to me, particularly when the prison rates of American incarceration exceed the free world's and the population of the prisons and the state of the schools are better measures of equality than the elites that are Phil's primary concern. so I mean no animus in that phrase. it is an attempt to attack Phil and his abandonment of the old Jew rather than an attack on a more just society.)

      and without further ado:

      Reading from the Norton Anthology of Jewish American literature I came across a snippet of a poem by Charles Reznikoff, which allows me to highlight Phil Weiss's contribution to Jewish wisdom.
      From Reznikoff's 'Early History of a Writer'

      I went to my grandfather to say goodbye
      I was going away to a school out west
      as I came in
      my grandfather turned from the window at which he sat
      (sick, skin yellow, eyes bleary
      but his hair still dark
      for my grandfather had hardly any grey hair in his beard or on his head
      he would sit at the window reading a Hebrew book.)
      He rose with difficulty
      he had been expecting me, it seemed
      stretched out his hands and blessed me in a loud voice
      in Hebrew of course
      and I did not know what he was saying.
      When he had blessed me
      my grandfather turned aside and burst into tears.
      It is only for a little while, Grandpa, I said
      in my broken Yiddish. I'll be back in June.
      (By June my grandfather was dead.)
      He did not answer.
      Perhaps my grandfather was in tears for other reasons,
      perhaps, because, in spite of all the learning I had acquired in high school
      I knew not a word of the sacred text of the Torah
      and was going into the world
      with none of the accumulated wisdom of my people to guide me,
      with no prayers with which to talk to the God of my people,
      a soul-
      for it is not easy to be a Jew or, perhaps a man-
      doomed by his ignorance to stumble and blunder.

      But Phil Weiss might amend/emend this poem as follows:

      Good riddance, old man.
      The future is brown, not white like you, old man.
      I know literature, the elites, the zeitgeists and the future
      and you know
      those crumbling pages of religious nonsense.
      I'm glad you're gone, old man.
      Count yourself lucky that I didn't stomp you to death while I had the chance
      and merely allowed nature to carry you away.
      I dance on your grave, old man.
      The browning of America is the future.
      I've already forgotten you.

  • Israeli ambassador flings Nazi label at Israeli leaders, after latest authoritarian step
    • First- You will not get all Jews to agree on a definition of what being a Jew is. You will not get all Jews to agree on anything, but certainly not on a self definition.

      Second- You can go to the spanish inquisition and you will find that there was a racial element to the persecution of conversos after the exile of 1492.

      Third- Certainly the insistence by certain European nationalists from the latter part of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century and their assertion that the Jews were part of a separate nation, has to be considered. (Does Russia still list nationality on its identity cards? When the USSR was in existence, the USSR listed Jew as a nationality.)

      Fourth- Yeshaya Leibowitz in a debate I saw on youtube, posed the question, "Maybe it's possible for a nation to stop being a nation." The right wing woman who argued with him demanded to know what were the consequences of his question and he asserted that sometimes a question is just a question. 140 years ago with the preponderance of Ashkenazi Jews speaking Yiddish, being treated by the Czar with special laws that would be deemed racial or ethnic or tribal, was certainly a different situation than the Jews outside of Israel today who hardly share any language and whose attachment to the rituals are certainly weaker than they were 140 years ago. Just like a nation can be a recent creation: (examples: US, Canada) a people can cease to be a nation as well. That is one of the differences between Jews of the diaspora and the Jews of Israel, the Jews of Israel share a language and a destiny (or less melodramatically a dire situation), whereas the Jews of the diaspora do not share a language and (for simplicity sake) do not share a destiny.

      Five: The primary Jewish ethnic experience in America was the immigrant experience which for most American Jews was in its prime time about a hundred years ago. (1880 to 1920). Any study of the American Jews of that period would include a survey of their religious experiences, but would not limit themselves to that aspect of their acculturation to their new homeland. Those who assert that Judaism and Jewishness are one and the same would have a tough time adjusting to the sociological surveys for the first seventy years of the last century. As we move further away from that primary American Jewish experience, the commonalty of American Jews dwindles into a discussion of delicatessen foods and nostalgia. But just witness the rejection that Philip Roth receives for his book about Lindbergh by Phil Weiss and the rejection of him by most of those who comment about him in this comment section. This hatred that he conjures which has really zilch to do with Zionism is further testimony of the hatred for the secular Jew that one finds in this comments section. Roth is over 80 and of the past and maybe the hatred he conjures here is also of the past.

  • Adam Sandler says he's devoted to Israel because of his parents
    • Recently reading Irving Howe's "Margin of Hope", where he devotes many paragraphs to delving into his own relationship to Jewishness. (He calls himself a partial Jew and is quite up front that his own relationship to his Jewishness might have been a reflection of the demoralization of the left after WWII, specifically with the vibrancy of post war capitalism, that his own reconnoiter with his own Jewishness was due to the collapse of the socialist movement that was his primary identification before the war.)

      I am struck by the superficiality of Sandler and Stern's Jewishness and Phil Weiss's superficiality as well. Howe knew Yiddish and devoted great energy to bringing YIddish to a wider audience as its greatest American poets were on their last legs. He was closer to the immigrant experience. So primary sources were available to him in a way that they were not to Stern, Sandler and Weiss.

  • Open letter to Rabbi Susan Talve from St. Louis Jews
    • Any Jew who wants to celebrate Christmas is welcome to celebrate it. Any Jew who wants to hide their own Jewishness from their children is welcome to do so. Any jew who wants to get baptised and accept Jesus as their savior is welcome to do so. Any Jew who wants to embrace Islam or Hinduism is welcome to do so as well. (i'm quite sure Islam has no conversion ceremony and I have no idea about Hinduism.)

      The dynamics of assimilation and the ideology of assimilationism have books and books written about them and to condemn me because I react to the facts of assimilation with some degree of ambivalence and react to the proposed disappearance of the Jewish people (as a group) as a tragedy rather than the outright apathy advocated by Phil Weiss is no reason to cast me as some Scrooge or Grinch. I know how tough it is being a Christmas deprived kid watching tv in a Christmas dominated culture and Adam Sandler deals with that difficulty in his way and I deal with it in my way.

      But the newly returned haters of mondoweiss comments section deal with me in their own way.

  • In the 'NYT,' fear of Trump's police state
    • "I found the idea to be the self-involved fancy of someone who had experienced very little discrimination in his life." - See more at:

      If Phil Weiss had ever evinced an ounce of feeling for any anti Jewish discrimination anywhere in the world after the year 1945, his dismissal of Roth's choice of topics for one work of his later fiction might ring a little truer. As is, it sounds like: Jews should never write anything about Jewish fears. The only response to Jewish fears is to assimilate (as Philip Roth in fact did) and forget about their roots (as Philip Roth did not). The only response to the Holocaust, Phil Weiss says, is the response that I endorse, a universalist one. Novelists who follow wherever their muse takes them: beware! Make sure your muse has no connections to the Jews.

  • 'Jewish Communal Fund' seeds Islamophobia as toxic as Trump's
    • "Plainly Jews have a strong need for community, as so many other American minority groups do. But that community definition has been so circumscribed along Israel lines that virulent pro-Israel groups like Pam Geller’s or the neoconservatives have been included as brothers and sisters. The inclusion of militants led to fatal mistakes in the community, as when the Reform Jews endorsed the Iraq war; because they’d heard from friends and relatives that it would be good for Israel."

      Firstly: many Jews have a strong need for community. Not all Jews. Some Jews like to move out into areas where they expect to meet no Jews at get togethers and other Jews try to mingle and hide the fact that they're Jewish. Some Jews never tell their kids that they are Jews, so that their kids can grow up unaware of any handicap, so that their kids will not be held back by the Jews, by the small pond that is the Jewish world and declare the wide open world to be their true family and their roots as mere encumbrance.

      Second: the reaction to the abyss that was the genocide in Europe required a very visceral reaction to those born in the immediate aftermath of that experience. Some reacted, as I just said, by converting and telling their kids nothing of their ill fated roots. Those who take history seriously and who refuse to "pass" have a specific incentive to figure out what community means. Those who arrived on American shores over a hundred years ago, for the most part stayed in big cities and then followed the move to suburbia to overwhelmingly Jewish suburbs and the intermarriage rate was low for many years. Obviously this changed to today's high intermarriage rate and raises real questions on whether community is a real concern or merely something to be mourned. (Too late to close the barn door. The horse has bolted.)

      Religion remained as a primary memory for a generation or two, but by now has for the most part faded into photo album memories. With the Holocaust fading as a memory as well, Israel has replaced the Holocaust and Eastern European roots as the only focus of community that many Jews can feel, given their alienation from religion.

      The primary push of the nonOrthodox Jewish American religious community has seemed to be: Tikkun, as in fixing the world, as in liberal to further left politics, which is certainly at natural loggerheads with the Netanyahu government, if not with Zionism in total. The development of JVP as a community can be seen in that context.

      My background is of those who came to America relatively late (my paternal grandparents arrived in the 20's and my maternal grandparents arrived in the 40's) who were much closer to tradition/Orthodoxy/Torah (more ancient expressions of community than recognized in this article) than the norm which views all replacements for Torah: even Israel and Holocaust memories as secondary to the texts and observances of Jewish rituals. As such almost all the types of community other than those that stem from the texts and the mitzvos seem signals of decadence (decay/weakening/impoverishment/mistaking the superficial for the essence).

      Pamela Geller is a symptom of this decay that thinks that nationalism can replace mitzvos, Torah and God. Nationalism is at times as necessary as eating, but Geller's type of nationalism is a type of eating disorder of a 400 pound circus freak. There are plenty of offensive nationalistic trends in the Torah and Talmud and it seems that these (emptied of all positive content) have become the new god of Jews like Pamela Geller.

      Five days ago Phil Weiss's headline read that the best response to Paris was a repudiation of Jewish nationalism. Today Weiss endorses community as his replacement for Jewish nationalism. But his community not only rejects Pamela Geller it rejects all nationalism and has no place for attitudes towards Israel that are to the right of JVP. Weiss said something valid: A belief in community that accepts all nationalism, accepts Pamela Geller who needs to be rejected. But Phil Weiss's belief in Jewish community is limited to those who agree with him and Norm Finkelstein and Max Blumenthal and Noam Chomsky. If you disagree with them, you best off realize that you are on Pamela Geller's side, automatically, in his book.

  • Hillary Clinton equates ISIS and Hamas
    • Another false exaggerating headline courtesy of Phil Weiss. Hillary did not equate Hamas and Isis. She said that the causes of defeating Isis and defeating Iran (Hamas) are interwoven.

      Hillary's claim on the White House is exactly her foreign policy credentials when compared to Trump or Rubio. She is serious.

  • Theocratic Israel
    • The upshot of this post in the aftermath of Paris: Sure, Muslims shoot up and kill people in the streets of Paris, but don't forget that Israel has religious courts ruling marriage.

      Another case of Phil Weiss preaching to American Jews: you should feel no kinship with the Jews living in Israel.

      The first paragraph of the post has absolutely no basis in the text of the letter that is visible. It seems to me that the context is a woman who has converted to Judaism and whose conversion is under question. That seems the most likely explanation of what this refers to. And the first paragraph is something that Phil's friend informed him about but is not alluded to in any way in the actual visible text of the letter.

  • The way for Americans to take on the Islamic state is to end support for Jewish nationalism
    • Israel's dependence on American power and protection as a counterbalance to its enmity with its neighbors sums up Israel's essential strategic flaw.

      I don't think the vision of chosen-ness is really central to the problem. Admittedly, there is a religious aspect given to the Holocaust through the vision of the state of Israel as an act of redemption after the abyss of the gas chambers. But the practical human reaction to something like the debacle in Europe is neglected. Those who separate themselves from their Jewish identity, can compartmentalize the Holocaust, as Otto Frank did to his daughter's words: turn the tragedy into a human experience, of course is good, but to deny its specificity is to deny the facts and the raw mechanics. Those who do not separate themselves from their Jewish identities are left with a great gaping wound from what happened over 70 years ago. Many attempt or have attempted to cover up this wound with loyalty and devotion to the establishment of Israel. The new Jew to make up for the old murdered Jew.

      It's complicated enough and interesting enough without the issue of chosen-ness and to emphasize the issue of chosen-ness and to neglect the human side of the post Shoah experience shows Phil Weiss's bias against those who value their Jewish identity in a different way than his universalistic philosophy is able or willing to recognize as human.

  • Rigged Netanyahu 'conversation' at Center for American Progress shows it's twilight of the Israel lobby
    • Phil Weiss making predictions again, including: "Support for Israel is bound to come up in the 2016 primaries in a more urgent fashion than ever." What does this mean? Does it mean that all candidates with more than 4% support in any polls will declare their support for Israel? But that can't be what Weiss means, for in the final sentence he writes: "The real conversation has moved out of the margins," which says exactly the opposite, so he must mean that support for Israel will come under attack in a more urgent fashion than ever. That is not a prediction that he would care to define or back up with dinero, is it?

  • Dana Bash and David Gregory are warmup acts for Netanyahu at pro-Israel conference
    • What is the foremost Jewish organization in America? I believe it is the Jewish federations. Yet Phil Weiss wants everyone to boycott them. When it comes to letting antiZionists into Hillel, Phil is all in favor of participation. When it comes to talking to the largest Jewish organization in America, unless you agree with them 100% you are forbidden to talk to them. (The specific case of MSM media biggies like David Gregory in fact raises some questions, but the attitude of Weiss is boycott all the Zionist Jews, whether Lubavitch or the Jewish federations, we must treat them like pariahs. This might play to the choir, but it is not a strategy of communication, but one of antagonism, which betrays the bias against real dialogue.)

  • Chicago Reform temple welcomes rightwing rabbi from sexist group -- why?
    • Let: Reformist Islam exist. Let: Reformist Islam sit at the same table as misogynistic Islam. Let: some nonIslam condemn Reformist Islam for such breaking of bread. Prediction: Phil Weiss would condemn that nonIslam for Islamophobia.

    • I am no fan of Boteach, nor of the attitude he displays regarding the occupied territories, but to infer that his offense is that he belongs to Lubavitch, this displays the zealotry of Phil Weiss, only concerned with his corner of the Jewish community, but at large offended by the idea of letting a Lubavitcher (Chabadnik) speak at a Reform Temple.

  • Bloomberg's int'l editor to host event on 'incredible courage' of Israeli soldiers (including Netanyahu)
    • Elliot- Phil's major contribution to the Palestinian cause and to the anti Zionist/anti Israeli cause is this web site. The about page is clear, or confusing regarding what this page is about and its relation to the community, specifically the Jewish antiZionist community.


      "Founded in 2006 as a personal blog of journalist Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss grew inside the progressive Jewish community and has become a critical resource for the movement for justice for Palestinians. We continue to follow debates over the role of Israel and nationalism in Jewish American life while seeking to reflect a diverse community of views on issues of international importance. We recognize that Jewish voices are often prioritized in discussions of Israel and seek to challenge that dynamic by bringing a universalist focus to an issue that is commonly dominated by narrow points of view." - See more at:

      I do not have a cached copy of the original "about" statement of this web page, but it was different.

      I actually find this "about" statement murky and strange. I find Phil's claim that he organizes chiefly in his community, (even accepting that he is referring to the antizionist Jewish community) rather than in America and the ether velt, I find that strange as well. I find it fake, but i cannot prove that. But I certainly find it strange.

    • and that’s why I organize in my community chiefly. - See more at:

      Far be it from me to tell Phil Weiss where he organizes, but I assume that this web site is his primary contribution to the Palestinian cause and this web site is not organized as part of the Jewish community, unless I have misread the newly revised about page or something.

  • Glen Weyl's agonizing journey to boycott the country he loves
    • Compliments for Phil Weiss for presenting Weyl's views without disparaging remarks.

      As for the reactions of the comments section I recall that there were two different attitudes expressed by two different books of the gospel made by Jesus regarding those who were not in his camp. One was "he who is not with me is against me" and the other is of the type "he who is not against me is with me". For the crew here: he who is not with me is against me is definitely the prevailing attitude.

  • 'Why I am a Zionist'
    • And while I approach this discussion as an anti-Zionist, I believe that only by respecting these individuals will they open up; and only when they open up will Americans get to examine the ideology– and will Zionists be able to let go of Zionism.

      Phil should have written: I believe that only by faking respecting these individuals will they open up. This paragraph itself shows the lack of respect and in fact just a week ago when some featured Zionists wrote in the Washington Post: we love Israel, Phil flattened all Zionists into one mold and stated that they must fear that America is going to get hot (for Jews) and thus need a place to escape to and that was the reason for their love for Israel. Nothing they wrote indicated that that was the core of their love for Israel, but Phil assumed it was. Total lack of respect.

  • Two establishment Jews (Harvard and Microsoft) endorse boycott of Israel and 'single state' in Washington Post
    • annie, then let me express where my support for Israel comes from. it comes from the fact that the Zionist movement saved the lives of 300,000 Jews who moved to Palestine between 1920 and 1940. it comes from the fact that the declaration of a state by Ben Gurion in May of 1948 was the culmination of much effort and blood spilled and a historic event at a moment in time that cried out for a Jewish army. It comes from the fact that 5 million Jews live in israel today. There are no guarantees in this world, but I certainly don't trust the sentiments of you and Phil Weiss to really care about the world's Jews. You care about America and that's it. you root for the underdogs, the indigenous and your disdain for history leads you to lie about the people of Syria (supporters of Assad, you call them) and disdain anything about the Jews, unless it is part of American history or to be specific the part of world history or American history that you favor.

    • "I assume the authors’ professions of love for Zionism/Israel are purely tactical, I can’t imagine it ever crossed these guys’ minds that they needed a Jewish state when things got too hot in the U.S ."

      Poor logic.

      Phil Weiss assumes that the only possible reason American Jews might love Zionism/Israel is as a refuge in case things turn hot in the U.S. Jews might love Israel for many reasons: the cherry tomatoes for example. (This is a joke for the Israel bashers here. Israel offers an alternative culture to American Jewish culture, a Hebrew culture, a Saturday off rather than a Sunday off culture. There are many minor things about the existence of Israel that might inspire a wish for Israel to exist and not disappear.) Or they might think that America is sufficient for them, as having been born in America and are thus protected from anything except American heat, but is insufficient for the other half of the world's Jews, who have no guarantee of American protection.

  • Courting Adelson and Netanyahu and reviving 'new American century,' Rubio positions himself as neocon favorite
    • Phil Weiss states, "I thought we had ushered these folks off stage after the Iran Deal, but Rubio’s campaign is surely their latest vehicle to power."

      Why would anyone think that neoconservatives would consider one defeat as decisive? Why would anyone think that supporters of Israel (or specifically supporters of Likud Israel) would consider that Israel needs no longer be supported?

  • Just what Palestine needs: more religion-addled American Jews with big guns and selfie sticks
    • Phil Weiss writes: "This video bolsters my view that the conflict will not end till it breaks on American shores. I don’t want violence in Israel and Palestine and I don’t want it here either, but that is how such matters historically have resolved themselves. " I disagree and I find this point of view disturbing.

      This is how I see it playing out in America. The natural proclivities of the grass roots of the Democratic Party will reach the surface sooner or later. And at that point the Democratic Party will elect a president and a congress that will support the president in changing the policy towards Israel and the shift in American policy will lead to a new center of gravity regarding the middle east. Since the census occurs every ten years, i would have to locate such a future realignment in 2032 or 2042.

      In any case, as long as these Memphis Jewish gun nuts don't shoot a prominent American black leader (for example) the violence is not going to make a difference to American policy.

      (JDL murderers in the 70's killed an Arab out in California. Alex Odeh. Sirhan killed RFK. The nut shot up the Kansas City Jewish Center. Mohammed Ata and friends knocked down the World Trade Center. There are ripples of violence that come to America or blowback and so those are the relevant world events that are real in terms of a realistic view of cause and effect. but violence from Jewish gun nuts against American society has really not been part of the blowback, unless you count Jack Ruby. And just mentioning his name makes me think this discussion is based upon a skewed view of history. yes, there are reverberations of all sorts, but these Memphis Jewish gun nuts on the West Bank is a bugaboo under the bed and to produce such a reaction from Phil Weiss. i think it's a weird reaction. )

  • Remi Kanazi will be a poet for as long as the western media is on coffee break
    • Phil quotes Kanazi's poetry: "“would Hillel, J street/and university Zionist groups/come to a meeting to dialogue/on whether or not Jews should/have equal rights in America?"– - See more at:

      As poetry this is effective, but as an idea... Let me concede that it is not necessary for every Palestine activist to dialogue with every Zionist activist. For many it would be a waste of time and energy. Yet on the other hand the debate this past June of Munayyer and Beinart was useful. Particularly if this site calls itself the war of ideas, then the proponent of no dialogue (if that is what is implied by the poet, it might just be a personal preference in which case, no one is forcing him) should be alerted to the anti idea-ness of rejecting all dialogue.

  • Bernie Sanders is 'radical' on economic policy but a pussycat for Israel
    • "who as a young man moved to Israel before he moved to Vermont" - See more at: How much time did Sanders spend on that kibbutz? Was it a full year? Yes, as he was packing his suitcases, he might have been thinking, this is a difficult move, but he (probably, do you know different) was only planning to experience what is known as travel, and six months or even a year on kibbutz is not called a move, but an experience. This is Phil Weiss putting a spin on events, not a description of the events.

  • 'New Yorker' says anti-Zionism is 'firmly rooted' in British left, and it's anti-Semitic
    • "Anti-Zionism is firmly rooted in parts of the left-wing agenda in the U.K., and protestations that it should not be confused with anti-Semitism bear more than a shade of naïveté, especially in a year when Jews have been targeted and murdered in mainland Europe for being Jews." I don't know the nuances of antiZionism in the U.K. compared to the US or other locations, but I find the sentence by Anthony Lane to be superficial.

      I find this retort from Phil Weiss to be highly insufficient: One reason that Jews were targeted and murdered in mainland Europe– as Abe Foxman and the Jewish People Policy Institute and Norman Finkelstein all suggest or say– is because of Israel’s massacre in Gaza. - See more at:

      AntiSemitism in Europe by the Muslim European population cannot be dismissed as merely a consequence of Israeli policy. If you are a Jew at a kosher store or bringing your kids to a Jewish school and you are murdered, there is no solace in the claim: Oh, they killed you because of what israel did in Gaza, not because you were Jewish per se. as if this is solace or sufficient explanation. This is superficial in its own way.

      - See more at:

  • Iran Deal's liberation: Judaism is not Zionism
    • citizen- On the topic of: Israel is insurance against another Holocaust, a formulation raised by Joe Biden, let me say this. Today there are two major Jewish centers of population in the world: the US and Israel. The suggestion that the Jews should be happy with only one major Jewish population center (here in the US) seems to put all the Jewish eggs in one basket, which just on its face seems to be antithetical to the wisdom of dispersion as a survival technique. (and of course, when the words survival technique are mentioned to Jews, you know the immediate association is to literal survival and the Shoah.)
      I think such fears are not far from a group that considers Holocaust consciousness to be the most important manifestation of Jewishness. (see the Pew poll). I think it is largely irrational and illogical and Phil is voicing the illogical aspects of this obsession/preoccupation in order to discourage this line of thought. I suppose that at an Aipac convention these fears are not far from the surface and Phil is not trying to convince Aipac convention attendees that they should stop thinking such negative thoughts about the Jewish future in America. He is addressing those who are borderline between liberal Zionism and antiZionism. And he is saying to them, if you agree with me that these fears are irrational then you must choose antiZionism because without this irrational fear there is no reason to be a supporter of Israel. But I am asserting that the logic of a Jew's concern for Israel's survival does not need the ultimate fear of genocide to justify itself. It is enough for a Jew to feel concern for their fellow Jews to justify support for Israel. One need not dig into the irrational fears in order to justify such support.

      (I think the irrational aspect of Biden's insight is discouraging, for if the fear of the Holocaust reigns supreme it is difficult to utilize and mobilize the rational part of the (collective) Jewish mind. And it is the rational part of the mind that needs encouragement in order for Jews worldwide to realize that in the long range, some sort of scheme of coexistence, modus vivendi, is needed for the Israeli Jews and the Palestinian nonJews to weather the current conflict and begin to imagine a future of survival and life. This appeal to the irrational is not helpful on Biden's part.)

    • The threat of the Iranian nuke has been a major Israeli concern since the time of Rabin twenty years ago. When Rabin was asked about his concessions to Arafat in the Oslo accords he cited Iran, as in: it is important for Israel to align its actions with the United States regarding the Palestinians, so as to gain US support regarding Israel's fears regarding Iran and nuclear weapons. (implying that the concessions made to Arafat were not in the realm of existential dangers, but the threat of an Iranian nuke did fall into that category.) It has been the particular focus of Netanyahu in recent years with constant threats to attack Iran despite American opposition to such an attack. Thus, this Iran deal is not minor, but a major milestone in Israel's relations to Iran and the US.

      Bibi's blunt manner, particularly coming to talk to the Congress last March, has made the divergent interests of Israel and the US more apparent than ever before. It is not possible to gauge how the bad manners will play out over the next few years of Bibi's premiership, nor how it will play out after Bibi gives up the prime minister's chair. I think that Israel's weakest link of support in terms of the Congress will continue to be in the Democratic party, particularly given the anti Obama reaction of the Republican party that feels that Obama has weakened the United States vis a vis foreign policy.

      (Congressmen are very vulnerable to the financial necessities of campaign funding and thus I do not expect any revolutions in the short term vis a vis Congressional support for Israel.) the iran deal was an exception rather than the rule, that is Congress will continue to support Israel when there is not a need to go against Israel because a sitting democratic president has staked the entire legacy of his foreign policy achievements on the approval of his policy. As a rule the primary changes vis a vis foreign policy will continue to take place in the presidency and not in the Congress.

      It seems highly unlikely that Obama will attempt to further distance himself from Israel in the 14 months he has left before the next presidential elections.

      Now to the issue raised by this column here: the support of American Jews for Zionism. I think it is useful to consult the Pew poll of two years ago (october 1, 2013).
      In that poll Jews by religion were much more attached to Israel than Jews of no religion. 76% of Jews by religion were attached to Israel (30 percent very attached and 46% somewhat attached) and only 45% of Jews of no religion were similarly attached to Israel (12% very attached and 33% somewhat attached). The idea that the Iran deal would result in highly different percentages just two years after that poll stretches the imagination. Of course the percentage of Jews of no religion will increase over time based upon the answers of the young to the Pew poll and certainly some erosion of attachment to Israel has probably occurred among both Jews by religion and among Jews of no religion as a result of this battle and Bibi's behavior . But the complete turnaround that Phil's post here is trumpeting (metaphor appropriate to the holiday) is certainly unproven.

      (To state something controversial in blunt language: I would say that there are three pillars for Jewish antiZionism: 1. rooting for the underdog, 2. a lessened attachment to Judaism or Jewishness and 3. naivete regarding what a post Zionist Israel Palestine will look like.)

      But to return to the Pew poll for a moment: The percentage of Jews by religion who expressed a special responsibility to care for Jews in need was 71% and the percentage of Jews of no religion who expressed that responsibility was 36%. Thus there is a high correlation between attachment to Israel and a feeling of responsibility towards Jews in need. Phil Weiss is constantly harping on the fact that Jews who support Israel must feel that the US is unsafe for Jews. Maybe he has some poll that backs this contention. (He has never presented any such poll and it is more logical to assume that he is basing this contention on something other than polling results.) What is clear from the Pew poll is that Jews who support Israel feel a need to help Jews in need. And I do not think that a large percentage of Jews who felt a need to help Jews in need two years ago changed their mind and no longer feel a need to help Jews in need today just because Bibi is a discourteous man who thinks with his elbows. I think most of the Jews who express a responsibility towards Jews two years ago still feel that today and that most of those also feel an attachment to Israel.

  • 'Jimmy Carter's cancer is God's punishment,' says leading Israeli newspaper
    • Boo- The article by the Jerusalem Post is kind of stupid and indicates too much time on one's hands. The article by Phil is kind of stupid and indicates too much time on one's hands. as for you and your quote from Numbers, your problem is far worse than too much time on your hands.

  • The Iran Deal is an African American achievement
    • But Gwen Ifil's tweet included real information. it was not just take this, bibi. it was take THIS and included a graphic showing the real achievement achieved by the pact. phil weiss omits this because he wants Ifil's tweet to sound personal. take this from a proud black female who objects to your opposition to a proud black male. that was not ifil's tweet. it was: here are some stats that show that it is a good deal. take this: meaning facts. but phil weiss strips ifil's tweet of the facts and makes it purely personal. weiss's interest in facts is minimal in this case. he is interested in stirring up trouble. do you think gwen ifil would read this column and say right on, or would she say. phil weiss, former journalist and current propagandist.

    • A rightwing Jewish foreign policy coterie –that had “inexcusable prejudice” against the black president, in Sandy Berger’s words — - See more at: so phil continues to imply that sander berger was indicting the entire right wing jewish foreign policy coterie as having inexcusable prejudice. berger's words clearly indicated that it included people who were influenced by such bigotry, but this attempt to paint the entire coterie as bigoted is phil weiss's intent, but not sandy berger's intent.

  • Obama and the Zionists
    • To be clear: Jews that care minimally (or less) about other Jews, such as Phil Weiss, should abandon Zionism. They were never Zionistic in the first place and they never cared about Jews to begin with and so the whole worrying about Jews is foreign to them and thus End Zionism Now, makes sense. (The only feasible reason for these Jews to worry about Zionism is if there was a threat of a holocaust here in america and since there is no such threat unless law and order breaks down completely to a level unheard of in the 239 year history, so Zionism is for other Jews and not a need for American jews.) But there are a large group of Jews who care about other Jews and these are the ones who care about Israel and Zionism and to them: End Zionism Now, makes no sense. (Trying to blend pressure on Israel to improve its ability to survive which includes its ability to make peace with its neighbors or stop the injustice of the occupation, is another question and a difficult one to answer. But that is not End Zionism Now. That is Save Zionism Now. Save its soul and its purpose. but that is not what Phil Weiss is about. Phil is about End Zionism Now. End feelings towards these Jews who are not American now. That's what he's preaching.) Phil is preaching to his choir (of Jews who really don't care) and he doesn't share the sentiments or speak the same language as the Jews who do care about other Jews.

    • Okay. Let's take Phil's last paragraph:
      The issue now is whether the Holocaust is reflective of the Jewish experience today or in its entirety.

      Answer: No. The Holocaust is not reflective of the Jewish experience today, neither in Israel, nor in America. (Less so in America than in Israel, for in America, as long as democracy rules, then only laws can be used against the Jews in America. In Israel, the Jews are vulnerable to catastrophe from hostile forces in a way that American Jews are not vulnerable to hostile forces as long as law prevails in america.)

      phil- Last Friday Stephen Greenberg cast Jews as a vulnerable people always dependent on great powers. That view seems anachronistic to me, and steeped in victimization.

      The Jews in Israel are a vulnerable people vis a vis, the exertion of Iranian power as in support for Hamas and Hezbollah. (This vulnerability is partially due to Israeli acts that lead to hatred from Hezbollah and Hamas. It is also due to the rejection of many Muslims and Arabs of any sizable, self ruling Jewish population. Although this rejection may be deemed as a just response to historical circumstances. Viewing the rejection of the rights of Jews to live in the region and to rule themselves, is not victimization, but an assertion of the right to survive in the region. It is not steeped in victimization.)

      Plus, the Jews in Israel could quite conceivably become vulnerable vis a vis, Iran, once Iran has a bomb, for Mutually Assured Destruction is a form of vulnerability and it is not a form of invulnerability. So the nukes that Iran will be able to build in 15 years will present Israel with another category of vulnerability.

      Phil: And that view has produced the orgy of selfish concerns that we saw in Obama’s Friday talks. I see Jews as empowered actors on the American stage. Our identity ought to reflect that reality; and our politics ought to reflect that identity. End Zionism now.

      This is just a mishmash of emotions. American Jews are not the vulnerable ones, Israel Jews are the vulnerable ones. Our identity according to Phil ought to reflect a denial of any connection to the Jews in Israel. That is the reality that phil says we should reflect.

      The Jewish concern for fellow Jews is not anti American per se, although it is feasible that America needs to toss Israel under the bus and then Jewish concern for fellow Jews in this instant produces a situation of going against American interests.

      The cause of justice for the Palestinians specifically in the West Bank and Gaza, ought to raise questions of how are American Jews who feel a connection to Israeli Jews supposed to express and effect change so that the rights of the West Bank and Gaza Palestinians is not suppressed. But this does not add up to End Zionism now. In other words one can favor pressuring Israel as doing the best for Israel to save itself. But Phil is not saying that: he's saying. you american jews are powerful. the best way to reflect the fact of your power is to feel nothing towards the jews of Israel and toss them under the bus. Don't try to save them. Don't try to change them. abandon them. that's how you will reflect the true facts of your lack of need for a back up country.

      as the distance in time from the migrations of 1881 to 1920 fade and the catastrophe of 1939 to 1945 fade, and the religion with its emphasis on kinship with other Jews alive today fades and is replaced by wisps of culture frayed beyond recognition. the common kinship of american jews with Israeli jews will lead to alienation and estrangement. But this inevitable weakening of the Jewish faith is a loss and not a gain, for although Jewish kinship is not as important as morality and justice, it is the means by which the Jews have some hope of surviving modernity as a group and not merely as individuals and so Jewish kinship is something to be protected and savored. certainly not, Israel right or wrong. but when it is wrong to work to correct it and to create a future of strength and fairness.

    • Phil Weiss ends the essay with a flourish: End Zionism now. But what is the content of that paragraph. Jews are powerful in the United States, therefore support for a Jewish state in Palestine should be ended now. This reflects what logic? There are two major Jewish communities in the world: America and Israel. And Phil is saying, "Hey american Jews. You are safe. You don't need Israel. You can throw Israel under the bus."

  • God is on Israel's side, but not the United States, says Israel's new U.N. ambassador
    • annie- the original statement by phil: half the people can't vote because of their ethnicity is not an overstatement: it is a lie. Palestinian Israelis can vote. There's no way you can get to half the people can't vote because of their ethnicity without counting Palestinian israelis and thus the lie by Phil Weiss. Period. not gobbledy gook- rather a pure lie.

      now i raised the topic of Gaza. the problem for the people of gaza is not their lack of a vote, it is the fact that their territory is under siege (plus they do not merely want the end of the siege on gaza they want the end of the occupation of the west bank.) thus to focus on "they are deprived of their right to vote because of their ethnicity" is not an absolute falsehood, but is in fact besides the point. they do not want the vote in israel. they want the end of the siege and political satisfaction in regards to the west bank and the original nakba. to label this as a deprivation of the right to vote is the simplistic statement of a propagandist.

      even though the political parties that represent the palestinians- hamas and fatah are not in favor of solving the conflict by annexation and giving them the vote in israel, but despite their political stance, because of the nature of the occupation on the west bank, there is validity to say, "give them the vote" but in regards to the nature of the occupation of gaza, the validity of this statement is propaganda, but not its proximity to reality.

    • Kathleen- No, that's not what Phil said. He said that half the people cannot vote. are we going to play reading comprehension games here?

  • In latest thrust at Obama, Netanyahu names UN ambassador who trashed him and said Palestinians can have 'Facebook state'
    • Phil Weiss labels centrist David Horowitz as right wing. To some here Peter Beinart is right wing and then Horowitz who is to the right of Beinart is for sure right wing. But otherwise what does the assessment mean? That he opposes a two state solution? That he opposes the Iran deal? I know Horowitz does not oppose a two state solution and I assume he opposes the Iran deal in principle, although he is probably pragmatic now that it has been signed. But what precisely qualifies someone as right wing? (Granted Gideon Levy is left wing. Amira Hass is left wing and Avrum Brug is left wing. Is Ari Shavit right wing? Is there any such thing as a centrist according to Phil Weiss?)

  • Michael Oren misrepresents 1971 synagogue bombing that changed his life
    • In 1971, very few American Jews decided to trade in their American future for an Israeli future. Many more were like Phil Weiss with little thought about moving to Israel and very few were like Michael Oren.

      Oren seems to skimp on the details that would slow the paragraph or the story down. He is writing the fiction version of his life rather than the historical version.

      Many places received threats when Kahane came to speak, but this was the one place where the threat was fulfilled. From Oren's reaction I would guess that it was a neighborhood with a significant population of antiJewish sentimentalists. I wonder what percentage of american jews in 1971 experienced the antiJewish sentiment that Oren seems to have experienced, I bet it's not that common. I bet it's not negligible.

      my dead friend larry told me that when he was in grade school in the sixties on long island, a teacher asked the kids their religion, and when he answered Jewish he was quick to add, but we're not religious.

  • Iran's kumbaya video: let's cut the deal and turn to 'existential battle' against extremists
    • citizen- I do not consider myself a fan of the governments of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, but I doubt that their sovereigns would agree regarding the innocence of Iran. as far as democracy I would cite tunisia which i know little about and lebanon where the major problem is sectarianism, but other than that problem, they tend towards democracy. I have no proof, but i believe that iran was behind the bombing in Buenos Aires of the Jewish center and I consider them revolutionaries with a tendency towards antiJewish sentiments. I don't know how the middle east will play out in the next twenty or so years, but i think this pretense that Iran is just some happy go lucky bunch of well meaning people is malarkey. i understand that those who oppose israel will take umbrage in those that attack iran. I accept that like a law of newton's physics. but this pretense that the ruling ayatollahs are a bunch of sweetie pies stinks. i don't believe it and i don't even believe that phil believes it, it's just that it's contrary to the israel lobby and therefore all aboard!

      will there be turmoil in the middle east the next twenty years? yes. will iran play a positive role? based on what? the audacity of hope? the present generation in iran is not the ones who rule the country. the country is ruled by the revolutionary guards and by the ayatollahs. i really don't know enough about the region to understand the vision of iran as a positive player, i don't understand the sunni shiite conflict enough to understand where exactly isis fits in and the muslim brotherhood and it looks to me as complicated as a chess board, but no one has shown me the strategy of where this leads to the endgame and thus purely on faith of the audacity of hope, well, i have no faith in the ayatollahs or in the revolutionary guard and when you talk about getting power away from them i will know that you are focused on the people of iran rather than opposing israel.

  • Does Israel have a toxic personality? Ask Michael Oren
    • Shmuel- Let me answer you in my own way.

      First, I have to tell you, that when you finish off with that "if not now, when?" thing that you did, you really got my goat. I was a believer and follower of Torah til a very late age (23, 24) and pulling away from Torah at that age is actually really too late and I was arguing left and right with people who believed in Torah and who would finish their spiels with some variation of "if not now, when?" and the part of my brain that is stimulated by your "if not now, when?" spells trouble and not tranquility.

      How did I know for whom to vote in the US presidential race of 2004? I watched the debates and found myself rooting for Kerry, so I voted for Kerry. You see, not logic, but emotion. I am the opposite of a Vulcan.

      Great! Omar Barghouti is logically the best enemy I can hope for, is that what you're saying? well that says nothing to my emotions. I do not believe in giving my emotions carte blanche, but I do not override my emotions, when it comes to enmity and pretend that an enemy is a friend and hold hands and sing we shall overcome with someone for whom i feel enmity. maybe you vulcans have no such feelings or only have to press the override button and it's all taken care of but as for this minus vulcan here, it doesn't work that way. if barghouti is an enemy, he's an enemy and that effects me and effects my stance.

      on this post, not as bad as the passover antisemitic post, but on this post, phil weiss is an enemy and it is in this context that i responded to this post.

      when i read magnes i accept his logic, but my emotion is with beinart. and by the way, the wheel is in spin this summer: will the french offer a resolution in the UNSC and what will obama do? and that's assuming that the US will sign something with Iran before September. Beinart would tell obama to vote for the new UN security council resolution or wouldn't he? and compared to obama's choice your protests are at least at the moment a detail of history compared to obama's choice. so to us do-nothing observers of the situation, this is a summer to observe.

      I was born in a specific year with specific relatives who lost family in the Hitler catastrophe and the Zionist rebirth is all mixed up in that wound. I was raised by specific people who had a specific relationship to Torah. I arrived the first time in Israel in 72 and was in Israel during the Yom Kippur War, so i have been imbibing the daily news from israel and environs for over 40 years. I am to the left of everyone I grew up with. in order to deal with this dissonance I have turned myself into an observer rather than a doer.

      the drunk's prayer the serenity prayer goes, god grant me the courage to change the things I can and the serenity to accept the things I can't change and the wisdom to know the difference. to billy pilgrim (kurt vonnegut's slaughterhouse five) the past present and future were included in the things that he could not change.

      Politics is the art of the possible.

      you and other people were born with different personalities to different families to different realities and therefore your righteous positions fit into your personalities and saint peter will let you in to the pearly gates when that time comes and i'll be burning down below, or when the history is written the zionists will be viewed as a stumbling block on the road to a better world and the truth will be written that i was associated with an evil cause. this is not important to me. what is important to me is to be true to myself.

      And I wish I had the certitude, the time and the strength to sit in kikar tziyon with a sign that says, "Gideon Saar where are you?" Or "Do you believe in democracy?" that's what the activist yonah thirty years ago would have done, not join with bds but stand out there with a sign of my own in order to drink in the reaction of the masses. but i don't have the equanimity to play with such a public role and the role that you suggest that of holding hands with someone holding hands with omar barghouti causes me to pull away from the circle you propose and let go of the hand and stand aside and watch. and that's my stance.

    • bryan- Thank you for your comment. It is of course true that to view Jim Crow in isolation, as if it were not related to the violence of the 19th century, is to obscure the truth.

      Note the context here was this post by Phil Weiss using the toxicity of Bibi Netanyahu watching "Breaking Bad" to declare Israel toxic. As such this was not the place for rhetorical nuance and thus the context for the "nonviolent war" statement.

      I am agnostic vis a vis BDS. There is little question in my mind that when someone like Zeev Sternhell says that Israel will only change through outside pressure that I tend to agree with him. But when I hear Omar Barghouti speak I feel in my bones that he is my enemy and when I hear Peter Beinart speak I feel in my bones that I am on his side. So I respect my own reactions and thus guide my comments that they should be true to the emotions that I feel at any given moment.

      Others may have a more objective view of the morality of the situation including a view of those like myself. I personally do not feel that one can divorce one's politics from one's personality and my personality was formed by specific events and milieus and I am not in the business of denying myself to be who I am on the issue of Israel-Palestine.

      I don't know what the future holds and I don't know if I will be there in the future to really make any difference, but my vision of the future does include this: at some point in time dialogue will be necessary between those on the ground in Israel-Palestine and there will be a need for people like me who can talk to the side of the Zionists and the inability of some to dialogue with me is a sign that they will be useless at that moment. Until then they serve the purpose of putting pressure against Zionism. God bless them, as Zeev Sternhell says. But at some point it's going to take more than pressure against Zionism, it's going to require dialogue and the attitude of this (Walter White toxicity Bibi)= Israel post, plus some of the comments here is evidence that these people (or those of similar mindset that will come after them) will be useless when the time comes to parley and smoke the peace pipe. These are nonviolent warmakers, not dialoguers. they will be useless at that time.

  • Jewish community must 'welcome' anti-Zionist, pro-BDS Jews, Beinart says-- but Shavit says, Excommunicate them
    • Phil- A number of reactions to your comment, even though they are not linear, I hope they move the conversation forward.

      I watched a video clip of some Israeli panel show where Yeshaya Leibowitz posed the question of whether the Jews had evolved out of something called a nation into something else. (I think he was referring particularly to those Jews who did not speak Hebrew or Yiddish as their first language, that is Jews of the Diaspora.)

      And then there's the famous Groucho Marx line:
      When one club offered to waive its no-Jews rule for Groucho, provided he abstained from using the swimming pool, he remarked, "My daughter's only half Jewish, can she wade in up to her knees?"

      Thus the Jews are evolving and the Pew survey shows that those devoted to Jewish belief (rather than in the generally accepted beliefs in goodness and working for a better world) are barely 20% of the population and as such the other 80% will continue to evolve towards assimilation and "disappearance".

      The identity of Jews with the Lower East Side and the immigrant experience has shriveled to nearly nothing over the last 40 years. How many Jews wax nostalgic when they see Mandy Patinkin in the Jewish subplot from "Ragtime". To younger Jews the Holocaust too will fade as an organizing principle.

      I don't think Zionism is akin to MLK's philosophy, but I do think it has many parallels to Malcolm X's philosophy. The name changes of the black Muslims is paralleled by the name changes of Zionism. But my point is this quote from the eulogy by Ossie Davis: "Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood!" And in the aftermath of the helplessness and catastrophe of the Hitler destruction, to many Jews (I'm thinking of Saul Bellow Israel was their manhood. But as time goes on and the yoke of the goyim becomes a memory of ancient history, we see Israel not as an expression of manhood, but more like a grown man acting like an adolescent. The machismo that we tolerate from a fifteen year old male as a necessary part of growing into adulthood, we consider to be stunted in a thirty year old. (Although we still celebrate such machismo in the movies, this is more a question of art as wish fulfillment rather than an evolved attitude towards adulthood.)

      And as the number of those who have the Holocaust at the center of their Jewish identity will drop, so will the number of those who have "caring for Israel" at the center of their Jewish identity, because there is no longer a need to react to the humiliation of the destruction, when it is past tense rather than present in our blood cells*.

      ( * blood cells. I was reading the letters of Norman Mailer and in his correspondence with Jack Henry Abbot (I suppose philosemitism is not a prominent attitude in the prisons), defended Israel with a statement: "You don’t know the profound and fundamental stunting of existence that got into the blood cells of every Jew after Hitler had done his work.")

    • You are right that caring about Israel can mean more than one thing. I believe that Magnes Zionist cares about Israel. I believe Phil cares about America and the Palestinians. If the region lucks into letting the Jews stay, fine, but otherwise I think Phil feels it would be justice for most of the Jews to leave Palestine back the way it was before the Zionist invasion. Let them move elsewhere and let the Jewish languages disappear. Phil is fine with that.

      Yes, for sure the numbers are not what one would think if one listens to Abe Foxman.

    • The key to Shavit's philosophy or outlook is concern for Jewish continuity. Childless intermarried Jews with Christmas trees count as Jews to me, if we need to make a minyan to daven, I'd count you Phil. (Although I'd have to wince at counting you when I think of that Passover post that makes me gag and rebel.) But to survival continuity oriented Jewishness, you'll be gone after this generation and therefore you don't count.

      But 43% of American Jews view support for Israel as essential to one's Jewishness and you seem to be calling them crazy.

      As Richard Dawson used to say, "Survey says..."

      Let's go to THE survey. Pew poll of 2013.

      Let's try to keep the discussion moving forward, not reverting to sloppy habits of barbershop conversation, but instead attempt to define our terms. Let's define something and then continue the discussion from point A and then to point B and so on.

      For example on the issue of who is a Jew I would refer to the Pew poll immediately after citing the Halacha.

      And also to our discussion here which is regarding what is essential to being Jewish.

      link to Pew poll:

      On page 55 of the Pew poll pdf, the following alternatives were offered to those polled as to what is essential to being Jewish and the percentages are those that considered the alternatives as essential.

      Remembering the Holocaust 73 76 60
      Leading an ethical and moral life 69 73 55
      Working for justice/equality 56 60 46
      Being intellectually curious 49 51 42
      Caring about Israel 43 49 23
      Having good sense of humor 42 43 40
      Being part of a Jewish community 28 33 10
      Observing Jewish law 19 23 7
      Eating traditional Jewish foods 14 16 9

      (The three numbers are those who thought it essential among all Jews and then dividing the responses between those who consider themselves Jewish as a religion and those who consider themselves Jewish, but of no religion.)
      Some of the alternatives seem to ridicule the effort. Eating traditional Jewish foods is essential to being Jewish? (matzo, i can understand, but knishes, not really. ) It kind of mocks the whole enterprise of trying to determine the essential. But nonetheless. Lets look at some of the numbers.

      Remembering the Holocaust scores real big, whereas observing Jewish law is under 20%.

      The be a good person and build a better world score 69% and 56%.

      But now let's return to the issue at hand. Support for Israel is essential to 43% of those questioned. Are you, Phil Weiss, saying that those 43% are crazy? In essence you are.

  • In NY, a Palestinian and Israeli detail forgotten war in Gaza -- 'wiping families off the planet'
    • Phil Weiss writes: "Why work hard to preserve a Jewish state when I’d be goddamned before I had to live in a religious state myself,"

      And that's why I quoted Hannah Arendt last week, "“You know that I was a Zionist and that my reason for breaking with the Zionist organization was very different from the anti-Zionist stand of the Council: I am not against Israel on principle, I am against certain important Israeli policies. I know, or believe I know, that should catastrophe overtake this Jewish state, for whatever reasons (even reasons of their own foolishness) this would be the perhaps final catastrophe for the whole Jewish people, no matter what opinions every one of us might hold at the moment.”

      Arendt cared about the Jewish people and viewed catastrophe to the Jewish state as the final catastrophe for the whole Jewish people. Phil Weiss really does not care about the Jewish people.

  • 'Heart-wrenching, harrowing, transfixing' -- NYT needs to end blackout on Blumenthal
    • Mooser- I will focus on my supposed desire to exclude jews from being jews. Not so. Every time a jew lights a friday night candle and says the shma- "hear o' israel, the lord is our god, the lord is one" my heart is gladdened. even if when the camera zooms out and reveals he has a christmas wreath on his door and a christmas tree in the corner and then the audio adds his supercilious Harvard voice on: how the Jews are the Pharisees and the Christians know the truth. sorry, about the last part.

      You were born to specific Jewish parents, with specific histories and raised with a specific dosage of jewish words and rituals. I was born to other Jewish parents with other histories. and though we were both born in America our attitudes are very different just based on how we were raised.

      max preaches to the choir and if our topic is (as phil's was earlier this week) the jewish elements of the choir, we must say that his choir includes those jews who disavow jewish identity. the in-your-face Berlin denouement of max's book appeals to such subversives. subversion can sometimes add to the world and even add to the jewish story (who can imagine the jewish story without lenny bruce, abbie hoffman and trotsky and zinn) these are all jews.

      if phil weiss or max b wish to appeal merely to the subversive element, fine. if they wish to appeal to jews who also have jewish identity, their language would be closer to that of magnes zionist than to the mw comments section.

    • Donald- You seem to respect jewish identity (something rare in the comment section and even in the text).

      Max is in your face, that is his style and I think it's close to his essence and I doubt he can modulate his style and stay true to himself.

      I had read Phil yesterday or two days ago on the coming civil war in the Jewish community. And I was reading Wendy Lesser ("Room for Doubt") which includes an essay about the time she lived in Berlin, which included reactions to memorials and the past, and I just flashed on Max's Berlin structure to his Goliath book and I felt that for the run of the mill Jewish youth (actually I had a specific reformed Jewish 20 year old in mind, who actually has much more knowledge of Judaism and Hebrew than the average 20 year old, although nowhere near to the way that I was raised) and I thought about her hearing about Max's book and its denouement in berlin and I could her imagine her saying, "give me a break, the guy's obviously got an ax to grind if that's how he structures his book." and behold the next day Phil is here touting Max and so thus my reaction. Max is preaching to those who would not react negatively to the structure of the book, to those who would tend to agree with him and who would appreciate the subversive resonance of ending his book in that way. There are plenty of jews according to the pew poll of 2014 who wish to consider themselves as ex Jews or Jews not by religion and they are the audience for max and mw. and that's fine. but if you/Phil wants to bring the discussion to include my 20 year old reformed friend, it will have to meet on some kind of common ground other than the in your face max style.

  • Two videos to challenge my liberal Zionist friends
    • socialconscience- I have never communicated with you before and you did not exactly start us off on the right foot. If in fact you desire to communicate rather than to pontificate, I will consider the slate clean. No, I do not have a blog. But yes, I am allowed to comment about Phil Weiss's blog. I will discuss my Zionism at length, but prefer not to at this time. and you, all I can tell is that you are impressed with yourself enough to give yourself a highfallutin' nom de blog. I've met an anti Zionist or two in my life that I got along with, but let's see if we can't exchange a thought or an idea or two before calling me names. Tell me something about yourself. Do you come here often?

    • mooser- I know that my comment to phil was public, but it really wasn't meant for you or others, it was meant for Phil. Here he has explicitly invited, or challenged liberal Zionists, which means me and not you. and I answered. but i also told him, that if he really wants to challenge liberal zionists he ought to cut out the self indulgent cultural jew hatred.

      no, he did not use the word "kike". but the column was deeply offensive to me and to the other liberal zionists who reacted to it. and if all he wants to do is communicate with the amen chorus, fine. but then don't come two days later and challenge the liberal zionists, as if all is well and peaceful. it's not all well and peaceful, phil. your column this week was really off the mark and if you want to turn around two days later and challenge the liberal zionists, then go right ahead. but it's not okay with me. mooser approves, so challenge him with some question, if you want to challenge liberal zionists then stop with the Jew hatred crap.

      journalism is supposed to be the rough draft of history, phil. but your column two days ago was the rough draft for Father Coughlin's sunday evening Jew baiting speech.

    • Phil- The sins of the occupation (Hebron) and of the Nakba (1950) are not confessed by all liberal Zionists, but I accept that a full human response to the Palestinians requires facing up to these sins. In fact as a liberal Zionist I do not have an alternative to posit to the BDS that you propose.

      That is why it seems to me that the cultural antiSemitism that you promoted earlier this week is exactly the wrong route for you to take. It is self indulgence. This is your blog and if you feel an urge to diss Jews or aspects of Jewish culture, no one can stop you. It's your blog. But if you wish to communicate with Jews who do not like the Lillian Hellman types calling low class Jews, "kikes" then you will have to control yourself. But if your object is self expression keep those antisemitic tropes coming as long as your heart desires to express itself. If you wish to dialogue or communicate with Jews who don't like hearing "kike" (or even the equivalent of "kike" from this week's column) then stick to arguments like this one and avoid the self indulgent self expression.

  • Forgiving the anti-Semites
    • mooser- "I" am "betting" that I will use "quotation marks" in a way that you will not "approve". I will "try" to use them more judiciously.

      (reminds me of Chris Farley "hygiene" "shower enough")

      Now on your serious question. Actually I think the thing that worries me the most is that Israel will become less and less democratic. But it does not serve my emotional purposes to get into the crux of the problem and I prefer to deal with secondary issues like Phil playing hopscotch with the line between the Jew hating and Israel bashing.

      But ask yourself, mooser, dear human with an animal name to protect your face, are your anti Zionist credentials better than Donald Johnson's antiZionist credentials? And if you agree that he is as good an antiZionist as you, why is it that he thinks that Phil should ease up on the cultural antisemitism and you give it "two thumbs up"? Oh, he's a softie and your a shtarker? I see. Now it's clear.

    • This is one for the time capsule.

      In the future when studying early 21st century blurring of the lines between anti semitism and anti Zionism, this column by Phil Weiss and the comments by the "crew" will be cited as a great example of this blur. Congrats, Phil and "crew"! Great job!

  • 'NYT' runs piece of unadulterated propaganda for Israeli army
    • though never forget that Jim Clancy lost his job at CNN for using the word hasbara - See more at:

      Not sure why Clancy lost his job. Could it be that he used the word hasbara where it was meant to fend off an assertion, an assertion that was in fact accurate and should have been analyzed on its own basis rather than attacking the person making the assertion? he used the word to fend off the truth rather than as a way of describing an article or anything of that nature. So if we should never forget the great Jim Clancy and the terrible loss that he suffered, let us at least remember the context of his use of the word hasbara, not as description as Phil Weiss is using it here, but as a weapon against an assertion that should have stood (or fallen) on its own merit, not on the word hasbara tossed at a person who had every right to participate in a conversation.

  • Stanford Hillel defied Hillel guidelines by hosting Gottlieb -- 'and no one burst into flames'
    • Phil- Obviously just complaining about your use of [gangster[ is insufficient. Let me try this. Could you provide us with other current or historical politicians that you would also use the word [gangster[ to describe them, then I might be able to get a better handle on your use of the term. It doesnt have to be a politician, just someone whose name I recognize so that I can get an understanding of what you are getting at.

      heres the quote
      It’s happening, no matter what the gangsters at Hillel International want students to think or say. - See more at:

  • How Obama won on Iran
    • As to the major question: is this a good pact or a bad pact. My fears are not calm, but because Barak Ravid was the one who guided me against Obama in 2008 (because he was weak on Iran), which led me to abstain (although as a resident or citizen whose last residence was New York, there was no need to vote in the electoral college system of the United States) rather than vote for Obama and because he had that credit with me as a skeptic, now that he writes: It's not a bad agreement, I accept his word. Otherwise this is a topic that I do not have sufficient knowledge about: neither technology, nor the world of nuclear exchanges or threats of exchanges, therefore I feel a need for some "Expert" to help me decide and because of the scariness of nukes, my knees will waver from time to time, but I support this agreement.

      I think that the position of this web site vis a vis Israel and US campaign finance laws or lack thereof leading to a dishonest American conversation on the topic of Israel are well known. But this web site's position on Iran is nebulous. Do you give zero credence to the accusation of Iran participation in the bombing in Buenos Aires 1994? There is a war going on in Yemen and in Syria and Iraq involving Isis and what is reported as a Shiite Sunni schism and warfare. Do you know enough about that to feel that Iran is a positive influence. my zionism allows you a quick fix. I know you are, but what am I? okay. good. I'm no one to throw stones, cuz i live in a glass house. accepted. but what is this site's stance on Iran and the sectarian warfare going on? Phil knows as little as I do about that aspect of Iran's regional influence. As far as Iran's lack of democracy, I think that is a given. But my googling a list put out by some think tank of the ranking of democratic values in the world's countries is sometimes denigrated as some kind of a Zionist plot, so we can go to the list of countries and do a little research and see how the human rights people rate Iran. (israel is worse, i hear you say,) but that is not the point that will undo the negligence by this web site of the issue of freedom in Iran.

  • The Jewish establishment has banned these four valiant Jews. Why?
    • Anyone who is not turned off by phil's use of gangster in this context is already converted to the cause. Phil is preaching to the converted. He seeks to rile up his own troops and those converted choir members will steamroller the unconvinced. I realize that very few people who log onto this site are unconverted and so therefore there is no harm done.

      But despite the quality of the readership of this site, here is a suggestion for open hillel. the famous hillel sandwich, (not as famous as "if i am not for myself...", but still part of the text of the passover seder, a famous jewish occasion) puts all the elements in one sandwich- the paschal lamb, the matza and the bitter herb. so too, hillel the organization should welcome all elements into their sandwich and even if BDS people are bitter herbs, they should still be included.

    • I bet you have a thesaurus on your desk, Phil. If not I bet you can google a better word. Bully, blind, pigheaded, dictatorial or that old standby McCarthyite are all sufficiently negative without gangster with its criminal connotations.

  • Who can save Israel now?
    • Phil Weiss's coverage is breathless teenager, gushing and hoping one moment and now absolutes: Israel was never serious about peace. (In fact Israel's seriousness about peace was sporadic and insufficient, but such nuance is anathema to the teenager.)

      But that is largely besides the point, for Netanyahu's rejection of the two state solution and his racist rhetoric are in fact the point. The man of the hour is none other than Barack Obama. I'd like to see Obama call Beinart and decide on a policy together with Beinart. It will be tough for me and Israel supporters like me who oppose the settlement enterprise to adjust to the necessity of American pressure. And it will take people like Beinart (plus Derfner and Bradley Burston) to lead the way for American Zionists like me. But it will take Obama to turn this into something real.

  • Why I hope Netanyahu will be crushed tonight
    • jon s- Phil has been very clear for quite some time that he does not give more than half a shrug about the Jewish people. Here's a quote from Hannah Arendt that clarifies the difference between someone who cares (Arendt) and someone who does not care (Phil Weiss).

      In the aftermath of publishing her book (or articles) on the Eichmann trial as a result of the furor of the reactions of many Jews, The American Council for Judaism (much praised here on mw by phil w.) invited Arendt, offered her protection and a public forum in which she could reply to her critics. She refused and wrote to the council:

      "You know that I was a Zionist and that my reason for breaking with the Zionist organization was very different from the anti-Zionist stand of the Council: I am not against Israel on principle, I am against certain important Israeli policies. I know, or believe I know, that should catastrophe overtake this Jewish state, for whatever reasons (even reasons of their own foolishness) this would be the perhaps final catastrophe for the whole Jewish people, no matter what opinions every one of us might hold at the moment."

  • Netanyahu's speech and the American Jewish condition
    • lysias- Phil was referring to the period before WWII and as such your cold war reference is an anachronism. But I could see where someone in 2015 would use 1963 terminology and not 1939 terminology, even when referring to 1939.

  • Tell your congressperson: Don't attend Netanyahu's speech
    • atrocity. yes, i know what the dictionary says, but check out its usage and i bet you that you'll see that atrocious is given much greater leeway than atrocity. atrocity- deir yassin and my lai come to mind, not a meeting of the houses of congress. If you really think the use of the word makes phil look level headed, then you are right to dispute me. I think it makes him look silly. but i guess you're right, phil looking silly helps my cause.

    • As far as annie robbins quotes of me above: My Omar Barghouti comment was stupid. I was reacting to the atmosphere of the comments section, which means i lost my temper and said something stupid.

      As far as the "mea culpa is the only Yiddish Phil Weiss knows". I think it is my best ever argumentative sentence and you can quote it all the time if you wish.

      I have focused on the word atrocity rather than the gestalt and that is nicht gut, so I will give a general view.

      Proposed: Iran's nuclear bomb is my enemy. (Logic: I have flesh and blood in Israel. Iran's nuclear bomb is their enemy. Iran's bomb is my enemy.) Bibi is dedicated to obstructing that bomb. So bibi is doing me a service.

      Response: Obstructing Iran's nukes requires the best strategy rather than the most vulgar strategy. Aligning Israel with America's interests may be a better strategy than pushing Israel's face (Bibi's face) into the Congress versus President and the Democrats versus Republican divide.

      Further: The response to 9/11 was an attack on Iraq, an ongoing debacle. If instead the response to 9/11 had been worrying about Iran's nuke, then obstructing that nuke would be a nearer goal. Instead the attack on Iraq taxed, tired and tried the impatience of the world-weary US public, so there is insufficient American juice opposing the Iranian nuke and the Israel (Bibi) juice is not sufficient to make up for it.

      Campaign donations is the basis of too much of the US Congress support for Israel (Bibi). Campaign financing is a shame and a scandal. Congress should support its constituents' views and not campaign dollars. Bibi and his in your face politics is stupid to the eighth power in terms of vulgarity rather than nuance and subtlety.

      I really, really, really dislike Bibi and this move of his to speak to the Congress and how it was unveiled. I actually suspect that this move has more to do with his reelection campaign than with Iran's nuke. That is: he is risking Israel's long term interests not for the short term interest of obstructing a nuke, but for the selfish short term interest of getting reelected and if that is indeed the case, he's even lower than I thought before.

    • True to form. If you have no answer, go straight to ad hominem.

      You really think the word atrocity does not make Phil look bad, like a street corner nut agit prop idiot rather than an intelligent Harvard journalist? Ask a real journalist what they think of Phil's use of that word. This isn't singing to the choir it's screaming to the choir.

      And you and your echo chamber attitude towards MW. You don't care about dialogue or nothing like it. Sharpen your agit prop skills, that's your state of mind.

  • Don't let's go to the war of civilizations again
    • phil gets 3 days to react to Charlie Hebdo and I should get one day to react to phil:

      i've heard someone (on the radio) call this the French 9/11. I do not wish to recall the fear I felt those days (less than 7 miles away in Brooklyn where you could smell the aftermath of the carnage: was it jet fuel or the buildings' "dust"?) There was plenty of saber rattling from the commentators on the news back then and that evolved into even stupider saber usage. But what I wanted then and want now was clarity. And clarity is precisely what Phil obscures here with his Zionism obsession.

      If this obsession would lead to the avoidance of yet another round of thousands of dead Palestinians in Gaza, I would tell him, Right on!' Save lives with mediocre analysis. Great! I wish life worked that way, but it doesn't.

      French colonialism and "immigrant" (even second generation) alienation are the causes here (and I use the word cause as in cause and effect). Islam is the language in which the alienation is expressed and radical Islam is the sword that the truly messed up alienated second generation immigrants use to assert their defiance of the winners (so far) in the Arab versus West war that has existed since at least the aftermath of WWI.

      Zionism is not irrelevant, but certainly not relevant if one is attempting clarity.

      Last week Phil told us that he is an American and a former Jew. (I know i will take hits for my inexactitude.) This week he dons the mantle of Jew once more. Why? In order to utter the only phrase of Yiddish that he apparently knows: Mea culpa. And by mea, he doesn't mean him. He means the other meshugene Jews who refuse to assimilate like him.

      Last week Phil flushed "Jew" down the drain- why shed any tears over one more disappearing language? But this week Phil has salvaged "Jew" from the ash heap of his story, so that he can attack Zionism from the inside, as one of the tribe.

      Spare us, white American Phil Weiss: Plead mea culpa for your fellow white Americans, and attack Zionism from the outside and not as a fake insider.

  • The Israel lobby rallies inside the Republican Party
    • This is a middle east story with controversies about freedom of speech and ramifications of Islamophobia and I am somehow presumptuous for expecting a comment?! i assume phil will comment tomorrow.

      but because you idiots jump to his defense. let me put it in inciteful terms. phil has to wait until omar barghouti tells him what to write. has to get it lined up with the party line first.

    • just- It's the front story around the world, but Phil gives it a pass. Hopefully just for a day and tomorrow he will enlighten us. Until then he has given the job to the denizens of the comments section. Not a trustworthy delegation of responsibility from the looks of it.

    • Frankly rather shocked that Phil has not commented on the Charlie Hebdo story. A major story with middle east implications involving murdering journalists and no comment here? Maybe we'll hear from him tomorrow.

  • Against self-determination
  • Next U.S. elections threaten Israel's 'total isolation' -- and the Israeli public is worried
    • The headline is quite positive that the 2016 elections will threaten Israel's isolation, but in the text of the article, Phil treats the thought with mockery: from your lips to Jeb Bush's ears. Thus we have established that headlines are for thoughtlessness and the text of the articles reveals the realistic thoughts.

  • Saban confronts Bennett: 'Are you willing to cut commercial ties with Europe?'
    • When did Phil Weiss stop being a journalist and sign up as full fledged out to lunch propagandist? I'm not sure. But certainly this: "It wasn’t clear just what Bennett meant by these threats, but he implied that Israeli-made stents and chips that are now working would cease to work the morning after “you pressed the button” of boycott.

      Utter unadulterated bushwa. There was no threat that things would stop working the next day, it was a claim that Israel must fight its battle not by changing its policies, but by becoming indispensable as an economic ingredient in the world economy.

      Here i was complaining about graphics and mistranslated "grassy knolls" taken to extreme by contributors. But here is Phil out to lunch playing to the choir. If there was such a thing as disbarment in the "profession" of journalism, phil would deserve to be disbarred for this nonsense.

  • AIPAC seeks to blow up negotiations between Iran and US
    • Thank you phil munger for clarity on how high up you think this order went. i did not say that the liberty defied orders (although that is not inconceivable) I merely asserted that it had been ordered to leave that place. the snafu whereby it did not receive its orders does not change the fact that those orders were given.

  • Pssst! Is Israel going crazy?
    • A graphic of this sensationalist nature makes me wonder about Phil Weiss's "the Jews are the key to US policy on Israel" thesis. It would seem that despite this thesis, Phil tilts his blog in an offensive direction. That is: the only Jews who will end up agreeing with Phil are those who already agree with him. How is MW taking a role in changing Jewish opinion?

      Who is this type of graphic aimed at? It seems aimed at the comments section of MW, with its attitude ranging from fervently antiZionist to violently antiZionist. And its (the comments section's) attitude towards secular Judaism (as in: are secular Jews allowed to call themselves Jews or must they call themselves former Jews?) somewhere between hatred and disdain and certainly not philSemitic by any stretch of the imagination.

      This graphic is playing to the choir of those apathetic or disdainful of secular Jews and how does Phil Weiss think MW is to play a role in influencing what he considers a key demographic.

      Maybe he is aiming it towards the true believers and thinks that the stronger the antiZionists are in their solidarity and resilience, that eventually this will influence the Democratic party and eventually the US Jews of the moderate left of the Democratic party will follow their liberal hearts into the antiZionist camp. Maybe.

      But this type of graphic will entice no one except those who are already true believers.

  • For Obama officials, synagogue attack is 'pure terror' -- and not a word about attacks on Palestinians
    • There are two types of reactions to such an event: a human reaction and a political reaction. Phil and the commentators here have provided the political reaction that one would expect here. But nary a word in the direction of a human reaction. Hardened hearts, anyone?

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